One of the absolute best parts of blogging is getting to know so many wonderful people who share your interests. One of the absolute worst parts? Never getting to those people face-to-face and enjoy their bloggie company!
If you read my blog regularly, you know that I am quite the fan of Chocolate-Covered Katie’s recipes. I’m not just a fan of her recipes, though—I’m a big fan of the girl herself. Katie is a TOTAL sweetheart and I love her so much. We’ve emailed back and forth quite a bit and she’s become a good blogger friends. She’s helped me learn a lot (probably more than she realizes) about myself, health, blogging and life in general. You also might remember from my very first post that Katie had a huge influence on me starting a blog in the first place (along with HEAB and Averie).
In addition to all those awesome things, she helped me realize how much I truly like chocolate! I’d never cared much for chocolate before I read her blog, but after seeing how much she likes dark chocolate (in the 90-100% area), I gave it a shot. I discovered that my love for chocolate had simply been hidden under a pile of sugar, milk and fat. Skim it all off and you get dark, rich, bitter chocolate, which I realized I absolutely love. Thanks Katie.
As you can see, she’s pretty much the bomb-diggety. She and I live about 5 hours from each other, but I was ecstatic when I realized I’d be going up to Dallas and that there might be an opportunity for us to meet. I contacted her (with very short notice, I might add. ) and the plan was set! 1 PM at Whole Foods.
When we got there, we immediately did a blogger exchange. I’d won her Larabar contest a few weeks ago, so she brought a mixed (new) flavor box of Larabars!She also was kind enough to include a homemade batch of Fudge Babies and some protein powder packets. I gave her some of my homemade Carrot Cake Bites (recipe to come at the end of this post), some of her favorite plain Jocalat bars and some dry-roasted edamame, which is one of my favorite snacks.
We had such an awesome time. We spent the first little while just talking and visiting, which was so great. We chatted about everything—life, recipes, blogging, products, photography, exercise, you name it! It was so cool to hang out with someone that “gets” me. A lot of my friends are understanding and accepting of my blogging/healthy lifestyle, but I know that it’s a little unusual, so I usually refrain from talking about it unless they ask. It was so cool to not have to hold back, to not have to explain anything and to talk about things I never get to talk about with people. I loved it so much and I only wish we could’ve talked longer!
After chatting for a while, we decided to quickly shop around Whole Foods. That was cool too, and I got the opportunity to meet Katie’s wonderful mother! Seriously guys, her mom is so, so sweet. She deserves every ounce of praise Katie gives her on her blog.
Being the nut butter lovers that we are, we had to visit the nut butter aisle of Whole Foods. Here we are with Artisana’s Coconut Butter and 365 Brand Peanut Butter, a brand we both love.
There were definitely people giving us weird looks while we took these pictures. After all, who poses with peanut butter? I dooooo.
Also, notice in this picture that Katie and I totally match. This was completely by accident, mind you. We got a good laugh out of it and thought it was pretty awesome. It’s our mind connection, Katie.
After shopping and taking some pictures it was time to go. I was sad, but I seriously could not have thought of a better first blogger meet-up. Katie is absolutely amazing, you guys, and she is unbelievably sweet. Thank you so much, girl. I hope we can do it again soon.
Once I got to the car, you KNOW I tore into those Fudge Babies.
Um, absolutely AMAZING. Seriously, these are so good. I loved them and cannot wait to make more. I shared with my mom, brother and two friends and they also very much approved. My favorites were the chocolate peanut butter ones, but that’s not much of a surprise.
The amazing box of Larabars that Katie gave me. Carrot Cake, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Chocolate Chip Brownie and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip.
Oh, by the way, Katie’s Fudge Babies were better than either comparable Larabar flavors (PB Choco Chip and Choco Chip Brownie). Larabars tend to be extremely sweet, because they have a higher date:nut proportion. Katie somehow found the perfect proportion.
In honor of Katie, I decided to buy my very first kabocha squash! She absolutely loves the stuff, but I’d never tried it before. I looked up how to roast it, and then the chopping began.
Do you like my hack job? That kabocha squash was hard to cut, man! Anyway, once I finally got it in two pieces, I scooped out the seeds, cut it into pieces and roasted it at 425 degrees for 30 mins. I also drizzled some olive oil and sea salt prior to roasting. Verdict? Absolutely amazing. I can see why this squash is such a hit amongst bloggers. It’s delicious.
Another thing I tried in honor of Katie was something she told me about at our meet-up. She’d mentioned how much she liked Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter, so I picked up a squeeze pack to try. I can see why you loved it, Katie. It’s like an all-natural, “healthy” Nutella! Awesome.
I promised you above that I’d give you the recipe for my Carrot Cake Bites. This is a recipe I’ve been working on for a while and I still want to play with it, but here it is, just for you.
Kelsey’s Carrot Cake Bites
- 5 baby carrots
- 1/2 cup raw almonds
- 1/4 cup raw cashews
- About 8 average-sized dates (adjust as needed)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- allspice (or use pumpkin pie spice)
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- optional: 1-2 TBSP coconut butter
- optional: 1 TBSP raisins
- optional: 1-2 TBSP shredded coconut
Shred carrots in a food processor till they’re in small, fine pieces. Add the almonds and cashews and pulse to combine with carrots. Next, chop the dates into smaller pieces and add them to the food processor, along with the vanilla and all the spices. Pulse to combine till the mixture is a sort of “dough.” Add the optional coconut butter, coconut shreds and raisins, then pulse once more. Remove the dough from the processor and form into balls, bars, shapes—whatever you like!
- Replace some or all of the nuts with walnuts for a more authentic Carrot Cake Bite.
- Add crushed pineapple pieces or dried pineapple (dried would probably work best).
- Roll them in shredded coconut and take them to a party!
- Double or triple the recipe and make it into a full-size raw carrot cake. Frost with coconut butter or a Tofutti Cream Cheese frosting. (Just Google search one.)
Enjoy! Let me know if you make these, and tell me what you think.
So, just in case you were wondering what “K” stands for, it stands for…
- and Karrot Kake
(Just kidding about that last one. :P)
Question of the Day: Have you ever done a bloggie meet-up? What was it like?
Question of the Day 2: Have you ever tried kabocha squash? What do you think?
Thanks for reading!