Peanut Butter Chocolate Fruit Dip #Choctoberfest

Lightly sweet Peanut Butter Chocolate Fruit Dip compliments fresh apple slices, bananas and strawberries for an indulgent and relatively healthy dessert.

This post is sponsored on behalf of #Choctoberfest. Our generous sponsors have provided products for a giveaway for our readers, and may have provided product to bloggers. As always, all opinions are my own.

Lightly sweet Peanut Butter Chocolate Fruit Dip compliments fresh apple slices, bananas and strawberries for an indulgent and relatively healthy dessert.

We’re over a month into the new school year now, and things are getting a bit crazy. I was so pleased with how the start of the school year went – everyone adjusting to new schedules well, me keeping on top of the chore list, cooking healthy dinners, etc. A month later? We’ve started to slip a little bit.

It hasn’t helped that work has been tough – I’ve been doing 80 hours worth of work in 30 hours a week. Someone finally showed up, so I’m hoping that I’ll have some relief soon, after he gets trained up. But the past few weeks? Ugh. They’ve been pretty stressful. I’ve craved junk food and an evening glass of wine. I’ve arrived home exhausted, both mentally and physically.

Lightly sweet Peanut Butter Chocolate Fruit Dip compliments fresh apple slices, bananas and strawberries for an indulgent and relatively healthy dessert.

But I really have no excuse to not have fresh fruit on hand for snacking, especially when I can whip up this dip to satisfy my sweet tooth in just a minute or two. While I want this dip in my fridge at all times, just for snacking, it’s also great for setting out when entertaining, to make a fruit tray a little more exciting. I chose to make my fruit platter with apple slices, bananas and strawberries, but use whatever you and your family would like!

Recipe Notes:

  • This recipe calls for powdered chocolate peanut butter. I have also made this with powdered peanut butter, and it was really good. Powdered peanut butter varieties are easily found at most grocery stores, at least in my area, but there’s also an Amazon (affiliate) link at the bottom of this post, in case you have trouble finding it.

Lightly sweet Peanut Butter Chocolate Fruit Dip compliments fresh apple slices, bananas and strawberries for an indulgent and relatively healthy dessert.

Don’t Forget:

    1. To scroll to the bottom of this post and check out the other #Choctoberfest recipes that went live today! Or, search the hashtag on social media and drool a bit over the deliciousness of the day.
    2. Enter to win one of the prizes donated by our sponsors in the Rafflecopter below. For information about the PRIZES, check out this post.
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Lightly sweet Peanut Butter Chocolate Fruit Dip compliments fresh apple slices, bananas and strawberries for an indulgent and relatively healthy dessert.

Lightly sweet Peanut Butter Chocolate Fruit Dip compliments fresh apple slices, bananas and strawberries for an indulgent and relatively healthy dessert. 

Course Snack
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Author Liz

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 c. powdered chocolate peanut butter
  • 1 c. cold water
  • 1 8-oz. container whipped topping I used fat-free Cool Whip

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together powdered chocolate peanut butter and cold water until combined. 

  2. Fold into whipped topping.

  3. Store in the refrigerator until serving. 

Lightly sweet Peanut Butter Chocolate Fruit Dip compliments fresh apple slices, bananas and strawberries for an indulgent and relatively healthy dessert.


This post is sponsored on behalf of #Choctoberfest. Our generous sponsors have provided products for a giveaway for our readers, and may have provided product to bloggers. As always, all opinions are my own.

1-Pot Apple Sausage Meatballs

Italian sausage and shredded apple meatballs are delightful, sweet little appetizer bites, especially wonderful for fall and winter entertaining.

This post is sponsored on behalf of #AppleWeek. Our generous sponsors, Swiss Diamond, Envy Apples, Imperial Sugar, Nordic Ware, Rodelle Vanilla, Flahavan’s Irish Oatmeal, Nairn’s and The Spice House have provided us with products for recipe creation and a giveaway for our readers. As always, all opinions are my own.

Italian sausage and shredded apple meatballs are delightful, sweet little appetizer bites, especially wonderful for fall and winter entertaining.

