Archive of ‘Recipes’ category

Chocolate Dreams PB Blondies

Oh hi!


It’s St. Patrick’s Day, and I have nothing green for you. Sorry. Instead, see that mess? That was my Friday night.

Wild, right?

And also, don’t all smart people turn their oven¬†on to bake when it’s 80 degrees outside? Thought so.

But here’s the thing… I was plans-less and trying to avoid studying or doing anything that involved a computer screen, Plus, I wanted to make a dessert to bring to a BBQ I was going to the next day (also known as the event that reminded me I’m no longer anywhere close to 21, and Fireball is not my friend). Anyways, I have a go-to blondies recipe that is super easy and adapted from this recipe, and since I wanted to bake, but didn’t want a complicated procedure, I figured that was a good starting point. ūüėČ Lazy Friday, ya know.

I also have a million jars of peanut butter burning a hole in my kitchen…


This recipe utilized the deliciousness that is Peanut Butter and Co.’s Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter. That stuff was MADE for baking.

As you might recall, PB and Co. blessed me with a few jars earlier this month, and I’ve been including the different flavors in various concoctions. {To read the other recipe I made with one of their pb flavors, click here.} ¬†This pb seriously elevated these blondies’ game! I actually made two batches, and they were a hit at the BBQ. They taste chocolatey with a hint of that nutty taste, without being overpowering… like you won’t go running for your toothbrush right after to avoid a cavity. Plus I like to slice them into small, bite size pieces, so then you feel like you’re snacking smartly… I mean chocolate = antioxidants and¬†pb = protein. Combined, HEALTH FOOD

I mean, practically. Sorta. My one in-progress Anatomy course doesn’t really allow for any authority¬†on nutrition. ¬†ūüėČ


If you give them a try, let me know what you think please!

Happy Tuesday! xo

Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter Blondies


  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 stick of butter (8 tbsp), melted and cooled
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter from Peanut Butter and Co, (or any creamy chocolate-flavored peanut butter)
  • sprinkle of chocolate chips (~1/2 cup)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix butter and sugar with a wooden spoon. Add salt and egg, and mix to combine.

2. Add flour gradually, folding it in gently until well combined. Mix in peanut butter followed by chocolate (just mix enough so that the pb/chocolate are distributed fairly evenly.

3. Pour into a greased¬†8 x 8 baking pan and bake for ~20-25 minutes (depending on your oven). You’ll know it’s done when a toothpick stuck into the center emerges dry.



Peanut Butter Banana Bread Parfait

Hi lovelies!

Thanks for your encouraging words/tips after¬†Monday’s post… I’m feeling ¬†a lot better, miraculously! Water + rest + zinc is amazing.

IMG_6193And yes, that is Top Ramen, aka the noodle soup that costs just 67 cents and has enough sodium to last you for at least a week.

Anyways, today we’re going to talk about peanut butter! Last week, the awesome¬†folks at Peanut Butter and Co. blessed me with a package of some of their top peanut butter flavors, and I freaked out.


I used to live a few blocks from their little¬†sandwich shop¬†in New York City when I was in grad school, and they had¬†the¬†most¬†imaginative sandwiches (my fav was the Elvis, which had pb and banana… naturally). Now, unless you’re brand new to my blog, you probably know I adore peanut butter. As in,¬†have been known to keep¬†a jar at my desk at work, and usually have at least two open jars running in my kitchen at all times. It’s one of my favorite foods, right behind pancakes and pizza.

God, I sound healthy.

Anyways, I’m firmly in the camp that says peanut butter IS good for you. Granted you should – like most things in life – consume it¬†in moderation since there’s a good amount of fat, and¬†try to enjoy brands with limited sugar, but nevertheless…. I put an inordinate amount of peanut butter into my oatmeal each morning that would probably make most people squirm.

As soon as I opened the package from Peanut Butter and Co.,¬†my brain started¬†flipping through¬†all of the yummy ways I could start to incorporate each flavor into my life immediately. First on the list was for a recipe I’d already been planning to make as part of my¬†boyfriend’s birthday festivities: a rendition of his favorite restaurant dessert – the peanut butter parfait from Native Foods, a local vegan/vegetarian restaurant.


I¬†KNEW Peanut Butter and Co. The Bee’s Knees honey-infused pb would be perfect in my recipe for it!

This parfait is, in a nutshell, layers of pumped up banana bread with airy peanut butter mousse and chocolate chips interspersed between.  Does that sound like a dream or what?

