Guest Post: Almond Butter Balls

Hi all, Annie’s sister, Kathleen here! I am excited to be back guest blogging today on Take A Bite, especially because I get to blog about one of my favorite food groups—snacks!

I am not sure what doctors recommend as the daily serving of snacks (well, yes I do, but I ignore that) but I get a healthy four servings of snacks a day. Like yesterday, for example, I had granola at 9:45 A.M., pretzels at 1:00 P.M., pumpkin spice popcorn at 1:15 P.M., and wasabi peas at 4:00 P.M.

I never met a snack I didn’t like and I could medal in the Grazing Olympics. A handful here, a handful there, cheese, graham crackers, chips and dip, raisins, apples and almond butter… the list goes on and on of all my favorites.

Speaking of almond butter—it is one of my favorite snacks and also one of the main ingredients in one of my new favorite snacks. I made these snack balls about two weeks ago and have made them twice since. They are the perfect two-bite snack that will tide you over for hours. Plus, they only have five ingredients (most of which you will already have in your pantry!

Almond Butter Oatmeal Balls adapted from  Purely Elizabeth
yields about 8 balls

½ cup almond butter (or peanut butter)
3 Tbsps. maple syrup
1 tsp. coconut oil
A pinch of salt
1 cup oats

Prepare a sheet pan or large plate by placing parchment paper to cover the surface.

Heat a small saucepan over medium heat and combine the first four ingredients, stirring until fully combined. Take the mixture off of the heat and stir in the oats, mixing until fully combined. (A thick mixture should form that should not be wet but easy to work with using your hands.)

Using a small cookie scoop or your hands, form balls (or scoops) with about two tablespoons of mixture, forming compact balls of dough. Place each ball on the sheet pan or plate, continuing to forms the balls until all the mixture has been used. Place the sheet pan or plate in the freezer to chill and set for at least an hour. After an hour you can store the balls in a sealed container until you eat them all!

Until next time,


Guest Post: Things I Love

Hey all! Kathleen here, taking over Annie's blog for the day! I always love the opportunity to guest blog for Annie and today I am giving you one of my favorite series from my blog, "Things I Love". "Things I Love" is a great way for me to share all the things - posts, outfits, recipes, etc.- from around the world wide web that I am currently reading and swooning over. Enjoy all these links on this Friday and let them be a distraction from all the things you don't want to do!

 Movie Viewing Hacks - also great ideas for an Oscar Watching Party!
 Seeing lilac
 Would love to throw a chocolate & wine tasting party

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13 Make-Ahead Breakfasts, shocking that this recipe for Cranberry Orange Granola stood out to me (just call me granola-obsessed)
 10 Dinner Ideas (one of my absolute favorite food blogs)
 For all the working girls

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How To: Make A Killer Cheese Plate (important life lesson!)
 Perfect way to please the chocolate and fruit lovers for dessert
 and on a more serious note

Have a great weekend! I will be doing some of my favorite weekend activities- sleeping in, taking a Barre3 class, eating great food, drinking wine, spending time with those that make me happy!
Until next time,

Guest Post: Book Club

Kathleen here and time for another guest post! About once I month I really start missing my blog and being able to write something for Take A Bite is the perfect outlet!
There is nothing better than finding a great book and not being able to put it down until you finish. I have been staying up well past my bedtime for years, quietly turning the pages of whatever book I was reading, unable to stop until the story had ended.
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When I guest blog for Annie, I like to post about things that Annie won’t (hence the peanut butter cookies from my last guest post). While I have always enjoyed reading for pleasure, Annie not so much… Since I was little, I have had my favorite books and have no problem re-reading my favorites (Harry Potter, Number the Stars, Redeeming Love, Gone Girl, etc.)
Recently, I found a new author whose books I whiz through and cannot seem to put down, even though they are close to 400 pages. I picked up my first book by Liane Moriarty and was hooked from the very first page. “Big Little Lies,” is a story unlike anything else and kept me on the edge of my seat until the last page. The characters had me laughing out loud and the plot kept me constantly guessing.

‘I guess it started with the mothers’
‘It was all just a terrible misunderstanding’
‘I’ll tell you exactly why it happened’
Pirriwee Public’s annual school Trivia Night has ended in a shocking riot. A parent is dead. Was it murder, a tragic accident…or something else entirely?
Big Little Lies is a funny, heartbreaking, challenging story of ex husbands and second wives, new friendships, old betrayals and schoolyard politics.
‘Let me be clear. This is not a circus. This is a murder investigation’

The moment I finished “Big Little Lies” I walked straight to the post office and dropped the book in the mail to be sent to my best friend in D.C. (It’s like a cross country book club!) and then went to the bookstore to buy another Liane Moriarty book. This time I chose “The Husbands Secret,” and does he have a secret or what!

My darling Cecilia, if you’re reading this, then I’ve died. . .
Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive.

This story was equally as compelling and now the struggle is deciding which Moriarty book to read next. If you want a fun, mysterious, scandalous read then “Big Little Lies” and “The Husband’s Secret” are great picks! Both are New York Times #1 Best Sellers and I give them a huge stamp of approval. If you aren’t sure if these books are your style, then take this quiz to find the perfect book for you!

Until Next Time, 

Guest Post: The Only Time You'll See Peanut Butter on Take A Bite

Oh, what a joy it is to be blogging again! I have taken a nice break but was more than ready to do a guest post for Take a Bite. I loved getting back in to the kitchen with a new recipe, camera in hand, and ready to make a mess for the sake of cookies and a blog post. Recipes for a blog always take longer when you factor in the extra minutes of angling your KitchenAid just right, perfectly stacking your cookies, burning a dish towel on the stove, and crawling on furniture to capture your creation just right. I savored each moment knowing that it will only happen every so often.

