Strawberry, banana, pb, chocolate panini 

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Sometimes I like to throw a treat together for our girls that is at least “slightly” healthy. This is a favorite of theirs. 


  • Strawberries (sliced)
  • Banana (sliced) 
  • Sugar free chocolate syrup
  • Creamy peanut butter
  • Flour tortillas


Spread peanut butter on a tortilla. Place strawberry and banana slices on half of the tortilla. Drizzle with a little bit of chocolate syrup. Fold in half and place in panini press until golden on both sides and serve. 


  • Can cook in a regular skillet as well. 
  • Be careful when flipping it so the fruit doesn’t slide out. 
  • Can make with other kinds of fruit, be creative. 
  • Only needed about 5 or 6 medium sizes strawberries and one banana to make them for seven people.
  • Skip the chocolate and it can be a fun breakfast or lunch for kiddos. 


Peanut Butter frosting 

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For my husband’s 40th birthday party he requested chocolate peanut butter cupcakes. I ended up making chocolate cupcakes with butterfinger pieces inside, with this peanut butter frosting, and sprinkled with butterfinger. He loved them. 


  • 1 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 3 cups powdered sugar 
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp whole milk 
  • 1/4 cup crushed butterfinger (optional)


  1. In an electric mixer, beat the peanut butter and butter on medium until completely smooth.
  2. Add vanilla. 
  3. Reduce speed to low and add in the remaining ingredients, beating until fully incorporated. 
  4. Increase speed to medium high and beat the frosting for 1-2 minutes until light and fluffy. 
  5. Once cake or cupcakes are completely cooled you can spread or pipe frosting.

Side notes:

  1. This batch makes enough for a dozen cupcakes. 
  2. I sprinkled them with crushed Butterfinger that I ran through the food processor. About 12 mini butterfinger. 
  3. Many people said the frosting tasted like Reeses peanut butter cups.

Chocolate chip cookie dough frosting 

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One day our girls’ Guncle brought them over chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes. They were sinful and the girls didn’t stop talking about them. So when I asked Bitty what kind of cake she wanted me to bake for her birthday dinner she knew exactly what she wanted. A blue cake, because Alice’s dress is blue, with chocolate chips in it, and chocolate chip cookie dough frosting. 

Hummmm, to come up with a recipe, and fast! Or worst case senerio, run to Guncle Alex’s favorite bakery if I screwed it up. So I took to pinterest. Looked at a few ideas and got to work. I was really unsure of the outcome until they got home from school and I had them and my friend’s kiddos taste test it for me. Kids are always brutally honest and that’s what I was looking for. All six kiddos LOVED it. Turns out I had enough left over that we’re going to use it for a dip at her party too. They were really excited about that idea.

-Creamy Cookie Dough Frosting-


  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar 
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature 
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour 
  • 8 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 2 tsp butter vanilla bakery emulsion 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 16 tbsp whole milk (1 cup)
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted 
  • 1 cup semi sweet mini chocolate chips 


  1. Beat brown sugar & butter together in mixer on medium until smooth & creamy.
  2. Add flour, vanilla extract, butter vanilla bakery emulsion, & salt into mixer until fully combined. 
  3. With mixer on low, add milk 1 tbsp at a time until fully combined. 
  4. Sift powdered sugar and gradually add to mixture until fully combined. 
  5. Remove bowl from mixer & add mini chocolate chips. Stirring by hand until incorporated. 

Side notes:

  1. If using for cupcakes and wanting a firmer frosting add small amounts of additional powdered sugar until desired firmness reached. 
  2. I found the butter vanilla bakery emulsion at a local craft supply store. Otherwise I’d use the same amount of butter extract in its place. 
  3. Can be used for a frosting or a dip to serve with cookies or pretzels. 
  4. I’d keep it refrigerated until serving in either form. 
  5. Surprisingly it’s not excessively sweet. It taste like chocolate chip cookie dough, minus the eggs of course. If you wanted it sweeter you could try maybe adding a 1/2 cup of regular sugar to the mix. This was more sugar than I’d typically use in any recipe so I opted to not keep adding more, especially after seeing how much the kids all liked it.
  6. I also made some chocolate cupcakes with this frosting for her to share with her friends at dance class (though I wish I had thickened it up a bit).

Unicorn hot cocoa 

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One little glimpse of this magical unicorn hot cocoa online that is all the craze at this little shop in Anaheim and I just knew I had to come up with a similar recipe for our girls and their friends. I don’t typically over load them with sugar. Today was not the case. They were in sugary unicorn hot cocoa heaven and I even made them a batch of homemade rainbow pop tarts.

