because what is life without good food?

Posts tagged “Peanut butter

Chocolate, Fruit & Nut Energy Bytes

Chocolate Fruit & Nut Energy Bites

Chocolate craving! Time for something chocolatey good. With nuts. Yes LOTS of nuts. Oh and some peanut butter. Dried fruit in there … ah yes. And to add a little bit more healthy yumminess, some oats.

Roll it all into a little ball and what do you have? A quick, healthy snack. Not one you want to eat a LOT of at one sitting because they are a bit calorific, but something you can grab on the go when you need a little energy, especially before or after a good workout. An energy byte! (Terrible geeky pun intended.)

I like to eat one of these for a bit of dessert after a good meal, or when I am running out the door and need something fast to grab for a quick bit of energy. Or when you need a quick chocolate fix, but you don’t want to totally destroy your healthy eating plan. A little bit of chocolate and a few nuts every day are very good for your health.

Chocolate Fruit & Nut Energy Bytes

Chocolate, Fruit & Nut Energy Bytes

You could use a good quality dark chocolate in place of the almond bark and cocoa powder. I just didn’t have enough on hand, so I decided to make my own “chocolate”!

  • 2 squares of almond bark (or white chocolate)
  • 4 Tablespoons dark cocoa powder
  • 3 Tablespoons of Chocolate PB2 powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 2/3 cup nuts (I used a mix of peanuts and cashews)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped into bits
  • Coarse sea salt

Directions:

  1. Melt the almond bark in a medium mixing bowl in the microwave by microwaving on high for 1 minute, stir, microwave for 30 seconds, stir again, keep microwaving for 30 seconds/stirring until the white almond bark is completely melted.
  2. Stir in the dark cocoa powder, PB2 powder, vanilla and peanut butter and stir until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
  3. Stir in the oats, nuts, cranberries and apricot bits until everything is coated in chocolate. Form the mixture into balls and set on a tray. Sprinkle the bytes with a bit of coarse sea salt.
  4. Set it in the fridge until the chocolate is set, then transfer to a covered storage container. You can store these at room temperature or in the fridge, as you prefer. I like to eat them at room temperature so I’m not bothering to refrigerate mine. They aren’t going to last that long anyway!

Chocolate Fruit & Nut Energy Bytes

This recipe was shared at Katherine Martinelli’s Nut BloghopShare it SaturdayLunch Box Linky and Scrumptious Sunday.


Curried Red Pepper Aubergine Soup

Fire Roasted Red Pepper Eggplant Thai Curry Soup

I’ve been toying with the idea of making a thai-style curry soup with my aubergines … aubergine, isn’t that a fabulous word? It sounds so fancy and cultured to me. Usually I just use the word “eggplant”, but it doesn’t carry the same elegance that these beautiful purple vegetables really deserve.

Anyway, I came home from yoga class the other night STARVING and decided to begin the creation of the Thai curry soup. Somehow thought this would be a quick thing to do … I started up the grill because I’m really loving the smoky flavor from the grill and set a bunch of lovely vegetables on there for their “fire” roasting. Yes, I really did start up the grill just to roast vegetables. It didn’t take long to roast them … but then I got busy with other things and with the kids.

Hours later (just before bedtime), I finally sat down to enjoy a cup of my curried red pepper aubergine soup. It’s not that the soup really takes that long to make … it’s just that … well, I’m a mom … and I’m easily distracted (look! facebook!) … and my kitchen was already a mess so there was a bit of work to do there too … oh well, it got done eventually and I did get a bowl of soup and now I have a delicious soup I can quickly reheat for lunches this week.

Fire Roasted Red Pepper Eggplant Thai Curry Soup

Curried Red Pepper Aubergine Soup

Yields a little over a quart of soup.

  • 3 good-size Japanese Eggplant (the long skinny dark black purple kind of eggplant … or 1 large globe eggplant) … yielding about a cup of eggplant after roasting (a little more or less is fine)
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 hot red pepper (or if you don’t want your soup to be spicy, use a bell pepper in place of the hot pepper)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled, chopped
  • 1/2 of an onion, peeled, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 – 2 Tablespoons Thai red curry paste (to taste)
  • 1 – 2 Tablespoons brown sugar (or other sweetener of your choice … to taste)
  • 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon natural peanut butter
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Garnish: plain lowfat yogurt (or Greek yogurt) and fresh parsley or better yet, cilantro!

Directions:

  1. Poke the eggplant all around with a fork. Light up the grill and when the coals are hot, set the eggplant and the peppers right over the hot coals to roast. (A gas grill would work fine too … you COULD even roast them in the oven if you prefer …) Here’s a shot of my eggplant and peppers on the grill. I used these 3 eggplant, the red bell pepper, and one of the hot peppers in this soup. The other two peppers I’m going to put in a salsa (I think …)
    Roasting Eggplant & Peppers on the Grill
  2. You don’t want to burn them, but the skins of the eggplant will turn dark and the pepper skins should turn black. Turn the peppers and eggplant over to make sure you roast all sides. The peppers will be done very quickly. Pull the peppers off the grill and let them cool while you finish cooking the eggplant. Cook the eggplant until it is limp and soft.
  3. The peel on the peppers and the eggplant should come right off after roasting. Pull off the peel, chop off the top stems from the eggplant, and put the “good parts” of the peppers and the eggplant in a blender or handi chopper. Puree them until smooth.
  4. In a saucepan, sautee the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent, soft and starting to brown. Stir in the eggplant/pepper paste and the remaining ingredients. Stir everything together till it’s well mixed, bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes or until the flavors have had time to “meld”.
  5. When the soup is done, puree it in a blender (or use an immersion blender). I’ve heard of people cracking the glass of a glass blender with hot soup, so you might want to let it cool a bit before blending it if you are using a glass blender.
  6. Garnish with a dollop of plain yogurt and a sprig of fresh parsley and serve hot. Store any leftovers in a covered container in the fridge. This soup reheats nicely in the microwave.

Fire Roasted Red Pepper Eggplant Thai Curry Soup

This recipe was shared at Cast Party WednesdayThursday’s TreasuresFoodie Friends FridayFit & Fabulous Friday and Newlyweds Recipe Linky.


Chocolate Peanut Butter BonBons

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bonbons

Craving. Chocolate. Peanut butter. Nagging, nagging. Helllooooo. Chocolate. NEED Chocolate! Peanut butter. Mmm. Peanut butter. Nagging. Craving. Peanut Butter. Chocolate. CHOCOLATE!

Bonbons … Mmm. Bonbons. Yes. Chocolate. Peanut butter. Yes, yes, yes. Ah! Better.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bonbons

I feed my cravings with high quality ingredients and then I also try to lighten up my favorite decadent treats.  If they taste really good, I find I don’t need to eat large quantities of them. These are sort of like a Reese’s peanut butter cup, except they’re healthier.

Chocolate Peanut Butter BonBons

Heavily adapted from Baby Gizmo Blog. To reduce the fat, I used PB2 in place of half of the peanut butter, which is a powdered form of peanut butter with 85% of the fat removed. If you can’t find it at your local grocery store (in the health food section), you can order it online.

  • 1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (chocolate or regular … whatever you prefer/have on hand … I used a mix of both)
  • 1/4 cup flaxmeal
  • 1/2 cup PB2 (chocolate or regular or a mix of both … I used half chocolate/half regular)
  • 1/4 cup fat free half & half
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup light cream cheese
  • For dipping: good quality dark chocolate and mini chocolate chips … I am not sure how much I used because I grabbed some bar chocolate then added chips to it, but I would guess it would be about 1 – 1 1/2 cups of dark chocolate chips plus a cup of mini chocolate chips
In a handi chopper or food processor, grind the graham crackers into fine crumbs. Pour them into a bowl and mix with the remaining ingredients. Form the mixture into balls (makes about 24 or so), set the balls on a tray and set in the freezer for an hour or longer.
Set the mini chocolate chips in a separate bowl, then melt some dark chocolate in the microwave or a double boiler. To melt it in the microwave, microwave on high for 1 minute, then stir, then microwave 30 seconds longer and stir again. If it’s still not melted, microwave another 30 seconds and stir.
Lay out a section of waxed paper on a baking pan to set the chocolates on once you’ve dipped them.
To dip the bonbons: roll a ball around in the melted chocolate with a spoon, then poke it with a toothpick and shake gently to remove some of the chocolate. Hold the ball by the toothpick over the bowl of mini-chops and sprinkle with mini chips, then set on the waxed paper. Let the bonbons sit until the chocolate is set (in the fridge, if needed). Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bonbons

This recipe was shared at Melt in your Mouth MondaysManic Mondays, Fit & Fabulous Fridays, Foodie Friends Friday and Newlyweds Recipe Linky.


Peanut Butter Ice Cream {Low Fat}

Lowfat Peanut Butter Brown Sugar Ice Cream with PB2

I am a peanut butter fanatic. For as long as I can remember, I have cherished the taste of peanut butter. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were my favorite snack growing up … until as a teenager, I noticed I was putting on some weight. I asked my mom (the dietician) for some help and she gave me some materials to help me form a plan to get to the weight I wanted to be. That was when I checked just how many calories were in my favorite “little” snack, and decided that my beloved peanut butter just wasn’t fitting into my plans. I didn’t totally give up on my favorite snack, but I didn’t eat it very often anymore.

Many years have passed and my passion for peanut butter has not faded, but I still want to keep myself at a healthy weight, so I still take care to limit how much of my beloved peanut butter I put into my body. My son shares my fondness for peanut butter, especially when it’s paired with chocolate.

Recently a friend told me she’d tried PB2, a powdered form of peanut butter that has had 85% of the fat taken out. I was suspicious and checked, but they don’t use nasty chemicals or preservatives. It’s simply peanuts, without (most of) the fat. I thought I should try it in one of my favorite ice creams: the decadent peanut butter swirl ice cream from Saveur.

To lighten it up, I used PB2 in place of most of the peanut butter, I skipped the swirl part, swapped out the milk and a cup of the whipping cream for fat free half and half and replaced the 3/4 cup of white sugar with 1/2 cup of brown sugar. The result is a rich, decadent-tasting ice cream that has a LOT less fat (about 30% of the calories from fat, which is a good guideline to stick to in general) and a yummy peanut butter taste. Add a few peanuts on top and a bit of chocolate syrup and I’m in heaven. And I don’t even have to feel guilty about it!

Lowfat Peanut Butter Brown Sugar Ice Cream (with the magic of PB2)

Peanut Butter Ice Cream {Low Fat}

Adapted from Saveur.com’s Peanut Butter Swirl Ice Cream.

Note: there are 2 cups total of fat free half and half in the recipe … I separated them in the ingredient list to make it easier to follow the directions.

  • 1 cup fat free half & half
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup PB2 powder
  • 1 Tablespoon natural peanut butter
  • 1 cup fat free half & half
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

In a saucepan, stir together 1 cup of the fat free half & half with the brown sugar and cook over medium heat just until hot. While the milk and sugar are cooking, in a small mixing bowl, beat the eggs till they are fluffy and a consistent yellow (that is, no blobs of egg white floating about).

In a slow stream, add the hot cream mixture to the eggs, whisking or beating constantly as you do. Beat them a little more just for spite, then put the saucepan back on the burner and heat at medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until it is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes.

Remove  the pan from the heat and mix in the PB2 and the peanut butter using your mixer. Whisking the custard well while it is cooking helps keep the lumps out, but if you see any lumps in your custard, strain them out. If not, just let it set for a few minutes to cool, then beat in the cream and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate until cold, 6–8 hours, then put it in your ice cream maker and freeze into creamy wonderful deliciousness. I like to add a little drizzle of chocolate syrup and a few roasted peanuts on top, but just a little … I didn’t want to spoil all the work I’d done to lighten up my peanut butter treat.

Lowfat Peanut Butter Brown Sugar Ice Cream (with the magic of PB2)

This post is an #icecreamlove post powered by Linky Tools

Click here to see all the other wonderful ice creams everyone is making this month …

This recipe was also shared at Melt in your Mouth MondaysMakin’ you Crave Mondays, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Cast Party Wednesday, It’s a Keeper Thursday, Thursday’s Treasures,  Tastetastic Thursday, and Fit & Fabulous Fridays.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Chia Smoothie

(a.k.a. “Healthy Muck”)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie ... Health-ified

So far, I have a total of one smoothie on this blog. One. I guess if you count this one, that’s two, but it’s really the same smoothie (this one is a health-ified version of the other one), so does that count? I think it’s still just one.

I do really love smoothies … but I realized a while ago that many smoothies are packed with enough calories for a meal for a petite little middle-aged person like me. I like to maximize the enjoyment of my limited number of calories, and I tend to drink fast … so smoothies are not normally such a good dietary choice for me. I would much rather have a salad I can munch on for a long time … it satisfies my palate much better than a quickly-downed smoothie. For my son on the other hand, he is well over six feet tall and still growing … he loves smoothies and I’m quite glad to oblige him.

Anyway, the ONE smoothie that I do have on my blog is the cream of the crop. It’s my son’s favorite smoothie … AND the only smoothie I would choose to have to replace a meal, and I would enjoy every drop of it. My dad invented it. We used to call it “Grampa smoothies” up until my son’s friend said it looks like muck. So it was re-named “Muck”.

