We’re a snackin’ family, is all.
Pre-parenthood (and now grand-parenthood), my visions of mealtime were saccharine at best. Small heads gathered around a table, small hands folded in prayer. Three courses at the ready, three times daily. We’d pass the bread. We’d bless the cook.
It is this, on rare occasions, but mostly it's not. Mostly it's folding chairs on the patio, the slicing of salami, the fishing for an olive, the halving of apples. Other times, the tumbling of produce into a backpack and sneaking away for special visits, like the one last weekend to visit my son and his family.
A slapdash meal on the paddleboat
For the latter, and for the curious, here are a few we've been packing:
Sometimes, loving your family well means throwing a bunch of ingredients into a blender and turning it on high. Fifteen minutes later, finding everyone is fed and happily distracted with cinnamon under their fingernails.
And finding you are, as well.
Behold, the winning recipe – perfectly moist, perfectly chocolatey
The Most Addictive Blender Muffins
- 2 bananas
- 1 apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
- 1 cup peanut butter (or almond butter)
- 6 dates
- 2 eggs (large or XL)
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 ¼ tsp baking soda
- pinch of sea salt
- Preheat your oven to 375° F
- Blend all ingredients on high for 2-3 minutes. Fill a dozen cupcake liners with the batter
- Bake for 18 - 20 minutes
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It turns out, if you try something enough times, if you return to the whisk (or the paper, or the track), you might somehow wind up with something lovely to share.
A healthier cookie your grandmother might even smile over. At the very least, one for the times when everybody's a bit edgy, and blood sugar is low. A taste of these will perk them right up.
Your challenge, and mine?
Lace-up the sneakers. Unearth the recipe. Call an old friend. Dust off the cello. Open the Word doc. Schedule the appointment. Make the extra effort.
It might taste unfortunate
But in good time? Delicious
Salted Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies
- 1 cup rolled oats
- ⅓ cup gluten-free baking flour (can sub for regular all-purpose flour, although most often, when making these, I'll use oat flour)
- ¼ cup natural sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Pinch sea salt + more for sprinkling on top
- ½ cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy, but choose one that's on the liquidy side)
- ¼ cup coconut oil (melted but not hot)
- ¼ cup + 2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- a handful of butterscotch chips, optional, but delicious
- Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Whisk your oats, flour, sugar, baking soda & powder, and sea salt in a mixing bowl. Add in the rest of your ingredients and fold in with a spatula.
- Use a spoon or scoop to line up your dough onto the baking sheet and form into cookie shapes. Use the spoon to gently press the cookies down, then sprinkle some sea salt into the tops of each.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes and let cool on a rack before eating.
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Until a few months ago, neither one of my kids owned a mixer. And yet: my son's sweetheart decided to take up baking. After years of avoiding dessert, declaring a time-out from sugar, of craving salty over sweet at first glance, well? It appears they've changed their mind.
Is this newfound hobby just a phase? Short answer: nope
For the novice bakers out there, here’s all she needed to dip her oven mitts into the world of cake. A mug. I kid you not, and she's made me a convert. Such a nice fix when I’m looking for something cozy and celebratory in that we-made-it-to-the-end-of-the-day kind of way.
Heads up that it's not going to be the best cake you've ever eaten, but it's warm and tasty and does the job just fine.
Here’s to licking the batter, every last bit of it.
PB & J Mug Cake
- ¼ cup peanut butter
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar (or natural sugar)
- 1 egg
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- tiny pinch of salt
- 1 Tbsp jelly
- In a 12-ounce mug, whisk peanut butter, brown sugar, egg, baking
powder, and salt together until smooth.
- Plop in the jelly, swirling it into the batter with a knife.
- Microwave on high for 45 to 60 seconds, or until it's just set.
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I've been making these little gems all summer long. Simple/easy/so tasty.
They're such a great snack, paired lovingly in these parts with movie dates, smaller appetites, or simply those prone to dropping half on the ground for the puppies to inhale in a split second
Peanut Butter No-Bake Freezer Cookies
- 1 cup almond flour
- a drizzle or two of honey (or maple syrup)
- ½ cup peanut butter (or any nut butter will be great)
- Mix all of the ingredients and shape into balls
- Press each ball with a fork to make the pretty criss-crosses
- Sprinkle with sea salt and put them in the freezer for a few minutes. Thaw and enjoy!
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Don't forget; it's always a good idea to have some energy balls on hand. Just in case the day is a little rough (a preemptive strike never hurt anyone)
(A favorite recipe from the site that I've made over and over and over again. For other variations on the healthier Peanut Butter Ball theme, the original post is .. right this way)
Peanut Butter Protein Balls
- 1 cup peanut butter
- ½ cup + 2 Tbsp rolled oats
- ½ cup sesame seeds, ground
- ½ cup sunflower seeds, pulsed a couple of times in the food processor or chopped
- ½ cup protein powder
- 3 Tbsp cocoa powder (or carob powder)
- ⅛ tsp salt if using unsalted nut butter
- 1 Tbsp chia seeds
- 3 Tbsp unsweetened coconut
- 2 tsp vanilla
- ¼ cup + 2 Tbsp honey (or maple syrup)
- Mix together peanut butter and honey.
- Stir sunflower seeds and remaining ingredients into peanut butter mixture, adding more honey, as needed, for consistency.
- Roll into balls using about 1 Tablespoon for each.
- Refrigerate or freeze
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Beyond these, of course, we’re not shy about toting around a sack of produce here and there. Just yesterday, I pulled a bag of cherries out of my purse, and if that isn’t the good life, I suppose I don’t know what is.