Celebrating My Favorite Snack

HAPPY NATIONAL PRETZEL DAY!! Pretzels are my snack of choice because they bring everything to the table.  Soft or hard, with or without salt, there are endless varieties of pretzels guaranteed to satisfy! From pretzel buns, to chocolate coated, and even being put inside of M&Ms, it seems that there is no place pretzels can’t be taken (figuratively and literally).  My personal preference when it comes to pretzels would have to be a hard sourdough or a regular twist pretzel dipped in peanut butter. I basically could eat any kind of pretzel dipped in peanut butter to be honest!

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My mom, brother, and myself (from right to left) at Julius Sturgis back in 2005.

If you wanna celebrate National Pretzel Day in all its glory, here are some great ideas:

  • If you are willing to make the trip or live in the Pennsylvania area, head over to Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery. This over 150 year old landmark hold interactive tours where guest learn to tie their own pretzels and watched them get baked off! I’ve actually been there, and can attest to it being a fun and interesting experience!  CHECK OUT THEIR WEBSITE HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION!

If you’d rather celebrate in the comfort of your own home here are some awesome recipes you may be interested in:

  • Feeling ambitious enough to make your own soft pretzels? Take them to the next level by adding spinach, artichoke, and bacon!! Check out Half Baked Harvest’s Spinach, artichoke, and bacon stuffed beer soft pretzel here.
  •  Try out this sweet and salty Carmel Pretzel Brownies.(I may actually make these tonight!) RECIPE HERE

MY TIP: If you live in an area where Wawa convenient stores are located, stop and eat one of their delicious soft pretzels. You will not regret it, and if you are not doing for yourself, at least do it for me!

Enjoy your day, today & enjoy your pretzels, always!!!

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BLACK BEAN… cookies??

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I am always into trying new things and when I find a raved about HEALTHY dessert recipe, I jump on it! So, when I came across a recipe that uses virtually no sugar, no flour, and the main ingredient was black beans, you could understand that I was a little skeptical of all the amazing reviews it was getting! BUT, after making them, I can safely say these Black Bean Chocolate Chip Cookies are even better than how the reviews portrayed them!

**WARNING** My brother, (the pickiest eater known to man) who only eats cheerios and plain bagels and who’s lips have never touched a vegetable, spoon ate the batter to these cookies and ate a good majority of them once they were baked. So its fair to say these cookies aren’t just “good for being healthy” but JUST  straight up delicious. YOU MAY BECOME ADDICTED.

Here the recipe to these gloriously healthy cookies!

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Would you believe this is mostly black beans??

Tips & Hints:

  • This recipe is bases off another recipe that uses honey instead or sugar, it links to the original which gives you a choice depending on your preference.  I followed this recipe, but used less sugar (1/3 cup) and the cookies came out just sweet enough.
  •  I used semi-sweet chocolate chips, which worked well with the flavor of the cookie, but you could use milk or dark chocolate!
  • The batter  is very similar to brownie batter. Next time I make these, I’m going to experiment into making them in the form of brownies instead!

There really isn’t anything else I can say about these cookies, BUT GO MAKES THEM RIGHT NOW!! If you like chocolate, these cookies will fulfill all your chocolate cravings and more. Plus, the fact that they are healthy is an added bonus!!  

 

It Takes Two: Simply GUILT-FREE Banana “Ice Cream”

Last week, the Hudson Valley was shown a glimpse of spring as the sun has been beamed down melting the remaining snow.  The little perks, like walking around outside without my winter jacket, has left me in all my glory. Looking for a little refresher to get my taste buds to adjust to the coming of spring, I decided to take a crack at making two ingredient, guilt free   Banana Peanut Butter “Ice Cream”. Recipe as follows:

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Banana Peanut Butter “Ice Cream”

Ingredients:

  • 2 (very) ripe bananas
  • 1-2 tbs of peanut Butter

 Instructions:Image

  1. Slice ripened bananas into equivalent pieces, about an inch thick. Then place each flat onto a plate or baking sheet then place in the freezer of at least an hour.
  2. After you remove the banana’s from the freezer, place them into a blender (I used a magic bullet) with 1 tbs of the peanut butter and blend until smooth.
  3. Place the mixture back into the freezer for around an hour, and enjoy guilt free!

