What’s a Girl To Do?

Leave three perfectly overripe bananas at home with the non-banana eating BOY while I head out of town for the weekend???




OR turn them into a delicious travel friendly banana flavored snack???




I’m sure you can guess which option I chose!  Truth be told, I wasn’t planning on blogging or sharing this bread.  I had a few minutes in between packing, laundry, and catching up on the Big Bang Theory to throw something in the oven.  I needed an easy recipe and I had no eggs in the house. 




I followed this recipe, substituting bananas for zucchini and using the flax egg and applesauce to make up for the lack of eggs,  mostly because this recipe comes together REALLY quick and also because I love a reason to use almond meal.




Like the recipe, I’m keeping this post quick.




I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.




Because I am all packed up and ready for my weekend away with my mom.


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We are off to Door County for a long weekend of hiking, biking, drinking, and shopping.  And now, we have the perfect breakfast to take with us.  See you in a few days!



Banana Almond Butter Bread

Adapted from Paleo Zucchini Almond Butter Muffins

Makes 2 mini loaves



1 cup almond flour/meal

3/4 cup almond butter

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp baking powder

2 overripe bananas, mashed

3 tbsp flax with 6 tbsp warm water (mix together and then let sit for 5 minutes)

1/4 cup applesauce

1 tsp vanilla extract

1-2 tbsp agave



Preheat oven to 350*F.

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and blend well.

Coat mini loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray and divide batter among 2 pans.

Bake for 40 minutes or until bread is cooked all the way through.

Allow to cool before serving.

Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow

Yes…here it is again.  Another incredible puppy chow recipe!




Although I can’t take credit for creating the recipe, I take full credit for making, eating, and sharing it.  The creation came from THIS BLOG and the recipe came to me by way of a close friend!


Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow


1 10 oz bag of pumpkin spice kisses

6 cups Chex cereal

2 cups powdered sugar

Pumpkin pie spice to taste


Melt kisses in the microwave or double boiler.  I used the microwave, and the entire bag melted in about 2 minutes.  Pour melted kisses over 6 cups of Chex cereal, stirring to coat (I find a spatula works best).  Fold in powdered sugar and pumpkin pie spice.





We pulled the recipe together in my mom’s kitchen this week and proceeded to eat a significant amount before bagging it up and sharing it!  Everyone who tried it, loved it!  Oh the possibilities…I wonder what other Hershey Kisses are out there for puppy chow!




Since the Chex box has 12 cups of cereal and this recipe only uses half, we had another 6 cups of Chex mix to use.  I found some vanilla almond bark and attempted to make a recipe similar to THIS ONE, but I didn’t really measure and used way too little butter.




The result was a puppy chow crumble.  We came up with a ton of funny names for this concoction, but I think peanut butter puppy crumble is most appropriate.  Despite its crushed up nature, it tasted delish.  We ate the big clumps, and I took the rest home to use in some other recipe of sorts.  I was thinking PB Puppy Chow Crumble Brownies.  But when I got home, the BOY had some other ideas.


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The puppy crumble ball didn’t hold up too well, but the spoon idea was pure genius!

Luckily, the Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow was a HUGE success!  I’m heading out to Target for another bag of Pumpkin Spice Kisses immediately!  You will want to do the same!


Here are a few more creative puppy chow recipes!



Do you like puppy chow?

What is your favorite puppy chow recipe?


I’ve been Holding out on you Guys

Somehow in the past (almost) 2 years, I have not posted one of, if not, the best butterscotch recipe out there.  I’m not sure how I left this happen, but I promise to be more diligent moving forward.




I just hope you can forgive me…this recipe will help!




But first, a little history…

My best friend introduced me to these cookies.  The recipe is easy to find as it is written on the back of the package.  Since then, I have baked these cookies countless times.  One time, I totally forgot the eggs.  Although dry, they turned out okay.  Another time, I under baked the cookies and when I put them on a plate to serve, they turned into one huge cookie mountain.  Not fancy looking, but absolutely delicious!  I’ve baked the cookies and I’ve made the bars and everywhere that I bring them, people are always impressed.  Even those who don’t like butterscotch, which is the sign of a GOOD recipe. 




