Grandma’s Visit & Crock Pot Dessert Cake Recipe

Well hello there! Long time no talk.

Sorry this week has been a little crazy. (Sometimes I feel like I say that every week, maybe I should say crazy month instead. 😉 ) I thought Gabriella had a possible ear infection. Whenever she would nurse, she would tug on her ears. I figured it was just part of the teething process or maybe she was just discovering her ears…OR that it was an ear infection. She had no other symptoms, but I wanted to get her checked out just in case.

I took her to the doctor this morning, and everything went well. She is A-OK! Yay!

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…and right back to her old self. 😉

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I knew she was probably fine, but it makes this Momma feel better to know that she really is ok.

This past weekend Gabriella had a special visitor.

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Grandma!

We flew Craig’s Mom in for a long weekend for her mother’s day present. We knew it would be the perfect present, since I know she loves seeing Gabriella…and living in Maryland they don’t get to see her often, other than through Skype.

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We had a really fun time having her here, and Gabriella showed her all of the things that she has been up to lately. Like playing in her new kiddie pool…

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Swinging at the park (probably her very favorite thing right now)…

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Jumping in her Jumperoo, (<—LOVES that thing…and life saving for Mommy 😉 )

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Rooting for the Orioles, (in Craig’s Jim Palmer shirt from when he was a baby)

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& of course watching other kids at the pool.

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She LOVES watching other children. It’s the cutest thing. She will just stare at them, smile, laugh & coo. I have a feeling we have a little social butterfly on our hands.

On Saturday we watched the Preakness and we all picked our horses. Gabriella even chose one, Mylute, who ended up coming in third! Girl has gambling in her blood. 😀

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I also attempted to make a ‘Black Eyed Susan’ drink, which is the drink of the Preakness.

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It wasn’t exact, I couldn’t find all of the ingredients, but it was a mixture of orange vodka, clear rum, orange juice & fresh pineapple juice. It was quite flavorful, and you couldn’t taste the alcohol, which is always a sign of a good drink. 😉

I figured we would top the weekend off with a recipe that I found on Pinterest for a crock pot recipe for Peanut Butter Cup Cake.

Below is my version of the recipe, the original recipe is linked above!

Crock Pot Peanut Butter Lava Cake

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Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Truvia baking blend
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/2 cup skim milk
1 tablespoon unsweetened apple sauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate topping:
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup Truvia baking blend
1 cup boiling water

Optional:
Vanilla Ice cream or frozen yogurt
Melted peanut butter

Directions:
1. Use a 4-quart slow cooker coated well with cooking spray.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, 1/4 cup Truvia baking blend, baking powder and salt.
3. In the microwave, melt peanut butters for about 30 seconds, and then add to the mix along with milk, apple sauce and vanilla. Stir really well to combine. Spread this mixture into the bottom of your slow cooker.
4. In a separate bowl, mix together cocoa powder, the remaining 1/4 cup Truvia baking blend, and 1 cup boiling water (be careful!) Pour this evenly over the peanut butter batter in your cooker.
5. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours (or high for 2-4 hours), or until the top has set and an inserted toothpick (into the cake–underneath the cake is molten chocolate) comes out clean. Let the cake sit uncovered in an unplugged crockpot for about 20 minutes, then serve warm in dessert bowls, top with ice cream & melted peanut butter, if desired.

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I recommend the ice cream & peanut butter…it’s like the cherry on top. 😉

We all had a really good time, I wish our families were not so far away. I would LOVE for us all to get together more often. Gabriella does too.

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She would love to have someone else to stare at the grass with her.

NEW workout coming soon!! I just did it & I think you will really like it.

Any other Preakness watchers out there?? Did you pick a horse? How did you do?

I picked Departing…no idea how it did. Not too well I am guessing.

Favorite crock pot recipe? I need some more, crock pot cooking makes life SO MUCH easier! I have a ton on Pinterest, but would love some recommendations for recipes that you have tried & love.

Brown Butter Peanut Butter M&M Blondies

Good Morning!

I have come to realize that my blog has slowly turned into more of a Mommy blog. I apologize, kind of, for that. You see whenever you have children, they do turn into a HUGE part of your life. So it’s hard to NOT talk about Gabriella whenever I write a post. I also realize that not everyone is interested in what my daughter is up to on a daily basis. 😉

But I will do my best to try to mix it up a bit more- with some recipes & workouts. I have a whole list of workouts that I have made up, I just haven’t put them on here yet. They are coming!

Today I have a recipe to share with you. It’s not my own, it’s from one of my favorite baking websites that I have mentioned on here many times…Sally’s Baking Addiction. Trust me, just one look on her site & you will want to make EVERYTHING.

To be honest, I really don’t bake often, only because it’s just Craig & I and the last thing we want is a bunch of sweets laying around. But this week we have guests, my in laws are in town, and I always like to have some kind of goody! 🙂

After spotting some Easter M&M’s in the store this past weekend, I knew I had to find a recipe to use them in.

