Thursday, February 28, 2013

Chocolate Oatmeal Cranberry Energy Bites

Ever have those days when it feels like no matter how much or how often you eat, you're still hungry? 


Me too.

I don't love those days. I tend to be someone who eats small amounts every couple or few hours throughout the, for me, smaller (but filling!) snacks are awesome. I love a "little something" that will tide me over until the next time I eat (and I don't like feeling hungry!). I even have what I call my "snack bin" at work in my office; it's a large rubbermaid container filled with healthy snacks that I can go to during the day if what I ate for breakfast or lunch isn't quite enough. Now, these chocolate oatmeal cranberry energy bites wouldn't go in my snack bin at work (since they're stored in the fridge ;)), but they fit perfectly into this idea of a small snack that will help fill you up and make you last until your next meal! Just make sure you don't have too many at once... They are incredibly tasty, so there's a good chance you'll be tempted to eat several in a row!

The recipe is adapted from My Blessed Life. I changed my version slightly from the original recipe, and I also halved it when I made these. For me, the proportions listed below made 12 bites. So, if you double it, you'll get a couple dozen! Next time, I definitely want to make the full batch, not just half!


-1/3 cup peanut butter
-1/4 cup honey
-3/4 tsp. vanilla
-1/2 cup regular oats
-1/2 cup coconut flakes (sweetened or unsweetened will work)
-1/8 cup cocoa powder
-1/4 to 1/3 cup dried cranberries
-1/4 to 1/3 cup mini or regular chocolate chips


Mix peanut butter, honey, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix together until evenly combined. If needed, use your hands to mix everything! Form mixture into 1-inch balls, using your hands. Store in an airtight container in a fridge for up to 1 week.

Makes about 1 dozen energy bites.

A few other notes for you about this recipe...

The original recipe called for even amounts (1/2 cup of each) of walnuts, cranberries, and chocolate chips. As you saw above, I did not add the walnuts though; instead, I added about 1/3 to 1/4 cup each of cranberries and chocolate (remember that I halved the original recipe). This recipe definitely leaves room for changing it up, which I love. So feel free to add other ingredients that you might like!

Also, the original recipe called for refrigerating the mixture for 30 minutes before shaping it into balls. I did not do that, and it worked just fine. Oh, aaaand, when you're forming the mixture into the balls, there's likely going to be some little bits of the different ingredients left in the bottom of the bowl. You may just have to nibble on those yourself...

These are also a perfect little snack before going out for a run or working out. And they also make a great dessert!

These treats are pretty sweet overall, but not too sweet!

I love these little guys!

They remind me of two other similar treats I've posted on the blog before too:

You may have noticed that I didn't have a Wedding Wednesday post for you this week. Oops! I just didn't have the time to get one together. But don't worry; these series will continue. It's not over quite yet!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Scrambled Egg & Veggie Baguette "Boats"

Over the past year or so, Mike and I have started to turn more and more to the "incredible edible egg" for dinner ideas. A few of these ideas I've previously shared on the blog...

Well, a week or two ago, we used the wonderful egg again as the main feature of our dinner. And it turned out great, once again! I semi-followed a recipe from Rachael Ray's "365: No Repeats" cookbook. She calls this recipe "scramblewiches," but I decide that baguette boats would be a more fun name for this dish. ;) Essentially, what you to do for this meal is make scrambled eggs, hollow out a baguette in which you put the scrambled eggs, top 'em with some cheese, and then broil them in the oven for a few minutes. That's all, folks!

Because it's that easy, I'm not going to share specific details of a recipe as I typically would. There is quite a bit of room for improvisation in this one. I chose to make scrambled eggs with sauteed mushrooms and spinach, but you could add any veggies you want (or you could go veggie-less if veggies aren't your thing). I also chose to top our "boats" with some mashed avocado and then, of course, cheese!!

First, hollow out your baguette (save the bread for another use!). Next, cook your scrambled eggs as you normally would. However, at this point, you may want to undercook them just slightly (since they'll cook a little bit more in the oven).

Sprinkle some cheese on top!

 Heat in the oven under the broiler for just a couple/few minutes, watching carefully, and take it out when the cheese melts. The bread may be slightly toasted and crispy.

If you'd like, top with other condiments (e.g., salsa).

How easy is that??!

You're right.

So easy!

A great, simple, quick weeknight meal. There's nothing better!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Molasses Cookies


So. Glad. It's. Friday. 

