White Chocolate Wonderful Ice Cream

This week has included a lot of eating.  Jesse and I have our birthdays within a week of each others, which means a lot of celebrations happen at one time.  Now I like to think of birthdays as more than just your birthday.  It really should be a week long celebration.

We started on Monday with an outdoor movie at the Segerstrom Center.  Like any good girlfriend/foodie, I had to pack a picnic…

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I tried to include healthy things, because sometimes we all need some balance.  But see that PB&J chocolate bar from Trader Joe’s.  OMG delicious.  Also, those mason jars are filled with wine (the movie was Mulan, adult grape juice is totally acceptable).  Wondering about the sandwich…

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Turkey and Cheddar with spinach on a pretzel roll with lots of dijon mustard.  Epic.

Wednesday was Jesse’s birthday for real (you probably remember my ridiculously cheesy blog post.  You’re welcome.).  We went to the Boiling Crab for dinner, where I ate an entire pound of shrimp on my own.  I also made him a creamy pumpkin pie

creamypumpkinpieBecause on your birthday you should get what you want, even if it means pumpkin pie in July.

So as you can tell, there’s been a lot of eating.  But while I’ve been busy eating and celebrating, I’ve also been doing other types of photographing.  Did you know sometimes I take pictures of people?

IMG_0568Needless to say, I haven’t had a lot of time to make things and photograph them for blogging purposes.  So while I take a break before making more exciting new things that I can blog about, let me tell you about something I made a while ago… Remember the Peanut Butter Throwdown?  Oh yeah you still have a few more days to enter the giveaway

Well I was super excited to made dessert for that gathering.  And thus this was born:

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White Chocolate Wonderful Ice Cream

1 cup White Chocolate Wonderful Peanut Butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
2 1/2 cup half and half
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

In a bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until pale and fluffy (a few minutes).  Add half and half and whisk until combined.  Transfer to a saucepan, turn flame on to medium/low.  Continue to stir until mixtures starts to thicken (about 10 minutes).  Lastly, stir in white chocolate wonderful peanut butter and stir until combined.

Keep stirring until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.  Then chill for bit until mixture is cold.  Put in your ice cream maker according to manufacturers instructions.    Just before ice cream is done, drop in white chocolate chips.  Freeze for a few more hours to set, then serve!

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I had to give this away for fear that I would eat the whole thing in a day.  True story.   It doesn’t matter how sugar loaded I am, there’s always room for ice cream.  Don’t you think?

So go ahead and make this.  Think of me and the fact that my birthday is on Tuesday.

Also, Don’t forget to enter the Peanut Butter & Co. Giveaway to win 6 free jars of Peanut Butter!  Click here to enter!  Don’t be a meany! Share it with your friends so they can get some peanut butter love too!

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Happy Birthday to Jesse

The great thing about dating someone who has a food blog is that you get to eat wonderful things like this:

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The second most wonderful thing is that they get to post public and embarrassing Happy Birthday messages to you via their blog.  So here it comes… Happy Birthday, Jesse!

Thanks for being awesome and helping me roast an entire goat… well really you roasted the whole thing just because I wanted to and I think that’s amazing.

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Thanks for putting up my crazy eating habits and not breaking up with me when I decided to try the Paleo diet.

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Thanks for being my helper when I decide I want to make a Chicken and Waffles meal for 8 people, especially when I get flustered because I can’t pull the oven rack out.

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Thanks for being a trooper when I tell everyone which Peanut Butter sandwich is yours (even though your identity is supposed to be concealed) prior to voting in the Peanut Butter Throwdown… I’m still really sorry about that.

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Thanks for sitting and smiling when I make you be the subject of my photo practicing.

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You probably deserve more than this pie

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But that’s what you asked for.  So a creamy pumpkin pie (in July) is what you’ll get (along with a few other gifts).

Have a wonderful birthday!  Love you lots! And thanks for putting up with all the silly things that come along with dating someone with a food blog 😀

Healthy Chocolate Smoothie

I love dessert, and I love feeding people dessert almost as much (or maybe even more) than I like eating it myself.  But some days,  I have a major guilt trip.  Today is one of those days.  I know sugar is terrible for your health.  I shouldn’t eat so much of it, and sometimes I feel guilty that I feed my loved ones baked goods so often.

