Peanut Butter & Jelly Smoothie

It is almost my birthday and I’ve been trying to eat sensibly in preparation, or in general I guess. Calories don’t count on birthdays. Also since I have to get up uber early on Saturday for a work event, I forsee a dunks bfast sandwich in my future. Weekend wake-ups shouldn’t start with a 6, but then again the actual work event days start with a 3, which is just gross, so this 6 am is peanuts.

Something delicious to start the day is necessary, but healthy to start the day is the norm. I’m still riding out my smoothie obsession for breakfast and getting ready while sipping a smoothie is just somehow relaxing. I liked the banana peanut butter  and nutella smoothie I made, but this time I was thinking PB&J!

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Ingredients:

6 oz vanilla Greek yogurt (or blueberry yogurt would be good too)
1 cup frozen blueberries
2 tbs reduced fat peanut butter
splash of milk (optional)

Directions:

Assemble & blend!

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I like the berries/fruit to be frozen, or semi-frozen so that the smoothie is thicker. Fresh berries would work too, but frozen are also easier to have on hand.

I prefer the taste of reduced fat peanut butter, and why not shave a few calories where you can? I go for chunky but I mooch from Mr. J’s creamy reduced fat pb when making smoothies (shhh!)

This one was good and very flavorful. I don’t know if it was my favorite so far, but a good change up from my normal yogurt-fruit-only smoothies.

Peanut Butter, Banana and Nutella Smoothie

My go-to breakfast is often a smoothie. I got a pretttty awesome new Nina blender with single serve smoothie attachment. I ran my last one into the ground (circa 2004?). It is still kicking but my new one is freaking amazing.

Smoothies are filling enough when there’s protein (read: Greek yogurt) and several servings of fruit. My key is liquid to make it blend nicely (milk or low-calorie juice). I was craving nutella too, which is a new ingredient for my smoothies.
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Ingredients:
¾ cup vanilla Greek yogurt
1 small-medium banana, sliced
¼ cup reduced fat peanut butter
2 tbs nutella
¼ cup milk (if needed)

Directions:
Add yogurt and banana into the blender.
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Add peanut butter and nutella
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Blend until smooth.
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Add milk as needed.

I loved this one. It was sweeter than some of my other smoothies. I think the banana with the peanut butter was perfect. It was thinner than I usually make. Freezing the banana chunks or adding ice would have made it more thick/frothy/luscious.

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Do you have a favorite smoothie combo?

Sweet Potato and Brussels Sprouts Hash

Happy New Year! December included a vacation then the whirlwind of the holidays in MA & ME. It was an awesome few weeks but I feel like now it is is major detox time. Time to eat real food and get back to the routine. There were some amazing meals on vacay, Christmases with both families, holiday parties, a cookie swap, some festive beverages etc.
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I spotted this easy sweet potato and brussels sprouts hash on Culinary Colleen’s blog. It looked awesome for brunch. I thought it could be an easy and balanced dinner.

Ingredients:
2 small sweet potatoes quartered
2 cups brussels sprouts, trimmed
4 strips of bacon
1 tbs chopped garlic
2 eggs

Directions:
Partially boil the potatoes and cook until the potatoes are halfway cooked.
Steam the brussels sprouts while pan frying the bacon.
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Drain the bacon, leaving the pan coated with bacon grease.
Cook potatoes, brussels sprouts, and garlic in the bacon pan.
When potatoes and sprouts are getting gently browned and crisp turn to low and keep warm. Add bacon just before serving.
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Pan fry eggs over easy, or poach the eggs.
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Serve eggs over the potato and sprout hash.
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I liked this. It was super easy. I think I should have dripped in a little liquid smoke, but the bacon gave a great smokiness. I don’t think I’d crave this weekly, but it was a nice change up and was only 1 pot and 1 pan to make. Love that!

Banana Streusel Muffins

Baking isn’t my forte, but muffins are a good choice for me. Then it can be breakfast and I don’t have cakes and cookies taunting me.
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I got 5 bananas for $0.38 in the discount produce and they screamed banana bread. Between the 5 I cut off some browned spots and had about a total of 3-4 bananas. Pretty good deal!

Banana Streusel Muffins

adapted from allrecipes.com

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup cinnamon or butterscotch chips
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tsp whole wheat flour
2 tsp oatmeal
1 tsp unsalted butter

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a 12-muffin tin with cupcake papers.
Whisk 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour with baking soda, baking powder, salt, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a large bowl.
Mash bananas with a potato masher.
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Mix together mashed bananas, 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter, egg, white sugar, and vanilla extract in a separate bowl. Gently fold banana mixture and cinnamon chips into dry ingredients just until moistened; do not overmix.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling them about 3/4 full.
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Mix brown sugar with 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour and oatmeal in a bowl, stirring until combined; mash 1 tablespoon unsalted butter into the mixture with a fork until streusel topping resembles crumbs.
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Sprinkle topping over muffins.
Bake muffins in the preheated oven until a toothpick comes out clean or with moist crumbs, about 20 minutes.
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They came out great, but the batter tasted a bit off. What? You think I didn’t lick a spatula? It tasted salty. I was disheartened. I was fearful! I don’t bake often but it didn’t seem right. I baked it anyway. I figured it already was too late so I may as well bake and see what happens.
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They were great when I baked them! I think I may have used a ½ cup of salted butter, instead of unsalted. It turned out A-OK.

