Mocha Pie with Espresso Whipped Cream

I couldn’t tell you when the craving for a mocha pie originated, only that it is a desire I have been trying to ignore for the better part of a year.

My affections lie firmly in the fruit pie camp, which is why the urge for a rich pudding of dark chocolate and coffee, tucked into a flaky crust and topped with mounds of espresso whipped cream was a mystery to me. I’m usually all about the rhubarb pie in the spring (three recipes and counting), but this year, I’m serving up mocha.

Mocha Pie with Espresso Whipped Cream | Simple Bites #pie #mocha #recipe

Fortunately, Easter is just around the corner, and chocolate is usually on the menu in many shapes and forms. I’m going to go ahead and suggest that this cream-topped mocha pie make an appearance on your table for the holiday. And if it is, please invite me over.

[Read more…]

Homemade Chocolate Sunflower Seed Butter

Over the years, I’ve spent a goodly amount of time dabbling in homemade nut butters (several of my favorites are in my first cookbook, Food in Jars).

I really enjoy taking a product that’s most often brought home from the store and translating it into something I can make at home. It’s an added bonus that the homemade version is almost always fresher, made with better ingredients, and contains less sugar.

roasted sunflower seeds

My most recent batch was inspired by a comment a friend made online recently. Her daughter’s favorite sandwich was Nutella on whole wheat bread but her new school had a strict nut-free policy (understandable with all the allergies kids have these days). They were looking for a lunchbox replacement but were coming up empty.

[Read more…]

Honey Whole Wheat Chocolate Chunk Cookies and (not) getting organized

Sometimes an action as simple as baking cookies can make you feel as though you are getting ahead, or at the very least, catching up. That was my experience this week as I faced a daunting to-do list.

I won’t name all my impending tasks at hand, but I will note that the potatoes and carrots are not yet planted in the raised beds. The weeds are starting to pop up and as I have vowed to maintain order in the garden this year, this makes me nervous.

Indoors, the laundry is washed but not folded. A suitcase is lying open with a pair of heels in it – an attempt to pack in advance for my trip to Las Vegas next week, but I’ll undoubtedly end up tossing items in willy-nilly hours before my flight. Oh, and I wanted to make up some meals for the family for when I am gone, and schedule a few posts in advance so I can leave my laptop at home.

But how does one get ahead when life’s daily upkeep threatens to escalate out of control? I haven’t quite figured that one out yet. I prioritize, then prioritize again. I make lists, and star the mega-important items.

I said to Danny recently that I feel like I am failing at the little things – or maybe he kindly pointed it out. I can’t remember. The feeling was mutual, anyway.

Does anyone else ever feel this way? The major undertakings he and I team up on: children are fed, bathed and bedded, email is answered (mostly), the chickens are tended, the fridge is stocked and meals are prepared, and the car had a tune-up recently.

This corner of the internet, and the opportunities it brings, keeps me busy. It’s not quite a 9-5 gig, but it is a big chunk of my day, my weeks. Most days and weeks, I’m the master of my own domain (no pun intended) but those ‘little things’ are getting away on me.
[Read more…]

Chocolate & Jam Tea Cake

Chocolate & Jam Tea Cake

Written by Megan of Stetted.

With the temperatures warming and spring produce starting to emerge, my thoughts turn to the impending canning season.

I’m kind of a canning hoarder. Every summer I preserve food until I am sick of chopping and lifting jars, and convince myself that this will be enough to last us until the next season. But then once the new year rolls around, I get stingy with using that bounty. I calculate every last jar, trying to determine if it will last until I can get my hands on sun-ripened tomatoes or sweet strawberries.

As it always happens, thanks to food swaps, planning, and shifting breakfast choices, we have excess of jam when the spring strawberries pop up. While many preserves can last for more than one year if canned properly, I like to replenish my stores yearly for the best quality and flavor. That means cracking open a precious jar or two and finding creative applications.

This chocolate tea cake comes together quickly and is a great way to use up any older jars of jam you have hanging around. The jam lends a subtle flavor to the chocolate, making it easy to swap in any of your favorite flavors. I’m partial to strawberry, cherry, and pear, but feel free to experiment with your star preserve.

[Read more…]

Bringing back Sunday dinner: a do-ahead menu (Chocolate Beet Molten Cakes)

Chocolate Beet Molten Cakes on simplebites.net

This week I’m continuing to make memories with my children and explore the local food culture in sunny Mexico, but I had to take a bit of time away to share about a recent Sunday dinner  we enjoyed with company before we left.

It wasn’t a fancy spread, but it was almost entirely prepared a day in advance, and came together in just a few minutes on Sunday at midday.

When I first wrote about bringing back Sunday dinner, many of you expressed concerns about timing and asked for tips on preparing a midday main meal on what is supposed to be a relaxing day. Others had sporting events or church on Sunday morning, but still wished to embrace the family tradition of Sunday dinner.

Today’s do-ahead menu is a prime example of how a little planning can go a long way.

[Read more…]