Peanut Butter and Nutella Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ahh…two of my best friends! Nutella and Peanut Butter (or PB as I call Him) :D Oh look! My other best friend, Cookie, is joining the party! (I am aware that I’m weird. Don’t judge).

This past Saturday I lead a workshop with some of the Jr. High girls from youth group called Beautiful. This was the second one I’ve done and I think it went pretty well! They’re workshops that stress inner beauty and talk about how God views beauty and then also teaches photography. At this workshop, the girls and I went out and took pictures of each other, talking about different compositional elements and how to direct your models. It was a lot of fun!

I knew I wanted to bake snacks for the workshop (snacks are the true secret of getting middle schoolers to come anywhere ;) but I wasn’t sure what to make. Ever since baking the crazy Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies, I’ve been more excited about baking cookies. I used to make cookies all the time and I loved using oats because of the taste and texture it gave to the cookies. It got to the point where I was just throwing oats into all the cookies I made haha :) I found this recipe a while back on Brown Eyed Baker’s blog. I remembered it while preparing for the workshop and decided to make them! Everything about this cookie sounded absolutely delicious.

The original recipe says that it makes 16 cookies. Well I certainly wanted more cookies than that (I wasn’t sure how many girls would show up, plus we needed leftovers of course!) so I decided to make 2 batches. Instead of making two batches of cookies with peanut butter, I made one with my beloved Nutella. I’ve been in such a crazy peanut butter mood for the past 6 months or so and have barely eaten any nutella at all (which is crazy if you know me!). But the other day I had some nutella with apple slices and then ended up eating several spoonfuls by itself…I had forgotten how insanely delicious it was!

Both of these cookies turned out great! They taste sooo delicious. I ate so much of the batter and then sampled the cookies once they were baked…my lunch on Saturday just consisted of cookies. But it was so worth it! And everyone loved them. The peanut butter cookies look really pretty. The nutella ones aren’t ugly, but they spread out a lot. I have absolutely no idea why that happened…maybe it was just a fluke. Anyways, I totally recommend that you make these. The flavors are delicious. The peanut butter and nutella isn’t overpowering (in fact, I would add more if I make these again) and the oats aren’t incredibly noticeable, they just add a nice texture. These cookies were fun and really easy to make :)

Peanut Butter or Nutella-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Slightly adapted from Brown Eyed Baker.

Makes about 16 large cookies or 18-20 medium cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup creamy peanut butter or 1/2 cup nutella
½ cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
½ cup rolled oats
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and salt with a wooden spoon (not required but it makes it more fun!)

3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, peanut butter/nutella, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract, until smooth, about 3 minutes. Then add the egg and continue beating until combined. On low speed, gradually add the flour until just combined. With your trusty wooden spoon, stir in the oats and the chocolate chips.

4. Using a medium to large cookie scoop, form the dough into balls and place on the baking sheets. Place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes (helps prevent some of the spreading). Bake for 9-11 minutes (depending on how gooey you like your cookies), or until the cookies are lightly golden. Cool completely on the baking sheet and then store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Enjoy!

Delicious Banana Muffins

The past couple weeks have been insanely busy. I really can’t do the chaos and business and craziness justice, you’ll just have to take my word for it. It hasn’t been bad… a lot of the stuff I’ve been doing is fun stuff. But there’s also been a lot of stress from school and it’s exhausting to do so many things in such a short amount of time.