What I Ate: Top Your Own Oatmeal Bar

What I Ate series is a Friday post that was fun and/or delicious but doesn’t require a recipe. These guys are easy to whip up and can make your Friday fun and delicious. Happy Friday!

My office has the best appetites! We decided to have an oatmeal bar and it was a fun and quick meal to share. I brought in oatmeal and everyone brought fun toppings. We use hot water from our water cooler. It was easier than our usual elaborate potluck.

I offered anyone who doesn’t-do-oatmeal could bring-their-own cereal or yogurt/etc and enjoy our toppings. I had pumpkin butter, cinnamon chips, and a dash of cinnamon on mine. It was very festively fallish.

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I mayyy have thought it was more fun than anyone else. Trust me, it was awesome. Don’t listen to my colleagues.

What I Ate: Pumpkin Muffins

I’m about to rock your socks off. And if you’re not wearing socks because it has been lovely at 63-degrees & sunny here in Boston then I’m going to rock your shoes off. I made the fastest and easiest muffins ever. I’m about to have muffins on hand all the time.

Ready for 2 ingredient muffins? Two. Count ‘em.
Pumpkin Muffin

Ingredients:

1 box Spice cake mix
1 can pumpkin

Directions:

Mix together
Bake

See? Omg. Totally the easiest thing ever. I added cinnamon chips because I love them. These were super easy and gave me some baking courage. I drizzled some maple glaze over the top. Somebody was taunted by my photo staging set up:
Pumpkin MuffinGood thing those chair spindles aren’t any wider apart! Isn’t he just the cutest?! You know what I say to that?

Aww MUFFIN!

Enjoy the weekend! I’m home from Santa Barbara, and from LA, and from NYC! Woohoo! I have lots ‘o blogging to catch up on so stay tuned for some picture heavy posts coming up next week! This doesn’t count towards my fall foods list, but I have a pumpkin post to prep that will count on my list, for sure!

Portland Maine’s Holy Donuts

I can’t even describe how lovely our Portland, ME weekend was. Well, I’m nothing if not wordy so I’ll try. I fell in love. I’m in love with Mr. J and we LOVED celebrating our one year anniversary in Maine for the weekend. It was beautiful and the Old Port is just too cute. Why didn’t I know about this before?!?! It was so great to wander, eat, shop, gaze at light houses, and not run around like crazy tourists.

Check out Mr. J’s Portland pics here.

My mum suggested we check out The Holy Donut. What. A. Find. I didn’t know I liked donuts that much until I went here.
The Three Bite Rule - Portland Donut

They make these amazing homemade potato donuts in incredible flavors (think sweet potato ginger, or pomegranate, or dark chocolate peanut butter glazed, or dark chocolate sea salt). Before you bail. Don’t think you’re “not into donuts” if you’re only thinking spongy sogged donuts of the legendary Dunkin. I’m not into those. I’m all about these Holy Donuts. Amazing. Life changing!
Portland Maine Holy Donut
I don’t know if I want to admit how many we got…let’s call it a sampler.

Portland Maine Holy Donut

I eased my way in falling hard core for the dark chocolate seasalt. The special of the day was apple with cider glaze. Ohh my fall-goodness.
Portland Maine Holy Donut

This one was created for me and was hands down my favorite: bacon and cheddar donut. I was surprised that it was a filled donut. None of their others are filled but this one is warm and oozing salty bacon and melty cheddar inside a sweet donut. It is like a monte cristo. Mr. J didn’t love it as much. Muhahahaha. All the more for me!
Portland Maine Holy Donut

The building was charming with some outside seating. Early Sunday morning folks made their way here to eat outside with the pup or on a leather couch with a newspaper. Nobody else seemed to have quite the spread we had, but hey, we were on vacation! The staff were great and enthusiastic. It reminded me of the family owned and run candy business I grew up working at. Although that business wasn’t my family, there was care in every item sold and consumed.
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Now, to continue the important matters. Coffee. I ordered an ice coffee and then they filled my cup with coffee ice cubes. Love it!
Portland Maine Holy Donut

 

I have a bunch more amazing meals to share too, so pull on your fat pants and get ready!

Cheese Danish Squares

So you know that I’m not a great baker, right? I’m trying more often. I recently made lemon squares which came out pretty decent and now I made these Chess Squares or Gooey Butter Cake and it was 50% successful.

