Flourless Oatmeal Monster Cookies

I have the day off! Oh the places I could go, the adventures I could seek.  Reality is: Oh the leather furniture thirsts for polish, the cob webs on the ceiling aren’t Halloween decorations. Should I do chores on my day off? Nah, life is too short to not bake and bake I did. Soft, chewy, flourless oatmeal monster cookies. It was just the right remedy to ease the “almost got rear-ended on the freeway” kind of week I had. Thankfully, the dude in a taupe SUV screeched to a halt a few millimeters from my bumper. People, let’s pay attention! There have been far too many accidents from negligence and a fatality last week at that!

Public service announcement is now over and I’m back to being happy on my day off with sunny skies, crisp air, bright autumn colors (ignoring the ones on the ground that need raking), and a spread of warm, freshly baked flourless oatmeal monster cookies across my island counter. Life is good.

flourless oatmeal monster cookies

I’m not baking these cookies for the band at large, like the peanut butter chocolate chip cookies or the chocolate revel bars that I made in the past. These flourless oatmeal monster cookies are for next weekend. The last high school homecoming for my baby whose friend group has decided to enjoy the Friday football game and ditch the Saturday night dance, and eldest Beauty and friends will be home for the weekend to relish the fun with their siblings, friends, and beloved former band mates.  And where will the collective group go on Saturday night? Oh the place they will go is the place where they know they will find plenty of food. (See what a morning of baking does to me?)

There will be a scattered montage of shoes in assorted styles and sizes at the front door, sprawled out legs covering the family room floor, and the sound of laughter and camaraderie filling the air and two cheesy hearts. (Hunky Hubby and I are oozy cheesy that way and proud of it!) The mound of flourless monster cookies will surely be devoured along with a variety of other sweet and savory noshes and I will likely need to gulp a few times and bat away misty eyes because my baby is checking off some of her final high school events.

freshly baked flourless oatmeal monster cookie

For now I’ll just enjoy cookie #2 with a cup of coffee and tell you all about these yummy flourless oatmeal monster cookies. If you too are a chewy cookie lover who will take soft-baked over crispy any time, you will need to call in the will power reserves to only eat just one. Okay, only eat just two. These cookies are scrumptious and kudos to my friend, May, for sharing her recipe that I halved and only tweaked a tiny bit. I used light pancake syrup in place of plain corn syrup simply because that is what I had on hand and with such a teeny tiny amount no one will know the difference. I also added one-half cup of mini chocolate chips and one cup of colorful chocolate candy pieces as to not overpower the peanut buttery-ness of these decadent cookies.

I just may go polish furniture, clean away cob webs and rake some leaves.  May day has been full of sweetness and may yours be too. Enjoy!

Flourless Oatmeal Monster Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3 dozen
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ teaspoons light maple syrup (corn syrup is a fine substitute)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 4 ½ cups rolled oats (not quick oats)
  • 1 cup candy-coated milk chocolate pieces
  • ½ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until smooth.
  3. Add peanut butter, vanilla and syrup and beat again until well blended.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, lightly stirring in between..
  5. All at once, add baking soda and rolled oats and mix until well incorporated.
  6. Add all of the chocolate and mix again.
  7. Using a cookie scoop, drop onto ungreased pans at least 2-inches apart.
  8. Bake 13-15 minutes. Carefully transfer to wire rack to cool.


Bacon and Blue Cheese Potato Salad

bacon and blue cheese potato salad

I have a horrible habit of not deleting photos after downloading them. I need to be sure and double, triple check before I delete. Drives Hunky Hubby crazy.  Well, this time my paranoia has served us well. Me, and you.  As the cold October winds are beginning to blow,  I was swept away to warmer days as I clicked through the photos on my camera. That’s when I saw it: this scrumptious bowl of bacon and blue cheese potato salad and was reminded that I was remiss in sharing it with you.

We skipped a true family vacation this summer what with my starting a new job late last fall and skimping on vacation time. So I stayed behind while eldest Beauty took in the sights, sounds, and tastes of Paris and Barcelona and Hubby and baby Beauty heeded the call from the Rocky mountains.  Sometimes a mom stay-cation isn’t such a bad thing…especially when one scores  a 5 lb bag of Maytag blue cheese directly from the Maytag Dairy Farms in Newton, Iowa. This hand made, cave-aged cheese is well-deserving of its world famous, prize-winning notoriety and is the star ingredient of this completely addicting bacon and blue cheese potato salad. At first bite any notion of low carb eating will be out the window.