Anyway, I got a couple new ingredients to try out. First I won a bag of chia seeds from Lauren at Nutri-Savvy and Ruth’s Foods. I had never used chia seeds before, but I’ve heard they are a nutritional powerhouse: packed with Omega-3s, plus protein and fiber, they are even better than flax seed or quinoa. AND then a friend was telling me how wonderful PB2 is. It’s powdered peanut butter with most of the fat removed. I used to think that sounded just totally gross, but after talking to my friend, I thought what they heck: I’ll give it a shot. And did you know they have a CHOCOLATE version of PB2? Who can resist chocolate and peanut butter? Only 45 calories in two tablespoons? Um, yeah. I’m in. I found it in the health food section at our grocery store, but if you can’t find it there, it is available on Amazon.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Chia Smoothie

I expected that my health-ified version wouldn’t really be as good. And really, I can’t say it has the same rich decadence as the original, but it was pretty darn close. The chia seeds added a slight bit of crunch … but they didn’t change the wonderful chocolate peanut butter banana taste. And the Chocolate PB2 did EXACTLY what I wanted it to do: gave it all the chocolate peanut butter taste without all the fat, sugar and calories of peanut butter and chocolate syrup.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Chia Smoothie (a.k.a., “Healthy Muck”)

  • 1 1/2 bananas, frozen
  • 1 cup lowfat milk (I used 1% milk, but you can use skim or I am sure almond or soy milk would work well too)
  • 2 Tablespoons Chocolate PB2
  • 1 Tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Put all ingredients in blender and blend till smooth. Pour into a nice tall glass (or two smaller ones) and enjoy! Drizzle with a tiny bit of real chocolate syrup if you like …

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Chia Smoothie

Chocolate-Peanut-Butter-Banana-Smoothie-Nutrition-Facts

Just for fun, I put it in the Calorie Count Recipe Analyzer on About.com and it gets an “A” for a Nutrition Grade!

With 10.6 grams of fiber and 17.1 grams of protein, not to mention 39% of your day’s needs for calcium and 26% of your vitamin C, it’s a fantastic way to start your day.

This recipe was shared at Fit & Fabulous FridaysWeekend Potluck, Manic Mondays, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Cast Party Wednesday, and Thursday’s Treasures.


Chewy No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Have you ever seen a recipe online and think “I really need to make that someday” … and then seen different versions of the same thing again like 30,000 times and have that same thought every time you see one … and then one day you FINALLY do just break down and make it, and you think to yourself, “my gosh that was SO easy … why did I wait so long to make that?”

That’s exactly what happened with these granola bars. They are so simple to make, I literally threw them together while I was in a conference call (and it was one of the kind of calls I had to actually participate in, not just listen …). And they’re SO good! These granola bars are way more flavorful and chocolatey than any of those store-bought granola bars. They are nice and chewy with a little bit of contrasting crunch from the nuts.

Chewy No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Chewy No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Adapted from Couponing & Cooking. After I mixed up the peanut butter and honey from her recipe, I thought it was way too sweet, so I added more peanut butter and then up’d the amount of oats too. Also, I cut down the amount of oil. I’m not sure it’s really necessary at all, but remember this was my first attempt at making granola bars so I didn’t want to stray TOO far from the recipe!

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 Tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 cup high quality chocolate chips
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds (or other nuts)
  • 3 cups quick oats
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup finely chopped dried figs, apricots, or other dried fruit  (I used figs)

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan on medium heat, mix together peanut butter, oil and honey. Heat and stir until completely combined.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate chips and cocoa powder till the chips are melted and the mixture is smooth.
  3. Stir in the sunflower seeds, oats, and chopped fruit.
  4. Spray your pan(s) with cooking spray. I filled up 12 mini-muffin cups, then I pressed the rest into my 9×9 inch square pan. If you put this all into one 9×9-inch pan, they are going to be much thicker than your typical granola bar.
  5. Chill in the fridge for a while until they’ve firmed up, then cut into bars and enjoy! Store them in an airtight container in the fridge. (I think they’d probably be ok left out of the fridge too, but they will probably keep longer if you chill them.)

Chewy No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars

This recipe was shared at Newlyweds Recipe Linky, Katherine Martinelli’s Fig Bloghop and Fit & Fabulous Fridays.


Tropical Trail Mix Granola

Tropical Trail Mix Granola

I am SOoooo into homemade granola! I love love love love LOVE it! Ideas for different granola flavors are bouncing around in my head like crazy. The idea for this tropical granola sprung from a peanut butter trail mix cookie I used to make with tropical trail mix (come to think of it, I need to make those cookies again sometime for the blog …)

But not today … nope no siree bob … Today it’s time for GRANOLA! The perfect sweet healthy snack to munch on when you need a little boost of energy. That wonderful crunchy mix that is so welcome sprinkled on yogurt … or in a bowl with fruit and milk.  This granola is chock full of tropical fruits, so you don’t need to even add any more fruit … unless, of course, you want to. It is awfully good with a couple fresh strawberries tossed in.

You are going to love this stuff. I just know it.

Tropical Trail Mix Granola

Tropical Trail Mix Granola

Dry ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 3/4 cup peanuts
  • 3/4 pecans
  • 4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup flaxmeal or flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup wheat bran or wheat germ
Wet ingredients:
  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt (optional … you can lower the amount of salt or leave it out for a low-sodium granola)
  • 1/4 cup honey
And then mix in …
  • 2 cups mixed dried tropical fruit pieces (pineapple, coconut, mango, banana chips, etc.)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. In a large bowl, mix the oats, flax, wheat bran and nuts. Set aside.
  2. In a separate small bowl, mash the banana very well until it’s smooth (not too lumpy). Put the banana in a small saucepan with the maple syrup, and other wet ingredients. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture is hot and bubbly. Stir in the honey and remove from heat.
  3. Pour the hot sweet sticky banana mixture over the nutty oat mixture in the bowl. Stir it all up until it’s well mixed.
  4. Spread all this wonderful stuff out into a thin layer on a large jellyroll pan (or other big flat baking pan with an edge to it). Set it in the oven and bake for about an hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. It should be browned to a lovely brown color and smelling fantastic. You can taste a little sample to see if it’s crunchy enough. If it’s not, bake it a little longer.
  5. Let the granola cool for a bit before stirring in the fruit. Store in an airtight container. It will keep for about a month or so. There’s NO way mine is going to last that long …

Tropical Trail Mix Granola

This recipe was shared on Totally Tasty Tuesdays and Newlyweds Recipe Linky.


Elvis’ Favorite Muffins

Chocolate, Peanut Butter, & Banana Muffins … with a Peanut Butter Filling

Elvis' Favorite Muffins (Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Banana with a Peanut Butter filling)

Okay, Elvis never really tried these muffins. But he should have! He would have loved them.

But then again, who wouldn’t love chocolate banana muffins with a peanut butter filling? Maybe my mother. She’s not into chocolate. I will never ever in a million years understand that. (But I still love you, Mom!)

