Friday, December 9, 2016

Brigadeiro Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles

I don't know about you, but one of my favorite things about Christmas is making Christmas goodies to give away!  There is just something enjoyable for me about spending hours in the kitchen making a variety of delectable treats for those I love.  I think it's the foodie in me mixed with the giver in me ;)...

Because of my excitement for this each year, I actually spend a lot of time seeking out new things to try.  I don't know why I don't just stick with the same old stuff...  I mean, sure, I do keep some of the same treats.  The ones people ask for or say they liked the best...  But more often than not, I try at least 5 new recipes each year.  It is so much fun for me. So I have a Pinterest pin dedicated solely to "Christmas Recipe Ideas."

My only wish:  that I had more time to do it ;).  Okay, maybe I have two wishes:  I wish we could all eat as many treats as we want just this one month of the year with no unhealthy side effects ;).  But, hey...  That's why we have January!  Haha.

So this year, I have found myself drawn to the idea of making home-made truffles.  I have done a lot of "pinterest-ing" looking for suitable and fun truffle recipes.  And wow have I ever been enlightened!  Things I never even imagined as truffles...  Like white chocolate lemon truffles.  Orange creamsicle truffles.  White Chocolate Blueberry truffles.  Oh.  My.  Gosh.

And then there are these, my own version of a Brazilian-inspired chocolate truffle:  Brigadeiro Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffle.  I didn't completely wing this...  I'm not that awesome.  I used this as a guide.

The ingredient list is pretty short -- which is awesome.  All you need for the basic truffle center is cocoa, butter, sweetened condensed milk, and THRIVE Peanut Flour.

Sorry for the darker picture.  I'm still learning as I branch out and broaden my horizons :).

Place all these ingredients into a double-boiler.  Don't have a double-boiler?  That's okay.  I don't either!  So I used a Pyrex brand glass bowl over a pot of water.  I just made sure the water didn't touch the bowl.
Bring the water in the pot to a boil and stir the contents of the bowl (I chose to whisk with hopes it would make it smoother easier!) until it is smooth and well-blended.  Remove from heat, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set (at least 1 hour -- I chilled mine closer to 4 just because of other time obligations).

Using a 1/2 tablespoon measure, scoop out truffle mixture and roll into a ball.  Place on a silpat or wax-paper covered cookie sheet.  (You may want to wipe your hands after each truffle to make rolling easier.)  Chill at least 15 more minutes to make truffles easier to handle.  I chilled mine about an hour.

Measure out additional THRIVE Peanut Flour into a shallow bowl.
Roll each truffle in the THRIVE Peanut Flour until coated.  Return to silpat/wax paper.

Refrigerate until ready to serve (if within 3 days) or freeze for longer storage.

When you are ready to serve them, you can even make them look pretty in those little mini muffin-cups :).
My husband and I had to taste-test these, of course.  The peanut flour adds that peanut butter taste, but it is mild.  These are not overly sweet, either, because of the use of cocoa powder.  But they are quite fudgy!  I'm looking forward to sharing them with my chocolate-peanut-buttter-loving friends :).

Brigadeiro Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles
3 TB Butter
4 TB Cocoa powder
4 TB THRIVE Peanut Flour, divided
1/2 cup Sweetened Condensed Milk

Place butter, cocoa powder, sweetened condensed milk, and 2 tablespoons THRIVE Peanut Flour into a top of a double boiler (or a thick glass bowl over a pot).  Bring water to a boil and stir the mixture until well-blended and smooth.  Remove from heat, cover with plastic wrap, and chill until set (at least 1 hour).

Using a 1/2 tablespoon measure, form truffle dough into balls and place on wax paper/silpat.  Chill at least 15 more minutes to make handling easier.

Roll each truffle in remaining 2 TB of THRIVE Peanut Flour.  Return to wax paper/silpat.  Refrigerate until ready to serve (up to 3 days) or freeze for longer storage.

*This post includes affiliate links.  I earn a small commission from purchases made through these links.*

Friday, November 11, 2016

Healthy 5-Ingredient Spaghettios!

Do you ever happen upon something amazing, totally by accident?  Serendipity!  (The movie by the same name is also awesome, by the way ;)). 