Bacon and blue cheese are two flavors that are meant to be married and deliciously compliment each other. The crispy, salty bacon paired with creamy, pungent Maytag blue cheese. My mouth is watering as I type.

I intended to make a small, dinner-sized bowl of bacon and blue cheese potato salad to pair with grilled beef kabobs. I must have been really hungry as we had ample servings of leftovers for the next two days. No complaints from me but that is my disclaimer for the recipe that follows. It really does yield upwards of 10 servings. Not a fan of blue cheese? Substitute goat cheese or feta cheese for a milder flavor.

I’m off to go delete photos from my camera. Enjoy!

Bacon & Blue Cheese Potato Salad
Serves: 6-10
  • 6 large baking potatoes
  • 6-8 slices low sodium bacon, cooked and crumbled.
  • 4-6 green onions, finely diced
  • ½ Cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp white vinegar
  • ½ Cup crumbled Maytag blue cheese
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  1. Boil potatoes until fork tender. When cool, peel the potatoes and dice into cubes.
  2. In a medium size bowl, add potatoes and remaining ingredients.
  3. Using a spatula, gently fold to thoroughly combine.
  4. Chill until ready to serve.



Graduation Cake Pops

graduation cake pops

A post about graduation cake pops in September? Why yes. The maker of these literally and figuratively sweet graduation cake pops will be the one donning the cap and gown next June. That leaves yours truly and firstborn Beauty to make the next round of graduation cake pops and we will need this time to prepare.  Actually, I will need this time to prepare. Being “that” mom, my thoughts are already wandering and emotions are already fluttering over the next wave of change to envelop our home in the coming scholastic year.

Youngest Beauty is by and large the family baker who has a seemingly unending supply of intricate-cake-decorating patience. Though it took her the better part of a day to make over 60 of these treats (with the help of dear friends), she tells me making graduation cake pops is really a piece of cake. (Ha!)

I have seen graduation cake pops with milk chocolate squares for the motar board, but that won’t do. My baby is all about authenticity and her graduation cake pops need to match the completely red colored regalia of MHS. In true form she found a solution for making edible red motar boards: red candy melts and a flexible bite-size brownie pan. Wilton’s bite-size treat mold is the perfect dimension for holding exactly 1 1/2 red candy melts. Simply melt in  the microwave oven, level with a toothpick, freeze until firm and then effortlessly pop the flats out of the pan. (This is a completely free promo for Wilton and well deserved for making such an awesome pan.)

graduation cake pops motar board mold

As for the cake itself, both of my daughters insist that there isn’t a better batter than Amish white cake.  It’s firm but not too heavy and wonderfully rich tasting.

Decorating the graduation cake pops is a long process and patience is a necessary virtue. Begin by dipping the cake pop into a bowl of melted white chocolate and allow to dry. Next, dip only the top portion of the cake pop into a bowl of melted red candy melts and spread to replicate the hat portion of the motar board using a knife or a cake decorating paint brush. Allow to fully dry and then re-dip the very top of the cake pop once again to attach the square top.  When fully dry, pipe a fine line of black frosting for the tassle and pipe on a happy face. Voila!

May the cake pops eldest beauty and I make next June be just as pretty as these!


Cheesecake Fruit Tart

cheesecake fruit tart

Hello Blog World, it’s good to be back! Here we are a few days shy of 4 months since my last post and what a 4-month ride it has been.

Earlier in the year I was beginning to blubber over my firstborn baby’s high school years coming to an end and life soon taking a new turn and a new rhythm. Had I not had the experiences I did these past months, I would be a soggy mess. Admittedly, I had a few mom-moments as my eldest accepted her diploma, but my heart wasn’t heavy. It was – and still is – swelled with sheer joy and thankfulness at the opportunities that lie ahead for both of my beauties.

And who knows? Maybe this new chapter in life will mark a new beginning for me and I’ll post with some degree of steady frequency. One can always hope. Meanwhile, today I’m sharing a recipe for the cheesecake fruit tart our family enjoyed after graduation, a longtime family favorite.

