Healthy Peanut Butter Brownie Popcorn Balls

In the last few months I’ve been on an exercise and healthy eating journey.  I realized that I had a major snacking problem, usually going for something full of carbs that was leftover from what my kids didn’t eat.  So I cut that junk (and refined sugars) and started to focus on what was delicious and also good for my body.

One of my very favorite things to snack on is Skinny Pop popcorn, which is light and delicious and even if you happen to go a little overboard, it’s still not too bad for you.  It’s perfect when I have a salty craving, but I still struggle with that need for chocolate every once in a while.  So I grabbed some popcorn and threw it together into something that tastes like a peanut butter brownie popcorn ball….without any of the heavier stuff.

I love this recipe because it requires little time, no baking, and is totally kid friendly.  Not only did my kids inhale the final product and think it was a delicious dessert, but they also loved helping me throw things into the blender, crush up the popcorn and roll the balls out too.  And in the end if they think a healthy dessert is a yummy one, it’s a total win.


Healthy Peanut Butter Brownie Popcorn Balls
Author: 
Recipe type: Snack / Dessert
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 18-20
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups + 2 cups Skinny Pop Original Popcorn
  • 20 dried dates
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 t pure maple syrup
  • 2 T natural peanut butter
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Instructions
  1. Pulse 3 cups Skinny Pop in blender or food processor until broken into small pieces.
  2. Add dates, vanilla, maple syrup, peanut butter, and cocoa powder.
  3. Pulse until everything is broken up and combined
  4. Move into a medium mixing bowl. Crumble remaining 2 cups skinny pop over mixture and use your hands to combine.
  5. Roll into 1 inch balls and place on a parchment lined plate
  6. Eat immediately or refrigerate and enjoy for up to 3 days following.

Memorial Day Weekend!

Here’s a little throwback with some easy slow cooker recipes for Memorial Day weekend, plus one of our all time favs!  Hope everyone has a relaxing, safe weekend!

And don’t forget to follow along on Facebook and Instagram where I’ve started posting new little bites here and there while I rev up to full blogger mode!

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You’re obviously firing up the grill this weekend for Memorial Day.  Whether you’re staying at home, having a party, or headed to a friend’s, it’s the unofficial first weekend of summer and time to parrrrtay! But if you’re having people over, you don’t want to heat up the house with those pesky apps and sides.  And if you’re bringing something to a potluck you don’t want to come home to a huge mess to clean up.

So here are a few of my favorite slow cooker recipes for Memorial Day weekend.  Plus my all time favorite no-bake dessert, which isn’t made in the slow cooker, but will keep your house nice and cool and be a quick an easy crowd pleaser.

Bring it on Memorial Day.  And bring it on summer!

Slow Cooker Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Slow Cooker Spicy Spinach & Artichoke Dip | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Slow Cooker BBQ Buffalo Meatballs

Slow Cooker BBQ Buffalo Meatballs | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Slow Cooker Honey Balsamic Chicken Sliders

Honey Balsamic Chicken & Avocado Sliders | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Slow Cooker Sweet & Spicy Chicken Mango Tacos

Slow Cooker Sweet & Spicy Chicken Mango Tacos | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Peanut Butter S’mores Bars {no bake}

Peanut Butter S'mores Bars {No Bake!} | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Santa Hat Brownie Bites | Semi Homemade No Bake Dessert

Santa Hat Brownie Bites | Semi Homemade No Bake Dessert | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Sometimes, when I introduce a recipe, I say something along the lines of “this could not be any easier.”  And I think I said something similar when sharing my Santa Hat Mini Cupcakes a few years ago.  In mom-of-one-child-land, the easiest recipe involved minimal baking, minimal decorating, and maximum cuteness.

Santa Hat Brownie Bites | Semi Homemade No Bake Dessert | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

My friends, we have entered a whole new land over here.  One which two children.  And two holiday parties on the same day.  One where every morsel of holiday party deliciousness is purchased at Costco or Trader Joe’s a day or two prior to the party and no extra decorations are considered and I forget about plates and napkins until the day of in a serious food blogger lazy move.  But ya know what?  It didn’t really seem to matter {Or at least all of my guests were polite enough to act like it didn’t.  We had plenty of wine and beer so that probably helped.} .

