April Bakin’ Friends

Before I get into today’s post, I have an announcement… today my gorgeously purple bangs will be transformed back to their natural brown state (even though I like to think purple is their natural state). Sad sad day, but I need to send good vibes into the universe so I can graduate soon and get a big person job. Don’t think a potential employer would appreciate the purple in an interview (despite the PhD after my name), but maybe it will be able to be revived pending their hair-color restrictions.


It’s time for April’s edition of Bakin’ Friends hosted by Steph of Steph’s Bite by Bite. This months secret ingredient was lemon, perfect for spring! The idea behind Bakin’ Friends is after you get your match at the beginning of the month, you are required to bake something with the secret ingredient and ship it out by the 16th of the month. Then whatever you receive, post about it on the last day of the month!


This month, my Bakin’ Friend and I were on the same wavelength. Her first batch of cookies didn’t turn out, and my first batch of the treats I made also was not satisfactory resulting in both of us not shipping out by the 16th. Then I forgot to include the recipe in the package, and sure enough she did too! But no harm done and if anything it made me feel less guilty. Even if it was a big deal, these cookies would’ve forgiven anything. They were incredibly soft and had the perfect amount of lemon flavor. Thanks Lizzie for these amazing cookies! Totally worth the wait :-).

Lemon Cookies

One year ago: Baked Banana Almond Pancakes


February Bakin’ Friends

It’s Bakin’ Friends time! On the 6th of every month, members are given the name of the person for whom we will be baking for and also the secret ingredient required to use. Once we find out any food allergies and their shipping address, we get busy in the kitchen in order to ship out by the 16th. Then when we receive our own package from the Bakin’ Friends baking for us, they are subjected to a photo shoot before they get devoured! You should join us next month by e-mailing stephsbitebybite(at)gmail(dot)com with Bakin’ Friends in the subject by March 2nd! For more info please check out the Bakin’ Friends page.


In honor of Valentine’s Day, this month’s Bakin’ Friends secret ingredient was dark chocolate. And I was absolutely thrilled for Stephanie herself to be my Bakin’ Friend this month. I am constantly admiring the things she bakes on her blog Steph’s Bite by Bite.

Feb Bakin Friend 1

She sent me these wonderful cookies called Dark Chocolate & Pretzel Oatmeal Cookies. As the name suggests, these are not your regular oatmeal cookies. They have crushed pretzels and dark chocolate M&Ms mixed in. Can you say, delicious?

Feb Bakin Friend 2

I like microwaving them for about 10 seconds because it made them chewier. But I also am thinking about sandwiching them around some ice cream, which means I’ll probably need to make more!

Feb Bakin Friend 3

You can also see these cookies on her blog, since I know you’ll want the recipe ;-). She wrote a lovely acrostic poem about them which I totally understand after trying them out for myself.

One year ago: Gluten-Free Chocolate Almond Cupcakes with Raspberry Almond Butter Frosting


January Bakin’ Friends

Do you have a Bakin’ Friend? Because I do, and every month I get a new treat delivered to my doorstep! This month I had the pleasure of having baked goods sent to me from Anne, who blogs over on Have A Cookie!, and even has another blog dedicated to Bakin’ Friends.


The key ingredient to use was applesauce and Anne made me these “Not Quite Oatmeal Scotchies”.  I love a good oatmeal cookies and enjoyed that these were also made with applesauce. My favorite way to enjoy these babies was warming them up in the microwave for 10 seconds which made them super chewy and therefore disappeared quite rapidly.

January Bakin Friends

Join in and get your very own Bakin’ Friend! Sign up by the 2nd by e-mailing stephsbitebybite(at)gmail(dot)com with Bakin’ Friends in the subject. Maybe I’ll be lucky enough to be paired up with you in February ;-).

One year ago: Nutella Smoothie

Two years ago: Buffalo Chicken Nachos


November Bakin’ Friends

It’s time for another round of Bakin’ Friends! This month’s secret ingredient was cranberries. Perfect for the holidays.

There’s really nothing better than coming home to a package on your doorstep, filled with baked goods to make your belly happy. Upon opening my package from my Bakin’ Friend this month, Chris, I was greeted with a very cute card that made me smile.

And then underneath, was a large tupperware filled with Cranberry-Oatmeal Bars! They were flavored with orange too which was an awesomely delicious combination. Oof course the addition of a cream cheese layer in the middle was a hit for me as well. Thank you Chris!


Want your own Bakin’ Friend? Sign up by the 2nd by e-mailing stephsbitebybite(at)gmail(dot)com with Bakin’ Friends in the subject.

One year ago: Pecan Chocolate Chip Gooey Butter Cake

Two years ago: Red Velvet Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies

October Bakin’ Friends

Hurricane Sandy finally allowed me to go home! Not that I minded being stuck in State College, but it was definitely good I got home when I did. Brady had overturned his food bowl trying to find any last morsel to be found, and his water was bone dry. Although upon refilling both, he was more into being hyper-playful than filling his belly.

Oh yea and of course, Happy Halloween! It’s time for another round of Bakin’ Friends, hosted by Steph’s Bite by Bite! It should come as no surprise that the secret ingredient for October Bakin’ Friends is pumpkin. But I almost missed out participating in this pumpkin-month because I forgot to tell Steph that I wanted to participate. Thankfully another person forgot as well so Keri from Losing For Good and I were paired up!

Upon the delivery of her Pumpkin Toffee Cookies I knew I had a great Bakin’ Friend this month. The cookies were super soft and chewy and I especially loved the drizzle of white chocolate over each one. They turned into yet another cookie disappearing act, that’s for sure! I also enjoyed her festive decorations added to the recipe itself. I lacked much festive creativity for the package I sent, so hopefully Keri can forgive me!

Every month I am blown away by the delicious treats that arrive on my doorstep, so be sure to join us next month! Find out more at the Bakin’ Friends page.

One year ago: Root Beer Sloppy Joes

September Bakin’ Friends

Do you enjoy getting baked goods in the mail? Then Steph’s Bite by Bite‘s Bakin’ Friends group is for you! On the 6th of the month the Bakin’ Friends matches are sent out along with the identity of the secret ingredient to be used. This month was cinnamon! You then have until the 16th to mail our your creation, and upon it’s arrival will go through a series of glamor shots in preparation for posting day at the end of the month.

So it is now time to share what I received from my Bakin’ Friend, Sarah! Like me, she is also working on a PhD (hers is in Higher Education & Student Affairs Leadership) and she had just turned in her comprehensive exams so she destressed by baking for me. Baking really is a great way to relieve stress (that or working out are my favorites). And she definitely used her stress to create great things! She even sent some the cinnamon she used in order to recreate her wonderful recipes. Who knew there were so many different kinds of cinnamon out there? Here I was thinking cinnamon was just cinnamon. Guess I should’ve known better after my journey into making my own vanilla extract.

The first thing I had was the Chocolate Zucchini Bread. I don’t think I have ever had chocolate zucchini bread before, but the cinnamon was an absolutely wonderful addition to the flavors. I ate the entire mini loaf within 24 hours of it’s arrival. I’ll be adding zucchini to my grocery list next time I go shopping. Seriously, so good.

Then I dug into the Thick, Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. With that name alone I knew they had to be good since the first two adjectives describe my perfect cookie. And they definitely did live up to their name. But again, cinnamon was the star of these cookies and may be convinced to only use “fancy” cinnamon from now on if this is the effect is has on me. Just imagine if I combined it with peanut butter and chocolate? Be still my heart.

Be sure to join in the fun next month and become a Bakin’ Friend! Click HERE to find out how.

One year ago: General Tso’s Chicken

August Bakin’ Friends

This was my first time participating in Steph’s Bite by Bite‘s Bakin’ Friends group! On the 6th of the month our Bakin’ Friends matches were sent out along with the identity of this month’s secret ingredient – oats. We had until the 16th to mail out the goodies to our new friends, along with the recipe so they will be able to make more once they devour all that is sent.

Now that we have arrived upon the last day of the month, it’s time to share what we received from our Bakin’ Friends! Amie from Running on Healthy was my Bakin’ Friend this month, from Alberta, Canada. And even though she is in Canada she made sure I got my treats quickly. She is also a newly graduated Registered Nurse who loves cooking, eating, and exercising – sounds like we would get along just fine!

What deliciousness is hiding in this pretty blue stuffing? Maple Donuts with a White Chocolate Glaze!

I loved that her idea for these evolved first from cookies to donuts, in order to utilize a lonely donut pan. But then made some mini donuts too for the same reason. However, some of the donuts weren’t up to her standards so what did she do? Proceeded to make truffles out of the donuts crumbs! Seriously, I had my first ever donut truffle and it was freaking fantastic. These donuts, in all forms, were incredible and did not last long. Thank you so much Amie! Definitely glad I have the recipe for both of these creations so that I can put my also under-used donut pan to work!

I also just saw Amie’s recent post about being engaged! Very cute and personalized engagement story. Congrats!!

Want to join in the fun and become a Bakin’ Friend? Click HERE to find out how!

Calling All Peanut Butter & Chocolate Recipes

Do you have a favorite recipe using peanut butter and chocolate?

In preparation for the beginning of college football season, I wanted to share every recipe from my blog involving peanut butter and chocolate. However, I was shocked the list wasn’t longer so I am inviting my friends (yes that’s you happy reader) to share their favorites as well! Then a week from today, I will be posting a roundup of all the recipes. Even if you arn’t a Buckeye fan, you can appreciate what’s in store!

But wait, what does peanut butter and chocolate have to do with The Ohio State Buckeyes? Well, we just so happen to have the BEST treats in the world called Buckeye Candies/Truffles/Balls. They are basically homemade peanut butter cups, but made into the shape and resemblance of a buckeye nut. Isn’t being a Buckeye fan sweet? Pun intended.



In honor of this wonderful combination and my need to make a new Buckeye-inspired treats through the season, I am requesting to share your favorite recipe using peanut butter and chocolate, regardless of where your football allegiance lies.

Please e-mail a picture and link of your recipe to spiffycookie (at) gmail (dot) com no later than Friday, August 24th. Maximum of two recipes, thanks!

One year ago: Tomato-Basil Eggs Alfredo in Bread Baskets

May Foodie Pen Pals

For this month’s Foodie Pen Pals exchange, I got the luck of the draw to have Anna from The Days When I’m Not a Nurse as my pen pal. Why you ask? Because she sent me a package preparing me for Fondue night! The package included a tub of chocolate to melt for dipping the remaining package contents into, which included: German chocolate marshmallows, caramel filled waffle cookies, chocolate-coconut jelly beans, and $5 to buy myself some fresh fruit since they wouldn’t made the journey.

The German chocolate marshmallows were a fun change from traditional marshmallows. I want to bake something with them now. Obviously the fruit was a perfect addition to dip into the chocolate while the jelly beans were a side treat to enjoy while dipping the rest in melted chocolate. My favorite part was the caramel filled waffle cookies. They were so soft and straight up delicious! I will have to inquire where to find those because I need more.

Thanks so much Anna for this interactive, themed Foodie Pen Pal package! I may steal your idea for future care packages to friends and family.

One year ago: Pomegranate Stuffed Chocolate Covered Pretzel Cookies

April Foodie Pen Pals

What is all this business about Foodie Pen Pals anyway? Is it really as good as it sounds? Why yes, it is. On the 5th of every month penpal pairings are sent and you then must contact your penpal in order to acquire their address and learn more about them in order to gather the best package you can with a spending limit of $15. You have until the 15th to be as creative as you would like before it must be shipped. Then on the last day of the month, you will post about what you received from your penpal (and the person whom you sent to will post about what you sent them). Or if you are like me and had the Secret Recipe Club yesterday, you post about it today!

Wanna join? Sign up by clicking HERE.

This month, I had the joy of being the Foodie Pen Pal of Miriam over at Bellaspire. I had no idea you could get that much stuff for only $15!

  • I haven’t had Jolly Ranchers in years and I had forgotten just how addicting they are!
  • Haribo gummy bears? Those are definitely the best kind.
  • Two sample packets of Justin’s classic peanut butter and chocolate hazelnut butter. I can never have enough nut-butters!
  • Emergen-C fizzy flavored drink packets which added some fun to my regular water.
  • World Market’s strawberry fruit bar which was like an all natural fruit-roll up, yum!
  • Two Larabars in blueberry muffin and apple pie – are you sure that wasn’t dessert?
  • One of my favorite Nature Valley granola bars
  • Some Easter candy (you must’ve known I ate all mine already)
  • A little packet of Nutella which I dipped strawberries into as a snack at work
  • A few different chocolate bars. The sea salt one was my favorite!
  • Even cupcake liners!! Paper and reusable silicone. Fantastic.
  • And of course don’t forget her Neiman Marcus cookies. I was really excited to try them out after seeing them on my bake sale for the House of Mews. They didn’t last very long!

The last two before they met their doom

Thank you so much Miriam for this amazing package! I was so surprised by how much you managed to get in there and I really loved discovering new things I had never had before. Cannot wait to make cupcakes with those liners – too cute.

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