Healthy Meal Prep :: Carrot Cake Banna Bread 

Do you ever buy too many of something and then have tons of leftovers you have no idea what to do with? That’s my life story where bananas, lemons, and well, fruit in general is concerned. That’s how I found myself late one Friday night crazy deep in the bowels (sounds icky, right?) of Pinterest, vainly searching for something to do with my last three bananas.

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One Bowl Brownies & Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

I’ve been baking up a storm lately and I don’t want to post all of the recipes at once…I still have cookie dough waiting in the fridge to be baked! I don’t know what got into me, but I have spent the last two days going crazy.

One Bowl Brownies with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

One of my favorite things I have made in the last two days is the chocolate buttercream recipe by Natasha from Natasha’s Kitchen. I tasted this as soon as I finished beating it, and wow. I cannot believe how easy and delicious this frosting is! I cannot wait to make it again for a cake. I did not pin this recipe and now I cannot find it on her blog 😦 The only screen shot I took has her logo but doesn’t say the name of the recipe and I searched for a bit, but nothing came up.

One Bowl Brownies with Chocolate Buttercream

I put Natasha’s frosting on the easiest one bowl brownie recipe EVER. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. Too many evers? Nope. Seriously, these brownies on her Jenifer’s (and her hubby, Trevor’s) blog Show Me The Yummy took me six minutes to mix. And that’s because I couldn’t decide if I wanted to mix my chips in or sprinkle on top as directed. I ended up mixing them.

Don’t do that, kay?

My first batch came out really, really gooey in the middle. You can tell in the pictures. Not that I minded, I freaking adore extra gooey brownies.

One Bowl Brownies with Chocolate Buttercream

You can see the gooey on the fork – put your chips on top, people. Don’t mix them in.

So when I made the second batch I sprinkled the chocolate chips on top and it made all the difference. Perfection.

And my gosh. When the brownies are combined with the frosting – fireworks!!

 

The Most Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie EVER!

Hey, it’s me. Your resident slacker and consistent poster in training

All kidding aside, I have been MIA from almost everything – including personal social media accounts – since I last posted because life has been beyond hectic. My uncle and his daughter were down, I started a new job, Cody and I are remodeling the place we are moving into, and I have been helping a friend with her wedding plans. Crazy, right? Everything has been put on the back burner (you should see he laundry piling up…well actually you shouldn’t!).

While my uncle was down, I had the chance to do a lot of cooking and baking because they ate at our house most of the time. One of the things I baked was these amazingly perfect chocolate chip cookies. They are moist, fluffy, and filled to the brim with ooey-gooey melt in your mouth chocolate chips and chunks. Honestly, these are the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever had. No other cookie – homemade or store bought – can even compare.

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie made with Cream Cheese

This recipe comes from the Fabulous Averie Cooks. Her blog is like crack if you enjoy baking. Have you been? No? Well, why the frick not?

What makes this recipe different is the cream cheese. It adds that little something extra that makes people ask for your recipe and grab for the last cookie.

 

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie made with Cream Cheese

 

What you need:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1/4 cup regular block cream cheese (softened)
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar (packed)
  • 1/4 granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional – omit if you used salted butter)
  • 2 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks (I used a mixture of both

 

What you do:

  • Using a stand mixer, cream butter, cream cheese, the egg, both sugars, and vanilla on medium/high speed for about 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. If you use a hand mixer, it may take longer than 5 minutes.
  • After scraping down the sides of the bowl, add the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt (if you need it). Mix until just combined – about 1 minute.
  • Add chocolate chips and chocolate chunks – beat for just a second or fold in by hand
  • Refrigerate dough for at least two hours
  • Pre-heat oven to 350F
  • Line or grease your baking sheet
  • Scoop out cookie balls
  • Place cookies on sheet, about 2 inches apart
  • Bake for 8-12 minutes depending on your oven (mine took 10 minutes)
  • Cool for a little while on baking sheet (about five minutes)
  • Move to wire cooling rack to finish cooling

 

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie made with Cream Cheese

 

Averie scooped her cookies into balls before refrigerating and then let them sit at room temp for 15 minutes before baking. I scooped my dough after refrigerating in order to skip the 15 minute room temp deal. I used a regular size bag of chocolate chunks and 3 cups of chocolate chips in my double batch and there was the perfect amount of chocolate in each bite.

