Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Another Nutter Butter Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookie - bar?

"Have another nutter butter peanut butter sandwich cookie" - SING IT WITH ME!

I have the hardest time getting a good picture of food.

Found this recipe from Crazy for Crust. I found Crazy for Crust through a link party today LAST Saturday (I hate getting so busy that I don't finish things until more than a week later) and started browsing around until I found this little gem. Combining all sorts of deliciousness - brownies, Nutter Butter cookies and melted chocolate chips. Yum!

I'm not going to lie, we jumped to make these as soon as we saw them. I was supposed to be heading out of town, but this took priority. Literally as soon as L saw me looking at this we decided we would run to the store and get these done. Unfortunately they had to chill before eating them (of course I took one small piece before they were done). He was a good boyfriend and didn't touch them anymore until I got back in town. But once we started - oh they were delicious. Rich, thick, peanut buttery and fudgy (which apparently is not a real word, no matter if you put an 'e' before the y or not).

Nutter Butter Brownie Bars
1 Box of Brownie Mix
Eggs, oil and water (as per brownie mix)
25 Nutter Butter cookies
*1 1/2 cups butter
1 cup of chocolate chips
splash of heavy whipping cream

*The original recipe calls for 5 ounces of cream cheese but L hates cream cheese and won't eat it. So instead we substituted butter to make it more like a crust.

Make brownies as it says on the box. Make them in a square pan such as 9x9, don't make in a 9x13 as we did. That throws off the numbers for everything else.  Let them cool a bit.
Crush Nutter Butter cookies and combine with butter or cream cheese - whichever you are using.
Spread this over the brownies.
Melt (using a double boiler, preferably) chocolate chips. Add heavy whipping cream and mix together. Spread this over the nutter butter mix.
Let these cool in the fridge for a good while.
Slice up and enjoy!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Quick Tasty Meals - Taco Pasta

About a year or two ago, I created a dish I called taco pasta. I took things I had - ground beef, taco seasoning, canned tomatoes, and ditalini (small , cylindrical pasta). I browned the beef with the taco seasoning, added the rest and done. It was pretty great.

Tonight, however, I decided to step up the health some. Here's to my new Taco Pasta.
Grab a box of whole wheat pasta - I happened to have some rotini lying around. I apparently like to use little or "ini" pastas. Clearly I speak Italian. We also had tacos earlier this week so I already had some seasoned taco meat. After all, there are only two of us and even though L eats a lot, we still don't polish off two pounds of meat in one setting.   Then I had a can of "diced" tomatoes. I put diced in quotes because, if you look at the picture, those are clearly cubed; they're way to large to be diced. To up the health, I added some frozen spinach that I had left over from my Green Monster. Lastly, I threw in a can of chick peas for good measure. (I hope the skimmers appreciate that I put the important stuff in bold. I also hope fellow teachers appreciate it - it is very similar to the highlighting step used for test questions.)

This meal was delish! The seasoning from the taco meat really stood out and didn't fight with the pasta because it was whole wheat. Last time I had wheat pasta I wasn't a fan, but the flavors in this were so strong the pasta was merely the vehicle for everything else. Isn't that the way it should be, anyway? I served it (to myself only, L had a big bowl of mac-n-chese. Boy does he fight my fit efforts.) with a slice of plain rye bread. I say plain because it had no butter - otherwise it is glorious, flavorful, simply awesome slice of Jewish heaven. What a dinner.

