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All Dressed Up

Even though it’s starting to get a little colder (you have no idea how much it pains us to admit that!) we here at Two Saucy Sisters still believe that it is never too cold for a big ol’ salad!

That being said, there are definitely a lot of ways to change up a salad to make it more seasonable.  Adding cooked, cubed sweet potato or squash adds a nice Fall flair, as do some crisp apple slices.  Pair that with some toasty walnuts and creamy goat cheese and you’ve got yourself a pretty tasty fall-ified salad!

But of course, salad just isn’t salad without dressing, now is it?  You could just go with your usual oil-and-vinegar combo, but why not make it a little more special?

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Something you may not know about us is that the house we live in (when we’re not at school) is actually a more than 100-year-old fruit farm.  Most of the orchards are gone now and we only have about 3 acres of the original land left, but we do have a few pear trees that still produce fruit every year.  So, you can imagine that when our gracious father picked us a whole bunch of them, we needed to figure out a way to use them up before they got too ripe.  Who knew the answer would be salad dressing?

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Yup- we made a pear vinaigrette!  It’s a little sweet, it’s a little savoury, and it makes the perfect topping for a Fall-inspired salad!

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This works really well if you just so happen to have a couple slightly over-ripe pears in your fridge.  If you don’t, just leave a pear out on the counter for a day or two and you’ll be ready to make this tasty dressing.  It’s simply a matter of throwing the ingredients in a blender and you’ve got yourself enough dressing for several salads in mere minutes!

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So now you have no excuse not to eat your greens 😉

Happy Fall Salad-Eating!

Pear Vinaigrette

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Prep time: 5 minutes
Makes: ~1 cup

Ingredients:

1 ripe pear
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp white vinegar
dash of salt
pepper, to taste
1/2 c. olive oil

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a blender except for the olive oil, and blend until the pear has been pulverized.   With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream.  Blend for another minute or two to ensure the pear is fully blended and everything is combined.  Adjust seasonings to taste.

Store in a sealed jar in the refrigerator. (Just be sure to set it on the counter a few minutes before using it, and give it a stir before pouring)

~twosaucysisters

Do you ever make fun salad dressings?  What’s your favourite way to jazz-up a salad?

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Summer’s End

Hi everybody- Long time no see!

Between being away up north in Magnetawan all last week with no access to internet (or showers, we might add…) and moving into our new house in London this week (also with no internet access yet- thank you Starbucks for your free wifi!) we have basically fallen off the face of the planet.  The blog planet, that is!

We have also done hardly any cooking over the past few days (unless you count thawing muffins in the microwave as cooking…) so we are seriously lacking in blog topics and recipes to share with you.  But being that it is the start of the new school year and we are currently feeling rather nostalgic about the summer, this is the perfect time to do a summer recipe recap post!

So, without further ado, we give you our favourite recipes from this summer…

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Blackened Salmon

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Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork

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Zucchini Pesto Noodles with Turkey Meatballs

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Strawberry Asparagus Corn Salad with Chicken

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Quinoa Pesto Tabouleh Salad

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Easy Greek Salad

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Basil-Sage-Arugula-Walnut Pesto

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Tzatziki Hummus

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No-Bake Chocolate Lavender Tart

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Chocolate-Peanut Butter Layer Cake

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Chocolate-Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Freezer Bars

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No-Bake Peanut Butter Banana Granola Bars

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana “Ice Cream”

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Peach Crumble Bars

So as you can see, we spent some time doing a little grilling this summer, enjoyed all the delicious fruits and veggies that summer has to offer, and apparently really enjoyed making chocolate-peanut butter-banana everything (which we honestly didn’t realize until writing this post- evidently we’re a little obsessed).

It was a fantastic summer and we’re sad to see it end, but we’re looking forward to a great 4th year here at Western University and another great season with the Mustangs!

Our posting may still be a little sporadic over the next little while as we continue to get settled in, but we’ll try to check back with everyone in a few days!

