Thursday, February 28, 2013

Flax Glowballs

A little chocolatey, a little coconut, and little almond combined with ground flax and oatmeal to make a truffle like energy snack that's both healthy and, I believe, vegan.  (Please let me know if I'm mistaken, and which ingredients make it not vegan.  I'm not well versed in vegan cooking.)  Unfortunately, I didn't actually taste these treats.  See, I meant to make them before giving up chocolate for Lent, but unfortunately I ran out of time and ended up making them on Ash Wednesday, so no taste-testing for me.  But them smelled amazing and I think the combination of cocoa, coconut and almost, with the added nuttiness of the oatmeal and the flax, would be quite decadent.  I don't believe the banana adds too much flavor, but I imagine you could swap that for applesauce if you think banana would be too much.  Dave wouldn't try these (I think he's afraid of flax), but I really do think I'll make these again for myself.

The Lean Green Bean

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Mini Pancake Muffins with Blueberries or Sausage

I love pancakes.  But I also love muffins.  So these little guys are just little bites of breakfast heaven that give you the fluffy, tender pancake flavor that you love in a perfect mini muffin form with a golden crust.  Flavored up with blueberries (or any fruity mix-in) or sausage (sweet and savory!) and served with maple syrup, you'll have breakfast bites that can be nibbled on the go or would be easy for little hands.  Traditional blueberry or amped up with sausage bits snuggled into these pancake bites, these mini muffins are a great make ahead breakfast option that you can freeze in advance and heat in the microwave for busy mornings when scratch pancakes just won't happen.  And a fun new way to enjoy your pancakes!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Butternut Squash & Black Bean Chili

Well this one was a surprise.  A lot like a stew, this chili incorporates black beans and refried beans with tomatoes and salsa with the added texture and flavor from butternut squash, one of my favorite winter squashes.  We've gotten several in our winter CSA box and I'm always looking for new ways to use them.  Dave and I were both intrigued and really satisfied with how this turned out.  The squash lends a bit of sweetness and which goes well with the slight kick from the chili powder and salsa, which provide the traditional Mexican chili flavors and heat.  The liquid ends up creamy from the refried beans and the chunky vegetables and beans make it a traditional chili.  This is definitely a delicious new way to enjoy butternut squash and a twist on your regular vegetarian chili recipe.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Fluffer Nutter Blondies

So, I guess I should tell you.  I gave up chocolate for Lent.  And swearing, but that doesn't really affect you as much.  The lack of chocolate for almost a month and a half could potentially create some unease, but luckily I've found a few sweet treats without chocolate to satisfy my need for dessert.  And these blondies  marry peanut butter and marshmallow into a deliciously soft bar that definitely hits the spot when dessert strikes.  I could have used a little more marshmallow for added gooey-ness, but the flavor is all there and definitely yummy.  These bars are soft but not quite cakey and the peanut butter flavor gets a little extra creamy sweetness from the fluff that's just too good.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Minestrone Soup with Collard Greens

This light soup comes together pretty quick and has deep, rich flavor.  Perfect for a cold evening or a simple but satisfying lunch.  I ended up having this for lunch for a few days in a row and found that with a little bit of foccacia, my afternoon hunger cravings were mostly at bay.  This vegetarian soup would make a nice starter for a dinner party or even a simple lunch with friend when paired with some salad and crusty bread.  Clean, fresh flavors from the greens and tomato go nicely with the beans, and the whole thing is well seasoned and tasty.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Pizza Chili

Pizza. Chili.  Yes, that's two perfect dinner smooshed together to make a perfect meal.  A perfect Chili with lots of pizza flavor.  I made this when we had friends over and it was gobbled up with just enough left over for Dave to have lunch the next day.  We love a good chili and this one will certainly be in our regular chili rotation.  The mozzarella on top gets gooey and melty, just like a good piece of pizza.  I served it up with beer bread, which went perfectly, but any sort of crusty bread would work.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Lentil Vegetable Soup

The weather has been warm for February, but it definitely still soup season.  So last month when we receive a bag of lentils in our CSA box, I thought soup would be a delicious way to use them.  This recipe makes a lot of a hearty but healthy soup, with lots of veggies.  The secret to this tasty recipe is the vinegar.  I was surprised at how just a little bit went a long way and gave a unique note in the broth without making it sour tasting.  This was perfect for lunches, satisfying and delicious.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Roasted Beet Hummus

Dave and I get a winter CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box from a local farm (Springdell Farms in Littleton, MA), and it's been a really cool way to force myself to try things I wouldn't normally pick up at the farm stand and make something new and different.  So when our box came with a few beets, I knew I'd have a challenge ahead.  Never having enjoyed a beet before, I was at a loss because I really wanted to make something I would enjoy. And I really enjoy this hummus.  It's not super beet flavored, so it's a good introduction for those of you (like me) who aren't sure you'll fall in love with the beet.  The slightly nutty flavor of hummus gets enhanced from the roasted beets in a sweet, but subtle way.  Plus it makes a ton, so you can share with your friends and neighbors, (or in my case, a coworker).  I love the beautiful color and this hummus was a perfect match with some whole wheat crackers.  With that pretty pink hue, maybe this would make a nice appetizer for tomorrow's Valentine's dinner?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Samoa Cookie Bars

It's Girl Scout cookie season again, and while I still haven't been asked by any Girl Scouts if I'd like to buy them, I may not need them for my Samoa fix this year.  While you know coconut isn't my first love, Samoas have always been one of my most favorite Girl Scout cookies (right up there with Thin Mints).  Coconut wrapped in caramel topping a shortbread cookie and drizzled with dark chocolate is a decadent and delicious treat.   And baked up into these bars, this version is a nice replica.  Even though these bars don't have chocolate on the bottom, the extra drizzle on top maintains the chocolate to coconut/caramel to shortbread ratio.  If those purple boxes of cookies are calling your name every time you see a Girl Scout, do yourself a favor and make these bars.  Compare and you'll see these are just as good as their namesake--and you can make them year round.

