Peanut Butter Brownies

Peanut Butter Brownies

Peanut butter and chocolate – a match made in heaven. If you’re in the mood for a sweet treat, try out these simple peanut butter brownies. These whip up in just under an hour, leaving you with a plate of warm, chewy brownies complete with swirls of creamy peanut butter and peanut butter cups! 


Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1.5 cups chocolate chips
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons flour (separate- to mix with peanut butter cups)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped mini peanut butter cups
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter

Directions:

  1. Take a baking dish and line it with parchment paper. Then, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Stir together butter, milk, and sugar over medium heat until it just begins to boil. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in chocolate chips until completely melted and smooth.
  4. Let the chocolate cool for roughly 5 minutes, and then whisk in eggs and vanilla extract.
  5. Next, stir in the 1/2 cup flour, salt, and baking soda until just combined.
  6. In a separate, small bowl, toss peanut butter cup pieces with 2 teaspoons of flour.
  7. Now, fold the peanut butter cups into the batter, and pour into the prepared baking dish and spread until it lays flat.
  8. Using a small scoop, place dollops of peanut butter on top of the batter. Use a knife to swirl the peanut butter through the top of the batter!
  9. Lastly, bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
  10. Let them cool for a few minutes, then begin slicing. Top with a scoop of ice cream or enjoy these on their own!

2020 Interior Design Trends

2020 Interior Design Trends

Ready to update your house with a fresh look for the new decade? What’s old is new again, as you’ll see with these hot interior decorating trends.

In the bedroom, be it daughter’s room, guest room, or master bedroom, pinks and feminine shades rule. Millennial pink, taupe, and rose gold – the softer side of pink – give these rooms a soft, comforting feel great for a cozy night’s sleep. White bedding with pink pillows and throw blankets, and rose gold lamps, light fixtures, and switch plates are easy ways to bring in this color without a major overhaul. If you are up for a big change, paint the ceiling and/or molding and baseboards in a soft shade of pink, leaving the walls a gentle white.

For kitchens and living spaces, you’ve got two big trend options with opposing feels. Geometric patterns of any size work well on tile floors, area rugs, and curtains. Sleek subway tiles on the backsplash are a subtle way to work the geometric trend, but using a more lively patterned and bright colored tile will make your home stand out. Going this route will give your home a modern feel. 

On the opposite side, consider how you feel about floral wallpaper. Floral prints have been coming back in the fashion industry for a couple of years, and now that has spilled over into home décor. From big, bold flowers with twisty vines to smaller, more subtle prints with lots of white space, you can bring florals into your kitchen and living room with ease. 

Need new curtains? If the aforementioned florals don’t feel right, what about an ombre? Starting light and working it’s way to dark, ombre fabrics help tie in multiple colors to make decorating easier. You can hang your curtains starting at the ceiling and hitting with about a two-inch overlap on the floor for the most up-to-date style.

Finally, go bold or go home. Black and white are the hottest pairings this year. Expect a return of black appliances, black furniture (in metals or wood) and even black paint on an accent wall or trim. 

Instant Pot Mac & Cheese

Instant Pot Mac & Cheese

Mac & Cheese is the ultimate comfort food and one of the most iconic American dishes. Loved by kids and adults alike, this flavorful recipe is specifically designed to be prepared with an Instant Pot pressure cooker, but can also be made on a stove top. No matter which method you choose, you’ll end up with a big pot of creamy, delicious macaroni. 

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni noodles
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes
  • 2 cups grated freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese 
  • 1/3 cup milk 
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  •  

Directions

  1. Add the uncooked macaroni, vegetable broth, water, butter, garlic powder, pepper, and salt to the Instant Pot. 
  2. Place the lid on the pot and set to sealing. Cook on manual function for 4 minutes. 
  3. Do a quick release
  4. Prepare your grated cheddar cheese – freshly grated cheddar cheese prevents the Mac and Cheese from becoming too stringy. 
  5. Stir in heavy cream, milk, and cheese, and keep stirring patiently until it turns creamy and thick! 
  6. Enjoy while it’s hot! 
How To Beat The Post-Holiday Blues

How To Beat The Post-Holiday Blues

Decorations have been put away, vacations are over, and it’s back to life as usual. For many of us, the post-holiday blues set in about this time of year. Not having a big event to look forward to, missing family and friends, and having to return to the grind of work and school leaves many feeling a bit down. Here’s how to turn that frown upside-down and put a positive outlook on the rest of January and beyond.

Pull out your calendar and find the next date you’ll see those family members you’re missing or the next birthday or holiday celebration. It might be closer than you think! Like the countdown to Christmas, make a countdown to this event to increase your excitement level.

Some of your down feelings may be attributed to the lack of activity you have this month as compared to last. The hustle of gift buying, parties to attend, home preparation for visitors or travel is over, and you’re faced with some down-time. Fill that free-time up with new activities, like exercise (New Year’s Resolutions, anyone?!), joining a club or simply doing chores like decluttering and organizing. Booking these activities into your calendar will fill up your open time slots and help you feel more productive and energized.

Instead of focusing on the difficult or negative feelings towards a return to work or school, flip the coin and look at the positives, like the opportunity to learn about a new subject, a new skill, or the challenge of a big project and the satisfaction you’ll feel when it’s complete. Putting yourself in a positive mindset will lift your spirits. Try this: each morning when you wake up, take a quick moment to be thankful for your health, your family, and the good things in life. It will start your day off on the right foot!

Get outside! The return to work may require long hours indoors at a desk, but taking even a few minutes to walk outdoors and feel the sunshine on your face will help you feel better. The vitamin D you’ll absorb from the sunlight is a natural mood booster, as are the endorphins you’ll get from moving your body. 

Classic Stuffed Bell Peppers

Classic Stuffed Bell Peppers

Stuffed Bell Peppers are a classic American dish that can be customized in a million different ways! Here is a simple, homemade version stuffed with ground beef and melty cheese. These are great as a quick weeknight meal or even an afternoon snack. If you’ve never had stuffed bell peppers before, give these a try! Once you fall in love with these, you can play around with creating some versions of your own. 

Ingredients

  • ½ cup rice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 14.5 oz canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 bell peppers, with tops and cores removed. Choose any color! 
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • Freshly chopped parsley, for garnish

Directions

  • 1. Preheat oven to 400°
  • 2. In a small pot, cook rice according to package instructions. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more.
  • 3. Add ground beef and break up the meat with a wooden spoon. Cook until no longer pink, 6 minutes. Then, drain fat. 
  • 4. Return beef mixture to skillet, then stir in cooked rice and diced tomatoes. Season with oregano, salt, and pepper. Let it simmer until the liquid has reduced slightly, about 5 minutes.
  • 5. Place peppers cut side-up in a 9″-x-13″ baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. Spoon the beef mixture into each pepper and top with Monterey Jack cheese. Then, cover the baking dish with foil.
  • 6. Bake until peppers are tender, about 35 minutes. Uncover and bake until cheese is gooey and bubbly, 10 minutes more.
  • 7. Garnish with parsley before serving and enjoy warm!
Relax and Enjoy

Relax and Enjoy

The holiday time is here! You’re probably done (or almost done) with the shopping and wrapping, food planning and preparation, and house cleaning for your guests. Now that the big things are out of the way, take a moment to relax and truly enjoy the season. By being present in the moment, you’ll not only create more memories for yourself, but you’ll enhance the memories of those you love.

Practice mindfulness this season. Being mindful is simply de-cluttering your brain and focusing on the person, project, or scene at hand. Multitasking has been glorified for decades, but is it really that great? Not when it distracts you and causes you to miss out on the feelings and experiences you should enjoy. Before you start a new task, clear your mind and think only about what you’re doing until it’s done. Whether that’s eating a meal (savor each bite and appreciate the person who made it) or playing a game with your child (put down the cell phone and behold the little person you are shaping), being in the moment just feels good!

Give up on the idea of “perfect.” There’s no perfect gift, perfect meal, or perfect holiday. Take the stress away by lowering your personal standards, because, at the end of the day, the only idea of perfect you’re trying to achieve is your own. Let yourself off the hook and laugh at the misshapen snowman cookie, let your toddler tie the gift bow, and pick up dinner from Whole Foods.

Let the little things slide. It’s OK to stay in your pajamas all day. Leave the dinner dishes in the sink until morning. Go for a walk instead of vacuuming the scraps of gift wrap off the living room floor. Many people have time off from work this week, so really take that time to recharge yourself so you can start the new year (and new decade!) with a fresh mind and rested soul. Your family and future self will thank you!