I used the peanut butter to whip up a sweet tasting mousse (inspired by this vegan version). It’s super easy to make – you just have to make sure to use some muscle to get that cream whipped up nice and thick!

IMG_6191OMG. It was so perfect.

I was so proud of myself for whipping this mousse into reality from cream with no electric mixer (mine hasn’t been moved from my old apartment yet), and would not shut up bragging about it.

The whole dessert was a winner, but I’m pretty sure my boyfriend would have licked the tupperware I’d saved the mousse in if I’d let him; the mild honey taste added just the right amount of sweetness without becoming too overbearing with the banana layers.

Now you should probably make this for yourself. And if you have extra banana bread after the mousse is all gone, Peanut Butter and Co.’s Cinnamon Swirl pb is¬†delicious spread on top…. just saying. ūüėČ


Peanut Butter Banana Bread Parfait


  • 1 loaf of banana bread, made with shredded, unsweetened coconut {I used my go-to recipe, and added the coconut at the end of¬†step 5, i.e., when I add the cinnamon sprinkle!}
  • 1 serving peanut butter mousse {recipe below}
  • 1-2 tbsp chocolate chips (per desire)


1. Make banana bread and let cool (this can be done up to a day ahead of time). Once cool, cut two thick slices. Break up one slice into chunks and arrange at bottom of a small bowl.

2. Spoon mousse over bread chunks until covered. Top with second slice of bread, also broken up into chunks.

3. Top with more mousse, and a heaping of chocolate chips!

Serves 1

Peanut Butter Mousse


  • Eight ounces heavy cream
  • 4-5 tbsp Bee’s Knees peanut butter from Peanut Butter and Co.¬†*
  • 1-2 tsp pure maple syrup


1. In a small bowl, pour heavy cream. Add peanut butter one tbsp at a time, whipping vigorously with wooden spoon by hand after each addition.

2. By the 4th tbsp of peanut butter, add maple syrup, and stir to be well combined. Be sure to taste taste to ensure the favor is as sweet/peanut buttery as you desire.

3. Continue to whip vigorously until the mousse becomes thick (it should not still be liquidy/loose). This can take 5-7 minutes, or longer depending on personal¬†strength. ūüôā Once thickened, either use immediately or place in refrigerator in a tupperware with a secure lid to chill.

Mousse serves 3 peanut butter banana parfaits

* You could also sub in any other creamy¬†peanut butter, but you’d have to add more maple syrup or else the mousse will not be sweetened¬†appropriately¬†


Italian-Style Sausage and Peppers

Hello, hello!

I have a recipe to share with you guys today! I know, I can’t even remember the last time I posted a recipe here, so this is time for celebration I’d say.¬†IMG_6082

I recently started collaborating with Hillshire Farms, and they asked me to whip up a new recipe with their smoked sausage. Now, since I was raised in a pretty traditional Italian household, when I heard sausage, I immediately thought of the old school Italian meal of sausage and peppers. SO, this is  a little twist on that, only I used Hillshire Farms smoked turkey sausage instead of the more authentic Italian spicy pork sausage.

I don’t know about you guys, but I tend to gravitate toward dinner meals that can be made in a snap during the week, because really, recipes that includes a million ingredients and even more steps, on a MONDAY?

Ain’t nobody got time for that.IMG_6083

This has basically four ingredients: smoked sausage, peppers, onions, and olive oil. The end.

I¬†usually rely on eggs during the work week because they’re quicker than chicken, but seriously, this sausage cooked up just as fast, if not faster than eggs. This was a particularly welcome discovery last night because I’d had a busy day and barely eaten lunch, ¬†and didn’t start cooking dinner til I was already starving (bad idea). Hallelujah!

I based this recipe off my mom’s sausage and peppers go-to, since she’s the Italian cooking guru. Truth be told, I don’t really like regular pork sausage, but in this meal my favorite part has always been the peppers and onions. They¬†get gloriously soft and really soak up the rich taste of the olive oil in just the most perfect way.


Mmmmm…¬†seriously, those peppers and onions are my favorite.

This meal¬†is usually served sandwiched in between a lovely, crusty slice of Italian bread. I wanted to make this a teensy¬†bit lighter, though, so I¬†served it alongside some green veggies instead. Delicious (and healthy!) dinner in minutes, that leaves leftovers….. well, if you’re serving one person. My vegetarian boyfriend was not interested in sharing this meal with me. ūüėČ

Let me know if you give it a try!


