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Birthdays, Baking, Co-workers & Cookies

Pink Lemonade & Funfetti Cool Whip Cake Cookies

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Time for a fun, sweet treat!

Disclaimer: I am not promoting anything healthy about this post. Not my intention.   It is my friend Kelly’s birthday today. Aren’t birthdays supposed to be for celebrating and indulging in treats? Kel is an amazing person and friend. We spent a few years working together at MassMutual sharing snacks, bringing in each other Iced Caramel Lattes from Dunkin Donuts during the summer, venting about everything in life and sharing tons of laughs together. She makes work fun and was pretty much best cubemate I could ever ask for. You probably understand now why I made her cookies :).

Jason and I are also attending a birthday party tomorrow for another friend, Allison. She was Jason’s former cubemate and I am sure they share similar memories and friendship :). Speaking of friends and co-workers, I recently read an article here: http://elitedaily.com/women/ways-coworkers-know-friends/ about how your co-workers know more about you than your friends outside of work do. I can definitely relate to some of it! We’re fortunate to not only have great co-workers, but co-workers that have become great friends.

This week has fun, been quite busy and full of celebrations. Wednesday night was girls night for an early- birthday dinner celebration out for my friend/brother’s fiance’/soon to be future-sister-in law. Last night was our quarterly happy hour(s) with co-workers followed by an 11pm soccer game. Since Kelly’s birthday was today and Allison’s party is tomorrow, that left 6AM this morning to get my baking on.

I have made these cookies several times because I find them quite delicious and they are quick and only call for a few ingredients. I find them to stay soft and light in texture. I do wish they were a less messy, but that could just be me as I tend to make a mess pretty easily. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

What you need:

Per batch/box:

-Any flavor box of cake mix (I did one batch with Pink Lemonade, one with Funfetti) I have also used Strawberry and Vanilla/White in the past. They were tasty as well!

-1 egg

-1 8 oz tub of Cool Whip/Whipped Topping

-1/2 cup of powdered sugar/confectionaries sugar for decorating

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Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, pour in the cake batter directly from the box (do not add other ingredients like you normally would as instructions on box say). Only add 1 egg, and mix in the tub of cool whip.

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Once mixed thoroughly, the batter becomes very sticky. I have read you can stick the bowl in the fridge for an hour to make it easier to work with. I have not tried that yet (I didn’t have the hour to spare) but I did rinse my hands through warm water first to make them wet and that does make it easier to work with. Roll/scoop dough into balls and roll into a bowl of powdered/confectionaries sugar. Place onto greased cookie sheet or foil.

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The original recipe I followed states to bake these for 10-12 min. However, every time I have made these, it seems to take a few minutes longer. In order to bake all the way thoroughly (and bottoms become slightly browned), I keep them in for 15-17 min.

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Nutritional Info Per cookie: Makes about 28 cookies ber box/batch

Calories 120

Fat- 4.5 g

Carbs- 18 g

Sugar- 13 g

Protein-1 g

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Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Banana Muffins: Made with Applesauce and Honey

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Happy Friday everyone!

My friend sent me a Banana Bread Recipe a few days ago that called for honey and applesauce instead of oil and sugar and I am so glad she did! I had all the ingredients on hand except for the natural/no added sugar applesauce. And perfect timing too, because I had a couple of large bananas becoming too ripe for my liking and it is one of my co-workers birthday today so I decided to make these last night.

The recipe she sent me can be found here http://www.justapinch.com/recipes/bread/sweet-bread/banana-bread-with-honey-and-applesauce.html. I altered it a bit and made muffins instead of the bread and added peanut butter because….well do I really need a reason for that? 🙂

What you need: makes 16 muffins

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2 cups whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup natural applesauce (no sugar added)

1/2 cup honey

½ cup natural peanut butter for the batter (I used chunky but you can also use creamy)

+ ¼ cup melted natural peanut butter (drizzled on top of muffins, again I used crunchy)

2 eggs, beaten

2 large mashed overripe bananas

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place muffin paper wraps in muffin tin.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together applesauce honey and the 1/2 cup of peanut butter.

Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; just enough to moisten.

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 In muffin tin, pour batter into muffin wraps. (Note: you can also spray the inside of the muffin paper wraps to prevent the batter from sticking to those, or if you don’t have paper wraps- just spray each section of the muffin tin).

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Bake approx. 15-17 min. Mine started to brown around 15 min. Just ensure the batter is cooked through by testing with a fork and making sure it’s clean when poking through one of the muffins. 

Jason and I sampled last night to taste test and the rest came with me to work today.

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Enjoy!

Nutritional Info:

Calories- 185

Fat-7 g (mostly healthy fats from PB. If you want to remove most of this you can try using PB2, which is a powdered peanut butter that has most of the healthy fats from Peanut Butter removed)

Protein-7g

Carbs- 26g

Fiber-3g

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“Smart and Chick” Peanut Butter Butterscotch Blondies

Peanut Butter is a wonderful thing. Enough said. Right?!I honestly could talk all day about it, I could list out the endless reasons why I love it and the different ways I eat it, but I won’t.  I made peanut butter blondies for a Super Bowl Party last month. While I really wanted to use that not-so-healthy recipe again that was delicious, I wanted to experiment with a healthier recipe while still getting my peanut butter fix.

I was at the end of the end of jar when making these last night (I know, sad, sad story). I found myself cleaning it out with a spoon for literally over 5 minutes to get every last lick out of the jar. Wasting any amount of peanut butter is just not right.

One other thing about peanut butter. While it is usually delicious no matter what brand or type you buy, I question whether you really need the added sugar and oils that are in most regular peanut butters? Not in my opinion. I prefer the natural stuff. When comparing the nutritional values of regular peanut butter vs. natural peanut butter, you usually won’t see much difference in nutritional value for calories, fat. Etc. You will notice the difference in the ingredients. Natural Peanut Butter should consist of 2 things, Peanuts and Salt. In regular peanut butter you will usually see things like added like sugar, hydrogenated oil, evaporated cane juice, etc. This doesn’t mean I don’t eat regular peanut butter, ever. However, it is good to know and when it was brought to my attention a couple of years ago, I tried the natural kind and I actually like the taste of it better. I am not a nutritionist but I do know I get my fair share of sugar from other foods throughout the day, I don’t need it added to my peanut butter. Both these types of peanut butter have the healthy fats that are “good for you” fats. If you are looking for a lower fat option, try PB2. It’s a powdered peanut butter without all the fat.

So much for not rambling on about peanut butter :). Now, on to the recipe and what makes these “smart and chick.”

Chickpeas! Before you think I am crazy, they came out tasty and only have a slight hint of the bean taste so don’t be afraid! I’ve always enjoyed them from the salad bar at work and lately I have been having them at lunch with my chicken and rice. I have also tried them as a snack “browned’ in the oven with garlic and olive oil. Did you know these delicious beans are packed with protein and fiber? I wasn’t necessarily trying to add protein to my blondies, but I have heard you can incorporate chickpeas into them to make tasty ones and have been wanting to try. Since there is no flour used in this recipe, you will see from the picture, they didn’t rise as much as blondies normal do, but they were still yummy and have no added oils, butter or flour!

What you need: To make about 12 blondies, in an 8 x8 pan.

  • 1 can of chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed (I used Goya, low sodium)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup quick oats (you can also use ground flax instead if you prefer)
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup butterscotch chips (you can also use chocolate chip, or any flavor you prefer)

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Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Blend all ingredients (except chips) until very smooth in a food processor (not a blender). Mix in chips, and scoop into a greased 8×8 pan. Bake for approx. 40 minutes.

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Enjoy!

Nutritional Information:

  • Calories: 95
  • Fat: 2.5 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Carbs: 15 g
  • Protein: 2.5 g

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