Creamy Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie {Chiquita Bananas}

5 Apr

(Review by Denise)

This should be called a milkshake. It is almost as good as getting a peanut butter shake at Lenny’s. In fact, it is better! This drink is guilt-free. (Peanut butter brings me no guilt.) With 18 grams of protein per serving (depending on your yogurt), I call it lunch. In fact, I’m drinking one right now for lunch. The slight tang from the yogurt is perfect, not overpowering. I use natural peanut butter with no sugar. I imagine it would taste different if you used Jiffy or something. Check out the recipe from Chiquita Bananas right here.

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Amie’s Triple Coconut Cake {Salad in a Jar}

1 Apr

Click image for source: Salad in a Jar.

(Review by Denise)

I’m going to keep this short…. This cake is so good.  I’m not even one of those crazy-for-coconut people yet it might just be my new favorite.

I love her close-up photograph of the cream of coconut can, because my store sold it in a squeeze bottle instead and I was able to easily see how many ounces to use. My store also only sells regular, shredded coconut. In the end the taste is the same–only the look is different. No loss.

But back to my first point: this cake is so good. Do yourself a favor and check out Salad in a Jar‘s recipe right here.

Guinness Beef Stew (crock pot) {The Sweets Life}

29 Mar

click on image to take you to the source: The Sweets Life

(Review by Denise)

This is totally a cheater’s review. I didn’t even make this! But wait, before you run off…. I did eat it. I watched a bit of it being made. And I smelled it cooking all day. You see we visited some friends in another state over St. Patrick’s Day weekend, and I offered to make this recipe for the blog and split the grocery bill. I should’ve known! My sneaky friend wouldn’t let me fork over a dime and she pretty much did all the cooking before I even had my first cup of coffee. (Thanks, Caralee!) Luckily the Pinterest recipe grades I hand out are based on taste alone.

St. Patrick’s Day at Caralee’s abode was the perfect day for stew: cold and rainy! Her man had a fire going in the fireplace, and that classic, rich stew scent paired with the scent of the beer really whet my appetite. Caralee even made an Irish soda bread and two loaves of wheat to go with it. (She’s like that. She makes bread on a whim.) I was pretty surprised that the Guinness scent never diminished during the cooking process. It had me concerned that maybe the alcohol didn’t cook off (which would taste pretty weird)–but nope.

Verdict? Pass. But hear this: it was a mild pass. On a rainy, cold day paired with warm, homemade bread–it hit the spot. But there was consensus that it needed more flavor. I just said, “It tastes like any Irish food I’ve ever had: warm, filling, and hardly any flavor.”  If you like stew, are feeling particularly cold, or possibly work in a coal mine or other classic career that demands a meat-and-potatoes dinner…head on over to The Sweets Life and check out the recipe here.

Salted Caramel Butter Bars {Eat at Allie’s}

28 Mar

(Review by Marci)

I am not much of a dessert person. I would rather snack on some potato chips than a cookie. If I do crave something sweet it has to involve chocolate or caramel. Enter: Salted Caramel Butter Bars from Eat at Allie’s. There is no word to describe these bars, so I am forced to make one up: Scrumtrulescent! (Thanks to Will Ferrell and his hilarious portrayal of James Lipton from “Inside the Actors Studio” on SNL for creating that fabulous word!) Apparently this recipe has made the rounds on several food blogs but originally came from a cook book called Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey. You can link back through the different blogs and see the variations, but I think they are all basically the same. Here is the recipe I followed from Eat at Allie’s.

There is a whole pound of butter in these bad boys. (1 lb. = 4 sticks.) I never claimed to pick the healthiest recipes! As it turned out, however, this was great news for my brother-in-law who had gone the whole week without butter and was suffering a mild case of the butter DT’s. Being impatient (me and my sister) and needing a butter fix (my brother-in-law) as we were, we could not wait for the bars to cool completely before cutting as suggested in the recipe. Instead we just scooped some out with a spoon and threw some ice cream on top for good measure. It was like a buttery, caramel-y, buttery pizookie. No one finished theirs. It was just too rich and buttery (but still excellent in small portions!) I covered the rest with saran wrap and walked away, disappointed. The next morning I cut them into squares and tried one. I think there may have been fireworks. The overwhelming butter taste was gone and I was just left with a thick, crumbly crust. The salt really brings out the flavor in the caramel without being sickly sweet. I guess there is something to be said for following directions. I dare YOU to try to resist spooning it out hot from the oven! Overall, I thought these bars were excellent.

