Chocolate & Peanut Butter Lover’s Brownies

Seriously Delish, page 272

This is the epitome of How Sweet It Is recipes. Super rich dark chocolate brownies covered with peanut butter, covered with ganache, and then covered in chopped peanut butter cups.  Is there really anything better?

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I made these as post blood donation snacks for a blood drive in honor of my brother in law.  The donors loved them.  The blood bank staff loved them too.  What’s not to love?

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Pro tip: This chopped chocolate I used to make the ganance.  I should have chopped it finer.  I had trouble getting to all to melt and come together.

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Please pardon this out of focus shot.  I was literally running out the door to the blood drive when I finished these up.

To serve, I cut them small and put them in cupcake papers.  Mini things have no calories, right?

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Greek Yogurt Parmesan Ranch Dressing

Seriously Delish, page 155

Sorry for the delay in posting.  Life got alittle in the way.  Also, I can’t keep up the post a day pace, so expect to see things more regularly, but slightly less frequently.

My husband’s favorite dressing is ranch.  I was looking forward to this recipe to have a slightly “healthier” version of ranch in my back pocket for him.

Here I am, collecting my herbs for a glamour shot.  I was trying to get an overhead shot, but the lighting in my kitchen is horrible.  I seriously considered standing on the dining room table, but thought better of it. Also, that towel really could have been ironed.  Gah. Photography woes.  I’m hopeful the practice I get during this project will help me.  I should really find a better spot in the house for lighting.  As you can see in the last picture, it was pretty cloudy that day too.

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The ingredient list for this dressing was quite long: greek yogurt, mayo, buttermilk, Parmesan, herbs, honey, Worcestershire, salt, garlic power, onion power, smoked paprika, and pepper, and, if I’m being honest, I didn’t see all those flavors come through.  I thought the dill overpowered.  Now, I also made this in my Vitamix, rather than the food processor Jessica recommends, so maybe I over did it on the blending.  Or maybe I should just follow directions.

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Overall it was a tasty dressing, but we didn’t think it was “ranchy” enough.  It was really good with carrots (and leftover sourdough) dipped in it.  I will try it again in the food processor (and probably dial back the dill a bit).  I’ll need to make it again to serve with salad recipe in the book anyway.

Strawberry Sunshine Juice

Seriously Delish, page 37

This recipe has one instruction. Add everything to a juicer and pour into a pretty glass. I didn’t follow it. I don’t have a juicer, so I just blended everything in the Vitamix. Probably not EXACTLY what Jessica was going for, but still pretty and delish.

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The mint I used is from a plant that just happened to spring up out of a flower pot the previous owners of my house left behind.  I’m fairly certain it’s spearmint.  I didn’t die, and it tastes minty, so I think I’m safe.

Fun and Fancy Avocado Toasts

Seriously Delish, page 107

Here’s another installment of, “things Stephanie didn’t think to do until Jessica showed her“.

There’s no real recipe here.  Just smash avocado on toast.  Little salt, little pepper. Little lime juice if you’re feeling it. Done. Seriously Delish makes it extra fancy by taking all that seasoning, and dressing some arugula with it, and topping the avocado with a quick “salad” of sorts.

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These toasts are particularly special because they are made with my first decent batch of homemade sourdough (third time’s the charm, right). Props to my friend Alex for sharing his sourdough starter, and fielding my never-ending questions about it.

I literally would eat this every freaking day.

BBQ Roasted Chickpeas

Seriously Delish, page 74

I was completely unaware that roasting chickpeas was a thing, until I read about it on How Sweet It Is.  Now it’s one of our favorite snacks.

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Super simple. Take chickpeas, season however you like, and stick ’em in a hot oven until they’re crunchy.  This particular batch was the first time I incorporated brown sugar into the mix and got nice caramel action from it.

There’s a note in this recipe to try roasting chickpeas with the sour cream and onion seasoning used elsewhere in Seriously Delish, so I’m looking forward to trying that once I get to that recipe.

PS: If you’re neurotic, peel them first.

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Creamy Spinach & Spiced Chickpea-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Seriously Delish, page 215

Up until a few years ago, I wasn’t big on sweet potatoes. I think because the only time I every tried them they were covered in marshmallow and overly brown sugared. Not that there is anything wrong with that…for dessert. I’m just not huge on the whole super sweet mixed in with my Thanksgiving thing.  That’s why I’m not into cranberry sauce either.

My first savory stuffed sweet potato was actually from the girls at Simple Green Smoothies.  I’ve made that recipe at least 4 or 5 times, which, if you know me, is a big deal.  I don’t usually do many repeats.

So, this sweet potato.  It starts with some sauteed spinach with garlic.  Add some coconut milk and chickpeas, and then spice it up with nutmeg, cardamom, and cayenne pepper.

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Then, obviously, toss the whole mess on a sweet potato.

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Jessica’s recipe called for baking the potato, but I microwaved mine, because I’m lazy.  Also, I’m not sure if you can tell, but that sweet potato above is quite possibly the largest sweet potato I’ve ever seen.  I ate half for dinner, and half for lunch the next day.

My initial reaction was I felt like the recipe lacked an acidic component.  I tried dijon mustard and red wine vinegar, but neither felt right.  As I was packing up the leftovers, I tried lemon juice, and that seemed to work.  A little bit goes a long way, but it just gave it that extra bit of brightness I thought was missing.  Overall, I liked it, even without the lemon, and I would definitely make it again.  It was the perfect way to use up some borderline spinach and the rest of the week’s chickpeas hanging out in my fridge.  Also, I had never used cardamom before, and new flavors make me happy.  I’m looking forward to new recipes to use it in.

 

Chocolate & Toasted Coconut Quinoa Parfaits

Seriously Delish, page 78

My first experiences with coconut were always with the sweetened shredded stuff you get in the baking aisle. Needless to say, I grew up thinking I didn’t like coconut.

Reading How Sweet It Is and not liking coconut puts you at a disadvantage. Jessica uses it all the time. I finally gave in, and tried it again. I noticed that Jessica was using unsweetened flaked coconut, which I didn’t even realize was a thing, but Bob’s Red Mill Flaked Coconut and Trader Joe’s Light Coconut Milk* are pantry staples now.  I’ve actually started to enjoy coconut things….like this fun parfait.

It all starts with a variation of Jessica’s breakfast quinoa, which is great on it’s own, but then she layers it with greek yogurt, toasted coconut, and chocolate. Oh and I totally splurged and bought the full fat Fage for this, annnnnd I’m not sure I’ll ever go back to the non fat stuff.

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These were a little high maintenance to make if you were going for the true parfait layer effect. Also, I found that I really wanted more chocolate in the parfait pictured above, but I didn’t measure anything when I made it, so that’s probably my fault. For round two, I just tossed everything in a container and took it to work.  All the same flavor, less effort.  And with a generous handful of chocolate chips, it definitely hit that chocolate craving too.

*If you can find it! Every time I go to Trader Joe’s they’re sold out of the stuff, so I have to stalk the stock boy and buy as many cans as I can carry the minute it hits the shelves.  I’ve also commissioned my mom to pick up cans anytime she sees them.

PS: I moved the tracking table to the sidebar. I think it keeps things cleaner.