Peanut Butter Mint bars

red clover

I once asked my little daughter what her favorite flavor of ice cream was and without even pausing, she grinned and excitedly responded  “pink”!

Well, I guess there we have it, pink is now an official flavor! :)  I’ve never thought of it as a flavor before , but it is one of my favorite colors, especially on flowers like this red clover…

red clover

red clover

red clover

Here is a recipe for two flavors not often put together, peanut butter and mint! These bars have a delightful combination of the two flavors – the salty nuttiness of the peanuts  and the smooth refreshing taste of the mint.

Isn’t this summer going by way toooo fast?…

Peanut Butter Mint Bars

Into a large mixing bowl combine:

      2 cups quick cooking oatmeal

      1- 3/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar

      1-1/2 cups flour

      1 teas baking powder

      1/2 teas baking soda

      1/2 teas salt

Then add:

      1/2 c butter, soften

       1/2 c butter flavored vegetable shortening

Mix until crumbly. Measure out 1 cup of this mixture and place into a small mixing bowl and toss with:

      1- 10 oz. pkg Andes creme de menthe baking chips

      1 c chopped dry roasted peanuts
Set aside. To the first crumbly mixture add:

       1 egg

Mix well. Press into a 15×10 inch greased baking pan and bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. About two minutes before the 15 minutes are up, place into a small mixing bowl:

      1 can sweetened condensed milk

      1/2 cup real peanut butter

But do not mix together ( the reason for this being, once mixed together, it will start to get very thick and will become difficult to pour).  Take the bars out of the oven, quickly stir together the ingredients above and pour over the baked layer and carefully spread it out. Sprinkle the Andes mixture over the top and return to the oven for 10 minutes. Do not overbake. Let cool completely in the  pan before cutting into bars. Store in an airtight container.

 

Cinnamon ice cream sandwiches

cinnamon ice cream sandwichesThe other day I was in the kitchen when I heard a rapid thumping noise followed by a loud “thud”, then lots of laughter from my little kids.  Then I heard it again and as every parent knows, a loud thud and then lots of laughter coming from little kids warrants a peek at what is going on…

When I found them, the kids were just standing in the hallway, laughing. Nothing appeared broken or knocked over and the only thing in their hands was a large piece of bubble wrap. “What’s up?” I asked. “Mommy, you’ve GOT to see this!” my little daughter shrieked and took off up the stairs. She threw down the piece of bubble wrap, sat down on top and before I could even say anything to stop her, there she went! Down the stairs, riding the large sleigh of bubble wrap! Now, it was my turn to shriek! My little boy was squealing with excitement watching her go down the stairs – as I held my breath that she’d make it to the bottom in one piece! She did, thankfully!

After I explained to them that sledding down the stairs on a piece of bubble wrap probably wasn’t the safest thing to do, I have to admit the kid in me eyed that bubble wrap just for a second or two…

Just between you and me, it did look like fun! In fact, just for a second after they went on to play with something else, I wanted to give it a try myself! But then  imagined what I would have to tell my kids, or my husband, or even the paramedics when I regained consciousness. What would I tell them after they found me at the bottom of the stairs with a broken leg and that bubble wrap clenched in my hands?

But here’s something fun for ALL of us – kid and adult!  Ice cream sandwiches!  I love these because they are so simple to make and they “hit the spot” on a hot summer day!

Cinnamon Ice Cream Sandwiches

Line a 13×9 inch pan with aluminum foil…

making cinnamon ice cream sandwiches

Place cinnamon flavored graham crackers in the bottom of the pan…

Slice a half gallon of vanilla ice cream ( or a different flavor if you wish)  open so that the brick of ice cream has been exposed…

cinnamon ice cream sandwiches

Then taking a large sharp knife, slice the ice cream into about 1 inch thick slices…

ice cream

and then place them on the layer of graham crackers…

making ice cream sandwiches

Now, decide how big you would like your sandwiches to be and break the remaining graham crackers into the desired shape and size ( I wanted them to be in squares, so I just broke them in half).

Then place them on the ice cream layer and leave a small gap between each square. (By doing this, it will be easier to cut them into servings later…)

making ice cream sandwiches

Freeze until firm and when it is time to indulge, lift the foil out of the pan and cut into the desired amount of servings!

I hope you all have safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend!  And along with getting together with our families and friends this weekend, let’s  all remember  those who have sacrificed so much so that we could have freedom and  live in our beautiful United States of America.

Violets

violets

The kids and I were back in the woods yesterday and noticed that we have violets growing  out by the apple tree. I love violets, they remind me of my childhood.

 Where I grew up, there is a wooded area across from our house. One spring when I was a child, I was walking through a very thick and overgrown area of those woods and remember coming to a very large log. Crawling over it was quite the ordeal but once I had, I hopped down from the trunk of that fallen tree and noticed some violets growing on the ground around my feet. I carefully stepped over them so as not to crush them and then looked up…and froze.

