Patriotic Peanut Butter Frosted Brownies

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You know how you run into Target for 2 things and leave with 10. Well, these patriotic M&M’s where one of the additional things on my latest trip. What is it about that place? Everything is so shiny and bright and hard to resist. I don’t know how they do it but they get me every time with those seasonal end caps.
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I was literally rushing through the store since Joel and the kids were waiting in the car and as I walked past the display my arm just went out and grabbed them. Like I didn’t even have control over it. Some kind of crazy hypnotism mind and body altering business going on there. But I like it. Joel probably doesn’t but I do all the shopping so that’s his price (literally) to pay.

I’ve had these hidden in the depths of the pantry for a couple weeks so my children didn’t find them because I’m pretty sure they are bloodhounds and their hunt is for chocolate. Even the babe knows what’s up.
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I know I’ve said it a million times but I love peanut butter and chocolate together. And a brownie slathered with peanut butter frosting, I’m pretty sure they’ll be served in Heaven. I didn’t think they could get better but then I added peanut M&M’s. I love the crunch they add to the chewy brownies and creamy frosting.
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After the first bite, I quickly cut a row to save for home and sent the rest with Joel to work. Because I can resist a lot of desserts but I knew these would own me.

For more patriotic ideas to celebrate the 4th, check out the end of the post.

Patriotic Peanut Butter Frosted Brownies

1 box brownies, plus required ingredients (13×9 size)
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1 cup peanut butter
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 bag patriotic peanut M&M’s*

1. Prepare and bake brownies according to package directions. Allow to cool.

2. Meanwhile, beat butter and peanut butter together in a mixer until combined. Add salt and vanilla and combine again. Add powdered sugar and combine slowly. Once powdered sugar has been incorporated, turn mixer on medium high and beat for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy.

3. Spread peanut butter frosting on cooled brownies and sprinkles with M&M’s.

*If I remember correctly, they were exclusively available at Target. Oh darn, you have to make a Target run.

Patriotic Pudding Pops
4th of July Pudding Pops 5
Patriotic Funfetti Whoopie Pies
4th of July Funfetti Whoopie Pies
Patriotic Fruit Skewers
4th of July Fruit Skewers
Red, White and Blue Layered Milkshake
Red, White and Blue Milkshake 2
4th of July Rice Krispie Cupcakes
4th of July Rice Krispie Cupcakes 3

Thai Grilled Chicken Legs

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We’ve been trying to budget around here, which is totally not fun. But after several issues with our current house which were not disclosed when we purchased it, we’re getting really fed up. The winter brings frozen pipes leading to our washer…not good when you have two very messy children and do laundry every day. And this spring we’ve discovered that whenever it rains heavily, water seeps into the basement bedroom. Have I mentioned that it’s rained almost every day for almost a month? It’s not been pretty.
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One of the ways we’re reducing our spending is through our grocery bill. But I refuse to buy junk food (aka cheap food) as a means of doing so. Instead, I plan our meals around the meat and produce on sale that week at my favorite grocery store. I’m not a fan of checking out the ads at several stores then making trips to all of them. I just don’t have the time or desire and I can always figure out something with what’s on sale at the store less than a mile from our house. Convenience is important people.
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I also like to stock up when certain things are on sale, such as boneless skinless chicken breasts. They were cheap this week so I may have bought 8 packages. I would eat chicken every day so we won’t have a problem going through that purchase. I also picked up some chicken leg quarters and grilled up these Thai Grilled Chicken Legs on one of the few days it was gloomy and rainy.
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The chicken gets a punch of flavor from a marinade of peanut butter, coconut milk, soy sauce and lime juice. The marinade then does double duty as a dipping sauce.
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A word to the wise, the peanut butter in the marinade makes the grill flame up and may cause some charring on the chicken if you don’t keep a close eye on it. Not that I would know…. I also recommend using a digital meat thermometer so you know when it’s been cooked through. I love this one as you can set the desired temperature and an alarm will go off when it has been reached. Fool proof.
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Thai Grilled Chicken Legs

6 chicken leg quarters
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 lime, juiced
pinch of salt

1. In a bowl, combine garlic, peanut butter, coconut milk, soy sauce, lime juice and salt. Reserve half of the marinade and place in refrigerator. Add remaining marinade to a ziplock bag and add chicken. Make sure all the chicken is covered and refrigerate for up to 4 hours.

2. Preheat grill to medium heat. Place chicken on grill and cook for 30-45 minutes. Baste and flip chicken every 15 minutes, until juices run clear and internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Serve with remaining sauce for dipping.

Recipe adapted from Scratching Canvas.
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4 Ingredient Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip

Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip
Snacking is my absolute downfall. If there are snacks in the house, I will find them. So that means I need to have healthy, easy stuff around the house or I’ll make bad decisions. It also helps not to buy chips. I need to keep reminding myself of that…
Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip
That’s where this easy 4 ingredient peanut butter yogurt dip comes in. We usually have it, along with apples, in the refrigerator for emergency snacking. It’s so simple to mix up and I always have the ingredients on hand.
Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip
I seriously crave this sweet, creamy dip. It’s protein packed so a little goes a long way to control your snacking.
Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip
If you prefer things super sweet, you could stir in more honey but for me it’s just enough to sweeten it up while still keeping it healthy. Plus, I’m not a huge honey fan so I didn’t want it to overtake the peanut butter.
Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip
Oh, and the sweet and salty lover in me is forcing me to tell you this dip would also be amazing with pretzels. I’m just saying. Or graham cracker sticks. Ok, I’m stopping now before I ruin this healthy snack.

