Grab-And-Go Snack – Jif Whips Peanut Butter Cookies

Spending an entire weekend at home sounds like absolute bliss. That is exactly why we decided to have a “Staycation” right here at home last weekend. After a crazy busy Summer and a whirlwind first week of school, we were all looking forward to some downtime relaxing together and getting recharged for another full week.

Since I had already gone to Walmart to get all of my snacks, I wanted to get creative in what we had to snack on to keep the weekend fun even though we weren’t really doing anything. The plan was “to have no plan” – and that is just exactly what we did.

Plus, I wanted to check out the new Jif Whips which has 25% less calories and fat than normal Jif peanut butter. A few minutes on Pinterest and I knew exactly what I would make… Bear-y Delicious Peanut Butter Cookies!

jif peanut butter cookies

These cookies are absolutely delicious – easy to make and all with ingredients you probably have at home! (If not – grab them from Walmart while you are there!) All you need is one cup of Creamy Jif Peanut Butter Whips, one tub of Jif To Go Chocolate Silk, one egg, one sup of sugar, and a few chocolate chips! The kiddos can even help!

Mix together the egg, sugar, and Creamy Jif Whips. With floured hands, roll dough in to three balls – one large and two small. Place them on a lined cookie sheet and push down just a little bit – making sure to “attach” the ears with the dough.

jif peanut butter bear cookies

Bake at 350* for 12-15 minutes – or until done and edges begin to brown– being careful not to burn. Let cookies cool completely.

Spoon one tub of Jif To Go Chocolate Silk in to a ziplock bag and snip the corner to make piping the ears and muzzle easier. Add chocolate chips for the eyes – dipping in to the Chocolate Silk to make it them stick – and one in the center for the nose! Voila!

peanut butter bear

I fell in love with the Jif Whips – while I was baking the cookies Midge and I dipped celery in to the tub for a snack. Delicious! I loved how light and fluffy plus the tub was great to just dip right out of – we didn’t need to dirty up any more dishes… which is nice when you are on “vacation”… even if it is a “Staycation.”

By the time Monday rolled around we all felt refreshed and ready to tackle another week. Plus we had some Jif To Go left over – so the girls happily tossed them into their lunch boxes for school. It was an absolutely perfect weekend.

jif whips

Have you ever had a Staycation at home?

Super Simple Cauliflower Rice Recipe

Since I completed my first Whole30 over one year ago, I have tried to stay compliant about 80% of the time. It’s so true that I feel better when I eat better – and while I do indulge in some sweets sometimes, I have kept to most of the whole30 rules. One of my favorite dishes that I discovered while doing whole30 was Cauliflower Rice – something that has become just a staple around here as all four of us absolutely love it with just about everything. The only thing I didn’t like was the mess that it made in my kitchen, so I was delighted when my friend and Independent Pampered Chef Consultant Naomi Donaldson told me about their brand new Veggie Strip Maker! I have only had it a couple weeks – and it is already becoming one of the most used tools in my kitchen!

whole30 cauliflower rice

The Pampered Chef Veggie Strip Maker is made of a durable plastic and has no blades. It is light weight and has little non-slip “feet” to hold it in place making it a perfect addition to any kitchen. You can make easy vegetable “noodles” from things like zucchini and carrots – but I love it for making my cauliflower rice in a flash – without the crazy mess that my big ole food processor made! You simply slip it on top of your favorite bowl (it even has a little notch on the side to hold it secure) and go back and forth like a cheese grater! In a matter of just a few minutes I had the entire head of cauliflower grated and ready to cook. You can even toss the Veggie Strip Maker in the dishwasher for even easier clean up!

pampered chef veggie strip maker

My recipe is so simple I am not even sure you can call it a real “recipe” – but that is why I love it. Super easy, super quick, and super delicious. And compliant. There are only three ingredients – none of which I actually measure. All you need is your head of fresh cauliflower, extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil, and garlic salt. Voila! In just a few minutes you have the perfect side dish for any meal – it goes great with everything!

veggie strip maker pampered chef

To cook your cauliflower “rice” heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add in your grated cauliflower and about a teaspoon of garlic salt and let cook – flipping often to prevent sticking. If it starts to stick you can add in a little more oil – the cauliflower will absorb it as it cooks down and gets soft. Once the cauliflower is done it will begin to brown and caramelize to absolute perfection.

cauliflower rice

Cauliflower “rice” is a great substitute for any rice dish and is lower in calories and carbs and higher in dietary fiber. Cauliflower is also higher in Vitamin C and calcium – plus I think it has way more flavor that boring old rice. You can change up the flavor by adding in cilantro and lime juice or add in a seasoning like Tony Sacheries for a Cajun flare. You can even use this cauliflower to make your own compliant whole30 sushi! Before whole30 I never ate cauliflower – but now we eat it several times a week because it is so versatile. And with adding the new Veggie Strip Maker from Pampered Chef to my kitchen – it is even easier to prepare! Gotta love that!

Check out Naomi’s website to purchase the Veggie Strip Maker with their signature Season’s Best cook book – available now only for a limited time!