Santa Hat Brownie Bites | Semi Homemade No Bake Dessert | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

The only ounce of effort that was put into making this spread remotely Christmas themed was a quick little 10 minute project that happened about 30 minutes before my guests were scheduled to arrive.  Brownie bites, canned cream cheese frosting and strawberries were purchased making this completely semi-homemade and absolutely no baking required.  And even though our holiday party was on a relatively chilly Southern California evening with the rain drizzling down outside, I was still happy to skip the oven.

Santa Hat Brownie Bites | Semi Homemade No Bake Dessert | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

So if you’ve got that party coming up tomorrow and you want to look impressive without actually doing anything impressive, I’m your girl.  Whip this one up and call it a day.  You’re welcome.

If you’re fancy, look back at some of my other holiday recipes, which, while still simple, have a little more…well…baking to them.

Santa Hat Brownie Bites | Semi Homemade No Bake Dessert
Author: 
Recipe type: dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
 
Ingredients
  • 1 box brownie bites {you will need equal amounts of strawberries and brownie bites, so purchase accordingly}
  • 1 clamshell strawberries, washed and tops removed {you will need equal amounts of strawberries and brownie bites, so purchase accordingly}
  • 1 can cream cheese frosting
  • {1 ziplock bag or frosting pipping bag}
Instructions
  1. Place cream cheese in ziplock back or pipping bag. If in ziplock bag, cut one tip.
  2. Pipe one circle of frosting on each brownie bite, approximately the size of the tops of most of your strawberries.
  3. Place one strawberry on each circle of frosting
  4. Dot each strawberry with an extra dot of frosting on the tip

Santa Hat Brownie Bites | Semi Homemade No Bake Dessert | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

My Favorite Things: Holiday Recipe Edition

Looking for a delicious dessert recipe to bring to your holiday party?  Look no further than the Little Kitchen, Big Bites holiday section for some super easy treats, and a fun craft or two!

Santa Hat Mini Cupcakes | Little Kitchen, Big Bites {No Bake!} Peppermint Oreo Marshmallow Bars | Little Kitchen, Big Bites Sweet & Salty Oreo Holiday Bark | Little Kitchen, Big Bites Snowball Cookies | Little Kitchen, Big Bites noel6_edited-1

 

 

 

The Easiest Leftover Candy Brownies

The Easiest Leftover Candy Brownies | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

It’s almost Halloween, friends!  And if you’re anything like me, you bought the giant Costco bags of candy a few weeks ago and they’ve been sitting in your pantry tempting you.  I literally put them on the highest shelf in the pantry that I have to get up on a chair to get to.  And I still sneak one every now and then.

The Easiest Leftover Candy Brownies | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

So once Halloween is over, you’re really not going to want to eat any more of that junk {and by junk, I mean totally delicious mini Butterfingers that I can’t stop eating}.  But some of the options of leftover Halloween candy recipes are kinda more than I want to tackle with an infant and a toddler.

The Easiest Leftover Candy Brownies | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

So I came up with the very simplest *recipe* {if you’ll even give me that…this is a very semi-homemade version of a recipe} that my toddler and I quickly whipped together while the baby napped.  Not only did I get some delicious treats out of it, but my big girl got to feel like she was special, help in the kitchen, and cover herself in chocolately goodness.  So that’s a win.  She’s been such a great big sister that I really love it when we can have a little time just the two of us to show her how awesome she is.  And if it means she gets chocolate, she’s a happy camper.  Smart kid.

The Easiest Leftover Candy Brownies | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Of course, my family ate all of these by ourselves within two days.  But my intention is that you could bring these suckers and drop them off at work, school, or share them wherever so that you spread the love {and the calories}.  Clearly, I’m not going to judge if you polish off a pan by yourself with some ice cream on top after feeding the baby.  …not that I have any personal experience with that…

The Easiest Leftover Candy Brownies | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

The Easiest Leftover Candy Brownies
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 1 box of your favorite brownie mix, plus whatever ingredients are listed as needed on the box
  • 1 cup leftover chocolate based Halloween candy, chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven as listed on brownie mix box
  2. Mix brownie mix according to box
  3. Stir in approximately ½ cup of chopped candy
  4. Turn into a parchment lined baking dish
  5. Top with remaining chopped candy
  6. Bake for time listed on the box, most likely erring towards the longer cooking time, but checking with a toothpick as needed.