~twosaucysisters 

Simple Sunday: Another Summer Salad

This morning we were reminded just how much we love the Summer.  We went for a run and it was just so beautiful outside we felt like we could have run forever.  And we have to say that so far this has been one of the best running summers we have had in a long time.  Yes, the heat wave we had a couple weeks ago was a bit much (although we refuse to complain!), but that has gone away and left us with beautiful days like today.

But Summer isn’t just awesome because of its blue skies and warm temperatures.  The abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables that can be found at local stands on just about every corner cannot be discounted!  We know we’ve mentioned this many times before and we don’t mean to be repetitive, but every time we eat a fresh tomato from our own garden, or snack on juicy cherries from just down the road, we can’t help but be reminded of how delicious the summer is!

Which is why we made this salad- to showcase the season’s best!

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This salad brings together what in our minds are sort of like the three “stages” of summer produce.  First comes the asparagus in the spring (which is basically like early summer in our opinions!), then you start to get into more of the actual summer months and get strawberries, and then of course the summer is capped off with delicious, sweet corn.

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Of course, there are a million other fruits and veggies that make an appearance during those times, too, like fiddle heads and leafy greens in the spring, cherries, blueberries, raspberries and apricots mid-summer, and peaches are starting to hit the stands now too! 🙂

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Add some chicken and a little tahini drizzle and you’ve got yourself and easy, delicious and fresh-tasting summer meal!  And feel free to change it up a bit, too- local strawberries might be a little tougher to find now, but cherries are out full-force and would work wonderfully in this salad.  The idea is to use whatever summer produce you can find.

We hope you are enjoying your summer as much as we are, and be sure to hit up your local farmer’s market to take advantage of all this awesome food nature has to offer!

Strawberry Asparagus and Corn Salad

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Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20-30 minutes
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:

1 bunch of asparagus, ends trimmed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 c. strawberries, sliced
1 c. corn (fresh or frozen)
1 clove of garlic, minced
salt and pepper

2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper

For the tahini drizzle:

3 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper
2-3 tbsp water

Directions:

Sprinkle the chicken with garlic powder, salt and pepper and bake in a 350F oven for 20-30 minutes, or until done.  Alternatively you can barbecue the chicken over medium heat for 20-30 minutes if you prefer.

Meanwhile, toss the asparagus in olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven for about 15 minutes until they can be easily pierced with a fork, or grill over medium heat for 10-15 minutes.  Set aside.

In a frying pan over medium heat, add a small amount of olive oil.  Add the garlic and corn and saute until the corn begins to blacken a bit.  Turn off the heat and add the strawberries so they cook down just a little bit and release some of their juices into the corn.

Cut the asparagus into bit-sized pieces and add to the pan.  Season with salt and pepper and stir until everything is combined.  Slice the chicken and divide the salad onto separate plates.  Place the chicken on top and finish with the tahini drizzle.

For the Tahini Drizzle:

Combine all ingredients except the water and stir until fully combined.  Slowly add the water until the mixture is drippy but still slightly thick.  Drizzle over top of salad.

~twosaucysisters

What is your favourite part about Summer?  What is the weather like where you live?  How do you like to take advantage of these beautiful days?

Rockin’ and Rollin’

We’re pretty sure it has been ages since we’ve talked about pancakes over here- did you think we had given up eating them?

Of course, that would crazy talk!  Who in their right mind would ever give up eating pancakes?

Not us, that’s for sure!  Rest assured, there has been no shortage of pancakes over here, but our pancakes have been looking a little different lately…

You see, we’ve discovered a new way to make pancakes, and quite frankly we may never eat them any other way ever again!

Ladies and gentlemen, we give you the pancake parfait roll-up!

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Seriously people, this is a genius idea!  It’s a fruit-and-yogurt parfait all wrapped up in a thick, fluffy pancake- does it get any better than that?