TIPS&HINTS:

  • Image When first freezing the bananas, leave them in the freezer for about two hours.  If you need to leave them in the freezer for a longer amount of time make sure you let them thaw out a little before blending them.
  • I added a pinch of cocoa powder to the ice cream to add a different dimension of flavor. Next time, I plan on adding some cinnamon! Experiment with the recipe and make it your own!
  • The next time I make this, I will add more peanut butter to mellow down the overwhelming banana flavor and mostly because I love peanut butter!

As a refreshing treat after a long run or if you are just craving a simple sweet snack, this ice cream is healthy, easy to make, an delicious!!

 

 

That’s a Wrap: Breakfast Edition!

So on the last edition of That’s a Wrap, I gave you a recipe to my italian twist on a quesadilla.

STILL having plenty of whole wheat wraps left over and needing breakfast, I decided to take a shot at making a breakfast quesadilla with peanut butter and apples! (It should be obvious that I am a big fan of the quesadilla concept).  The recipe is as follows:

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  • 1 whole wheat tortilla
  • 1 apple (I used granny smith)
  • 2-3 tbsp spoons of peanut butter
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp of honey

Instructions:

  1. Wash apple, then cut entire apple into slices (as seen in the picture above)
  2. Set aside half of the apple slices, then take the remaining apple slices and dice then into small pieces.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the diced apple pieces with cinnamon and honey
  4. In a frying pan on medium heat, add the diced apples mixture and sauté until softened and caramelized, usually 2-3 minutes. Then remove from heat and set aside in a small bowl.

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    Caramelized cinnamon honey apples

  5. Then spread peanut butter throughout the wrap, leaving about a half inch from the edge plain, without peanut butter. Then arrange apple slices on one side of the wrap (See picture for how I assembled it).                                                    photo 3 copy 2
  6. Return frying pan to medium heat and place the dressed wrap flat in the pan. Allow to heat for about 2 minutes, or until peanut butter begins to melt/liquify.
  7. Scatter the previously sautéed cinnamon honey apples on to the wrap.
  8. Fold over the side of the wrap without apples. Leave it heated on this side until the wrap reached desired crispiness. Then flip and repeat.
  9. After your quesadilla is cooked to your liking, remove from heat. Let cool for a moment and then enjoy the peanut butter goodness!

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TIPS&HINTS:

  • I used granny smith apples because they are sour, which is a good complement to the sweet and saltiness the peanut butter brings. However, any apple of your preference would work.
  • As for peanut butter, I prefer Skippy Natural, but any peanut butter of your preference would do the job. I bet this would be great with crunchy pb or even almond butter for an even healthier alternative.
  • Although, I made this on heat you could make this cold if you are on the go or to take for lunch.

Being a lover of peanut butter, this warm mix of peanut butter and apples was a perfect and tasty breakfast! With the apples and the whole wheat tortilla as a source of fiber and peanut butter for protein, this breakfast quesadilla has all the nutrients to start the day off right! And with the added cinnamon and honey to add a depth of flavor, this sweet “quesadilla” is a sweet and satisfying meal.

HAPPY NATIONAL PEANUT BUTTER LOVER’S DAY!

Today, March 1st, marks the beginning of National Peanut Month, and how appropriate that today more specifically is National Peanut Butter Lover’s day!

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Appropriately, this morning my friend surprised me with a peanut butter and jelly cookie! Two peanut butter cookies sandwiching dollops of peanut butter and grape jelly.

I would categorize myself as more than a lover of Peanut Butter,  but instead I would say that I’m infatuated with it.  So much so that sometimes it’s concerning (aka when I finish a jar in two day, woops!).  There is just something about peanut butter that get my taste buds going. It’s a bit sweet, a bit salty, and you can virtually put it on anything and it’s fantastic.

AND not only is peanut butter delicious, BUT it also had added nutritional benefits when eaten in moderation! This is because peanuts:

  • Contain the most protein than any other nut
  • Are a cholesterol- free food
  • Provide your body with important antioxidants
  • For other peanut facts CLICK HERE 

Because of this (and how much I love it), I regularly include peanut butter in my after workout meals/snacks. Some of my favorites include: Apple/banana,rice cakes, and oatmeal all with peanut butter.  I also like combining peanut butter in after workout shakes and smoothies! And of course, I definitely do not object to eating it by the spoonfuls.

Here are a few recipes to keep you in a peanut-y mood all month long (some healthier than others): 

At the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia. Obviously showing my lover of PB.

At the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia.
Obviously always showing my love of PB.

STAY NUTTY!