Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Brother:  Hey Kayla do you think we could make chocolate chip cookies and put bacon in them?

Me: Uhhh, yeah.  Definitely.

Brother:  Cool. 

Yep, that simple convo is how it started.  A little flicker of an idea in that big guy’s head and our baking adventure began.  I think this was the first time I’ve ever baked with my brother.  Sure we’d made dinner together a time or two when we both lived in California.  I’d come over to his house and we would work our way through our mom’s green chile chicken enchilada recipe, but baking?  Nope… that has always been my job.

His number one request is always chocolate chip cookies.  Always, always, and always.  I bet he could eat an entire batch in one sitting… but I think I could too so I’m not that impressed.

Of course, I have baked for him many, many times.  But he never makes much more than burnt popcorn for me.  Wah wahhh.   So naturally I figured his spark of bacon genius would leave me to do the “work” and he would be left with a very tasty reward.  Not that I mind making the cookies it’s just the fairness factor between siblings that is stuck in the back of my mind.  Example:

Brother: Hey Kayla can you get me some water?

Me:  Yeah, next time I get up from the same couch you are on and go to the kitchen I’ll get you one.

…. the next day

Me: Nick can you grab me a kleenex… they’re right there next to you.

Brother: (walks over to the couch) Did you want me to get you something?

This is just one example of a give and take imbalance in this relationship.

To my surprise he helped me out in the end.  I watched, very carefully and slightly controllingly (is that a word? Nope.), as he measured the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.  I may have hovered over his shoulder a little bit as he creamed the butter and sugar.  I definitely had to help him put the food processor on the right way.

But really, he helped a lot.  And I really enjoyed it.

Especially when he did the dishes. (what?!)

When the timer went off we were both anticipating what was to come.  Would they taste good?  Would it just be weird?  Too much bacon?  Or worse, not enough?

In the end, and after several taster cookies, I decided that they were perfect for my mouth buds.  I like the subtle salty, smoky flavor that sneaks up on your taste buds.  Since the bacon is ground into small pieces each bite is flecked with a few bacon-y gems.  Not overwhelming but noticeable.  I still feel like I’m eating a choco chip cookie, which was important to me.

I give a high five to the man with idea… Nick, you did well.

Now go to the gym…

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe adapted from nestle tollhouse

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I used Guittard)
  • 1/2 pound bacon, cooked

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat liner.
  2. In a food processor, grind bacon into small pieces about the size of a pebble.  Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  5. One at a time add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture until fully incorporated, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  6. Pour flour mixture into butter mixture and stir until combined.
  7. Add chocolate chips and bacon stirring until fully incorporated.
  8. Using a small ice cream scoop or a large spoon drop about a tablespoon of dough onto the baking sheet.
  9. Place in the oven and bake until golden brown, about 9-10 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for 3-5 minutes.  Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely.  Or eat one right away when its still warm!

*Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.  Have leftovers?  Freeze them!

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

March is going swimmingly well so far, which is good since its one of the best months of the year.  Lots of good stuff to look forward to this month.  And good things have already happened… the sun was out on Friday AND Sunday last weekend.  Say what?  If thats not a sign of a good month ahead then I don’t know what is.

Later this month my friend Becky and her lover boy, Pete, are getting married.  So exciting!   And guess what?  My mom and I are making all the food.  It should be an adventure!

A crazy, stress filled one, I’m sure.  But it should be fun… I think.  I’m projecting that I’ll cry at least once because I’ll be all frazzled.  No biggie.  I used to cry at the drop of a hat.  I finally got ahold of myself though.

Really, the wedding will be a piece of cake compared to facing the fact that I’m graduating from college in 2 weeks.  Really? Graduating? Like totally done?

Oh, geez.  I have to find a job.  Just the thought makes me cry.  I’m just kidding.  I’ve only cried about 10 times over having no idea what I’m doing after graduation.  Its a big milestone so more cry sessions are allowed.  Right?

There are two things that I won’t be crying about at all this March.

First, march madness.  I love college basketball and this is the best championship tournament of any sport.  Imo.  Oh man I can’t wait til it starts!

I have to say that if Duke loses at the buzzer at any point in the tourney I might shed a couple tears.  I love that team.  And coach K.

So now I’m down to one event that I won’t cry at.  Fingers crossed.  The day of my birth!  Yes, birthday month is upon me and I’m just a few days away.  I’m quite looking forward to a nice dinner out… and maybe a few presents.  My love language is gifts after all.

But, if no presents await me on Friday I will hold in the tears and count my many blessings. Seriously.  I don’t need presents.  I have too much already.

I just really like them.  A lot.  I can’t help it!  Thats how God made me.

Okay, enough about me.  Lets talk about these cookies!  Something that is good for any of life’s events, for sure.

These particular cookies are filled with whole wheat flour, oats, banana, and chocolate.  Good stuff in there!  I was curious how olive oil would substitute for butter and it worked out great.  Though you can’t particularly taste the olive oil at least there are a few healthy fats in this treat.

That makes me feel better about eating one after a workout.  Oops!

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

slightly adapted from Cookie and Kate

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 Tbsp or 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 heaping cup banana, mashed
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups oats
  • 3/4 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or spray pan with cooking spray.  In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, brown sugar, and olive oil until sugar looks similar to wet sand.  Add egg and mix until combined.  Mix in banana and vanilla extract.  Add dry ingredients and oats to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.  Mix in the chocolate chips.

