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.

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…]

Traditional Vegan Green Bean Casserole

Vegan Green Bean Casserole

Vegan Green Bean Casserole

Am I really writing a post on a Saturday? This is epic. Once-in-a-lifetime. You are so lucky.

I hope you know that this is serious if I’m breaking into my weekend relaxation time (ha! actually catch up on homework time) and oh boy are you in for a treat.

Drumroll please… I am (jumping up and down) thrilled to bring you Vivian & Me’s guest chef for our Thanksgiving week recipes!

Hunter Davis

This is Hunter Davis, my Hunter twin, and he is a cool cat guy with a personal chef service company called The Dish and the Spoon located right here on the sandy white beaches of 30A.

He caters for any and all types of events including on the beach shrimp boils (his specialty), small parties, large get-togethers, special occasions (like my senior prom), family dinners, and so much more . Hunter makes amazing allergy-friendly meals (and normal people recipes too!).

On a more personal note, we’ve known each other since I was like a little tiny kid and he was a young teenager. It’s like we’ve basically known each other forever, ya know?

Anyway, I am so.excited. because he has graciously cooked some ahhmazing recipes that will be shared on this here blog all week long while leading up to Thanksgivinggggg. [Read more…]

Lunchbox Monday: The Festive BLT Box

Lunchbox Monday: The Festive BLT Box

Lunchbox Monday: The Festive BLT Box

I have survived many experiences this week.

Remember that conference I was talking about in my last post? Well it was a success! Vivian did an amazing job talking about her dairy allergy and the blog. She was so nervous!

We also showed our popsicle video we made for Vita Coco this summer and everyone loved it! We got to talk with all different kinds of educators from all over the world about blogging and dairy allergies and education. We learned so much and had a blast!

Vivian & Hunter Speaking at the Ohana Institute Global Education Conference 2014

The other experience I survived from was a WATER SPOUT THAT TOOK OUT MY HOUSE! Not literally, but I live on the third floor of my house and my door started shaking like crazy.

My sweet dog, Emma, just stared at me like, “this is it” and my mom and sister started screaming.

One of our neighbors came running over and when she opened the door all the other doors sucked open and banged against the house.

Our furniture is in the pool, tree branches are in my sister’s room along with some kid’s toy from down the street, our grill is flipped upside down, and all our outdoor pillows are in the garden in the backyard.

What a storm. [Read more…]

Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta with Turkey Sausage

Butternut-Squash-Pasta-3

Butternut-Squash-Pasta-1

Say hello to a big ole’ bowl of comfort. Right in your face. Hi there.

Fall is my favorite time to get those skills, whatever skills I think I have, cooking and find my niche in the fall (COMFORT) food arena. Yah. I think this pasta might become a staple in my small list of approved recipes. It was even approved by one of my picky eater friends.

When he likes something I make, it feels like I’ve just ran through the finish line of the longest and hardest race of my life.

I have crossed the finish line twice this week.

I think that’s a record.

Butternut-Squash-Pasta-3

Soo. I’m avoiding talking about something not so fun that you can totally relate to. I had a run-in. With cheese. And not just any cheese. That huge stringy creamy mexican cheese. I’m trying to laugh so I don’t keep crying. For me, my allergy has a delay rate of about two days. I feel major anxiety and have panic attacks immediately following, and then the bathroom visits begin. I won’t even go into the whole story of the “incident” but it ended with me bawling my eyes out and chugging the biggest water bottle of my life.

Now I’m hoping, wishing, and praying that it’ll go through my system as quick as possible.

Fingers crossed. [Read more…]