Girl Scout Samoa Rice Krispies Treats

by Sarah on September 30, 2015 · 1 comment

I’m just going to go ahead and let my friend Elizabeth (or, well, her texts) tell you about these.IMG_3042 (1280x853)

|| I think you need to patent these Girl Scout Rice Krispy treats.||

||And also bring me more because they were probably the best thing I’ve put in my mouth/stomach in weeks.||

||Maybe even months.||IMG_3016 (1280x853)

||They’re certainly the best Rice Krispy treats I’ve ever had. Seriously. Ever.||IMG_3033 (1280x853)

(A few hours pass…)

|| So Paul* and I just ate dinner and he said he was going to eat the last Girl Scout Rice Krispy. I said no. Immaturity ensued.||

|| He won’t eat it because I licked the top of it to claim it as my own for dessert.||

*Her husband.IMG_3006 (1280x853)

Girl Scout Samoa Rice Krispies Treats

  • 1 box Samoas, chopped
  • 4 cups crisp rice cereal (I used Erewhon Crispy Brown Rice)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1-2 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 package marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  1. Combine cookies and rice cereal in a large mixing bowl, reserving about 1/3 cup chopped cookies.
  2. Coat a 9 x 13″ pan with cooking spray.
  3. Melt butter and coconut oil over low heat in a non-stick pot.
  4. Stir marshmallows into the pot and cook, stirring constantly, until they melt.
  5. Scrape melted marshmallows into bowl with cookies and cereal.
  6. Stir very well and very quickly….don’t be afraid to get your hands in there.
  7. Press mixture into prepared pan.
  8. Pres reserve cookies into the top of the treats.
  9. After the treats have firmed up, melt chocolate in the microwave at 10-20 secon intervals, stirring in between, until it is “drizzle-able.”
  10. Drizzle chocolate over the top of the treats.
  11. Allow to cool. (I put them in the fridge so the melted chocolate will harden faster!)IMG_3059 (1280x853)

Fake-Out Pho

by Sarah on September 27, 2015 · 0 comments

Some days, “taking a break from (school) work” turns into “satisfying an intense pho craving by cobbling together a broth with the ingredients you happen to have in your house at 4:00 in the afternoon.”IMG_2802 (1280x853)

Those are very tasty days.

Fake-Out Pho

For the broth:

  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1″ sliced fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp. Chinese Five Spice
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp. sambal oolek (ground chili paste)
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger (optional)
  • black pepper (to taste)

For the pho:

  • rice stick noodles
  • bean sprouts
  • fresh basil
  • slice green onion tops
  • mushrooms
  • sriracha
  • whatever you darn well want
  1. Combine all broth ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Simmer as long as you can stand (or at least until you have cooked your rice noodles).
  3. Pour broth over rice noodles. Top with accoutrements.

NOTE: This only tastes better the longer it sits in the fridge….


I used to make fun of the green smoothie drinkers.

And then I became one.IMG_20150920_111018

I also used to, if not make fun of, at least feel internally perplexed by people who made lots of pancakes or waffles and then froze them to reheat during the week. Much like giant pots of oatmeal on Sunday to last for many days…I didn’t understand why this type of preparation was necessary.

But now, I get it. recipereduxFROZEN

The thing that’s been great about smoothies for me, is that I can get all the ingredients ready the night before, blend, and go. Then eat it whenever the morning schedule allows. (I am embarassed by how irregular the timing of this is…but, grad school.) IMG_2844 (1280x853)

And since along with the–VERY–subtle change in temperatures, came a change in my morning cravings—I am wanting much less fruit and sweetness, and much more bread, in all it’s lovely forms: cereals, toast, bagels, Thomas’s (and only Thomas’s) Light English Muffins…oh there was even a brownie one morningIMG_20150902_105647—I know I’m going to need to rethink my smoothie habit.IMG_2919 (1280x853)(And not eat brownies for breakfast out of desparation.)IMG_2953 (1280x853)The Recipe Redux‘s theme of Fantastic Freezer Meals was the perfect excuse to use up some of the Simply Balanced muesli I should never have opened without clear intentions to consume quickly, and make a not-very-sweet interpretation of the Nigella Lawson Granola Muffin recipe I’d pinned awhile ago.granolamuffins

Interpretation meaning, of course, I looked at the recipe and then went to the kitchen and started adding random things together so that it in no way resembled her recipe…or a muffin at all.IMG_2910 (1280x853)The rosemary was inspired by the fact that I think it tastes amazing in supposed-to-be-sweet treats…and because I’m weird.IMG_2918 (1280x853)

