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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Somebody Make Me: Almond Joy Chocolate Spread

So, I came across a recipe for Almond Joy Chocolate spread and my jaw dropped. I mean, almond, coconut, and chocolate combined in a way that allows me to spread it on whatever I want? I can dollop some on vanilla ice cream. I can spread it on toast. I can place a scoop of it inside pre-made croissants to bake. I can eat it out of the jar with a spoon! So many possibilities…so many reasons to have this in my life...so many people I would fight, if need be, to get my hands on some of this.

Please, oh please, I’m begging you, make me a massive supply of Almond Joy Chocolate spread.

I found the recipe on TheHealthyFoodie.net which is ran by Sonia from Québec, Canada.


(Yields 3 half pint jars)

  • 4 cups raw almonds
  • 200g unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ¼ cup unpasteurized honey
  • ½ cup extra dark cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon


  1. Lay the almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast them in a 275F oven for about an hour, then raise the temperature to 350F and give them an extra 8-10 minutes or so, until the almonds get really fragrant and take a nice golden brown color.
  2. Take the almonds out of the oven and allow them to cool for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, add the coconut to your food processor and process until it turns into a crumbly, thick paste, about 8-10 minutes (you will have to scrape the sides quite frequently). Add the honey and process until well combined. Transfer to a bowl and reserve.
  4. Add the almonds to your food processor (no need to clean it, really) and process until smooth and creamy, about 10 minutes.
  5. Add the cocoa powder, vanilla, salt and cinnamon and process until well incorporated.
  6. Add reserved coconut paste and process again just to combine, no more.
  7. Transfer to glass jars and allow to rest for a few days before you dig in.
  8. You could keep this in the refrigerator if you wanted to, however, I dont’t believe that it’s really necessary, unless you intend on keeping it for an extended period of time (which I dare you to do!)

Mmmmm, come to mama!

post by Amanda

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Nail Art!

I’ve been an on again, off again nail biter ever since I can remember. The only time I manage to not bite my nails is when I paint them. The problem is that I’m pretty lazy, so my nail panting sessions are few and far between, especially during the wintertime when I don’t feel pressured into painting my toes.

Recently I have noticed that some ladies are freakishly into nail art right now. Celebrities like Zooey Deschanel, Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, Lady Gaga, and Rihanna all enjoy their nails decorated as fabulously as possible. Luckily these girls have heaps of money to pay for eccentric nail art once a week, however I’ve come across a lot of girls through Tumblr (a blogging platform) where they do their own nails and do a damn fine job at it too.

Here are some of my favorites:

They're pretty impressive, right? I haven't thought about painting my nails using different hues of the same color like the purple one above. That one is easily do-able. Embellishing your nails using little 'sticker dots' looks easy enough too. After browsing through tons of photos, I decided that using your nails as a canvas is a great way to express yourself creatively. Nail polish can be fairly inexpensive depending on what brand you buy, and you can easily trade colors with friends. Photographing your nails after they're completed is a great way to document what you've done, and will also serve as a reference if you want to recreate the look.

For painting my fingernails as infrequently as I do, I happen to have a HUGE nail polish collection. For some reason I'm unable to turn down a pretty color. My favorite brand of nail polish is Butter London. Their colors are fantastic, and they are also the first company to sell non-toxic polish in the US. Currently I'm wearing British Racing Green and Diamond Geezer on my ring finger only. That right there is my version of 'nail art'.

So, do any of our readers paint their nails? What's your favorite brand and color? Do you create any of your own nail art?

post by Amanda

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Somebody Make Me: Pumpkin Empanadas

At this point, it’s safe to assume it’s known that I can’t cook. I mean, I can, but I won’t. Every time I cook myself something special, I wind up spending $80 in groceries, and I never eat the leftovers. It doesn’t make sense for me to cook for myself. It makes sense for me to buy Hot Pockets and Kraft Mac & Cheese. Don’t give me that look. It tastes good. The only problem with not cooking for myself is that I come across recipes that look amazing, and that I’d love to try, but I’ll never make them. Because of this, I decided to regularly start posting recipes on this blog in hope that someone out there will take pity on my hungry little soul and make them for me.


Years ago, my friend Monique and I worked together and she made Pumpkin Empanadas to take to our work potluck. I love all sweet things pumpkin. (Read this next sentence like your Bubba from Forrest Gump) “Anyway, like I was sayin', pumpkin is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it.” There’s pumpkin cookies, pumpkin pie, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin bread…Monique’s pumpkin empanadas were obviously loved. I’ve been craving pumpkin empanadas for a while now, and I don’t see Monique around anymore, so I’m going to need someone to make some for me.

