Peanut Butter Banana Cupcakes

Wow…it has been a full year since I’ve last blogged. Ha! As I wrote that, I spoke it out loud and it sounded like “It has been a year since my last confession.” I’m not Catholic so I’m not quite sure how that whole thing works but like many of us I am an expert via many hours of TV and movie watching 😉

Anyway, I’m not going to bore you with why I have been absent. Nothing major happened…my last post was about Blue Apron and I still use them about once a month or every other month. I’m going to start posting again but probably not monthly as I used to.

This idea of combining peanut butter and banana came about because I had leftover baking ingredients in my fridge from when my good friend came over and made cupcakes for her boyfriend’s surprise party. Her cupcakes were a combination of chocolate, rum, peanut butter and some other ingredients that I won’t give away because it is her personal recipe. It was so delicious and she told me that adding peanut butter to the batter makes the cupcakes super moist. So with the leftover peanut butter, milk, eggs, etc, I decided to give these a go!

Ingredients: yellow cake mix, 3 tblsp peanut butter, 1 cup milk/almond milk, 3 eggs, 2 bananas, 1/3 c. butter, buttercream frosting (from can)

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I basically followed the directions on the box and added the peanut butter and bananas.

1. Preheat oven to 350. Melt the butter in a bowl to soften, add milk and eggs. Then mix in the peanut butter.

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2. Peel the bananas and mash with a fork in separate bowl. Add the cake mix and mashed bananas to the liquid mixture.

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3.Mix until smooth…this is where I regret not investing in an electric mixer. Now that I am baking more often, I should at least look into buying the electric hand mixer. My friend who came over had one and it elevated the entire baking experience for me. The picture above is me struggling to get the batter smooth using my weak arm strength.

4. After the batter is smooth, use an ice cream scoop or spoon to put it into the cupcake pan. I had cupcake liners. This recipe makes 24 cupcakes and my cupcake pan holds 12 so I put the leftover batter in a cake pan.

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5. Put in the oven and bake for about 20 min

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6. Wait a few minutes for them to cool before frosting with the buttercream.

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The taste of the peanut butter is pretty faint but it definitely makes these cupcakes so moist and the banana/yellow cake combo is heavenly.

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Since it has banana, I assumed it can be eaten in the morning for breakfast. I mean what are muffins?? What I’m trying to say is that I have eaten this cupcake after each meal: breakfast, lunch, and dinner…Probably not good to have 3 cupcakes a day but whatever 🙂

Blue Apron Vegetarian Review

I don’t know how many of you listen to podcasts or watch YouTube family vlogs, but ever since I finished school I’ve been kinda addicted to them. Podcasts make the commute to work 1000% better and the NPR ones can be really informative. Anyway, the reason I am bringing this up is Blue Apron has ads on all of my favorite podcasts and vlogs (perfect ad placement, like how did they know this was something I would totally be interested in?!).

I should also mention that I am not getting paid for this review. The only reason I really got into it is because a friend of mine posted a Groupon for the first 3 meals on Facebook. After using the Groupon deal, I was hooked. I’ve been getting the 2-person vegetarian plan every other week.

The way it works: Once you sign up, you choose a delivery schedule and you can opt out or skip weeks. You have to be careful because it will automatically bill you and send you a box if you don’t sign in and choose to “skip this week” ahead of time. On your chosen delivery day, the Blue Apron box will arrive at your doorstep with all of the ingredients needed for 3 meals including the step-by-step instructions. Everything is fresh and the box is refrigerated so its ok if you aren’t home (just make sure you get it sometime later in the day).

There are several services that send you fresh ingredients and recipes but I was really happy with the vegetarian option at Blue Apron. All of the recipes are really creative, and it’s not just salads and pastas. I don’t need special cooking utensils or appliances, it’s pretty basic. Some of the recipes can take a long time but most of the recipes that I’ve done haven’t been more than an hour including prep time.

Yall know my main complaint with cooking new recipes is that I end up wasting so much food especially when it calls for rare vegetables or spices that I know I will not use again. Blue Apron is perfect for that because they only send exactly what you need! It can be pretty expensive but it works for me because I spend about the same in groceries for 2 weeks. I usually eat the leftovers for lunch or dinner the next night so overall I am able to stretch the 3 meals a week to like 6.

