This post for #Choctoberfest is sponsored by Barlean's. I have received sample products for writing this post. All content and opinions are mine. These Double Chocolate Pumpkin Energy Bites are a healthy sweet treat... and they pretty much taste like a brownie, so there's that too.
Breakfast, Granola, Recipes

Double Chocolate Pumpkin Energy Bites #Choctoberfest

This post for #Choctoberfest is sponsored by Barlean’s. I have received sample products for writing this post. All content and opinions are mine. These Double Chocolate Pumpkin Energy Bites are a healthy sweet treat… and they pretty much taste like a brownie, so there’s that too.

This post for #Choctoberfest is sponsored by Barlean's. I have received sample products for writing this post. All content and opinions are mine. These Double Chocolate Pumpkin Energy Bites are a healthy sweet treat... and they pretty much taste like a brownie, so there's that too.

Another day, another #Choctoberfest recipe! This one slightly healthier than the delectable cake from Monday. 🙂 Energy bites, granola bites, energy balls… whatever you call them… are SO tasty and SO fun to make. Just mix, roll, and chill, pretty much. They’re great to have on hand for a healthy yet filling snack option or even a quick breakfast on the go for busy mornings. Most recipes use nut butter as the base, so I was excited to find a version that used PUMPKIN as the binder. I always gotta do something different, haha.

This post for #Choctoberfest is sponsored by Barlean's. I have received sample products for writing this post. All content and opinions are mine. These Double Chocolate Pumpkin Energy Bites are a healthy sweet treat... and they pretty much taste like a brownie, so there's that too.

Since we’re smack-dab in the midst of #Choctoberfest, I decided to try to make an uber chocolately energy bite recipe. Thanks to a healthy dose of dark chocolate cocoa powder AND dark chocolate chips, these Double Chocolate Pumpkin Energy Bites pretty much taste like a brownie. I’ve been keeping some in the fridge at work, and they are perfect for a mid-afternoon snack. Healthy, yet satisfying.

This post for #Choctoberfest is sponsored by Barlean's. I have received sample products for writing this post. All content and opinions are mine. These Double Chocolate Pumpkin Energy Bites are a healthy sweet treat... and they pretty much taste like a brownie, so there's that too.

I’m so thankful that Barlean’s is a sponsor again this year for #Choctoberfest! They sent me a great package filled with Chocolate Silk Greens (think chocolate protein powder, but powdered greens instead–this stuff is great for smoothies!), Essential Women Omega-Swirl Chocolate Mint (mint-chocolate syrup that just so happens to be full of Omega-3s), and Butter-Flavored Coconut Oil, which I used in this recipe. It’s the perfect butter substitute with all the health benefits of coconut oil. I don’t use coconut oil for everything but I really like it in granola bars/energy bites. You can find out more about Barlean’s by following them on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or YouTube.

This post for #Choctoberfest is sponsored by Barlean's. I have received sample products for writing this post. All content and opinions are mine. These Double Chocolate Pumpkin Energy Bites are a healthy sweet treat... and they pretty much taste like a brownie, so there's that too.

One of the best parts about these Double Chocolate Pumpkin Energy Bites (besides how chocolately they are!) is that it only uses 3 tablespoons pumpkin puree. Sooo it’s a perfect recipe to have on hand to when you have a little pumpkin puree to use up! Waste not, want not. And how could you not want these yummy chocolate energy bites??! Enjoy!

Find more chocolate recipes here today at the #Chocotoberfest linky! And don’t forget to enter this great giveaway before Saturday!

one year ago: Pumpkin & Sausage Pizza
three years ago: Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins
four years ago: Funfetti Cookies
five years ago: Chicken Enchiladas with Green Chili Sour Cream Sauce
six years ago: Roasted Vegetable Soup
seven years ago: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins

Double Chocolate Pumpkin Energy Bites

  • Servings: 32 bites
  • Print

slightly adapted from A Kitchen Addiction

Ingredients:

Directions:

In a large bowl, stir together oats, flaxseed, cocoa, and pumpkin pie spice. In a small saucepan set over medium heat, whisk together honey, maple syrup, pumpkin puree, and coconut oil. Bring to a boil, and allow to boil for 4 minutes. Stir constantly so it doesn’t burn! Remove from heat.

