Thursday, October 1, 2015

Monkey Muffins

These muffins have so many flavors I LOVE...peanut butter, chocolate, and banana! I got this recipe from my neighbor Michelle, and I'm so glad I did, because these muffins are seriously good! My kids took them to school for snack all of last week, and were so sad when they were gone. Such a good way to use up your bananas that have been sitting on the counter for too long. 

Monkey Muffins
adapted from
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup plus 1 TBSP sugar, divided
2 eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
2/3 cup peanut butter
1 TBSP milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

1. In a large bowl, cream butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the bananas, peanut butter, milk and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture just until moistened. Fold in chips.
2. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Serve warm. Makes 18 muffins.

Note: For mini muffins bake at 350° for 14-16 minutes.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Skillet Sweet Potatoes

I like having these skillet sweet potatoes as an alternate side sometimes, instead of boring old french fries. You can make them spicy with cayenne pepper, or try them with a little cinnamon. They are also great for breakfast.

Skillet Sweet Potatoes
2 sweet potatoes
1 TBSP oil
1 tsp salt
2 tsps dried parsley
Cayenne pepper OR ground cinnamon to taste

1. Peel and cube sweet potatoes into about 1/2 inch pieces.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the potatoes.
3. Stir the potatoes to coat with oil. Add the salt, parsley, and cayenne OR cinnamon. Mix well.
4. Cook the potatoes, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes until crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Serve hot. Top with more salt if desired.

Serves 4

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Date and Cashew Snack Bars

No sugar in these! Can you believe it?! I love having them in the fridge because when I feel like a snack, I pop one in my mouth, and don't feel guilty. My kids like them too and I have to keep telling them they are MY snacks! If you're looking for something healthy and naturally sweet, give these a try.

Date and Cashew Snack Bars
2 cups pitted dates
3/4 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup natural nut butter (peanut, almond, or cashew)
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 TBSPs cocoa powder
1 pinch salt

1. Line a 8 inch or 9 inch square dish with parchment paper.
2. Add all ingredients into a food processor or blender and process until the mixture becomes smooth and clumps into a ball, leaving only little pieces of nuts.
3. Dump the mixture into prepared pan.
4. Using your hands, press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the dish.
5. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove the bars from the pan and cut into pieces.

Store them  in an air tight container in the fridge or freezer.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Caprese Chicken Panini

I bought a beautiful basil plant from Trader Joe's! It sat on my porch for a month until I finally decided I had better make use of  it! We had these sandwiches for lunch and they were amazing! I made them in a sandwich press, but you can cook them on the stove top too.

Caprese Chicken Panini
Bread (I sliced up a loaf of french bread)
Fresh mozarella slices
Deli lunch meat chicken
Tomato slices
Basil leaves
Balsamic vinegar
Butter, if desired

Spread a slice of bread with mayo. Layer chicken, tomato slices, basil leaves, mozarella. Drizzle mozarella with a little balsamic vinegar. Top the sandwich with another slice of bread. Butter the outer sides of the bread, if desired, and cook them in a sandwich press or a skillet on the stove top until golden.

Here's the cheese I used. It had a $1.00 off coupon attached. ;)

Friday, August 28, 2015


We love breakfast for dinner! It's almost like eating dessert, especially with a dish like this! Crepes are easy to make. The hardest part is standing in front of the stove and cooking them when all you want to do is eat them! You can make them sweet or savory. This is a sweet version, but if you wanted to try them with a savory filling, you can leave out the sugar and vanilla. After making the batter, it's best to refrigerate it for at least an hour. This helps the crepes not to tear when flipping, but if you don't have the time, you can skip that step.

2 cups flour
3 eggs
1 TBSP oil
2 C milk
3 TBSPs sugar
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

1. Combine ingredients in a blender and mix until well combined.
2. Refrigerate batter for 1 hour or overnight.
3. Heat a 10 inch round nonstick pan over med-high heat. Spray pan with nonstick cooking spray.
4. Pour about 1/4 cup of batter into pan. Swirl pan to evenly spread out batter. Cook until it starts to turn golden on the bottom, about 1 minute, and then flip gently with a spatula. Cook for about 30 more seconds. Repeat with remaining batter.

