chocolate peanut butter no bake cookies

no bake cookies 9i made these chocolate peanut butter no bake cookies for chris’ birthday last year and then again just a couple months ago.  it’s no surprise that he requested these cookies because it combines his two faves – chocolate and peanut butter.

no bake cookies 8i’m surprised that i don’t make these more often, considering that it is one of chris’ favorite types of cookies (his other favorites are these big fat chocolate chip cookies & chocolate and peanut butter chip cookies).  plus they are really easy and you don’t have to heat up the apartment turning on the oven, which is a definite plus in this summer heat.

no bake cookies 10these no bake cookies are made on the stove with a mixture of all kind of goodies – peanut butter, butter, cocoa powder, and of course the main ingredient quick cooking oats.  the first time i made them i used just quick cooking oats, but the second time i ran out and used half quick cooking and half traditional.  they were equally good as the first batch, so i figure – just use whatever kind of oats you have on hand and you’ll be good to go!

start my combining the sugar, butter, milk and cocoa powder in a medium saucepan.

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chicken lettuce wraps 2.0

a few of my friends and i are concentrating on getting healthy this summer, not just healthy bodies but healthy minds too.  we’ve dubbed it our summer of wellness.  my goals for this summer are to work out regularly, make healthier food choices, and do some summer reading on positive thinking.  i’m hoping all of these things will help me be a healthier and happier me.

one of the dishes my friend makes often is lettuce wraps and last week she was telling me about them and it reminded me of the chicken lettuce wraps i made a while ago.  well i wanted to try a version that is close to the lettuce wraps i ate while i was going up.  we got them from a local vietnamese restaurant and they were just amazing.  super flavorful and i loved the freshness the lettuce added.  i am happy to report that these chicken lettuce wraps are incredibly close the ones i enjoyed at home.  yippee!

these lettuce wraps are filled with ground chicken, shiitake mushrooms, and water chestnuts coated in a soy/hoisin sauce that is just divine.  i love that even though they are low carb, they do not lack in flavor.  plus they keep me full – i have 3-4 for dinner and i’m good to go!  but you could also serve this as a healthy appetizer option too (1-2 would be a perfect serving).

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poutine

a couple months ago, my family and i went to niagara falls.  we had a great time checking out the falls and very interesting collection of restaurants, shops, and games in clifton hill.

i did some research prior to our trip about different kinds of canadian food.  one of the things i found was poutine.  poutine is fries, smothered in gravy and cheese curds.  sounds good right?  so while we were there, we made sure to try some poutine.  i found smoke’s poutinerie online and it was within walking distance from our hotel.  score!

there were all kinds of different poutines at smoke’s poutinerie and all of them looked wonderful.  but we decided on the regular, perogi, and triple pork (bacon, sausage, and pulled pork).  we shared 3 orders among the 4 of us and it was more than enough.  we were absolutely stuffed.

well fast forward a few weeks and my brother came to visit us in dc.  since he wasn’t able to go to niagara falls with us, i wanted to try our hand at homemade poutine so he could taste the amazing-ness that it is.  he was so kind and actually picked up some cheese curds from cornell’s dairy for our poutine.  how neat!

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maple balsamic dressing

you know, making my own salad dressing isn’t really something i think about doing often.  it’s just so easy to pick up a bottle from the grocery store.  it seems to be just fine.  until you make your own.  then it’s all over.  i’ve made various salad dressings before for somen salad and chinese chicken salad, as well as blue cheese dressing and the thai peanut dressing i made recently.  all of those are great but they didn’t convince me to just make my own regular salad dressing.

then my friend/colleague brought a maple dressing to serve with the salad she made for our office’s end of the year potluck.  i had a taste and it was the most delicious thing ever.  i knew i wanted to try to make some of my own.  but when i asked her for the recipe, she said she just throws things in a jar and mixes it up.  uh oh!  i don’t know to do  that.  you know me and how i need a recipe to follow.

so i went to the googles and found a recipe for maple balsamic dressing.  whipped it up and within minutes i had the most delicious maple balsamic dressing in the world.  i know, the WORLD!  this is a big claim but the fact that i have made probably 5 batches in the last 5 weeks says something.  plus chris even likes it and he’s usually not a big vinaigrette fan.

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thai peanut dressing

a while back, i made some asian style peanut sesame noodles but then i found this recipe and it was life changing.  you guys this thai peanut dressing is sooo good!  it is full of flavor and definitely packs a punch.  it is peanuty, savory, sweet, gingery, garlicy, and just so complex.

the first time i made this dressing, i served it over a quinoa salad.  there were all kind of veggies along with the quinoa from cucumber, carrots, and cabbage.  along with a sprinkling of chopped peanuts and a squeeze of lime juice, this stuff was heavenly.  i packed a few containers of the salad and then brought the dressing to work in a mason jar.  it’s best to keep the dressing separate until it’s time to eat.

the second time that i made it, i ate it with soba noodles and veggies (sliced carrots, red bell peppers, cucumbers, and lots of cilantro) instead.  it was equally delicious.

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