I looked at a variety of recipes and took a little bit of those ideas, combined with a hot cocoa recipe that I make a huge batch of annually, keeping in mind that I planned on making pink hot chocolate soon for gifts, and decided to make a batch large enough to fill this container.

Our girls love strawberry anything so I decided to take their unicorn hot cocoa in that direction. Since it’s an unusually cold for Texas day I made this batch. Heated the water in the kettle and made enough for 8 cups and tossed it in a crock pot on warm and invited some friends over. While we waited for them to arrive I whipped up a few different dishes of colorful whipped cream to dollop on top and had some fruity marshmallows, rainbow sprinkles, & sugar sprinkles ready to garnish with.

The cocoa is a really pretty pink color on its own (forgot to take that picture first), but since one of our kiddos isn’t very girly and one of the kiddos coming over is a boy I dropped just a few drops of purple food coloring to give it this purplish color today.

Here’s the recipe I came up with…

-Unicorn Hot Cocoa-


  • 25.6 oz nonfat dry milk
  • 16 oz coffee creamer 
  • 8 cups of strawberry nesquick 
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 11 oz Ghirardelli white chocolate chips


In an oversized pot or container mix all of the above ingredients. I first took the white chocolate chips and ran them through the food processor until it was fine. Mix all above ingredients until well blended and store in an air tight container.

How to make a cup of cocoa:

Heat 1 cup of water. Mix in 1/4-1/3 cup of the unicorn hot cocoa mix. I also added 1 tbsp of Guittard choc-au-lait vanilla milk chips (optional of course) and stirred well until all mixed. Dolloped with a teaspoon of each colored whipped cream, a bit of fruity marshmallows, and topped with the rainbow & sugar sprinkles!

Crock pot version:

To make ahead for a party or just to serve through out the day. I heat up water in our kettle and measure out the water. Our small crock pot holds 8 cups, full size crock pot will of course hold much more. Pour the water in the crock pot set on warm. Then mix the 1/4 cup – 1/3 cup of unicorn hot cocoa mixture based on how many cups of water used. Just mix it well with a whisk and cover. I like to whisk it again before serving. This would be fun for a hot cocoa bar. Just set out all the toppings to garnish when ready to serve.


Peppermint sugar cookies

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Some days you just don’t feel like making everything from scratch or haven’t come across the perfect recipe. This is me when it comes to a sugar cookies recipe. I haven’t found “the one” just yet. So I cheat on this Peppermint sugar cookie recipe a bit. 

I opt to use a bag of sugar cookies mix and a can of vanilla frosting. This may shock some of my close friends and family that know how much I like cooking from scratch. Someday I’ll find a recipe I prefer, in the mean time I’m good with this. 


  • Bag sugar cookies mix 
  • Egg (see bag for amount)
  • Oil or butter  (see bag for amount)
  • Container of vanilla frosting
  • Bag of peppermints 


Preheat oven according to cookie mix. 

Crush peppermints finely.

Mix cookie mix according to recipe on package. Once mixed well add in 1/4 cup of crushed peppermints and mix some more

Bake according to package on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. 

Once cool Frost each cookie and sprinkle a good coat of peppermints across the top of the frosting

Side notes:

For crushing the peppermints. You can do a few methods. You can cut to the chase and buy a bag of already crushed peppermints from your local grocery store on the baking isle. You can toss them in a zip lock bag and crush then with a rolling pin. My favorite method is to toss then in my food processor and pulse them until they are crushed.

Any brand of cookie dough will do. For the cookies I recently baked for our Christmas cookie exchange I used the Betty Crocker brand. Lowered my oven to 350° and baked for 14 minutes. 

Some don’t care to use parchment paper in baking. I don’t always use it. I do however make sure I do with this cookie. Sticky melted Peppermint stuck to a cookie sheet isn’t my idea of fun cleaning. 

After I Frost them, before storing I like to put them in the fridge for about an hour before stacking them to kind of set the frosting

If you find you have a lot of extra crushed Peppermint left over store in a zip lock bag or air tight container. Our family loves to throw a tsp of it in a hot cocoa or coffee. 

When storing, if stacking I like to put a sheet of wax paper between the layers.

If you like your cookie a little less sweet, skip the frosting and Peppermint on top.

Once again, I completely forgot to take a picture after I made these. So I cropped the best one I could find from our party.


Butterfinger pudding cookie recipe 

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I usually make peanut butter cookies at Christmas time for my husband every year. I also make my Corn Pop’s butterfinger pie that my husband has come to love. So butterfinger cookies was a must try! 


  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temp 
  • 3/4 light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar 
  • 3.4oz package sugar free vanilla pudding powder 
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract 
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda 
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 10 oz butterfinger baking bits 


Preheat oven to 325° (or 350°, I have to lower the temp on our oven)

Cream butter and sugar together until smooth

Add pudding mix, eggs, additional egg yolk, & vanilla

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, & salt 

Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients about a 1/2 cup at a time until combined 

Fold in butterfinger baking bits

Use a cookie scoop onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet 

Bake for 13-15 minutes (mine took 15 minutes)

Cool on pan for 2 minutes before moving to cooling rack 

Side notes:

Yields approximately 4 dozen, mine made 46 small cookies 

Once again, I forgot to take a better picture 


Espresso chocolate chip cookie recipe 

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Anyone that knows me knows I have a strong love for coffee! So when we decided on having a Christmas cookie exchange and I was sure we were going to have a hot cocoa and coffee bar as well as making a hot chocolate cookie, my husband suggested I bake some kind of coffee cookie. If you like coffee & chocolate, you’ll love this cookie!


  • 3 cups all purpose flour 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup light brown sugar 
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature 
  • 2 large eggs
  • 12 oz bag mini chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup instant espresso or coffee granules 
  • 1/4 cup whole coffee beans (optional)


In a large mixing bowl combine flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside. 

In a mixer cream butter, brown sugar, sugar, & vanilla extract until fluffy. 

Add eggs one at a time.

Gradually add flour mixture until well incorporated. 

Stir in chocolate chips and coffee or espresso granules. 

Use a cookie scoop and drop on parchment paper lined cookie sheets. 

Bake at 350° (or 375°  I have to lower the temp for our oven) for 11-13 minutes (took our oven 13 minutes).

Optional: remove and promptly press a coffee bean in the center of each cookie. 

Side notes:

Depending on the size of your cookie scoop it can yield between 3-5 dozen. Mine made 59 cookies with a small scoop.

Can use 12 oz bag of regular size semi sweet chocolate chips, but the minis seem to spread through the cookie better.

I always have the best intention of taking a picture of them on a pretty plate after they cool, and well I get side tracked with a house full of kiddos:)


Hot chocolate cookie recipe

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I love finding new recipes, however maybe it’s the New Orleans in me that makes me feel the need to put some kind of twist on it and make it my own, unless it’s a family recipe, those never get changed. So when I happened along this hot chocolate cookie recipe I knew I had to make it for our girls. 


  • 12 oz bag semi sweet mini chocolate chips
  • 8 oz mini milk chocolate hershey bars
  • 12 marshmallows, halved
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour 
  • 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar 
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 large eggs 
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt


When ready, preheat oven to 300° (or 325°, I always have to lower our oven when baking)

The next step may be easier for you, since we opt to not have a microwave (if you do, like most “normal folks” by all means use it, ha ha), I apparently like adding work to my kitchen routines, so I do the double boiler method to melt the butter and mini chocolate chips until fully melted and combined. Then set to the side to cool a bit. 

In a mixer beat brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract until fully combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour,  cocoa powder, baking powder, & salt. Set aside for now. 

Once melted chocolate & butter has cooled some (maybe 5-10 minutes) add to mixer with the already combined eggs, sugar, & vanilla. Mix until well combined. 

Gradually add dry ingredients to the mixer just until it’s well combined, will look similar to a thick brownie batter. 

Once mixed, cover dough tightly and refrigerate for about an hour or two. 

Use a small cookie scoop to line dough onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

Use the back of a spoon or the palm of your hand to slightly flatten cookies. 

Bake for 9-11 minutes (ours took 11 minutes).

While baking, slice marshmallows in half and break each mini bar in half. 

Remove cookies from oven, and quickly press a piece of chocolate into the center of each cookie and top with a half of marshmallow. 

Return to oven and bake for another 5 minutes.

Remove and let cool. 

Side notes:

My family seems to have a hard time waiting for them to fully cool and prefers them warm. 

Recipe says it makes 2-3 dozen, I lean closer to it making 2 dozen so I make a double batch. 

After making these a few times, I discovered I prefer storing the dough to chill in a glass bread pan as it was easier to scoop out (which isn’t the easiest task with the thick cold mixture).

When storing if you’re going to stack them, it’s best to place a piece of wax paper between the layers so you don’t end up with a sticky mess from the marshmallows. 

This cookie quickly became a family favorite and will be an annual Christmas cookie for sure! 

Sadly, this is the only picture I’ve thought to take before they all got snagged!