Soda Bread, historically, is a quick table bread made from buttermilk, salt, bread soda and flour. The flour can be white (for a more special occasion) or wholemeal, which would be more typical. Some of my favorite and most memorable meals in Ireland included the brown variety, steamy warm and slathered in butter. It’s typically served alongside a thick soup or salad and can even accompany the famed “Irish breakfast”.
Of course we in the States have to gussy things up a bit. Here in America, you’ll find this traditional bread made with white flour, studded with raisins or seeds, and fattened up with butter, sugar, and eggs.
I’ve got to be honest here. I’ve made several recipes over the last few weeks. Some more “gussied” than others and I have to say, that bit of sugar and knob of butter aren’t going to hurt anyone. I like my Soda Bread the exotic foreign way (though I won’t go as far as adding seeds or raisins).
This tried and true recipe is my Nanny’s. It’s really really good and really really worth it. If you’re thinking of whipping up a “traditional” soda bread for St. Patricks Day, give this one a shot. I promise you won’t regret it.
This bread comes together in so easily and you needn’t be too concerned with measurements or aesthetics. Simply add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Give them a quick mash together, turn it all out onto a greased cookie sheet (or parchment if you’re fancy) and pop the whole thing in the oven.
Smells will start to eminate. Neighbors will knock. Kids and husbands will smile.
It’s so worth it.
Nanny’s Irish Soda Bread
Makes 1 loaf
3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 Tablespoons melted butter
1 egg lightly beaten + 1 teaspoon milk (egg wash)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a cookie sheet (grease or lay parchment). Sift all dry ingredients together in a bowl. Combine eggs, buttermilk, and butter. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix with hands until just moistened. Dough will be sticky and pretty dry. Brush top of dough with egg wash.
Turn dough onto prepared cookie sheet and bake 45-55 minutes. Check often for a lightly golden bread crust. This is a dense bread. You’ll know it’s done when an inserted fork removes cleanly.
Serve warm and spread with softened butter and a seedy jam.
A couple of weeks ago I made a homemade beer bread. It was INSANE. I mean, like so wheaty and dense and buttery and delicious. The whole loaf went really quickly, like less than 12 hours quickly, and the whole family loved it. I may or may not have sent Big Zoom to preschool with a touch of alcohol in his system. Hey, he’s half European isn’t he?
No but seriously, this bread is delicious. It’s not boozy, per se, but it does have a hit of hoppiness to it. Side note: our dog is named Barley (like after one of the main ingredients in beer) and we’ve always said that if we got another dog (which we most certainly won’t right now) we’d name it Hopps. How cute! Barley and Hopps! Get it? I digress.
I’ll go ahead and claim to be the beer officiando in the family. While Mr. Zoom consumes MUCH more of the stuff than I do, he prefers something light and from a can and well, cheap. And, me? I’d take a tall dark microbrew over a cocktail or glass of wine ANY DAY OF THE WEEK.
Truth be told, I don’t really drink much at all. And, I mean that. I developed some sort of allergy (gasp) to the sulfates in wine after college (or at least my mind cleared enough to realize it was an allergy after college) and anytime I have more than 2 glasses of the stuff I get sick like a schoolgirl after a bootle of Boones Farm. We don’t really keep liquor in the house, and the kind of beer I like doesn’t lend well to trimming the waistline. So I stick to 2 or 3 bottles a week, mostly on the weekend, and it works for me. I’m not 21 anymore and a hangover + two screaming toddlers + plus an inevitable 7am wake up call just isn’t worth it.
But beer, wine, or liquor in my cooking….FAIR GAME. I’ve become obsessed with cooking with beer. In fact as we speak I’m trying to figure out how I can top a Guinness beef pie with some sort of beer bread topping. What? It’s almost St. Patricks Day! Wine in a cream sauce? Sure thing. Vodka in a marinara? Yes please. There’s something about a hint of alcohol that brings a whole new layer of flavor to a dish. It’s one I really really like.
