Easy and delicious, these peanut butter chocolate protein poppers are a fun healthier snack option that taste like dessert!  thepajamachef.com
Breakfast, Granola, Recipes

Peanut Butter Protein Poppers

Easy and delicious, these peanut butter chocolate protein poppers are a fun healthier snack option that taste like dessert! 

Easy and delicious, these peanut butter chocolate protein poppers are a fun healthier snack option that taste like dessert!  thepajamachef.com

It’s Fridayyyy! And I’m sitting in my office, eating lunch and hoping no one comes by and thinks I’m not working when really, it’s my lunch break. Does anyone else ever get like that? Paranoid, I mean… it’s my natural tendency. Ugh. But anyway, I shouldn’t be all “ugh” because it’s almost the weekend!! What does your weekend look like? These days, mine are filled with running, playing Duplo trains with my toddler, reading, going to church, and then MAKING ALL THE THINGS to eat on Sunday afternoons because marathon training makes me hungry.

Easy and delicious, these peanut butter chocolate protein poppers are a fun healthier snack option that taste like dessert!  thepajamachef.com

I’m not a hardcore meal prepper by any means, but I do like to be strategic in my weekend cooking: preparing breakfasts, snacks, and a dinner for Monday night make the whole week go so much smoother. Monday night dinner already made? Sign me up! Making a breakfast dish (baked oatmeal, egg casserole/muffins, or a batch of overnight oats) saves me in the mad rush out the door in the morning. Running at 5 am and trying to be out the door by 6:45 am is a little crazy some days, so having a prepared meal that I can easily heat up or take to go is fantastic. Likewise, I need snacks to enjoy at work. My coworkers and the students in the library probably think I eat all day long, and they wouldn’t be wrong. Haha! I do lots of the usual options: veggies and dip, apples and nut butter, cheese, nuts… but my new favorite thing is homemade granola bars and little bites, like these amazing Peanut Butter Protein Poppers! I know you can buy things like this but there’s just something so fun about homemade treats that are on the healthy side.

Easy and delicious, these peanut butter chocolate protein poppers are a fun healthier snack option that taste like dessert!  thepajamachef.com

These little peanut butter bites are made with protein powder, which isn’t something I consume regularly, but I had some samples to use so that was fun to throw in here. Aside from the protein powder, these bites have pantry staples that I use all the time in the kitchen. Oats! Cinnamon! Peanut butter! Honey! Coconut Oil! They are SO easy to make–just stir everything together, shape into balls, and chill for awhile. Then, melt some dark chocolate and drizzle on top. Presto! Tasty little protein poppers that are almost like dessert. I like to eat a couple of these in the afternoon as a snack, but I think they could also be great before/after a workout or even as a healthy dessert. Hope you guys enjoy!

Easy and delicious, these peanut butter chocolate protein poppers are a fun healthier snack option that taste like dessert!  thepajamachef.com

one year ago: Honey Sweetened Banana Berry Oat Muffins
two years ago: Creamy Pesto Pasta with Broccoli and Chicken
three years ago: Red Cabbage, Raisin, and Apple Slaw
four years ago: Healthy Crumb Topped Zucchini Bread
five years ago: Pumpkin Coconut Soup
six years ago: Chocolate Mousse 
seven years ago: Pumpkin Granola
eight years ago: Pizza Sauce

Peanut Butter Protein Poppers

  • Servings: 20 poppers
  • Print

slightly adapted from Kelly Lynn’s Sweets and Treats

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup protein powder – I used half vanilla, half plain
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter – I used a no-stir natural peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips – for drizzling (optional, but not really!)

Directions:

In a large bowl, stir together oats, protein powder, and cinnamon. In a measuring cup, whisk together peanut butter, honey, and coconut oil. If it is too thick to mix well, microwave it for 15 second bursts until easily stirrable. Pour over oat mixture, then quickly stir to combine. The texture will be similar to cookie dough, and if stirring is difficult, use your (clean!) hands to mix together.

Use a medium cookie scoop (or your hands) to roll into balls. Place on a silicone mat or wax paper lined baking sheet, then refrigerate for at least 20 minutes to set.

When set, drizzle with melted dark chocolate. I like to melt chocolate in the microwave, using 50% power for 15 second bursts. Stir between bursts until chocolate is completely melted. Drizzle chocolate over Peanut Butter Protein Poppers, then return to refrigerator for at least another 10 minutes until chocolate is set.

Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Notes: my protein powder had chia seeds in it, but if yours doesn’t, you could add a little in place of a little protein powder or oats… maybe like a tablespoon or so.