Drop a rounded tablespoon full of dough onto cookie sheets.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for 3-4 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.  Pour a glass of milk, eat, and enjoy!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars

Isn’t it crazy that we all make hundreds of decisions every day?

So many things going on in our heads.  So many choices before us.

And not only having all those choices before us, but realizing that each one of them can influence our day, our mood, or our outlook on a given situation.

I’ve been thinking about my choices and decisions a lot the past couple days.  Thinking about how my mood is affected by the choice I make.

I’m in school right now, and not particularly fond of the classes I’m taking or the amount of homework I have to get done.  My attitude has been less than stellar since week one.  Not wanting to read, write papers, go to class.  Forcing myself into doing them all.

But when I got to thinking about it the other day, I realized how blessed I am to be in this position.  Granted, my interest isn’t particularly piqued with the classes that I’m taking right now, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t beneficial at all.

And more than that, how many people would love to be in my shoes right now but can’t because they don’t have the time, money, opportunity, etc.?

I have been keeping such a negative mindset, choosing to be pessimistic for the last 6 weeks and it’s definitely not making my life more enjoyable.

Sometimes- well many times- in life we get put into situations that we don’t want to be in.

Things happen that are unexpected.   I thought this term was going to be a breeze.  Then after week one I was depressed.  Not really.  I wasn’t depressed, but I definitely wasn’t excited.

But, again, I made a choice to think the worst about it.  I made the decision that I was going to have a hard time.  I let the clouds cover the blue sky.

And there is always a blue sky underneath those clouds.  Thats so cheesy!  But I know it’s true.  There is the choice to make the most of the circumstance that you are in.  It probably won’t be easy to get through, but when it’s all said and done, making the decision to embrace it and learn as much as you can from it will ease the difficulty.

And if the situation seems too difficult.  The choice to be positive is too hard to make then set it aside, and make these peanut butter chocolate chip oatmeal bars.  They might help with the situation!  At least your tummy will be happy.

These bar are loaded with good things.  Whole wheat flour, oatmeal, peanut butter, and dark chocolate.  This is a great sweet treat if you’re watching your kcals.  A little square is hearty, not overly sweet, and completely satisfying.

And if you end up eating the whole pan because you’re craming for finals or stressed about work?  Well, at least you’re getting a lot of fiber!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars

Makes 9 squares

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cups peanut butter (I used Adam’s crunchy, but you can use creamy!)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare an 8×8 baking dish by spraying it lightly with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl mix together flour, oats, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Using a stand or hand held mixer, cream together the peanut butter and brown sugar on high until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add vanilla and mix until combined.
  5. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined on medium speed.
  6. On low speed incorporate the milk into the peanut butter mixture.  Mix until dough forms.
  7. Stir in chocolate chips.
  8. Roll dough into a large ball.  Place dough in the center of the prepared baking dish and press out into the dish, pushing dough to all the corners.
  9. Bake until set and the top is golden brown, about 18-20 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven and let cool completely.  Cut into squares.
Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Banana Bread

I’m procrastinating. I’m a procrastinator.  I don’t want to be!  I promise.

It’s just so much easier to convince myself that looking at blogs, reading Women’s Health Magazine, and watch Nigella Lawson on the cooking channel are much better ideas than reading about the people who moved west in the late 19th century.

Yeah, the Oregon trail is neat.  Their lives were strenuous.  Their story is fascinating.  But I still don’t want to read about it.  Not right now anyway.

Plus I’m feeling kind of sick and that means I shouldn’t have to do homework, right?

Instead, lets talk about Nigella for a minute.  My boyfriend informed me today that he thinks she’s hot.

My response?  “Uh, yeah she is.”

That woman is so beautiful!  And she makes everything sound so appealing with her soothing, English-accented voice.  I’m jealous.  I really can’t blame him for crushin on her.

Maybe now he’ll understand why I have a crush on Robert Pattinson.

Hmm, maybe not.  I don’t think that one can be explained.

  You know what can be explained?  This awesome pumpkin, banana bread!

Thats right.  Pumpkin and banana together in one flavorful, slightly sweet, completely tasty bread.  Its a combination that works beautifully.

The flavors meld together nicely, yet stand on their own enough for both flavors to be distinguished.  

And yes, I added chocolate chips.  You’re welcome.

Seriously though, I love chocolate chips in quick breads.  They soften just enough to easily bite through, yet maintain their shape.  It’s a delicious flavor and texture sprinkled throughout this bread.  I throughly enjoy it.  I’m certain you will too.

Guess what!  You can make a loaf of bread, or cute individual muffins.  I did both.  You can too!

Or just do one or the other.  Whatevs.

And then, while you stuff your face with this delicious fall bread, you too can procrastinate.  Turn on Nigella, or pop in a RPattz movie.  I won’t judge.  Just do your thang.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Banana Bread

Adapted slightly from Rebecca Thinks…

Makes one large loaf or about 16 muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Heaping 1/2 cup of chocolate chips (add more or less if you like)
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease loaf pan or muffin tin, or line muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl.
  3. Whisk together bananas, pumpkin, oil, and eggs in a large bowl.
  4. Add flour mixture to pumpkin banana mixture.  Stir until just combined.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips.
  6. Fill loaf pan or divide batter into muffin tin.
  7. Bake until tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  About 40-45 minutes for the loaf pan and 30 minutes for muffins.
  8. Let cool on a wire rack or eat while still warm!
Yummy!  Enjoy!