Monthly Archives: November 2013

Chocolate Almond Coconut Bark

Chocolate Almond Coconut Bark. ABalancedLifeCooks.comAs I write this (on Monday night), I’m sitting on the couch watching Parenthood on DVR and   nibbling away at some awesome chocolate bark. Even though we have two Target bags FILLED with candy (we thought we’d have Trick or Treaters last week….it was cold and rainy…no one came to the door…we have tons of candy…someone take it please…) I bypassed all the mini Snickers, Baby Ruths, and Skittles and went right for the bark. That’s saying a lot

With the holidays just weeks away (gasp…true story), this is the ideal thing to whip up when you want to make something festive but don’t have the time/energy/ingredients/desire to bake.

Here’s how simple it is: Melt a bag of chocolate chips in a glass bowl in the microwave. Add chopped almonds and coconut (or whatever add-ins you like…leftover chopped up chocolate Halloween candy would work well, too) and mix. Smear it onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Stick it in the fridge or freezer for 30-60 minutes. Break up the bark into smaller pieces. Pat yourself on the back because this looks like it takes way more time than it does and if you put it out at a party it’s always the first very thing to go. Trust me, I have first-hand experience.

Chocolate Almond Coconut Bark.

Chocolate Almond Coconut Bark


  • 1 (16 oz) package of chocolate chips such as milk, semi-sweet, or dark
  • 1/3 cup chopped almonds (I like to use lightly salted ones)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (the same ones used here)


Dump chocolate chips into a glass bowl. Microwave in 1-2 minute intervals, stirring after each one, until chocolate is melted. (It takes about 4-6 minutes.) Add most of the almonds and coconut flakes to the melted chocolate, but reserve some of each for the topping. Pour melted chocolate mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Smear with a spatula as thick or as thin as you like it. Sprinkle remaining almonds and coconut flakes on top. Place baking sheet in the fridge or freezer for at least 30-60 minutes (longer is fine). Remove and break it up into pieces using your hands. Store in an air-tight container or bag at room temperature or in the freezer.

Turkey Meatloaf Meatballs

Turkey Meatloaf Meatballs. ABalancedLifeCooks.comI don’t believe I’ve ever professed my love for ground meat here before. So here it is: I love it. All kinds and all ways: meat sauce, turkey meatballs, meaty ziti, meatloaf, and more. It’s probably a texture thing. Whatever the reason may be…love love love.

Recently, worlds collided and lead to this newest creation: turkey meatloaf meatballs. It’s everything you love about turkey meatloaf plus some delicious surprises such as chopped chipotle in adobo for a punch of flavor and heat, but in cute meatball form. Because food should always be as adorable as possible.

If you’ve always associated meatloaf with cardboard or something worse I promise this will change your mind. There are just so many layers of flavor in every single bite. There’s sauteed  onion, shallot, and garlic with thyme, worcestershire sauce, and other yumminess. Add that to ground turkey, the chipotle peppers, other goodness, and mix. Really get your hands in there. Form palm-sized meatballs, place each one in a muffin tin slot, and top with a mixture of ketchup and adobo sauce. POW! It makes an awesome dinner, but I love eating the leftovers for lunch, too. There’s nothing like a healthy dose of protein to power you through the afternoon.

Turkey Meatloaf Meatballs.

Turkey Meatloaf Meatballs

Makes 18 meatballs


  • Olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt, black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves (or 1/4 tsp dried thyme & 1/4 tsp dried oregano)
  • 1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1.5 lbs ground turkey (it’s even better if it’s not all turkey breast)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo, minced
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2-3 Tbsp adobo sauce


Preheat oven to 325.

In a skillet over medium-high heat, add about 1 Tbsp olive oil. Add onion, shallot, garlic. Saute about 10 minutes until onion is softened. Add salt, black pepper, thyme (or dried thyme & dried oregano), worcestershire sauce, chicken stock, and tomato paste. Stir until combined. Cook about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a bowl, add ground turkey, beaten egg, bread crumbs, and chipotle peppers. Add onion mixture. Using your hands, mix until totally combined.

Spray 2 muffin tins with cooking spray. Form palm-sized meatballs with your hands and place one meatball in each muffin slot. Bake 20 minutes.

Meanwhile combine ketchup and adobo sauce in a small bowl. Remove pan from oven at 20 minutes, top each meatball with the sauce, return to oven and cook 5 to 10 minutes more until cooked through.