roasted chickpea blt salad with pesto parmesan dressing

chopped salad 1

We’ve finally reached triple digits here and today they even graced us with the courtesy of an “excessive heat warning” as of 10:00 AM. This warning is technically scheduled until 8:00 PM tonight, but we know better than that. This warning will be renewed daily probably until the middle of September. Yay.

Try as I might, I have not been able to successfully devise a way for FH and I to find an alternate summer residence, where we could work remotely from somewhere that does not feel like the surface of the sun.

Until such a day exists (or until the end of the summer) I am likely to crave all things cold and vegetable-laden. Something about it being a million degrees out makes me want to stay inside and eat cold, crunchy veggies all day every day. Enter this salad.

Crisp romaine lettuce, crunchy chickpeas, and creamy pesto parmesan dressing. What more could a girl ask for?

This salad is from Pinch of Yum‘s latest cookbook Everyday Healthy. This e-cookbook is full of quick and healthy recipes and even comes with a nutrition guide (with substitution recommendations) and a meal planning guide.

I modified the recipe a bit by tossing my chickpeas in olive oil before roasting them (I like the crunch it gives them), upping the pesto in the dressing (call me a basil-holic if you will), halving the amount of tomatoes called for (they are not my favorite), and adding cucumbers. Because cucumbers make everything better.

roasted chickpea blt salad with pesto parmesan dressing

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 to 6 servings


    For the salad
  • 1 14-oz can of chickpeas
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked
  • 2 medium tomatoes, rinsed
  • 1/2 seedless cucumber, rinsed
  • 4 cups romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • For the dressing
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 5 Tablespoons water
  • 3 Tablespoons parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons pesto
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Salt & pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400?F. Line baking sheet with parchment. Drain, rinse, and dry chickpeas.
  2. Toss chickpeas with olive oil and spread on baking sheet. Season generously with salt and pepper. Bake 20 to 30 minutes until crisp, tossing halfway through. Set aside to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, dice tomatoes, cucumber, and bacon to desired size. Toss together with lettuce and set aside.
  4. In a food processor, combine sour cream, pesto, parsley, garlic, parmesan and lemon juice until combined. Stream in water one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve salad in bowls and top with chickpeas and desired amount of dressing.


* Experiment by tossing your chickpeas with other seasonings like smoked paprika and cumin or even with parmesan cheese.

* Will easily serve 4 as a main salad or 6 as a side salad.

* Add more or less pesto to your taste.

Recipe adapted from Everyday Healthy by Lindsay Olstrom

chopped blt salad with roasted chickpeas and pesto parmesan dressing | wee eats

irish soda bread pudding with vanilla bean creme anglaise

bread pudding 1047

Hello, friends.

Today is Sunday.

Also known as: March 16th.

Also known as: My Birthday! (/thunder claps)

But today’s post is not about my birthday, or the two cakes I made, or my new birthday toys. We can save that for Thursday.

Today, my friends, is about this:

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Bread Pudding.

With creme anglaise.

Made from your St. Patrick’s day leftovers.

No, not your corned beef and cabbage leftovers (although now I have a strange urge to create a savory corned beef bread pudding). This is made from your irish soda bread leftovers.

You know that bread we made last week? Well, chances are you didn’t eat the whole loaf, and if you haven’t tossed it by now it’s definitely stale.

Let’s not be wasteful, OK?  Not when there’s deliciousness to be had.

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This bread pudding was inspired by this beauty from Foodness Gracious, who is responsible for flipping the Irish soda bread switch in my head this year. Seeing that picture causing me to create last week’s tasty St. Patrick’s Day treat in the first place JUST so that I could use it to make bread pudding. The fact that the soda bread came out so tasty on its own was just a bonus.

So, transform your stale, old bread into sweet, creamy, deliciousness with the help of just a few eggs and cream. I bake mine uncovered because I enjoy the contrast of the creamy custard to the crunchy crust, but if you prefer a tender crumb through and through, cover yours with foil while baking.

