Sunday, April 24, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cereal Bars

I wanted to make some version of rice krispy treats today, just because.  This recipe includes graham cereal, chocolate chips, and peanut butter for some extra flavor and a twist on the traditional rice krispy bars.  This recipe is VERY quick and easy...and of course, tasty.  Enjoy!

3/4 Cup Chunky Peanut Butter
1 (10.5 oz) Bag of Mini Marshmallows
2 Tbsp. Milk

3 Cups Rice Krispies Cereal
3 Cups Graham Cereal (Golden Grahams)  
3/4 Cup Mini Chocolate Chips (divided into 1/2 Cup and 1/4 Cup)

1.  Coat a 13x9 dish with cooking spray.
2.  In large saucepan or stockpot, heat together the peanut butter, marshmallows, and milk over medium-low heat.  Stir occasionally until smooth.  Remove from heat.
3. Pour in cereal and 1/2 cup of the mini chocolate chips.  Stir well to coat.  Press mixture into the greased dish (use a lightly buttered spatula to make it easier if you want--less sticky).
4.  Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips over the top.  Cool about 30 minutes.  Cut into bars and enjoy!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Healthy Tomato Pasta Sauce

I'll admit it, I usually just buy pre-made pasta sauce.  However, I wanted to try to make my own, to make it healthier with a variety of organic veggies and reduced sodium (store-bought always have so much sodium).  I adapted a recipe from Jamie Oliver below.  This recipe makes quite a bit of sauce (13-14 cups worth), so have some freezer bags on hand to freeze some (or store in the refrigerator if eating within the month).  This sauce makes for a quick and easy (and healthy) meal topped over whole-wheat pasta with fresh Parmesan cheese on top.  Or, you can use this sauce as a pizza sauce or as a base for Lasagna, Chicken Cacciatore, soup, or a number of other meals.  Feel free to change up the recipe a bit, by adding in some fresh mushrooms, zucchini, or whatever else you think sounds good!  Hope you like it!


1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 Celery Stalks, Chopped
2 Red Bell Peppers, Chopped
2 Carrots, Grated
3 Tbsp. Minced Onion
3 Tbsp. Minced Garlic
1 Small Butternut Squash, peeled, seeds scooped, and grated or cubed
2 - 28 oz Cans Plum Tomatoes (or use 1 1/2 lbs Fresh Tomatoes + 1 Cup Water)
2 Cups Water
1/4 Cup Dry Red Wine
2 Tbsp. Dried Oregano (or 1/4 Cup Fresh)
2 Tbsp. Dried Basil (or 1/4 Cup Fresh)
Sea Salt
Black Pepper

1.  In large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Stir in celery, red pepper, and carrots.  Add onion and garlic and heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2.  Add butternut squash to pan.  Stir in tomatoes, water, and wine.  Bring to a boil.
3.  Reduce heat to low and stir in the oregano and basil. Simmer for 40-45 minutes.
4.  Cool then use immersion blender (or regular blender, working in batches) to blend the sauce until smooth.
5.  Season to taste with sea salt and pepper.

Enjoy over whole-wheat pasta for a healthy meal!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

I am definitely enjoying having some snacks around the house now that I'm living with a little baby and like quick snacks to grab.  Some of my favorite cookies are my Oatmeal Chocolate-Chip Raisin Cookies and I've made them a couple of times since my son was born (7 weeks ago already!).  I decided to try a different twist on oatmeal cookies.  This time, I've made them with white chocolate chips, dried cranberries, and oatmeal.   These cookies are even healthy, made with organic ingredients including fiber-rich cholesterol-lowering oatmeal, vitamin C and antioxidant-packed cranberries, and heart-healthy whole wheat flour.  Yum.

1 Cup Butter, Softened
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar, Packed
1/2 Cup White Sugar
2 Large Eggs
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 1/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour
3/4 Cup Whole-Wheat Flour

1 tsp. Cinnamon 
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Baking Soda
2 3/4 Cups Quick-Cooking Oats
1 Cup Dried Cranberries
1 Cup White Chocolate Chips

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  In a large bowl (or your Kitchenaid mixer if you have one), cream together the butter and brown and white sugars until smooth and creamy.  Beat the eggs in, one at a time, then add in the vanilla. 
3.  In a separate bowl, combine the whole-wheat and all-purpose flours with the baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  A half-cup at a time, slowly beat in to the mixture. 
4. Stir in by hand the oats, white chocolate chips, and cranberries. 
5.  Drop by the heaping spoonful onto baking sheets about 2 inches apart.

6.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Transfer to wire cooling rack.


Nutella Cupcakes

I came across this great recipe from Tartelette in honor or Nutella Day (February 5th).  I thought these sounded heavenly, sweet hazlenut, chocolate, and coffee mixed together and topped with a cream-cheese nutty frosting.  Yum.  I had to try them out.  These cupcakes are not only tasty, but make a great gift.  I modified this recipe just a tad, adding hints of vanilla into my recipe.

This recipe yields about 12 cupcakes--feel free to double (or triple) it if you'd like to make a big enough batch to give some away and keep some at home!


  • 2/3 Cup Butter, unsalted
  • 1/3 Cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. Ground Coffee
  • 2 Tbsp. Milk
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 1/4 Cup Nutella
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 8 oz. Neufchatel or Light Cream-Cheese 
  • 2 Tbsp. Butter
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 1/2 Cup Confectioner's (Powdered) Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Nutella

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Place 12 muffin liners in a muffin pan.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt until well-combined.
3. With a mixer, combine the butter and brown sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  Reduce to low and add in coffee, milk, vanilla, and Nutella.  Once combined, add in the eggs, one at a time.
4.  Slowly add in the flour mixture until mixture is smooth. Note: The batter will be really fluffy and not the same consistency as most cake/cupcake batter (you didn't do anything wrong!). 
5.  Pour batter into muffin liners about 3/4 of the way full and bake for 20-25 minutes.  Cool completely before frosting.

1.  With an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Add in the vanilla, powdered sugar, and Nutella and mix on low until well-combined.

1.  Using a pastry bag with tips, frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with chocolate sprinkles, chocolate shavings, or mini chocolate chips!