When I was planning for #AppleWeek, I knew that I wanted to share some more savory recipes with you. Making a week’s worth of sweets – be it desserts or breakfast items – would have been easy but not quite so good for my waistline. So when Swiss Diamond Cookware announced their sponsorship, I was thrilled and immediately began plotting what to make. For those that haven’t heard of Swiss Diamond, the company was established in 2001 with a manufacturing facility in Switzerland. Swiss Diamond produces a variety of high-end cookware – from cast-iron pieces to non-stick skillets and pots to knives. I was lucky enough to receive this gorgeous 6.3 Quart Cast Iron Shallow Casserole from them and was instantly in love. Look at it:

Swiss Diamond Shallow Casserole

Can you blame me? This is the stuff I linger over at kitchen stores.

Today’s recipe was created specifically for this pan. 1-Pot Apple Sausage Meatballs. These little bites take only a few minutes to put together. First, they are sauteed in the shallow casserole pictured above and finished off in the oven for a sweet, fall appetizer. This recipe makes enough meatballs to serve 5-6 as an appetizer, depending on how large you make the meatballs. Personally? I didn’t want to wait to entertain, so I made a batch and served them with rice for lunch. And my husband didn’t complain about it. 😉

Italian sausage and shredded apple meatballs are delightful, sweet little appetizer bites, especially wonderful for fall and winter entertaining.

Before you leave me today, do me a favor and do a couple of things.

  1. Follow Swiss Diamond Cookware on your favorite social media platform. Not only can you drool over their amazing products but you’ll get some great recipe inspiration as well. You can find Swiss Diamond on Facebook Twitter Instagram and Pinterest.
  2. Be sure to scroll down and take a look under the recipe and check out the other #AppleWeek recipes that went live today. There’s a bit of everything – sweet and savory; something for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert.
  3. Edit: There was a giveaway associated with this event but the Rafflecopter used to enter was removed in Nov. 2020, after the giveaway closed, for improved reader experience. There are some amazing prizes, including a 10 piece pack from Swiss Diamond Cookware worth over $600!!! There are multiple ways to enter and multiple prizes (description of each prize is listed here) so be sure to throw your name in the ring!

Italian sausage and shredded apple meatballs are delightful, sweet little appetizer bites, especially wonderful for fall and winter entertaining.

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Italian sausage and shredded apple meatballs are delightful, sweet little appetizer bites, especially wonderful for fall and winter entertaining.

1-Pot Apple Sausage Meatballs

Italian sausage and shredded apple "meatballs" are delightful, sweet little appetizer bites, especially wonderful for fall and winter entertaining.

Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 5 Servings
Author Liz

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. sweet Italian sausage casings removed
  • 1/4 c. minced red onion
  • 1 Gala apple shredded (with skin on)
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 Tbs. plain bread crumbs
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh sage
  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.

  2. In a medium bowl, combine sausage, red onion, shredded apple, garlic, bread crumbs and sage. Using your hands, mix until all ingredients are evenly distributed and mixture comes together.

  3. Add olive oil to a cast-iron casserole dish, heating over medium heat. While olive oil heats, shape sausage-apple mixture into balls, about the size of golf balls or even a bit smaller.

  4. When oil is hot, saute meatballs for 2-3 minutes, until browned. (You may need to work in batches.) Flip and saute for another few minutes. Rotate again, if needed, until meatballs are browned all over. (If working in batches, transfer browned meatballs to a plate and set aside. Continue browning remaining meatballs.)

  5. When meatballs are all browned, return to pot, placing in a single layer if possible. Cover and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.

  6. Serve hot.

Recipe Notes

This recipe yields 18-24 meatballs, depending on size.

If you don't have a heavy cast-iron casserole like the above (or another dish that can go from stove to oven) or if you're scaling this recipe to feed a crowd, meatballs can be baked on a baking sheet, covered with foil, for 20-25 minutes as well.

This recipe was adapted from Inside the Rustic Kitchen.

Tuesday Recipes:

1-Pot Apple Sausage Meatballs - Italian sausage and shredded apple meatballs are delightful, sweet little appetizer bites, especially wonderful for fall and winter entertaining.

Disclaimer: Thank you AppleWeek Sponsors: Swiss Diamond, Nordic Ware, Envy Apples, Imperial Sugar, The Spice House, Rodelle Vanilla, Flahavan’s Irish Oats and Nairn’s  for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for AppleWeek recipes. All opinions are my own. The AppleWeek giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 18 & up. All entries for the winner will be checked and verified. By entering you give the right to use your name and likeness. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. Seven (7) winners will be selected. The prize packages will be sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. The AppleWeek Bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize packages. Bloggers hosting this giveaway and their immediate family members in their household cannot enter or win the giveaway. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or any other social channel mentioned in the AppleWeek posts or entry.