Elvis' Favorite Muffins (Peanut Butter, Chocolate and Banana, with a PB filling)

Elvis’ Favorite Muffins

Chocolate, Peanut Butter, & Banana … with a Peanut Butter Filling

Makes 18 muffins

  • 3 mashed ripe bananas (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup non-fat greek yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup lowfat milk (I used 1%)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup dark cocoa powder (add more or less, depending on how chocolatey you want your muffins)
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Filling:
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup plain non-fat greek yogurt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the bananas, sugar, yogurt, canola oil, egg and vanilla until smooth.
  3. Add the dry ingredients and stir until the batter is thoroughly mixed.
  4. Mix the filling ingredients together. Add a little more PB or sugar according to your taste.
  5. Spray your muffin pans with cooking spray. Spoon a spoonful of batter into the bottom of each muffin pan to cover the bottom of the muffin. Top with a small spoonful (about a teaspoon) of the peanut butter filling, then cover the filling up with another spoonful of the chocolate batter.
  6. Bake at 325° for about 20 – 25 minutes or until the muffins spring back when touched.

Elvis' Favorite Muffins ... Chocolate & Banana Muffins with a Peanut Butter Filling

Now … what should I do with these other three bananas? Hmm …

This recipe was shared at Tastetastic ThursdaysFull Plate Thursdays and Weekend Potluck.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola

Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola

I’ve seen a bunch of chocolate granola in the foodie world lately and oh I ached to do one myself. Because I really really love eating chocolate for breakfast.

I looked at all their recipes and they were all different. Each foodie did their own take on chocolatizing granola, and each one looked perfectly marvelous.

So naturally, I did my own take on it. It’s a little of this recipe, a little of that one, a little of my own inspiration.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola

Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola

Dry ingredients:

  • 4 cups of old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup of dry roasted peanuts
  • 1/4 cup flaxmeal
  • 1/4 cup wheat bran
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
Wet ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons of dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 – 4 Tablespoons maple syrup (depending on how sweet you want it)
  • 2 – 4 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 2 Tablespoons peanut buttter
  • 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
Add-ins:
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, mix the dry ingredients.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the wet ingredients over medium-low heat, stirring until well mixed and nicely warmed.
  3. Combine the wet mixture with the dry mixture until completely incorporated and everything is evenly mixed.
  4. Spread the granola out onto a large jellyroll pan. Bake for about an hour, stirring every 10 – 15 minutes until the granola is a deep golden brown.
  5. Remove from oven. Cool completely. Mix in the chocolate chips. Store in an airtight container. Keeps up to one month.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola

This recipe was shared at Weekend PotluckReal Housewives Recipe Roundup, and Totally Tasty Tuesdays.


Super Simple Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce

Super Simple Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce

I went looking for an easy Thai Peanut Sauce recipe last night because I’m enthralled with Thai food and I wanted to make Thai Chicken Pizza, but I can never find all the ingredients that authentic Thai recipes seem to require. I couldn’t believe my luck! If you can find fish sauce and Thai-style curry paste, you can make this.

I didn’t follow her recipe very well though, I’m afraid. I just read her recipe, then made it up as I went. The sauce turned out so good, I was using my finger to wipe up every last drop from the bowl. And then I was dreaming of other things I could make with it last night. You do that too, right? Dream about food? Please tell me I’m not completely insane …

Super Simple Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce

Adapted from She Simmers

  • 1/2 of a 15-oz. can of light coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons red or green Thai-style curry paste (I had some green open, so I used green, but red would probably be better …)
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cayenne or Sriracha (optional … I just wanted my sauce to have a little extra zing)

In a small saucepan, over medium-low heat, whisk all the ingredients together. Simmer for 3 – 5 minutes, stirring frequently to keep it from sticking on the bottom of the pan.

Super Simple Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce

Use it as a dipping sauce for shrimp or other little bites, or as a funky pizza sauce for a thai-style pizza … or drizzle it over a sandwich or salad. I’m planning to do all of those things … I probably should have made a bigger batch.

This recipe was shared at Real Housewives Recipe RoundupSouth Asian BlogHop, and Katherine Martinelli’s Coconut Bloghop.

Ann at The Fountain Avenue Kitchen tried this recipe … go see her version too.


Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Some days I feel overwhelmed … and I wonder why. I mean, things are so much easier now than they were just a couple years ago. I listen to my friends’ problems and I feel like I have it so easy. I’m really okay. There aren’t any big tragedies in my life. My kids and I are healthy, I have a good job, a good home, good food, great friends and family.

But still some days everything in my life feels like just too much. I don’t know what it is. There just is too much to be done, too many things pulling at me, and I get to the point where I just don’t know how to respond, how to deal with anything. I can’t make a decision, I can’t even answer my kids’ questions. I just have to tell them to wait a bit. It’s times like this when I turn to the kitchen … the preparation of food soothes me, comforts me, makes things feel a little better.

And then I get a big hug from my daughter for making banana bread and everything is all right again. Is life really that simple? Can everything be turned around in an instant with one little hug?

Amazingly, yes.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Adapted from Taste & Tell. This is a soft, moist banana bread with a subtle hint of peanut butter. For more peanut flavor, add some chopped peanuts. If you toast the nuts before adding them, it will bring out the peanut flavor even more.

  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3 bananas)
  • 1/3 cup milk (I used 1%)
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons plain nonfat yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup flaxmeal
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • For the top: a couple tablespoons of raw sugar (turbinado sugar)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a loaf pan or mini loaf pans with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Mash the bananas in a large bowl, then add the milk, peanut butter, vanilla, yogurt and egg and mix well.
  3. Stir in the dry ingredients, then mix in the chocolate chips.
  4. Pour into one 4x5x9 inch bread pan or a few smaller loaf pans (I used 3 smaller ones.)
  5. Sprinkle the tops of the batter with raw sugar and place in the oven to bake.
  6. Bake smaller loaves for 30 – 45 minutes or larger loaf for 50 – 60 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the bread rest in the pan for a few minutes before removing.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

This recipe was shared at Thursday’s TreasuresFull Plate ThursdayFit & Fabulous Fridays, and Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays.


Serendipity! Chocolate Peanut Butter Popcorn

Chocolate Peanut Butter Popcorn

It’s National Peanut Butter Day! Woo hoo! I wanted to make this yummilicious stuff on National Popcorn Day, but didn’t get it done, so then along comes National Peanut Butter Day today, which means I get a second chance. Somebody was thinking of me when they invented these food holidays … well, okay, maybe not, but I love the serendipity of it anyway.

And isn’t serendipity such a fun word?

Chocolate Peanut Butter Popcorn

Chocolate Peanut Butter Popcorn

Inspired by Inside BruCrew Life

I had meant to add vanilla to the chocolatey drizzle, but I forgot it. And it tastes pretty dang awesome anyway, so perhaps it doesn’t need vanilla. But you can throw some in if you like. Just a teaspoon or two would do.