I would love to cook with more fresh things but L is rarely an adventurous eater. On the other hand, nights like this I absolutely love to have my cabinets stocked with some canned goods. I can't find the post I thought I wrote, so I will have to tell you another time why crushed/diced/whole canned tomatoes are my favorite to keep around. Clearly it has to do with how many different ways I can use them. AND I DON'T EVEN LIKE TOMATOES! Well, I do, but not raw. Hence the cans.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

My Greenie Meanie

This is a post of some firsts

Now, don't worry about the water glass in the back, the Game Informer mags (which belong to L, I promise) or the Thin Mint cookies (can I blame them on him, too?). That's not the focus of the picture. But that yummy Green Monster Margarita is!  I originally found this from Clair on her blog Finding Clairity, a recipe she shared from Angela's Green Monster Movement. I will admit that I, too, was very scared of this roaring green beverage. I wanted to try it. Well, more like I wanted to want to try it. Eventually I said "you know what? Just do it! This might help you be healthy!" I have to use a lot of exclamations when I talk to myself because I use a lot of emphasis. If I don't, I won't listen to myself.

So I did it. The one posted on her website is for a post-workout (check-yes!) banana (every smoothie should have a banana base) and pumpkin (I LOVE this, even outside of Christmas time) concoction. Plus some green, of course. I didn't have everything, so the recipe below is my adaptation of Clair's adaptation.

My FIRST Greenie Meanie Green Monster

1 cup frozen spinach
1 quite ripe banana
*1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
14 drops liquid Stevia (because the yogurt has more flavor to sweeten than other milk products)
1 liberal dash of salt
1 good bit of pumpkin pie spice (because I never seem to have all of the necessary pumpkin flavors. I'm not sure what happens to them - sometimes I can find nutmeg in my cupboard, sometimes ground cloves, but never both that the same time)

I really love pumpkin so I added more after tasting it. It's all to taste, really.

Directions: blend!

Isn't that easy?? Just make sure you blend it well because you don't want to be chomping on the spinach. It's just there for health and base.

 The other reason I was excited to try this is because I recently won a giveaway (also from Finding Clairity) and just yesterday got it in the mail! I got 3 bottles of liquid Stevia from Nu Naturals - vanilla, lemon and orange. Clair posts so many delicious looking recipes made healthier by using liquid Stevia instead of sugar and I have been dying to try them! I'm serious, you should go check out her recipes - they are amazing! Or so they sound/look. And she says so and I trust her completely. The Stevia was awesome - it did sweeten my smoothie. I'm not saying this was delish right off the bat - it definitely took a few bites to get use to. Around bite (yes, I keep saying bite because I ate it with a spoon. Again, thick Greek yogurt vs. another milk product will do this) 3 or 4 I started to come around. For my first attempt at a Green Monster I was very satisfied.

This is great for a post-workout beverage. The banana gives you the sugar and potassium, plus protein and calcium from the Greek yogurt - just straight health all around.

I know you don't really *want* to try it, but when I tell you that it tastes good, how could you not be curious enough to give it a whirl?

"My entry into Once Upon a Weekend sponsored by Appliances Online and their FridgeFreezers."

Monday, May 14, 2012

Crazy Busy

 Crazy busy and I wouldn't have it any other way. Friday I took off work to bake some cakes and then L and I went horseback riding! I love having new adventures with him. Saturday I was up at 5:30 with more baking, worked during the day and then chaperoned our 8th grade semi-formal that night. It was such an awesome experience when I was an 8th grader that I really wanted to do the same for my 8th graders. They looked so good! Corsages, some guys had tuxes (one wore a white tux WITH TAILS!), their first time in dresses and/or heels - such a great experience for these young people. It was a long few days but so worth it!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Spring Walk

Back in February, I posted the pictures from my Winter Walk on the Huckleberry Trail. I also promised some spring time comparison pictures, and here they are! I love the history of this trail, of this whole area, with it's coal mining heritage. So much stop and read if you want, beautiful sites to see, or just a wonderful place to run and be at peace. I love this trail because every time I'm on it, I fall in love again! (Too cheesy?)
Walking towards my favorite bridge
Wood covered bridge

If you can't tell - there is still coal all over this trail

This is the same bridge from the winter walk picture. It's the halfway point on the Coal Miner's Loop

You can probably see how this trail has helped me fall in love with running. And walking. And southwest Virginia. I hope wherever I move next I can find another trail to explore.