Let’s get real for a second: everyone is a little lazy sometimes.
You are, I am, even BEYONCÉ probably is (okay, Beyoncé probably isn’t, I’m convinced she has no bad days), but it’s okay. Embrace it. I never thought I would be here posting pictures taken on my iPhone of tacos that I stuffed with LEFTOVER CHILI and covered with pretty toppings to hide the fact that, well, chili is perhaps the most hideous food on this earth. Yet, here we are, because life is messy sometimes.
I am, by all accounts, a savory brunch person.
Maybe someone can explain this phenomenon to me, because my sweet tooth is out of control, yet I very rarely order or make sweet brunch food. Maybe I avoid it subconsciously, because I know I’ll end up falling asleep right after I eat it (can someone say sugar crash?). Maybe it’s because I really appreciate a perfectly-cooked egg, especially when it’s oozing down a mountain of mashed avocado or smoked salmon and hollandaise. Or, maybe I just appreciate it when someone ELSE is responsible for perfectly cooking that egg for me. I don’t know.
Some days though, I do get a hankering for something sweet that only the french toasts, pancakes, oats, and pastries of the world can satisfy. And some days, I truly can’t make up my mind. For those days, the brunch solution is clear:
I’ve been re-watching “How I Met Your Mother” lately, and have been impressed all over again by just how real it gets sometimes.
Remember that time you had no idea what your life was about so you moved somewhere else on a whim, thinking it would fix all your problems? But then it didn’t? Lily did that! And remember when you dated that person who you stayed with against ALL your better judgment? Ted did that – like, seven different times! Or maybe you didn’t do either of those things, but I bet you know someone who did! It’s as if they know.
But you know what I find totally unrealistic about HIMYM, though? They’re always at the bar. I get that it’s their social hub, and I guess if I lived right over a bar I’d go there a lot too. But it really just seems like they are always freakin’ there. Tell me, real world humans, who seriously has the time to sit around drinking beers and acting ridiculous on a regular basis? Not me. Well, maybe I act ridiculous, but many nights, I don’t even have time to make my own dinner. That’s when I end up calling in a favor from my friend Amy.
Don’t get me wrong, I love cooking for myself (probably obvious given the food blog). But whether you like to cook or not, sometimes the time crunch is real and a frozen meal is the best way to go, especially if you’re trying to save money and eat what you have in the house. Yes, some frozen meals can be considered “healthy’ – Amy makes a killer vegan mac and mattar paneer! – but what if there were a way to combine the convenience of a pre-bought frozen meal with the peace of mind that comes with preparing your food from scratch? Surprise! THERE IS!
So, I know I just gave you a dessert recipe. I know.
I also know that I outlined my unpopular opinion on Valentine’s Day in last week’s post, and now it would appear that I have made you heart-shaped chocolates. But I feel like that’s OK, because Valentine’s Day is over. I’m a weird kind of stubborn sometimes… Also, the only ice cube trays I own are those heart-shaped ones from Ikea. So, there’s that. But you should totally make these next time you have a date over, because they’ll probably fall for you immediately (if they haven’t already).
And I know you may be a bit chocolate-d out from all the chocolate you may have consumed since last Saturday. But for me, there is no such thing as “chocolate-d out,” and I don’t think I’m alone. So I am honoring this month’s Recipe Redux theme, “Favorite Chocolate Matches,” with a super easy, delicious truffle recipe.
Amidst this extremely busy (and freezing) week, simple was the best way to go. I had been planning some kind of cocoa chili, but then earlier this week I made cinnamon chili instead, because I was 100% hungry and only about 60% adventurous. Such is the life of a grad student.
And so this morning, on the morning OF this post’s due date, I still did not have a recipe. Oops. Although, in the true nature of the challenge (which was to find a way to use leftover chocolate), I used two other leftover household staples to make these little nuggets of heaven – peanut butter and dates. So many of my favorite candies boast the peanut butter-caramel-chocolate trifecta, and dates are a perfect healthy way to simulate the texture and flavor of caramel.
I made these before heading off to see a student, popped them in the freezer, and they were perfectly set by the time I got home. Then, I had just enough time to pop them out of the mold and photograph them before I went out to rehearsal. If that’s not proof that these are low-maintenance, I don’t know what is. And I’m kind of high-maintenance. But these honestly taste super fancy, so nobody will have to know your secret 😉
- 3/4 cup pitted dates, mashed
- Sea salt, to taste
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips, melted
- 3 tbs. peanut butter of choice
- Combine mashed dates with a pinch or two of sea salt. Combine and set aside.*
- Spoon a small amount of dark chocolate into each section of a silicone ice tray or mold. Using the back of a teaspoon, spread the chocolate to thinly coat the bottom layer of each section. This layer should still be thick enough that you can't see any of the tray through the chocolate.
- Place in freezer to set bottom layer, about 5 minutes.
- Fill each mold about 2/3 of the way up with mashed dates.
- Fill the rest of each mold evenly to the top with peanut butter.
- Thinly spread the rest of the chocolate on top of each candy (i.e. don't cover the whole surface of the tray/mold with chocolate).
- Return to freezer until set, about 1 hour.
- *If necessary to help with mashing, microwave the dates first for about 20-30 seconds.