You’ll need a true tart pan for this cheesecake fruit tart recipe as the sugar-cookie crust is filled with a light cheesecake filling that is not firm enough to use as topping should you make the crust flat as for a fruit pizza. It is not runny cheesecake filing,  it does firm up, but if you’re like me and you like a lot of filling it won’t work for fruit pizza. Having a border crust helps to hold the cheesecake filling in, providing a yummy bed for whatever fruit toppings your little ol’ hear desires. In my case,  it is a limited selection of fruit toppings that will not send my sister to the ER with anaphylaxis.

slice of cheesecake fruit tart

This cheesecake fruit tart recipe is a combination of two recipes;  a perfect marriage of flavors that makes for a delightful and versatile dessert. Note: You will have cheesecake filling left over that I urge you to consider as reward for preparing the dessert. Enjoy those smooth-and-creamy-spoonfuls of cheesecake filling without a teaspoon of guilt over not sharing. Tell yourself you deserve it!  Works for me every time.

Cheesecake Fruit Tart
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 14-16
Sugar Cookie Crust:
  • ¾ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Cheesecake Filling:
  • 1-8 oz pkg cream cheese at room temperature
  • ⅓ C lemon juice
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • ½ of 1-8 oz container of lite whipped topping
Fruit topping as desired
  1. Begin by preparing the crust. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add flour and mix until well blended. Press into an ungreased 11- or 12-in. fluted tart pan with removable bottom or 12-in. pizza pan with sides. Bake crust at 300° for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely on wire rack.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix cream cheese, lemon juice and sweetened condensed milk until well blended and creamy. Fold in whipped topping. (I use ½ of an 8-oz container but you prefer an even lighter and even sweeter cheesecake filling.)
  3. Carefully pour filling into cookie crust leaving room for fruit topping. (There will be leftover filling to enjoy 🙂

Wishing you a sweet Saturday,


White Bean Tuna Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette

white bean tuna salad with dijon viniagrette

“Tuna” and “elegant” aren’t often used in the same sentence, but this white bean tuna salad with Dijon vinaigrette is an exception! WOW! It’s a tuna salad that is elegant enough to stand front and center on a luncheon buffet table and humble enough to make a typically humdrum work lunch feel a little special.

Forget the mayo and leave the condensed soup on the grocery store shelf here, folks. You have a whole new way to enjoy tuna salad! It’s light, it’s crunchy, it’s colorful. Not a tuna salad lover, you say? Before you turn up your nose, try it.  Try it. You’ll like it. (name that commercial 😉 )

Back to business. I was in the mood for tuna but not in the mood for a mayonnaise-based salad. Being the mustard lover that I am, and trying to incorporate more veggies in my diet, I created this white bean tuna salad with Dijon vinaigrette recipe. And gave my recipe a very descriptive title.

Gently mix diced celery, sweet red bell pepper, and  green onions with Great Northern Beans and tuna fish. Toss it in a light Dijon vinaigrette dressing, add a dash of dill and black pepper, and lunch is served. Whether you mound a scoop onto a toasted bun or enjoy a healthy dollop on a pita toast triangle, you will gain a whole new appreciation for tuna salad. The white beans add an extra punch of protein and the Dijon vinaigrette is made with extra virgin olive oil, a good fat.


white bean tuna salad served as a dip

My mother is a tuna fish snubber.  Actually, she is an overall seafood snubber who turns 100 shades of green at the slightest whiff of even the freshest catch. Never mind a can of tuna. My firstborn inherited that recessive gene, although she enjoys an occasional tuna salad and gave my recipe a two forks up rating. I hope you do, too!


White Bean Tuna Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
  • 3 - 5 oz. cans of water-packed tuna, well drained
  • 1 - 15.8 oz. can Low-Sodium Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
  • ½ large red pepper, minced
  • 2 green onions, sliced thin
  • ½ Tablespoon dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon dried dill
  • ⅛ teaspoon cracked black pepper (or more to taste)
  • Dressing: 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
  1. Gently mix all ingredients except dressing in a large bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, blend vinegar and mustard, slowly add oil, beating well to emulsify. Pour over salad and mix lightly to not mush the beans.
  3. NOTE: This is not a wet salad. If you prefer a wet salad, double the dressing ingredients.