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Breakfast, Oatmeal, Recipes

Fantastical Food Fight: Everyday Stovetop Oatmeal

Everyday stovetop oatmeal… don’t settle for a bowl of cold cereal for breakfast. If you have 10 minutes, you can have a delicious, hot bowl of oatmeal. And it’s practically hands free, so you can make it while you’re getting the rest of your day in order. 

Everyday stovetop oatmeal... don't settle for a bowl of cold cereal for breakfast. If you have 10 minutes, you can have a delicious, hot bowl of oatmeal. And it's practically hands free, so you can make it while you're getting the rest of your day in order.  #FantasticalFoodFight

When I saw that the Fantastical Food Fight theme for January was oatmeal, I may have squealed. You see, I love oatmeal SO much. I agonized over what I was going to make for this fun event. A new baked oatmeal recipe? A new overnight oat recipe? Finally try my hand at savory oats (that my husband thinks sound disgusting)? But then I talked some sense into myself. Don’t make it complicated! Many days I just make a bowl of oatmeal on the stovetop. And I’ve never shared my method on the blog! Perfecttt!

Everyday stovetop oatmeal... don't settle for a bowl of cold cereal for breakfast. If you have 10 minutes, you can have a delicious, hot bowl of oatmeal. And it's practically hands free, so you can make it while you're getting the rest of your day in order.  #FantasticalFoodFight

I know you can make oatmeal in the microwave, or you can use those instant oat packets, or even use those fancy single serving tubs. There’s a time and a place for all of those (I keep instant oats at work for emergencies, for instance). But most days? I make a quick batch of my everyday stovetop oats for breakfast. My son LOVES oatmeal mornings and so do I. What I love about these oats is how easy they are–literally dump, stir, cook, forget it (set a timer)! I let these oats cook on my stove when I’m running around the house getting ready in the morning… and they are so simple and pretty much foolproof. I also love how creamy they are! Half milk, half water is my preferred liquid ratio for taste and creaminess. I also add some chia seeds and the consistency is so great! I know it’s weird to say oatmeal is luxurious, but these oats are! Lastly, I love how these oats are the perfect vehicle for your favorite toppings. You can find an ultimate list of oatmeal toppings in the recipe notes below, but for starters… here are some of my favorite combos. Fresh blueberries, sliced almonds, and a touch of brown sugar. S’mores. Peanut butter and strawberry jam. Sliced bananas, sliced almonds, toasted coconut, and maple syrup. Fresh strawberries, almond butter, and honey. The possibilities are endless! The toppings in the pictures are diced Bosc pear, sliced almonds, and dark brown sugar. SO good. Enjoy, friends! Hope you hop on my oatmeal bandwagon. 🙂

Everyday stovetop oatmeal... don't settle for a bowl of cold cereal for breakfast. If you have 10 minutes, you can have a delicious, hot bowl of oatmeal. And it's practically hands free, so you can make it while you're getting the rest of your day in order.  #FantasticalFoodFight

one year ago: Annette’s Layered Chicken Enchiladas
two years ago: Amish Cheeseburger Soup
three years ago: Healthy Tropical Banana Muffins
four years ago: Cranberry Steel Cut Oats with Caramelized Pears
five years ago: Mexican Cornbread Pot Pie
six years ago: Lasagna Soup
seven years ago: Whole-Wheat Corn Bread

Find more oatmeal recipes at the link below!

Everyday Stovetop Oatmeal

  • Servings: 1
  • Print
Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup milk*
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds**
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • any desired toppings***

Directions:

Combine milk, water, oats, chia seeds, and cinnamon in a small saucepan. Stir to combine.

Cook over medium heat, uncovered, for 7-10 minutes. Do NOT stir… resist the urge! Stir only when the oatmeal starts bubbling, usually about 6-7 minutes on my stove. Allow to cook until oatmeal reaches desired consistency.

Remove from heat and immediately transfer oatmeal to a bowl. Add desired toppings and enjoy!

Notes:

Recipe as written serves one adult. You can scale it up to serve more, or scale it down if the serving size is too big for you. When I’m making some for my toddler as well, I add an extra 2 tablespoons oats, 2 tablespoons milk, and 2 tablespoons water. It doesn’t sound like much but makes enough for him (and he probably gets a little of my portion as well).

*MILK… I usually have both dairy milk and almond milk in my fridge, so this oatmeal works with either. I usually use skim or 2% milk OR unsweetened regular or vanilla almond milk. Any kind of milk should be fine.

**CHIA…The chia seeds help thicken the oatmeal and give it a great consistency. A similar consistency can be achieved with flax or hemp seeds, but I wouldn’t substitute nuts in this step. But you can add them as a topping.

