Peanut Butter Cup Smoothie

smoothie

Ok, shake! 😉 My husband loves this “smoothie” that you can buy at Tropical Smoothie Cafe, and ever since I bought my Vitamix he’s asked me to make him one. I couldn’t find a copy cat version anywhere, but I think this one is a good substitute for the real thing. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Peanut Butter Cup Smoothie – 

  • 1 banana, cut up and frozen
  • 2-3 cups chocolate frozen yogurt
  • 1 – 2 TBSP peanut butter
  • 1 cup coconut milk

Directions –

Pour the coconut milk into your blender carafe, followed by peanut butter, banana and yogurt. Blend until smooth, adding more coconut milk if necessary.

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Zucchini Bread

zucchini

This one has been pinned for a while, and my friend inspired me to bake some of these off to give as teacher gifts for Valentine’s Day. I went out and bought mini loaf pans to make these the perfect size for gifting, plus small is cute! 😉 I will have to bake more teeny loaves of my favorite quick bread recipes now to justify the purchase of the pans, but that just means I can spread more of these carbs around! Next time I will use half whole wheat pastry flour and unsweetened applesauce for these, but I figured for the first try, I should make these as the recipe.

Verdict: I know my kids love this, but have yet to hear back from them about what their teachers thought. It’s always the thought that counts, but I love rave reviews as much as anyone 😉 The crust has a nice little crispness to it (probably because all of that sugar), but they’re not too sweet; and the loaves are very moist. My loaves needed to bake for 50 minutes in the mini loaf pans – just check yours every five minutes or so toward the end of baking time. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Zucchini Bread – adapted Lion House via TSG Cookin’

  • 3 cups flour (375 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup toasted chopped pecans (toasting is optional, but adds extra flavor)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
Directions –
  1. Preheat oven to 325-degrees F.
  2. Grease well a large 8×4 inch loaf pan or 2 small 7×3 inch loaf pans. Set aside. (Please note: There was too much batter for an 8×4-inch loaf pan. I used one 8×4-inch loaf pan and one 7×3-inch loaf pan.)
  3. In large bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and toasted nuts. Set aside. (I toasted the pecans in a baking pan for 8-10 minutes in the preheated 325-degree F oven.)
  4. In separate mixing bowl, beat eggs until light and foamy. Add oil, sugar, vanilla and mix well. Stir in the zucchini.
  5. Add flour mixture to the wet ingredients. and mix just until moist. (Over-mixing causes tunnels and a coarse texture.)
  6. Pour into prepared pan or pans. (Pans should be about two-thirds full.) Bake at 325 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes for large loaf or 35 minutes for small loaves, or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Do not over-bake. (My ovens required 60-65 minutes baking time for the large loaf and 45-50 minutes baking time for the small loaf.)
  7. Remove from oven and allow bread to sit in pans for about 5 minutes. Loosen gently from sides of pan, if necessary, and turn out onto a wire rack to cool. To store, place in a closed plastic bag or wrap well in foil.

Hummus

hummus

This was really easy to make and I enjoyed eating it with lots of raw carrots. Now if I can only get my kids to try it, that would be great! Thanks for reading, enjoy 🙂

Hummus – adapted from The Kitchn

  • 1 15-oz can of chickpeas, drained
  • 1/2 of a fresh lemon, juiced
  • 1 small clove of garlic, minced finely
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. tahini
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper

Tools

A food processor or blender

Directions –

Combine all ingredients. Blend until smooth. If it is a little dry, just add a little more lemon juice or olive oil, a teaspoon at a time, until you have the desired consistency. Add more salt and pepper if you like. Scrape out the hummus in a serving bowl and sprinkle the sumac on top. Serve with raw veggies, or spread on some pita bread.

Party Mix

This is too good! If you’re a fan of salty/sweet combos, this snack is sure to be a new favorite 🙂 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Party Mix – adapted from Food.com

  • 1 (11 ounce) package pretzels
  • 1 (10 1/2 ounce) package miniature peanut butter filled butter flavor crackers (I use Ritz)
  • 1 cup dry roasted peanuts
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter or 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 (10 ounce) package M&M’s
  • 1 (18 1/2 ounce) package candy corn

Directions –

1. In a large bowl, combine first 3 ingredients.
2. In a large saucepan, combine sugar, butter and corn syrup.
3. Bring to a boil over medium heat; boil for 5 minutes.
4. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla and baking soda (mixture will foam).
5. Pour over pretzel mixture and stir until coated.
6. Pour into a greased 15×10 inch baking pan.
7. Bake at 250 degrees for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
8. Break apart while warm.
9. Cool completely.
10. Toss with M&M’s and candy corn.
11. Store in airtight container.

