Thursday, April 2, 2015

Oatmeal, Peanut Butter, and Dark Chocolate Cookies

I read the other day that the secret to successful weight loss is to start small...change one bad habit at at a time. So, I swapped out a cup of white flour for white whole wheat flour in these cookies. This is not diet food--way too much butter and sugar for that--but it's got dark chocolate and some whole wheat flour! And peanut butter! If you haven't guessed, I'm in the midst of trying to lose lead a healthier lifestyle. My motto has always been "everything in moderation". Somehow, that moderation got away from me....time to reel it in.

Oatmeal, Peanut Butter, and Dark Chocolate Cookies

Oatmeal, Peanut Butter, and Dark Chocolate Cookies

Simply swap one cup of regular flour for one cup of white whole wheat flour to make these tasty cookies just a bit healthier!

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1 (12 oz) package dark chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.; line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Beat together the butter, peanut butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the vanilla and eggs; continue to beat for another one to two minutes.
  4. Combine the flours, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a medium bowl. Whisk until well combined. Fold the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Add the oatmeal and mix thoroughly. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  5. Drop the dough by rounded tablespoons onto the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until the cookies just start to brown around the edges. Allow the cookies to set on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Makes about 4 dozen.
Yield: 4 dozen
Prep Time: 00 hrs. 10 mins.
Cook time: 00 hrs. 12 mins.
Total time: 22 mins.


  • Calories: 138
  • Fat: 6.9 (g)
  • Totalcarbs: 19 (g)
  • Dietaryfiber: 1.3 (g)
  • Protein: 2.1 (g)
  • Sodium: 143.4 (mg)
  • Cholesterol: 16.4 (mg)

Tags: cookies, oatmeal, peanut butter, healthy, dark chocolate

Use a cookie scoop to get them all the same size.....

Next time, I'm going to freeze these dough balls to make fresh cookies quick.

Believe it or not, this changing one small thing at time thing is working quite well. I may never be a health fanatic, but I've learned to appreciate all things cauliflower (have you tried cauliflower rice? life changing!) and exercise is becoming routine. Cookies, however, will always be part of my diet. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Lime, Coconut, Pistachio and Dark Chocolate Bark

Yum's hard to believe it's March! Spring is right around the corner (I hope), and March brings with it a very fun, and very green celebration --St. Paddy's day! I'm not Irish (100% Dutch), but that doesn't mean I don't wish for a little luck of the Irish. This year, I've joined a fabulous group of bloggers to help bring one lucky reader some of that luck in the form of a great giveaway. I'll explain more in just a bit...first let me show this year's rendition of my ode to green edibles.

My latest obsession is candied citrus peel. Seriously. It started with a little grapefruit peel experimentation. I happen to dislike grapefruit with a passion. Bitter and awful. But the peel? Simmered in juice and sugar until it's syrupy and then rolled in more sugar....holy yum! From there I went to orange, then lemon, and guessed it....I needed something green, so candied lime peel was on the agenda. 

The key to keeping the bitterness at bay is to carefully avoid the pith.

Now, I've always been more of a chocolate lover than a citrus lover. It seems that people are usually divided between the two camps when it comes to dessert. Then, I combined the two. Oh my! Dark chocolate and orange is a given...a simply fabulous and classic combination. But dark chocolate and lime? The best!

I decided on a dark chocolate bark, mostly because of how easy it is. The candied lime is the star, of course, but I decided to add some pistachio and some roasted coconut. The resulting candy isn't as "green" as I had hoped, but flavor is just so worth it.

Lime, Coconut, and Pistachio Dark Chocolate Bark

Bits of candied lime peel give this chocolate bark little bursts flavor.


  • 2 medium limes
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 (12 oz) package dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup roasted coconut chips, or toasted coconut
  • 1/2 cup pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped


  1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Use a vegetable peeler to shave thin slices of peel from the limes, taking care to avoid the white pith. Julienne the shaved peels into 1/8" strips.
  3. Juice the limes and add enough water to make 3/4 cup. Combine the juice and 1/2 cup sugar in a small non-reactive saucepan. Stir in the peel. Heat over medium heat until the mixture just comes to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is syrupy and the peels are translucent.
  4. Drain the peels, reserving the syrup for another use, if desired. Toss the peels with 1/4 cup sugar, then transfer them to a sheet of parchment paper; spread out and allow to dry for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Bring 1-inch of water in a medium-sized pot to a simmer over medium heat. Lower the heat to medium-low. Place the chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl and place the bowl over the simmering water, making sure that the bowl isn’t touching the water. Stir the chips until completely melted and smooth. With an offset spatula, spread the chocolate evenly on the prepared parchment lined cookie sheet to a 1/4 –inch thickness. Sprinkle the candied lime peels, the coconut chips, and the pistachio nuts evenly over the chocolate. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Break into pieces. Store covered in a cool area, or refrigerate.
Tags: dark chocolate, candied lime, pistachios, roasted coconut, candy, St. Patrick's Day, green

As if lime infused chocolate wasn't exciting enough, take a look at what you could win--$100 PayPal cash and a Keurig! There are so many chances...simply enter through the Rafflecopter widget! The contest will run through March 17th. How lucky is that?