***TOPPINGS…

  • Fruit: I prefer fresh fruit instead of frozen in my oatmeal. Frozen blueberries or cranberries are the exception–just add them at the beginning of the cooking time. My favorite fruits for oatmeal include: any berries, sliced bananas, diced peaches, diced pears, and grated apples. Sauteed apples are good too, but usually too time consuming for busy mornings.
  • Dried fruit: Any kind! Soak them in the cooked oatmeal before eating. It’ll change your life!!
  • Jam: Any kind! Usually when I add jam I find I don’t need other sweetener.
  • Nuts: Any kind! Sliced almonds are my go-to.
  • Nut butter: Lots of people love nut butter in oatmeal… I personally am a little iffy on it because it feels too heavy. I can occasionally do a little peanut or almond butter with sliced bananas, or with jam for a pb&j twist.
  • Coconut: Bonus points if it’s toasted… sometimes I toast extra for a recipe so I can have some on hand for oatmeal.
  • Chocolate chips: A fun indulgence… usually means I don’t need any other sweetener, or just a tiny bit.
  • Sweetener: I like about 1 teaspoon of brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup in my oatmeal. My husband uses more like a tablespoon, and I don’t give our toddler any most days. You do you!

Appetizers, Recipes

Sweet and Spicy Pretzel Snack Mix

Sweet and spicy snack mix--a delightful blend of pretzels, honey roasted peanuts, cheese crackers, cereal, and dried cranberries. Everyone will love this addictive snack!

Sweet and spicy snack mix–a delightful blend of pretzels, honey roasted peanuts, cheese crackers, cereal, and dried cranberries. Everyone will love this addictive snack!

Sweet and spicy snack mix--a delightful blend of pretzels, honey roasted peanuts, cheese crackers, cereal, and dried cranberries. Everyone will love this addictive snack!

As much as I would have liked to, this is just not the year to make alllll the Christmas treats. Traveling, sickness, having a toddler, working… spending hours and hours making a bunch of Christmas recipes just wasn’t going to happen this year. And while that IS a bummer, I’m trying to make the best of it and maybe even make some of my faves after Christmas or at other times of the year. One of the ways I decided to “make the best of it” was to use a couple gift-giving occasions to try new recipes! I chose super easy recipes to make this as low-stress as possible.

Sweet and spicy snack mix--a delightful blend of pretzels, honey roasted peanuts, cheese crackers, cereal, and dried cranberries. Everyone will love this addictive snack!

As some of you may know, I’m an academic librarian. We have great student workers in our library, and we like to celebrate them when we can. For their Christmas gift this year, I was tempted to buy some candy and call it a day, but instead I bought a few easy ingredients at Aldi (my new grocery love! Look for more about Aldi in a new meal planning series I’m starting on my blog in 2018!!) to whip up this easy snack mix. It’s similar to Chex Mix, but with a great sweet and spicy kick.

Sweet and spicy snack mix--a delightful blend of pretzels, honey roasted peanuts, cheese crackers, cereal, and dried cranberries. Everyone will love this addictive snack!

My son and I made this together on a rainy Sunday afternoon and it took maybe 10 minutes to mix and measure everything (and that’s with a toddler helping!!). The vast majority of the hour-long prep time is for baking. If you’re packaging this up in cute little treat bags like I did, you’ll need to allow extra time for cooling. But if not, this is a super quick snack that is fun to make and even better to eat. It’s a little weird but I love eating hot snack mix, fresh out of the oven. No idea why, because who eats hot cereal, pretzels, or crackers? Ha. Ben and I were so sad to give almost all of this away but at least it’s easy enough to make another batch. I might have to do that again soon! Enjoy! 🙂

one year ago: Hassleback Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Cranberries, Pears, and Goat Cheese
two years ago: Cranberry Crumb Bars
three years ago: Art Smith’s Macaroni and Cheese
four years ago: Cranberry-Pistachio Citrus Butter Cookies
five years ago: Streuseled Cran-Apple Sweet Potato Casserole
six years ago: Cranberry-Pineapple Sauce
seven years ago: Peppermint Sugar Cookies

Sweet and Spicy Pretzel Snack Mix

  • Servings: 24 (1-1.5 cup) servings
  • Print

adapted from The Lean Green Bean

Ingredients:

  • 16 ounce bag mini pretzels
  • 16 ounces honey roasted peanuts
  • 1 box cheese crackers (like Cheez-Its, approximately 13.7 ounces)
  • 6 cups rice or corn Chex cereal (about half of a 12-13 ounce box)
  • 2 cups Cheerios cereal
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup canola oil (or an extra 4 tablespoons butter)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 cups dried cranberries

Directions:

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

In a large roasting pan, combine pretzels, peanuts, cheese crackers, Chex, and Cheerios.

In a small bowl, whisk together melted butter, canola oil, and honey. Stir in brown sugar, paprika, cayenne, and garlic powder.

Pour over pretzel mixture, and stir until evenly coated.

Bake for 45 minutes, tossing every 15 minutes.

Allow to cool completely before stirring in dried cranberries.

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.

Easy banana berry oat muffins, sweetened with honey, are a great breakfast or snack. Little ones love these and so do big people too! #fantasticalfoodfight #honey #healthy #toddlerrecipes
Breakfast, Muffins, Recipes

Honey Sweetened Banana Berry Oat Muffins

Easy banana berry oat muffins, sweetened with honey, are a great breakfast or snack. Little ones love these and so do big people too!

Easy banana berry oat muffins, sweetened with honey, are a great breakfast or snack. Little ones love these and so do big people too! #fantasticalfoodfight #honey #healthy #toddlerrecipes

When my son turned one, I celebrated. Obviously partially because we survived the first year… but also because fiiiinally he could have honey! I love honey! Whether I’m adding a bit to my bowl of oatmeal in the morning, or baking with it… I love it! It feels healthier than regular ‘ole white sugar, and it has a distinct and delicious taste. Even though honey isn’t technically “healthier,” it does have some advantages over sugar, especially in terms of a sweeter taste (so you can use less), antioxidants, and the like… If you can find local, raw honey, it’s even better!

Easy banana berry oat muffins, sweetened with honey, are a great breakfast or snack. Little ones love these and so do big people too! #fantasticalfoodfight #honey #healthy #toddlerrecipes

If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you may know that I LOVE muffins. I haven’t baked muffins as often in the past year because I haven’t had as much free time (babies take time, did ya know?), but lately I’ve been getting back into my baking ways. My son is only sixteen months old but he eats SO. MUCH. FOOD. He’s always hanging on my leg begging for “mum” (yum), and it’s fun to make homemade treats for him to enjoy.

These muffins have been part of my son’s breakfast and snack rotation for a solid three months. I’ve made several batches and he just doesn’t tire of them! Since they’re healthy–packed full of oats, banana, and berries–I honestly really don’t mind. I usually pack one up for breakfast at daycare each morning. Really, I should say second breakfast, since the little guy nurses and eats some of my breakfast most mornings as well. Ha. Growing boys need to eat, I suppose. But it’s great to have a healthy, go-to, sure to please breakfast option that I can pull from the freezer to send to daycare. It makes drop-off smoother if I can distract him with food. #truth

Recently when I made a batch of these muffins, I took the time to take photos BEFORE I froze them all so I could share the recipe with you! Whether you want to make these muffins for your kiddos or just for you, I’m sure you’ll enjoy them. They really are very lightly sweetened but I love that… you can taste everything in these muffins, not just a bunch of sugar. Bananas, berries, nutty oats, and honey… it’s all there, it’s all good (and good FOR you)! Hope you enjoy!

Easy banana berry oat muffins, sweetened with honey, are a great breakfast or snack. Little ones love these and so do big people too! #fantasticalfoodfight #honey #healthy #toddlerrecipes

Looking for more recipes with honey? Well, you’re in the right place–honey is the theme of today’s Fantastical Food Fight so check out the link below for more honey recipes. 🙂

one year ago: Creamy Pesto Pasta with Broccoli and Chicken
two years ago: Red Cabbage, Raisin, and Apple Slaw
three years ago: Healthy Crumb Topped Zucchini Bread
four years ago: Pumpkin Coconut Soup
five years ago: Chocolate Mousse 
six years ago: Pumpkin Granola
seven years ago: Pizza Sauce

Honey Sweetened Banana Berry Oat Muffins

  • Servings: 12
  • Print

from Bowl of Delicious

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (I’ve also used 3/4 cup whole wheat flour and 3/4 cup all purpose flour, and the original recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour… so you have options!)
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries (or other berries)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper or silicone liners, or grease well.

In a large bowl, whisk together coconut oil, honey, yogurt, and vanilla until well combined. Fold in mashed banana.

In a separate bowl, stir together flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Slowly add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and gently mix together. Do not overmix! Fold in blueberries.

Divide batter between muffin wells, then bake for 18-25 minutes or until just golden brown on the top. Mine are usually done in about 19-20 minutes. After cooling for a few minutes in the tin, invert on a cooling rack to cool completely.

Notes:

Original recipe can be prepared using a stand mixer as well.

I make these muffins using silicone liners and they usually make about 24, instead of the 12 this recipe says it yields. I think they’re a bit smaller though.

Store in an airtight container or ziptop bag on the counter for up to 3 days. These muffins freeze beautifully too.