Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal – A Winner For All – Big And Small!

9 Nov

The leaves are turning, the weather is crisp and cool, the Christmas ads have started – all of this means fall is in full swing! Which I couldn’t be more thrilled about, as fall is my favorite season, partly because it brings with it the start of holiday time, and BAKING time! Pumpkin pie, apple crisp, cookies, cakes – I LOVE this time of year most of all

This year though – things are a little bit busy and I haven’t yet had much time to devote to finding and trying new recipes…and here’s the main reason why…


My son is now 1, and he is walking and running like crazy! He is fast, and into EVERYTHING – it’s can be tiring trying to keep up with him, but it’s also super fun to watch him learn and figure things out

My main kitchen adventures as of late have all involved trying to sneak pureed vegetables into things he will eat – and I have actually had some big successes on that front! But now that he’s 1, he’s eating a lot more non-baby foods, which I am hoping means I can try out some new recipes on him – ones that we can all enjoy


This most recent endeavor was inspired by these SUPER ripe bananas. I was just going to make banana bread (which is always delicious!), but I wanted to try something new and different – and was scrolling through some recipes when I came upon this one for Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal. Not only would it allow me to use up my bananas, but my son LOVES oatmeal (as do I!) so it seemed that it would be a win all around!


Ok, so I have assembled my ingredients – ALL of which I had on hand (score!) – so that means it’s BAKING time

Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal
(Recipe courtesy of
Love Grows Wild)

• 2 cups old-fashioned oats
• ⅓ cup brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 2 teaspoon cinnamon
• ½ teaspoon nutmeg
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 2 cups milk
• 1 cup banana, mashed
• 1 large egg
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
• ½ cup walnuts, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF and spray an 8″ square baking dish or pie plate with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Add the oats, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a medium bowl and stir to combine. In another large bowl, whisk together the milk, banana, egg, and vanilla. Slowly pour in the melted butter, whisking constantly.
3. Add the oat mixture into the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Transfer to the greased baking dish and bake for 25 minutes. Meanwhile, put the chopped walnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 5 minutes. Sprinkle the toasted walnuts on top of the oatmeal and cool slightly before serving.


The oats – before and after baking

The only change I made was that I omitted the nuts – I didn’t have any at home, plus I wasn’t sure how my son would be able to handle them (after all, he only has 4 teeth!). I do LOVE toasted nuts, and I can see how they would really be a great addition to this – but it certainly didn’t NEED them – it was delicious on its own

Also, I found it actually took closer to 40 minutes to cook – the recipe said 25 but mine was still pretty jiggly after just the 25 minutes. After 40 it was nice and set and perfectly browned on top


Beautiful, aren’t they? The blog I got the recipe from says it “tastes like a slice of warm banana bread” – which is pretty true, it was nice and moist and almost bread pudding like in consistency, but with the oats adding a nice crunchy texture to it


It got the seal of approval from my husband (and the dog!)


And my littlest mouth loved it too

Needless to say, there wasn’t much left after we attacked it, and I will for sure be making this again

No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars (No Bake = No Oven On A Hot Summer Day!)

27 Jul

I will be the first to admit that I am a total weirdo. Why, you might ask? Well, there are many reasons, but one of the big ones is that I don’t really care for summer. It just doesn’t do it for me (I’m much more of a fall girl!), and while I may not love this season, I know that most people do, and I have recently started to discover my own reasons to love these hot summer months – one of them being that I get to watch my 9 month old son experience the great outdoors, and another being that I get to try some awesome no bake desserts (because who wants to crank up the oven on a hot summer’s day?) – most of which usually involve peanut butter and chocolate (one of the world’s best combinations!)

These No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars are a triple win – not only are they easy and don’t require an oven, but they are super tasty, and best of all – you probably have most (if not all) of the ingredients already on hand! So let’s get baking! Whoops – I mean microwaving!

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
(Recipe Courtesy of The Girl Who Ate Everything)

1 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 cups powdered sugar
2 cups creamy peanut butter, divided
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1½ cups rice crispy cereal

Line an 9×13 pan with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray

In a large mixing bowl (or by hand with a spoon), beat together the melted butter, graham cracker crumbs, sugar, 1 cup peanut butter, and salt. Spread into the pan. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes to firm up

PB 1

In a microwave safe bowl melt together the chocolate chips and remaining 1 cup peanut butter in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the cereal. Spread on top of the chilled peanut butter layer

PB 2

PB 3

Refrigerate until chocolate is firm before serving. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week in the fridge

PB 4

I love the textures in this – the chocolate peanut butter layer has those crunchy pieces of cereal in it, and the peanut butter/graham cracker layer is nice and gritty (which sounds weird but it is actually perfect ha!)