Makes about 14 crepes

Here's what I put in mine! That pink stuff is strawberry cream cheese. YUM!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Slow Cooker Greek Yogurt

I love using my slow cooker! I never would have imagined that I could use it to make yogurt!! My sister and mom have been making this, and after trying it at my parents house, I decided I needed to make it myself. It takes quite a bit of time, but is easy, and totally worth it. Plain Greek yogurt is like a blank canvas. You can turn it into anything! It works in smoothies and even as sour cream. I followed guidelines on The Tasty Cheapskate but I'm posting instructions for exactly how I make it. I have a few notes and pictures of the steps at the bottom. 

Greek Yogurt
1 gallon of 2% milk
1/2 cup plain yogurt (store bought, or reserved from previous batch)
Slow Cooker
Flour sack towel or thin, fuzz-free tea towel
Large strainer

1. Pour 1 gallon of milk into slow cooker. Cover and cook on high until it reaches 180 degrees. This can take anywhere between 2-4 hours. It takes me just about 3 hours.
2. After milk reaches 180 degrees, remove lid and turn off the slow cooker. Let it sit until the milk cools to 110 degrees. This takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes to 1 hour and 45 minutes. Skim the film off of the top with a fork.
3. Once the milk has reached 110 degrees, scoop the 1/2 cup of plain yogurt into a bowl. Ladle some of the cooled milk into the bowl and whisk to combine. Pour the milk mixture back into the the slow cooker and stir it in.
4. Turn on the oven to 170 degrees. Let it heat up for a couple of minutes and then turn it off. Put the lid back on the slow cooker and take the crock out of the base of the slow cooker and place it in the oven. Let it sit for 6-8 hours.
5. After the time has passed, remove the yogurt from the oven. Reserve 1/2 a cup for next batch (if desired) and refrigerate.
6. Spread the towel in the bottom of the strainer. Ladle the yogurt into the strainer and set in the the sink or in a large bowl to drain. Let it drain for 5 hours. Scrape the sides and bottom with a spoon or spatula a couple of times during this step to keep things flowing.
7. Scoop out the yogurt and refrigerate. DONE!

Makes about 5 cups of yogurt and 8 cups of whey.
Lasts about 2 weeks in the fridge.

My Notes:
I start this about 6pm. That has me putting it in the oven at about 11pm and then taking it our for the next step at 7am, and finishing at noon.
I put my strainer on top of an upside down plastic container and set it in a large bowl. You can just leave the strainer in the sink to drain, but make sure no one turns on the water!!
Next time I'm going to try adding vanilla bean.

 Milk heating up.

 180 degrees

 Cooling down with my specially rigged thermometer.

 Into the oven.


Look at all the whey!

 Either toss this or get creative.

Finished Yogurt

Monday, August 3, 2015

Blueberry Scones

I LOVE scones and these are amazing! They are fluffy and not dry, like a yummy biscuit, and not too sweet. I used blueberries because I currently have an abundance, but you could add any fresh or frozen fruit . Even without the addition fruit these are great, especially if you're lucky enough to have a little clotted cream on hand. 

Blueberry Scones
adapted from 
2 cups flour
2 tsps baking powder
3 TBSPs sugar
1/2 tsp salt
6 TBSPs cold butter, cut into TBSP sized pieces
1 cup heavy cream plus 1 TBSP
1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 TBSP milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract or lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet with baking mat or parchment paper and set aside.
2. In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Whisk to combine.
3. With a fork or pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture until each piece is coated and the size of small peas.
 4. Pour 1 cup heavy cream over mixture and stir gently with rubber spatula just until dough begins to form. Do not over mix.
5. Fold in blueberries.
6. Over lightly floured surface, knead dough a few times until you can form a ball. Flatten out dough into 8 inch circle.
7. Transfer circle to baking sheet and cut into 8 triangles.
8. Brush the top of each scone with remaining 1 TBSP of cream.
9. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until scones begin turning golden brown around the edges.
10. While scones are baking, mix powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla OR lemon juice in a small bowl. After scones have been removed from oven, drizzle glaze over the top. Serve warm.