Sauteed asparagus with balsamic glaze

balsamic glazed asparagus

Tender, bright green asparagus is one of the sure signs that spring has sprung…and a reminder to get eating light to begin feeling light after one very heavy winter.  Hubby bought the first young bunch of the season’s delicate, thin-stemmed stalks and it didn’t take me long to figure out what to do with such a treasure. Prepare what has to be the easiest and snazziest veggie side dish there is to make: sauteed asparagus with balsamic glaze. It’s a snap to prepare, even for novice cooks (me, 25 years ago).

Speaking of snap, one quick snap is all it takes to remove the woody stems.  Simply bend each asparagus stalk until it snaps, collect the tough ends and proceed to find the pair of rabbits that moved into the neighborhood over winter. They’re now rather chubby bunnies  who could probably use the extra roughage.

After steaming the asparagus in a covered skillet, sautee one cup of grape tomatoes (if they’re too large cut them in half) and half of a thinly sliced red onion in one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.  Add two generous tablespoons of balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan. Savor the waff of aroma swirling in the air before covering and simmering for two minutes. Pour mixture over the steamed asparagus and for a little extra pizzazz top the sauteed asparagus with balsamic glaze with a dusting of shredded Parmesan, or serve it as is for an equally delish vegan version.

vegan sauteed asparagus with balsamic glaze

Authentic balsamic vinegar is a pricey condiment but if you can swing it, it’s well worth it. Originating from the Modena region of Italy, true balsamic vinegar is made by boiling and reducing Trebbiano grape pressings to a deep, dark syrup. After a fermentation and aging process, the end result is a thick, robust, concentrated flavor that is out of this world.

Mmm mm. Sauteed asparagus with balsamic glaze is an effortless preparation that delivers whopping flavor that still tastes light. And I’m all about feeling light these days. 🙂


Sauteed asparagus with balsamic glaze
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus, hard ends removed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
  • cracked black pepper, to taste
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
  1. Bring water to boil in a skillet
  2. Add asparagus and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes
  3. Remove asparagus to serving dish and empty water
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil and add the onion and tomatoes, sauteeing for 3-4 minutes
  5. Add 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and cover for 2 minutes
  6. Pour over asparagus and sprinkle with black pepper and ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
  7. If desired, top with a dusting of grated Parmesan cheese.







Greek Chicken Burgers with Feta Cheese and Kale

Greek chicken burger hoagie

This is a celebratory post in honor of the glorious sun that has returned, the balmy 40F degree temperature these past two days, and for my not catching spring fever until now. In past years I’ve had the itch to break out the spring decorations before Valentine’s Day. I made it until March 8th this year, only twelve days shy of the official first day of spring, and that, my friends, is cause for celebration.  So… in honor of the aforementioned details, I’m posting this recipe for Greek Chicken Burgers served hoagie style. It’s a spring-y sandwich. Fresh. Green. Light. And tastes as delightful as it looks!  Serve as traditional Greek chicken burgers, form into oval patties and serve hoagie style as I did (with plenty of tzatziki sauce), or form meatballs around skewers and refrigerate 20-30 minutes before grilling to serve as keftka kabobs. 

I’ve been remiss in posting this awesome recipe because life has been on turbo charge the past few weeks. I say that with gratitude and not complaint. It’s all good, though being MIA from my blog also serves as a reminder that sometimes I just can’t fit everything in  —and it’s okay. Everything has it’s own time. And it’s time for me to share these Greek chicken burgers with you!

There are over 2 million other listings for Greek chicken burgers but I betcha the majority are made with spinach. I used kale. Pretty sneaky and quite a shock to my Loves who know I am not a card carrying member of the kale fan club. I had a toe in the door for the longest time, though after making this soothing soup and now these yummy Greek chicken burgers, I’m dangling a leg through the door. Baby steps, people, baby steps.