They are pretty rich, as desserts go, so I recommend cutting into at least 24 or 32 pieces – as one is probably enough for anyone!

PB 5

I will definitely make these again, and hopefully on your next hot day you’ll whip these up and enjoy them as much as we did!

Another fun variation on this recipe are these Chocolate peanut butter pretzel ritz bars – where there’s a nice crunch and saltiness thanks to the pretzels and crackers, or if you’re in the mood for that chocolate peanut butter combo but not crazy about bars, then maybe you should try this No Bake peanut butter pie/ No matter which you choose, you’re getting to beat the heat and enjoy a delicious treat too – and if that’s not a win then I don’t know what is!

Beer In Pie = Every Man’s Dream Come True

22 Jun

Smore boys

Yesterday was Father’s Day – so Happy (slightly belated!) Father’s Day to all the dads out there – and a very special Happy FIRST Father’s Day to my husband – he’s an amazing guy and it’s been so great to watch him be a dad to our little guy. I knew I wanted to do something special for him to show him how much I love him and appreciate all that he does, and when I came across this recipe for Chocolate stout s’mores icebox pie – I knew it would be perfect. After all, what man wouldn’t love for someone to make them a pie – and not just ANY pie, but one with chocolate and BEER in it?

Chocolate Stout S’Mores Icebox Pie
(Recipe Courtesy of The Beeroness)

Serves: 8-10

• 9 graham cracker sheets
• 1/4 cup brown sugar
• 4 tbs butter, melted

• 1/3 cup chocolate stout
• 2 tbs unsweetened Cocoa
• 1 1/3 cups (8.5wt oz) bittersweet chocolate chips
• 2 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
• ¼ cup powdered sugar
• pinch salt

• 3 cups mini marshmallows

Add the graham crackers and brown sugar to a food processor, process until just fine crumbs remain. While the mixer is running, add the melted butter until well combined.
Press into the bottom of a spring form pan in an even layer until well compacted.

Add the chocolate stout, cocoa, and chocolate chips to a microwave safe bowl, microwave on high until melted, stirring frequently, about 90 seconds.
In the bowl of a stand mixer add the vanilla, heavy cream, powdered sugar and salt. Beat on high until medium peaks form. Turn the mixer to low and slowly add the chocolate until combined. Stir until well combined.

smore parts 1

Pour over the crust in an even layer.
Top with marshmallows, freeze until set, about 2 hours.

smore parts 2

Before serving toast the marshmallows with a culinary torch until blacked to desired degree.

smore pie

One thing I love about this is that it is a no-bake dessert (I REALLY am a fan of no bake pie in the summer!) – so no heating up the house or sweating over the oven!

I followed the recipe exactly – the only thing I didn’t do was blacken the marshmallows – as I do not have a culinary torch, and didn’t want to risk melting the whole thing under the broiler. Therefore, the marshmallows didn’t add much taste at all to the pie, since they weren’t toasted like in a real s’more – but that’s really ok, because the chocolate stout layer is good enough to stand on its own – it was rich and creamy, and didn’t taste too much like beer (which I appreciated!) – but the hint of it was still there


My dad and husband both loved it – so I think I made a good choice for their Father’s Day dessert!

To all the dads out there who would do anything for their families (like my dad and husband!) – I salute you, and hope you had a great day, and that you’re celebrated not just on this holiday, but all year long. Cheers!

Deep Dish Chocolate Oatmeal Cookie Bars – A Pinterest Win

4 May

Ahhh…Pinterest. I have such a love/hate relationship with you. I love that I can find inspiration and recipes and ideas on pretty much any topic in the world – but I hate that my boards basically consist of a huge bunch of things I will never have the time/money/energy to actually DO. I know I’m not alone here, right? Well – ok – even if you’re one of those freakishly crafty/energetic/go-getter people who manage to recreate the amazing things on Pinterest, don’t worry – I still love you, and don’t totally hate you (not too much anyway…)

Either way, Pinterest is a great place to find new recipes – especially desserts – I could search and click away for hours just drooling over all the amazing looking pictures of cakes, cookies, and pies that are on there. When it comes to what recipes I will actually make, I tend to gravitate towards chocolate, and oats too – they are two of my favorite things, and any chance I get to combine them into one delicious dessert – I’m in!

I have had these deep dish oatmeal chocolate cookie bars on my “Must try desserts” Pinterest board for a few years now – and I don’t know why I waited so long to make them!