I have done an insane amount of baking the past couple of days, starting with these banana muffins! Friday was homecoming at school. The morning started with a group of guys, who have started “Classy Fridays,” arriving at school in a limo. It was pretty exciting! Later that morning  saw the parade and then we went to lunch at Panera’s. I had an asiago roast beef sandwich which was absolutely delicious. It was really nice just to hang out with people and have fun, something I haven’t gotten to do a ton of lately! Now I was going to go to the Homecoming game (I haven’t been to a football game since freshmen year) but my family was all going to Cheetah Fest, which is this fun fair-like thing at the elementary school. When Celina was in elementary school we went every year and now that Ella’s going there, we get to go again! I decided I’d rather do that than football and it was pretty fun :) I decorated a mini pumpkin and we just hung out and stuff. Ella climbed the rock wall (or part of the way up) which was very impressive! After we got back from Cheetah Fest, I decided I was going to make banana muffins out of the 3 practically deteriorating bananas on the kitchen counter (Jim has almost fed them to his worms but my mom stopped him, thank goodness, knowing that I’d probably bake with them). I used the same recipe for the banana bread I made a while back, just in muffin form. Everything turned out great and these muffins are delicious!

Stay tuned for a bunch more recipes coming soon! (Whenever I can find time to write them!)

I had so many issues getting a decent picture for this! I tried taking the pictures 3 separate times and I was just having major issues! I wasn’t trying to go for a masterpiece or anything, just something that was a somewhat decent picture. Most of the pictures look like I’ve never picked up a camera before but finally I snapped this one and I’m okay with it so here it is.

These muffins are so delicious hot out of the oven with some butter. But I think they might even get better as they age! They get even more…not dry…and delicious :) I’ve been enjoying eating them for lunch.

Banana Muffins Recipe

Very slightly adapted from 4littlefergusons on Tasty Kitchen!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar (not packed)

1 stick butter, softened

1 egg

4 tablespoons sour cream

1 ½ cup flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 whole over-ripe bananas, blended so that they’re liquid

Directions:

Cream together first 5 ingredients. Slowly add the flour and then the baking soda and salt. Add the blended bananas.

Grease muffin tins generously with Pam or use muffin liners (or both!). Use an ice cream scoop to put the batter into the muffin tin. Back at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Enjoy!
I shared this post over at Tasty Tuesdays :)

Daniel Fast Vegetable Soup

I hope you guys are all doing well! I have had an absolutely crazy, hectic week and this weekend is going to be even busier! I have a photo shoot set for tomorrow (SOSO excited!) and Celina has a singing showcase. Sunday we’re playing worship at church and then I’m going to do do several of my photo concentration pictures done! My concentration for my photography class is “self portraits.” So obviously I’m going to be in every picture but I am also using them as a commentary on social issues.

I’ve been working on my college application. I have one more month before it needs to be done. It’s stressful and I’m just ready for it to be over. I am so exausted right now…

So here’s a Daniel fast recipe for you, lovely reader! One of my favorite things I made while on the Daniel Fast was soup. I made several different kinds and they were all delicious! It was a great comfort food for when I wasn’t feeling very good. I don’t actually have any pictures of the soup I made…I always forgot to take one and I doubt it would have looked very delicious anyway. But here’s how I made it:

1 carton of Vegetable Stock

2 chopped potatoes or sweet potatoes

2-3 chopped carrots

1 can of rotel (tomatoes with green chiles)

1/2 cup frozen corn

That’s it! Just dump it all in a pot, add any spices you want (salt, pepper, cajun spices ;) And cook it until the potatoes and carrots are soft, 10-15 minutes.

Another kind of soup I made was sweet potato and quinoa. For this one, I put 1/2 cup of already cooked quinoa along with 1 chopped sweet potato in a smallish pot. I then added 1/2 cup of veggie crumble and some chopped bell peppers. I then added enough vegetable stock to cover all the ingredients, plus a little extra (like how precise this is?). And then I just cooked it until the potatoes were soft. This was so easy to make but beware that the quinoa, even though it’s already cooked, will expand more and take away all the liquids. My soup ended up not being soup as a…thick stew? I don’t know how to word that…there wasn’t much broth anyways. But it was really good!

Sorry these directions are vague but I would encourage you to try different soups if you’re on the fast- it’s easy and a nice break from grapes and carrots and triscuits.

Have a fantabulous weekend!

