Happy National Chocolates Day!

Happy National Chocolates Day! Yes, November 29th is dedicated to ~chocolates~. Chocolate makes everything better. Add chocolate fudge to ice-cream– it’s better. Dip strawberries in chocolate– they’re better! You get the hint. Many of our favorite foods include chocolate already. I could probably list a hundred foods off the top of my head that have chocolate. Brownies, cakes, donuts… The list goes on and on. Plus, I would totally eat every single chocolatey food I could list at this very moment.

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Cocoa beans

Chocolate is actually a very old food. People have been enjoying it for hundreds,  even thousands of years. Cocoa beans were actually even used as a form of currency by the Mayan and Aztec cultures! However, they did not eat it like we do today. They actually made a sort of chocolatey drink with cocoa beans, chili peppers, and water. No sugar at all- yuck! Since then, it has been greatly transformed into the foods we know and love today.

In honor of National Chocolates Day, let’s cook with some chocolate! The Forq app has hundreds of recipes that include this tasty ingredient. Don’t forget to upload your own chocolatey recipes for everyone to share!

Let’s start with some classics. First, we have this delectable Chocolate Cake. Make it more chocolatey by topping it with this Creamy Chocolate Frosting. There’s no such thing as too much chocolate!

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Chocolate cake topped with chocolate frosting

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Chocolate Crackle Cookies

Another classic is obviously chocolate chip cookies, but let’s kick it up a notch and try out these Ultimate Double Chocolate Chip Cookies! Or you could go ~total chocolate~ and make these adorable Chocolate Crackle Cookies– perfect for the holidays!

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Chocolate & Coconut Triple Layer Slices

Let’s get a little fancier. With the holidays coming up, we all love to bake! Now you have an excuse to get a little fancier. We’ll start with this festive Hot Chocolate Pudding. Super tasty! Even fancier (but just as tasty) are these Chocolate and Coconut Triple Layer Slices. Again, delicious and perfect for the Holidays! Switch it up and try out these tasty treats. If you are looking for something a little more reminiscent of the holidays, you should definitely try these Lightened Up Chocolate Gingerbread Brownies! Chocolate and gingerbread is an amazing combo perfect for this season.

This holiday season is a time where I personally struggle a tad bit with my eating habits. It seems my New Years resolution is always to eat better! So, here are a couple recipes that can give you your chocolate fix without breaking your diet. First, we have this Chocolate Fruit Dip. Again, you could totally use this at your holiday party! If you want to go total health, try out this Chocolate Cherry Smoothie. It’s a great, tasty boost for every morning!

Hopefully these recipes can cure your chocolate cravings on National Chocolates Day!

Ins-pie-rational Recipes

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Fall is in full swing, Thanksgiving is just around the corner… the smell of pie should be in the air! Pie is a favorite dessert at any time of year, but it’s especially prevalent around the holidays. Well, the holidays are pretty much here! I don’t think I’ve ever been to a Thanksgiving dinner where I didn’t hear someone say, “make sure you save room for pie!”

This past week, I made a pie on my own for the first time ever from scratch, crust and all! I have helped make pies countless times with my grandmother, but never all on my own. That is, if you consider me sitting back and watching her bake “helping.” Making pies with my grandmother pretty much consists mostly of her giving me one easy

My adorable, pie-expert grandma

My adorable, pie-expert grandma

job, such as measuring out the sugar or peeling the apples, while she does all the rest. I can’t blame her, making pie is scary! But in the end it’s worth it; there are few things better than a homemade pie. Without her teachings, I definitely would not have been as successful!

Unfortunately, you do not all have my grandmother to teach you how to make a perfect pie. I can’t complain about her pie-making methods; she is one of the sweetest, cutest women I know. But I would love to share her pie-making secrets with you! I have uploaded her recipes for apple pie filling and pie crust onto the Forq app. Those recipes plus my grandma’s tips and tricks should get you the perfect pie! It worked for me!

Grandma’s Tricks for Perfect Apple Filling:

  • The best apples to use are Macintosh, Granny Smith, or a mix of both apples for the filling. (I personally used just Macs because they are sweeter.)
  • If you choose to use just Granny Smith, add a tsp of water or so to your filling. You don’t have to if you use Macs because they’re naturally super juicy!
  • Sprinkle flour into the apples- more for Macs, less for Macs/Granny Smith, even less for just Granny Smith.
  • Make your filling first so the apples have time to sit and cure in the sugar.

Grandma’s Tricks for Perfect Pie Crust:

  • Make sure to mix shortening and flour before adding water, using a fork. Make sure particles are pea sized before adding water.
  • Make sure water is ice cold. Consider adding an ice cube to a dish of water, then using a tablespoon to spoon your water into your dough from there.
  • Do not overdo with water! Add it one tbs at a time, until pastry almost cleans to the side of the bowl. Too much and it will get sticky and hard to handle.

    Roll between wax paper so it doesn't stick!

    Roll between wax paper so it doesn’t stick!

  • Use wax paper to roll out dough. Divide the dough and put one half between two sheets of wax paper to begin rolling. When removing the dough, all you have to do is be cautious removing the paper!
  • When the bottom half of the dough is in the pie pan, make sure to poke the bottom with a fork a few times for ventilation.
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My pie

My grandma gave me a few more tips, like to pinch the crust between pointer finger and thumb to get the curved edges. She also gave me the optional tip to use condensed milk toward the end of cooking to make the crust extra golden. I used all her tips and my pie came out really well! It may not be the prettiest pie ever, but it sure tasted great. Hopefully you can use a few of these tricks and tips if not all when you make your next pie!

Below are a few more pie recipes found on Forq. If you have a favorite pie, make sure to share it on the app! And remember, my Grandma’s pie crust recipe can go with any filling!

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Classic Blueberry Pie                                             Sweet Potato Praline Pie

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Chocolate Chess Pie                                            Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

Slow Cooker Season

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October has come and gone, and–for me at least– so has the warm weather. Here in New England I have already gotten a few glimpses of winter, but fall weather still seems to be dominating. I can’t lie: I prefer summer weather. But all year long I look forward to winter foods. There’s something about the summer food; it’s so fresh and light, plus you can throw everything possible on the grill. But cold weather food is pure comfort. Coming inside from the cold to a hot meal is one of the best feelings in the world.

In my opinion, one of the best ways to do that is with a crock-pot. It’s slow cooker season people! If you’re like me, you have a busy schedule. I work two jobs and take classes; some nights I barely have the energy to slap together a grilled cheese let alone cook a whole meal. Now that the cold weather is coming, my favorite thing to do is throw a few ingredients into my slow cooker before I leave for class or work and have a great meal ready for me when I get home. Not only is it easy and efficient, it’s super tasty. Take this tfss-27f57600-7ee7-4f43-ad48-1d7e6464ec1b-9b97a0ac1488b661a31814885d0f87ab

Easiest Crock-pot Roast Recipe Ever” for example. Yes, the title is pretty self-explanatory; it’s super easy to make. But because it’s cooked for up to nine hours, it practically melts in your mouth.

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Honey Ginger Chicken

Same goes for pretty much any meats you throw in your slow cooker. The possibilities are endless. On game day, my boyfriend and I simply throw some chicken into the crock-pot with some buffalo sauce and let it cook all day until it falls apart. It’s perfect for sliders, or we can make some dip by mixing it with cream cheese and topping it with shredded cheese before we throw it in the oven for about a half hour before the game. Chicken is one of the things I cook in my slow cooker the most; it’s always on hand. One I can never seem to get enough of is this Honey Ginger Chicken. I keep this cooking all day in my slow cooker then get home and just make some white rice (and veggies if I’m feeling healthy) to go with it. Another great pulled chicken recipe Root Beer Slow-Cooker Chicken.  A great spin on your normal barbecue chicken, t’s perfect for sandwiches or even to top a salad or pizza. Or if you’re feeling a bit spicy, there are these Slow Cooker Mexican Shredded Chicken Tacos

Now we can get into the good stuff: the soups. My mom has always been a believer that crock-pots make everything better. I’ve rarely seen her concocting a soup on the stove. And if I do, it usually ends up in the slow cooker eventually! A slow cooker is a great way to keep things simmering safely for hours. I encourage you to try it for yourself with your favorite soup recipes! Or, use one of ours on Forq. One of my favorites soups– well, chowder actually– is your classic Clam Chowder. My grandma used to make it all the time; I remember being scolded for removing the lid of the slow cooker too many times while it was cooking. Sometimes we would make it together, leave it on overnight, then have it for lunch the next day. The longer it cooks, the better! Another favorite of mine is Loaded Potato Soup

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It’s so creamy and comforting I would eat it every day if I could! Another blast from the past of my childhood is this crock-pot spin on chicken pot pie, but in the crock-pot it’s crustless! This Crustless Chicken Pot Pie is super tasty and can easily be topped with some puff pastry or paired with a biscuit to give it a “crust.”

Cinnamon Roll Casserole

Your slow cooker can be used for literally everything… even dessert or a sweet breakfast! Try this Crock-pot Cinnamon Roll Casserole— it’s as if every bite is that chewy center that’s everyone’s favorite. Or, at your next get-together, try this Crock-pot Hot Chocolate. It’s a great (and tasty) way to utilize your slow cooker and make large amounts of this delectable drink!

All these recipes are from people like you that have been submitted into the Forq app! If you have a favorite slow cooker recipe, or any recipe at all, upload it to Forq so your foodie friends can enjoy it too.

November- National Peanut Butter Month

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Peanut Butter Frosting

Did you know that November is national peanut butter month? I sure didn’t until a few days ago, but now I’m glad I do! I’ll use excuse to eat something as delectable as peanut butter. I boycotted jelly my entire middle school career, forcing myself to eat peanut butter sandwiches every day for three years and I’m still not sick of it! If you ask me, adding peanut butter to pretty much anything makes it better. Peanut butter + apples = better. Peanut butter + celery = better. I even put peanut butter on my Oreos, an amazing cookie as is!

Not only is peanut butter tasty on its own, it’s also a great ingredient to cook with. Not to mention it is actually a healthy snack! Yes, peanut butter does contain fats, but these are good fats. It is also packed with protein that keeps you fuller longer and gives you a nice boost of energy. That being said, just because peanut butter is an ingredient in a recipe doesn’t necessarily mean that recipe is good for you… but it is probably delicious!

Now it is time to celebrate by making some tasty peanut butter recipes. These recipes are all submitted by our Forq app users and are available on the app. Directions can be found through the links that will bring you to our app!

First, we have some peanut butter cookies. Yes, we have the classic Irresistible Peanut Butter Cookies, but we’ve found some fun spins on this particular pb treat! If you’re feeling bold, try these Ultimate Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies or some easy (yet tasty) Peanut Butter-Chocolate No-Bake Cookies. The easiest “cookie” of all are these Peanut Butter Balls that are only three ingredients!

Next on the list we have this Peanut Brittle. It’s a classic peanuty candy that’s been around for ages. If something sticks around that long, it must be good!

Peanut Butter Pie

Peanut Butter Pie

Next up, let’s get baking. Peanut butter cookies aren’t the only peanut butter goodies you can bake! Try out this Peanut Butter Pie, a chocolately peanut butter dessert. Or, you can add peanut butter to any baked good with this Peanut Butter Frosting. One of my favorite things to do is add peanut butter to anything that has chocolate. This frosting is a perfect, unique addition to chocolatey desserts! Try it on these Brownie Roll-Out Cookies, Chocolate Cupcakes, or my personal favorite: Fudge Brownies.

Now let’s get into some fun peanut butter dishes. We can ease ourselves into it with these Peanut-Butter French Toast “Waffles” with Mixed-Berry Sauce. They’re like a spin-off on your classic peanut butter and jelly! If you’re looking for a really fun way to incorporate peanut butter into some dishes, try this Thai Peanut Chicken Salad. Explore the amazing uses of peanut butter!

If you have any peanut butter recipes you’re particularly fond of, don’t forget to share them on the Forq app!

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