Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

When I was younger, I didn’t like Oreos. For me, the crisp chocolate cookies were too bitter. The cream, on the other hand, I actually liked. The cloyingly sweet corn syrup laden filling satisfied the desires of a child wanting sugar. It didn’t understand why someone would pair a very sweet vanilla filling with a hard, very dark chocolate cookie. Like a lot of children, any food I considered too spicy, bitter, or sour, I disliked. And so Oreos were a contrast of flavors my five year old brain couldn’t comprehend.


However, as I got older, I began to acquire a taste for foods and flavors that were bitter and had more richness and depth. I’ve learned to appreciate the subtlety of dark chocolate and the different profiles of flavor in a cup of black coffee. And in doing so, I’ve come to love the simplicity of Oreos dipped in a glass of milk.

Side Angle

These cupcakes are an ode to that simplicity in the finest form, cupcakes. Even a younger Oreo-hating version of myself would have loved these cupcakes. To make them, I folded crumbled Oreos into a simple vanilla cake batter and then topped the cupcakes off with a chocolate buttercream frosting and more crumbled Oreos. These cupcakes taste like your childhood, except better.


Cookies and Cream Cupcakes (Makes 16 Cupcakes)

1 and 2/3 cups all- purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

2 egg whites

1/4 cup greek yogurt

3/4 cup milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 and 1/2 cups chopped Oreos (about 12-13 Oreos)


3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

3  cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup cocoa powder

A pinch of salt

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3-4 tablespoons milk

4-5 crumbled Oreos


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.
  3. Ina, a microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter. Whisk in the granulated sugar. Mixture will be thick. Vigorously whisk in the egg whites, yogurt, milk, and vanilla until combined and uniform in texture. Slowly whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until no lumps remain. Gently fold in the Oreos.
  4. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool.
  5. To make the frosting, use a mixer to beat the butter on high speed. Slowly add the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time. Once the butter and powdered sugar are combined, add the cocoa powder and vanilla. Depending on the consistency you want of the frosting, add milk. If you want frosting you’re able to pipe, add less milk. If not, add more milk. Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, frost the cupcakes. Top them off with the crumbled Oreos.
  6. Store frosted cupcakes in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction


White Chocolate Rose Cupcakes

It’s spring, the flowers are blooming, the weather is getting warmer, and rain is falling. Spring always elicits a kind of excitement in me; wearing shorts and enjoying long bike rides is what I live for. As the end of school nears, there are no bittersweet goodbyes to the AP classes and the sound of my 6 o’clock alarm ringing.


These cupcakes are my ode to spring and a departure from school. Vanilla cupcakes studded with white chocolate before being topped with whipped cream spiked with rose water. Rose water has a delicate and distinctive flavor. I know rose is an intimidating flavor to use in the kitchen, but its mild and unique taste is surprisingly pleasing. I had my first macaron this summer and was rather underwhelmed by the salted caramel flavor I had chosen. I then took a bite of the second macaron I bought, a rose-flavored one, and fell in love.


I waited months before I finally came across a bottle of this at an Indian store and bought it in quite a hurry. A few weeks later I proceeded to dump a generous amount of this into my whipped cream frosting,  which ended up being light and flavorful. Smear this frosting on a white chocolate cupcake, and you’ve got yourself a real winner.


White Chocolate Rose Cupcakes (Makes 12 cupcakes)

1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 3/4 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter (softened)

1 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs (at room temp.)

1/2 cup milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 cup white chocolate (chopped into small chunks)


1 cup heavy whipping cream

3 – 4 tbsp. powdered sugar

2 tbsp. rose water

1/4 tsp. vanilla

Pinch of Salt

Strawberries (optional, to garnish)

White chocolate (optional, chopped to garnish)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a mixing bowl cream the butter on medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs and vanilla. Beat well.
  5. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated. Do not over beat (you will end up with tough cupcakes!). Fold in white chocolate. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  6. Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about 3/4 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
  7. To make the frosting, combine heavy cream and salt.
  8. Beat on medium speed until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar 1 tbsp. at a time. Test for sweetness.
  9. Add rose water and vanilla extract. Beat just past soft peaks stage and stop.
  10. Frost cooled cupcakes with frosting. Dip the edges in white chocolate, and top with a strawberry slice if desired.

