Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

We’re at that time of year in University where there’s a lot going on that’s going to get you down. Sometimes, you need something to pick up your spirits and that’s exactly what baking can be. Today, I’ve got one of those simple, yet delicious recipes for you! I’ve made these cookies twice in the last two weeks and they never fail to make me feel better. So try them out, I promise they taste amazing!

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Here’s what you’ll need:

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Mix together the margarine (or margarine and shortening), brown sugar, white sugar, and peanut butter. Add the eggs, flour, baking soda, salt, and oats.

I decided to add chocolate chips into half the batter and raisins to the other.

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Drop by teaspoons onto an ungreased sheet and bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes until bottom of cookies are slightly golden.

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There you go! Try these out…you really won’t regret it.

Have a wonderful week, everyone!

– S

Recipe from: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/oatmeal-peanut-butter-cookies/:

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup margarine, softened (if you don’t have shortening, just use margarine instead)
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, cream together shortening, margarine, brown sugar, white sugar, and peanut butter until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time until well blended. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture. Mix in the oats until just combined. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until just light brown. Don’t over-bake. Cool and store in an airtight container.

Breakfast of Champions

We all need to be a little bit healthy every once in a while. It’s good for your body and mind. It might even be good for your soul, but I doubt that. My soul doesn’t want salad. It wants dark chocolate.

I recently read a book called “Drop Dead Healthy” by A. J. Jacobs, and the premise is that the author lives two years of his life according to literally EVERY legitimate health tip he comes across. He even does something called a “Caveman Workout”. It’s a great read, and I totally recommend it! Needless to say, neither of us at SLB will be embarking on such an adventure any time soon, but I was inspired by the spirit of this book to make this healthy breakfast of a Purple smoothie and Whole Wheat Banana Bread.

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For a little while, I was really really into having smoothies for breakfast, and with a Magic Bullet, it takes all of 2 minutes to make.

I tend to just throw a bunch of fruit (here, I used mango and blueberries) and then add some yogurt, orange juice. I often add some spinach and ground flax seed also, but we didn’t have either of those at home, today. You can pretty much use any leafy vegetable that you don’t mind eating raw, for example watercress, collards, or kale (my enemy!).

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The Whole Wheat Banana Bread is very special; dare I say it is the best banana bread ever? I stole this recipe from Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery in Boston, and have been using it for years, and (fingers crossed) it’s turned out perfectly each time! It’s wonderfully soft and has just the right amount of sweetness. Bananas are basically the most useful fruit. You don’t have to cut them up, they come prepackaged in the peel, and you can use all of their forms. You can eat the yellow bananas (obviously), the unripened green banana, banana flowers, banana tree stem, and in India, the banana leaves are used as plates for eating!

Here are the ingredients for the banana bread:

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First, whip up the eggs and sugar until they change into a pale yellow colour.

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Then slowly drizzle in the oil, while you whisk.Image

Then add the mashed bananas, yogurt, and vanilla extract.

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Now, whisk that all together, and gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Remember, if you over-mix the gluten in the flour will develop too much and you will end up with a very dense and tough banana bread-eew!

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Add the chocolate chips/nuts/seeds now, and gently fold. As you can see, I have a random mix of white/dark chocolate chips…Image

Finally, pour it into your buttered and floured loaf pan and bake for 45-60 minutes at 350F. (Don’t be concerned that it looks slightly unappealing, it will taste delicioso!)

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This recipe can be adapted to make muffins, too!

Thanks for coming by!

Next week, we’ll have another sweet treat for you!

-G

Purple Smoothie

½ cup of mixed fruit (I used mango chunks and blueberries)

¼ cup yogurt

½ cup orange juice

1. Put fruit, yogurt, and orange juice into the blender. Blend until smooth.

2. Serve cold.

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Individual Clementine Upside Down Cakes

Hey there!

So here’s the thing about January birthdays: no one wants to eat visible sugar. By this, I mean that no one wants to eat icing. Everyone is still convinced that they’ll be able to stick with their New Year’s resolution of getting in better shape (and props to you if you can) and so they refuse to eat a mixture of butter and sugar. If you are one of these people: good job, you stuck with it for a little over a week, but it’s okay, next year you can go for the whole month. Personally, I don’t remember ever making a New Year’s resolution (for myself that is). My mom is always telling me I should focus on improving some random, vague thing, like being kinder. To my mother, I say, happy belated birthday! I actually made these on her birthday, so I am a kind daughter 😉

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These individual clementine upside cakes are the perfect, guilt free size of treat. So try it out, I promise whoever you serve these to (or just you yourself) will be wildly impressed. I took the actual cakes recipe from http://www.versesfrommykitchen.com/2012/01/ clementine-upside-down-cakes.html. I just got rid of the almond meal and added in some vanilla.

First, make the cake portion and add in the clementine zest and juice.

Next, slice the clementines. You want the centre portions that will take up the most space in the tins. Ends = snack.

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Lastly, assemble. Start by buttering and flouring your muffin tins. You could use a non-stick spray but I didn’t have any. Then add a teaspoon of brown sugar to each well followed by a clementine slice.

