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Foodie, Sweets

Banana Muffin Cakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

March 18, 2012

These are my current baking obsession.

Not quite a muffin. Not quite a cupcake. These muffin cakes are the perfect blend of the two.

They can be eaten on their own (ala muffin) and are packed full of healthy protein thanks to the hemp powder and chia. However, I recommend adding a healthy dollop of frosting to these bad boys (ala cupcake) to make them truly outstanding.

I give JBird the frosting-free version, then treat myself to a frosting covered one during nap time. It’s the little things in life that make me happy.

What You’ll Need:

For the muffin cakes:

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup ground oatmeal

2 tsp baking soda

1 Tbs chia (soaked in 3 TBS warm water; about 5 minutes or until “gelled”)

2 Tbs Hemp Protein Powder

¾ cup raw cane sugar (or sucanat, maple syrup, or another sweetener)

4 overly ripe bananas

1 tsp vanilla

1/3 cups almond milk (coconut milk would work great too)

1 Tbs honey

for the frosting:

1 cup all natural creamy peanut butter

½ cup Earth Balance; softened and cut into pieces

1 cup confectioners sugar


Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a standard muffin tin with 12 paper liners (or grease the pan and go sans-liner…this never works for me so I stick to the tri-color paper liners).

In a large mixing bowl, combine the “dry” ingredients: flour(s), baking soda, hemp powder, and sugar. Stir until everything is well combined. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, mash the bananas. Add the honey, almond milk, and vanilla to the bananas. Stir to combine. Now, add the gelled chia to the banana mixture. Stir to combine again.

Add the banana/chia mixture to the “dry” bowl. Stir the batter until everything is well incorporated (but don’t over beat the batter). Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners. Bake for 20-25 minutes (or until they pass the age old “toothpick test”).

Enjoy warm or let cool and add frosting for a tasty treat later (you know, after the kids are asleep).

Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

This recipe is adapted from Sweets by Vicky.

Foodie, Recipe, Sweets

Vegan Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

January 16, 2012

Our local grocery co-op carries the world’s greatest vegan chocolate chip cookies. They must weigh about 2 pounds a piece. They’re buttery and amazing (and totally worth the calories). I became obsessed with trying to recreate these tasty vegan treats, but couldn’t quite get the right ratios of ingredients to come up with an exact match. However, on my journey of cookie experimentation, I came up with my own unique cookie that (dare I say). might be better than my original infatuation.

These cookies are chewy, slightly nutty, and FULL of chocolate (or carob; depending on what you have on hand). The flavor combination is truly outstanding; much better than your standard chocolate chip cookie recipe. So simple, yet so yummy!

I recommend enjoying 1 or 2 (or 12) with a mug of hot cocoa made with almond milk (such a better flavor than regular warmed milk). Living dairy-free never tasted so good!!

What You’ll Need:

-1 cup Earth Balance ;at room temperature

-1 cup brown sugar

-1 tsp vanilla

-1 cup whole wheat flour

-1/2 tsp baking soda

-1 cup rolled oats; ground

-1/2 cup almonds; ground

-1 bag of vegan carob chips (or for a less vegan cookie, you could just use regular chocolate chips. I recommend 60% cacao chocolate chips).

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a food processor (blender OR grinder), grind the almonds and oats into a flour-like mixture. Add the whole wheat flour and baking soda to the dry mixture. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer, cream together the Earth Balance and brown sugar. Once the mixture is light and airy, add the vanilla. Now, add the dry ingredients to the stand mixer. Mix on low until the dough comes together. Stir in the chocolate chips.

On a parchment lined baking sheet, spoon out medium sized balls of cookie dough (about 12-15 cookies per sheet). Bake for 12 minutes.

Remove from oven, and let cool for 1 minute on the baking sheet. Transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Store in an airtight container.


 Makes 2-3 dozen cookies 


Foodie, Sweets

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

December 14, 2011

I spent last week elbow deep in peanut butter, butter and sugar.

I guess there are worse ways to spend your weekdays.

Along with Peanut Butter Blossoms, I whipped up a few dozen peanut butter cup cookies.

