Cherry-Almond Snack Mix


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What are some of your favorite snacks?  If you're a cereal lover, this one will likely be right up your alley.  I found it several years ago in I think a Publix magazine.  Its title is Cherry-Almond Snack Mix, and it's so good.  I used to make it quite a bit a while back, stopped for no real reason, and then rediscovered it when my family made it for the beach.  I made some for this week and thought I'd share the recipe with you.  It's so easy there's just the 1 photo and no real notes.  Except that I used pumpkin pie spice rather than apple pie spice because I had an old mix of it on hand.  If you don't feel like buying a spice mixture, experiment with making your own out of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and/or allspice.

Cherry-Almond Snack Mix
Origin unknown, but I got it from an old Publix magazine!
Makes 4-5 cups mix

4 cups oat squares cereal (recommended: Quaker Oat Squares, Brown Sugar flavored)
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 Tb. melted butter
1/2 tsp. apple pie spice
dash salt
1 cup dried cherries or golden raisins

Preheat oven to 300 F.  In a bowl, combine butter, spices and salt. Add cereal and almonds to bowl and toss to coat. Spread out mixture on 15" x 10" x 1" baking pan or a 13"x 9"x 2" cake pan.  Bake for 20 mins, stirring once halfway through the cooking time. Cool for 20 minutes on a wire rack and then add the dried fruit. Allow to cool completely.  Store in airtight container for up to 1 week.

Meatless Mondays! Black Bean and Spinach Enchiladas


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I made these a couple weeks ago, and Drew, his brother, and I ate them, and they were SO GOOD!  It's 10:45 am on a Monday morning and I could eat some right now if I had some.  The filling is tasty, but I think the homemade enchilada sauce is the star.  I considered just buying prepared enchilada sauce when I realized last minute that I really just needed to buy the vegetable broth to have all the ingredients I needed for the sauce.  So, I bought some broth and made the sauce.  I am telling you that the sauce was the element of this meal that made this dish really memorable.  

We loved this with avocado.  We could love dirt with avocado.

Everything comes together really easily and fairly quickly, and I think in all we ended up with 6-8 burrito sized enchiladas.  I don't know what constitutes traditional Mexican enchiladas, but I am sure this wasn't it.  It doesn't really matter, though.  What matters is that this is a great meal, and I'd bet it'd be a good freezer meal choice too.

I'll link to the original post in the recipe title and post as I made it, since I did make some changes.

I remember Rachael Ray talking about cooking the rawness out of some spices...it made me think of  this.

Black Bean- Spinach Enchiladas
from Garden Grazer Blog

Enchilada Sauce
3 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. chili powder

15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained or 1 1/2- 2 cups prepared beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups corn (I used frozen, thawed)
6 oz. fresh baby spinach
1 small onion, diced small
2 tsp. cumin
2 cups (8 oz) shredded cheese- I used combo of Monterrey Jack and cheddar
8 flour tortillas

Make the sauce: in a saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add tomato paste, flour, 2 tsp. cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and chili powder. Cook 1 minute, whisking. Whisk in broth, bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, and cook until slightly thickened about 8 minutes. Salt/pepper to taste, and set aside.

Saute the spinach and onion in olive oil over medium heat for 1-2 minutes until slightly wilted.
In a large bowl, combine beans, 1 cup cheese, spinach, corn, and 2 tsp. cumin.

Preheat oven to 375. Pour a small amount of the enchilada sauce into the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. 
Generously fill tortillas with mixture, roll up tightly with ends tucked in, and place seam side down in dish.
Pour remaining sauce over the enchiladas, coating evenly. Sprinkle 1 cup cheese on top.
Bake about 20 minutes, and garnish with cilantro, avocado, and/or green onions (optional).

Black Bean Brownies- crazy, right?



I remember seeing this recipe in the January/February 2012 issue of Everyday Food and wondering what sort of heresy they were getting at.  Black beans in brownies?!  For the love of all that is chocolate, why?!  Then one day last week, on a whim, I came back across the recipe and decided to try it.  I had some extra black beans from another recipe (watch for Meatless Monday!) and decided to experiment.

The results?  Not bad.  I may or may not have over baked them- I never got the "cracked top" that was supposed to indicate doneness, but the toothpick test came out about standard.  The first day they were a little too cakey for my liking, but after the first day they got a little fudgier.  They were tasty- quite chocolatey, and my two taste testers declared them good before they knew what was in them.  The one complaint I do have is that I noticed a textural issue that I am guessing (though not certain) is caused by the black bean skins.  I used beans I actually prepared from dried beans, and I don't know if that possibly made a difference.  Either way, if you want a lightened up indulgence, these brownies just may do it for you.

Due to what I had on hand vs. what the recipe called for, I did not make these exactly according to the recipe.  I'll post what I did below, and you can click on the recipe title to view the original recipe.

Triple Chocolate Brownies
from Everyday Food, Jan/Feb 2012 issue

1/4 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup black beans, drained, rinsed, and pureed until smooth
5 oz semisweet chocolate (either already in chips or chopped)
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 egg white
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp instant espresso powder
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 9-inch square baking pan and line with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides. In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine butter, bean puree, and chocolates and microwave in 30-second increments, stirring each time, until melted and smooth, about 2 minutes. Whisk in sugar, eggs and egg white, and vanilla until smooth.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, and salt. Stir into chocolate mixture until just combined. Pour batter into pan; smooth top. Bake until top is cracked and a toothpick inserted in center has moist crumbs attached, about 25 minutes (center will seem undercooked but will set further as it cools). Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Using parchment, lift brownie from pan and cut into 16 squares.

Happy 4th!


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I think I did one of these last year, but happy 4th of July to you!  Now's a good time to see what's been done in the past.

How do you celebrate our nation's independence?  Do you watch fireworks, cookout, go vacationing, all of the above?  The 4th has always been for me a time spent with family or friends.  It usually involves fireworks and usually a cookout with great food.

Below are some of my top pics for a great 4th (or any time)!  Whatever you do, happy Fourth to you and yours!

Grilled main dishes:

A delicious burger

BBQ chicken

Buttermilk Brined Grilled Chicken

On the side:
Potato Salad

For dessert:

As American as....Blueberry Pie

Strawberry cobbler