Peanut butter is one of my favorite foods (is it considered a food? Condiment? Food accessory?). Whatever it may be, I can’t live without it and try to work it into as many recipes as possible. Recently I made some dessert and added peanut butter and was telling my family what it was, and that I had added peanut butter, to which my sister replied, “of course, what don’t you add peanut butter to?!”. So yea, kind of my thing. But the ultimate favorite is always peanut butter + chocolate. That combination makes my heart happy. And yes, Reese’s PB Cups would be my favorite candy. So today, in honor of National Peanut Butter Day, yup another weird food holiday, I thought I’d share a dessert celebrating my fav.
My sister got this recipe from a friend and shared it with me back in 2008. I know it was that exact year because my “recipe card” for this is actually the email from my sister that I printed out. She also included a note that said “when will you be trying out this recipe? Since we know what the original tastes like, we have to be your taste testers, naturally.” Ha! So this has been a favorite, easy recipe for years. I actually added the addition of sea salt flakes for a nice sweet-n-salty kick, but feel free to leave that off if that’s not your thing. Also, I’ve seen dozens of variations of these kind of bars (in high school I actually use to buy a box mix of something like this, duhh, the things I used to buy from a box!!), and a lot of people talk about how they used to have these in school, made by the lunch ladies. What?!!! Where was this happening? I don’t ever remember our lunch ladies whipping up any kind of peanut butter bars!! So I’m curious if anyone had these in school. (Some of the recipes do have oats in them, this does not, but maybe those were the kind served at school?? Considered a little healthier because of the oats??). So do let me know if you enjoyed something like this in school. Also, for those that are being good and enjoying healthy foods – we have a “healthier” peanut butter bar that I shared last year – Natural Peanut Butter Fudge. It’s delicious and helps with those sweet tooth cravings!No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons salted butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
6 oz chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate)
sea salt flakes, optional
In a medium bowl, mix together first five ingredients until completely combined. Press into an 8×8 pan (for easy cutting, line the pan with parchment paper first, leaving extra hanging over the ends to lift out). Melt chocolate and pour over peanut butter mixture. Smooth chocolate into an even layer and let set (you can place in the fridge to speed up the cooling process). Add sea salt flakes if desired. Cut into bars.One of my boys said about that last photo, “if you put that on your blog, everyone will know you have tiny baby teeth because that is the tiniest bite ever”. 😂 So I guess I need to feel embarrassed by my bite! And if you’re a peanut butter lover, here’s a few more PB recipes worth checking out!
So these sweet potato fries…one of my favorite side dishes. Ever. And I don’t even have to feel guilty about eating them because they’re healthy! The dip might skew that good-for-you factor a bit – but hey, you can always skip that if you’re being good! I’m usually not! 😉 I prefer these over regular fried sweet potatoes fries, which is saying a lot because I love me some nice crispy fries! But the flavor of these is so delicious and I feel like frying sweet potatoes takes away from that flavor. And of course, with my love of dips, they’re even better when dipped in this spicy ranch! My boys prefer to dip theirs in honey, so that’s always an option too! Whatever you choose – just bake some of these up soon! And if you need more reason – your house will smell amazing while these bake! Healthy, delicious, a yummy dip, smells great…really, why aren’t you making these already?!!Baked Sweet Potato Fries
2 medium sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon cornstarch
Preheat oven to 425ºF. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray very lightly with cooking spray.
Peel sweet potatoes and cut into matchsticks. Place the sweet potatoes into a gallon size ziploc bag. Add cornstarch, zip up the bag, and shake it around to coat the fries. Open the bag and add oil, salt, paprika, and cinnamon (adjust any of the seasonings to your liking – but don’t add to much oil, you want them very lightly coated). Zip up the bag again and shake well to thoroughly coat the fries. Spread the potatoes out onto the baking sheet in a single layer and make sure your fries don’t overlap. Cook for 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes, until slightly browned. Serve warm with spicy ranch dip or honey.
Spicy Ranch Dip
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
3 tablespoons sour cream
1/2 teaspoon ranch dressing/dip dry mix
1/4 teaspoon red pepper (I always add a little bit more than this…I like it spicy!)
a couple dashes hot sauce (I use Frank’s Red Hot)
Stir together all ingredients until combined. Store covered in the refrigerator.