Well, that happened to me the other day.  I was making a pasta dish I make at least once a month.  But I realized I had forgotten to purchase store-bought Alfredo sauce.  At first I was despairing, because I knew I wasn't making a special trip to the grocery store for that one ingredient.  Which would mean I'd have to have a straight red sauce for the pasta, or I'd have to pick something else... 

...Until I remembered my home store and my amazing THRIVE Life Bechamel Sauce!  Dinner -- as I wanted it -- was saved!  I would just add a little Bechamel Sauce and extra water, and we'd have something akin to what I usually make. So that's just what I did.  And get this:  it was even better than before!  And as I tasted the sauce to make sure it would "work," I thought, "Huh...  This tastes a lot like Spaghettios sauce!"  I knew I had to replicate it and make it for lunch the next day. 

So to all you mamas out there who loved Spaghettios as children, but are hesitant to feed it to your own kids because you really don't like the high fructose corn syrup in said Spaghettios...  I have your solution!  It's easy, it's fast, and you can even pre-prep it and have it stored in a jar to just add water to when ready to cook!

Let me introduce you to Spaghettios -- THRIVEalized!

3/4 cup Ditalini pasta (you can add up to 1 cup, it will just be thicker than traditional Spaghettios)
1/4 cup THRIVE Bechamel Sauce
1/4 cup THRIVE Tomato Powder
1 teaspoon THRIVE Classic Tomato Sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

Place ingredients in a pot with 2 1/4 cups water.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer (stirring occasionally) 20 minutes or until pasta is tender, but not mushy.

This will serve 2 to 3 people, depending how much you put in a serving (and I mean adults here...  Because let's face it:  sometimes we want to re-live our childhood too ;)).

And because our THRIVE Life foods are non-GMO, and include no hydrogenated oils, no artificial flavors and no artificial colors, I can take comfort in knowing I am offering my children (and eating) a healthier option of a childhood favorite!  (You can check out any of our labels online; here is an example.)  Plus you control what kind of pasta you (organic, gluten-free, etc)! 

My 3 year old ate her whole bowl (and she, oddly enough, did not like the canned Spaghettios I bought her to try a few months ago!).  I call it a win.

So to all of my fellow nostalgics out there....  you're welcome!

And Happy THRIVEing!

*This post contains affiliate links.  I earn a small commission on any purchases made through these links.*

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Fun Food Hacks with THRIVE Life!: Flavoring Plain Yogurt

I love to eat huge spoonfuls of plain yogurt right out of the container! said no one (that I know of), ever.

Plain yogurt has long been a curiosity for me, honestly.  I can remember one instance in my childhood when I tasted it and thought, "What a waste of yogurt!"  I mean, seriously?  What's the point?

My opinion of plain yogurt isn't quite so negative anymore.  If nothing else, age does give you wisdom ;).  But I still wouldn't eat plain yogurt out of the container by itself.

How do I use plain yogurt these days?  Mainly as a sour cream substitute (it's a healthier option!).  However, the other day, I needed some for a clean eating recipe.  I think it was a brownie recipe that looked really good.

Now, so you don't call me a hypocrite in a few moments, let me divulge this not-so-secret fact:  I am not on a clean eating diet.  I love the idea of it.  But I'm not quite that disciplined.  I have, however, been trying to make some better choices here and there with the sweet snacks I choose.  And for a few weeks, I was being particularly strict about refined sugars in order to show myself that I can choose to go without any (or as much) refined sugars in my desserts.  So, there's the background on that and why I was making a clean eating brownie recipe.  (In case you wondered, I believe this particular brownie recipe was a single-serve microwave one, and it was not good.)

But, back to the fun food hack :)!

So I had this mostly-full container of Plain Greek Yogurt.  I used it in place of sour cream for Chicken Divan (that helped get rid of a lot of it).  But -- and this never happens -- I actually had some real sour cream in the fridge that needed using too!  So generally, for our Mexican food, the real sour cream won out.  Leaving me with a lot of plain Greek yogurt to figure out what do to with.

It just so happened I had also bought some single-serve Greek Yogurts as well.  And one night, for my snack, I had an orange creme one.  As I sat here at this computer, enjoying that little 5.3 ounce yogurt, I had an epiphany:  THRIVE Orange Bliss drink mix + plain Greek yogurt =(?) Orange Bliss Greek Yogurt!  I had to give it a try!

