Monday, July 30, 2012

Makeover Monday: Chocolate Banana Shake

Like every good red blooded American, I adore milkshakes.  The only thing better than cold, creamy, smooth, delicious ice cream on a hot summer day is ice cream you can drink with a straw.  And if a good milkshake takes you back to a simpler time when kids went to the soda fountain after school and danced to jukebox music in poodle skirts, then you are going to want to find some Happy Days reruns and whip up this awesome chocolate banana shake.

Personally, milkshakes remind me of going to the drive-thru of our local, small town burger place, The Banner, with my grandma after school and getting a strawberry milkshake that was probably about as big as I was.  Fortunately, I guess I worked off all those milkshake calories by riding my bike around the neighborhood.  But if you aren't planning on riding a bike around for hours, I've got great news for you.  This milkshake is a fake.  Even better, it doesn't taste like a fake.  You have to try it to believe it!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Makeover Monday: Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

As it continues to be 100 degrees or more outside every day, my oven continues to be on strike.  And in this time, no bake pies are becoming a good friend of mine.  Not just the kind of friend that you add on Facebook and tolerate obnoxious status updates from.  I'm talking about the kind of friend that takes you out to dinner just because and calls you on your birthday.  I am tight with these summer-friendly pies!  They are very versatile, easy, quick, and most importantly, delicious.  

And my latest no-bake pie creation also has the distinction of being low in fat and sugar.  I would like to introduce you to my new BFF, chocolate peanut butter pie.  Who wouldn't want to befriend a pie with chocolate pudding over a chocolate graham cracker crust and a light peanut buttery cheese cake-ish topping, garnished with peanuts and chocolate syrup?  

Monday, July 16, 2012

Makeover Monday: Skinny Sweet Restaurant Slaw

Summertime is just made for barbecues and pot lucks.  Warm evenings, holidays, family traditions, and summer vacations all come together to create the perfect atmosphere for such get-togethers with family and friends.  And I don't hear anyone complaining about that!  There are a few foods that are ubiquitous with summertime barbecues.  One of those foods is coleslaw.  Many people consider it a must-have summer side dish.

Personally, I have never been a huge coleslaw fan (except for ramen slaw salad, which I have already shared, but that's not regular coleslaw!).  Then I met sweet restaurant slaw.  We were introduced not too long ago at an office barbecue.  I typically pass on coleslaw, but for some reason I decided to put some on my plate this particular evening.  It must have been fate.  I took a cautious bite, expecting to merely tolerate the side dish.  But this coleslaw was different.  It was sweet.  It was tangy.  It was actually good!  I went back for seconds.  Not seconds of baked beans.  Not seconds of brisket.  I went for seconds of coleslaw.  Could it be that I actually like coleslaw?  

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Oatmeal Pancakes with Honey Bourbon Apricot Topping

Despite the disgustingly hot and dry conditions we have been experiencing here in North Central Kansas, the apricot trees have been brave enough to bear fruit.  Tender, sweet, delicious fruit.  One of my husband's coworkers was kind enough to give us an ample supply of fresh apricots.  There were too many to just eat as a snack, which is what I usually like to do with my fruit.  So when I saw a recipe for honey apricot topping, I knew I had to make it.  

This recipe was super easy and I am officially declaring it as the absolute best way to use up any surplus of apricots you may have if you are fortunate enough to have an apricot tree (or know a kind soul who does and likes to share!).  If you don't have bushels of apricots lying around, I would still encourage you to buy some and make this delicious honey bourbon apricot topping.  

Monday, July 9, 2012

Makeover Monday: Skinny Puppy Chow

Puppy Chow is not something I grew up eating a lot of.  As a matter of fact, I specificially remember the first time I encountered puppy chow was in junior high at a volleyball tournament.  I remember becauase I made a total fool of myself.  My teammates and I were enjoying some snacks between games when one girl pulled out a Ziplock bag of something that looked pretty tasty.  I asked her what she had and she said it was puppy chow.  I didn't know this girl really well, but I couldn't believe she was actually weird enough to eat dog food.  When she asked me if I wanted some, the disgusted look on my face must have given away the misunderstanding.  She then had to explain to me that puppy chow was in fact not dog food, but a delicious combination of Chex cereal, chocolate, peanut butter, and powdered sugar.  She gave me a few pieces to sample, and it was love at first bite.  And I'm not talking about puppy love!

Many years have passed since that day, but my love for puppy chow is as strong as ever.  And since I am no longer a growing teenager who plays sports every day, imagine how excited I was to find a recipe for puppy chow that is lower in calories than the original version!  I had never even thought about how to cut calories in my beloved snack so I was anxious to give it a try. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bake Cookies

No-bake cookies are one of my favorite cookies.  Ever.  There is nothing fancy about them, and I'm sure they've been around forever.  But they are just so good I had to include them in my blog.  I have always just called these "no-bake cookies."  But I thought I might make it a little clearer as to what kind of no-bake cookies these are.  Chocolate.  Peanut butter.  I think that says enough about why these are so good!  And don't forget about oatmeal, sugar, and butter!  These are a few of my favorite things.

Another great thing about chocolate peanut butter no-bake cookies is that they are incredibly fast and easy to make.  I made these for a coworker over my lunch hour one day.  I mixed it all up in one saucepan, so I had only one dish to clean.  And because they are no-bake, you don't even have to turn on the oven.  That makes them fast, easy, delicious, and eco-friendly!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Makeover Monday: Stovetop Guacamole Mac & Cheese

This isn't my first makeover mac & cheese recipe.  Back in February I shared my recipe for secret ingredient baked mac & cheese, which substituted pumpkin for part of the cheese sauce.  I have made this sneaky dish several times, and it has been quickly devoured each time.  But now it's time for something a little more seasonally appropriate.  As much as I love mac & cheese, I'm not about to turn on the oven just to make a batch when it's 100 degrees outside.  Stovetop recipes to the rescue! 

Avocados are in season right now, which means they are on sale.  I really try, but I just can't keep myself from buying them by the bagful.  They are just so good!  And while I love guacamole and tortillas chips, after a while I was ready to try something else with my avocadoes.  Then I remembered that I had saved this recipe for stovetop guacamole mac & cheese.  This recipe uses guacamole for part of its creaminess, and a pepperjack cheese sauce for the rest.  And it is easily prepared on the stove.  It was the solution to all my problems!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Butterfinger Ice Cream Cake

Few things are more satisfying on a hot summer day than an ice cream cake.  They are cold, refreshing, sweet, creamy and delicious.  I have always been a huge fan of Dairy Queen's ice cream cakes.  Who isn't?  But I'm not really a fan of the price tag on a Dairy Queen ice cream cake.  Fortunately, I can make my own. 

That being said, please take note that this is not an exact replica of the Dairy Queen version.  But it is still ice cream in a cake pan.  To be more specific, it is a layer of ice cream sandwiches, a layer of chocolate ice cream, and a layer of whipped topping.  And it has crushed Butterfinger bars and chocolate syrup on top.  And it is amazing.  So take that, Dairy Queen!