Back on the Bike and Blondies

On national running day, I should probably be sharing stories of a fantastic morning run, but Wednesdays is typically my day off.  If you’re looking for a running post, this one about my running history is one of my faves!  Instead…I am going with biking and a blondie recipe.  A fair second choice, I promise : )




Yesterday morning, I was up and back on my road bike for the second time this year.  Typically I swim on Tuesdays, but I have been getting into the pool a lot (for me anyways), and I am fairly certain that the lake will be freezing and I will panic and no amount of practice can help at this point.




I know…not my usual positive attitude, but considering yesterday morning’s bike wear, it’s fairly realistic to think that this is going to be my coldest triathlon yet!




My ride on the other hand gave me the pre race confidence boost that I needed.  I rode 15 miles around the path in an hour.  I felt much more confident on my bike and had less wrist discomfort.  Plus, I felt super speedy on my road bike even with a head wind.  The only bad news is that my bike computer is broken (or needs a new battery), so I need to fix that stat!


After my bike ride, it was off to work for Treat Day…




Like I mentioned with these brownies, I decided on recipes based on what I had in the house.  In the pantry, I found a bag of Reese’s peanut butter chips just waiting to be used!  Or eaten by the BOY…




Peanut butter blondies with peanut butter chips sounded perfect!


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This recipe make a thick peanut butter dough enhanced by the creamy chips.




I baked the blondies as recommended.  Then pulled them out, sprinkled them with chocolate chips, and returned them to the oven for 3 minutes. 




When they came back out, I used a spatula to spread out the chocolate chips for a gooey chocolate frosted layer.




Yea…I said it…the only thing better than peanut butter blondies is peanut butter blondies covered in chocolate!




Yum!  The perfect dessert for after your daily bike ride or run!

Or to take to the office where they disappeared within minutes!



Ya’ll gave me some awesome brownie recipes, so I have to ask…

What is your favorite blondie recipe?  Did you run today???



Peanut Butter Blondies




6 tablespoons melted butter

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup flour

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup peanut butter morsels

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips



Grease and flour an 8- or9- inch square baking pan. Heat oven to 350°.

In a mixing bowl with electric mixer, beat melted butter, brown sugar, and peanut butter until smooth and creamy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Slowly beat in flour, soda, and baking powder. Stir in peanut butter chips.

Spread/pat evenly in the baking pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until set.

Remove from the oven, sprinkle with chocolate chips, and return to the oven for 3 more minutes.

Using a spatula, spread the chocolate over the blondies until covered.

Let cool or eat warm and gooey!

Store in an airtight container or freeze.

This Week in Treats

Sunday was another grey day perfect for staying in.  I counted walking around the mall as my morning workout and quickly got comfortable upon returning home.  This is a bit of a transition week for me.  Last week was my last week of full time, but my new summer schedule doesn’t start until next week.  Yesterday, I did some orientation at a different clinic before working my full Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday schedules.  It’s only fitting for my last Tuesday of work that it is my turn for Treat Day!


In the past,  I have covered the table with dips and desserts.  This time I went a little more low key and since the BOY and I decided to be too lazy to go to the grocery store on Sunday, I got started baking with what I had available in the house.


First up…brownies!




I found a box of Thin Mints in the freezer and always keep Baker’s chocolate on hand.  I followed the brownie recipe on the package, which is rich and tasty.




I poured half of the batter into a greased 8 inch square pan.  Then layered on my somewhat frozen cookies, and dumped the rest of the batter over the top.


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I baked up up the brownies per the directions and then let them cool while I worked on some of my other sweets!




Although the brownies smelled wonderful, they looked a little boring.




Which was nothing that white chocolate drizzle couldn’t fix!




After an afternoon in the kitchen, I was happy to retreat to the couch to catch up on this season of So You Think You Can Dance!  I missed last summer, and was laughing and crying my way though the auditions.  I swear I saw like 30 people who could win the entire show!




You know how I love to taste test my baking, so I packed everything away for Treat Day and made sure to get up early Monday morning for a post baking day run!





What is your favorite from scratch brownie recipe???

Link ‘em up!!!



Baker’s One Bowl Thin Mint Brownies

From Baker’s Chocolate



1pkg.  (4 oz.) BAKER’S Unsweetened Chocolate

3/4 cup  butter or margarine

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup flour

1 sleeve (16 cookies) Thin Mints (plus more for garnish if desired)

2 squares of BAKER’S white chocolate (optional)




Heat oven to 350°F.

