April has been an exciting month in our Midwestern life. The Husband and I started this blog and I am pretty sure we have at least a handful of readers!! I made some chocolate cups and chicken salad (not together). Mowed the yard, celebrated Easter, shared some brownies, baked some peppers. The Husband offered some new fatherly humor and wisdom. The poodle got a haircut, albeit a bad one. Also, Sweetey Petey had quite the month. He now crawls, says Mama (I swear he does, even the Husband has heard it), started solid foods and grew out of even more clothes. This is all front page news here people.

This was also my first month in the Foodie Pen Pals program started by The Lean Green Bean.  As a kid, I had dozens of pen pals; there was nothing more exciting for this girl than getting mail! Nowadays the mail is mostly bills and ads, and most of the packages we get are diapers from Amazon, so a Foodie Pen Pals box sounded like Christmas morning! As a bonus I “met” two lovely ladies, Calee of life+running and Katie of Nutrition in a peanut shell. Both these girls have some spunk so check ’em out. Calee posted a peanut butter cup frozen yogurt recipe recently that there is seriously something wrong with you if you don’t try. Unless you don’t have an ice cream maker. Or are allergic to peanut butter. Or dairy. But otherwise you’re nuts cause it looks fabulous.

In The Lean Green Bean’s words, the gist of Foodie Pen Pals is as follows:

Katie was so sweet to send me the following care package

that even included a gift for Sweetey Petey

and a handwritten note!

I decided I would do something special. Back when we had cable I watched the obligatory House Hunters on HGTV (does anybody not watch that show), Deadliest Catch on Discovery (Hansen brothers – call me, I wanna watch you catch lunch) and a few Food Network shows. The Next Food Network Star. Man vs. Food (Adam Richman – call me, I just wanna watch you eat lunch). And Chopped (Ted Allen – call me, you can host while a bunch of chefs cook me lunch). Chopped was my favorite. If you haven’t seen it, the chefs get a mystery basket of ingredients and have to incorporate them all into a dish. Blueberries, anchovies, duck liver and peanut flour? Not out of the realm of possibility. So I embarked on my own Foodie Pen Pals Chopped challenge.

Join Foodie Pen Pals!

Fortunately, my basket was pretty easy. Katie sent me cinnamon pancake mix, bunny grahams, a Clif bar, a Luna bar and a chocolate bar. All sweets! No Anchovies!! This will be a cake walk. Speaking of cake, let’s make some. I call it Glazed Chocolate Bunny Cinnamon Pancake Bread on a Clif.

The ingredients for my masterpiece go like this:

1 Clif bar, microwaved and pounded flat

½ cup bunny graham crumbs

1 packet of cinnamon mixture from pancake mix

4 tablespoons butter, melted

6 tablespoons butter, softened

¾ cup sugar

2 eggs

1 ½ cups pancake mix

¾ cup coconut milk

½ teaspoon butter extract

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 Luna bar, chopped

Glaze packet from pancake mix

coconut milk

2 pieces chocolate bar, microwaved

This recipe was inspired by Bakerella’s Moist Yellow Cake.

Here’s exactly what I did (don’t ask why because I haven’t figured that out yet). First off and very important: wait till baby is napping. Awesome. Place Clif bar on long piece of parchment paper and microwave till soft. Fold excess paper over top and pound out till roughly the shape of a loaf pan. Mold Clif bar into bottom of parchment lined loaf pan. Set aside.

Pound some bunny grahams into crumbs.

Melt 4 tablespoons butter and mix with ½ cup crushed grahams and 1 packet cinnamon mixture. Set aside.

Beat butter and sugar together in a medium bowl. Add 2 eggs, one at a time. Add pancake mix and coconut milk, alternating a third of each till fully incorporated. Add flavorings and beat some more. Stop working as baby starts to cry. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (double checking the oven is empty cause you just never know). Convince Husband to keep The Destroyer away from kitchen counter. Feed baby. Set baby down to play on his mat. Add half the batter to loaf pan. Top with ¾ of the cinnamon mixture.

