Peanut Butter Candy Corn Pretzels

Here’s a fun Halloween recipe for all of those candy lovers out there. Theses treats are easy to make and only take about 10 minutes from start to finish. Here’s the recipe.

YUM!

YUM!

Ingredients:

1 bag of Mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

1 bag of Candy Corn

1 bag of pretzels (I like the square ones but you can use any kind, just make sure they are small)

Treats!

Treats!

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Cover baking sheet with a piece of tin foil (so candy won’t stick to baking sheet).

3. Evenly space pretzels on baking sheet so there is a little space between each.

4. Cut Mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in half. Place one half on top of each pretzel.

Give yourself about a pointer-finger-sized space in between pretzels so they don't melt together.

Give yourself about a pointer-finger-sized space in between pretzels so they don’t melt together.

5. Place baking sheet in oven for 5 – 7 minutes or until chocolate is melted. They should be squishy, but not so melted that the chocolate starts spreading off of the pretzel.

6. While chocolate is stilled melted, press one candy corn on each pretzel.

7. Place baking sheet in the fridge for about an hour, or until candy in solid again.

8. Eat all the candy!!!! Nom nom.

Happy Halloween!

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Best Weekend Ever

I did 2 AMAZING things this weekend.

Amazing Thing #1 – I baked banana bread without eggs. And it was still delicious. Here’s how it went down:

chocolate-chip-banana-bread

My roommates and I have approximately 10-15 old bananas frozen in our freezer. I have trained them both to throw bananas that are over-ripe into the freezer because they make the best banana bread. But we reached a critical point where there were so many bananas that at least one fell out every time you opened the freezer door. So when the mood to bake finally struck me this weekend, I stopped off  for some chocolate chips, thinking that I had all of the other ingredients to make banana bread at home.

Wrong. We had no eggs. For once we actually tried to be normal human beings and cleaned out our fridge. Which meant that someone tossed my 1/2 dozen eggs that had been in there since Christmas. I’m not sure how long it takes for eggs to go bad, but I think mine had reached the limit and then some. The only thing is, I am a naturally lazy person. And this whole no egg situation meant that I either had to leave my house to get eggs or make the sad decision not to bake banana bread that night.

Wrong again! Using the magical power of the internet, I googled “egg-free banana bread” and found this delicious recipe. I was worried at first that it would taste weird because I am generally skeptical of anything that claims to be “vegan” or “healthy,” but the bread proved to as yummy as ever. Here’s the recipe if you want to give it a try:

Egg-less Banana Bread w/ Chocolate Chips

**Note: if you add in ample chocolate chips (which is the only way to make banana bread), this recipe is no longer vegan.

1/4 cup canola oil

1 snack-sized container of applesauce (about 1/3 cup if you’re an adult who doesn’t eat applesauce out of to-go containers)

3/4 cup white sugar

1 & 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

3 very ripe mashed bananas

1 cup chocolate chips (again, optional, but c’mon . . . you know you want them)

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1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8×4 inch pan.

2. If your bananas are frozen, place in microwave for 1-2 minutes on defrost. It’s okay if they get mushy, this helps you mash them. 

3. In a large bowl, mix the canola oil, applesauce, and sugar. Then sift in the flour, baking soda, and salt. Finally, blend in the mashed bananas and chocolate chips. Stir well. 

4. Pour mixture into pan. Bake for 60 minutes or until not batter sticks to a toothpick.

5. EAT YUM YUM!

And now that I’ve shared this easy banana bread recipe, onto the more important event from this weekend . . .

Amazing Thing #2 – I went to a One Direction and 5 Seconds of Summer Concert. Judge me if you want! I don’t care. It was glorious. And I loved every minute of it. “And we danced all night to the best song ever . . .”

1D collage

Amazing Discovery – I Like Oatmeal!

Last night, I made a life-changing discovery – I like oatmeal.

Oatmeal with Nutella mixed in that is.

A 13 oz. jar of Nutella is $3.59. A little expensive, but worth the deliciousness.

A 13 oz. jar of Nutella is $3.59. A little expensive, but worth the deliciousness.

