Brownie Batter for Two

I LOVE chocolate. I remember my parents referring to me as a “chocoholic” when I was young because I would eat (and eat and eat) anything chocolate! So you’ll understand my disappointment when I realized my body was very sensitive to refined sugars. After being sick on and off for years, and suffering a cold/flu for months straight (I’ll write about this in more detail someday), I decided to cut out all processed foods from my diet. After a week or so I started to feel more like myself. Hooray, a solution!! Being the chocolate addict that I am though, I still crave sweet treats.
I found a chocolate pudding recipe from a great blog called Delicious Obsessions and tweaked it a bit to make it creamier like brownie batter for two people. Who can resist brownie batter; especially one that is good for you?! I also didn’t want to call it pudding because “pudding” here in Northern Ireland is more of a blood pudding/sausage type food. This is NOT that type of pudding! Get ready for some rich chocolatey goodness that you don’t have to feel guilty about!
This recipe is perfectly suited to share with a friend or loved one. My husband and I like to make a batch after we get the boys to sleep! YUM.
Refined sugar-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg-free…. it could even be vegan if you substitute maple syrup or agave nectar for the honey.
This recipe fills 2 regular sized coffee mugs.
brownie batter
Brownie Batter for Two
5 small sweet potatoes
1/2 cup cocoa powder (if you have dark cocoa, use a heaping 1/4 cup instead)
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup honey
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp sea salt
.
1. Bake sweet potatoes in oven at 220c for 45 minutes or until soft. Once cool enough to handle, peel and discard skins.
2. While still warm, combine potatoes and coconut oil in a blender or food processor.
3. Blend in all other ingredients until creamy.
4. Pour into two mugs and enjoy!*
 *I like to eat it while still warm, but it is also tasty if refrigerated!

Mother-in-Law Soup

I’m sitting here stuffing my face with this soup and I think I’ve finally come up with a good name for it. Chicken & Sweet Potato Soup just sounded too boring and this really is a spectacular soup! I wanted to do it justice with a good name. It features sweet potatoes and chicken, celery, red bell pepper, onion, and herbs.
Before I got married I heard plenty of horror stories about other people’s mothers-in-law. Thankfully, I can truthfully say I don’t have any horror stories of my own to share. I really am blessed with a wonderful mother-in-law! She has always welcomed me with open arms.

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visiting us in Haiti in 2011

From our unexpected engagement, to our unconventional wedding, and through the birth of our two boys, she has always been supportive of her son’s chosen partner. We share a love for cooking, Bible studies, Chaco shoes, books, and outdoor adventures. She is encouraging, offers wise counsel, and is so good at maintaining her friendships! A nurse by trade, she also cares well for people in her personal life. In a house full of picky eaters (sorry guys, but it’s true) she loves to try new recipes and was experimenting this past year with various soups. This is one she brought me after the birth of our second baby and I loved it so much, I just HAD to have the recipe!

My mother-in-law copied it out of a book somewhere and her notes at the bottom state, “Takes a long time to prep. Best soup I ever made.”

While it does involve a lot of chopping, I’ve started doing this a couple days before and just keeping the chopped veggies in the fridge. That way, everything is ready to go when I’m craving this soup! It is the perfect soup to take to someone who’s had a new baby, is recovering from illness, or who just needs a meal. It also works really well with leftover turkey from Thanksgiving. I’ve made some adjustments according to the ingredients I usually have on hand. I hope you like it!

“Mother-in-Law Soup” aka Chicken & Sweet Potato Soup
Total time: 1 hour 45 min. Serves: 6-8 people
Ingredients
2 TBS real butter
1 small onion, diced
1 medium leek, sliced
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, & diced
3 ribs celery, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 cups chicken stock*
4 cups cooked chicken, shredded**
3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled & chopped into 1/2 in chunks
1 14.5oz can chopped tomatoes***
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp dried marjoram or thyme
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
a few handfuls of fresh spinach****
Method
1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat and add the onion and leek. Cook and stir until softened, about 15 minutes. Add bell pepper, celery and garlic and cook/stir 5-7 more minutes.
2. Add stock, chicken, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, red pepper flakes, marjoram/thyme, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat, and simmer uncovered for 1 hour.
3. Stack spinach leaves and slice them thinly. Put a handful into each bowl and ladle hot soup over it. Serve immediately.
Recipe notes:
*After roasting a whole chicken and saving all the leftover meat, I make stock from the bones in my crockpot. I put all the bones in it with a quartered carrot, celery rib, onion, and garlic clove, 1 TBS of apple cider vinegar, and then fill to the top with water. Keep on low 24 hours.
**After roasting a whole chicken, I pull off all the bits of meat I can find and store it in the fridge. That’s what I use in this soup.
***I use canned tomatoes in this recipe because fresh ones don’t grow near me and they’re not always in season. It’s easier for me to keep cans of tomatoes on hand in my cupboard than pay exorbitant amounts for fresh (underripe) tomatoes that are often mealy.
****You can use kale in place of the spinach, but you’ll want to cook it with the soup for 3-4 minutes.