Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Chocolate Peanut Butter Gooey Bars

SO.... I am on this huge gooey bar kick. This particular bar is absolutely amazing. Oh my Heaven. If you are a chocolate peanut butter lover, these bars are for you. These bars will kick Reese's cups out of the way. Reese's are my husbands favorite. I always try to save some from Halloween. Sweeten his heart... He really knows that I love him very much.

I really need a manicure... 
Just look at the bar, layers of goodness

As we all know, I like easy and delicious. These bars have a few steps, but nothing is complicated and they just layer and go together quickly. I took these to a party and they were devoured. I cut them into small pieces and that was perfect. There was also the thought as making these for a birthday dessert. If you are not a cake lover and like peanut butter and chocolate, holy moses, these are a HIT.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Gooey Bars
1 Chocolate Cake mix
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 egg

1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter chips

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup peanut butter
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
4 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 tablespoon peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 pan with aluminum foil, and spray the cooking spray. 

In a mixer with a paddle attachment. Combine the cake mix, egg and butter together. Beat until combined. Pat down the cake mix batter into your pan. It will take some patience and a few minutes to cover the entire surface of your pan.

Pour the chocolate chips over the bottom layer. Pour the peanut butter chips over the chocolate chips and cover completely.

In the same bowl, combine the cream cheese, vanilla extract, and peanut butter until totally mix together. Add the eggs one at a time. Mixing after each egg. Add the melted butter and mix completely. Add the powdered sugar and mix thoroughly. Pour this mixture of the chip layer.

Bake for about 45-50 minutes. The mixture will be puffed up in the center when done. It will only jiggle slightly. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave on 50% power for a minute. Add the peanut butter. (MAYBE another 15-30 seconds if not totally melted). Stir stir stir. Spread the mixture over the top of the cream cheese layer. (Mine was still warm and made the frosting melt more) Perfect. 

Once totally cooled or slightly chilled, cut into pieces and serve.

I believe everyone knows by now. 
I LOVE all Chips.
When I was a kid, we used to eat them out of the bag.

This is the chocolate mix patted into the bottom of the pan

Chocolate and peanut butter chips

Cream cheese mixture ready to pour over the chips

the bars are cooling and ready for frosting

This bar does benefit from frosting. 
Finishes of the top layer

bites for display purposes only....

ALL I have to say.... mouthwateringly delicious....

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

6 and 12

Yesterday was my weird "more than Normal" dysfunctional day. To begin with, it was Monday. How many people just my a bad sound about yesterday. I was a bright sunny day at our house. But it was just one of those days you actually never look forward to. In my family, the build up is ALWAYS so much worse. The sad thoughts and tears have already been shed. So Monday was sunny. I had decided to take a vacation, because in the past, I have not been friendly Shayla, it is just easier to be off. Less problems for everyone. So I ran, went to a Crossfit class. (find the right Crossfit place and your will love it) I am still going to yoga, just mixing things up.

SO, on with my ramblings. Yesterday was my twelve year wedding anniversary.

This was such a fun picture to take. We were just laughing and laughing. The photographer said we were smiling to much. We went to the train station and took these pictures. We were married on a Sunday afternoon, So there was almost no one at the train station.

My Husband gave me this beautiful bouquet of flowers. It was a bright, fall mix of flowers. It is always a way to my heart. We decided yesterday that the flowers needed to go to work. My kitties found them, and thought these would make a fabulous play toy. PICK, pick, pick, rub, brush by, and generally just touch all the flowers. So much fun. I actually have really enjoyed having them in my office today. My office smells fantastic. 

How is it that a cat can photo bomb a picture. These brats have such a good life. I was really loving them from about midnight to 5:30 AM this morning. In bed, out of bed, running through the house, licking and then back in bed with you. 

SO, yesterday was the six year anniversary of my Dad's passing. I missed him so much last week. I had already cried all my tears. His twin granddaughters turned 18 today. I think he would almost feel old. My Mom will turn 70 in a couple weeks and I turn 50 in the Spring. Time just marched on.

Monday was his favorite day of the week. It was a perfect day for working outside. Yard work or farming. Great day to get stuff accomplished. So, since I was off and everyone else was working, I had lunch with my Mom. She was good. We had a cocktail at lunch because we COULD. We both shed a couple of tears and then ordered lunch. There are so many other things going on, that sitting there feeling sad was just not right. A friend of my Moms showed up, and we continued to shoot the breeze. Loads of laughs. All was good.

For Dinner, my Husband and I went to Bonefish Grill. There are only 4 in the state of Illinois. We always go when we visit my Mom in FLA in the winter. It was very good, but the Florida ambiance just was not there. 

Pear Martini and Bang bang shrimp
I just love their Martinis. The Bang Bang Shrimp is always fantastic. My Husband had shrimp and scallops and I had fish. We discussed my day and all was good. My Husband announced that we were doing something right, because we still like to eat together. He really made me smile. We went home and had left over birthday cake from my nieces birthday party from Sunday. (DIET Blown out the Window.)

