Category Archives: recipes

Baking, Cars, and Comfort Food

It’s Monday. I think I’ve got something that will put a big ol’ goofy smile on your face:

(Source)

Isn’t that cute? It kind of makes me want an otter . . . I wonder if anyone actually has one as a pet? Besides zoos that is. I am sure someone does. I mean, one guy here in Ohio had a whole bunch of exotic animals. Unfortunately, he released them and there ended up being a massive hunt to track them all down. Can you imagine? You wake up one morning and, “Hey, Mom! There’s a lion in our backyard . . . “ Crazy.

Anyway, Friday seems like light years away now. I had a pretty packed weekend. Of course, there was some baking involved!

Banana Bars with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

 

Some sad, brown-spotted bananas that had been chilling in the kitchen for some time inspired these babies. What’s a girl to do with super ripe naners? (Is that really even a valid question?!)

I was tired of making banana muffins, and when I saw that I had all of the ingredients for these bars (rarely ever happens), I knew it was fate. I just had to make them.

This recipe comes compliments of Jaclyn at Cooking Classy. I highly suggest that you go check out her blog if you are looking to whip up something delicious.  These bars are a testament to the utter deliciousness you will discover!

Now, the banana batter to this recipe is relatively healthy (no butter and I used greek yogurt instead of sour cream); however, the flavor is in no way sacrificed. It is perfectly banana-y and moist! Yet, in my opinion, it’s the frosting that really stole the show here. I am a cream cheese frosting gal with a cinnamon obsession, so I went crazy over this frosting. It was also the perfect texture for these bars—fluffy, but with just the right touch of gooeyness. I think I could have licked it all off the top of the bars if no one was looking.

Take a look at that sugar-infused wonderfulness.

Speaking of wonderfulness, my Saturday ended up being unexpectedly delightful. After a quick trip to the gym to get my cardio on (I still can’t strength train), I met my friend, Lori, to make a very important trip.

That’s right! She bought a new car! She was able to get a pretty good deal through a friend who works at a dealership about 2 hours away. So, Saturday afternoon we headed down to get her new baby.

I was really thankful that she asked me to accompany her. It gave us some solid catch-up time that was desperately needed. Plus, I got to check out her new ride: a Hyundai Elantra

That’s a good lookin’ pair!

I loved the heated seats and iPod compatibility. Oh, and 41 miles to the gallon highway?! I want one!

The rain snuck up on me on the ride home, and with a sick Madre to boot, the rest of my evening was devoted to chilling inside and watching The Descendants. It was pretty good, not outstanding but good. I can see why it was nominated at the Academy Awards. But, I mean, you can’t really go wrong with George Clooney. 😉

Compared to my Saturday, my Sunday was less than thrilling. I spent the bulk of my day swapping out my summer clothes for my wintery ones. Doesn’t that sound like jumping for joy fun? I know you’re jealous. Thankfully, Madre and I did take a break to walk Ellie and enjoy the exceptional fall weather. Ellie was quite appreciative, too.

She wastes no time hopping in your lap whenever you sit down. I think she’s part feline . . . except she is so much more loving than a cat. (And not allergy aggravating!)

Due to Madre’s continuing sniffles and sore throat, when dinnertime rolled around, we decided it was a perfect night for soup.

Chicken Chowder

I found this soup in a Penzeys catalogue awhile back, and it has become a hit with my family. It packs a great amount of protein for a soup, and the milk also provides a great source of calcium. Madre and I enjoyed this with a toasty baguette we had purchased from Krogers.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ C butter
  • 1/3 C finely chopped onion
  • ½ C finely diced carrots (I just chopped up some baby carrots we had in the fridge)
  • 1/3 C finely diced celery (I did not include celery this time and it tasted great still)
  • ¼ C finely diced green pepper (about ½ of a pepper)
  • ¼ C flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper (I used a little less)
  • 1 C boiling water
  • 1 28 oz. can of diced tomato (I didn’t look close enough at the amount, and only bought 1 can of diced tomatoes . . . which is 14 oz. It still tasted fine, but make sure it’s a 28 oz. can!)
  • 1 apple, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1 T parsley
  • 3 C milk
  • 1 C diced cooked chicken

Directions:

  • Melt butter in stock pot over medium-high heat
  • Add onion, carrot, celery and green pepper. Cook until tender (2-3 min.)
  • Sprinkle with flour, salt and pepper. Stir gently until combined.
  • Gradually mix in boiling water.
  • Stir in tomatoes.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and add apple, thyme and parsley.
  • Simmer for 30 min.
  • Add milk and chicken. Cook until heated through (5-10 min.)
  • SERVE!

