If you love pb&j’s you’ll love these bars! They are so yummy as a snack, for breakfast, or even dessert. They take minutes to assemble making this recipe one of the easiest. You simply make the dough, press half of it on a loaf pan, top it with your favorite jam, then top it off with peanuts/ desired toppings, and then more of the dough on top. It is unreal as to how addicting and delicious these are! Double the recipe if you’re planning on feeding a crowd. You can also freeze these in an airtight container and have them for weeks.
First, I want to start off by saying that I am no health professional by any means, and If you’re uncertain about what you should do (in terms of exercising while pregnant)… I recommend talking to a health care professional for some clarity. These are things that I do, because they personally work for me and hopefully motivate you too 🙂
Yes, there’s a cap as to what women can do when they’re pregnant, but there’s also no “one size fits all.” This is my very first pregnancy, and I’ve always been an active girl. Especially in the last five to six years of my life when my now husband introduced me to mountain biking.
Throughout my pregnancy journey, I’ve learned to really listen to my body, and take it easy as needed for me and baby. I’ve vowed to stick to the trainer and walking if I ever feel like I’m unbalanced on my bike but that hasn’t happened at all yet. I really think this is because I ride every week and the adjustment is gradual. Staying active and healthy has been crucial for my mental and physical well being. I feel like it’s something that a lot of pregnant women can benefit from during and after labor/ postpartum. Here are a couple of things I feel have helped (because I know that ‘will power’ and motivation can be a little hard when you’re pregnant). And some of these can also apply to you even if you’re not pregnant ;).
Drinking lots of water and stay hydrated:
I love starting my day with a big glass of cold water. It’s no news that drinking water upon waking up is super beneficial! Think about it, you’ve spent all night without hydrating your body…it’s THIRSTY. So the first thing I do when I wake up is drink a big mason jar full of cold water and pair it with my prenatal vitamins. I want to keep me and baby as hydrated as possible. I use a large mason jar throughout the day and refill it so that I’m constantly drinking it. I aim to drink as close to a gallon a day, and sometimes it’s more (especially while exercising).
I tend to stay away from artificial sweeteners. Water is my main source of hydration. Pre-pregnancy (In my early 20’s) I used to drink cranberry juice, orange juice with a ton of sugar, soda, or pre-made smoothies. I was pretty overweight. Once I stopped depending on sugary drinks, I noticed a HUGE difference In my body. I also stopped craving it, and now it’s too sweet for me. Small steps go a very long way!
I cut caffeine cold turkey during my first trimester. I just didn’t think it was worth the ‘miscarriage risk’. I noticed that I was super tired all throughout my day. I would take two hour naps constantly, and really struggle to get anything done. My energy was little to none, and that’s so not like me! During the second trimester, I reintroduced a cup a day and I was feeling much much better, actually energized to move around and motivated to get a bike ride in. I really really miss my two to three cups a day but I find that one cup is better than none. I also drink tea if I feel like I want something to sip on slowly and It also seems to help.
Pregnancy really changes your taste buds though…it’s WILD so I don’t crave my old favorite teas unfortunately. I’ve really liked orange, and ginger teas though!
Staying active every day:
I touched up a little bit on this topic above but whether it’s walking two to three miles, walking my dog, a light jog, or riding my bike. I like to keep my body moving. It really helps me sleep at night, helps my mental and physical health, and helps keep things regular. Staying active everyday also helps during labor, and in recovery after baby is born.
My weight gain is gradual so far, and In the normal range. I really think that staying active is a huge part of it. Food aversions suck…one day you wake up and hate what you used to LOVE. It does fade away though, at least for the most part. I still can’t do the smell of cooked chicken, eggplant hummus is still meh, and I don’t eat salads everyday like I used to.
Spending some time outside
Studies show that adding a little sunshine to your life by getting outside can relieve anxiety, and reduce depression along with other benefits! I’ve worked from home for the past year, and it’s easy enough for me to just stay in all day…but I really make it a point to enjoy the outdoors at least once a day. If I’m not riding my bike that morning, I’m taking a long walk and listening to a podcast, chillin’ in my backyard eating my lunch or bathing in the sun for a few minutes, or walking my dog.
My point is, for you to try to get some time outside everyday…it will help boost your mood 🙂
Incorporating vegetables into every meal
I’m not eating salads everyday (like I used to) throughout my pregnancy. It’s way harder than I thought because my idea of a tasty salad is not what it used to be….now, in order to eat a “good” salad…it needs cheese and tons of dressing. However, I still try to incorporate my old favorites into my diet like my Creamy Spinach Salad, my Harvest Salad or my Kale Salad with a twist by creating “healthier dressings.”