Secret Recipe Club

Friday, February 8, 2013

Oreo-Stuffed Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies

Swoon and sigh in the same cookie.  It's almost to good to be true.  These cookies are more than awesome.  I'm not sure there are words in the English language to describe them.  They are HUGE--like the biggest cookie I've ever made, soft, thick and full of red velvet goodness nestled around a perfect Oreo center.  They are practically a meal in and of themselves and totally worth the extra time at the gym.  I took some to my friend Lisa when I visited her and she actually cut then into quarters to eat them.  Let's just say I was a little less dainty and leave it at that.  When I asked Dave what he thought, he said, "They were awful...awfully good."  You know Oreos are my favorite store bought cookie and I have no problem shoving them into brownies, so of course when the opportunity to wrap a perfect red velvet dough around them arose, I had to go for it.  The color is perfect, the texture is amazing, and I'm in love with the whole giant cookie. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

White Chocolate Dipped Red Velvet Graham Crackers

Oooh, I was so excited about these.  I loved the idea of making homemade graham crackers, and with red velvet flavor, then dipped in creamy white chocolate and dotted with festive Valentine's Day nonpareils.  A classic, comforting treat with a new twist and a festive spin, these graham crackers are delightful, delicious, and fun.  They'd be pretty little Valentine gifts, make for a fun variation as s'mores and are certainly just perfect when munched with cocoa or tea.  I took a few to work and my coworkers and I nibbled on them during a staff meeting for a lighter morning snack.  Lovely color, nice chocolate flavor and the perfect honey crunch that takes these from cookie to graham cracker.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Red Velvet Pancakes

Introducing Dave to different flavored pancakes was just as exciting for him as the different flavors of Rice Krispies treats.  I shook up his whole breakfast world and made the morning meal something to look forward to.  Which is why I've made these festive pancakes a couple of times--once for Christmas morning and again as a prelude to Valentine's Day.  These fluffy pancakes have a great red velvet taste and texture, and are just so pretty, who wouldn't want to wake up to that?  For Christmas, I used mini semi-sweet chocolate chips which were delicious, slightly melty and added a reasonable chocolatey-ness to the party.  Everyone raved and those not sharing Christmas breakfast with us seemed disappointed.  This time, I thought the contrast from white chocolate chips would add a nice homage to cream cheese frosting and was not disappointed.  Your Valentine would be super impressed at this breakfast treat.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Red Velvet Scones

Two Christmases ago, I asked for a mini scone pan because I thought it would be fun and clever to make two- or three-bite scones for a lazy Sunday breakfast or as a treat for the office.  And then I never made scones.  Until I saw these babies and had to make them the same day I saw the recipe.  As in immediately.  Maybe because they fit my red velvet theme.  Maybe because I felt guilty for my lonely little scone pan.  Or maybe because I needed a flaky chocolate baked good now or sooner.  But for whatever reason out came the pan, together came the batter and into the oven they went.  The house smelled like butter and chocolate and I could barely wait for them to cool before topping these scones with the cream cheese frosting leftover from my red velvet brownies.  These scones have a slightly more cakey texture than a traditional scone, but there is still a level of flakiness that makes them tasty scone-y.  The color is perfect and the red velvet flavor is very yummy.  The frosting is delicious and pairs well, but if you would rather not top the scones, adding some white chocolate chips to the batter would be an excellent alternative.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Red Velvet Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting

It's almost Valentine's Day so that can only mean one thing: a week's worth of red velvet treats coming your way.  Of course that means a week's worth of sweets, but some are for breakfast, some for dessert and some just for any time snacking.  Starting with these soft, cakey, chocolatey and lovely red brownies topped with a creamy and sweet cream cheese frosting pairing beautifully with these red bars.  The pop of bright white against red velvet is always stunning and super appropriate for this chocolate laden, heart adorned holiday.  Plus, these just taste so darn good!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Funfetti Fudge

Happy Birthday to me!  Dave is pretty handy in the kitchen, but much as I love him I've never gotten a birthday baked good or special treat from him. I think he might be afraid. Which is perfectly fine.  But this year I decided I wanted to make my own birthday treat and when I spied this yummy little nugget, I knew this is what I wanted for my birthday goody.  A smooth fudge with lots of birthday cake flavor with oodles of sprinkles throughout.  This fudge was so simple, I think it will become a birthday staple, for me and everyone else.  I'm not sure I've made anything else that is so delicious and so very easy to make.  Why wouldn't I make it all the time?  I mean, it's gotta be someone's birthday.