Peanut Butter Cookies

PB & J.

PB & chocolate.

PB & honey & bananas.

Clearly, peanut butter is a match made in heaven for everyone and (almost) every food!

Of course, I’m a little biased. My love for peanut butter is definitely not a secret!  I eat peanut butter toast for breakfast every morning. My preferred candy is Reese’s. I’ve even recently become obsessed with this Thai peanut butter dipping sauce for our chicken at dinner.

So, peanut butter in cookies? My favorite food mixed with sugar and butter and all the sweet goodness? Absolute perfection.

I haven’t even tried many other peanut butter cookie recipes because this one is always right on point! I’m not sure where it originally came from, but my mom has been making these for years with consistent results.

I mean, peanut butter AND cookies. In one (!)

Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 C butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 C peanut butter (I use creamy but chunky would work)
  • 1 C white sugar
  • 1 C packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 C flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350. Mix together the butter, peanut butter, sugars and eggs. Add the rest of the dry ingredients. Once it’s all mixed together, take a spoonful of batter and shape it into a ball. Then, roll the ball in sugar (This is separate from the 1 C above…I usually just pour a little white sugar into a small bowl for this), place it on the cookie sheet, and press down on the cookie ball with a fork (making a crisscross pattern). Continue to do this for each cookie. Timing depends on the size, but take the cookies out just before you think they’re ready – they’re best a little softer!

 

Nutella Sprinkle Rolls + Three Things

Happy Friday!

Please celebrate the weekend by making these Nutella Sprinkle Rolls! They are crazy good. I made them Easter morning, and have been dying to share them ever since. They make the perfect easy treat (only three ingredients!) to make for birthday breakfasts, holidays, etc. Find the recipe here!

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Plus, three more sweet recipes I’m obsessing over:

 

Classic Banana Bread

There are some days when you just NEED to bake. Like on a Spring day in April, when it’s finally nice enough to open the patio door and let some air in.  Like when you’ve been stuck in the office all day dreaming about baking and fresh air and mashed bananas.

So, I stopped at the grocery store just to pick up a few things we needed for dinner, then got on my way to bake some banana bread. There I am at home, with my recipe picked out, music blasting, kitchen prepped… and what do I realize? I’m missing some major ingredients!

It was one of those days.

I considered going right back to the store, but then decided to experiment instead. I had minimal butter and buttermilk left, and no vanilla. I improvised and cut the butter in half, added the little buttermilk I had and incorporated vanilla 0% Greek Yogurt. I also added chocolate chips because… oh who am I kidding, you never need a reason to add chocolate!

Luckily, it all worked out. In fact, this is one of my new favorites!  The bread was delicious, and a great consistency. This recipe made four medium/small loaves. I made two just chocolate chip, one just nuts, and one with both.

By the way: it always confuses me when people just bake one giant loaf. The best part about baking is making several smaller loaves to give away! Plus, then you can keep one too, and make mix-in variations. I guess this relates back to my mini dessert obsession?

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Classic Banana Bread

Adapted from Betty Crocker 

Ingredients

  • 1 ¼ cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup vanilla 0% Greek Yogurt
  • 2 ½ cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Optional:

  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350. Mix together the butter and sugar, then add the eggs. Mash the bananas, and then add those in, along with the buttermilk, and yogurt. Mix well.  Add the flour, baking soda and salt and continue to mix. Fold in the optional items last. I poured the plain banana bread batter into the  bread pans, then added in the extras from there. I stirred in just chocolate chips in one, just nuts in another, and added both to the rest. I definitely liked the bread with both chocolate chips and nuts the best! The cook time depends on the size of the bread pans you use (I prefer mini pans), but they are done as soon as they start browning on top and bounce back at the touch.

Enjoy!

The Best Pomegranate Guacamole

I am a guacamole purist.

As I typed that, I realized the hypocrisy lurking behind it… because I’m about to tell you to put pomegranate seeds in your guacamole. So really, I meant I’m a purist when it comes to the basics. I like to actually taste the avocado, so I try to limit millions of mix ins and seasonings.

But back to the pomegranate seeds – SERIOUSLY! I bring this guacamole everywhere with me, and even the most skeptical of food critics are converted. I got the idea from this restaurant in Scottsdale a long time ago. It was one of those great moments where it arrived at the table and my mom and I looked at each other like “why have we never thought of this?!?” Then we recreated it the next day in our homemade guacamole. And now I’m sharing it with you!

The Best Easy Guacamole

It all starts the same way: with some smashed avocados. YUM.

Guacamole

Then, you add the rest of the good stuff, like tomatoes and pom seeds and cilantro. You can totally add onions too – I do maybe half the time. Also, be very careful if you’re going to seed your own pomegranate: the juice sprays everywhere! I learned that the hard way and ruined some white clothes along the way.

PS did you know that an avocado has more potassium than a banana?