While I wanted to call them snookies (as in snack [slash] cookie) I thought I might run into some Jersey Shore copyright law issues, so I went with scookie (scone [slash] cookie), because 1) it’s fun to say, and 2) they may have more of a muffin texture, but scuffin doesn’t make sense to me when it doesn’t come from a muffin tin.IMG_2931 (1280x853)

And while I encourage their consumption immediately, they do–as fits the theme–thaw and reheat easily…and no, despite my fears, they don’t fall apart in a “normal” toaster.IMG_2972 (1280x854)

Although if you don’t have a toaster oven, how are you making the perfect, slightly crusted open faced pimiento cheese sandwiches? Just wondering.IMG_2943 (1280x853)

[Also wondering why there are NEVER ENOUGH DATES in granola or muesli. Definitely add extra to this recipe. I will only applaud.]IMG_2965 (1280x853) (2)

Whole Grain Rosemary & Muesli “Scookies”

  • 1 1/4 cup whole grain flour mixture*
  • 1/4 cup finely ground cornmeal
  • 1 Tbsp. hemp seeds (hulled)
  • 1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed
  • 1 Tbsp. psyllium husk powder
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary leaves
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk (can be non-dairy)
  • 1 cup muesli cereal

*I used 1/2 cup brown rice flour, 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour, and 1/4 pumpkin flour (which is made with corn flour).

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, seeds, psyllium husk, baking poweder, rosemary, and salt.
  3. Stir well.
  4. Whisk egg and milk into the dry ingredients, until a batter forms.
  5. Stir in muesli, just until incorporated. (Batter should be slightly sticky, but not runny.)
  6. Using your hands, form flat “scookies” and place onto parchment paper-line baking sheets.
  7. Bake 12-15 minutes.

If freezing:

  1. Allow to cool.
  2. Stack scookies, separated by parchment paper, in a freezer-safe bag.
  3. Freeze. (Duh.)
  4. To thaw/reheat, put into a toaster or toaster oven for 1-2 cycles.



Spiced Pear Nut Butter

by Sarah on September 19, 2015 · 0 comments

Don’t get me wrong. It is SUPER fun to pick pears from your own backyard.

Especially when you put in absolutely no planting or pruning or, well, work at all, to reap such great rewards.


But, of course, they all seem to ripen at once, and while setting up a stand at the farmer’s market SOUNDS like a fun plan, it’s more fun to figure out how to use them.IMG_20150830_114326

A tofu scramble here, an Indian curry there…IMG_20150831_121512

…and delicious kale salad with poppyseed dressing and soy roasted seeds.*

*Apparently kale and pears are the new dynamic duo.IMG_20150919_124615

Then there was the time I actually said “Yes” when The Professor wanted to make pancakes, and after he added maple liquer to the batter, I thought, “pears, pecan pralines, and spiced honey!”


But then, what to do with all the rest of the pears?

Make nut butter.IMG_2739 (1280x854)


Because if there’s one thing we know for sure…IMG_2790 (1280x853)…it’s that I’ll try to turn ANYTHING into nut butter.*

*You may not have been down with the Dill Pickle Cashew Butter, but THIS you’ll like. I promise.IMG_2752 (1280x853)

Spiced Pear Nut Butter

  • 1 handful roasted, unsalted cashews
  • 1 handful roasted, unsalted peanuts
  • 1 slightly smaller handful shelled walnuts
  • 2 small fresh pears, peeled and chopped
  • heap of cinnamon
  • heap of ginger
  • dash of cloves
  • dash of nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • sprinkle of vanilla
  • chopped crystallized ginger (optional)
  1. Combine cashews, peanuts, and walnuts into a food processor.
  2. Process until smooth, about 3-5 minutes (depending on your processor).
  3. Add pears, spices, and vanilla to the food processor.
  4. Process until creamy.
  5. Stir in crystallized ginger, if desired.
  6. Store in the refrigerator!


P.S. You can also freeze this mixture into ice cube trays for super creamy frozen pear bites. Mixing in crumbled Lara bars and glazed nuts is optional.IMG_2888 (1280x853)


Last night, I took a break from my job as social media maven of Epiphany to actually sit at a table, instead of the bar, and have The Professor pay for dinner, instead of just leaving a generous tip in exchange for my services.