I searched my entire blog and couldn’t find these cookies or this recipe anywhere. I’m not even sure how that is possible!




I had some leftover butterscotch chips, not an entire bag, but knew I needed a batch of these cookies.  I also had some pretzels and thought that together they could make one tasty cookie.




I followed the recipe as written, but I used 1 cup of butterscotch chips and 2/3 cup white chocolate chips.




Then I stirred in ~1 cup of crushed pretzels.


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I know that salted caramel is the big thing right now, however, I am loving the salt and butterscotch combo!  The toughest part of the recipe is resisting the urge to sit down on the couch with the bowl of cookie dough and a spoon to watch the season premiere of How I Met Your Mother.




But you won’t have time because this recipe makes 4 dozen cookies, so it is all hands on deck in the kitchen scooping dough, moving cookie sheets, and clearing space on your cooling racks.




Having over and under baked these cookies in the past, I can tell you that 9 minutes is the magic  number for a crispy edge with a soft, chewy middle.




It’s one of the best oatmeal cookies out there!!! 

And I am totally digging the addition of white chocolate and pretzels.




Below is the original recipe.  I would start there and then get creative with you add ins!  It won’t be hard to share 4 dozen of these delightful cookies.  Trust me…I’ve done it before!



Oatmeal Scotchies




    1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

    1 teaspoon baking soda

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened

    3/4 cup granulated sugar

    3/4 cup packed brown sugar

    2 large eggs

    1 teaspoon vanilla extract or grated peel of 1 orange

    3 cups quick or old-fashioned oats

    1 2/3 cups (11-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Butterscotch Flavored Morsels




    PREHEAT oven to 375° F.

    COMBINE flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in oats and morsels. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

    BAKE for 7 to 8 minutes for chewy cookies or 9 to 10 minutes for crisp cookies. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.


    Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan. Prepare dough as above. Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until light brown. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Makes 4 dozen bars.



    MY Variation: Stir in 1 cup butterscotch chips, 2/3 cup white chocolate chips, and about 1 cup of crushed pretzels.  Bake for 9 minutes.

    Change in Plans

    My mom, brother, and I have been talking about doing the Northshore Century bike ride today since…well…probably last year!  Although my mom and I weren’t planning on riding the entire 100 miles, we had hoped to get in a nice 50 or 60 mile ride.  My bike training has been fairly non-existent, but up until yesterday, we were still undecided.  I’m not a person who usually talks about a race and doesn’t follow through although I feel like there has been more of that this year.  Since I had talked and blogged about the ride, I didn’t want to totally abandon it.  However, it was obvious chatting with my mom on our way down to the city yesterday that neither one of us was feeling the ride.  Mostly, due to lack of training.  In my case, this is a combination of a broken toe not fitting into my bike shoes, travel, weekends in class, and an overwhelmingly busy life.  This last reason was the biggest decider in nixing the race in favor of meeting my mom for Yin Yoga tonight.


    This decision allowed me to have a lovely no-pressure Sunday with no alarm clock, minimal time spent in my car (as opposed to driving the hour to the race start), watching the Bears, doing some laundry, and making veggie chili.  I also got took a 15 mile bike ride spending an hour along the forest preserve path admiring the contrast in colors and changing leaves.




    It was a windy but relaxing ride with beautiful views around every corner!






    Upon arriving home, I realized that I was much more in the mood for a 1 hour bike ride today than a 6 hour ride.  I made a green smoothie and settled in to cheer on the Bears, looking forward to a rejuvenating yoga class.






    Since the BOY has been hard at work on a paper and a few speeches ALL weekend, it was easy to get away Sunday night to attend my studio’s Yin class.  I took this class a few weeks ago and loved it.  In previous classes, I have done some Yin style yoga but never an entire class.  If you’ve never heard of/tried Yin yoga, I will try to describe it to you.  During a Yin class, you spend most of the time in sitting or supine (laying down).  Whereas in typical yoga practice, your muscles are active.  During Yin, each posture is passive, held without muscle activation using breathing and gravity to move deeper into the pose.  Postures are held for a long time (up to 5 minutes) in order to stretch beyond your muscles, moving into your fascia and connective tissues as well.  The goal of a Yin class is to increase range of motion and flexibility and decrease stress.