Pour honey mixture over oats and stir until combined. At this point, you can stir in the pepitas and chocolate chips so the chocolate melts and gets all gooey OR you can wait for 5 minutes before stirring in the mixins. I stirred everything together right away.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes for mixture to cool and chocolate to harden, then remove and roll into 1 1/2 inch balls. Place on a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least an hour before transferring to an air-tight container. Store in the refrigerator or freezer. Enjoy!

Disclosure:  Though I received products for free as part of my participation in #Choctoberfest, I was not compensated in any other way and was not asked to provide positive feedback.

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Desserts, Pies, Recipes

Mandarin Pie #CookoutWeek

A creamy, dreamy mandarin orange pie made with an Oreo crust and topped off with mini chocolate chips… this cool treat is perfect for hot nights. 

A creamy, dreamy mandarin orange pie made with an Oreo crust and topped off with mini chocolate chips... this cool treat is perfect for hot nights. #CookoutWeek 2017

I’ve always been a fan of fruit and chocolate. Separately or together, this combination is pretty great. I can hardly think of a single fruit that doesn’t taste good with a bit of chocolate. Can you? Oranges and chocolate is one of my favorite combos. I love it in these cookies and these muffins, so it should come as no surprise that I also love it in pie form!

A creamy, dreamy mandarin orange pie made with an Oreo crust and topped off with mini chocolate chips... this cool treat is perfect for hot nights. #CookoutWeek 2017

The first time I tried this pie was a pretty bad night. Maybe “pretty bad” is a bit of an exaggeration, but over Christmas, both Ben and I got pinkeye. It was pretty much the worst. We were visiting my parents in beautiful Bluffton, South Carolina when the dreaded infection struck. My eyes looked awful and vacation went from relaxing to constant laundry, handwashing, and disinfecting. I blame the baby. Haha. 🙂 Maybe I’m still exaggerating about how bad it was, but I wouldn’t wish pinkeye on anyone! The only highlight of the evening I spent at urgent care was this dessert that I got to enjoy afterwards. This pie was graciously shared with our family by my parents’ friends. We each got a slice and I was so sad it was all gone. I couldn’t stop thinking about it! Eventually I got the recipe and the rest is history! I forsee a LOT of mandarin pie in my future!

A creamy, dreamy mandarin orange pie made with an Oreo crust and topped off with mini chocolate chips... this cool treat is perfect for hot nights. #CookoutWeek 2017

The goodness of this pie starts off with an Oreo crust. The original recipe suggested a chocolate crust, but I amped it up a bit with some Oreos (or fauxreos, as Ben calls them because in baking, I tend to use the store brand). The crust is then filled with a glorious mixture of cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, orange juice, and sour cream. It’s light and sweet and almost cheesecake-y in texture. Utterly amazing! Fold in some mandarin oranges, spoon into crust, and top with mini chocolate chips and a few decorative mandarin oranges and there you have it! Every bite is filled with chocolatey orange goodness. Since this pie doesn’t require any baking, it’s perfect for summer. This would be a great pie to bring to a cookout, as long as it could be kept cold until serving. Wherever you enjoy this pie, be sure to share it with those you love. 🙂 ❤

I hope you’ve enjoyed all the recipes I’ve shared for #CookoutWeek. Don’t forget to enter the #CookoutWeek 2017 giveaway, happening NOW! Lots of great prizes and an easy entry!

Check out some other delicious cookout recipes shared today for #CookoutWeek here!

Tell me: what’s your favorite no-bake dessert for cookouts?

two years ago: Iced Coconut Mocha
three years ago: Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars
four years ago: Coconut Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Crumb Cake
five years ago: BBQ Ranch Pasta Salad
six years ago: Lemony Roasted Vegetable Couscous

Mandarin Pie

  • Servings: 8
  • Print

from my mom’s friend Karen – addition of the Oreo crust by yours truly

Ingredients:

for Oreo crust (can also substitute your favorite chocolate crust or a storebought one)

  • 25 Oreos
  • 5 tablespoons butter

for pie

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened (I use Neufchâtel)
  • 1 – 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 8 ounces frozen whipped topping (Cool Whip), thawed
  • 1 – 15 ounce can mandarin oranges, divided
  • 1 ounce semi sweet chocolate OR a handful of mini chocolate chips

Directions:

Begin by preparing crust. Crush Oreos in a food processor to form fine crumbs. Transfer to a bowl. Then melt butter and drizzle into Oreo crumbs. Use a fork to combine, then press into a 9 inch pie pan. Place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes before using.

