Hot Fudge Brownie Larabars

Two days in a row…I am on a roll like butter! A Hawaiian roll, please. I love them so very much, but am too cheap to buy them. They are an indulgence of mine – like Twix, Starbucks, and chocolate. Just like Larabars…yep, too cheap to buy. When I saw this recipe on Chocolate Covered Katie, I knew that I had to make them ASAP. 

Now, if you’ve been reading long, you know that DJ can’t be around nuts. Yes, there are nuts in this recipe. When this recipe was made, DJ was at school. All associated dishes and areas were cleaned and sanitized prior to his return. It’s nice to be able to make things yourself – definitely try this out – you will not be disappointed at the taste and the money still in your wallet. You’re welcome!

Hot Fudge Brownie Larabars

adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie, originally seen ad Fudge Babies.


1 cup walnuts 

1 and 1/3 cups pitted dates 

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

3-4 T cocoa powder 

1/8 plus 1/16 tsp salt chocolate chips, bar, or baking chocolate (I added chocolate chips)


Blend all the ingredients, using a food processor,

Place mixture in a dish lined with waxed paper and shape into bars. Cut into bars and wrap. 


Lunch On The Go: Turkey Salad Wrap

I have mentioned, without sarcasm, that I LOVE my job. I work alongside the executive chef and cooks and all their amazing talent. I sample on a daily basis so that I can adequately talk with the patients about their meal choices. Don’t even get my started on the desserts that they roll out of the kitchen. So.damn.good. 

The down side? Trying not to purchase everything in the cafeteria. In an effort to not put my entire paycheck back into the cafeteria, I’ve started bringing my lunches. I found this recipe from Martha Stewart and had the feeling that it would be absolutely delicious. And it is. I adapted it slightly to use turkey lunch meat instead of cooking actual turkey because 1.) it’s faster. 2.) I just worked an 8 hour shift and didn’t care. 3.) Did I mention it’s easy? Chop up four ounces of turkey, mix with some mayo, mustard, and vinegar. Wrap it up (whole wheat, please) with some spinach and carrot – you’re good to go! 

I leave you with some pictures from our trip to the pumpkin patch this past Saturday. DJ had a blast! 

DJ loved feeding the goats and sheep.

Turkey Salad Wraps
adapted from Martha Stewart

For the filling:

4 ounces turkey lunch meat
2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
1 tablespoon honey mustard
1/2 teaspoon red-wine vinegar
Ground black pepper
To assemble:
1 cup baby spinach, or arugula
1 carrot, finely grated 
1 (12 inch) flour tortilla, flavored if desired

Slice the  turkey and place in a medium bowl. Stir in the mayonnaise, mustard, and vinegar until combined. Season to taste with pepper.
Arrange arugula and carrot in the center of the tortilla. Spoon turkey salad down the center. Fold one end of tortilla up over a little of the filling. Fold the sides over to enclose the filling, and then roll up to close. 

Menu Plan – Week of 10/22

Hello! How are you? I’m doing fantastic – and no, that isn’t sarcasm. I am loving my new job. I get to spend more time with the little man and am actually finding myself in the kitchen more consistently. I’ve trained on all three of my rotating shifts – which feels wonderful to be done! I love working alongside the cooks and chefs. I’m in hog heaven. Speaking of the little man, how handsome was he on school picture day?

In other fun and exciting news, I had a pretty awesome reaction to hair dye. For only being 30, I am quite gray. A head of gray hair is something that I’m just not ready for, so I have dyed my hair for the past several years. I blame the use of a new and different brand for the skin falling off my face at the scalp line. Nice way to start a new job, right? Hi. I’m Lisa. My face is not falling off and I do not have some contagious disease, I promise.

For the first time in weeks, I was able to sit down and actually plan a week of meals. A little different than in the past, I’m including the recipes that I plan to try to breakfasts and lunches this week. Hope that you have wonderful things planned. I’m looking forward to DJ’s first trip to the pumpkin patch today. I’ll be sure to share some pictures of our adventure! Enjoy the rest of your weekend! 

Plan for Week of October 22nd – in no particular order. 

Apple Bagel Sandwiches with Whipped Pumpkin Spread

Hot Fudge Brownie Larabars (so I don’t stuff my face with samples in the kitchen!)

Turkey Salad Wraps

Ground Beef Stew

Pan Roasted Chicken with Maple-Mustard Dill Sauce
Stuffed Pork Sandwiches
Chicken Chop Suey

Beer Pizza

Pumpkin Garlic Rolls

Hi…my name is Lisa. I know it’s been awhile. Towards the end at my old job, I was leaving the house before sunrise, working up to 11 hour days, and fighting an hour or so commute to the house. Add catching a cold to the mix, and dinner was just not happening. 

This weekend was pure bliss. I actually spent time in the kitchen trying to find ways to use the 5 cans of pumpkin that I bought on a whim. After a bit of Googling, my search ended with these rolls. I adapted the recipe slightly using a different glaze using butter instead of olive oil. I have a thing for a delicious, soft, chewy rolls with a delicious, long simmered meal and these fit the bill perfectly. Consider adding these to your spread this turkey day! 

Pumpkin Garlic Knots
Source: Handle the Heat, from (never home)maker, glaze adapted from Annie’s Eats
For the rolls:
1 cup warm water
1 envelope active dry yeast
2 tablespoon honey or agave nectar
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
olive oil
1-1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
3-1/2 cups unbleached bread flour 
For the glaze: 
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves


Pour the warm water into a medium bowl and whisk in the yeast. Let sit until frothy, about 10 minutes. Whisk in the honey, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and pumpkin puree.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients then pour in your wet ingredients.

