No Bake Peanut Butter Bars

I know I promised you a sewing tutorial, but I still need pictures with my model.  How about something sweet instead?  No Bake Peanut Butter Bars perhaps?  Because who doesn’t love peanut butter and chocolate!!

No Bake Peanut Butter Bars #dessert #recipe #chocolate #peanutbutter #nobakeThis is one of those recipes I made a long time ago and lost track of.  I don’t remember where I originally found it, but I refound it the other day on Paula Deen’s website.  I needed something to take to a sorority meeting and I just happened to have all the necessary ingredients, so No Bake Peanut Butter Bars were the answer!

No Bake Peanut Butter Bars #dessert #recipe #chocolate #peanutbutter #nobakeThese babies are rich so be sure to cut them into small pieces!  They come together very quickly, but do need some refrigeration time, so you need to plan a little bit ahead.

No Bake Peanut Butter Bars #dessert #recipe #chocolate #peanutbutter #nobakeCan you tell I took these pictures on a very humid day?  Check out that glistening chocolate.

I sent the leftovers to work with hubby yesterday and I kind of regret that.  Only because I want to have one more.  I really didn’t need half the batch!  And I probably would have ate half the batch if they were left here!

No Bake Peanut Butter Bars

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 3 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Line a 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan with parchment.
  2. Combine the butter, peanut butter, sugar, and graham cracker crumbs in a food processor. Process until well combined. Press into the lined pan using your hands.
  3. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave for 1 minute on high (100%). Stir. If the chocolate has not completely melted, microwave for 10 seconds more, then stir. Spread evenly over the cookie layer with a spatula. Chill for several hours.
  4. When ready to serve, allow the candy to come to room temperature before cutting into pieces. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
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Enjoy!

Behind the scenes……

No Bake Peanut Butter Bars

Market to Market

The weeks of training were worth it!  The Market to Market relay was Saturday and it was amazing!  We had a blast!

If you don’t know, the Market to Market relay is a relay between two cities.  Here in Ohio it started in Cincinnati and ended in Dayton.  The total mileage was 76 miles.  I ran with a great group of gals from my Moms Run This Town chapter.

Moms Run This Town at Market to Market OhioWe were a team of 8.  Then a team of 7.  One of our girls had a medical issue and wasn’t able to run, so we upped our mileage per person and set out to have a great race.  And no, we don’t normally dress like crayons, but there was a costume contest that we of course had to participate in!

Market to MarketWe had a 6:00 start time, so it was an early morning for us!  Cupcake woke me up at 2:15 and I never fell back asleep.  I shut my alarm off 5 minutes before it was set (at 3:30) and got up to get going.  We met at 4:15 am and made the trek down south.  It was dark when our first runner set off and still at the the exchange point for leg 2.  Both of our runners had to wear visibility gear.  Luckily by the time my leg rolled around (leg 3) it was after 7:00 am and I didn’t have to wear it.

My first leg was my longest at 4.3 miles, which I ran at a 9:42 min/mile pace.  I was very happy with my start.  Especially since I was so jittery and nervous to start!  But I’m always happy when I run under 10 min/mile pace.  The scenery was beautiful, but it did get a bit lonely out there.  I was passed by two guys who weren’t running the race (who told me they loved the costume) and I passed a few gals, but there was a lot of by myselfness.

Crayon boxIn addition to the costume contest there was also a van decorating contest.  Thankfully we had a resourceful teacher on our team!  She made the awesome crayon “boxes” and a crayon for each of us that we put on the back window.  Too bad we couldn’t actually drive with the decorations on.  Well, except the crayon on the antenna and the ones on the back.  The others flew off the car as soon as we were going 10 mph.

Market to MarketIgnore the weird face I’m making here, but I was about to finish my second leg (2.8 miles) at PR pace!  We had a “baton” that we had to pass from one runner to the next.  It was a wristband with a timing chip in it.  This was just about the halfway point of the race.  As soon as I handed the “baton” off our runner had to pass it over a box to check us in.  I ran this leg so fast because I was hungry!  It was lunch time!  I finished at a 9:11 min/mile pace and was ecstatic!  And hungry.