Roasted Tomato Salsa

Garden fresh tomatoes, onions, and jalapenos are charred before being pureed into a smokey, simple Restaurant-Style Roasted Tomato Salsa.

Garden fresh tomatoes, onions, and jalapenos are charred before being pureed into a smokey, simple Restaurant-Style Roasted Tomato Salsa.

Today begins our second annual #FarmersMarketWeek, a week full of recipes to take full advantage of the beautiful, fresh produce found at your local farmers market. Or perhaps, in you own garden. This week is hosted Ellen at Family Around the Table and Christie at A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures – big thanks for hosting Ellen and Christie!!

Garden fresh tomatoes, onions, and jalapenos are charred before being pureed into a smokey, simple Restaurant-Style Roasted Tomato Salsa.

Last year, when I planted my garden, one of my goals was to grow what I needed to make and can salsa. I had one attempt at that and it came out terrible. I felt like I dipping my chips in tomato and straight vinegar.

After that attempt, I switched to this recipe. I’m not sure it’s safe to can, but it’s damn good. Fresh flavors get a bit of smokey flavor from sticking them under the broiler to char. I probably shouldn’t admit how quickly the batch disappeared. And it’s the perfect recipe to make a sizable dent in the big bowl of tomatoes from my own garden.

Garden fresh tomatoes, onions, and jalapenos are charred before being pureed into a smokey, simple Restaurant-Style Roasted Tomato Salsa.

Be sure to come back on Wednesday to see what else I’ve prepared for #FarmersMarketWeek. Search for the hashtag on social media to get some other great inspiration for your local farmers market or garden! Enjoy!

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Garden fresh tomatoes, onions, and jalapenos are charred before being pureed into a smokey, simple Restaurant-Style Roasted Tomato Salsa.

Roasted Tomato Salsa

Garden fresh tomatoes, onions, and jalapenos are charred before being pureed into a smokey, simple Restaurant-Style Roasted Tomato Salsa.

Course Appetizer
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Calories 17 kcal
Author Liz

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. roma tomatoes (10-12) halved lengthwise
  • 6 unpeeled garlic cloves
  • 1 large onion (white or red) cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 jalapeno stemmed and halved (discard seeds to reduce heat)
  • 1/2 a bunch of cilantro
  • 1 Tbs. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the upper third of your oven. Preheat broiler.

  2. Arrange tomatoes and jalapeno on baking sheet, cut side down. Add unpeeled garlic and onion. Broil for 5-10 minutes, until vegetables are starting to char. (May need to cook a little longer if the rack wasn't close enough to the broiler.)

  3. Remove baking sheet from oven. Allow to cool for a few minutes, until garlic is cool enough to handle. Remove skin from garlic.
  4. Toss garlic, roasted vegetables, cilantro, lime juice, salt and cumin into a food processor. Pulse until desired consistency. Taste and season with additional lime juice or salt if needed.
  5. Transfer to a mason jar or other airtight container to chill until serving.

Recipe Notes

This recipe yields approximately 4 cups, or 16 1/4-cup servings. 

 

Adapted from Gimme Some Oven.

Garden fresh tomatoes, onions, and jalapenos are charred before being pureed into a smokey, simple Restaurant-Style Roasted Tomato Salsa.

Monday #FarmersMarketWeek Recipes

Herbed Goat Cheese Crostini with Vanilla Pickled Strawberries #SundaySupper

 In season strawberries are preserved with a quick pickling and a little extra vanilla that highlights the berries natural sweetness. Then, Vanilla Pickled Strawberries are used to top herbed goat cheese crostini for an easy but flavorful springtime appetizer.

Herbed Goat Cheese Crostini w Vanilla Pickled Strawberries

This post is sponsored by Florida Strawberry in conjunction with a social media campaign through Sunday Supper LLC. All opinions are my own.

Winter is finally fading and I’m hoping that we’ve seen the last of the snow a couple of weeks ago. The weather is gradually warming and we’re starting to see glimpses of spring – buds on the trees, animals and neighbors coming out of winter hibernation. And with that, I’m moving away from winter comfort foods like soups and stews and instead craving lighter, fresher foods.