I generally think I’m a pretty health-conscious person,  but then I turn around and make things like this:

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I know dessert makes me happy, but I also know I shouldn’t be eating it all the time so I give it away.  So pretty much I’m a jerk, a jerk that pawns off things that are too unhealthy for her to eat onto other people.  And when jerks feel guilty, they turn to fruits and vegetables.

I swear this has nothing to do with the fact that I’m about 293048292 years late to the party and finally watched Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead and this article I read in National Geographic about Sugar.  That documentary didn’t convince me that I need to start juicing, but it did remind me that fruits and vegetables are always a good idea. The sugar article just reinforced my original idea that I need to eat less sugar. I’m not a nutritionist, but it seems like juices are lacking fiber and all the healthy things you get from the skins of fruits and vegetables. No? So instead of juice, I’m sticking to smoothies and less sugar.

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I’ve been having green smoothies for years.  My normal go-to combination was strawberry, banana, spinach.  But I decided to try a new combo to help me get past my enormous cravings for big handfuls of chocolate chips in the evenings.  It’s a bad habit.  So let’s replace it with something better:

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Healthy Chocolate-y Smoothie

1/2 frozen banana
1/2 cup frozen mango chunks (I eye ball it)
1-2 cup frozen spinach (I really just grab a huge handful and shove it in the blender)
1 date, pitted
1 1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (or more if you want it more chocolate-y)
1 cup ice
1/2-1 cup water or almond milk (this might vary)

Place all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth.  In my Vitamix, I don’t need that much water and I can get it to be pretty thick.

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I actually eat it with a spoon!  Note: This makes one large smoothie for one person.

The key here is really the cocoa powder.

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You get the chocolate-y flavor without all the sugar.  The sweetness here comes from fruit, particularly the date.

It’s not like eating a Wendy’s frosty. Let’s be clear.  It’s not.  But it’s pretty darn tasty and it definitely helps me get my chocolate fix in a much healthier way.

So what do you think?  Is it bad to feed your friends and family unhealthy foods?  Should I (or you) feel guilty about it?

Chocolate Chip Snickerdoodle Bars

I somehow had the bright idea of joining the company softball team. If you knew me in real life, you’d be surprised that I would make such a choice. I’m not really a “team sports” kind of girl.  Not because I don’t like exercise.  No no.  I love Crossfit.  Running is fun.  Spinning is amazing.

At first you might think, oh so you’re a solo rider.  Well not really.  What softball has that running, Crossfit and spinning don’t is that softball involves a hard object flying at your face.  I’m not good at that.  You see, I’m what we like to call “accident-prone.”

The truth is, if there’s an opportunity to get hurt, chances are I will.   I’m set to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in November and my sister is already researching altitude sickeness and ways to prevent it.  She’s not even going on the trip with me and she knows it’ll be an issue for me.

In fact, the last time I tried to play a team sport was a summer softball league the summer before 9th grade.  I broke my finger mid way through the summer.  Lesson learned.

But now I’m older, and conquering fears and trying new (ish) things is totally my thing.  So why not.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

In the meantime, let’s talk about these guys.

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I know you’re drooling because any mention of the word “snickerdoodle” makes babies smile and men squeal in joy.

Ok I can’t take credit for these.  I got this recipe from my favorite cookie cookbook given to me by my friend Rhoda (who also published an awesome cookbook!).

I want everyone to buy this book because I think it’s so awesome.  What I didn’t think was awesome was the name of the recipe.  Buttermilk Cinnamon Bars.  Boring.  So since I made some changes (like adding chocolate chips, among a few other changes, I decided to rename these to more accurately describe the taste.

Chocolate Chip Snickerdoodle Bars

Adapted from Blue Ribbon Cookies

2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla

Pre-heat oven to 350F.   In a bowl, combine sugar, flour and butter.  Using your fingers, combine until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.   Take two cups of that mixture and combine it with coconut and chocolate chips.

Press into a 9×13 baking dish lined with parchment paper.   With the remaining sugar/flour/butter mixture, add egg, salt, cinnamon, baking powder, buttermilk and vanilla.  Blend together.  Pour mixture oven base and bake for about 45 minutes, or until fully cooked in the center.

Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.  (I let it sit out overnight)  Once cooled, remove bars from pan by lifting parchment paper.  Cut bars into about 40 squares (or fewer large pieces…).

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I promise these will be a hit.  They’re like snickerdoodles and chocolate chip coconut cookies on a date, because that makes sense.

Either way, enjoy them, pin them and wish me luck on this softball endeavor.

How are you at team sports?  Play any?  Tell me!