To prepare pie filling, beat cream cheese in a stand mixer until fluffy. Add sweetened condensed milk, orange juice, and sour cream. Beat until smooth. Fold in whipped topping.

Transfer half of the pie filling to crust, then top with most of the mandarin oranges. Reserve eight oranges for the pie topping. Cover with remaining filling. Depending on how deep the pie pan is, you may have a little leftover. Top pie with mandarin oranges and mini chocolate chips.

Instead of mini chocolate chips, you can also melt 1 ounce of semi sweet chocolate (a baking square if possible) and drizzle over the pie. Either way tastes great!

Chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before slicing. Best enjoyed the same day, especially for presentation, but leftovers are also good for ~48 hours.

I haven’t made this, but I think this pie filling would also be amazing as parfaits: Oreo crumbs, pie filling, mandarin oranges, chocolate chips, and repeat. Yum!

Bars, Desserts, Recipes

Flourless Monster Cookie Bars (Gluten Free)

These monster cookie bars are an easy, chewy dessert that you’ll enjoy all summer long! They’re also a great gluten-free dessert when made with gluten-free oats so everyone will enjoy them!

These monster cookie bars are an easy, chewy dessert that you'll enjoy all summer long! They're also a great gluten-free dessert when made with gluten-free oats so everyone will enjoy them!

I LOVE cookie bars. I love cookies too, but making them can be a huge pain. So I usually choose to make cookie bars. This recipe intrigued me because they looked ooey gooey (especially the center pieces!) AND they’re baked in a half size sheet pan so the recipe makes a ton! They’re perfect for every social event of the summer, from cookouts to pool parties and everything in between. Of course, they can also be made year-round. 🙂

These monster cookie bars are an easy, chewy dessert that you'll enjoy all summer long! They're also a great gluten-free dessert when made with gluten-free oats so everyone will enjoy them!

As with any other Monster Cookie, these bars are full of oats, peanut butter deliciousness, M&Ms, and mini chocolate chips. As the recipe is written, it calls for both old-fashioned and quick oats. It’s a texture thing I guess, and I’ve always followed the recipe in that way everytime I’ve made them. I usually just pulse some old-fashioned oats in the food processor to achieve a finer texture. If you only have one kind of oats or the other, that’s fine too… the recipe should turn out.

These monster cookie bars are an easy, chewy dessert that you'll enjoy all summer long! They're also a great gluten-free dessert when made with gluten-free oats so everyone will enjoy them!

One reason I was excited to make these cookie bars (aside from their simplicity and fabulous, addictive taste) is that they are so easy to make gluten free! Our family isn’t gluten free (and I’m not an expert) BUT I do have some friends who are, so I like to have some tried and true recipes on hand that they can enjoy as well. For this recipe, you just need to make sure to use gluten free oats. In my experience, most of the other ingredients should be gluten free naturally–but check labels if this is an issue for you, particularly for the peanut butter, vanilla, and M&Ms. If you are gluten free and I missed anything, please feel free to share in the comments! I hope you love these bars as much as we do!

These monster cookie bars are an easy, chewy dessert that you'll enjoy all summer long! They're also a great gluten-free dessert when made with gluten-free oats so everyone will enjoy them!

P.S. They free wonderfully and taste great at room temperature or heated up in the microwave for 10-15 seconds–so don’t be afraid of the large batch… I’m sure you’ll find a use for them. 🙂

one year ago: Honey Banana Muffins
two years ago: Ricotta Pancakes
three years ago: Italian Tortilla Rollups
four years ago: Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese
five years ago: Cinnamon Carrot Muffins
six years ago: Sweet Potato Waffles

Flourless Monster Cookie Bars (Gluten Free)

  • Servings: 45 small bars
  • Print

from Together as Family

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter (I use regular/not natural peanut butter for baking)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free quick oats (I usually just pulse old-fashioned oats a couple times in the food processor to break them down a bit)
  • 3 cups gluten-free old-fashioned oats
  • 1-2 cups mini M&Ms (pssst: at my grocery story, mini M&Ms found in the candy aisle are cheaper than the “baking bits” M&Ms found in the baking aisle and seem to be the same)
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13×18 inch rimmed baking sheet (half size sheet pan) with parchment or a silpat.