Greek Chicken Burgers with Feta Cheese and Kale
Serves: 9
  • 1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small-medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1½ cups frozen kale
  • 1 pound ground chicken breast
  • ⅓ cup bread crumbs
  • ½ teaspoon granulated garlic
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • Tzatziki:
  • 1½ cups light sour cream
  • ¼ cucumber, grated in a separate bowl and squeezed dry
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat and saute onions until golden.
  2. Add kale and saute for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, add vegetable mixture to ground chicken, granulated garlic and black pepper. Gently mix, folding in feta cheese.
  4. Form into desired shapes and either pan fry or grill until cooked through.
  5. To prepare Tzatziki, mix all ingredients in a small bowl and refrigerate to allow flavors to blend.




Serbian Cupavci – the perfect size sweet


You never know what treasure you’ll find at the bottom of the freezer. Like a small well-packed pack of Serbian cupavci. That sure beats a small not-so-well packed unidentifiable freezer-burned foiled object. 

Cupavci are one of my family’s favorites and having one last taste of the Christmas season was well worth nearly crawling into the little chest freezer to dig it out.  We’re a two-freezer family. Actually one and a half as the chest freezer is the small “extra” freezer – the first one Hubby and I bought. And the one that I’m trying very hard to clear out and unplug until late next fall.  Next fall. Sniff, when my firstborn who turned 18 last week will be leaving the nest for college. BIG sniff. Now back to cupavci.

Serbian cupavci

Never heard of them? You might know them as Lamingtons, or maybe not that either. Well, let me say, you must try them. Cupavci are the perfect portion control sweet. If you can eat just one, or two.  Serbian cupavci are made by cutting a deliciously moist hot milk sponge cake into small squares or rectangles, dipping each individual morsel in a layer of chocolate glaze (you decide the thickness) and then cover it in sweet desiccated coconut. Mmmm, mmm. It was one last taste of Christmas just as we’re quickly approaching the start of Great Lent.

cupavci cut in half

We’re still very much in the throws of winter here in Wisconsin, though it’s so nice to have teeny weeny signs of change becoming increasingly more noticeable. Small signs like driving my Beauty to jazz band in daylight and driving home from work in daylight. Even the somewhat annoying reminder that I heard much of the afternoon today: the loud dripping sound of melting snow from the gutter outside my home office window. Ahhh! Spring is on the horizon but I’m not going to let myself get spring fever quite yet. There are still weeks of winter ahead, especially if that hairy Punxsutawney groundhog called it right. 

By the way, cupavci is slang for cupav: hairy, unkept.  Perhaps it’s the messy coconut that drove the naming convention or the fact that the squares and be cut in varying shapes so I suppose they can look a bit haphazard on a plate. I really don’t know. But I do now I struck gold in my freezer dig today.

Prijatno, friends!

Serbian Cupavci - the perfect size sweet
  • Hot Milk Cake:
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 can 2% evaporated milk plus enough 1% milk to equal 1¼ Cups of milk combined
  • 10 tablespoons butter, cubed
  • Chocolate Glaze ingredients:
  • 2 cups powder sugar
  • ⅓ cup cocoa
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 bag desiccated coconut, available at most import stores
  1. Grease a jelly roll pan with spray,
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat eggs for 5 minutes until thick and lemon-colored
  3. Gradually add sugar and beat until light and fluffy
  4. Add vanilla
  5. Combine flour and baking powder and gradually mix into batter
  6. Pour into greased jelly roll pan and bake 20-25 minutes or until cake tests done.
  7. Cool completely. Cut into small squares or rectangles and refrigerate in an airtight container for 2-3 hours..
  8. Prepare glaze by mixing all ingredients in a double boiler.
  9. Quickly dip cake square into glaze, coating on all sides, and then roll in coconut.
  10. Store in container in a cool spot until ready to serve. These also freeze well.



Cajun Bayou Jambalaya

spicy jambalaya

What do you do when winter throws you a polar vortex? Make jambalaya.

Last weekend, as much of the Midwest was preparing for a second round of dangerously frigid wind chills, Hunky Hubby got the itch to cook. And I absolutely love it when my Love cooks —messiness and all. (Don’t tell him I said that.) Hubby is the master of many dishes but his jambalaya is over the moon. I’m talking deep, aromatic, robust flavor of cosmic proportion. If I had more adjectives to throw in I would. His jambalaya is that good. 