If you’re wondering, I still have some of that instant oatmeal that I bought 2 or 3 months left over. I can’t throw it out, but I can’t bring myself to eat it either. Then a few days ago I came across this Buzzfeed: http://www.buzzfeed.com/suzefigs/15-ways-to-eat-more-oatmeal-9ynr

Although some of the recipes are pretty basic, and some are just downright frightening (what the HECK is pan-seared oatmeal?! Or zucchini oatmeal bread?), I was intrigued by the idea of Nutella in oatmeal. I would make the consistency less soggy. And Nutella is quite possibly the most delicious thing in the world.

Last night I was super brave. I made some plain instant oatmeal. I mixed in ample Nutella. The results were OUT OF THIS WORLD. It was chocolately, hazelnutty, not too thick but not too soggy. It was delicious. The Nutella may have erased any nutritional value that the oatmeal had, but it was worth it. I highly recommend it.

Here’s the recipe (you can pretty much figure it out on your own but just in case):

1 packet plain instant oatmeal

1/2 cup milk

1-2 tablespoons of Nutella (or as much as you want . . . go crazy!)

Heat the milk in a small sauce pan until boiling. Reduce heat to medium-high and stir in oats. Keep stirring, and removing from the heat to stop it from over boiling until the oats have absorbed most of the milk. Remove from the burner and stir in the Nutella. Try not to stuff it all in your face at once.

**Bonus hint – you can also use peanut butter! Might not curb your chocolate craving, but if you had extra hanging around or didn’t have Nutella it would be a good substitute.

Here I am just enjoying some oatmeal. :)

Here I am just enjoying some oatmeal. 🙂

Hope you enjoy this cheap, easy recipe.

 

I Did A Juice Cleanse. It Was Awful.

Reasons why I thought I could do a 3-day juice cleanse:

–          I sort of like vegetables. They’re not the worst. And I love fruit.

–          There are 6 veggie and fruit packed juice drinks a day. I won’t be hungry!

–          My friend Julia from downstairs did it and LOVED it.

–          It will charge my body with so many nutrients, I will feel GREAT! I will be so healthy and detoxified.

–          If my roommate Lucy can do it, so can I!

–          Why not?!

When I first discussed doing a juice cleanse with my roommate, I felt very confident that I could do it, no problem. Probably because it was a week away. And while we were talking about it I was eating pretzel chips (everything flavored . . . YUM!) so it was hard to remember was it feels like to be hungry.

I was even pretty sure juicing was a good idea when we went to the store and bought all the ingredients. I love drinking out of Mason Jars! So obviously drinking kale, cucumbers, romaine lettuce, and ginger all juiced up out of a Mason Jar will be fun . . . as fun as drinking white wine . . . right?

The day before the cleanse I was still pretty confident. I told my mom about it really casually. I was all, “Yeah, I’m going to try a juice cleanse. Lucy and I are doing it. I might eat if I get hungry but I think it will be good to get all the vitamins and what not.” So smooth.

It wasn’t until 9:00 PM the night before we started that I got really nervous and realized I wasn’t sure about this whole juice thing. Lucy and I went downstairs to start juicing with Julia and that’s when I got really quiet and began convincing myself that it was impossible (inner panic attack!) It’s just SO MANY VEGETABLES. Can I really survive for 3 days just on liquefied veggies?

image

So I told myself I would do the juice thing for one day. Just to give it a try. Just one day. You can do anything for one day. Or can you . . .

Day 1

Monday February 24, 2014

6:30AM – My alarm goes off. I realize I don’t have to make/eat breakfast or pack a lunch so I now have 15 minutes of my morning routine where I have nothing to do. I lay awkwardly in my bed, check Instagram, and try not to think about how much I really want coffee.

6:45 AM – I decide to get up and pack my juices. I magically fit all 4 mason jars into my lunch box. This must be a good sign!

6:47 AM – I pack a banana and a granola bar . . . just in case!

6:48 AM – I take the first sip of the “green juice.” EGHHHHBELEEEGGHHHHH! It tastes like I am drinking a salad. A salad made out of celery and grass. This is not good.

7:10 AM – I drive to work without drinking any more of my green juice. I will drink it at the office for sure, I tell myself. And I’m not even that hungry . . . The other juices will be better . . . (LIES!)

