I have a confession: I’m not a huge fan of Valentine’s Day. I know, I know. It’s a holiday celebrating love. What’s not to, well, love? I adore the idea of celebrating those we cherish but truthfully, I sometimes think it’s all just a bit much. Overpriced flowers. Complicated and overpriced dinners. Boxes of chocolates filled with strange flavors where you just pray for the chocolate covered caramels. Well, I can’t do much about the flowers or the prix-fixe dinners, but I am going to share an amazing recipe for Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups that are simple, inexpensive, and way better than those heart shaped box options! Your Valentine will love them. And so will you.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie
Happy Halloween, friends! Is everyone ready for some holiday fun? I’m super excited to take my kiddos out trick or treating tonight – if we can figure out how to keep them warm. It’s going to be cold here in Minnesota. As much as I love this time of year, it is definitely busy. Between fall festivals, costume parties, and field trips, we’ve had days that are absolutely full. In the midst of all that fun, I haven’t had much time to spend in the kitchen cooking. And I don’t know about you, but when I get busy, I definitely tend to crazy comfort foods and quick dinner fixes. While I don’t believe in deprivation (you’d better believe I’m going to be enjoying ALL the candy tonight!), I do try to keep some balance in my eating life and often rely on a handful of healthy on-the-go recipes to sneak some nutrients into those busy days. I had a full day of errands today so after my morning yoga class, I popped home and took a look through the kitchen and came up with this Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie….
Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte
Hey friends, just popping in here for a late Friday night post. We had a little technical glitch with the blog this morning – so very sorry if you stopped by earlier! The issue seems to be resolved, at least for now, and we’ll be back next week with our regular posting schedule. In the mean time, I wanted to share this fantastic Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte. It’s only slightly modified from the original genius recipe by blogger couple Kevin and Amanda (I added a little french sea salt for finishing) and so rather than post the recipe, I’m just going to direct you over to their wonderful blog here.
I made this torte – which they call a pie – twice last week and both times it was gobbled up. The best part of the recipe is that it really is no bake! You’ll need a microwave to melt some butter, the stovetop (or, if you’re brave, the microwave again) to heat some cream, and a food processor for grinding up all those oreos, but no oven. I do recommend a torte pan with a removable bottom for ease of slicing and all around presentation but you most definitely could make this chocolate wonder in a traditional pie pan.
Now, it’s important to note that all the fantastic chocolate and peanut butter make it suuuuuuuper rich, so a very small slice goes a long way. In other words, it may not seem like it, but this dessert will most definitely feed a crowd. Plan to make it a little ahead of time as it is definitely best served chilled. It is also wonderful served with a light dollop of whipped cream, which ironically seems to counter the heaviness of all that great chocolate and butter. Do yourself a favor this holiday weekend and make one to share with your friends and family. You won’t regret it.
Peanut Butter Cup Bars
I spent the weekend making Peanut Butter Cup Bars. Simple ingredients, simple recipe, no oven involved. This is one of my very favorite recipes, not only because of its simplicity, but because of the fact is that it gets my kids into the kitchen every time. In the interest of full disclosure, these particular peanut butter cup bars pictured above were actually made by my 4 year old with only some minor help from me. My journey to the kitchen was so much later in life, that I’m hoping that by getting my kids into the kitchen early in their lives, I will spark their interest in cooking.
I have 2 kids, currently aged 13 and 4, and when it comes to food and kids in the kitchen, I have learned a lot of lessons between number 1 and number 2. When my now teenager was tiny, I was in the throes of my education and training. That meant long days, long nights and meals that involved the path of least resistance. Our then toddler wanted butter noodles for dinner 7 nights a week? Sure-we could handle that, we had a fast casual Italian joint down the street. I’m not sure I knew where my kitchen was back then, and I’m pretty sure that even if I could have found my kitchen, I wouldn’t have known how to make noodles anyway! No surprise that food rapidly became an issue with my firstborn, as her preferred menu involved very few types of foods and none of them could be considered nutritious.
When I started my full time job, one of my new colleagues asked me what we liked to eat for dinner. Unfortunately, my honest answer did not impress her, to say the least. Who would be impressed by our crazy array of fast food dinners? From that day forward, my colleague (now one of my great friends) vowed to teach me how to do better. She encouraged me to cook, encouraged me to try new recipes (even if they were simple desserts like these Peanut Butter Cup Bars) and encouraged me to do a better job of feeding my family. In my free time, I took some demonstration cooking classes, tried tons of new recipes and read cookbooks like novels (I’ve actually developed quite a cookbook addiction, but that it is a whole other conversation). I rapidly improved my skills and discovered a true passion for cooking.
When I had my second child, many years after the first, I was in a different place in my life. I had more time, more energy (it’s all relative, right?) and much more in my repertoire. I got smart, and fed my youngest child whatever we were eating, and what we were eating had vastly improved by then. He greedily ate everything including the garlicky pureed beef stew I fed him, the beet borscht his Polish nanny fed him, and the various vegetables we insisted he have at every meal. I also learned that getting my kids into the kitchen with me was a great way to get them enthusiastic about trying new foods. There was so much they could help with-dumping, mixing, spreading, crushing. My 13 year old, initially very finicky, is now exploring her own talents in the kitchen and her palate has greatly expanded (she now orders salmon everywhere we go-and together we can make a fabulous salmon at home!). My 4 year old tells people he’s going to be a “daddy chef” and asks me to put his apron on him so he can help me cook. Now, this Peanut Butter Cup Bar recipe certainly isn’t a healthy recipe, and it certainly won’t give your kids any nutrition, but it is so easy and gives my 4 year old such a sense of accomplishment to be able to make a dessert that everyone enjoys. It is a great recipe to start getting your own kids into the kitchen with you! And who knows, maybe if you get them interested in making dessert, helping you make vegetables will soon follow!
Peanut Butter Cup Bars
- 1 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
- 1 Cup Butter
- 2 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
- 2 Cups Crushed Graham Crackers
- 1 1/2 Cups 12 ounces Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Mix peanut butter, melted butter and powdered sugar in a large bowl.
Stir in crushed graham crackers.
Spread peanut butter mixture in a 9 x 13 pan.
Melt chocolate chips, stirring frequently to ensure the chocolate doesn't burn. (This can be done using a double boiler over low heat, or using a microwave on medium power, stirring every 30 seconds until melted)
Spread melted chocolate over peanut butter mixture.
Refrigerate until chocolate is hardened.
Cut into squares, serve and enjoy!