It’s September which means that summer is (unfortunately) coming to an end. I’m sure a lot of us aren’t ready to let go of the warm weather or head back to school/work. Okay, the last one doesn’t apply to me but I am super psyched for the boyfriend to head back to work (he’s a teacher). 

When summer starts and I know he’ll be home everyday, I kinda fantasize about the house always being clean or the dishes being washed and the dog walked because someone will be home for most of the day. Well, I think that dream came true maybe one time this summer. The harsh reality is that I’m lucky if my home is in the same messy/cluttered shape when I return from work (and not worse) and that there is any food left in the house. Our grocery bill this summer has been insane.

With everyone going back to school or getting back into a more strict morning routine, I wanted to put together some of my favorite breakfast recipes. These recipes are so easy and can be taken on-the-go, which is a must for me. I’m almost ashamed by how often I eat breakfast in my car!

granolabites3No-bake Granola Bites: These are great to put in a little bag as you’re walking out the door. They’re pretty much mess free which is an added bonus if you eat them in your car.

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If you’re just a bagel or toast person in the a.m., then step it up a notch with this addicting Whipped Vanilla Cream Cheese.

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This Overnight Breakfast Oatmeal Sundae is my go-to when I know I’m going to be in a rush. It fits perfectly in a cup holder. 

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Baking a loaf or two of this will provide you with easy breakfast all week! Here’s the Cinnamon Raisin and Plain English Muffin Bread.

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Before summer truly leaves us, I want to get in as many smoothies as possible! This Blueberry Crumble Smoothie is one of my favorites (the crumble topping is the best!).

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Okay, so this is technically a dessert but it’s healthy enough to qualify as breakfast too. This Oatmeal Cookie Dough Parfait will be perfect for you in you prefer a breakfast that’s more sweet than savory. 

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If you’re a fan of yogurt in the morning, this Toasted Coconut & Cranberry Granola is just so good. Toasted coconut just makes everything so much better.

oatmeal-10 Baked oatmeal is one of my favorite breakfast meals! It’s so easy because I’ll bake it on the weekends and then I usually have 4 good size servings for the week! This Peach Cobbler Baked Oatmeal is my all-time favorite, but this Apple Blueberry version also rocks.

Now tell me, what’s your favorite on-the-go breakfast?! 

Brownies and ice cream are like peanut butter and jelly; they just belong together.

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I was recently talking with my boyfriend about ice cream cake, I LOVE it and he hates it. I know, right? He’s so weird. Anyway, his main problem with it, is that it’s usually all ice cream and no actual cake. In my world, ice cream > cake but in an attempt to get my boyfriend to appreciate an ice cream cake, I decided to make one that actually had cake…er, well, brownies.

ice-cream2One of my favorite ways to eat ice cream is with pretzels and peanut butter. It’s just so good. If I was going to make an ice cream cake I knew I had to take it over the top, so I incorporated my favorite ice cream toppings into this cake. Feel free to take your favorite toppings and throw ‘em into this dessert. Sprinkles, Oreos, almonds, coconut, peanut butter cups…seriously, you could probably put all those things in here and it would turn out awesome. While I decided to use classic vanilla ice cream, any flavor would work great; I kinda wish I went with chocolate peanut butter…or would that have been too much?

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I know making your ice cream cake is a little more work than going out to the store and purchasing one — but it is so worth it. You will not regret it (unless you eat about half in one day, like me) and it doesn’t take an hour to soften before you cut into it. Seriously, I had this on my counter for about five minutes before I cut into it!

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Brownie Peanut Butter Pretzel Ice Cream Cake
(makes one cake – about 10ish slices)

- Double batch of this brownie recipe, minus the peanut butter swirl*
- 1/2 gallon ice cream, any flavor, softened and divided
- 2/3ish cup pretzels, whole or crushed
- 1/2 cup peanut butter, melted
- additional peanut butter for topping if desired

Prepare brownie batter and pour into a greased or parchment lined spring-form pan. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean (about 40 minutes if you use the recipe link above). Allow to cool.

Take the ice cream out of the freezer to soften (you want it soft but not melted). Once brownies have cooled, removed from the pan. With a serrated knife, carefully slice the brownies in half lengthwise. Line the springform pan with plastic wrap or more parchment paper and place the bottom half of the brownies into the pan.

Top the brownie layer with half the container of ice cream. Place pretzels in an even layer on top of the ice cream, then take the melted peanut butter and drop in dollops/drizzles over the pretzels. Scoop the remaining ice cream on top, spreading it out evenly and flat.

Place the top half of the brownie on top and place in the freezer for at least four hours or overnight. Remove from freezer about 10 minutes before you want to serve. If desired, melt an additional 1/3 cup peanut butter in the microwave and drizzle over each slice.

 Keep leftovers covered in freezer.

*You can use any brownie recipe that makes a batch in a 9 x 13 pan. You just want to make sure you get a thick enough brownie in the spring-form pan to cut in half lengthwise.

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I think I need to make at least 4 more ice cream cakes before summer is over. Maybe if I keep making them summer will last longer?

It’s been awhile since I’ve baked anything and I really miss it. I used to make a batch of cookies pretty much every weekend and they’d disappear before the middle of the week. That’s not exactly a good thing…the boyfriend blows through cookies like it’s nothing. I seriously envy his metabolism. He recently decided to start cleaning up his diet, which means that I’ve been making less goodies.

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This weekend I really, really wanted to make cupcakes. However, I knew that having 24ish cupcakes between just the two of us would be a bad idea — we’d probably just forgo normal meals and eat cupcakes 24/7. This recipe is perfect because it only yields TWO cupcakes. It’s perfect for a little date night treat for two and those nights that you just want a freaking cupcake (or two).

