When I saw these peanut butter cookies on Holly's blog, Phe.MOM.enon, I knew I wanted to make them. They look so good. (Go check out Holly's post about these cookies, you can get the recipe there, too, it's from Baked. I followed the recipe exactly, even with the dark brown sugar, but instead of only 6 oz. of chocolate, I used a whole 12 oz. bag of Hershey's milk chocolate chips. )
The cookies are GREAT! I took them to a farewell (some of my friends are moving--brats! jk) get-together with some friends from church and heard many people say they loved them and asked when the recipe will be on my blog. Mmmmm!
They are perfectly crunchy on the outside edges and chewy throughout. I baked them for about 9 minutes (The recipe says 10-12. I have learned that I believe my oven runs a bit hotter than a lot of others. Just check your cookies after about 8 minutes and see what you think!) But definitely make these sometime.
Moving on. Someone tell me, what in the WORLD I was thinking when I got the bright idea to do this---
"Hey, Honey, let's buy Sam a sandbox and put it on the deck, RIGHT outside the back door. We can get a gate for the stairs, then I can do things inside (read as-bake) the house and still keep an eye on him," she said.
"Great, I'll find one online and have it shipped right out. You buy some sand and I'll see if Dan will build the gate for us," he replied.
Not a week passed and the sandbox arrived, sand was bought and the gate was put in (Thanks Dan and Liz!). "Woohoo, Sam will keep himself busy and have so much fun, afterall, he LOVES the neighbors sandbox," mom thought cleverly.
Oh, he looks so cute in that picture having fun with his new sandbox and all the toys.
Well, you can't tell because his extreme cuteness over powers what you see in the background in this picture and really, you can't even really tell, but WHAT WAS I THINKING?!!! There is sand everywhere! (Okay, I half expected that, so that's not even the big problem--for the most part, he keeps it outside. Yeah, outside the sandbox that is! His favorite thing it to dump scoops of it out--why oh why can he just not dump the scoops back into the sand? Oh you also can't tell there's a handy plastic tarp under the sandbox, which I thought would be wonderful to just move the sandbox from time to time and dump the sand back into the sandbox. Well, oh nooooo, sand is mostly on the deck AND he also just takes scoops of it and watches it fall down off the deck in a lovely waterfall fashion as he tenderly pours it out and overboard. Then, you can barely see in the picture that I have a few planters there on the deck. Planters that for the last couple years have been my sole gardening. You see, we have rabbits (and deer and coyotes) here that eat everything in sight. So I smartly have planted tomatoes and peppers (Kevin's favorite-jalapenos) in planters on the deck the last two years and no rabbits can get them now! No rabbits, but something I didn't expect--Sammie's! He has pulled my plants from their lovely dirt and planters more times that I can count in the last week. I've replanted them and they seem to be okay, but today I just decided it isn't worth it. Nope, those poor little pepper and tomato plants have gone on to greener pastures. It's just not worth it to keep fighting him over it, to keep constantly putting him in timeouts (hasn't worked) or explaining to him that he's killing the plants. And to top that off, this one is really pretty much my fault. I stupidly pulled the dead plants (yes, I hadn't done that since last fall when they died for the season yet.) But I pulled them up right in front of Sam--he was "helping" me, I was teaching him how to plant things (she most ridiculously thought). And I threw them over the deck to clean up later. Oh how we just don't realize the things we teach our kids! I think that is why he keeps pulling the plants and dropping them over the deck. Sigh! You live and learn, right. I'm guessing the plants would have been more successful in the presence of rabbits, deer and coyotes! I have put Sam in so many timeouts this past week, for dumping sand off the deck, throwing his sand toys over the deck and pulling my plants that I just can't do it anymore. I have told him and decided that when the sand is gone, it's gone! I've had enough--for now! I'm tired.
I've been sweeping the kitchen and dining room more times that I care to count! But all in all, he IS having fun out there and I don't have to be outside with him every waking moment. The other night, he was out until dark playing in the sand. The spring weather has been so beautiful. How I wish it would stay this nice all through the summer (the deck is going to get TOO hot to even play on in the summer, it gets the sun from 2 p.m. until sundown.) It's been so nice playing outside. We can even still run and play in the beautiful green grass! And that won't last either, as chiggers should be showing up in the next couple of weeks, at which time we'll all stay off the grass until the first frost! Sigh! Have you ever gotten chigger bites? Oh my gosh, they are nasty. Worse than you can even imagine, worse than mosquito bites. It's a narly sharp painful itch. AND chiggers jump on your legs (they are microscopic, you don't know they are there until you have bites), and they like to go to the darkest, moistest places they can find--and from the leg, I won't tell you where that is, you figure it out! The boys come crying in our room in the middle of the night just scratching like you wouldn't believe! Ahh, summer--it's coming. Are you ready? ;) There, was that enough of a rant? Okay--goodies!
What was that Sam was eating in the last picture? Chocolate covered frozen bananas, of course. We made them last night for their snack before bed. Mmmmm!
