shortbread with mascarpone whipped cream and salted caramel.

What to do with leftover mascarpone cheese, a jar of homemade caramel sauce still left from a baby shower (baby now born!!!), and a craving for shortbread? Make one tasty dessert!

Shortbread with Mascarpone Whipped Cream and Salted Caramel

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup butter (softened)
1/2 cup sugar

1 cup whipping cream
1 cup mascarpone cheese
4 T sugar
salted caramel sauce, for drizzling

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To make the shortbread: Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Cream your butter and sugar. Slowly add the flour until well combined.
Press the mixture into a greased 9×13 pan and bake for 40-45 minutes, until lightly browned.

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To make the whipped cream:
Using a stand mixer, whip the whipping cream for about 5 minutes, until soft peaks form.
Add the mascarpone cheese and sugar and continue whipping until combined.

When the shortbread has completely cooled, top with the whipped cream and drizzle with your caramel sauce.
Keep refrigerated.
Note: this was better after a night in the refrigerator! 🙂

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Enjoy!

quinoa energy bars.

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These little bars are so great. Fairly easy to throw together, full of energizing foods, and totally delicious. I’ll be honest – if you’re looking for a low-cal treat, these are probably not it. Almonds and nut butter have high fat content, and dates and chia seeds are high in calories. However, if you are looking for a quick energy fix and a clean source of it, these are perfect! Those almonds will fill you with healthy fats and clean protein, dates will boost your energy with natural sugars, and chia seeds are full of fiber, minerals and omega-3s.

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Quinoa Energy Bars

Ingredients:
1/3 cup quinoa
2/3 cup water
10 whole dates (no sugar added)
1/2 cup raw almonds (with skin)
1/3 cup nut butter of choice (I always have this lying around!)
1 T chia seeds
1/4 chocolate chips
1 T honey

To cook your quinoa, add quinoa and water to small pan. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until all the water is absorbed (about 15 minutes). Cool and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (I usually let it sit overnight).

1. Using a food processor, chop the dates. Pulse until they form a ball. Remove the dates and set them aside in a bowl.
2. Using a food processor, mince the almonds. Pulse until they are finely minced, but make sure they don’t turn into mill.
3. Add dates, nut butter, chia seeds, honey, chocolate chips, and cold quinoa to the almonds in the food processor. Pulse until the ingredients are well combined.
4. Using your hands, shape the mixture into 2″ x 1″ bars with about 1″ thickness.

I usually store these in my refrigerator on a dish or wrap them individually to bring for a snack during the school day.

Adapted from http://skinnyms.com/quinoa-protein-bars/

Enjoy!

garbanzo bean brownies.

I had a minor panic attack this past week, looking at my calendar. I was trying to set a date for a work meeting, and I was overwhelmed at how quickly my time was filled up, and, consequently, how quickly my life was moving. (deep breath)

I remembered that at the beginning of the year (4 weeks ago), I was praying for a peaceful heart, to find joy in the mundane and the routine. And I realized I have. My commitment to memorizing Scripture has the kept the Word on my mind and heart. And in a season of prayer and seeking, the Lord has been faithful to reassure me of HIS commitment TO me. That He will never leave nor forsake me. That I will know that He is the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him. There’s so much joy in that knowledge. (panic attack done)

For my Sunday baking, I made some brownies that were a staple in college. My friends and I discovered this cleaner version of brownies, and we went to town on these bad boys! I haven’t made them for years, but here they are again, delicious as ever!

Garbanzo Bean Brownies
adapted from: http://honestcooking.com/garbanzo-bean-brownies/

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Ingredients:
1 1/4 cup of bittersweet chocolate chips
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
2 eggs
1/4 t cinnamon
2 T cocoa powder
1 T coconut oil
2 t vanilla extract
1/4 agave nectar
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
Powdered sugar for garnish, optional

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1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees
2. Melt the chocolate chips – either in the microwave or on the stovetop. Be careful not to burn the chocolate.
3. Add all the ingredients (except the chocolate) to a food processor or blender. Blend until completely smooth.
4. Add the melted chocolate and blend until combined.
5. Pour the batter into an 8×8 pan, lined with parchment paper or sprayed with olive oil. The batter will be very thick and heavy. Smooth it out as much as possible (it won’t rise or spread out much, so it will look however smooth you make it :))
6. Bake for 28-30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

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Enjoy!