The first thing I thought of after making a batch of this delicious beer bread was what else I could do with it. Naturally my mind immediately wandered to a Crockpot Beer BBQ Chicken recipe that I absolutely adore by How Sweet Eats. I make it once a month. At least. We eat it over rice with black beans, open-faced on soft doughy buns, in soft flour tortillas with red onions and avocado, on top of homemade pizza…I mean I could go on. So I thought, why not give the Beer BBQ Chicken a go over the buttery beer bread.
You guys. It was SPOT ON. So delicious and just different enough to make me ready for to whip up the next loaf of this bread as soon as I can. I’m thinking of dropping spoonfuls of this dough into some sort of chili like soup as dumplings. Who’s with me?
Homemade Beer Bread
Makes 1 loaf
3 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1, 12 oz bottle of beer (something you like!)
1 stick of melted butter
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray or grease 1 loaf pan. Measure dry ingredients into a medium bowl. Pour beer onto dry ingredients and mix until combined. This dough is SUPER sticky and not batter like at all. Turn dough out into loaf pan and spread it around so it’s even. Pour the entire stick (!!) of melted butter over the top. Bake at 375 for 1 hour. Your house will smell hoppy and yeasty and buttery and delicious. Remove from oven and immediately transfer to a cooling rack to avoid a burning the bottom of the loaf.
Slather with butter, cheese, smashed avocado, sliced beef….my mind is getting ahead of itself.
I’ve always loved meatloaf. I’m not entirely sure why. I know we ate it growing up but it wasn’t anything memorable (sorry Mom).
Apologies for the raw meat shot. Kind of weird, but I think it’s gorgeous.
I was reacquainted with the odd loaf during college, my roommate made a killer version glazed with BBQ sauce. Something totally new and totally delicious to me. When Mr. Zoom and I moved in together, I started cooking much more substantial meals and on a more regular basis. I’m pretty sure the first time I made him a meatloaf was after we were married and we’d moved back to the states. I’m still not sure meatloaf (like we know it) exists in Ireland.
That meatloaf was the one the recipe I used for years. Made with turkey and chock full of delicious minced veggies, it was a little untraditional. Just the way I like things. I was researching recipes a few weeks ago and came across Ina Garten’s 1770 House Meatloaf and after reading the raves & reviews I knew I wanted to try it. Apparently this is Ina’s favorite meatloaf, served at 1770 House in East Hampton (wouldn’t you just love to go there!).
And if it’s Ina’s favorite, it’s pretty much my favorite. So away we all went to the kitchen to prepare and photograph this meatloaf. I’m so loving that blog recipe testing is becoming a family affair.
This kicker for this meatloaf is the glaze. A deliciously garlicky buttery sauce which I recommend doubling. It’s that good my friends. One “serving” per person isn’t going to cut it. We were practically licking the bowl when it was gone, and had to top our leftovers with ketchup the next day.
If you are at all into meatloaf (stand proud, don’t be shy), you’ll want to give this one a shot. The recipe is quite easy and comes together quickly. We subbed out the minced veal (I mean really) for additional portions of the beef and pork and it was delicious. Serve alongside some glazed carrots and wild rice and Sunday dinner is ready to go.
Grab Ina Garten’s 1770 House Meatloaf recipe here. And do let me know how it measures up to your mother/grandmother/great aunt’s family recipe! I’d love to hear!
You might remember our Pancake Tuesday celebration from last year filled with fluffy pancakes and ooey gooey maple syrup. Pancake Tuesday American style, if you will.
This year, we changed things up a bit. You see, Mr. Zoom, isn’t a terribly big fan of American pancakes. Gigantic, fluffy, and doused in sticky syrup isn’t really his thing. I never understood it really. I mean why wouldn’t you want the biggest disc of flour served to you with a side of straight lard and then covered in sugar?
