Sunshine + Relaxation = The Best Ingredients!


I am going to be MIA for a little while. The hubby and I are heading out of town for some much needed sunshine, rest and relaxation!

If you need me, you'll be able to find me in the hammock pictured below doing nothing but dreaming up some delicious recipes and possibly working on my tan. It's not like we can eat our vitamin D, right?

On second thought, never mind. Don’t answer that.

Have a lovely week! I look forward to catching up on all of your posts when I return!

The Dysfunctional Dieter


Peanut Butter, Banana & Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you are on a diet and have trouble practicing will power, this is your warning to leave. These cookies cause extreme satisfaction and may complicate weight loss.

If you are okay with torturing yourself for the next 5 minutes, please stay.

Blame my husband! He was the one who described his dream cookie to me; it’s his fault that I had to bake these sweet, wonderful, soft, chewy cookies.

These are the most perfect peanut butter, banana and chocolate chip cookies ever. I highly doubt I will ever try to recreate this amazingness. On top of including one of the most delicious list of ingredients, these cookies are then rolled in sugar and topped off with sea salt. Like I said, amazingness.

Go pour yourself a glass of milk; you’re going to need it. Good luck not polishing off a shameful amount of these cookies in one sitting!

Peanut Butter, Banana & Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from: Smitten Kitchen & Me!


2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup smooth peanut butter at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 bananas
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips
For rolling dough: 3 tablespoon sugar
Sea salt, for sprinkling


Preheat oven to 350° F. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and the salt. Set aside. Combine the bananas, milk and the vanilla extract together in a separate bowl. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and the peanut butter together until fluffy. Add the sugars and beat until smooth. Add the egg and mix well. Add the banana mixture and mix well. Add the flour mixture and beat thoroughly. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Place sugar in a bowl. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls into the sugar, then onto un-greased cookie sheets, leaving several inches between for expansion. The dough for these cookies is very sticky but it's worth dealing with. I let mine sit in the fridge for a little bit (and between batches that were in the oven) but there isn’t too much you can do, it is just sticky dough. Sprinkle the top of the cookies with sea salt. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Do not over bake. Cookies may appear to be underdone, but they are not. Cool the cookies on the sheets for 1 minute, then remove to a rack to cool completely.


Thank YOU!

I would like to extend a huge thank you to all of my lovely and loyal readers (and fellow dysfunctional dieters)!

I thoroughly enjoy reading all of your comments and I especially enjoy hearing about your baking creations and successes – it makes my day!

Thank you for following, commenting and for being so wonderful! Have a great weekend!


Rhubarb ‘Big Crumb’ Coffee Cake

I love crumb cakes and this recipe is all about the topping; golden, bite-sized boulders of butter and sugar spiced with cinnamon and ginger. Heavenly.

I also love rhubarb and have been patiently waiting for it to come into season as I've been itching to try this bookmarked recipe for months.

This soft, gooey centered cake with over-sized chunks of streusel is a pan of moist crumbly bliss. My only regret is that I didn't double the recipe.

Rhubarb ‘Big Crumb’ Coffee Cake
From: Smitten Kitchen, originally from New York Times


Butter for greasing pan

For the rhubarb filling:
1/2 pound rhubarb, trimmed
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

For the crumbs:
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 3/4 cups cake flour

For the cake:
1/3 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup cake flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons softened butter, cut into 8 pieces


Preheat oven to 325° F. Grease an 8-inch-square baking pan. For filling, slice rhubarb 1/2 inch thick and toss with sugar, cornstarch and ginger. Set aside.

To make crumbs, in a large bowl, whisk sugars, spices and salt into melted butter until smooth. Then, add flour with a spatula or wooden spoon. It will look and feel like a solid dough. Leave it pressed together in the bottom of the bowl and set aside.

To prepare cake, in a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, egg, egg yolk and vanilla. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add butter and a spoonful of sour cream mixture and mix on medium speed until flour is moistened. Increase speed and beat for 30 seconds. Add remaining sour cream mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition, and scraping down the sides of bowl with a spatula. Scoop out about 1/2 cup batter and set aside.

Scrape remaining batter into prepared pan. Spoon rhubarb over batter. Dollop set-aside batter over rhubarb; it does not have to be even.

