Going Bananas for Nutella…Again

Nutella is making an appearance once again – this time, along with bananas. Who doesn’t love a nutella banana combo?

I’m also seriously into eggless baking. With both the 3-Ingredient Nutella Cookies I made a couple weeks ago and these Decadent Banana Nutella Muffins, I’ve found that leaving out eggs makes the dish feel lighter (and less guilt-inducing, perhaps)!

My first time making muffins and I’ve got to say they were a hit! The recipe I link to above makes about 24 mini-muffins + 3 regular muffins – I tried this on a regular muffin tray and it came out to 16 muffins.

It’s also really up to you as to how you want to do the nutella. With my first batch of 12, I created a nutella swirl on top after pouring in the batter (also left out the nutella on some for a slightly healthier option). For the last 4 muffins, I actually mixed in the nutella with the batter – also came out well, but perhaps a less exciting photo since you miss the magical swirl. Roughly 17 minutes of bake time worked well for me.

A totally awesome recipe I’d recommend trying even if you’ve never made muffins before! And a great way to finally use up that extra Nutella you might have… 🙂

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And Above All, Think Chocolate – Betty Crocker

I know it’s not a Thursday so I’m going to refrain from using #TBT here… but I was Skyping one of my best friends today and remembered the time we made these delicious Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies with Hershey’s Cookies and Cream Kisses… talk about magical combo: chocolate AND cookies AND cream. Can you get much better than that?

Best part about making these cookies was definitely eating the kisses along the way, to the point where we were actually concerned we wouldn’t have enough left for the cookies. I know, we need to practice self-control.

We also baked the cookies for some time with the kisses pressed in, even though the recipe suggested to press them in afterwards. Still tasted amazing, so totally up to you!

And while we’re at it, here’s a quick history lesson on the origins of our favorite Cookies & Cream. It looks like nobody’s quite sure how the flavor was invented since there are a few different theories:

  1. John Harrison, the official taster for Dreyer’s/Edy’s Ice Cream, claims he invented it for the company in 1982
  2. Blue Bell Creameries claim they first produced the flavor in 1980 after an employee tasted it at a Houston ice cream parlor the year before
  3. South Dakota State University claims the flavor was invented at their Dairy Plant (I wish my school had a dairy plant…with free ice cream tastings…)
  4. Steve Herrell of Massachusetts’ Herrell’s Ice Cream also claims to have first invented the flavor

To whoever it may be, on behalf of all Cookies & Cream lovers, thank you for baking the world a better place.

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What do Nosy Peppers do? Get Jalapeno Business!

Except this post isn’t about jalapenos, sorry folks. It was just too cute not to share.

I am however bringing back a stuffed peppers recipe I used last year during the holidays. Perhaps you can also draw inspiration from this Buzzfeed Post: 19 Savory Stuffed Veggies to Make Before Summer Ends? 🙂

You can follow this recipe here for baking instructions. My simple filling consisted of couscous, grated carrots, onions, garlic, olive oil, curry powder, red chilies, and salt / pepper. In the future, I’d also consider adding feta, zucchini, squash, and cooked chickpeas. Aside from the great taste, I think stuffed vegetables also present the perfect picture ops…

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Avocontrol for Avocados

Promise this will be the last post about avocados for a while, but had to share this super easy dip with you all.

My friend and I wanted to have an avocado-themed day, so I hurry over to the grocery store to pick up some avocados. I get there, and as I’m picking them out, they all feel as hard as a rock…but I have hope. I call my friend and ask her what she thinks, and me being the inexperienced avocado enthusiast, I decide that everything will be fine if we use these avocados.

An hour later, we’re at home struggling to even make a dent in these avocados. Classic.

So begins a frantic Google search to find out how we can quickly ripen avocados. One source tells us to remove the skin of the avocados, cut into 4 pieces, and microwave in a covered bowl for 2 minutes with salt / pepper / lemon juice. Worth a shot (with much struggle and immense arm strength I must admit to remove the skin).

Well, it actually worked (texture became soft, though I’m not sure the taste exactly matches that of a ripe avocado)! Definitely a trick to keep in my back pocket if I ever get into a situation like this.