In the recent past, I have had cousins who lost their Dad, and friends who have lost loved ones. My Heart aches for them. I would like to tell them that they will get better, but it is WAY to early. My Dad always told us that there was always someone worse off than us. I miss my Dad, but I am very lucky and happy. 

Thank you for reading this blog. I really appreciate people taking time out of their day to read my thoughts. If you know someone who is facing difficult days, lend them a hand. Drive them to the doctor, rake their leaves or just hold their hand and listen.....

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Lemon Pound Cake

The other day, I had a large Sweets job. Wonderful. Everything tasted fantastic and looked great. The customer was very happy. SO.... the next day I tackled my kitchen. OMG. I had ran the dishwasher, so I emptied that, put away the clean dishes in the sink. Wash the rest of the dishes and totally cleaned my kitchen. Countertops, cabinet fronts and the floors. WOW.. The kitchen was clean and no one was making a mess in there. .... Well except for me. This pound cake recipe was just calling my name. MAKE Me Please. I am Delicious and you love pound cake... So I slightly mess up my kitchen. I did clean it all up after I was done. There needed to be proof for my Husband when he came home...

There are a million pound cake recipes out there. This was an easy recipe and worth it.

But this little hot gem, screamed MAKE ME. 
I am glad I did. YUMMY..

Lemon Pound Cake
slightly modified from
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. 

Spray an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Set aside

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. (I had a brain fart, and sifted into my wet ingredients) JUST MAKE SURE you Sift.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on a high speed for 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each one until totally blended. Add the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla extract to butter mixture until completely combined. Scrape down the sides.

On a low speed, slowly add in the dry ingredients until well combined. Scrape down the sides again

Add in Lemon zest and Lemon juice until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan Bake for 60-65 minutes. Top should be golden brown. Check if done with a toothpick. Cool in pan for 10 minutes and then turn out until a wire rack to cool completely.

The Halloween decorations are out, a little kitty 
found this scary orange spider. 
She had loads of fun playing with it.

Fresh lemon zest, and soon, fresh lemon juice

Sifting the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients

A nice pan of batter. A perfect size for a pound cake

The new dishes in the sink
They never seem to end

Look at that lovely color of Golden Brown

I really need to get a hobby.

Look at that cake. 
Texture is perfect, Moist and delicious

I had to take a bite for the photo opportunity. 
ACTUALLY, I ate both of these pieces and another on. 

DAY time photography. There are several differences
between natural and evening light.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Magic Bar Cookies

WOW... Have you ever eating a Magic Cookie Bar? aka Dream Bars or Seven Layer Bars or Calorie Buster Bars. Well, in my life I have eaten many. Maybe even a half pan. That point where you may throw up but only wish you did.... Who am I kidding, I have eaten most of the ingredients first, made the bars, burned my mouth, since they were to hot. AND then eaten half of the pan.

I know there are people out there that would say, "they are just to Sweet," NOT ME. The combination of graham crackers, different chips, coconut, nuts and sweetened condensed milk. OMG. who died and let me go to Heaven.... The beauty of Magic Cookie Bars, if you were shy on ingredients of something, you could always punt, the absolutely beauty of a dump recipe. AGAIN, why people should bake.

So, one day last week, surfing the internet for MORE recipes, I came across this recipe. Magic Bar Cookies. Why could the world not be a better place without another cookie recipe of a bar. Life is good for the most part. THE only difference is that there is no sweetened condensed milk. But there is everything else. I really liked these cookies. AND I hope you make them and let me know what you think.

Don't these just look delightful. 
AND let me tell you, they are amazing
Morsels of Heavenly flavors all together

Magic Cookie Bars
gently modified from
also from Averie Cooks 
3/4 cup of butter, room temperature
3/4 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup roughly chopped graham crackers
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with Silpat or parchment paper. Set aside

In a bowl of a mixer with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. About 2-3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and mix until smooth.

Add flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt to the wet ingredients. Mix very slowly until dry ingredients are just incorporated. BY HAND, add in Graham Crackers, both Chips, Coconut and Nuts (optional). Everything should be incorporated in. You may or may chill the dough.

I use my small cookie scoop, and place cookie on sheet about 2" apart. Bake for 8-9 minutes, until ever so lightly brown on the edges. When you remove them from the oven, use the back of a spatula and gently press down on each cookie. Allow cookies to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool

These ingredients make for a flavorful cookie

You do not want to know how many of these I ate. 
I really wish I still had the metabolism of a teenager. 

EAT me Please.... this is why I keep my chips in the freezer

I added my ingredients first. Just a brain fart
Please mix the crackers, chips, coconut and nuts by hand

Pretty and perfect cookies ready to be baked

Just out of the oven and gently flattened

WHY are you photographing ME, just eat them..