Tag Archives: Chocolate

Homemade Monster Trail Mix

Recently, two of my very dear friends Pauline and Sarah made a dangerous introduction: Archer Farms’ monster mix. This addicting snack, courtesy of Target, comes in a variety of variations, but for all practical purposes is a delicious form of trail mix.

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My favorite variation is the “Peanut Butter Monster Mix” which includes peanuts, peanut butter chips, raisins, M&Ms and peanut butter covered pretzels.

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The only downside of the monster mix is…well…you just go through it quickly! So while catching up at a mutual friend’s bridal shower, my girlfriends and I discussed the awesome alternative of making homemade peanut butter monster mix.

Trail mix is by far one of the easiest things to make. It’s also a great snack to customize with a few favorite snack substitutes, including some healthier options.

While on my latest trip to Target, I grabbed a few key ingredients including chocolate and peanut butter chips, raisins and peanuts.

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For my version of the mix, I didn’t add the delicious peanut butter covered pretzels, which I couldn’t locate at Target (Tip: I hear you can grab a bag at Trader Joe’s). I also substituted super dark chocolate chips to replace the standard milk chocolate chips that come in the Archer Farms version. Lastly, I decided to nix the M&Ms, in an effort to reduce the second chocolate element.

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I added the raisins, peanut butter chips and chocolate chips to a large mixing bowl and doubled the amount of peanuts. While I love the sweet elements, I liked the idea of minimizing the sugary components and doubling the savory.

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Next it was time to give the ingredients a good thorough mix with a solid wooden spoon. And yes, I snuck a few peanut butter chips while I worked 🙂 In just a few minutes, I had a huge bowl of my new favorite snack, and boy was I ready to dig in!

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However, I was reminded by the handy little individual portion packages that Target sells to portion out my mix as well, helping to minimize how quickly one might blow through a batch.

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Grabbing a measuring cup and some snack-sized plastic bags, I got to work portioning out servings into the individual bags, which I sealed away and readied for the work week or snack on-the-go.

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Excluding my shopping trip, the whole process took no more than 15 minutes (including clean up) and I’m so excited to grab a little package on Monday morning and enjoy it at my desk at work.

Do you have a copycat snack recipe that you like? If so, please leave a comment below.

Signature 3 (Mar 2016)

Pinterest Challenge: Fall Cookies

We hope that you’re enjoying the beautiful fall season! While we still have quite warm weather here in California, Pinterest is aflutter with tons of pins showing cute fall ankle boots, plaid ponchos and lots and lots of yummy fall-themed cookies. It seemed about time for another Pinterest challenge, so I queued up my fellow authors and initiated a fall cookie challenge. If nothing else, it was a great excuse to do some baking and incorporate some of the spices of the season.

Mere…When I think of fall sweets, the yummy flavors of pumpkin, apple, and cranberry immediately come to mind. Upon receiving this “fall-themed cookie challenge” from fellow TK blogger Kristi, I began scrolling through my Pinterest “sweets treats” board to find the perfect cookie. I decided on White Chocolate and Cranberry Cookies from Shugary Sweets Blog, and boy, am I glad that I did!

White chocolate isn’t my typical go-to chocolate (I tend to be a sucker for dark chocolate), but the combination of white chocolate and cranberry in a cookie was delicious! These cookies were the perfect balance of sweet and tart and tasted like fall with each bite. I ended up gifting these cookies to a co-worker, otherwise I would have gobbled them all up!

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This recipe is simple and easy to follow. I didn’t stray from the directions much—personally, I believe that over-baking cookies is a faux pas, so I suggest watching the cookies during the last two minutes of baking to avoid dry and over-cooked cookies.

Kristi…I’m a HUGE fan of pumpkin, and even though you can get canned pumpkin year round, it only seems fitting to incorporate it into my diet when the weather is crisp. So when we decided to do this challenge, I knew that my cookie needed to involve pumpkin. After a bit of scanning on Pinterest I located the Soft Pumpkin Cookies with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting by Frugal Living NW. I’m one of those types that loves squishy, soft cookies that are barely cooked, so add the pumpkin and this recipe seemed right up my alley.

Let me tell you this recipe did not disappoint. It created a delicious melt-in-your-mouth treat, with everyday ingredients that I had in my pantry (Cream Cheese was the only thing I had to run out to get).

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Overall, it was a fairly straight-forward recipe, which I was able to whip up quite easily. Here are a few tips to consider:

  • Not being a huge fan of frosting (mostly for the additional calories that it adds), I ended up making a half batch of frosting. The cookies are super yummy as a standalone dessert, so those looking for a lighter version, may want to consider.
  • I also slightly reduced the sugar I added (from 1.5 cups to 1.25 cups). The cookies still tasted nice and sweet!
  • Lastly, I bumped up the amount of cinnamon and nutmeg that I added in my batch, and to be honest, I still felt like it could have used a touch more. This of course depends on how spicy you like your baking, but for me, I would say add another 1/2 to 1 tsp.

Bri… I wanted to try something that would be easy and fast, but also healthy — if at all possible. Enter the 2-ingredient vegan oatmeal cookie. When I think of oatmeal, I’m reminded of chilly days in front of a hot bowl of steamy oats and cinnamon. I think this recipe flourishes on the internet due to its simplicity: it’s just 1 ripe mashed banana mixed with 1 cup of oats that’ve been pulsed in a food processor into a flour-like consistency. You can add more flavor mix-ins if you’d like. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees. Yields ~9 cookies. For my test kitchen night, I paired the oatmeal and banana with chocolate chunks and cinnamon.