Intercept baby who is crawling towards sharp corner on the rocking chair. Fill pan with remaining batter. Top with chopped Luna bar

and the rest of the cinnamon mixture. Intercept baby who is crawling towards your cell phone you left on the floor. Put pan into oven and set timer for 45 minutes. Play with baby. Eat Saag Mushroom with Garlic Naan your Husband brought you from the Indian Restaurant. Play with baby some more. Take pan from oven when tests done. Intercept baby who is crawling towards curtains. Remove loaf from pan and allow to cool slightly.

Mix some of the glaze packet with coconut milk and a few drops of butter extract till desired consistency is reached and drizzle over bread. Melt chocolate in microwave and drizzle some more.

That’s it, that’s my Glazed Chocolate Bunny Cinnamon Pancake Bread on a Clif. This is not a healthy recipe mind you, but healthy wasn’t really the point here, using all the ingredients was. But how was it? Tasty! Very sweet. A little goes a long way. The Clif bar crust was a little chewy and didn’t add anything to the dish, but since I was competing against myself I still won. The rest of the loaf is going to work today so we’ll see how I fare with those judges.

I gotta say, it feels good to be the Chopped Champion. I signed up for the May Foodie Pen Pals and I am confident I can win again next month. See ya then.


P.S. Sorry the Husband didn’t show up to entertain you yesterday. We went to a pig roast instead.

Question of the Day: What is your favorite cooking show?


  1. Brother-in-law

    Though I enjoy the challenge shows like Chopped, my favorite show has always been Good Eats. Alton Brown has been a great teacher.

  2. What a nifty idea! I just signed up to be a foodie pen pal! I LOVE this idea!!!!! (How have you not mentioned this to me before???)

    OK, first of all, that cake look de-lic-ious! And you’re pictures are pretty great too, Mrs. Modesty. (“Oh, I think I take OK pictures,” she says.)

    Second, I can’t pick a favorite cooking show, but I do know I prefer actual cooking shows over reality cooking shows. I just can’t get into Chopped or Iron Chef or Cupcake Wars or any of those. But that’s me.

    Oh and third of all…I don’t watch House Hunters. 😛

    • Yeah, sorry, I guess I didn’t really think about it 🙁 Maybe I figured you knew since you are seasoned blogger (I love food blog humor).

      Ohhhhh, Iron Chef is awesome too, but I might prefer the original over the American version. Crazy ingredients!! At least they gave us Morimoto.

  3. Very cool! I love how you made everything into one recipe. Sometimes you want that granola bar to last as long as possible.

  4. I also love the show chopped. What a great idea to incorporate chopped with foodie penpal. I’m impressed by what you made!!

  5. Best cooking series ever has to be Feasting On Asphalt…

    Want to take Midwestern Bite on the road?

    • I think we kinda did before the Pete was born. I was always taking pictures of food on vacation. Remember the face I made from leftover burger? Classic.

  6. That bread looks so good. I’m impressed.

    I’ve never really gotten into cooking shows – though I did get sucked into a Cupcake Wars marathon one weekend.

  7. What a clever idea to make it into a chopped challenge! It looks really tasty, too. 🙂

  8. Oh my god. You win. You win the internets Joanna.
    This is AWESOME.

    • My dear, it wouldn’t have been possible without the awesome basket you sent. I hope next month I get a pen pal just like you! BTW, I think the crazy chocolate bar was my favorite. That hint of berry on top of the cake was a nice surprise. The Luna bar was a nice topping too. Heck, I guess I liked it all.

  9. Found you through the foodie penpals reveal blog and just wanted to say how much I love your idea to do a Chopped version of foodie penpals this month. So creative (& your recipe looks SO delicious)!! Great post 🙂

    • Thanks!!! I was really happy with how it turned out and had a lot of fun doing it! My co-workers happily ate the rest of the loaf today 😉

  10. OMG this is amazing!!!! you’re so creative. love that show!!

    • Thanks so much! I had fun! Pretty much anytime I can bust out the meat tenderizer is a good time in my kitchen 😉

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  12. The bread was amazing! I’m impressed with your skills! It was moist and buttery. Just yummy… Agree with you that the cliff bar didn’t add much but it didn’t hurt! Maybe crumbled on top?! Regardless, thanks for sharing with me and will be happy to be a taste tester anytime!

    I so enjoy reading and following your blog, keep it up! Love it!

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  17. AWESOME! I’m seriously drooling over here! And that Luna bar is my FAVORITE! I’m so glad I found your blog…I love how much your personality comes through in your writing! 🙂