As much as I love Annie’s blog and drool over every recipe post, there is something huge missing from her recipe index. Peanut butter! I guess she has a good reason, seeing as that she is allergic, but I figured for my first guest post I would offer the followers something that she can’t give you. So I present you Dipped + Crisp Peanut Butter Cookies! I had been holding on to this recipe for a special occasion and a blazing hot, lazy, Sunday afternoon sounds like the perfect event!

I can always count on finding the best recipes from Joy the Baker and not that I will ever get tired of a classic peanut butter cookie, but sometimes you just gotta kick it up a notch. I can assure you that dipping perfect peanut butter cookies in rich, dark chocolate and sprinkling them with honey roasted peanuts and sea salt is a way to kick up a basic cookie and a basic Sunday. I love that cookies can turn around a whole mood and make the last day of the weekend seem more like a treat and less like Monday-Eve. If the cookies aren’t enough to brighten your day, I would recommend listening to Taylor Swift’s new song on repeat. Dance party is not optional.

Dipped + Crisp Peanut Butter Cookies original recipe from one of our favorite food bloggers, Joy the Baker
yields 2 dozen cookies 


For the Cookies:
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus more for coating
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

For the Topping
8 ounces dark chocolate chunks
2 tablespoons coconut oil
3 tablespoons coarse sea salt
1/3 cup coarsely chopped honey roasted peanuts, chopped

In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars on medium speed. Beat for about 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla extract egg and beat on medium speed until combined, about 2 minutes. Add the peanut butter and beat until just combined.

Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl, ensuring that all of the wet ingredients are thoroughly combined. Add the dry ingredients all at once. Beat on low speed until just combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and finish mixing with a spatula. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

While the cookie dough chills, preheat the oven.

Place a rack in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Place about 1/2 cup granulated sugar in a small bowl for coating the dough. Spoon cookie dough by the tablespoonful into the palm of your hand. Gently roll into a ball and coat in sugar. Place on the prepared baking sheet and use a fork to mark the cookies with a cross-hatch pattern. Place cookies on the sheet about 1-inch apart.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to rest on the baking sheet for 5 minutes until removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Melt chocolate and coconut oil in a double boiler or in the microwave. Stir until completely smooth and combined. Place in a small but deep bowl for dipping. Place the salt and chopped peanuts in separate bowls near your dipping area. Dip the cookies halfway into the melted chocolate. Place on a parchment lined tray. Sprinkle with chopped nuts and a bit of sea salt. Place in the refrigerator to harden the chocolate. I bagged my cookies up and store them in the refrigerator. Delicious!

Until my next guest post,


Few of My Favorite Things: What's Your Flavor?

"What's your flavor? Tell me what's your flavor?"  Time for the second installment of my "Favorite Things" series. (Here is the first post about my favorite movies). Today I'm talking about my favorite flavors. I have very specific flavors that I love and you can guarantee I will order if one of them is included on a menu. I'm also posting a link for a recipe including each flavor!

1. Almond: Almond extract, almond butter, almond milk, actual almonds, I love it all. A few local coffee shops have almond syrup and almond milk for coffee drinks and it makes for the best latte. I'm just waiting for Starbucks to jump on board. I was first introduced to almond extract when I started making my sugar cookies. You use the extract in the icing and I promise it's the flavor that sends them over the edge. I add almond extract in addition to vanilla to almost everything. (It's really good in granola, especially when almonds are in the mix)
Recipe: I just discovered the food blog The View from Great Island.  I spent about an hour going through her archives and now these white chocolate almond butter bars are high on my baking list. I'm also a lover of white chocolate.

2. Coffee/Espresso: Coffee is magical by itself, but I love coffee flavored things. I used to be able to finish a pint of coffee Haagen Dazs ice cream as an after school snack. Coffee or mocha flavored cupcakes are usually my go to and I love adding coffee to any chocolate recipe.

Recipe: These coffee bacon sandwiches, I can't even. My sister and I made them a few years ago and I can't believe we haven't made them since. They are the most interesting amazing thing in the world. Such a good way to incorporate coffee.

3. Vanilla: A skinny vanilla latte is always a go to order if I can't decide what to get. And when using vanilla extract I always double or triple the amount the recipe calls for. Vanilla scented candles, vanilla body lotion, mmmm I love it! 
Recipe: Been dying to try chia seed pudding and this one uses almond milk and almond extract.
4. Ginger: This is a new favorite, but I feel like it hasn't been used much until recently. I love putting fresh ginger in my smoothies and ginger cookies have always been wonderful. I recently had a peach and ginger scone that was insanely good.
Recipe: Shameless plug for my ginger cookies!

5. Lemon: Lemon squares, lemon cupcakes, lemon chicken etc. Once the weather gets warm I like lemon in all forms! I've recently been having the largest craving for lemon squares.
Recipe: My good friend pinned this recipe for skinny lemon bars that seem just perfect enough to feed my craving!

So what's your favorite flavor? This post inspired me to make a board dedicated to my 5 favorite flavors. Maybe one of them is yours too!
p.s. Pumpkin is also a favorite flavor, I'm just trying to stay seasonal! Pumpkin has it's own Pinterest board dedicated all to itself.

xo annie