Vanilla cupcake recipe adapted from Food Network

Inspired by Joy the Baker

Chia Oat Parfait

It’s snowing! It’s also freezing and wet, but I don’t care. The first snow of the season is always the best. Especially when it happens as early as November. November ushers in so many great things about fall. Boots, scarves, falling leaves, pumpkin, etc. It’s easy for me to get caught up in the endless amounts of pumpkin/pumpkin spice recipes, so today I decided to stray from normal fall breakfasts.

TreeThingFirst, let me admit that nothing about this recipe screams fall. In fact, I envision the perfect time to eat this is during the summer when berries are sweet and juicy. Don’t worry though, this recipe is healthy, and healthy doesn’t need a season. Chia seeds are packed with omega-3 and tons of fiber.

TopMy love affair with oatmeal will never end. I eat it on a daily basis and often in a multitude of ways. When presented with another way to eat oatmeal, I couldn’t resist. The oats in this recipe soften to a chewy texture while the chia seeds expand. I know some people would call this Chia Oat PUDDING Parfait, but I chose against that because chia seeds soaked in milk don’t taste like pudding. Sorry to disappoint, but even without the taste of pudding this parfait is delicious.


Chia Oat Parfait (Makes 1 serving)

1/3 cup old-fashioned oats

2/3 cup almond milk

1.5 tbsp. Chia seeds

Pinch of salt

Dash of vanilla extract

1/4 – 1/3 cup berries of choice (I used blackberries)

1 – 2 tsp. lemon juice

Maple syrup (to taste)

1/2 banana (sliced into thin slices)


  1. The night before. In a bowl mix together oats, chia seeds, almond milk, salt, and vanilla extract. Place in fridge for at least 6 hrs.
  2. The next morning. Take the oat mixture from the fridge and add maple syrup to taste. In a separate bowl mash together berries, lemon juice, maple syrup, and a pinch of salt.
  3. Grab a clear glass. Layer oat mixture, mashed berries, and a few banana slices. Repeat until everything is used up. Garnish with more banana slices and fresh berries if desired. Best if consumed immediately.

Adapted from Amelia Liana


Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles (Healthy!)

I hope everyone had a happy Halloween this year. After moving to a more secluded and small neighborhood, our house almost always has more than enough candy left over. Naturally, this year we forgot the candy, and I decided to go to a movie instead. This is when I learned that bad horror movies can be made scary when you’re sitting next to somebody who screams when anything happens. Halloween was my favorite holiday when I was younger, but as I’ve gotten older I realize that it’s only fun when you get free candy.


Once you reach the age where you’re too old to trick or treat, the fun disappears. If you’re like me and don’t get any trick or treaters, buying a bag of candy and eating it all by yourself is probably a bad idea. So of course I thought of a plan:  healthier truffles. Now these truffles have a secret ingredient. Do you think you can guess it?

TopTruffles Chickpeas. Yes, I know you’re probably sick of the chickpea cookie dough recipes, but I’m not. Chickpeas are so last season, but they still make great desserts and snacks. By just whizzing these in a food processor with some peanut butter and sugar, you’ll have an (almost) buckeye filling. Then just dip them in chocolate, refrigerate, and you’re good to go. Who needs candy when you can have these?


Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles (Healthy!) {Makes 7-9 truffles}

1 cup canned chickpeas (drained and rinsed)

1/4 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

1/4-1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1-2 tsp. canola oil (optional)


  1. Put chickpeas and a small amount of water in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 60-90 seconds. Drain chickpeas and let cool. Put in food processor and process until it’s grainy.
  2. Add peanut butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt. Continue processing until it forms a ball. Using a 2 tbsp. cookie scoop form the peanut butter mixture into balls.
  3. Fill a pot with a small amount of water. Put a metal bowl on top of the pot. Bring the water in the pot to a boil making sure that the water does not touch the bowl. Add chocolate chips and canola oil to the bowl. Whisk chocolate until melted. Take the bowl of the pot. Dip the peanut butter truffles in chocolate and roll them around until completely covered. Place them on a slipat or a piece of parchment paper.
  4. Let the chocolate dry in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. Take out. These stay well in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Inspired by Half Baked Harvest

Coconut French Toast

So a couple of days ago I decided to see If I Stay with a few friends. And let me tell you, it was probably one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. I am genuinely surprised that I did not fall asleep while watching that soppy mess of a movie. I hope by telling you how bad it was, you won’t waste money on actually going to see it in theaters. The only saving graces of the movie were Chloë Grace Moretz and the fact that the male lead was kind of attractive.


