Monthly Archives: May 2012

Peanut Butter Bars (No Bake!)

An easy no-bake recipe for peanut butter bars with chocolate frosting.

Source:  Bakerlady

Some days were made for baking.  When it’s cool outside, and you have lots of un-interrupted time and lots of fresh produce in your fridge, there is nothing better than spending a few hours creating marvelous meals and desserts.  The kitchen gets all warm from the oven, and the house smells like brownies, or apple pie, or pot roast.

I believe in days like that.  I can’t remember the last time I experienced one, but I believe they exist.

More frequently, I find myself with a great desire to bake, but with an empty pantry and a full calendar.  Some day, my life will be calm.  Today, I struggle to put dinner on the table in the twenty minutes we are all together between karate classes and piano lessons and homework.  So today, I am making a treat that requires NO baking, only a FEW ingredients, and can be done QUICKLY.  It’s the perfect weekday treat for a busy family.

I’m going to warn you now, though… DON’T lick the bowl.  Just don’t.

PB Bars 2013 tall1a

Did you know you can purchase graham cracker crumbs in a box?  Gone are the days of putting crackers in a ziploc bag and smashing them with a rolling pin.  Gone are the days of using the bulky food processor to turn crackers into crumbs.  Welcome the days of buying them already crushed!  It’s a major time saver.  Take your already crushed graham cracker crumbs and mix them with powdered sugar, butter, and peanut butter.  The spread the mixture into a 9×13 pan.

Here’s the thing… if you lick the bowl, I guarantee you will take a spoon to the 9×13, before you even get it frosted.  You’ll be tempted to eat the entire thing yourself, and hide the pan from your kids.

That’s not what happened to me, I’m just saying it could happen. *ahem*

You’ll frost these lovely bars with a combination of chocolate and peanut butter, which is a very lovely frosting indeed.  These will need some time to cool and set up, but 30-60 minutes in the fridge ought to be enough.  And that’s it.  Voila!  You’ll have a fabulous, no-bake, keep-them-coming-back, weekday dessert with only a few minutes of work.

I’ll guarantee you they won’t last into the weekend.

 

Want more?  Try these fun no-bake treats!

krispie-treat-scotcheroosbest-cheesecake-recipespumpkin-spice-nanaimo-bars-2

4.5 from 11 reviews
Peanut Butter Bars (No Bake!)
 
Easy no-bake peanut butter bars with chocolate frosting.
Author:
Recipe type: Bars
Serves: 12 large
Ingredients
BARS:
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup peanut butter
FROSTING:
  • 1½ cups chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup peanut butter
Instructions
  1. In a bowl, melt butter and peanut butter together. Add cracker crumbs and sugar. Stir to combine.
  2. Spread mixture evenly into a 9x13 pan.
  3. Melt chocolate chips with peanut butter in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between each, until melted and smooth.
  4. Pour chocolate mixture over bars, and frost evenly.
  5. Chill for 40-50 minutes, until chocolate is set.

If you enjoy this recipe, you might also enjoy:

Nutella No-Bake Cookies from Jen’s Favorite Cookies

Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake from Sprinkle Bakes

Golden Grahams S’mores Bars from Pinch of Yum

Coconut Oil Kettle Corn and Giveaway!

Coconut Oil PopcornI’m not one of those people who keeps trying the same recipes over and over, tweaking them each time, until I get them just right.  I have no patience for it.  If a recipe doesn’t work out the first time, I usually figure it’s just not worth making.  But something was different about this particular recipe.  It kept rolling around inside my head, begging to be made perfect.  I was obsessed with the promise of perfectly addicting sweet coconut oil popcorn! And guess how many tries it took me to get it right?

Go ahead, guess.

SEVEN.  You heard me right, SEVEN TRIES.  Ugh.  It was definitely a patience-builder, this one.

Continue reading “Coconut Oil Kettle Corn and Giveaway!” »

Toffee Almond Cookies

A crispy cookie with toffee bits and chopped almonds.

Source: My Baking Addiction, who uses a similar recipe frequently, with great success.

Yield: A mega-ton. I made regular sized cookies and ended up with more than 6 dozen.  If you make the large 5-inch version that MBA suggests, you’ll end up with less than 2 dozen.

