How To: Snack Healthy – Peanut Butter Bars

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I honestly can’t believe it has taken me this long to share this recipe with you. My husband actually looked at me wide-eyed and exclaimed “You haven’t posted this yet?!” So, my sincere apologies for holding out on you.

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I think I’ve made these bars about a million times – okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration. But I’ve definitely made them at least 10. And that’s a lot of times for such a successful food blogger like myself. I kid.

It’s hard to believe that the simple combination of peanut butter, eggs, honey, vanilla, and baking soda come together to produce what is best described as a cross between a brownie and fudge. I throw in a handful of chocolate chips for good measure, but you could totally leave them plain too. But really, when is a little chocolate ever a bad thing. It’s all about balance people.

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You will read this recipe and think, really? Yes, really. I think these taste best when they are cold from the fridge. You definitely want to let them cool or they will crumble. Which also is delicious over some yogurt or ice cream, but I prefer them in bar form. I’ve also made this recipe with almond butter in place of peanut butter and it is also delightful, although I prefer this peanut butter version.

I will warn you they are highly addictive, so don’t be surprised if you turn your back and the whole pan is practically gone – not that that has ever happened in my house. ūüėČ

Dara

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Peanut Butter Bars

Serves 1 pan
Meal type Snack

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 Cups all natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 Tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tsp vanilla
  • handful chocolate chips

Note

These bars will crumble warm from the oven so make sure to let cool and store in the fridge. I actually like them best cold from the fridge. They also freeze really well.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 and spray an 8 x 8 pyrex with cooking spray.
2. Combine all ingredients except chocolate chips in a bowl and mix until combine. Add in chocolate chips and stir together.
3. Pour peanut butter mixture evenly into 8 x 8 pyrex and bake for 23 minutes. It will be semi firm and brown around the edges. Let cool on the counter for at least 20 minutes. The bars are best cold from the fridge.

 

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How to: Recipe Makeover – Broccoli Slaw

I love a classic.  Books, movies, and mayonnaise laden salads included.

Honestly, I’m never¬†really happy at a barbecue without a creamy potato or pasta salad, so let’s leave those alone for now.

This one’s a fun little update on the creamy bacon-y version of the classic broccoli salad. ¬†Not to worry, I don’t completely ruin the fun. ¬†There’s cheese, guys (and a little mayo still).

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Also, if you want to add crispy bacon or even better, crispy proscuitto, I will allow it. I’m generous like that.

Erin

Broccoli Slaw

Ingredients

  • 1 Small head of broccoli (chopped into small florets)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 50g cheddar cheese (about ‚Öď cup cut into small cubes or grated on the large side of box grater)
  • ‚Öď cup toasted pecan pieces
  • ¬ľ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • salt and pepper to taste

Note

Toast pecans in frying pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes.

Directions

1. Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients.
2. Add dressing and toss to combine thoroughly. For best results, allow to sit for 1 hour before serving.

How To: Quickie Meal – Pasta with Garlic, Red Pepper Flakes and Broccoli Rabe

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When it comes to taking care of household chores we all have our roles.

I take care of the cooking, he takes care of the garbage, we both share day to day clean up and laundry duties. I think we have a pretty good groove going. And sometimes, we both step out of our chore box to help each other out, which is always a nice and welcome surprise.

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Normally when I’m planning on going out for dinner, my husband and daughter dine on leftovers or a frozen pizza always kept on hand in case of a dinner emergency. Well, this past week when I was venturing out for a girls night out, I whipped up this super easy and super delicious pasta, surprising my hubby with a restaurant-worthy meal. #wifepoints

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Even if you don’t normally take on the “cook” role, this pasta is so easy you may choose the cook rather than clean up duties tonight. With just a few simple ingredients – olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and salt, the pasta is so flavourful. If you normally fear broccoli rabe for it’s usual bitterness, the boiling of this grown up version of broccoli takes away the sharp bitter flavour.