I’ve always loved Pancake Tuesday, but then I’m a sucker for tradition. I was introduced to this day while living in Ireland and spent my first at Mr. Zoom’s mother’s home. A plate of piping hot, perfectly folded, delicate pancakes was served to me with a side of lemon juice and a small bowl of pure sugar. A bit confused, I watched Mr. Zoom sprinkle his cake with both sugar and lemon juice, roll it up, and then pop it into his mouth. I followed suit and was suitable impressed.
A thin pancake. Who’d have thought?
When we moved back to the States, I tried to recreate his mother’s pancake with a box of Bisquick. And then a box of Krusteaz. Let me just tell you that big, fluffly, from the box pancakes cannot adequately handle a sprinkle of lemon and sugar as a topping. We tried. I’m not sure what took me so long, but this year I set about making serious, Irish style pancakes. I think the rest of the world might call them crepes, but hang with me here.
They were delicious. Light and delicate, they were a perfect vehicle for the sweet citrus topping we covered them in. So where do we go from here? I’m thinking Nutella, peanut butter, ham and gruyere, asparagus and a mushroom cream sauce…the possibilites are endless.
But so long as it’s Pancake Tuesday, it will always be lemon and sugar.
Irish Style Pancakes with Lemon and Sugar
Makes 15 smallish pancakes
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk (just do it)
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
Additional melted butter
Fresh lemon juice
You could probably do this in a bowl, but I like to make pancake batter in the blender for easier pouring. Mix eggs, milk, butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a blender. Slowly add flour and mix until combined. Let stand for 10-15 minutes to thicken. Heat skillet over medium high heat and brush with melted butter. Pour batter into pan and swirl to make a thin pancake. Flip. These will cook pretty quickly, about 1 minute per side.
We fold ours into fourths and keep them warm in a 350 degree oven while cooking all the batter. Serve with a sprinkle of lemon and sugar table side.
So, back to that
Pinterst Superbowl party we discussed last week. I hope you enjoyed the fancy photos that accompanied the fancy Brie Bites. Those yummies were my sweet addition to the spread. And, of course, with sweet comes savory. Or before sweet comes savory. Or whatever. Sweet and savory must be paired together. Think chocolate covered pretzels. Perfection.
I threw this awkward little baseball theme party one time when we first moved to North Carolina. We’d just moved from Ireland and lived across the street from the Durham Bulls baseball stadium in an old converted tobacco warehouse. I’d made one “sort-of” friend, a girl I met at the dog park who liked to run, and we sort of started running together a couple times a week and meeting at the dog park with our pooches. See how awkward this is already? Making friends in your mid-twenties in a new city is HARD people. Anyways, we sort of planned to go a Durham Bulls baseball game one night to introduce our husbands and then she said she wanted to invite a few other couples and since we lived right across from the stadium, I suggested everyone meet at our house for a few beers and snacks beforehand.
In keeping with the baseball theme, I had made some homemade corndogs, carmel popcorn, soft pretzels, and a pretty killer blue cheese dip. Mr. Zoom had the entire refrigerator full of beer. Yummy food and yummy beer. A perfect party in our minds. It should be noted that I’d just found out (like 3 days prior, on a Wednesday) that I was pregnant (like 4.2 weeks along-PSYCHO) with Big Zoom and was mildly (extremely) paranoid and freaked out and anxious about my “condition”. I mean, I took 5 tests.
The guests arrived promptly and for some reason I went into a complete tizzy. I was nervous and fumbling my words and translating Mr. Zoom’s Irish accent (unnecessarily) for our new best friends. I offered my “friend” the only person of the crowd I’d actually met before, a Gin and Tonic and in trying to conceal the fact that I was making hers WITH alcohol and mine WITHOUT, babbled on and on about who knows what and forgot which was which. I ended up with the boozy beverage and she probably thought I was a wimpy cocktail maker.
Long story short, we left after the 7th inning because I was exhausted from my “condition” and the complete tizzy I’d worked myself into preparing for the party. It’s silly what we do to make an impression sometimes, huh?
