PB Chocolate Cereal Treats

I’ve been writing a lot of blog posts in the shower lately.  Well, not *literally* writing them . . . showers and computers don’t coexist peacefully, after all.  But in my head, in the shower,  post after post just comes rolling out.  It’s too bad, really.  If only I had a shower-proof computer those posts might actually see the light of day.  Why the shower? Continue reading

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Rocky Road No Bake Bars

It’s Friday afternoon.  Motivation is gone.  Snack-ivation is in full force.  What’s a girl to do?

Make the easiest cookies EVER – and then make them even better with mini marshmallows and crunchy salted peanuts!

And then eat the whole pan and feel very very bad for a while.

I should not be left at home, unattended, with chocolate and marshmallows and peanuts in the house.  While I’m pregnant.  Or, you know, EVER.

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Huckleberry Shortbread Bars

In the spring of 2003, the hubster and I planted two native huckleberry plants in our front yard.  I remember it so clearly because the plants were a belated wedding gift from a coworker, who took us to a native plant nursery and walked us around one wet and cold weekend morning, helping us decipher the magic behind what appeared to be a whole lot of sad little twigs in plastic pots.  Really, we had NO clue.  We’d bought a house at the same time we got married, and while the house itself was fresh and new (newly remodeled, anyway) – the yard was a mess of dirt and weeds and chain link fence.  We were starting from scratch.

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PBJ & O Bars – And, The Winna!

First, a little business.  The winner of the Choco-Case and Chocolate Giveaway, according to the True Random Number Generator over at http://www.random.org, is . . . .drum roll please . . . commenter number three, Jo B!  Here’s Jo’s comment:

    I love Jamie Olivers new app for recipes, really handy way to view and do them, what a fab case, will make me hungry, oh and chococolate too, drooling now.

I’ll be contacting Jo shortly to make arrangements for transfer of the goods.  Thanks for playing!

Now, on to some more sweet stuff – actual new recipes!  Woot!  I’ve got a few stacked up and waiting for you, and (cross fingers knock wood evil eye to the sky) should be able to get back into a more regular posting routine.  Or something like that.

First up, some delicious cookie bars with a bit of nostalgia, at least for me.  Summer has finally shown up – at least for the moment – here in the Pacific Northwest . . . although recent headlines (like this beastly one) would suggest we’re not done with the ick.

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Putting the Bake back in No-Bakes

Did you grow up with Chocolate No-Bake Cookies?  That glorious, super simple, and super fast concoction of butter/sugar/cocoa/oats?  I did.  They were one of the first sweet treats I was allowed to make entirely by myself, and I can’t even imagine how many batches of them my brother and I devoured, home alone after school while mom was at work.  I grew up with the peanut butter version–seeing as we’re such a peanut butter family and all–but I’ve made plenty of the “plain” variety as well.

A couple years back a friend of mine started a cookie company, and spent a holiday season selling them at the Truffle shop with me.  One way or another the subject of no-bake cookies came up, and I begged her to make some.  She did, and she sold out of them (the ones I didn’t eat, anyway) almost immediately.  She couldn’t believe it–why would somebody buy a cookie that is so easy to make?  But, of course, hers were beyond awesome thanks to a secret ingredient (which I will not reveal!), so it was no surprise to me.  And, who can turn down a no-bake cookie?!  Not me.

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Olympic Nanaimo Bars

Ever heard of a Nanaimo Bar?  They are a delightful little treat from Nanaimo, British Columbia–not all that far from Vancouver and the 2010 Olympic Winter Games!  You can find these goodies all over the Pacific NW, particularly in coffee shops, and usually in a mammoth sized portion.  They have a chocolate base which often includes graham crackers, coconut, and nuts.  The base is topped with a thick layer of buttercream, which is then topped with a layer of semisweet chocolate.  Heavenly.  And sa-weeeeet!  The original version has vanilla buttercream, my family’s version was always made with a mint buttercream, and commercial versions come in all kinds of flavors and colors.

I actually grew up with Nanaimo Bars, which in my family were called “The Dessert”.  As in The Only Dessert.  The Best Dessert.  The Don’t-Get-Between-Me-And-The-Pan Dessert.  My earlier memories of the treats always include Namo (pet name for my paternal grandmother), who I don’t recall caring much about baking or cooking, but I sure do recall her slapping together a batch of these anytime we went to visit.  And never once snitching on me when I had an extra serving (or five).  Grandmas are the best!

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Almond Shortbread Bars

almond butter shortbreadYou know what I really need?  I need a Brain Recorder.  Why can’t somebody invent that?  Seriously.

I have to tell you, when I’m laying in bed at night, verging on unconsciousness, I write the most amazing blog posts in my head.  You know, the kind that are smart and funny and interesting, and full of witty observations and all that.  Oh, and I come up with the greatest business ideas, too!  Unbelievable recipes, can’t-miss marketing schemes, you name it.

And then I wake up in the morning.  Poof.  Gone.

I need a Brain Recorder.

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Blueberry Oatmeal Bars

blueberry oat bars

What do you do when you need a last minute dessert for a spontaneous dinner party?  Well, if it’s July, you sprint out to your garden and strip every ripe blueberry off your bushes, whip up your favorite oatmeal cookie dough, spread it in a pan, top it with berries, and pat yourself on the back while it bakes.  And, if your dinner party happens to include your favorite nutritionist/personal trainer/gym owner friend, you make sure to modify that oatmeal cookie recipe, oh, just a tad . . . less sugar, some whole wheat flour, just enough of a tweak so that you can look your friend in the eye.  Oh, and cut the bars small.  I missed that part.  Oops.

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