Category Archives: Dessert

3 Commercial Break Snacks with Avocado


A small Italian market near my house always sells avocados (not really Italian, right?) for a dollar each, so I can never resist buying at least two a week.  Avocados are really filling and are loaded with fiber, potassium, Vitamin C, and Vitamin K, and they add a delicious creaminess to almost anything (soups, smoothies, spreads, pasta, and more!).  Plus, they just look cute, kind of like the Weebles of fruit.

All three of these yummy snacks can be thrown together in under 5 minutes.  I actually made the guacamole and soft serve during commercial breaks!  Can’t beat those quick, healthy, and delicious  snacks when you’re a college student.

Easy Guacamole

1. Cut one avocado in half, remove pit, and scoop flesh into a bowl.

2. Add spices and a few drops of lime juice. I used onion and garlic powder, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand! My mom uses Old Bay seasoning, which is always delicious in guac.

3. Add a couple of spoonfuls of salsa (yes, from a jar)! If you want to make homemade salsa and add that, that’s awesome, but I didn’t have time. Jar salsa works great in a pinch to add more flavor and texture to your guacamole.

Avocado-Banana Soft Serve

Inspired by Averie’s Vanilla Avocado Banana Ice Cream

Throw a chopped banana, the flesh of an avocado, half a can of full fat coconut milk (this is what made the soft serve, in my opinion), a few drops of vanilla, some almond milk, a pinch of salt, and sugar (to taste) into your food processor or blender.  Blend, transfer into a tupperware container, and freeze overnight.

You Don’t Need a Recipe to Make Toast…

…but this toast made an amazing study snack.  I toasted some whole grain bread, and then layered three tasty, savory spreads.  First, homemade paprika hummus, then half of a mashed avocado, and finally some hot pepper jelly (from local company The Berry Patch, find them at the Pittsburgh Public Market in the Strip if you’re in the area!).  So delicious and filling.

Those are just a few of the easy avocado snacks I’ve been eating in the last couple of weeks…what’s your favorite way to use avocado?

-Dominique

Birthday Cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World


Thursday was my friend Ian’s birthday, so I made some vegan cupcakes to celebrate!  Baking often intimidates me (lots of exactness and food chemistry) so I googled “basic vegan cupcakes” and came upon a recipe for Golden Vanilla Cupcakes from Isa Moskowitz and Terry Romero’s vegan baking book Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. You can find the recipe online here,

Other than substituting almond milk for soy milk, I followed the recipe exactly, and they cupcakes were perfect!  Light, “butter”-y, and fluffy.  Everyone loved them!

I iced them with Vegan Fluffy Buttercream Frosting (also from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, recipe is online here).  Again, I substituted almond milk for soy milk.  I also added cocoa powder and cinnamon to give the frosting a little color and pizzazz.  I was really impressed with the frosting!  It was dense but easily spreadable, and so creamy!

Overall, these cupcakes were a hit, and I would definitely make them again!  Two things I would note about the recipe is that the batter yields 12 cupcakes…maybe 13 if I had been more conservative with my batter sampling ;).  The frosting recipe made more than enough too give each cupcake a very thick layer of frosting (not a problem for me because, let’s face it, who doesn’t want extra frosting in the house?).

-Dominique

Do any of you own Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World?  What are your opinions on vegan baking?

Dad’s New Milkshake: Peanut Butter-Cinnamon-Graham


In my family, my dad is famous for his love of dessert. He has such a sweet tooth, and one of his favorite treats are milkshakes! Every since I can remember, Dad’s been whipping up his famously sweet and sticky peanut butter and banana milkshakes. The last two years, he’s been trying to merge the flavor of his classic milkshake with another one of his favorites, cinnamon buns. One night we got to experimenting, and this is what came of it!

To make Dad’s New Milkshake, you will need CINNAMON honey grahams, vanilla frozen yogurt or ice cream, milk, creamy peanut butter, some more cinnamon, a blender, and a spoon.

Ingredient Lineup

First add the milk and the ice cream, and then the peanut butter, and blend.

You may need to stop blending to push the peanut butter down into the blender a little bit to get the milkshake to be an even consistency.

Then, crush up the graham crackers. I put them in a Ziploc bag and smashed them with the heel of my hand. The consistency you end up with is completely up to you, I smashed some to a pulp and just cracked others up a little so there would still be some chunks in the milkshake.

Add the graham crackers and blend.

Pour and drink!

This was definitely the best milkshake my dad and I have made to date. The cinnamon really complements the peanut butter and adds a bit of complexity to the taste and the graham crackers add a doughy texture.

-Dominique

Let’s Chat!
What’s your favorite milkshake flavor?

Scotland Recap: Campbeltown Eats


Campbeltown (and Scotland on a whole) did not really serve many foods to suit my palate, however, there were a couple of places that I was quite happy to go to for breakfast or dinner!

We stopped by Auntie Mo’s, a sort of deli in the heart of Campbeltown, for some fresh sandwiches, pastries, and pies. Everything was cooked fresh that morning on site. I got a Cornish Pasty, which was like a meat pie with carrots and turnips! It was piping hot and delicious, a great comfort food, and quite portable. The pastry was light, buttery, and flaky, but the fillings made it so hearty. I loved it!