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This recipe is inspired by an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives seen while doing hamstring curls at the gym.  That’s right, we watch foodie shows while lifting weights…

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Unfortunately there was no sound to accompany the show (yes, we watch silent foodie shows while lifting weights…) so we have no idea what restaurant was being featured and cannot properly give credit to whoever came up with this fantastic idea.

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But we can share it with the world!

So what is so great about a pancake roll-up?  It takes about half  the time of regular pancakes!  Think about it- one giant pancake vs. making a whole bunch of small ones?  Some of you cool kids might have one of those awesome pancake griddles that have enough space to cook a million pancakes all at once, but for those of us who don’t, this is a huge time-saver!

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And the faster you can cook pancakes, the sooner you can eat them.  And of course, fluffy pancake + creamy yogurt + sweet fruit + crunchy granola = breakfast heaven. 🙂

So go make use of all the delicious fruit that is hitting its prime right now, and make yourself this to-die-for breakfast- you may never eat pancakes the same way again!

Pancake Parfait Roll-Up

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

2/3 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)

1 egg, beaten
2/3 c. buttermilk
1 tbsp maple syrup

1 c. yogurt
1 c. fruit of choice
3/4 c. granola

Directions:

Preheat a large frying pan sprayed with cooking spray.

Combine the dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.  In a separate bowl combine the wet ingredients.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just combined.  Divide the batter in half and pour onto the frying pan.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until bubbles begin to form on the surface and the edges begin to firm.  Flip and cook for another 2 minutes, then remove to a plate.  Repeat with the rest of the batter.

Spread the pancake with yogurt then sprinkle with fruit and granola.  Roll up and top with the rest of the yogurt, fruit and granola.  Drizzle with a little maple syrup if desired.

~twosaucysisters

Do you ever watch the T.V. at the gym?  Have you ever seen a recipe from a T.V. show that you’ve tried recreating?  How did it turn out?

Simple Sunday: Stir Fry

It’s been a couple weeks since we’ve done a Simple Sunday post, but we’re back, and today we have quite possibly one of the easiest dinners you could make!

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Because in our opinion there is no simpler a meal than a stir-fry! But simple does not mean boring or bland- all you need is a few ingredients to give it a pop of flavour.

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All you need is one pan, a handful of veggies, a source of protein and a little seasoning and you’re in business, people!

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Ok, so you actually need two pans, one for the stir fry and one to cook your noodles or rice or whatever you decide to serve it over.  But the pot you cook your grain in hardly gets dirty at all so in our minds it doesn’t really count 🙂

So what went into our stir fry this time around?  Carrots, bok choy, onions, mushrooms and salmon. Only a few ingredients but we assure you our family ate it right up!

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We feel as though the stir-fry has been shoved under the rug.  Its a meal that many cooks turn there noses up at, one that is considered “too simple” or “commonplace”.  Stir-frys are under appreciated in our opinions, so today we’d like to give them the spotlight.  Let them take back the credit that is rightfully theirs.

So grab your frying pans and join us in a deliciously simple stir-fry-making extravaganza!

Simple Salmon Stir Fry

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Prep: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 6

Ingredients:

450 g. salmon filets
1 tbsp olive, grape seed or coconut oil
ground black pepper
Garlic salt or powder
1 small yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bunches of bok choy
2 large carrots
1 c. sliced mushrooms
2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4-1/2 tsp black pepper

Directions:

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle the salmon filets with black pepper and garlic salt or powder.  Place in the pan and cook for 5 minutes on each side.  Put the lid on the pan, reduce the heat to medium and cook for another 4-5 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked through.  Remove the filets and set aside.

Add the minced garlic and diced onion to the pan and saute for 2-3 minutes, until the onions soften and become translucent.  Julienne the carrots (aka- cut them into thin match-stick pieces) and add them to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes. Slice the bok choy and mushrooms and add them to the pan.  Continue cooking for another 2 minutes.  Add all other ingredients and cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender yet still crisp.

Serves over rice or noodles, is desired.

~twosaucysisters

What are your favourite veggies to put in a stir-fry?

How to Make Your Own Vegetable Stock

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We grew up in a home that went to great lengths to avoid wasting food.