Deep Dish Oatmeal Chocolate Cookie Bars (Recipe Courtesy of Love, Life, Lavins)

2 sticks margarine (I’ve used butter and it’s worked fine)
2 eggs
2.5 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 cups brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup milk
3 cups oatmeal

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup margarine (I’ve used butter and it’s worked fine too)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (typically one bag)

Mix the butter, eggs and brown sugar. Add vanilla and milk. Slowly incorporate the rest of the dry ingredients. Mix well. I prefer using a stand mixer since it’s quite thick

20150502_110655Is there anything more beautiful than sugar and butter? Well – maybe sugar and butter with OATS in it!

Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium heat melt together the chocolate chips, condensed milk, 1/3 cup margarine/butter, and 1 tsp vanilla


The chocolate mix gets ready to be spread on top of the cookie base

Spread 3/4 of the oat mixture on the bottom of a greased 13×9 pan, then pour on the chocolate mixture and spread evenly over the oats. Then, spread rest of cookie mixture on tops in spoonfuls (it won’t cover the chocolate completely)


Various stages of assembly

Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. *Note – the top can tend to get done before it’s completely cooked, so you can cover the bars with foil for the last ten minutes or so if it looks like it’s browning too much


Dough – before and after baking

Let the bars cool for a while, otherwise it won’t set up and will just run when you cut into it

A few small alterations I made to the original recipe: I used real butter (not margarine), and I melted it first – the recipe didn’t say to do that, but I figured it would help with the mixing process (which it did – I didn’t need to get out my mixer at all!). I also did not use the stove to melt the chocolate mix – just whipped it up in the microwave instead. I also read some of the comments to see if people used quick or regular oats – the author said she used quick oats so that’s what I went with as well (although – I should think regular oats would give a nice texture so I might try that next time!)

This recipe was easy – I had most of the ingredients on hand already, and assembling it was fast and painless, plus it was super tasty. Based on the original picture from the blog, I thought it would be a super dense, rich dessert – but it wasn’t at all, it was more cake-y and almost fluffy (if oats/butter/sugar can be fluffy?), and the chocolate was not as thick as I was thinking it would be either, it was almost more like a ganache-y type consistency. I would definitely make this again, it would be perfect to bring to one of the picnics/parties/BBQ’s/family reunions that are coming up this Spring/Summer


My husband enjoyed them (a lot!)

Thank you Pinterest for the awesome recipe, and for always inspiring me to try new things!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Ritz Bars – An Easy No-Bake Treat

16 Feb

When I saw this recipe in my inbox, I couldn’t get it out of my head – admittedly, it got a bit obsessive, but can you blame me? Chocolate = delicious. Peanut butter = amazing. Ritz and pretzels = salty and awesome on their own, but paired with the other two, we are talking some serious yumminess. I was drooling just looking at the pictures, and finally was able to stop obsessing and make these awesome treats

Ritzbars babyMy pretzel helper is ready, so let’s get down to business!


Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Ritz Bars (Recipe Courtesy of The Girl Who Ate Everything)

¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter, melted
1 cup pretzels, crushed finely then measured
1 cup Ritz crackers, crushed finely
1½ cups powdered sugar
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
¼ cup creamy peanut butter
1½ cups milk chocolate chips

1. Line a 9×13 baking dish with aluminum foil.
2. In medium bowl combine melted butter, crushed pretzels, crushed Ritz crackers, powdered sugar, and crunchy peanut butter.
3. Press mixture into the bottom of the foil lined baking dish.
4. In a small bowl, melt milk chocolate and ¼ cup peanut butter in microwave in 30 second intervals until melted. Stirring in between intervals. Pour over peanut butter cracker mix and spread evenly. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until chocolate has set before cutting into squares.


Crushing up some salty snacks for the bottom layer

Ritzbars 2

I made a double batch of these (because – why not?) and luckily my division skills worked out pretty well and each pan had just the right amount of each layer (really lucky since I was definitely just eyeballing it…)


*I recommend letting them sit at room temperature for a bit before trying to cut them/free them from the pan (trust me – as I learned this the hard way!)

Chocolate and peanut butter lovers beware – these are addicting! It’s that combo of salty and sweet that really gets me, plus I love the crunchy texture of the bottom layer and the sweet chocolate topping. Not only are these delicious and easy, but they are the perfect treat to let the kids help with, or to make on a hot day, as there’s no oven required – the microwave is all that’s needed to whip up these tasty treats!


