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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Recipe: Chunky Monkey Ice Cream Bites

Looking for a new sweet treat to make? Maybe to wind down the summer. I may have found it, and chances are you have everything in your kitchen.

A few weeks ago a video showed up on my FB page from Yum Sugar for Chunky Monkey Ice Cream Bites. I, of course, "shared" it so that I could refer back to it. Of course, when I went to find it, it was nowhere to be found so I set out on a google search...phew! Found it. The video is nice as a visual aid (I am very visual....I always appreciate pictures and videos that go along with recipes). They turned out super yummy and not too difficult though a bit time consuming. These are perfect for a hot day treat..for me, popping just one in my mouth satisfied my sweet tooth. 

As summer is winding down and leaves are falling from the trees it's nice to pull out something that helps us hold on to the final days ( I know, I know..we technically still have a month left of summer, but a month goes by so fast). 


3 bananas, sliced into 1" pieces and frozen slightly
chopped chocolate
1 tsp. vanilla
chocolate chips or chocolate for melting
chopped walnuts
pinch of salt


1. Place frozen bananas, a pinch of salt and vanilla into a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. 
2. Place mixture into a bowl and stir in chopped chocolate. Place in freezer for a couple hours or until set.
3. Using a melon baller or mini-scoop, scoop out balls of "ice cream" and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in freezer and let set overnight.
4. Melt chocolate. Once you remove balls from freezer, work quickly to dip in chocolate, then place back on parchment paper, sprinkle with walnuts. Place back in freezer until ready to serve. Enjoy!

With Joy UNquenchable,

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Recipe Inspiration: Penne Pasta Bake

 I'm always looking for new recipes to try, and when I find one that's simple and easy on the pocketbook that's even better. When I first started blogging in 2008, I somehow came across the blog, Reluctant Entertainer, authored by Sandy. I have followed her ever since and have seen her blog grow into a huge success...I find myself always wanting to hide in her suitcase as she travels all over the states and the world. I had the honor of meeting her several years ago when she was in Portland for her daughter's soccer game.

A few days ago she shared a recipe for a "Caprese" Pasta Bake , as she called it, that looked so amazing, I just had to try it myself. I did and I wasn't disappointed. With only a few simple ingredients, this didn't take long to throw together which is great for our busy lives right now. The combination of fresh tomatoes and warm pasta with gooey cheese was perfect.


1 box Penne Pasta (I used Fred Meyer's brand Simple Truth Organic..1.59 a box)...I couldn't find the brand she used where I was shopping
2 Jars Tomato and Basil pasta sauce (or whatever you decide)...I recommend 2 jars because mine got too dry at some point
Sliced Heirloom Tomatoes
Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, sliced (I scored at Grocery Outlet)
Fresh basil 
Optional: rotisserie chicken or in my case I used Sun-dried Tomato and provolone Chicken Sausage. 


1. Cook Pasta according to direction, but make sure it's Al Dente (just undercooked)

2. Drain and add pasta sauce and meat if you are using it and heat through. I cooked my chicken sausages according to package instructions,  and sliced before adding to the pasta. I actually layered mine on top of the pasta.

3.  Spread pasta in a 9 x 13 pan. Top with sliced tomatoes, mozzarella cheese slices and sprinkle with basil.

5. Place under broiler for 5-7 minutes until cheese is melted and slightly browned. 

It is best if served immediately while the cheese is nice and gooey. 

I accompanied this with a loaf of my Artisan Bread. Such a yummy, quick, comforting meal!  It is perfect for company. 

With Joy UNquenchable,

Monday, July 28, 2014

Summer Days....Driftin' Away...

I cannot believe it is almost August, that summer is on it's way out...the days are already getting shorter and I feel as though we haven't done anything "summer-ish"! School supplies have filled the shelves. We've enjoyed some beautiful weather and some wet, rainy days here in the PNW. One thing we have enjoyed is watermelon...yummy, sweet, juicy watermelon! 
We've enjoyed it sliced, cubed, blended, juiced and frozen. I have some sitting in the freezer now, ready to make a sorbet. YUM! Watermelon just screams SUMMER!!

Here's a refreshing drink that is kicked up just a notch with the beautiful flavor of basil. 
In a blender (I use a Vitamix), simply add fresh strawberries with cubed fresh watermelon (just eyeball amounts), add fresh basil leaves and blend well. I would start with 2 leaves and add additional leaves until you reach the flavor you like. Serve on the rocks. You could also add some lemon to this or freeze your fruit and make it more of a smoothie. You DO NOT need to add additional liquid as the watermelon has plenty on its own. 