Spray an 8×8 inch pan with cooking spray.

Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min. or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in sugar. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Add flour; mix well.

Pour half of the batter into prepared pan.  Place cookies in single layer over batter.  Cover with remaining batter spreading evenly over the cookies.

Bake 30 to 35 min. or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with fudgy crumbs. (Do not overbake.) Cool completely.

Melt white chocolate and drizzle over brownies.  Sprinkle with crushed Thin Mints if desired. 

Serve warm or cold!


*NOTE: You could follow a similar process using a box mix if you prefer.


What else can you do with Thin Mints???

Thin Mint Brownies

Thin Mint Fudge

Thin Mint Truffles

Thin Mint Bark

Tuesday Treats

So I didn’t mention this yet, but today was my TREAT DAY!

The timing couldn’t get any better with this weekend’s Bake-a-Thon.  I had plenty of cookies, but wanted a few other snacks to round out my spread.


I stared with a few old favorites…




Garlic Hummus




Roasted Red Pepper Hummus




Spinach Dip


And tried a new White Bean Dip



This recipe didn’t turn out as good as I had expected.  It was a little watery.  So I added in a few pinto beans, some garlic, and dill.  I’m not so sure about it, but we shall see. 




Upon further inspection, it seems that I thought the recipe called for 2 cups not 2 cans of white beans. Oops!  The recipe looks promising, so I am sharing it as written (although these pictures don’t do it any justice).  I will definitely give it another try, and see what my coworkers think of my mish mash version.



White Bean Dip

From EveryDay Food April 2010



    2 cans (15.5 ounces each) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

    3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

    1 to 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar

    1/4 cup water

    2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary

    Coarse salt and ground pepper



      In a food processor, combine 2 cans (15.5 ounces each) rinsed and drained, 3 tablespoons 1 to 2 tablespoons and cup water. Process until smooth, adding more water if necessary. Add 2 teaspoons finely chopped and pulse until combined. Season with and Transfer to a serving bowl and drizzle with a little oil.


      But Wait…There’s More!

      The BOY and I loved this Pumpkin Dip when I made it this fall, so I was excited to make it again.  Except this time, I spiced it up with the seasonal pumpkin pudding…sooo good!




      I served it with graham and animal crackers.  Here is the recipe




      Along with this unbelievably sweet and rich Peanut Butter Cookie Dip.  I have been wanting to make Sugar Cookie Dip from Little Bitty BakesBut, the store was sold out of sugar cookie mix…twice!




      So I decided to go with peanut butter instead!




      All I can say is…good decision!  This recipe takes just a few minutes, and only includes three four ingredients.




      I added in some chocolate chips!





      Peanut Butter Cookie Dip

      Adapted from Little Bitty Bakes



      3 cups (1 package) peanut butter cookie mix

      2 cups plain Greek yogurt

      1 cup Cool Whip

      1 cup chocolate chips



      In a large mixing bowl, stir the cookie mix, yogurt, and Cool Whip with a wire whisk until smooth. Fold in chocolate chips.

      Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until serving.


      Warning: Add this to your addictingly good list!


      Yes….There’s More


      For a healthier option, I made a batch of my favorite Date and Fig Bars with extra coconut.




      They make the perfect 4:00pm afternoon snack, which I look forward to each day.




      The full recipe is HERE, but you can add up to a cup of coconut.





      And, Just When You Think You Can’t Eat Any More…






      You’ll just have to be patient for the rest of these recipes!

      A TREAT DAY Recap

      There has been a lot of talk about TREAT DAY over these past two weeks, but a little bit like my life, the posts have been scattered.  I thought it would be fun to pull all of these incredible recipes together on one page.  And just in case you have no idea what treat day is, I can explain.  I work at a fantastic office where every Tuesday, we take turns bringing in treats.  This means, two times a year, it is my turn to bring in snacks for everyone.  It can be whatever you want, but I tend to stick with dips and desserts. I use it as an excuse to try some new recipes and play in my kitchen.  Here is the list of this month’s treat day recipes, which also happen to be some of my summer favorites!


      Garlic Hummus




      Fruit Salsa




      Wendi’s Zesty Black Eyed Pea Salad




      Ramen Coleslaw




      Cake Batter Fudge




      Trail Mix Krispy Treats




      Caramel, White Chocolate, and Pecan Cookie Brittle




      Maple Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies





      Since most of these simple recipes don’t require the oven or a lot of your time, they are perfect for a mid-week 4th of July celebration!  Hint Hint!

