Archive | February 2012

Spinach Lentil Super Soup

This past week, all I’ve craved is a hearty soup. I find myself freezing quite often at work, and soup is one great way to warm me up. However, I rarely have time or energy on weeknights to make a batch. So having today (Monday) off was the perfect excuse! I was able to whip up a monster batch of soup that will last all-week-long.

I don’t know about you, but I much prefer homemade soup to canned soup because you can add or omit ingredients from recipes, and you can monitor the sodium content, too.

Today’s soup featured a protein-packed, fiber-heavy ingredient: lentils. These are kind-of like a miracle food. They’re high in iron, and studies show they are proven to lower-cholesterol, too. Plus, with the addition of spinach to this soup, you’re adding even more iron and fiber to the soup. This will fill you up, warm you up, and won’t slow you down.

Spinach Lentil Super Soup

3/4 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 package (10oz.) fresh baby spinach leaves
1 tablespoon canola oil
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 cup water
1 cup lentils, rinsed
3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 bay leaf
1 cup chopped carrots
1 can (14-1/2oz.) no-sodium added diced tomatoes, undrained

simplest of ingredients!

1) In a large saucepan, sauté onion in oil until tender, 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and sauté an additional minute. Add baby spinach leaves, cover, and allow spinach to cook down until wilted.

onion and garlic

sauteed spinach

2)Add the broth, water, lentils, Worcestershire sauce, salt, thyme, pepper, and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

adding in the lentils

3) Add carrots and diced tomatoes; return to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 20-25 minutes longer or until lentils are tender. All done!

super soup!

I already had a bowl for my afternoon snack…just because. Isn’t snacking at home one of the joys of having a Monday off? Hope you enjoy this, I sure am! 


Valentine Oreo Truffles

Baking is easily my favorite part of any holiday…but the worst part about a holiday happening in the middle of the workweek is that I really don’t have much, if any, spare time to bake. So for my valentine, I made a quick, easy, festive, DELICIOUS treat…Oreo truffles! For the basics, you only need two ingredients: Oreos and 1 block of cream cheese, that’s it! To decorate, you’ll need chocolate chips and any decorations of your choice for the truffles.

It may be hard for you to believe that such simple ingredients create a decadent treat. But if you don’t believe me…taste the batter. You’ll be sold! I’ve made these for the last 2 years at Christmas, and now they are a frequently requested dessert in the Rowden household. I really like customizing them for birthdays, holidays, or really any day of the year. Try it, they’re a guaranteed hit!

Oreo Truffles
1 package Oreos (I used reduced fat)
1-8oz block of reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1 package milk chocolate chips (or chocolate of your choice)
Valentine sprinkles 

1)In a food processor(or blender), mix Oreos until they become crumbs. Add cream cheese in small pieces, and blend until you have a dough form.
2) Roll dough into balls and place them on a baking sheet. (I lined mine with parchment paper). Set them in the freezer or refrigerator to harden for approximately 1 hour.
3) Once the dough is set, dip in melted chocolate – milk, dark, or white chocolate will do. Add any decoration on top. Store in the freezer and serve cold.

Oreo Truffles in pink :)

<3 trufflessweets for my sweetie :)

Mom’s Crunchy Surprise Cookie Bars

 Have you ever had a dessert that combines all of your favorite flavors in one? Chocolate…check. Molasses…check. Peanut-butter…check. I was sold…are you?

First things first…lets thank Mommy Rowden for this recipe. Last year, she told me she had made her “favorite” dessert when I traveled home to Maine for a long weekend. Well, my Mom has a lot of favorites, so I didn’t know what to expect…but this favorite took the cake. When I tell you that once you try one, you won’t be able to eat just one…I’m serious, good luck. I honestly have to tape the pan to stop eating these each time I make them.

The best part about these bars is that they’re good in any form…piping hot from the oven, cold from the fridge, and even at room temperature. I suggest you make them three times, then you can try each way to see what you like best! They saying is true…this recipe is definitely “an oldie but a goodie!!” –check out the recipe card if you don’t believe me! It’s definitley been used over and over again! 

oldie but a goodie!

Mom’s Crunchy Surprise Cookie Bars


1 cup sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 package (12 ounces) semi-sweet real chocolate chips
1 cup Sun-Maid seedless raisins
1 cup peanuts (optional—I don’t include these).
1/3 cup peanut butter (Crunchy or creamy works–I used reduced-fat crunchy).

1) Heat oven to 350°. Mix sugar, butter, molasses, egg yolk and vanilla with spoon. Stir in flour and 1 cup chocolate chips.

first ingredients

Mommy dearest, mixing away



2)Press dough in un-greased 13×9 rectangular pan. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. *I like mine under-cooked, so I usually take mine out after 22. Watch them closely!

delicious dough, spread evenly

3) While the bars are cooking, mix the remaining chocolate chips, the raisins, and the peanut butter in a saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate chips are melted.

stovetop ingredients

the best chocolate sauce around!

4) Once the bars have been removed from the oven, spread the chocolate/peanut butter mixture over the crust in pan. Refrigerate at least 2 hours ( I usually stick mine in the freezer for 20 minutes, to speed up the process). Cut into bars. Enjoy!

spreading the sauce evenly

Mom's surprise bars!