Frosting Galore!

This is going to be a hodge podge of a post, but I wanted to share my recipes for homemade chocolate buttercream frosting and for peanut butter buttercream frosting that my little sister, Carolyn, and I made. When I was in Cleveland visiting family two weeks ago, I was telling my little sister about this blog. She wanted to make something from the blog while I was home. We decided to make a cake because it was also my Dad’s birthday. We followed my doctored chocolate cake recipe and made a layer cake and then in between the layers, we whipped up a very rich peanut butter buttercream frosting and then did a homemade chocolate buttercream on the outside.

I only had made my own chocolate buttercream frosting once before and it came out okay. I tried to follow the same recipe again from memory, but all we could taste was the powdered sugar! We ended up melting some Hersey’s bars and mixed it in and that gave the frosting the chocolatey taste we were looking for! The peanut butter buttercream was pretty rich. In fact, if the whole cake had this frosting, I wouldn’t have been able to eat more than a few bites. And even with the PB in just the middle, this cake was RICH. Cut modest slices and have a big glass of milk on standby!

Carolyn is a perfectionist (what can I say, she takes after her sister…) and wanted our cake to look as professional as possible. She spent a lot of time trying to smooth out the chocolate buttercream frosting. Then she decorated the sides and the top of the cake! Here was our finished product:

Not too shabby, right? Oh, and while we’re at it. I have to give a little pre-birthday shout out to Carolyn because tomorrow is her 13th Birthday! So, Happy 13th Birthday, Carolyn! I can’t believe she is officially a teenager! Watch out world!

Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting

Makes approximately 1 1/2 cups of frosting


– 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

– 1 cup confectioner’s sugar

– 8 tbs. unsalted butter, softened

– 1 tsp. vanilla extract

– 2-3 tbs. milk or heavy cream

1. In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth (use paddle attachment if using stand mixer). Add in peanut butter and vanilla and mix until well-combined. Add in 2 tbs. of milk and beat continuously until well-combined. If the frosting is too thick, add additional milk, one tablespoon at a time.

Milk Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Makes enough frosting to liberally frost 24 cupcakes or one large cake


– 2 lbs. confectioner’s sugar

– 2 tsp. vanilla extract

– 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

– 1 tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder

– 1/2-3/4 cup melted milk chocolate (about 2 Hersey’s Bars)

– 6-8 tbs. milk or heavy cream

1. In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and melted chocolate. Then add the sugar one cup at a time until smooth (use paddle attachment if using stand mixer). Add in cocoa powder and vanilla and and mix until well-combined. Add in about 4 tbs. of milk and beat continuously until well-combined. Continue to add milk one tablespoon at at time until frosting reaches desired consistency. Frost cake or cupcakes.

Low-Carb Peanut Butter Cookies

Alright, so I woke up this morning feeling super sluggish and have been sneezing non-stop! I think I am getting a cold. This is not a good time for a cold (I know, I know, is there any “good” time for a cold?). I have a month and a half to write and defend my prelim paper if I finally want to move onto my dissertation, finish grad school, and get that Ph.D. next summer. I WILL finish!

So despite feeling crappy and having a boatload of work to do, I decided to make these low-carb peanut butter cookies for you all instead (yeah, I know how to prioritize!). I first saw this recipe on a message board I used to frequent a few years ago. I make these cookies a lot because they are healthier than the traditional cookie and they don’t require many ingredients! These cookies are low-carb because they have no flour and instead of using real sugar, I used Splenda. If you don’t care about the carbs or sugar, then feel free to use regular sugar. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go eat some of these cookies, take some DayQuil, and get back to work! Happy Sunday!

Low-Carb Peanut Butter Cookies

Makes 12 small cookies


– 1 cup reduced-fat peanut butter

– 2 tsp. vanilla extract

– 1 egg

– 1 cup granular Splenda*

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix ingredients in a bowl. Drop from teaspoonfuls onto a non-stick cookie sheet. Using the back of a fork, dip fork into some warm water (you can then dip in some more Splenda if you want) and make a criss-cross patten on top of the cookies as you flatten them a bit. Bake for approximately 9-10 minutes or until cookies start to brown.

– You may find that a cup of Splenda is too sweet for your tastes. I actually tend to use more like 3/4 and have even went as low as a 1/2 of a cup because I don’t like for these to be super sweet! So feel free to experiment with the sugar measurements!

Quinoa Stuffed Red Bell Peppers

Do you ever go to the grocery store to do your weekly shopping trip, but have no clue what you actually want to cook that week? Yeah, that was me this past weekend. I spent a good 15 minutes just wandering around the produce section thinking about what I was going to cook this week. Then I spotted a big basket of bright red bell peppers and I immediately had a craving for stuffed peppers. As usual, I wanted to make them healthy, so instead of using the usual rice, I used my beloved quinoa. These stuffed red peppers were packed full of flavor and my favorite part was that the top layer got all nice and crispy with that melted cheese!

Quinoa Stuffed Red Bell Peppers

Adapted from Vegetarian Times

Serves 6


– 1 cup uncooked quinoa

– 2 cups water

– 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, drain and reserve liquid

– 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed

– 2 garlic cloves, minced

– 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped

– 2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil

– 1/2 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded

– 6 red bell peppers

– salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium sauce pan, heat 2 cups of water and add quinoa. Let cook for approximately 15 minutes or until quinoa is tender and water is absorbed. Set aside.

2. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add onions and garlic and cook for three minutes until onion is translucent and tender. Add diced tomatoes and black beans. Cook for 3 minutes. Add in cooked quinoa and combine with tomato and bean mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste.

2. Rinse peppers, cut off tops and remove seeds and ribs. Scoop about 3/4 of cup of the quinoa mixture into each pepper and place in a baking dish. Pour liquid from the tomato can into the dish around the peppers. Cover with foil and cook for approximately 40 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle evenly with pepper jack cheese and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Drizzle pan drippings over each pepper and serve!

Notes: Want more veggies? Try adding some sauteed mushrooms, spinach, or carrots!

Cilantro-Lime Grilled Chicken Tacos

Ok, I am going to let you all in on a little secret about me. I love Mexican food. In fact, it’s one of my vices. This wouldn’t be such a big issue if Mexican food wasn’t so unhealthy! These cilantro-lime grilled chicken tacos allow me to satisfy my craving for tacos without all the guilt and grease. I gave these tacos an extra kick by adding some tequila to the marinade! I topped mine with a scoop of black beans, additional cilantro, and fat-free sour cream. I didn’t even need the cheese. These tacos were flavorful and satisfying!

Cilantro-Lime Grilled Chicken Tacos

Serves 4


– 2 large chicken breasts, trimmed and cut in half

– 2 limes, juiced

– 2 tbs. cilantro

– 2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil

– 1 garlic clove

– 1/2 tsp. salt

– Optional: 1 1/2 tbs. tequila

– 8 corn or flour tortillas

– Suggested taco toppings: black beans, chopped cilantro, avocado, corn, low-fat or fat-free sour cream, low-fat cheese, etc.


1. In a blender or food processor, purée lime juice, olive oil, cilantro, salt, garlic, and tequila until smooth. Place chicken in a large freezer bag, pour in marinade and seal. Try to get all of the chicken covered in the marinade. Let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour (the longer, the better!).

2. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium high heat. Brush pan with some olive oil or spray with non-stick cooking spray. Add chicken. Cook for approximately 4-5 minutes per side or until chicken is cooked thoroughly. Remove from grill and let stand for 5 minutes. Slice chicken into strips and make those tacos!

Bruschetta Chicken

Bruschetta Chicken

I’m finally back home after non-stop traveling for the last 3 weeks! As most of you probably already know, traveling is usually synonymous with eating poorly. Too much going out, eating larger portions than normal, and not making the best choices. You know how it goes. So, it’s time to get back to a healthy diet!

I adore bruschetta. I especially love during the summer. I love those fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, ridiculous amounts of garlic, it’s all so wonderful! Oh, and let’s not forget the warm toasty bread. It’s like all of my favorite things in one delicious bite! While the tomato mixture is healthy, obviously the bread part…eh…not so much. I’ve been trying to find other ways to enjoy my favorite appetizer without all of the carbs. This bruschetta chicken is perfect because it’s low in fat and quick to make. And the best part is that all of those delicious chunky tomatoes will fill you up fast! I only made one large chicken breast and cut it in half to make two pieces, but then I usually make extra of the bruschetta topping because it’s so yummy and I really like to pile it on the chicken!

Bruschetta Chicken


For the bruschetta:

  • 2 medium sized roma or plum tomatoes, remove skins and seeds
  • 1 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbs. basil, chopped into chiffonade
  • salt to taste

For the chicken:

  • 1 large chicken breast, trimmed, and cut in half
  • 2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 slices mozzarella cheese (about 1/4 inch thick)


  1. To make the bruschetta, chop tomatoes and add to small bowl. Combine all other ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  2. Combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, and lemon juice in a quart-size freezer bag or pie dish. Add chicken and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Heat grill or sautee pan to medium high heat. Spray pan with non-stick cooking spray. Add chicken and cook for approximately 5 minutes on each side. Add cheese and remove from grill or pan when cheese is almost melted (it will continue to melt for a few minutes after you remove from the heat). Top with bruschetta and serve!
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Chocolate Fondue

Ok, I have been so bad with posting lately! I am currently out-of-state visiting family for the week, but I didn’t want to go a whole week without any updates!

It was my good friend, Amanda’s, birthday last week and I wanted to celebrate with a special treat, but I didn’t want to do cake or cupcakes. Chocolate fondue was the perfect choice because it’s perfectly decadent and easy to make! This is my go-to chocolate fondue recipe that I always use for our fondue feasts! It’s great because you can easily change up the ingredients, for example, the chocolate. You can use semi-sweet chips, but you can also use milk chocolate or dark chocolate chips! If you want to make this fondue extra special, try adding in some melted peanut butter or some seedless raspberry jam!

When it comes to choosing what to dip, I like to do pound cake, strawberries, and bananas. But, if you want to do it up Melting Pot style, add some brownies, cheesecake, and rice krispie treats!

Chocolate Fondue

Serves 4-6


– 1 12-ounce bag chocolate chips (you can use semi-sweet, milk, or dark chocolate chips!)

– 2 tsp. vanilla extract

– 1 tsp. cinnamon

– 3/4 cup heavy cream (or half and half)

– For Dipping: pound cake, strawberries, sliced bananas, brownies, rice krispie treats, etc.!


1. Heat fondue pot to high heat. Add the cream and stir in the vanilla extract and cinnamon. Once heated, add about half the bag of chocolate chips and stir until melted. Add rest of the bag and continue stirring until smooth. Lower heat and enjoy!