Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Oranges

So, even when you’re eating healthy, you need something to make you feel like you are getting a “treat.”  One thing I have learned about a healthy lifestyle is that your “treats” don’t have to be things that will make you feel like death.  Last time I was craving something rich and sweet, I used things laying around my house and created something BEAUTIFUL that I would eat as a treat even before I cared about health!  And health wise, it really isn’t all that bad!!

It all started with this, a Christmas present from my mother in law:

Photo (1)

Anyone who knows me well and loves me truly buys me Orange Dark Chocolate.  I tell you what, I went on a mission trip to Switzerland probably 4-5 years ago with some of my very favorite people, Christopher and Jennifer Hopper and my dear friend Abby.  While there, I discovered the beauty of Swiss chocolate.  And they had many different kinds with orange.  Some even with big chunks of orange rind in them.  Ohhhhhh it was heavenly.  And to this day, whenever one of them sees some form of Orange Chocolate, they bring it to me!!  And now my mother in law has joined in the tradition!!  So I had this beauty at my house.  Notice just HOW dark it is…and that it is 65% cacao instead of cocoa.  Yes, there is a difference, and cacao is supposed to be much better for ya.  🙂

So, back to my “I need a sweet treat” hankering.  I had this bar of chocolate.  But how could I take Orange Dark Chocolate to the next level?!  By melting it and dipping orange slices in it, of course!!  Still, it didn’t seem quite complete to me yet, and being a lover of salty over sweet…but especially salty WITH sweet (can I get a holla for Salted Caramel and Kettle Corn?!)…I got the idea to crack a little fresh Sea Salt over the chocolate before it set.

I’m glad I did.

Heaven.  Dear sweet Jesus, thank you for Orange and chocolate.  Hallelujah.  🙂


SO, here’s what you need:

  • 1 Orange, Peeled and as much white removed as possible
  • 1 Quality Chocolate Bar, Preferably Dark Chocolate…even better if organic, cacao…with orange!
  • Few cracks of Sea Salt


And here’s how you do it (SO SIMPLE!!)

  1. Break your chocolate up roughly into a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave in 15-30 second intervals, stirring between until just melted.
  2. Separate orange segments and dip half way into the warm chocolate.
  3. Lay out on a plate or wax paper and crack a small amount of Sea Salt onto chocolate portion.
  4. Eat.  Enjoy.  Sharing is optional!  😉

Welp, there you have it folks.  I hope you enjoy this not-so-cheat treat.  I didn’t feel guilty about it one bit, and I don’t think you should either!  I think you should try it, right now!!!  What is your favorite thing to dip in chocolate?!



Chef of Honor: Duane Kirkwood with Homemade Hummus

As promised!!!  Now that I have given you the tools you need for home made tahini…let me allow my father to give you the tools you need to take it all the way to hummus!!   (And guess what, we have a step beyond that…to show you later!).  This hummus kicks store bought stuff in the pants!!  You have to try it!  And like I mentioned in my tahini post…it is a fantastic healthy snack!  The chickpeas give it protein, the seasonings give it flavor, and the texture will make you want to eat this every day!  (When I lived at home, I actually did eat it every day haha!)  Learn from the man who has experienced real Mediterranean hummus in Israel itself…you will not be disappointed!!


So, here’s what you need:

  • 1/2 C Tahini
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 C Chicken Broth
  • 1 tsp Kosher Sea Salt
  • 3 or 4 Cloves Garlic
  • 1/4 tsp Cumin
  • 1/4 C Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper (to taste)
  • Franks Hot Sauce (to taste)
  • 1 C Dry Chickpeas
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda

And here’s how you do it!.

  1. Soak 1 Cup dried Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans) in water (they will double in size so make sure the water covers the chickpeas by at least a few inches) with a tsp of baking soda over night.
  2. The next day, rinse with fresh water and boil until tender (check at 30 minutes)
  3. Drain and put in a blender.  (Preferably a quality blender)
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients and begin to blend until it becomes the consistency you desire.  You may add chicken broth if you need to jump start the blender.  My dad’s tip is to get it to a consistency that is thinner than you would want your hummus, because as you let it sit it thickens.
  5. If serving as a dip, scoop it onto a plate, create a well in the middle and drizzle in a little olive oil, then sprinkle with a small amount of paprika and Za’atar, or Herbs de Provence if you don’t have any Za’atar…which not people do I am guessing 😉

Now enjoy!  As a dip, a topping, an entire meal….whatever you want!  Hehe!!  It’s sooooo good!


Hummus 1


Soak your garbanzo beans over night!  The next day, boil until tender…can be done in about 30 minutes.

Hummus 2


Drain your chickpeas in a blender along with the rest of your ingredients, and…

Hummus 3


Blend!!!  Add some chicken broth if you need to jump start the process.  Don’t be afraid to make it a tiny on the runny side, Dad’s tip is that it will thicken as it sits 🙂

Hummus 4


Now serve!!  You can make it pretty by creating a well of sorts, drizzling on some olive oil, then sprinkling with a bit of paprika and Za’atar or Herbs De Provence if you can’t find Za’atar.


Make Your Own Tahini! (The Genius of Duane Kirkwood!)


If you could see me right now, you would see my hand shooting up and waving enthusiastically.  I LOVE HUMMUS!  So delicious.  So guilt free.  So surprising!  Ugh!  Just so wonderful!

My dad just happens to be the hummus master.  He has been to Israel probably 5 times or more, experienced the cuisine, and never been the same.  For years he has been trying to perfect the art…and I do believe he has mastered it!  Me, on the other hand, have always wanted to follow in his footsteps…but my attempts have always been foiled.  Why?  Well…whenever I think to make it, we tend to be at the end of the month with little funds, so when I go to grab Tahini, one of the main ingredients…I would cringe and put it back because of the price.  Hummus would have to wait until “next month.”


Cause my dad is a genius.  And makes his own Tahini.  To make his own hummus.  To eat on gyros.  That he made.  On his own.  MAN!

Wanna know how?!  So you can make your own Tahini.  To make your own hummus.  To eat on gyros.  Or with pita.  or bread. Or veggies.  Or crackers…..?!?!

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 Cup Roasted Sesame Seeds
  • 1/4 C Olive Oil +
  • Kosher salt to taste

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Put sesame seeds in a blender, make sure they reach the blades.
  2. Start by adding 1/4 C Olive Oil and blending until smooth.  If needed, drizzle in more olive oil until it reaches a deliciously creamy texture.
  3. Salt to taste.

IT’S THAT EASY!!!  Now you have your base for hummus….  Don’t know how to make hummus?!  Watch my blog closely, and I will soon let you know!  Because my dad visited me.  And made hummus 😀

See?  You just put it in the blender and blend with enough olive oil to make it creamy!

Tahini 1


Adjust as needed with olive oil, just like the pops here!!  Isn’t he amazing?!  🙂Tahini

Isn’t it pretty?!Tahini 2