Monday, April 28, 2014

Peanut Butter Madness Bars

Aloha friends!

It's hard to believe it's almost May.    If we had seasons here, I'd be thinking that summer was around the corner.   A vacation that has been on the horizon forever is now almost here.   In a few weeks, I'll hop on a plane and travel a bajillion time zones (well, 11 anyway) to spend two weeks in Ireland and Scotland.   

I'll probably have to wear pants.

I know.

Until then, I'll keep rolling island style.   In fact, this weekend is the Maui Onion Festival.  Can't have that anywhere else but here!

Onward to delicious rich peanut buttery brownie bars.

What You Need

1 box of brownie mix, prepared following package directions for a 9x9 pan (love Trader Joe's Truffle Brownie Mix)
1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts chopped
24 miniature Reese's peanut butter cups, chopped
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup of peanut butter (I used Natural Jif Crunchy)
1 teaspoon vanilla

What You Do

Line a 9x9 pan with foil and coat with cooking spray.    Preheat oven and prepare brownie batter following package directions.

During the last 5 minutes of baking, remove brownies from the oven and sprinkle with the chopped peanuts and peanut butter cups.    Bake for the last 5 minutes.    When you take the brownies out of the oven, use a spatula to spread the melty peanut butter cups.

In a microwave safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips and peanut butter.   Heat for 1 minute and stir until melted and smooth.    Stir in the vanilla and then pour (gently) over the peanut butter cup layer and smooth it out.

Store these madness bars in the fridge until completely cool.    Slice into small pieces (or giant's really your call).

Meanwhile In Maui...

I can't stop taking pictures of turtles.
Awesome, every time!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easy Buffalo Chicken Rollups

Some days you just want easy.   Throw it together, tastes good, minimal work and a kitchen that isn't a disaster afterwards.

These are easy.    And you can fill a crescent roll with anything you like.   I  just happen to like love buffalo chicken.   If I can buffalo a recipe, I will.

What You Need

1 can of crescent rolls - these happened to be garlic bread...yum
hot sauce / wing sauce, to taste
sliced chicken breast deli meat, 1/2-1 slice per roll up
blue cheese crumbles, to taste

What You Do

Preheat the oven per the directions on the can of rolls.   Line the baking sheet with a silicone baking mat.

Separate the rolls in the can into individual triangles.   Brush wing sauce onto the crescent roll.   Add 1/2-1 slice of deli meat (you may need to tear it with your hands) and top with blue cheese crumbles.    

Roll, baby, roll.

Bake per package directions and enjoy while hot.   If you want to get all crazy, you could dip it in ranch or blue cheese dressing.     And that's it.      

What else could we wrap in a crescent roll?

Monday, April 14, 2014

There's No Noodle Like a Star Noodle - and No Bowl Like an Empty Bowl

Tonight, instead of a total eclipse of the heart, there is a total eclipse of the moon.       

Here is the Maui moon in partial eclipse.   Before it started to rain.  

Maui being Maui, I may hop in my car and drive a few miles away where there will possibly be no rain and more eclipse.     And so, before I get sidetracked by the moon (or lack thereof), I wanted to share with you the fun and good cause that was the Empty Bowl Project at Star Noodle on Saturday.

I haven't been to Star Noodle yet for lunch or dinner - but now I've at least been in their parking lot.    And had a bowl of colorful and savory ramen.   Not the same as the 10/$1 college special ramen.   Ramen with a poached egg.  

The Empty Bowl Project raises awareness and money for hunger in our community.   You purchase a locally handmade bowl for $25 (check out that bowl in the bottom right of the picture - that baby is mine) with the proceeds going to the Maui Food Bank.     And in return, you get a visit to the noodle bar.      I might have also had some Thai basil lemonade and a chocolate chip and sesame seed ice cream sandwich.    You know me and ice cream.  BFFs for Life.   

I've walked, biked, ran, worn ugly sweaters and more for good causes.   I'm glad to add noodles to the list. 

And now back to our scheduled total eclipse.... 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Carrot Cake Blondies

When I saw this recipe for Carrot Cake Blondies over on Crazy for Crust, I was hooked.

And I don't know why.    Carrot Cake is not my thing.   I wouldn't order it at a restaurant.   I would probably pass over it at a banquet.   If we were doing dessert speed dating, I would skip right to the next dessert.

Wait...I know why.   It has cinnamon cream cheese frosting.   And that frosting is so delicious in its own right that even if you didn't want the carrot cake, you could dip pretzels in it.   Or just eat it with a spoon.

Note:  I followed the original recipe with the following modifications.   I used 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar and 1/2 cup dark brown sugar....'cause that's what I had in the pantry.   And instead of grated carrots, I bought the pre-shredded carrots at the store and then chopped them up a little more.  

What You Need

2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup of unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon  (it will seem like a lot, but it gives the carrot cake feeling)
2 cups grated carrots (or shredded carrots, chopped a little more to make the pieces smaller)
2 cups flour

For the amazing frosting:
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
4 oz cream cheese, very soft
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon

What You Do

Line a 9x13 pan with foil and coat with cooking spray for easy cleanup and removal.

Whisk flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a small bowl.   Cream the brown sugar and butter in a bowl with an electric mixer.    Add eggs and vanilla and beat until combined.   Mix in the dry ingredients and then stir in the carrots.

Press batter into your pan.   It will be sticky - either coat your hands with cooking spray or flour so that you don't stick to yourself.      Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, you want it to be a little wiggly in the center and that's ok.    Cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting use a hand mixer and combine the butter and cream cheese together.   Add the powdered sugar and then the vanilla and cinnamon.    Frost the bars in the pan.    I frosted the bars and then put them  in the fridge before slicing.    

These are amazing and I have to salute Dorothy at Crazy for Crust for her brilliance.

Meanwhile in Maui

Kite festival at the Wing Ho Museum on Friday during the Lahaina Town Party.   Yes, we have town parties...

So...what's your opinion on Carrot Cake?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Breakfast Cookies in Paradise

It's a fact.   You cannot go wrong with breakfast cookies.    It's a cookie.   It's breakfast.   Full of goodies that give it a little more of a nutritional kick than a standard "dessert" cookie.   Hearty.   Thick. Delicious with coffee.   Also very photogenic with my shell shaped plates and tiny hibiscus flowers that grow along the sidewalk, if I do say so myself.   

I took my go to breakfast cookie recipe and changed a few things around.   Cookie butter instead of peanut butter.   Kashi instead of Cheerios.   Dark chocolate chips....just because.

What You Need

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 medium ripe banana
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup cookie butter
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups rolled oats (quick oats are fine)
1 cup Kashi cereal (go Lean crunch, to be exact)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (Hershey's special dark)

What You Do

Preheat the oven to 350.   Line your baking sheet with a silicone baking mat.

In a large bowl, cream butter, brown sugar, the banana and the applesauce.    Add the vanilla, egg, and cookie butter and mix well.

In a smaller bowl, combine the two flours, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.     Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture.      Beat (or stir in) the rolled oats.      Stir in the cereal, coconut and chocolate chips.

Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, measure out these large cookies onto your baking sheet - usually 9 per baking sheet.      Bake 18-20 minutes.     Cool on the cookie sheet or a wire rack and store in an airtight container. good

Meanwhile on Maui
I went to the the Maui County Ag Fest on Saturday.    Check out the beautiful flowers!

Fun Fact:  Maui County doesn't just include the island of Maui.   It also includes Lanai and Molokai, as well as the uninhabited islands of Kahoolawe and Molokini.

Whatever you're having for breakfast this week, I hope it's delicious!   And we already made it through Monday, so only 4 more days to go.   You've got this.

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