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Healthy Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

August 6, 2012

After eating an entire pan of salted fudge brownies (oh the shame!) I knew I needed to bake something a little healthier last week. Ok, I didn’t eat the whole pan. But I ate a lot of it. So I decided to make something that could easily be portion controlled. Something I couldn’t be tempted to take just another small bite…because obviously I just need to even out that last crooked cut…

I had a couple rotting bananas in the fridge, so banana muffins seemed like the perfect fix. They are easily freezable so I can just take one out in the morning and heat it up in the oven while I’m making my coffee.  Perhaps the best part of these muffins? They’re healthy. No joke. Ok granted the original recipe didn’t call for chocolate chips, and those probably aren’t considered diet food. But these muffins only have two TABLESPOONS of oil. TWO TABLESPOONS! And sugar? Who needs sugar? Only 1/3 cup used here. Now you’re probably thinking… “these muffins cannot be any good.” But they are…oh I promise you they are. Don’t believe me? I’ll admit– they aren’t as good as the banana-apple bread made with Crisco that my mom made growing up, but for a healthy, portion controlled breakfast or dessert, they certainly do the job.

I brought these into work and after receiving skeptic looks after calling them “healthy,” I got nods of approval from my coworkers. “I wouldn’t even know these were healthy if you hadn’t told me!” Next time, I guess I’ll keep that part to myself!

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Salted Fudge Brownies

July 29, 2012

Every Sunday around 3pm, I get a little bit depressed. Knowing that the weekend is over and there are 5 days of work between me and freedom makes me sad. Don’t get me wrong. I love my job. But sitting at my desk on a beautiful day overlooking the Boston Harbor and seeing all the sailboats and tourists enjoying the city while I’m stuck at work….well it’s just not fair!

And while Sunday Funday might be a short term fix– I have tried that therapy enough times to know that it just makes the pain of Mondays so much worse. So the new therapy I’m going to try? Delicious baked goods. I’ll just eat my feelings. I’ve heard that’s healthy.

Today’s prescription? My favorite brownies. I’ve tried my fair share of brownies, and nothing has these beat. They are very dense and super fudge-y, and let’s be honest, is there anything better than the combination of salt and chocolate? Not convinced? How about the fact that you can make these brownies in ONE BOWL. Did someone say easy clean up?? So today I treated myself to a new painting for my bedroom (to satisfy my new obsession with lobster buoys) and some fresh flowers from the SOWA Open Market, indulging in googling Ryan Lochte shirtless pics, and am topping off the afternoon with a couple chewy, chocolatey brownies. No sad faces here!

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Peach Scones and Summer Magic

July 28, 2012

I’ve never thought of summer as my favorite season. Yes, it was great as a kid to have off of school. But as an adult, I didn’t see what all the fuss was about. Maybe it’s because for most of my adult life, I have lived places where the heat and humidity are deadly. But in Boston, summer is magic. After hibernating away in their apartments for all the cold months of winter and (non-existent) spring, people reemerge and rejoice in sweet summer time. Everyone fights to get a seat at an outdoor table for Sunday brunch and stands in line for a space on a bar’s roof deck. New England knows how to do summer right. And this year, I feel like I’m right alongside everyone else, celebrating in quintessential New England summer ways.

Exhibit A: I went down to Cape Cod a couple Sundays ago to spend the day with my friend Casey and her mom at their timeshare in Mashpee. Not hailing from the greater Boston area, I often forget how close the Cape really is. I drove down early in the morning, leaving Boston around 8:30 and was on the beach by 10am. So easy. And after a long day on the beach, Casey and I of course had to go get ice cream. #fatkids

Exhibit B: Last weekend was my girlfriends’ annual trip up to Bailey Island in Maine. Jen‘s family has a house there so we spent the weekend out on their motorboat playing in the water, sailing around on their sailboat, the Wheela, eating lobster, drinking wine, and watching the sunset. We had so much fun, and I’m already looking forward to Bailey Island weekend 2K13.

With all my summer adventures, I haven’t been spending too much time in the kitchen. But in the past few weeks, I have discovered the deliciousness of scones. I’ve already documented my obsession with baking with fruit, and while peaches are pretty dang good on their own, they are even better in these scones. These were the first scones I ever made, and they were amazing. Crumbly and slightly sweet, they paired well with my dark, strong coffee in the morning. I had to bag them up and start giving them away to people because I could resist them! Thankfully scones don’t keep very well, so it was a good excuse to eat them quickly.

 

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Strawberry Upside-Down Cake

June 16, 2012

Summer time makes me want to sit in the bed of a pick up truck and blast country music. It makes me want to go to baseball games, lounge by pools, and go swimming in cool ocean waters. And it makes me want to frolic around in sundresses and pick strawberries.

Full disclosure: I didn’t pick these strawberries. In fact, I don’t even know if they grow strawberries in Massachusetts. I’ll have to look into it.

But I do know that Trader Joe’s had a killer deal on strawberries last weekend and I picked up two lbs of them. I wanted to drown myself in the sweet red strawberries. I had dreams about all the things I was going to create, bake, and eat… strawberries on my yogurt, strawberries on my frozen yogurt, strawberries in my cake….