Want an all natural popsicle? Simply cut your watermelon into easy to handle wedges, cut a slit in the rind and insert a popsicle stick. Freeze on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper then serve immediately or wrap in plastic wrap and store in freezer. 
I love refreshing flavors of summer. I have yet to try grilling watermelon...not quite sure that sounds very appetizing, but I may be surprised. 

As summer winds down I plan to take advantage of some more summer recipes and hopefully we'll get out and do some fun, summery activities.

With Joy UNquenchable,

Secret Recipe Club Reveal: Homemade Pesto and Caprese Panini

The end of the month means a secret reveal for me..Secret Recipe Club Reveal! Always a fun time, always and adventure! I can't remember exactly when I joined the SRC but it has been several years and I still really enjoy it. Each month we are given a blog, with the task of searching through recipes on that blog, choosing a recipe, making it and on our Reveal Day, revealing to the rest of the club and blogland. Very fun time. 

This month I was assigned A Day in the Life on the Farm. Wendy and her husband are retired "cops" and moved from the big city to on to 12 acres. Over the years they developed in my mind a "mini-farm"...she enjoys all sorts of hobbies. Check out her "About Me" page to learn more about her life on the Farm! 

I browsed through her recipes and several recipes jumped off the page. Her Apple Muffins, or the Patriotic Trifle, or how about Garlic Mashed Potatoes, which I knew my youngest would love. I opted for her Presto Pesto and Tomato and Mozzarella Panini

I have never made homemade pesto, but it has always been on my "to make" list. And who can resist tomato and mozzarella!!! Or a panini? I was hooked!!! To top it off, I had this made at the beginning of July!! SCORE! It was a total success and perfect for lunch. I happened to have some bacon I needed to use up so I totally added it to the sandwich!

Homemade Pesto and Caprese Panini

Leaves from 1 lg. bunch of basil

1/2 c. pine nuts
3 cloves garlic, peeled and mashed
1 c. parmesan cheese
5 or 6 grinds of fresh pepper
Olive oil

1. In a food processor add all ingredients except olive oil and pulse until finely chopped.
2. With food processor running, drizzle in the olive oil until it reaches the desired consistency, approximately 1/4c. Stop processing when pesto has reached desired consistency and is not completely smooth but still has some texture.  

Caprese Panini 

Bread (I like a good crusty bread that will hold up well under my panini press)
mozzarella cheese (I opted for fresh)
Optional add ons: Bacon, prosciutto, mixed greens (I would love to try this with Trader Joe's Micro Greens)


1. Heat your panini press, grill or pan.

2. Oil the outside of your bread.

3. on opposite sides of bread, spread pesto and then stack mozzarella and tomato along with any other add ons..in my case it was bacon!

4. Place on hot pan. If using a panini press, place press on top of sandwich. Cook until browned and cheese is melted. 

5. Consume immediately. 
This was so fresh and yummy!!! My girls have began to really like pesto so I think this will go to good use. And because it is homemade, I know exactly what is in it which is always a plus.

Check out more recipes from The Secret Recipe Club below.

With Joy UNquenchable,

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Recipe: German Pancakes with Crispy Plantains

I love to watch the show The Chew. In a few recent episodes the chefs cooked with Plantains, which got me a little curious to try them. I never really understood what the difference was between a Plantain and a Banana and had never really seen them used anywhere, I just saw them sitting in the produce section. The main difference is that a Plantain is higher in starch content and lower in sugar. They are not meant to eat alone like a banana but cooked in a variety of ways. They are firmer than a banana and the color is slightly orange. 
On my recent grocery shopping trip I decided to get one and experiment. I was pleasantly pleased with the result. They are fried in oil so this isn't something I'd make on a regular basis. 

My girls love German Pancakes so I thought pairing a German Pancake with some sweet, crispy plantains and some PB sauce would be perfect...however, I was the only one who enjoyed them since one daughter was working and the other slept in and hubby was gone! Here is the link to my recipe for German Pancakes.


1 Plantain
brown sugar
Oil (olive, canola, coconut)..I used a combo of olive and organic canola
Heat 1/4" of oil in a pan. Combine together equal amounts of flour and brown sugar. Peel and slice Plantains and toss in flour/sugar mixture. Place plantains in hot oil and fry on each side until browned. Remove and drain on paper towels. 
In a microwave safe bowl or on the stove, melt some peanut butter...I didn't add anything to it, but I suppose you could add some vanilla or something else to it. 

Top German pancake with Plantain pieces and drizzle with peanut butter. I made whipped cream too but I don't like that on pancakes so I opted to sprinkle just a touch of powdered sugar on top. 

It was a great way to "kick up" typical german pancakes. 

With Joy UNquenchable,


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