When I bit into it, I enjoyed the chocolate bits and the warm banana flavors, but the first words out of my mouth were: “It tastes healthy…”

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If you’re one of those people who say: “If you’re going to eat a cookie… EAT A REAL COOKIE!” Then, this is not the cookie for you. It has a distinct oatty/nutty flavor. Once they get to room temperature or cold, they’re not enjoyable because the texture is mushy. My friend took a bite of a hot one right out of the oven. Bless his heart, it wasn’t until after he took a bite that he told me he doesn’t like anything with banana in it. Suffice to say, the cookie did not get a thumbs up from him.

Verdict: I won’t make them again, but I’m glad I gave it a try!

We had lots of fun sourcing out fun Fall cookie recipes. Do you have a favorite recipe that you like to make each year? If so, please share a link below and let us know your tips!

This post is part of an ongoing series. Please check out all our Pinterest Challenge posts.

Pinterest Challenge: Happy Fourth of July

Holidays and celebrations have taken on a whole new dimension with the ideas that can be researcher and shared via Pinterest. However, we at TripleKnots have had our share of both successes and failures when it comes to executing our Pinterest-inspired projects.

As we sat thinking about a Fourth of July-themed post, I (Kristi) reached out to my fellow bloggers and challenged them with the idea of finding a Pinterest pin for their Fourth of July celebration that they could share with our readers. In addition to sharing our finds, it would become an opportunity for us to share how the project went. Was it as easy as the pinner made it out to be? Were there new tips that we found that could make it easier?

We had a lot of fun with this post, and hope to do future “Pinterest Challenges” in the future!

Mere… The 4th of July holiday is one of my favorites! It is a special time of year to celebrate our nation’s independence, and also enjoy festive foods and fireworks! This year, I’m celebrating the holiday with friends at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Cinespia sponsors movies in the cemetery, and this year we’ll be watching the appropriately themed, fan-favorite flick, Top Gun. As the evening falls, we’ll be enjoying a picnic-style potluck.

When fellow Triple Knotter, Kristi, initiated a “Pinterest Challenge”, I immediately accepted as a trial-run for our upcoming social gathering. Pinterest has become one of the best sources for celebration inspiration—from food, to décor, to attire, Pinterest has great ideas for holiday fun! I have saved many patriotic pins to the “Celebrations” Pinterest board over the past few years and instantly I began scrolling. I quickly found the perfect pin: “Patriotic Dipped Strawberries.”

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These red, white and blue strawberries were fairly easy to make. Here are a few tips:

  • Use small bowls for dipping strawberries into your white chocolate and blue sprinkles—smaller bowls will allow for an easier dip into the chocolate and sprinkles and require less turning of the strawberries
  • Wait a minute before dipping the white chocolate into the sprinkles—when the white chocolate is still warm, you might struggle getting the sprinkles to set in place

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Overall, I was pleased with the outcome and look forward to sharing them with friends tomorrow!

Bri… While I might try my hand at making some of the yummy treats that Mere and Kris have whipped up for this post; those would be fun additions to a firework-watching snack-pack! My work week was a little hectic, but I did manage to splice in some me-time mid-week: I went to my local nail salon after work, which doesn’t shut their doors until 7. Before I went to the shop, I scanned Pinterest for some festive nail colors to spice up my holiday weekend look. Some of the designs were very fun, but for my taste a bit too thematic to last several days beyond the holiday, so I went for solids. With closed-toed shoes and some classic gold jewelry, I think I can pull off the navy blue in the Silicon Valley office. Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments below.

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Whether you choose to DIY or go to a salon, I’d say the difficulty level on this look is easy. Happy 4th!

Kristi…We have been on the go lately, so decided to lay low this holiday weekend and relax at our home. Since we didn’t have any big Fourth of July plans this year, I decided to be festive with treats for my (and my husband’s office). After a a quick scan of Pinterest, I locked in on the idea of doing a decorative Rice Cripsy treat (this mostly related to the fact that a good friend of mine makes the most amazing treats ever, and I wanted a good excuse to make batch for myself).

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What I loved about this Pinterest-inspired dessert is that it looks so easy/quick to make (and with just a few ingredients). The decoration portion ended up being a bit more challenging than I thought. Even after the treats had set, they were still fairly flexible. Combined with needing to dip the treats quickly – it proved a bit tricky!

The tricks that I used or would recommend, include:

  • When you’re making your treats, have all your ingredients measured out and in separate containers. Marshmallow gets sticky fast so you don’t want to waste any time measuring or looking for an ingredient.
  • If you’re going to dip your treats, try to compact them as much as possible. I used the leftover wrapper from my stick of butter.
  • Immediately throw your sticky containers in the sink with water. It makes it 100% easier to clean, later on.
  • Cut your treats narrowly. Dipping can be quite tricky with a large square.

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What I loved about testing out this Pinterest project is that once perfected, you can theme it for any holiday or celebration, which makes this a go-to project for any upcoming soirée!

We wish you a wonderful Fourth of July and would love to hear how you celebrated your holiday weekend! Please share your Independence Day stories and pictures with us!

This post is part of an ongoing series. Please check out all our Pinterest Challenge posts.