  • A big bowl of air popped popcorn (10 – 12 cups)
  • About 4 cups of Reese’s Peanut Butter Puffs
  • A couple cups or so of peanuts (I’m lying! Alas, I had no peanuts, but oh this would be SO perfect with peanuts!)
  • 3 squares of white almond bark (or chocolate bark … I didn’t have any, so I had to make do with the white stuff! If you don’t have white almond bark, you can use 6 oz. of white chocolate … or just use chocolate chips and skip the cocoa)
  • 4 Tablespoons high quality cocoa powder (you might not need this if you use chocolate bark … check the taste and add cocoa till it’s chocolatey enough for you … oh but you must use really good quality cocoa, the dark colored kind)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • Coarse sea salt

Directions:

  1. Pop up your popcorn, then toss it with the peanut butter puffs and the peanuts (if you are so lucky as to have some!), and spread the whole lovely mess out in a thin layer on a large tray or baking pan (or two).
  2. In a small microwaveable bowl, melt the almond bark in the microwave. (Microwave for 90 seconds, stir, then microwave for 30 seconds more, stir, keep doing this till the bark is all good and melted.)
  3. Add the peanut butter and cocoa to the almond bark and stir until it’s all nice and smooth.
  4. Drizzle about half the chocolatey peanut butter goodness all over your popcorn and stuff. Stir up the popcorn mixture a bit just to make sure you aren’t leaving any little kernels or nuts out of the fun, then drizzle the rest of that lovely chocolate stuff over your popcorn.
  5. Sprinkle the whole mess with some coarse sea salt. See, now you have that sweet/salty thing going on …
  6. Here’s the hard part: let the popcorn sit for 15 – 30 minutes until the chocolate sets. (How on earth can you leave this yumminess sit there alone for SO long? Somehow I managed …)
  7. Break the popcorn up into pieces and enjoy! Store any leftover popcorn in an airtight container or tin.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Popcorn

Now do a little happy dance. Because this stuff is so fun. And serendipitous.

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty TuesdaysNewlyweds Recipe Linky, Crazy Sweet TuesdayCast Party Wednesday, Tastetastic Thursdays, Full Plate ThursdayWeekend PotluckTasty Tuesdays, and This Week’s Cravings.


Chocolate Dipped Cranberry Apricot Energy Balls

Chocolate Dipped Cranberry Apricot Energy Balls

The idea for these has been floating around in my head for weeks … I wanted to make a little ball of goodness that would be great for quick energy on the go, something with protein and fruit and a few carbs so it would give my body lots of the things it needs before or after a good workout.

And then of course I had to dip it in chocolate … for all those good antioxidants, right?  … it makes me think of a little thing my friend SueAnn Gleason of Chocolate for Breakfast says, “Dip it in chocolate … it’ll be fine.”

Oh yes, these are fine. I think I’m addicted …

Chocolate Dipped Cranberry Apricot Energy Balls

Chocolate Dipped Cranberry Apricot Energy Balls

  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped roughly
  • 1 cup dried apricots, chopped into small bits
  • 1 cup finely ground graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 Tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup coffee liqueur (Kahlua)
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 5 to 6 ounces light cream cheese (I think fat-free cream cheese would work too, if you want to decrease the fat content)
  • A good quality dark chocolate bar or dark chocolate chips, for dipping

Directions:

  1. Mix all the ingredients except the chocolate until everything is well mixed. They might fight you a little, but eventually the mixture will become a sort of thick paste that you can form into balls.
  2. Form balls and place them on a cookie sheet or platter. Refrigerate for a couple hours or until firm.
  3. Melt the chocolate in the microwave or double boiler. Dip the balls in chocolate and place them on waxed paper. Let them sit until the chocolate sets up. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. If they last that long …

Chocolate Dipped Cranberry Apricot Energy Balls

This recipe was shared on Full Plate ThursdaysFoodie FridaysKatherine Martinelli’s DIY blog hop, and Everyday Mom’s Meals.


Muck Ice Cream (Chocolate, PB & Banana)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream

Creamy. Chocolatey. Peanut-buttery. Ice cream. Oh yes, and banana.

This is my son’s creation, his brain-child, his idea. I wanted to give it a fancier name, but he wasn’t having any of that. NO, it’s Muck Ice Cream. I asked him what Ben & Jerry’s would name it and he said, “Muck Ice Cream.” I get the feeling there just isn’t going to be any arguing with him on this one.

He has made this scrumptious ice cream recipe twice now. The first time he didn’t measure anything, so I asked him if he would please measure it next time and he did!

So that means I get to share it with you. I am so excited to share this one! This ice cream takes about 5 minutes to make, 20 minutes to freeze — you will have ice cream before you could even think about running to Dairy Queen. And Dairy Queen doesn’t have ice cream anywhere near as good as this.

It’s so good, we had it for breakfast today.

Muck Ice Cream

  • 2 bananas
  • 1/2 cup chocolate syrup
  • 2/3 cup peanut butter
  • 2 cups fat-free half and half (milk works well too, but using half and half makes it so oooh so extra-creamy good)

Directions: Mix up all the ingredients in a blender until very smooth. Freeze in your ice cream maker.

I highly recommend getting one of those speedy Cuisinart ice cream makers. They make life SO much better if you’re anywhere near as much of an ice cream freak as I am.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty Tuesdays, the Newlyweds Recipe Linky, Thursdays TreasuresWonka Wednesdays and This Week’s Cravings.


Black Magic Cat Cookies for Halloween

Black Magic Cat Cookies

Warning: these black magic cat cookies are NOT healthy. But they are SO good. And quite fun and easy to make.

They are a cross between Lick the Bowl Good’s Black Cat Cookies and the Sisters Cafe’s Magic in the Middle Cookies.

These cookies are a great project to do with your kids. We made them while my parents were here and grandma joined in on the fun too. My teenage son didn’t help but just had to complain that we weren’t making the regular Magic in the Middle Cookies, which are about the most sinfully delicious cookies on the planet, if you are into chocolate and peanut butter.

We didn’t use the creamy peanut butter filling that we normally use for the Magic in the Middle Cookies, but I think you certainly could. That would add a whole extra layer of magic and surprise to these cookies! Pop on over to the Sisters Cafe for directions on the filling and how to hide the peanut butter inside the chocolate cookies.

Black Magic Cat Cookies

Black Magic Cat Cookies

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 c. white flour
  • 1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Candy corn (for the eyes)
  • Mini-M&M’s (for the noses)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray cookie sheets with cooking spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the sugars, butter, and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and the egg, beating to combine, then stir in the dry ingredients, blending well.
  3. To shape the cookies: Take a large tablespoon of dough, form it into a ball, then place it on the cookie sheet and flatten it with the bottom of your glass (or your hand).
  4. Pinch the top of the cookie in two places to form ears. For whiskers, press a fork twice into each cookie.
  5. Bake the cookies for 7 to 9 minutes, or until they’re set and you can smell chocolate. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a rack.
  6. Remove from the oven and immediately press on candy corn for eyes and m&m’s for the noses.

We ran out of  mini-M&Ms and ended up using broken pieces of candy corn and peanut butter chips for some of the cat noses. They all looked pretty cute.