So I did.  And you know what?  I may just start buying a whole lot more Plain Greek Yogurt!

So you can watch and see how easy this is:

And then you can check out the nutritional comparisons!  One thing I want to mention is that you actually get fewer calories, less fat, MORE protein, and added vitamins for an equal serving by doing this little hack!  And if you use Greek yogurt, as I did, you get a snack that is packed with protein!

And here's the (super easy) recipe:

1 cup plain yogurt (I used Greek)
2 tablespoons THRIVE Orange Bliss drink mix

Mix well and let sit 10 to 20 minutes for sugar to dissolve.  Enjoy!

In fact, we'll be enjoying this as a part of our afternoon snack while we celebrate National Greek Yogurt Day today!  Here's to healthy banana splits!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Celebrating Panama's Independence with THRIVE!

*This post contains affiliate links.  I earn a small commission on any purchases made through these links.*

Today is Panama's Independence Day.  And since I was born and raised there (spend the first 18 years of my life there), I decided it is worth celebrating!  And anyone who knows me knows a celebration is not really a celebration unless it includes food!  

I grew up eating Arroz con Pollo (Panamanian Chicken and Rice).  It is one of the best meals I've ever eaten.  It is pretty much a staple in most Panamanian homes.  I'm sure everyone's recipe is just a little different -- and I'm equally sure everyone is sure theirs is the best :).  

One challenge of the recipe I have is the amount of time it takes to make.  My traditional recipe takes 2 to 2 1/2 hours and lots of chopping.  Onions, celery, bell pepper, carrots....  Not to mention the raw meat that has to be browned, then boiled, then cooled, then shredded...  It's a lot of work!  Don't get me wrong -- it's totally worth it.  But with that much hands-on time required, I simply can't make this most of the time.  I have two young children and a lot of other household responsibilities.  So, alas, Arroz con Pollo hasn't been something I could just include in our monthly menu.  

...Until now!  I decided to THRIVE-alize my recipe!  You can find the recipe here (plus, I added an additional 1/2 tablespoon of THRIVE Life's awesome Vegetarian Chicken Bouillon for tonight's meal).

I even did a couple videos to show how easy this is to prepare when you don't have to wash, chop, shred, etc!  In fact, I prepared 2 meals in 10 minutes (in a jar):

And it took me less than 4 minutes to get tonight's dinner cooking once it was time to actually prepare it:

And above you see the finished product (ready in 30 to 40 minutes as opposed to 2 to 2 1/2 hours!).  So yum!  Happy Independence Day, Panama!  And thanks for the happy memories of growing up in such a beautiful, unique place!
P.S.  I also made Canal Zone Empanadas :).  

Happy THRIVEing!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Halloween Goodie Containers!

I've been blessed with THRIVE Life in my life for about 2 1/2 years now.  That equates to a lot of yummy meals and snacks.  It also equates to a lot of awesome cans to up-cycle! 

My most recent adventures in up-cycling THRIVE Life cans (both the #10 (or Family) size and the Pantry Can size) was making Halloween Goodie Containers!  It was a lot of fun. 

Fact:  I don't have an artistic bone in my body. 

But that doesn't mean I can't venture to try -- and still manage to come up with something cutesie! 

I did all the painting, since it was acrylic paints (and let the kids paint with tempura paint to keep them happy ;)).  Then my sweet girl helped me glue on the eyeballs for the monster eye can!  Then, on Halloween, I baked up some monster eye cookies (colored with THRIVE Raspberries, Blueberries, and Spinach Fruit Crisps which I had powdered!) and we put them in a plastic gallon bag and in the monster eye can!

My Frankenstein monster reminds me less of Frankenstein and more of Kif from Futurama.  Haha.  But oh well ;).  We stuffed them with candy!

So I love finding new ways to up-cycle my THRIVE Life cans!  And I'm pretty sure I'm going to start doing more of these so I can give them as gifts around Halloween!  And goodness knows I won't have a can shortage ;)!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

So Much to Store... So Little Space

So I had intended to write this before I moved.  But moving is quite an undertaking in and of itself.  Moving across the country is a monstrosity we don't want to discuss further ;).  Clearly, I simply didn't get around to it.

