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peanut butter

Food & Recipes

Double Peanut Butter Snack Bites

October 24, 2016




I’ve gotten a fair number of questions over the last year about feeding Ainsley, and toddlers in general, and limiting their consumption of sugary snacks. Sadly, I am probably not the best person to ask. Because there’s the parent I thought I would be in my head and the parent I actually am in real life, and that parent is one who probably lets her child have one too many sugary treats on more than a few occasions.

It’s become so clear to me as Ainsley has gotten older that sugary treats for kids are everywhere! I go to the bank at 10 am and they ask if Ainsley wants a sucker, we run to the post office, grocery store and a number of other places that also offer candy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very thankful for those treats now and again when my child really does need a distraction for me to continue on with my errands, but I’m also aware that saying “yes” every time they are offered means a steady stream of candy throughout the day – something I’m not keen about.

So what’s a mom to do?

Well, I’ve noticed that a cookie is a cookie for Ainsley, whether it’s sweetened with a little honey and made with whole wheat flour and resembles a graham cracker or it’s covered in frosting and made at the bakery. The same goes true with all other treats (except M&M’s…) that are sweet in nature. I’ve been trying to make more alternatives to sweet treats at home, in hopes that we can still enjoy an afternoon cookie or an energy bite, like these, without feeling weighed down by all the sugar and extra junk neither of us really need.

These energy bites are super tasty and actually, I think, taste better the second or third day after the peanut butter has had a chance to soften the oats a little bit and the flavors come together. I love them because they’re portable and easy to eat, too, so we can take them along in the car or to the park, etc.

Double Peanut Butter Snack Bites
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter (not the natural kind)
  • 1½ cups old fashioned oats
  • ½ cup peanut butter powder (such as PB2 or similar)
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
  1. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients together using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Work together as much as possible with the spoon/spatula, then work the remaining bit with your hands to evenly combine.
  2. Scoop into 2-inch balls and roll between your hands to form. Place on a cookie sheet or tray and allow to set at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving. Cover remaining bites in a plastic storage container or bowl covered with plastic wrap.


Food & Recipes

From the Archives: Fritos Scotcheroos

October 30, 2015

Today, just in time for Saturday football games and Halloween, I’m dusting off a recipe from the archives. Joe had a work potluck today and specifically requested that I make these Fritos Scotcheroos. And who am I to deny Joe and his co-workers these amazing bars?

Before we get too far, let’s be clear: These are not healthy in any way. In fact, I think I remarked yesterday while making them that they might be the least healthy recipe on the site. But there is a time and place for over-the-top decadence, and when you’re looking to indulge, I think these bars are a pretty good option. They are the prefect mix of sweet and salty! Just be sure to cut them small to avoid going over-the-top.

You can find the recipe HERE




Gluten-Free Healthy Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies

June 26, 2014

Gluten Free Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies 1 | Espresso and Cream

Lately I’ve really become captivated by the idea of simplicity and minimalism. It started with building a capsule wardrobe (more on that soon) and after I finished, I looked at my closet, so empty and uncluttered and scaled down to what I truly loved to wear and something started to click. In the past few weeks I’ve been digging and sorting through the junk drawer in our kitchen (does everyone have one of those?) and our pantry filled with kitchen appliances. It spilled over into the giant collection of magazines that I’ve kept for years; I tossed all but my favorite old issues of Gourmet and a few items of my own published work. I’ve been selling unused kitchen appliances and giving away cookbooks that I’ve collected over the years and just don’t have room to store. My house is starting to feel like a clean-running machine rather than a car loaded down with stuff.

A little voice in my head kept saying, “I need less.” “I want less!” You see, if I’m not careful I find myself getting caught up in the fallacy that I need more and more. I finish a much-needed living room remodel and start to fixate on other rooms in our house. Rooms that don’t really need to be updated, but something inside me whispers that if I just changed that one little thing, I would be happier.

So lately, when I start to think that I need more than I really do, I remind myself that I would rather spend my life living rather than managing my stuff and trying to keep up with the latest and greatest.

Gluten Free Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies 2 | Espresso and CreamI guess some of that simplicity-seeking has translated into my cooking at home, too. I’ve been baking with less sugar, imagining that’s probably the way that my grandma baked living on the farm all those years ago. It’s been nice, in this era of hyper-sweetened desserts, to sit down and enjoy a really simple, lightly sweet cookie that tastes like something you could eat every day rather than something you can only enjoy on a birthday or special occasion. And, I suppose, with each of these cookies only having 135 calories per cookie, you certainly could have one every day.

