Thursday, July 26, 2012

Monster Cookie Revel Bars

Guess who turned three last week?

Him.  That's who.  And he is a tad camera shy.  Or camera rebellious.  Whichever.

If you say look, he will do the exact opposite.  And don't even think you are going to put a birthday hat on him for any length of time.

But if you make a game out of running with some balloons, he'll do that.  Because running is not sitting still.  Running is fun.  His anthem is "Don't Fence Me In."

I love this little stinker to pieces.  And he loved these bars:

So when Monster Cookies marry Revel Bars and produce offspring, this is what their baby looks like. Revel bars with peanut butter in the dough and dispersed with mini chocolate chips and colorful M & M's and a fudgy-peanut buttery center.

The perfect birthday snack.  Or PMS snack.  Whichever.

Oh.  Yes. 

Here are my notes:

-I made these in a 13 x 9-inch pan and they were very thick.  Next time I am going with a larger pan so they will be a little thinner.  They were delicious and fun, nonetheless.

-Don't over bake.  Just watch them and make sure they are not getting too brown on top.

-Cool completely before cutting and they will cut much better.

Monster Cookie Revel Bars

3 cups quick cooking oats
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup mini M&M’s
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degree. Spray a 9x13 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Combine the oats, flour, baking soda, and 1 teaspoon salt in a mixing bowl; set aside.  Beat 1 cup butter, 1/2 cup peanut butter, and the brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Gradually beat in the flour mixture until mixed.  Stir in the candy and 1 cup mini chocolate chips.
  3. In a medium saucepan, heat sweetened condensed milk, 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips, 1/2 cup peanut butter, 2 tablespoons butter, and 1/2 teaspoon salt over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat.
  4. Pat 2/3 of the oat mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread chocolate mixture evenly over the top, then dot with remaining oat mixture.
  5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown on top. Let cool completely on a wire rack, then cut into bars.
Pin It!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Stuffed Oreos

So I wanted to make something fun and festive to take to a church gathering last week, and I had a bag of pretzels sitting on my counter.  I remembered seeing this recipe from this excellent site and I was all BOING!!!!  I AM SOOO MAKING THESE!!!  I went to my freezer to get out the mini chocolate chips and guess what I saw there?

Yes, OREOS!  (Alright, Cream Betweens if you want to be all technical.) I like to keep some in my freezer for emergency purposes.  But anyway....


And I was like PRETZEL WHO?

I lost no time, I mean NO. TIME. whipping up a batch of my favorite no-egg raw cookie dough batter, and I started stuffing and dipping and sprinkling and before I knew it, my counter looked like a rainbow had thrown up on it.  (But in a good way.)

And I was totally high-fiving myself thinking "Why haven't I seen this across the blogosphere yet because with all the raw cookie dough recipes on the internet, someone surely had to have already thought of this?"

So I did a google search and yep.  Sure enough.  Right here.  She used a peanut butter based cookie dough.  Can you say yum? 

Brilliant culinary minds think alike.

Not that I'm saying we're brilliant, but, yeah, we kinda are because COOKIE DOUGH STUFFED OREOS?  SHUT UP!

[Blogger makes cute little curtsy] 

[Round of applause from the internet]

Here are my notes:

-I adapted my cookie dough from Taste of Home because I like that it uses sweetened condensed milk, but you can probably use your favorite eggless raw cookie dough recipe.

-I used a 12-ounce bag of the Wilton chocolate dipping disks and I did not have enough to dip all of the sandwiches in.  Next time, I would use the block of chocolate almond bark or use 2 bags of the disks.

 -I used a small cookie scoop to place the dough into the cookie.  Worked perfectly.

-What about using double stuff Oreos next time, huh?  Huh?  Wouldn't that be good?

-I had almost the perfect amount of cookie dough for 1 pack of cookies, minus a few spoonfuls for me.

-I am so making these again soon with Nutter Butters.  Or Nutter Butter knock offs.  Whichever.

 Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Stuffed Oreos

(Cookie dough adapted from Taste of Home)

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1 (16-ounce) package Oreo or chocolate sandwich cookies
Chocolate bark or chocolate disks for dipping (melted according to package directions)
Mini M&Ms for decoration

Cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in vanilla and condensed milk. Add flour and salt and beat well. Stir in chocolate chips.

Separate each cookie into two halves.  Using a small cookie scoop, scoop a level mound of cookie dough onto one of the halves and top with the other half, slightly pressing down.  Repeat with remaining cookies.  Chill in fridge for about an hour.  Dip in chocolate, letting excess drip off, and place on wax paper lined cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with M & Ms to decorate and place in fridge until chocolate hardens.

Pin It!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Copycat Panera Bread Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich

 I miss my girl sometimes.

And although I love my son-in-law and grandson to pieces, sometimes I just need a little girl time with my daughter.  But she's a busy wife and mom now, and our hanging out time together is not as often as I'd like.  We're due for a day out together, a day for window shopping and real shopping, laughing until we can't breathe, texting each other from across the store to say "OMG! COME AND SEE THESE SHOES!" and eating just what we want to with no men to turn their noses up at our restaurant choice.

We love Panera Bread.  The guys in our life, not so much.  They're more Five Guys Burgers people.  "Panera Bread?  Meh."  That's what they say.  But my girl and I love it and we're crazy about the Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich, so I came up with a copycat recipe for when we are stuck at home.  This did not disappoint.  Nice and healthy and full of flavor, thanks to the cilantro-jalapeno hummus.

Dear Amber,

Let's go shopping soon.


