Tag Archives: vegetarian.

No-Bake Peanut Butter and Oat Bars

I spotted this recipe on both Facebook and Pinterest.  I rarely see a recipe I must make immediately, but this one I did.  It doesn’t hurt I had all of the ingredients on hand, and I love it is touted as “Clean Eating.” Yeah, maybe to some, but I think limiting your portions to one or two a day is a very good idea for the waistline.  And I definitely feel, anything you make yourself is better than something you had to peel the plastic off of.

There are many versions of this on Pinterest, so I’m going to give you my version.  I switched up a couple of the key ingredients, and  I split the oats with puffed rice.  I use 1/2 C maple syrup and half honey.  And since anything not considered dark chocolate is too sugary, I replaced the mini-chocolate chips with Ghirardelli Bittersweet chips.



Here are all of the ingredients: Peanut butter(I make my own), coconut oil, cranberries, maple syrup, honey, puffed rice, oats, vanilla and chocolate.


Place the honey, peanut butter, maple syrup, and coconut oil into a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave for a minute or two but watch carefully. Remove from microwave and stir vigorously.


This is post-microwave and a vigorous stir.


Stir in the oats, puffed rice, cranberries, chocolate and vanilla. The chips should melt from the heat of the peanut butter mixture.


You can either use a 13×9 or 8×8 cake pan; the 8×8 will produce Chunky like bars and the 13×9 will be thinner. Lay plastic wrap in the dish, so you can easily pull them out to cut.  Evenly distribute the chocolate-oat mixture.



No Bake Peanut Butter and Oat Bars


1 C Peanut Butter

1/4 C Maple Syrup

1/4 C Honey

1/2 C Coconut Oil

1 C Old-Fashioned Oats

1 C Puffed Rice

1/2 C Dried Cranberries or Cherries

1 1/4 C Dark Chocolate Chips

1 Tsp Vanilla Extract


Combine the peanut butter, maple syrup,  honey and coconut oil into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes; monitoring very closely.  Stir chunks out until smooth consistency.

Add the oats, puffed rice, cranberries, chocolate chips and vanilla to the peanut butter mixture and stir until combined.

Spread evenly into a 13×9 or 8×8 pan lined with plastic wrap.

Refrigerate or freeze until hardened. Cut into squares and enjoy this somewhat healthy snack when that sweet tooth just won’t leave you alone.

Let’s Talk Turkey-Post Holiday and My Stuffing Recipe

Now that roasting pans have been put back into storage and the pie plates nestled where light rarely hits, it’s time to review what we could have done to the make the process less hectic and a more “thankful” affair.  Every year I strive to not over-cook the only dish I will not sample, produce  potatoes that are thoroughly cooked, and supply a  veggie dish worthy of coming out of a vegetarian’s kitchen.  Combined with rolls and pies I make myself, and a more newer tradition, making my own bread cubes for stuffing, is there any wonder I am a stressed out cook every Turkey Day?  Ease up, you say? Well, that’s just not how I’m wired.  One year, I will find a way to do it all and do it all well.  And it’s going to be next year.

-One trick I found this year was to prepare the pumpkin pie crusts ahead of time.  I rolled out the crusts, pre-baked them and then froze the pie dish and in a jumbo sized Hefty bag.  That really alleviated a lot of mess stress closer to T-Day.

-Of course I made the rolls ahead of time and froze them.  It was a new recipe and they  were a huge success(recipe link below).  I also made polenta corn-bread the night before T-day.


-I didn’t do it this year, but I am going to investigate doing mashed potatoes in the slow cooker.  I made scalloped potatoes this year.

-This last one is not new for me but one I think you will want to know more about.  I do the stuffing in the slow cooker.  It goes on first thing T-Day morning, and it makes the house smell like…well…Thanksgiving.


This recipe is the halved version


Bread cubes, sliced mushrooms, veggie broth, chopped parsley, butter, 1 egg,  onions, celery and poultry spice(the other spices not pictured).

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The sauteed veggies and then added to the crock pot.


The stuffing

Crock Pot Stuffing

I pulled this off the internet in 1996 or 1997.  I still have the original print-out with doodles from my youngest on the back of it.  I usually halve this recipe because it comfortably feeds 6-7 folks.


-1 cup unsalted butter

-2 cups chopped onion

-2 cups chopped celery

-1/4 cup parsley spring(I chop up a handful)

-1 12 oz package of mushrooms, sliced

-12-13 cups slightly dry bread crumbs*

-1 teaspoon poultry seasoning

-1 1/2 teaspoon salt

-1 1/2 teaspoon sage

-1 teaspoon thyme

-1/2 teaspoon black pepper

-1/2 teaspoon marjoram

-3 1/2 to 4 1/2 Cups broth(I use veggie)

-2 eggs, well beaten



1. Melt butter in a skillet. Saute onion, celery, mushrooms, and parsley on medium high heat for 5-7 minutes.

2. Pour sauteed vegetables over bread cubes in a very large bowl. Add seasonings and toss together. Pour in enough broth to moisten., add beaten eggs and mix together well.

