Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Balls

Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Balls 1
How was your Easter? We spent Easter this year in Kansas City with my in-laws. We had a wonderful day that started with Easter service at my sister-in-laws church, followed by an Easter egg hunt, cooking and lots of indulging. I ate way too much ham and candy. Do I regret it? Not a bit.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Balls 2
Noah was beyond excited about his felt pasta and played with it all day. When we were waiting in line at Walgreens today, he was telling the lady behind us all about it and proceeded to tell her “I’ve wanted fake pasta all my life and now my wish came true.” That kid is too much.
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If you are having a little sugar withdraw after all the candy this weekend, I have a snack for you. It will feel like you’re indulging but you’re actually doing something healthy for your body. These energy balls get their sweetness from a ripe banana and taste very similar to a no-bake cookie just without all the sugar and butter.
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Plus, they come together in a snap using ingredients you most likely have in your kitchen right now. I love having healthy snacks on hand for when a craving strikes. Otherwise, I tend to make bad choices. And because the ripened banana is so sweet, these really do seem like a treat. I made them small because I personally would rather have a few small treats versus one bigger one. It tricks my inner fat kid into thinking I’m getting more than I really am. Whatever keeps her happy and trapped inside, right?
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Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Balls
recipe adapted from The Lemon Bowl

2 ripe banana, mashed
2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
2 Tbsp. flax seed meal
2 Tbsp. chia seeds
1 Tbsp. honey
1/4 tsp. sea salt
2 cup old fashioned oats

1. Mix all ingredients, except oats, together until thoroughly combined. Stir in oats.

2. Using a cookie scoop, portion out energy balls onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. I used a mini scoop to get about 75 energy balls. If you use a regular cookie scoop you will get 25. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Keep refrigerated for up to 3 days.

 

Photo Friday

Noah had his first soccer game on Sunday and it was just the best to watch. It’s pretty hilarious to watch 3 and 4 year olds run around in a pack on the field. At first Noah was just following the pack but after a bit he started to really get into it and try to get the ball. Halfway through the game he made a breakaway and made his first goal.
Soccer 1
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He was so excited and ran to us as we cheered for him asking if we saw his goal. My heart felt like it might burst. Then his teammate and friend from school came up and put his arm around him and I just about died over the cuteness. We can’t wait for the next game!
Soccer 5

Easter Side Dish Round Up

Yesterday I brought a round up of desserts that would be perfect for Easter. Today I thought I would bring you a collection of tasty side dishes that will totally make your meal.

I have to start it out with the perfect hard boiled egg. We always make a morning of dying Easter eggs so the night before I boil a dozen eggs so we are ready to go the next day. Then when Easter rolls around, we make either deviled eggs or deviled egg macaroni salad with them.
hard boiled eggs
Hawaiian Sweet Rolls are amazing with ham so they would be perfect for Easter. The ones pictures below were made for sandwiches so I would make them smaller (you’ll get 24 out of the batch) when serving them as a side.
Hawaiian Sweet Rolls 1
I think cheesy potatoes always have a place at the dinner table, but especially with ham. If you are a classic mashed potato kind of person, these Buttermilk and Feta Mashed Potatoes would be right up your alley. If calories didn’t count, Creamy Cheesy Potatoes would be my life. If you’re looking for a chilled side dish, Loaded Baked Potato Salad would be the perfect meal accompaniment. I just want to face plant into that bowl of goodness.
Loaded Baked Potato Salad 2

Roasted vegetables have become my jam. I made these roasted green beans recently and I absolutely adore them. Another plus, they are super easy and quick to throw together. It’s always nice to have a healthy option among all the calorie laden sides. Honey Balsamic Roasted Carrots are another great, simple vegetable side dish that your guests would inhale.roasted green beans 1

I love a cucumber salad and when it comes to Easter, I finally feel like we can break out the cool salads that are just so refreshing. This Cucumber Tomato Salad is all of those things and so visually appealing. Look at the colors!
Cucumber Tomato Salad 1

There you have it. Hope you found something inspiring for Sunday’s meal.

Easter Dessert Round Up

I don’t know about you all but when I think of Easter dessert, I always think of fruit and citrus. Those flavors just scream Spring to me. So today I’m bringing you some of my favorite desserts that would be perfect to finish off your Easter feast.

One of my all-time favorite desserts is Lemon Hush and it always, always graces the Easter table.  I mean, a shortbread crust, layers of sweetened cream cheese, lemon pudding and Cool Whip. There isn’t anything wrong with that.
lemon hush
Keeping with the lemon theme, these Lemon Bars would be another refreshing choice. Lemon Cheesecake Pie is another creamy, dreamy dessert that has the perfect pucker.
Lemon Cheesecake Pie 2
A perfect make ahead dessert would be Strawberry Lemon Sorbet. It’s bright, zingy and very light. Can’t ask for much more after gorging yourself on ham and potatoes.
Strawberry Lemon Sorbet
Everybody loves a theme-y dessert, am I right? Easter Sugar Cookies are so tasty and fun to make. Definitely my favorite cookie hands down.
Easter Sugar Cookies
Brownie Nests are another easy option that would be fun to make with the kiddos. You could even use a brownie mix to make it even easier. Aren’t they cute?
Brownie Nests 3
I made these Almond Joy Eggs a few years back and Joel’s co-workers still talk about them. I have to admit, I haven’t made them in quite awhile because I really despise dipping in chocolate. I just don’t have the patience for it and if I haven’t mentioned, I have a little problem with perfection so it usually doesn’t end well. But they are just so stinking adorable that they are worth it for Easter.
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Speaking of delicious things in the shape of eggs, there is always these Peanut Butter Eggs. Reese’s Eggs are pretty much the best candy ever and something I look forward to as soon as Valentine’s Day is over and the stores switch over to Easter candy.
peanut butter eggs
I know this isn’t dessert but this citrusy, Spring Sangria would be another perfect way to end your meal this Sunday. Or start it. I don’t judge.
Spring Sangria 4

I hope you guys enjoyed this round up of dessert deliciousness. Would you be interested in one featuring side dishes?