For almost as far as I could see, there was a purple carpet of violets blanketing the floor of the woods. I was so in awe of the beauty spread out before me, I think I just stood there and stared at it for a couple of minutes.  To this day whenever I see a violet, I think about that spring day in the woods…

Today, I thought I’d share a recipe that I associate with my childhood. I clipped it out of a magazine many, many years ago. The news clipping is worn and tattered from age, but still I hold on to it and won’t part with it. Do you hold on to treasured recipe clippings too? Does the sight of a recipe clipping have just as many fond memories as eating the delicious result of that recipe?

This is a recipe for Butterscotch bars. It’s a goodie! I don’t think I have ever made these without at least one person asking for the recipe!

Happy Spring!

Butterscotch Bars

Into a heavy saucepan put:

      1 - 12 oz. package of butterscotch chips

      3/4 cup butter

Melt over low heat and stir together. When the chips have melted, take the pan off the heat and add:

      2 cups of graham cracker crumbs

Mix well and then press about half of the mixture into a greased 13×9 inch baking dish. Into a mixing bowl place:

      8 oz. softened cream cheese

      1 – 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

and beat until creamy. Then add:

      1 egg

      1 teas vanilla

Mix until light and fluffy. Pour over the crumb mixture and sprinkle with the remainder of the crumbs. Place into a 350 degree oven and bake for about 25 -30 minutes. Do not overbake. Cool at room temperature, then place in the refrigerator to completely cool down.  Refrigerate any leftovers.

The “perfect” Brownie…

 

Comfort food…I think that’s what we Minnesotans need because we may be dealing with more snow tomorrow! Good grief… :)

Evergreens after snowfall

 At least it melts quickly this time of year!…Melting spring snow on tulip leaves

What makes the perfect comfort food? Brownies, of course!

 Here is a recipe for what I think is the perfect brownie! Moist, not too sweet, thick and a bit chewy, and of course filled with a decadent deep chocolate flavor!

 

chocolate browniesI served these for Easter with a dolip of Malted Chocolate Whipped Cream. I’ll be giving you the recipe for that  sometime in the future… :)

 Nigella Brownies

 Place into a heavy saucepan:

      8 oz ( 8 squares) semi-sweet chocolate

      4 oz. ( 4 squares) bittersweet chocolate

      3 sticks salted butter ( 1-1/2 cups)

Slowly melt over low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl. When the chocolate is lukewarm, whisk in one at a time:

      6 eggs (* see note at bottom)

Whisking well after each egg addition.  Then add:

      1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract

      1 teas salt

      1- 3/4 cup sugar

Whisk well. Then add:

      1 1/2 cup flour

Slowly whisk just until flour has been incorporated. Then add:

       1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Gently stir in the chips in, then pour into a greased 13×9 baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

 An inserted toothpick into the center will not come out totally clean.  (These can be tricky to know when they are done. At around 25 minutes,  when the center appears puffed, I stick a toothpick into the outer edge and use this as a guide to know when the center is done. When the toothpick inserted into the center appears like the outer edge toothpick, I know the brownies are done. The toothpick will have some chocolate smears on it, but it will not be gooey…)

* When adding the eggs, crack the eggs into a cup first before adding it to the batter. This will prevent a disaster if you happen to crack a bad egg or get an eggshell into your chocolate.

Chocolate Cookie Bars

Do you like to dip your Oreo cookies in milk?  I love doing this, especially when the cookie gets all nice, soft and kind of gooey…

Well, if you too, like that soft creamy taste of a freshly dipped Oreo, you may absolutely love these bars! 

These bars were created just for us  cookie dippers…no milk required…well, then again… I think that Oreo taste was created   specifically for enjoying with a glass of milk.  Cheers!

(I made two versions of this recipe…The first recipe calls for a combination of graham crackers and crushed Oreos. If you would like a richer chocolate flavor, go for the second recipe, no graham crackers…just the Oreos…I couldn’t decide which version I liked better, so I listed them both…

Chocolate Cookie Bars

In a small saucepan, melt:

      1 c  semi-sweet chocolate chips

      3/4 butter

Whisk together and set aside. Then put into a food processor:

      24 Oreo cookies (please use the regular cookies, not Double Stuff)

      5 rectangles of cinnamon graham crackers

Process until you have fine crumbs and place into a large mixing bowl. Add the melted chocolate mixture and stir until they are combined.  Measure out 1 cup of the crumbs. Press the rest of the crumb mixture into a greased 13×9 inch pan.

Into a mixing bowl, place:

      1 – 8 oz.  softened cream cheese

      1  can sweetened condensed milk

Beat until creamy.  Then add:

      1 egg

      1 t  vanilla

      1/4 t salt

Mix until combined.  Pour this over the crumb mixture in the pan and sprinkle with the remaining crumbs. Place in a 350 degree oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Don’t overbake.  ( The cream cheese layer will puff underneath the crumbs when it is done) Cool on the counter, then place in the refrigerator to cool completely. Cut into bars. Store  leftovers in the refrigerator.

Second version…the “chocolately” one…

The directions are the same except for the crumb mixture…

      1 bag of Oreos (regular, not Double Stuff)

Process in a food processor until you have fine crumbs. Then melt together:

      1/2 c  butter

      1/2  c  semi-sweet chocolate chips

Whisk together, add to the cookie crumbs and mix together. Follow same directions as above… Cool completely in the refrigerator before serving.