Last year I made an awesome Strawberry Coffee Cake that was very popular with my friends. But I wanted to make something new. While searching the same blog where I found that coffee cake, I found this strawberry upside-down cake, and I knew I had to make it right away. As the cake baked in my oven, the smell of butter and brown sugar and strawberries (HEAVEN!) wafted through my apartment and I just wished I could bottle that scent up and keep it in my kitchen all the time.

Here’s the problem with upside-down cakes. All the goodness is on the bottom. And in theory, the amount of butter in that goodness is supposed to let the cake fall easily from the pan. Sometimes though, life doesn’t go as planned. Exhibit A: cake fail.

As you can tell, the ugliness of the cake did not keep my downstairs neighbor and I from devouring several pieces of the still warm cake. FORTUNATELY- I had the smarts to make not one but two of these suckers. And while my impatience was punished with an ugly (yet still quite delicious) cake, cake number two came out beautifully and made cake number one’s failure much less upsetting. I think this cake is technically meant to be served as dessert, but I found it equally great as breakfast paired with some greek yogurt.  Enjoy!

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Blueberry Boy Bait

June 1, 2012

I’m not going to lie. I thought I was pretty clever when I came up with this blog’s name. And then no one got it.

“Baking what?”

“Baking BOY BAIT. Like food that baits boys!”

“Wait, like bait with an ‘i’?”

(Nod head)

“Ohhh.” (Blank stare)

Well. Whether you understood the title of the blog before or not, now you get it. I’ve known about this recipe for a long time now, but never tried it. I just loved the name and the idea that a girl can reel in a man with food. I’ve yet to see if it can happen, but I’m willing to test out some recipes and give it a try. Legend goes that in 1954, a 15 year old girl baked this recipe for a Pillsbury baking contest and named it after the affect it had on boys.

This recipe is part breakfast, part dessert, but full on delicious.  With summer officially starting in just a couple weeks, we are ushering in my favorite baking season. I love baking with fruit, and fresh blueberries are definitely one of my favorites. Along with peaches. And strawberries. And pretty much every other summer fruit. I guess I’m just warning you there is a lot of fruit in your future.

But for those who fear all things healthy, I assure you, this is NOT a health food. I’m scared to tell you how much butter is in this recipe. Let’s just say if you have a heart condition, eat this in moderation. I doubled the recipe to feed my coworkers, and I actually got a little nauseus looking at the (ahem 4) sticks of butter softening on the counter.  But since summer is also a great time to eat light meals and lots of salads, I like to think that this cake is just part of a lovely balance of fresh summer foods.

The cake went over very well with my coworkers. Though I’ll admit, I work with about 95% females. But the few men I work with fully approved.

So try out some boy bait this weekend. I think I might bring some out with me to bars and see if I can reel anything in.

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Chocolate White Chocolate Chip Cookies

May 18, 2012

Good people deserve good things. Bad people, well their time comes. But for the good people in my life, I’ve made these delicious chocolate white chocolate chip cookies.  And the bad people….they go cookie-less.

I have some really good people in my life these days. My coworkers are good people. They work hard, they help each other out, and celebrate each others’ successes. Tomorrow we’ll be celebrating that one of our coworkers is getting married. Best wishes Mary!  My friend Karla is a good person. She’s going to host me this weekend in New Jersey so I can meet her two beautiful babies Whit and Hazel.  And my friend Casey, well she’s also a good person. Because she’s going to watch my pup Rugby this weekend for me while I’m away.  And all these people will get the pleasure of enjoying these cookies tomorrow.

And the bad people. Well they get punished for stealing my extra cookie sheet by not getting any cookies.

These cookies are simple and delicious. And when they come out of the oven all warm and gooey… YUM. So let’s take a cookie, and cheers to the good people in our lives. And let the bad people go hungry. Read more…

Peanut Butter Mud Bars

May 7, 2012

This blog is the internet’s best kept secret. With a viewership of about….2 (thanks Mom and Dad!), it doesn’t get much traffic and I don’t talk about it very often.  Whenever I do bring it up, friends/family/coworkers tend to respond “You have a blog?!”

I recently mentioned the blog to a few coworkers, who immediately inquired as to why I had yet to bring anything in to the office. So, I took requests and was given the general instruction to make something with peanut butter and chocolate.

One of my go-to cookbooks is from my favorite NYC bakery, Buttercup Bakery. With a peanut butter-chocolate mission in mind, I scanned through the cookbook this afternoon and came across these Peanut Butter Mud Bars. And fortunately, I had all the right ingredients already in house, which is my idea of the perfect recipe. These came together pretty quickly, and I couldn’t resist taste-testing one while it was still hot from the oven. Once they cooled though, they cut beautifully and are now packaged up in parchment paper and baggies to bring to the office tomorrow. Hopefully my colleagues enjoy them as much as I did– although I guess if they do, I might be getting more frequent requests…. Read more…