Peanut butter jars were scraped clean with the spatula, yogurt containers were not allowed to be thrown away until every. last. drop. of yogurt had been consumed, crusts were never thrown away and even the crumbled cereal dust at the bottom of the box was eaten.

So maybe you can understand where we’re coming from when we say that seeing food (or anything, really) being wasted really bothers us.  Like when we would watch a food fight break out on a T.V. show as kids the first thing that would come to our minds is “that’s such a big waste of food!” Yes. That happened.

And don’t even get us started on the amount of food that we see getting thrown away at work!  Having cooked/served at a few restaurants now, the amount of food that we’ve seen get thrown away on a daily basis at any restaurant is enough to make our 8-year-old selves speachless!

While a restaurant can’t really do much about the food that gets brought back un-eaten, one place we worked at had a great system for using up veggie “scraps”.  You know, the outer peel of carrots,  the stems of herbs, the ribs and seeds of peppers- all the stuff that ordinarily you would just throw away?  They had several “stock pots” sitting around the kitchen, and when you would finish peeling and chopping a bunch of carrots, peppers, cucumbers, etc. you would throw the leftover parts that you aren’t using into the stock pot.  When the pot got full, it was covered and kept in the fridge and used later on to make vegetable stock.

What a great idea, right?

Since working there we have adopted a similar system, and now we always have healthy, low-sodium homemade vegetable broth on hand that costs basically nothing to make!  It’s a very simple process, so lets get started.

Step One: Get a plastic bag/bucket and fill ‘er up!

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So what usually falls into our stock bag?  Carrot peels, pepper stems, onion skins, the ends of celery stalks, cauliflower stems/leaves, herb stems, and when the bag is getting full and we know we’re going to be making stock really soon, we like to throw in some apple cores, too!  Just remember these two pointers:

1. Don’t put asparagus into your vegetable stock unless you know you will be making asparagus soup
2. Don’t put more than one broccoli stem into the pot, or else all you’ll taste is broccoli!

Step 2: Dump the veggie scraps into a pot and fill it with water.

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No need to measure, just fill it to about 1 inch from the top of the pot.  We also like to add a couple more chopped up garlic cloves at this step, to pump-up the flava!

Step 3: Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and allow it to simmer for about 1 hour.

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As the stock simmers some of the liquid will evaporate, so you may want to come back 1 or two times during the simmering process to add a little more water back in.

Step 4: Strain the liquid through a colander.

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You’ll be left over with a reddish-brown liquid that looks like this:

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Now just pour the liquid into a few containers and place in the freezer.  They’ll keep for several months in there, and you can just pull out containers and thaw them as you need them!

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We usually don’t add any salt to our stock since we prefer to add it to the actual recipe when we’re cooking, but if you like you can feel free to add a dash or two in according to your tastes.

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And there you have it!  No-salt-added vegetable stock perfect for soups, stews, sauces, and whatever else you want to use it for!  And all those veggie “scraps” that ordinarily would have been wasted have now been put to good use.  You will never need to buy the stuff in the powder form from the grocery store ever again.

Cheap, healthy and easy?  Sounds about right to us!

~twosaucysisters

Have you ever made your own vegetable stock?  What do you do to avoid wasting food?

Our First Blogiversary

Happy birthday to us!  Happy birthday to us!  Happy birthday Two Saucy Sisterrrrsss!  Happy birthday to us!

But wait a minute- it’s not our birthdays!

You’re right- it’s not.  Today is our 1-year blog anniversary!  It’s our blogiversary! 🙂

Yup, 1 year ago today is when we wrote our very first post.  Wow.  Can you believe its already been a full year?  Where has the time gone?

This year of blogging has been amazing!  We’ve learned so much over the past 12 months it’s hard to know where to begin.  For starters, we both had no idea how to design a blog or even sign up to create one.  We didn’t know anything about widgets, links, tags, or menus.  We knew nothing about how to promote our blog or how to increase page views.  In fact, we didn’t even know if people would be interested in what we had to say or if they would like our recipes at all!  And photography?  Don’t even get us started!  We think it’s safe to say that we’ve come a long way from taking poorly-lit, unedited photos on top of our stove.