I’ll tell ya one thing though. The blasted corn dogs were amazing. Recreating them for the Superbowl party last weekend was a no brainer and I was happy to be sharing them with people we’ve become good friends with here in North Carolina….like we’ve actually met them before and stuff.
Beer Battered Corn Dogs
(makes about 20 dogs)
Canola Oil for frying
1 cup flour + a bit extra for dusting
2/3 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 bottle of beer (I used Blue Moon)
10-12 hot dogs, cut in half
24 wooden skewers or toothpicks (they make shorter kabob skewers now, I used those)
In a heavy bottom pot heat 4-5 inches of oil over medium heat until thermometer reaches 350 degrees. Adjust heat to maintain temperature.
Meanwhile, in a bowl combine 1 cup flour, cornmeal, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and stir together. Then add egg and 1/4 bottle of beer. Mix until a fairly think batter forms (sort of like pancake batter). Add more beer of necessary, mine needed 1/2 of a bottle. Pour the batter into a tall coffee mug f0r easy dipping.
Cut dogs in half and prepare by inserting a toothpick or skewer about 1/2 way into the dog.
Dredge the hotdogs in remaining bit of flour and shake to remove excess. Dip dogs into the batter and coat thoroughly. Drop dogs into hot oil and fry 2-4 minutes or until golden brown. I did 2 at a time. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towels to dry.
Serve with ketchup and mustard!
Is there anything in the world better than flaky puff pastry and melty delicious cheese?
Yes. There is. A Pinterest Party.
On Superbowl Sunday we were invited to a Pinterest party. Football for the guys and intense Pinterest conversation for the gals. It was right up my alley.
My Pinterest boards are full of delicious looking foods. I follow a number of my favorite food bloggers who pin recipes from their favorite food bloggers making my feed 99.99% full of yum. I’ve actually made several recipes from Pinterest; a couple dozen maybe, and generally I’ve found the results to be pretty good. Sometimes things need a bit of a tweak or a change in measurement or method, but all in all I’ve been pleased with most of my Pinterest attempts.
Um, yum. That’s just gorgeous.
This recipe was no different. Nothing to change, nothing to add, nothing to tweak. But, I’d expect nothing else from Joy of Joy the Baker. I’ve stumbled across her blog on several occasions, and am always impressed by her decadent photography, but I’m just not much of a baker. I prefer cooking, and generally leave the sweet treats alone.
I’d pinned these yummy little bites several months ago and they sat, unloved and unmade, on my “Party Food” board. I’d decided I was going to bring a sweet and a savory to the party, and these fit into the latter category perfectly.
Mr. Zoom stepped in to help with both recipes on Sunday afternoon which was such a treat. The kids were asleep and we had a small window of time to get the two recipes prepared and cooked before we had to leave the house. Mr. Zoom has several “signature” dishes (namely a delicious lasagna and a killer burger) but generally he stays well out of the kitchen (I’m bossy). I must say, it was SO nice having him help! We had fun figuring out how to cut the square and debating the best way to insert the sticks. I’d invite him back.
If you are looking for a sweet Valentines appetizer or something to serve when friends come over, these are a great bet. Perfect morning, noon, or night, you just can’t go wrong with melty brie and sweet jam in a flaky pastry pouch.
We’re on our third batch of these suckers in as many days at the Zoom house. We’ve shared with friends (not that many) and we just can’t seem to stop eating them.
They’re called cookie bars around here…we’ve got a 2 year old remember. Cookie anything is a sure bet.
We’re sort of doing this thing around here these days. You know, the thing, most everyone is doing during the month of January. The thing, where we tighten our belts just a bit (figuratively for sure, and hopefully literally as well). The thing is working out for us pretty well, I have to say. I’m monitoring Mint.com like a crazed money junkie, and Mr. Zoom and I have both ditched the holiday cookie weight.
Also you should know that it’s been freeeeezzzzing here for the past month (well really like 5 days) and it’s even snowed (about .3333 inches) and we’ve been cooped up inside with coughs and colds and fevers forever (this part is actually accurate). And because of that thing we’re doing, there is NOTHING decadent to eat in this house. So one day this week, I scoured the internet (Pinterest) for something I could make on the cheap, from items already in my pantry, that wasn’t double chocolate ganche with buttercream frosting and drizzled in brown butter (which is what I really wanted).