P.S. Have you entered the Peanut Butter & Co Giveaway?  You can earn entries daily!  Get to it here: http://bit.ly/147k7k8

Peanut Butter Throwdown and a Giveaway!

Like any good foodie, I love feeding people.  So after the Fried Chicken and Waffles party, I was dying to throw another food gathering.  Allie and I were chatting one day and came up with an epic idea: a peanut butter party.  So we pitched it to Peanut Butter & Co. and they were on board.

Thanks to Peanut Butter & Co. the world gets to try to peanut butter, but two readers (one Foodologie reader and one Sweet Potato Bites reader) get to try it for free!  But before I get to that part, let me tell you about what I like to call our Peanut Butter Throwdown.

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The idea, like all good ideas, was simple: find the best peanut butter sandwich. We have creative friends so we wanted to see what they could come up with.  Peanut Butter & Co. was nice enough to provide us with 8 flavors of peanut butter to work with:

Then we set out a bunch of sandwich fixings:

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  • Breads: Buttermilk, Potato, Gluten-free, whole wheat
  • Fruits: Bananas, Blueberries, Strawberries, Nectarines, Raspberries, Coconut, Apples
  • Condiments: Raspberry Jam, Grape Jelly, Strawberry Jam, Honey, Cinnamon, Marshmallow Fluff
  • Savory Toppings: Potato chips, Bacon
  • Cheeses: Mozzarella, Brie and Cheddar
  • Vegetables: Spinach, Cilantro, Pickles, Carrots

So the guests started making their sandwiches…

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and other sat around and chatted

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and looked pretty.

johnandkathleenSome people were definitely in full concentration for the sandwich making.  I get it.  The stakes were high.  The winner got the full line of Peanut Butter & Co. Peanut Butters listed above.

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The sandwiches were cut into bite-sized pieces and everyone was given a number.

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Some people got creative.  There were definitely pickles used (who knew!).  And someone chose to make an open-faced sandwich

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It was definitely a contender.  I made a sandwich with Dark Chocolate Dream, Brie and fresh Raspberries.  I was a fan.

Since we gave everyone a number, no one really knew what they were tasting.  Judging was entirely based on taste and texture. We wouldn’t want to taint anyone’s opinion of a sandwich based on the chef (although I totally ruined that for Jesse by announcing which sandwich was his… oops… sorry).

We all tasted the sandwiches and made note of our favorites (check out Marco’s notes below).

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After we were full of peanut butter-y goodness, everyone voted for their favorite.

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The winner was Vanessa!  Her awesome sandwich included White Chocolate Wonderful, Nectarines, Cinnamon and Coconut.

It was definitely a winning combo!  Vanessa got tons of peanut butter to further explore her peanut butter sandwich making abilities…

vanessaBut really everyone was a winner, because everyone got to take home a jar a of peanut butter!

We noticed that the sweet sandwiches did better than the savory ones.  That said, I’m still dying to make a sandwich with Grilled Chicken, The Heat is On, Cilantro, Carrots and Cucumbers.  I’ll definitely go light on the Heat is On because it is way spicier than I thought it would be!

This turned out to be a super fun party idea.  It was a nice activity to center the day around and I loved trying everyone’s sandwich combos.

And of course, a party without dessert is just a meeting… and we all know I have a ridiculous sweet tooth.  So of course, there was pie.  I made a spicy chocolate peanut butter pie using the Heat is On, and a sweet Peanut Butter Honey Pie using the Bee’s Knees…

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and Maple Ice Cream (in case we had enough peanut butter) and Peanut Butter White Chocolate Ice Cream and Dark Chocolate Sorbet

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I’ll share these recipes with you in posts to come, but to avoid letting this post get any longer, let’s get to the giveaway!

Peanut Butter & Co. is giving one lucky Foodologie reader a Peanut Butter Sampler!  That means you get to try all their peanut butters for free!

Who doesn’t love free food?  Entering is easy!  First, head on over to my Facebook page click the giveaway link and there you’ll be.  But if you click this link, it’ll take you straight there!   You’ll need to sign in with Facebook but you can enter by:

-Leaving a Comment (then make sure click that you left a comment on the giveaway page, if not your comment won’t count!)
Liking Foodologie on FB
Tweeting about the giveaway (you can do it everyday for extra entries!)
-Following me Twitter.

All those will get you an entry and put you one step closer to peanut butter glory!  And it’s all done entirely on FB so get on it!

So remember, check it out here.