Except the first batch I cooked where I put the candy corn eyes on the cookies BEFORE I baked them. Those came out looking like psycho black cat cookies. Don’t do that. Unless you WANT psycho cat cookies!

Here are the Psycho Black Cat Cookies with Melted Candy Corn Eyes:

Psycho Black Magic Cat Cookies with Melted Candy Corn Eyes


Eyeball Truffles with (Fake) Blood for Halloween

and a few thoughts on “being good enough”

Peanut Butter Eyeball Truffles for Halloween

Does this ever happen to you? You see a brilliant ingenious idea and I think “I’ve got to try that!” and in your head it’s going to be SO cool! It will look just like this awesome thing in the picture! … but then when you make it, well, it’s kinda good, but just not quite what you thought it SHOULD be.

That’s been happening a lot to me lately. I made this pumpkin bread that I thought would be SO awesome, but I didn’t like how it turned out. I decided it wasn’t even worth blogging about. I didn’t take pictures. I tried to turn it into pumpkin bread pudding … and hated that too. Then my dad came to visit and he was digging around my kitchen … he discovered the pumpkin bread and he thought it was brilliant! I tasted it again and thought “wow, it’s really pretty good … what the heck was I thinking?”  I gave him some to take home with him … and then I had a long talk with myself. Why am I self-editing out so much of the great things I have to share?

This isn’t the only creation I’ve been hiding from you. I also made this brandied pumpkin ginger pear ice cream that I was convinced was going to be SO brilliant … but when I made it, I didn’t like the texture. Maybe it was the graininess of the pear? I don’t know. The taste was good, but the texture wasn’t right. I want to try it again … make it better. I will post it when it’s perfect in my eyes.

Speaking of eyes … they’re all looking at me!

Peanut-Butter-Eyeball-Truffles-for-Halloween-2

These were supposed to be the coolest things ever. And you know what? Even though they are probably not the best eyeball truffles on the planet (Confessions of a Cookbook Queen totally has that one covered!), they may just be the best eyeball truffles on the block. (ok, probably the ONLY eyeball truffles on the block!) I think they are still pretty cool. And maybe even worth sharing.

My dad thought they were pretty good anyway. They are pretty dang yummy. And hey, how can you beat the gore factor of oozing blood for Halloween?

Oozing blood peanut butter eyeball truffles

I followed Confessions of a Cookbook Queen‘s recipe except I just used my homemade cookies in place of the Nutter Butters–and low-fat cream cheese–but gosh that’s not much of a change, so please head on over to Confessions of a Cookbook Queen for the recipe. And a lot of laughs. She is so funny. There are times when I wish I could be that amusing. But then, I think maybe I would be someone other than who I am. I do think she’s amazing and awesome and I applaud her talent at making eyeball truffles. And the way she can perfectly photograph an eyeball truffle to show the blood oooozing out of it. She is so creative and executes her projects with such style and grace … and still manages to make it humorous. I have sometimes found myself wishing I could be more like her …

But today Sherron at Simply Gourmet Photography told me that what she likes about me is “I think Ann has shared more of my recipes with the foodie universe than anyone I know. She is very generous with her page and shares lots of recipes with her followers.  I can always count on a wonderful and kind remark from Ann, for this I am so appreciative.”

So I have decided that being me is quite ok. And (as my dad told me without saying as much) that I need to quit questioning myself so much.

The lesson here (note to self!): Give yourself a break and LOVE who you are. Maybe you’re not as organized or as perfect as another person at something you are striving to do, but you do have special talents worth sharing with the world.

Just be the best person you know how to be … and don’t worry so much about “how you compare”.

Peanut-Butter-Eyeball-Truffles-for-Halloween-4

My bumpy imperfect eyeballs agree.


Peanut-buttery Popcorn Balls of Awesomeness

Peanut Butter-y Popcorn Balls of Awesomeness

My daughter named these popcorn balls. They were inspired by Taste and Tell’s popcorn cake … she triggered a big-time memory for me. I remember as a child we made popcorn cake with popcorn, gumdrops and peanuts and it was SO fun to make and SO good. I remember being amazed but just how much popcorn the recipe called for. And the salty-sweet taste with the crunch of the popcorn. Oh, my sisters and I just loved it.

So making these popcorn balls really brought back a lot of good childhood memories for me … not to mention they just taste SO awesome! I couldn’t stop eating them when we had them in the house … they kept calling my name. I was eating popcorn balls for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and … well, um. I was eating them a bit too much. And now looking at these pictures, I want more.

My girl says we need to make them again. They are a little dangerously addictive … beware.

Peanut Butter-y Popcorn Balls of Awesomeness

Peanut-buttery Popcorn Balls of Awesomeness

  • 1 small bag of marshmallows … doesn’t really matter if they are the big ones or the mini-marshmallows
  • 3 T. butter
  • 1/2 c. peanut butter
  • A big bowl of air-popped popcorn (well, ok, if you HAVE to use a different kind I will forgive you … but I think air popping is really the best way to do popcorn)
  • Mix-ins of your choice. You can use just about any cereal, nuts, dried fruit, or candy that you like. This time, we used:
    • Peanuts (I used dry roasted, salted peanuts, but use what kind you feel comfortable with … or leave them out)
    • Cocoa Puffs and/or Reese’s Puffs — or your favorite peanut buttery / chocolatey cereal(s)
    • Candy corn

Directions:

  1. Pop the popcorn and stir in whatever mix-ins you want in your popcorn balls. I had to use two mixing bowls to hold everything once I got done mixing everything in.
  2. In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter and marshmallows until completely melted. Once they’re all melted, like to cook them for a minute or two longer just to make sure they are good and smooth and soft.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the peanut butter.
  4. Pour the melty marshmallow goo over the popcorn mix and stir together until everything is sticking together.
  5. With hands coated with cooking spray or butter to keep the mix from sticking to you, form the popcorn messiness into balls.
  6. Let the balls set for a bit before eating. You don’t have to wait very long … maybe 15 minutes?
  7. Once they are set, eat them right away or store them in an airtight container to keep the popcorn from going soggy.
Peanut Buttery Popcorn Balls of Awesomeness

The Saturday Morning Craze & Peanut Butter Banana Scones

Peanut Butter Banana Scones

This is part of my series of 31 Days of Warmer Connections. Every day in October, I am blogging about connections through food.

Most people get to relax on Saturday mornings, don’t they? Ours are never that way. Well, sometimes in the summer we can have a lazy Saturday, but most of the time it is a crazy rush.

This week it’s testing week at TaeKwonDo. Our instructors are so swamped at testing time that they don’t even have time to grab something to eat and I feel bad for them. You gotta eat! So I try to wake up early on testing days and make scones for them. Usually I make white chocolate mulberry scones, but today I thought I would make something a little different.

So this is how this morning went: (I know you REALLY want to know this, right?)