3. Pack stuffing lightly into crock pot and cook on high for 45 minutes. Reduce to low and cook for 4 to 8 hours more.


*I make my own bread cubes by making a a loaf of white and wheat, and if they are fresh loaves, slice them and leave the slices to sit overnight.  I then cubed them and put them in the dehydrator for 3-4 hours to get them good and crispy. Painstaking? You bet but it really makes a difference in the stuffing.  You can also do this weeks before the holiday and freeze the slices or cubes.



Here’s the doodle.  Seeing she’s turning 25 in a few weeks,  this stuffing has been served at Thanksgiving for many years.  It always turns out and is always a big hit.

The Perfect Cookie

Just whip up a batch and you will agree. I have been making these for 8-9 years and the reaction is usually the same for folks trying them for the first time: “Hmmmm, may I have another?” Cook’s Illustrated named these cookies, “Chocolate-Chunk Oatmeal Cookies with Pecans and Dried Cherries,” but I call them, “The Perfect Cookie.” So perfect, I have purchased kitchen gadgets specific to making these cookies. And when a bag of tart cherries falls into my lap, I mentally start inventorying if I have the other ingredients. The outside is crisp and the middle is chewy and flavorful. The tart cherries or cranberries in these monster cookies really do well complementing the dark brown sugar and chocolate.

I always chuckle when I remember what a good friend said to me as we were walking to a local chocolatier to pick-up some bitter-sweet chocolate, ” I have never known anybody to go to such great lengths for a cookie.” Oh yeah, it’s all worth it for the, “perfect cookie.”

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I used Trader Joe’s dark chocolate, Pounder Plus bar. Use a serrated knife to chop the chocolate or just just use a good quality chocolate chip.

Roast the raw pecans for 5-7 minutes on medium-high heat, stirring often and keeping a very close watch. Once you start smelling the oils, they are roasted.

Set aside nuts, chocolate and chopped cherries/cranberries. I put the chocolate in the fridge so it doesn’t soften from the hot kitchen.


Add 3/4 of a cup of butter and 1 1/2 Cups of dark brown sugar to a stand mixer. Don’t even think about switching out the dark brown sugar for the lighter–not the same.



Add the egg and the teaspoon of vanilla. The label here is the vanilla I made this past February. I made some with rum and others with vodka. A future blog…you bet.


Here I have added the dry ingredients and the bowl of deliciousness(cherries, chocolate, pecans and oats).


I’ve scooped out 16 equal balls of dough and pressed them slightly.


Nineteen minutes later(I have the time down to a science) I have the “perfect cookie.” Now, doesn’t that look delicious?


Recipe excerpted word for word from: http://www.cooksillustrated.com/recipes/1996-chocolate-chunk-oatmeal-cookies-with-pecans-and-dried-cherries?


  • 1 1/4cups unbleached all-purpose flour (6 1/4 ounces)
  • 3/4teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2teaspoon table salt
  • 1 1/4cups rolled oats, old-fashioned, (3 1/2 ounces)
  • 1cup toasted pecans (4 ounces), chopped
  • 1cup dried tart cherries (5 ounces), chopped coarse
  • 4ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chunks about size of chocolate chips (about 3/4 cup)
  • 12tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened but still cool
  • 1 1/2cups packed brown sugar (10 1/2 ounces), preferably dark
  • 1large egg
  • 1teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. 1. Adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions; heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large (18 by 12-inch) baking sheets with parchment paper.
    2. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. In second medium bowl, stir together oats, pecans, cherries, and chocolate.
    3. In standing mixer fitted with flat beater, beat butter and sugar at medium speed until no sugar lumps remain, about 1 minute. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula; add egg and vanilla and beat on medium-low speed until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl; with mixer running at low speed, add flour mixture; mix until just combined, about 30 seconds. With mixer still running on low, gradually add oat/nut mixture; mix until just incorporated. Give dough final stir with rubber spatula to ensure that no flour pockets remain and ingredients are evenly distributed.
    4. Divide dough evenly into 16 portions, each about 1/4 cup, then roll between palms into balls about 2 inches in diameter; stagger 8 balls on each baking sheet, spacing them about 2 1/2 inches apart. Using hands, gently press each dough ball to 1 inch thickness. Bake both baking sheets 12 minutes, rotate them front to back and top to bottom, then continue to bake until cookies are medium brown and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft (cookies will seem underdone and will appear raw, wet, and shiny in cracks), 8 to 10 minutes longer. Do not overbake.
    5. Cool cookies on baking sheets on wire rack 5 minutes; using wide metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature.