No Bake Peanut Butter Energy Balls

November 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’ve been holding out on you. For weeks now I’ve been popping these addictive little balls and never managed to share here. They are the perfect antidote to the post-work yet pre-workout time when you’re famished from lunch but know if you reach for the Tostito’s that gym class is a goner. They’re delicious in the morning when you’re running out the door and can manage to grab a banana and one of these. Oh, and did I mention there is one step? Mix. I guess if you really wanted to spell it out you could stretch it to three steps: mix, wait, roll but that could be overkill. We all have Amy from Fearless Homemaker to thank for these genius little Bites!

Ingredients
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup peanut butter (or any other nut butter)
1/3 cup honey
1 cup coconut flakes (I used unsweetened)
1/2 cup flaxseed (the recipe originally calls for ground but I like a little bit of the grainy texture)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla

Mix all ingredients together until well-blended

Allow the mixture to chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. This will make it easier to roll into balls. To roll into balls, gather a very heaping tablespoon and shape the heaping mixture into ball while still in the spoon.

Enjoy!

Halloween Spread

October 30, 2012 § 1 Comment

Entertaining tomorrow night? Here is a last minute solution for what to serve. The sake needs to be done the night before but everything else can come together just a few hours before people arrive. So even if you didn’t have plans, why not throw something together last minute? Menu taken care of.

Clockwise from top left: Pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese icing, Spider Web Fiesta dip with chips, more cupcakes, Devils on Horseback, Pita chips with cheese and apple, Veggies with Greek yogurt dill dip

I would start with the cupcakes first (of course). I used the recipe here and they were delicious. The batter even started tasting like pumpkin before I even added the pumpkin (yes, I tried the batter).

Cream Cheese Icing (Pre-food dye)

An easy way to dress these up is to add food dye halfway through icing the cupcakes. Add diverse toppings like chocolate sprinkles on some, crushed pecans on others, some plain and some with candy corn for a really decorative look that let’s your guests choose what tempts them most!

This fiesta dip was sort of inspired by a few different versions of 7 layer dip and other Mexican dips. I just tried to simplify the best I could. I think one version that is topped with shredded lettuce, diced tomato and cilantro could be delicious.

Layer 1- 1 can refried black beans mixed with 1 package taco seasoning
Layer 2 – 1 can Rotel Tomatoes mixed with 1 package cream cheese
Layer 3 – Guacamole. The top it all of with a sour cream spiderweb by piping the sour cream through a small hole cut into a zip-loc bag.

I used the Devils on Horseback recipe here. Mine turned out a little more well done than I would have preferred but I am always someone who would take my bacon overcooked rather than undercooked. The grease from this bacon gets your oven really hot so keep an eye on them.

Slice pitted prunes in half without going all the way through. Stuff with blue cheese. Wrap half of a strip of bacon in half and secure with a tooth pick. Voila easy as 1,2,3

Slightly well done

The rest of the apps are just slicing and dicing! If you don’t have a full bar already stocked, a good way to cut down is by serving a signature drink. Then have a few standard options like beer, wine and whiskey.

After a delicious cocktail in California last weekend, I scoured the internet to find how it was made–turns out it was infused sake. In a glass, air-tight container, pile in any fruit of your choice (we chose watermelon and pineapple). Make sure it is cut and cored with no bruised spots/blemishes. Mix in 1.5 L Sake and .5 L Pear Vodka and let sit for 24 hours

Nutella Stuffed Brown Butter and Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies

October 2, 2012 § 6 Comments

Last week I received an email from my friend (Emily of Once In A Blue Room) with the subject simply, “I. Want. This. Cookie.” Naturally, I was intrigued. I clicked the link and was brought to a brilliant post at Ambitious Kitchen for what the author claims to be her favorite cookie ever. You had me at Nutella. So when last weekend we trekked to Tuscaloosa for the game, I knew exactly what I would be bringing to the tailgate.

Dry Ingredients

If you have never browned butter before, it is easier to melt in small pieces.

