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.

Can someone please explain to me how it is almost July?! The month of June flew by.

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In approximately two weeks, I will be running a 4-mile ‘freedom run’ on the fourth of July. It’s become a tradition within my family to run this before the parade and our huge festivities that day. I’ve run two half marathons and I’ve dabbled in a few 5k races but this race? This one is seriously the worst. Every year, without a doubt, it’s always the most hot and humid day ever. It’s the kind of weather that makes you feel like you’re swimming the 4 miles not running. 

Oh, and there are hills. The first one is short and STEEP, the second is a loooong gradual hill. I can’t decide which one is worse but they both seriously kick my butt each and every time. The one saving grace is that people who live along the route stand in their front yards spraying everyone with water from hoses. It helps for about 2 seconds and then you’re hotter than before. 

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Don’t get me wrong, it is kinda fun and exciting (at least in the beginning) and it’s probably a good thing to get a few miles under our belts before we start downing some cheeseburgers and potato salad…but there is almost no way to cool down after that kind of physical exertion in that kind of heat. We all kind of melt into the sidewalk as we watch the annual parade, eating sticky tootsie rolls (that are thrown) and ginormous soft pretzels that cost about $10 each. But I’m sure the only thing we are thinking of is jumping fully clothed into the pool – because that is the fastest way to cool off. 

I’m thinking that we should have a game plan this year and bring some ice pops to have post-race. This sorbet would actually be ideal. Let’s overlook the fact that the race is at 9:00 in the morning, it’s never too early for ice cream, popsicles or sorbet. This Pina Colada is so refreshing and I’m sure if you were feeling a bit rebellious (and if it isn’t 9:00 in the morning) you could totally add some alcohol to this. Don’t worry, I won’t tell if you do…

Pina Colada Sorbet (3 Ingredients)
makes 2 servings

- 3 cups pineapple, diced & frozen
- 1 banana, frozen
- 1/2 cup canned coconut milk

In a food processor or high powered blender, add the frozen pineapple and banana. Pulse about a minute, stopping occasionally to scrap down the sides. Pour coconut milk in gradually while blending. 

Continue to pulse/blend until the mixture is smooth. Serve immediately, or place in a container and freeze for an hour if a firmer consistency is desired. 

*Optional add-ins: chocolate chips, almonds, coconut flakes (Just fold in after the mixture is smooth)

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Now that I think about it…I think a little rum should definitely be added to this. 

So, I missed National Donut Day by a few weeks…but I think that any day that starts with donuts will be a good day, don’t you?

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These don’t look like regular donut holes because they’re baked in a mini muffin pan; but that doesn’t mean they don’t taste like donuts. Because completely 100% do. Since the chances of you owning a mini muffin pan are waaaay more likely than owning either a donut hole maker or pan, then you’ll be able to make these too and won’t have to run out to the store to buy something you’ll only use once. That being said, if you DO have a donut pan/maker, then by all means this recipe will work with that do.

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I really like mini donuts because I can eat like 12, and these are the perfect size for just popping them right into your mouth! They’re also delish dunked in hot coffee or tea and since it’s a million degrees this week, hasn’t really been happening. But I think I would totally make a cup of tea just to dunk cookies or donuts in, am I crazy? I recently mentioned how I’m slowly starting to get on the iced coffee train by mixing 25% coffee to 75% vanilla almond milk. It’s so good, but of course, the second I start liking coffee just a smidge, our coffee machine decides to explode. 

Okay, it didn’t really explode…but I was washing dished while a cup was brewing yesterday and I looked over to see coffee seeping from EVERYWHERE; from cracks in the machine that I did not even exist. It was such a pain to clean up and I’ve decided it’s lived a long enough life and it’s time for us to invest in a new one. 

donuts3Glazed Blueberry Donut Holes
makes about 2 dozen

 - 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 tbs vanilla
- 1/2 cup milk
- 3/4 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (if frozen, thawed)

For the glaze:
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 tbs milk

Pre-heat the oven to 375°. Either line a mini muffin pan with paper liners or spray generously with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add in the eggs and vanilla; mix well. Sift together the flour and baking soda, slowly add into the butter/sugar mixture alternating with the milk. Add in the blueberries and mix well. 

Scoop about one and a half tablespoons of batter into each well of the muffin pan, filling about half way. Bake for 15 minutes until browned around the side and a toothpick comes out clean when pressed in the center. Let sit in the pan for one minute before removing onto a cooling rack.

For the glaze, mix all ingredients together in a bowl. If the glaze is too thick, add more milk 1/2 tablespoon at a time until it reaches desired consistency. Once the donuts are cool, drizzle glaze over top and let sit until glaze is firm, at least 2-3 hours. If it’s hot/humid, this may take longer.

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I really, really want a donut right now. What’s your favorite kind of donut? I’m torn between glazed, creme or anything with sprinkles.

Can you buy stocks in food? If so, I need to go buy me some stock in greek yogurt. The amount in which I buy and consume is a tad ridiculous; I’m sure I single handedly help raise those stocks (if they exist, that is). 

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I use greek yogurt in pretty much everything – in smoothies, on salads, in tacos, on top of oatmeal, in dips…and now, I’m puttin’ it in my cheesecake. Not that I make cheesecake a lot. Actually, this is the first time I’ve made cheesecake and of course, I had to incorporate my favorite dairy product. Greek yogurt can work really well here, especially if it’s 2% or full fat yogurt, because it’s so thick. 

Since the yogurt has waaaay more protein than a big slab of cream cheese, these little cheesecakes can actually be a lighter, healthier snack. When the cheesecake part is healthier, that means it’s okay to make a cookie dough crust. Right? Right!

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Yes, these mini cheesecakes have a cookie dough bottom. The bottom layer is actually really, really good by itself. I may have eaten a few spoonfuls while putting them together. The second best part about these is that they’re no-bake; that means you don’t have to turn on the oven when it’s ridiculously hot or humid. 

I absolutely hate using the oven/stove during the summer. It makes our tiny apartment so hot, so anytime I can avoid turning it on I will. Even if that means I need to eat a salad ever other night or cold leftovers. 

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Mini Greek Yogurt Cheesecakes (No-Bake)
makes about 7-8

For the cookie dough bottom:
- 5 tbs. flour (any kind, I used oat flour)
- 1 tbs. butter, melted
- 1 1/2 tbs. brown sugar
- 1/2 tbs. milk

For the cheesecake filling:
- 1/2 (8 oz) block cream cheese
- 3/4 cup greek yogurt
- 2 tbs. sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla

For the bottom layer, melted butter in the microwave and pour into a medium size bowl. Add in the brown sugar, mixing with a spoon. Gradually add in the flour one tablespoon at a time and mix well. Add the milk, if it’s too thick add more milk 1/2 tbs at a time. Put aside.

For the cheesecake, in the bowl of a stand mixer, add the cream cheese, yogurt and sugar. Beat well for about 1-2 minutes. Add in the vanilla and mix again. 

Line a muffin pan with 8 cupcake liners (silicone or foil/paper is fine). Scoop a scant tablespoon of the cookie dough into each liner, pressing down to cover the entire bottom. Pour cheesecake filling on top of the cookie dough crust (about 2-3 tablespoons per cheesecake). Place in the fridge for about 6 hours or overnight until firm. These can be stored in a container in the fridge for up to a week or can be placed in the freezer. Just remove from freezer about 30 minutes to an hour before eaten. 

cheesecake5What’s your favorite ‘non-traditional’ way of eating greek yogurt?