Salty Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

Salty Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

I am just going to warn you right now that the baking monster has been on a bit of a crazy rampage lately. And I am going to unabashedly point my finger right at Sarah of Well Dined. It’s totally her fault.

Several weeks ago, she confessed that she was afraid of baking cookies from scratch…and something inside my brain popped. Instead of cooking (somewhat) healthy lunches together each week, we started baking decadent desserts like it was no big deal.

But, friends…it was a big deal. I can’t stop baking.

So just get ready for an onslaught of brownie and cookie recipes, because it’s happening.

Starting here. With the very brownies that broke my willpower to not eat desserts. (Let’s be honest, that willpower wasn’t back to full strength after its pregnancy vacation, so it didn’t really stand a chance.) These brownies are thick and cakey and sweet and salty and all the things that are good about peanut butter and chocolate together. Make them. Who needs willpower?

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Shrimp Tostadas

Shrimp TostadaThis is just the kind of quick meal I love to throw together when I’ve been having a busy day and I want to get dinner on the table without a lot of fuss.

A tostada is kind of like a taco salad that you pick up and eat with your hands. It can be gloriously messy, but let’s just call that an eating experience, okay? I love the spiced shrimp with a kick of lime. I love the mountain of veggies and cheese piled on top.

Bring a napkin and a fork, and dig in.

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Homemade Taco Seasoning

Taco Seasoning Mix

Have you ever made your own taco seasoning?

It’s kind of glorious.

Yes, it’s true: I have a penchant for making things from scratch that I could easily have bought in the store…but in this case, I really do think it’s worth it. Not only will you avoid totally unnecessary ingredients, like gums and gluten, but you if you make your own taco seasoning, you can customize the flavors and spice level!

Plus, your friends will be impressed. And isn’t it a beautiful thing when someone compliments your cooking (and you can brag that you even made the taco seasoning yourself)?

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Lahey Pizza Crust

Jim Lahey Pizza CrustThis pizza crust is made out of flour and time and magic.

Every time I make it, a phrase from 1 Corinthians comes to my mind: “A little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough” (1 Cor. 5:6). Whenever I hear that phrase ringing in my head, I feel tempted to tell you that this pizza crust is heavenly…but in fact, yeast represents sin in the Bible, so instead perhaps I should say this crust is so good, it’s almost sinful.

(Please don’t misunderstand me; I’m not making light of sin! Throughout the Old and New Testaments, yeast is used as a visual representation of how every sin, no matter how small we think it is, touches every part of our souls, just the way a small amount of yeast creates an airy and chewy bread. We need the grace of our loving God!)

Jim Lahey, creator of this amazing crust recipe, is no angel, because I seriously can’t stop making pizza now that I have this crust recipe in my arsenal.

If you have ever fretted about making pizza at home, ever resisted making your own crust or turned out with a flat, boring disc underneath your favorite pizza toppings, I implore you to try this recipe! It’s easier than easy and tastes phenomenal.

Trust me. You’ll thank me later.

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Zucchini and Goat Cheese Quiche with Cracker Crust

Zucchini and Goat Cheese Quiche with Cracker Crust

I laughed out loud when I saw the name of my Secret Recipe Club blog for July: Why I Am Not Skinny. That’s a question I ask myself an awful lot, usually after a bowl of homemade ice cream or a third slice of pizza.

I was seriously tempted to make Maxine’s crepes…lately I have been all too eager to make breakfast, and dinner has sort of turned into a black hole into which I throw takeout and yes, more breakfast foods (and I wonder why all this baby weight is stubbornly sticking around….).

For some reason, both my kids have started losing their cool at exactly 5:00pm. Dinner is hard.

Which is why quiche for dinner is perfect! First of all…it is kind of like breakfast (but healthier and more filling than a plate full of carby sugar)! Second of all, you can prep quiche several hours before baking it, which makes the witching hour much less dreadful.

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No Churn Mint Pistachio Ice Cream

No-Churn Mint Pistachio Ice Cream

Over the last month or so, Jake has developed quite an obsession with the book Should I Share My Ice Cream? by Mo Willems. He carries it around the house with him. We read it at least once a day and up to four or five times in a row, if we have the patience. Jake likes to sit down to read the book aloud (quite accurately, I might add) to his baby sister, and he has on many occasions just recited various sections to himself when the book isn’t on hand.

Get your cold ice cream for a hot day!

I Love Ice CreamI have to admit that I love this book, and not just because I am amused that all Jake’s favorite books are somehow about dessert. The crisis Gerald goes through, trying to decide whether he can bear to share his very favorite thing, the greedy rationalizations partnered with loyalty and affection for his best friend—they ring so true!

But it has always puzzled me that Gerald’s ice cream is green. I mean…green. (Maybe because real elephants are herbivores?) Nothing against mint or pistachio or matcha ice cream, particularly…I am just surprised to see such a grown-up color in a children’s book.

But maybe this is a good thing: expanding my kid’s horizons in the name of ice cream and reading!

I told Jake we would make Gerald’s ice cream…and then we set out to combine two classic green flavors, with tremendously delicious results!

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Kale, Pepper, and Onion White Pizza

Kale, Pepper, and Onion White Pizza

Recently, I had quite a shock: apparently, my husband likes kale.

What?!

When did this happen, and how did I not know about it?

In other news…this pizza is delicious (and healthy, to boot)! Since there is no sauce, it is a breeze to put together. I love how the kale crisps up in the oven and adds a rich, savory note to the melty cheese and the sliced peppers and onions.

P.S., my (apparently kale-loving) husband said he preferring this pizza over the kale-free, saucy version I made to serve with it. Will wonders never cease?

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Brownie Cheesecake Ice Cream

Brownie Cheesecake Ice Cream

As you may know, it’s National Ice Cream Month. A month I intend to celebrate enthusiastically! (Okay…I may have jumped the gun a little and started celebrating early. And I will probably still be celebrating in August.)

Initially I really struggled to figure out what ice cream recipes to share with you this month. What could be better than Nutella ice cream or cookies and cream ice cream or cake batter ice cream? I am quite predictable in my ice cream selections…and I just didn’t see how I could come up with something new to try when I had already turned all my favorite things into ice cream!

But then it hit me: brownie cheesecake. Awesome!

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