At each exchange point we dropped one runner off and picked another up.  Once we made the exchange we all hopped in the van and drove to the next exchange point.  All the hopping in and out made the day fly by.  Or maybe that was our speedy running!  When we arrived at the next exchange point we’d hop out and wait for our runner to approach.  It was fun meeting other teams (and chatting with our second Moms Run This Town team) while we waited for our runners.  And of course it was fun to cheer the approaching runners on.

Market to MarketWe were worried the night before the race that we would have to deal with rain or storms as they were predicted in the morning and you can see by the sky above that it was a little iffy out there.  It was very muggy in the morning, which made for some sweaty running.  But a front came through, bringing a little bit of misty rain, lots of clouds, and cooler temperatures.  Pretty decent running weather.  We lucked out!

Market to MarketWhen I set out on my third and final leg I was pretty excited.  We were just 3 stages away from finishing and way ahead of our predicted finish time.  I didn’t know if I could run another 3 miles as I’d never run three times in one day before and I had rocked that second leg.  I passed another runner who was a member of Moms Run This Town, but a different chapter.  I also passed a guy!  Which for us short legged girls is a big deal.  I was flying!  And the voice talking to me (not in my head, but on my phone) agreed.

Market to MarketThis is my “did I really just run that fast?” look.  I finished that 3 miles at an 8:46 min/mile pace!!!!  I couldn’t believe it!  But the clock doesn’t lie!  I never expected to get a PR twice in the same day!  And I never knew I could run so fast!  We had one last runner to send off before joining her (and our awesome teammate who ran alongside her for support) for the team finish.Market to Market

We crossed the finish line at 12:28:23.  An hour and 13 minutes under our predicted time. Not bad for 76  miles!  As a team we came in at a 9:49 min/mile pace.  We finished in 119th out of 141 teams, but we were so proud!  We were in it for the experience.  But we didn’t go home without a prize!

Market to Market - best costumeWe won the costume contest!  Even though our letters fell off by the end of the day pretty much when we started and most of us ditched our hats after our first leg due to wind resistance we got a lot of compliments on the costumes and a lot of teams asked for our team number, so we knew we had a shot!  Not everyone could stick around to hear the results, so our whole team wasn’t in the winner picture, but we all got medals!

Downtown Dayton

It really was an awesome experience.  We can’t wait to do it again next year. And our excitement is contagious.  I think we may have more than 2 teams participating next year!  And if you have a Market to Market relay near you I would recommend you check it out!

 

Are you crazy enough to participate in a relay?

The Week(ly) Meals at a Glance

Happy Monday!  How was your weekend?  Mine was amazing.  My team rocked the Market to Market relay on Saturday and I can’t wait to recap it for you, but I’m keeping it short and sweet today.

Here’s a menu you for you.  Also known as what we ate last week.

Fake Chicken Parmesan – aka baked chicken over spaghetti squash noodles with pasta sauce (leftover rolls from our weekend at the lake)

Chicken Parmesan with Spaghetti Squash

Pepperjack Cheesy Mac with roasted broccoliPepperjack Cheesy Mac

Grilled Chicken Sandwiches

Grilled Chicken

Baked fish sticks and a baked sweet potato.  I actually meant to roast carrots with this dinner, but we were having so much fun playing outside I lost track of time and we ate dinner over an hour late!  And I forgot what the side dish was supposed to be.

Fish Sticks

Friday night was pizza night.  I put it in the oven and headed off to get ready for the relay, so I wasn’t home to snap a picture.

So, there you go.  I’m almost feeling normal after a long and fun Saturday.  Except now my sinuses are freaking out.  We’ve got a busy day on tap today, preschool, Stroller Strength, grocery shopping and Cupcake starts a new exercise class called Mini Movers.  And then I have bowling tonight!!  Hopefully somewhere in there I’ll be able to get working on the relay post.