Italian-Style {Smoked Turkey} Sausage and Peppers


  • 2-3 tsps extra virgin olive oil (can use more or less depending on preference, and can also use olive oil cooking spray)
  • 2¬†large red peppers
  • 1/2 one medium-sized yellow onion
  • ~1tbsp dried basil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 package link smoked turkey sausage {I used Hillshire Farms brand}


1. Slice peppers and onion into long strips. Add olive oil to pan over low-medium heat, along with the peppers. Add salt and basil and saute until soft, turning every so often with a wooden spoon.

2. When peppers are looking softer, add onions. Saute until they are almost translucent. In the meantime, slice sausage into thin slices (they’ll look like¬†quarters).

3. Add sausage to the softened peppers and onions as well as black pepper (and more salt, if desired), and cook until heated thoroughly (about 8 minutes).

Serve hot, either in a sandwich using Italian bread, or alongside green vegetables.

Serves 3 (approximate)

**Full disclosure: the sausage used in this recipe was provided complimentary to me by Hillshire Farms in return for this blog post/recipe; all opinions are 100% my own. //¬†#spon: I’m required to disclose a relationship between my¬†site and Hillshire. This could include Hillshire providing me¬†w/content, product, access or other forms of payment.

Italian Meatballs (pan-fried)

Living on my own as a, ya¬†know, grown-up these days, I sometimes really miss my mom’s home cooking. I feel like that’s especially hit me this week, in the form of homemade Italian food and grilled cheese sandwiches.


Freak reaction from running the LB half? I have no idea.

For years I steered clear of trying to replicate any of my mom’s¬†staple dishes, but I think that needs to change. I mean, eventually (eveeeeentually) I’ll probably have a house and a family and people who I’ll want to spread that same Italian food love to, right? My mom probably can’t mail me frozen containers of sauce and meatballs when I’m 40. I think.

And plus, I just wanted some dang meatballs this week!

SO, I took my mom’s traditional recipe and headed into the kitchen Wednesday night with the intention of making a slightly healthified and quicker cooking version, referring slightly to Andi’s meatball recipe for some measurement specifications. My mom and grandmas cook by “feel” aka something I don’t yet have when making the more authentic¬†Italian dishes unsupervised (unless it’s baked ziti).

My mom usually uses half pork and half beef, but I made all beef ones because that’s what I prefer.


They look like an ugly mess here, I know, but sometimes the most delicious stuff is the hardest to photograph.

The secret ingredient¬†is really the Italian breadcrumbs! It helps keep the meatballs moist. If you don’t have Italian breadcrumbs or can’t find them in your local store, just add a hearty sprinkling of Italian seasonings (you can find this in the spices aisle at most grocery stores).

And what do you know? They were delish!

I mean, they didn’t taste identical to my mom’s cooking (what could?), but gosh they hit the spot.

If you’re planning to make a big pot of pasta sauce (like a bolognese), you could also cook these babies by dropping them straight into the pot of sauce and cooking for a couple of hours, like my mom always does. I was feeling impatient and had some sauce already prepared, which is why I just pan-fried them. That also helps make ’em a little crispy, too.

I’ve been enjoying the leftovers for lunch as a homemade (and healthier!) meatball sub. ūüôā

I hope you like them! Comfort food fo’ sho, extra¬†good on a ¬†Friday. Happy weekend!

Italian Meatballs (Pan-Fried)


  • nonstick olive oil spray
  • 1 pound ground beef (I used 90-10, but you could also do 85-15)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2-3 tbsp Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • sprinkling of minced garlic, to taste
  • ~2 tsp grated Parmesan/Romano cheese (optional)
  • 1/2 – 1 cup marinara sauce


1. In a large bowl, break apart the beef with your hands. Pour the egg over the ground beef,  and add the breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, garlic, and (if you like) grated cheese.

2. Using your hands, mix the beef mixture in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well combined (do not over-mix).

3. Form the meat mixture into 12-15 small balls using your hands. ¬†Add the meatballs to a large pan coated with nonstick spay, and place over medium-low heat. Note: spray liberally (or use 1 tbsp¬†olive oil instead) so that the meatballs don’t stick to the pan.

4. Cook meatballs until completely cooked (i.e., no longer visibly pink), turning gently occasionally so as to cook all sides. In the last few moments of cooking, add enough sauce  to cover the meatballs. Serve warm, alongside pasta or vegetables.

Makes 15 meatballs

(62 calories per meatball)



What’s your favorite home-cooked meal that you had growing up? Do you cook it yourself now?

