Recipe // No Bake Sweet & Salty Bars

NoBakeBars-2This recipe had me at “no bake”, but officially won my heart over with the combination of sweet (chocolate and peanut butter) and salty (pretzels). It really just doesn’t get any better.

NoBakeBarsNo Bake Sweet & Salty Bars:

nonstick cooking spray
aluminum foil
2 cups creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
4-6 cups pretzel twists
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Line a 13×9 pan with foil making sure to leave overhang at the ends. Lightly spray the foil with cooking spray. In a large mixer bowl, beat together 1 1/4 cups peanut butter and butter until creamy. Gradually beat in 1 cup powdered sugar. Stir in the remaining 1 cup powdered sugar, 3 cups pretzel pieces, and 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Press evenly into the prepared pan with a spatula.

Microwave remaining 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips and 3/4 cup peanut butter in a medium, microwave-safe bowl on MED-HIGH for 45 seconds; stir. If necessary, microwave in additional 10-15 second intervals, stirring just until chocolate chips are melted. Spread this chocolate layer evenly over the powdered sugar mixture in the pan.

Sprinkle with the remaining pretzel pieces, pressing down lightly. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or until firm. Lift foil from the pan and peel off. Cut into 60 pieces and store in a covered container in the refrigerator. (Note: this get melty quickly, so I froze mine for an hour before placing out at party).

Nutella Puppy Chow

NutellaPuppyChow-2Nutella never touched my very picky palette until we traveled overseas. I was a devoted peanut butter fanatic with zero desire to change. Then I tried it and my world changed. I know I don’t have to tell you because I’m sure you already know, but Nutella is basically the perfect combination between chocolate and peanut butter. Now, let’s get something straight. Peanut Butter is still my homeboy, my #1 spread of choice, my I-need-a-quick-snack-with-a-spoon go to, but Nutella is no longer the enemy. Plus, it added just the perfect amount of flavor and spin to the ever classic puppy chow. Oh, dessert deliciousness.

NutellaPuppyChowNutella Puppy Chow:

2/3 cup Nutella
1/4 cup butter
1 cup chocolate chips
9 cups Rice Chex cereal
2-3 cups powdered sugar (depending on how much you like)

Melt Nutella, butter, and chocolate chips at 30 second increments (about 90-120 sec) in a microwave safe bowl until all ingredients can be mixed smooth. In a large bowl, add Rice Chex cereal and top with Nutella mixture until cereal is evenly coated. Place 1 cup of powdered sugar into a large Ziploc bag or Tupperware container, pour in coated cereal, and top with an additional cup of powdered sugar. Shake till you can’t shake no more. Add in any additional powdered sugar to your liking. Store in an airtight Tupperware container.

Skinny Vanilla Mocha Frappe

I received a Magic Bullet this past Christmas. My original intention with it was breakfast smoothies, very simple. I never realized the wonders that the Magic Bullet would bring into my life! It comes with a little book of recipes – salsa, hummus, baby food, scrambled eggs, soups galore, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese … this list could go on and on. This past Sunday I wasn’t ready to move into the food category, but I thought it was the perfect day to test the waters with a recipe I found (where else?) on Pinterest. It’s basically a homemade version of my beloved Starbucks® Mocha Frappuccino® Light. Brilliant! It was a great afternoon treat: delicious, refreshing and relatively easy to make. I think it will be my go to treat this summer, making the coffee pre-beach and enjoying the frappe post-beach. Enjoy!!

Skinny Vanilla Mocha Frappe

Frappe

Original recipe: Peanut Butter & Peppers

Ingredients:

  • 1 heaping teaspoon instant coffee – I used regular coffee, see Notes below
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 packet stevia or 1 tbsp. sugar (to taste)

Directions:

  1. In a cup mix coffee and water and stir until combined. Place in a shallow container, cover and freeze for approximately 4 hours or overnight.
  2. Once coffee is frozen, place in a blender with the milk, vanilla, stevia and cocoa powder. Blend until combined.

Notes:

  • You do not need to use instant coffee, you can brew a strong cup of your favorite coffee and freeze it, just make sure it’s 1 1/2 cups.
  • If coffee is to frozen for your blender to handle let it sit on the counter for a few minutes to thaw out.

Calories: 43.3, Fat: 0, Sodium: 65, Carbs: 7, Sugar: 6, Protein: 4.2

What’s your favorite afternoon snack? 
XO
Kate

Monster Cookies

I try to eat healthy and always explore new quick and easy AND healthy recipes. BUT…

Confession: I have a sweet tooth.

At times, I also have willpower, but recently the sweet tooth has been winning. My sweet tooth is a major fan of cookies. And in the cookies category, you truly cannot go wrong with Monster Cookies. Unless you’re dealing with a peanut allergy (peanut butter is an ingredient!) these cookies are a MAJOR hit at any event, across the board: work potluck, girls night, post-dinner party treat, baby shower, family dinner, a random Tuesday night… seriously. TRY THEM!

Monster Cookies

MC1

Original recipe: The Food Network

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 12-ounce jar creamy peanut butter
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup multi-colored chocolate candies
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup raisins, optional
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 4 1/2 cups quick-cooking oatmeal (not instant)

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or non-stick baking mats.
  3. In a very large mixing bowl, combine the eggs and sugars. Mix well.
  4. Add the salt, vanilla, peanut butter, and butter. Mix well.
  5. Stir in the chocolate candies, chocolate chips, raisins, if using, baking soda, and oatmeal.
  6. Drop by tablespoons 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets.
  7. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Do not over bake.
  8. Let stand for about 3 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool.

MC2

MMMMM! What’s your go-to cookie recipe?
XO,
Kate

Healthy Snacking

Congratulations! You officially made it through the 2012 festive feasting season. Studies show that the average American gains 1-2 pounds during the holiday season. And, those extra pounds tend to become permanent baggage. Yikes! Whether or not healthy eating, working out or weight loss was in your 2013 resolution, it’s time to get back on the horse.

Personally, one of the hardest parts of this time of year is going from constantly stuffing my face back to normal eating habits. I’m always hungry. My recommendation? Healthy snacks to help you through the day. Here’s one easy recipe idea, as well as 10 other snack ideas:

No Bake Energy Bites

No Bake Energy Bites

Original recipe: thetwentysixthyear // Gimme Some Oven

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (dry) oatmeal (I used old-fashioned oats)
  • 1 cup toasted coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Instructions: 

  1. Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed.
  2. Let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.
  3. Once chilled, roll into balls. Mine were about 1″ in diameter.
  4. Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Makes 18 bites. Serving size is 1 bite, approximately 148 calories.

Substitution Options:

  • Replace peanut butter with any nut butter (almond butter, sunflower seed butter, etc.)
  • Replace chocolate chips with chopped dried fruit, dried berries, chopped almonds, pecans or sunflower seeds or any other chips (butterscotch, dark chocolate, etc)
  • Do not replace the honey – it holds everything together!

No Bake 2

Other healthy snacking ideas, listed as per serving:

  1. Cherry tomatoes (9)
  2. Cucumber slices (1/4 whole cucumber) + hummus (1/4 cup)
  3. Tiny twist pretzels (18)
  4. Baby carrots (3/4 to 1 cup)
  5. Banana (1) .. alone or add peanut butter (2 Tbsp)
  6. Quaker white cheddar rice cakes (2)
  7. Apple (1) .. alone or add peanut butter (2 Tbsp)
  8. Chobani greek yogurt (1 cup)
  9. Edamame (1/2 cup)
  10. Sugar free hot chocolate (1 packet) — perfect this time of year!!

Happy 2013!!
XO,
Kate