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These really only have five ingredients (not including baking powder/soda) so it is totally okay if you don’t share and eat both! Since these are so much healthier than regular cupcakes, it just means that you can have more fun with the toppings. I think ice cream would taste great or you can have a double serving of frosting or whipped cream.

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Healthier Chocolate Cupcakes
(makes two cupcakes)

- 3 tbs. oats
- 3 tbs. egg whites (or 1 egg white)
- 1 tbs. cocoa
- 1 tbs. peanut butter
- 1 tbs. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. coconut oil
- 1/8 tsp. baking soda
- 1/8 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla

Pre-heat oven to 375°. Place two cupcake liners in muffin pan, set aside.

Combine all ingredients in a small blender or food processor* and pulse until smooth. Pour batter evenly into the two cupcake liners.

Bake for 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

*If you don’t want to blend the ingredients, combine all the dry ingredients in a small bowl. Melt the peanut butter and coconut oil in the microwave; add in the egg whites and vanilla. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry and mix well. Pour into liners and bake the same.

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I have to go make another batch of these. The boyfriend ate both before I could get to one, ugh.

Have you ever heard of dessert stomach? Where it doesn’t matter how full you are, you always have room for dessert? Yeah, well I have an ice cream stomach. There is never such a thing as ‘no room for ice cream’.  A few months ago I was given this ice cream maker for my birthday. I was also given tall sundae bowls & spoons, an ice cream scoop and special ice cream tub to store homemade ice cream. It was a pretty ice cream focused birthday, especially considering the fact that I traveled about an hour and a half to eat some of the best ice cream ever. 

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I learned the hard way on that one and a half hour trip home from getting ice cream, that my body does not do will with heavy cream or whole milk. Before that weekend, I cannot even tell you the last time I ingested any milk other than in the form of cheese or yogurt. I guess my twenty-five year old stomach is a lot more sensitive than when I was younger. Looking at tons and tons of ice cream recipes and seeing the quantity of heavy cream, half & half and whole milk literally made my stomach churn. Sure, it’d probably make the most sinfully delicious ice cream ever, but eating more than a scoop would be painful. 

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Since then, I’ve been trying to come up with a good ice cream made with greek yogurt and almond milk. While I’ve gotten close a few times, the result was always too icy and not creamy enough — that is, until I came up with this Caramelized Banana Ice Cream. It’s super creamy and the caramelized bananas help give it a unique richness that is usually lacking in other yogurt based ice creams.

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Caramelized Banana Ice Cream
(makes about 3-4 cups)

- 3 bananas, chopped
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 2 tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 (16 oz) tub greek yogurt, plain
- 3/4 cup milk (I used 1%)
- 3/4 cup almond milk
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 tsp. cinnamon

In a pan or skillet on the stove, melt butter over medium heat. Immediately add bananas and brown sugar to the pan; stir occasionally and let cook for about 5-7 minutes until the bananas begin to caramelize. Remove from heat and seat aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the greek yogurt and the sugar. Add in both milks, vanilla and cinnamon. Mix well.

Take half the caramelized bananas and pour into the yogurt base. Using an immersion blender or regular blender, blend the bananas into the yogurt well. Place this mixture in the fridge for at least 20 minutes, this helps with the ice cream texture. 

When ready, pour the ice cream base into your ice cream maker and churn as directed. During the last 5 minutes of churning, add in the remaining caramelized bananas.

Mine took about 12 minutes to be fully churned; serve immediately for a softer texture or scoop into a freezer-safe container and place in freezer for a firmer texture.

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I need some ice cream now.

 

What’s the difference between jam and jelly? Is there really a difference or is it kinda like soda and pop?

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Okay, so a quick google search told me that there is a difference. Jelly is typically made with the juice of the fruit, while jam is made of smashed fruit. Please don’t hold me to that, as I only read like the first two sentences of the first link that popped up — sorry, but I’m too excited to share this with you. If good ‘ol google is right, though, this is definitely a jam and it is delicious. 

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I’m not ashamed to admit that I have been eating this jam on everything, and I mean EVERYTHING. Of course I’ve been using it on toast and PB&Js, but it’s incredibly tasty on top of greek yogurt. I’ve never once thought about putting any kind of jam/jelly on my yogurt until I made this. This jam is so thick and chunky, it’s almost like topping your yogurt with the insides of a blueberry pie (and come on, everyone loves pie). 

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There are a few things you need to know about this jam, though, that make it even better. (1) It can be made in under twenty minutes flat (and no, I won’t judge you if you eat it by the spoonful right off the stove…because this stuff is good hot too). (2) It makes just enough to fill a 16 oz mason jar, so you won’t have SO MUCH jam that you don’t know what to do with it. And (3) it has little to none added sugar, depending on how sweet the blueberries are. I mean, isn’t fruit sweet enough already?!

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Blueberry Lemon Chia Seed Jam
(makes about 16 oz)

- 3 heaping cups blueberries
- 2 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- Lemon skin/peel from one lemon
- 2 tbsp chia seeds

In a large, non-stick pot combine blueberries and maple syrup. Cook on low-medium heat until they begin to boil; stirring frequently. Add in the lemon skin (we’ll remove it later).

Using a potato masher or wooden spoon, smash the berries to desired consistency. Reduce the heat to low and continue to stir for about 5 minutes before adding in the lemon juice and chia seeds.

Stir until the chia seeds are distributed. Let the fruit mixture cook for about 10-15 minutes until thickened. Remove the lemon rinds and discard. Pour jam into a glass jar or air-tight container. Store in fridge for up to 3 weeks.

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I made this two days ago and I’m already halfway through the jar…oh well, I guess I’ll have to get some more blueberries this weekend and make a double batch.