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Cooking All the Things

My summertime running around has been curtailed a bit thanks to a headache that continues to simmer because of my recent run-in with a wall.

That hasn’t diminished my efforts in the kitchen, though.  I’ve been busy trying new recipes and experimenting a little.

Saturday, I found a very, very ripe banana on the kitchen counter.  Coincidentally, I had an email waiting for me.  In it was a recipe for Vegan Banana Pancakes, from LovingitVegan.

They didn’t require many ingredients and were really easy to mix up.  I’ve tried a few vegan pancake recipes in the past and have had issues with them getting fluffy.  This recipe worked well, though.

Later that day, I pulled out something I’d ordered a couple of weeks before . . .

That is the Snack Bar Maker Set, by Pampered Chef.  Someone in the Detoxinista Facebook group had posted a photo of hers, along with bars she’d made in them.  I knew I had to have this.

I love that it’s silicone and can be used in the oven.  I also really like the cover.  It came with a spatula too!

I’d had my eye on the Superfood Pecan Energy Bars that A Couple Cooks, which they had recently posted.

Mine don’t look like theirs, of course, but I think I know why.  I believe that I over-blended the mixture.  The next time I make these, I’ll use my Vitamix to blend up the dates and pecans before hand-mixing the rest of the ingredients.

They look a little like Larabars, don’t they?  The consistency isn’t crunchy, like I’d anticipated, but the taste is wonderful!  There is a tiny bit of a crunch because of the chia seeds, but I’m really looking for more of a granola bar type of crunch.  I found a recipe for No-Bake Granola Bars on the Pampered Chef website.  The Big Man’s World also has a lot of recipes for granola bars.

On Monday, I tried a new recipe, which I saw posted on Instagram.  Dang, that social media and the pressure it brings.

Speaking of social media . . .

Here’s the Healthy Flourless Cinnamon Bun Breakfast Cake – another recipe by The Big Man’s World, which he posted on Instagram (the recipe is on his website too).

I love this one!  The cake is a great texture, and it rose beautifully.  It’s also very moist!  The cinnamon flavor is subtle but still discernible.  Now the icing – well, it’s meh.  I tried his cream cheese option, but it didn’t turn out like I expected.

I made his Paleo version for the Mr. and adapted it for the Mr.’s SCD diet.

I should have left well alone.  The cake looked and smelled delicious, but I worried that the Mr. would want frosting, so I did some experimenting and created my “own” recipe from a combination of a couple of others I found online.

I used dairy-free butter, honey, vanilla, peanut butter, and cinnamon.

It looked pretty, and while the Mr. liked the cake itself, he was not as keen on the frosting.  He said it didn’t have enough flavor.

I really need to stick with coloring inside the lines.

After I’d finished making the desserts, it was time to think about my dinner.  Before heading to the grocery store yesterday morning, I’d flipped through my Instant Pot recipe book and found a recipe for Lentil-Spinach Curry.

The list of ingredients was short (always a win), and I put it together very quickly.  It was ready in about 40 minutes when I factor in sauteeing the vegetables and the actual cook time.

The only thing I had to add after-the-fact was salt and pepper, which the recipe surprisingly didn’t require.

It was delicious, and I ate a bowl of leftover curry for lunch today.  Yum!

A Savory Treat

Last night, my doorbell rang.

Ok, so this is not an unusual occurrence…especially with my kids being teens.

However, what was unusual was that when I opened the door, I saw one of my neighbors…the one who had planted the beautiful Knock-Out Roses between our yards.  In her hand was this:

It’s Jerk Chicken Salad.

I could immediately smell it, and I started salivating.

She explained that she had made way too much for her family to consume, and she asked if we would be interested in finishing it off.

Are you kidding?

Free food…that someone else prepared…that actually looks edible (as opposed to the dishes I regularly prepare)?

It was all I could do to keep myself from grabbing that plate and slamming the door on her.

Yeah, that’s how eager I was.

The kids weren’t home, which was good.  More for the Mr. and me.  He came into the room to investigate, took one look at the plate, and saddled up…armed with a napkin.

The easiest way to eat these is as if you are holding a taco, with the thick stem end held away from your body.

That first bite was AMAZING!  The blend of fruits and jerk seasoning combined for a delectable eating experience.  The second, third, and fourth bites were equally delicious as we discovered the flavors of the other ingredients.  We each scarfed down one and looked longingly on the others.  We were full but wanted to be able to walk away from the table, as opposed to being rolled back to the couches.

I totally understand the phrases that food critics use on the Food Network.

I decided that we couldn’t return the plate empty, so the Mr. ran to the grocery store for brownie mix.  We baked them up right away and loaded the plate with fresh, hot, chocolaty treats.

Ultimately, I was on a mission…to get that recipe!

She’s a gracious lady and gave me a Pampered Chef recipe booklet, turning the page to the recipe.  When I got home, I wanted to see if the recipe was available online, and it was!  I found it at this site.

Check it out, along with some of the other recipes there.  If you’ve ever been to a Pampered Chef party, you know the food is ALWAYS good!

Guess what I’ll be having for lunch today?

LEFTOVERS!!

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