    You can learn more about Yin Yoga and its foundation at Wikipedia, YinYoga.com, or Yoga Journal.  But the best way to learn about Yin or any other form of yoga is go try a class for yourself!


    Tonight’s class began with restorative bridge, which is one of my favorite asanas.  We continued the rest of the class on or next to the wall. 90 minutes later, my mom and I emerged feeling incredible and relaxed!  Yoga, especially Yin, is the ideal way to end your weekend.  You spend plenty of time stretching out the sore muscles that you’ve worked all weekend and mentally, ending with an extended meditation, prepares you for the week ahead.  My brother impressively rode 100 miles today, but my mom and I agreed that we were in need of a different kind of Sunday.  It was the perfect change in plans!



    Have you ever tried Yin yoga?


    Signs of Fall

    It is officially fall and all the signs are present. 


    Since fall is my favorite season, I am more than happy to say goodbye to flip flops and air conditioning and welcome in the brisk weather and cute fall boots!  Not to mention all the hearty recipes!




    The leaves are changing







    Pumpkin beer is a plenty (I think the Pumking is my favorite!)


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    And I have dusted off the crockpot for its first meal of the season…

    Two-Ingredient Crockpot Chicken!




    I used a smoky salsa (Mrs. Renfro’s is my favorite) to make this easy and flavorful dinner last night.  And then had leftovers for lunch today!



    Unique Halloween candy is popping up






    The Chicago Bears are playing




    And I just can’t get my hands on enough veggies and fall squash at the farmer’s market




    The blogs are abuzz with fresh fall recipes




    The crockpot is back in action making Vegetarian Chili




    The doors and windows are open, and I have a smile on my face!!!



    What signs of fall have you seen?

    What recipes are you most excited to make this season?



    I’m definitely looking forward to making some old favorites…

    CSA Soup (I’ve already made 1 batch this fall)

    Pumpkin Molasses Muffins

    Curried Butternut and Red Lentil Soup

    Pumpkin Dump Cake

    Bake Barley Casserole with Mushrooms and Squash

    Root Vegetable Tagine

    Sweet Potato Pie

    More Fudge

    What is your best fudge memory?


    Mine involves my best friend and a 1/2 pound block of chocolate delight in the Wisconsin Dells.  When you’re away at summer camp, fudge is as good as it gets! 




    The thought of fudge brings back so many fun memories of summers at camp and traveling to small town shops.  Even the smallest taste of fudge makes me smile!




    This fudge recipe comes by way of Sally at Sally’s Baking Addiction.  I spotted it on her site and immediately knew that I needed to try it.  Sally agreed!  Who knew it was this easy to make egg-less cookie dough?


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    The fudge itself is made on the stove, then combined with the cookie dough and loaded with chocolate chips.




    I definitely added some extra chocolate chips, and I would recommend that you do the same!




    The fudge goes straight into the fridge, but I did lick the cookie dough spatula and it was fantastic.  Oh the cookie dough possibilities!




    Just like the Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars, the family and I sampled this fudge Monday afternoon before dinner.




    It is super sweet and tasted exactly like cookie dough!




    Definitely perfect for a sweet and special occasion!


    Although discovered on Sally’s site, this recipe is actually from The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook.  I’ve seen it on a few different sites, and it seems to have some sweet and tasty recipes.  Do you own The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook?  What is your favorite cookie dough recipe? 



    Even More Fudge…

    Cake Batter Fudge

    Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

    Strawberry Two Ingredient Fudge

    Thin Mint Fudge

    Chocolate Cake Batter Caramel and Pecan Fudge

    Candy Corn Oreo Cake Batter Fudge




    Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudge

    makes 36 fudge squares

    From Sally’s Baking Addiction


    For Cookie Dough

      1/3 cup unsalted butter, soften to room temperature

      1/4 cup sugar

      1/4 cup light brown sugar

      1/2 tsp vanilla extract

      1/8 tsp salt

      2 Tbsp half-and-half (or milk or cream)

      1/2 cup all-purpose flour


      For Fudge

        1/3 cup light brown sugar

        1/3 cup unsalted butter

        pinch of salt

        1/3 cup half-and-half (or milk or cream)

        4-5 cups confectioners’ sugar (I used 4 cups)

        1 tsp vanilla extract

        1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

        Line 8×8 square baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Set aside.