      You Can Never Have Enough Oatmeal Cookies

      I have one last TREAT DAY recipe for you…

      AND it’s a cookie! 

      Because let’s be honest, you can never have too many oatmeal cookies.




      I had some soft butter, a desire to bake, and this amazing cookbook full of cookie recipes!


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      Which is just the right combination for Maple Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies!  What I liked about this recipe was that it used maple syrup for some added flavor.  Not to mention that it is chock full of oats and cranberries.  I thought about adding in some white chocolate chips or raisins, but wanted to try the original recipe for this first go round.




      The recipe makes some big cookies!




      And they baked up round, chewy soft, and delicious!




      I had my taste tester (the BOY) try one, and he gave them rave reviews.




      Oatmeal cookies are his absolute favorite!




      There are so many recipes for oatmeal cookies out there, but one can never have enough variations of this classic cookie!




      I highly recommend adding this one into your rotation!









      Maple Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

      From Big Fat Cookies by Elinor Klivans



      1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
      1/2 tsp baking soda
      1/4 tsp salt
      2 tsp ground cinnamon
      1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
      1 cup packed light brown sugar
      1/2 cup granulated sugar
      2 large eggs
      1/2 cup maple syrup
      2 tsp vanilla extract
      1 3/4 cups oatmeal (not quick-cooking)
      1 1/2 cup dried cranberries


      Preheat oven to 350 F

      Prepare baking sheets by lining with silpats or parchment paper. Set aside.

      Whisk together flours, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

      In a large bowl, beat together butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar at medium speed until well incorporated. On low speed, add eggs, maple syrup and vanilla. Blend for an additional one minute, or until well mixed. Add flour and mix to incorporate. Add oatmeal and cranberries, stirring until well distributed into the batter.

      Using a spoon or ice cream scoop (I used a 1/4 measuring cup), scoop mounds of dough approximately 2 1/2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Bake cookies 1 sheet at a time for approximately 18-20 minutes. Cookies are done when edges are browned and tops are firm.

      Place pan of cookies onto a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Then, using a large spatula, transfer cookies directly to the rack to finish cooling.

      Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

      Crunchy Cookies Part III

      I have been on a bit of a cookie kick lately!


      After much success making cookie brittle, I was convinced it would be perfect for my TREAT DAY.  Plus, who wouldn’t want to save time by making one large sheet of cookies instead of scooping out individual ones after spending hours in the kitchen.




      I had intentions of making these exact cookies, however, I had some leftover caramel chips, and so last minute, I decided use caramel chips, white chocolate chips, and pecans.




      My mouth is watering just thinking about this incredible combination!


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      I baked one large sheet of delicious dough making sure the edges were browned and crispy.


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      Let everything cool completely (at least 10 minutes) before breaking it into sweet edible chunks.






      One of my favorite things about this recipe (besides how creative you can get with it) is that while the outer pieces are crisp and crunchy, the inner cookies are slightly softer and chewy.  It is the best of all cookie worlds!



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      This mixture of add ins (caramel, white chocolate, and pecans) combines sweet with a bit of salty, and the pecans add a definite crunch!  It is quite possibly the perfect combination!!!  Especially the pecans which taste candy-coated!


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      These cookies were a huge hit with my coworkers, and I have to remember to send out the recipe to everyone today!





      More Crunchy Cookie Recipes:

      Crunchy Cookies

      Crunchy Cookies Part II



      Caramel, White Chocolate, and Pecan Cookie Brittle

      Recipe adapted from Toffee Cookie Brittle in Big Fat Cookies by Elinor Klivans


      • 1 1/2 cups flour

      • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

      • 1/2 teaspoon salt

      • 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

      • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

      • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

      • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

      • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips and 1/2 cup caramel chips

      • 3/4 cups pecans, broken into large pieces



      -Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

      -In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.

      -In a large bowl, whisk the melted butter, brown and granulated sugars and vanilla extract until smooth, about 30 seconds. Using a large spoon, slowly add the flour mixture and stir just until incorporated. The dough should appear to be smooth. Stir in the chocolate, caramel, and pecans.

      -Spoon the dough onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving at least 1 inch of empty space on all sides. Use the palms of your hands to pat the dough into an even layer about 1/2 inch thick and 13 by 9 inches. The dough should be patted out slightly thinner at the edges.