I came up with these. A variation of about a million homemade granola bars circling the web these days. As mentioned, I’ve made these three times, with three different methods, and they are all good. I consider this the base recipe. Add anything you want. I’m thinking S’mores….who’s with me?
The recipe calls for peanut butter. Yum. Peanut butter. If you live in a peanut free house, I suggest Cookie Butter from Trader Joe’s. This stuff, you guys, is AMAZING. I mean, you could certainly go for Sunbutter, or Almond Butter, or Apple Butter, or anything else you usually use, but I’m telling you, I made a batch with Cookie Butter to test for a sweet peanut free friend of ours and dang, that batch was good.
This recipe is super easy, no baking required, and makes about 20 bars. Some math whiz did the numbers and proclaimed to Google that these cost $.08 per bar. I choose to believe that factoid. It makes the fact that I’ve eaten so many seem less indulgent. I’d like to proclaim that there are only 20 calories per bar too. I swear.
These will keep airtight for about a week. At least that’s what the internet says. Ours haven’t lasted more than 24 hours.
Homemade Granola Bars
makes 20 bars
4 cups oats (use rolled, not quick cooking)
2 cups crispy rice cereal (or Cocoa Pebbles. I won’t judge, they went in my first batch!)
1/2 cup honey
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter (or whatever sub you want)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
3 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
Mix dry ingredients. Put wet ingredients into a small saucepan and bring to boil, stirring. Dump wet on dry. Mix. Pour on foil (or parchment, if you’re fancy) lined cookie sheet (the kind with a slight edge). PRESS DOWN TIGHTLY. The mixture should be about a half and inch thick and pressed in pretty hard. I fold the foil over and press down after I’ve flattened with my spatula. Place in fridge for 30-45 minutes or until firmed up a little bit. Cut into bars or squares. Store in airtight container on counter for easy access (or in fridge if you can manage).
Way back (like 5 years ago) when I moved to that faraway foreign land (well, not really that foreign I mean they do speak english there) to meet my one-in-a-million (err…internet) boyfriend I was scared and excited and terrified of what the year (turned into 3) abroad’s experiences would bring. I was leaving behind a strong circle of girlfriends and was more than a little nervous about how I’d fit in with hip and fashionable and confident European women. My first real experience with an Irish girl (that sounds really weird) was stinted and awkward. She was my housemate, and totally neurotic and from a tiny tiny country town in the south of Ireland. As a result, I mostly abstained from Irish girls for the next year entirely. I’m not sure where the disconnect was. I certainly was self-conscious of my “American-ness” and perhaps they found me terribly unfashionable and loud. Who knows, but as a result of studying and then working at an American college I found a fantastically wonderful American girl who became like an older sister to me and I was a happy camper.
I eventually ended up taking a job with an Irish company and found my self surrounded by real live Irish (shock!) people. It was game time. Do or die. 50% of the people employed there were likely to be women and I had to put my game face on and step up to the big scary Irish girl scenario I’d fabricated in my mind. And then one day, during my second week at that job, a sunny Irish girl sat down across the pod from me. Her name was Aoife and I was thankful I’d asked for pronunciation lessons prior to our meeting. Otherwise, things could have gone quite differently.
I’m happy to report that after much research, I’ve found that Irish girls aren’t scary at all! In fact, they are pretty awesome. I suggest you go find one. Bonus points if she’s now living in Australia! Everyone…meet my friend Aoife (pronounced:eeeeeeee-fa)! She writes an insanely delicious blog called Yumbolicious and is really a fantastic foodie. We may or may not have been know to sneak off after work to the “Italian” area of town and nom on giant plates of antipasto and chilled wine. And what’s even better is she’s an incredible cook who develops her own recipes. Like actually makes them up in her head which is kind of a big deal. Enjoy this delicious recipe she’s created especially for you all and be sure to check out her blog for more yummy-ness. Thanks a million Aoife!