It was a benefit dinner after all.Epiphany Black Warrior Dinner

Seated family style–with my “family” quite unexpectedly including my new boss and his wife— we everyone but me indulged in local brews from Druid City Brewing Company (that Porter is a delicious 9.0% killer) and a five course small plates menu, highlighting locally grown produce from a number of my favorite farmers’ market friends. WVUA

The eggplant marmalade, with caramelized onions, shaved Parmesan (or some other equally sharp and yummy cheese), and fried peppers was a perfectly balanced sweet, salty, and umami experience. I did, in fact, ask for seconds.IMG_2679 (1280x853)

Seconds were also required for the lightly fried okra (which The Professor called tempura), with cherry tomatoes, hot peppers, and a pork jus.

Boss’s wife: What is on it?

Me: Pork Jus. Jus! Essentially…pork juice.

Boss’s wife: I know what jus is.

#didijustoffendher?IMG_2731 (1280x851)

But that came last.

In between, we were treated to roasted cabbage with peanuts, plums, mint, and what must have been magic angel dust because The Professor ate all of his, even after The Boss’s Wife said it reminded her of kimchi. (This, of course, was nothing but a ringing endorsement in my opinion. And we know anything with cabbage that comes out of the Epiphany kitchen is bound to be good.) IMG_2690 (1280x853)

And then the…“THE CARROTS.”

Yes, I announced them to the table as “the carrots,” because we know by now that Chefs Tres Jackson and Joel Frederick have some sort of culinary power that turns carrots into a texture you have never before experienced. Pairing them with avocado, radishes, pepitas, and–no joke, this is what I was told–“sauce” (of some ilk) was genius and happiness and rabbity fun.IMG_2713 (1280x851)But the Vitamin A kept coming, in the form of another vegetable that the good people at Epiphany consistently improve upon in surprising additions and preparations: the sweet potato. I thought last year’s iteration on the menu was good, but this year they’re roasting them in hay, adding black garlic, smoked (yes smoked) yogurt, and a sweet almond raisin chutney. Reinventing for Thanksgiving? If someone can help me figure out how to roast hay and smoke yogurt, absolutely.IMG_2716 (1280x853)


The only thing missing was dessert…but I don’t begrudge them that in the slightest. (One might say the Druid City Northporter is actually thick and caramelly enough to be called dessert.) But if I HAD to pick the perfect end, it would have been the Beet Cremeaux, which would have fit into the vegetable theme….and also is the most deliciously surprising, tastes-like-red-velvet-flan, how-could-you-ever-want-to-eat anything-else-again, treat on the dessert menu.IMG_1967 (1280x1280)

So if you missed it last night–or you’ve yet to go to the restaurant–make sure you save room for it next time. :)


Vegetarian Stuffed Pepper Soup

by Sarah on September 15, 2015 · 1 comment

It was suddenly 56 degrees.

For 1 hour. At 6:30am in the morning.

But still.


(That looks like chili.)

Naturally.IMG_2655 (1280x853)

And I happened to have a lot of peppers.IMG_2619 (1280x853)

(Anything you can get at The Fresh Market for $1* should be bought for the sheer novelty, really.)

*Green pepper for $1 would be expensive. That one came from Target.IMG_2645 (1280x853)

I figured I could probably convince The Professor to eat this, because he loves anything Italian, and since I MASHED the beans, he might not even know they were in there…unless he went through the recycling bin. But I’m the only one who does that.*IMG_2625 (1280x853)

*Good thing, too, because the package left for me from Old Navy accidentally fell in there….IMG_2647 (1280x853)

And if you put cheese on it, well…OBVIOUSLY he’ll eat it, right?IMG_2672 (1280x853)


He asked what kind of soup it was and my reply was met with the combined expression of restrained fear and hesitant aversion that I used to be offended by but no longer worry about, seeking validation of my culinary skills elsewhere.IMG_2667 (1280x853)

We ate it the next night, though.

Tasted better then, anyway. :)IMG_2675 (1280x853)

Vegetarian Stuffed Pepper Soup

(Serves 4-6)

  • 1 medium sweet onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (optional)
  • 1 large red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 15.5-oz. can low-sodium pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 Tbsp. salt-free Italian seasoning blend (or a combo of your favorite Italian spices)
  • 4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1-2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup (or so) cheddar cheese, for topping
  1. Bring 2 cups vegetable broth to boil.
  2. Add rice to broth, reduce heat, cover, and leave alone until rice is cooked.
  3. Saute onion, garlic, and jalapeno in olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat until softened.
  4. Add bell peppers to the pot, stirring well.
  5. Cook 3-5 minutes, or until beginning to soften.
  6. Meanwhile, mash beans with the tines of a fork until chunky.
  7. Add beans, spices, and bay leaf to the pot, stirring well.
  8. Cook another 2-3 minutes.
  9. Pour in tomatoes and 2 cups broth.
  10. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.
  11. Pour in rice, and continue to simmer until ready to eat.
  12. Top with cheese for serving!