If I’m not eating a salad- I eat a scramble with tons of spinach and light mozzarella on top, or a wrap with tons of fresh veggies and spinach, soup with veggies, or pasta with veggies like broccoli, green beans, spinach etc. I also enjoy adding veggies to my enchiladas, or buddha bowls! Yum!
I even like to incorporate veggies when I’m having a snack. For instance, after a quick morning bike ride I’ll refuel with my scramble with veggies and a carb like toast with peanut butter. I am a huge fan of avocado muffins, spinach pancakes or spinach muffins as well. I also love smoothies when it’s super hot outside or a snack plate with apples, peanut butter, celery, and crackers for a savory sweet combo. You can also add cucumbers, hummus, or carrots too!
Listening to positive podcasts
I admit, I’m not reading as much as I used to. I think it’s partly because I haven’t made it as part of my routine. I’ve found that a great alternative is listening to podcasts. I find them super convenient when I’m going for a long walk in the morning, or getting some work done around the house. Some podcasts are super informative and I feel like I’m learning something new every week. I highly recommend listening to something that maybe feels relevant for you. Nowadays, there are so many topics you can choose from.
As of lately, I’ve been listening to Sonya Looney’s motherhood series because it kind of resonates with my pregnancy and fitness journey. I find her podcasts inspiring, and motivating as a pregnant cyclist. She also touches up on other things like mindset for athletes, nutritional tips, boosting confidence, training the pelvic floor, training in general and so much more!
I hope you really enjoyed this blog about keeping things healthy! I highly encourage you to check out other healthy recipes, and my meal prepping blog post.
Soft and pillow-y right out of the oven. Perfectly sweet with the touch of honey, and that buttery biscuit-y bite. These cookies/biscuits are delicious AND addicting. Beware….your children, husband, and you won’t be able to stop once you have a bite.
1/2 cup or 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg
2/3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease it really well.
Gather your dry ingredients (flour, almond flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg) into a mixing bowl, and mix until combined.
Add in the honey and egg, and then slowly incorporate the cool melted butter and mix everything together.
Last, add the semisweet chocolate chips, but reserve a few to top at the end.
With a cookie scoop or 2 tablespoons drop the biscuit/cookie dough into your prepped baking sheet then top each with the reserved chocolate chips.
Bake for 12 minutes, then bang the baking sheet on the counter just a little bit so the cookies flatten out a little bit. They will still be a little puffy and that’s okay. They are like buttery biscuit cookies…so good!
*Store these at room temperature 4 days or in the freezer for a couple months in an airtight bag*
These bars are one of a kind. Every bite is a cake, pie, and a bar all in one. It has three layers of textures and flavors that are sure to pair well with a cup of tea or coffee!
It almost reminds me of a Boston Cream Pie, but it doesn’t have a cream filling. Instead, it has a layer of saltine buttery crust, fluffy peanut butter cake, and a nice thick layer of chocolate ganache. YUM!
1/2 pack of saltine crackers (can use other crackers but I find these to be so delicious with the salty and sweet combo)
5 tablespoons of melted unsalted butter
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
For the peanut butter cake layer-
1/4 cup slightly melted peanut butter
1 large egg
1/3 cup pancake mix ( I used a buttermilk mix)
1/3 cup whole milk or half/half
1 scoop vanilla whey protein (about 3 tablespoons)
For the chocolate ganache layer-
1 tablespoon melted butter or coconut oil
1/2 pack of semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup milk + more as needed
Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a loaf pan with nonstick or butter, then line with parchment paper. I usually cut about two rectangles and lay them across each other. It doesn’t have to cover the entire pan just each side will do (this will help you pull it out at the end).
Next, grind your saltine crackers and mix in with the melted butter and sugar. Once this is all combined, pack it down into the prepared loaf pan and set aside.
Mix all of the cake ingredients together- the slightly melted peanut butter ( I place it in a microwave safe dish and heat about 15-20 seconds) then I add with the pancake mix, milk, protein, and slowly add in the egg. Mix until just combined then pour on top of the saltine crust.
Bake for 21-23 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle. Let the cake/ crust cool at least 15 minutes.
Make your chocolate ganache by melting chocolate chips with butter/oil, and milk under a double broiler or in the microwave until it melts. It may be slightly thick and that’s perfect! Place it in the fridge until you’re ready to pour it on top of the cake/crust. It’s okay if the cake is slightly warm as this will help spread the chocolate!
Once ready, pour the ganache on top of the cake, spread around evenly, then place it in the fridge for at least 1-2 hours until the chocolate is pretty set (you can also place it in the freezer for 45 minutes).
Run a knife along the edges of the entire cake and then pull out with the parchment paper and place on top of a cutting board.
Cut the bars into six equal slices. Place it in an airtight container in the fridge, they keep well when they’re cold then voila!