(I like to add a few . . . or 10 . . . shakes of hot sauce to mine!)

Nutrition: (1 C) Calories 170, Fat 7g, Carb. 17g, Protein 11g, Fiber 3g, Sugar 10g

Gotta love comfort food! It’s even delicious reheated for lunch or dinner in a hurry.

Well, I have to cut this sort-ish! I am off to bed for a good night’s rest, because I have my third interview tomorrow morning. Fingers crossed again!

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Bananas for the Weekend

Well, it’s back to reality today, eh? Back to the routine . . . work, school, etc. I hope you were as ready as this kiddo.

Get it little guy! I am so going to make one of these for my future kid(s). (I have plenty of time though, don’t you worry. That won’t be for quite a few years).

I hope everyone had a fantastic Labor Day weekend, Mine was pretty good, but most importantly, it was pretty laid back. I spent quite a bit of time preparing for my VACATION! Madre and I leave tomorrow, and I couldn’t be more excited. Oh, and when I wasn’t packing, I was caching up on lost time with Michael C. Hall:

Who else is addicted? I swear I could watch the entire season in one sitting . . . if I had the time. The mystery, the morbid excitement, and the dark humor are fantastic. I also personally love Deb. I find her foul-mouthed, blunt reactions completely refreshing. She basically tells it how it is, although brutally. There are many times that I wish I could do that, but I don’t have the guts . . . or my conscience takes over. Anyway, if you haven’t experienced the utter brilliance that is Dexter, I am giving you full permission to go indulge. At this very moment. Seriously, go. Rent it. You will thank me later.

Among my packing and TV watching, I had planned to squeeze in a blog post; however, things did not work in my favor. Things meaning my computer. It’s the grandpa of MacBooks I do believe.

I am not even sure how old it is, but it is dying a slow and very painful (for me) death. My Uncle purchased it used off ebay several years ago and made some fixes/adjustments. After lending it to a friend for a period of time, he lent it to me when my Dell crashed during my sophomore year of college. It then turned into a graduation present once I was finished at the U of A in 2011. So, how many years is that? I’m not exactly sure, considering we don’t know how long the previous ebay owner had it. Let’s just say that this baby is a testament of Apple’s products. (My Dell lasted 2.5 years before crashing). However, it is getting to the point where I need to move on . . . if only I had enough money to buy a new MacBook.

(Source)

I’m really not exaggerating about the dying a slow and painful death part. Last night, I went to upload the pictures from my phone . . . it took 2 hours. Then, I got an error message telling me that the photos I supposedly uploaded, well, didn’t. Hmmmmm . . . Oh, and with every other click, I have to wait for an unknown amount of time watching this:

(Source)

What I like to call: The CIRCLE OF DEATH

The two of us are not friends. I have called it a variety of other colorful (no pun intended) names. It seriously takes FOREVER.

(Source) Oh Sandlot! 🙂

Sometimes, I wait so long that I have no choice left but to force shutdown and restart. And don’t even get me started on how many times I have been filling out job applications and my Mac just freezes, refusing to move. Oy vey. Deep breaths. Very deep breaths.

Thankfully, I did succeed with uploading my pictures this morning. You should be very thankful too. Why? You may ask? Because I did whip up a tasty treat this weekend. Once again, over-ripened naners were calling to me. Begging me to make their lives useful. I couldn’t refuse their pleas.

Go Bananas Whoopie Pies

I have had these tagged in my recipe book ever since they appeared in an issue of Food Network Magazine. Since I had the ingredients, AND since I it would be a great treat for Madre to bring to her non-chocolate-loving coworkers (gasp!), I couldn’t help but call it fate.

I pretty much followed Food Network Magazine’s recipe to the T, except for two minor alterations:

  1. I used reduced fat cream cheese (that’s all I had)
  2. I threw a few chocolate chips in the batter at the very end (for my last pan), because some of us just need a little chocolate in our desserts!

