Thursday, July 29, 2010

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Chocolate-peanut butter anything reminds me of my sister, so this one is for her.  In fact, I have memories of going to Baskin Robbins when I was little, my older sister Merilee and I would get horrible flavors like "bubble gum", and I remember specifically that my other sister, Emily, would get things like Mississippi Mud [chocolate peanut butter].  We would mock her endlessly.  What child skips over flavors like BUBBLE GUM to get Mississippi Mud?! 

A smart one, apparently.

After the birth of her first child, instead of taking flowers to the hospital, I took Reeses PB cups.  That's how serious her addiction is.

Em, this one is for you!
[And for the record, even though I don't really eat sugar anymore, I DID try this.  And died a little.]


David Lebovitz knows what he is talking about!!

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Ice Cream
Taken from "Perfect Scoop" by David Lebovitz

  • 2 c. half and half

  • 1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1/2 c. sugar

  • pinch of salt

  • 1/2 c. smooth peanut butter

  1. Whisk together the half-and-half, cocoa powder, sugar and salt in a large saucepan.  Heat the mixture, whisking frequently, until it comes to a full, rolling boil [it will start to foam up].  Remove from the heat and whisk in the peanut butter, stirring until thoroughly blended.

  2. Chill the mixture thoroughly, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturers instructions. 

  3. *This makes 1 quarts, so I 1 1/2'ed it to get 1 1/2 quarts.
Mix Ins:
I think this is what makes the ice cream so amazing!!

Fudge Ripple:

  • 1/2 c. sugar

  • 1/3 c. light  corn syrup

  • 1/2 c. water

  • 6 T. unsweetened cocoa

  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

  1. Whisk together the sugar, corn syrup, water and cocoa powder in a medium saucepan.  HEat over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture begins to bubble at the edges.

  2. Continue to whisk until it just comes to a low boil.  Cook for 1 minute, whisking frequently.  Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla, and let cool.  Chill in the refrigerator before using.
*This will make WAY more fudge ripple than you need, but you can store it for 2 weeks, and use it as a hot fudge topping. 

Peanut Butter "Patties"

  • 6 T. peanut butter {I used smooth---and don't use natural PB here, it will be too runny}

  • 2-3 T. powdered sugar

  1. Mix together the peanut butter and powdered sugar in a small bowl.  [Add more sugar if you need to!]  Line a dinner plate with plastic wrap.  Pinch off small pieces of the peanut butter mixture, about 1/2 teaspoon each, and drop them onto the dinner plate.  Once you've used all of the mixture, freeze the patties.
Once the ice cream has frozen in the ice cream maker, mix in the peanut butter patties and layer with desired amount of fudge ripple [I didn't use too much], in a container.  Freeze until solid.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

snack/sandwich bags

Don't you love my new "green" ziploc sandwich/snack bags?!

I'll just say this:  I was green before green was cool.  In fact, when I was in college [um, several years ago...], I remember taking old cloth bags into the bookstore to buy my books with.  Then, at one point, I was super inventive, and made reusable cloth bags using old t-shirts.  [In fact, I still have a ton of those that my little midgets use when they play grocery store!] People looked at me like I had 10 heads.  But really, they probably did that for a lot of reasons, and not just my bags.  [Did you know I had purple, er, excuse me "eggplant" colored hair?  I had a pierced tongue? Yeah, I was wicked awesome.  And I will never mention it again, and might have burned all evidence so my children NEVER see it.]

My favorite reusable bags are Chico bags, by far.  I have probably 30, and I really need to get some more, since mine are SO hammered.

However:  Amongst all of my forward thinking and green living, I haven't been able to shake the Ziploc bag!  Don't get me wrong, they are fabulous.  But also insanely wasteful!  Think of a standard packed lunch: a bag for the sandwich, then one for the pretzels, then one for the cookies, then one for the carrots, then one for the apple slices [because, well, when you are 7 years old, and have 43 loose teeth, you can't bite into a whole apple!].  You get my drift! 

I've tried several "green" solutions, and none of them have stuck for very long.  Either they were too expensive, or not user friendly. 

Enter my awesome handmade reusable "ziploc" bags!

I made 4 of them today [2 sandwich size and 2 snack bag size] in less than 1/2 hour.  They are lined with a foodsafe ripstop nylon---so they can easily be wiped out, or even thrown in the washer!  Plus, as an added bonus, they are super stylish, depending on the fabric you use!  They close with hook and loop [velcro]!  Obviously, after a ton of use, the velcro will probably be shoddy, but I can replace it or make new ones! 