Since it’s still too cold to get local in season produce in Maryland, I’m thankful to be able to find quality, in season produce from U.S. growers in the south. Thank you Florida, for your warmer climate! In particular, we consume huge amounts of Florida Strawberries, a favorite snack for myself and my kids. Florida strawberries are in season during Maryland’s winter months, December through April, leaving me with only a month or two to get by until Maryland strawberry season starts.

fsga-logo

I really do wish we could pick fresh strawberries all year round. My kids wish that as well. Strawberry picking is one of our favorite things to do as a family. We get up early can check the weather. We put on our comfy clothes and baseball cap (don’t want to miss any of those gorgeous berries with sun in our eyes!). Each kid picks out their own container and we head off to the strawberry fields. It’s taken some time to teach the kiddos that they need to pick only the ripe strawberries – those vibrant red and firm to touch – and to keep the tops of the berries on when picking them and putting the berries into their container. We move methodically from plant to plant, picking all of the ripe berries before moving onto the next. The kids usually leave with smears of berry juice all over their face and up and down their arms. Those are by far, some of my favorite photos of the kids. And after picking? The strawberries are stashed in the car, out of the reach of little hands and of direct sunlight, and we hurry home. The kids usually eat a good bit more once we’re home, but I immediately start washing them and divvying them up for whatever purpose I have in mind for them.

Herbed Goat Cheese Crostini w Vanilla Pickled Strawberries

Picking strawberries is just half of the fun. Have you ever preserved them? It’s easier than you think and will make the strawberry season last even longer. And that’s exactly what the #SundaySupper tastemakers are celebrating today – preserving strawberries. Four techniques, 20 great recipes (below) for you to try. You’re welcome. 🙂

There are a couple of different preservation methods you could use. The least intimidating method is freezing clean, hulled strawberries (whole, quartered or sliced) in a ziplock bag. We do this all of the time. Those strawberries usually end up in smoothies, but there are 5 great recipes below that use frozen strawberries that I’m dying to try. The second method is canning. While this could be a bit scary, you won’t feel so after the first batch. My mom got me started canning a couple of years ago and now I look forward to it every summer. For strawberries, I use the recipe that my Grandma taught her that does not require a water bath – the part that scares most people. I have, however, done a water bath once and it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had feared. Dehydrating strawberries – slowly removing the water from the berry – is the third preservation method. Strawberries can be dried in the sun or a dehydrator. Dried strawberries are wonderful for snacking on their own, or delicious in breakfast (oatmeal or granola) dishes or desserts. The final method of preservation is pickling. Say what? Yes, pickling. Pickling is a preservation process whereby the fruit is submerged in a liquid – usually vinegar – to extend it’s life.

Herbed Goat Cheese Crostini w Vanilla Pickled Strawberries

Of all the ways to preserve berries, I had never considered pickling, but I have to admit, I loved it. It was a very quick process and the end result was deliciously sweet. Vanilla Pickled Strawberries kept the strawberries natural sweetness and added vanilla notes and a tartness. The topping paired beautifully with herbed goat cheese spread – a taste of spring. Bonus? The extra pickling liquid can be used to make a quick, tart vinaigrette after the strawberries are gone.

Now is the time to stock up on Florida strawberries! Which preservation technique are you going to try?

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Herbed Goat Cheese Crostini w Vanilla Pickled Strawberries

Herbed Goat Cheese Crostini with Vanilla Pickled Strawberries

 In season strawberries are preserved with a quick pickling and a little extra vanilla that highlights the berries natural sweetness. Then, Vanilla Pickled Strawberries are used to top herbed goat cheese crostini for an easy but flavorful springtime appetizer.

