80 calorie cocoa

Holy moley, where have you been!?

Just kidding.

I’ve been around, but just not here. And I have a fun little 10:00pm guilt-free treat for you!

80 calorie cocoa or hot chocolate, however you prefer to name it. Yes, it’s for real. Here goes.

photo (1)

80 calorie hot cocoa

not too sweet, not too chocolaty. it’s warm, frothy, and perfect for a moment when all you want to do is devour that bag of chocolate chips in your pantry. breathe and enjoy.

1 cup unsweetened almond milk (30 calories)

2 TB Dutch process cocoa powder (20 calories + 4 grams fiber!)

1  1/2 teaspoons raw agave syrup (30 calories)


Heat the milk until nearly boiling…until hot, yes. Whisk in cocoa and syrup until blended. Sip and smile.

Cookie Dough Truffles

photo (7)

Cookie Dough Truffles. Those words are heavenly, right? And this little sweet treat sums up Matt’s & my vacation for the last 10 days…sweet, something we craved, and it was gone a little too quickly. HOWEVER, in the moment (like these truffles), spending time with our family and friends was HEAVEN.

photo (1)    A lot happened, from a 6:00am flight on Wednesday the 5th, to picking up groceries and getting to my parents’ house at 4:30, to a party that was going to start at 7:00. Matt & I cooked furiously (and joyfully!) to get everything done and, in true Laurel style, I took on way too much, it was messy, and *in the end* the party was a success. My mom was surprised on her birthday with friends from childhood all the way up to new friends. She was thrilled! Every smushed lemon bar from jostling in the overhead bins on the plane and every bead of sweat on Matt & my rushed foreheads was totally worth the surprised/shocked/thrilled look on her face. Success.


Matt & me in Galveston!

Then we went to a wedding in Galveston, the beach I grew up on and have hundreds of fond and crazy memories of in my mind and heart. Matt has just as many memories (if not more), and I love that this one location stirs up the times we spent there as children, teenagers, adults and as a couple. Our friends Kate & Russell were wed in a beautiful church and we danced all night to a New Orleans band’s incredible sounds. We caught up with friends that are more like family to me, and a huge aching hole in my heart was filled after our time together. (I missed them!) I’m thankful to Russell & Kate, an awesome pair, for allowing us to be present on their special weekend.

We spent some time with my amazing cousin, Jeremy, before heading off to Kansas to see Matt’s family. He is the closest thing I have to a brother, and it’s always fun to hang out with him, roll our eyes at my parents’ corny jokes, and glutton-ize a bit with amazing Tex-Mex.


Pat (MIL), Abby (niece), me & Maura (sister-in-law)


Libby (niece), Matt & me

And then off to Kansas, to see the big family. Our nieces and nephews are growing up (the oldest niece, Abby, turned 14 while we were there!), and they are each such incredible people. Their parents are pretty awesome, too, and we got some good quality time with Maura & Jake, our favorite vinyl-loving, toy-collecting duo. My world traveler mother-in-law, Pat, spent several days with us before jet-setting to Peru for a medical mission trip. She’s always moving.






So on to cookie dough…eggless treats that it’s fun to indulge every once in a while. One is plenty…they’re rich!

IMG_3668 IMG_3669

Cookie Dough Truffles

Adapted from Annie’s Eats

  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk OR 2/3 cup almond milk + 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 lb. semisweet (or bittersweet) chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • Mini chocolate chips (for garnish)

Step 1: In a mixer, blend utter and brown sugar for 3 minutes, or until creamy. Add flour, condensed milk, and vanilla and blend until smooth. Stir in 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips, cover bowl with plastic wrap and set in fridge for 30 minutes.

Step 2: Next, spoon 1 TB of dough and roll into balls. Set on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet, and set in the fridge for 30 minutes to harden (or the freezer for 15, if you’re in a rush, like I was).

Step 3: Melt the coarsely chopped chocolate in the microwave and stir in between 30-second increments until melted. Coat each dough ball in chocolate and set back on the parchment paper to cool. Add a few mini chips on top of the cooling truffles for garnish. Try not to eat them all! (Store in the fridge for up to a week.)

Day 8: Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cake

Ever bake with oatmeal? Me, not so much. But I’m an oatmeal lover, all kinds of oatmeal. And who doesn’t love cake? Let’s combine them.

Chocolate Chip Irish Oatmeal Cake
My in-laws’ Irish heritage runs deep. I know very little about my own Irish roots. But Irish oats are delicious (heh), and so that calls for incorporating them into a dense, delicious chocolate cake that wouldn’t be overshadowed next to a Guinness. Also great with black coffee or a Fall hot cocoa.

1 cup Irish oats (steel cut oats)
1 3/4 cups boiling water 
6 TB butter/margarine
1 cup brown sugar (not packed)
3/4 cup granulated sugar

3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup cake flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 TB cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (semi-sweet) 
Powdered sugar, enough for dusting the top

In a large bowl, carefully combine the dry oats and the boiling water, letting it sit for about 10 minutes together. Next, add the butter and let it melt. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

After that, add both sugars and then whisk in the egg. In a second bowl, whisk together the two flours, cocoa powder, baking soda and optional cinnamon; then add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Stir in the chocolate chips.

In a nonstick 9X13 pan, pour the batter in. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until center of cake is firm. (This is a dense cake!). Dust with powdered sugar and serve warm or room temperature.

Adapted from McCann’s Irish Oatmeal

Happy eating!


Proudly powered by WordPress
Theme: Esquire by Matthew Buchanan.