The giveaway starts July 17th and will end on July 30th (my birthday!!) at midnight!  I’ll announce the winner on July 30th, because on my birthday you should get a present too 😀  and Peanut Butter & Co. will ship you your prize!

While I love you all in Canada and around the world, this giveaway is only open to US residents.

Thanks for reading!  Hope you’re pumped about peanut butter?

So tell me!  Which peanut butter flavor are you dying to try?  If you’ve already tried them all, which one is your favorite?

Green Dinner and a Vitamix

I think this week I overloaded my body. I had a hard time sleeping, I ate wayyyy too much sugar and I have a panic attack pretty much daily Monday through Wednesday.

I mentioned last time that I’m taking the first step at trying something new… so in doing so, I invested in some technology, mainly a camera and a new computer. I really was due for a new computer anyway (5 years for a laptop is a good life), but let me just tell you a little bit about myself: I get major anxiety when it comes to making large purchases.  I have no idea what’s going to happen to me when it comes time for me to buy a house.  I’ll probably need therapy.

So new camera. New Computer.  That was a lot of new technology for me.  But let me tell you about something else. You know what a Vitamix is?

Of course you do.  You’re reading a food blog.  Ok well.  I won a Vitamix.  I know.  I was shocked.  My brother-in-law told me he thought I was going to explode when I found out.   How did I win?  Way back when, I entered a Driscoll’s Berries sweepstakes.  And I won!  Crazy, right?

If I wasn’t sipping a smoothie I just made in the Vitamix I probably wouldn’t believe it myself.

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Because of the new computer, Vitamix and camera, I sort of freaked out.  My reaction was to not touch it all and to eat a lot of chocolate and peanut butter.  Seriously so much chocolate and peanut butter that I thought for a minute I did some major harm to my body.

So after some sleep and a self-pep talk, I’m back into my whole be-good-to-yourself-for-your-birthday-deal.

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I ate roasted chicken with vegetables for lunch.  Then for dinner, I wanted green things.

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I had a smoothie made with Banana, Mango, Spinach and water, and because I like to chew things: my favorite 7 Superfoods Salad from Costco.  Delicious.

Ok so I’m done freaking out.  I promise.  I’ll continue to be a normal human being again.  So want to know what’s coming up soon?

Well I’ve got these guys to tell you aboutbuttermilkbars

and Sunday I have another EPIC food party planned.  Remember the Chicken and Waffles Party?  Think similar but with peanut butter… There might be some free PB in store for you guys too!

Thanks for baring with me while I had a mini freak out caused by technology.

Have a fantastic night!

Easy Roasted Chicken with Vegetables and Being Fearless

My friend Liz texted me this weekend with a quote from a book she’s reading: “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

This couldn’t come at a better time, because I spent half the day having a mild panic attack. I made a very large purchase.  An investment is more what I like to call it.

It arrived around 11am, but I couldn’t bring myself to open it until about 7pm.

I bought a new camera.  You’re probably thinking… are you nuts? I’d be so excited.  I am!  But I’m also slightly scared out of my mind, because not only am I terrified of spending money but I bought this camera with a purpose.  To try something new and pursue something different.  I’m going to be vague and all sorts of mysterious until I get my act together.  But what it comes down to is that I need to be fearless, because I have no reason to be afraid.

I realize that to many people I might seem like a risk-taker.  I’m perfectly fine with traveling across the world on my own.  I’m not scared of getting lost or trying new things.  I love walking around foreign cities on my own.  But everything I do, I do because I know I’ll be good at it.

I know what I’m good at, and I hate being bad at things.  So sometimes I stay in the safe zone.

The best comparison I can draw is roasted chicken.  Like this roasted chicken dinner that I shot with my old Canon Rebel Xsi on my Canon 50mm f/1.8 Lens

Roasted Chicken

Roasted chicken is safe and simple.  We know it’ll taste good with minimal prep work required.  All you need is olive oil, salt, pepper, chicken, onion, tomato and summer squash, put it in the oven at 425F for 45-60 minutes.

The oven does the work for you.  It’s quick, easy and safe.  Roasted chicken is one of those things I know I make well.   Roasted Chicken2

But for now, I’m working on being fearless.  No more roasted chicken for a while. I’m lucky enough to be in a position to try new things and invest in things I want to accomplish.  I shouldn’t let fear get in the way, because fear only makes matters worse.

So I pose that question again to myself, and to you: what would you do if you weren’t afraid?