Monday, September 24, 2012

Chewy Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Pretzel Granola Bars

This past week has been amazing and crazy and wonderful.

Between a visit from my best friend Lauren & her family, and my baby shower on Sunday, I got to see (almost) all of my favorite people in the world.

(I don't have any pics from the baby shower yet though, so that is To Be Continued!)

Lauren and her husband are both managers at her mother's restaurant (Fire Island Grille) in Myrtle Beach, so  unfortunately they were only able to stay until Saturday.  But I was SO excited to see them, and their son Holt!

I know I go on and on about him every time I get to see him, but I think Holt might honestly be one of the most low-key toddlers I've ever met.  Mr. Vittles and I were shocked at how "chill" he is for being 22 months old.

On Thursday night, the 5 of us watched the Giants slaughter beat the Panthers.  Holt sat on the edge of the couch, with his arm up on the armrest, and 'talked' to Mr. V for at least 3 minutes straight - mostly gibberish of course, but complete with hand gestures and expressive faces to drive his points home.

Needless to say, he had us all cracking up.

On Saturday morning, we got to have a little high school reunion with our girlfriends Vanessa and Mary, and their husbands.  Mary also has a 22-month old named Bryce (born just a week before Holt) who is adorable, and it was so awesome to see the kids play together!

We ladies also had fun 'playing' together ;)

So anyway... about these granola bars.  Usually when I have house guests, I like to make special food.  But at 32 weeks preggo, I didn't feel much like spending a lot of time in the kitchen!  I did, however, make a loaf of pumpkin bread, and also these granola bars.

The last time Lauren and Tyler visited us, Tyler loved the Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies and ate most of the batch himself.

This time it was the Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Pretzel Granola Bars that stole his heart.  Lauren told me that while I was at work, he ate 3 the first morning they were there.  So she ever-so-gently reminded him that I probably "slaved" in the kitchen to make those while he was just devouring half the batch in one sitting.

He shrugged & said "They're really good."

Luckily, I hardly slaved over them ... and I love that he loved them!

Chewy Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Pretzel Granola Bars

  • 1/4 C. butter
  • 1/4 C. honey
  • 1/3 C. packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 C. creamy peanut butter
  • 2 C. quick cooking oats {not to be confused with rolled oats!}
  • 1 C. crispy rice cereal
  • 1/2 C. coarsely crushed pretzels
  • 1/2 t. vanilla
  • 2 T. mini chocolate chips

Line an 8x8 square pan with foil, and grease foil with nonstick spray.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, stir oats, rice cereal, and pretzels together.  Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter, honey, and brown sugar together over medium high heat until mixture comes to a bubble.  Reduce the heat and add the peanut butter; cook 2 more minutes. Remove saucepan from heat, pour in vanilla and stir.

Pour peanut butter mixture over dry ingredients, and mix to coat evenly.  Using a spatula, empty contents of bowl into prepared pan, and pack the mixture into the pan very tightly.  You really want to press them down so they stick together.  Sprinkle top of bars with mini chocolate chips and press down lightly (& quickly before they start to melt!)

Cool to room temperature for two hours, or until the chocolate chips are set.  Lift out of pan using the edges of the foil, and cut into 8 bars.  Stack bars between layers of waxed paper, and store in airtight container at room temperature.

Recipe Adapted from Lauren's Latest (who adapted from Rachael Ray)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Frappe... In The Raw

Is it just me, or is anyone else done with summer?

Maybe it's because I'm currently lugging around a 2 1/2-pound watermelon in my stomach, but I am totally over this season.

It doesn't help that Fall is my absolute favorite time of year, and I probably got a taste of it too early going up to Canada a few weeks ago. I want it to be here NOW!

I want cool, crisp air. I want jeans and sweatshirts. I want fallen leaves and apple-picking.


Who's with me on that?

I recently applied through BlogHer to review In The Raw sugar, and when I was looking at their collection of amazing recipes, I noticed all the fall-themed ones were jumping out at me.

So naturally, I had to make the Pumpkin Pie Frappe ... which totally lives up to its name, and gets me even more excited for the upcoming season change!

Is it wrong that I want to swim in this creamy, pumpkiny goodness?

But in all seriousness - for those of you who are regular readers, hopefully you know by now that I'm very picky about my reviews. Making money off of a hobby is great, but that's not why I blog, and I would never personally endorse a company, product, or recipe I didn't truly like.

So that being said, I highly recommend checking out In The Raw's products. Like me, you've probably seen their sugar and Stevia packets in coffee shops and the like, but did you know that these products are also offered in bulk for baking and cooking?

Check out the lineup of goodies I received from In The Raw, which included their all-natural Turbinado sugar, organic agave nectar, and zero-calorie Stevia. So fun!

In all honesty, I was a strictly-white sugar type of gal until a couple years ago when I was diagnosed with a hormone imbalance; it puts me at a higher risk for diabetes if I'm not mindful about my carb intake. So at that point, I started looking into less-refined sugars and sugar alternatives and was pleasantly surprised to find out there are some really great options available.

For one, Stevia is the only low-calorie sweetener that I actually enjoy - I think it tastes the closest to 'regular' sugar, and I love that it's natural, not made from chemicals.

Agave nectar is great too because it's slightly sweeter than sugar, so you can use less, and it has a lower glycemic index. (In The Raw's Agave is also organic, so that's a bonus!)

But if all that health stuff doesn't tickle your fancy ... I recently discovered that In The Raw has this hilarious Au Natural In The Raw app that will 'censor' your sassy food photos.

Yep you heard me right. You can blur out your goodies', umm ... goodies?

In the age of 'pinning' and 'food porn' sites, one of the most fun things about baking is sharing your creations via photo. And now your hottest desserts can go "au natural" on the internet... without fear of showing too much!

How cute is that?? To view other photos or make your own, just visit (and perhaps warn your significant other first, in case they see the site in your browser history - ha!)

And if that wasn't enough fun for you ... In The Raw is also giving you all a chance to win a $100 gift card! Entering is easy peasy, just visit the recipe section of their website, and leave a comment on this post telling me which recipe you'd most like to make.

Official Sweepstakes Rules:
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
"b) Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the
following unique term in your tweet message: ""#SweepstakesEntry""; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post"
c) Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 9/10/12-9/30/12.
Please also be sure to visit the In The Raw brand page on BlogHer, where you can read other bloggers' posts and get more chances to win.

In the meantime... bring on the pumpkin spice!

Pumpkin Pie Frappe
  • 1/3 C. canned pumpkin puree*
  • 1/4 C. Sugar In The Raw®
  • 1/4 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 t. ground allspice
  • 1 C. whole milk
  • 4 C. vanilla ice cream (slightly softened)
  • Grated nutmeg for garnish
Combine all the ingredients in an electric blender and blend until smooth. Serve in frosted glasses and garnish with the nutmeg. Makes 4 servings, about 3 1/2 cups.
*Be aware that there is a difference between pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie canned mix. The pumpkin puree works best for this recipe.
Note: The frappe can be stored in the freezer if not serving immediately. The consistency will be like soft ice cream.

Recipe from In The Raw


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