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Please take the time to visit with all of the sponsors of this contest.

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This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and you must be 18 years or older to enter. Winner will win $100 PayPal Cash and a Keurig K45 Elite Brewer ($100 value).

Giveaway sponsored by the blogs listed above and is no way affiliated with Pinterest, Facebook, or Twitter. You must have a valid email address to enter. Giveaway runs through 3/17/15. A winner will be chosen and emailed within 48 hours. You have 48 hours to respond to said email or a new winner will be chosen. No purchase necessary to enter, void where prohibited. For full rules, see details in the form.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Skinny Lasagna #RedGoldRecipes #Giveaway


I’m not sure what the weather has been like where you live, but in these parts it has been darn cold. I’m not really complaining (well, maybe just a little…) since I do live in Minnesota and it is January. The thing is, the cold weather makes me crave a nice comforting, warm casserole. Something that can serve a crowd, in case we invite a few people over to watch the game. Something easy, because I don’t want to spend the whole day in the kitchen. Oh yeah…can we make it lower in calories? I need to drop a few pounds….. Sound impossible? Meet Red Gold Tomatoes' recipe for Skinny Lasagna!

I was introduced to Red Gold's lasagna recipes last year, when I made their Fresh Harvest Lasagna. It is so easy to make! Seriously, there is no need to boil the lasagna and you don't need to buy that leathery "no boil" stuff, either...just regular lasagna. This year, Red Gold has teamed up with Laura's Lean Beef to create the perfect "Skinny", yet meaty lasagna....and it's just as easy to make. Laura's Lean Beef is a Kentucky based company that produces lean, natural beef from cattle that are humanely raised without hormones and fed a natural diet of grass and grain. Like Red Gold, they are a family run company!

"Skinny" Lasagna (recipe courtesy of Red Gold Tomatoes)


1/2 cup water
1 (28 ounce) can Red Gold® Crushed Tomatoes, or 2 (15 ounce) cans Red Gold Crushed Tomatoes
2 (14.5 ounce) cans Red Gold® Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic & Oregano
Ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 pound Laura's 96% Lean Ground Round, or ground turkey, cooked and drained
1 (16 ounce) box traditional whole wheat lasagna noodles
1 (15 ounce) carton low fat cottage cheese
2 cups shredded low fat mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated low sodium Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In large mixing bowl combine water, crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes, black pepper, Italian seasoning and ground round, stir to combine ingredients in the sauce.

Cover the bottom of a 9x13x2 inch baking pan with 1½ cups of sauce mixture.  Arrange 1/3 of noodles on top of sauce, slightly overlapped.  Top with ½ of cottage cheese, ½ of mozzarella cheese and 1 cup of sauce.  Repeat layers and top with last 1/3 of noodles and the remaining sauce.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1 to 1½ hours; until noodles are cooked. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

So that's it. Really. And even though I usually change at least a half dozen things in any given recipe, this time I left it as it was (except that I couldn't find whole wheat lasagna). Skinny? At about 330 calories per serving, it certainly is. My husband actually preferred the cottage cheese to the ricotta. He had no idea he was eating "Skinny" lasagna.

This year, to celebrate their line of Simple Gourmet Lasagna recipes, Red Gold and Laura's Lean Beef are teaming up to give away six Gourmet Lasagna Party Kits valued at $325 and 750 custom aprons. Simply "like" both Red Gold and Laura's Lean Beef on Facebook, and fill out the form. The sweepstakes will run from January 13 through February 3, so hurry over and throw your hat in the ring!

Click Here to enter.

To sweeten the pot even more, Red Gold has given me the nod to have a little giveaway of my own. You can win a "Mini" Lasagna Kit consisting of:

2- 14-ounce cans of Red Gold diced tomatoes with Basil Garlic and Oregano
1- 28-ounce can Red Gold crushed tomatoes
A package of lasagna noodles
A Laura's Lean Beef apron
A coupon for Laura's Lean Beef product
6 Simple Gourmet Lasagna recipes

Simply enter with the Rafflecopter widget (your info will only be visible to me)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was given product and coupons. All opinions are my own.