One Pot Meal Ideas for Back to School

When I took on becoming a POUNDFit Instructor, I knew I was going to have a few evenings a week where I would either have to make dinner super quick or leave Mike to handle the dinner preparations. Since I am used to being at home at night, most of my usual meals are… well… pretty involved. Lots of ingredients, lots of preparation, and then lots of time to actually cook. With the girls heading back to school, Mike working more with our rental properties, and me picking up more and more classes every week – I knew I had to find some quick and tasty solutions for how to get dinner on the table – fast!

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Walmart has an impressive list of One Pot Meals Recipes, made with some of your favorite brands. Things like Knorr® Creamy Bruschetta Chicken and Knorr® Curried Chicken & Vegetable Skillet require only a few ingredients, and cook up an entire meal for your family in minutes – all in one pot! Walmart believes we should spend more time at the table and less time in the kitchen – cooking or cleaning – so their recipes are quick and easy both in prep and cleanup.

This week I was especially pressed for time – teaching three classes in one day. Not only was I pressed for time – but I was also starving. I am not sure how many calories I burned, but I was ready to chew on the steering wheel as I swung through Walmart to grab what I needed for dinner in a hurry. I was in the mood for Mexican so I got everything for the Knorr® Cheesy Fiesta Chicken – except instead of getting canned chicken, I grabbed a freshly cooked rotisserie chicken from the Walmart Deli. I can not tell you how amazing my car smelled on the way home.

knorr rice sides

The recipe was super easy – I got the Knorr® Rice Sides going in the skillet while I cut up the chicken. In maybe ten minutes from the time I walked through my front door, we were sitting down to eat a delicious meal. And – to make it even better – I fed all four of us for less than ten dollars! We even had a serving leftover for lunch the next day!! Talk about a win! Look at this cheesy noodly goodness!

knorr rice sides one pot meals

I have to admit I was a little blown away by how much flavor this dish had – without me having to add any additional seasonings. The Knorr® Rice Sides Chicken Flavor was perfect. And it was so super simple – I would be ok with even The Teen handling this meal on her own.

I am glad I picked up several of the Knorr® Rice and Pasta Sides from Walmart so I can check out some of the other One Pot Meals they have on their site. You can click here to check out all of the Knorr One Pot Meals at Walmart, and pick up everything you need all in one place!

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*Sponsored post by Lunchbox, all opinions are 100% my own.

Chicken Marsala Pasta Recipe

When I first began on Pinterest, I spent what felt like 16 hours a day pinning recipes. At that time I truly did not know how to cook, and I was certain that Pinterest was going to change all of that. Thankfully it did, and I have had huge successes like my Cowboy Casserole (that has also been repinned over ten thousand times) and my Simple Chicken Pot Pie which continues to be a family favorite. This week though I wanted to stretch my culinary skills and try something a little more complex. I looked back over my pins from the early days and found one for a Chicken Marsala Pasta… except that the link was incorrect. :( So I did a little more research, got the “jist” of the recipe, and headed off to the kitchen with the goal to to concoct a masterpiece… which is exactly what I did.

chicken marsala pasta 3

Chicken Marsala Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 can sliced mushrooms
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups marsala cooking wine
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 box penne pasta

Begin by cooking penne pasta according to package directions. Set aside when finished. In a large skillet, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat to medium heat. Cook chicken completely until lightly browned on all sides. Move chicken to a plate and set aside. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to skillet and add diced onion, mushrooms, and minced garlic. Cook until onion is translucent and soft – about 5-7 minutes – stirring often to prevent sticking. Place chicken back in to skillet. Add in marsala, chicken broth, and whipping cream and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to medium and let simmer until sauce begins to thicken. Add in cooked pasta and stir gently. Let mixture continue to simmer about five minutes – stirring often. Finish by stirring in parmesan cheese and removing from heat. Let sit five minutes before serving. Voila!

chicken marsala pasta

Baby Shower Ideas: Milano Cookie Babies

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Remember a few weeks ago when I hosted the #PampersFirsts Baby Shower with some of my close girlfriends and their little bundles? We had an absolute blast and it was by far one of the most fun parties I have ever thrown. I went completely overboard on the food and decorations – but hey, it’s what you when its your besties having babies!

baby shower

The biggest hit of the day – both in cuteness and in taste – were the Milano Cookie Babies. They were super simple to make and were absolutely delicious. All you need is four ingredients and a little bit of time to make a cute and memorable snack! In fact – these were gone so quickly I did not get any great pictures – so please forgive that!

milano cookie babies

Milano Cookie Babies

Ingredients:

  • Carton of Milano Cookies – either size works great! I used the minis.
  • White candy melts
  • Food coloring
  • Chocolate decorators icing

Start by melting your white candy melts in a large bowl. You want it to be deep enough that you can dip your cookies in to make the “diapers.” Gently dip each cookie about 1/3 in to the white candy melts and place on a foil or wax paper lined cookie sheet to let cool completely.

milano cookie babies for baby shower

While they are cooling, add a few drops of food coloring to the white candy melts to make the “hats” of your choice. Since we had both boy and girl babies at this party (well… one little girl who arrived 48 hours later) I mixed up a bowl of pink and blue. When the cookies have cooled completely, gently dip the other end of the cookies in to the colored candy melts and place back on the cookie sheet to cool.

cookies

When candy melt has completely cooled, pipe on two little dots for eyes using the chocolate icing and voila!

milano cookie babies baby shower food