Here’s the receipt from the Muy Bueno Cookbook’s website:

Makes 24-30 empanadas

Pumpkin Filling


2 tablespoons butter

3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed firmly

1 cup organic pumpkin, NOT pie filling

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg


Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar until it dissolves with the butter. Stir in the pumpkin and the spices. Continue to stir over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Make sure the filling is not too watery; otherwise let it cook for a couple more minutes.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and let it cool down. After it’s cooled off for about 15 minutes, put the filling in the refrigerator to help it set for 30 minutes or overnight.

You can make the Empanada Dough while the filling is cooling off.

Empanada Dough


3 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup shortening

2 eggs

½ cup milk

2 tablespoons sugar


Mix the first 3 dry ingredients. Cut in the shortening with the dry ingredients. Works better if you use your hands. Add the eggs, milk and sugar. Continue to work in with your hands. Split the dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap and put into the refrigerator for about 20-30 minutes. Take out one half of the dough and split it into 12-18 balls of dough. Depending on how small you want your empanadas. I prefer one dozen per half of the dough. They also fit nicely on one large cookie sheet.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. You can fill your empanadas with any preserves made ahead of time.

Roll out the dough into small round circles. Add a small dollop of filling on one half of the rolled out dough. Wet the bottom edge of the dough with water to help seal the two halves. Fold over the dough to seal. Seal off the edges with a fork by pressing down along the two edges. This also makes for a pretty pattern when baked.

Brush each empanada with egg whites, sprinkle with sugar and puncture each empanada with a fork to allow steam to escape while baking. Spray a large cookie sheet with cooking spray, place the empanadas on the cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes on medium rack in the oven. If after 15 minutes you notice the bottoms of the empanadas starting to brown, move the cookie sheet to the top rack and continue to bake for the last 5 minutes.

Looks good, right? Any takers? Please?

Photography by Jeanine Thurston

Post by Amanda

Halle & Amanda Do Lunch

Working in a store downtown means lots of eating downtown. I, along with most of the other girls I work with are too lazy in the mornings to get up and make a lunch, so we find ourselves eating out a lot. Halle and I decided to list the restaurants we frequent and what our favorite item is from the lunch menu. Halle is a vegetarian, so all of her selections are obviously meatless. Many of the restaurants use local and organic products, which most people in Ashland care about, but I don't, like, not at all. All I really care about when ordering lunch locally is that they're quick about making it. Us Village Shoes employees are running up and down stairs ALL DAY, so by the time lunch rolls around, I'm ravenous with hunger and I really don't have the patience to wait too long. Since I'm walking to pick it up, I typically call in the order in advance so I actually get to lunch on my lunch break, as opposed to waiting for food for the majority of it.

Halle and I think that if you haven't had our lunch picks yet, you're missing out...


H- Wendy Burrito

A- Riley’s Cheese Steak


H- Verduras Asadas Tacos

A- Carne Asadas Tacos and Ceviche

Pasta Piatti:

H- Ravioli Di Zucca

A- Chicken Parmigiana


H- Gimme The Greek

A- Mushrooms Wild with extra chevre


H- Crispy Eggplant

A- Shaking Beef

Great American Pizza Company:

H- Eggplant Ricotta Pizza

A- Dijon Chicken Pizza


H- Yaki Udon with tofu

A- J Pop (appetizer), and the Mongolian Beef.


H-Nuevo Roll Ups

A-Chicken Burrito

Ashland Co-Op:

H- Sesame Tofu/ Garlic Lover’s Pasta Salad/ Sesame Emerald Kale

A- Turkey Feta Spinach Meatloaf/ Enchiladas/ Mac & Cheese/ Fog City

Macaroni Salad

Water Street Café:

H- Café Cup

A- Café Cup, no beans, add chicken

So, Ashlanders, what are your favorite spots to eat? And what can't you live without from their menu?

photo courtesy of Sammo

post by Amanda

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Reluctantly Resolving Our Issues with Resolutions

January 1st is approaching, and with that, we pull out a piece of paper and a pen and write down our goals for the new year. I asked the Village Shoes girls to tell me what their new year’s resolutions are, and oddly enough, everyone said in 2012 they want to work out more. Um…am I the only one who considers running up and down the stairs at work all day working out? WE WORK OUT PLENTY!

Besides working out, here are our resolutions:


1. Save money out of every paycheck

2. Read more books


1. Save money to travel

2. Eat healthier


1. Stay true to Paleo Diet

2. Drink more water


1. Be more involved in the community

2. Walk to work more


1. Get more sleep

2. Read more books for fun

The odds of me eating healthier are slim to none, but it looks good on paper, so who knows. Wish us luck with our 2012 resolutions. What are yours? Do you think you’re going to stick to them, or are you a lot like me? Regardless, I hope everyone got a nice smooch on the lips at midnight that started off 2012 the right way.

post by Amanda