Turkey, Carrot, & Zucchini September Soup


I’m back from a week in upstate New York! I have a million photos to share with you guys, but first, a recipe! Because since I was gone two things happened: it became September, and a heaping box of organic produce found its way onto my doorstep.


I was literally about to leave my house for the grocery store since I¬†had nothing in the fridge from being out of town when an amazing box from Melissa’s Produce arrived! And booooy do I need some vegetables in my life after traveling. The sweet folks at Melissa’s offered to send me a box of their organic goods for free so that I could give it a try and share my findings with you guys.

Melissa’s Produce has a variety of boxes¬†of fresh, organic produce that you can choose from, all of which can be delivered to your door, either once in a while or on a regularly scheduled basis. They even have larger “family” boxes to feed households of more than just one or two.

Now, I should start by admitting¬†I am a grocery shopping FANATIC, so I have never been interested in the home delivery grocery services before. This is really more of a CSA sorta thang, though, so I figured I’d give it a shot. Melissa’s Produce definitely did not disappoint. I had requested the organic 50/50 fruit and veggie box, which is specially for delivery in southern California (free shipping throughout all of SoCal¬†between Santa Barbara and San Diego!). The box I received was brimming with fresh goodies.


These guys are packing pros. Everything¬†was nestled in there and nothing really looked smushed or wilted! That’s not what happens when I mail things far less fragile.

Here’s what was in the box:

  • 2 pears
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 apples (one was eaten immediately upon opening the box)
  • 2 kiwis
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 ginger stalk
  • 1 avocado (I think I squealed seeing this)
  • 1 head of broccoli (looooove)
  • 1 head of kale
  • a bunch of medium-sized carrots
  • 2 medium-sized zucchini
  • 1 head of lettuce

Holy produce batman. That’s definitely enough green for ¬†little ol’ me for a week!

This box is supposed to come with two¬†cucumbers instead of zucchini, but since I’m allergic to cukes, they made a swap for me. Also,¬†¬†I should point out that the label on the box said a lemon was supposed to be included as well, but I didn’t have one. No biggie.

I like that the produce sent was seasonally and locally minded, and forced me to enjoy¬†ingredients I don’t usually gravitate toward, like kale (sorry, kale lovers) and citrus.¬†The price is probably a little too steep for me to be a regular customer ($25 for this particular box), especially since I would still be buying¬†more produce during¬†the week as¬†I¬†eat a lot of fruit throughout the day, but I think it IS a good deal if you’re shooting for eating mostly organic. It’s super accessible and convenient.

Anyways, the first thing that shot to mind after unpacking this box was SOUP. I mean, hi, it’s practically fall, and so many of those ingredients are just perfect for a September-y soup.

And voila! A soup of ground turkey, carrots, and zucchini was born…..with some kale thrown in for good measure.


Major yum. You can serve it with a yummy salad of lettuce and avocado (and not included tomato), plus some crusty bread.

The other items will all be packed into my lunch this week, as I’m ALL about fruit and sliced veggies (like carrots and zukes) as side dishes to my sandwich/salads in the office. And let’s be honest – I brought leftover soup for lunch today. ¬†I also REALLY want to try making my own ginger tea with some hot water and fresh ginger. It’s supposed to be great for your immune system, and whenever I feel like I’m getting sick, I’ll throw some in my soup; I bet that would help with serious jet lag too, don’t you think? ūüėČ

Turkey, Carrot, and Zucchini Soup


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
  • 5-6 medium carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 16oz ground turkey breast
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (I used fire roasted)
  • 5 1/2¬†cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 small bunch of kale, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt and pepper each, plus more to taste
  • ~1tsp Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning, to taste (optional – it’s my fav!)
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice, for serving¬†(optional)


1. Heat olive oil in a large heavy bottom pot on medium-high heat, and start to sauté garlic. (Beware not to burn the garlic!) Add carrots and zucchini and cook until they begin to soften and brown.

2. Add turkey and cook until it is no longer pink and starting to brown. Add salt and pepper and optional 21 Seasoning.

3. Add diced tomatoes and broth, turning up the heat to bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the kale and continue to cook on medium-low with covered lid for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Feel free to add more salt or pepper if you desire.

4. Serve hot, alongside salad and/or a big chunk of crusty bread. OPTIONAL: add cooked rice straight into bowl of soup when serving.


Serves 4-6


*Although I received this box for free in return for sharing a recipe on my blog, all opinions, as always, are 100% my own; I only review products I actually am interested in.

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