There’s a Bill Cosby bit about how Americans can eat anything, as long as they have two pieces of bread.  Our sons were talking about this idea with their dad, on the drive to their boys-only camping trip last night.  It turned out to be a very pertinent discussion, because I sent tin foil dinners with them, and they ended up with no fire in which to cook them.  They powered through their evening fueled by Doritos on hard rolls, some theater candy, and soda.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the princess and I were having a lovely evening of fun and friends, fueled by giant marshmallows and white chocolate.  She then flitted off to a friends for the evening, and I was left home alone.  In the 12 years we have lived in this house, I’m almost positive this is the first night I have spent in the house completely alone.  How was it?  Blissfully quiet, truth be told.

Continue reading “Toffee Almond Cookies” »

Mustard Pretzels

Recipe for making mustard pretzels; Use your favorite kind of mustard to turn plain pretzels into honey mustard pretzels or sweet-hot mustard pretzels.  This recipe is super easy to make!  No measuring necessary!

Who is your favorite Criminal Minds character? And don’t say Hotch.  Don’t get me wrong, I like Hotch as much as the next girl, but he can’t be your favorite on general principle.  He’s the main guy.  It’s like saying Superman is your favorite super hero, or Christmas is your favorite holiday.  Okay, well, Christmas actually is my favorite holiday, but you get the point anyway.

I know you’re thinking Derek Morgan is your favorite, because he’s all tough and gorgeous and stuff.  He is pretty, but you’re still wrong.

Your favorite character is the same as mine… Spencer Reid.  Because he’s all small, and cute, and sweet, and unassuming, but under the surface, he’s a powerhouse of smarts and creativity and heroism.  *sigh*

 

Derek Morgan

Can you believe my husband wasn’t interested in watching the 2-hour season finale with me?  Me either.  Since I was watching it alone, I needed a snack that was only for me, too.  Something that wouldn’t take too much time, nor distract too much from the drama of JJ’s inner turmoil.  Because, when JJ and Morgan are chasing down sadistic bank robbers, the last thing I need is a distraction.

These mustard pretzels were the perfect snack for the occasion.  They are easy to make, require very little cleanup, they go great with Diet Coke, and most importantly… my husband really dislikes mustard, so these babies are all mine!!  (cue evil laugh.)  Plus, I had tons of Hickory Farms Sweet Hot Mustard in the fridge, just dying to be eaten.

I’m going to put some measurements in the recipe, but honestly, I didn’t actually measure anything.  I opened a 10-oz. jar of mustard, and poured about half of it in a big  bowl.  I added some vegetable oil, just enough to loosen it up.  I poured in about half of my 1-lb. bag of pretzels snaps, and stirred it all together.  So easy, a caveman could do it.  The only thing is, they get kind of soggy when covered in mustard, so they need a good, long, low-temp bake to crisp them back up.  Mine took a little more than an hour, maybe 70-75 minutes at 200 degrees.

Here’s the question I was pondering, as I was enjoying my warm and crispy mustard pretzels and watching the awkward love-moments of all the BAU members…  Why did the show begin with the Twitter hashtag #goodbyeprentiss in the bottom corner?  I pretty much knew how it would end, because of that.  So, thanks a lot, CBS, for spoiling the surprise.

Mustard Pretzels
 
Cook time
Total time
 
A simple recipe for mustard-coated pretzels.
Recipe type: Snacks
Ingredients
  • About ½ cup Sweet-Hot Mustard
  • About 2 T. vegetable oil
  • About ½ pound pretzels
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine mustard and oil.
  2. Add pretzels and stir to coat.
  3. Pour pretzels onto a sheet pan, in a single layer. Bake at 200 degrees for 70-80 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

If you enjoy this recipe, you might also enjoy:

Taco Seasoned Pretzels from Bake Your Day

Chocolate Covered Pretzels from Baked Perfection

Homemade Honey Mustard Dip from The Nourishing Cook

mustard pretzels

honey mustard pretzels

Lemonade Pound Cake

A moist lemonade pound cake, with lemonade soaking syrup and pink frosting.

Source: Ummm… about that.  I found this on an apron site.  Weird but true.

When I was a poor college student, I used to make this simple dessert called Lemonade Pie.  It’s just vanilla ice cream, mixed with frozen lemonade concentrate, poured into a graham cracker crust and frozen.  It was one of the few items that I had the A) time, B) money, and C) knowledge to create.  It was a little tart, but very refreshing when it was hot, especially since my dorm was without air conditioning.

