Old-Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies

With Easter less than a week away, it was time to bake a tasty treat for my Gramps.  Knowing that he loves peanut butter more than anything, I wanted to go with a PB cookie for this year’s easter package.

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies | No Thanks to Cake

During my trip to Nashville, I tried these cookies for the first time and they were awesome.  Jaede’s neighbor made them as a gluten-free treat for her husband.  It’s hard to believe that these cookies don’t have any flour in them, but you won’t miss it at all!  They have a strong peanut butter flavor and taste perfect paired with a glass of milk.  Enjoy!!

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies

From Real Simple

Makes 18 cookies

INGREDIENTS

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies | No Thanks to Cake

1 cup creamy peanut butter (I used Jif Natural)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla paste
1/4 tsp. kosher salt

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Preheat oven to 350° F.

2.  Using an electric mixer, beat the peanut butter and sugars on medium-high speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies | No Thanks to Cake

3.  Reduce speed to low and beat in the eggs, baking soda, vanilla, and salt.

IMG_3049Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies | No Thanks to Cake

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies | No Thanks to Cake

4.  Roll heaping tablespoonfuls of the dough into balls and place on silpat-lined baking sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart. Note:  I used a 1 Tbsp. Pampered Chef scoop to form the cookies.

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies | No Thanks to Cake

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies | No Thanks to Cake

5.  With a lightly floured fork, press the dough to a ⅜-inch thickness, making a crisscross pattern on top of each cookie.

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies | No Thanks to Cake

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies | No Thanks to Cake

6.  Bake, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until the edges are set, 10 minutes. Cool slightly on the baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies | No Thanks to Cake

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies | No Thanks to Cake

Per cookie:

CAL 133; CARB 15g; FAT 7g; PROT 3g; FIB 1g; WW Points Plus: 4

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Overcoming an Occupational Weight Loss Hazard

As of the first of the year, I got sorta-kinda-but-not-really-yet-in-a-way promoted.  My company did a reorganization of my department, and while my paycheck still looks the same, I took on a whole heck of a lot more responsibility and stress.

Nearly two months in, I’m sort of regaining my stride (sort of), but something new has popped up that is so crazy.

I’m entertaining customers over meals on most days!  Last week alone, I had three meals at fabulous restaurants in town (Denver folks:  The Rio, Pappadeaux, and Jason’s Deli.)  Now, the foodie in me gets excited, but that girl who just re-committed to weight loss freaks out a little…

All I REALLY want to do is to be left alone to my Jenny lunches and my pre-planned snacks.  That would be so much easier… but I can’t really take my food to the restaurant and not eating with the client would be just plain awkward.

So, I’ve been learning to work with it… and I thought I’d share a few tips I’m come up with.

Dining Out Tips | No Thanks to Cake
Check out the Menu Ahead of Time

I am notorious for this.  When I get an invite to dinner/lunch, I always go online and see what the options look like.  Most chain restaurants will even have a nutrition guide posted, which I’ll reference when making my choices.

I can always find SOMETHING to eat.

Also, the trick about reviewing the menu and choosing your meal ahead of time is that you will not get distracted by the menu when it’s crunch time.  For me, I also walk into the restaurant completely confident about what I’m eating and that I’m staying on track… which assures I’m going to enjoy my night.

Don’t be Afraid to Customize Your Meal

I used to be a little hesitant to ask for special requests with my meals.  I never like to draw attention to my strange order, but at this point… I just don’t care anymore.  I like my food my way (after all, I’m Sally Albright), and there are so many people that are ordering even stranger meals than I do…

Be clear and specific about what you want.  Break it down for the server clearly, and thank them profusely for building your salad just the way you want it.

Example of a recent order:  At Pappadeaux this week, I ordered the Chopped Salad with Grilled Chicken (no breading), instead of fried, no cheese, no croutons, no bacon, no egg.  Add extra tomatoes and cucumbers, with a light vinaigrette on the side.  The server didn’t even flinch, and the order came out perfectly…

NTTC Bonus Tip:  Scan the other salads for extra veggies you want to add to your salad.  I always do this!

Pre-Party with Your Own Appetizer

Load up on a healthy snack before you head to your event.  Most times, I choose vegetables because they’re incredibly filling and low-calorie.  Example:  Here is the snack I ate before I went to a work dinner this week.