Way back in January 2008, in Dublin, I had just started a big scary new job. While I was sitting at my new desk, totally trying to be all cool and professional, a bouncy head popped out from behind my computer and said HEYA in the biggest, smiliest, American accent you could imagine. The owner of said head saw through my façade in an instant (well in fairness, it wasn’t very good), and proceeded to ask me, oh about twenty million-bazillion questions. Within 10 seconds we established that we both loved Etsy, dippage, making grandiose plans, coffee and of course goat’s cheese. An instant friendship was formed. I think the goat’s cheese was the real clincher.
In case you haven’t guessed already, the head belonged to Mrs Zoom.
Since then, we’ve both moved to sunnier parts of the world; so I was delighted when Mary started writing Where’s the Zoom, as it gives a lovely window into her life in The States. It also gives the rest of the world an insight into how ideas just pour out of this woman’s head. How she manages to balance three boys (big and little), photography, cooking and blogging; and all so well, I’ll never know.
So when she asked me to write a guest post, I (understandably!) freaked out a wee bit. What would I cook? Eek! How would I ever take decent photos? Stress! What would I write? Oh holy god!
It nearly all got too much for me, I just had to sit down with a glass of wine to clear my head.
I decided on a baked cheesecake, because it’s all kinds of yumbo, and everyone likes it, right? Also, it gives you lovely folks up there in the northern hemisphere a chance to use some juicy summer berries. I’ve used raspberries – yum!
I’ve adapted a recipe from Donna Hay, who is pretty much the Martha Stewart of Australia. But Martha Stewart or not, I still had to tweak the recipe, I think it might actually be a compulsion. I love love love the nutty base of this cheesecake, it’s so much better than a base made with shop-bought biscuits, and I’ve used wholemeal flour instead of white, to give it a little extra crunch. I’ve also omitted the vanilla and seriously dialled back on the lemon juice to compensate for the juicy berries, but I feel you could really do your own thing with this. You could also decorate this with more summer berries and a dash of honey and enjoy it for a chilled, summer-time desert.
If you squint, the photos will look almost similar to Mary’s usual standard, but I assure you the cake tastes great! Aoife: thank you!!! Cannot wait to try this!
Raspberry and almond Baked Cheesecake
This is supposed to serve 10, but clearly those 10 people have much more self-control than me!
For the base:
40 g (1/4 cup) ground almonds
105 g (2/3 cup) wholemeal flour
55 g (1/4 cup) caster sugar
90 g (1/2 cup) butter, softened and chopped
For the filling:
330 g (1 1/2 cups) cream cheese, softened
500 g (2 1/4 cups) ricotta, well drained
295 g (1 1/4 cups) sugar
½ tbsp grated lemon rind
squeeze of lemon juice
1½ tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
1½ tbsp water
60 g (1/3 cup) fresh or frozen raspberries and additional for serving or decorating
First off, you’ll need to make the base so stick on the oven to 150 °C (300F). In one large bowl, mix together the ground almonds, flour and sugar. Rub the softened butter into this mixture until it’s all absorbed and a dough begins to form. Grease and line with baking paper the base of a 20 cm-round (8 inch round) dish or tin (with a removable base if you prefer). Spread the almond and flour base mix evenly across the bottom of this dish and press down firmly using your fingers. Bake for about 15 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Set aside and allow to cool.
To make the filling, place the cream cheese, ricotta, sugar, lemon juice and rind into a bowl (or a food processor) and mix together gently until smooth. Next add in the eggs, one at a time until well combined. Mix together the cornflour and water until smooth and add this to the cheese mixture (apparently this helps prevent the cake from cracking too much as it cools, nice one!). Lightly mix everything together until smooth. Add in the raspberries last of all but do not over mix, you want the lovely juices to create a marbled effect, which is quite a different thing to a pink cheesecake! Pour over the cooled base and tap the tin lightly to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 1 hour at 150 °C (300F), then turn off the oven and let the cake stand in the remaining warmth for another hour. Refrigerate until cold and serve with some more raspberries and maybe some honey, if you fancy it.