It’s really hard to go wrong with a cookie that has a little Reese’s peanut butter cup nestled in the center of it.

Truth be told,  I was also excited to test out my mini muffin pan for the first time.

For the record: it’s pretty adorable. I see many different varieties of mini muffins in my future.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

-1 3/4 C unbleached all purpose flour

-1/2 tsp salt

-1 tsp baking soda

-1/2 C butter; softened

-1/2 C creamy peanut butter

-1 C brown sugar; packed

-1 egg

-1 tsp vanilla

-2 tbs milk

-1 1/2 bags of Reese’s peanut butter cups; unwrapped (approximately 40)

In a medium sized bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer, cream together butter and peanut butter; until it’s one consistency.  Now, cream together the butters and brown sugar; until the mixture is “airy” looking.

Add the egg and mix until fully incorporated. Add the vanilla.

Now, slowly add your dry ingredients to the mixing bowl. Mix until the dough *just* starts to come together. Add the milk and mix until dough is smooth.

Transfer to an airtight container or large zip top bag and chill for at least 1 hour. (I chilled mine for 24 hours).

Preheat oven to 375°. Working one dozen at a time, roll out 1 inch size balls and place in an ungreased mini muffin pan. Bake for approximately 8 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately place a peanut butter cup in the center of the baked cookie. Allow to cool in the muffin pan before removing. Repeat until all your dough is gone.

Store in an airtight container for up to a week OR store in the freezer for up to 3 months!

Makes 3-4 dozen cookies

**This recipe is adapted from Baked Perfection**

Foodie, Sweets

Peanut Butter Blossoms

December 8, 2011

From January to November, I do everything in my power to create healthy dishes with really good wholesome ingredients.

Once December gets here, I throw caution to the wind and say “Bring On The Cookies!”.

This may be a counter-productive way of thinking, but it works for me.

It just wouldn’t be Christmas in my home without a few (dozen) peanut butter blossoms.

This recipe (which can be found right on a bag of Hershey’s kisses) is perfect. There’s no point in trying to mess with it or make it “health-ier.”

Just accept it for what it is: delicious.

If you want a gluten-free, vegan, or low calorie cookie: look elsewhere.

Embrace the butter, flour and sugar….and chocolate kisses.

When it comes to Christmas cookies, tradition always wins.

Sorry healthy cookies, see you in January!

Here’s What You’ll Need:

-2 sticks of butter; softened 

-1 and 1/2 cups creamy natural peanut butter 

– 1 cup sugar

-1 cup packed brown sugar

-2 eggs

-1 tsp vanilla extract

-3 and 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour

-2 tsp baking soda

-1/2 tsp salt

-2 tbs milk

-1/2 cup of sugar for rolling

-2 bags of good ol’ Hershey’s Kisses

**Secret: I used salted butter and didn’t add the 1/2 tsp of salt…and they turned out beyond perfect**

In a medium sized bowl, combine your flour and baking soda (and salt if you’re using unsalted butter). Set aside.

Using a stand mixer, cream together the butter and peanut butter. Next, cream the sugars with the butter mixture. Add the eggs one at a time; waiting until each one is fully incorporated before adding the next. Add the vanilla. Slowly, add your dry ingredients to the mixer. Once the dough starts to comes together, add the 2 tbs of milk. Mix until a smooth dough is formed. Place dough in an airtight container and chill for at least an hour (I like to chill my dough overnight).

Preheat the oven to 375°. Roll the cookies into 1 inch balls, then roll each ball in a small bowl of sugar until coated. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Repeat until each tray is filled and your dough is all used up. Bake for 8-10 minutes (8 minutes was perfect for my oven).

Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and place an unwrapped Hershey’s kiss in the center of each cookie ball. Now, return the tray back to the oven for an additional 2 minutes. This is a super critical step that I feel many people overlook. You want each kiss to melt into the cookie (then melt in your mouth when you eat it). There’s nothing worse than biting into a peanut butter blossom and the kiss falls right out (and is obviously “uncooked”). No thank you.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool, then store in an airtight container (tins work great for storing cookies!).

