pinterest in real life – no-bake granola bars

First of all, I realize that I should be taking pictures of my attempts in this endeavor, but I’ve been too lazy. So here’s to not being lazy. I took one picture!

This week I had to try these no-bake granola bars. They looked so healthy and easy. Turns out, they weren’t quite as easy as I’d hoped, because I had to toast oats and coconut, and soak and puree apricots and dates, and chop a whole buncha stuff. Is that a lot of work? Maybe not. Like I mentioned, I’m lazy.

The recipe is nicely modifiable, so I used peanut butter where I had no almond butter, and almonds where I had no brazil nuts. Otherwise, it was really nice to use up all these dried fruit sort of things that I happened to have sitting in my pantry, because I literally had all of the other ingredients on hand(minus hemp seeds, but who has those on hand?). Sometimes I have no idea how I collect these things.

These bars were pretty tasty. My favorite bites are when you can taste the dates and apricots, and because I had some trouble getting a nice smooth paste out of my apricots and dates, those flavors didn’t quite make it all way through the mixture. If you can get a good paste out of them though, I suspect it’d be pretty enjoyable.

I can’t say that I ate these with the fervor with which I demolished the coconut macaroons I made the other day, but they are good. (Maybe it’s not fair to compare macaroons to granola bars. Yeah, probably not.) And the nice thing is that I cut up and wrapped the remaining bars into individual sized portions and stuck them in the freezer, so we have snacks or breakfast in a pinch!

Verdict: Unsure
For some reason, I wish these were a tad easier to throw together. Maybe they would be better with a different nut butter or something, but I don’t see adding these to a regular rotation. I’ll keep the recipe for now, because it’s healthy and tasty.

first picture is mine, second picture is from the original recipe post

pinterest in real life – arugula steak salad

Here we are again. I may have missed a week…or two…

I’ve been eating a lot of sweets lately, or more accurately, I’ve been eating a lot lately. Of everything. It’s bad. I didn’t really do much cooking or grocery shopping for the past couple weeks and that has led to a lot of takeout and things like Chipotle and Portillo’s. There’s only so much convincing I can do to myself to believe that a hot dog has enough servings of vegetables on it or a burrito bowl somehow constitutes a salad. I haven’t gone so far as counting fries as a vegetable yet…but maybe I’m heading down that road.

I need to quit.

So yesterday I finally got to the store and we had this arugula steak salad for dinner. It felt a little healthier than what I’ve been having, and it was a nice low carb meal. The steak I got though…I don’t think it was the best. (What’s up with that, Whole Foods?) It seemed a little tough and chewy, and I didn’t overcook it. I don’t know if I did something else wrong, but for me, it wasn’t awesome. My husband ate it though, even though he agreed about it’s toughness.

The salad itself though, was great. I loved the caramelized pears and pecans, and naturally the gorgonzola took it over the top. Very yummy.

The verdict: Saved.
I’ll keep this one around, and hope for a better steak next time.

Recipe and photo found here

pinterest in real life – lentil soup and hand pies

Still going with this…we’ll see how long it lasts!

This week I tried two recipes in the same meal. This lentil soup was up first: I’d been eyeing it repeatedly but thinking it looked too complicated. I’m not sure why. Maybe the words ‘brown butter’ had something to do with it. Anyway, it was pretty easy!

The soup was tasty, but thinner than I expected, I guess. I was anticipating a heartier soup. Maybe I did something wrong. Anyway, it was nice and spicy with an interesting dimension from the curry. We really enjoyed it with some toasty baguette.

Verdict: Saved.

For dessert I made these apple ginger hand pies. It was my first hand-pie-making experience, and it wasn’t a bad one. The dough didn’t give me fits, for a change. I always have trouble with pie dough. This one came together beautifully for me, so bonus already.

The pies themselves were good, but I kind of wanted an ooey-gooey-er filling. It mostly felt like just apples and the ginger. I’m thinking if I make these again I will adjust by adding some brown sugar to the apple mixture or something. I just wanted a little more decadence in there. However, these were great with some vanilla ice cream. Then it becomes a spoon pie, but who cares?