Make it a great Monday!

Anyone else having and enjoying cool nights where you can actually use a blanket when you sleep?

My Favorite: Breakfast

Happy Friday, folks!  I hope you’ve had a good week.  Mine has been crazy busy!  My house is still a mess, but we’ve had some last of summer fun!  We had an impromptu playdate on Wednesday afternoon.  And spent yesterday getting sweaty and dirty soaking up the last bit of summer.  I’ve done some sewing, some weeding and some bingeing on the new season of Once Upon a Time that was added to Netflix Instant Watch.

I’ve got a sewing tutorial coming for you soon.  I just need my model to cooperate for some finished product pictures.  So maybe not so soon…………….she’s a little camera shy.  In the meantime I want to share one of my favorites with you.  Today, breakfast.

Scrambled Eggs with Pepper Jack CheeseI’ve been on an eggs kick for a while now.  I’m kind of burnt out on oats (though I did have oats for breakfast yesterday).  I really like over easy eggs, but I am no good at preparing them myself.  So I tend to stick to scrambled eggs.  But I wanted to spruce them up a bit.  I raided the fridge and found some pepper jack cheese.  Bingo!

I swapped out the cheddar for pepper jack and haven’t looked back!  I’ve even got hubby on a scrambled eggs with pepper jack cheese kick!  And if you’ve got it, toss half an avocado on there.  Yum!

Now I’m hungry for breakfast!  Except today is pancake Friday………….

Have a great weekend!

Have any big plans?  Me? Oh, I’m just running (10.1 miles of) a 76 mile relay race from Cincinnati to Dayton with 6 of my mommy running buddies!

A Night Light

It’s been a while since I showed you Cupcake’s bedroom.  I’ve made a few adjustments, rearranged the furniture a few times and then a few times more.  I wasn’t thrilled with the layout of the room as it didn’t leave much room between the end of the bed and the dresser.  There also wasn’t much room for play.

The most recent arrangement looked like this.

Big Girl Room - messy!I moved the bed to the other side of the room to try to make more room for playing.  I really wanted a smaller bed in the room, but I’m trying to work with what I have.  Turning it like a daybed seems to make the most sense since her room is long and narrow.  The play area was great with this arrangement, but there was one problem.

Big Girl room I didn’t like the bed and dresser in this arrangement.  It was awkward, but also dangerous.  Pumpkin discovered she could get up on the bed and then climb up on the dresser.  Um, yeah, I don’t need my 23 month old (!!!) climbing!  (she wanted to reach the hair bows)

So Cupcake and I got busy in there during Pumpkin’s nap time yesterday.  She helped me move the dresser (she places the furniture movers under the legs for me!) and cleaned!

Cleaning her roomThe promise of a new night light was very motivating!  This girl is afraid of the dark.  She sleeps with the door open and likes to have her blinds and curtains open.  She has a small bedside night light, a flashlight and a battery operated candle.  And sometimes that just isn’t enough.  She gets up in the middle of the night and turns the hallway light on.

The hallway light is a problem for two reasons.  One: it’s a lot of energy because there are actually two lights on the switch.  Two: it’s annoying to me because we also sleep with the door open (so I can hear fussy girls in the night) and the light shines on me.

So, we rearranged and cleaned her room and waited for Pumpkin to wake up from a nap.  And then we made an impromptu trip to IKEA.

Big girl room update And she’s now the proud owner of a new SMILA BAGGE wall lamp.  Placed just above her newly relocated book reading nest.  She tried it out with Those Darn Squirrels and instantly approved!

I’m much happier now that the dresser and bed are on opposite walls again.  I love the book reading nest area.  And there’s still plenty of room for playing.

Big girl room updateThe dresser is now on the interior wall, under the gallery wall and there’s still space for her doll house.  Oscar approves of the new layout as well.