Fries adapted from Sarah’s Cucina Bella
If you’re a sweet potato lover here’s a couple other recipes you might want to give a try: Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quinoa Bowl or Roasted Sweet Potato and Coconut Curry.
One of the things that Caitlin is not lacking in her new house is plants! She may still need to put together a whole living room, a few finishing touches on her bedroom, get a washer & dryer, (she can cross that gorgeous kitchen off the list now!) but plants, plenty of those! We always seem to end up with a few new plant babies when running to the store for something else. Need some lumber – came home with lumber + a new plant! Need some glue & nails – came home with that + a new plant! 😉 Anyone else have that issue?! Then you start running into the problem of where to keep all those plants!
I’ve had this project on my to-make list for quite some time, but didn’t have the perfect spot for it (plus those “steps” look pretty enticing for little boys to try to climb, not something I want them attempting! And yes, as soon as this was made, the first thing Levi said was he wanted to walk up those “steps”! 😜), and I don’t quite have the green thumb that Caitlin seems to have – I’m usually buying new plants to replace my dead ones, so I don’t need as much shelf space for my collection! But now that Caitlin has a new place, I thought this step ladder plant shelf would be helpful in giving her some more plant space!Materials:
– 1x8x10 foot pine board
– mitre box
– 1×2 pine boards – 2
– tape measure
– table saw
– belt sander or sand paper
– framing square
– wood glue
– drill & drill bits
– nail gun & compressor
– polyurethane finish (if desired)
Out of the 1×8 board, cut 3 shelves to 28.5″ long. Cut one of the 1×2 boards to two 36″ pieces. Cut the other 1×2 board into two pieces measuring 40-3/8 from the tip of the angle at one end to the tip of the angle at the other end. The angle at the top is a 60 degree angle and the angle at the bottom is a 30 degree angle. Out of the left over piece of 1×8, cut four 1” wide pieces on the table saw. Sand (or use a jointer) to clean up the cut edges. With the mitre box, cut two 17-1/4” pieces, two 12” pieces and two 6-3/4” pieces. These are your shelf supports. Cut two pieces 27” long for braces to go across the back between the lower and middle shelf supports.
Mark lines on your back legs of the shelf at 9”, 18” and 27”. Lay your back leg and front leg out flat with the 60 degree angle against the back leg near the top. Using a framing square, run the square along the back of the back leg and under the bottom of it, bring the front leg down or up until the bottom of it rests on the top edge of the framing square; make sure the 60 degree angle is tight along the edge of the back leg. Keep the legs in this position and using the framing square transfer the three lines from the back leg to the front leg, also make marks where the top and the bottom of the 60 degree angle are on the back leg. Repeat with the other set making sure that you are marking on the inside of the legs.
Drill holes in the center of the long and medium length shelf supports 3/8” from the end, countersink the hole slightly on one side. Using 1-5/8” screws, attach the two shelf supports to each end of the 27” braces you cut for the back.
Lay out one of your sets of legs with the marks up, place glue along the 60 degree angle and place against the back leg where you made your marks. Using the nail gun, nail through the front leg into the back leg. Glue the legs (place glue about 3/4” below the 9” mark). Take your lower shelf assembly and place it on the legs keeping the back flush with the back of the back leg and the top even with the 9” lines; nail in place. Repeat with the other two shelf supports. Repeat the process with the other set of legs but only attach the upper shelf support. (You will probably need assistance for this step) Stand the two sets of legs up after placing glue below the 9” and 18” line on legs without the lower and middle shelf support. Nail the lower shelf support to that leg below the 9” line and the middle support below the 18” line.
Sand shelves before installing them. Place glue along the top to the upper shelf supports and then set the shelf in place keeping the back flush with the back of the legs; nail in place. Place glue on the first 6 inches of the middle shelf support, put the shelf in place making sure the shelf sticks out past the front of the shelf support by 1”; nail in place. Place glue on the first 5-1/2 “ of the lower shelf support, put the shelf in place making sure the shelf sticks out past the front of the shelf support by 1-1/2”; nail in place. Let dry. Sand smooth where needed. (Apply finish if desired).And since we do love our plants, we’ve got a few other planter ideas you can try out – find more DIYs here.