Trail Mix Cookies

Yummy, chewy, sweet, tart, crispy, thin, nutty…there is a lot going on in these cookies. They’re like a cookie version of a granola bar, which makes them a great after school treat for the kids. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Trail Mix Cookies – adapted from Annie’s Eats

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup (8 tbsp.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 6 tbsp. granulated sugar (*I used vanilla sugar*)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla (*I used almond extract*)
  • 1¼ cup old-fashioned oats
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • ¼ cup dried cherries, chopped
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tbsp. sunflower seeds

Directions –

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.  In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon; whisk to blend, and set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugars and beat on medium-high speed until light and smooth, about 1-2 minutes.  Blend in the egg.  Mix in the vanilla.  With the mixer on low speed, beat in the dry ingredients just until incorporated.  Stir in the oats until evenly combined.  Use a spatula to fold in the raisins, cherries, walnuts, chocolate and sunflower seeds, mixing just until evenly incorporated.

2. Scoop about 2 tablespoons of dough at a time onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies at least a couple of inches apart.  Bake, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until golden brown and just set, about 10-12 minutes total.  Let cool on the baking sheets about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.

Pretzel Dogs

These are seriously good! My sister made these for our 4th of July party this summer and they were a big hit with kids and adults alike. In an effort to redeem these nutritionally (every little bit helps), I used half white whole wheat and half all-purpose flour for these. Also, the hot dogs are uncured, grass-fed beef…yes, I am a food snob! 😉

This dough is so easy to work with and easily rolled, and shaped without that annoying snap-back of some other doughs I have worked with. Be careful when you add the baking soda to your pot of boiling water, as it will boil more aggressively. Use a slotted spoon to carefully add the dogs to the pot and, again watch for the crazy boiling water!  We’re going to experiment with these in the kid’s lunch for school tomorrow – here’s hoping for no soggy pretzel dogs! 😉

UPDATE: The kids took one each in their lunch yesterday, and they didn’t become soggy! It helps that I didn’t refrigerate the leftovers, and I ate some for lunch too and they still tasted great. I’m really happy with these, and no one could tell that they’re nearly half whole wheat! Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Pretzel Dogs – adapted from Fake Ginger

  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1½ cups warm water
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 package dry active yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (312 grams)
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour (240 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 10 cups water
  • ⅔ cup baking soda
  • 1 large egg yolk, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • Pretzel salt (or kosher salt), for topping
  • 8 hot dogs, cut in half (*I used these*)

Directions:
Combine the warm water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes, until the yeast is foamy and begins to smell of yeast.
Add the flour and butter to the yeast mixture. Attach the dough hook to the stand mixer and, on medium-low speed, combine the mixture until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and appears shiny, roughly 4 to 5 minutes.
Spray a large bowl with non-stick spray (or lightly grease with vegetable oil) and place dough in greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Place bowl in a warm area and let dough rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Spray parchment paper with non-stick spray. Set aside.
In a large pot, bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a roiling boil.
Place the dough on a greased surface, and divide into 16 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a long rope, roughly 12 inches long. Carefully wrap each piece around a half hot dog. Pinch the ends together to seal the dough.
Boil the shaped pretzels and pretzel dogs, one at a time, in the baking soda water for 30 seconds each. Using a slotted spatula, remove each pretzel dog from the water and place it on a drying rack to allow any extra baking soda mixture to drip off.
Place the boiled pretzel dogs back on a parchment lined baking sheets.
Brush with beaten egg yolk and sprinkle with pretzel or kosher salt.
Bake until golden brown, roughly 14 to 15 minutes. Transfer pretzel dogs to a cooling rack for a few minutes before serving. Serve with a variety of mustards.

