Posts tagged ‘Quick & Easy’

Holiday 2011: Super Simple Stocking Stuffers

Welcome to the first installment of my Holiday 2011 series.

I know, I’m a master at creating clever names. 😉

During the last 6 months, I’ve been a bad, bad blogger. I hope Santa you forgive me. I’ll get more into that in a later post, but for now just know I’m back!!

I love this time of year. Everything about it is magical. To celebrate this special time, I will be writing posts at least once a week about fun, holiday-related topics: recipes, traditions, healthy living – you name it!

In this post, I am sharing with you a cheap, customizable, and easy to make gift. These make great hand-outs at school, goodie bags for holiday parties, and stocking stuffers!

Super Simple Stocking Stuffers


  • Paper Bags
  • Mini candies – e.g. Hershey Kisses, regular and peppermint
  • Gift tag stickers – optional
  • Markers


I decided that each of my gift bags would include 9 kisses (1-serving) of each flavor.

Toss the candy inside the paper bag without fully opening the bag and flattening the bottom.

Love the lighting through the paper in the photo below.

Wrap the top of the bag around the package/candies and tape the end.

Next, label it and you’re done! You can either go the easy route and use a store bought gift label, like the one below (from Walgreens).

I wasn’t too happy with the quality of the label, so I came up with a more personalized, cheaper method. Draw your own, like I did below. You can customize this however you like thanks to the blank slate of the brown paper. I love the look of it!

Voilà! It’s that simple. You now have a Super Simple (and yummy!) Stocking Stuffer – or whatever else you want to use it for.

Question #1: What’s your favorite gift-on-the-cheap?

Question #2: Any holiday related posts you’d like me to write? I need inspiration!


December 8, 2011 at 3:02 pm Leave a comment

Fueling My Addiction: No Bake Peanut Butter Cookies

Hi, my name is Lara, and I’m a peanut butter addict.

Don’t try to cure me. I can’t be fixed. If loving peanut butter is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

When I stumbled across these No Bake Peanut Butter Cookies on How Sweet It Is, I knew I had to make them as soon as I could. By the way, I am also addicted to no bake recipes. My parents had a party a few days back, and I took that as the perfect opportunity to make these. They are so easy (like most of my recipes, haha) and out of this world delicious! They aren’t the healthiest things ever, but they are so satisfying (thanks to the peanut butter) in moderation!

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookies

Adapted from How Sweet It Is

Makes about 20 cookies – I doubled the recipe and made almost 60 smaller cookies.

  • 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 + 1 tablespoon cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup brown rice syrup – I used agave syrup. You can sub corn or maple syrup.
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of ginger – I didn’t use this because I didn’t have any.
  • Optional: chocolate (for drizzling)


Step 1: Make graham crackers into crumbs.

I did this by putting the grahams into a plastic bag and smashing the bag with a peanut butter jar.

This worked pretty well, but I should have done it longer because there were still some larger crumbs.

You want a flour-like consistency, or else forming the cookies will be hard. I also suggest using a food processor or Vitamix to get this consistency.

Step 2: Add the rest of the ingredients.

Pool of peanut butter and agave syrups = makes me drool!

Vanilla river.

Final “layer” of ingredients.

Step 3: Mix it all up! The mixture will be crumbly. It may take a while for the mixture to come together, but it eventually will.

Step 4: Form dough into uniform balls.


The original recipe suggests 1-inch balls. I made them a bit smaller (maybe 3/4-inch). It’s really up to you and your preferences. Since these are no bake, the size won’t affect the “baking” outcome.

If the balls are sticking together well enough, add a bit of peanut butter or agave. I didn’t have to do this.


Step 5: If you want cookies (and not balls), either flatten first with your fingers and then indent with fork or flatten with fork while making indentations. I did the latter.

They look like true peanut butter cookies and taste like them, too, but they are no bake! Yay!

Step 6: If you want to “ice” with chocolate, melt the chocolate and drizzle on top.

You can either melt the chocolate in a double broiler… or be lazy like me and do it in the microwave.

Drool… Boy, my keyboard is getting dirty. 😉

I topped 1/2 of the cookies in chocolate just in case some of the party guests didn’t like chocolate. But who was I kidding? Who doesn’t love chocolate and peanut butter together? Stupid people.

And there y’all have it! No Bake Peanut Butter Cookies, with a chocolate topping option!

Now, go out and make them. I promise you won’t be sorry!

Question: What is your favorite flavor combination in cookies or other baked cookies?

I love PB + chocolate and PB + J.