Dining Out Tips from NTTC | No Thanks to Cake

These vegetables with my Roasted Red Pepper Dip filled me up nicely before I arrived at the restaurant.  This helped me to ignore the bread on the table and to say “No Thanks” to the appetizers that were passed around the table. #NTTA

Plan for an On-Track Day for All Your Other Meals

You may have one meal that is a little in-flux, but the remaining two and all the snacks you eat throughout the day should be on point.  I find this easy to do by using my Jenny foods.  I’ll write down exactly what I intend to eat for the planned meals, and then pick my restaurant choice based upon balancing out the rest of my day.  Example:  If my day is carb heavy, maybe that meal out needs to be carb-free.

Regardless, make a plan for the entire day… and stick to it!

Watch Your Liquid Calories

With socializing, there is often alcohol present.  As you talk and laugh throughout the night, you may lose count of how many glasses of wine you have or mixed drinks you down.  Set a target for what you will consume while you’re out before you walk into the restaurant.  Maybe it’s one glass of wine, and if so, consider pairing it with your meal for the most enjoyment.

Wine

Wet your whistle the remainder of the night with water, and lots of it.  This will help you stay hydrated, avoid ordering more vodka, and keep you satisfied.

Enjoy Your Time

Your friends, family, and co-worker want to visit with you and enjoy time with you.  They are not watching what you are eating like you are.  Relax, create your plan, and enjoy your night.

What other tips do you have for staying on track while dining out?

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Red Velvet Peanut Butter Blossoms

Whenever the holidays come around, I let myself bake a little.  Because my grandpa doesn’t have my grandma around to bake him sweet treats, I always try to send him a little something to brighten up his day and to satisfy that sweet tooth of his.

I always share the recipes here on NTTC because I know you guys have sweet grandpas, husbands/wives, and friends that you’re going to want to bake for from time to time.  And, what’s more fun than the occasional splurge, all decked out for the holidays?

With Valentine’s Day just a few days away, here are a few recipes that you might want to make.  Click any image below to be transported to the original recipe post.

Red Velvet Better than Sex Cake | No Thanks to Cake

Valentine's Day M&M Blondies | No Thanks to Cake

Red Velvet Pumpkin Muffins | No Thanks to Cake

And, not to be outdone, check out this year’s Valentine’s Day treat I’ve baked…

Red Velvet Peanut Butter Blossoms | No Thanks to Cake

These cookies were incredibly easy to make, and the first time I ever made these peanut butter blossom type cookies.  I feel like they were really popular when I was a kid around the holidays.  Those yummy Hershey’s kisses sitting atop a chewy peanut butter sugar cookie.

This red velvet version adds a rich red color to the cookie, and makes them even more festive for the Valentine’s holiday.  I’m also hoping they travel well… especially since they are currently en route to Northeastern Ohio and Virginia!

Red Velvet Peanut Butter Blossoms

Original Recipe from i am baker

INGREDIENTS

Red Velvet Peanut Butter Blossoms | No Thanks to Cake

1 bag Hershey’s Kisses
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
2 Tbsp. milk
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. red gel food coloring
3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
pinch salt
1/4 cup red sanding sugar

INSTRUCTIONS

1.   Preheat oven to 375.

2.  Beat butter, peanut butter, and sugar in stand mixer for about 2 minutes on medium speed.

Red Velvet Peanut Butter Blossoms | No Thanks to Cake

3.  Turn mixer to low and add in egg, milk, vanilla, and red food coloring. Mix for about 30 seconds to incorporate, then turn mixer to medium high and blend until light and fluffy.  Note:  This was my first time using gel food coloring.  I picked it up at Hobby Lobby.  Kinda cool…

Red Velvet Peanut Butter Blossoms | No Thanks to Cake

Red Velvet Peanut Butter Blossoms | No Thanks to Cake

Red Velvet Peanut Butter Blossoms | No Thanks to Cake

4.  In a separate bowl sift cocoa, flour, baking soda and salt. With mixer on slow add flour mixture to sugar mixture and beat until just combined.

Red Velvet Peanut Butter Blossoms | No Thanks to Cake

5.  Remove mixer bowl from stand. Shape dough into 1 inch balls.   Note:  I used a small 2 tsp. scoop to portion the cookies and then rolled them into balls.