I’m all about giving credit where credit is due and Hubby’s treasured jambalaya recipe is based on am original recipe created by the supremely talented chef Scott McGlinchy. Flashback to 1996 (I’ve been having a lot of those lately), it was the year our firstborn Beauty was born (who will be turning 18 in a few days!) and the year Hunky Hubby enrolled in a Cajun cooking class at the local technical college. Everyone in that class hit the jackpot by having the owner and executive chef of Heaven City Restaurant at that time for a teacher. It was during that class that Hunky Hubby sharpened his culinary skills, learned about the holy trinity staple of Cajun cooking, and truly began to develop his sense of taste. To this day I’m amazed by my Hubby’s high definition taste buds.

And he’s amazed that I buy unpeeled shrimp.

preparing jambalya

Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned cook (ha!), I’m told this is an easy jambalaya recipe… especially when using peeled and deveined shrimp… and already roasted chicken.  The original recipe from Chef Scott is heavy seafood. My Love put his own spin on this Cajun delight by using a combination of chicken, ham, andouille sausage and shrimp and is the recipe we’re sharing here.

Cajun Bayou Jambalaya
Serves: 6-8
  • 1 lb. diced andouille sausage
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • ¾ cup diced celery
  • ½ cup diced green pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1-2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1⅓ cup low-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 whole bay leaves
  • 2 fresh tomatoes
  • ½ lb low sodium ham, diced (such as Eckrich)
  • 1 cup roasted chicken
  • 12 oz. peeled, deveined shrimp
  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  1. Sautee sausage, onion, celery and green pepperin 2 tablespoons of butter and 1-2 tablespoons of canola oil until soft.
  2. Add ⅓ cup chicken broth and heat until hot.
  3. Add garlic and spices through bay leaves.
  4. Add 1¼ cup chicken stock, tomatoes, ham, shrimp and rice. Simmer covered for 15 minutes or until rice is done.
  5. Add cooked chicken and parsley and cook until chicken is warmed through.

Jambalaya is not a dish we have very often so when we do it’s special in so many ways. I hope it is for you, too.


Dark Chocolate Covered Fruit and Nut Balls

TGIF with a mile-long repeat of exclamation marks! It’s been one of those weeks (more on that later), but knowing that tomorrow will be an alarm-less morning has already put a sweet spin on my morning. It’s hard to believe that just last week was Bozic, Christmas for Orthodox Christians, and a few last cookies that I’ll pack in lunches are a pleasant reminder of the warm day my family shared in celebrating of Jesus’s birth, despite the zero temperature and sub zero wind chill. Some new found delights mixed in with longtime family favorites graced my dessert table this year, including these dark chocolate covered fruit and nut balls. The mixture of ground fruit and pecans coated in a generous layer of dark chocolate are bites of indulgence.

dark chocolate covered fruit and nut balls


As I may have mentioned, a 40-day fasting period precedes Christmas and these fruit and nut balls are covered in my favorite brand of vegan dark chocolate – Trader Joe’s. I used a mixture of dried apricots, dried mixed berries and dried cherries with ground pecans. It was delicious but next time I’m going to try using pistachios. Any combination of dried fruit would work so experiment away!

dried fruit and nut balls


Dark Chocolate Covered Fruit and Nut Balls
Serves: 24+
  • 1 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup dried apricots
  • 1 cup dried mixed berries
  • ½ cup dried cherries
  • ½ water
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  1. In a saucepan, combine dried fruit and water. Heat to boiling.
  2. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, place fruit in a food processor with 2 tablespoons of honey and pulse until a paste forms.
  4. If mixture is too thick, add some of the cooking liquid one tablespoon at a time.
  5. Stir in chopped pecans.
  6. Form into balls of desired size and place on wax paper-lined pan.
  7. Coating:
  8. In a small saucepan, melt ½ lb. dark chocolate with 2 teaspoons of canola oil.
  9. Dip balls into chocolate and place on pan to dry.
  10. Store in airtight container.

Next year, these dark chocolate covered fruit and nut balls will make an encore appearance on my cookie tray though it’s unlikely I’ll wait until then to make them again. Lesson learned this time around: it doesn’t take long to roast pecans. I had painfully toss a batch and learned that sometimes it’s not good to multi-multi-task.

Happy Friday!