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie made with Cream Cheese

I cannot tell you enough how amazing these cookies are – I made a double batch and they were gone in two days!  Plus, they were so easy to make. If you check out Averie’s post, it explains how long you can keep them in the fridge or freezer.

Guys, basically that means you can prep a double batch, freeze half, and be only 20 minutes away from fresh cookies next time somebody drops in unexpectedly.

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie made with Cream Cheese

I hope you try out these cookies soon!

 

Homemade Reese Cups

The 21st was our 5 year anniversary! Cody had to work that night so I ran over to his house that morning when he got off work and had breakfast with him. We don’t usually do presents for Valentine’s Day or our anniversary, but I made him homemade Reese cups.

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I found this recipe on Pinterest (where else?) and it looked so easy. This was the first time I was over at Fifteen Spatulas‘ blog, but it wont be the last. Her recipes are awesome! And you have to try this Reese cup recipe. Head on over to her blog and check it out. You might find it’s easy enough to make it for yourself.

They were super easy and super yummy! I used Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate, but I think I may use Hershey chocolate next time. Cody likes his chocolate super sweet and he wasn’t sure these we sweet enough. I thought they were, so I guess it depends on personal taste.

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Valentine’s Day Inspiration from Pinterest

Love is in the air!

I love Valentine’s Day crafts, desserts, and decorations although I don’t normally celebrate Valentine’ Day because I think it’s strange to pick one day a year to show the person you love how much you love them. That being said, I go big on the Valentine’s Day desserts. I’ve been looking at pins for months trying to get inspiration to decide what to bake. I thought I’d share some of my favorites 🙂

Just click on the pictures to access the original bloggers post. Don’t forget to checkout the rest of my inspiration on my Valentine’s Day board and to follow me on Pinterest.

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pink mac

Rocky Road Brownies

My uncle came down last weekend. In between work, final school projects, and being sick, I decided to whip up a pan of brownies. I had to work the first night he was down, so I thought it would be a nice way for him to know I was thinking about him.

Last week when searching for a book I needed for school, I stumbled upon a cookbook Cody got me for one of our first holidays together. When I decided to make brownies, I knew I needed to use that cookbook!

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The first thing I do when I get a new cookbook is tab the pages of recipes I really want to make. It makes finding them so much easier when I’m in a hurry.

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I adapted the recipe a little bit.

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I didn’t wait until they were cool to try them, so my piece is a bit messy!

 

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 ¼ cups mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup chocolate chips – I used extra dark because they’re my favorite
  • ½ chopped nuts – I used walnuts because I had them on hand
  • ½ cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1 cup sugar – I used coconut sugar this time
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract – pure or imitation are both fine
  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup cocoa powder – I used extra dark, but regular works just as well
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

The cook book instructs you to use Hershey’s products – it’s a Hershey’s cookbook – but you obviously don’t have to.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees before assembling your products and grab an eight or nine inch pan. I used a round pie pan because it was on top of the pile, but anything will work. Don’t forget to grease or pray it! I totally forgot, but they still turned out okay.

Microwave the butter in a large-ish bowl until melted, about 1 to 1.5 minutes. Mix the sugar, eggs, and vanilla with the butter until well combined and fluffy.

Add the flour cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt a little at a time. Mix the ingredients together until there are no lumps. I just used a fork, but if you feel like it, a mixer (stand or hand) would work much quicker. I added in some chocolate chips in the batter, but it isn’t necessary. Just yummy!

After you spread the batter into the pan, bake it for 20-25 minutes. You want the edges to be done, but the middle to still be slightly gooey. While it’s baking, mix together the marshmallows, nuts, and chocolate chips. I used extra marshmallows and chocolate chips because why not.

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Pull the brownies out when the timer goes off and liberally scatter the marshmallow mixture over the top. Return to the oven for about 5 minutes. You want the marshmallows to puff up a bit and soften some.

I turned on my broiler on for a minute or so to brown the marshmallow a bit more. I like them a little crispy.