I give these guys a thumbs up! Ummm . . . how can I not? Peanut butter and banana are quite a pair. Although, I was a little surprised at the filling. I expected it to be more fluffy and frosting-like. This filling is definitely more of a thick, peanutty spread. You won’t be disappointed though. No worries!

Go Bananas Whoopie Pies

By: Food Network Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 C butter, softened
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 1/4 C packed brown sugar (I used dark, again it’s all I had on hand)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla ext.
  • 1/2 C mashed very-ripe banana (about 1.5 naners)
  • 1/2 C buttermilk (I put 1.5 tsp white vinegar in a measuring cup and then filled it up with milk up to the 1/2 C mark)
  • 2 C AP flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 pkg. cream cheese, softened
  • 3 T butter, softened
  • 1 C creamy PB
  • 1 C powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla ext.

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in egg and vanilla.
  • In a separate small bowl, combine banana and buttermilk.
  • In another bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
  • Gradually add dry mixture to creamed mixture, alternating with banana/buttermilk mixture.
  • Drop by tablespoonfuls onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes (or until set).
  • Cool for a few minutes on pan, then transfer to wire rack.
  • For filling, cream peanut butter, cream cheese, and butter until fluffy. (Mine wasn’t that fluffy . . . )
  • Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth.
  • Spread onto bottom of one cookie; top with another cookie.
  • EAT! (Oh, and store in the fridge!)

For the love of peanut butter. Are you drooling yet?

How about now?

Did you know that these are called Gobs in Pennsylvania? I coworker last summer brought chocolate cookie with vanilla filling whoopie pies to a function one time, and when I exclaimed, “Yes! Whoopie Pies!” I was met with a dozen quizzical-faced colleagues. It took awhile for me to live that one down. I’m still calling them whoopie pies though. Gobs sound ugly.

Speaking of oddly-named things. Look what Madre and I found while browsing Kroger yesterday:

Snacks on a Stick Maker

It gets better. Look at all the delicious, high-quality and nutritious food you can make:

That’s steak, corn dogs, OMELETS???, pizza, pancakes, and cookies. On a stick . . .

Madre came up with the product’s new slogan: “You may never have to use silverware again!” I think it’s fitting.

Before I go take care of some other vaca preparations, I will share my workout with you.

Workout:

I began with a nice 40 minutes on the elliptical machine. You know, to get my sweat on. The weight room was pretty packed after I finished, so I headed upstairs to complete a Plyometric workout I found.

I only did the entire circuit one time through, but I was still a sweaty fiend. Loved it! Those Hamstring Sliding Curls and Split Jumps are killer! I will definitely be revisiting this one again, and no worries, I will step it up and go for at least two rounds.

I finished with some random exercises to hit my arms and back:

  • Seated Narrow Grip Cable Rows (3 sets of 10)
  • Inclined Dumbbell Curl (3 sets of 10)
  • Back Extensions (3 sets of 10-using 10 lb. weight)

Told ya it was random!

Well, that’s it for me today. I haven’t decided if I will be lugging my Mac to Mexico with me, so I may not be back until the 11th! Have a great week!

Questions of the Day:

  • If you were to purchase a new laptop, what would you choose?
  • What’s your favorite TV series?

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Getting Motivated

As you know, I have been following Jamie Eason’s LiveFit program for a little while now. In fact, today was slotted to be Day 23- Back and Biceps. However, after I rolled out of bed, I was just not feeling it. I wasn’t actually feeling the gym at all today. With achy, sore muscles, the last thing I felt like doing was “pumping iron.” Vegging on the couch sounded fantastic. I mean, it is officially football season.

(Source)

OSU vs. Miami kicks off game season, baby! Can I get a O-H-I-O!?!?

Even Ellie tried to convince me to stay home today. She crawled on my lap while I was putting my sneakers on, and it took more than just a little coaxing to get her off.

It’s so hard to say no to that sweet little face.

I did manage to get myself moving, though. I am a firm believer that getting going is one of the hardest things about working out. Plus, I can’t say that I’ve ever regretted a workout.

