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If the way my boys eat now is any indication of how they will eat in the future, I fear for what my grocery bill will be 10 years from now with three very hungry boys. Getting them to actually sit down and eat a meal in its entirety is challenging, but what I find instead is that they graze all day long.

It’s so easy to fall into the packaged snacks trap. I’m definitely guilty of doling out the squeeze applesauce, Goldfish, and graham crackers out of sheer ease and convenience. I don’t plan on stopping that any time soon, but it’s certainly nice to have some easy, healthy, homemade options too.

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Sometime last year I stumbled across a recipe for muffins with very few and very natural ingredients. They seemed perfect for breakfast, or an afternoon snack, and were very portable. I made them once and enjoyed them a lot. I made them again with a few adjustments and was hooked forever.

These muffins are really tasty. They’re moist and versatile, and we almost always have all the ingredients on hand. They’re also gluten-free, if that’s important to you, and VERY kid-friendly. The boys ask for and devour them regularly.

Oatmeal Banana Muffins
Adapted from Green Lite Bites

  • 3 mashed bananas, the riper the better.
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 3 cups old fashion or rolled oats (not quick cooking oats)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar* (optional)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup raisins, dried cranberries, chocolate chips, chopped nuts, etc., etc., etc. The possibilities are endless.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Mix all ingredients together except the raisins (or whichever addition you choose), and let sit while you prepare the muffin pans. (*In regards to the brown sugar: the original recipe is sugar-free. I have made them both ways and enjoy each, but I find that unless the bananas are SUPER over-ripe, they lack a little sweetness. Go in whichever direction your prefer.)

Spray a muffin pan with non-stick spray.

Stir the raisins into the oatmeal batter.

Divide batter into muffin cups. They should be just about filled. Mine have yielded 12 muffins every time, but yours may vary based on the size of your tin.

Bake 20-30 minutes until the edges just start to brown and the muffins are firm to the touch.

The muffins may stick when hot but are removed easily when cooled for a bit.Mine usually come out clean after cooling for 10 minutes. When fully cool, store in an air-tight container or zip-top bag. They never last more than two days in our house!

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Y’all. This pie.

Some friends and I had a girls’ night a few weeks ago where we stuffed our faces with calorie-heavy food and wine. Stretchy pants were mandatory, obviously. My contribution was ham and cheese-stuffed pretzel bites (recipe to come!) and this peanut butter chocolate chip pie.

It was a big hit. Friends raved about its light texture and delicious flavor and I was impressed at how easily it came together. Best of all, it’s a refrigerator pie, so after it was all mixed up all I had to do was toss it in the fridge for a few hours.

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The original recipe calls from a homemade graham cracker crust, which is probably pretty good. I happened to have a pre-made shortbread crust on hand, so I used that instead. Truth be told, I think I probably would like it better that way. Peanut butter and graham cracker makes me think of toddler food.

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pie
Adapted from Growing Up Gabel

Ingredients:

  • 1 ready made shortbread pie crust
  • 8 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 oz. heavy cream
  • ¾ cups mini chocolate chips
Directions:
  1. In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese, peanut butter, powdered sugar and vanilla extract using a hand held beater. Set aside.
  2. In a stand mixer with whisk attachment, beat heavy cream until soft peaks form.
  3. Add whipped cream to peanut butter mixture, folding in gently until combined.
  4. Gently stir in chocolate chips.
  5. Spread peanut butter mixture into crust. Allow to chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

The pie is rich in flavor, yet light in texture. It’s decadent enough to feed a bunch, too, since we all found one slice was more than enough. It’s equally delicious in the morning (not that I would know or anything…)

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pie. Owen tested AND approved.

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Enjoy!

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Cheesecake. Yum. Am I right? So simple, yet so good.

I’ve been on a bit of a lemon-blueberry kick lately. The flavors just go so well together and are bright and summery, even if summer isn’t quite here yet. (Close, though! So close!)

