Ultimate PB Cookies

Would you believe me if I told you that I used to hate peanut butter cookies? I mean, I almost can’t believe it myself, but it’s true. I never really understood how the batter for peanut butter cookies would taste SO good, but the actual cookie tasted so blah. Peanut butter cookies weren’t peanut buttery enough and they always get so dry. These cookies, however, are anything but – and oh man, I am so psyched to share the recipe with you.

I kinda feel like all I talk about is peanut butter but I can’t help it; it’s practically my soul mate. If my boyfriend and a jar of peanut butter were falling off a cliff I’m sure there are some days that I’d save the PB first…only some, of course. These cookies are so jam-packed with pea-nutty goodness AND they are flour and butter free. Did you hear that? These cookies are practically a salad! Well, almost…they are full of good-for-you fats and minimal sugar.

The best part is that while these may be a healthier cookie, they definitely don’t taste like it; they’re rich and incredibly satisfying. Oh, and the second best part is that you only need to dirty one bowl and a spoon! That means less dishes – which is always, always a good thing. Especially when you live with someone whose goal in life is to use as many dishes/utensils at one time as possible (we’re talking like two plates and several knives to make one sandwich).

If you do one thing this weekend, it should be making at least one batch (or three) of these cookies. Since they are made if only six ingredients, you really have no excuse not to make them…I can almost promise that you won’t regret it and if you do, then I don’t think we can be friends (Just kidding!).

The Ultimate PB Cookies
Makes about 1 1/2 dozen

- 1 cup peanut butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 3 tbs. flaxseed meal
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 2/3 cup peanuts, crushed*

In a bowl, mix together the peanut butter, sugar and egg. Once they are mixed together, add the flaxseed and baking powder. The mixture will be sticky but thick. Using your hands, roll the dough into a ball and place onto plastic wrap or wax paper. Gently roll the dough into a log shape (about 10 inches long and 1 – 1 1/2 inches thick).

Pour crushed peanuts onto the dough and roll it over them, pressing down gently to get the peanuts to stick. Once the dough is covered to your liking, wrap up in plastic wrap (or wax paper) and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until firm.

Pre-heat oven to 350°. Remove the dough from fridge and slice into thick pieces, about a quarter of a inch thick. Place onto an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes, until edges are golden. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for at least 2 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

*You can crush peanuts in a food processor if you have one. I poured mine into a Ziploc bag and used a rolling pin to crush them as best as I could.

I’m sure these would also be fabulous with other nut butters too or even crunchy peanut butter! Which do you prefer – smooth or crunchy?

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

When I was little, I hated bananas – the smell of them drove me nuts. In fact, I remember my sister and I being chased around the house by our youngest sister (who practically lived off bananas) breathing her banana breath on us; it was gross and weird, now that I think about it. It was only recently that I decided to give bananas another shot.

Thank god that I did because they’re one of my absolute favorite fruits now. I missed out on so many banana breads and banana cream pies made by my mom. I have been making up for lost time,though, consuming as many bananas as I possibly can. Now that I truly appreciate the deliciousness that is banana bread, I also realize how hard it is to not eat the entire loaf in a day or two. I find myself constantly slicing a little nibble here and there until the whole thing is just gone.

I only ate my way through a good five or six loaves before figuring out the perfect portion control; muffins! I make a batch of these probably every month or so to tuck away in the freezer. They freeze amazingly and after a quick zap in the microwave, they taste like they just came out of the oven. I like to top them with a bit of butter and cinnamon, or for more staying power, a big smear of peanut butter with a drizzle of honey.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
makes about 24 muffins

- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used greek)
- 2 tbs. milk
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 3 bananas, mashed
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 2/3 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350° and line two muffin pans with liners. In a small bowl, mix together the eggs, yogurt, vanilla and milk.

In a large bowl, mix the bananas and sugar. Add the egg/yogurt mixture, stirring gently. While stirring, add the rest of the ingredients except for the chocolate chips. The batter may be a little thick, you can add an additional tablespoon of milk if so.

Gently fold in the chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the muffin tins, filling them a little less than three-quarters of the way. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.

I actually just realized that my freezer stash is running dangerously low, so I will be making a double batch of these sometime very soon.

Is there a food you used to hate but now love?

Cookies and Cream Coconut Butter

Okay, I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before but I love peanut butter. If I could only eat one food for the rest of my life, I’m pretty sure it would be a stalemate between peanut butter or ice cream. At this point, my love for peanut butter has stemmed into an addiction obsession with any and all nut butters. I guess you could say that peanut butter has been my gateway butter. At this current moment, I have eleven jars of nut butter in my fridge and pantry…and yes, more than half of them are open.

Whether peanut, almond, sunflower or cashew butter – I just cannot get enough. I admit that most nights, my dessert of choice is a spoon into my current favorite nut butter. Right now, it’s this Cookies and Cream Coconut Butter. I’ve been dying to try coconut butter forever now, but it’s so expensive and I could never bring myself to buy it…especially since it’s so simple to make. This was my first time making it and I decided to make it a little fancy by adding one of my favorite guilty pleasures; Hershey’s Cookies and Cream chocolate bar.

I’m usually not much of a white chocolate fan but, every once in a while those candy bars just hit the spot. I haven’t had one in years so including them in this delicious coco-nutty spread definitely made it more indulgent and took it up a notch. One of my favorite ways to enjoy this coconut butter is melted on top of oatmeal; it gets so melty and I love swirling the pools of coconut into my oats. I love when I can get away with including a bit of chocolate into my breakfast. The best is that the white chocolate melts into the coconut butter but there is still that crunchiness from the cookie bits.