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After searching around on Sally’s site, I found THE recipe- Brown Butter Pretzel M&M Blondies. Now, I was wondering after reading the recipe what kind of impact the brown butter actually made. Let me tell you, it’s HUGE. Seriously. You MUST brown the butter. It gives the blondies SO MUCH FLAVOR. I really had no idea what a difference browning butter makes to the flavor of butter.

The only thing that I changed about the recipes was the I used peanut butter M&M’s instead of the pretzel M&M’s. And to be completely honest, the only reason was because Craig & I did a number on the bag of pretzel M&M’s that I had. Oops 😉

Brown Butter Peanut Butter M&M Blondies

makes 16 blondies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup peanut butter M&M’s

Instructions

  1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly. Remove from heat immediately when the butter begins to turn brown (about 6 minutes). Pour browned butter into large mixing bowl. Stir in brown sugar. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8×8 square baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  3. To the cooled down butter/sugar mixture, stir in egg and vanilla extract. Add flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in peanut butter M&Ms.
  4. Pour into prepared baking pan and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned. Allow blondies to cool for at least 1 hour and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container for up to 10 days.

Notes

RECIPE SOURCE: sallysbakingaddiction.com

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These were FANTASTIC!! Like I said before, the browned butter is KEY!

And of course, because I CANNOT go a post without a Gabriella photo…I had to show you what she did when I put the blondies next to her, she was longingly looking at them.

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(PLEASE notice her belly button. It’s mandatory 😉 )

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Poor girl wanted to try one SO bad.

Then she got mad at me because I wouldn’t let her have one, and look what she did. Knocked them RIGHT over. Notice that hand mid swing.

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That’s the it wasn’t me Mommy! look.

Love that girl to pieces.

If you are looking for an Easter dessert, I HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend these. I think they would be a hit with anyone, which is sometimes hard to find with a dessert.

Have a great Thursday…some of you may have off tomorrow- ENJOY!! 🙂

Sunday Dinner + Whipped Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Pie

Boy do I have a treat for you guys today. I promise it will banish those Monday blues.

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But before I get to that…let me tell you about our dinner last night.

On occasion Craig’s Italian roots really show. For example, he loves pasta. But not just any pasta, Craig LOVES just plain pasta. I think it’s odd, but I make it for him when I’m not hungry for dinner, or when he’s having a rough day. He likes it that much. I other on the other hand need some kind of sauce with it.

Another thing is that he is obsessed and I mean OBSESSED with Italian movies- Goodfellas & The Godfather. I know most guys are, but he is EXTREME. He will quote both movies (well, all of The Godfather movies) LINE BY LINE. He says he can relate things growing up to the movie…not quite sure what that means, considering all of the blood & guts…but hey, whatever floats his boat. 😉

Recently he decided that he wanted to create a new tradition for our little family of three. Big Sunday dinners. But not just any type of dinner, an Italian dinner. Full of pasta, bread, cheeses, you get the picture.

It works out because we usually eat a big breakfast, skip lunch & then have a large dinner. So then we have plenty of room for a feast!

We started it last Sunday, with the Rigatoni Pasta Pie.

This Sunday was another type of pasta- Crunchy Oven Fried Cheese Ravioli.

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I will not be surprised if I immediately get a phone call, email or comment on this post as to WHY on earth I have not made these for her yet. It is one of her FAVORITE foods to order out, and since she was just down her for a girls weekend with me & G, I know she is saying right now WHY didn’t Holly make these for me then?!! Well, Mom it’s because I just found the recipe & I do apologize, I promise to make these for you soon! 🙂

Now the best part of these is that they are NOT at all fried, as the recipe may imply. They are 100% baked! Gotta love a pasta recipe that is somewhat ‘healthified.’

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I followed Jessica’s recipe exactly- no changes were made. No need to mess with a good thing!

I served them, as suggested with a side of marinara for dipping.

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And because it’s necessary to get our greens with every meal, I made a side Caesar salad (with light dressing). Oh, and don’t laugh at my Valentine’s placemats, they are being replaced with St. Patrick’s Day ones tomorrow. 🙂

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Now onto dessert. I mean that’s the part you were really waiting for, right?! Isn’t that WHY we eat dinner, so that we can have dessert?! 😀 I know that’s what I did as a child, my parents said ‘Three more bits & then you can have dessert.’ Oh boy! It was like dangling a carrot in front of a horse. 🙂

This recipe was one that I just came up with on the fly. I saw a big container of Vanilla Chocolate Chunk Chobani in my fridge & decided to run with it.

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And then I got to thinking…which lead to pulling random ingredients out of the pantry and refrigerator. I swear I was just grabbing whatever sounded good.

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Favorite part about this pie? How EASY it is to make. It’s literally dump everything in, mix it up & freeze.

