Breakfast Maple Cinnamon Quinoa Parfaits with Caramelized Bananas and Blueberries

Breakfast Quinoa Parfait with Caramelized Bananas and Blueberries

Breakfast Quinoa Parfait with Caramelized Bananas and Blueberries

I’ve broken into the beautiful winter break to bring you these breakfast parfaits. Maple cinnamon quinoa parfaits with caramelized bananas and blueberries to be exact.

They taste like a healthier version of banana foster and they are oh so good. When I took that first bite, I had that eyes closed happy moan moment because I knew this was a winner.

It’s definitely on the sweeter side, so it would be perfect for a funky dessert too.

But I was thinking, fancy brunch with kids because I don’t know what kid wouldn’t love these parfaits.

Caramelized Bananas and Blueberries

I’m spending my winter break traversing (and occasionally turning) down the slopes of Telluride, Colorado. I’m happier than a pig in slop (too weird?) and am extremely pumped to be spending another winter break out here in the most best place on earth (next to Disney World, of course). The snow is falling down, my family is all together, and life is totally blissful.

I’ve spent my days snowboarding, reading, baking cookies with my little cousin, and playing go fish; it couldn’t get any better.

Bear with me on the whole photo thing. Obviously I’m not home with my usual props and I just got a fancy new lens for my fancy new camera!

Obviously there’s a steep learning curve for me, the non-professional professional picture taker. I’ll get it eventually. [Read more…]

Peanut Butter & Jelly Thumbprint Cookies

Peanut Butter & Jelly Thumbprint Cookies

Peanut Butter & Jelly Thumbprint Cookies

My friend Alyssa and I were just watching this movie where they made these crazy huge sandwiches called Fool’s Gold. Picture this: an entire loaf of italian bread, an entire jar of peanut butter, an entire jar of jelly, and bacon. Lot’s of bacon. Alyssa and I instantly had a serious craving for peanut butter sandwiches, but for some reason, we wanted them with bananas instead of bacon and jelly. Trying to keep it classy and a tad bit healthier.

As we were chomping away on our yummy sandwiches and watching our movie filled with fool’s gold sandwiches, it hit me. I should combine peanut butter, jelly, and banana to make the ultimate cookie. Introducing the peanut butter and jelly thumbprint cookies.

I’ve loved thumbprint cookies ever since my classmate’s grandma gave me one with a hershey’s kiss in first grade. The gooeyness of the middle with the chew of the soft cookie outside holding it all together in a little cocoon. In this case, the jelly melted perfectly in with the peanut butter. And by using banana to replace egg, it created this delicious banana underlying flavor that isn’t too strong, but just a little hint of it. By the way, these cookies are gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and vegan!

Obvs they are best enjoyed warm out of the oven, but they are pretty good the next day as well. As people walk through my house (AKA the dog groomer) they grab one and I hear a “this is delicious!” come out of their cookie filled mouths. That’s a success right there.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Thumbprint Cookies

I finally finished finals this week after a grueling semester of studying and working hard on my projects. I am so excited for finishing this semester up because it’s the most wonderful time of the year where I get to spend my days around the fireplace, curled up with a chai tea latte, eating one of these cookies (hint hint) and being with my family. There’s nothing like the holiday quality time enjoyed during this season.

I always find myself so thankful for my family and friends during the holidays, but shouldn’t we be thankful and enjoy each other’s company all the time?

Isn’t that what it’s all about?

This year has been filled with a lot of personal growth for me, and as I look back on it now that it’s coming to an end, I’ve realized how important the people I love are to me. I guess as you grow up you really realize the importance of family, in all it’s many different forms. Gosh, how old and wise do I sound now?

Peanut Butter & Jelly Thumbprint Cookies

Anyway, ALOHA, this really wonderful, health conscious company inspired me in their “bringing a dish to pass” initiative. Since I was feeling all nostalgic and such, as stated above, I knew I wanted to be apart of it and I decided these cookies were the perfect recipe. Over the last few days, I’ve had countless moments around the kitchen table with friends, family, and yes, the dog groomer, sharing these cookies and talking about life.

