23 Jan

peanut butter chocolate chunk cookies

 

I realize that posting a cookie recipe in January might seem a bit odd.

Especially since (according to my blog feed) we’re all supposed to be drinking green stuff and avoiding all the sugar right now.

Every January.

I haven’t made any resolutions in a long time. I have however, made a lot of cookies and I can tell you that these are some of the best peanut butter cookies I’ve ever had.

Actually, scratch that – I’ll go as far as to say that these are the best peanut butter cookies I’ve ever had because I honestly can’t think of any that I’ve had that have been better.

The original recipe for these cookies is great as is but I tweaked it just a bit so that I wouldn’t have to roll each cookie in sugar and then press it down with a fork to make cutesy lines.

Also because extra recipe steps usually means extra dishes to wash. Pfft, ain’t nobody got time for that.

I also wanted to add big chunks of chocolate without making the cookies too sweet so eliminating the sugar on the outside of the cookie was definitely the way to go.

The trick to these cookies magnificence is to actually underbake them just a little. They’ll harden a bit as they cool so underbaking ensures that you have soft, chewy cookies with slightly crisp outer edges which is just the way a chocolate chip cookie of any form or fashion should be.

So if you’re sticking to your resolutions, kudos to you!

Care to reward yourself with a cookie?

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies
adapted from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book

1/2 cup room temperature butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 good quality chocolate bars chopped

 Directions

Preheat your oven to 375┬░

In a large mixing bowl or a stand mixer, beat butter and peanut butter until smooth and creamy.

Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, and baking powder and beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.

Beat in the egg and vanilla until combined.

Add the flour and mix on low just until incorporated.

Chop or break up the chocolate bar(s) and fold the pieces into the dough.

Scoop 2 tbsp of dough at a time and form it into balls.

Place dough balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until bottoms are light brown. Cookies should look slightly underbaked.

Remove from oven and let cool on cookie sheet for about five minutes so cookies can firm up.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool but be sure to eat a few while they’re still warm. Yum!

 

 

 

 

17 Jan

Hearty Breakfast Muffins made with Bitsy's Brainfood cereal

And now for my next trick… I’ll transform cereal into muffins!

Okay, so it’s not really a trick at all.

In fact, there’s nothing tricky about it. You just need to let the cereal soak for a few minutes in milk so that it can soften up and become part of the batter. Then you add in lots of yummy things, mix in some dry ingredients and you’re ready to bake up some muffins!

I’m calling these Hearty Breakfast Muffins because (other than the fact that these muffins make a great grab-and-go breakfast) every other name I thought up was way too long. But I have to say, these muffins make a great slightly sweet anytime snack so you certainly don’t have to limit them to breakfast.

These wholesome and hearty muffins are great served warm with a little apple butter or Biscoff (if you’re feeling naughty) and a cup of tea.

Hearty Breakfast Muffins

made with Bitsy’s Brainfood Carrot Raisin Crunch cereal

Ingredients

1 egg

3/4 vanilla almond milk*

1 1/2 cups Bitsy’s Brainfood Carrot Raisin Crunch Cereal

1/3 cup vanilla yogurt*

1/4 cup craisins

2 tbsp vegetable oil

2 tbsp maple syrup

1 cup AP flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 apple – cored and shredded or cut into small pieces

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400┬░ and grease 12 muffin cups or drop in cupcake liners.

Whisk the egg with the milk, yogurt, oil and maple syrup in a large bowl and add the cereal, shredded apple and craisins. Mix to combine.

Allow the mixture to sit for about fifteen minutes so the cereal can soften while you get the rest of the ingredients ready.

Add the remaining ingredients to a separate bowl and whisk to incorporate.

Once the cereal has softened, add the dry ingredients to the wet along with the walnuts and stir just until everything is incorporated. Try not to overmix.

Spoon the batter into the muffin tin and bake for about 20 minutes or until the tops spring back when pressed lightly.

* Listed above are the exact ingredients that I used to create this recipe. Feel free to use the milk or yogurt of your choice and just add a tsp of vanilla extract.

14 Jan

Bitsy's Brainfood Cereal Snack Bites

 

As promised, here is the first of two more recipes that I came up with using Bitsy’s Brainfood cereals.

This one is really easy, really fast, and requires no baking!

These little bites are the perfect combination of sweet and salty but one of their best qualities is how they stay crunchy even after a few days. Which makes for a really satisfying little snack.

My husband took these to work to share with his team and he said they disappeared immediately so I’d say they were a hit!

The main flavor present in these snack bites is peanut butter so if you’re a fan of the PB and chocolate combo, feel free to toss in a few chocolate chips.

 

Carrot Raisin Crunch Cereal Snack Bites

Made with Bitsy’s Carrot Raisin Crunch Cereal

 

Ingredients

1/3 cup peanut butter

1/3 cup honey

1 1/2 cup Bitsy’s Carrot Raisin Crunch cereal

1/4 cup wheat germ

1/4 cup flax seeds

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp vanilla

6 medjool dates – chopped into small pieces

sea salt

 

Directions

Add the peanut butter and honey to a small sauce pan set over low heat. Stir until combined and remove from heat.

Add the cereal to a blender or food processor and pulse a few times just to break it up a bit into small pieces.

Add the rest of the ingredients along with a pinch of sea salt and pulse until the mixture comes together. You can also do this by hand.

Allow the mixture to cool and form it into balls. Just move it back and forth between each hand, squeezing as you go.

I found that occasionally wetting my hand slightly with cold water helped this process because flax seeds stick to everything.

The dates I used were huge so If you find that your snack bites just aren’t sticking together, chop up another couple of dates and toss them in to the mixture.

Store the snack bites at room temp in an air-tight container.

I can’t say how long these will last because mine were gone within a couple of days but I’d venture to guess that they should last a week.

 

11 Jan

Kid-Friendly Snacks Made with Bitsy's Brainfood

 

I’m always on the lookout for wholesome, nutritious snacks for my family.

So when I stumbled upon Bitsy’s Brainfood products while walking through Whole Foods one afternoon, I was intrigued.

Bitsy’s Brainfood Smart Cookies are alphabet-shaped cookies that are made with whole grains and real fruits and vegetables. They contain Omega 3 DHA and they’re a great source of Vitamins A, B6, B12, D3, Folic Acid, calcium, and iron. Bitsy’s cookies are made in a nut-free facility, contain no GMO’s, and every box contains a collectible sticker!

I picked up a box of the Zucchini Gingerbread Carrot Smart Cookies for us to try but I really wasn’t expecting them to go over well. Cookies made with veggies seemed like a hard sell.

To my surprise, my daughter and I really liked them. They were just sweet enough and reminded me a little of Cracklin’ Oat Bran cereal. Just slightly less sweet and with more spice.

I contacted Bitsy’s to let them know how much we had enjoyed their cookies and before I knew it, a large box arrived on my door step.

The box contained Bitsy’s Carrot Raisin Crunch and Fruit & Veggie 1,2,3 cereals as well as more Zucchini Gingerbread Carrot Smart Cookies and a box of Orange Chocolate Beet Smart Cookies.

Cam’s favorite flavor was the Zucchini Gingerbread Carrot Smart Cookies, but I actually preferred the Orange Chocolate Beet Smart Cookies which first taste like sweet orange, then chocolate, and then finish with just a hint of salt. That flavor combo might seem odd but it’s actually really good!

And even though they quite obviously contain beets as indicated by their lovely pink color, I didn’t detect any beet flavor at all!

I packed a few cookies in a couple of Cam’s lunches for a wholesome after-lunch treat. You can read more about these lunches here.

 

Bitsy's Brainfood Orange Chocolate Beet Smart Cookies

 

Bitsy's Brainfood Zucchini Gingerbread Carrot Smart Cookies

 

Next, we tried the cereals which are also made with Whole Grains, Fruits, and Veggies. They contain no GMO’s and they’re Organic, Vegan, and a great source of Vitamins, Whole Grains, Zinc and Iron.

The Carrot Raisin Crunch cereal contains the highest amount of sugar (16 grams) of the three varieties. I’m assuming most of the sweetness comes from the raisins because the cereal itself wasn’t very sweet to any of us at all. It’s very crunchy though and holds up well in milk.