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Cool completely before cutting (a damp knife does wonders) and serving. If your pan allows it, cooling on a wire rack works best. My pan obviously did not allow it, but that’s alright.

These would be amazing with vanilla bean ice cream!

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These would be great to take to a holiday potluck or to make when family comes down. They were a huge hit with everybody, even my mom. And she doesn’t even like chocolate!

Ay good brownie recipes I should know about?

Super Easy Caramel Pie

Caramel pie is my favorite pie.

Easy 3 Ingedient Caramel Pie on BySarahShea

Okay, so I might say that when I eat apple pie, too. Each one is my favorite when I have it. And when I have to choose between the two of them . . . well, I usually go for a small bit of each!

But there was no apple pie today, just caramel. That is not a complaint! I am so happy with my pie. Haha

My mom has been ridiculously busy at work this week and will be for the rest of the month. She is an attorney and has a trial coming up so she’s been working past eight or nine every night. I decided to make her a pie I knew she would like.

I searched the cabinets and pantry for pie ingredients. I thought about making pecan pie – it’s her favorite, but we only had a handful of pecans. I thought about lemon, but I didn’t have enough eggs or butter. So, I settled on caramel pie. It is super, super easy to make and I had all the ingredients (or so I thought; I had to go get whipped topping).

Easy 3 Ingedient Caramel Pie on BySarahShea

This pie is a great pie to make if your family calls and says they’ll be over for dinner or friends decided to come for a visit at the last minute. Most of the cook time is boiling, so you can clean, cook other things, or relax while it is being made.

All you need is 2 – 4 cans of sweetened condensed milk, one 8” or so graham cracker crust, one tub of whipped topping, and any garnishes you like (nuts, chocolate chips, etc.). Try and get the cans with the pot tops. It will make it much easier – and less messy – when it comes time to open them.

The pie takes about 5 hours to make start to finish but prep time is roughly 5 – 10 minutes depending on how organized you are. The amount of milk you need depends on how big your pie is going to be. 2 cans usually will fill the normal size pie crust. I usually boil an extra one to have to make fruit dip.

Peel the labels off the cans and fully submerge them in a large pot of water. Boil the cans for roughly three hours. I turn my cans every 30 minutes to prevent the milk/caramel from burning. Shorter boiling time produced a runnier caramel while a longer time produces a thicker caramel.

While they are boiling, make sure to keep the cans covered. I have heard of cans exploding on people if they aren’t completely covered in water! Luckily, that has never happened to me.

After the cans are done boiling, remove the pot from the heat. Fill the pot the rest of the way full with cold tap water. This will help the cans cool. After 30 minutes, remove the cans from the pot and sit on a folded towel to finish cooling. You should wait to open the cans until you can touch them without any pain.

When opening the cans, be extra careful because the filling can get everywhere! If you don’t have the pot top kind of can, use one the can openers that removes the entire lid if possible. The filling will start to ooze out of the opening and it can get super messy if you have one of the ones that just pokes the hole in the can.

After opening the cans, spread the caramel into the crust until it is even with the lip of the crust or just lightly higher. Chill the caramel pie in the freezer for 15 – 30 minutes until the caramel is no longer warm. Once it is cool, spread the whip topping over the pie. Use as much or as little as you like.

Sprinkle your toppings onto the pie. This time, I just used crushed walnuts and mini chocolate chips. You can drizzle caramel or chocolate syrup on, top it with diced apples or cherries, or any combination. Get creative!

Easy 3 Ingedient Caramel Pie on BySarahShea

If you need to serve the pie soon, return it to the freezer until time to cut it. If you don’t need it for several hours, put it into the fridge. The pie is always best served cold.

Recap

Boil milk about three hours

Pour into crust

Chill

Whipped topping & garnishes

Chill

Eat

Easy 3 Ingedient Caramel Pie on BySarahShea Easy 3 Ingedient Caramel Pie on BySarahShea

I love this pie! I often request it instead of a cake for my birthday. So yummy; it kind of tastes like O’Charley’s caramel pie if you have ever eaten it.

I love to enjoy this pie with a cup of strong coffee. Yum 🙂

Have you guys tried this pie before? Any suggestions on different garnishes?