Cookies and Cream Coconut Butter
(makes about 16 oz)

- 2 (8oz) bags of shredded coconut, unsweetened (I used this).
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 2 Hershey’s cookies and cream bars, chopped and divided

Place shredded coconut in a food processor. (If you have a small food processor, it’d probably be easier to do this in two batches). Process the coconut on high until it forms a butter-like consistency. This will take a few minutes and you may have to stop and scrap down the sides occasionally.

Once the coconut has reached the desired consistency add vanilla and half the chocolate bar. The coconut butter will be warm and it will melt into the coconut; pulse the processor for a few moments to incorporate. Pour the coconut butter into a storage jar and gently fold in remaining chocolate. Coconut butter is solid at cold temps, but melts wonderfully. It usually softens slightly at room temperature. Enjoy!

This coconut butter cannot even compare to any other nut butter. Next time, I think I’ll add some crushed Oreos at the end to realllllly kick it up.

So tell me…what’s your favorite nut butter?

 

 

That time I didn’t update for over a year: Part 1

Hey there. I’m not sure how one starts a post after nearly abandoning it for over a year. I could offer my apologies and promise that it won’t happen again – but life is unpredictable and I let this little project of mine slip away. I haven’t forgotten it, though. I’ve come back to my little corner of the internet on several occasions but it just never felt right, like I wasn’t ready yet. This time, I hope to be back for good. I guess I can tell you a little bit of what I’ve been up to – you know since a whole year and a half has passed.

Let’s see – I graduated college at the end of May 2012 and began working at a design studio pretty much the next day. Not having the resources (or time) to find a place of my own, I moved in with my boyfriends family. I’m so grateful that they allowed me to stay with them. I still had quite the commute, about an hour and a half each way with all the traffic (ugh). Along the way, my boyfriend and I decided it would be a great idea to adopt a pup.

Yeah, we didn’t fully think that one through. That’s okay, though because we were gifted with the most quirky little pup ever; we named her Luna. She’s definitely the dog version of grumpy cat and can be quite the diva – but nothing makes me happier than seeing her light up with excitement when I get home from work. I’m almost a little embarrassed about how much I love her. I already had to refrain from using many of the billion pet names I have for her (cheese, stinker, love bug, piglet…). Yup, I’m that kind of dog owner – but look at that face. She’s my little shadow and I can’t imagine life without her, my little velcro dog.

Around the time I last posted, I was getting ready to move into my own apartment. It’s nice having my own space, but it’s very similar to the college apartment I started this blog in. My bathroom, kitchen and bedroom are within a foot or two of each other. We’re in the process of looking for something a bit bigger – mostly because the boyfriend has so many clothes. We share a closet and dresser, so that certainly gets interesting. I swear his clothes eat my socks, because I can never, ever find them the second I take them off.

For awhile last year, I pretended that I was super into running and decided to run two half marathons. I really only did it because I wanted a medal. I still want all the medals and the only thing stopping me from signing up for every single race is that fact that running 13.1 miles is so hard. I give major props to anyone that does things like this seriously – it is no joke and it took a toll on my body. I think I’m still recovering and the last one was in November….

I’ve been cooking/baking up a storm while I’ve been gone and I have little lists all over my apartment with ideas and recipes that I want to share with you guys (if anyone is still reading, ha). I really can’t believe that over a year has passed since I last posted – it has gone by so fast, hasn’t it? I’ve been busy working, eating/cooking, and entertaining a playful puppy…this little blog was low on my priorities, but I’m determined to bring it back! I’ve been working on a series of super cute cookbooks for the company I work for and I really hope I can share something about them soon.

I’ll leave you with one more picture of my puppy, because I can’t help myself. Oh – and here is an embarrassing pet owner confession: When we moved into our own apartment, I started sending out weekly newsletters about our dog to our families…It was a fun way to keep in touch but definitely made me feel like a crazy dog lady. Go ahead and judge me…

I’ll be back soon with more recipes and what I’ve been up to!

HLS ’12 {a small recap}

This past weekend I went to Boston for the Healthy Living Summit, my very first blog conference. I honestly don’t even know where to start in my little recap here; it was a different experience than I expected and the weekend itself had its’ highs and lows. I left bright and early on Friday morning, tearing myself away from these puppy eyes…

…to head to NYC to meet Jamie and get on our bus to Boston. The entire bus ride I was a bundle of nerves and excitement. As soon as the bus entered Boston, I already knew that I was in love with the city. It might seem weird, but I think being near that city was one of my favorite parts of this weekend. Especially since I’ve never been to Boston, I really appreciated the beautiful scenery and the architecture (!!). I can’t wait to go back and have time to explore the city more.

Upon checking in, I was given a huge swag bag and some awesome Reebok sneakers. I was lucky to be sharing a room with three really awesome ladies; Tessa, Katie and Rachel. On Friday night, we decided to take a little walk around the hotel before heading to the cocktail party – we ended up on the MIT campus, which was pretty cool. The cocktail party was fun; there were so many people and I only recognized a few from blogs that I’ve actually read. It made me feel better when I heard that a lot of us attending this year were first time conference attendees. It’s so crazy to see how big the world of blogging really is because HLS was such a small representation of them all!

photo taken from Meghann @ Meals and Miles

I feel like so many of the bloggers attending HLS this year are going to be writing day by day recaps of this weekend, listing all the sessions and things that they’ve did. I’m not sure if I feel like doing that – feeling kind of lazy at the moment. Also, I totally copped out on my photography. I think I took out my DSLR maybe once. I was obviously into the convenience of the iphone camera :)

bottom left image taken from Katie @ Peace Love and Oats

And that’s all the energy I have for right now. This weekend flew by and I am completely exhausted. Time to face Monday…stay tuned for more of a recap with more photos and thoughts!