I hope you are too. :)

Heading into the weekend, I have a fabulous cookie recipe for you. If you caught my Wedding Wednesday post this week, you saw that I shared the details behind one of our wedding favors, which was a cookie cutter and a couple family cookie recipes. One of those recipes was my mom's sugar cookie recipe, and the other recipe was my mother-in-law's molasses cookie recipe. The sugar cookie recipe is already on the blog, but the molasses cookie isn't yet...well, until today!


-3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter
-1 cup sugar
-1/4 cup molasses
-1 egg
-2 cups all-purpose flour
-1/2 tsp. salt
-2 tsp. baking soda
-1 tsp. cinnamon
-1/2 tsp. ground cloves
-1/2 tsp. ground ginger

-a few tablespoons of extra granulated sugar
for rolling cookie dough in


Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Melt butter in saucepan, and let it cool to room temperature. Mix the sugar, molasses, and egg with the butter, stirring until combined. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl (flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger). Mix the dry ingredients with the butter mixture until well incorporated. Shape the dough into balls the size of walnuts. In a small bowl, place a few extra tablespoons of granulated sugar. Roll each ball of dough in sugar and place on parchment paper. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until cookies start to brown slightly and "crinkle." Let cool for a couple minutes on cookie sheet before removing to cool completely on cooling rack. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Makes approximately 30 cookies.

I mixed this cookie dough by hand, and it was super easy to bring it together. No mixer required! You could probably use one if you wanted to, but it worked just fine for me to mix everything by hand.

The texture of these cookies is fabulous. They are soft and chewy, almost bendable. We decided that they're like a soft gingersnap.

Although I do enjoy a crunchy cookie every now and then, my heart definitely lies with chewy cookies. If yours does too, the chewiness of these molasses cookies will not disappoint, I promise!

Notice those lovely crinkles in the cookies? Those will start to form as the cookies bake. The crevices of the crinkly part may seem slightly undercooked when these cookies come out of the oven, and that's okay. Once they set for a few minutes, they will be just right. In my opinion, with these particular cookies, it's best to err on the side of just slightly underdone...

Along with being top notch in the texture department, these cookies were also excellent in flavor. The combination of the molasses, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger was wonderful! Making these cookies last weekend reminded me of how much I love these flavors together... 

This may be the best molasses cookie I've ever eaten.

No, really.

I need to remember to incorporate molasses in my life on a more regular basis. :)

And you should too! And of course, you should start by making this awesome cookie recipe.

Thank you to my mother-in-law for sharing a wonderful family recipe! I can foresee these becoming a regular occurrence in our household for years to come...

Happy almost weekend! :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wedding Wednesdays: Favors Part II (Cookie Cutters & Recipes)

Here we are again with another Wedding Wednesday post! Thanks for sticking with me for this series. I hope you've enjoyed reading about some of the details of our wedding as much as I've enjoyed writing about them! :) If you've missed any of my previous posts from this series, you can see them all here.

Today I bring you the long overdue "Part II" post about our wedding favors! My first Wedding Wednesday post several weeks ago was about our homebrewed beer, which was one of our wedding favors.

Of course, if you're a regular blog reader, you know I'm just a liiiiittle bit into baking. ;) So during the course of our engagement, when we were considering what to do for favors, we knew that we wanted at least one component that had to do with baking. The homebrew was our other obvious choice. Beer + Baking = Mike + Colleen! :)

For a little while, I did consider baking cookies as favors for our guests, but in the end, I just didn't want to take that task on, even though I'm sure I could have made it happen! Instead, we thought of the fun idea of giving each of our guests a maple leaf shaped cookie cutter, along with a couple family cookie recipes - one from the mother of the bride and one from the mother of the groom! And in the end, we realized it made sense to incorporate the escort cards (the cards that directed guests to their tables) right along side the recipe cards. It worked out quite well!

My sister was a huge help putting these together a few days before the wedding. We had quite the assembly line going!

After quite a bit of research, the best place I found to buy cookie cutters in bulk (that didn't have a minimum of like 1,000 or something!) was a site called They were wonderful! Great customer service and fast shipping too. I'd highly recommend the site if you ever need to buy a lot of cookie cutters...or even if you don't! When I ordered the maple leaf cookie cutters, I also bought a few other fun cookie cutters for myself. You can order just one of any of their shapes - you're not required to buy a lot! And they have a lot of really unique shapes too.

For the recipe cards, I used Avery index cards that I bought on Amazon. And for the escort cards where we listed our guests' names and their table assignments, we just bought business card stock that happened to have a burgundy border around it that matched our color scheme perfectly. And then I got two different colored ribbons, ivory and burgundy, to tie all the items together. We simply punched a hole in the top right corner of the recipe cards and the escort card, and then we tied the cookie cutter to the cards with the ribbon. And of course, we then curled the ribbon. Gotta have ribbon curls! ;)

This is the escort card table, all alphabetized and ready to go, the day before the wedding. Mike and his dad worked on that job - and they did wonderful work!