If I was only 50% successful then why are you still reading? I’m sure you want to know which half worked Well! Tricky, tricky, I split it into 2 pans and brought one to a weekend with the fam in Maine and left one home. Unfortunately I brought the over-done-one to Maine (not pictured) and Mr. J demolished the successful one at home (pictured below).
The Three Bite Rule - Cheese Danish Squares
It didn’t look like it was going to set so I baked one longer (as in too long) and they weren’t as gooey. I think that’s my baking problem. I deviate from the recipe. I need to follow the instructions exactly. I need to trust the system. They were totally edible though and definitely the easiest baked good ever.

Cheese Danish Squares

(Chess Squares by Kevin and Amanda, Gooey Butter Cake by Paula Deen, & anyone else who makes this)

Ingredients:

1 (18 1/4-ounce) box yellow cake mix
3 eggs
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 16-ounce box powdered sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300 and spray a 9×13 dish with cooking spray.
Mix cake mix, melted butter and one egg to a soft dough.
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Press into the bottom of the pan.
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Mix powdered sugar, softened cream cheese and remaining two eggs until smooth, about 1-2 mins.
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Pour on top of crust.
Bake at 300 for 40-50 minutes until top is golden brown.
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They reminded me of a cheese danish so I’m throwing one more name into the mix. I like them as a sweet brunch item but call it another name and you’ve got a dessert.
The Three Bite Rule - Cheese Danish Squares

They were suuuuper easy and would be great to throw together last minute…I mean. ehh. you totally planned ahead. and had everything you needed. and looked as organized as Martha Stewart. and didn’t arrive empty handed like Emily Post taught you.

Hash Brown Crust Bfast Pizza

Wayyy back when, I was making breakfast pizza I was also thinking what else I could do with breakfast pizza. There’s nothing cheaper or easier than bfast. I always have eggs and bacon around so poof! It became pizza topped with “fried” egg. I was wondering about scrambled egg too. My mind then went to crispy hash browns. I know, you don’t want to know where my food-brain goes.

What if the hash brown cakes were the CRUST. I’m a genius. Or this might exist somewhere. I’m not sure. All I know is that I’ve never seen it on a menu and I’ve been to quite a few diners and breakfast spots and I’ve never seen this. Come on people!
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Mr. A recreated the egg one and tweeted it to me. Love it! It got my butt in gear to adapt it for another method.
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Ingredients:

½ bag shredded potato hash browns
1/3 can cream of mushroom soup
8 oz shredded cheddar
4 slices of bacon
3 eggs, scrambled

Directions:

Mix shredded potatoes and soup together.
Then spread it out onto a pan and bake for 30 minutes at 400-degrees.
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Cook bacon while crust is crisping.
When the potato has formed a crispy crust, top with cheddar and return to the oven for 5-10 minutes.
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Cook the scrambled egg (in the pan you cooked the bacon in for some extra bacon flavor!)
Cook the crust until the cheese melts into a delicious melty layer.
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Remove and top with scrambled egg and bacon.
The Three Bite Rule - Bfast Pizza

This was definitely a good pizza! I would have liked the crust to crisp a bit more but I really feared I’d burn the edges. I would recommend being mindful of the thickness. I could have spread it out then squished the edges back in to form the edge/barrier. It also might work better to make individual ones! Smaller ones could be pan fried if potatoes, eggs, and bacon isn’t too much for you to manage at the same time.

If you’re cooking for a crowd or for kids it might be fun to make individual ones that people can top as they like. I’ll make it again, and maybe I’ll even pan-fry the potato cakes…oooo!
The Three Bite Rule - Bfast Pizza

It isn’t a dinner that produces leftovers for lunch the next day. That’s usually a considering factor in my meal planning but hash brown cakes with cheese and bacon would still be good even if the eggs don’t reheat well!

A biscuit crust would be good if hash browns aren’t your thing either! I’d love it as potato crust, topped with cheese, and bacon and finished with a poached egg the very last second. Yum!

Which is your idea of a great start to the day?
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Everything Bagel Cream Cheese Dip

I’m pretty obsessed with Pretzel Crisps right now. I love them…especially the everything ones. They remind me of everything bagels which then brought me to a cream cheese dip for them!

I made it for mother’s day brunch but am just getting around to posting it. Make this. Take my word for it. It’s a fun brunchy item that nobody else will have. It is super addicting too.

Ingredients:

8 oz cream cheese (softened to room temp)
1 tbs crushed garlic
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sesame seeds
1/2 tsp dried onion
½ tsp salt
½ tsp garlic powder
3 tbs milk/cream
Pretzel thins (everything or sesame or plain)

Directions:

Mix softened cream cheese with garlic, spices, and sesame oil.
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Add milk 1 teaspoon at a time until the mixture is dip-able.
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Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight before serving.
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I think everyone liked it. I chose flavors I thought we’d like with the pretzels but there are tons of alternatives. Crushed garlic, garlic powder, and chives would be good. Or bacon and scallions (my fav at Breuggers).
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What is your go-to brunch item?