7:54 AM – I sit at my desk trying to sip from the green juice and then chase with water. I send this selfie to Julia (juice guru) and Lucy (poor, hungry roomie also trying cleanse for first time).

image

8:30 AM – Lucy is feeling my pain. Julia thinks the green juice is delicious. I am worried about her.

8:57 AM – I contemplate just not finishing the first juice and going right to the second one. #2 is made out of pineapple, green apple, and mint. That has to be better right? Or maybe I’ll just eat the banana . . . NO! I can’t give up after just one juice . . . must resist . . . PS since when were bananas so appetizing?

9:06 AM – Julia says she thinks by tomorrow I will like the taste of the green juice because the cleanse is retraining my taste buds. Tomorrow? HAHAHAHAHA. By tomorrow I will have stuffed my face with donuts. And bacon. And chips. And candy. And milk. And ice cream. And pizza.

9:10 AM – I go to my lunch box in the break room and take out the banana. It’s currently sitting on my desk, mocking me. I am not desperate enough to eat it yet, but I think I might be getting light-headed.

9:31 AM – I eat the banana. Official time on juice cleanse without eating solid food = 3 hours and 1 minute. #fatkidproblems

9:35 AM – Banana guilt sets in. I will not give up! I will keep trying. I do feel better with that banana in my tummy though . . .

9:46 AM – I re-read the instructions for the cleanse online. How are other people drinking this green crap? They are crazy. As my coworker so helpfully pointed out, it looks like pond scum.

9:58 AM – I (sort of) finish the green juice. But then I remember that I have to drink that one again today as my 3rd juice. WHY?!?!?!?!

10:03 AM – The second juice is actually yummy! This may be because it is the only one without any vegetables in it . . . utoh . . . whatever I’m just excited that I like one of the juices.

10:11 AM – I confess to Lucy and Julia that I ate the banana. I am called a “traitor.” I regret nothing.

11:20 AM – Lucy drinks the wrong juice. It is possible that I mixed up the time labels on her mason jars. She is worried she might die. Why is juicing so complicated?

11:34 AM – Julia confirms that Lucy will not die as a result of incorrect juicing. Phew!

11:36 AM – I eat the granola bar I packed. The chocolate chips in it are glorious!

12:00 PM – On my lunch break, I go to Hannaford and buy lunch. And chips. And milk. I have officially failed at the juice cleanse. FAILED. **cue dramatic music here**

Although ultimately the whole juicing thing did not work out for me, I think it was an interesting experiment. In retrospect, I probably should have guessed that chugging lots of vegetables all day and not eating solid food would be an issue for me. I am the same girl who cannot eat real Greek yogurt; I eat Chobani Champions and pretend it’s the same thing. And I am also the girl who literally has to eat every hour that I am awake or I get cranky. I am the definition of hangry.

But I am very proud of myself for trying something new and eating outside of my food box (I didn’t enjoy it but at least I tried!).  And I ended up with one new juice recipe that I liked, so that’s a win! If you’re curious about the juice cleanse instructions we followed or interested in seeing the juice recipes, here is the site we used http://www.carriebradshawlied.com/2013/07/diy-blueprintcleanse.html .

Things I learned from my failed attempt to do a juice cleanse:

  1. JUICE CLEANSES ARE NOT FOR EVERYONE! I learned that I am not a juicing person. Maybe you have more will power than I do. Maybe you are not a baby and can go for more than 2 hours without eating. But I cannot. I will take my heavily processed Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal over a kale smoothie for breakfast any day!
  2. The most useful thing I learned from this adventure is that you can get really cheap vegetables at Asian Markets! We went to a local Asian Market and bought the following super long list of fruits and veggies for only $21:

30 ribs of celery

6 cucumbers

18 kale leaves

18 romaine leaves

1 bag of spinach

12 green apples

10 lemons

15 carrots

6 beets

1 pineapple

9 oz. unsalted cashews

Fresh ginger

Mint

That’s amazing! The same list at a regular chain grocery store would be upwards of $50. So whether you’re doing a juice cleanse or just trying to stock up your fridge with healthy snacks, check out your local Asian Market for low-price, fresh fruits and veggies.

