Monthly Archives: October 2012

Extra Fudgy Brownies

brownies are matt’s very favorite.

he gets them for his birthday every year in place of cake.  his ideal brownie is just plain & chocolaty.

i’m not much of a brownie person myself {i like ice cream or chocolate bars better} but i do still indulge.  i prefer my brownies cake-like with walnuts, and matt likes them fudgy, sans-nuts.

this recipe definitely makes “matt” brownies. . . super rich & extra fudgy.  a glass of milk is a must with these things.

needless to say, matt loved them.

though i don’t think there was ever a brownie he didn’t like…

Extra Fudgy Brownies

adapted from: What to Cook & How to Cook it by: Jane Hornby


  • 1.5 sticks butter {or .75 cup} + a little extra for preparing pan
  • 7 oz dark chocolate, around 70% {we used 7.3 oz — 6 oz of 70% and 1.3 oz of 72%)
  • .5 cup macadamia nuts or walnuts, optional {we used walnuts, only on half — matt prefers his brownies nut-free}
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 & 1⁄3 cup sugar
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder {we like Dagoba}
  • .5 tsp salt
  • double boiler


Rub some butter all over the inside of your 9×13 baking pan, then line with parchment paper.  Heat your oven to 350°.

Melt 1.5 sticks of butter in a double boiler.  Break the chocolate into squares and add them to the melted butter.  Let the chocolate melt, stirring occasionally.  Once melted, stir until smooth and combined with butter.  Let cool.

While chocolate is cooling, roughly chop your macadamia nuts or walnuts {if using}.  Put eggs, sugar and vanilla into a large bowl, then beat with an electric mixer for 1 minute, until thick and pale.

Pour the melted chocolate into the egg mixture, stir until thoroughly combined.  Sift in the flour and add the cocoa powder and salt.  Using a spatula or large spoon, fold the dry ingredients into the egg and chocolate mixture until no flour remains.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan, then scatter nuts over the top.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until just risen around the edge and with a thin papery crust.  Use a toothpick to check –  insert toothpick into the middle of the brownies, they are done if it comes out clean.  Let brownies cool completely, then sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.  Serve with a big glass of milk and enjoy!!

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Weekend Beef Stew

just in time for the weekend, a recipe for beef stew.

tender meat, potatoes and carrots… warms you from the inside out, the perfect cold-weather meal. and the best part? you just throw the ingredients into a crockpot, watch football for a few hours, and it’s ready to go by the night-game.

this time we did just that – started it in the morning and let it cook all day, but another way to do it is start it the night before and let it cook all. night. long.

so delicious!!

Weekend Beef Stew

recipe adapted from: Rachel’s Boss’ Friend {not exactly sure who gets the credit…}


  • 2 lb stew meat, cubed {pork &/or beef, we did just beef}
  • flour {about a .25-.5 cup to dredge the meat}
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1-2 bay leaves {we used 1 large}
  • 1 tbsp coarse sea salt
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • .5 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • .5 tsp paprika
  • a dash of all spice
  • 6 carrots, peeled & sliced
  • 5-6 yukon gold or red potatoes, peeled and cut into bite size pieces {we used yukon golds}


Heat the oil in a pan on the stove.

Dredge the meat {coat with flour},add to the heated oil, and brown the meat.  Once browned, pour the meat {and any juices} into the crockpot.  Stir in the boiling water, worcestershire sauce, garlic, onion, bay leaf{or leaves}, sea salt, brown sugar, black pepper, paprika, and all spice.  Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours. {or you may choose to let it cook overnight, just make sure it’s set on low!}

Add the carrots and potatoes about 3 hours prior to serving.  We think that the longer it cooks, the better…best part is when the meat falls apart on its own.


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Pecan Butter

i never thought about making my own nut butters.  i just buy creamy peanut butter from the store and call it good.

and then i found a recipe for pecan butter.  pecan butter??  yep.  and it is  d e l i c i o u s .     who knew?

there are cashews in it too… and i don’t even like cashews…

use it as an apple dip or eat it by the spoonful {get a large spoon}

…a really large spoon.    i scraped the food processor bowl like it was brownie batter!!

Pecan Butter

recipe slightly adapted from: Edible Perspective


  • 2.5 cups pecans
  • .75 cup cashews
  • 1 tbsp + .25 tsp pure cane sugar
  • .75 tsp fine grain salt {I only had regular sea salt and it worked OK}


Preheat oven to 300°

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spread pecans and cashews on it in a single layer.  Toast in oven for 10-15 minutes, stirring once or twice.  Keep a careful eye on them!  {I am always ultra careful because pecans are easy to burn, at least for me!}  Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes.

