Happiness Project #66: Chocolate Peanut Butter Waffles!

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6 weeks. 6 weeks later and this recovery is no fun. This past week has been rough. Emotionally, physically & psychologically. It’s been nearly 3 months since I’ve been able to pick up, run around with or be with my Daughter during the day. And missing my Baby Girl is slowly killing me inside. Which results in anger, frustration and a lakes worth of tears. Tears which could quite possibly reverse the current drought that California is in. Wishful thinking, at least.

So naturally, since chocolate is a girl’s best friend (when the going gets tough), I was determined to create something yummy AND cheer-worthy. All for me today. Forget this menopause weight and always drowning myself in fruits and vegetables. This Mama wanted chocolate and peanut butter. Substitutions not welcome.

Hence this super easy, to DIE for waffle combination. And a little bit of edible happiness on this Tuesday afternoon.

1-1/2 cup all-purpose flour

3-1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Ghiradeli, if you want the best)

Pinch of kosher salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3 eggs

4 tablespoons butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups fresh buttermilk

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Break out that favorite waffle maker! Preheat accordingly.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, on a stand mixer (or by hand held), combine the eggs, butter, vanilla extract and buttermilk. Stir, on a low setting, until just combined. Slowly add in the peanut butter.

Add in the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture, mixing well. Sprinkle or stir in the mini chocolate chips.

And onwards to those waffles! Using either a large spoon or a 1/2 measuring cup, scoop in the waffle batter. Bake each batch of waffles until the edges are crispy and the center of each waffle is slightly firm to the touch.

Or just smell your way to the perfect texture! I do.

Once all of those lovely waffles are ready for consumption, pour, sprinkle or frost away! I’m a huge frosting snob & will add frosting to just about everything and anything so these waffles were no exception. And since there’s no such thing as too much peanut butter, well, you get the idea.

If you’d like to add a nice dollop of peanut butter frosting to your mound of waffles, here’s my favorite recipe…

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 to 4 tablespoons whole milk

In a large bowl on a stand mixer (or by hand held), beat in the softened butter and peanut butter, on medium speed, until fluffy and smooth.

Drop the mixer speed to it’s slowest speed and add in the two cups of powdered sugar. Once well mixed, add in the vanilla extract, followed by up to 4 tablespoons of whole milk. Mix on a high for 3 to 4 minutes.

And FROST! With MORE mini chocolate chips! Because chocolate chips, people.

So now, whenever you too, are having an off kind of day, here’s a little something to perk you up.

Happy Waffling, my friends!

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Happy National Ice Cream Day! Summer Ice Cream Round Up: 2015!

“You scream, I scream, we ALL scream for Ice Cream!”

It’s muggy and icky warm today, here in sunny California and ironically, the PERFECT setting to indulge in America’s favorite dessert: ice cream! And since I (unfortunately) won’t be back up and baking up anything new until early September, I’m determined to become the Mistress of Ice Cream. Which will (hopefully) result in epic brownie points from my Daughter and Husband. Which is the BEST reason of all for this massive Summer Round Up of Ice Cream loveliness!

So to kick off my first Round Up Series on the blog, I’m delighted to be sharing a few of the most delightfully, cool-tastic Ice Cream recipes! From blogger friends near and wide! Who know EXACTLY the right way to beat this summer heat!

Who’s ready for Ice Cream?

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First up in my Summer Ice Cream Round Up, is this GLORIOUS Frozen Banana Split Cake from one of my Mommy blogger friends at Dinner at the Zoo! Even though I’m not personally a huge fan of bananas, here’s what I LOVE about this cake, besides how pretty it is: not only does it incorporate 3 (yes, THREE ice cream flavors) within these 4 perfect layers of banana cake but it also has sprinkles! Sprinkles, my friends! I doubt there’s a soul alive who doesn’t like a good sprinkle garnish! So RUN, yes, RUN to the grocery store to stock up on these 3  ice cream flavors! This cake is all you need for show stopping, ice cream bliss! Thank you, Dinner at the Zoo, for this beautiful, summer masterpiece!

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This 2nd featured recipe, Pinwheel Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches, is by another of my Mommy blogger friends, at Mama Harris’ Kitchen! And oh my sweetness, this ice cream sandwich looks to die for! I love, LOVE ice cream sandwiches (though I’ve never attempted to create one of my own), and could quite possibly indulge in them every single day. Which unfortunately, would not agree with my Menopausal lifestyle right now. Not one bit. However, THIS tantalizing little sandwich has everything I like most about kitchen wizardry: homemade cookies with chocolate AND sprinkles, as well as the most creative ice cream flavor combination from Baskin-Robbins, that I’ve ever heard of. Potato Chips? Pretzels? Caramel? Yes, please! So really, what are you waiting for? There’s no way you can wrong with cookies and ice cream!