What does If I Stay have to do with french toast? Nothing, but now you know what you shouldn’t spend time watching. Ok, now that we’ve cleared that out of the way. Coconut french toast. I’m one of those types of people who opens a can of coconut milk, doesn’t use the whole thing, and then leaves it lying in the fridge for a week or two.  I have to get a little creative with leftover coconut milk.


For this recipe, I put coconut milk in the french toast to provide richness and flavor. I also mixed together a little bit of maple syrup and coconut milk to drizzle on top. Just when you think you’re finished, there’s more. I chose to garnish this french toast with toasted coconut flakes and sliced strawberries. Whether you choose to garnish your french toast or not, it’ll taste great naked (with the syrup though, of course) or all dressed up.


Coconut French Toast (Makes 1 serving)

2 slices bread (preferably stale)

1 egg

1/4 cup coconut milk

1 packet stevia (or 2 tsp. sugar)

Pinch of salt

1/4 tsp. coconut extract (scant)

1/8 tsp. vanilla extract

Coconut oil (for the pan)

2 tbsp. maple syrup

1 tbsp. coconut milk

Toasted coconut shavings (for garnish, optional)

Fresh berries (for garnish, optional)

Instructions (Makes 1 serving)

  1. In a small ramekin or bowl, mix together maple syrup and coconut milk. Set aside.
  2. In a shallow dish whisk together egg, 1/4 cup coconut milk, stevia, salt, coconut extract, and vanilla extract. Put both slices of bread in egg mixture. Allow the bread to soak up the egg mixture while you heat up the pan.
  3. Heat pan to medium heat. Add coconut oil. Place the slices of toast into the pan. Cook each slice until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Flip both slices. Cook for another 1-2 minutes. Put both slices on a plate.
  4. Drizzle french toast with coconut syrup. Optional: garnish with chopped berries and toasted coconut shavings. Serve.

Massaged Asian Kale Salad

Kale – the trendy new health food that’s sweeping the nation. Along with quinoa, greek yogurt, and chia seeds, kale is featured heavily on any healthy living blog.  It’s a pretty remarkable vegetable. It has vitamin C, vitamin K, omega-3, and much more. So why doesn’t the average American eat kale?  It’s likely that it can seem a bit daunting compared to other vegetables. I don’t think many of us look at kale and want to eat it. Let’s face it, it looks like something I’d feed my rabbit.

TopKaleIt’s okay if you’re not a kale person; I’m not either. When preparing kale, the goal is to mask the flavor or totally change the texture. Basically, kale sucks on its own. The first way to disguise kale is by baking it to a crisp. You then eat it and pretend it tastes as good as potato chips, even though you know it doesn’t. The second way to disguise kale is by blending it into a smoothie. You add banana and lots of peanut butter. Voila! Now you can’t taste it at all.

KaleAngleThe third way to disguise kale is by massaging it. I wouldn’t say this is really a way to disguise the flavor, but to slightly mellow it out. To massage it, just put a hand in the bowl and toss it around until it’s wilted. This allows the kale to really absorb the kick-ass sesame garlic dressing you’re about to pour on it. You see? Kale doesn’t  have to be scary at all. At least not if you massage it.


Massaged Asian Kale Salad  (Makes 2-3 servings)

3 cups finely chopped curly kale

1 carrot (coarsely grated)

1 tbsp. sesame oil

2 cloves garlic (minced)

2 tbsp. soy sauce (scant)

1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar

1/2 tbsp. maple syrup

2 tsp. sesame seeds


  1. Heat a small saucepan to medium heat. Once hot add sesame oil and garlic. Saute garlic for 1-2 minutes, or until cooked slightly. Pour oil and garlic mixture into a small ramekin.
  2. In the small ramekin add soy sauce, vinegar, and maple syrup. Add more soy sauce to taste. Set aside sauce.
  3. Put kale in a medium to large sized bowl . Time to get dirty! Use your hands to massage the kale. The kale will start to wilt and reduce in size after 2-3 minutes. Add sauce and grated carrot. Give it a few more good tosses with your hands. Now put the salad in the fridge.
  4. In the same saucepan used to heat the oil and garlic, reheat to medium heat. Add sesame seeds. Toast for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off heat, and let the sesame seeds cool a bit. Take the salad out of the fridge. Stir in cooled sesame seeds. Serve lukewarm or cold.

Weekly Wonders… #3

1) This backpack. Probably won’t carry anything, but it’s still adorable.