Makes approximately 4 dozen cookies 

**As with all my recipes, I only use organic, local dairy products and  local, free range eggs. Even if these aren’t “healthy”, I still don’t want them to be full of nasty junk (like rBGH or other chemicals) .**





Foodie, Snacks, Sweets

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Shake

December 8, 2011


Sometimes you just need a milk shake.

However, sometimes you don’t have ice cream (wah wah).

But if you’re anything like me, you ALWAYS have at least one frozen banana hanging out in your freezer (overripe banana sitting on your counter? Throw it in the freezer for later!)

Did you know: frozen bananas are a great alternative to ice cream. You can even mix a frozen banana with just cocoa powder and it tastes (and looks) like Chocolate Banana Ice Cream! Craziness, right?!

These shakes are absolutely amazing and so incredibly easy to make. Plus, they’re dairy free!

3 steps….Boom, you’re done.

 **these shakes are brought to you by Trader Joes**

What you’ll Need:

-1-2 frozen bananas; peeled

-1-2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk 

-1 tbs peanut butter (almond butter works really well too)

-1-2 tbs cocoa powder


In a blender, combine your ingredients. **I start with 1 cup of almond milk, then add more if I need to**

Blend until you have a desired consistency.

Pour, Sip and Savor.

Makes 1 Serving

Foodie, Sweets

Carrot Cake Cookie Sandwiches

October 11, 2011


In September, I began scouring the internet for ideas and inspiration for JBird’s first birthday cake. I knew I wanted something simple and untraditional. I stumbled upon a recipe for these cookies and knew I’d found the “perfect storm” of awesomeness. Sandwich a giant dollop of cream cheese frosting between two moist carrot cake cookies? Umm, yes please!

I also liked how they were small enough for little one year old hands to manipulate (and since they’re smaller that means I get to eat more, right?).

They were a total success! I even whipped up another batch to bring to a party this past weekend; they were gone in about 15 minutes. You’re welcome, party go-ers.

Have I mentioned how ridiculously easy these are to make too? Seriously, so simple!

These cookies and frosting are both adapted from Martha Stewart’s recipes. Oh Martha, I love you. 


What you’ll need:

-2 sticks of unsalted butter; at room temperature

-2 cups brown sugar; packed

-2 eggs

-1 tsp vanilla

-2 cups white whole wheat flour

-2 tbs ground flax

-2 cups of rolled oats

– 3 medium carrots; shredded

-cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves; about 1 tsp of each (I didn’t really measure, I just added what I thought looked adequate).

-1 tsp baking powder

-1 tsp baking soda

– 1/4 tsp salt

For the frosting:

-1 stick of butter; at room temperature

-1 8oz packet of cream cheese; at room temperature

-1 cup confectioner’s sugar

-1/2 tsp of vanilla


Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, flax and spices in a medium sized bowl. Using a whisk (or a fork), gently stir until all your dry ingredients are well mixed. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer, combine the butter and brown sugar. Mix on medium speed until they are light in color. Add the eggs one at a time; waiting until one is fully incorporated in the mixture before adding the next one. Add the vanilla. Now, slowly add the flour mixture to the “wet” mixture; all while the mixer is running at low speed.

Once everything is well combined, turn off the mixer and fold in the carrots and oats with a wooden spoon. Place the cookie dough in the fridge for one hour to chill.

Preheat your oven to 350°. Using a rounded scoop (either a large melon baller, coffee scoop, ice cream scoop, etc), spoon out walnut sized dollops of cookie dough onto parchment lined baking sheets.

Bake for 13-15 minutes. I took mine out before they looked 100% done and let them sit on the baking sheet for about a minute. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.


*I always just carefully transfer the entire sheet of parchment to the wire rack. That way I dont have to play the *I hope I don’t drop this cookie on the floor game” with each one. Also, I’ve had super gooey cookies  break apart and fall through the cracks on the wire racks. That’s always a sad time.*


While the cookies are cooling, clean off your mixer and make the frosting! (aka my favorite part). Mix the butter and cream cheese until well combined. Slowly add the powdered sugar. Add your vanilla. Mix until the frosting looks “light and airy”.