Cornish Pasty

Another Scottish staple is fish and chips (what Americans would call French Fries). Although I am not usually one for a completely fried meal, I couldn’t resist ordering the Beer-Battered Haddock at our favorite Campbeltown restaraunt, The White Hart Tavern. I swear my dad and I both agree that these were the best fish and chips in all of Scotland! The fish was great (probably so fresh, as Campbeltown is a fishing village by the sea), and the batter was so light and just greasy enough. SOO GOOD!

Beer Battered Fish and Chips!

Another of our favorite Campbeltown treats is the homemade vanilla ice cream from The Chocolate Box (a candy store). We literally stopped here at LEAST once a day for this creamy, sweet goodness. My dad is an addict! The ice cream is homemade on site using milk from AWARD WINNING DAIRY COWS! So Scottish 😉

Doesn't get any better than that!

Yummy Ice Cream!

Now you know about where we stayed and what we ate! Stay tuned to find out what we actually DID in Scotland!

-Dominique

Emma’s 20th Birthday: 86 West and Deep Dish Cookie Pie


Excited birthday girl and Andy

My bestfriendinthewholeworldever Emma turned 20 last weekend, so of course I planned tons of fun surprises for her birthday!  First on the list was going out to dinner in Doylestown.  We went to 86 West, which is actually where Andy cooks!

86 West is a hip bar/restaurant specializing in steak, seafood, and sushi.

We decided it would be more fun to order some small plates and sushi to share.
a tuna crunch roll (my personal favorite, just the right combination of spicy and sweet, crunchy and smooth, and hot and cold. YUM!)

a lollipop roll (the presentation of this is great)

fried calamari

wok-fried brussel sprouts in ginger soy sauce

and vegan sushi (with black beans, guacamole, mango, and lots of other good stuff…it tasted like sushi burritos!)

It’s fun to go places with another blogger because you don’t feel weird taking pictures of everything!

When we went back to my house, Andy presented Emma with his present to her…Chocolate-Covered Katie’s Deep Dish Cookie Pie!! When we made it before, we were really just testing it for Emma’s birthday cake. It was a success, she loved it!

After eating cake we went to bed early because the next day I was taking Emma to do Bikram yoga. Stay tuned for the next post to see how that went!

-Dominique

Myrtle Beach Day 6: Cannon’s First Mini-Golf!


Last night, the Benzio clan headed out to Hawaiian Village Golf (the first golf place we could find after we left Seawatch) to get our mini-golf on!  I love mini-golf, it’s so much fun and very low pressure.  I’m not very good, but it’s always interesting to see how I improve throughout the game (the first few holes are always embarrassingly awful for me).

Our mini-golf destination...sketchy much?

They gave all the girls fun leis to wear in fitting with the theme…how cute is that?

The best part about this mini-golfing trip was that it was Cannon’s (my 2.5 year old cousin’s) first time golfing! He had so much fun once he figured it out.

Cannon golfing for the first time!

The Family (gotta love that artificially blue waterfall)

Uncle Kyle helping Nicole rescue her ball from the "lagoon"

After mini-golf we celebrated Benzio style…with ice cream!! We stopped by Painter’s ice cream because it was “voted best in the US” (source uncited).

There was quite a crowd!

It looked yummy!

One scoop strawberry cheesecake and one scoop fudge ripple (in a waffle cone, of course!)

But…it wasn’t that great. Extremely mediocre actually. My dad joked that they must have been voted best by their parents. LOL!

Cannon didn’t seem to mind!

-Dominique

Let’s Chat!

  1. Are you a good mini-golfer?
  2. What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?

Chocolate Covered Katie’s Deep Dish Cookie Pie


Chocolate-Covered Katie’s Blog’s slogan is “Where Healthy Tastes Naughty” definitely held true with her Deep-Dish Cookie Pie recipe! I won’t go into too much recipe detail, because we didn’t deviate from Katie’s at all, and you can see it on her blog!

This recipe is vegan (except for the chocolate chips) and it’s key ingredients are applesauce, quick oats, garbanzo beans, and brown sugar.

Ingredient Line-Up

The Star of the Show...Garbanzo Beans!!

I’ll admit that I was EXTREMELY skeptical about trying this recipe, and I thought that maybe we should just make half of the recipe to make sure it tasted good, but Andy was excited about it and wanted us to make the whole thing. So we did! Only problem? We couldn’t find his food processor and his blender was broken. Our solution? Andy was our food processor! One of the many perks of having a restaurant cook with killer knife skills for a boyfriend! It just took a little longer, but we didn’t mind.

Boyfriend Doubling as a Food-Processor

Mixed Up and Ready to Bake!

35 minutes later it was out of the oven and ready to eat! And eat we did…

Deep Dish Cookie Pie!

It was SO decadent, dense, moist, chewy, and altogether wonderful! The beans and oats made it really filling.

I APPROVE!

We definitely enjoyed it…look how much we ate right out of the oven!

Embarrassing...

I’d definitely make it again, you can’t even taste the beans! Thanks for the great recipe, Katie!

-Dominique

Let’s Chat!

  1. Do you think you would ever try making this recipe?  Why or why not?
  2. What is your opinion on “healthifying” desserts?