Big girl room updateI still have a few updates I might like to make in here.  I’m thinking of shifting those pictures over above the bed.  I think they’d look a little better scooted over, but I’m hesitant because the girls like to jump on the bed, so I imagine they’d get knocked down frequently.

Big girl room updateAlso I need to rehang the other lanterns above the bed.  This time a little higher.  They got knocked down when Cupcake and her friends were jumping on the bed.

I wasn’t originally keen on the bed overlapping the window, but it’s been working well for a while.  I think this is the best arrangement so far, so maybe we’ll live with it for a while.  ;)  I am a serial furniture rearranger, though, so we’ll see.

Night LightOf course I had to sneak into her room after she went to bed last night to see her bug glowing.  It’s plenty bright, so I think our hallway light days are behind us!  And yes, she is sleeping under her comforter in summer!

So, I didn’t get the rest of the house cleaned post-lake weekend, but I think we made good progress.  And today is a new day.  And I’m sure I’ll get distracted by the sewing machine or something.

I like to rearrange furniture when I’m procrastinating.  What about you?

 

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Nature Explorer

Can you tell last weekend was a holiday weekend?  What with me not posting on Friday or yesterday?  I always have the best intentions of scheduling posts before I leave, but I always seem to run out of time.  #lastminutepacker  But, hey, it’s my blog.  I can post when I want.

We had a great long weekend at the lake.  My little nature explorer was in her element and we had lots of adventures!  The timing was perfect because Cupcake had just received her backpack from the parks department for completing their passport program.

Nature ExplorerShe was so excited when it arrived!  She loved attending programs to learn and earn a stamp on her passport and the backpack was a bonus.  She has already filled it up with all sorts of explorer tools.  First the binoculars and field guys she got her in Easter basket.  Then a magnifying glass and flashlight.  Her butterfly net.  And the goodies mommy and daddy bought as a gift for finishing her programs, a Watch-a-Bug and Bug Jar.

Her bug watch and jar showed up just before we left Thursday after being told the day before carrier had lost the package.  Phew!  Close call!  And we wasted no time on Friday diving in to bug catching!

Catching butterfliesWe caught a moth, a back bug, a green bug, and some butterflies!  Our first butterfly find was a White Cabbage Butterfly.  We know this because we found it in the field guide.

Catching ButterfliesShe loved looking at the marks on the butterflies and then finding them in the book.  We also found and caught a Peck’s Skipper, which was a teeny tiny butterfly.

Releasing a caterpillarAnd the bug watch was handy for little guys like this fuzzy caterpillar.  He didn’t want to be let go!  He climbed up over the watch and all the way Cupcake’s arm.  He tried to go up her sleeve!

Pumpkin got in on the bug adventures a bit, too, but a lot of our exploring took place while she was napping.  When she wasn’t napping we were busy swimming!

There was a lot of swimming, a lot of nature exploring, a lot of family time, a little bit of roasting marshmallows, a little bit of rain and a whole lot of relaxation (you know, as much as you can get with young kids around).

And now it’s back to business as usual.  Cupcake is off to school this morning.  Pumpkin and I are hoping to get in a run (as long as the storms stay away).  And I have to catch up on laundry, cleaning and life as usual.   The headache when you return is well worth it after a great weekend!

How was your weekend?

 

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Back to School

Yesterday was Cupcake’s first day of school.  We were very happy with her preschool last year, so she’s attending there again.  Last Thursday she had her assessment, I had to fill out a bunch of paperwork and we got our window name sheet, calendar and she got to pick out a book to add to our home library!

Monday was orientation day.

Orientation DayShe jumped right back in!  She sat down for table toys and got straight to work sorting colors.  Momma loved seeing her in the school environment.  A little sneak peek of what she’s doing when we’re not together.

But yesterday was her first full day (and by full day I mean 2.5 hour day).

