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In pursuit of getting one step closer to crossing off #8 off of my 30 before 31, I pulled out a cookbook I received for Christmas from my brother-in-law and his girlfriend. It’s chock full of chocolaty perfection, and I was eager to make something Andy and I could quickly grab as a snack in between running errands and our household chores.
After perusing the book for a few minutes, I landed on this tea bread. It was pretty simple to whip up, and I thought with a couple of tweaks it would be pretty perfect for us.
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 4 eggs lightly beaten
- 8 oz semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup craisins
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- zest of one orange
- 2 cups self rising flour
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a loaf pan and line the bottom with baking parchment.
- Cream together butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time, fully incorporating each. If the mixture starts to curdle beat in 1-2 tablespoons of the four.
- Mix in the chocolate, the crasins, the pecans, the vanilla and the orange zest. Sift the flour and gently fold into the mixture.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan and create a small well down in the center with the back of a spoon.
- Place loaf pan in the preheated oven and bake for 50 minutes to an hour.
- Leave to cool in pan for 5 minutes then carefully turn our to finish cooling.
- Serve in thin slices.
- At first glance, it looks like I changed a lot of this recipe, and to a certain extent ,that is true. I replaced three of the ingredients because of Andy’s food allergies and my absolute disdain of raisins, but I tried to stay close to the original recipe by swapping them for items that wouldn’t alter the integrity. There was still chocolate, dehydrated fruit, and nuts, so I think it all came out pretty true in the end.
- I left my bread in the full hour, and it came out a little drier than I like, which isn’t a problem if you are actually serving this with tea, but I think next time I’ll cut 5-10 minutes off the cook time.
My mom is planing to visit in a couple of weeks and I am already planning my shopping list and menu. While Andy doesn’t mind the vegetarian fare, I try not to “inflict” my dietary restrictions on house guests. Not that I think every non-vegetarian has to have meat in every meal, but coming from me it can sometimes be misconstrued as trying to trick them or force them into my way of doing things. While I’ll still probably pick up some bacon and chicken (or something along those lines) I did find a meat-free meal that we can all enjoy. Featured on Cupcakes and Cashmere, these Mediterranean bites are a great way to make sure there is a little something for everyone.
All images from here.
As bad as things can be at my job, more often than not I can walk out of the office at the end of the day and not have to bring my work home with me. Lately, my poor husband hasn’t been so lucky. With deadlines looming, he has been spending his evenings coding or reviewing data, answering emails while getting ready for work in the mornings and skipping lunch a few days a week to get in a little more production time between meetings.
For the most part there really isn’t much I can do, computers are not my forte and other than providing an ear when he needs to “talk through” certain bits I’m pretty useless. So of course I had to grasp onto the one thing I could help with, lunch. After making a noon time meal out of the “desk snacks” I bullied him into taking the last few weeks, he finally decided to start packing an actual lunch. Since he is a grown man, he insisted on making his own sandwich this morning, but he did let me tuck in a bag full of the Honey Cinnamon Roasted Chickpeas I made yesterday.Watching him get into his car with his laptop in one hand and his Starwars Lunchbox in the other was so damn cute!
1 (15 ounce can) chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Drain chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and rinse them under cold water until starch is removed. Place chickpeas on a paper towel to dry. You can peel of the skins if you wish.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, cinnamon, and sugar. Place chickpeas in bowl and stir until all of the chickpeas are evenly coated. Spread out the chickpeas on a large baking sheet and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until chickpeas are crunchy and no longer soft in the middle.
4. Place hot, roasted chickpeas in a small bowl and coat evenly with honey. Spread chickpeas back out on baking sheet and allow to dry. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Note: I would suggest shifting the chickpeas around on the cookie sheet about 20 minutes in to help them cook a little more evenly.
Recipe and images from here.
The diet gods have smiled down on me and I have a new favorite snack food! Kale chips, rich delicious crispy baked kale chips. Normally, I’m not a huge fan of greens (collards, mustard, turnip, ect.) and whenever I’d heard kale discussed in the past, the flavor was likened to the very veggies I’d spent my childhood avoiding, so I decided I really wasn’t interested. A few days ago I happened to be at a friends house when some random cooking show was doing a special on healthy snack food. Kale chips were one of the main things on the menu and when I saw the bag of pre-chopped kale in the produce department yesterday I thought, “what the heck.” I am so pleased with the results.
- 1 bunch (about 6oz) of kale
- 1 tblsp olive oil
- Salt to taste
- Preheat oven to 300°F. Rinse and dry the kale, then remove the stems and tough center ribs. Cut into large pieces, toss with olive oil in a bowl.
- Arrange leaves in a single layer on a large baking sheet, then sprinkle with salt.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until crisp. Place baking sheet on a rack to cool.
Easy right? Here are some tips and variations that worked well for me:
- Buy a bag of pre-chopped kale, I have a huge bag in the fridge so that I can just pull a couple handfuls when I need them.
- I used fresh cracked salt and pepper to give the kale a little more kick
- A sprinkle of garam masala is a great flavor variation as well.
For the parents out there: Smitten Kitchen recommends grinding up the baked kale and sprinkling it over popcorn as a way to sneak veggies into your picky eater’s diet.
Original recipe and images from here.