I didn’t take a lot of pics of my meals because I wasn’t sure if I was going to do this post so now I wish I had but here are some of the meals:

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I’ll do another short post of future Blue Apron meals. This also means that I won’t be posting any recipes for the next month but stay tuned because there is still a ton of stuff I want to try.

Overall, I am very happy with the Blue Apron vegetarian plan and would recommend it to anyone who wants to try new recipes and hates grocery shopping lol. Well, it doesn’t eliminate grocery shopping completely…you’ll still need breakfast, lunch, and snacks guys 🙂

 

Simple Oreo Brownies

Today’s post is a quick and simple way to add something extra to your brownies, for all those Valentine’s Day chocolate lovers. Brownies from a box are pretty awesome especially the Ghirardelli brownie mix. What I am about to share is one of the best kept secrets when it comes to brownies. Ok, I’m exaggerating..It only feels like a secret to me because I never heard or thought to try it before.

All you have to do is make brownies using the instructions on the box or from scratch if you prefer. Pour half the batter in a baking pan and then put a layer of Oreos. Cover the layer with the rest of the batter.

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I crushed up a few Oreos and sprinkled them on top before putting it in the oven.

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You can use Oreos or Reeses or York peppermint patties or any of your favorite cookies!

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Sooo good! And even better with ice cream. You’re welcome for this life hack 😉

Spaghetti Squash

Happy New Year!

To start the new year off right, I have a recipe for making spaghetti without pasta!

Whattt?? But you love pasta! Yes, I do indeed love all different kinds of pasta and, as a vegetarian, that’s pretty much all I order when I go out to eat. A good friend of mine recently told me about spaghetti squash and I wasn’t thrilled about it because I’m not a fan of squash in general. Well, I am here to reassure you pasta lovers that the spaghetti squash was a great substitution. It doesn’t taste exactly like pasta but it has the same texture as an angel hair pasta and adding a sauce you can barely taste a difference.

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I got a small one from Whole Foods. Preheat oven to 400. Cut it in half and scoop out the seeds.

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I turned both halves down in a dish. Put in oven and bake for 30 to 45 min depending on the size of the squash.

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After it was done or tender, I took it out of the oven and waited for it to cool before turning them over. Use a fork to separate the strands.

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I put the spaghetti-like strands in a bowl. I made a marinara sauce with baby spinach and added it on top. You can also add shredded cheese too.

Photo Jan 05, 8 33 37 PM It was delicious!

You don’t even have to use a tomato sauce, you can just toss it with olive oil and some salt and pepper. And it’s supposed to be a lot healthier than regular angel hair pasta.

 

Almond Slice Dessert

Happy Holidays my fellow foodies! I hope you are able to take some time to enjoy family, friends, and of course food!

I got the idea of this simple dessert from a cookbook but I’ve modified it slightly, see below:

Ingredients: 2 c. whole almonds, 2 eggs, 1 tblsp soy milk, 1 c. sugar, 1/2 c. butter

Grind the almonds in a food processor or I’m sure you can buy ground almonds somewhere if you really wanted to.

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In a bowl, mix the ground almonds and sugar together. Melt the butter and pour it over the dry ingredients. Mix it all together really well.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and milk together. Then, combine it with the almond mixture.

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Preheat oven to 340. Grease a bread pan and pour the mixture inside. Bake for about 45 min. Check with a knife to see if it comes out clean.

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Have you ever had baklava? It tastes almost like that sweet nutty taste minus the pastry part. It’s soo good and you can have it cold or hot. I prefer hot with a scoop of ice cream. I’ve also had it for breakfast with some hot tea (see below).

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Last year my holiday song of 2014 was Santa Tell Me from Ariana Grande. This year my favorite holiday song of 2015 is….Sleigh Ride by the Pentatonix! I have so much respect for a cappella music and they are one of the best out there right now..the way they blend and how each song is arranged is simply amazing.

I know it came out last year but I still love everything about this Christmas album.

Thank you for reading and following my tiny little blog this year! Have a happy holidays and happy new year, 2016 will be the best one yet!

Favorite Frozen Meals (single serve)

*Gasp* But this is a food blog! How dare you blog about frozen meals!