By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by California Ripe Olives and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

There seem to be a lot of op-ed pieces being published this weekend about why we decide that Labor Day marks the end of summer.  This seems to be a bit of baloney if you ask me, because it’s still hot as he$& down here in Alabama, school started weeks ago, and I’m fairly certain “winter white” makes THAT old adage a relic of Emily Post’s past.IMG_2269 (1280x856)

Frankly, I didn’t want to hold on to 16 as long as I could–despite John Mellencamp’s urgings–and–maybe it’s the teacher in me, or the fact that I’d really like to wear a scarf–but I don’t want to hold on to summer, either. (Blasphemy? I don’t even care.)IMG_2228 (1280x853)

I will, however, take advantage of the lingering flavors of summer. Thus, my entry for the Recipe Redux Mediterranean Diet with California Ripe Olives recipe contest.reciperedux_olives2

Do we all know the hallmarks of the Mediterranean diet by now? And that it’s really the way we should probably all be eating? I could produce a litany of the research behind the benefits of eating a plant-based, whole grain-rich, stocked-with seafood-diet (washed down with a nice glass of red wine if you so desire) but I won’t.9332286_orig

This “chopped salad”–for which I believe I’m breaking rules, as they aren’t usually served with lettuce…even if it’s chopped– isn’t really a nicoise either, but it sounds good in name, and it tastes good in production–and it pairs nutrient-rich olives with the unexpected and delicious combination of peaches, tomatoes, and, yes, tuna.IMG_2217 (1280x856)

And the best part is, you could substitute canned and frozen versions of all the ingredients to eat it all year long.IMG_2257 (1280x851)

Even AFTER Labor Day.IMG_2238 (1280x853)

Peach Nicoise Chopped Salad

  • 1 cup chopped fresh (or previously frozen) peaches
  • 1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 1 can albacore tuna filet, drained and chopped or flaked
  • 1/4 cup sliced California Ripe Olives
  • 3 Tbsp. sliced green onion
  • 2-3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • salt + pepper
  • chopped Romaine lettuce, for serving (optional)
  1. Combine peaches, tomatoes, onion, and vinegar in a small mixing bowl.
  2. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Allow peach and tomato ‘relish’ to macerate for about 30 minutes in the refrigerate.
  4. Combine olives and tuna with the peach and tomato ‘relish.’
  5. Serve with chopped Romaine, if desired. (Pita chips would also be a nice accompaniment.)


Creamy Pumpkin Spice Chickpea Curry

by Sarah on August 26, 2015 · 0 comments

Every Saturday morning, I get to watch the seasons change.IMG_20150822_081207

Seasonal changes in weather, however, are a little more slow to arrive in Alabama. (Although praise be for the current 70 degree mornings.)IMG_2447 (1280x853)

This dish takes summer and fall and mixes them together into what we may think of as a seasonal “crossover” curry.IMG_2495 (1280x853)

It’s definitely not an over [“POW!”] ering punch of pumpkin spice flavor…IMG_2466 (1280x853)

….but the traditional curry spices make surprisingly obvious sense when paired with a creamy pumpkin spice yogurt, don’t you think?IMG_2532 (1280x853)

Creamy Pumpkin Spice Chickpea Curry

(Serves 4-6)

  • 1 cup diced sweet onion (about 1/2 medium onion)
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (about 2 Tbsp.)
  • 2-3 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups diced sweet potato (or butternut squash)
  • 2 cups diced zucchini
  • 4 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 15-oz. can low sodium chickpeas
  • 1 cup chopped tomato
  • 1 1/4 cup water or vegetable broth
  • 1 5.3-oz container Siggis‘ Pumpkin & Spice yogurt* (or 3 Tbsp. pumpkin puree, 1/3 cup Greek yogurt, and a dash of nutmeg and cloves) 
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  1. Saute onion, pepper, ginger, and garlic in 2 Tbsp. olive oil over medium-low heat until onion is soft.
  2. Stir sweet potato, chickpeas, and spices into the pan, along with 1/4 cup water or broth.
  3. Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until sweet potato is starting to soften.
  4. Add zucchini, tomato, and 1/2 cup more water to the pan, stirring well.
  5. Cook 10 minutes, or until all vegetables are fork tender, adding water and broth to the pan as needed.
  6. Stir in cilantro and adjust seasonings to taste.
  7. Just before serving, remove curry from heat and stir in yogurt.