The Easiest Leftover Candy Brownies | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Ice Cream | Simple & Healthy Dessert

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Ice Cream | Simple & Healthy Dessert | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

You’ve seen it on Pinterest.  You’ve heard about it from that health nut you know.  But you’ve never tried it.  Or at least that was me.  Until now.

Seriously people?  Frozen bananas blended into ice cream?  It’s like kale chips.  Ok, but not as good as the real thing {except they are too sometimes…maybe I’m becoming one of those health nuts…}.  So I had to try it for myself.  Out of necessity really.  The kiddo eats bananas every morning and I had a couple leftover two weeks in a row, so I cut them up into small chunks and threw them in a bag in the freezer.  And then I had to do something with them, right?

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Ice Cream | Simple & Healthy Dessert | Little Kitchen, Big Bites Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Ice Cream | Simple & Healthy Dessert | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

But this was so good, guys.  I couldn’t even believe it.  It’s creamy and light and delicious and tastes just like ice cream.  If I didn’t know any better, I would think that it was the real thing.  And the toddler thinks it is!  She really believes it!  This stuff is kid friendly to the max.

For one thing, it was such a fun thing and simple thing for us to make together.  As I get further along in this pregnancy, I treasure my time with my little princess more and more.  We have such fun days of being *just the two of us* and I know that everything is going to change {for the better} once her brother gets here.  But I want to give her as much special time as possible for the time being.  And what can be better than making ice cream together?

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Ice Cream | Simple & Healthy Dessert | Little Kitchen, Big Bites Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Ice Cream | Simple & Healthy Dessert | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

And on the less sweet and sparkly side of things, let’s talk about this kid and sugar.  In small portions we’re good {thus the tiny amount of chocolate chips spread among several servings}.  But a whole scoop of ice cream?  Well, let’s say she has a really adorable super awesome sugar high where she just wants to run around and giggle.  It lasts 30 minutes, tops.  And then there’s the crash.  Which can last several hours.  And several tantrums.  And lots of tears.  It’s the worst.  So we’re limiting crazy amounts of sugar for her in our house.

And let me be clear, this stuff would still be awesome without the chocolate.  It’s just a delicious little special treat to bite into those little chunks, but it would make a awesome peanut butter ice cream and then you’re taking out more of the sugar if that’s your jam.  That might be our next round.

I think there will be several iterations of this to come.  My brain is already spinning with ideas of what I can put in next time.  My only regret is that I didn’t try these earlier in the summer!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Ice Cream | Simple & Healthy Dessert | Little Kitchen, Big Bites Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Ice Cream | Simple & Healthy Dessert | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Healthy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Ice Cream | Only 3 Ingredients
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3-4
 
Ingredients
  • 3-4 bananas, cut into small pieces and frozen
  • 2 T peanut butter
  • 1-2 T chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until combined and creamy.
  2. Top with additional chocolate chips if desired.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Ice Cream | Simple & Healthy Dessert | Little Kitchen, Big Bites
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Ice Cream | Simple & Healthy Dessert | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

S’mores Pretzel Thin Sandwiches | No Bake Dessert

S'mores Pretzel Thin Sandwiches | No Bake Dessert | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Last week, I shared some little *s’mores style* pretzel thins that I threw together with some leftover s’mores pop ingredients.  Because it’s blasphemous for this pregnant mama to even think about throwing away melted chocolate and graham cracker crumbs.  And, if we’re being honest, it would be blasphemous for me whether or not I had a bun in the oven.

S'mores Pretzel Thin Sandwiches | No Bake Dessert | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

After using up a bunch of my cracked pretzel thins, I found a couple of whole pretzels left and knew that I had to do a little something special with them.  I had some leftover marshmallows too and made the quick and easy decision to make a little sandwich with everything sitting in front of me.