Whipped Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Pie

Ingredients:

For the crust:
-1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
-2 tbsp. vanilla chocolate chunk Chobani (or just plain vanilla Chobani)
-2 tbsp. brown sugar
-1 tbsp. smooth peanut butter, melted
-1 tbsp. butter or margarine, melted

For the pie:
-16oz. (one large container) 2% Vanilla Chocolate Chunk Chobani
-8oz. Cool Whip
-3/4 cup chunky peanut butter (can also use smooth)
-1/4 cup light chocolate Silk Soymilk
-1/4 cup powdered sugar
-1/4 cup mini chocolate chips, optional
-Reese’s peanut butter cup, chopped (optional)

Directions:

1. Make the crust. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9” pie pan. Take all of the ingredients for the pie & mix together well. I used a potato masher to really mix it up well. It will NOT be smooth, be course, but that’s how it is supposed to be. Bake for 5 minutes.

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2. While the crust is baking, take all of the ingredients for the pie EXCEPT the Reese’s peanut butter cup & mini chocolate chips. mix well in a stand mixer. I mixed everything for about 3-4 minutes on medium low. It was a nice smooth texture. I then poured in the mini chocolate chips & mixed it by hand, until combined.

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3. Pour the pie mixture into the baked pie crust. Top with chopped Reese’s’ if desired. Freeze for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

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I drizzled melted peanut butter & chocolate syrup over the top….makes for a prettier picture 🙂

**Notes about the pie: ”
-The is PLENTY of filling, it will almost look like too much, but it should JUST fit in the 9” pie pan. It may look like it is about to overflow, but it end up all fitting in the crust.
-I recommend that you like Greek yogurt if you decide to make this pie. Since it is a main ingredient, it definitely does taste like Greek yogurt. Just a heads up!

Now I do NOT normally make dessert for dinner when it is just Craig & I. But yesterday I just felt like baking, and I thought Craig deserved a treat. I mean he does have to live in a household with two crazy girls. 😉

Poor little Gabriella is teething & she has been pretty fussy for the past couple of days. She is too little to use Oragel, so we are just giving her lots of things to chew on. Her favorite is my finger though, and she LOVES when I rub her little gums. She just smiles at me. Craig has been awesome with her, and I really appreciate it. I had to run a few errands yesterday, and although I normally do them with her, it’s MUCH quicker if I can run them without her. Nothing like a little chocolate &peanut butter to show him my appreciation. …the way to a man’s heart…;)

I hope that you have a great Monday, if you are working! For those that have off for President’s Day, ENJOY every moment!!

15 Minute Granola

Happy Birthday to my Big Sister, Erin! I LOVE you!

Thanks for always being here for me, and for sticking by my side. You mean the world to me ❤

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Do you have certain foods that are just ‘no’ foods? Those certain foods that you just can’t justify eating, because they may not be worth the calories. Ya, they may taste good, but you just can’t get past how bad they are for you.

One of those foods for me used to be granola. It always used to be called a ‘healthy’ food, but people never looked at the nutrition facts. They saw things like oats, raisins, nuts, etc & figured that it was healthy. Well, when you actually look at the nutrition facts they are pretty shocking! Most of the time the serving size is about 1/4 of a cup..which is NOTHING; & they are typically full of processed sugar.

Recently, within the last couple of years, there is finally healthy granola!! The kind that is made with all natural ingredients, like honey, oats, flaxseed, chia seeds, and NO high fructose corn syrup. One of my favorite brands is Love Grown Granola– my favorite one is the raisin almond crunch. YUM! So good in yogurt, oatmeal, or just eaten by the handful. 🙂

The only thing that I have noticed is that granola can be kind of pricey. I didn’t mind paying the price, since I knew that it was made from all natural ingredients. But then I discovered how EASY it is to make my own! (15 minutes & DONE!) I happened to find a recipe on Julie’s blog for Peanut Butter granola. I don’t know why I waited so long to try this recipe, but goodness, I’m sure glad I did!! It’s my new favorite go-to granola recipe.

I changed a few things, but the recipe is based off of Julie’s original recipe.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola

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-1 tbsp. Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter (<—my favorite pb)
-1 tbsp. creamy peanut butter
-2 tbsp. honey or agave nectar
-1/4 tsp. cinnamon
-1/2 tsp. almond extract
-2 tsp. chia seeds
-1 tsp. flax seeds (ground or whole)
-1 cup oats

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Spray cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  • Combine peanut butters and honey (or agave) in a bowl and microwave until peanut butter melts (approximately 20 seconds). Stir.
  • Stir cinnamon and almond extract into peanut butter and honey mixture.
  • Add oats, chia seeds, & flax seeds and stir until oats are completely covered in peanut butter mixture.
  • Spread out oat mixture onto prepared cookie sheet and bake for 10- 12 minute, or until oats are golden brown.
  • Let cool until granola is crunchy.

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This recipe is SO good!! I typically double the recipe so that I have enough granola for the week. Just make sure you watch the granola in the oven when you first make this because all ovens are different…and this can burn really quick!

I also don’t know what it is about chia seeds & flaxseeds. I LOVE ‘em! I put them in everything.
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I love the texture that they give food. The only down side is that they always get stuck in my teeth. That sure is a gorgeous look! 😉

If you eat granola, do you have a favorite flavor?