*Note: Siggis’ Pumpkin & Spice Skyr yogurt is thick, like a Greek yogurt, and has a very real, not artificial, pumpkin flavor. I don’t necessarily recommend subbing any other brand of pumpkin yogurt unless you know it won’t be overly saccharine or fake flavored.


BBQ Sweet Potato Chili [Recipe Redux]

by Sarah on August 21, 2015 · 1 comment

When The Recipe Redux theme for August was selected as Back to the Dinner TableI immediately went nostalgic, thinking of the rotation of meals that my dad and mom stuck to over the course of the week. At Mama Smart’s house, it was often spaghetti with chunky tomato sauce or canned soup and grilled cheese. Papa Smart cycled through stir fry, tacos, and chili. Apparently I also have fond recollections of eating “American goulash” which is really just a combination of all of those things.reciperedux_august

And while I did, first, want to remake that not-Hungarian-at-all combination of pasta, sauce, and cheddar cheese, I also got to thinking that this time of year–with new schedules, new routines–is the time of year when you need something you can make on a Sunday and forget about until the moment you have just gotten home, bag still on your shoulder, and you receive the phone call asking, “What have you thought about for dinner?”IMG_2115 (1280x853)

So, in a burst of inspiration–and the constant need to use up the odd assortment of remnants from the sweet potato bar that The Professor put together for my 31st birthday Sarah-bration

IMG_2068 (1280x853)(including the still confusing to me, but bless him for trying, can of diced tomatoes)IMG_2070 (1280x853)

–I turned to chili.IMG_2149 (1280x853)

Just like Papa Smart used to make.IMG_2124 (1280x853)

Except with (Trader Joe’s Carolina Gold) BBQ sauce.IMG_2076 (1280x853)

And sweet potatoes.IMG_2084 (1280x853)

And cornbread instead of (always just a bit burnt) cheese bread.IMG_20150818_203929

And no meat.IMG_2073 (853x1280)

But the bay leaf—I remembered the bay leaf!IMG_2101 (1280x853)

Because even in the late, sticky, humid Southern summer….IMG_2132 (1280x854)

….there’s air conditioning.IMG_2157 (1280x853)

BBQ Sweet Potato & Bean Chili

  • 3/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15-0z. can (ideally low sodium) pinto, black, and*/or kidney beans, drained
  • 1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted
  • 1 cup mashed roasted sweet potato
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/3 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. salt (or more depending on the sodium content of your other ingredients…)
  • 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika

*If you have access to a tri-bean blend.

  1. Saute onion, bell pepper, and garlic in a smidge of olive oil until softened.
  2. Stir in beans, chili powder, cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, salt, and bay leaf.
  3. Cook another few minutes, then pour in tomatoes, vegetable broth, BBQ and Worcestershire sauces.
  4. Bring to a simmer and cook about 10 minutes.
  5. Stir in mashed sweet potato. Cook another 5-10 minutes.
  6. Using an immersion blender, puree the chili to give it some texture, but leave it still “chunky.” (You can also take out a few cups and puree in a food processor or blender, but remember that hot liquids in those machines can be unpredictable!)
  7. Bring back to a simmer and serve, OR cool, refrigerate, and reheat on a busy night. :)


Peach & Tomato Tabbouleh

by Sarah on August 6, 2015 · 1 comment

I e-mailed this recipe to my friend Lindsey with only the words, “Make this. I am a genius,” preceding it.IMG_1821 (1280x853)

I’ll do you the same courtesy, and leave it at that.IMG_1832 (1280x853)

Make this.IMG_1846 (1280x853)

I am a genius.

IMG_1839 (1280x852)

Peach & Tomato Tabbouleh

Serves 4

  • 2/3 cup dry bulgur wheat or couscous
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 1 cup mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup sliced scallions (white and light green parts only)
  • 1 cup diced tomato
  • 1 cup diced peaches
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • salt + pepper to taste
  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine bulgur and 2/3 cup boiling water. Cover and let sit until cooked (about 15 minutes).
  2. Meanwhile, finely chop herbs. (I used a food chopper.)
  3. Combine cooked bulgur with remaining ingredients.
  4. Stir well.
  5. Allow to chill in the fridge for a couple of hours of overnight.


P.S. This also works beautifully with corn in place of the grain! (And if you leave out the mint.*)IMG_1875 (1280x853)

*Leave out [verb]: were too lazy to go outside and pick more, whereas you already had a bunch of basil in the kitchen.IMG_1870 (1280x853)