S'mores Pretzel Thin Sandwiches | No Bake Dessert | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

So I whipped these up and took a few pictures of them for the blog.  And they looked so good that I had to try a bite as I was photographing them.  It gives you a different shot, right?  Different angle with a bite taken out?  Those pictures below are totally worth it!  *I’m totally justifying this to myself at this point.*

S'mores Pretzel Thin Sandwiches | No Bake Dessert | Little Kitchen, Big Bites S'mores Pretzel Thin Sandwiches | No Bake Dessert | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

And as soon as I had enough photos, I finished it off.  And instead of sharing the other ones with my sweet, hungry toddler or my lovely, hardworking husband, I polished them off before either of them even knew they existed.  Sorry guys.  Mama couldn’t help herself this time.  Blame it on the baby.

S'mores Pretzel Thin Sandwiches | No Bake Dessert | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Just as an FYI, I made about five of these, the recipe below is for a dozen, and you could really make as many as you want.  Grab a bag of each of the pretzel thins, marshmallows, chocolate chips and graham cracker crumbs and go to town!

S'mores Pretzel Thin Sandwiches | No Bake Dessert | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

S'mores Pretzel Thin Sandwiches | No Bake Dessert
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 24 pretzel thins (full, not broken)
  • 12 regular sized marshmallows
  • ½ cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup graham cracker crumbs
Instructions
  1. Lay out wax paper on a baking sheet
  2. Melt chocolate in the microwave, heating for 30 seconds at a time and mixing in between until smooth
  3. Spread graham cracker crumbs in a shallow bowl or dish
  4. Dip one end of the marshmallow in the chocolate, then immediately in the graham cracker crumbs, then place on one pretzel.
  5. Spoon a dollop of chocolate on top of the marshmallow, sprinkle graham cracker crumbs, and place an additional pretzel thin on top.
  6. Repeat for all remaining
  7. Refrigerate for 5-10 minutes, or until chocolate is set
  8. Enjoy!

 

Chocolate Graham Cracker *S’mores* Pretzel Thins | No Bake Dessert

Chocolate Graham Cracker *S'mores* Pretzel Thins | No Bake Dessert | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

This post should be titled “what to do with the leftovers from your s’mores recipes.”  I was throwing together a small batch of s’mores pops for a bbq the other day {fun fact…you can make them as “bites” and just omit the whole lollipop stick deal if you want!}, and I melted too much chocolate and poured too many graham cracker crumbs.  #fail

Chocolate Graham Cracker *S'mores* Pretzel Thins | No Bake Dessert | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

I was headed for the sink and I realized that I cannot, in good conscience, throw away perfectly good chocolate and graham cracker crumbs.  That’s just wasteful.  And I’m growing a little person inside of me, so I feel like I get a free pass to dip anything in chocolate that I want to and no one can say anything.

Chocolate Graham Cracker *S'mores* Pretzel Thins | No Bake Dessert | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

So I looked through my pantry, found some leftover pretzel thins, and came up with just about the easiest recipe ever.  If you can even call it that.  But, oh boy, these are good.  For a real s’mores experience, dip them in some marshmallow fluff and devour.  Not that I did that.  That would just be indulgent.  {And we were out of marshmallow fluff.}

Chocolate Graham Cracker *S'mores* Pretzel Thins | No Bake Dessert | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

I had one more little idea for my leftovers that I’ll share next week too…stay tuned for more pseudo s’mores magic then!

Chocolate Graham Cracker *S'mores* Pretzel Thins | No Bake Dessert
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 cup
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup pretzel thins
  • Opt: Marshmallow fluff to dip
Instructions
  1. Lay out wax paper
  2. Melt chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until melted.
  3. Place graham cracker crumbs in a shallow bowl
  4. Dip pretzel thins in chocolate, then in graham cracker crumbs, then place on wax paper
  5. Allow to cool in the refrigerator for at least 5-10 mins, or until chocolate is set.
  6. If desired, serve with marshmallow fluff to dip.

