Tuesday, March 22, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Mint Chocolate Cake and Soda Bread

I realize I'm quite late on the St. Patrick's Day eats but I've just been really busy lately!
I'm glad you guys really enjoyed my Fit Buns. They really are the best of both worlds :)

I tried to keep the theme of St. Patrick's Day (aka green and Irish) for dinner with a green salad topped with green asparagus and Irish soda bread!
I love having salads as a main course because you can add so many fun toppings and, of course, get a lot of veggies in!
This salad was mixed greens topped with roasted asparagus along with onion, bell pepper, and tomato slices that were roasted with balsamic vinegar. Topped with a fillet of Tilapia with a spicy crust consisting of (a lot of) chili powder, garlic, and salt that was pan cooked in a little olive oil. Everything was so flavorful that there was no need for any dressing; just a squeeze of lemon juice and it was perfect.

On the side I made a whole wheat Irish Brown Bread using this recipe except for using all whole wheat pastry flour (instead of a combination of regular whole wheat flour and all purpose) and using kefir instead of yogurt.
I think my kefir substitution caused it to be a little too "watery" so the dough was a little too loose and therefore spread out a bunch.
It's supposed to have a big X cross on the top and be a little taller, but the taste was still amazing!
I think we all really loved this bread. It's flavor isn't like normal whole wheat yeast bread; the yogurt tang puts it on a whole new level! The taste reminds me of buttermilk biscuits, yumm :D
Slathered with a little homemade lemon curd.
The best part about this bread? The crust! It's simply amazing. That bread plus that amazing salad = an out of this world delicious dinner. (:

The St. Patty's inspiration didn't stop when it came to dessert.
I had half a can of pumpkin in the fridge, which was just the perfect amount to make a half batch of my favorite chocolate cake recipe! This time I made the cake with brown rice syrup instead of corn syrup and added 3/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract to the batter.
As for the frosting, of course I went green and made a green mint cream cheese frosting/glaze to top the cake with peppermint extract, powdered sugar, low fat cream cheese, Brummel & Brown, and green food coloring.
Despite this being a half recipe, this still made a pretty sizable cake! I was able to cut it in half to add a layer of frosting to the middle.
Topped with a couple mini chocolate chips for fun and deliciousness. (:
This baby was cut into 6 pieces (which normally would be small with a half batch, but were quite large!) And topped with mint chocolate chip ice cream which, obv, was a really good idea.
SO GOOD!! I've said it before and I'll say it again, this chocolate cake recipe is a winner. It's so moist, chocolaty, and has the perfect texture. Chocolate and mint happen to be one of my favorite combinations so this was perfect. It's getting quite hot here in Texas, so the ice cream started to melt fast, but that just meant I had to gobble it up faster (:

My St. Patrick's day breakfast, however, was not Irish at all, but still worth sharing!
I made Tina's famous peanut butter, apricot, and walnut sandwich but the lazy girl's version :D
Since I don't like things too sweet, I didn't include the honey and used homemade unsweetened crunchy peanut butter. I forgot about the raisins, and I didn't have any walnuts, and didn't want to dirty a mixing bowl, so in fact, my sandwich may have tasted completely different than hers! Oh well :P
I topped two slices of whole wheat cinnamon raisin bread with crunchy peanut butter and apricot slices. Relatively same idea, right?!

Can we pause and talk about this cinnamon raisin bread for a minute? This is a staple I get from Sprouts that is absolutely divine. It's ingredient list is less than 10 ingredients long (I'll take a picture of it some day if I remember) it is 100% whole wheat, uses honey as it's sweetener, and it loaded with raisins and cinnamon chips! That's right, it not only has cinnamon flavor but has little tiny pockets of pure cinnamon in each bite. To. Die. For.
Sprouts, please never, ever stop making this bread!!
Anyway, back to the sandwich.
After my first bite, I thought the combination of the cinnamon bread, apricots, and peanut butter was delicious but it needed something to kind of bind it together. Something creamy that wasn't sweet to counterbalance the sticky and sweet filling.
At first I thought cream cheese, but then changed my mind and went with a slather of plain Greek yogurt (I'm sure cream cheese would have also be good).

Ahh. Perfection. I need to combine dried fruit with nut butter more often!
I would definitely recommend you make some sort of version of this sandwich soon (or the original!).

What's your favorite breakfast sandwich?
I still think my favorite has to be a "carrot cake" sandwich, with cream cheese, shredded carrot, raisins, walnuts, and coconut on cinnamon raisin bread! So, so good.

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