Workout:

I began with a solid 30 minutes on the elliptical machine. I decided to forgo the intervals today, but I did want to work my quads, so I set my machine for a steady climb workout. I know ellipticals vary, but I set my incline at 10 and my resistance at 10-11. I was feeling the burn!

By the time I was ready to lift, I was still not feeling it. I’m not sure if it was the arm soreness or that I am getting a little bored with the repetition of the program, but I just wasn’t excited to do it today. So I did something that did interest me. (Why do something you don’t really want to do, eh? Working out should be fun!)

I stumbled across the blog Back On Pointe the other day, and I found some workouts that look interesting. I gave this one a shot today:

The verdict: I think I might have to complete 2 or 3 rounds of the entire circuit next time to get its full benefit. I was really feeling those Russian twists and planks, but I definitely didn’t get as sweaty as I usually do during circuits. Still, I think you might be seeing a few more of Back On Ponite’s workouts on here in the future.

I finished off with some stretching in the Y’s aerobic studio. I was secretly very excited to see that Yoga was canceled this morning. For once, I finally got to feel like a dancer again. Ballet barre, polished floors (no marley, but I’m not complaining) . . . I felt at home again.

I love that photo. 🙂 I think that’s how I will always feel. Dancing is more fulfilling than walking for me!

The rest of my day was spent getting things done around the house. I vacuumed, mopped, organized, returned emails . . . but I won’t bore you with all of that. However, I did do something that just might strike your fancy.

Muddy Buddy Rice Krispy Treats

We have had marshmallows in our cupboard for ages (and we are not a marshmallow eating family), and since no one has been touching the box of Rice Krispies, I put two and two together: Rice Krispy Treats! Yet, regular ol’ rice krispy treats weren’t gonna cut it today. So, I found the perfect recipe on Pinterest.

Muddy Buddy Rice Krispy Treats

(Source: Cooking Classy)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 C butter
  • 1 (10.5 oz) pkg. mini marshmallows
  • 6 C Rice Krispies cereal
  • 1 C chocolate (I used semi sweet, but milk can also be used)
  • 1/2 C creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 C powdered sugar

Directions:

  • Butter a 9×13 baking dish.
  • Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium/low heat.
  • Add in marshmallows, stirring constantly until melted.
  • Remove from heat and add in cereal. Stir until well coated.
  • Spread “batter” into prepared baking dish. (Use a buttered spatula to smooth and even everything out).
  • In a microwaveable bowl, combine chocolate and peanut butter. Microwave, stirring every 30 second, until melted.
  • Spread over Krispy Treats.
  • Using a fine mesh sieve, sprinkle powdered sugar over top. (I didn’t do this because I don’t own a sieve. I just threw it on!)
  • Cut into squares and enjoy!

Told ya it would strike your fancy.

Enjoy the rest of your Saturday!

Question of the Day:

  • What do you do to help yourself get motivated to go to the gym?

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Gonna be a Bright Sun-shining Day

I absolutely love days that turn around for the better. They are precious little morsels of sunshine that should be treasured. They excite the same pleasure as waking up to sun streaming in through your curtains after weeks of drear and drizzle. Or finding you have more ice cream in your freezer when you though you ran out. OR discovering that the shoes you have been eyeing for weeks are on sale . . . for 80% off.

I love those moments.

Thankfully, today was one of those “on the up and up” days for me. Finally. I hate to sound pessimistic, but positive days have been few and far between for me and my family these past few months. (Or more, but I won’t get into THAT). However, I didn’t think that would be the case when I woke up this morning . . . if you can even call it that.

I went to bed last night thinking that I would hit my pillow and be out like a light. Not the case. I think I may have clocked in a good two hours of restless sleep at best, and if you know anything about me, lack of sleep does not a happy Dallas make.

I was surrounded by a groggy fog the entire morning. My visit to the doctor’s office consisted of an occasional mumble and nod, and my morning to-do list was slowly checked off while I fought the urge to crawl back into bed. I couldn’t afford to risk falling asleep and plunging deeper into a hazy daze, because 1) naps only leave me feeling more distraught and out of sorts IF I can even slow my brain down enough to sleep, and 2) I had to go to the gym.

However, as much as my energy was lagging, the gym proved to be my first happy pick-me-up of the day.