Personally I find them reminiscent of a Reese’s Big Cup – which is basically a big peanut butter cup with extra peanut butter in it. It’s a rich treat that has it all – salty, sweet, crunchy, and chocolaty- what could be better?

Give Some Love This Valentine’s Day With These Chocolate Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

2 Feb

Valentine’s Day is only 12 days away (not that I’m counting…)! I know it’s not exactly everyone’s favorite holiday – but I personally love it – cards, flowers, candy, chocolate – what’s not to love, right? OK – maybe you need some convincing – and I have just the thing. COOKIES! That’s right, cookies – who doesn’t love them? They come in about a million varieties, are easy to make, and are the perfect gift to give to your loved ones, because not only do they show you care enough to bake for them, but they taste delicious too!

These chocolate chocolate chip oatmeal cookies have it all – oats (one of my favorite things), a chocolate cookie, and plenty of chocolate chips

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies (Recipe Courtesy of Something Swanky)

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup old fashioned oats
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

The various stages of dough-ness

In a stand mixer, beat together the butter and the shortening. Add the brown sugar and granulated sugar, beat until creamy.
Add the eggs, one at a time and mixing in between each addition.
Add the sea salt and the vanilla. Mix well.
Mix in the cocoa powder, flour, oats, and baking soda until dough forms, but don’t over mix.
Add the chocolate chips and mix.
Scoop onto a parchment or silicon lined baking sheet by rounded tablespoons. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-14 minutes, until edges are set and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.


Look at that huge pile of dough – isn’t it amazing? I gave them the full 14 minutes in the oven and they came out perfectly. I also used my handy scoop so that the cookies were all the same size.


Nothing better than a huge tower of fresh cookies…


They were Andrew approved, and I have to say I really enjoyed them as well – chewy on the edges and the middles were nice and soft. There were plenty of chocolate chips in the cookies, and the oats added a really nice texture to them too. I would definitely make these again – they were easy, quick, and delicious

This Valentine’s Day skip the generic heart shaped box of chocolates and bake some chocolate chocolate chip oatmeal cookies for your sweetie – they will be so ecstatic that they might just share them with you (or you can always hoard a few aside for yourself before you wrap them up…just sayin’…)


Beer Cinnamon Roll Biscuits

19 Jan

My Husband’s birthday was on Friday – and after almost nine years together, I find that it really isn’t about the money you spend on a gift, but rather the thought and work that went into it. Plus – since we just had a baby, saving money is a big thing for us right now. Which is what got me to thinking about what I could make for my husband for his birthday (versus buy), and I thought about things he likes – and the two things that top the list are BEER and FOOD. So, why not combine them both and make him something he can eat – with BEER in it!? This isn’t the first time I have done this, but it IS the first time I have tried making a beer inspired breakfast item – and the two items went together better than I thought they would!

Twenty Minute Cinnamon Roll Beer Biscuits (Recipe Courtesy of The Beeroness
Prep Time: 8 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
20 minutes
Yield: 10-12
For the Cinnamon Rolls:
3 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
10 tbs unsalted cold butter, cut into cubes
¾ cup pale ale or wheat beer
1/3 cup buttermilk
6 tbs softened butter
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
pinch salt
For the Icing:
2 cups powdered sugar
¼ cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract

• Preheat oven to 400.
• In a processor add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar.
• Pulse to combine. Add the cold butter, process until well combined. Add to a large bowl.
• Add the buttermilk and beer. Mix with a fork until just combined.
• Add to a well-floured flat surface, pat into a rectangle. Using a cold rolling pin (preferably marble) gently roll into a large rectangle, about 3/4 inch in thickness, using as few strokes as possible.
• In a medium sized bowl add the softened butter, brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and pinch of salt. Stir until a paste forms.
• Spread the dough with the butter mixture. Starting at the long end, roll into a tight log. Cut 2-inch rounds, place in a baking dish.
• Bake at 400 for 12 to 15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.
• Allow to cool.
• Stir together the powdered sugar, buttermilk and vanilla until well combined. Serve the biscuits topped with icing.


I followed the recipe exactly as written – and I found that the only difference was that they took a bit longer to bake – about 20 minutes total


These were easy to throw together and were a huge hit with the birthday boy!


In keeping with the beer and food theme, I also made White Bean Chicken Beer Chili and Beer cheese biscuits for his birthday dinner – they both turned out really great as well! If you have a beer lover in your house then I suggest you check out the Beeroness’ Blog – it’s full of great and easy recipes (plus the pictures are seriously drool-worthy!)


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