Using your fingers, break topping mixture into big crumbs, about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch in size. They do not have to be uniform, but make sure most are around that size. Sprinkle over cake. Bake cake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean of batter (it might be moist from rhubarb), 45 to 55 minutes. Cool completely before serving.


Brazilian Shrimp Soup

This soup is beyond good. We're talking out of this world delicious and a definite must make for shrimp lovers.

You can have this soup ready in about 30 minutes, start to finish. It smells heavenly while cooking and tastes fantastic. This has already been requested as a "please make again."

The coconut milk’s rich flavor will keep you coming back for more of this substantial soup. So, go! Go make yourself a batch of my new favorite soup. I promise, you won't be disappointed!

Note: Instead of the shrimp, use one pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about three), cut crosswise into quarter-inch strips. Cook for the same amount of time.

Brazilian Shrimp Soup
From: Food & Wine


2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup long-grain rice
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
1 ¾ tsp salt
1 ¾ cups canned crushed tomatoes
5 cups water
1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
1 ½ lbs medium shrimp, peeled and cut in half horizontally
¼ tsp black pepper
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ cup cilantro, chopped (I used basil)


Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add the onion, bell pepper and garlic and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes.  Add the rice, red pepper flakes, salt, crushed tomatoes, and water to the pot.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for 10 minutes or until the rice is almost tender.  Stir in the coconut milk into the soup.  Bring back to a simmer and then stir in the shrimp.  Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are cooked through, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Stir in the black pepper, lemon juice and basil.  Serve immediately.


Spinach and Lentil Soup

I am about to make your day. Friends, I give you the "one pot dinner." Yes, you heard me right. One pot! No chopping involved here, just throw in all of the ingredients, put the lid on and bring your soup to a boil.

Not only is this soup delicious, easy, mess free and healthy but the total bonus is that it will leave you plenty of time to bake dessert ;)

Spinach and Lentil Soup
From: Cake, Batter, and Bowl


4 cups chicken stock
1 cup lentils
1 pound fresh baby spinach
2 teaspoons lemon pepper spice blend
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of one lemon


Place chicken stock, lentils, baby spinach, lemon pepper spice blend, and olive oil in a large stockpot and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer for 15 minutes or until lentils are tender. Mix in lemon juice. Makes 4 servings. Each serving is approximately 156 calories - love that!


Chocolate Oatmeal Almost-Candy Bars

Leave it to me to justify any dessert as having some form of health or nutritional value. Some call it a gift; I call it shameless rationalization for another piece. I have a problem, I know. Well, my dear friends, these scrumptious bars have 3 cups of oats which definitely qualifies them as a healthy treat. I need to say no more.

My girlfriends polished these off in record time which was wonderful as it removed all temptation for me to have "just one more bite." Next time I will try substituting caramel and pecans in place of the peanuts to jazz these bars up with a couple of my favorite ingredients. If you've ever indulged in an Oat Fudge Bar from Starbucks these have a very similar resemblance to that delicious taste. Enjoy!

"Eggs. Eggs are in chocolate cake! And milk! Oh goody! And wheat! That's nutrition!"
Bill Cosby

Chocolate Oatmeal Almost Candy Bars
From: Baking: From My Home To Yours


For the oatmeal layer:
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup salted honey roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

For the chocolate layer:
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp unsalted butter
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup salted honey roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped


Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Grease the sides of the pan with butter.

To make the oatmeal cookie layer, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl.  Whisk to blend. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter on medium-high speed until it is soft and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Blend in the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Mix in the oats and peanuts with a rubber spatula until evenly combined.

Reserve 1½ cups of the mixture. Place the remaining dough in the prepared pan and press over the bottom of the pan in an even layer.

To make the chocolate layer, combine the condensed milk, chocolate chips, butter and salt in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir occasionally until the mixture is warm and the chocolate chips and butter are melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and peanuts.

Pour the warm chocolate mixture over the oatmeal cookie layer and spread evenly with an offset spatula. Crumble the remaining oatmeal cookie mixture and scatter evenly over the top of the chocolate.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and the chocolate layer is starting to pull away from the sides of the pan. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely. Cut into bars as desired and serve.

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