In a mixer using a hook attachment, pour the contents of the bowl. Set mixer on medium-low and mix until ingredients are incorporated. Knead dough for approximately 6 – 8 minutes. 

Lightly oil bowl and roll dough to cover and coat both sides lightly with oil. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let rise for about 2 hours; or until nearly doubled in size. 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F, put in a pizza stone (you may use a pan, too, but it works best with a stone), and divide the dough into two equal pieces. Place half into a freezer bag if planning to use another day. The dough can be frozen for up to three weeks.

To shape the rolls, tear off sections of dough and roll into a long shape. Tie in a know and fold the ends of the dough into the center. 

For the glaze, mix the melted butter, garlic cloves, and dried oregano and stir to combine. Using a brush or a sandwich bag, coat tops of rolls with glaze. 

Place the rolls on your stone (or on your pan) and let bake until golden brown on the tops, about 10-15 minutes depending on size of knots.

Happy Birthday, DJ

Every day at work, the lead teacher tells the babies that they are loved and they should be happy. Every day, I look out the window and fight back tears. The babies are loved while their parents are working, the same way that my little man is cared for by someone else while I’m working. If I said it didn’t break my heart a little, it would be a lie. 

I pretend for a moment that I’m talking to DJ, telling him that Mommy, Daddy, Dukey, Pappy, Grandma, Ah, Nana, Gramps, Great Grandma, Poppa up in heaven, and everyone else that he comes in contact with absolutely adores him. 

Small tangent:

 I can’t get over how tiny Duke used to be!

At 8:20 this evening, I will commemorate my life changing forever for the 4th year in a row. It’s DJ’s birthday today! 

My dearest DJ, 
You have changed my life in more ways than you know. You’ve given me more joy than you can ever imagine. I fell in love with you from the moment that I saw you. You have my heart you dear sweet boy. 

You are such an amazing gift. As much as I try to find the words that adequately express my love for you, there are none. You have changed my life forever and I love you with all of my heart. 

I love watching you learn and grow. You are such a joyful little man and I am so very proud to be your mommy. Happy Birthday, DJ! 

Menu Plan – Week of 9/24

Wow…did that week really just happen?

Several very important things happened: 
1.) I turned 30. It was just a normal day where I found out that I wouldn’t be able to go for a promotion. At least there was my homemade ice cream cake to lessen my sorrows…

2.) I had an amazing interview about 10 minutes from my house…sitting on pins and needles waiting to hear!

3.) I was schooled by a crockpot. The lesson I learned, you can never, ever have enough crockpots. Or tupperware. Or scouring pads for when the food in the crockpot burns. Whoops. 

This week I’m trying a few of the recipes that I didn’t get to last week like the creamy crockpot spaghetti, beer braised short ribs, and cran-apple chicken, but adding these recipes to my plans as well: 

Chicken with Paprika Sauce
Beer Pizza Crust, which I hope ends up being made unlike the Beer Pizza from yester-menu plan

Nothing says it’s going to be a great week like having multiple beer recipes in the plans! 

Happy New Week to you! 

Dark Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Muffins

(Let me begin this post by humbly sticking my tail between my legs and apologize to Coleen and Sarah for the delay. 8AM and 8PM are two totally different things when scheduling, but better late (and delicious) than never!)

Time for another Blogger’s Choice Reveal. I was downright giddy when I was assigned Coleen’s blog, Does Not Cook Well With Others. I love Coleen’s recipes, her photography, and her blogging style. I could choose any recipe I wanted – yes! 

For awhile, I had this recipe for Steak and Eggs with Molasses-Beer Sauce as my recipe of choice. I was dead set on it – until I saw Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Muffins. Really? I was smitten. I am averaging about two hours of commuting time in addition to a ten hour work day. These were the motivation that I needed to get my butt out of bed, peel DJ out of bed and get him ready for his day, and gear up for a day of all things baby. 

I adapted the recipe slightly to include dark chocolate because if you’re doing something decadent, you may as well do it up right. I love the slightly-melted consistency of the chocolate chips inside the delicious, non-cupcake-tasting muffin. It makes 5am seem less…well, sucky. 

Thanks again to Coleen of Does Not Cook Well With Others.  for having a truly amazing blog that made deciding difficult and to Sarah of A Taste of Home Cooking for putting the swap together. 

Dark Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Muffins
adapted from Does Not Cook Well With Others, originally from AllRecipes
6 ounces dark chocolate (use high-quality bar chocolate, the kind you chop)
1/3 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 1/2teaspoon vanilla extract
1 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees . Grease silicon muffin tin or line 12 muffin cups with papers.

In a small saucepan over low heat, carefully melt the chopped dark chocolate and the butter. Let stand until cooled, about 10 minutes.

Lightly beat the eggs. In a small bowl, stir together the chocolate-butter mixture with the milk, sugar, eggs, and vanilla, until blended well.

In a large bowl, stir together flour, soda, and salt. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, pour in the chocolate mixture, and stir until just combined and lumpy. Stir in the mini chocolate chips, testing a handful for yourself to test product quality. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups.

Bake at 400 degrees F at least 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove muffin tin from oven and let stand at least 5 minutes, before removing the muffins and letting them cool on a wire rack.
These can be served warm or can be frozen, if they last that long!

Here are all of the recipes that were made: