Wednesday, March 25, 2015

{Healthy} Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oat Bars- #ChocPBDay

Welcome to the 2nd annual Chocolate Peanut Butter Day!!! 

A group of bloggers (hosted by the amazing and talented Carla of Chocolate Moosey and Miriam of Overtime Cook) have declared March 25th the official day to celebrate the ultimate of flavor pairings: chocolate and peanut butter! We had so much fun last year that of course I was excited to celebrate again this year!
Chocolate and peanut butter are my absolute favorite. My favorite candies growing up all had that beautiful pairing and SO MANY of the desserts I've made are choc/pb-fied (last year I even did a round up of 35 chocolate and peanut butter recipes on the blog...and goodness knows I've made many many more over the course of the year!) I've even been known to melt together some chocolate and peanut butter for a quick and richly delicious treat when I have no other sweets around. That is the depth of my love. (In a perfect world I'd have chocolate cake with peanut butter filling for my wedding cake but...alas...I'm playing it safe in case there are allergies.)
As you can tell if you've visited this little blog-ette of mine in 2015--I'm on a bit of a "healthier" kick. Partly just because I want to get back to a better place physically and partly because my wedding is quickly approaching! So these bars that I decided to make are on the healthier side. But you know what's funny? Almost every healthy dessert I make involves chocolate and peanut butter. Why? Peanut butter is delicious BUT also full of protein and good stuff and oftentimes makes an excellent substitute for butter. And chocolate is an antioxidant and...well...I need it. So I throw it in nearly everything to keep me sane. The point is-it was definitely not difficult to find something to make for Chocolate Peanut Butter Day! 
Here is the beauty of healthy treats: they can be dessert, a snack, or breakfast! So these chewy, hearty, delicious bars (which have just the right amount of sweetness) may be consumed thrice a day. In fact...I think I'd recommend it. Good for the soul and all that.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oat Bars

Slightly adapted from How Sweet Eats' "Oatmeal Peanut Butter Squares"

Makes an 8x8" pan of bars.
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (I used dark brown but you can use light brown if you prefer)
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter (storebought, natural, and homemade are all fine)
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour (or 1/2 cup all purpose flour and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk)
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Coat an 8"x8" baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Using an electric mixer, beat together the sugar and peanut butter for a couple minutes on high speed-until well combined and fluffy.
  • Mix in vanilla extract.
  • On medium speed, mix in the flour, oats, salt, and baking soda-the dough will be crumbly and you want the peanut butter mix to be broken into clumps.
  • On low speed beat in the milk until combined into a dough. 
  • Stir in the chocolate chips.
  • Use your hands to roll the dough into a large ball (and, if necessary, knead a bit to make sure everything is evenly incorporated)-place the dough ball in the prepared baking pan and press it down to evenly fit.
  • Bake 18-20 minutes, until set and slightly golden on top. Cool completely and then cut into squares.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Check out more chocolate peanut butter-y goodness from the other participants of #ChocPBDay:

Monday, March 23, 2015

Easy Whole Wheat Hoagie Rolls

I'm still loving this recipe for French Dip sandwiches. What I'm not loving? My inability to find whole wheat hoagie rolls. And...really....I love being able to make things myself anyway. So when I found a recipe for easy hoagie rolls I knew I would be adapting a whole wheat version for my next sammie!
And I am now completely in love. Like...I want to use this recipe for garlic bread, any and all future sandwiches I make, and I don't even know what else! Just...everything. Because that's what this recipe is--everything.

It's really a super simple bread recipe and it doesn't even take that long to make (with rise times it only really takes like 2.5-3 hours, which in the scheme of bread baking isn't bad. And 99.9% of that time is inactive, just letting it rise or bake, etc.)
Even Michael liked them! I'm not sure that he even noticed that they were whole wheat (something he tends to whine about)--he has very specific desires for hoagie rolls. He likes them to be not too big and somewhat soft (but still sturdy enough) and that is what these are! They're wonderfully golden on the outside and so soft and fluffy on the inside. They're just sturdy enough for such messy and gooey sandwiches as the 'aforementioned french dip. And I'm just a huge fan. Love love love these hoagies.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Something Saturdays (3/21/15)

Hey! It's Lent! If you celebrate Lent then you might need some inspiration for meatless recipes on Fridays. If that's the case, check out this post from last year:

I'm totally loving this Epic Rap Battle---Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy!) as Cinderella battling much goodness in one video!

Did you have a fun St. Patrick's Day? I worked all day (it's a super busy day for alcohol promos...obviously.) In other news this week I actually got to get my new car and I love it! And...I've actually had some time to just get stuff done around the house. Which was really nice. Plus I got a couple small wedding things done and did a little shopping for bridal shower/rehearsal dinner dresses. And now this weekend I'm working and also doing some social stuffs! Yay!

I got back my photos from the portrait session I did with Jay Kossman Photography about a month ago! I'm sharing one of my favorite shots right here, but to view more pictures check out this album.

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