        For the Cookie Dough, combine butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand or handheld mixer. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Mix in vanilla, salt, and half-and-half. Add flour and mix until just combined. Do NOT overmix.

        To prepare the fudge base, combine brown sugar, butter, salt, and half-and-half in a medium saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until butter is melted and brown sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Slowly stir in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until mixture is smooth and sugar is incorporated throughout. Stir in vanilla. Add more confectioners’ sugar if desired. The more powdered sugar you add, the thicker, firmer, and sweeter the fudge will be. I used 5 cups.

        Add cookie dough to the fudge base and stir to combine. At this point, the mixture should have cooled to room temperature. If not, continue to stir until it is no longer warm to the touch. Fold in mini chocolate chips and spread fudge into prepared baking pan. Chill until set, about 3-4 hours. Cut into squares and enjoy!

        *Fudge will keep for 1 week in the refrigerator.



        What is your favorite fudge recipe?

        Sweet New Year!

        Wow, I can’t thank ya’ll enough for your kind words and encouragement after yesterday’s post!  I am quickly moving past this incident because I have way too many good recipes to share, and let’s be honest…I always having something to say.  But, I really do appreciate you reading my post and taking the time to comment.  One of the best things about blogging for me is that writing helps me think about and work through my feelings.  It also helps me keep things in perspective!  This perspective, combined with the joy I feel every day working with kids and teaching them new skills, helps me keep my priorities straight.  And today…my priority is sharing with you 2 overdue sweet recipes that I made for our holiday celebration at the beginning of the week.


        The first one I discovered on one of the best dessert blogs out there, Cookies & Cups.  I was really hoping to find an apple recipe to serve Monday night, and these Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars looked perfect!  The original recipe comes from Paula Deen, which is usually a good thing!


        I did change one little piece of the recipe, the crust!




        Instead of using a pastry crust, I made a pretzel crust for my bottom layer.




        It added a salty touch, which was delish!


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        I had some assistance in the kitchen.  The BOY was on hand to core the apples, cover them in cinnamon/sugar, and take some photos while my hands were dirty.


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        He also made the streusel topping, so I definitely owe him a shout out on the blog.  He took a few more pictures while I quickly assembled the bars and placed them in the oven.






        Just an FYI…I baked the bars 30 minutes before the center was set.




        I drizzled caramel ice cream sauce across the top of the bars and then refrigerated them for a few hours before heading off to my parents for dinner.



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        It was hard not to dig right in immediately!  Especially since I tried the pretzel crust, I was curious to see how it all turned out.  But the bars needed time to set, and I had another recipe to work on (that recipe is coming up tomorrow).




        Confession…I did cut the bars Monday afternoon and my mom, brother, and I snuck a few bites for a taste test.




        We officially served the bars Monday night, and they were a huge hit!




        I mean…what’s not to love???





        I know I’m a little late, but wishing everyone a sweet new year!




        Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

        Inspired by Cookies & Cup and adapted from Paula Deen



        2 cups crushed pretzels

        1/2 cup sugar

        1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

        2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

        1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons, divided

        2 large eggs

        1 teaspoon vanilla extract

        3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped

        1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

        1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

        Streusel topping, recipe follows

        1/2 cup caramel topping



        Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

        In a medium bowl, combine pretzels, 1/2 cup sugar, and melted butter.  Stir until well combined. Press evenly into a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking pan lined with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

        In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with 1/2 cup sugar in an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Then add eggs, 1 at a time, and vanilla. Stir to combine. Pour over warm crust.

        In a small bowl, stir together chopped apples, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle evenly with Streusel topping. Bake 30 minutes, or until filling is set. Drizzle with caramel topping.

        Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.  BTW, this is the hardest part!


        Streusel Topping:

        1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

        1 cup all-purpose flour

        1/2 cup quick cooking oats

        1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

        In a small bowl, combine all ingredients.