Hello, hello, hello!
How is your post-Valentine’s-Day chocolate coma coming along? 😉
I actually didn’t have much chocolate on the 14th (just some scrumptious chocolate-dipped strawberries), but Rob and I were both craving something sweet after dinner last night, so I whipped up some brownies. They are halfway gone…
So let’s just put sweets out of mind for a moment (or a week or two) and switch to a savory topic. Get out your napkins and paper towels because a sloppy recipe is coming your way! Normally I’m content with a good ol’ can of Manwich (for just a buck, how can you go wrong?), but I do love to make as much as I can from scratch when time allows. I truly wish it were possible to make everything in my kitchen homemade (from all my seasonings to condiments to cereals to pasta, etc, etc, etc), but I think I’d have to quite my job and devote my entire life to food prep for that to happen. So for now, a nice balance will have to do.
I don’t know about you, but I find that a sloppy joe is not complete without a layer of crunch between the joe and the bun. Am I right?
That layer of crunch brings us to today’s review: ips! The name ips is actually an acronym for “intelligent protein snacks,” and they’re all natural, puffy crisps made with non-GMO corn and egg white protein for an added nutrient boost. I looked through the ingredient list on the label of each of the four flavors, and I didn’t find anything unsettling. That’s one smart snack if you ask me! P.S. They’re gluten free.
I’ll be honest, my first taste of ips caught me a little off guard. I was expecting a potato-chip-like snack and instead bit into a puffy crisp that reminded me more of a puffed-rice- or puffed-corn-like snack. I wasn’t sure I liked them at first. However, I soon got over the fact that they’re not a potato chip (Well duh, they never claimed to be!) and was quite pleased. 😀
The four flavors currently available are Barbecue, Cinnamon, Sea Salt & Black Pepper, and Aged White Cheddar. The Cinnamon flavor makes a lovely snack for indulging a sweet craving. It actually reminds me quite a bit of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal (which is a very good thing since we all know how much I love cereal); it’s just more puffy than crunchy, and it has less sugar (Woo! Smart snack!). As for the savory flavors, I’m not sure which I like best. Barbecue– tangy, smoky, and slightly sweet– was definitely my favorite for pairing with the sloppy joes, but strictly for snacking purposes I think I’m going with Sea Salt & Black Pepper. The flavor is full and robust, but still simple and not overwhelming. Barbecue is probably a close second.
I was prepared not to like Aged White Cheddar at all, as white cheddar is typically not a flavor option that bodes too well with me, but I really do like it! I’m not just saying that either. It’s got a slight bit of tang but is very smooth. Plus it’s made with real cheese! That must be why it’s better than any other white cheddar flavored foods I’ve tried. Haha, those are likely not real cheese… I currently have all four bags sitting around my laptop, and I’ve been snacking in a circle trying to decide which one is the best. It’s a toss up.
Of course flavor is an important component when choosing what to eat, but if you’re like me, nutrition is another top deciding factor. I love that ips were created by a guy looking for healthier food options for his kids, and he came to this great idea from the crispy edges of cooked eggs his kids loved so much. So when you eat a 1-oz. serving of ips, you’re getting as much protein as an egg! Neat. You may be wondering, like I was, why this snack is made specifically with egg whites as opposed to the whole egg. Well, egg whites are considered one of the best forms of proteins because they contain all nine essential amino acids (the ones your body can’t make). Besides, omitting the yolk leaves out the cholesterol and most of the fat. So there you go. Smart snack! (Check out more nutrition facts here if you’d like.)
I promise we’re just about to get to the sloppy joes recipe, but I just have to get in a quick Friends reference for fellow fans out there. Scroll on if that’s not you!
Remember on “The One With The List” when Monica gets a job creating recipes for a synthetic chocolate substitute called Mockolate? Well Rob said he was hungry right after I opened up my ips, and when I held out my hand to offer him some, I felt like Monica saying to Ross, “How about a nice steaming cup of hot Mockolate?” It’s not the same at all because Mockolate tasted awful and wasn’t approved by the FDA, but it still gave me a chuckle!
Okay, onto the recipe!
(adapted from Cooking Classy)
- 1 1/2 lbs. lean ground meat (I use deer or elk; beef or turkey would be fine.)
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- 1/2 c. diced yellow onion
- 1 c. diced bell pepper (a combination of red and green, or whatever you like best)
- 1-2 medium carrots, finely grated (about 1/2 c.)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce (or two 8-oz. cans)
- 1/3 c. water
- 2 Tbs. lemon juice
- 2 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 to 1 tsp. pureed chipotle in adobo, optional (gives a touch of heat and smoky flavor)*
- 1 1/2 Tbs. molasses
- 2 tsp. yellow mustard
- 3 Tbs. granulated sugar
- 2 Tbs. dried parsley
- 1 1/2 tsp. paprika
- 2 Tbs. chili powder
- 1 tsp. cumin
- salt (I use Himalayan) and pepper, to taste
- 6 hamburger buns
- Barbecue ips for serving, optional
- shredded cheddar cheese for serving, optional
* A little chipotle in adobo goes a long way! I purée the whole can and freeze what I don’t use, slicing off chunks as needed.
- Heat the olive oil in a large, deep nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and garlic, sautéing for just a moment, then add the ground meat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the meet has browned.
- Add the bell peppers and carrots, and cook for 3-5 minutes, until they become tender.
- Reduce the heat to low, and stir in the remaining ingredients. Cover and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- Serve sloppy joes on hamburger buns, topped with shredded cheese and Barbecue ips if desired. Enjoy!
In other news, I’m really excited about the increased amounts of sunlight we’re getting as spring approaches! The winter slump has never really affected me much until this year, but December and January were unusually gloomy. I haven’t spent as much time outdoors as I like to; it’s just tough when the air inflicts pain, y’know? It’s so tempting to stay indoors and snuggle up in a blanket. Petra knows how it’s done:
Some days the wind doesn’t howl as harshly. Some days, when we’re lucky, those days even land on weekends! Then we go frolic through the forest, and Petra learns how to climb trees. Me gusta. 🙂
Wherever you are, whatever season you’re in, I hope you are experiencing great joy and finding the time to do what you love!
This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.
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