Pumpkin's backpackPumpkin wanted to go, too.  She even packed her “backpack” with a snack and water bottle.

But it was Cupcake’s big day.

First Day of SchoolIn classic Cupcake fashion she was all funny faces in front of the camera.  I have lots of outtakes.  No hissy fits, though, so upside.

I did eventually get a good smile, but she was still hiding behind those sunglasses.

First day of schoolShe also packed a snack and water bottle in her Chill-icious Thermal even though she doesn’t actually take a snack to school.

We arrived early, she anxiously waited in the car and hopped right out when the teacher came for her.  She marched right into that building like a pro.  It was such a different experience than last year when she was a little nervous.

Pumpkin and I enjoyed our time together by christening our new BOB stroller with a 3 mile (hot and humid!!!) run with friends and a little playtime at home.  And then it was back to school to pick up Cupcake.

And as a special treat to celebrate a great first day we went out to lunch!

Out to lunchPanera mac & cheese!  Hot and fresh!  She sure worked up and appetite at school and scarfed it all down!

Out to lunchPumpkin was just in it for the people watching.  I had to bring her lunch home and she ate it after her nap.

So, I’d call the first day of school a success and I hope the rest of the year goes as smooth.  And I’m looking forward to a morning at home with my Pumpkin today!

Are your kids back to school, yet?  Or too young?

 

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Weekly Meal Plan and Quick Homemade Croutons

I don’t like to give you two recipes in a row, but that’s just how the cookie is crumbling right now.  But I don’t have a cookie recipe for you.  I have a quick homemade crouton recipe for you.  Or semi-homemade.

But first let’s take a look at last week’s menu.  It’s a little short because we had leftovers one night and we were out of town for the weekend.

M – Marinated Chicken Breast – tossed on a salad

Marinated Chicken Breast

T – Meaty Macaroni Bake

W – Leftover Meaty Macaroni Bake

Th – Swedish Meatballs (per my picky eater’s request) and baked sweet potatoes

F – homemade pizza

It was a salad heavy week, but I kinda liked it.  It’s nice to not have to cook veggies on a warm day.  And, well, I like salad.

So this week I topped my salad with some quick, homemade croutons.  Oh, right, semi-homemade because I started with store bought bread.  Day old, manager’s special store bought bread.

Quick Homemade Croutons #recipeYou can actually get a few batches of croutons from 1 loaf, so freeze some and save it for another day, too!  Or make it all at once and store in an airtight container if you eat a lot of salad!

Quick Homemade Croutons #recipeThis was actually a section of bread that I had froze and thawed.

Quick Homemade Croutons #recipeCut your bread into 1″ cubes.

Quick Homemade Croutons #recipeToss it into a microwave safe bowl.  Drizzle with olive oil.

Quick Homemade Croutons #recipeSprinkle with seasoning.

Quick Homemade Croutons #recipe

This time around I used dipping spices, but I’ve also used a garlic & herb seasoning mix and Italian seasoning mix with good results as well.  Experiment.  Find what you like.Quick Homemade Croutons #recipe

Gently stir to evenly coat all the bread cubes.  Microwave in 30 second intervals, mixing between, for 2-4 minutes until they’re nice and crispy!

Quick Homemade Croutons #recipeThey’re so quick and easy!  And much better than store bought!  I might even like to snack on them even after I run out of lettuce.  Yum!

Maybe next week I’ll have a better menu for you.  Maybe not.  Holiday weekend and all.  What was your favorite meal on the menu last week?

Weekly Meal Plan and Quick Homemade Croutons

Ingredients

  • 1/3 loaf French bread
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp seasoning of choice

Instructions

  1. Cut bread into 1" cubes. Toss in a microwave safe bowl with olive oil and seasoning. Microwave for 2-4 minutes stirring every 30 seconds until desired crispness. Store in an airtight container.
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Kids in the Kitchen: Mango Yogurt Popsicles

I know summer is just about over.  Some kids are already back to school, but we’ve had a mild summer.  We’ve only made popsicles twice this summer!  The first time we made pudding pops after Aly and I had a Twitter conversation about them.  The second time we made Mango Yogurt Popsicles.