Man, I amaze even myself. 

Now, I should probably go make some cookies to put in the bags.  Then, maybe, just maybe, I can talk my husband into taking one to work tomorrow.  I know he'll be the hippest guy at work, and all the other work guys [and girls] will be jealous.  Then, they'll want some cool reusable ziploc bags.

Then I'll be famous. 

Wow, I've got a lot to get done before that happens.

[No, but really, I'm happy to post a tutorial on how to make them if anyone is interested.  Or, of course, you can buy them from me when I'm famous.  Either or.]

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Fudgy Peanut Butter Bars

Summer time in our house means baking days!  One of my midgets favorite things to do is bake with me.  We have a lot of fun looking through cook books, making lists, and trying to figure out what we are going to make each week.  We run the gammet---sometimes it's homemade popsicles, cookies, I think we've even done pie before.  I try to back off on my input and let them decide what they really want to make.  It's been such a great way to spend time together, learn how to read and follow directions, and even a little math!  Sometimes I have a hard time not being in control [ie: letting their little hands smash er, crack eggs], but this is really the time I let them be hands on, and they love it!  It's one of their favorite days of the week!

Tons of opportunities for little chubby hands to get in and help!

Last week they decided on Fudgy PB bars!  They are VERY rich, but are crazy good.  Definitely serve these with a glass of milk! 

Fudgy Peanut Butter Bars


  • 4 T. butter

  • 1/3 c. peanut butter, smooth or chunky [we did smooth]

  • 3/4 c. sugar

  • 1/4 tsp. salt

  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 1 1/4 c. all purpose flour

  • 4 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate

  • 1/2 c. butter

  • 1/2 tsp. salt

  • 1/4 c. light corn syrup

  • 1 c. plus 2 T. sugar

  • 1 c. all purpose flour

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1/2 c. peanut butter chips

  • 3/4 c. buttersotch chips/white chocolate chips [we did half and half]

  • 1/4 c. smooth peanut butter

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9x13 inch dish.

  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat butter and peanut butter until soft and well blended.  Stir in the sugar, salt, and vanilla.  Mix in the flour; the mixture will fill dry and crumbly.  Press the dough into the prepared pan.  The best way to do this is by covering the crumbs with plastic wrap and using a can to roll the crust out evenly.  Bake the crust for 8 to 10 minutes, until it has lightly browned around the edges .  Remove the pan from the oven.

  3. In a medium-sized saucepan set ove low heat, melt and stir together the chocolate, butter, salt and corn syrup.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sugar and flour.  Add the eggs, beating until well blended, then mix in the chips.  Spread the filling onto the crust.

  4. Bake for 22 to 24 minutes.  The top should be shiny and look set.  For the best chewy texture, don't overbake; a tester inserted into the center won't come out clean, but with sticky crumbs clinging to it.  Remove the squares from the oven and cool to lukewarm while you make the frosting.

  5. In a double boiler, melt the chips over low heat, stirring often.  Add the peanut butter and stir until smooth.  Spread the frsoting over the warm bars.  Cool compeltely before cutting, using a knife sprayed with non-stick spray, or warmed in hot water, wiping it often.  They are VERY rich, so cutting into smaller pieces might be best!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Growing up!

My baby girl turned 2 this week!

I've been hiding under the covers and sucking my thumb, hoping it wouldn't happen.

But it did.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Kabob Marinade

It's definitely summer when the dudes and I start making lemonade! Yesterday was baking day, so we made lemonade and some treats [recipes to come].  They decided they wanted strawberry lemonade, so I threw a bunch of strawberries into the blender, and added them to the mix.  It turned out amazingly good.  The color is pretty awesome too.

If you haven't made any lemonade this summer, I highly suggest you get to it!

To go along with our lemonade, we made some killer kabobs.  I can't wait until we can use all the veggies in our garden!  I love, love grilled veggies. 


Kabob Marinade
*This makes a lot of marinade.  You can cut it in half if you'd like.  I like to make a lot, because I marinate my veggies in it as well!

1 1/4 c. oil [NOT olive oil]
3/4 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. Worcestershire sauce
2 T. mustard [you can use dry or regular, won't really matter in the end]
salt [didn't measure
pepper [didn't measure]
1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
2-3 crushed garlic cloves
1/3 c. lemon juice [I didn't really  measure---I think I used a whole lemon]

  1. Combine all ingredients and mix well.  In a large bowl, place meat and veggies, pour marinade over top.  [Before adding marinade, poke your meat with a fork or knife all over.]  If you are sketchy about your veggies and meat hanging out in the same pool, you can do 2 bowls, one for the meat, one for the veggies.