Pots de Creme {Pioneer Woman}

27 Mar

(Review by Denise)

My man and I have a Monday night routine going: put the kids to bed early,  then eat a yummy dinner and/or dessert for two on the couch while watching our show. (Previously Walking Dead, now we’re back to Mad Men.) Recently I made The Pioneer Woman‘s Pots de Creme for us to savor during our living room date. (If you’re unsure if you’re pronouncing “pots de creme” correctly, Ree gives a lovely tutorial. We wouldn’t want to sound goofy, like pronouncing “jalapeno” with the “j” from “jam.” Just don’t do it.) Check out the recipe (and pronunciation) here.

I’m not gonna’ lie: they were fun to make. I love how she made mistakes on her own recipe and then later told us what went wrong and why. (Room temperature eggs to the rescue!) See how it starts out looking like this…

…but then just a bit of coffee makes it transform in color and consistency?

I knew I was saving those jelly jars for something. (According to Pinterest, you’re supposed to save all jars. You never know what emergency craft may call for a mason or jelly jar.)

Verdict? Pass. Yum! You’ll especially like them if you like dark chocolate.  But be warned: these babies are rich. As in…Richie Rich. I don’t know how Ree served her’s up in those giant martini glasses. Of course, that Walking Dead living room date would’ve been even more romantic if we had to share….

Chicken Broccoli Supreme {Get Off Your Butt and Bake}

22 Mar

(Review by Marci)

The thought of a casserole makes me think of large pans of sloppy tuna, noodles and mayonnaise.  My throat immediately closes and I start scheming ways to get out of eating.  In my book, there are just some things that are wrong; stealing, lying, murder, and warm tuna.  Bleh!  I have already mentioned that I am not a master chef, so how was I to know that casserole does not have to be made out of tuna? You can use things like chicken! Broccoli! Crackers! Wait. What? Crackers? Mind= blown.  Check out this recipe from my new favorite food blog, Get Off Your Butt and Bake. 

Click image to take you to the source: Get Off Your Butt and Bake.

Doesn’t that just look mouth-watering?! This meal was easy to prepare and was packed with flavor. The crackers give it a crunchy, salty taste which means that the kids didn’t complain that there was broccoli in it! I left out the poppy seeds because I didn’t have any on hand. This also reheats like a champ. Mm-mm…so good. I am now drooling, so I guess that means I give this recipe a passing grade!

Pineapple Ginger Smoothie {Gimme Some Oven}

13 Mar

Click image to take you to its source: Gimme Some Oven.

(Review by Denise)

Breakfast for dinner was my favorite as a kid.  The other night I made Gimme Some Oven‘s Pineapple Ginger Smoothies to go along with gingerbread waffles. (Waffle review to come later this week.) The preschooler and I, in particular, love fresh pineapple. (And this one turned out perfectly ripe and sweet!) Check out the smoothie recipe here.

I don’t think I’ve ever followed a recipe for a smoothie before. I usually just keep frozen fruit on hand and mix and match without measuring. But this turned out to be a beautiful smoothie, in both color and consistency–not too thick or too runny. It also occurred to me that it would be an excellent recipe when you’re feeling sick. Ginger is so good for you, and pineapple feels soothing on a sore throat.

Verdict? Fail. Taste is everything and only my man could finish drinking it. The fresh ginger gave it too sharp a flavor for the rest of us. And even though he finished his, he said he didn’t like it. He thought it needed more pineapple. I think it needed less ginger. Either way, it didn’t fly for us. If you love that spicy ginger bite, though, give it a try and share what you think!