The Fruit & Veggie 1,2,3 cereal is flavored with organic raspberry, orange, lemon, and lime flavors but to us, tasted more like veggies than fruit with a slight aftertaste that reminded me of a children’s chewable multi-vitamin which may have been from the vitamin and mineral premix that it contains. It does smell slightly similar to Fruit Loops and stays much crunchier in milk than Fruit Loops does.

My daughter wasn’t crazy about the cereal on it’s own so we added some to a smoothie bowl that contained additional toppings of her choice and we shared it for snack one afternoon.

 

Bitsy's Brainfood Cereal Smoothie Bowl

 

A smoothie bowl is exactly what it sounds like, a smoothie in a bowl topped with your favorite things that you eat with a spoon rather than drink from a glass.

It can be a meal, a snack, or a dessert (depending on the ingredients you use) and it’s much more satisfying than drinking a regular smoothie.

Toppings can be layered on, sprinkled over, or heaped into a pile in the middle. Anything goes.

I usually reduce the amount of liquid I use in my smoothie so that it has the consistency of soft serve ice cream and then add my toppings.

To make a kid-friendly smoothie bowl, I topped Cam’s berry and spinach smoothie with Bitsy’s Brainfood Fruit & Veggie 1,2,3 cereal, sliced bananas, flax seeds, mixed berries, sliced almonds, and a few rainbow sprinkles.

I’ve also created two more kid-friendly recipes using Bitsy’s cereals that I’ll be sharing with you later this week so stay tuned.

 

Bitsy’s products are available at Whole Foods, Wegman’s, Sprouts, H-E-B, Shop-Rite, and Wild By Nature Market.

 

Bitsy's Products

 

You can also purchase Bitsy’s products online at amazon.com, diapers.com, abesmarket.com, freshdirect.com, vine.com, and relayfoods.com

Bitsy’s Brainfood was created by two moms who believe that learning to eat smart can be fun! You can learn more about their story and discover more Bitsy’s Brainfood products here.

 

Disclosure: The folks at Bitsy’s Brainfood kindly provided me with a few of their products at no charge for the purpose of a review. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. I received no compensation for providing this review.

 

 

30 Dec

top 10 2014

 

How is it December 30th already?

Weren’t we just talking about Halloween things?

Now that 2014 is coming to an end, it’s time to take a look back at some of the most popular posts of the last year.

YOUR favorites.

I’m always surprised by these because they almost never match up with my favorites, but that’s okay.

You guys like what you like.

And just like last year, I was really shocked not only by which ones made the top ten, but which ones actually landed at the top.

So if you’re ready, let’s check out the top ten recipes of 2014!

 

10. Roasted Tomatoes and Red Pepper in Savory Black Tea Broth with Parmesan Thyme Crisps – This one might be tenth on the list but it takes the top spot for longest recipe title ever. Good grief! It’s basically just a really great tomato soup with homemade cheese crackers. I can see why it made the top ten.

9. Roasted Apricot Parfait with Chai Spiced Almonds – Because why just eat a piece of fruit?

8. Moving Day Pasta – Our favorite pasta. I’m glad this one made the top ten.

7. Pumpkin Peanut Butter – I put this stuff on everything. No shame.

6. Roasted Carrot and Red Lentil Soup – Of all the soup + tea combos I came up with this year, this one was my favorite.

5. Sandwich Sushi – An oldie but a goodie.

4. Fruity Oatmeal Squares – I get it. These are fantastic.

3. Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Bites – Tastes like cookie dough but much better for you. No surprise that this one landed in the top three.

2. Soft and Chewy Spiced Oat Bars – Oh yes. The famous Graze box copycat bars. These are fantastic. Everyone I’ve ever made them for adores them. Good choice.

Okay.

Get ready to be shocked or at least mildly surprised.

The recipe that holds the top spot for 2014 is… no seriously, this is crazy:

#1

Yep.

That recipe got more views than any other recipe on this site this year.

I’m not sure how but the stats don’t lie.

 

Did your favorite make the list?

If not, I’d love to hear which recipe was your favorite.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 73 other followers