Archive | February, 2015

Healthy Banana Bread Breakfast Bars

27 Feb

So, technically the name is ‘Healthy Banana Bread Chocolate Chip Oat Breakfast Bars {vegan & gluten-free}’…but I didn’t wanna give it all away in the title!  (Recipe from Ambitious Kitchen.)


I know, I know.  I’m usually not on the vegan OR the gluten-free bandwagon.  But, they looked so tasty, and I LOVE banana bread, so I had to try them.  And they did NOT disappoint!  Even without the butter, dairy and eggs that are typically 3 of my favorite things.


The batter (forgive the pic taken with my phone!) is surprisingly simple to make, despite making your own flour.  Yup.  That’s right.  You make your own flour.  I’m not gonna tell you how though, cause you need to check it out for yourself at Ambitious Kitchen!  But this handy trick means that they are gluten-free.  They are also vegan, depending on what kind of chocolate chips you use.


The bars have a good bread-like texture, despite being thinner than a typical banana bread.  But they have a little heartier bite, thanks to the oats.  The chocolate offers a nice balance to the sweetness of the banana.  Overall, just yummy.  And they’re lacking all oils and grease too, so they don’t leave your fingers all messy.  Bonus!


But seriously.  My favorite thing about these bars is that they’re healthy enough to call a breakfast bar (only 116 calories and 2.9g of fat per bar) but tasty enough that we also ate them for dessert.  Yeah.  They were gone within about a day and half.  And there are only 2 of us eating.

Healthy Banana Bread Chocolate Chip Oat Breakfast Bars (recipe from Ambitious Kitchen)


  • 2 1/4 cups gluten-free oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon aluminum free baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 medium ripe bananas
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (gluten-free, if desired)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup honey (agave nectar if vegan) — I used half honey and half agave
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips (vegan, if desired)
  • For chocolate drizzle:
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate chips (vegan, if desired)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil

For directions visit Ambitious Kitchen.

Monster Cookies

19 Feb

So, I wanna start another project.  I know that much.  But, it’s a huge undertaking, especially with a 3 1/2 month old at home.  So, alas, for now, I’ll stick to just some random recipes on random days when I get the chance to bake.  Some will be new (for me).  Others, like these Monster Cookies from Paula Deen/Food Network, are not new.  At all.


These have actually become one of my go-to cookie recipes.  They’re tasty, they’re SUPER easy to make and everyone loves them!  In fact, I’ve made these with my nieces who are 3 and 5, cause they’re so easy AND they have M&M’s (or num-nums, as they call them), so it’s a win-win.

(PS I’d love to try out your “go-to” recipes too!  What are they?!  Leave me a comment or shoot me a note.)


They can be made as large or as small as you want.  I used my cookie scooper (like an ice cream scoop, but smaller…for cookies).  My husband thinks this is a crime, because cookies should be large.  So, the choice is yours.  I will say, though, that mine took about 13 minutes to bake, not the 8-10 that the recipe calls for.  So just keep an eye.  They should be “set” but not firm.


The other great thing about these is that they are “mixer optional”.  In the video, Paula Deen makes them with just a bowl and a wooden spoon.  I used my stand mixer, just cause it’s so easy to do.  But, either way…yum!


Monster Cookies (from Food Network)


  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 12-oz jar creamy peanut butter
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup multi-colored chocolate candies (aka M&M’s)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup raisins, optional
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 4 1/2 cups quick-cooking oatmeal

For directions visit Food Network.


The Cupcake Finale

7 Feb

The moment has finally arrived.  365 cupcakes.  Today, we decide which one reigns supreme.

(A little dramatic for cupcakes?  Perhaps…but I’m okay with it.)

The 3 winning Semifinalists are:

Day 93 – Chocolate, Banana, Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Cupcake

Recipe from Craftstorming


Day 223 – Churro Cupcake

Recipe from The Novice Chef


Chocolate Cherry Cordial Cupcake

Recipe from Erica’s Sweet Tooth


Let’s see how they stack up:

Well, there you have it!  A surprising, but tasty, ending to My Year of Cupcakes.  Thanks again to our Cupcake Panel – George, Anastasia and Dara!  And a huge thanks to my hubby, Ken, for filming and original music (not to mention thanks for tasting all those cupcakes with me!!)!

The top cupcake is chosen, but it’s not over.  Check back soon for more fun and more recipes!!

The 3rd Semifinal Competition

4 Feb

Okay.  The 3rd (and final) Semifinal Competition.  Almost down to the moment of truth.  After today, we’ll know which 3 cupcakes will compete in the Finale for the title of “Best Cupcake on Pinterest”.

So excited!

Our Semifinal Competitors are:

April Monthly ChampChocolate Cherry Cordial Cupcake

Recipe from Erica’s Sweet Tooth


May Monthly ChampTres Leches Cupcake

Recipe from A Few Shortcuts


June Monthly Champ –  Ballpark Caramel Cracker Jack Cupcake

Recipe from Suitcases & Sweets


July Monthly ChampFrench Toast Cupcake

Recipe from The Smart Cookie Cook


Let’s see how they do:

Thanks again to our Cupcake Panel – Nadine, Erin & Robbie – and to my hubby, Ken, for all filming and original music!  Check back very, very soon for our Finale to see which cupcake is crowned “the Best Cupcake on Pinterest”!!

The 2nd Semifinal Competition

2 Feb

As promised, the 2nd Semifinal Competition.  Yes.  One step closer to discovering the best cupcake on Pinterest!

(My mouth is watering already…)

This time the competitors are:

December Monthly ChampChocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Cupcake

Recipe from Half Baked Harvest


January Monthly ChampS’more Cupcake

Recipe from The Soul of the Matter


February Monthly ChampSamoas Cupcake

Recipe from Bakers Royale


March Monthly ChampChurro Cupcake

Recipe from The Novice Chef


And, now for the competition!

Thank you to our Cupcake Panel – Jesse, Maddy, Alex & Shelby – and to my hubby, Ken, for the original music!  Check back soon for the 3rd Semifinal, when we find out which cupcakes will compete in the Finale!

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