Scoop the nuts into your food processor and turn on.  Turn off a few times to scrape down the bowl and process until you get a smooth buttery texture.  About 6-8 minutes.

Add salt and sugar and process again until smoothly mixed in.

Keep in a sealed container in a dark/dry place or your refrigerator. {we use Ball jars} …enjoy!!

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Peachy Green Strawberry Smoothie

i have always been confused by smoothie “recipes”.  why do you need a recipe? you just put whatever sounds good to you in a blender and then you drink it.  for me, this is some frozen fruit, greek yogurt, a splash of juice, and some water annnd voila! a smoothie is born.

but then i had been seeing these “green smoothies” everywhere — someone had the amazing idea to throw some leafy greens into a fruit smoothie for a veggie boost {& who doesn’t need one of those?}

after a few tries of throwing in added greens with my favorite smoothie ingredients, i believe i finally found something.  and now i understand why there are smoothie recipes in the world… because once you find a good one, you want to share it.

this one is great to start your day with, or to drink after an evening workout…whenever you choose to have one, i am sure that you’ll enjoy it… sometimes matt & i make it on days when we just need some extra vegetables  : )

Peachy Green Smoothie

an original recipe from: Matt & Rachel’s Kitchen

yield: 1-2 servings {we usually drink one each, but occasionally Matt & I will split it}


  • 5-6 frozen peach slices
  • 5 xsmall frozen strawberries {or 2 large}
  • 1 large leaf  or 3-4 small rainbow chard, spinach, or kale with stalks removed {we like to use a different one each week, rainbow chard is pictured}
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt {we like Fage 2%}
  • .5 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp orange juice
  • .25 cup cold water
  • optional add-ins:
    • 1 tbsp wheat germ
    • 1 tbsp flax seed


Add above ingredients into your blender and blend until smooth.

{note:  We use our magic bullet, and this recipe fits great in it, but a full-size blender works too!}

p.s. here’s proof that even matt likes it! —

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Cilantro Tomato Soup

one of my favorite meals is grilled cheese & tomato soup.

now, let’s up the ante   ::   tomato soup with a cilantro infusion and grilled cheese with fontina & brie.    yes.   comfort food, at it’s finest.

throw in a salad and you can call it a well-rounded meal.

busy-bees beware: this soup is not the quickest, but if you have the time, it’s worth it.

i’ll recommend that you make it on a blistery fall/winter day and slurp it up while cuddled under a blanket on the couch watching your favorite show {bonus: fireplace popping in the background} – don’t forget the grilled cheese…great for dipping.

Cilantro Tomato Soup

recipe adapted from: Kalyn’s Kitchen


  • 2 medium bundles fresh cilantro {washed}
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 small-med garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1.5 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 28oz can of dice tomatoes {Muir Glen organic fire roasted tomatoes are the best!}
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • black pepper to taste {I did 10 grinds}
  • dash of cayenne {+1 pinch for more of a kick}
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice


Prepare Cilantro: Cut 2-3 inches off the top of one cilantro bundle {you want to cut off most of the leaves, leaving just a few behind}.  Pick the leaves off the cilantro stalks and set aside about a .5 cup of leaves {this will be used for garnish}.  Finely chop the remaining leaves {great time for the slap-chop!}.   Using kitchen twine, tie the cut cilantro stalks back together along with the other full bundle of cilantro {or separately}.

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a deep, medium-sized pot {I used our 4.5 quart Le Creuset dutch oven}.  Add chopped onion and saute for 5-6 minutes.  Stir in garlic, tomato paste, cumin, and paprika until combined.  Next add entire can of tomatoes {juice included}, water, the cilantro bundle, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.

Remove pot from hot burner and allow to cool.  Once cool enough to handle, remove cilantro bundle{s} and discard.  Puree soup with a food processor or blender, working in batches if necessary.  If the consistency looks good to you, you can stop here.  It’s more of a bisque at this point, and I like it smoother.  If you want a smoother soup too, use a fine mesh strainer to work the soup through, discarding the “pulp”. {I added about a tablespoon of “pulp” into mine before tossing the rest}

Return soup to pot and warm it over medium-heat.  Stir in the cayenne pepper, lime juice and the chopped cilantro.  Once heated throughout it’s ready to serve.  Garnish with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt and a few cilantro leaves… Enjoy!!

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