Chocolate-Dipped Raspberry Macaroons

Macaroons are the under-loved cookie option, always forgotten and pushed to the side in favor of the classic chocolate chip cookie. Yet macaroons offer the same sweet decadence with a different texture. Instead of trying the ordinary macaroon made of coconut, I made a raspberry macaroon and to top it off, dipped it in semi-sweet chocolate.

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The recipe was gleaned from Martha Stewart.

~ 2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
~ 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
~ 1 large egg white
~ pinch of coarse salt
~ 1 cup fresh raspberries
~ 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
~ 2 teaspoons canola oil

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1. Preheat oven to 350┬░. Combine coconut, sugar, egg white and salt in large bowl. Mix ingredients together. Add raspberries and mash together until well incorporated. (Alternatively, use a food processor but be sure not to overprocess.)

2. Scoop tablespoons of coconut mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet to form mounds.

3. Bake until macaroons are lightly golden, about 25 minutes. Transfer macaroons to a wire rack and let cool.

4. Simmer a saucepan of boiling water, and place chocolate in a bowl set over the saucepan. Stir until melted, then add canola oil and mix.

5. Remove from heat and dip bottoms of macaroons in chocolate, cover half macaroon in chocolate, or dunk completely. Place dipped macaroon to a wax-paper-lined baking sheet. Garnish, if desired, with toasted almonds, sanding sugar or sprinkles. Refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes. Serve chilled.

These cookies are a crowd pleaser and definitely a decadent treat for chocolate lovers and fruit lovers alike.

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Mediterranean Crunch Salad

Greek salads are always a go-to for me, whether I’m whipping up a quick bite at home or am ordering at a restaurant. When I came across this recipe , I knew I had to try it. The classic ingredients of a greek salad (tomato, cucumber, onion and feta) get a makeover with broccoli, chickpeas and kale. This easy-to-make salad is great for entertaining or for taking to work for lunch.

Mediterranean Crunch Salad

Ingredients:

> 1 can garbanzo beans
> 1 cucumber, chopped
> 1 head broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces
> 1 cup tomatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
> 1 cup kale, sliced
> 1/2 cup onion, chopped
> 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
> goat cheese (optional)

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, and toss in balsamic vinegar. Chill at least 1 hour before serving.

To liven it up, add a soft cheese (I added crumbled goat cheese) or quinoa.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from Whole Foods Market.

Grilled Eggplant with Tomatoes, Basil and Feta

Eggplant is brain food since its skin contain nasunin protecting cell membranes from damage. Beside its health benefits, eggplant has a delicious texture and flavors that go well in many types of cuisine from Thai and Indian to Mediterranean and Italian. This time I decided to try a Mediterranean rendition based on a recipe that reminded me of a caprese salad. The main difference: Add eggplant and replace mozzarella with feta.

This dish tastes great alongside a salad, pasta or other veggies. The salad is even tastier made with homemade ingredients. If you have a basil or tomato plant, be sure to use them fresh from the garden.

Eggplant Salad

Ingredients:

> 1 large eggplant, cut in circular slices 1/3-inch-thick
> cooking spray
> 8 large tomatoes, sliced
> 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
> ground black pepper
> 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn if large
> balsamic vinegar

Instructions:

Spray grill or grilling pan with cooking spray and place eggplant on surface. Grill, turning once, until tender, about 4 minutes each side.

Layer eggplant, tomatoes and basil. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and sprinkle feta over vegetables.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from Martha Stewart.

Grilled Eggplant