  1. The other fun fact I learned during the juice cleanse experiment? Plain cashews are actually delicious! No salt or roasting is necessary. Plain cashews not salty like you’d expect them to be, but kind of sweet and crunchy. Try them!
  2. Julia and Lucy are crazy awesome at juicing. Shout out to them for actually doing this juice cleanse for 3 DAYS. You two are amazing.

Have you ever done a juice cleanse? Were you as terrible at it as I am? I’d love to hear about your experience. Feel free to leave comments.

White Chocolate Covered Oreos

Looking for a deliciously yummy Valentine’s treat that’s easy on your wallet and baking skills? Try this recipe for White Chocolate Covered Oreos! I made some last night and they are the best. I used white chocolate and pink sprinkles so they look festive but you can do whatever color combo you like. They were so simple to make it was almost impossible to mess them up (and trust me if anyone can screw up a recipe it’s me! I have burned water before . . . ). So if you’re baking for your sweetheart, friends, or coworkers this February 14th try these!

oreo 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

1 package of Oreos (I got double-stuffed but you can get whatever flavor you prefer!)

2 packages of white chocolate chips ( I started out with only one bag and ended up needing more)

Sprinkles

Directions:

1. Spread Oreos out evenly on cookie sheet.

oreo 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Melt white chocolate. A double boiler over simmering (not boiling) water works best. But if you’re too cheap to buy a double boiler (like me) you can fit a bowl over the top of a regular saucepan to melt the chocolate. Or you can use a microwave. The key to melting chocolate correctly – MAKE SURE IT DOESN’T GET WET! If any liquid gets into the chocolate it will burn, so be careful and take your time.

oreo 3

3. Once chocolate is fully melted and smooth, dip one Oreo into chocolate until it is completely covered. Place the covered Oreo back onto cookie sheet.

4. Shake sprinkles on top of coated Oreo and then repeat for each cookie.

5. Once you have coated and sprinkled all of your Oreos, place cookie sheet into refrigerator for 3-4 hours or until chocolate has completely hardened.

6. Try not to eat all 24 Oreos at once and ENJOY!

oreo 4

 

Happy Valentine’s Day! XOXO

Kelsey’s Special Delicious Oatmeal Treats

I hate oatmeal. It’s gross. It’s goopy and mushy and just straight up yucky. So why did I feel compelled to by a 10 pack of instant oatmeal 2 weeks ago at the grocery store?

Because I want to like it!  That’s why. Nutrition experts say your taste buds change every 7 years, so you should try foods you don’t like occasionally to see if you might like them now. Apparently I defy scientific fact because I have definitely had the same taste buds since age 5. Chicken nuggets – delicious. Cheese sticks – a must have! Oatmeal – bleghhhhhhhhh.

I am, admittedly, a very picky eater. The list of foods I like is much shorter than those I don’t like. But there are a few, simple, healthy foods I don’t like that I keep trying every now and then anyways because life would be easier if I did like them. Like eggs. Or hot dogs. Or oatmeal.

Bode is not impressed by my pickiness. He eats anything. ANYTHING.

Bode is not impressed by my pickiness. He eats anything. ANYTHING.

I made apple cinnamon oatmeal, the oatmeal described to me by other picky eaters as “the only kind they will eat.” It was disgusting. I only ate 2 bites. I even tried one of the maple brown sugar flavors afterwards because it sounded yummy and that was no good either. I should have known better but c’est la vie!

Anyways, my attempted foray into the world of oatmeal-eating left me with an open box of instant oatmeal that was missing two packets. Which led to this conversation in my kitchen the other day –

Me: Why do I buy oatmeal I know I don’t like? It’s so stupid.

Roomie #1: Haha you are so picky! Who doesn’t like oatmeal?

Me: ME! I don’t like oatmeal. Will you eat it? Because I won’t.

Roomie #1: Maybe. I mean eventually I will if you don’t ever eat it.

Me: Is it awkward if I donate the leftover packages to the food pantry? I feel bad because I opened the box.