      -Bake the brittle until it turns golden and the edges turn light brown, about 19 minutes. The brittle may be fairly soft when warm but will crisp as it cools. Let the brittle cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes.

      -Using a large metal spatula to guide it, slide the large cookie onto a wire rack to cool completely. Don’t worry if the cookie breaks; it will be broken into irregular pieces, anyway. Break the cooled cookie into 2- to 3-inch pieces. The cookies can be stored in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

      Cake Batter Fudge

      You know you have made a good recipe when you are cleaning up in the kitchen and the BOY is texting you from the other room requesting more cake batter fudge!!!  I had to tell him ‘no’ so that there would be enough for TREAT DAY, but I did promise to make another batch this weekend for my girl’s night in the city!


      Just in case you thought cake batter recipes couldn’t get any better, let me introduce you to Cake Batter Fudge from girl meets life!




      This fudge is so rich and tasty, you will never know that it began with a cake mix.


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      It only takes 2 hours for this fudge to set.




      Leaving you plenty of time to lick the bowl clean!




      There isn’t much not to like about this sweet treat!


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      It tastes exactly like cake batter (which everyone loves), and the sprinkles add just the right texture.  Although I have seen the recipe with white chocolate chips added as well, which might we worth trying.



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      I had to hide the container of fudge in the back of the fridge before the BOY got his sticky fingers on it.




      Luckily, batch number 2 is setting in the refrigerator as we speak!



      Cake Batter Fudge

      From girl meets life



      2 cups yellow cake mix (I used Betty Crocker)

      2 cups powdered sugar

      1 stick butter

      1/4 cup milk

      1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles


      Directions: Place cake mix and powdered sugar in a large bowl and combine. Pour in the milk, top with stick of butter, and microwave for 2 minutes. Immediately begin mixing everything together – the butter may not be fully melted but will as you continue mixing. Lastly, mix in the rainbow sprinkles, then pour fudge into a greased cake pan. Chill for at least 2 hours before cutting. Store in the refrigerator.



      Other Cake Batter Faves…

      Cake Batter Bark

      Cake Batter Blondies

      Cake Batter Puppy Chow

      Cake Batter Truffles

      Chocolate Cake Batter Popcorn




      What is your favorite cake batter recipe???

      Trail Mix Krispy Treats

      OMG!  This trail mix must have been invented by a PMSing woman because it has ALL the goodies!




      What else could you need???




      I’m not sure that I ever would have discovered this mix at the grocery store except that I spotted it on Cookies&CupsShelly created one of the best looking Krispy treats that I have ever seen, and I was eager to make it for my TREAT DAY!




      The only problem is that I couldn’t find the Kraft caramel bits that I use for melting.  They didn’t have them at any of the stores that I visited, and I didn’t make it to Target where I always seem to find them.  Instead, I discovered these caramel chips at Woodman’s and figured that they would be better than nothing.




      Sadly, they didn’t melt as well as typical chips and not nearly as good as my caramel bits. This made it challenging to spread the salted caramel throughout the bars.




      In retrospect (and I share this incase you don’t find the caramel bits because I know you will want to make these bars immediately and may not have time to search 5 stores), I would have added the chips to the melted mallows OR just thrown them in with the trail mix.




      Whatever you do, don’t leave out the caramel.  It is a necessary part of these complex tasting bars!




      I loved the combination of sweet and salty in these Krispy treats. However, I could have used A LOT more salted caramel!


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      But then again, who doesn’t want more caramel in their life?



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      I know they disappeared quickly from this plate when I brought them to work on Tuesday!  Lesson learned…I’ve added caramel bits to my shopping list (and two more bags of M&M Trail Mix) to make another (more perfect) batch of these amazing Krispy treats!




      Thanks to Shelly for creating these inspiring bars!  Doesn’t it make you want to get crazy creative with your Krispy treats?!



      What is your favorite Rice Krispy treat recipe? 

      Share your links below!




      Trail Mix Krispie Treats with Salted Caramel Swirl

      From Cookies&Cups


      1/4 cup butter

      1 (10.5 oz) bag mini marshmallows

      3 cups trail mix (2 bags of the M&M mix)

      3 cups krispie rice cereal

      1/2 cup chopped soft caramel candies or caramel bits

      1 tsp milk

      1 tsp coarse sea salt



      Lightly spray a 9×9 baking dish with cooking spray, set aside.

      In a large pot on low heat melt butter.