Now I realize you may be wondering which two recipes we chose! Well, we decided to go with my mother's sugar cookie recipe and my mother-in-law's molasses cookie recipe. I have previously shared the sugar cookie recipe of my mom on the blog (you can read about these "famous" sugar cookies here!). I have not yet shared the molasses cookie recipe, but I plan to later this week!

I mentioned it in my post about our centerpieces and table names, but each of our tables was assigned the name of a craft brewery instead of a number. You can see that we incorporated beer and baking whenever we could!

See you later in the week for that delicious molasses cookie recipe! Until then, hope you have a great couple days. :)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Oatmeal Creme Whoopie Pies with Brown Butter Maple Cinnamon Filling

Happy Presidents' Day! If you have the day off, I hope you're enjoying it, and if you're working, I hope your work day goes by quickly. ;)

I am enjoying a day off and am about to do some big surprise there! But before I get started with my next recipe, I wanted to share with you this fabulous whoopie pie recipe - oatmeal creme cookies with an amazing brown butter maple cinnamon filling sandwiched between. Oh man.

I used a recipe from Mother Thyme for these sandwich cookies. I changed the original recipe only slightly, and I'll explain that a bit more below. The ingredients I used are listed here:


For the cookies:

-1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
-1 and 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
-1/2 tsp. salt
-1/2 tsp. baking soda
-3/4 tsp. cinnamon
-1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
-1 cup light brown sugar
-2 large eggs
-2 Tbsp. maple syrup

For the filling:

-1/4 cup butter
-approx. 1 and 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
-2 Tbsp. maple syrup
-1 to 2 Tbsp. milk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper, and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, oats, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl, cream together the brown sugar and butter. Add the eggs, one at a time, then add the maple syrup. Gradually add in the flour mixture.

Drop the dough by rounded tablespoons onto prepared cookie sheets, placing about 1.5 inches apart. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the sides of the cookie just start to lightly brown. Remove from oven, let cool for a minute or two on cookie sheets, then remove to cooling rack to cool completely.

For the sandwich filling, add the butter to a small saucepan and slowly melt on low heat until the butter becomes an amber-brown color, being careful not to burn it. Set aside to cool.

With an electric mixer, beat the butter, confectioners sugar, cinnamon, and maple syrup on low-medium speed until well-combined. Mix in milk until the filling is creamy. If necessary, add more confectioners sugar, a couple tablespoons at a time, until filling reaches desired consistency.

Match up two cookies that are approximately the same size. On top of one cookie, spread a very generous tablespoon of the filling, and top it with a second cookie.

For me, this recipe made about 24 cookies, which become 12 sandwich cookies. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

The cookies themselves were incredibly soft and chewy, and in my opinion, they were a perfect texture for a whoopie pie/sandwich cookie. I added a little more cinnamon to the cookies than was called for in the original recipe, as I wanted the cinnamon flavor to come through a bit more.

And the filling? Out of this world. Seriously.

A couple quick notes about the filling... The original recipe only called for 1/2 cup of confectioners sugar, and it really wasn't nearly enough, in my opinion. When I only added that much, the filling was more of a glaze/drizzle than a filling/frosting. So in the end, I added approximately 1 and 1/2 cups of confectioners sugar. Feel free to adjust according to your preferences. Also, the original recipe did not call for cinnamon in the filling, but I added some and am so glad I did. The cinnamon paired extremely well with the maple flavor. I think the filling for these sandwich cookies could easily be an amazing frosting for cake or cupcakes too!

We had a few friends over over the course of this past weekend, and every time someone came over, we shared these whoopie pies. Everyone loved them! They're a little bit like a "souped up" version of Little Debbie's oatmeal creme pies. :) 

The next time that I make these, I think I will double the recipe. A dozen of these whoopie pies was not nearly enough! They were gone in no time, and now I'm craving more... 

This post is linked up to Taste and Tell Thursdays! Head on over to check out some other bloggers' fabulous creations. ;)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Four Ingredient Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Okay, I can hear you over there. Four ingredient pancakes? Which four ingredients could they possibly be? Well, let me tell you.

Baking powder.
Chocolate Chips.

