Green Beans and Chocolate

Now that we are home the cooking can resume!

Mom has been running around the house like a humming bird on crack.  I’m not sure if it is the pain medicine or the fact that she is finally able to walk again.  Well, its still more of a shuffle, but close!

Since Christmas is this week and mom is still recovering, I’m going to hang out at her house until next weekend.  Not to mention the fact that my sisters are in town and her kitchen is better than mine.

I finally got to exercise again and it felt GREAT alright.  Apparently when you don’t exercise for 10 days, getting amped up again is difficult.

My uncle and Baby Sis were her when we arrived on Saturday, so I let them watch Mamma and ran a quick 3 miles.  It really was quick – 26 mins – but it felt like an hour.

Today was a little easier.  P90X Shoulders and Arms, followed by Ab Ripper X.  I love a good core workout.

Other than that, I have been in the kitchen.  Some healthy creations, some borderline, and some down right sinful.

Variety is the spice of life.

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The Healthy

I made a French Green Bean Salad using a Lemon- Tahini Dressing inspired by this one by Angela at Oh She Glows.

In summary – YUM.  I loved the crispiness of this salad and the tahini dressing was like hummus with a zing.  Best of all, it was super healthy and easy to make.

French Green Bean Salad

  • ~1 lb French green beans
  • 6 dried Mission figs, quartered
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • S&P (to taste)

Bring large pot of water to a boil.  Remove ends from beans and steam until bright green and still crisp.  Remove from water and place immediately in an ice bath (this will chill them and stop the cooking).  Remove from bath and dry.  Place in bowl and toss lightly with garlic salt, carrots, cucumbers, figs and parsley.

Top with crackers or pita and Lemon-Tahini Dressing.

Serves 3-4.

 

Lemon-Tahini Dressing

  • 4 T tahini
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 3/4 tsp honey
  • 3-4 T water
  • 1 tsp EVOO
  • S&P (to taste)

In a small bowl, combine tahini, honey, lemon juice, EVOO, and S&P.  Thin out with some water (add one tablespoon at a time) and stir until well combined.

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The Borderline

It is a bit of a repeat.  But this time I’ve learned a couple of tricks.

Roasted Banana Rum-Raisin Breakfast Bread

Lessons:

  • Check it at 40 mins.  Mom’s oven cooks fast.
  • Don’t skimp on the rum raisin soaking time.  They get super soft and flavorful when you actually let them soak the whole hour.
  • Use the paddle attachment in the mixing bowl.  I forgot until half way through the first time.  This loaf was much fluffier.
  • Don’t sub evaporated milk for coconut milk.  It was an emergency… but the coconut gives it more depth of flavor.

I also discovered that hot bread photographs well.

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And, back by popular demand, PB Sunflower Granola!

 

How about a little holiday cheese?

Thanks to Ann, I did get it to stick together better.  Press it down hard immediately after taking it out of the oven.  Then don’t touch it again until it is totally cool.

Ready for the sinful?

After the jump…

The Sinful

Fudge.  More specifically, peanut butter fudge.  With walnuts.

I was making something else, had the marshmallow fluff out, and thought “why not?”

The Jett-Puffed recipe has always been my go-to, but I think this one is pretty good.  It is less greasy and sugary (1/2 C less in fact)… You cant actually eat an whole square without that sugar over-dose feeling.  Whether that is good or bad, I’ll let you decide.

Because some of the marshmallow had been used, I fudged a bit on the amounts.  This is based on the recipe on the back of the Marshmallow Fluff jar, adjusted to what I had on hand and to accommodate my PB addiction.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

  • 2 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 stick butter (salted)
  • 2/3 C evaporated milk
  • 5 1/2 oz (~3/4 jar) Marshmallow Fluff
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 12-oz. Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 T peanut butter
  • 1/2 C walnuts

Line an 8-in square baking pan with aluminum foil; set aside.  In large saucepan combine the first 5 ingredients.  Stir over low heat until blended.  Increase heat to medium and bring to a full-rolling boil, stirring constantly for 5 minutes (until sugar is completely dissolved and mixture is perfectly smooth).  Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and chocolate until chocolate is melted.  Add nuts.  Barely fold in peanut butter.  Turn into lined pan and cool completely before cutting (testing a little pinch won’t hurt anything though).

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Do you have that one thing you make every year?  One your friends request?

Happy Holiday baking to all!

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