Take 5 Scotcheroos

peanut-butter-caramel-scotcheroo

Because it’s Halloween weekend…..and because I’m obsessed with Take 5 candy bars, I decided to share the recipe for these awesome Take 5 inspired Scotcheroos! These bars have a Peanut Butter Rice Krispie / Pretzel base, a Salted Peanut Caramel middle, and are topped with a Dark Milk Chocolate Glaze. They’re salty-sweet perfection and everything I dreamed of when developing the recipe. Hope you guys love them as much as I do!

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Peanut Butter Pretzel Blondies

Peanut Butter Pretzel Blondies

The anticipation has been steadily building over the past two weeks and this weekend it’s finally here……the Mother of all Sundays, especially if you’re a fan of football or commercials. That’s right folks, you know what I’m talking about – it’s Super Bowl Sunday! Part of me feels like I should be unbiased when writing a post about the Super Bowl. That I should go the politician route and say something like, “Well, it will be a great match-up. Both of these teams had a good season and I’m excited to see the Broncos top ranked offense go up against the Seahawks top ranked defense.” But, here’s the thing, I can’t say that and it’s not because I have anything against the Seahawks – it’s because I am a huge Broncos fan. I’m talking crazy, semi-obnoxious, “sorry I can’t hang out with you on Sunday – the Broncos are playing,” wish I could rename my dog Peyton Knowshon Von Miller…….fan. Continue reading

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Protein Bars

Peanut Butter Protein Bars

As much as I wish I could eat sweets all day, I understand that it’s probably a good idea to eat something good for me every once in a while.  In my dessert addicted mind, I like to believe that healthy foods will counterbalance all the cakes and cookies I eat.  I mean if I eat a healthy dinner of wild salmon and roasted vegetables that totally negates the giant slice of pound cake I eat after…….right???  Maybe???  Okay, so I know that’s not how it works, but it would be nice if it did.

Eating healthy has been on my mind lately for a couple of reasons.  The first is because I’m testing so many recipes for the business that I’m eating more sweets than I usually do.  I know……I didn’t think that was possible either, but apparently it is and it’s not as fun as I thought it would be.  The other reason I’m on a health-kick is because I recently started training for the Half Marathon I’m running in July.  This will be the sixth Half I’ve run and I’m really hoping to PR, which means I need to train hard and eat right.

My attitude towards food changes a bit when I’m in training.  Instead of just eating whatever is around, I actually put a little thought into what I’m eating and why I’m eating it.  This might sound a little cheesy, but bear with me here……..during training, I look at food as fuel to boost my running performance and to help keep me healthy and fit.  Ughhh…..I can’t believe I just wrote that, but it’s true!  I guess it’s time to admit my other deep, dark nerdy secret.  I love reading about nutrition and how eating certain foods before and after a run can help improve my overall fitness.  I think it’s fascinating to read why the ideal post-long run recovery meal has a carbs to protein ration of 4:1.  And I also think it’s pretty cool to read how tart cherries help to reduce muscle soreness.  What can I say…….I’ve got some nerdish tendencies and I embrace every one of them.

One of my favorite things to make when I’m in training is Homemade Peanut Butter Protein Bars.  I’m always trying to find ways to sneak more protein into my diet (I don’t eat a lot of meat) and these bars are the perfect way to do that.  They’re packed with protein, super filling, can be easily customized and, most importantly, taste crazy good.  Oh and I almost forgot to mention, they’re also Gluten-Free!  I’ve had a lot of requests for GF recipes, so I’m stoked to finally be able to share one.

The recipe for these protein bars originally came from my boyfriend’s Dad.  He found the recipe in Mountain Flyer magazine and instinctively knew it was something Boyfriend and I would love to make.  The original recipe is fantastic, but we tweaked it to make it a little healthier and more to our liking.  We can’t get enough of these bars and make them constantly during the summer.   They’re great as a post-workout snack or to take as fuel for long hikes and bike rides.  They are kind of filling and can easily be eaten as a meal replacement as well. Personally, I love to eat them as a quick healthy breakfast on busy mornings.

I really hope you guys love these protein bars as much as we do.  They can be adapted in a multitude of ways, so feel free to get creative and come up with your absolute perfect combination.  If you’re not a fan of Peanut Butter, use Almond Butter! If you want to add a little extra fiber to the bars, swap out the Rice Puffs for Kamut Puffs (please note Kamut is not GF friendly).  My favorite way to make the bars is with crunchy peanut butter, rice protein powder, dried tart cherries, and toasted pecans.  So get in the kitchen and get crazy and feel good knowing that you’re making something healthy and nutritious!

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What I’m Baking: Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bake Cookies

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Today is Valentine’s Day.  A holiday that, if I’m being honest, I’m not too keen on.  I have a hard time getting behind a holiday that puts pressure on couples to be super romantic and makes single people feel bad about their lack of a relationship.  I do, however, really enjoy the whole eating tons of chocolate part of the holiday.  That part I can get behind.  My boyfriend and I don’t exchange gifts or really do anything out of the ordinary for Valentine’s Day.  Although, maybe I could get him to watch the new episode of The Vampire Diaries with me tonight by playing the Valentine’s Day card……….interesting.  Anyways…..in the spirit of eating chocolate, I decided to be a good girlfriend and surprise my boyfriend with his favorite cookies, Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bake Cookies.

These aren’t exactly the sexiest or fanciest cookies, but my boyfriend loves them.  I’d actually never had one before dating him and my first experiences with the cookie left a lot to be desired.  Most of the recipes I found were way too sweet (and that’s saying a lot coming from me) and the chocolate and peanut butter flavors got lost in the overabundance of sugar.  Since these are Boyfriend’s favorite cookies, I knew I’d have to figure out a way to create a No-Bake Cookie I could love.  I wanted something that downplayed the crazy sugar overload and let the other flavors shine through.

I found a great recipe in the book Baked Explorations that was almost exactly what I was looking for.  It contained chunky peanut butter, which added a nice texture to the cookie, and used dark cocoa powder.  The recipe was still a little sweet for my taste, so I dialed back on the sugar, added a little salt, and threw in some semi-sweet chocolate to up the chocolate quotient.  The end result was perfect.  It was a No-Bake cookie I could get on board with and, more importantly, my boyfriend loved them.

If you haven’t tried a No-Bake Cookie before or have had some bad experiences with them, I highly recommend giving this recipe a shot.  It made me a believer in them.  And if you need help justifying eating this cookie – I’m kind of a pro at that, so here you go……….oats have lots of fiber and are considered  a “superfood,” whole milk has calcium which some say helps burn belly fat, and peanut butter has protein.  I mean when you really think about, these cookies are pretty darn healthy.  Like I said, I can justify just about any dessert.  Hope you enjoy these cookies and Happy Chocolate Eating Day!!

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