Food, Faith, and Other Fabulous Finds

Recipes, devotional thoughts, and other cool things I come across.

Spicy and Sweet May 29, 2014

Let’s start with the sweet (possibly my favorite).  First, there’s the possibility of a free doughnut in your future.  Next Friday (June 6) is National Doughnut Day!!!  That means that you can go to many doughnut shops (especially Krispy Kreme) and receive a free doughnut.

For spicy, how about a delicious quinoa salad?  This is a fast and easy lunch that can be made ahead of time or quickly assembled right before eating.  It’s actually not that spicy (You could certainly amp it up if that’s your thing.), but it had a lot of good flavors.  The one problem that my friend and I had was with the spinach.  Just throwing in raw baby spinach made the salad very hard to eat.  You were either eating spinach with a sprinkling of salad clinging on, or you were just eating the quinoa mix.  There are a couple ways to remedy this.  You could just omit the spinach (I did this with my leftovers, and it was very tasty.), or you could chop the spinach so that the pieces aren’t so unwieldy.  Either way, you get a filling salad with a lot of flavor.

Spicy Bean and Quinoa Salad with Mole Vinaigrette (from the April 2014 episode of Cooking Light)

1 tsp. orange zest

3/4 tsp. cocoa

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

2 tbsp. orange juice

1 1/2 tbsp. red wine vinegar

1 tbsp. adobo sauce from canned chipotles in adobo

2 tbsp. olive oil

3 c. cooked quinoa

1/2 c. toasted, unsalted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

1/4 c. chopped cilantro

2 thinly sliced scallions

1 very thinly sliced fresno or jalapeno (I minced our jalapeno, so that we didn’t get a big chunk in any bite.)

1 15 oz. can rinsed, drained black beans

4 c. baby spinach (I strongly recommend chopping this first.  See why in the above paragraph.)

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the orange zest and juice, cocoa, cumin, cinnamon, vinegar, and adobo.  Gradually add the oil, whisking well.

2. In a large bowl, combine the next quinoa, pepitas, cilantro, scallions, jalapeno, and black beans with 1/2 tsp. salt.  (I also added in the chopped flesh of half an orange; the other half was what we had used for the juice.)  Add the vinaigrette and toss to coat.  Right before serving, toss in the spinach.

Spicy Bean and Quinoa SaladSpicy Bean and Quinoa Salad 2

And now for the best sweet of all (or at least for today): peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips and …  Reese’s pieces!!!!  These are soft, chewy cookies studded with some of the best peanut butter candy around.  (In case you haven’t tried them before, Reese’s pieces are incredibly delicious and dangerous for me to have around.)  They also have a box of pudding mix in them, which is what helps them stay so soft.   The dough is very easy to work with; I had no problem stirring the add-ins into a double batch.  I made these to give to the high school graduates at our church.  I don’t know yet what they thought, but my husband and I were very happy about eating the leftovers.  He also took some to work where they were very well received.  Because I made a double batch, I lost track of how many cookies the recipe made, but the blogger I got it from said she got 4 dozen small cookies which sounds about right for me too.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies (from Macaroni & Cheesecake)

2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 small box instant vanilla pudding

3/4 c. softened butter

1/2 c. peanut butter

1/2 c. sugar

1/2 c. brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tbsp. honey

1 tsp. vanilla

1 c. semisweet chocolate chips

1 c. Reese’s pieces (This was 1/2 of a bag.)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and cover 2 baking sheets with parchment.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and pudding mix.

2. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter, peanut butter, and sugars on medium til creamy.  Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add in the vanilla and honey and mix to combine.  Reduce the speed to low and add in the flour mix a little at a time til just incorporated.  Stir the chocolate chips and Reese’s pieces in by hand til evenly distributed.

3. Use a small cookie scoop to portion the dough 2 inches apart on the baking sheets.  Bake 10 minutes; the cookies won’t look done, but will set up as they cool.  Cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pudding CookiesPeanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies 3

My hubby and I got to spend a little extra time together this week, so we used a gift card to go out to Panera.  Last time I mentioned the flavor of the Mediterranean flatbread I tried.  This time, we tried out the Thai (me) and Southwestern (the hubby) versions.  We did taste each other’s sandwiches, and it turned out that we preferred each other’s more than our own.  I thought the black bean hummus on the southwestern flatbread was amazing, and the hubby loved the sweetness of the peanut sauce on the Thai flatbread.  As usual though, we love pretty much everything Panera does, and they provided a comforting meal on a dreary day.

I’ve got a special treat (or several) planned for next week, so you’ll have to come back to see what it is.  Have a great weekend!

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