Continue reading “Lemonade Pound Cake” »

Marshmallow Pops

My daughter and I have been participating in a Mother-Daughter book club.  Several of the girls in the neighborhood get together with their moms and discuss a book they’ve read.  This month was our turn to host, which meant it was our turn to pick the book.  Finding time to read the chosen books has not been going so great for us in months past, so we made it easy on everyone by choosing a book that was a fun and quick read.

Very quick.

Perhaps you’ve read the book yourself?  Our selection was Lafcadio, The Lion Who Shot Back by Shel Silverstein.  It’s all about a lion who is being hunted, and decides to turn the tables.  He learns to use a gun, and becomes the hunter.  In the process, he discovers what it is like to live as a human, and experiences the joy of marshmallows, which he comes to love.

I ask you, if you had been eating zebra your whole life, wouldn’t you want to have some marshmallows, too?

Continue reading “Marshmallow Pops” »

Orange Creamsicle Whoopie Pies

A recipe for a whoopie pie made with orange soda and vanilla cream.

Source: Bakaholic Mama‘s version had only three ingredients.  My version has just six.

Yield: about 20 whoopie pies

The great thing about making different cookies every week is that you never know what the process will bring.  Sometimes the cookies are fussy and complicated, using a lot of ingredients and a lot of time and dirtying a lot of dishes.  Sometimes they are so simple you almost forget you even made them.  Today’s cookie falls into that second category.  It’s basically so easy, you could do it in your sleep.  A trained monkey could make these cookies.  Heck, and un-trained monkey could make them!  You get the picture.

Continue reading “Orange Creamsicle Whoopie Pies” »

Roast Chicken Dinner

A recipe for a very easy and delicious chicken dinner.

I know I don’t post dinner recipes very often… okay, never… but even “never” deserves an exception once in a while, right?  I made this super yummy roast chicken the other day, and found myself wishing I had taken pictures of it.  Then I told myself how weird it was that I really regretted not photographing my dinner.  Then I went to the store and bought another chicken so I could do it all over again, with my camera at the ready.

Let me first whet your appetite by telling you that this is the easiest dinner you will ever make.  I. Exaggerate. Not.  It’s also one of my family’s favorite things to eat.  And…?  It makes enough leftovers for sandwiches the following day.  It’s basically the perfect meal.

Continue reading “Roast Chicken Dinner” »

Coconut Cream Cookies

Coconut Cream Cookies from JensFavoriteCookies.comA recipe for a coconut cookie made with pudding mix, with vanilla frosting.

Yield: About 3 dozen cookies

Today, while driving my son to school, I said, “I need to bake today.  What kind of cookies should I make?”  He looked at me like I was crazy… like the answer was so completely obvious to everyone else.  “Didn’t you hear me last night?” he said.  “You should make coconut cream cookies!”  The theme continued when I returned home, and mentioned the conversation to my husband and daughter.  They both agreed that coconut cream sounded great.  I wondered aloud how I would achieve such a feat, having never heard of a cookie like it.  My daughter replied very matter of factly, “Just make coconut cream pie, and then turn it into a cookie.”

Duh, mom.

I’ve been working on getting my site re-designed.  It was just time for an upgrade.  While my designer is slaving away on my site design, I figured it was as good an excuse as any to give my home office a re-design too.  Not really a re-design, per se.   More like… a cleaning.  My office is a complete disaster area.  It’s a pig sty.  It looks like an episode of “Hoarders.”  I freely admit it.  My goal is to have my office working like a well-oiled machine by the time I get my blog working like a well-oiled machine.  So, like 1-2 weeks from now.  And trust me, I’m going to need all that time.

Coconut Cream Cookies from JensFavoriteCookies.com

I’m well practiced in the fine art of procrastination.  For instance, I have a goal to clean some of the garbage out of the office today, but I’m spending my time baking Coconut Cream Cookies.  And frosting them.  And writing about baking and frosting them.  And writing about not doing my cleaning.

I think I need a Diet Coke.

See what I mean?

