Butter Bean Salad w. Pickled Peppers
Last Saturday I was clueless as to what to make for dinner. My husband was at work and had taken the car, so I could only use what I had in my kitchen. Normally that isn’t an issue but since we returned from vacation a few weeks ago, we haven’t done a big grocery excursion. The fridge was
pretty sparse a barren wasteland. I had brought home some chicken breasts the day before and that was as far as I had gotten in menu planning.
As dinner time approached, I went on the hunt for a side dish, any side dish, but I kept striking out. No potatoes, no rice, and the only noodles I could find were for lasagna.
Then I remembered the butter beans that I had bought after making this salad a few months ago. I loved the dish so much I immediately added a few cans of the mild and creamy beans to my pantry in case I wanted to make it again. Since I didn’t have any of the ingredients for the original salad (of course), I knew I’d have to utilize what I did have.
A thorough fridge sweep and here’s what I came up with: garlic, celery, 1/8 of an onion (seriously?), green onions (yay!), pickled peppers (double yay!), a tiny wedge of Manchego cheese, a bit of Bibb lettuce and a lemon. Hm, I thought, this might actually work…
Homemade chewy granola bars
I’ve been on an oat and flax kick lately — making lots of granola, oatmeal and those no-bake energy balls that you see all over Pinterest. I’ve also played around with some granola bars, including the cherry almond ones that I made a month or so ago. They were delicious, but it’s hard for me to just keep making the same thing over and over, no matter how tasty it is.
So it should come as no surprise that when I saw a recipe in Food & Wine for Cranberry Pumpkin Seed Energy Bars, I decided to give them a go. And if you’ve been reading my blog at all, it should also not come as a surprise that I made some changes to the recipe.
Homemade Cherry Almond Granola Bars
There’s a definite line between good healthy food and bad healthy food. I’ve been on a kick recently to try to make things healthier (yeah, yeah, New Year’s resolutions) and it’s had some interesting moments. Good things have come of it — I’ve discovered that I really love flax seeds, that baking with whole wheat flour isn’t scary and that coconut oil is possibly the best thing ever.
But bad decisions have also been made.
Have you ever cooked something so singly terrifying that you instantly feel ashamed of yourself? I recently traumatized my co-workers with a batch of (oh
god Sean — please don’t judge me for this!) white bean blondies. Yes. I said it, white. bean. blondies. As in I took something that should have been filled with butter, sugar and eggs and used a can of pureed white beans instead.
I even used a well-tested recipe filled with comments like “no one ever guessed there were beans in here” and “these taste better than the real thing.” Those people are liars. They tasted exactly like beans — trust me, they weren’t fooling anyone. And even though I placed a disclaimer by the offering noting that it was both “vegan and gluten-free” (which really should have been enough of a warning), I was still a little worried I was going to get lynched.
A muffin among friends
I buy a lot of bananas — way more than I could ever hope to eat. Sometimes it happens on accident (I buy some the same day my husband does) and other times it’s intentionally on a whim (damn you, Costco), but the outcome is still the same — a corner of my counter is constantly piled high with bananas in various stages of ripeness. The good news is that I am always happy when I have a few extra bunches hanging out.
One reason is because they are a healthy snack — nutritious, full of potassium and excellent in both my morning oatmeal and my after-work smoothie.
Another reason is because I love to make this cake:
Slice of Heaven — Upside Down Caramel Walnut Banana Cake
Clearly, these two reasons are at odds with each other.
And the first week of the new year, after I have finally polished off the last of the Christmas cookies, seemed like a terrible (albeit still tempting) time to make this cake. After all, while I was sitting at the bar on New Year’s Eve, waiting for my husband to get off work, he made this for me to snack on: