Muffin Remix

I haven’t been posting much these days, but I promise I’ve been in the kitchen! Even though I’m done with classes for the semester, a new project has taken it’s place – wedding planning! Obviously, I’ve been planning the wedding for quite some time now seeing as that we got engaged back in January 2010, but with the wedding a mere three months away, I’m in wedding overdrive.

Having taken off two weeks from running to try and rest my achey and less than perfect legs, I set out for a two mile jaunt sans music and GPS, just to get myself back in the swing of things. It was hot (85 degrees with 70% humidity), so of course it felt much worse than it actually was. Either way, it was nice to be back out there. I’ve been having a lot of fun experimenting with yoga, and I can already see some extra definition in my arms, but running is still my favorite.

After the run and a much needed shower, I decided to make some muffins. I basically took the same recipe from my Coconut Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins, and made them Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins… YUM! I left out sugar simply because I wasn’t paying attention. So, if you want your muffins sweeter, I would suggest adding 1/2 cup of brown sugar to the mix. Whoops!

I love muffins for one simple reason – you can eat them at any time of day as an acceptable snack. Sure you typically associate a muffin with breakfast, but you really can eat it at any time of day without breaking eating rules. We all know I’m not one for following rules, especially when it comes to eating, but you get my point.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins
–  makes 12 muffins –

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup oatmeal (not instant)
1/4 cup chunky peanut butter
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 cup butter
1 cup milk
1 egg
1 cup of chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2. Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl (including coconut)
3. Heat butter, and stir in milk and the egg. Add that mixture into the dry mixture, to combine, finally adding in the chocolate chips.
4. Spoon mixture into greased cupcake/muffin tin, and bake for 15 minutes.

Peanut Butter Chili

Who doesn’t love chili? It’s seriously everything I could want in a bowl… sauteed onions, beans, spice… yum. The different combinations that can be thrown into a big simmering bowl makes chili even more appealing to me. When it comes to spices, there are a ton of directions you can go in too. Only recently did I discover the wonders of adding a dash of cinnamon. I found this recipe on Serious Eats, back on National Peanut Butter Day. So, as you can imagine, there’s peanut butter in it. That’s right, peanut butter in chili!

I wasn’t too sure how this was going to come out – I mean, peanut butter in chili? It smelled amazing, and even though there was a solid amount of peanut butter used in the recipe, the taste was really just a compliment to the other flavors in the dish. I didn’t have tomato paste, and I also didn’t have two cans of kidney beans, so there were some modifications. I used a little less vegetable broth so as to not make it too watery since the tomato paste wasn’t there to thicken it up. Also, I threw in a can of pinto beans to keep the bean numbers the same, and it added a nice variety as well.

This is a pretty quick cooking chili, too. A lot require a solid 45+ minute simmering time, but this one, once all combined, takes 20 minutes with 15 minutes of sautéing required beforehand. So, it’s definitely a chili you can make on a weeknight, which I always appreciate. I decided to make the entire recipe (except I only made enough rice for what I thought we’d eat), and we had five very large servings over the course of three days!

Peanut Butter Chili via Serious Eats
– Serves 6-8 –

1/4 cup olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Two (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
One (12-ounce) can tomato paste *I omitted
2 cups vegetable stock *Only used 1 1/2
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter (preferably unsweetened) *I used chunky
Two (15-ounce) cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained *I did 1 kidney, 1 pinto
One (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
One (15-ounce) can white beans, rinsed and drained
One (15-ounce) can whole sweet corn, rinsed and drained
4 cups cooked white or brown rice (for serving)
1 cup coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese (for serving)

1. In large stock pot, heat olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent, about 4 minutes.
2. Add diced tomatoes and their liquid, black pepper, salt, cayenne pepper, paprika, and red pepper flakes to pot. Let simmer for 5 minutes and then add tomato paste, vegetable stock, and peanut butter. Stir until tomato paste and peanut butter are well incorporated. Let simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Reduce heat to low and add all beans and corn. Let simmer for 20 minutes.
4. To serve, place a half cup of rice in large bowl and add two ladles of chili. Top with cheddar cheese and chopped scallions.

Sick Day Comforts

Late last week, I boasted to my fiancé how it was so impressive I hadn’t yet gotten sick this winter. Throughout high school and college, I could count on a nasty cold, usually turning into a sinus infection and one of those never ending tickling coughs to rear it’s ugly head at least once a winter. It really put a cramp in my training for swimming, but I somehow always managed to work with it. I got sick last year after catching a cold from my fiancé, but this year, I thought I was in the clear. Oh I was wrong.

This past weekend I headed to Scranton to attend the Alumni Swim Meet, where the seniors on the team are celebrated, and parents and alumni attend as well. It’s the last duel meet before their championship weekend, so it’s a nice close to the season. Of course, since it’s Scranton, there was snow falling the entire day, and it was quite chilly. Unlike in my college days, I made sure to dress appropriately for the weather, and headed out for a fun night to celebrate the graduating seniors, all of my alumni friends, and a recent engagement between two alumni swimmers! Unfortunately in Scranton, you are allowed to smoke in bars if you are under a certain percentage of revenue related to food. I woke up Sunday morning with a scratchy, sore throat which I attributed to screaming over the music, and a smoky bar.

Monday rolled around, and my throat still didn’t feel right, but it wasn’t too bad. I motored through the day, and when I woke up on Tuesday I felt like I had been hit with a ton of bricks. Super tired, lethargic, a raging headache, a tickle/scratch cough, and a sore throat. I knew it was game over – I had gotten sick this winter. I struggled through the work day, and resolved myself to the couch for the rest of Tuesday evening. I knew I’d be spending Wednesday at home, laying on the couch watching TV and catching up on homework.

What I'm resolved to when sick...

Even though my appetite isn’t itself, I knew I needed to eat something for breakfast. Enter the peanut butter and Nutella grilled sandwich! Until recently, I never thought of grilling some things between two slices of bread. Then I saw Shelby’s Grilled PB&J, and Caitlin’s Grilled Banana sandwich. I thought to myself that peanut butter and Nutella would work well together… and oh it does!

So whether you’re feeling under the weather or just want a treat, make this! It’s so quick and easy. I feel silly writing out the directions to make a grilled sandwich, and it’s so simple I actually had trouble writing it out. So forgive me!

Peanut Butter & Nutella Grilled Sandwich
– Serves 1 –

2 Tbsp chunky peanut butter
2 Tbsp Nutella or other chocolate hazelnut spread
2 slices sandwich bread (any kind will do)
Cooking Spray
1 Tbsp butter

1. Spread peanut butter on one side of a piece of bread
2. Spread Nutella on one side of the other piece of bread
3. Put two pieces of bread together, peanut butter & Nutella facing one another
4. Butter one side of the bread, leave the other side un-buttered
5. Spray skillet, and heat to medium-high heat, place sandwich non-buttered side down first
6. Check every few minutes, and once one side is golden brown, flip, cooking other side until similarly golden brown

Gluttony: Brownie Peanut Butter Parfait

Happy Thanksgiving! As everyone is preparing to get their eat-on, here’s some additional gluttony for you to enjoy!

I’ve always been a fan of a good parfait. Not only does the word amuse me, but I’m yet to meet a parfait I didn’t like. Sure, granola and yogurt parfaits are good, but we all know that those with whipped cream, pudding, and anything else remotely unhealthy tastes even better! My boss actually made this when she had us over for dinner a few weeks ago, and I’ve been dreaming about it ever since. She got the recipe from a friend, and it’s so decadent and easy to make I just had to share it with you. I mean, if you’re not running to the store to make this after reading the ingredients and seeing the picture, I question your sanity (no offense).

This particular recipe makes A LOT, so it’s best used for a party or big group of people. You can make it the night before, too, so everything really settles together for maximum flavor potential. If you’re looking for a quick and easy non-traditional Thanksgiving dessert, this comes highly recommended. If my mom wasn’t bringing both an apple and pumpkin pie already, this would definitely be a part of our Thanksgiving. Maybe next year!

I warn you, though. This is seriously addictive despite how heavy it is, so pace yourself!

Brownie Peanut Butter Parfait

2 boxes of brownie mix
½ cup peanut butter
2 boxes of instant vanilla pudding
2 16 oz containers of Cool Whip (you’ll have a little left over)
1 bag of mini Reese’s peanut butter cups

1. Prepare brownies per the box instructions, set aside to cool.
2. Prepare vanilla pudding per the box instructions.
3. Melt peanut butter in the microwave till it has a slightly liquid consistency. Slowly pour peanut butter into pudding, while stirring. *You can add more peanut butter to up the pb flavor
4. Chop Reese’s peanut butter cups
5. Layer – brownies, pudding, cool whip, a few peanut butter cups. Repeat until all ingredients have been used (top with peanut butter cups).


Butter Me Up

Last week, a friend of ours stopped over with a wonderful little jar of homemade pumpkin butter. After reading all over the Internets about everyone making pumpkin, apple, and other kinds of butters, I was psyched to give this one a try. While I don’t have the recipe, I’m planning on making my own special version later this week, so stay tuned for that.

I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with the contents of the jar all week. Over the weekend, I slathered some on top of a Wegmans cinnamon bun because I didn’t feel like using the cream cheese frosting. It was really good! Yesterday, Runner’s Trials tweeted about having peanut butter and pumpkin butter, and a light bulb went off – hello sandwich time!

So today for breakfast, I feasted on this bad boy – some chunky peanut butter and pumpkin butter on toast. Oh heck yes; it was delicious!

I’m totally ready to conquer the day now 🙂

Happy Pi Day!

I wanted to name this post “The easiest pie you’ll ever make,” but since it’s Pi Day, I had to go with that, since without the day I probably wouldn’t have made pie. I don’t remember exactly where I got the recipe, but I’m sure it was one of my regular site visits.

I’m not exaggerating when I say this is the easiest pie you’ll ever make. Not only does it not require any baking, you use a pre-made crust, and two ingredients. I know this might sound blasphemous to the avid baker, but if you’re ever in a time crunch or feeling lazy, this is really a great recipe to have on hand.

I have never been a fan of math. So, it might seem odd that I am super excited that it’s Pi Day. You know, 3/14, which is 3.14, pi. But let’s be honest here; the mere thought of piE made it all worth the while to endure some “yay  math!” moments.

So to the recipe. This is a Peanut Butter Chocolate Mousse Pie. Sounds delicious? It is! And if you’re a fan of easy and delicious, this is definitely for you. It took me about 10 minutes to combine the ingredients, and then it just needed to set for 2 hours. Sure, mixing was a little labor intensive, but that was the extent of my manual labor.

With the combination of chocolate, peanut butter, and Cool Whip, how could you resist? I’ve recently had serious cravings for chocolate and peanut butter combinations, so this was right up my alley.

Of course, I varied a bit. Instead of using regular Cool Whip, I went for their light version, in hopes it would lighten the calorie and fat content of the pie just a smidgen. I also didn’t get a chocolate pie crust. Instead, I went with a graham cracker crust.

I brought the pie to my parent’s to have after dinner, and everyone loved it. My only complaint was that there seemed to be a little more crust than filling. But, the crust I got was a bit larger than normal (it was advertised as so, at least), so I’m thinking that might be why. I also might not have mixed the peanut butter and Cool Whip together as well since my hands were getting tired. Oh, to have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer. But it was still delicious!

So, next time you are in need of some pie, consider this recipe.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Mousse Pie

1 16 oz. jar of Peanut Butter & Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams *
1 8 oz. tub of Cool Whip
1 Keebler Chocolate Pie Crust
1/2 cup chopped salted peanuts

1. Empty contents of peanut butter into large mixing bowl, stir to soften.
2. Fold in Cool Whip until well-combined
3. Spoon mixture into pie shell, cover with plastic wrap, and place in freezer to set for 2 hours.
4. Top with peanuts, serve.

* if you don’t have this, just gently melt a few tbsp of semi-sweet chocolate chips into peanut butter.

Happy math nomz!

Easily Satisfy Your Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cravings

Almost daily, I get specific cravings for things. One minute I’ll want a burrito, the next I’ll want cereal. Or a buffalo chicken wrap. Or chocolate mousse cake. Or… you get the idea. Sometimes you just really want to eat something specific, and unfortunately in most cases you don’t get it.

The past few days I’ve had a consistent craving for chocolate and peanut butter. Specifically, in the form of a chocolate peanut butter bar. Knowing I had a recipe tucked in my kitchen drawer at home from a friend (she brought them to our Halloween party and I fell in love ) made it impossible to stay away. So today after the gym, I ran to check how much confectioner’s sugar I had.

After pouring what I had left (only one cup), I realized I was going to have to make some adjustments since I was already committed to making them, as the recipe called for three times the amount of sugar that I actually had.

This is seriously the easiest recipe I’ve ever made. There is no cooking, baking, etc. Unless you want to count making sure the butter is melted and melting chocolate. But I put both of those things in the microwave for a total of 30 seconds, so I’d hardly call that cooking.

So next time you’ve got a peanut butter and chocolate craving, find yourself some peanut butter, vanilla extract, chocolate, butter, graham crackers, and confectioner’s sugar, and make the bad boy below. I promise you’ll be glad you did!

Super Quick & Easy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

3 cups confectioners sugar
3 sticks of melted butter
1 cup peanut butter (chunky or smooth)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 cup crushed graham crackers
3 cup chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients except chocolate in 9 x 11′ Pyrex dish (Smush it with the back of your spoon)
Melt chocolate (about 30-45 seconds in the microwave, in 15 minute increments to stir)
Spread chocolate over top of peanut butter concoction
Cool in the fridge until hard
Slice & Enjoy!

Happy nomzing!!