**These store well in the refrigerated 4-5 days or in the freezer for about a month if it’s stored tightly with wrap**
Mix the dry ingredients. Whisk the flour, baking powder, cream of tartar, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until completely smooth and creamy. Add the egg, vanilla, ground nutmeg and and beat on high speed until combined. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl and beat again as needed to combine.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low until combined. Dough will be soft. If the dough seems too soft and sticky for rolling, add 1 more Tablespoon of flour.
Divide the dough into 2 equal parts. Place each portion onto a piece of lightly floured parchment paper or a lightly floured silicone baking mat. With a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness. Use more flour if the dough seems too sticky. The rolled-out dough can be any shape, as long as it is evenly 1/4-inch thick.
Lightly dust one of the rolled-out doughs with flour. Place a piece of parchment on top. (This prevents sticking.) Place the 2nd rolled-out dough on top. Cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, then refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours.
Once chilled, preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line 2-3 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Carefully remove the top dough piece from the refrigerator. If it’s sticking to the bottom, run your hand under it to help remove it– see me do this in the video above. Using a cookie cutter, cut the dough into shapes. Re-roll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all is used. Repeat with 2nd piece of dough.
Arrange cookies on baking sheets 3 inches apart. Bake for 11-12 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Allow cookies to cool completely before decorating.
Make the icing: Mix all of the ingredients together, divide into bowls or piping bags with different colors if you want to make colorful glazed cookies!
Decorate the cooled cookies with the glaze.
Enjoy cookies right away or wait until the icing sets to serve them. Plain or decorated cookies stay soft for about 5 days when covered tightly at room temperature. You can also refrigerate up to 10 days.
Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease three 9-inch cake pans, line with parchment paper, then grease the parchment paper. Parchment paper helps the cakes release from the pans.
Mix the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and set aside.
Make your buttermilk if you don’t have a store-bought one on hand – I mixed the milk with apple cider vinegar and let it sit for 5 minutes.
Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract on high speed until combined. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients just until combined. With the mixer still running on low, add the buttermilk, lemon zest, and lemon juice and mix just until combined. You may need to whisk it all by hand to make sure there are no lumps at the bottom of the bowl.
Pour the batter evenly into the cake pans. Bake for around 21-26 minutes or until the cakes are completely baked through. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, it’s done.
Allow the cakes to cool completely in the pans set on a wire rack. The cakes must be completely cool before frosting and assembling.
Make the frosting: In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy. Add the cream cheese and beat until completely smooth and combined. Add confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla extract with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat 2-3 minutes. Add more confectioners’ sugar if the frosting is too thin, more lemon juice if frosting is too thick, or add a pinch of salt if the frosting is too sweet.
Assemble and decorate:Using a large serrated knife, slice a thin layer off the tops of the cakes to create a flat surface. Discard (or crumble over ice cream!). Place 1 cake layer on your cake stand, or serving plate. Evenly cover the top with frosting. Top with 2nd cake layer and evenly cover the top with frosting. Top with the third cake layer. Spread the remaining frosting all over the top and sides.
I love decorating with extra lemon shavings or keeping it simple with strawberry slices and fresh mint. It makes for a beautiful cake!
*You can substitute buttermilk for the milk+ apple cider vinegar mix. Use 1 cup of buttermilk instead.*
1 store-bought cauliflower pizza crust (I used the one from Trader Joes but you can use any crust)
1/3 cup store-bought hummus (I used the Spicy Hummus Dip from Trader Joes)
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
big handful of arugula
1 tomato cut into slices
Additional toppings- chicken, sausage, pickled jalapenos, roasted corn etc. these are all delicious!
• Preheat the oven to 450. Line your pizza pan with parchment or nonstick spray. Bake your cauliflower crust per the instructions on the box. For the TJ’s one it says 12 minutes face up, then I do 10 minutes on the other side.
• Prepare your toppings! I start with the hummus and spread it around, then the cheese, tomatoes, veggies, protein, then arugula.
• Pop it in the oven for about 5 minutes or until cheese melts.
• Let it cool slightly then cut into 6 equal slices with a pizza cutter.
Combine the flour, salt and mix. Add the cold butter cut into cubes and distribute throughout the flour mixture. You don’t need to mix it too much.
Add the cold water then mix everything just until you form your dough. It might be a little sticky.
Grab a large sheet of plastic wrap and pour the dough mixture on top and press the dough with the plastic wrap to fold it into a tight square.
Wrap it well then let it chill at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.
Unwrap it and put the dough on a floured surface, then roll it out into a rectangle with a floured rolling pin. Fold it like a newspaper, turn it clock wise then roll it out again. Repeat this process 3-4 times. This allows you to really get those buttery flakey layers.