I’ve decided to start my new year’s resolution list a little early, and the first thing to be added is: enjoy the small moments with the people I love.

Sharing a cookie might seem simple, but it has a big impact. I encourage you to make these cookies and see the happiness you’ll bring to the people who mean the most to you.

So grab that glass of dairy-free milk, a nice warm blanket, your sweet doggy, and your family and huddle around the fireplace sharing stories and eating plates of peanut butter & jelly thumbprint cookies. Also make sure to check out some other really great holiday recipe ideas from ALOHA’s fun recipe page!

Happy holidays!

Peanut Butter & Jelly Thumbprint Cookies

Peanut Butter & Jelly Thumbprint Cookies
Author: 
Serves: about 20 cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 mashed banana
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 cup gluten-free baking flour
  • grape jelly for the filling (about ¼ cup, depending on how much you want in each cookie)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the brown sugar and mashed banana. Add in the peanut butter, baking powder, vanilla and salt and mix until well combined. Mix in the baking flour until smooth.
  3. Roll a spoonful of cookie dough in your hands to form a ball, then place on a greased (or parchment paper lined) baking sheet. Continue until all the cookies are made.
  4. Place your thumb in the center of each cookie and press down to create a small indentation in the middle. The cookie might crack a little, which is fine. If it cracks too much then just press it back together.
  5. Fill each indentation with a small spoonful of jelly, continuing until all the cookies are jelly filled.
  6. Place in the oven to bake for 10 minutes.
  7. When done baking, remove and let cool.
  8. Serve on a platter or give them away as gifts in tin cookie containers.

 This post is not sponsored by ALOHA, but they do have really cool products. All opinions are my own. 

Peppermint S’mores Chocolate Bark

Campfire Peppermint S'mores Chocolate Bark from Vivian & Me

Campfire S'mores Chocolate Bark from Vivian & Me

In all of my holiday themed posts so far this year, how could I have possibly managed to overlook one of my favorite quintessential holiday-themed food items: peppermint!

I love peppermint because it usually involves sweets, specifically chocolate. And after making this bark, it might officially be my new favorite holiday snack.

The peppermint is totally optional (if you leave it out, you’re crazy) but I love the zing of it throughout each piece. I melted down semi-sweet chocolate as the bark layer which turned out to be the perfect combination of rich and sweet. Mixed in with peppermint marshmallows and crunchy graham crackers and it’s like a campfire in a piece of chocolate.

Mission accomplished.

Campfire Peppermint S'mores Chocolate Bark

One of my favorite things to do during the winter time is to have a campfire on the beach roasting s’mores. I actually love the process of roasting s’mores much more than I actually enjoy eating s’mores.

For some reason the gooey mallow, hot chocolate lava, crunchy cracker experience fills me up in about two bites. But add some peanut butter in there and I might be able to eat an entire one, or three.

You know, now that I think about it, you can tell a lot by how someone cooks their marshmallow.

Campfire Peppermint S'mores Chocolate Bark from Vivian & Me

I’m currently powering through my last two weeks of this school semester, feeling the pain as I trudge through my finals and hope that there’s a light at the end of the deep dark tunnel.

And then I have a whole entire month to kick back and relax. And guess what I want to do most? Nerdy old me can’t wait to pick up a new book and waste the day away in a world other than my own.

I started reading Anna Karenina about six months ago and absolutely loved it, but had to put it on the back burner once school started up. My goal is to finish it over winter break.

I can’t wait!

Campfire Peppermint S'mores Chocolate Bark from Vivian & Me

My family is heading back out to winter wonderland this year… Telluride. Two weeks of snow filled bliss. I can’t wait to get my snowboard back on and have some fun racing my sister down the mountain.

I know I’ll be making this bark for friends out in Telluride as it’s the best food gift. It’s quick and easy to make, and you just messily break it up, throw it in a parchment paper lined tin, and call it a day. It’s great as a snack in the mountains too because the cold weather will keep the chocolate from melting.

Mmm, I think the mountains are calling my name. And this chocolate bark.

