One of my absolute favorite lunch spots is Chasteen’s Downtown. Chasteen’s is a family owned local restaurant located just a block from my office. I usually meet my sister, Brie, and our good friend, Kyle, there for lunch once or twice a week.
Chasteen’s has a variety of delicious food. Everyday they serve salads, sandwiches, homemade soups, daily specials, and my favorite – homemade desserts. They have a different dessert everyday. Sometimes they’ll offer strawberry cake or peach cobbler or blueberry crumb bars or banana pudding, but my absolute favorite dessert at Chasteen’s is Chocolate Delight. Now, I was born and raised in the south and I’ve tried my fair share of chocolate delights, but they have the best. Unfortunately, they’re only open a few hours during lunch on weekdays, so if I get a weekend craving, I’m out of luck.
I decided to try my hand at recreating my favorite Chocolate Delight. After browsing a few recipes online, getting distracted, and looking at rugs on pinterest, I decided to just wing it. “Winging it” is how most of the food preparations happen in the Hancock house.
A few things I really like about Chasteen’s Chocolate Delight:
1. Super fluffy cream cheese layer
2. Pecans in crust
3. Chocolate chips on top
I knew I wanted these three elements in my at-home chocolate delight. Here’s what I used:
1 C Flour
1/2 C melted butter
1 C chopped pecans + more for topping
8 oz package of cream cheese
1 C powdered sugar
1 16 oz Coolwhip (from the freezer section)
1 splash on vanilla extract
2 boxes of instant chocolate pudding mix
3ish C of milk
1 C chocolate chips I started with the crust. I mixed chopped pecans, flour, and melted butter and pressed it into the bottom of a 9×13 dish. Then, I put my crust in the oven on 350 for about 25ish minutes. I got nervous when I took it out after 15 minutes, because it still looked like wet flour with nuts mixed in. I put it back in the over for an additional 10 minutes and it looked the same only slightly more golden. It ended up tasting great! Don’t alarmed! Next, I whipped the cream cheese, a splash of vanilla extract, and powdered sugar. Then I folded in about a cup of the coolwhip. I spread the cream cheese mixture over the cooled crust. Next, I moved on to the pudding layer. I mixed the pudding, milk and another cup of coolwhip and spread it over the cream cheese layer. For the top layer, I spread the rest of the coolwhip over the pudding. I sprinkled the chocolate chips and more chopped pecans on top! I refrigerated for a few hours and voila, chocolate delight!
Ray and I went to dinner at my parent’s house this past weekend and everyone enjoyed the chocolate delight. I wouldn’t say it was AS delicious as Chasteen’s chocolate delight, but it was pretty close!
Like most 20 somethings in America, I watched all those health documentaries on Netflix a few years ago. Food, Inc., Forks over Knives, Ingredients, Fat, Sick, and nearly Dead, Supersize Me, I watched them all. Now, obviously I’m not the picture of health or a vegan or picketing for animal rights… BUT, there were a few things I took away from those documentaries. One of them was checking food labels for ingredients. Guys, some of the ingredients in the foods we regularly consume are terrifying! The ingredients lists are filled with words I’ve never heard of and can’t even begin to pronounce. Tilled monoglycerides, yellow #5, propylene glycol alginate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, BHT, niacinamide?!?! I mean, what?!
Since I (usually) eat greek yogurt with fruit and granola for breakfast every morning, I decided to try my hand at homemade granola and bypass the niacinamide. Guess what? It turned out delicious and it was super easy to make! All it takes is adding your ingredients to a bowel, mixing, and baking! Every time I’ve made granola I’ve added different ingredients and usually never measure – It’s just how I live my life. BUT, I sort of measured for the recipe below. Here’s what I used:
2 C old fashioned oats
1 C unsweetened coconut flakes
1 1/2 C roughly chopped pecans
2 T chia seads
2 T brown sugar
2/3 C of coconut oil
a splash of vanilla extract
a few shakes of cinnamon
Mix the ingredients, bake for 12 minutes on 300, and enjoy!
Dried pineapple would probably be amazing in this recipe but it’s about $5 for a teeny tiny package at Publix, so you know I skipped that. In the past I’ve used honey as a sweetener, but sometimes I don’t love the taste on honey mixed with coconut. I’ve also used different nuts, dried fruits, and spices. Next time I think I’m going to make a dried cherry, almond, vanilla granola. Mmmmmmmm! The best part about homemade granola is that you can just add whatever floats your boat!
A few months after Ray and I got married I tried to impress him with my (non)domestic skills by making a fancy dinner. The menu – Baked lemon salmon, asparagus, and classic risotto. Now let’s be real, I know that’s not exactly fancy BUT we were poor and I was banking on Ray’s expectations being low. Also, I had never made risotto before. It’s possible that was the first time Ray had ever consumed it. Despite those factors, I labored over that sweltering pot of risotto for what felt like hours, and in the end it was totally worth it!
A few weeks ago I decided to make broccoli cheddar risotto. I’m not sure if I wasn’t feeling good, or was just in the mood for comfort food, but I was craving both broccoli cheddar soup AND risotto. So, I compromised.
I feel like making risotto is more about a method rather than a recipe. And honestly, I think my method is a little different than most. Generally, people add 1/4 cup of dry white wine to the risotto before adding any stock. You think I keep dry white wine in my house on the reg? Of course not. We usually only have whiskey, rum, and red wine on hand, so I tend to skip the white wine in risotto. Also, it’s recommended to cook all vegetables separately, but I sure don’t do that either. I chop my broccoli really small and add it to the risotto towards the end of the cooking time. This method cooks the broccoli, but doesn’t allow it to get too soft or mushy.
Here’s what you need for Broccoli Cheddar Risotto:
1 1/2 cup of risotto rice
4-5 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
2 teaspoons of olive oil
1 small onion diced
2 cups chopped broccoli
1 handful of cheddar cheese First, in a pot bring your stock to a simmer. In a separate pot add olive oil and onions and heat on medium. After the onions are translucent, add the rice and let it toast for a few minutes. Add a ladle of stock to the rice and stir until all the liquid is absorbed into the rice. Repeat. After about 15 minutes add broccoli to the rice and stir. Continue adding broth. Once all the stock has been absorbed, remove from heat and add cheese. Stir and serve! I also added a bit of grated parmesan cheese to the top.This dish is sooo simple, but still ridiculously delicious. I’ve made this dish several times and I always mean to add fresh garlic, but every time I just forget. So, if you’re feeling wild add some fresh pressed garlic. Or roasted garlic! Or bacon! Or pepper jack cheese! I don’t think you’ll regret it.
Last Saturday I had a hankering for apple cinnamon pancakes. I’d never had them before, but the idea of them was mesmerizing. That’s what watching Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives on netflix for hours on end can do to a person. I perused gawker and pinterest for recipes, but ended up making the recipe up as I went along.
1 C flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
dash of salt
1 C milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 shredded (or finely chopped) apple
1/2 C apple sauce
Mix dry ingredients together. Mix wet ingredients (except shredded apple and apple sauce). Mix dry and wet ingredients together slowly. Fold apple and apple sauce into mixture. Pour 1/4 cup of batter onto a buttered pan or skillet on medium. MAKE PANCAKES. Pretty easy, right? I also chopped an apple and mixed it with a little cinnamon and sugar for a fancy topping.
These apple cinnamon pancakes are a perfect fall breakfast!