      When butter is melted add marshmallows, stirring until melted. Set aside just while you melt caramels in microwave for 1 minutes. (You want the marshmallow to cool slightly before you add your trail mix in, because if there are chocolate pieces in the trail mix they will melt if the marshmallow is too hot) .

      Immediately pour in you krispie rice cereal and trail mix, stirring until evenly coated in marshmallow mixture.

      Stir in coarse sea salt into caramel and drop my the spoonful into the marshmallow/trail mix.

      Without stirring the caramel in, pour mixture into prepared pan and press evenly into pan.

      Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting into squares.


      Notes: If you use the M&M snack mix, like I did, you will need 2 bags, as 1 bag yields about 1 1/2 cups mix.

      ***I used a bigger baking dish for more bars, which was great!


      Have you ever been to Woodman’s???




      This employee owned grocery store is typically found in Wisconsin, but we have a few popping up in Illinois too.  Someone recently asked me what makes Woodman’s so special?  Well, I will tell you that the whole shopping experience is really fun.  And it’s not just their creative decorations (although I always do enjoy them)!




      Woodman’s has reasonably priced produce and a large bread and bakery section.  The BOY is a huge fan of the meat and claims that his new favorite hot dogs are ONLY sold here.  My favorite thing, besides the fact that the place is huge and the prices are incredible, is the baking aisle!!!




      Have you ever seen so many chocolate (and other) chip options???  You should see how many flavors of pudding them have!!!




      The BOY’s favorite place to get lost in the store???




      You guessed it…it’s the cheese section!  They have plenty of unique cheeses from local Wisconsin farms, including cheese curds!




      We left with a full cart of food for a seriously low price.  If you happen to find yourself driving by one of these super stores, go check it out.  But remember your cash (or debit card), they don’t take credit!




      I had serious motivation for getting to Woodman’s this weekend…do you know what all of these goodies mean???




      Yup…Tuesday was my TREAT DAY!!!  Which means, there are some mouth watering recipes to come…




      Have you ever been to Woodman’s?  What did you think?

      Treat Day

      I know that not everyone is lucky enough to work in a place where the staff rotates bringing in treats every Tuesday for ‘Treat Day’.  I bet you wish that you were.  Tomorrow is my day, and so I spent today in the kitchen making a bunch of dips and desserts to bring to work.  I made SO many things and figured I could spread them out a bit across the blog.  This was the most complicated of all the recipes.  I’ve made Whoopie Pies one time in the past.  They tasted wonderful but didn’t look so pretty.


      I got this book as a gift and I’ve been eager to try making the S’mores recipe.  What’s fun about this book is that it breaks down the flavors into cakes and fillings and you can mix and match them.



      I decided to make the graham cakes and the marshmallow filling. I thought I could add some chocolate chips to round out the S’mores.  The first problem I came across while I was shopping today….I couldn’t find graham flour anywhere. I know you can buy it online, but I didn’t have time.  Instead, I crushed up some graham crackers and substituted 1/2 cup graham crumbs and 1 cup of whole wheat flour.

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      I combined all my dry ingredients.

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      Then I creamed the butter, sugar, and shortening.



      After adding the eggs and buttermilk, the next step involved combining milk, vinegar, and baking soda.  I’ve never seen this before and I am not sure if it is for taste or for texture.  I combined the ingredients and got a white bubbly mixture.

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      I added the white mixture and the dry ingredients.



      Then beat everything until just combined.  I added vanilla and beat until fluffy.  The dough smelled a lot like graham crackers, so I think my substitution worked out well.



      The next step is actually making the pies.  After my first attempt at Whoopie Pies, I found this fabulous pan at Crate and Barrel. I was super excited to try it out and it worked great.  The pies grew a bit in the oven, but over all they looked good.

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      After the pies cooled, it was time to make the filling.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had marshmallow fluff…probably college when we used to mix it with peanut butter.  It’s sweeter than I remember, but still tastes delicious with peanut butter.



      I combined all the filling ingredients and beat until fluffy.  The author of the book says that she sets her mixer and then leaves the room.  Since mine is a hand held mixer, I had to hold onto it, but I tried to make the frosting as fluffy as possible (despite all the sticky ingredients).



      I set up a little assembly line to make my pies.  Then I rolled them in mini chocolate chips. I was surprised at how cute they turned out.



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      The pies are very rich tasting and perfect with a glass of milk!

      Stay tuned for this recipe and more ‘Treat Day’ recipes!