Our favorite part about these though? The crust! It was perrrfect. Flaky with just the right amount of crispy-crunch when you bit into it. If I don’t make this particular filling again, I will probably still use the dough recipe.

Verdict: Saved, if not just for the dough recipe.
Like I said, if I make these again, I will be adjusting the filling to my tastes.

images are not mine, they are from the original recipe posts (soup) (pies)

pinterest in real life – coconut hot chocolate

Let us continue on in this journey.

This week I couldn’t wait to try out this coconut hot chocolate because I had been eyeing/drooling about it for some time. It is fairly easy to make and it comes from one of my favorite bloggers so I don’t know what my holdup was. I mean just look at it.

Cutting to the chase, this stuff was so so rich. And coming from me, that means a lot. I can handle a fair amount of decadence, but I couldn’t even finish a small mug of this! It is very thick, so much so that I thinned mine with some milk. But it is delicious.

The thing is, I saved the leftovers in the fridge, and the next day it was like a pudding. And by jove I liked it better this way! I just enjoyed it plain with a spoon and actually preferred it to drinking it. I keep going back to the fridge and sneaking spoonfuls. You could probably add the whipped cream and coconut flakes to this new ‘pudding’ and have a pretty rad dessert.

Verdict: Unsure
I’m really waffling on this one. The ‘pudding’ of this is so dang good. But there are so many other desserts out there to make and I can’t decide if this should be part of the rotation. If you’re a fan of coconut though, definitely worth a shot. I just prefer it as not a beverage.

image is from original recipe post

pinterest in real life – coconut nutmeg pudding and towel recharge

Ah, Pinterest. It somehow has the dual ability to be a time suck and an inspiration to do more. We pin and pin for hours with lofty dreams of the perfect baby shower, the cutest snack for the kiddos, and a kitchen filled with the smell of your perfect banana bread-stuffed cookie-brownie baking in the oven.

But how often do we actually take action on these pins? I have over a thousand pins and I know I won’t ever get to all of them. But I can at least start! I decided that I want to try at least one pinned item a week, whether it’s a baked good or a home improvement idea or a workout or a craft.

I know that not everything will turn out perfectly (there’s a whole blog dedicated to this – here’s one of my favorites), but I’ll share the good, the bad and the ugly. Here goes!

This week I tried this coconut nutmeg pudding. It looks so pretty and delicious, and since my husband is out of town and this is not his jam but it is totally my jam, I decided to give it a go.

So, this pudding is not very sweet. I don’t know if it’s because I didn’t use full fat coconut milk or not, but I ended up adding honey to make it sweeter. You should know I have a pretty sick sweet tooth, but nonetheless I thought it needed it. And perhaps I let the pudding cook too long so it was too thick to strain, but by the time I strained it, I had one serving. ONE. (It’s supposed to make four.) It was fine because it hadn’t turned out how I’d hoped anyway, and I almost just decided it was a lost cause. But after it cooled off a bit and I added the toasted coconut on top, it really wasn’t bad at all. It says serve warm but I enjoyed it…a little less than warm. Not chilled, but almost like room temp. I polished off my one serving, to my surprise. The flavor of the nutmeg was nice and the honey gave it the right amount of sweet. If you try it, perhaps use full fat coconut milk. And perhaps don’t cook it as long, and perhaps add honey.

Verdict: Not saved.
A little more trouble than it was worth for me, since my results were the way they were.*

*This is to say nothing about the quality of the recipe. There are many variables that could have made my result the way it was, and the original pudding does look wonderful. I’m just sharing my imperfect personal experience.

I also tried this:

I don’t know that it made my towels particularly more fresh or fluffy. Kinda hard to tell. They were nice and absorbent but my towels usually are. I guess it’s nice to skip detergent and go with a more natural cleaning method.

Verdict: (probably) not saved.
If the next time I wash my towels with regular detergent I notice that they don’t seem as great as they did this time, I will let you know. Otherwise, it’s easier for me to just use detergent. I like to use my baking soda and vinegar for other things and this requires a fair amount of both.

images are not mine, they are from the original posts (pudding)