Daniel Fast Taco Salad

Now this post is a little controversial as to whether or not it is actually Daniel Fast approved. Here’s the thing, the veggie crumble has a tiny bit of sugar in it and also yeast extract (I’m not sure if that’s ok to have or not but I doubt it). That means that it’s technically not Daniel Fast approved. However, I decided before I did my fast that I was going to still eat veggie crumble because it would add some variety to my food choices and I really didn’t think it was a big deal that it had sugar in it. I’m sure some brands probably don’t have sugar but I couldn’t find one in our grocery store. Secondly, it’s questionable whether or not you’re allowed to have tortilla chips. The ingredients in the chips I had are whole yellow corn, sunflower seed oil, and salt. All of those things are Daniel Fast approved items. However, some people say that you can’t have anything deep fried on the fast because Daniel gave up any “luxury” foods. This makes sense, you don’t need to be deep frying your veggies on the fast. I also don’t think the point of the fast is to find items like potato chips that have Daniel Fast approved ingredients and live off of those for 21 days. However, I decided that I would eat these tortilla chips on the fast and I didn’t feel that there was anything wrong with that. But that’s just me! I’ve done the fast before without eating veggie crumble and tortilla chips and it was fine too.

All that to say, here’s Daniel Fast Taco Salad! This taco salad is really delicious and super quick and easy to make. It can be modified however you want. I used peppers, salsa, cucumbers, and veggie crumble as topping but you could add chopped tomatoes, lettuce, etc.

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients:

1/2 cup veggie crumble

1/2 bell pepper

11-15 Tortilla chips

1/4 cup chopped cucumber

1 tsp. olive oil

Salsa

Directions:

Chop up the bell pepper into small matchstick pieces. Put the olive oil in a skillet on high heat. Add the peppers, maybe sprinkling on some cajun spices, or homemade taco spices. After the peppers are cooked (they should be softened and look blackened), add the crumble to the pan. Saute until the crumble is cooked, about a minute, and remove peppers and crumble from the pan. Place the them on a plate that has the tortilla chips spread out on it. Then add the chopped cucumbers and salsa. Enjoy!

Note:

*Many salsas have sugar added to them. Make sure that you find one without. I used Tostitos brand medium heat salsa. Delicious!

I shared this on Tasty Tuesdays!

My Mommy’s Birthday Cake!

Today is my mommy’s birthday! We celebrated her birthday with my grandparents on the 11th, though. I was still fasting (it was my last day of the fast) but I knew I had to make her a cake anyway.

My mom is an amazing person. She is compassionate, smart, sarcastic, funny, and just all around the best! She is a huge chocolate lover, something she passed down to her children, but she shockingly prefers yellow cake to chocolate cake. Living in our family of chocoholics, she hardly ever gets to have yellow cake so I knew that’s what I had to make for her birthday.

Now I have a confession to make…I used a box cake :( I know…I’m so ashamed. But here’s my excuse: I still wasn’t feeling 100% and so I wanted something a little bit easier. Also, I have never made a yellow cake that beat a box cake mix. I have a recipe that I really want to try but I didn’t want to make it for the first time on a cake as important as this one and then not have it turn out! See! I’m really thoughtful!

Here’s the key, though, if you make a yellow cake from a box mix- you HAVE to get the kind that’s made with butter. Not oil, butter. This makes the cake so much more delicious.

With butter!

I made the MOST DELICIOUS chocolate frosting from one of my favorite bloggers, Sugar Plum. I’ve talked about this frosting before and it is seriously outstanding. Here’s the cake before I frosted it!

I think this is one of the prettiest cakes I’ve ever made. I made extra frosting so I’d have a ton to fill the cake and lots to frost it! It worked out really well. Then I decided to make chocolate drizzled strawberries for the top.

This was really fun to make! And my family said it was one of the best cakes I’ve ever made- they liked the simplicity (somethings most of my cakes lack ;)

Tonight we’re all going out to eat to celebrate :) I’m pretty excited for it!