Chocolate Graham Cracker *S'mores* Pretzel Thins | No Bake Dessert | Little Kitchen, Big Bites Chocolate Graham Cracker *S'mores* Pretzel Thins | No Bake Dessert | Little Kitchen, Big Bites Chocolate Graham Cracker *S'mores* Pretzel Thins | No Bake Dessert | Little Kitchen, Big Bites Chocolate Graham Cracker *S'mores* Pretzel Thins | No Bake Dessert | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

 

 

S’mores Pops | Easy, No Bake Dessert

S'mores Pops | Easy, No Bake Dessert | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

We made it through the party, people.  And a full recap and more details will come soon, but I wanted to share these little suckers while I’m still digesting the whole thing, cleaning up and flipping through the photos {preview of the dessert bar is below}.  Oh and by the way, I have a two year old now.  How the heck did that happen?

When I put together a menu for any party, I start big and then narrow it down.  We had the party at a local farm with lots of activities for the kiddos, and I realized that the giant, full buffet was going to be a waste because they would all just be running around.  So I scaled it down considerably to simple, grab and go type foods {and even at that, I had way to much}.  I almost didn’t make these because I thought they might be too complicated, and at the last minute I decided to go for it.

S'mores Pops | Easy, No Bake Dessert | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

I’m so glad I did because these were so easy and so delicious and so impressive for how little work goes into them.  I love that they’re one bite for adults, and fun to carry around on sticks for the littles, although I dare you all to just eat one.  It’s basically impossible.

S'mores Pops | Easy, No Bake Dessert | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

And, with summer setting in and 4th of July coming up, everyone needs a quick and easy dessert to bring to potlucks that you don’t even have to heat your house up for.  And one that brings out the “oooooh’s” and “ahhhh’s” is particularly fun.  For this one, you can use a double broiler for melting the chocolate, or if you’re too lazy to find it like I was, just pop it in the microwave.  Seriously, I’m telling you, it could not be easier.

S'mores Pops | Easy, No Bake Dessert | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

5.0 from 1 reviews
S'mores Pops | Easy, No Bake Dessert
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: ~45 pops
 
Ingredients
  • 1 bag standard sized marshmallows
  • 1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ~45 lollipop sticks {look on your marshmallow package to see how many are inside and get that many sticks}
  • Optional but recommended: Parchment paper
Instructions
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. Stick one lollipop stick into each marshmallow and set on the baking sheet
  3. Spread graham cracker crumbs in a shallow dish
  4. Melt chocolate chips either in a double broiler on in the microwave in a microwave safe dish by cooking 30 seconds at a time and stirring in between until completely melted
  5. Dip each marshmallow in the melted chocolate to about ¼ of the way up and tap off any excess
  6. Immediately dip in graham cracker crumbs, then return the the parchment paper baking sheet
  7. Once all pops are done, chill for at least 15 minutes in the fridge, or until chocolate is set
  8. Serve immediately or store in a airtight container until serving

S'mores Pops | Easy, No Bake Dessert | Little Kitchen, Big Bites S'mores Pops | Easy, No Bake Dessert | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Memorial Day Weekend | Slow Cooker Recipes

You’re obviously firing up the grill this weekend for Memorial Day.  Whether you’re staying at home, having a party, or headed to a friend’s, it’s the unofficial first weekend of summer and time to parrrrtay! But if you’re having people over, you don’t want to heat up the house with those pesky apps and sides.  And if you’re bringing something to a potluck you don’t want to come home to a huge mess to clean up.

So here are a few of my favorite slow cooker recipes for Memorial Day weekend.  Plus my all time favorite no-bake dessert, which isn’t made in the slow cooker, but will keep your house nice and cool and be a quick an easy crowd pleaser.

Bring it on Memorial Day.  And bring it on summer!

Slow Cooker Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Slow Cooker Spicy Spinach & Artichoke Dip | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Slow Cooker BBQ Buffalo Meatballs

Slow Cooker BBQ Buffalo Meatballs | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Slow Cooker Honey Balsamic Chicken Sliders

Honey Balsamic Chicken & Avocado Sliders | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Slow Cooker Sweet & Spicy Chicken Mango Tacos

Slow Cooker Sweet & Spicy Chicken Mango Tacos | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Peanut Butter S’mores Bars {no bake}

Peanut Butter S'mores Bars {No Bake!} | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

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