Push half a banana on a craft stick. Freeze the bananas. Ours had been frozen for a good four hours. Melt chocolate (we used some melting chocolate discs I'd had for a while). Dip and swirl bananas in chocolate, then immediately sprinkle or roll them in whatever you want. What was the chosen add on in our house--SPRINKLES, of course. I rolled a few of them in some slivered almonds. Yum! The boys all ate two.
Well, lookie here--I got a picture of Scott!
Kevin mowed the front and back yards last night and then worked most of today pruning some trees that was long overdue, sprayed lots of weeds and enjoyed using his new cordless weed wacker. The boys enjoyed helping move branches.
Everything is SO green right now. (Cute buns, Hon. oh, sorry.) Those rocks over there where Kevin is have a bunch of snakes living in them. I'm not talking about little garter snakes, I'm talking about big, ugly sliver/gray snakes at least three feet long. I don't like reptiles!
Kevin got a lot of yard work done today (which he does not enjoy at all!) I love spring!
Thursday was Mom's Day in Parker's 1st grade class. The moms were invited to come listen to the kids sing some songs for them and then have a snack with them and see some of their work they'd done, including a booklet of stuff they'd written about mothers. It was nice.
That girl is the back is sure a tall first grader!
Love you, Parker!
Then on Friday, it was Mom's Day at Taylor's preschool. I forgot my camera for his! Oops. We first sat in a circle with all the mom's and kids and the kids introduced their moms. The kids were asked some questions about their moms and they were written down and posted for us all to see and try to guess which one was ours by the answers they gave. Besides wishing I weighed what Taylor thinks I weigh, he did pretty good and it was easy for me to guess mine. ;)
The kids talked about gardens and vegetables last week, so for our snack, they made a really yummy salsa with lots of veggies in it. I'm so embarrassed, but Taylor announced while they were preparing it that his mom hates onions. So what did they do, they left onions out of the salsa just for me. They actually made two salsas, one with onions and one without. I feel so spoiled and special. That was really nice! We ate chips and salsa. Taylor even liked it and it has zucchini, carrots, spinach, peppers and tomatoes in it. Maybe that's what I should do to get him to eat more veggies, make salsa and chips, which he does like. It was all very finely chopped.
After our snack, we got to go see some of the art projects they had worked on throughout the year that were set up like a studio, then we went back to the classroom and wrote a page together in the journals the kids have been keeping and drew a picture. Taylor drew himself and I drew me (horribly) and we were both holding a baking sheet full of cookies (surprise!), then Taylor drew some sky and clouds and I drew a sun. He decided we were taking cookies to some friends. We had a few minutes left to play with things in their room and Taylor and I found a book about baking with recipes in it. It is a book from Gold Medal with a recipe for each letter of the alphabet. Taylor wanted to take it home. So the teacher let us borrow it for the weekend. The kids gave each of their moms a little potted flower. Love you, Taylor!
So, yesterday afternoon, Taylor picked what recipe he wanted to make and we made it. He chose the letter N for Nutty Marshmallow Bars.
The recipe was simple and ooey, gooey nutty and yummy. One that I must stay away from!
Nutty Marshmallow Bars, from Gold Medal, Alpha Bakery Children's Cookbook (I halved this recipe and used an 8 inch baking pan)
1 cup of chopped, salted, blanched peanuts (I used dry roasted)
3/4 cup of Gold Medal all-purpose flour (mine could have been Gold Medal, but I'm not sure)
3/4 cup of quick-cooking oats (or old-fashioned) I used quick
2/3 cup of packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 egg 1/3 cup of butter, softened
1 jar (7 ounces) of marshmallow creme (I had a big jar that had 4 1/4 oz. left in it, since I halved the recipe I should have used 3.5 ounces, but I just used what was left in the jar.)
2/3 cup caramel ice cream topping (also didn't measure and just finished off a jar--it was probably pretty close to 1/3 cup)
1 1/2 cups of salted blanched peanuts (again, used dry roasted)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir chopped peanuts, flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, salt and egg in a large bowl. Stir in butter with a fork until mixture is crumbly. Press into an ungreased 9x13 inch baking pan (I lined the 8 inch pan with non-stick foil). Bake for 10 minutes.
Spoon marshmallow creme over the hot layer. Let stand one minute, spread evenly. Drizzle caramel topping over marshmallow. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 cups chopped peanuts. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let stand until cool (once it was room temperature, I chilled it for a few hours). Remove bars from pan using overhanging foil edges. This is pretty sticky, so carefully using a knife pull down the foil around the edges while using the knife to separate the bars from the foil. Cut bars in to desired sizes.
Ooh, I just realized what these remind me of--one of my favorite candy bars--Pay Days or the Salted Nut Rolls. Love them!
These are quite rich, buttery, chewy and very pea-nutty! Taylor wants to make something else in the book before we return it on Monday, Hmm, maybe Elephant Ears or Zebra Stripe Cookies or Turtle Bread. We'll see.