Sunday, March 15, 2009

Peanut Butter Granola Apples

Aaah - Spring cleaning! I haven't cleaned like this since.....I moved into my place three years ago! I set aside things for donation (i.e. an old high school winter ball gown and graduation gown....umm...yeah - those needed to go - I was saving them in case any halloween costume ideas came up), and threw away a bunch of stuff that I would be embarassed for anyone else to have. All that work got me hungry during mid-afternoon and I needed a pick me up. While I was cleaning, I concocted up this yummy in my head. One of my favorite snacks is apples and peanut butter - so why not throw in another a favorite? I had recently picked up my favorite granola - blueberry flaxseed - and it was waiting to be munched on. Oh yum! I felt like a little kid putting it all together. It was fun, easy - and delicious too!


Ingredients
1 apple - preferably sweet and crisp - cored and cut into eighths
2-3 Tbs peanut butter - depending on how big the apple is
1/4 C Granola (any kind will do)

Spread peanut butter on one cut side of each apple slice. Press the peanut butter side down into the granola - repeat w/ all eight slices.

Roasted Bell Pepper Mashed Potatoes

"What's that orange colored looking pile of mush that looks so insanely delicious?" - is the question I asked myself upon entering Pluto's in the Marina for lunch one day. Without going into detail about the structure of this restaurant - they pretty much serve you good ol' home cookin' (turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, brussel sprouts, tri-tip, etc...) - that's just displayed out there for you to salivate over and end up ordering too much - even though it doesn't really matter because it all ends up in your stomach in one sitting anyway. That is THE lunch time place that my co-worker Allison and I look forward to going to when we actually have the time to drive over there. We've come to learn that if we each order a side salad with meat (it's pretty much exactly the same as a large salad and comes w/ seven toppings, but less expensive)...we'd leave just enough room and $$ for a side to share. On our drive over one day, we were contemplating whether we should go with the curly fries or mashed potatoes. Even when parking (It's about a ~10 minute drive) - we had not yet made our decision. When we opened the doors to Pluto's and saw the server scooping out a humongous glob of orange mashed potatoes - we didn't know what made it orange, but we knew we wanted it - no questions asked. I can't tell you how happy I was to find that Allison's excitement for these mashed potatoes was just as grand as mine.


What gave them the beautiful orange color was roasted red bell pepper. How GENIUS is that? I LOVE roasted bell peppers - why had I never thought about it before? The rich roasted sweetness of the bell pepper was incredible w/ the salty potatoes, I was craving them Saturday night, so I made them along w/ some turkey meat balls and veggies.

Ingredients

5-6 medium Russet Potatoes, diced up for fast cooking
1 bell pepper
Salt
Pepper
1Tbs butter
1/2 to 3/4 C Milk

Roast the bell pepper by putting it on an open flame until the skin blisters and blackens - turning over a couple times until the whole pepper is blackened. (If you have an electric stove like me....put it very close to the broiler in the toaster oven and turn it when it blackens) After the whole pepper is black and blistered, wrap in foil to let it steam and cool. This allows the skin to peel off easier. Once it's cool enough to handle, peel off the skin and remove the seeds. Chop into little pieces and set aside.

Boil the potatoes in water until very soft, then drain. Pour the potatoes back in the pot, season w/ salt and pepper. Mash them up a bit and add in the milk slowly. The smoother you want your potatoes, the more milk you should add. Toss in the bell peppers - use an immersion blender to whip it up together - watch the potatoes turn pink! Once the potatoes are desired consistency, mix in butter and serve.