Coconut Cream Cookies from JensFavoriteCookies.com

I’ve decided to use this week’s cookie as my office-cleaning inspiration.  Yeah, I know it sounds weird.  The cookie is simple, clean, white.  It’s unfettered, unspotted, and un-covered-in-chocolate.  I want my office to be as beautiful and simple as this cookie.  Wish me luck.

I actually did take my daughters advice.  Sort of.  I used coconut cream pudding mix to create these cookies.  The last time I made cookies with pudding in them, they were extremely well-received.  They are definitely one of my more popular cookies around this house.  I have a feeling this version will be very well received, too.

Want more?  Check out these coconut favorites!

coconut-fudge-cookie-bars-4Coconut Fudge
Cookie Bars
toasted-coconut-popcorn-5Toasted Coconut
Popcorn
toasted-coconut-milkshake-3Toasted Coconut
Milkshake

Coconut Cream Cookies
 
Cook time
Total time
 
A coconut cookie made with pudding mix and covered in vanilla frosting
Recipe type: Cookies
Serves: 3 dozen
Ingredients
  • FOR COOKIE:
  • ¾ cup butter, softened
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 (3 oz.) box coconut cream pudding mix
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • FOR FROSTING:
  • 4 T. butter, softened
  • 2 T. milk
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
Instructions
  1. Beat butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.
  2. Add pudding mix, soda, and flour, and mix until just combined.
  3. Add coconut and mix just enough to incorporate.
  4. Drop scoops onto baking sheet, and bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 min.
  5. FOR FROSTING:
  6. Combine all ingredients and mix well. Adjust consistency by adding more powdered sugar or milk.
  7. Frost cooled cookies

 

Spicy Roasted Chickpeas, Guest Post

Today, I recommitted myself to my most-loved and most-hated workout.  You can learn all about it here, or just buy the book here.  The upshot is, I spend 10 minutes at the gym, once a week.  It’s the hardest workout in the history of exercise, you will feel like you are going to pass out, and it only takes ten minutes a week.

TEN MINUTES, people.

My ten minutes of hell are wasted, though, if I come home and eat coconut cream pie, which is what I have in my fridge today, and what I really feel like eating.  Instead, I have to find snacks that don’t involve sugar, and let me tell you, that is no small feat.  These are the days I eat Spicy Roasted Chickpeas.

Why chickpeas, you ask?  Well, they are not a grain, which is actually kind of a huge thing for a lot of us.  This means they are gluten-free.  They have loads of protein and fiber.  They taste yummy, on account of the spices and the roasting.  AND, one can of garbanzo beans has around 25 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber.  Of course, you have to eat the whole can to get all that protein and fiber.

It’s not as much as it sounds, don’t judge me!  Besides, when you try these, you’ll probably eat the whole can yourself too.

My new bloggy buddy Jessica is having her own health crisis, and I offered to share this recipe with her readers today to give her a little time off.  Get all the spicy roasted details and the recipe at My World Made By Hand.

Diet Cherry Cola Cupcakes and Mothers Day Extravaganza

Some friends and I decided to get together and share with you some fun Mother’s Day ideas.  Because Mother’s Day is awesome.  I found myself in something of a conundrum when my original post idea turned into an embarrassing kitchen disaster.  Like really embarrassing.  Like, so embarrassing, my son wanted to turn my dessert into a practical joke by feeding it to his brother.  Yeah, I felt super awesome when he said that out loud.

Continue reading “Diet Cherry Cola Cupcakes and Mothers Day Extravaganza” »

Coconut Ginger Granola and Product Review

Granola recipe with coconut, ginger, and almonds.  This healthy granola recipe is made with coconut oil.

granola recipe

It’s a first for me, doing a product review on this blog.  I got this big bottle of coconut oil in the mail, and I immediately went to work searching high and low for ways to use it.  And by that, I mean I typed the phrase “coconut oil” into the search bar on Pinterest.  I’m kind of a research genius that way.  I also asked my Facebook friends, and even sent the question to the Thumb community.  I got some interesting results from all this “research.”

One result was that I discovered that people are not cooking with coconut oil very much.  I mean, when it comes to actual recipes with coconut oil as one of the ingredients, there are few.  It didn’t stop me from trying a few things, things you will probably see on this blog very soon.  The very first thing I tried was this coconut oil granola.

healthy granola recipe

The brand of coconut oil I am using today is Tropical Traditions.

Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

I made a few changes to the recipe I found.  As usual, my changes are prompted by what’s in my pantry.  Or more appropriately, what’s not in my pantry.  One thing I added that I was very happy with was the crystallized ginger.  It has a different texture than the rest of the granola… it’s soft and chewy.  It has a strong flavor that gives a little extra kick to the granola.  There’s something about that coconut-ginger combination that I really like.

granola recipe

My husband said he liked this granola quite a bit.  He thinks it has a lot of different flavors in it, and he’s not wrong.  Each bite is a little different from the last.  And it is really yummy with honey-flavored greek yogurt and sliced fresh strawberries.

So, here are a few interesting facts about this brand of coconut oil.  It’s made in the Phillippines by a pretty old-school traditional method that keeps it from being highly processed or mass produced.  It’s organic.  And while I’m not exactly qualified to be making any medical claims, I can tell you that it has a boat-load of antioxidants.  Which is good news for you!

Get the [tooltip text=”spoiler alert: If you watch carefully, you’ll see a very technical process involving a guy sitting on a really long board in order to squeeze the coconut to death. Don’t worry, though. His butt is nowhere near your coconut oil.”]juicy details[/tooltip] here:   Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil

I know you want to buy the gold label stuff now!!

I should mention here that I also used the oil in a non-food way this week, too.  My son has this super weird and unusual skin condition on his hands and feet.  It’s basically extra thick skin, which looks kind of blistery, and sometimes dries and peels off.  We’ve been working on the problem with a pretty heavy regimen of supplements, which make the skin drier and flakier than normal.  In an attempt to scrub the crazy huge amount of peeling skin off, I gave him a little bit of coconut oil and some coarse sea salt and had him scrub hard for a few minutes, before washing it off.  It wasn’t a magic pill or anything, but it definitely helped soften up his skin some, and he was very happy.  I think we might try it again when we have more time available for scrubbing.

healthy granola recipe

My opinion of the coconut oil is that I like it.  It’s definitely tasty and healthy.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s no substitute for butter, but then again, what is?  It is pretty pricey compared to other oils, too.  However, the health benefits might outweigh the costs in this case.  Good fats are essential to a healthy diet.  Or so I’m told.  Either way, I’ll definitely be buying coconut oil again.  And look for some more coconut oil recipes in the near future!

4.7 from 3 reviews
Coconut Ginger Granola
 
Cook time
Total time
 
A granola made with coconut oil and ginger.
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 4 cups
Ingredients
  • 3 cups oats
  • ⅔ cup sliced almonds
  • ⅓ cup chopped brazil nuts
  • ⅓ cup flaxseed
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup coconut
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • 2-3 T. diced crystallized ginger
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¾ cup coconut oil
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, mix together honey and coconut oil, heating just until smooth and melted. Remove from heat.
  2. In separate bowl, combine all remaining ingredients.
  3. Pour honey mixture over the oat mixture and stir to coat.
  4. Pour onto baking sheet, and smooth it into one even layer. Bake at 325 degrees for 20-30 minutes, until toasted to a dark brown, stirring every 10 minutes.
  5. Allow to cool completely before eating.

If you enjoy this recipe, you might also enjoy:

Coconut Oil Granola from Hungry Girl Por Vida

Almond Butter Granola from Peanut Butter Fingers

Olive Oil Granola from The Kitchn

Iced Oatmeal cookies from Jen’s Favorite Cookies

This recipe linked up at:  Finding Joy In My Kitchen;

Roast Chicken Dinner Guest Post

I know I pretty much just post desserts and snacks, but last time I made this dinner, I found myself wishing all evening that I had taken photos of it so I could blog about it.  The family was thrilled to death with the meal, and frankly, so was I.  It was super-duper easy and super-duper delicious.  And I had leftovers.

Fortunately for me, I was asked to guest post today, and I figured it was a perfect excuse to post a dinner recipe.  So, hop on over to MammyMade and find out why this is the single easiest dinner you will ever make.  Seriously.  If I’m lyin’, I’m dyin’.

This recipe is so easy, I actually made my 10-year old daughter make dinner.  I stood right next to her, taking pictures as she worked, and giving little pieces of advice.  She was rather annoyed at me.  “I know how to do it, Mom.”  Remind me to put her in charge of dinner more often.