Tuesday, October 26, 2010

No-Bake Reece's Peanut Butter Bars

So good...so easy...perfect for when you need a quick fix of chocolate and peanut butter and no Reece's in sight!!

No Bake Reece's Peanut Butter Bars

1 1/2 C graham cracker crumbs
1 lb (3 1/2 C) powdered sugar
1 1/2 C creamy peanut butter
1 C (2 sticks) real butter, melted
1 12oz bag chocolate chips (milk, semi-sweet, or dark, you pick!)
2 tsp shortening

In a large mixing bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar and peanut butter and butter and beat until combined. Press into a parchment (or waxed paper or foil) lined 9x13 pan.

Place chocolate chips and shortening in a microwave safe bowl and heat in 30 second intervals, stirring after each one, until melted and smooth. Pour chocolate over peanut butter mixture and spread out evenly. Place pan in the fridge just until chocolate is set and then cut into bars. Can be stored in the fridge or at room temp. They will stay firmer if stored in the fridge.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Banana Cake

It was Kyla's birthday yesterday and since she doesn't like regular frosting it's always been hard finding a good birthday cake for her. We usually just end up making a german chocolate cake, but I found this recipe for banana cake over at Your Homebased Mom and thought we'd try it out. It was really good, but it kept sliding and falling over so we had to hurry and take the pictures and then just let it do what it wanted!:) I think maybe less layers might help in that area.

Banana Cake
4 very ripe mashed bananas
1 box Duncan Hines WHITE cake mix
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup oil
3 whole eggs
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder

Mix all ingredients except bananas for 2 minutes, medium speed. Add bananas and blend well.

Bake in 2 greased & floured round cake pans, following baking recommendations on box. Mine ended up taking about 30 minutes. Cool on racks. I made the cake the day before.

Whip 1 pint of whipping cream, sweeten very lightly with powdered sugar. Just sweeten to taste. Add about 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla as well.

1 large box of cook and serve banana cream pudding (not the instant)

Make according to directions on box and cool.

3 additional bananas

Split the layers, putting pudding & sliced bananas into 2 layers, and the whipped cream in the others. (I just put the pudding inbetween all the layers and used the cream for the topping) Frost the whole cake with whip cream & sprinkle chopped walnuts on top. As I stated...the cake was falling apart so I just put a ton of cream on top and let it ooze over the sides since I didn't figure I'd be able to frost the whole thing! If you'd like to see how the cake is acutally supposed to look like head HERE!

Monday, October 18, 2010

The most perfect Banana Bread!

I tried a new banana bread recipe this weekend. I searched on the internet (and I have to say there are a GAZILLION banana bread recipes), but this one caught my eye and I had all the ingredients so I went for it!:) This is now my go-to banana bread recipe!! Tony (the hubby) said it was the best banana bread he'd ever eaten and just oohhed and aahhed over how moist it was. This really is a good one!

Banana Bread
(Martha Stewart's Banana Bread...adapted by me!:))

1 cup butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups very ripe bananas, mashed (about 3-4 bananas)
3/4 cups sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter (or just spray like I did) 2 9x5 inch loaf pans; set aside. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat to incorporate. Add the flour, baking soda and salt and mix together until just combined. Add mashed bananas, sour cream and vanilla; mix to combine. Stir in nut (if desired) and pour into pans. Bake for 1 hour. Let rest in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool.

Enjoy a slice of the most perfect banana bread!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Baked Potato Soup

I found this recipe over at Our Best Bites (one of my favorite cooking blogs!) and knew I had to try it! I've got to say this will become a regular at our house. Everyone really liked it and it was really easy to throw together. If you like baked potatoes you'll like this soup!

Baked Potato Soup

2 Tbs butter
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C flour
4 1/2 C low-fat or skim milk
1 14oz can chicken broth
4 medium baking potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds) baked (you can "bake" them in the microwave by just piercing them with a fork a few times and then cooking them for 5 minute intervals until a knife easily pierces through them. Mine took about 15 minutes all together.)
2 C grated cheddar (or sharp cheddar) cheese, divided
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 C light sour cream, divided
1/2 C chopped green onions, divided
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled, divided

Melt butter in a stock pot over medium heat. Add garlic and saute for 30-60 seconds until fragrant. Add flour to pan. (mine was pretty lumpy because there was too much flour and not enough butter, so next time I would probably double the butter and use 4 Tablespoons) Slowly add milk a little at a time while whisking constantly to eliminate lumps. Whisk until smooth and then add chicken broth. Bring soup just to a simmer and heat until thickened, stirring often, about 5 minutes.

Once soup is thickened, turn heat down to medium-low. Cut potatoes in half length-wise and use a spoon to scoop out potato flesh into the pot. Use a wooden spoon to smash potatoes, breaking up large clumps. Add 1 1/2 C grated cheese and salt and pepper and stir until cheese is melted. Remove pan from heat and stir in 3/4 C sour cream, 1/4 C green onions, and 4 strips of the crumbled bacon. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and top with each serving with the remaining sour cream, onions, cheese, and bacon.

(I didn't have any green onions so just left them out and then when we were eating dinner my hubby Tony told me "you know what would make this better?" His answer was green onions...so next time I'm going to make sure I have some before I make this soup!:))

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fruit Dip

I've tried loads of different fruit dips, but this one is my favorite. It is sooper dooper easy to make and can be made low fat/low calorie as well.

Fruit Dip

16 oz. Cool whip (light or fat free for "light" recipe)
32 oz. vanilla yogurt (light for "light recipe)
1 large package vanilla pudding mix (or 2 small sugar free packages for "light" recipe!)

Just mix all ingredients together thouroughly (sometimes it will be a little lumpy, but that's ok, it's still good!). Serve with any fruit that you wish.

My all-time favorite fruit with this dip is bananas, but I also really like apples and pear, and come to find out grapes are really good with it too! Just try out whatever you'd like!
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