  • 6:03 wake up. look at my phone (yes, it’s my clock too). Whew, I have time to sleep a little more!
  • 6:23 wake up again. look at phone. oh if I want to make scones I better get up … zzzz
  • 6:55 wake up for REAL, get out of bed, wake my son
  • 7:00 son hops in the shower, I am searching for the scones recipe
  • 7:05 first attempt at waking daughter
  • 7:12 finally I find the recipe! get the bowl out and mush up the banana
  • 7:14 son gets out of shower, wants a back rub
  • 7:17 get son to wake up daughter so I can get going on these scones! running out of time …
  • 7:35 batter done! roll out and cut the scones & throw them in the oven
  • 7:37 run to take a quick shower
  • 7:52 just got out of the shower but I hear the timer ding … run in my towel to take out the scones
  • 7:55 dressed and ready. pack up (most of ) the scones, find daughter’s TKD uniform, grab a coffee mug for me
  • 8:05 out the door with the two kids!
  • 8:23 arrive at TKD. run to the coffee shop next door for some coffee. chat with TKD friends. :)
  • 9:00 testing starts. son is judging and my girl is helping out with sparring. I finally have time to breathe, check facebook and blog a bit.
  • 11:00 first testing is done. Run daughter home so she can eat & get ready for dance. While I’m cooking up chicken nuggets for my girl, she runs out to get “props” to shoot the scones. She plates one for me, adding her pretty props while I’m rushing to do the dishes.
  • 11:30 nuggets are done. Daughter eats while I take photos of the scones.
  • 11:42 where are her dance clothes? ACK! oh here’s a leotard in the laundry basket and she found a pair of tights in her room. She runs off to get dressed.
  • 11:45 out the door, driving to dance.
  • 12:00 drop her off at dance.

That’s the morning so far. Now I just have to pick my girl up from dance, my son up from TaeKwonDo and THEN we can relax. Well after I finish cleaning up the disaster we left in the kitchen. Whew!

Peanut Butter Banana Scones

About the scones: My TaeKwonDo taste testers tell me they are just as good as the other ones I make. My daughter gave me a huge smile and rubbed her tummy when I asked her how she liked them.

I love bringing my TKD friends food.

Peanut Butter Banana Scones

Adapted from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen’s Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 t. pumpkin pie spice
  • 5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 mashed banana (about 1/2 cup0
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 cup fat free half and half
  • Raw sugar for sprinkling on top

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Stir together the flours, baking powder, sugar, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Add the butter and cut it in using two knives or just dig in with your fingers and mix until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with the butter pieces no larger than small peas.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the banana, peanut butter and fat free half and half. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and form the dough into a ball.
  4. This batter is really wet, so make sure you have plenty of flour! On a clean floured, surface with lightly floured hands coat the dough with flour and shape into a round. She says it should be about 8 inches–I used a rolling pin to roll it out so mine was more like 12 inches across. With a sharp knife or pastry cutter, cut the dough into wedges.
  5. Place wedges on the prepared baking sheet and bake in preheated oven 12 to 15 minutes or until the tops of the scones are a light brown.
  6. Drizzle with a peanut butter or a chocolate glaze if you like. I didn’t have time to make a glaze because we were rushing off to TaeKwonDo, but really I don’t think they needed it.

She says it yields 8 scones, but I got at least a dozen from this recipe. I must have cut mine smaller!

Peanut Butter Banana Scones

I didn’t have time to make any glaze, but I did drizzle one with chocolate for you. The flower really wanted to be dipped in chocolate. It kept falling into the chocolate!


Rich & Gooey Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Dream Bars

Chocolate-Peanut-Butter-Banana-Bars

These are so dense and moist and rich, I don’t know that I can quite call it a cake. In fact, it is so dense, it almost tends towards fudge. But go look at the recipe. Oh yes, of course there is chocolate. I promised you chocolate. Very rich and intense chocolate. And yes, peanut butter because what goes better with chocolate than peanut butter? But look after that … see! There’s fruit! and whole grains. And even flaxseed meal, which is full of fiber and those super-powerful Omega 3’s.

About.com says this about flax seed:

“It may be tiny, but it’s mighty: The flax seed carries one of the biggest nutrient payloads on the planet. And while it’s not technically a grain, it has a similar vitamin and mineral profile to grains, while the amount of fiber, antioxidants, and Omega-3 fatty acids in flax leaves grains in the dust.”

So see? When you eat these little chocolate peanut butter dream bars, you don’t have to feel guilty at all.

I can’t take credit for this recipe. I just put a little flaxmeal/yogurt twist on it. This is Alejandra’s recipe. She is the genius that invented this delicacy. She happened to post it on facebook right when I had some bananas growing ever-riper (and I had banana bread already made!), so I really needed something really good to make. And there were these oh-so-yummy-looking chocolate and peanut butter banana bars staring at me.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Dream Bars

I went right into the kitchen and got started baking.

Rich & Gooey Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Dream Bars

  • 1/2 c. dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 squares of unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
  • 3 small bananas, mashed
  • 2 T. fat-free half and half
  • 1/3 c. plain lowfat or nonfat yogurt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 T. vanilla extract
  • 1 c. white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c. flax meal
  • 3/4 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9″ or 8″ square baking pan with cooking spray  and set aside.
  2. Combine the chocolate, chocolate chips, and peanut butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Stir until the chocolate and peanut butter is melted and evenly combined. Remove from heat and let it cool for a moment while you continue on …
  3. In a small bowl, mash the bananas, then add the eggs, yogurt, sugar and vanilla extract.
  4. Add this lovely mixture to the chocolate/peanut butter in the saucepan.
  5. Add the flour, salt, and baking soda, then stir into the wet batter until everything is mixed up well.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing out the top.
  7. Bake for about 18-20 minutes or until just set. A tester inserted into the center should come out a little bit fudgy, but not wet.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool at room temperature for 15 minutes. Set it in the refrigerator to set. Once firm (about 20 minutes), cut into bars and serve.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Dream Bars

Special K Bars by my Special Girl

Special K Bars

My daughter loves Special K Bars. She has one every time we go to the coffee shop. Where we live, they are standard fare at coffee shops. One day I suggested we make them at home instead. I don’t know exactly how old she was when we first tried this project, but now she makes them all on her own. My “job” is to look up the recipe for her. Oh yes, there is the occasional Special K Bar splurge at the coffee shop, but now we also sometimes have a whole 13 x 9 inch pan of these chocolate peanut butter wonders sitting around the house, tempting us.

Making things like this is how I started cooking when I was young … so although I prefer something more healthy for myself and my kids, I think these are great “how to cook” projects for kids.

Even though we cut the amount of sugar and butter in half, these are still full of fat & sugar, so I recommend small portions, and eating other healthy things with them. Like an apple. My girl says I should have photographed them with an apple because THAT’S healthy. LOL. Good idea. Eat the apple first, though, and make sure you have a big glass of milk to go along with your Special K Bar because they are still pretty intensely sweet. But at least they have peanut butter and cereal and chocolate so they aren’t ALL bad!