If only… Haha.

March 18, 2011 at 3:20 pm 6 comments

Quick & Easy “Crack” Cookie Bars

1. Do you ever have cravings for home-baked cookies but don’t want to dirty the entire kitchen?

2. Do you ever have events you need to bring something to, but don’t have the time to make something from scratch?

3. Do you have a bunch of chocolate chips, nuts, dried fruit, and other baking left-overs you need to use up and don’t know how?

4. Do you ever have a fresh-baked cookie craving you just need to satisfy (and quickly!)?

5. Are you lazy?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions (and even if you answered “no”), then this recipe is for you! I prefer baking goods from scratch, but sometimes I have to answer “yes.” Here is my quick fix. All you need is store bought (or home-made, if you have the time/preference) cookie dough, marshmallows, and any other toppings. The result? My friend, Katie, described it best: “These are like crack!” So good and so addictive!

Here are the directions to the QE cookie bars I made. The combination of butterscotch and chocolate pair perfectly but not as good as chocolate and peanut butter, especially with the sugary-crunch of the sugar cookie dough and the light bite of the marshmallow! This version is very sweet, but these can be made less sweet or even sweet and salty (one of my favorite combos of all time!) with other topping variations. After the recipe, I’ll give you tips on how to make your own variation!

Quick & Easy “Crack” Cookie Bars

Makes 16 bars (8″x8″ pan)


1/2 roll of store-bough cookie dough (I used 1/2 of a 16.5 oz Pillsbury (r) refrigerated sugar cookie dough)

1.5 cup marshmallows

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup butterscotch chips


1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.

2. Break up cookie dough into even pieces and lay on bottom of an ungreased 8″x8″ pan. Wet or flour your fingers/hands (to prevent sticking!), and use them to spread the cookie dough evenly in the pan.

3. Bake 13 to 16 minutes or until light golden brown (and when an inserted toothpick comes out mostly clean).

4. Take pan out of oven, and immediately and evenly cover dough with with marshmallows. Sprinkle evenly with rest of toppings. Lightly press toppings into marshmallows.

4. Bake bars for another 4 to 5 minutes or until marshmallows begin to puff. Remove pan from oven and cool completely on cooling rack, about 2 hours. Cut into 16 bars (4 rows x 4 columns).  Take out and ENJOY!

Tip: This recipe can be easily doubled! Bake in a 13″x9″ pan for equal time.


Use your favorite (store-bought) cookie dough, such as chocolate chip, peanut butter, etc.

Other possibly toppings (1/4 to 1/2 cup of each or to taste): Peanut butter chips, toffee chips, trail mix, M&M’s, nuts (peanuts, almonds, etc), broken-up cookies (sandwich cookies, chocolate chip cookies, etc), raisins, dried fruit, shredded (dried) coconut, crushed graham crackers, and more!

Next time, I’m trying this combo: S’mores “Crack” Bars = 1.5 cup marshmallows + 3/4 cup chocolate chips + 1/2 cup crushed graham crackers

Note: The marshmallows act as a sort of “glue,” attaching the other toppings to the cookies. While toppings such as chocolate chips will melt and mold to the cookie dough, toppings such as nuts will not and will fall off the cookie without the “glue.” If you don’t want to use marshmallows (or don’t have any), here is a suggestion: When layering the toppings, put all the melt-able toppings (chocolate chips, pb chips, etc) on the cookies first and then layer the non-melt-able toppings on top. After baking for 4-5 minutes, remove pan and lightly press the top toppings into the melted toppings. Make sure there is enough melt-able toppings that cover most of the dough. Cool completely.


While my version isn’t necessarily healthy, yours can be! Just add any combination (one, a few, or all!) of these nutritional toppings to “healthify” this recipe: nuts (protein + healthy fats), dark chocolate [antioxidants + serotonin (anti-depressant) + stimulates endorphins (feel-good hormone)], unsweetened shredded coconut (sweet  with no added sugar), dried cranberries (antioxidants + improves body circulation + reduces bad cholesterol + may decrease chances of getting cancer),  raisins, dried fruit (including dried banana chips), and/or more!!

All packed up and ready to be taken to school to be enjoyed by my friends! (PS. These bars were made about two weeks, so they’ve already been devoured.)

Hope you enjoy my happy little invention! I hope you give them a try! If you try your own variation, I’d love to hear from you. Even better, I’d love to see photos of what you come up with sent to my email:

Please leave me comments. Have questions? Suggestions? Ideas? Let me know!


May 15, 2010 at 1:08 pm 3 comments

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