Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Insignificant.  Overlooked.  Disregarded. It's a feeling that takes ahold of you and grips your tender heart, shredding it of any self-worth.  It's a struggle I have at times, and it is during these times that I need to remind myself that regardless of how easily one is cast away in the world, I am His treasured possession. (Deuteronomy 26:18)

I need to quiet my heart and listen for Him.  Listen to him whisper into the chambers of my heart that He loves me more fully than anyone ever could. That He loves me in spite of anything I have done or could ever do. 

But now, thus says the LORD, who created you,...and he who formed you..."Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are mine. - Isaiah 43:1-2

I am His.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

reese's peanut butter banana bread

It was mild autumn weekend considering some areas around here got their first snow on Friday.  Thankfully, we were not one of them.  Our house is to go on the market by the end of the week and it's been nothing but cleaning and purging.  Purge...isn't that such a lovely word.  Now I wouldn't consider myself a hoarder by any stretch, but a hoarder of paper, yes.  Seriously?  Please don't tell me I'm not the only one who keeps old cards, receipts, past workout programs, etc., etc...for like ever, only to throw them out years later after I've finally convinced myself they have served their purpose. 

So in between all this cleaning, I came across the perfect recipe to take care of that leftover halloween candy.  Reese peanut butter banana bread.  I'll have a big old slice of banana bread any day, but add peanut butter and chocolate and we are taking it to a whole new level.  Enjoy!

Reeses Peanut Butter Banana Bread
adapted from cookies and cups


  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 oz bag of Reese’s Mini cups


  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Grease your loaf pan (I used an 8 x 4 pan) with butter or shortening.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together your flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, set aside.
  4. In a large bowl stir together your bananas, peanut butter, oil and sugars.
  5. Pour your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Batter will be lumpy.
  6. Fold in your Reese’s Mini cups and spread batter into prepared pan.
  7. Bake for approx 1 hour or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
  8. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then loosen the edges of the pan with a knife and remove from loaf pan, transferring bread to a cooling rack.

caramel crumb bars

When I got an email at work the other day with the a not so subtle request from my beloved begging asking me to bake something for his charity staff potluck, I knew I had to deliver a baked good that was sure to wow not only him, but also his colleagues. 

I stumbled upon these caramel crumb bars on a few blogs and they certainly did impress mes.  Their rich sweet flavour is complete with a wonderful buttery shortbread crust, creamy caramel filling, and crumbly topping. This was my first time making caramel, and I think I could have cooked it a bit longer, but I didn't want to scorch it, so it came out a little paler than I had hoped.  In the end though, they turned out great and were perfect for a work potluck.  

Caramel Crumb Bars
Source: The Modern Baker by Nick Malgieri

2 sticks (1/2 lb) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Caramel Filling
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350 F with a rack in the bottom third of the oven. Spray a 13x9 pan with cooking spray, then line the pan with aluminum foil or parchment (leaving an overhang so you can lift the bars out) and spray again with cooking spray.

To make the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar and salt on medium speed until soft and light, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla.

With the mixer on low, add 2 1/4 cups of the flour, beating just until the dough is smooth and the flour has been absorbed, and stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl and the paddle as necessary.

Transfer 3/4 of the dough into the prepared baking pan. Press the dough evenly into the pan to form the bottom layer. Transfer the pan to the refrigerator while you make the filling and top layer.

Add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour to the remaining dough in the mixer bowl and work it in with your fingertips until 1/8 - 1/4-inch crumbs form. Set aside.

To make the filling: In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, corn syrup, brown sugar and condensed milk. Bring to a simmer, whisking occasionally. When the mixture begins to boil, whisk frequently until it begins to thicken and darkens in color slightly, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for about 10 minutes.

Remove the pan from the refrigerator and pour the filling over the bottom crust. Use an offset spatula to spread it evenly then distribute the crumb topping over the filling.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the filling is gently bubbling and a dark caramel color. Cool the bars in the pan on a wire rack until lukewarm, about 15-20 minutes. Use the foil (or parchment) to lift the bars out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Once completely cool, cut into 2-inch squares.