Chill in the refrigerator until your cookies are cool enough to frost. You will be tempted to eat it all; do not do this.

When it’s time to frost your cookies: spread a dollop of frosting on the bottom of one cookie. Top with another cookie. Congrats you have successfully made a cookie sandwich! Repeat until all of the cookies have been paired up.

Have an odd number of cookies? Consider the extra one my gift to you. Enjoy.

Makes approximately 20-24 cookie sandwiches (depending on the size of your cookies).

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week (but I doubt they’ll last that long). Serve chilled.

Foodie, Recipe, Sweets

Peach Raspberry Upside Down Cake

August 8, 2011

(are you drooling yet?)

I have been craving peaches like nobody’s business lately. It seems like every time I walk past the produce section of a market, all I can smell are peaches. It’s heavenly.

Since we’re housing out of town guests for the week, I decided that a tasty “peachy” dessert was an absolute necessity for this week’s menu. At first, I was toying with the idea of baking a peach pie..but then I realized that I don’t like peach pie (and what fun is baking something that you, yourself, don’t like? Answer: No fun at all). Then it hit me, PEACH UPSIDE DOWN CAKE (and yes, I did in fact YELL that in the middle of the grocery store while looking at peaches…like a crazy person).

There was only one (minor) detail: Not only had I never baked an upside down cake from scratch before; but I had never baked a single cake (of any kind) from scratch before (aside from flourless chocolate cake). Isn’t that just the wildest thing ever! Sure, I’ve baked pies, cookies, breads, and brownies..but never a cake. I’m just not a big cake person. I like it when it’s REALLY good…but I’ve had way too many REALLY bad cakes to call myself a cake fan. Such is life.

After a wave of shame washed over me, I decided that this very serious character flaw needed to be amended…ASAP. So I bought 5 pounds of peaches and went on my merry way.

I adapted this recipe from a Plum Raspberry Upside Down Cake recipe by Martha Stewart (Oh Martha, You’re just so fabulous). The cake, itself, is moist yet crumbly; almost like a scone. It’s very lightly sweetened, yet has a hint of spiciness to it. The peaches and raspberries are absolutely perfect together. In a word: Ah-Mazing!

Needless to say, I was thrilled with the way it turned out. Go me!

Did I mention how ridiculously easy this was to bake? Seriously, I think the most difficult part was slicing the peaches. I’m not even joking.

What You’ll Need:

6 ripe peaches; uniformly slice 4 of the peaches and chop the remaining 2 peaches.

1 and 1/4 sticks of unsalted butter; 8 tablespoons at room temperature and 2 tablespoons melted

1/3 C light brown sugar

half a pint of fresh raspberries

1 1/2 C unbleached all purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp baking powder

3/4 C raw cane sugar

3 egg yolks

1/2 c organic sour cream

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4  tsp nutmeg

1 tsp vanilla

Pre heat your oven to 375°. In a greased springform pan, coat the bottom of the pan with 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Sprinkle the brown sugar on top of the melted butter. Place the sliced peaches on top of the brown sugar, in whatever pattern you see fit. I chose a nice spiral pattern. Fit individual raspberries between the cracks of the peaches (spreading them out somewhat evenly). The bottom of your pan should be completely covered with fruit. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine your flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream together remaining butter and sugar. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, until thoroughly blended. Now, add half of your dry ingredients to the bowl and mix until combined. Add the sour cream and vanilla to the bowl and mix (slowly) until combined. Add the other half of your  dry ingredients. Once the batter is combined, fold the chopped peaches into the batter.

Using a wooden spoon, drop spoonfuls of the batter on top of the peaches and raspberries in your springform pan. Smooth out the surface of the cake before putting it into the oven (unless you want a lumpy bottomed cake…then by all means skip this step). Bake for 60 minutes.

Serve warm or cool. It’s especially tasty with a big ol’ dollop of natural vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

Makes 12 servings.