And this one big bowl of pasta is also a one pot meal. So you could score double points by taking on the cooking and clean up duty. But probably better to keep this a secret – no one wants to pick up extra household chores!

Dara
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Pasta with garlic, red pepper flakes, and broccoli rabe

Serves 4
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish
Website Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 Pound whole wheat short pasta
  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe (ends removed and chopped)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 Tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tsp kosher salt
  • parmesan cheese (grated)

Note

Use any short pasta you have on hand - penne, rigatoni, fusilli, even macaroni would work.  I used half a box each of penne and macaroni because that's what I had. You can adjust the red pepper flakes depending on your spice level preference.

Directions

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package direction. 5 minutes before it's finished, add the broccoli rabe. Drain pasta and broccoli rabe and place in a large serving bowl.
2. In the same pot, add oil, garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes. Heat over medium heat until fragrant and the garlic is starting to brown.
3. Pour over pasta and broccoli rabe mixture and toss to coat. Add as much parmesan as you'd like and toss again. Serve with additional parmesan on the side.

Cookbook Review and Giveaway – Rush Hour Meals

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With new life stages, come new inspiration.  Rush Hour Meals, a new cookbook by longtime Canadian food media personality Rose Reisman was inspired by her new life stage as a grandmother to twin girls.

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In the book’s preface she shares her concerns about families trying to manage¬†in today’s go-go-go world while¬†also making nutritious food a priority. ¬†Her cookbook aims to help busy families get nutritious and delicious meals on the table in 30 minutes or less. We hope to do the same thing over here at How to Eat, so we thought we’d give some of her recipes a try and Whitecap sent us a book to do just that!

Chapters include appetizers, soups, salads, vegetables, mains, desserts and all-day breakfasts (which I’m totally in to, but find to be a weird addition at the end of the book). ¬†Each recipe includes the basic nutrition breakdown for each serving as well as a ‘nutrition tip’ and ‘for kids’ sidebar. ¬†Truthfully, the nutrition tips are a bit humdrum and could’ve been left out, but some of the ‘for kids’ tips are useful tidbits about how to make recipe substitutions that may appeal more to kids.

Some of the recipes that intrigued me, which I plan to make in the future include: Bok Choy and Mandarin Orange Salad with Ginger Dressing, Curried Chicken Soup, Mushroom and Almond Crusted Tilapia, Salmon with Pea Pesto, Greek Phyllo Burger and Flourless Chocolate Pecan Cookies.  While some recipes rely on pre-made sauces (hoisin, barbecue, tomato sauce) to move things along more quickly, most time savers include using canned/ frozen vegetables (we love this shortcut). Still, reading through the recipes, there is a lot of prep and several components for some recipes, making me a little sceptical of the prep and cook times which generally fall under 30 minutes.

The recipes I made in time for this post are the Meatball and Rice Noodle Lettuce Wraps and the Black Bean Burgers. ¬†I’ll even share the recipe for the lettuce wraps. ¬†‘Cause I love y’all soooo much. That and they were damn tasty.

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Both recipes had easy to follow, straight forward instructions and easily accessible ingredients (key when targeting busy families!). The burgers were a mix of black beans and mushrooms and were flavoured with tahini, garlic, hot sauce and garnished with a creamy avocado-lime sauce. They could be served with or without a bun (my preference was without).  Overall, a solid veggie burger!

The meatballs were AWESOME (and gorgeous!).  They remind me of our Thai Turkey Meatballs. The recipe is in the appetizer chapter, but we ate them as a main.  They were a little tricky to eat because boston lettuce is quite soft, so if I was serving them as an app, I would probably max out at 2 meatballs per lettuce cup. Otherwise, you may want some utensils.

As I suspected, both recipes took me¬†way¬†more time than they were supposed to. ¬†I consider myself a fairly efficient home cook and each recipes took about an hour to make (about double the time listed in the book). I’m sure I could shave off a few minutes if I were to repeat these recipes, but I think less than 30 minutes would be unrealistic.