Blueberry Banana Bread

In case you couldn’t tell, I love to try out new recipes. Especially trying variations of banana bread as you can see here, here, here, this one too, and this. I can’t get enough of them, and thankfully my husband is a willing taste tester. My husband didn’t notice the banana flavor, probably because he didn’t know there was any in this (he assumed blueberry, of course). I thought the bread was okay, and a little dense but that may be because I over stirred the batter? Not sure, I thought I did a pretty good job of not over mixing. Maybe it was tougher because there is no butter in this, which usually keeps loaves tender and moist. Thanks for reading, enjoy!
Blueberry Banana Bread – adapted from Chef in Training
  • 2 cups flour (250 grams)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup sugar (**I used 1/2 cup vanilla sugar, 1/2 plain**)
  • 3 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 spotty bananas, mashed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups fresh blueberries
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, vegetable oil, egg, vanilla and mashed bananas until smooth. Add in flour mixture and stir until just combined and no streaks of flour remain. Fold in blueberries with a spoon or spatula, then pour batter into prepared pan.
  4. Bake for about 55-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached.
  5. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs

I made these once before, but I think all the pictures that I took stunk, so I decided not to post about them. I have declared Wednesday night to be “Fun Kid Dinner Night”, because M is never able to be home with us on Wednesday nights. It’s a good opportunity to make something I know he wouldn’t care for, and that way I can still get my mushrooms, bell peppers, mustard and onions in somewhere. I mentioned her before that he’s a little picky 😉

Verdict: These were really good and would make a great appetizer. The ratio of cheese and pepperoni is quite a bit higher than batter, so oil up your muffin tin liberally! I like my addition of chili flake which gave these a little kick. Also, marinara is a must for dipping which makes these little puffs a quick substitute when you’re craving pizza. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs – adapted from Gimme Some Oven

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. dried basil
  • pinch of chili flake
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 4 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 4 oz. pepperoni, diced
  • Pecornino Romano cheese to taste
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce (homemade or store-bought)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375o.  Grease a 24-cup mini muffin pan.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and dried seasonings; whisk in the milk and egg.  Stir in the mozzarella and pepperoni; let stand for 10 minutes.

Stir the batter and divide among the mini-muffin cups.  Bake until puffed and golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

Warm the pizza sauce, then stir in 1 tablespoon basil.  Sprinkle the puffs with the remaining 1 tablespoon basil.  Serve the puffs with the pizza sauce for dipping.

Strawberry, Banana and Coconut Milk Smoothie

Quick Post: Yum! I tried this new-to-me non dairy milk for the first time last week in this smoothie. When I’m craving something sweet, this is what I make. The coconut milk makes this almost like an ice cream shake, but healthy – even better! It’s rich and creamy without all the guilt 🙂 Whenever I make smoothies I use frozen bananas – it makes all the difference in the thickness. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Strawberry, Banana and Coconut Milk Smoothie –

  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 5 frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup vanilla bean Greek yogurt
Directions –
1. Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Enjoy!

Cocoa-nana Bread

Quick Post:  I had a few leftover bananas from my produce box that were perfectly spotty for a banana bread. This bread is dense, chocolaty, rich, and fudgy. M enjoyed a generous slice on his way to work and called me to tell me how good it was 🙂 He knows I love compliments on my food – especially new recipes. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Cocoa-nana Bread – adapted from Obsessed with Baking via Dorie Greenspan 

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup semisweet cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 stick unsalted butter at room temp
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped, or 1/2 cup store-bought chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan and place it on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular baking sheets stacked on top of the other. (This extra insulation will keep the bottom of the bread from over baking.)

Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed for about a minute, until softened. Add the sugars and beat for 2 minutes more. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for a minute after each addition. At this point, the batter may look a little curdled — it’s okay. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the mashed bananas. Add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, mixing only until they disappear into the batter. Still on low speed, add the buttermilk, mixing until it is incorporated. Stir in the chopped chocolate. Scrape the batter into the pan.

Bake for 30 minutes. Cover the bread loosely with a foil tent to keep the top from getting too dark, and continue to bake for another 40 to 45 minutes (total baking time is between 70 to 75 minutes) or until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for at least 20 minutes before running a knife around the edges of the bread and unmolding. Invert and cool to room temp right side up.