  2. Cover the bowls and refrigerate all day, or overnight.  [I'm usually not awesome enough to remember to do it the night before, so I do it in the morning.]

  3. Thread meat and veggies on skewers and grill.  I usually don't intermix my veggies and meats on the same skewer, because I find that everything cooks at different rates.  Plus, I think it looks more orderly the way I do it.
This can be used for chicken, beef, any kind of meat you like.  Any veggies work great, this particular night we did onions [my fave], and zucchini.  I also love yellow squash, red & green peppers, mushrooms...the sky is the limit!

Thursday, July 8, 2010


I haven't checked, but I'm fairly certain that in heaven, the roads are paved with Baklava. 

My husbands family has been visiting from Maine the past week...which means, of course, that I had to break out some Armenian cooking.  I started with lady fingers [recipe to come] and for the 4th made Pak/Baklava.  

...and by the 5th, they had to have a helicopter lift off the roof of my house in order to airlift me out, because I could no longer fit through the door.

But, it was worth it.

There are many recipes for Pak/Baklava [man, that's getting annoying], depending on where you are from.  [Greece, Turkey, Georgia, Iran... you get the picture]  Regardless, you can't go wrong.  It's phyllo/fillo, butter and nuts.  I'll take 2, please.

This is MY take on it.  I adjusted the syrup to suit what I think tastes good.  So, don't tell Chris' grandfather but this is now Armenian/Norwegian/Swedish/Utah Baklava.

Baklava [I dropped the "Pa", because it's getting annoying]

  • 1 1/2 lbs. chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/2-1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 lb. [yep, that's right] melted butter [sweet]
  • 2 lbs. fillo/phyllo dough [found in the freezer section, usually 1 box is 1 pound, so you'll need 2 boxes]
  • homeade syrup
  • 1/2 c. honey
Homemade syrup:
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 1 c. water
  • juice of 1/2-1 lemon
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Start by making sure the walnuts are finely chopped.  You don't want them pulverized or in a powder form, but you want them small enough.  I throw them in the food processor and pulse them a few times, that usually makes them small enough.  In a bowl, mix together the walnuts, 1/2 c. sugar and cinnamon.  Mix well.
  3. Brush a sheet pan [cookie sheet size, make sure it has a lip], with some of the melted butter.  Lay a sheet of phyllo dough on the pan, brush with butter.  Repeat until you have used about 15-20 sheets of dough.  [I cover the dough I'm not using with a slightly damp kitchen towel so it doesn't dry out and crack.] 
  4. Spread the walnut mixture evenly over the stacked phyllo sheets, making sure the entire surface is covered.
  5. Continue stacking the remaining phyllo sheets on top of the walnut layer, brushing each sheet with melted butter as you go.  Use the remaining phyllo sheets, making sure to butter the top of the last piece of dough.
  6. With a sharp knife, cut a diamond pattern through all of the layers.  Being careful not to tear or rip the phyllo. 
  7. Use remaining butter [or melt about 5-8 Tablespoons of butter if you ran out---I never do, I always have enough left], make sure it is warm, and pour evenly over baklava.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until the surface turns a light golden color. 
  9. Remove from oven and immediately pour syrup evenly over baklava. 
  10. Serve at room temperature.
To make syrup:
Mix sugar and water in a saucepan.  Heat on medium and stir constantly.  Increase to high and add lemon juice and let it come to a white bubbly surface.  Remove from heat and stir in honey.  Let cool to room temperature before you pour it over the warm baklava.

**Alternately this can be made using pistachios, but I really do love it with plain [cheaper] walnuts.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th!

Happy Independence Day!!!

[My favorite holiday!!]

Just finished the Paklava [or Baklava, depending on where you are from], tye die star cookies and working on the blueberry sauce for the red, white & blue parfaits. 

Nothings says Happy 4th like celebrating with Armenian food!  [My husbands family is in town from Maine, and we're having I had to make Paklava to go with it!]

Have a fun safe holiday.  Someday I'll be back to post recipes!

[Got a B+ on my first ever batch of Armenian lady fingers from Chris' grandfather...not bad for a first try!  Let's see how the Paklava rates! Wish me luck, he's a tough critic!!]