Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Peanut Butter Brownie Bars

The wife of a clarinet player in my community band is known as the "cookie lady." She makes cookies for every rehearsal and performance as she is just that wonderful of a person. She recently delivered Peanut Butter Cups to our Christmas concert. I took her recipe and tweaked it a bit to make a heartier treat. Not to say that her original recipe wasn't fabulous, but I thought I could add a few calories to it. LOL.
I used her base of peanut butter crust and added a layer of brownie to it before topping it with chocolate and peanut butter chips. All in all, they were a big hit at our gathering of college friends last night (love you, Jokers!). So, I thought I would put my recipe out there to share with the blogosphere since keeping this treat a secret would be a crime.

Peanut Butter Brownie Bars

For the crust:
2 sticks margarine (1 c.)
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup creamy peanut butter (I use Skippy Natural)
2 1/3 cups powdered sugar

Brownie layer:
I packaged brownie mix prepared according to package directions

Top layer:
1/2 small package of peanut butter chocolate chips (you could use just chocolate chips depending on your flavor preference)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 9x13 pan with foil. Spray the foil with cooking spray.
Mix melted margarine, peanut butter, graham cracker crumbs, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Press mixture into lined baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until edges are firm and the top has a golden crust. I removed the mixture while it was still giggly.

While the crust is baking, prepare brownie batter and set aside.

Once crust is golden but still not entirely set, remove from oven and spoon brownie batter over the top. Bake until brownie mixture is firm and a toothpick can be removed semi-cleanly. I like my brownies chewy so I do not over-bake them.

While bars are still hot, pour a thin layer of chocolate and peanut butter chips over the top and gently press them into the bars with a metal spoon so that they become a melted candy coating.

Refrigerate until candy layer is set and bottom of pan is cool.

For easy consumption, remove the bars from the pan by lifting out foil. Then, remove bars from foil and cut into desired serving size on a cutting board.


Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Magic

Santa was very good to our kiddos this year. Anna didn't even know what to do with all of the stuff and stopped to play between opening presents. Santa's elves are pretty good at shopping on a budget and managed to score all items on a huge sale, with gift cards, or for free from friends. Or course, Santa remembered that my little princess wanted more princess things for Christmas, and he was happy to oblige!

And, Logan, well. He received equally entertaining toys--or so Santa thought. All he really needed was some wrapping paper. Now, if the elves could figure out how to make edible wrapping, then we'd be all set. Or, to quote Willy Wonka and the Chocolage Factory, "The snozberries taste like snozberries." Seriously, it can't be that difficult....
(Note the untouched toys in the background as the paper holds Logan's full attention).

From our family to yours, here's hoping that Santa was as good to you as he was to us! Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Watch out, Picasso!

Anna has quite the artistic tendencies. The activities that entertain her most involve creating. I should own stock in water colors, if only because they seem to evaporate (and not to complain too much but, seriously, they need to make those little palettes of color more hearty).

We are also lovers of the Crayola Color Wonder products; I genuinely believe that I've avoided a lot of color mishaps simply because of the fact those markers only react on the special paper. Now, if only those were cheaper!

The one thing Anna and I both love is stickers. And, although it's a pain to help her peel them at times, I love what she creates with them--even if that creation is me! Gotta love wearing stickers out on your butt and not realizing they're there! At least I rarely fail to make a statement.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Out of the mouths of babes

Logan was after Anna's feet...more like the Cinderella princess heals she was wearing. To avoid her brother she climbed up on the couch. As if that didn't drive home the "don't touch" message, she had to tell him, "Go back to you[r] mom."

I couldn't help but laugh!!!

I wonder how many more times I'll hear that.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

chopsticks up the nose

I think this must be the infant version of sticking chopsticks up your nose.
Okay, so the rice isn't exactly up the nose, but you get the idea.

Letting babies feed themselves is always an adventure.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Santa, baby!

How can you not be excited for the holidays when you see them through the eyes of a child? Just the looks on their little faces makes you believe in everything that is good about the time of year and forget all those nagging little to-do's. I feel so blessed knowing that I have the means to make Christmas extra special for my kids; complete with two loving parents, grandparents close by, a great home to celebrate in, fabulous food, and--the part they're most excited about--presents.

Here are some photos from our visit with Santa. Anna was excited to see him but wouldn't look at him. I found that hilarious!

Logan was mesmerized by Santa's beard. Santa was wise and guarded it from his grasp.

And, even mommy and daddy had a good time (thanks, Grandpa, for taking the family picture!).

I think Santa will bring my kiddo's what they want for Christmas (since Logan only wants food and bottles, he's easy!).

As for me, I already have my Christmas wish....

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

No worries!

Keeping busy ended up being not a problem at all thanks to a visit from grandma bearing presents, the pure entertainment that snow provides, a pizza dinner out with grandpa Rick and aunt Lindsay, and a visit with santa. Really, for a three-year-old, how can a day get much better? (Okay, so we did leave the house after all, but that's a technicality, right?)

And, if the children are happy, the mama tends to be happy, too!

Here's wishing you all had a day as lovely as mine.

Oh the weather outside is frightful....

...and the fire is so delightful.

I wish.

We haven't prepped our fireplace for use. I grew up in the house we live in, and I cannot remember the last time we had a fire in it. It's a wood-burning fireplace and, for safety, could probably use a little TLC before we try it out. Of course, it would also help to have some wood. And, flames and brick hearths are not usually a good thing around a baby learning to crawl anyway.

No fire. No curling up with a good book all day.

So, what do you do when you're snowed in with the kids?

Give me some ideas or this could be a very long day.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It's not always about being practical

During the first snow of the season I let my daughter go outside before breakfast to play in the inch of powder on the ground. I made her promise not to roll around in it as I did not put snow pants on her. You can see how well that went in the picture behind my blog title. Yeah....

My son wasn't sure what to think of it all.

We're expecting the first major snowfall of the season this evening. National Weather Service is calling for 5+ inches. There may be play in the snow before breakfast, but I think we'll opt for warmer wear this time.

There is joy found in the impractical but not much can be found in frostbite!

Happy Snow Day!