Sunday, March 30, 2014

Chocolate Peanut Crumb Bars

It's been a busy couple of weeks.    The biggest thing being my trip back to Colorado for the closing on the sale of my house.   YES!    I am now done with the responsibility of home ownership.   Back to the free and easy life of a renter.    If there is a tear in my window screen, I just report it to the property manager and like magic, it's fixed.    I had a fantastic handyman for the entire time I owned my home.   In fact he was so fantastic that he handled all the repairs for the inspection long distance including services that he contracted out (fireplace cleaning, window repair, etc).   I wish for every homeowner to have someone like that.   It's much easier not to panic when something unexpected goes wrong, or you want to make upgrades that you can't do yourself.     

Now, back to life on a rock (had no ideal that #lifeonarock was a hashtag until I moved here). Very simple to put together and earned compliments at a going away BBQ for two co-workers who have taken a job transfer to Calgary. Friends, that is in Canada.  3,085 miles away.   In an extremely northerly direction.  It is important to celebrate moves and promotions.   And as we know, dessert is also important.    

What You Need

1 box of devils food cake mix
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 cup coarsely chopped dry roasted peanuts
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1  14oz can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup peanut butter (I used chunky honey nut)

What You Do

Preheat oven to 350.    
Line a 9x9 baking pan with foil and cooking spray (or use a silicone pan - my favorite).

In a large bowl combine cake mix, oil and egg and stir with a spoon until it is combined and crumbly.    Stir in peanuts and chocolate chips.    Reserve 2 cups of the crumb mixture and press the rest of the bowl into the bottom of the 9x9 pan.

In a small bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter and stir with a spoon until smooth.    Pour milk and peanut butter mixture over the base crumb layer.     Spoon the reserved 2 cups of crumb mixture over the top of the milk layer.   

Bake 25-30 minutes until set.   Cool and cut into bars.

adapted from Eagle Brand Classic Recipes (a cookbook that belonged to my Grandma)

Meanwhile in Maui

The sunset the night of the going away bbq was spectacular.    
I think the island was sad to see them go and wanted to give a parting gift. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Lemon Oreo Cake Bars

Oreos have been expanding into all kinds of different and creative flavors.      When I was at "the" Walmart (since there's only one here on Maui it gets a title.....just like Costco is the Costco), I saw Lemon Oreos.    It reminded me of the Girl Scout lemon creme cookies - and those are hard to find.  

Naturally, I added them to my cart.    And then I had to have a plan.    Because eating Oreos out of the package is not a plan (at least to me....but it could be).

Know what else is a premium on Maui?   Lemon cake mix.   I found one box and it was not on sale.    But the end result were delicious lemon cake bars, so I was happy.   And so were my friends.

What You Need

1 box of lemon cake mix
1 stick butter/margarine (I used margarine), softened
1 egg
10 lemon oreos, broken by hand into pieces
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 lemon juice

What You Do

Preheat your oven to 350.   Line a 13x9 pan with foil coated with cooking spray, or spray your pan directly.     In a large mixing bowl combine the cake mix, margarine, and egg until mixed into a dough.   Add oreo pieces and incorporate into the batter.    Press the dough into the bottom of the 13x9 pan.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the can of sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice and stir until smooth.    Pour over the dough in the pan.

Bake for 23-27 minutes.    Allow to cool and then cut into bars.

Meanwhile in Maui
Last weekend, I went on the Bamboo Forest hike.  Gotta love hiking waterfalls!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Whenever there is hot sauce and ranch (or blue cheese) dressing, my response is always "buffalo it."   
Salad. Quesadillas.   Sandwiches.   Pasta. 

Sometimes buffalo chicken is all you want.  Without the messy bones or sauce.

And that's where buffalo chicken dip comes in.   Put all the ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and go to town.     And then use vegetables, pretzels, chips or even a spoon to shovel the gooey mess into your mouth.

Let's go!

What You Need

1 8oz block of cream cheese,  I used the reduced fat kind
1/2 cup ranch the bacon ranch dressing from Safeway
1/2 cup buffalo wing sauce
1 12oz can of chunk chicken, drained, chunks broken into small pieces
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
blue cheese crumbles for garnish

What You Do

Combine chicken and buffalo sauce and heat through in a skillet until warmed through.   Break up any of the big chunks of chicken.     Stir in the cream cheese and ranch dressing.   Continue to stir until it's all cheesy and warm.   Add the shredded cheese.  Stir until melted.    Pour it into a shallow microwave safe container,sprinkle the blue cheese and warm in the microwave until the blue cheese is melted.

If you're traveling with the dip, as I did, simply put in a microwave safe dish or plasticware after adding the cheddar cheese.    Keep it in the fridge until you're ready to go, then microwave it when you get to your destination.

What's your favorite dip?    

Monday, March 3, 2014

Cinnamon Brown Sugar Cookies

Aloha Friends!    I'm sorry to have been MIA on the blog for the past few weeks.   A combination of sick co-workers, climbing waterfalls, the Olympics, whales and happy hour may be to blame.    I'm also getting ready for my....wait for it....first trip back to the mainland.  

Yes.  I've acclimated enough to Hawaii that the word mainland is part of my regular vocabulary.   

I'm excited to see friends and family, go to Trader Joe's, and hit up stores like Kohl's and New York and Company that aren't on  Maui.   I'm also probably going to have to wear socks.

I've pretty much given up on socks as an article of clothing except for the gym.    

But enough about socks.   On to cookies!    
I've never purchased coconut oil before, much less baked with it.

And then, I saw this recipe for Brown Sugar Cinnamon Cookies over on Sweet Treats and More.

Hop on over to check out the recipe.   I didn't make any changes or modification this time, since the whole coconut oil thing was new to me.      Coconut oil stays solid.....until you get to an average temperature of 75 or more.   Since I'm in the tropics, just sitting in my cabinet, the oil returned to liquid.     I put it in the freezer to firm it back up, just in case it made a difference in the recipe.

And for those of you who are living places where the winter this year is never ending, like my family in Wisconsin who are enjoying record amounts of days below 0....I hope that March really gets to the lamb stage early.   That weather is crazy.

Meanwhile in Maui...
The whales are saying Hi...leave that vortex behind and come visit

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