Over medium heat, constantly whisk butter until it fully melts. After a few minutes, it will start to foam (like so) and after this, it will begin to brown. As soon as you see brown particles start to gather in the bottom the pan, remove immediately and pour into a cool bowl. It will smell nutty.

Once you mix the butter and sugars together, it will smell like the best caramel ever and you will be tempted to stop here and dive in.

Once you combine the dry/wet mixes and add the chips, it is important to chill in the refrigerator. You can see the chips are even softening here from the warm butter.

Ok here is where it gets a little messy but if you choose to lick nutella off your fingers in between cookies, I won’t judge.

Before and After

Stuffed with goodness. A generous heaping of coarse sea salt is an absolute must.

These cookies were the perfect salty sweet combo and they really stayed fresh and moist from the nutella. Next time though, I may try using all dark chocolate or semi-sweet chips since that is what I prefer in my cookies.

 

 

 

On The Trail

June 29, 2012 § 2 Comments


Yesterday we hiked an absolutely GORGEOUS trail. Hanging Lake is  a  mile high trail in Glenwood Canyon so named for the beautiful bowl-like basin and waterfalls hanging on the side of the cliffs. It is a National Natural Landmark with a delicate ecosystem so the water is turquoise as no visitors may dip in.

I am by no means an experienced hiker and this trail was difficult in its incline but manageable with the tots we had in tow (not my kids). I found when I finished the way down, I was famished despite having lunch just a few hours before. I immediately took to Pinterest to find some trail mix inspirations. As trail mix has to be the easiest and most flexible thing to put together, I definitely did not want anything that required turning on the oven (especially since it is so hot all over!).

These were some of the ones I found that would be tasty and easily replicated:

The Picky Apple Trail Mix – I love the pumpkin seeds and coconut.

Snack Happy Trail Mix – Pistachios were a nice change from just almonds or peanuts.

Energy Trail Mix – The dried papaya and pineapple are quintessential trail mix components to me.

Glow Trail Mix – I’ve never tried goji berries but I hear great things and I love dark chocolate over m&m’s.

I think my ideal trail mix would include a mix of the following:

almonds +walnuts + pistachios+ pumpkin seeds + shredded coconut + dried pineapple + dark chocolate chips+ raisins

I’ve Been Poppin’ My Own Corn Since ’07

June 15, 2012 § 3 Comments

When I was studying abroad living in Prague with 5 other girls, visitors to our place would tell us that our apartment smelled like an “abundance” of popcorn.  And we did pop a lot of corn at Štupartská 9. Whether it was because we were saving all our $ for Euro raves or that the bagged stuff was hard to come by (you could have sold your soul looking for peanut butter), our favored method was on the stovetop. I now prefer the taste of my own popped corn; it has more texture, taste and crunch to it. Add in the fact that it is cheaper and healthier than microwave and very easy to master, you really ought to give it a try.

Here is my exact method:

Step 1: In a saucepan fill in just enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom of the pan.

Step 2: Add kernels to oil (before it is heated) so that they just cover the bottom. Add in some salt or any seasonings that you prefer (I like just a dash of cayenne pepper) and cover the pan. Shake the pan to coat the kernels and set the heat to Med-High.

Step 3: You will begin to hear the kernels pop as the oil heats (and see them if your lid is clear). Periodically shake the pan with the handle, holding the lid in place.

Step 4: Remove from heat once the popping has slowed (and before it smells like burning). Be careful when removing the lid so that the steam doesn’t scorch your face.

Voilà- much easier than pie. Safe House is on demand this weekend, just sayin’. Here are some other ideas for a more gourmet popcorn if you’re feeling fancy:

Rosemary & Thyme or Sea Salt
Nuts & Dried Cherries
Coconut & Chocolate Chips

And my fiancé’s contribution:  “Use bacon grease as the oil on the popcorn– BAM  Bacon Popcorn. What could be better than that? If you put brown sugar on this one–Candied Bacon Popcorn.” Maybe next week…

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