Basically, I wanted to share, briefly, that a lot of space is not a requirement for creating a home store of food.  True, it may seem like it is.  And absolutely true, it is probably nicer and more convenient to have a dedicated space for all of one's home store.  But there are ways to store a lot in not so much space.  I know, because I did it.

Prior to moving, our apartment was under 1000 square feet.  When we first moved in, there were two of us.  We doubled our family size in the 3.25 years we lived there.  And we were running out of space.  But that didn't sway us from our goals in regards to having a home store and being prepared.  It just required that we be a little creative.

My first suggestion is a can rack of some sort.  I happen to have a very capable husband who likes to create and build.  So, for Christmas one year, he made me a can rack.  If you don't have the time or desire to make your own, you can buy one!  In fact, THRIVE Life sells them in a variety of sizes, and they are fantastic!  In time, once we have a home of our own (we are currently staying with family and all our stuff is in storage), I fully intend to get one of these for my #10 cans!  You can check them all out at my website: (follow that link, click on shop, and choose "food rotation systems" on the left-hand side). 
 So that's a picture of my can rack.  And you can see I used the top of it for other storage of food.  Plus a shelf in the top of my closet was full of open THRIVE. By the way, did I mention we kept all that in the closet in our bedroom?!?  Haha.  Like I said, not the most convenient, but it's where we had the space.  So it's what we did.
These are the buckets that hold our bulk basics.  Flour, sugar, oats, rice, macaroni, powdered milk, etc.  These were in the living/dining area under an overhang from the kitchen counter.  Visible, but out of the way.  One time, the property manager stopped by, and, seeing all these large buckets, thought we were painting.  Hahaha.  We told him it was food.
 This was a bin in our closet in the master bedroom that held unopened bulk items (things we bought at Costco, like oats, sugar, flour).  We always keep a back-up.
 This was an old cabinet that ended up in our possession.  I used it for open THRIVE -- mostly pantry cans.  It could be shut and was therefore not super visible. 
 This is what under the bed looked like.  This was under my side of the bed.  The next one was under my husband's side of the bed.  We even stocked up on baby formula!
 And this was the bottom shelf of some long (and in many ways otherwise useless) shelving in our bathroom.  About half of the shelf was behind a wall, so it wasn't easily accessible.  So I decided to keep our "rainy day" extra THRIVE Life cans there.  These were ones I wouldn't open immediately, but they were there for use if needed. 
So yeah, it was probably less than idea.  Well, it was.  But it worked.  I truly believe that, if you are committed to doing something that is important, you'll find a way to make it work.  And for us, having a home store is important.  I'm grateful we could find ways to store all our food.  But I'm definitely looking forward to having our very own house and having a space that is just for this purpose!

Happy THRIVEing!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

February Home Store Challenge: Debriefed!

Today I went to the grocery store and bought groceries for the first time in about 6 weeks.  I bought a lot of lettuce.  LOL.

The truth is, I had been wanting to experience the whole "living off our home store" thing for quite some time now.  I wanted to see how practically we had prepared.  I wanted to know how well we were doing.  I wanted to know we could eat good food, not just sustainable food.  I'm a total foodie.  I am sure if I am in a situation where it's "starve or eat gruel" one day, I'll find a way to choke down the gruel.  But if I can avoid that choice, and instead have the choice of "eat yummy food!"...  Well, I'll pick the yummy food every. time.  So I had been wanting to know how well I could do this for my family.

Due to a couple of other circumstances (namely that my grocery budget was in the red, due to 1/4 of a cow we bought at the end of last year and the fact that I hadn't created a sufficient buffer in our grocery budget to cover said 1/4 of cow; and also the fact that we are likely moving out of state in the not-too-distant future and therefore had reason to work on consuming said 1/4 cow as well as other perishables in our house), I decided February would by my month of finding out the answer to those questions.  Some of you may have joined me on my journey in February, whether via Facebook or through this blog.  You have seen the meals I have prepared for my family throughout the month, using only what I already had in our home from mid-January.  It was an awesome experience, and I really enjoyed doing it.  I may do it again sometime in the future, just for practice.  Because I think we can always learn more.  But for now, this is what I've learned:

1.  Whole Egg Powder is a must in my household.  Either that or chickens.  Or preferably both.  I really believe in a variety of things, because you just never know what situation might present itself.  My husband also says he thinks we should have a rooster.  I'm really on the fence about that one.  I mean, I can totally see the logic in it; but (call me wimpy), the idea of eating fertilized eggs really grosses me out.  So we shall see...  I am, as my husband accuses me of being, a total city girl ;).