Why?

This girl got to lead the class today. And yes, I did kick their butts. It was an absolute blast. I have to admit, I was nervous going into it, but as soon as we started spinning, I really got into it. It was fantastic to see everyone really work and man, they were sweating! They did make fun of me a bit because I guess I can’t call out cues without a smile. What can I say? I’m a smiley girl.

Anyway, after class I got my next bit of exciting news: I have an interview tomorrow.

That’s right! I can’t say that it’s my dream job or anything, but it is something. It’s all about baby steps remember? The interview itself is with a staffing agency, but the agency does all of the hiring (or most of it) for Nationwide Insurance. So I am supposedly talking with them tomorrow about an Administrative/Clerical position. Cross your fingers for me? Maybe your toes, too? 😉

I wrapped up my evening by registering for my first half marathon: the Santa Hustle.

It takes place at Cedar Point, and we get to run in Santa beards and hats! What a way to kick off the holiday season! (Have I mentioned how much I love Christmas? I’m pretty much infatuated with the season. So jolly and merry . . . oh, I can’t wait). I am running with my friend Kelly, so that will make it even better. Although, she is a crazy good runner. So I might be left in her dust. But hey, I will be happy as long as I finish. I need to start training!

Oh, and I also squeezed in some therapeutic baking this evening. You’re going to love this recipe folks. Since we had about three huge bags of these hanging around:

I decided to make: Pistachio Shortbread

So buttery and nutty. Ohhhhhh yeeahhhhh. This is one for the books. And so easy!

PHOTO

This recipe comes compliments of King Arthur Flour.

I am a major fan of their flour. Ever since I first tried baking with their flour, I just can’t buy anything else. It’s the best there is. That’s all I can say. Their website and blog also has killer recipes.

Exhibit A:

And there’s more where that came from! So definitely check it out.

Well, I am off to try to catch up on sleep!

Question of the day:

  • What’s the best way you have found to brighten your mood?

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Hubba Hubba

Happy Friday! Haha! If you’re like me, this is how you feel when Friday night rolls around:

I snuck this picture the other night when my family finally returned home from the Gma’s. Can you tell the week’s events took a lot out of us? Or at least Ellie and Poppa. They are two of a kind . . . Ellie boo sure does love her Poppa Bear.

Well, although it is the end of the week, I can’t say it feels very much like a Friday to me. All my days have blended together this last week. Plus, I have to work tomorrow. At least it will be semi-fun though. I am working a wedding, so I always enjoy scoping out the decor, the bride’s dress, and the cake. (If I am lucky, I may even get to snag a sample!)

Today started off pretty typically for me: woke up, applied for jobs, ate breakfast (nothing too interesting, just egg whites and a bit of cereal) . . . you know, the usual. However, Friday does mean spinning! So I headed off to the YMCA around 10:45 to snag a bike and warm up before class.

My work out started out with a nice 20 minute warm up on the elliptical to get the sweat flowing. I did experiment with changing the resistance a bit here and there, which added some variety to my usually-monotone routine. I highly suggest trying this out for yourself if you find that you get bored easily while using a cardio machine.

I then went on to complete Day 17 of Jamie Eason’s LiveFit Trainer program.

I definitely think my chest will feel that tomorrow. That’s a lot of flys!

Then it was spin time. I can’t help it; I am hopelessly addicted.

All that exercise sure did spark my appetite. So when I got home, I threw together a salad and consumed it so fast that I didn’t even remember to take a picture. Oops! In my concoction went: lettuce, spinach, broccoli, pickle, grape tomatoes, and turkey. (Dipped in Parmesan dressing, of course).

While I was eating, I remembered that I had yet another delicious treat to share with y’all! My friend, Katie, threw a party last Friday in honor of her fiance’s graduation from Officer Training School. Since I am the go-to sweets girl, she asked if I would bake something for the event. Since her fiance, Caleb, loves anything chocolate and peanut butter, I made my Crispy Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups (they were a big hit). However, I didn’t stop there. I threw together something that I have been itching to make for quite some time now:

Chubby Hubby Bars

I, of course, was once again reminded of my naivety in regards to the name of these bars.

As he was eating a bar, a friend joked, “So, does that mean that eating these will make your hubby get chubby?”

