Saved By Spinning

Cooking

Today was just one of those days. I was sad that my friends were gone, the festivities I had been looking forward to for weeks are over, and my stomach was cramping because that just how it rolls. I really needed an attitude adjustment. I took the weekend off from the gym, so I knew it was in the cards after work, but the thought of going straight home was too enticing. The couch won. Usually, once I go home for the day, I can never go back out to the gym, but today, I had an epiphany. I could have my cake and eat it too. So, in the spirit of Taking Back my Twenties, I decided I would have my couch time and then go to the gym. And the best part – there was a spinning class at 5:15 and I got into it at the last minute. As soon as I mounted that bike and heard the ‘Club Can’t Handle Me’ in that dark room, I was full of energy and I sprinted away from my bad attitude.

And then, on the way home, I got a peanut butter birthday package from my sister who just happens to be turning 28! HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY  Kath!!!

The positive trend continued with a bagel fresh from New York (Thanks Liz!) and an awesome dinner salad made with leftover kidney, black, and pinto beans, blue cheese, peach salsa, and yogurt dip.

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I had to rush to supervision class after dinner, but I was still able to catch half of Gossip Girl and finish off my sea salt caramel chocolate bar. I have to be honest, the last scene made me want a whiskey sour.

I hope you’ve all had a nice Monday.

And, for those of you who requested recipes, I’ve posted them below. Enjoy.

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I actually got this recipe from Real Simple magazine, but the original called for white chocolate, which I couldn’t find soy-free. You can obviously use any chocolate you like, but I swear the soy-free chips taste more incredible than regular chocolate chips.

  • semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • candy corn
  • dried cranberries
  • mini pretzels

I think the easiest way to make this is just to melt the chocolate chips (slowly in a few rounds, stirring in between) in the microwave in a bowl lined with parchment paper. This way, you can just transfer the parchment paper with melted chocolate directly to a pan without losing a lot of chocolate on the side on the bowl. Using a spatula, spread the chocolate out in a square pan and top it with the goodies. You’ll want to press the pretzels into the chocolate a bit or they will fall off when you break the bark into pieces. After refrigerating for a couple of hours, you’ll probably want to let the chocolate warm back up to room temperature before breaking it up so you don’t hurt your hands like I did!

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The bean dip was inspired by a recipe for three-bean salad that I saw online. The recipe was basically just the beans, corn, and apricots (plus onions, which I do not like), so I felt like it needed something to kind of hold it all together and change it from a bean salad to a salsa for tortillas chips. Since it was already on the sweet side from the apricots, I just added a whole jar of TJ’s peach salsa and the flavor was great. I like to let dips sit in the fridge for a while so that the flavors have time to do their thing, so simply mix the following together a few hours before serving.
  • kidney, pinto, and black beans (I used about 1/2 to 3/4 of a can of each type)
  • frozen corn (~1 cup)
  • handful of cilantro
  • tsp cumin
  • diced dried apricots ~10?
  • diced jalapeno
  • jar of peach or other fruit salsa
  • lime juice

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Be careful if you make this brie dip, because you will NOT be able to resist it if you like sweets. I’ll have to ask Matt’s mom where she found the recipe because it actually came with the dish below, which I received as a Christmas present last year.

You’ll need:

  • candied pecans (1/2 cup, I found these at TJ’s)
  • brown sugar (1/2 cup)
  • orange liqueur (1 TBSP, Triple sec)
  • brie wedge
In a food processor, mix together brie wedge, triple sec, pecans, and brown sugar. I like to top mine with extra pecans. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 before serving. Though you could really serve this on anything, I feel very strongly that it should be enjoyed on Trader Joe’s ultimate vanilla bean wafers.
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  • kath
    October 26, 2010 at 9:43 am

    🙂

    Love these recipes!! Make that brie at Xmas please!

  • solongfattypatty
    October 26, 2010 at 11:20 am

    Everything looks soooo delicious! Especially the bean dip. Glad to hear you had a fun celebration!

  • Mom
    October 26, 2010 at 11:35 am

    Yes, I agree. It all looks fabulous.

  • Dee
    October 26, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    wow, these look amazing!

  • Lindsey Morningstar
    October 26, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    All of those recipes look amazing! I’m definitely making the candy brittle for a Halloween party this weekend. And isn’t funny how once you get to the gym all the stress seems to disappear? 🙂

  • Nicole (Please Don't Weigh Me at the Zoo)
    October 26, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    Oh…my God. I can’t WAIT to make the brie dip!!! It’s going to make an appearance on Thanksgiving. Thanks for sharing those recipes! 🙂

  • Lauren
    October 26, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    I hate those days when you just feel in a funk. Glad yours turned around for the better! 😉

    Thanks for sharing these recipes. They sound fantastic!

  • Colleen
    November 1, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    I loved the bark 🙂 I made it yesterday, minus the cranberries because I didn’t have them on hand. I will be making it again for a Thanksgiving treat.