4 Ingredient Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip

1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp. raw honey
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste

In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Store in airtight container.
Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip

Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Balls

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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.
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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.

 

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?
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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?

National Peanut Butter Lovers Day {Celebrate with Unilever Ice Cream}

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Did you know today is National Peanut Butter Lovers Day? That is definitely something worth celebrating! My favorite way to indulge in peanut butter is with chocolate of course. I know I have expressed my deep love of the combination a many a time around here. I mean, there’s peanut butter bars (one of my all time favorite desserts), peanut butter eggs, cookie dough bites, Elvis ice cream, need I go on? I really have an undeniable love. So when I was contacted to try Unilever’s peanut butter ice cream products I knew I couldn’t say no. I’m calling it research. I can’t let those products sit on the shelf and not let my loyal readers know how they are, it’s for the good of the people. That’s how I justify the calories at least.

And what better way to celebrate National Peanut Butter Lovers Day then with ice cream! I don’t care if it’s cold outside, it’s always ice cream time.

I was provided the opportunity to try Breyers Blast! Reese’s Chocolate, Klondike Reese’s and Magnum Double Peanut Butter. Well, I was a fan of the Klondike Reese’s Bars before I was contacted so they have been gladly consumed many times around here. I love the bits of Reese’s cups throughout the ice cream and of course, the chocolate coating. I went to Klondike’s website and they suggested making a shake with one. What kind of food blogger would I be if I didn’t try that out? I did, just for you. And it was good. Do it, do it now.
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I definitely enjoyed the Magnum Double Peanut Butter Bars the most. I’ve never tried any of the Magnum Ice Creams Bars before so I can’t compare them but I’m pretty sure the chocolate coating was made by sweet, sweet angels.  It’s so rich and tastes like pure, real chocolate unlike lots of coatings out there that taste weird and waxy. I love the peanut butter layer between the chocolate. It adds an extra creamy richness that just puts these over the top. I see the almond, dark and gold varieties in my future. The Double Peanut Butter variety are only available at select retailers, such as Target, but will be released nationwide in April. Like we needed another reason to go to Target? Just add these to the list, or don’t…because you know you don’t just buy what’s on your list when at Target anyway. I did that once and I was super disappointed in myself as I walked out of the store. Felt like a serious failure at life.
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Last, and least for me, was the Breyers Blast! Reese’s Chocolate. This ice cream wasn’t bad by any means, but it was chocolate. Those that have been following me for awhile know that I like my chocolate in small doses. Chocolate chip cookies? Yes. Chocolate cookies? No. Chocolate cake or ice cream are not my thing. It’s just too rich for me. I have to say though, I liked the big chunks of Reese’s throughout the ice cream. I just would have enjoyed it more in vanilla. When we go out for ice cream at places that blend toppings into your custard, I always choose peanut butter cups in vanilla ice cream. ALWAYS. I ordered a limited time flavor once and immediately regretted it. Some may say I’m a creature of habit but I like to think I know what I like.
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So if you need a little peanut butter pick me up to celebrate National Peanut Butter Lovers Day, make sure to go check out one (or all) of these delicious ice cream treats. Or come on over to my house so I don’t eat ALL THE ICE CREAM.

*I was compensated for these products but all opinions are completely my own.

Klondike Reese’s Shake
recipe from Klondike
serves 1

1 Klondike Reese’s Bar
1/4 cup milk
Handful of ice

Dump all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth and creamy.

Peanut Butter Banana Muffins {Gluten and Dairy Free and Clean}

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I am always leery of gluten free baked goods. Always. Anytime I try to convert something it just isn’t right. Other times I search for recipes that are already gluten free and there are about a zillion different flours needed for one recipe. Since we don’t eat primarily gluten free, I don’t want to invest in that many ingredients, especially considering how expensive they can be. I do keep a few gluten free flours on hand for when my in-laws are visiting and they include coconut flour, almond flour and buckwheat flour. So basically when I go on the search for a yummy gluten free treat, I try to find something that uses one of those options.
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As you all know, we have a deep love for muffins in our house. I think it’s probably evidenced by the 16, soon to be 17, recipes in my recipe index. They are easy, freeze well and there are so many options. The picky 4 year old will eat them too. That’s always a big bonus.
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And I have to tell you if I hadn’t made these I would have never guessed they were gluten free. I swear. They are by far the best gluten free baked good I’ve ever made. I kind of still can’t get over how good they were. Noah and I made these yesterday morning for breakfast with my in-laws and they all got eaten and we ended up making another batch last night to have throughout the week. I think that says it all. Oh, and I’m pretty positive they would be incredible with a handful of mini chocolate chips mixed in.
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Peanut Butter Banana Muffins
recipe adapted from Eat Good 4 Life

1 cup organic peanut butter
3 organic eggs
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp coconut flour
1/4 cup unrefined sugar
2 Tbsp. chia seeds
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper muffin cups or spray with non-stick spray. In a large mixing bowl, combine peanut butter, eggs, bananas and almond milk. Stir in the remaining ingredients until just combined.
2.  Scoop batter into prepared muffin tin (I use an ice cream scoop to ensure consistency). Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Place on a cooling rack to cool completely.

Peanut Butter Banana Muffins {gluten and dairy free) 1