Guacamole with pomegranate seeds

The Best Pomegranate Guacamole

Serves 2 – 4

Ingredients:

  •  3 avocados
  • 1/2 tomato, diced
  • One big handful of cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 lemon or lime juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste (plus, add a dash of garlic salt!)
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
  • Optional: 1/4 onion, minced

Directions:

First, get the avocados into a big mixing bowl and mash them up. Next, dice the tomato and chop the cilantro and throw it into the bowl. Squeeze 1/2 of a lemon or lime into the bowl, then add the rest of the seasoning and mix. Fold in the pomegranate seeds last, saving a few to sprinkle on top. Enjoy!*

 

*Preferably with a margarita 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Blueberry Kale Smoothie

I’m a little late to the kale party.

And to be honest, any time I’ve had kale in a salad, I haven’t loved it. But, the entire internet has been touting its healthiness for months now, so I thought I’d do some research.

Nutrition wise, it turns out that kale is pretty similar to spinach (sigh of relief – I LOVE spinach). But, kale does win when it comes to vitamin A and vitamin C, both of which help to boost your immune system. It also has nearly double the amount of vitamin K, which I read aids with blood clotting and bone health. To check out the chart comparison for yourself, click here.

I decided that a smoothie would be a great way to get some of those nutritional benefits without having kale be the main focus. I found this recipe from Skinny Taste, and then altered it slightly to make it a little sweeter. The result was SO good! You can’t even taste the kale, it’s just creamy blueberry deliciousness. I made it once… and then again like 12 hours later.

Plus, the combo of kale and blueberries makes this extra healthy. Blueberries are considered a superfood, and according to Health.com, they “soften dry skin, boost your brain, and may even prevent cancer.”

I’ll drink to that!

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Blueberry Kale Smoothie

Serves 1-2

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup kale
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup vanilla almond milk
  • ¼ cup vanilla 0% Greek Yogurt
  • 1 frozen ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup ice

Directions:

Place all ingredients in the blender and mix! Depending on the consistency, you may need to add a little more ice.

Raspberry Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

Mini desserts are always better.

And, my philosophy really translates to most food items… I mean, look below. These mini muffins are just too cute.

I KNOW. I used to roll my eyes when I’d hear food described in that way: “Really Rachael Ray, pizza is cute?” But, I guess I’ve gone to the dark side. What can I say? I love the idea of “bite-sized” desserts, appetizers, etc. not only because of their presentation, but also because you can sample more of them without the guilt. Instead of having to choose one big cupcake, you can try two or three minis in different flavors (and maybe this has something to do with my indecisiveness!). Seriously, I’ve done some unscientific research, and I think people are more likely to grab smaller food items at parties or work events too. So my new entertaining motto is: “When in doubt, go mini”

Mini Raspberry Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

All week, I was obsessing over the idea of making blueberry muffins. Come Friday, I had several recipes ready to go – and then I found this one. Raspberry and chocolate chips and bananas?! I couldn’t resist. The blueberries will have to wait.

I. can’t. stop. eating. these.

Raspberry Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

Raspberry Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

Via Sallys Baking Addiction

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups white flour + 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 2 mashed bananas
  • 1/4 cup nonfat vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 3/4 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 and ½ cups fresh raspberries

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325F degrees. Spray muffins tins with nonstick spray or fill with cupcake liners.

In a large bowl, gently toss the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together until combined. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk the honey and brown sugar together – it will be lumpy. Add the mashed banana, yogurt, and beaten egg. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry. Gently begin to fold it all together. (It will be very thick). Add the milk slowly and continue to gently mix the ingredients together. Fold in the chocolate chips. Then, fold in the raspberries last. Do not overmix!

Fill the muffin tins and bake until the muffin tops are springy to the touch. Enjoy!

 

 

Spaghetti All’Arrabiata

Is there anyone who doesn’t like spaghetti?

Even in my pickiest of days, pasta was one of the few items on my “will eat” list. Now that I’ve expanded my palate, I’m having fun experimenting with different sauce recipes!

This is one of those rare recipes where I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve made it many times now, and I follow this to a T (which, let’s face it, is unusual for me). It’s a great recipe for entertaining, just add a salad, chicken and/or garlic bread. You could also add ground turkey meat into the sauce (which I plan to try!).

PS If you’re not a big spicy foods fan, just leave out the red pepper flakes and add Italian seasoning instead (like oregano and basil).

Spaghetti

Spaghetti All’Arrabiata

serves 4, via EatLiveRun

Ingredients:

8 oz dry spaghetti

2 tbsp olive oil

1 28-oz can whole peeled plum tomatoes with basil

3 tbsp tomato paste

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

fresh ground pepper

Directions:

Place the whole peeled plum tomatoes in a blender and process until smooth.

Meanwhile, boil a pot of water and cook the pasta until just past al dente.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. When hot, add the garlic and saute 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste and red pepper flakes. Saute 2 minutes then pour in the plum tomatoes. Mix well until everything has combined. Add sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer for as long as desired – anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes (until ready to serve).

Add cooked spaghetti to sauce and toss to coat. Add a big glug of olive oil and any other seasonings to taste. Serve immediately.