Gluten-Free Healthy Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies
Serves: 15
  • 1 cup creamy natural peanut butter
  • ¼ to ½ cup brown sugar (I used ¼ for lightly sweet cookies, use ½ C if you want sweeter cookies)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup Chex gluten-free instant oats or other instant gluten-free oats of choice
  • 2 large eggs
  1. Heat oven to 350F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients until well combined. Roll dough into 15 balls, a little more than 1-inch in diameter. Use a fork sprayed with cooking spray to press a criss-cross pattern into the tops of the cookies.
  3. Bake on cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray 8 minutes or until edges are set and just golden brown. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet. Cool completely on wire cooling rack, about 10 minutes.



Cookie Dough Stuffed Brownies

July 2, 2013


I told you all last week about the new blog I’m contributing to at work, Tasteseekers Kitchen. Well, if you hopped on over there, you probably saw the ultra-decadent Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Stuffed Brownie Pops. They super cute and much easier than cake pops, which drive me crazy! I can’t never get them to look as pretty as I would like.

When my friend, Laura, invited us over to dinner a couple weeks ago, I decided to make a version of that same recipe, with a few less steps. Instead of making the brownies into individual brownie bites in pop form, I layered cookie dough on top of brownies in a 13×9-inch pan and topped it with the cream cheese cookie dough mixture. On top of that, I spread a thin layer of melted semi-sweet chocolate to help with cutting the bars into clean pieces.

I think it’s safe to say the bars were a big hit! I cut them into fairly large pieces, but since they are so rich, I think I could have gotten away with making them smaller. I took the leftovers and stored them in the freezer, then thawed them slightly before serving a couple nights later. They were still totally delicious and worth every calorie.


Cookie Dough Stuffed Brownies
Recipe just slightly adapted from Tasteseekers Kitchen
1 box Betty Crocker fudge brownies, prepared according to package directions for a 13×9-inch pan
4 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (not natural peanut butter)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 1/2 to 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

In large bowl with an electric mixer, combine cream cheese, peanut butter, brown sugar, vanilla, salt and powdered sugar until creamy. Stir in mini chocolate chips by hand. Spread mixture atop baked brownie mixture in pan.

Spread melted chocolate atop cookie dough mixture until you can no longer see any of the cookie dough. Refrigerate until chocolate is set, at least 30 minutes. Cut into bars to serve.

Happy Baking!


Healthier Peanut Butter & Banana Cookies

May 8, 2013


Once upon a time I used to be someone who said that they only wanted to enjoy baked goods in their real, sugary, buttery form. If I was going to have a piece of cake, then gosh darn make it a real decadent piece. Just not too often and only as a special treat. However, Joe and I have found our taste buds changing lately. Joe has never been the one with a sweet tooth (that would be me) but lately I’ve found my sweet tooth fading and my ability to enjoy a super sugary dessert is long gone.

I didn’t talk all that favorably about our cleanse, and I’m afraid that I only highlighted the things that I didn’t enjoy about the experience. However, one of the best things about the cleanse was the removal of all sugar (other that natural sources) from our daily routine. At first I really missed my nightly dark chocolate, but after a couple weeks, I found that healthier treats, like tofu pudding or a little whipped coconut milk with fresh berries was more than enough to satisfy my craving. In fact, after the cleanse ended I went out to buy dark chocolate. But the dark chocolate has sat unopened since I bought it. I just don’t crave it like I once did.

These cookies fall squarely into the “less sweet” dessert classification. I’m not sure they can relaly be called healthy since they do contain their fair share of butter and some regular old sugar, too. But they are not nearly as sweet as a traditional cookie and contain a whole host of good-for-you ingredients like banana, almond meal, oat bran and whole wheat flour. They have a soft, cake-like texture that Joe and I loved and they stay soft and moist for days after baking, similar to banana bread.

I’ve been putting one of these cookies in Joe’s lunch as a treat each day this week and enjoying one after dinner now and again. They also taste great crumbled atop yogurt if you’re looking for a little something special at breakast.


Healthier Peanut Butter & Banana Cookies
Makes 18 cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1/2 cup creamy natural peanut butter (I used creamy natural from Trader Joe’s)
1 egg
1 medium ripe banana, mashed
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon banking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup oat bran
1 cup whole wheat flour

Heat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, combine the melted butter, peanut butter, egg, banana, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and vanilla. Stir until well combined and smooth. Stir in the almond meal, oat bran and whole wheat flour until well combined.

Spoon dough by heaping tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheet. Press down in a criss-cross pattern with a fork. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown around the edges and puffed up. Cool 10 minutes on baking sheet. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Happy Baking!

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