Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

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These peanut butter oatmeal bars are the best. Ever. I could eat the whole pan. Or half. Since I did do that, already.

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Mom’s been making them since I was little.

Straight from a Better Homes & Gardens cookbook she’s had forever. With it’s deep red cover  & worn looking pages.

My brother Fred & I would devour them. Because they’re a perfect comfort food treat.

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Full of oats. And peanut butter. And topped off with a hard layer of just enough chocolate.

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It’s easy to eat 1/2 a pan because they’re not too sweet, just sweet enough, and almost fool you into thinking they might be healthy.ish. And the flavors of peanut butter & chocolate flood your mouth as your teeth sink into the soft, chewy bars.

They’re a good choice for a sneaky breakfast treat.

This is the second time I’ve made them vegan and they’re perfect. They taste more or less exactly like the original recipe.

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Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

adapted from Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 ener-g egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup almond or soy milk
1 cup AP flour
1 cup oats (i use quick oats)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 13×9 inch pan.

Beat shortening & peanut butter until well-creamed. Add sugar and continue beating until light & fluffy. Add egg, milk & vanilla and beat to incorporate into fluffy peanut buttery goodness.

Add flour, oats, baking soda & salt – slowly. Beat until well-mixed & smooth.

Spread mixture evenly in your greased pan. It may be a bit thick so spread carefully.

Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven.

Spread chocolate chips across the surface while still hot. When the chocolate has softened/melted, after a few seconds, spread evenly.

Let cool & allow chocolate to harden before cutting into bars…

Before devouring in huge bites!

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Tabbouleh & Hummus

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Okay, snickerdoodles not what you wanted to start your 2013 resolutions off properly?

Well, don’t worry! I’ve got healthy stuff too!! Delicious, healthy stuff.

I grew up eating Lebanese food on special occasions. Mostly family gatherings, especially Easter. Grandma prepared most of it when I was younger. My cousins and I would sneak into the fridge at night during family reunions to steal the fatayers! We’d sneak a few, thinking we’d be satisfied, and then go back for secret seconds. I loved almost everything grandma made, but tabbouleh was never my favorite. Probably because it’s chock full of parsley and I’m not really a huge fan. But it’s been growing on me in the last few years and now I love it. Well curly leaf more than flat. Especially drenched in lemon juice. Probably thanks to Stephen… who adores Middle Eastern & Mediterranean cuisines. He loves when we make tabbouleh, hummus, pita, grape leaves, or fatayer. And any chance we get to eat it somewhere else. He once “confessed” he loved me because I could make such good Lebanese food. I was flattered!

Tabbouleh & Hummus are an especially great combination. They’re both quick & simple and require no cooking (if using canned beans). They’re also an extremely healthy combo. Chickpeas are full of protein, fiber, Manganese and Iron. While parsley is an excellent source of antioxidants as well as Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Calcium, Folate, Potassium and even Iron. Most importantly, they’re delicious together – the flavors and textures are perfectly complementary.

So go ahead, indulge. In fresh, wonderful food that you can feel good about.

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Tabbouleh

2 bunches curly leaf parsley
1/2 cup bulgur
1 large cucumber
1/2 small red onion
juice of 2 lemons
several tablespoons olive oil
1/4 tsp cinnamon
salt, to taste
chopped mint, optional

Chop parsley finely. Chop mint finely if using (between a couple tablespoons & 1/4 cup).
You can use the food processor if you want, but that’s one more thing to clean!
Peel cucumber, seed & dice. Finely dice red onion.
Add the bulgur wheat to a small saucepan with 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, stir & remove from heat. Let sit for at least 15 minutes or until water is absorbed.
Combine the parsley, bulgur, cucumber, and onion.
Pour olive oil & lemon juice on top & stir thoroughly.
Refrigerate & nom!

Hummus

1 can chickpeas
2 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp olive oil
juice of 1/2 a lemon (or more)
1/4 tsp salt

This one is easy. Add all ingredients to food processor & blend until completely smooth!
Top with paprika, sumac, or zaatar, and olive oil. Or nothing. However you like it.
Many of my family members prefer it drenched in olive oil.
Refrigerate & nom!

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Snickerdoodles!!

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Happy New Year, everyone!

I know the new year’s resolutions usually dictate getting fitter, healthier, eating fewer sweets, etc.
Which especially makes sense after the holidays…
but I feel it has been long enough since Christmas to indulge in a little 2013 treat.
And one of my mom’s coworkers demanded 3 dozen snickerdoodles! Lol.
And apparently Snickerdoodles are Stephen’s favorite cookie. Which I guess I should have known since he loves cinnamon 🙂

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Snickerdoodles:

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups + 2 tbsp AP flour
2 tsp angel cream (or cream of tartar)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

combine & roll in:
1 tbsp cinnamon
3 tbsp sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Use center rack in oven.

Beat butter & shortening on medium until light, creamy & fluffy. Add sugar and beat thoroughly. Add eggs & vanilla and beat until all of the ingredients are incorporated and everything is still light & fluffy. Begin adding the dry ingredients and mix slooowly. Increase the speed until mixture is consistent.

Flour flying out of the bowl is the worst.

Combine extra sugar & cinnamon in a shallow bowl or on a plate. Making tablespoon sized balls of dough, gently roll them in the cinnamon-sugar to coat. Place on baking sheet.

Bake each batch for about 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on drying rack.

Indulge.

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These cookies are especially good with a steaming cup of coffee.

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Or all by themselves.

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After dinner. For a nice & simple dessert.

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Even for a lovely, cinnamony breakfast ; )

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They’re light. And crispy. And they melt in your mouth.

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They’re probably delicious dipped in a cold glass of milk (cow OR almond).

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Or 10 at a time.

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Or just one bite.

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Enjoy!!!

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