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Kitchen Hack: 7-Minute Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Kitchen Hack: 7-Minute Chocolate Covered Strawberries

    Nothing says ‘good riddance’ to the winter blues like the first crop of springtime strawberries. One of the first harvests of the year, strawberries are rich in antioxidants, potassium and vitamin C.

    Their sweet tart flavor, heart shape and brilliant red color lend themselves to being a favorite ingredient in some very complex desserts.

    Just because something tastes complex, however, doesn’t mean it has to be difficult to make.

    The French have a phrase, mise en place, which means “putting everything in its place”. The secret to quick, when making any recipe,  is to simply prepare and organize the ingredients and hardware before you begin.

    With everything ready at your fingertips, this variation on the classic chocolate-covered strawberry “Bananaberries” can be made in a mere seven minutes.

    (Note: By reading labels and choosing appropriate brands, this dessert can be made gluten-free.)

    Bananaberries

      This dessert was invented when my friend’s birthday snuck up on me and I didn’t want to visit her empty-handed. I had some organic strawberries in my fridge. In my pantry, I had a bag of banana chips purchased for yogurt sundae topping. When my eyes met some nearby white chocolate chips, the idea for Bananaberries was born.

      Everyone makes chocolate-dipped strawberries, but combination of crunchy banana fused to the juicy raw fruit with white chocolate takes this classic dessert to a new level of flavor goodness. My friend loved them and begged me for the recipe. I gave it to her. It was her birthday, after all!

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      Now, before you even think about making this recipe, be sure that can procure two pints of fresh strawberries. Because you’ll be serving them fresh, you really want use perfect berries.  Look for ones that have a crown of vibrant green leaves, are firm to the touch, plump to the eye, and do not have any blemishes or unripe spots.

      Got your berries? You may proceed.

      Editor’s Note: I’m not a huge fan of bananas so I swapped out the banana chips for pecans. Chocolate can be melted quickly if you give it your full attention and hardens faster on cold strawberries. Sarah’s closing remark about giving the strawberries away…ha! I didn’t share any of mine. =)

      Ingredients:

      • Two pints fresh strawberries, cleaned with a damp cloth and chilled
      • One 12 oz bag white chocolate chips
      • One 12 oz bag of dried, sweetened banana chips

      Hardware:

      • soft towel
      • saucepan
      • stirring utensil
      • 3 bowls
      • parchment paper
      • cookie sheet
      • chopper, food processor or blender
      • stovetop

      1. Put Everything in Place

        Dump chocolate chips into the sauce pan. Put the banana chips in the blender. Place your three bowls in assembly line order : strawberries, white chocolate (empty), and chopped banana chips (empty).  Set your cookie sheet after the banana chip bowl and cover it with a sheet of parchment paper.

        2. Make Some Crumbs


          Chop dried banana chips into a coarse yet crumb-like consistency. You want texture, not powder. Transfer the crumbs to the third bowl on the assembly line.

          3. Melt the Chocolate

            Over the lowest possible heat, melt the white chocolate chips in the saucepan. Low heat and constant stirring is key. If the chocolate boils, it will become a pasty burnt sugar mess. It may seem easier to just microwave the chips, but it is also very easy to overcook them with this method.

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              As you stir, the chocolate will become glossy, and then melt. It will only take about 2 minutes. You will know when it’s done when the mixture is just about completely melted, but there are a few chunks of soft chips remaining. Remove from the heat. Pour the melted chocolate into the second bowl on the assembly line for dipping. Stir the chocolate in the bowl until the remaining chips melt completely.

              4. Dip and Roll

                Hold the berry by the leaves and dip into the melted white chocolate.

                  Then, gently roll the berry in the banana chip crumbs. Do not press too hard, or the chocolate will not adhere as well to the strawberry, and it will break off at the first bite. Merely coat the chocolate with the banana chip crumbs. Leave a hint of white chocolate collar showing for appearance.

                  5. Air Dry


                    Place the berries on parchment-covered cookie sheet. Because the berries are pre-chilled, the chocolate should firm up quickly without having to be further refrigerated.  The parchment will keep the cookie sheet from getting dirty, which means less clean-up, and will keep the Bananaberries from sticking while they dry.

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                    6. Pair for Enjoyment

                    Assuming you’ve used perfect strawberries, they will keep in a covered box in the refrigerator for a day. Bananaberries pair well with espresso or strongly brewed coffee as the bitter, warm drink contrasts and showcases this cool, heavenly dessert.

                    7. Share with Friends

                    An easy-to-serve finger food, Bananaberries make an ideal dessert to bring to picnics, and potlucks, and parties. As long as they are kept out of the sun, the crunchy banana chip shell stays intact while being transported.

                    To give as a memorable gift, simply re-use the parchment paper as a wrapper, and nestle the wrapped Bananaberries into a brown paper sandwich bag with a penned thank-you note for a homemade, heartfelt presentation.

                    What do you think? Will you give it a try? Please let me know if you do!


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                    Kitchen Hack: 7-Minute Chocolate Covered Strawberries

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                    Last Updated on March 13, 2019

                    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

                    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

                    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

                    1. Work on the small tasks.

                    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

                    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

                    2. Take a break from your work desk.

                    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

                    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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                    3. Upgrade yourself

                    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

                    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

                    4. Talk to a friend.

                    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

                    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

                    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

                    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

                    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

                    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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                    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

                    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

                    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

                    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

                    7. Read a book (or blog).

                    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

                    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

                    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

                    8. Have a quick nap.

                    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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                    9. Remember why you are doing this.

                    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

                    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

                    10. Find some competition.

                    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

                    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

                    11. Go exercise.

                    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

                    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

                    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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                    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

                    12. Take a good break.

                    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

                    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

                    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

                    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

                    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

                    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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