Tag Archive for 'Ana Picazo'

Unreal Peanut Butter Cookie Bombs

It’s just time to sweeten things up around this ‘ole blog- and I must confess I have the perfect recipe to get the drool factor going.

And if there is way to justify eating my favorite food group, chocolate, then you’ve got to get a hold of this product. UNREAL takes the junk out of candy by using real and natural ingredients, something that you won’t find in 98% of our US-based candy products unless they are hand made. The story of how the company was started is one worth reading, >spoiler alert: a kid and his entrepreneur dad have an argument over Halloween candy spoils and how unhealthy candy is, which leads to a challenge that eventually spawns this company.< I became an instant fan. I am a sucker for a good story and an excellent product. To find out where you can buy these deliciously addictive products click here.

As for you, the reader — Good news. A picture is worth a thousand words – and void of calories. It’s a feast for the eyes.

My story starts with my adorable friend Deserie (A.K.A. Desi) who was kind enough to join me on a moment’s notice for a blogging event to learn about the Unreal line of candy. And as you can see, we did anything but leave empty handed.

While at the event, my friend Ana suggested that I do a bit of baking and recipe development and >poof< just like magic, the boxes of the candy I threatened to bake with instantly arrived at our table. No surprise that Desi's face lit up with a huge smile. Fast forward a few weeks and my two lovely Italian guests show up and want to bake cookies. They know how fond Americans are of peanut butter and after some taste testing of their own, they are admittedly fans of this Americanesque food. Margherita and Valentina take the spotlight as we bake this oh-so-delicious recipe. Note: the entire batch of cookies only survived 44 hours in our home, because just one cookie is never enough. This recipe is also featured in my first cook book and is attributed to another dear friend, Julie. She made these for me once and I knew we were cooking sole mates.

I think this qualifies as a ‘bowl licker’ of sorts. One of my favorite baking out takes from my time with Valentina. xox

The recipe revealed

Unreal Peanut Butter Cookie Bombs


8 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature

1/2 cup peanut butter

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

2 tablespoons REAL maple syrup

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoons baking soda

30 Unreal Peanut Butter Cups


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a mixer bowl cream together the butter, peanut butter and brown sugar until very light brown in color and almost whipped looking. Then beat in maple syrup, egg and vanilla.

In another bowl toss together the flour and baking soda.

Slowly beat flour mixture into the liquid ingredients.

Drop the mixture by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet.

Bake for NO MORE THAN 6-8 minutes.

The minute the cookies start looking even slightly brown, pull them out. They should be still soft and doughy. Place an Unreal Peanut Butter Cups into the center of each cookie right after you pull them out of the oven. Lightly push the cup into place and allow to set for several hours. Do not refrigerate.

Makes 2 ½ dozen.

#GETUNREAL FACT: Their products contain no artificial preservatives and only natural-origin colors. Yes, you can find some of your favorites. What is great is that they don’t contain corn syrups, preservatives, artificial flavors, artificial colors, or hydrogenated oils. These are anything but JUNK food. And what makes these gems so pretty? All of the candy coated chocolates are colored with beetroot juice, turmeric root, and purple cabbage juice, not red dye #40 or yellow dye #5.

Disclosure: I attended a blogger lunch sponsored by Unreal and brought home a complimentary assortment of Unreal candy bars to review. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

Cyber Dinner Par-tay & Peruvian Minestrone

A food bloggers nirvana – invite a few of your all time favorite bloggers to share a Sunday night dinner with you. The challenge, we all live in different cities. The next best option was to host a virtual pot luck. The invites were sent and I couldn’t be more honored than to have had this group of ladies join me for a night of foodie fun as they sampled recipes from Taste This! The Delicious Sequel. While I hate the expression “It’s a win, win!” I do believe this is just that. Here’s why. Each of us made a dish to share for this virtual dinner party. Those that feasted on a new recipe enjoyed the spoils (WIN), those of you reading this post get sneak peak at a few more recipes from my new cookbook (and new wine pairing suggestions) along with the chance to win a copy of the cookbook (WIN). Add it up and you’ve got the recipe for a WIN WIN. Now let’s get down to business >ahem, I mean cooking!<.