While we still have a lot (and we mean a lot) of learning and improving to do, we’re really proud of how far we’ve come, and we’re so happy that we decided to make the jump from blog-followers to blog-writers!  So for now, it’s time to celebrate!  And what would a birthday celebration be without cake?

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We think we’ve made it very well-known that Chocolate and Peanut Butter is our favourite combo (remember these pancakes?), so naturally for our first blogiversary we had to make a Chocolate Layer Cake with Peanut Butter frosting! 🙂

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Of course, this is a healthy food blog, so this cake is made entirely from bran flakes and vegetables.

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Just kidding! But it is made with all healthy ingredients.

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So how exactly do you go about making a healthy cake, a food that uses sugar, butter and refined flour as it’s main ingredients?

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You start by making some simple substitutions, like whole wheat flour for white flour, for instance. Apple sauce is fantastic because it replaces oil and sugar at the same time. And of course, our favourite natural sweeteners, date paste and honey, fell into the mix as well.

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The other secret to a healthy cake is using some… unconventional ingredients. 😉

Almost all cakes call for butter to make them soft and tender, so we needed to find a healthy substitution that offered fat for tenderizing but not for artery clogging! The obvious (to us) solution? Avocado!

Yes. There is avocado in this cake.

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And then there’s the icing, because let’s face it- cake without icing is not cake.  It’s bread.  But to make healthy icing you need something make it thick and fluffy and give it some structure.  And what ingredient would be better suited to that job than chickpeas?

Yup.  Chickpeas.  We’re convinced that those little legumes were sent from Heaven to be incorporated into any and every recipe imaginable!

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So there it is then.  A delicious chocolate peanut butter cake to celebrate one fantastic year of blogging!  Thank you to everyone who follows us, reads our posts, makes our recipes and leaves us comments.  Thank you to all those who have liked us on Facebook, followed us on Twitter and Pinterest, and to all our family and friends who have supported us during this past year!  We really can’t tell you all how much we appreciate every comment, like, and share.

There will be some changes happening on the blog over the next couple months that we’re really excited about, and we’ll definitely keep you up-to-date as they happen, but all we can say is get ready for a new-and-improved Two Saucy Sisters!

For now though, it’s business as usual.  And chocolate cake 🙂

Chocolate Peanut Butter Layer Cake

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 25 minutes
Makes: 1 9-inch cake

Ingredients:

2.5 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. unbleached white flour
1/2 c. cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

2 eggs
2 egg whites
1 ripe avocado
1 c. unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 c. date paste
1 c. milk of choice
1/4 c. maple syrup or honey or agave
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp white vinegar

For the Icing:

1 19oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 c. peanut butter (not all natural)*
1/4 c. milk
1/2 c. honey
1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
Crushed peanuts (optional)

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 375 F.
In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Using a stand mixer or electric beaters, beat eggs on medium-high speed. Add in avocado and beat until smooth. Add the rest of the wet ingredients and continue beating until fully combined.
Pour wet ingredients into the dry and gently stir, until just combined.
Spray two 9-inch circular pans with cooking spray and dust with flour. Divide batter evenly between the two pans.
Bake on the center rack for 25min, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of each cake comes out clean. Allow to cool fully on a wire rack before icing. In a double boiler or microwave, melt chocolate chips and drizzle over the top. Sprinkle with crushed peanuts and serve.

Store covered in the fridge.

For the icing:

Put all ingredients into a food processor or high power blender and blend until smooth.

*We used the classic Skippy Peanut Butter. If you would like to use all-natural, you can, however the consistency will be drippier and you will have to adjust the sweetener and salt.

Tip: 

To help stack your two layers without the top one sliding off, turn the bottom layer upside down so it’s flat bottom is facing upwards.

~twosaucysisters