Campfire Peppermint S'mores Chocolate Bark from Vivian & Me

Campfire Peppermint S'mores Chocolate Bark
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 12-ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate
  • 2 graham crackers, broken into pieces
  • 4 mini candy canes, lightly crushed
  • ¼ cup peppermint marshmallows
Instructions
  1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over medium heat (or do what I do, which is to bring a small pot of shallow water to a boil, then place a glass bowl on top, and say hello to a cheap double boiler).
  2. On a parchment paper lined baking sheet, pour the melted chocolate and spread it into a square shape.
  3. Add the toppings.
  4. Place in the refrigerator for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  5. When the chocolate has hardened, remove from the fridge and slice the bark into messy pieces.
  6. Keep in the refrigerator or at a cool room temperature so the chocolate doesn't melt.

I need to get my campfire song repertoire together ASAP.

Campfire Skillet Brownies For Two

Campfire Skillet Brownies -- the best dessert for a cozy night by the fire with your love!

Easy Campfire Skillet Brownies For Two -- What better dessert for a cozy night by the fire with your love?

Hey Mom and Dad, I’m talking to you. You deserve a little break every once in a while. Especially during this time of year, when life is filled with family and happy chaos.

Tonight is one of those times after putting the kids to bed, where you both can sit by the fireplace, curled up on the sofa, with the Christmas tree lit up, romantic holiday music playing, and enjoy a big slice of these easy campfire (yes, I can put some marshmallows on top and call it a day) skillet brownies.

I say easy because they are a box mix. Yep, Duncan Hines is my jam. They seriously deliver on amazing box mixes for us dairy-free people, and I love love love their brownies.

I literally make them for any occasion, or just when I’m feeling some brownies, which is like all.the.time.

Easy Campfire Skillet Brownies For Two -- perfect for a cozy night in with your love!

These upcoming few weeks known as the holiday season can be total bliss. The unforgettable time to talk about old memories and spend time together making new ones. Where you can catch up on movies and sing carols with friends, and all your family gets to be together for a short while.

It’s like this short moment in time that’s carved out every year where true life doesn’t exist and this alternate universe is your life instead. Happiness, joy, and love is all around. And time together is precious and enjoyed.

It’s in this magical space that make these brownies perfect. They make your laughs lighter, your tummies fuller, and your time together sweeter. They melt in your mouth with a decadent chocolate flavor that is rich and gooey all at once. And the roasted marshmallows on top ooze into each little crumb of the brownies so that when you bite into them you get a perfect crunch and chew all at the same time. It’s almost too good to be true.

Happy holidays, to you.

Campfire Skillet Brownies -- the best dessert for a cozy night by the fire with your love!

Easy Campfire Skillet Brownies For Two
Author: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the brownie mix, eggs, water, and vegetable oil until smooth.
  3. Pour the mixture into a small greased cast-iron skillet. Place in the oven and bake for 25 - 28 minutes. Remove from oven, place handful of marshmallows on top, and place back in the oven for about 5 more minutes, or until the marshmallows are melted and golden brown.
  4. Serve with coffee and enjoy on a cold winter's night.

 

Quick and Easy Cranberry Orange Crisp

Cranberry Orange Crisp from Vivian & Me

Cranberry Orange Crisp from Vivian & Me

The holidays are a comin’! We are in the final stretch! We have almost made it to the blissfully sweet few weeks known as the happy holidays. Yesss. By now most of the cooking wizards of the world (United States?) have their Thanksgiving meal all planned out and ready to go. Maybe they’ve already been to the grocery and everything.

But, if you’re anything like me and you’re just now planning your Thanksgiving meal at the very last minute (hi, friend) then this recipe is for you.

Deliciously popped ruby red fresh cranberries baked to perfection, lots of orange zest for a bit of a punch, and a crunchy granola-type crumb topping.

Drooling. [Read more…]

Apple Cinnamon Crumble Muffins

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Apple-Muffins-5

When your loving aunt and uncle bring you fresh, sweet, juicy, apples all the way from North Carolina’s apple orchards, you have an obligation to find something to do with them that’s equally as sweet and juicy.