Kids in the Kitchen: Mango Yogurt Popsicles #dessert #recipe

You know my best kitchen helper was excited about this!  I measured, but she did the rest!

Kids in the Kitchen: Mango Yogurt Popsicles #dessert #recipeShe started with the Greek Yogurt.  We usually only keep plain around, but we sprung for vanilla for this recipe.

Kids in the Kitchen: Mango Yogurt Popsicles #dessert #recipeNext she added some honey.  And she played with her hair.  This kid keeps taking her ponytail out.  And then fusses with her hair all day.

Kids in the Kitchen: Mango Yogurt Popsicles #dessert #recipeLastly she tossed in some mango chunks.

Kids in the Kitchen: Mango Yogurt Popsicles #dessert #recipeAnd then the fun part!  Blending and fussing with her hair.

Kids in the Kitchen: Mango Yogurt Popsicles #dessert #recipeShe even did the pouring.  Well, I poured the mixture into a smaller, more manageable cup and she poured it into the popsicle molds.  I’m still loving these IKEA molds!

It was a long wait (in preschooler time) for the yogurt popsicles to set up, but once they were set the girls dug in!

Kids in the Kitchen: Mango Yogurt Popsicles #dessert #recipeAnd everyone was happy!  The girls because they got a delicious treat and me because it was a healthy and delicious treat.

I hope you enjoy the rest of your summer and find time to make some popsicles!

Mango Yogurt Popsicles

Ingredients

  • 1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 cup mango chunks (yield from 1 mango)

Instructions

  1. Add ingredients to the blender and process until smooth. Fill popsicle molds with yogurt mixture, add sticks and freeze. Run mold under warm water for a few seconds to loosen pops.
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Sew a Hooded Towel

There’s nothing cuter than a baby wrapped up in a hooded towel, fresh and clean out of the bath, right?  Toddlers wrapped up in a hooded towel are pretty cute, too.  But you know what. Big kids would look cute in them, too.  And those little towels just don’t fit anymore.

Cupcake has outgrown all of the hooded towels we own, so it was time for new ones.  Of course momma just had to sew a hooded towel or two.  Let’s go with two because you’ll get two hooded towels out of 2 towels and 1 hand towel.

Sew a Hooded Towel #sewing #tutorial

I picked the hand towel up at HomeGoods and the two bath towels at Target (on sale right now!).  I loved the pattern and bright colors of the hand towel, but they didn’t have matching bath towels.  No biggie, though.  Who says your hood has to match the rest of the towel?

Sew a Hooded Towel #sewing #tutorialStart by cutting your towel in half.  We’ll use one half per hooded towel.

Sew a Hooded Towel #sewing #tutorialMy towel was a little too long for the hood, so I folded the finished edge in about 3″ and stitched it in place.

Sew a Hooded Towel #sewing #tutorialNext I folded the hood in half and stitched down my cut edge.  And then I serged it because terrycloth frays.  If you don’t have a serger, use a zig zag stitch.

Sew a Hooded Towel #sewing #tutorialNow you need to find the center of your towel.  Line up the seam of the hood and the center of the towel.  Pin the hood to the towel, right sides together.

Sew a Hooded Towel #sewing #tutorialStitch the hood to the towel, backstitching at the ends to reinforce your hood and you are done!  Well, not quite done because you need to repeat the process on towel #2.

Sew a Hooded Towel #sewing #tutorialCupcake is now the proud owner of two new hooded towels!  They are cute and big enough for my big girl!  If only I could get that big girl to model one for you.  Four year olds.  I tell ya.  They sure come with an attitude.

 

Anyone else want a hooded towel in their size, too?

p.s.  I bought a second cute hand towel, too.  A pretty paisley print so I might have some more sewing to do………….