MENU AND BLOGGER (Note: each blogger has book to give away, to find out how to win take a gander at the links below)

Cocktails- Cuban Mojito blogged by Illina Ewens

Appetizer- Gorgonzola Cheese Ball & Olive Tapanade blogged by Ana Picazo

Wine- Carmenère, Malbec, and Sauvignon Blanc Pairing Selections blogged by Stacy DeFino

Main Course- Peruvian Minestrone blogged by ME/see below

Dessert- King’s Cupcakes blogged by Stacy Libby

I’d like to introduce you to the faces behind the blogs.

Cocktails- by Illina Ewens at Dirt and Noise

Appetizer- by Ana Picazo at BonggaMom

Wine- by Stacy DeFino at Wineobee

Dessert- by Stacy Libby at LapTopTVMom

The recipe I made for my special group of friends is one that my dear friend from Peru, Rosa, made for me many years ago. While the shopping list for this recipe is a bit longer than many of the recipes in Taste This! The Delicious Sequel it is worth the little bit of extra time it takes to make this dish.

Peruvian Minestrone

Pesto Ingredients

4 cups basil leaves, stems removed

¼ cup olive oil

¾ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1/3 cup ricotta or Queso Fresco

salt and ground black pepper to taste

Soup Ingredients

2 cups (13 oz) pasta (penne, rigatoni, fusilli or bow ties)

½ tsp garlic, crushed

2 lbs top sirloin, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 TBS olive oil

10 cups water

1 cube beef bouillon

salt and ground black pepper to taste

1 cup carrot, diced

1 ½ cups green cabbage, chopped

½ cup leek, cleaned and chopped

½ cup peas

1 cup zucchini, diced

2 large cobs of corn, cut into 1 ½ inch sliced rounds with cob included

2 medium white potatoes, diced

Blend together all pesto ingredients until smooth.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and sprinkle with olive oil. Mix well so that it does not stick together while the rest of the dish is being prepared.

In a large pan, sauté garlic in oil, and brown sirloin. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large soup pot, over high heat, add water, beef bouillon, sirloin, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil, cooking meat until tender. Turn heat to medium and add all vegetables EXCEPT potatoes and corn.

Add potatoes and cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add corn and cook an additional 5 minutes on medium-high. Before serving, add pasta to warm it, approximately 2-3 minutes. Finally, add pesto and season to taste.

Serve with grated Parmesan cheese on top.

Note: To save time, a ½ cup high-grade store bought pesto sauce can be substituted in place of basil, olive oil, salt and pepper.

While serving corn rounds in the soup is the tradition for Peruvians, some diners are uncomfortable reaching into the soup with their fingers to eat the corn. If diners are up for the challenge, encourage them to eat the corn last, allowing it to cool. Alternatively, substitute fresh corn kernels cut off of the cob, as opposed to frozen or canned corn, which tend to be too soft.

Serves 6-8

Thank you Ilina, Ana, Stacy D. and Stacy L. it was so much fun having dinner with you this past weekend.

Bonggamom Finds Da BOMB

Bonggamom, Ana Picazo, reviews DaBomb (AKA Peanut Butter Cookie Bombs)

This is the dish – Bonggamom not only reviewed the Peanut Butter Cookie Bombs (on more than one occasion) but now she wants to have YOU pick what dish she should make next. Get ready set and VOTE to enter to win a copy of ‘Taste This!’

A brief excerpt from her article…and in order to understand HOW TO VOTE, be sure to click on the link at the bottom of this page to

So far, every Taste This! recipe I’ve tried has been a success, and I’ve got so many more to go that I’m at a loss as to which one to try next. So I’m going to ask for your help, dear reader. Want to taste some of these awesome recipes yourself? Taste This! author Gina Von Esmarch is giving away a copy of this yummy cookbook to one lucky Bonggamom Finds reader! But you’re gonna have to do me a favor first: to enter, you need to vote on which one of Gina’s recipes I should try next:

Pear Walnut Salad
Black Bean Soup
Potato Souffle
Linguine & Brie
Stuffed Bell Peppers
Divine Chicken Curry
Beef Stroganoff
Island Style Carrot Cake
Chocolate Pecan Turtle Cake
Peach Cobbler

To enter, leave a comment on this post with your email address, and tell me which of the recipes above I should try. Which one sounds the yummiest?

shhhhhhhhhhhhh- secret, she also tells you had to make extra entries to try to win the book!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to one and all.