We try to eat vegetarian a couple of times a week, so I’m always trying to come up with ways to creatively fill our tummys without resorting to a ton of processed meat free foods. I’ve discussed my love of roasted sweet potatoes before, and I’m throwing a couple of these guys into the oven at least once a week to add to rice bowls or babyfood.
Last week, after scouring the pantry for something I could quickly throw together for dinner, I found a can of seasoned black beans and a lonely sweet potato. We’ve always got tortillas on hand so I thought I’d spice up our typical rice bowl routine, and put together these quesadillas.
And then they looked so pretty, and the light was just right, and my kiddo’s were SCREAMING, so I decided I’d take a mommy-time-out and go outside on the front porch with my dinner and take some pictures. I’m sure the neighbors think I’m crazy. Dog barking, kids crying, mom photographing a quesadilla. The white van and straighjacket are probably on their way here right now.
Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadillas
1 medium sized sweet potato, peeled and chopped into bite sized pieces
1 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili power
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 can seasoned black beans
salsa, sour cream, avocado, shredded cheese, lettuce tomato
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Mix together sweet potatoes, spices, and oil until well coated. Spread in an even layer on a baking sheet lined with foil. Roast in oven for 30 minutes or until tender and slightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside.
Heat black beans in small saucepan until warm.
Slightly mash sweet potatoes so you can spread them onto one tortilla. Sprinkle with black beans and shredded cheese and top with a second tortilla. Toast in a large frying pan over medium high heat flipping until tortillas have browned and cheese is melted. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
Cut into pizza wedges and top with more shredded cheese, salsa, sour cream, avocado, lettuce and tomato or whatever else you’d like!
Get ready to eat some cookies. Or “energy balls”. Or whatever you decide you want to call them. I just call them yum.
I have this friend. He’s kind of big time. He works for this big time publishing house in San Francisco and has meetings with the biggest of big time “cool” companies. Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, Land of Nod, Williams Sonoma. Basically all my favorite places. He’s infinitely hip and took me on as his “pet” project many times during my
terrifying awesome adolescent and teenage years. If it weren’t for him, I’d still be wearing Eddie Bauer sweater vests and sporting some sweet tunnel bangs. I’m not even kidding. He pretty much saved my life. And, he loved Dawson’s Creek as much as I did, even if he’d never admit it.
When the babies were born, he took them on as well sending care packages full of cool American Apparel onesies, sweet books, and rocket ship building projects. I’m not sure what we’d do without him. Certainly we’d not be nearly as well dressed.
A few weeks ago he sent me a link to these Energy Balls. They are vegan and gluten free and even though we’re not, I decided I’d make them immediately. And then they were so good and gobbled up in mere hours that I decided I’d make them again.
The first time I made these I used the flaxseed but subbed in regular oats and regular chocolate chips. Delicious. The second time, per my super cool friend’s recommendation, I used toasted walnuts instead of the flaxseed. Um yum. I suggest you make them the super cool way. You won’t be sorry.
Don’t mind Big Zoom above. We’re working on manners people. Two years old is tough for this kind of stuff. Especially when there is chocolate involved. We ate them as balls but also alongside vanilla ice cream. The were gone by bed time. Next time I’m making a double batch.
No Bake Chocolate Chip Cookie Balls
Makes 12 balls
(adapted from Honest to Nod)
1 cup oats
1 cup toasted coconut flakes
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup honey
Mix well. Refrigerate “dough” for at least 1/2 hour. When chilled scoop dough with ice cream scooper or spoon into balls.
Eat. Die. Make another batch. These are really good and really quick.
For all my nut, dairy, and gluten free friends: these are so easy to adapt. Gluten free oats, vegan chocolate chips, and any peanut butter substitute (sunflower, soy nut) you like.