Wrap the dough with a large sheet of plastic wrap again and chill it in the refrigerator another 2-4 hours or overnight for the best results.
For the cream cheese filling:
Combine your egg yolk, softened cream cheese until nice and smooth. Add the sugar, and vanilla extract and mix.
Set the filling in the refrigerator tightly covered until you’re ready to assemble!
For the assembly:
As pictured in the diagram above, you will want to roll the dough into a triangle, then cut the slits as evenly as possible. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
Fill your dough with the cream cheese filling, then fold everything over as if you’re making a braid.
Place the pastry back in the fridge (or even better- the freezer) to chill at least another 20 minutes while you preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Take it out of the fridge/freezer and brush with egg wash. Pop it in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and flakey. If you add fresh berries this might take longer since berries tend to release a lot of liquid. Make sure the bottom is also nice and brown.
Let it cool, then dust with powdered sugar if desired or serve it as is. It’s delicious 🙂
** You want to chill the pastry right before baking because we want to make sure the dough is as cold as possible and goes into a very hot oven. This will create those flakey layers**
Ahh, this is the kind of coffee cake I’ve always dreamed about eating! Light and moist, not too sweet, and with some texture on the top. It is marvelous!
I should also mention that I make this cake with sourdough starter discard! YES! no more throwing away your starter discard. If you don’t have sourdough starter “discard” then by all means, sour cream or yogurt would work heavenly here as well! However, I highly recommend the starter discard because I firmly believe that funky, fruity, smelly starter really helped achieve that UMPH in this lovely cake 🙂
About sourdough starter/ starter discard:
If you’re not sure what sourdough starter is- allow me to explain (even though I’m no professional he he). Sourdough starter is simply a combination of warm water, and flour. It is mixed together, then placed in a large enough jar to ferment in the course of about a week. Everyday that week, the starter rises overnight (ferments) and requires “feeding” which means you “throw away” about half of what has risen and then feed it with more warm water and flour. Now, I HATE throwing away food…it hurts…so when I found out there’s actually a way to use that “discard” I was very pleased! And let me tell ya, it’s GOLD :). You can actually use that “discard” to make a lot of delicious baked treats! Pancakes, waffles, pizza, heck…even bread! I used this sourdough starter recipe in case you’re interested in making some of this gold too!
1 packet instant apple cinnamon oatmeal (can sub for 1/3 cup rolled oats or an extra 1/3 cup nuts)
1/3 cup pecans or nuts of choice
For the coffee cake:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cups white granulated sugar
1 cup starter discard (or sour cream/ yogurt)
2 tablespoons melted butter
3 tablespoons canola oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease your round pan (I used a springform pan but a 9×9 works) with butter and dust with flour (to prevent cake from sticking).
Melt the butter in a small saucepan then add brown sugar, maple syrup, instant oatmeal, and salt. Pour the caramel to the bottom of the buttered pan then sprinkle with nuts. Set it aside while working on the cake batter.
In a medium sized bowl mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt together. Add the rest of the ingredients – sugar, starter, egg, melted butter (cooled), and oil. Mix until everything is just combined. The batter will be slightly sticky and thick.
Spoon the batter by spoonfuls on top of the caramel until you’ve spooned it all then spread it evenly with a spatula or the back of a spoon.
Bake it in the oven for 20 -25 minutes until it has set and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let it sit on a cooling rack for 5 minutes.
Loosen edges of cake with a knife and invert a large platter over the cake. Using hot pads, grasp edges of cake pan and flip over. Remove pan and spoon any topping in pan back onto cake.
Let cool 5-10 minutes before serving. It’s best eaten the day of but can be left in the fridge for a couple days or the fridge for a couple weeks. Simply pop it in the microwave and heat up 10 seconds or so.
This recipe is so incredibly easy and DELICIOUS! You just throw everything in the crock pot, let it cook for hours, and BAM you’re done!
I love how versatile this recipe is! You can use leftovers in pizza, a pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw, mac and cheese, creamy enchiladas, etc!! It goes well with anything and it will feed the entire family!
Season the pork with a generous amount of salt and pepper then sprinkle the cumin all over the pork. Place the seasoned pork in the slow cooker.
Add the rest of the toppings- garlic, salsa, and barbecue sauce then cover and set on low for 6-8 hours.
Take the pork out of the crock pot and into a bowl to shred then place back in with the juices. (Please note, if you want the fat removed you can just save the juices in a measuring cup and place it in the fridge or on top of ice so the fat hardens on top. Simply trim and remove the fat then cover the pork with the juices).
A few side dish ideas are:
Mac and Cheese
Garlicky Mashed Potatoes
*These store well in the fridge for 5-6 days! And you may freeze for longer*