Roomie #1: Umm I’m not sure. Maybe you shouldn’t. They are individually wrapped though. What if you used them for something else? Like oatmeal cookies or something?

Me: You are the smartest person EVERRRRR!!!!

My favorite breakfast food . . . NAHT.

My favorite breakfast food . . . NAHT.

This is how I got the idea to use my extra oatmeal to make cookies or some sort of granola bar. I surfed the web and finally came up with my own recipe for what turned out to be a no-bake-cookie-granola-bar hybrid. I liked the recipe because it didn’t include chia seeds (yuck!) and I wouldn’t have to use the oven. Plus I already had the majority of the ingredients in my kitchen. It seemed like a great way to make sure excess food didn’t go to waste while making something I might actually eat. Here’s the recipe for my extra delicious oatmeal treats:

1 cup of instant oatmeal (any flavor, but I happened to have maple brown sugar)

1 cup Chex rice cereal (which I had left over from making Muddy Buddies)

1/2 cup peanut butter (also hanging around my apartment)

3 tablespoons honey (had to buy this but it was only $1.49)

1/4 cup milk (milk is the best drink ever so obviously I had some in the fridge)

1/2 bar dark chocolate (bought a bar of Lindtt Dark Chocolate for $1.59)

Directions:

1. Put Chex cereal in plastic baggy and crush so the pieces are small.

Smashing Chex is a great stress-reliever.

Smashing Chex is a great stress-reliever.

2. Mix Chex and oatmeal in bowl.

3. Combine peanut butter, honey, and milk in a seperate bowl. Melt in microwave for 2-3 minutes (until melted). Mix.

4. Combine dry and wet ingredients. Mix well.

5. Break off bit size chunks of chocolate and mix into batter.

6. Make bit size balls and place on cookie tray.

7. Leave try in freezer for 1-2 hours.

8. ENJOY! 🙂 

YUM!

YUM!

Even though mine came out in kind of weird blobs, they were still pretty good! I have been eating them, which is saying something. Roomie #1 tried one and approved. Roomie #2 seemed like she didn’t trust my cooking abilities (which I can’t say I blame her for) and said she would just take my word that they were good. Not only did these oatmeal treats use up some extra ingredients around my kitchen that otherwise would have gone to waste, they also tasted like a store-bought granola bar but cost a lot less! I made 7-8 treats for $3.08. A box of 6 granola bars at the grocery store is easily $0.50-$1 more than that.

If you have any great recipe ideas that help use up leftover ingredients, please share them in the comments section! I am not a great baker or cook, but I am having fun experimenting in the kitchen. Especially if the recipes save me money 🙂

Muddy Buddies Recipe

Image

Some people call them Muddy Buddies, some call them Puppy Chow, but whatever the name, this dessert is one of my all time favorites! Sweet, crunchy, and chocolatey all at once – what more could you ask for?!  These are a fall favorite of mine because I like to give them out in little bags as Halloween treats but they are delicious at any time of year. Bonus: the ingredients are inexpensive and they’re super easy to make (even I can do it).  Here’s the recipe I usually follow:

Ingredients:

9 cups of Chex Cereal

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup of peanut butter

1/4 cup of butter

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Instructions:

1. Mix chocolate, peanut butter, butter, and vanilla extract together in bowl and heat until melted (I prefer to hold the bowl over boiling water so the chocolate melts smoother but you can also use the microwave).

2. Pour Chex into separate bowl.

3. Pour chocolate mix over the Chex while stirring so that the chocolate coats the cereal evenly.

4. Pour chex in large plastic bag.

5. Add powdered sugar to bag and shake so it coats the cereal evenly.

6. Pour chex back into bowl and put in fridge to cool.

7. ENJOY! Note: it is acceptable to eat so many Muddy Buddies that your fingers are coated in powdered sugar – at least it is in my book!

Occasionally I mix it up and use Nutella instead of peanut butter (especially good if you have friends who are allergic to PB); it works just as well and tastes delicious!  Or if you want to be “healthier” you can use whole wheat Chex.  For even more Muddy Buddy options, check out this great blog that has 25 different versions: http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/2013/05/25-muddy-buddy-recipes.html .

Hope you all have a fun, happy, fall weekend!