With a stand mixer, beat together brown sugar, sugar, peanut butter, and butter until light and fluffy. Mix in eggs and vanilla, and beat until combined. Mix in baking soda.

Add oats and beat on low to just combine, then use a wooden spoon to mix in most of the M&Ms and mini chocolate chips until well incorporated. You can save a little of each to press on top of the bars if desired.

Turn out dough onto prepared baking sheet. Spread the dough out–it is a little tricky, but i found that greasing my hands or a spatula were the best ways to spread out the dough. Top with reserved M&Ms and mini chocolate chips, pressing them in gently.

Bake for about 17-20 minutes–do not overbake! The edges should be just browned and the middle will look underdone but it will finish baking as it cools. Cool for at least an hour so the bars can set.

Once cool, slice and enjoy! These bars also freeze well.

Note: I am not an expert, but I THINK if you use gluten free oats, this would be a great gluten free dessert recipe. From what I’ve read, most M&Ms (including mini M&Ms) are gluten free. You may need to check labels of other ingredients like the vanilla and peanut butter–the brands I use at home are gluten free but all are not. If you’re gluten free and I’ve overlooked anything, please chime in!

Breakfast, Oatmeal, Recipes

S’mores Oatmeal

Creamy oats topped with your favorite campfire dessert… S’mores! What could be a better way to wake up?

Creamy oats topped with your favorite campfire dessert... S'mores! What could be a better way to wake up?

looove oatmeal for breakfast. No matter the weather, I could eat oatmeal almost everyday (and sometimes I do!). Sometimes I like them cold (yay overnight oats!), and sometimes I like them hot (made with milk and topped with berries and almonds)… and sometimes I like them baked (but not in the pot nine days old #thankyouverymuch).

Creamy oats topped with your favorite campfire dessert... S'mores! What could be a better way to wake up?

Flahavan’s recently sent me a fun little oat-licious care package that included a box of their famed Irish Oatmeal and some packets of quick-cooking steel cut oats. Both were DELICIOUS! There’s something to be said about enjoying oats from Ireland made by a family who has been in the oat business for over 200 years. I think these people know oats! And what Flahavan’s is known for is their flaked oats that cook up fast (only three minutes on the stovetop!) and creamy as can be. Thank you, Flahavan’s, for letting me try your amazing oatmeal! Now I know what all the hype with Irish oats is… and I’ll be seeking them out. If you’re curious, you can find out where to buy them yourself here.

Creamy oats topped with your favorite campfire dessert... S'mores! What could be a better way to wake up?

Naturally, I had to fancy up my first bowl of Flahavan’s oats. Since Ben was out when I made my morning oatmeal, I decided to top my oats with a combo that only I would enjoy… S’MORES! Ben does like s’mores, but s’morifying other recipes isn’t really his jam… oh well, more for me! So I wasn’t basically eating dessert for breakfast, I chose to be intentional about the amounts of marshmallows and chocolate chips I added to my oatmeal. That way I didn’t go overboard! Is this is a bowl of oatmeal I’d eat everyday? No, probably not. But it’s a fun treat! The best part is that these oats cook up in just a few minutes and are the absolute creamiest oats I’ve ever tasted! I think some of that is the marshmallows stirred into the hot oats, but it is also the Irish oats doing their thing. 🙂 Hope you enjoy!!

one year ago: Bacon, Potato, and Egg Casserole
two years ago: Cheesy Taco Muffins
three years ago: Coconut Curry Popcorn
four years ago: Guacamole Salsa
five years ago: Bread Machine Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Icing
six years ago: Sausage Egg Apple Strata

S'mores Oatmeal

  • Servings: 1 but can be easily scaled up
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup Flahavan’s Irish Oatmeal (or other old-fashioned oatmeal)
  • dash of cinnamon
  • dash of vanilla
  • 15 mini marshmallows, divided
  • 1 tablespoon graham cracker crumbs, divided
  • 1 tablespoon sliced, toasted almonds
  • 1 tablespoon mini chocolate chips

Directions:

Combine milk, water, Flahavan’s Oats, and cinnamon in a small saucepan set over medium-high heat. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook until liquid has absorbed, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and half of the marshmallows and half of the graham cracker crumbs. Stir until melted, then transfer to a serving bowl. Top with remaining marshmallows, graham cracker crumbs, almonds, and chocolate chips. Enjoy immediately!