Banana Pudding Pie

Banana Pudding Pie 1
Did Easter just sneak up on you guys? I did for me and I’m totally scrambling to get everything we need before heading out of town. I have searched this whole darn city for Cadbury Eggs and I can’t find them anywhere. The caramel or chocolate filled ones are aplenty but the originals have all been snatched up. Joel is going to be pretty disappointed with the bunny this year.
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It wouldn’t be disappointing if the Easter bunny brought this pie for dessert though. Especially considering it can be whipped up in about 30 minutes with very little ingredients. It does use several pre-packaged/pre-made ingredients but they are ones I’m down with so I went for it.
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I have to say I’m not a huge fan of banana pudding but in pie form, yep and yep. I’ll take it. I love me some pie crust. Creamy vanilla pudding, sweet bananas and the crunch of vanilla wafers is something magical when dumped into a crust. This will be the perfect pie for a hot summer night as it requires little baking, quick assembly and is cool and refreshing.
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Need another easy, Springy dessert idea for Easter? My all-time favorite dessert, Lemon Hush is always a hit. Please ignore the horrible lighting, it’s on my list to update soon. Any excuse to make dessert, right?

Banana Pudding Pie
recipe from This Gal Cooks

1 (9 inch) pie crust, prepped, baked and cooled
2 cups chopped vanilla wafers
2 small bananas
juice from one lemon
1 (8 oz.) container Cool Whip, divided
1½ C milk
1 (5.1 oz.) box instant vanilla pudding

1. Slice bananas into thin slices then toss with lemon juice, set aside. Meanwhile, whisk together milk and vanilla pudding mix until thickened. Gently fold in half of the Cool Whip and 1 cup of the vanilla wafers.

2. Pour into cooled crust and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Top with remaining Cool Whip and sprinkle with remaining vanilla wafers.

 

Photo Friday

Felt Pasta
This is what I’ve been up to this week. Can you believe this is made of felt??? It looks so freaking real. I still can’t get over it. It’s all going in a mini colander, wrapped in cellophane for Noah’s Easter basket. I decided last year I wanted to have something handmade in the kids Easter basket every year so when I came across this idea on Pinterest, I knew it would be the perfect gift for Noah this year. He loves playing with his kitchen and pretending to be a HuHot chef (his favorite restaurant). I think I’m going to cut some long strips to resemble linguini too.
Felt Pasta
I used this tutorial for the bowties and they were incredibly easy. I did them by hand since the felt was pretty thick after being folded and I didn’t want to break the needle on my sewing machine. The ravioli were made using this tutorial. I just made up the tortellini but there were a lot cuter versions on Pinterest. Noah won’t know, or care, that they don’t look just right so I’m good with them. Hope this inspires you to do a little DIY this weekend.

Sugo Sauce

Sugo Sauce 1
Joel and I went out on a date last month and we ate at one of our favorite Italian restaurants in town. When we go there, I always get the same thing. It’s just so good I can never bring myself to order anything else. But this time I was determined to go out of my comfort zone and get something totally different.

Red sauce is not my favorite, I know, how un-American of me. That combined with not being a huge fan of chocolate should get me thrown out. Anyway, it’s something I have to be in the mood for to really enjoy. Well, when I read the description of a sugo sauce made with cabernet, spicy sausage and pepperoni over penne I was won over. I had never had a sugo sauce before and was intrigued. I’m so glad I tried it and knew right away I would have to try a version at home.
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For this recipe, I skipped the sausage and pepperoni since I was serving it over homemade ravioli and thought that was decadent enough. This is a really simple recipe using common ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. Onions and garlic are sautéed then simmered for an hour with whole tomatoes, herbs and a good amount of red wine. The result is a rich, full sauce with a hint of red wine in the background. From what I can find, a chunky sauce seems pretty traditional but that just doesn’t fly around here so after simmering I zapped it in the blender until smooth. Do whatever floats your boat. Or whatever doesn’t elicit complaints.
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I can’t wait to try this with spicy sausage and diced pepperoni, served over fresh linguini.

Sugo Sauce
recipe adapted from Epicurious.com

2 Tbsp. olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium white onion, minced
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
3 (28 oz.) cans whole tomatoes
1 Tbsp. dried basil
1/2 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 cup red wine

1. Heat olive oil in a large stock pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes, until translucent. Add garlic, red pepper flakes and salt and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring often.

2. Add remaining ingredients to onions and garlic. Using a potato masher, break up the tomatoes. Simmer on medium low for 1 hour. If you like a chunky sauce, it’s done. If you prefer a smoother sauce, fish out the bay leaf and pour sauce (in batches) into a blender and blend until desired consistency is reached. Serve over pasta.