Peanut butter & chocolate Special K Bars

My girl likes to make them with Rice Krispies, but you can make them with Special K or just about any cereal you like. Maybe you could try it with Wheaties or Cheerios or even a Kashi cereal?

Special K Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. light corn syrup
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 c. peanut butter
  • 7 c. rice krispies or Special K or cornflakes or any NON-sugar cereal
  • 1 c. chocolate chips
  • 1 c. butterscotch chips
  • 1/4 c. butter

Directions:

  1. Put the corn syrup and sugar in a large saucepan and heat to boiling, stirring often. Boil for a bit.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in the peanut butter.
  3. Then stir in the cereal. Sometimes it works better to measure the cereal into a big bowl and pour the peanut butter mixture over top and mix it in the bowl.
  4. Spray a 13 x 9 inch pan with cooking spray. Once you’ve got the cereal mixture all well mixed, pour it into the pan and press down lightly with a nonstick spatula (or your fingers).
  5. Melt the chips with the butter in a bowl in the microwave on 50% power.
  6. Stir the chips and butter together well, then spread over the cereal bars.
  7. The bars stay together better if you allow them to cool first, but sometimes we just can’t wait. If you MUST eat them right away, be prepared to have them fall apart on you. (They taste just as good though!)
Peanut Butter and Chocolate Rice Krispie Bars ... come have one with us!
Here’s a Nutella twist on this recipe that one of my facebook friends pointed out to me.
This recipe was shared at Katherine Martinelli’s Family Recipes.

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Pie for Jennie, Mikey … and all of us

” … hug them like there’s no tomorrow because today is the only guarantee we can count on.”

~ Jennie ~ food blogger, In Jennie’s Kitchen

Individual Peanut Butter & Oreo Pies ... for my son

I don’t know Jennie. I don’t know Mikey. But I do know what it’s like to love, and I know what it feels like to lose someone you love.

Jennie lost her husband Mikey to a heart attack. It was sudden, unexpected. She wrote a beautiful post about it, one that touched so many hearts across the internet. She asked us all to “make a peanut butter pie this Friday and share it with someone you love. “

It’s amazing to see the peanut butter pies appearing on the internet today. Several of my foodie facebook friends are making peanut butter pies today. Saveur is collecting photos and links. CNN reported on it. Recipe Roundup created a Linkup.

I have a very good friend who recently lost her husband to cancer. The night he died she posted on facebook: “my angel got his wings tonight”.

I mourn for them … cry for them … but I think it serves as a reminder to all of us. To love freely and cherish every moment.

All I’ve got is my kids, my family and my friends. My husband left a couple years ago. I know I get absorbed in my work and distracted by my blog and my friends, and I sometimes forget to show my kids just how much they mean to me. But those two kids are absolutely the center of my universe.

My son loves peanut butter and oreo cookies. He is a gamer, a loner, a programmer, a thinker with a great sense of humor. He’s a walking encyclopedia that can tell you facts you didn’t know about just about anything. He is a skeptic who chooses his friends very carefully.

Peanut Butter Oreo Pie Thinker

My daughter loves chocolate and strawberries. She is a beautiful artsy kind of person: a dancer, a singer, a percussionist who dances to her own beat and has a large circle of friends.

Chocolate Oreo Pie for my Daughter

She carries “her technology” around in the little teal purse with the heart charm–her phone, her ipod, and her gum.

I made these pies for them… and for you, my friends.

My girl and I sat down and ate ours together already. I will have pie with my son later when he gets home.

No Bake Peanut Butter & Chocolate Pies

Ingredients:

  • 12 Low-fat Oreo cookies
  • 8 oz. Neufchatel cheese, warmed to room temp.
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • about 1 T. chocolate syrup
  • 1/4 c. creamy peanut butter
  • 4 – 6 oz. light whipped topping
  • Strawberries or light whipped topping

Directions:

  1. Line muffin cups with cup liners. (I used reusable ones–highly recommended!)  Drop an oreo cookie in the bottom of each one.
  2. Mix the neufchatel cheese, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.
  3. At this point I divided the mixture into two: one for each of my kiddos. To one bowl, I mixed in the the peanut butter. To the other, I mixed in some chocolate syrup.
  4. Once the flavorings were well mixed, I added the whipped topping and not-so-carefully folded it all together.
  5. Fill each muffin cup with the whipped creamy topping. Freeze in the freezer for at least 2 hours.
  6. Cherish the taste with a loved one.

Chocolate Oreo Pie with Strawberries for my Daughter

“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” ~ John Lennon ~

Love to Jennie and Mikey from:

“Love should come first, it should be the beginning of, & the reason for everything.”   ~ Gerald May ~

Magnificent “Muck”

"Muck" = chocolate, peanut butter, and banana smoothie

My dad invented this wonderful creation. It’s a smoothie. A smoothie with all the things I crave all together in one. Chocolate, peanut butter, banana all blended together in a cold, creamy sensation. We have for years called it a “Grampa Smoothie” since Grampa created it. But then one of my son’s friends tried it and renamed it … he said it looks like Muck and he was going to call it Muck.

So now it is Muck. It’s really not very pretty. A blah brownish color … I tried to dress it up with some whipped cream and chocolate syrup for the blog, still it’s kind of ugly, don’t you think? But the taste … ah now that is something entirely different! And it is a great way to use up those bananas which have gone over-ripe on you when you have tired of banana bread.

Some things really aren’t all that pretty, but then you just close your eyes and sip the deliciousness. If you make it really thick, it will taste like a milkshake. You would never guess there is no ice cream in it. The frozen bananas make it sooo smooooooth.

By the way, that is a stainless steel straw in the glass. These straws are so awesome! They turn all cold when you drink something cold. But best of all they are reuseable. I love that. I bought ours at Reuseit.com.

Magnificent Muck

Ingredients:

  • 2 – 3 over-ripe bananas
  • About 2 c. of milk (use your preference–we use skim, sometimes 1%, sometimes 2%, but you could even substitute soy or almond milk)
  • About 2 T. chocolate syrup
  • A large heaping tablespoon or two of peanut butter

Directions:

  1. Peel the bananas, break them into chunks, and freeze them on a tray until they are completely frozen. (Once they are frozen, you can put them in a bag for future smoothies and it will be easy to break them apart.)
  2. Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend till smooth. Add more milk if it’s too thick to blend.
  3. Test taste the smoothie. Does it have the right blend of banana, peanut butter, and chocolate for your tastes? Is it the thickness you want? If not, add a little more chocolate or peanut butter–or a bit more banana for a thicker shake-style smoothie.

Nutrition Information:

I’m assuming you’ll share this smoothie with someone–and you use 1% milk.

Nutrition Information for Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Smoothie
This recipe was shared at Katherine Martinelli’s Family Recipes.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 571 other followers