Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Pretzel and M&M Holiday Treats

I just discovered these last year (thank you Pinterest!) and now I'm seriously asking, where have they been all my life??  They are so easy, so tasty and so much fun to make with your kiddos!  They will love helping you, from unwrapping the Kisses, to placing them on the pretzels - they can really help at every step!  

My 2 year old (soon to be 3!  Her birthday is Christmas Eve!) was so excited and happy to help me.  

Lots of yummy looking pictures follow...

You could really make these all year round.  Especially with the regular M&M's...during the Holidays, red and green would be fun, but I didn't think of that before I made these! 

I keep mine in the fridge and you can put out for a Holiday party in a cute festive bowl or plate.  They will be gone in a flash so make a ton!!   

Pretzel and M&M Holiday Treats

Round or mini twists pretzels
Hershey kisses

Preheat oven to 225 degrees.  Pour the pretzels onto a 11x18 baking sheet (completely cover it!) and start unwrapping the Kisses.  I used a medium size bag, but you will probably need the large bag if you are making for a crowd.  Place one Kiss on each pretzel and place pan in the oven.  Let the chocolate melt for about 4-5 minutes, just until you can push down on the top and it goes all the way down.  Pull the pan out of the oven and top each Kiss with an M&M.  Let harden a little, then store in fridge for a couple of days.

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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

I always seem to have a few bananas in the freezer for just an occasion when I am craving banana bread.  FYI - that is such a great way to use bananas that are about to go bad...just throw them in the freezer and use them later!  They will turn black, but they are perfectly good to use months later.  This is actually the exact recipe I use for my banana bread, but obviously done in a muffin tin, rather than a loaf pan.  I love the chocolate and banana combination but you can substitute for nuts, or do both, or leave both out!  Completely up to you!  

The milk and vinegar mixture is actually a substitute for buttermilk.  Just let them sit together for about 5 minutes.  Or if you have buttermilk, add that in when I call for the milk/vinegar mixture. 

 Perfectly plump muffins! 

Loving taking pictures with my new camera!!  

Makes 12 muffins
Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

1/3 cup milk
1/3 teaspoon vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 bananas, mashed
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners (or spray with non-stick cooking spray).  Combine the milk and vinegar and set aside.  Using an electric mixer, combine the oil and sugar. Sift together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda and add to sugar mixture. Add bananas and milk/vinegar mixture and mix well.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Use an ice cream scoop to fill paper liners about 2/3 of the way full and bake for 25-30 minutes.  

(Source:  Adapted from Paula Deen)

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Tomato Avocado and Mozzarella Panini

Tomato and Mozzarella sandwiches are one of my absolute favorites and we eat them often in our house.  But adding avocado and turning it into a panini definitely took our staple sandwich way up a notch.  Absolutely amazing!   

Quite frankly, eating it like this, without toasting the bread is fabulous as well.  I used Campari tomatoes (the smaller ones) and fresh slices of mozzarella.  

Gooey mozzarella and creamy avocado...are you drooling yet??

Makes 2 sandwiches

Tomato Avocado and Mozzarella Panini

2 fresh ciabatta rolls 
2 Roma or Campari tomatoes, sliced
6 slices of fresh Mozzarella
1 avocado, sliced
Mayonnaise (optional)
Balsamic vinegar
Italian Seasoning
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

After everything is sliced, spread the mayonnaise on open sides of the ciabatta rolls.  Preheat your panini maker or skillet.  Layer 3 slices of mozzarella, 2-4 slices of tomatoes (depending on which you use), and a couple of slices of avocado on each roll.  Add a couple of splashes of balsamic vinegar over the layers, followed by a dash of Italian seasoning and salt and pepper to taste.

Place sandwich on panini maker and close the lid.  Allow the bread to toast and the mozzarella to melt a little, about 7-10 minutes.  You can also use a skillet with a panini press.

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Friday, December 7, 2012

Oven Toasted "Fried" Ravioli

I love this meal...it's simple, tasty and the whole family loves it.  Almost like eating fried cheese, but better!  I use a three cheese ravioli (and I always have these in the freezer - I get the huge bag at Sam's and it lasts forever) which has ricotta, Romano and Parmesan cheese.  And, these are toasted, not fried, which is healthier and less mess for you!

This serves 2, but can be easily doubled to feed your whole family.  They will love it! 

Serves 2

Oven Toasted Ravioli 

12 large frozen ravioli, thawed
2 eggs
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
cooking spray
Marinara sauce for dipping 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a shallow bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together.  In another shallow bowl, mix the bread crumbs and Parmesan.  Dip each ravioli in the egg mixture, then the bread crumb mixture, then place on a baking sheet.  Spray the ravioli with cooking spray.  Bake until golden brown 10-12 minutes.  Serve with marinara sauce for dipping.

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Monday, December 3, 2012

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

I finally got a real camera!  No more using my Iphone to take pictures for my blog!  I feel so professional.  I have been pining over the Nikon 3200 and my wonderfully awesome husband surprised me with it for our anniversary.  Well, anniversary/Christmas/birthday and probably next year's anniversary gift...

OMG, there is so much to learn.  I'm sure I will look back on these pictures and laugh at some point, but to me, right now, I am super stoked at how they look.  Yay!  Now onto the brownies...

This recipe is a super simple way to jazz up brownies from a box.  I love box brownies - no fail, super moist and fudgy every time.  And easy!  

The brownies are prepared according the package directions, then a mixture of butter, peanut butter, confectioner's sugar and vanilla are swirled throughout the batter.  I used Martha Stewart's recipe for the peanut butter filling, so you know it's going to be good.    

 Makes 16 brownies

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies 

1 box of brownie mix and everything you need to make the brownies - eggs, oil, water (I used Duncan Hines Double Fudge, but use your favorite)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and prepare brownies according to package directions.  Pour batter into greased 9x9 square baking pan.  

Make the peanut butter filling:  combine butter, peanut butter, salt and vanilla extract and stir until smooth.  Drop dollops of filling (about a tablespoon each) onto the batter, about an inch apart.  Using a butter knife, gently swirl the peanut butter filling through the brownie batter.  Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs.  

(Source:  filling adapted from Martha Stewart's Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies)

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I'm a super busy mom of 3 and a Beachbody coach. Follow along as I try to find a balance between eating good food and keeping my family healthy and happy! We eat mostly clean with a few fun treats thrown in every once in awhile. Thanks for stopping by!

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