Sugar Plum’s Chocolate Frosting

I made 1.5 of this recipe for this cake. You don’t have to but I like a lot of frosting!

2/3 cup granulated sugar +1/3 cup
1/3 cup all-purpose flour +1/6 cup
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder +1/5 tablespoons
1/8 teaspoon salt +a tiny extra
1 cup milk +1/2 cup
1 cup unsalted butter, softened +1/2 cup
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted + 1/2 cup

In a small saucepan, whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa, salt and milk until it boils. Whisk the mixture frequently until it gets very thick (about one minute). Strain the mixture into a small bowl and cool it completely in the refrigerator or freezer.

When the strained “pudding mixture” is cooled, beat butter in a large mixing bowl until creamy, about 1 minute. Beat in “chocolate pudding” mixture until well combined, about 1 minute. Beat in melted chocolate until well combined and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Spread frosting onto cake layers.

I shared this post over at Tasty Tuesdays and Sweets for a Saturday and on Foodie Friday and This Chick can Cook!

Daniel Fast Chile

Here was my thought process: it doesn’t really matter if you use real beef or not in chile because it should taste pretty much the same, right? WRONG. My mom’s chile is one of my all-time favorite foods…it’s so delicious and actually very simple to make. It has beef, spicy v8 juice, pumpkin*, and spices.

*I don’t know why everyone freaks out about the pumpkin. Gah! Pumpkin in chile??? The horror! So now we just don’t tell people that there’s pumpkin in the chile. And everybody eats it. And loves it. And never suspects.

I made this Daniel Fast approved by using veggie crumble instead of beef. Now this chile certainly didn’t taste horrible but it just didn’t live up to my mom’s. It could have been because she doesn’t have a written recipe for her chile so I could have estimated different ratios that affected the flavor. Or the fact that I used fake meat. Or both. Also, when I usually eat chile, I put in tons of cheese and eat it with corn bread. Mmm corn bread…Neither of which I could have with this. I ate it with corn chips and it was pretty good…just had an interesting flavor to it.

Now that I’ve given this glowing reviews, I’m sure you’re dying to make it! Mainly I’m just posting this to give ideas for people who are going to go on the fast.

Looks life beef right? Oh how deceiving…

Yes I realize that this picture is very unattractive. I forgot to take the picture until I was like halfway done with eating it and then I didn’t really put any effort into making it look nice. But chile isn’t supposed to be pretty, right?

Ingredients:

2/3 bottle of spicy V8 juce

2/3ish can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling!)

1 package (12 oz) veggie crumble

Spices such as oregano, cumin, chile powder. (Use however much you want of each…experiment!)

Directions:

Brown the crumble in a pan. Add all the ingredients to a big pot and let it cook for a while..I started mine in the morning and ate it for dinner. That’s just so the spices and everything can meld together.

Eat with tortilla chips.

Daniel Fast Smoothies

On the Daniel Fast, you’re only supposed to drink water. However, this website that’s all about the Daniel Fast and what you can/can’t eat says that smoothies are ok as long as they’re used as a “meal replacement.” Well ok then! I made a lot of smoothies while fasting. They’re easy to make, good for you, and really delicious. The fun part is that you can make tons of different variations.

Here are some ideas for smoothies:

Strawberry Banana

  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 banana
  • Splash of unsweetened plain almond milk

Peanut Butter and Banana

  • 2 bananas
  • 1 tbs natural peanut butter
  • A bunch of ice cubes

Peanut butter and Strawberry

  • 1-2 cups frozen strawberries
  • 1 tbs natural peanut butter
  • A splash of unsweetened plain almond milk

Mango Smoothie

  • 1 fresh mango, chopped and frozen or just buy frozen mango
  • A splash of unsweetened plain almond milk

So yeah! There are a ton of different things you can do. Most of the smoothies above make 2 cups of smoothie so you can either have one large smoothie or two smaller ones :)

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