That is all. And if you go without the chocolate chips (but really, why would you do that??!), these include only three ingredients. Easy as pie. Or, easy as pancakes. ;)

The recipe is from Recipe Boy, the son of Recipe Girl (who was the inspiration for the pizza pinwheels I posted earlier this week). Neato. I used one and a half times the original ingredients, and this made 8 small-medium sized pancakes for the hubs and me. We both enjoyed them very much! The proportions I used are below.


-approx. 3/4 cup mashed, ripe bananas
-3 eggs
-scant 1/4 tsp. baking powder
-semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks
(didn't measure these - just sprinkled them onto the batter)


Mix the bananas, eggs, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Heat a frying or griddle pan, and spray with non-stick spray. Pour about 1/4 cup of batter into the pan in the shape of a circle, as best you can. Cook until the batter is almost done on the bottom side (until it's golden brown), and then sprinkle some chocolate chips on the top side. Flip, and cook another minute or so on the other side or until the other side is also lightly golden brown. Serve warm, possibly with a little real maple syrup, and enjoy!

Now, I've got a few tips for you. The first couple pancakes I made came out on the "ugly" side. I hadn't yet perfected the method or timing of the flip. What ended up working for me was to actually wait a little longer than I expected before flipping. After a couple tries, you'll get the hang of it. When the first side is cooking, it won't be ready to flip until the edges start to harden and lift up slightly from the pan. Also, the longer you wait to flip, the less the batter sticks. Even with a non-stick pan and non-stick spray, these stuck just a little bit for me in the beginning. But the couple batches after the first batch didn't give me any problems at all and were a cinch to flip.

You'll see that these certainly don't look like traditional pancakes; they're a bit more "lumpy" or "bumpy" I guess you could say. And of course, they don't exactly taste like regular pancakes either! But they were actually way lighter and fluffier than I expected them to be. Guess that baking powder really does gift them a lift!

Adding chocolate chips or chunks is a must, in my opinion!

And of course, we topped our four-ingredient pancakes with maple syrup. Obviously.

All in all, I was very pleased with this recipe and would definitely make it again! Overall, I still prefer traditional pancakes, but these are a fabulous alternative that are a bit healthier for you and can be made gluten free-friendly as well by using a gluten free baking powder.

The next time you have some ripe bananas and are trying to figure out what to do with them, give these fun pancakes a try!

Have a great weekend, all!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wedding Wednesdays: My Parents' 1938 Chevy

As always, thanks for visiting my Wedding Wednesday series this week!

If you've seen some of my previous wedding posts (the links to each of them can be found here), you have already seen a few pictures of the 1938 Chevy that played a very special role in our wedding day. My dad drove me to the church in this car, and Mike and I rode to the reception in it as well (with my brother as our chauffeur!). What makes this car so special is that it's the same car in which my parents rode when they got married in 1979! My parents have owned this car for many years (they even sold it at one point but then bought it back because they loved it so much!), so it is obviously very special to our family. Mike and I feel so lucky to have ridden in it on our wedding day, just like my parents did 33 years earlier. :)

I thought it would be fun to share several pictures of the car with you in one of my Wedding Wednesdays posts.

Proud papa with the beloved car!

I like the black and white versions of a lot of these photos - makes them feel more vintage, like the car. The car is, after all, 75 years old! :)

We live about two minutes from my hometown church where our ceremony was held. This photo of the car's clock was taken on our way to the ceremony. We were right on time for the 1:00 start. ;)

View of my girls from inside the car as we arrived at the church!

Almost time to tie the knot!

At one point during our ceremony, my uncle snuck out from the church and went out to put several "Just Married" magnets on the car that my parents had ordered. How fun!

Below is when we were arriving at our reception venue, with my brother behind the wheel as our excellent chauffeur. In case you were curious, even a restored '38 Chevy is not exactly easy to drive. There was no such thing as power steering 75 years ago!!

 The next shots are of some of the great details of the car. Our family mechanic did an amazing job restoring the car to its original style and condition! And his son did fabulous work painting many of the small details of the car as they originally were, as you'll see in the pictures below.


Beautiful paint job.

Going into our wedding, we thought it might be fun to mimic one of the pictures of my parents in the '38 Chevy on their wedding day. So we took the picture below...

to resemble this photo below of my parents from 1979.

And then, we put together this side-by-side frame of both pictures as a Christmas gift for them!

(the pic isn't super clear - sorry!)

Needless to say, my parents loved the gift! My mom cried. You know that when your mom cries, it's a successful gift. :)

Thanks for reading the story behind the '38 Chevy! It meant so much to my new husband and me to ride away in it on our wedding day, just like my parents did. Definitely one of the best wedding gifts!