Combine avocado pieces, jalapenos, lime juice, olive oil and salt in a blender and you’ve got a great dip that isn’t guacamole (I mean, how tired are we of guac am I right). I wish I could give you proportions, but I’m a taste-as-you-go kind of person. Enjoy!

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What Do You Call Pancakes with Abs? Waffles!

I’m a sucker for all things brunch, especially waffles, and am currently daydreaming about Yolk Chicago’s “Healthy Start Waffle” pictured below. The combination of strawberries, Greek yogurt, granola, and the sweet and crunchy waffle doused in maple syrup is to die for.

Here are some creative DIY waffle recipes that I’m hoping to try soon (can also make as pancakes if you don’t have a waffle iron)!

  1. Zucchini-Parmesan Waffles
  2. Chocolate Brownie Waffles
  3. Strawberry Cheesecake Waffles
  4. Nutella Stuffed Waffles
  5. Vegan S’mores Waffles

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Money Can’t Buy Happiness… But it Can Buy Nutella… Which is Basically the Same Thing…

Opened our fridge today to look at what I could use when making dinner – tofu, spinach, other veggies…tofu stir fry am I right?

But for some reason I knew today wasn’t a tofu stir fry kind of day as soon as I saw the jar of Nutella in our pantry. Gosh, it looked so darn good and so ready to be eaten.

Thankfully, I came across this recipe for 3 Ingredient Eggless Nutella Cookies and knew that this was it. Super easy, quick, YUMMY, and seemingly healthier than using eggs (or so I tell myself).

The end product was amazing! Will definitely keep this recipe in my back pocket if I’m ever craving some cookies. S/o to my cousin for being an awesome baking buddy.

As far as actual dinner…well, I haven’t solved that problem yet.

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Every Pizza is a Personal Pizza if You Try Hard and Believe in Yourself

#TBT to the fabulous day when Grace and I made a vegetable pesto “gourmet” pizza. We were shopping at Trader Joe’s for ingredients and looking at the pizza dough options; I guess you can say we both wanted to appear healthy on the outside, so we picked up the whole wheat dough and were well on our way when we had one of those moments. We stopped walking, looked at each other, and started cracking up as we went back to swap the whole wheat dough for garlic herb – what we had both really wanted. The garlic herb dough was easily one of the best decisions we could have made, as it matched well with the pesto base we chose and was unbelievably delicious.

This Vegetable Pesto Pizza is a fun cooking adventure and not too difficult to make! First, chop up tomatoes, red bell peppers, and onions (broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms, and / or arugula would work well too). Sautee the onions and spinach lightly in olive oil so that the onions are browned and the spinach cooked.

Next, spray a baking pan with non-stick spray and start rolling out your dough on another flat surface. Make sure to use enough flour to avoid sticking. This part might take a while, but roll out the dough enough so that it conforms to the shape of the pan and is as thick or thin as you would prefer.

After your oven is heated, put the dough in for about half the recommended baking time. Take it out and then spread the pesto sauce evenly and generously across the entire crust. Layer the vegetables and mozzarella cheese (can also use ricotta, goat, feta) as you’d like and place back in the oven to finish baking.* Voila, you’ve got a killer pizza!

*You can also spread the sauce and layer the cheese / vegetables on the dough before putting in the oven to bake.

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Popeye in the Making

I know not everyone agrees with me, but spinach is one of the best foods in the world. So good that I told my dad to grab a 5lb bag of spinach when he was at Costco. But we won’t go there.

Sauteeing frozen or fresh spinach in olive oil with garlic, salt, and some chilies and turmeric is the way to go. And it only takes a few minutes to prepare, making it the perfect healthy snack. While we’re at it, here are some interesting facts about spinach in an effort to convert more of my readers to spinach-lovers:

  1. China is the world’s largest spinach producer with 85% of global production (Did not see that one coming)
  2. Spinach is a flowering plant and a relative of the quinoa and the beets (Yum)
  3. Thanks to Popeye, the popularity and consumption of spinach increased by 30% during the 1930’s in the USA
  4. Green pigments extracted from spinach were used in painting during the medieval times
  5. Cooking spinach actually increases its health benefits! Just half a cup of cooked spinach will give you thrice as much nutrition as one cup of raw spinach

I’m starting to like this whole food & facts thing.

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