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Who’s ready for ice cream and CANDY? Yes, I did just say candy! Mama Harris’ Kitchen ALSO has another sweet summer treat, Zours Candy Ice Cream! Incorporating one of my husband’s favorite movie theater indulgences, Mike and Ike’s Candies! Which he buys nearly EVERY time we’re able to spend some quality time at the local theater. And considering how quick and easy this recipe is to create, it’s very likely that this ice cream recipe will undoubtably become my husband’s best friend this summer. So much thanks, Mama Harris, for this perfect family treat!

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Now THIS Thin Mint Cookie and Coffee Dairy-Free Ice Cream from Urban Bliss Life, is ALL for me! Must I even explain why?? Coffee, my friends. Coffee. With cookies. The perfect companion to my semi-regualr book reading Sunday afternoons. Hot coffee is not always a good idea for warm summer days with a side of hot flashes. A favorite morning obsession of mine that is generally frowned upon in my family (out of love, though, rather than criticism). So this homemade coffee ice cream should be very happily received from now on. Sundays or not. Thank you, Urban Bliss Life, for this delicious ice cream recipe! You’ve officially saved my Sundays!

Breakfast Popsicles

Last up in my Summer Ice Cream Round up? These delectable looking Breakfast Popsicles from Working Mom Magic! Being a working mom myself (with two of my own weekend businesses), I truly appreciate fast, easy breakfast ideas for my 2-1/2 year old Daughter. And this Breakfast Popscicle, with all of it’s Honey Bunches of Oats cereal, fresh fruit, and yogurt GOODNESS, is right up my alley! Because what busy Mom (working or not) doesn’t want something healthy AND yummy for their ever blossoming kiddos? I, for one, cannot wait to try my hand at this kid-tastic recipe! Tonight, perhaps! From the kitchen of this Mama to yours, many thanks to Working Mom Magic, for this much needed post!

See anything from these featured recipe posts that you like? Which one will you be whipping up tonight?

Happy National Ice Cream Day, my friends! Hope you’re keeping it cool!

Happiness Project Recipe #65: Rainbow Cheerio Yogurt Pops!

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Heat. This Menopausal Mama does not LIKE heat. Alright, never mind. Like is too soft a word for my…distain of this (horrid) 90ish degree weather. Now HATE? HATE is much more accurate. So let’s start over.

Heat. This Menopausal Mama HATES heat. Because in my life, with hot flashes and mood swings and weird (sad) skin, 90 degrees is actually much more like 100 degrees to me. Which is NO fun. NO. FUN. So you know what I do when I’m THIS grumpy and uncomfortable? I bake yummy things. Usually. Until now, when the physical aspect of baking doesn’t comply with my doctor’s (very strict) orders.

Hence, new popsicles. All of which throw together 3 of my family’s favorite flavors: peach (for my Daughter), strawberry (for me) and vanilla (for my Husband). Oh, and cheerios. The staple of any family with toddlers pantry. At least now, since my Toddler is nearly 2 and a half years old, these cheerios are actually ON the popsicles instead of the floor. Or the couch. Or the dog’s head.

And here’s the thing that I love about this recipe. Not only is this recipe so simple in ingredients and so easy in preparation that anyone can create them (kids too!) but I’m able to use the only yogurt that my stomach can handle correctly: Activia. Hallelujah! So if you too have a sensitive stomach with yogurts or milk, try Activia. It may change the entire way you see breakfast. Or dessert, perhaps.

Ready for this wonderful Summer-lovin recipe? Here’s all you need…

(1) 4 cavity popsicle mold (in whatever shape you like)

6 cartons of your favorite Activia brand yogurt. 2 peach, 2 strawberry & 2 vanilla for this specific rainbow recipe.

4 wooden popsicle sticks

1/2 cup whole grain cheerios

Firstly, organize all of the ingredients on your work surface. Yogurt, popsicle mold, wooden sticks and then cheerios.

In each cavity of the popsicle mold, spoon in 1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons of the strawberry yogurt. Shake gently to smooth the surface. Place the mold in the back of the freezer for 10 minutes to harden up slightly.

Continue this exact process with each of the remaining two yogurt flavors, remembering to freeze each layer in-between each addition.

Once the 3rd yogurt layer has been chilling in the freezer for that last 10 minutes, remove and gently press in each of the popsicle sticks, until there’s a least 2 inches worth of stick visible above the surface, to use as the handle. Now, gently push in as many cheerios as will fit around each handle. Freeze for a good 30 minutes to an hour so that the entire popsicle is fully frozen.

And eat. Or nibble on. Or let your kiddo run around outside with it, waving it gleefully in the air. Until you’re hands are sticky and your toddler is grinning from ear to ear!

Let’s beat this heat! One rainbow popsicle at a time!

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