Irish Soda Bread Pudding

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Yield: 1 11-inch (2 quart) casserole


    For the bread pudding
  • 5 to 6 cups bread cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 Tablespoon set aside
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • For the creme anglaise
  • 1 cup heavy cream or half and half
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla paste or extract


    For the bread pudding
  1. 1. Preheat oven to 325F
  2. 2. Cut bread into 1-inch cubes and fill 2-quart casserole with bread. In a medium bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, milk, egg yolks, 1/3 cup sugar, vanilla, and salt. Pour over the bread cubes and let sit 20 minutes to allow the bread to absorb the milk mixture.
  3. 3. Sprinkle remaining tablespoon of sugar over the bread pudding and bake in the center of the oven for 45 minutes, or until top is lightly browned and the center is set. When it is done baking, the outside should be set and pressing on the center should not release any liquid from the bread pudding. (Internal temperature should reach 165F degrees)
  4. For the creme anglaise
  5. 1. In a small saucepan, heat half and half over medium-low heat until bubbles form around the edges, about 6 minutes. You do not want the cream to full boil or simmer.
  6. 2. While the cream is heating, whisk egg yolks and sugar together in a small bowl until combined.
  7. 3. Once the cream is heated, whisk warm cream into the eggs a tablespoon at a time to temper the yolks.
  8. 4. Once about half the cream has been added to the yolks pour the entire egg yolk mixture into the pan with the cream and continue to heat over medium-low, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens.
  9. 5. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use. (Can be made 1 day ahead)
  10. Serve creme anglaise over warm bread pudding.


* You don't have to use irish soda bread, any cubed bread will do. I recommend challah or brioche.

* If your bread isn't quite stale yet, you can cube the bread and let it sit out for about an hour to dry out, or pop it in the oven and give it a quick light toasting.

* If using unflavored bread, I recommend adding some cinnamon to the bread pudding batter, because cinnamon makes everything better.

* Leftover slices of bread pudding can be stored, individually wrapped, in the freezer. Reheat in the microwave, covered, about 1 to 2 minutes on 50% power, checking periodically.

irish soda bread pudding |

rocky road ice cream

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Something about the summer, I just want to eat ice cream all day every day.

Possibly related to it being hotter than the sun outside.  I’m not sure.

So, recently I’ve been keeping cool with this delicious, decadent, deeply-chocolatey ice cream.  Swirled with fudge ripple, chocolate-covered peanuts, and marshmallows.  Home-made rocky road.

And don’t think that just because there are toppings mixed in, that you can’t make a sundae out of it.  See down there?  It’s got this whole S’mores-Rocky-Road hybrid thing goin’ on.  And it’s good.  Very good. You may remember it from such hits as “my way to use Jeni’s gravel” (below)


I was never a fan of rocky road growing up… I’ve had a long-standing prejudice against nuts in my baked goods.  I still refuse to eat brownies with walnuts, but ice cream with peanuts (especially these ones, which are covered in chocolate) is something I have managed to make room for in my life.

To make this ice cream, you just use your favorite chocolate ice cream (I provided my favorite chocolate ice cream recipe below), layered with chocolate sauce, peanuts, and marshmallows.  Super easy.

If you have your own favorite chocolate ice cream recipe, feel free to use that one.  But, if you’ve never made Jeni’s, I highly recommend giving it a try.  I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

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This ice cream is so good it’s even making itself drool.

Rocky Road Ice Cream

Makes: 1 pint

Printable Recipe

  • 1 recipe chocolate ice cream (recipe below)
  • 1 recipe fudge sauce (recipe below)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate-covered peanuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup mini marshmallows

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, dutch-processed
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch salt

1.  Whisk all ingredients except salt and vanilla in a medium saucepan.  Heat over medium heat until the mixture begins to boil, whisking constantly.

2.  Once it boils, continue whisking for 1 minute over heat.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and salt; set aside to cool to room temperature.  Once cooled, transfer to an air-tight container and refrigerate until ready to use.

3.  Sauce can be stored up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

For the base:

  • 1 C whole milk
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (I used Trader Joe’s 72% Dark, figuring it was close enough)
  • 1/4 C heavy cream
  • 1 C evaporated milk
  • 2/3 C sugar
  • 2 Tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1/3 C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt

1. Mix 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl (this is called “making a slurry”). Set aside.

2. Chop chocolate and put it into a medium bowl. Fill a separate large bowl with ice water.

3. Combine the remaining milk, the cream, evaporated milk, sugar, and corn syrup in a large saucepan and bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Add the cocoa, whisking until well-mixed. Continue boiling for 4 minutes.

4. Remove the pan from heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Return to heat and bring back to a boil, stirring with a spatula, until slightly thickened (about 1 minute).

5. Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the chocolate. Add salt and whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

6. Pour mixture into a 1-gallon freezer bag and submerge sealed bag in ice water until cold (appx 30 minutes).

7. Pour bag contents into frozen ice cream machine and spin until thick and creamy (about 25 minutes in Cuisinart 2 gallon machine).

8. Layer ice cream in 1 quart storage container (those Ziploc ones work perfectly) – First spread a layer of fudge sauce, sprinkled with peanuts and marshmallow, then a layer of ice cream, then another layer of fudge sauce, peanuts marshmallows, etc… (see video for reference if this instruction isn’t clear) 😉  When done, press a layer of plastic or parchment against the top of the ice cream and cover with lid.  Place in coldest part of freezer for at least 4 hours, or until firm.

rocky road pin

[ ice cream base adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home ]

[ fudge ripple adapted from The Perfect Scoop ]

strawberry buttermilk ice cream + bombesticks

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Apparently Jeni Britton Bauer and I are soul mates, because I was churning Strawberry Buttermilk Ice Cream on Friday when they posted on their Facebook that the very same flavor was debuting for the season in their ice cream shops. Then Sunday, just two days after I made my very own bombe sticks, they posted about them on their page! Clearly, we are meant to be, and obviously you guys need to get on it and make these STAT.

Since I don’t have an ice cream cone maker, I had to use store-bought ice cream cones. Everything else, though, was made from scratch. Who knew that all you needed to do to make magic shell coating was mix some coconut oil with chocolate? If you’re not a fan of coconut, look for refined coconut oil which has none of the coconut flavor. It also magically turns your chocolate into an amazing magic chocolate shell sauce. Liquid when it’s warm and solid once it’s cold.

I’m not gonna lie, these are a bit of work, so don’t feel guilty if you decide to use store-bought ice cream. If you’re feeling extra motivated, though, scroll down for Jeni’s strawberry buttermilk ice cream recipe. I just wanted to surprise the Boyfriend with one of his favorite flavors from our local ice cream shop, and there happened to be a similar recipe in Jeni’s book. You can also try one of my other ice cream recipes: green tea, peanut butter, or chocolate.

Chocolate Bombesticks

Printable Recipe

Chocolate Bombe Shells

  • 12 ounces chocolate (I used dark), chopped
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil


  • Sugar
  • 8 standard sugar ice cream cones
  • 2 pints ice cream, softened
  • 1/2 cup garnish, such as Rice Krispies, chopped nuts, crushed pretzels, or cornflakes


  • Combine dark or white chocolate and coconut oil in a medium metal bowl; set over a medium saucepan of simmering water. Stir until chocolate is almost melted. Remove from heat and continue stirring until completely melted and smooth. **Or you can melt it in 30 second intervals at 50% power in the microwave, but be very careful not to burn it!
  • Let cool slightly (if it’s too hot, it’ll melt your ice cream), 10–15 minutes.


  • To hold cones upright, fill 8 medium glasses halfway with sugar and set aside. OR – I used a long plastic container and covered it with a couple sheets of foil, poking holes for where I would put my ice cream cones. This doesn’t work as well as I’d like, but it gets the job done.
  • Working with 1 cone at a time, spoon chocolate mixture inside cone and swirl to coat. Pour excess back into bowl, then dip top 1/2 inch of cone into chocolate, allowing excess to drip back into bowl. Set cone upright in prepared glass (or other rigged container) and chill in refrigerator until chocolate hardens, about 15 minutes. Repeat with remaining cones.
  • Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Pack some ice cream into cones, then top each with a small scoop of ice cream. Lay cones on prepared sheet and freeze until hard, about 1 hour.
  • Rewarm bombe shell. Working with 1 cone at a time, dip ice cream into bombe shell, rolling to coat. Quickly sprinkle on desired garnish. Freeze until hard, about 10 minutes. Wrap each cone in foil and return to freezer until ready to use.