Here are my notes:

-I think the biggest lesson I learned from making this sandwich is that the hummus really needs to be made in a food processor, not a blender.  But a blender is all I have, so I made it work, but not without a lot of smoke and weird sounds.

-I used potato bread for this, because I couldn't find a tomato-basil bread like Panera uses.

-This sandwich just screams summer to me.  Love it.

-No peppadew peppers here, so I substituted with an Anaheim chili.

-You could totally adjust the heat of the cilantro hummus by increasing the amount of jalapenos or by leaving the seeds in.  I am a wimp so I just used  a single jalapeno with no seeds.

-The amount of cilantro can be adjusted too.

Cilantro-Jalapeno Hummus

6 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons water
2 garlic cloves
2 (15.5-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)
1-2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped (leave seeds for more heat)
1/4 to 1/3 cup coarsely chopped cilantro

Place ingredients in order listed in a food processor and blend until smooth.  Add more water if necessary to thin out to spreadable consistency.  Store in fridge.

Copycat Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich from Panera Bread

Potato bread or tomato-basil sandwich style bread
Cilantro-Jalapeno Hummus
Feta cheese crumbles
Tomato slices
Cucumber slices
Red onion slices
Peppadew or Anaheim chili slices
Lettuce leaves

Spread one side of a bread slice with the hummus.  Sprinkle with feta cheese, then add veggies and top with another slice of bread that has been spread with hummus.

Pin It!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Simple Summer Vanilla-Peach Cooler

So how was your Fourth?  Since we were without our children who selfishly took our grandson with them on vacation to another state, Richard and I rode south to Mobile to watch the fireworks display on the Mobile Bay.

And who knew that about 5 bazillion other people would have the very same idea?!

We ate some seafood, I darted into Publix, we got some frozen yogurt, then we went to secure the perfect spot to take in all the festivities.  We paid a $5.00 parking fee to go park in Battleship Park, because I had assumed that that would be the best place to take pictures, but as we were trying to find a parking place (which was not easy, mind you) all of that sweet tea I had consumed with our seafood dinner suddenly hit me with a vengeance and wouldn't you know it?

Yep.  Only porta-potties.

And I am like, NO.

(Thank the good Lord that I am married to a very patient man.)

So we turned right around and left.  I think next time it will just be easier to throw that five dollar bill right out the window and save the time and aggravation of dodging pedestrians in Battleship Park.  Anyway, we eventually wound up with a great view in a no parking zone on the side of the bay.  And even though we were a little hesitant that we were breaking the law by parking there, a nice woman walking by in some in some short shorts and flashy gold earrings told us that we were just fine to stay where we were because "Honey, anything goes on the Fourth of July on the causeway."



And to top off our already great night, we made a run through Krystals on our way home because seafood and yogurt was not nearly enough.

And that concludes my Fourth of July recap.  On to the recipe.

This simple, summertime drink is quick and easy and non-alcoholic, because why shouldn't non-drinkers have fun drinks too?  We should.  We totally should.  And they should be sipped from mason jars while sitting in a swing at sunset. 

Here are my notes:

-No need to peel the peaches.  Just pit them, then coarsely shop.

-The sugar and vanilla can totally be adjusted.  I wanted it very vanilla-y, so I added a lot.  But you can do what you want.

-I loved this over crushed ice.

-You can make the peach base ahead of time and store in the fridge for a couple of days.  Fill glasses as you need them.

-I think this might be great with nectarines too.  Or maybe plums.

Vanilla-Peach Cooler

1 (12 to 14-ounce) can peach nectar
1/2 cup sugar
4 small to medium peaches, pitted but not peeled, and coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Club soda

Process the nectar, sugar, peaches, and vanilla in a blender until smooth.  Fill glasses with crushed ice and equal parts of the peach base and club soda.

Pin It!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Pimiento Cheese Spread Macaroni Salad

I love summer up until July Fourth.  After July Fourth, I am so over summer, it's not even funny.  July fifth ends summer for me and starts a fifth season of the year I call Survive Hell.  Because that's what it feels like here in July and August.  And most of September.  Sometimes into October.

But for the moment, I'm still excited about the upcoming patriotic holiday and this simple salad recipe, even though part of my crew is leaving for Missouri in just a few hours. (Why, yes, my heart does feel like it is being ripped out of my chest just knowing this little guy won't be here for fireworks.)

This recipe is a cinch to make, as well as cheap and colorful for your holiday barbecue table.

And if anyone needs me on July Fourth, I'll be here watching my hubby write his name in the air with sparklers and gathering up my sackcloth and ashes for my July fifth lamenting of the passing of summer.

Here are my notes:

-I think what gives this salad great flavor is grating the onion.  Grate it into a bowl so you can use a measuring spoon to scoop out the juice and little bits of onion.  I used about 2 tablespoons, but I really wished I would have upped it to three.

-Make sure your macaroni is completely cool so it won't melt the cheese.

-Stir the cheese in last, small amounts at a time, so it won't clump together.

Pimiento Cheese Macaroni Salad

4 cups elbow macaroni
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
2-3 tablespoons grated onion with juice
Salt and pepper to taste
2-3 tablespoons milk
1 (4-ounce) jar chopped pimiento peppers, drained
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Cook the macaroni according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool. Set aside.

Whisk together the mayonnaise, cream cheese, grated onion, and salt and pepper until smooth.  Stir in 2-3 tablespoons of milk to loosen the mixture.  Stir in macaroni noodles and pimiento peppers.  Stir in cheese little by little so it won’t clump together. 

Pin It!