Listen, as much as I love cooking and being creative in the kitchen, some…no, most of the time I don’t have time to create a brand new meal every single day. My life is entirely too busy for that..also, I don’t have any kids so I can afford to pop a meal in the microwave and not worry about other little mouths to feed lol.

A lot of frozen meals are not that good. I’ve had my fair share of bad ones, and I’ve had to call the Chinese take-out place across the street instead. Through trial and error, I’ve found some pretty great choices for the days I just can’t find the energy to do anything more than open and close a microwave. This holiday season is going to be hectic just like last year and the year before that. In between all the family visits, holiday parties, shopping, and huge meals, here are some of my go-to frozen faves (in no particular order).

1.Amy’s Thai Pad Thai: The noodles, veggies, tofu, and sauce are really good and pretty comparable to some of my favorite local Thai restaurants.

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2. Butternut Squash Ravioli: I actually like most frozen ravioli whether filled with spinach, cheese, or butternut squash. You just put it in the pot and boil until soft. Sauce is not included. I prefer a white sauce over a red or tomato sauce with this one. Also, this particular brand was from Whole Foods but you can find frozen ravioli in most grocery stores.

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3. Lean Cuisine Five Cheese Rigatoni: I’m actually a fan of most Lean Cuisine dishes but this one is my favorite. Not as filling as the meals mentioned above. With any of these meals, I suggest making a salad on the side if you know that you will still be hungry.

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4. Amy’s Vegetable Pot Pie: As you can see, I’m also a fan of Amy’s frozen meals. The problem is that they can be pretty expensive. This one is really great comfort food…I’m not going to lie, I usually have a scoop of ice cream or some kind of dessert after this meal 🙂

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5. Stouffer’s Macaroni & Cheese: I will admit that most frozen mac and cheese dishes are pretty awful but this one I can vouch for. This mac and cheese is great with some Morningstar “meat” or the nut loaf from my previous post.

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Like I said before, if these single serve meals don’t fill you up, you can always add a salad or some kind of bread/roll to complete the meal. There are a few other frozen meals that I like so I may do a part 2 in another post.

I hope these suggestions are helpful and stay tuned for my holiday post where I will announce my favorite Christmas song of 2015!

Potato and Nut Terrine

I’m always looking for different veggie “meatloaf” types of recipes. They are super easy and I can live off of the leftovers for the next week. My Aunt Judy’s Morningstar veggie loaf is always a big hit at church potlucks.

Lately, I’ve been trying several recipes from the cookbook “Favorite Vegetarian Dishes”. The recipe for Potato and Nut Terrine was slightly modified but it came from that book.

Ingredients: 1 1/2 c potatoes, 1 1/2 c pecan nuts, 1 1/2 c cashew nuts, 1 onion, 2 garlic cloves, 2 1/4 c mushrooms, 2 tbsp butter, 2 tsp herbs, 4 eggs, shredded cheese, salt, pepper, paprika, ketchup and sugar for the glaze

Dice the potatoes and boil until soft. Chop the onion and garlic and saute in butter in a pan. Then add diced mushrooms. You can chop the pecans and cashews in a food processor.

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Mix the nuts into the mushroom mixture. When the potatoes are ready, drain the pot and add the potatoes to a separate bowl and mash them together.

Add the beaten eggs and shredded cheese to the potatoes and then add the nut/mushroom mixture. I used shredded cheddar cheese and you can also use shredded Parmesan. Mix everything together and add any seasonings (salt, pepper, paprika, Tony Chachere). Grease a bread pan and pour the mixture inside.

Photo Oct 06, 7 50 13 PM Preheat oven to 375.

For the glaze, mix ketchup and brown sugar in a separate bowl and coat the top of the uncooked loaf like icing on a cake. Bake in the oven for 1 hour.

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When you take out of the oven, let it set for a little or else it will crumble when you try to cut it. I know my plate looks a little bare lol…I had short grain brown rice, broccoli, and a roll with it but I forgot to get the whole picture. Also, I’m not that great at photographing food as you can tell. The whole meal was delicious and so filling, I will definitely be making this again!

Side note: It’s Octobeerrrr! Best month ever! I might be biased since it also happens to be my birthday month. Got this cookie today..I’m totally on the fall pumpkin bandwagon. Shoutout to Panera 🙂

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