Book says this can be made 1 week ahead, but I suspect they will last longer

Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk Ice Cream

[ Printable Recipe ]

Roasted Strawberries :

  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced ½ inch thick
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice

Ice Cream Base :

  • 1 ½ cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 2 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/8 teaspooon fine sea salt
  • 1 ¼ cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • ¼ cup buttermilk

For the strawberries:

Preheat oven to 375F degrees. Combine strawberries and sugar in glass or ceramic baking dish and mix well. Roast just until soft, 8 – 10 minutes. Let cool slightly

Puree strawberries in food processor with lemon juice. Measure ½ cup of pureed berries and refrigerate the rest for another use (like to pour on top of pancakes later)

For ice cream base:

Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with cornstarch in a small bowl to make a slurry. Whisk cream cheese and salt in medium bowl until smooth. Fill a separate large bowl with ice water.

Combine the remaining milk, cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a 4-quart saucepan; bring to a rolling boil of medium-high heat. Boil for 4 minutes, then remove from heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring mixture back to a boil over medium high heat and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula until slightly thickened, about 1 minute.

Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Add reserved ½ cup strawberry puree and the buttermilk; blend well. Pour mixture into a 1 gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge sealed bag in ice water and chill in fridge until cold – about 30 minutes.

Churn ice cream base in canister until thick and creamy – about 20 minutes. Pack ice cream into storage container ( a large, square Ziploc container is the perfect size ), top with parchment and seal with lid. Place in coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.

not your average chicken sandwich


Close your eyes, wait don’t do that or you won’t be able to read this. Read this, then close your eyes and imagine, if you will, grilled ciabatta with basil mayo layered with warm, grilled chicken breast, asiago cheese, roasted red peppers (see, told you you’d need these), arugula and red onion. Do you see it in your mind’s eye? Can you smell it? Taste it?

For some reason I NEEDED this sandwich. I woke up with it in my head, had all of the ingredients on hand, and my brain was just repeating over and over “grilled chicken sandwich”, “asiago”, “roasted red peppers”, “ciabaaaataaaaaa”…. Which really isn’t a normal thing for it to repeat, normally it’s more along the lines of, “CHOCOLATE CAKE”, “PEANUT BUTTERRRRR”.

My brain (and stomach) were being held hostage, so I had no choice but to make it happen, and it was every bit as delicious as I imagined.

Ok, now wipe the puddle of drool off of your desk and go get the ingredients and make this sandwich. Now.

Oh, and you can serve it with some roasted red pepper soup and asiago croutons. For this meal, I just doctored some Trader Joe’s Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Soup with a little chicken stock, asiago, basil, and croutons. It was a match made in heaven.

I’m not really one to brag, but this meal just really hit the spot for me. Warm, comforting, homey, and filling…. just wow.

As much as I loved this sandwich, I can’t end this post without mentioning how much I love my new light box (thanks BF!). This thing is amazing. Of course, natural light reigns supreme for photos, but I am in a serious state of shock when I can take photos like the ones here on a day like this:

Gross, right? Without this light box I would have been screwed. Royally screwed. These photos wouldn’t have even been an option. My only wish is that it had come with more backdrops, but no biggie. I can easily fashion my own backdrops with a little cloth and some velcro. I just need the time… and motivation.

*Update – I’ve been using leftover ingredients from this sandwich to make wraps for lunch during the week …. still delicious 🙂

Asiago Chicken Sandwich – serves 2 (but can easily serve more)

[Printable Recipe]

For sandwich:

  • 1 (½ lb) chicken breast, cooked and sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, roasted
  • ½ small red onion, sliced
  • 4 slices asiago cheese
  • handful arugula
  • 1 small loaf ciabatta, sliced in half
  • basil mayo (recipe follows)

For mayo:

  • ¼ cup mayo
  • bunch of basil, minced
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

1. Make your basil mayo by combining the ingredients in a small bowl or food processor. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

2. Roast your red pepper(s) if you haven’t already, peel off the skin, cut to desired size and set aside until ready to use.

3. Cook your chicken breast as desired. I marinated mine in some stock, salt, pepper, olive oil, garlic, and thyme. Then grilled it over high heat for 6 minutes each side, then rest tented with foil for ten minutes. Set aside.

(You can do everything up to here a day ahead of time, and save grilling the bread for last. Or, don’t even grill the bread and have a tasty cold sandwich instead 🙂 )

4. While the chicken is resting, spread basil mayo on your ciabatta (you won’t all of the mayo). Grill over medium high to high heat until toasted (alternatively, you can toast it in a nonstick skillet, or under the broiler).

5. Assemble sandwiches however you like (some people like the toppings on the bottom, some like them on top, whatever you do, just get them in there)