Course Appetizer
Servings 1 Pint of Pickled Strawberries and a dozen crostini
Author Liz

Ingredients

For the Vanilla Pickled Strawberries:

  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 c. vanilla sugar
  • 1 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 3/4 lb. strawberries rinsed, hulled and quartered

For the Crostini:

  • 4 oz. goat cheese softened
  • 1 oz. cream cheese softened
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. minced fresh basil or other herb/mix of herbs
  • 1 batch of Vanilla Pickled Strawberries
  • 10-12 1/2- inch slices of sourdough bread toasted

Instructions

Make the Vanilla Pickled Strawberries:

  1. In a small sauce pan, combine water, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil. Add vinegar. Lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  2. When vinegar mixture is cool, slice a vanilla bean in half. Scrape out seeds and place in a clean pint-sized canning jar. Add pods as well. Fill almost to the top with quartered strawberries. Top with vinegar mixture - vinegar mixture should cover strawberries completely.
  3. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours. Use or continue to store in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Assemble the Crostini:

  1. Using a mixer or a food processor, combine goat cheese, cream cheese, and herbs until mixture is smooth. 

  2. Spread each slice of bread with a generous slather of whipped herbed goat cheese. Top with strawberries. Drizzle with a tablespoon of pickling liquid.
  3. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

The recipe for vanilla sugar can be found here.  I'd consider it optional, but will give the strawberries a little extra vanilla flavor.

The vanilla pickled strawberries and the goat cheese spread can both be made ahead of time and kept, tightly covered in the fridge, until ready to assemble and serve.

A Books n’ Cooks original recipe.

Herbed Goat Cheese Crostini w Vanilla Pickled Strawberries

Interested in learning more about Florida Strawberries? Follow Florida Strawberry Growers Association on social media: Facebook Google + Instagram Pinterest Twitter YouTube

And don’t forget to check out these recipes for preserving and using preserved strawberries from the #SundaySupper crew.

How to Preserve Strawberries

Canning

Canning

Dehydrating

Freezing

Pickling

Sunday Supper MovementThe Sunday Supper Movement is committed to bringing our readers delicious recipes that encourage them to gather and eat together around the family table. Search for your favorite ingredients on our Sunday Supper website. Also check out the Sunday Supper Pinterest boards for plenty more ideas and inspiration.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Guacamole

Creamy avocado, tart lime and spicy (or mild) jalapeno quickly come together to make an addictive dip, sandwich spread, or topping for your next Mexican night in.

Homemade Guacamole - Creamy avocado, tart lime and spicy (or mild) jalapeno quickly come together to make an addictive dip, sandwich spread, or topping for your next Mexican night in.

Happy Hump Day! I love Wednesdays… when I can see an end in sight to my week.

Now let’s talk guacamole. It’s one of those things that I don’t make often because my husband will devour the bowl of it. I may or may not have a hand in making it disappear. Not only is homemade guacamole easy but it blows store-bought guacamole out of the water in terms of flavor. We like ours on the chunky side, with just a little bit of heat and a generous dose of lime juice.

Homemade Guacamole - Creamy avocado, tart lime and spicy (or mild) jalapeno quickly come together to make an addictive dip, sandwich spread, or topping for your next Mexican night in.

While we could happily eat it by the bowlful with tortilla chips, as seen in the photos above, the last time I blogged guacamole, it was as a topping for Turkey Chorizo Burgers. Not only was the photo not my finest (will be redone as soon as it’s warm enough to grill!), but the guacamole was a footnote in the recipe. And let’s be honest, guacamole is so yummy that it deserves a post to itself.

Homemade Guacamole - Creamy avocado, tart lime and spicy (or mild) jalapeno quickly come together to make an addictive dip, sandwich spread, or topping for your next Mexican night in.

How do you like your guacamole? Creamier or chunkier texture? Mild or spicy? With any unusual mix-ins? Favorite way to serve it? Leave a comment and tell me about your favorite guacamole. Bonus points if you leave the recipe. 🙂

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Guacamole

Creamy avocado, tart lime and spicy (or mild) jalapeno quickly come together to make an addictive dip, sandwich spread, or topping for your next Mexican night in.

Course Appetizer
Cuisine Tex-Mex
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 6 Servings
Calories 170 kcal
Author Liz

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 Tbs. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 3 Tbs. minced fresh cilantro

Instructions

  1. Remove flesh from avocados, keeping 1-2 pits on the side. Lightly mash avocado with a fork. Add in salt, pepper, garlic powder, lime juice, and cilantro. Continue to mash until desired consistency. Add additional salt, pepper, lime juice, and cilantro, to taste.
  2. Return pit(s) to guacamole, to help the guacamole from browning, if not serving immediately.

 

Homemade Guacamole - Creamy avocado, tart lime and spicy (or mild) jalapeno quickly come together to make an addictive dip, sandwich spread, or topping for your next Mexican night in.