We had dinner at my mother-in-law’s on Mother’s Day, and I figured I should bring a dish. She tends to make enough dinner to feed an army, so I wasn’t even going to bother in that department. Dessert, friends. That’s where it’s at. If you’re looking for something delish, simple and impressive without having to try too hard, these bars will do the trick.

 

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These came out really good and were even better after sitting overnight in the fridge. The only thing I did differently than the original recipe was to line the pan with foil rather than parchment paper, because I didn’t have any! Worked just as well. Interestingly, the blueberries took on an odd blue-gray color after being baked, but seemed to revert back to their original splendor later on. I can’t explain that one!

 

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars
From Epicurean Mom

Ingredients

For Base:
Butter, for greasing
2 tablespoon sugar
1/8 tablespoon ground cinnamon
9 graham crackers
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted

For the Filling:
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 eggs
2 lemons, zested and juiced
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

Directions

For the Base:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Grease the bottom of a 9 by 9-inch baking pan with butter.  Then place parchment paper over the top, pressing down at the corners.  In a food processor, process the sugar, cinnamon and graham crackers until you have the consistency of breadcrumbs.  Add the melted butter and pulse a couple of times to fully incorporate.  Pour into the lined baking pan and firmly pat down with the bottom of a glass.  Bake for about 12 minutes, or until set.

For the filling:
Add cream cheese, eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar to the food processor and pulse until well combined.  It should have a smooth consistency.  Pour onto the cooked graham cracker base and then sprinkle with blueberries.  They will sink slightly but should be half exposed.

Bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes, or until the center only slightly jiggles.  Remove from the oven and cool completely before Refrigerating for at least 3 hours.  Once set, remove from pan using the parchment lining and slice into 10 rectangular bars.

 

I’ve unofficially begun a Biweekly Baking tradition during the week. It’s usually cookies, but Owen and I have a playdate today and I think it’s nice to bring a little snack for the moms and/or the kids if someone is hosting you. Cookies didn’t really seem to fit the bill for that.

I recently got around to reorganizing my Pinterest boards a little to make it easier for myself to find recipes. I had almost 300 (!!) compiled in one big food board, and it was getting chaotic. During this process, I stumbled across a recipe for yogurt cake that I had pinned and forgotten about. Seemed like the perfect solution for my playdate offering.

The focus of this recipe is Greek yogurt – it uses two single-serving cups – and I think that’s what gives the cake it’s unique texture. My loaf did not come out bread-like or fluffy, which I was expecting based on the photo that accompanied the original recipe. Instead, it came out weighing a ton and is dense, moist and almost undercooked-looking (although it isn’t). Don’t let this scare you! It’s really delicious.

The original recipe offers add-ins to make the loaf lemon-poppy or with berries. She also made hers in two mini-loaf pans rather than one big one. I can’t say for sure whether or not that would affect the texture or not. I made one big lemon-blueberry. It was the right decision!

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This time I took my own photo. All artsy-fartsy and what not. Ha.

Would I make this loaf again? You bet. I’m really enjoying it. And the perk of it being so dense is you can slice small, thin slices to make it stretch further, or make yourself feel better about eating five slices in a row. Not that I would know anything about that.

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Lemon-Blueberry Yogurt Loaf (my comments in bold)
From Fresh From the Oven

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 containers of 5.3oz organic Greek yogurt
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
1/4 cup of frozen blueberries (more if you are making a big loaf cake) (I used just about 1/2 cup)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. (Don’t skip this step. Mine slid right out no problem when cooked.)

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it’s all incorporated.

Add in blueberries and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean. (Mine was still loose in the middle at 50 minutes. I think my total cooking time was about 57 minutes.)

Meanwhile, cook the 1/4 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a foil-lined sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.

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Eat, enjoy, share with friends. Although if you’re my playdate friend, you’re only getting a few slices, because I can’t stop eating it. Sorry!