I responded, “Haha, I suppose if he ate too many.” You know, I thought he meant that in reference to gaining weight by eating too many . . .

My friend Sarah just looked at me and then burst out laughing. “Dallas, not that kind of chubby . . . A chubby.” She went on to explain that these “chubby” is quite the double entendre. Haha! Whoops! At least my friends got a chuckle at me expense.

Anyway, I think you will really enjoy these bars. Sweet with just the right amount of salty snap!

I found this recipe on Cookies & Cups and pretty much followed the recipe exactly as written. The only thing I changed was that I subbed chopped milk chocolate and peanut butter chips for the Reese’s PB Cups, but that’s only because I did not have any on hand. The result was fantastic though. So if you don’t have any PB cups on hand, this turned out to be a great alternative. Also, I am sure anything that you would like to add would be fantastic! M&M’s, white chocolate chips, Kit Kat bars, etc. You can use your imagination- or just go off what you have in your cabinet.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 C AP flour
  • 1 C butter, room temp.
  • 1 C brown sugar
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp course sea salt
  • 1 1/2 C coarsely chopped pretzels
  • 2 C coarsely chopped Reese’s cups (or 2 C of chopped milk chocolate and pb chips)
  • 1 (14 oz) bag of caramels (make sure to unwrap them!)
  • 2 T water
  • 2 C semi sweet chocolate chips, melted

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray
  • Beat together butter and sugars until fluffy
  • Add eggs and vanilla
  • Slowly add in salt, baking soda, and flour (I combined these in a separate bowl first)
  • Slowly add in Reese’s cups (or alternative) and pretzels. I folded these into the batter with a spatula.
  • Spread batter into pan and bake for about 25 min. (I went for 23)
  • Let cool completely. About 30 min to an hour. (I let mine cool a bit on a wire rack and then stuck it in the fridge for a bit)
  • Melt caramels and 2 T of water in a microwave safe bowl. Stir every minute until melted- mine took about 2 min.
  • Pour caramel over bars.
  • Chill in fridge for about 15 min. (until set)
  • Melt chocolate chips and spread over bars.

  • Put back in fridge for about 30 min. or until chocolate is set.
  • Cut into squares and have at ’em.

Mmmmmm. Look at that ooey gooey caramel. So so so good. These certainly were a highlight at the party. Both the taste of them and their name . . . Yes, were are in our 20’s if you can believe it.

Questions of the Day:

  •  Have you ever found yourself unknowingly caught in a joke?
  • What’s the best dessert you have made for a party to date?

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Brown Butter Toasted Coconut Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

As promised, I have yet another scrumptious recipe for you to sink your teeth in to.

Brown Butter Toasted Coconut Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

These were the result of my anxious baking spree last week. While the circumstances of my baking frenzy were certainly not happy, my bounty of sugary wonderfulness was enjoyed by many. The staff at the nursing home were particularly grateful. Oh, and my Uncle B wasted no time in digging in when he got into town.

I really believe these are some of the best cookies I have ever made. Seriously.

I can’t remember where I found the recipe, but it is a good one! I wish I could call it my own, but alas, it is someone else’s genius.

Brown Butter Toasted Coconut Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 C unsalted butter- melted and browned
  • 1 C sugar
  • 3/4 C brown sugar
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 C AP Flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2-3/4 tsp salt (I went in between!)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 C toasted coconut (I used sweetened, grated)
  • 1 C dark chocolate chips or chunks (I chopped up Malley’s dark chocolate!)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • On a baking sheet, spread out coconut. Toast for about 6 minutes- until browned and fragrant. Watch closely so that it doesn’t burn. Remove from oven and place in a bowl to cool.
  • Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. The butter will begin to foam and crackle. Once the crackling subsides, watch the butter closely. The butter solids will begin to brown quickly. Once it is browned, remove it from heat and pour into a bowl to cool.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside for the moment.
  • In the bowl of your mixer, beat together butter and brown sugar.
  • Add egg and yolk, beat well.
  • Add vanilla extract.
  • With mixer on low, beat in dry ingredients until just combined.
  • Fold in coconut and chocolate. (Dough should be pretty thick).
  • Spoon tablespoon sized balls of dough onto baking sheets.
  • Bake for about 10 minutes. (I started with 8 minutes and went from there- I like mine on the underdone side).
  • Let cookies cool on the pan for a few minutes, then transfer them to cool completely on wire rack.
  • EAT! (Store those you don’t in an airtight container).