2.  I love fresh produce.  And, surprisingly enough, it's not even the fruits that I missed.  It was the vegetables!  Why?  Because I depend a lot on salads as a quick source of vegetables for my family!  My THRIVE Vegetables were AWESOME.  Seriously.  But THRIVE doesn't make freeze-dried lettuce.  This meant I had to learn how to make delicious vegetable dishes using my THRIVE veggies!  It was a great learning opportunity for me, and I came up with a written recipe (based on my friend Tina's recipe) for pea salad.  And I loved it.  I also developed a stir fry recipe not too long ago (before February began, though) that was super helpful for a delicious vegetable dish.  And I LOVED the vegetable soup I made with all my THRIVE.  Not only was it super-tasty, it was also super-easy to prep!  So I have filed those 3 things away for future knowledge of easy and delicious ways to use my THRIVE Vegetable home store ;).  And I also know I need to play around with recipe for vegetables using my THRIVE more!  But I also know my hope is that, if we ever do have to live off our home store for a couple months, I hope it's in the summer ;)!!!  Then I can grow my produce!  Hahaha. 

3.  In regards to my mention of the fruit above...  I totally didn't miss fresh fruits.  THRIVE Life fruits are awesome.  And technically fresher than at the grocery store, since they are picked ripe and flash-frozen within 2 to 4 hours of picking, then freeze dried (as opposed to being picked early, sprayed with chemicals, shipped, sprayed with more chemicals, and then being sold to you!).  Bananas are a huge staple in our house, and I was concerned it would be a real hardship without regular grocery-store bananas.  It really wasn't!  My kids were just as happy with the THRIVE Bananas.  And we also enjoyed THRIVE Raspberries, Blueberries, and Granny Smith Apples during the month of February.  PLUS the Snackies Fruit Crisps are also super-awesome and a great source of not only fruits, but vegetables!  Total win and must-have for our home store!

4.  Some of my THRIVE Life ingredients are so versatile!  They are definitely must-haves in my home store!  I mentioned the eggs above, but also the sour cream powder!  Twice I needed cream cheese or a soft cheese-like spread for a recipe, and twice I subbed THRIVE Sour Cream Powder!  It was awesome!  The lemonade powder is another great example of this (as would be the Lime Powder, which I didn't use in February, but which would be just as useful for things like salsas or key lime bars or limeade!

5.  Because I have been using THRIVE Life in my daily cooking for the last (almost) two years, this was not a difficult thing to do during the month of February.  It wasn't like I was all of a sudden changing my family's eating habits or ingredients.  I use a good mix of grocery-store items and THRIVE Life ingredients daily.  This meant I didn't have to feel stumped (or afraid) when trying to use the ingredients.  It also meant my family didn't turn their nose up at any of it (well, my girl didn't like the pea salad, but she ate it...).  This is a totally awesome reason for not only building your home store with THRIVE Life, but also using it in your daily life!  My hope is that none of us every has to rely on our home store exclusively.  But life happens.  Jobs get lost, people get hurt and can't work for a time, disasters do happen (consider Japan's earthquake and tsunami in 2011 and the emergency situation with their nuclear plant, which caused people to be advised to stay in their homes for days), and economies do fail (consider the plight in Venezuela that is going on right now).  It is comforting to know one is prepared for any of those events, should they happen, even if none of us ever wants to have to endure them.  I am prepared, not only with a home store of stuff, but also with the knowledge that helps me to use the stuff :).

I learned a lot.  And I wanted to share what I learned with you!  If you have questions, feel free to ask!  If you're interested in learning how you can build your own home store, contact me at or you can also follow me on Facebook at THRIVEing With Hila.

Happy THRIVEing!  And thanks for joining me on my learning adventure during my February Home Store Challenge :)!