Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Maple & Chia Pumpkin Bars


Maple & Chia Pumpkin Bars
Every fall when I post my first pumpkin recipe, I write about how nothing says autumn like pumpkin spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and of course, pumpkin.  But here it is the end of September and I have been too busy to even bake my first pumpkin recipe.  I am not sure when or why I came up with this twist on my all time favorite Pumpkin Brownie recipe, but it's a definite keeper. From past recipes, you know how much I love chia seeds, especially in baked goods where I love the chewy texture, and nutritional boost they give to even the sweetest of treats.  This recipe calls for a little less sugar than a lot of my pumpkin desserts, but they taste just as good.  I actually love the slightly less sweet nature of this recipe as it makes a satisfying breakfast or a perfect afternoon snack.  Of course you could definitely add a thin layer of cream cheese frosting and a few cinnamon sprinkles and make it even more delectable. (next time!) I originally used granulated maple sugar in this recipe, which adds a wonderful flavor, but definitely costs a bit more, so a combination of organic brown and/or white sugar would work as well. And if you don't like chia seeds, you can definitely substitute 2 or 3 eggs to help bind the bars together. I've actually added a couple of eggs in addition to the soaked chia once as well to make them a little more dense. And they are great with walnuts added in for an extra protein and flavor boost. My kids love these for snacks, and your house will smell like the taste of fall for hours after you bake them. Happy Pumpkin Spice Season everyone!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Spicy Thai Noodle Soup


Spicy Thai Noodle Soup
 As the weather begins to turn cooler, nothing tastes better and fills you up without weighing you down that a piping hot bowl of soup.  The other night I was watching the season premiere of Anthony Bourdain's show Parts Unknown where he visits Vietnam, and eats bowl after bowl of noodle soup.  While this recipe is not Vietnamese, it is a spicy bowl of flavorful noodles and vegetables that definitely satisfied my craving.  I had originally planned to make a version of my Spicy Chipotle Bean and Corn Chili for dinner last night, but I had brown rice noodles and green curry paste that I needed to use, so I came up with this instead.  I incorporated the super spicy red chili peppers into it because they are the last things growing in my backyard garden, and despite them being extremely hot, I love the flavor that they add.  My husband, who can usually handle more spice than me, actually had a little trouble finishing his large portion soup, but I loved it, and kept reminding him that hot peppers are good for your metabolism.  So you can either eat more, or lose weight while eating plenty, whichever you desire. ;) And I know for certain, that after my left over bowl is gone later today, I'll be putting the ingredients back on my shopping list to make again very soon.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Dark Chocolate Pecan Bars

Dark Chocolate Pecan Bars
I came across this recipe as I was going through a bunch of the blog drafts that I have been saving for the past few months.  I knew I had made it back in the Spring, but I couldn't find any pictures saved. That's when I remembered that these were so delicious and I was so excited making them that I never took any photos before they were completely eaten (which didn't take very long at all, less than a day I believe).  So I figured I better make another batch, remember to take photos, and maybe savor them a little longer, if possible.  I do have to admit though, that the recipe shown uses cashew butter instead of pecan butter, because as I always say, you can often use whatever you have on hand at the time and substitute things in a recipe, especially nut butters, whenever needed. I didn't feel like going to the grocery store that I sometimes feel that I live at, this morning, and I had a jar of cashew butter with a "best before" date less than a month away, so I figured that would work.  And, as you can see by the photos, it certainly did.  As usual, anything made from scratch tastes better, so if I had raw nuts, like pecans, or cashews on hand, pureeing them in the food processor would have been a nice step, but jarred varieties, provided they have no, or very few other ingredients, work just as well.  I ate one large piece before going out for a walk today, and gave my kids each a piece when they got home from school.  The rest are being saved for snacks tomorrow or going into the freezer, so I can have a treat at a later date as well.  If you want to know exactly what they taste like, think of a super gooey, fudgy brownie, that melts in your mouth.  Ya, that good.