Disclosure: I received samples of Flahavan’s Irish Oatmeal to try. However, I was not required to blog about them or provide positive feedback. I was not compensated in any other way. The thoughts expressed above are entirely my own. Thanks to Flahavan’s for some great oats! 

Mocha Oatmeal Cookies.. rich chocolate, hearty oats, a little coffee flavor... everyone will love these!
Cookies, Desserts, Recipes

Mocha Oatmeal Cookies #FoodBloggerLove

What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than with some delicious, chewy mocha oatmeal cookies and a dose of food blogger love?

Mocha Oatmeal Cookies.. rich chocolate, hearty oats, a little coffee flavor... everyone will love these!

We don’t do very much for Valentine’s Day at our house… we usually make a special meal, but we don’t do extravagant gifts or anything like that. I think our tradition of a special dinner dates back to our first Valentine’s Day together in 2008. It was our third date, but we weren’t “official” yet. Ben actually cooked for me, one of his favorite meals using a mom recipe… and dessert was cookies that his mom had mailed to him. Aww! So since that time, I’ve always associated Valentine’s Day with cookies and a special meal. Therefore, it was only natural that when I signed up for #FoodBloggerLove, a day to celebrate other bloggers, that I would choose to make COOKIES for her! My #FoodBloggerLove assignment this year is Heather at Join Us, Pull Up a Chair. And fortunately, Heather likes cookies. 🙂

Mocha Oatmeal Cookies.. rich chocolate, hearty oats, a little coffee flavor... everyone will love these!

For #FoodBloggerLove, our only “rule” was to celebrate our assigned blogger. You could make one of their recipes, Secret Recipe Club-style (for longtime readers who remember the SRC!), make a Valentine’s Day dish/treat, or make a recipe in the style of your assigned blogger. As you can see, I chose the latter. Heather has tons of great recipes on her blog. I’ve made a few in the past, including this Dijon Balsamic Orzo Salad (yum!). There were quite a few recipes I considered this time, like these Cranberry Orange Muffins, Valentine’s Day Popcorn, or Peanut Butter & Jelly Pretzel Bars. But when I realized that Heather probably has more cookie and cookie bar recipes than anything else on her blog, I realized I HAD to make cookies. I thought about Cranberry Vanilla Shortbread, Dark Chocolate Chip Quinoa Cookies, S’mores Cookies, or Peanut Butter Nutella Swirled Cookies… but ultimately decided to give Heather the gift of a new cookie recipe she just has to try… Mocha Oatmeal Cookies!

Mocha Oatmeal Cookies.. rich chocolate, hearty oats, a little coffee flavor... everyone will love these!

These cookies are just as delicious as they look: deep, dark chocolate (with a little Nutella thrown in for good measure!), a hint of coffee flavor, hearty oats, and the perfect combination of crisp, soft, and chewy to make an addictive cookie that you’ll want to make over and over again for the ones you love! I hope you love them, Heather. You have so many delicious chocolate and cookie recipes on your blog that I thought these would be perfect for you! Even though they are mocha cookies, the flavor isn’t too intense so I think kids would be a-okay with them. Enjoy!

Mocha Oatmeal Cookies.. rich chocolate, hearty oats, a little coffee flavor... everyone will love these!

For more delicious recipes, please check out Heather’s blog at Join Us, Pull Up a Chair. You can also follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

one year ago: Tangy Sweet Potato Hash
two years ago: Spiced Fig Turkey Mini Meatloaf
three years ago: Sweet Potato Pork Quesadillas
four years ago: Chewy Peanut Butter Brownies
five years ago: Caramel S’mores Cups
six years ago: Bacon-Wrapped Feta & Almond Stuffed Dates

Mocha Oatmeal Cookies

  • Servings: 5 dozen cookies
  • Print

from Sunday Supper

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 2 ounces Nutella
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpats and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together melted chocolate, Nutella, and instant coffee. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, oats, baking soda, and salt. With an electric mixer, beat together butter and sugars until fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth. Fold in the chocolate mixture, then stir in the dry ingredients until just combined.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes (or up to 3 days).
Use a small cookie scoop (2 teaspoons) to scoop out the dough onto cookies sheets about 2 inches apart.
Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. Cool for 10 minutes on the pans before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

 

Please check out all the #FoodBloggerLove recipes at the link below!

Interested in joining us next year, or in one of the other blogging events hosted throughout the year? Join our Facebook group!