You will not be able to stop eating these. Nor will your friends. They might even help you make new ones.

You can thank me later.

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The Unexpected Expected

The last 24 hours have been immensely emotional, to say the least.

As bible study was wrapping up last night, I realized that I had missed a call from my grandmother (aka: Gma). Alarms and sirens immediately began blasting in my head because she had called me earlier that afternoon to tell me that my grandpa (aka: Gpa) was not doing well. He had not gotten out of bed and had been put on antibiotics for congestion. Wait, maybe I should back up a bit, eh?

Over the past few years, Gpa has suffered several strokes, and he is now living in a great 24-hour care facility. He has been quite a trooper though. He has persevered through several falls, illnesses, breathing issues, etc. As Madre says, “he has the constitution of an ox.” However, things have gotten progressively worse over the last month or two. So when Gma called yesterday afternoon, my heart immediately sank to my stomach. I knew this was not a good sign.

When I realized I had missed another call from Gma, I immediately called Madre to get the scoop. (I can’t say why I didn’t just call Gma first. Maybe I was too scared to hear.) Anyway, Madre informed me that Gpa had come down with pneumonia, and the nurses were calling hospice. I am so embarrassed, but tears immediately began streaming down my cheeks as I heard this. In front of EVERYONE. (The HORROR). I couldn’t help it. I mean, I have been preparing myself for this type of news . . . but you never really are ready. You know?  Well, once I got back home from bible study, Madre left to make the 2 hour drive to my grandparents’ town. I had to stay at home due to the lack of sleeping room at Gma’s.

As you can imagine, today has been nothing but tense muscles and sad sighs. I actually have a love-hate relationship with my phone at the moment. Every time I hear that swoosh sound that signals a text, I hold my breath. Gahhhhhh.

At the moment, Gpa is holding steady. He is on strong antibiotics, but hospice does not know if he is strong enough to pull through this time. So if you are willing, my family would truly appreciate your prayers (or well-wishes, or thoughts, or whatever you prefer).

Since Madre is comforting Gma and Poppa is working, I had to find ways to keep myself (mostly my mind) preoccupied. So what did I do? (after going to the gym, of course)

I BAKED.

Yup. Definitely my motto today.

The silver lining is that my sugary frenzy produced some purely delicious recipes to share.

The first:

Chocolate Banana Swirl Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

Batter:

  • 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 C) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 C sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 C cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 mashed extra-ripe bananas
  • 1/4 C cocoa powder (I like Hershey’s Dutch process)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Beat butter and sugar until thoroughly combined.
  • Add eggs one at a time.
  • Add vanilla and mix until well combined.
  • Add flour, baking powder, baking soda. Mix well.
  • Divide the batter equally between two bowls.
  • Add the mashed banana to one bowl and the cocoa powder to the other.
  • Place paper liners in a muffin/cupcake pan.
  • Fill one side of each cup with banana batter and the other with cocoa powder.

  • Swirl batter together with toothpick.

  • Bake for about 15 minutes.
  • Cool completely before frosting.

Frosting:

  • 1 stick (1/2 C) of unsalted butter, room temp.
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened (I used reduced fat)
  • 1/2 C creamy peanut butter (natural pb not recommended)
  • 4 C powdered sugar
  • 1 T milk

Directions:

  • Beat butter until softened.
  • Add cream cheese and whip well.
  • Add peanut butter, whip.
  • Add powdered sugar 1 C at a time.
  • Add milk slowly.
  • Beat on high speed until nice and fluffy.
  • Frost those cupcakes! 🙂

I even made little mini me cupcakes with my extra banana batter!

This batter was thinner than the cocoa one, so why not make little baby banana cupcakes? Just dollop any leftover bater into a mini muffin tin. Oh! That peanut butter frosting!!!!! Your taste buds will be giddy with glee. SO DE-LISH!

Well, this girl is tired from all that worrying and baking! I will share my second scrumpdidiliumptious recipe tomorrow!

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