These apple cinnamon crumble muffins are perfection. Moist inside with the apple all softened like in a good apple pie, with a crunchy cinnamon sugar crumble top. It’s like the perfect breakfast and dessert all wrapped in to one.

Dip it in your coffee, or my personal favorite, hot chocolate. The crumbs will soak up all the liquid and will then turn into mushy little tops that you can practically drink off the muffins.

Apple-Muffins-1 [Read more…]

Frankenstein’s Monster Pistachio Cake

Gluten-Free Frankenstein's Monster Pistachio Cake from Vivian & Me

Gluten-Free Frankenstein's Monster Pistachio Cake from Vivian & Me

Let’s all take a minute and mourn the end of Halloween. NOT. I’m not gonna lie, I had an ahmazing time making all these cutie themed Halloween goodies and treats and delectables.

But I’m so ready to bust out in Deck The Halls you don’t even know what’s up.

Frankie Monster boy feels me. I know he does. So I’m going to put him out of his misery and gobble him right on up. Big ole piece that just ruined my 30 miles of walking I did the week before last.

Gone. Workout never. Eat this cake instead foreva.

This Frankenstein’s Monster cake is gluten-free and pistachio flavored with a lick yo mouth vegan cream cheese filling and a yumsickle butternut squash I mean buttercream frosting.

What am I even saying?

Finally, it’s topped with monster hair aka a delectable drizzle of vegan chocolate ganache. [Read more…]

Candy Corn Milkshake

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Candy-Corn-Milkshakes-1

Candy corn, in a milkshake, on an allergy-friendly blog, what? Yes, you’re right. It’s glorious.

Look at that creamy milky (but not) shake-y numminess seeping out of the sides of that gorgeous borderline overflowing mason jar. Come to momma.

I love simplicity in the form of a drink that will give me a great sugar kick and a happy day.

If you follow me on Instagram, then you’ll already know that I had the best day ever yesterday. Complete with a nice warm bath, soup, my guilty pleasure reality tv show (19 Kids and Counting, holla), barbecue for dinner, and YouTube videos galore.

#purebliss [Read more…]

Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Meringue Ghosts

Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Meringue Ghosts

Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Meringue Ghosts-- Perfect for Halloween!

When you take a huge bite out of this brown sugar and sweet potato cupcake with the maple frosting and meringue ghost on top you will taste a peep. Like those ones you find in your Easter basket. It’s a homemade peep. I’m serious.

I’m going to straight up tell you that Halloween isn’t a super me type holiday. It’s basically a pre-cursor for Thanksgiving and Christmas, my go-to holidays, and so I never get pumped for Halloween. But it’s cool.

But now with the bloggio, and the fun halloween recipes I can put into the interwebs (pun intended), I might be into it.

Food is such a motivator.

Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Cupcakes

I had this one year where I dressed up like a chicken, in a chicken suit, and my friend dressed up like a gorilla (they sell these costumes at target, get ya one) and we hid in the bushes to scare my sister and all her friends. Good times.

When I first moved to Rosemary Beach, there was no concept of Halloween. By the end of September there was no concept of a living soul either. It emptied out. So my mom decided that we were all (as in all 10 of us kids of the entire neighborhood, no joke) going to dress up and go trick or treating and hope for the best. People were so shocked when we showed up at their door that we got the most random stuff. [Read more…]

White Chocolate Chip Cookies

WCC-4

WCC-4

These cookies are my happy place right now.

I’ve spent the last week baking batches after batches after batches (9 to be exact) of gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free funfetti cookies and cream donuts. Sounds amazing, right? I am not a gluten-free baker. To be specific, I am not really a baker at all. That’s why it’s so surprisingly awesome that these cookies have turned out ahhmazing.

Needless to say, there has now been a total meltdown that I happened to be a part of, and it did not end well. So these cookies are officially my life raft of happiness.

I found vegan white chocolate chips from King David on Amazon and when you order them they come with three bags filled with delicious, melty, crave-worthy white chocolate chips. The heavens are smiling on these little guys right now. I thought about making the white chocolate myself but then said, “eh, better not.” and ordered these little delights. They do not disappoint. [Read more…]