I will definitely continue to cook through this book. ¬†There are a lot of unique recipes that¬†would be worth trying even knowing they can’t be done in a ‘rush’.

If you want a chance to win your own copy of Rush Hour Meals, leave us a comment and tell us what your favourite kitchen shortcut is!

In the meantime, make these delicious little balls of meat and check out what our fellow food bloggers had to say about the book!

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Meatball and Rice Noodle Lettuce Wraps

Serves 10 individual appetizer servings
Prep time 45 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 1 hour
From book Rush Hour Meals by Rose Reisman

Ingredients

Sauce

  • ¬ĺ cup light coconut milk
  • ‚Öď cup reduced sodium beef or chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha or your favourite hot sauce

Meatballs

  • 1lb extra lean ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • ¬ľ cup finely diced green onions
  • ¬ľ cup unseasoned dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1¬Ĺ teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 60g dried thin rice noodles
  • 10 Boston lettuce leaves
  • ¬ľ cup hoisin sauce

Garnish

  • ¬ľ cup diced red bell pepper
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with vegetable oil.
2. Make the sauce: In a bowl, combine coconut milk, stock, lemon juice, hoisin, sugar, cornstarch, ginger, garlic and Sriracha and stir until cornstarch dissolved.
3. Make the meatballs: In a bowl, combine the beef, egg, hoisin, onions, breadcrumbs, cilantro, garlic and ginger. Using your hands, form about thirty 1-inch meatballs. Place on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
4. In a small skillet over medium heat, cook the prepared sauce until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, in a saucepan of boiling water, cook the noodles according to the package directions. Drain well.
6. Top each lettuce leaf with an equal amount of the cooked noodles. Top noodles with three meatballs and drizzle with sauce. Garnish with red pepper and sesame seeds.

Erin

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How To: Recipe Makeover – Vegetarian Cobb Salad

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I know this title may read like an oxymoron.

Bacon and chicken are two of the ingredients typically found in a Cobb salad, joining eggs, blue cheese, tomatoes, and avocados. But who says you can’t deviate from the original now and then? What would life be like if we were all the same, right?

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When I posted this picture of my unique cobb salad creation on instagram, one person commented this was definitely not a cobb salad. It may not be typical, but it is MY cobb salad, my VEGETARIAN cobb salad to boot!

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Instead of chicken and bacon, we’ve got black beans and sweet potatoes. Instead of blue cheese, creamy and tangy goat cheese. Instead of eggs, sweet beets. I’ve kept the usual avocado and tomatoes. And when all of these ingredients are arranged oh so prettily on top of a bed of romaine, a vegetarian cobb salad is born. Top it all of with an herby mustard vinaigrette and you’ve got one heck of a delicious summer meal.

So call it what you want – a vegetarian cobb salad, a fully loaded salad, a rainbow salad, or just an extremely tasty salad. Bottom line, make this salad.

Dara

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Vegetarian Cobb Salad

Serves 2-4
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish, Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 large head of romaine
  • 2 sweet potatoes (chopped)
  • 1 can of sliced beets (drained and rinsed)
  • 1/2 cup black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes (halved)
  • 1 large avocado (diced)
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese (crumbled)

Salad Dressing

  • 1 Tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 Tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 Tsp salt
  • 1/4 Tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Note

This may not be your typical cobb salad, but it is just as delicious. Feel free to sub the usual blue cheese for the goat cheese, or feta would also work well. Chickpeas or kidney beans can replace the black beans. The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled for a crowd.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 425 and toss sweet potatoes with 1 tbsp olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes, or until brown and tender. Set aside.
2. On a large plate place a layer of romaine lettuce. Top evenly in rows with sweet potatoes, tomatoes, black beans, avocado, goat cheese, and beets. Top with dressing or serve on the side for everyone to toss themselves.
Salad Dressing
3. Place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until combined.