2) This movie. Why aren’t they a couple in real life?

3)  This dessert. Oh my god.

4) This song. Yay! She’s coming out with a new album.

5) This infographic. I don’t even like salad, but this sounds like a good idea.

6) This cookbook. I definitely want this after it comes out.

7) This jacket. Only $10, it’s a bargain.

8) This ramen. Mmm, it’s too hot for it right now, but it would be great later.

9) This book. Just started reading this, can’t wait to get into it.

10) These hairstyles. It’s time to jazz things up in the hair department.

Mini Key Lime Pies

You know what I realized as I scrolled through my blog today? Out of the 12 recipes I have, 8 of them are breakfast recipes. Yes, that’s right, three-quarters of all the recipes I have are breakfast recipes!  I’m not really quite sure how that happened considering there are four other meals in the day. You’re probably wondering how I got to a total of five meals a day.  I’m the type of person who needs to have a snack and dessert EVERY day and counts them as separate meals. Do normal people not eat dessert on a daily basis? Oh, well!

CashewsRecently, I’ve been into making vegan desserts.  I like the challenge of being able to make something without dairy, eggs, and/or honey. My family, like most other people, is skeptical of vegan desserts. Despite my family’s dislike of vegan desserts, my dad never has a problem eating Banana Breakfast Oat Cookies or these key lime pies before I tell him they’re vegan.

StackedMemories of key lime pie usually come from a box. I know what you’re thinking–my grandma is supposed to have made the best pies and whenever I eat them I think of her, but that’s just not true. Whenever I eat key lime pie I think of the Edwards key lime pie in the freezer section. Now I’m eating homemade mini vegan key lime pies–oh how far I’ve come from the freezer section of desserts at Walmart!

Bite CashewsMini Key Lime Pies (Makes 5)

1/2 cup pitted dates

1/4 cup old fashioned oats

1 tbsp. ground flaxseed

1-2 tsp. coconut oil (melted, optional)


1/2 cup raw cashews (soaked in water for 4-6 hrs. and then drained)

1/4 cup coconut milk

2 tbsp. coconut oil (melted)

2-3 limes (1/4 cup juice, 1 tsp. zest)

1/4-1/3 cup maple syrup

Pinch of salt


  1. Line 5 muffins tins with paper liners.
  2. In a food processor blend dates until you are able to form a ball with it. Add in oats and ground flaxseed, pulse until combined. Add coconut oil 1 tsp. at a time if needed to make a stickier/wetter crust.
  3. Distribute date crust mixture evenly among paper liners. Use clean fingers to press the mixture into each liner. Place in freezer to firm up while making filling.
  4. Clean out the food processor. Add all ingredients to the food processor and process until smooth. Add more maple syrup if needed.
  5. Take muffins tins out of the freezer. Pour filling into each of the liners. Garnish with lime zest if wanted. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and place back in freezer. Freeze until solid.
  6. Remove from the freezer for 10-15 minutes to thaw before serving. They will keep covered in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.

Filling adapted from Minimalist Baker


Watermelon Smoothie

Ahh! It’s been awhile hasn’t it. I’ve just been outside soaking up the 100 degree weather we have here in the midwest. 100 degree weather, yes, I’m actually outside in it. Being outside when it’s that hot, it feels like a hell (I really wish I were joking, but I’m not). Cooling down and hydrating is vital before and after you go outside . That means LOTS of cold food for me. Ice cream, salads, and smoothies, all made their way into my diet this week. For once chocolate desserts don’t have any appeal to me.SmoothieSlightAngle

I’m sure a lot of you have heard of banana “ice cream“, the ice cream that isn’t actually ice cream, well typical banana “ice cream” is usually made with frozen bananas. Ripe frozen bananas give a great frosty texture, so of course I had to throw them into my smoothie. Watermelon and bananas don’t exactly sound like they go together, but you can’t omit the bananas in this recipe, it won’t taste good. Whether it’s 100 degrees or not, this smoothie is both hydrating and delicious.



Watermelon Smoothie (Makes one 16 oz. smoothie)

1 ripe banana (cut into chunks and frozen)

1 1/2 cup diced watermelon

1/3 cup water

1/4 lime

Pinch of salt


  1. Add water, watermelon, salt, and juice from the lime to the blender. Blend until smooth.
  2. Add banana and blend until no banana chunks remain. Pour into glass and garnish with a lime slice.

Adapted from Healthy. Happy. Life.