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Divide the batter on top and bake.

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The beauty of these comes once you flip them. Let them cool for about 5 minutes then run a knife around the edges and flip the pan.

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Happy Birthday, Mom!

Talk to you guys next week!

– S

Recipe from http://www.versesfrommykitchen.com/2012/01/clementine-upside-down-cakes.html. There is also a syrup recipe on this site, I skipped it just because there was already enough sweetness.

Ingredients:

  • Butter, for greasing
  • brown sugar, for base
  • 4 clementines, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup self-raising flour (all purpose will be just fine)
  • 1 cup almond meal (I didn’t add this, and so my batter was more runny. Add a teaspoon of vanilla)
  • 2 clementines, juiced through a fine sieve and zested
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

Prep:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325F degrees.
  2. Using a medium mixing bowl and electric mixer, whisk the eggs and sugar for 8 minutes. Sift the flour and fold in. Fold in the butter, almond meal, clementine juice and zest and cinnamon. Keep folding until fully combined.
  3. Butter twelve small muffin basins. Sprinkle half a teaspoon of brown sugar into each basin. Place a thin clementine round (minus the rind) into each basin.
  4. Divide the mixture among the basins until 2/3 full. Place on a baking sheet in the oven for 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  5. Meanwhile, start on the syrup. Put the clementine juice, superfine sugar and maple syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and bring to a boil until the consistency is a thick syrup.
  6. Remove the cakes from the oven and let cool for five minutes. Turn out on to a wire rack.

Serves 12 small cakes.

Pumpkin Pie Bars and New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year Everyone!!!

So I guess the Mayans were wrong after all, huh? With New Year, comes resolutions. But let’s be honest here, who ever keeps a resolution, for realsies? This year, I decided to make one New Year’s resolution, hopefully I can actually keep it. I resolve to be more organized, in everything!

Sadly, this post just shows how disorganized I am. Pumpkin recipe in January?? I was planning on posting these in the fall, but clearly that didn’t happen. I saw this recipe on Joy the Baker’s blog, and since my family loves Pumpkin-y desserts, this was perfect! The oats, pecans, and brown sugar in the crust add a warm, delicious aroma to these bars. In the original recipe, Joy used cream cheese, but I wanted the bars to be more similar to actual pumpkin pie, so I used evaporated milk.

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I accidentally bought pumpkin pie filling instead of pumpkin puree, so I did not have to add any sugar or spices to the filling, but I will definitely use real pumpkin puree next time.

These all the ingredients I used! *I forgot to add evaporated milk and the butter to this picture, but hopefully you guys know what butter looks like.

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Mix up all of the dry ingredients:Image

Add cubes of super cold butter to the mix, and combine the butter thoroughly in with the dry mix, until the pieces of butter are about the size of peas.

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Reserve 1 ½ cups of this crumble and put it in the fridge, this will form the crumb topping. With the remaining mix, pat it down into a parchment-lined 9×9 baking pan, until it looks like this.

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Then, mix up the filling and put on the crumble topping. Top the bars with 9 pecans, and bake at 350 degrees Celsius, for 25-27 minutes.

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See the layers of crust and pumpkin? YUMMY!

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I love layers of different textures and temperatures, and these warm bars topped with a scoop of ice cream, are just perfection!

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Thanks for visiting us! Happy New Year! We hope you have a wonderfully sweet and beautiful year full of delicious surprises!

-G

Pumpkin Pie Bars

Adapted from Joy the Baker’s Recipe

http://joythebaker.com/2012/11/creamy-pumpkin-pie-bars/

makes 9 bars in a square 8×8-inch pan

For the Crust:

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup quick oats

3/4 cups (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes

1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans

For the Filling:

½ cup evaporated milk

1 cup pumpkin pie filling

1 large egg plus 1 large egg white (I didn’t add eggs, but it still turned out great!)

pinch of salt

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

9 roasted pecan halves for topping

1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease an 8×8-inch square pan with butter.  Line with parchment paper and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugars, salt, and oats.  Add cold butter and quickly but thoroughly break the butter up into the dry ingredients.  When broken down, some butter pieces will be the size of small peas, others will be the size of oat flakes. Add the chopped pecans and toss to thoroughly combine.

3. Remove about 1 1/2 of the mixture from the bowl and place in a small bowl in the refrigerator.  This will be our crumble topping. Dump the remaining crust mixture into the prepared pan. Using your fingers, evenly press the crust into the bottom of the pans. Try to make sure that the crust has an even thickness across the pan. Place the pressed crust in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

4. To prepare the filling whisk the eggs, pumpkin pie filling, and evaporated milk until thoroughly combined. Next, add salt, and vanilla extract.

5. Remove the pressed crust and loose crumb from the refrigerator.  Pour the pumpkin filling over the pressed crust.  Sprinkle generously with crumb topping and top with pecan halves.  Bake for 25-27 minutes or until the center no longer jiggles.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before removing from the pan and slicing.  I like to slice and serve these bars warm.

6. To store, wrap individual bars in plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for up to 4 days.