Red Velvet Peanut Butter Blossoms | No Thanks to Cake

Red Velvet Peanut Butter Blossoms | No Thanks to Cake

6.  Pour red sanding sugar onto small plate or bowl. Roll dough ball in sanding sugar and place on an ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.

Red Velvet Peanut Butter Blossoms | No Thanks to Cake

Red Velvet Peanut Butter Blossoms | No Thanks to Cake

7.  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.

Red Velvet Peanut Butter Blossoms | No Thanks to Cake

6. While baking unwrap Hershey’s Kisses. Once cookies are done baking, remove from oven and immediately press a chocolate Kiss into the center of each cookie. The cookie should crack around edges.

Red Velvet Peanut Butter Blossoms | No Thanks to Cake

7.  Remove cookies to a wire rack and cool completely.

Red Velvet Peanut Butter Blossoms | No Thanks to Cake

Red Velvet Peanut Butter Blossoms | No Thanks to Cake

8.  Once the cookies have cooled completely, pack them up to share with friends and family.

Red Velvet Peanut Butter Blossoms | No Thanks to Cake

Red Velvet Peanut Butter Blossoms | No Thanks to Cake

Happy Valentine’s Day!

xoxo – Kelly

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Peanut Butter Brownie Puppy Chow

On Tuesday, I posted the COMPLETE opposite recipe as to the one I am sharing today.  Both use Rice Chex in the ingredients… but that’s where the similarities end.

This recipe is most certainly the NAUGHTY version of what I shared on Tuesday….

Peanut Butter Brownie Puppy Chow

The other recipe was focused upon lightening up an existing recipe that people know and love… and well, this one was lightened up by using reduced fat peanut butter, but cannot be called LIGHT in any way otherwise.

Because I just baked him cookies last week, I choose to make my grandpa a Christmas package containing Peanut Butter Banana Bread and this amazing twist on Puppy Chow.

It’s another one of those amazing Pinterest recipes that I’ve saved over time… and this one, my friends, was FANTASTIC!  Fantastic to the point that I packed it up in RECORD time and shipped half of it to my grandfather and the other half to my niece (another PB-lover.)

Try this one at your own risk… but, WOW!  It’s delicious!

Peanut Butter Brownie Puppy Chow

From Your Cup of Cake

INGREDIENTS

Peanut Butter Brownie Puppy Chow | No Thanks to Cake

6 cup rice Chex cereal
1 cup milk chocolate melts or chips
1/2 cup reduced fat peanut butter, creamy
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup brownie mix, from the box
1 cup mini Reese’s Cups, chopped
INSTRUCTIONS
1. Place cereal in a large bowl and set aside.

Peanut Butter Brownie Puppy Chow | No Thanks to Cake

2. In a microwave proof bowl, melt chocolate, peanut butter and vanilla extract and stir until smooth.  Note:  I recommend heating the mixture for 20 seconds at a time, stirring in between.  Mine was very smooth after about 50 seconds.

Peanut Butter Brownie Puppy Chow | No Thanks to Cake

Peanut Butter Brownie Puppy Chow | No Thanks to Cake

Peanut Butter Brownie Puppy Chow | No Thanks to Cake

3. Pour over cereal and fold until covered.

Peanut Butter Brownie Puppy Chow | No Thanks to Cake

Peanut Butter Brownie Puppy Chow | No Thanks to Cake

4. Dump into a large plastic bag and add brownie mix, seal and shake until coated. (If you don’t have a large plastic bag, pour brownie mix over cereal and stir well. Or you can use a pot with a lid to shake it in.)  Note:  I used a cleaned out Target bag to toss the cereal in the brownie mix. 

Peanut Butter Brownie Puppy Chow | No Thanks to Cake

Peanut Butter Brownie Puppy Chow | No Thanks to Cake

5.  Add Reese’s cups and toss in the mixture.

Peanut Butter Brownie Puppy Chow | No Thanks to Cake

6. Dump onto a cookie sheet and allow the chocolate to dry.

Peanut Butter Brownie Puppy Chow | No Thanks to Cake
Peanut Butter Brownie Puppy Chow | No Thanks to Cake

My recommendation, of course, is to pack this stuff up pretty quickly after it has cooled and get it on its way…. super tempting, but the perfect gift for your favorite PB lovers!

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