Rich, creamy semi-sweet chocolate swirled over a mix of peanut butter with graham cracker crumbs and powdered sugar makes a mouth-watering snack-sized dessert for a party, holiday gathering, or potluck. Tomorrow, I’ll bring it to work to just say, “thank you for your kindness” to all the teachers with whom I work.
This dessert is ranked high on our family’s “must haves” for the holidays. And the best part is that it is easy to make and does not require baking. Hope it is a hit with your family just as it is with ours.
NO BAKE CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER BARS
2 Cups Confectioners Sugar2 Cups Graham Cracker Crumbs (the best are Nabisco, if you can find them)1 Cup Smooth Peanut Butter1/2 Cup plus 2 TBLS of melted butter
2 Cups plus a little more of Ghirardelli Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips melted (use chocolate with a good flavor because it tops the dessert)
Mix the confectioner’s sugar and the graham cracker crumbs by hand until they are blended. Add in the peanut butter and stir by hand again until it is almost mixed in. Then add the melted butter and stir with the mixer until well blended.
Press the mixture into an ungreased 13″x9 ” baking dish or pan. Press with the back of a spoon or your clean fingers until the peanut butter mixture is evenly spread throughout the dish.
Melt the chocolate chips in the same pan that you used to melt the butter. Just wipe out the excess butter with a paper towel, leaving a light coating that will keep the chocolate from sticking to the pan as it melts slowly. Spread melted chocolate over the peanut butter mixture, swirling the chocolate with a spatula or spreader.
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Ever since I read Ann Voskamp’s heart-wrenching stories of hopeful, wondering, accepting round-eyed children and saw the vivid tear-stained faces of poverty in Guatemala, I have been asking myself, “Do I really NEED another tee-shirt, a fragrant candle, one more pair of shoes, or__________________ (fill in the blank)? Or is this just the disease of materialism fanning the flame of WANT within me and telling me that it is okay to be self-indulgent, satiated, and hungering for more?
Yes, the Lord is our provider and He will supply all of our NEEDS, not our WANTS (Philippians 4:19 NIV). If we look carefully at this blessing which Paul says the Lord will provide, it follows Paul’s gratitude to the Philippian church for their giving spirit.
“for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need. Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account. I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:16-19 NIV
|from Compassion International.com|
To receive from the Lord, we must give. At least this is what the passage seems to say to me. We are the hands of the Lord reaching out in blessing to others. I may not need another tee-shirt, but there are thousands in the world who could use a brand new, crisp, clean tee-shirt. Give from your heart. Give generously. Give cheerfully. For the Lord loves a cheerful giver. And He will open the floodgates of heaven to provide for you abundantly both spiritually and physically.
Where does the Lord want to use your hands this week?
Thanking the Lord this week for His provision and blessing in our lives: 232) for another week of work and the possibility of a new position at the school where I am working 233) for the garbage disposal not being broken and just having a bone caught between the blades 234) for a tie for youngest that was priced at $36 but cost only $7 235) for an unexpected refund in the mail 236) for Hubby catching the snake in our garage and disposing of it 237) for our young men cooking dinner~and family smiles all around the table 238) for a friend finding joy after grief 239) for oranges and lemons on our trees 240) for our women’s retreat~sitting among new friends~joy in sitting where the Lord pulled out the chair
241) for children’s hugs and smiles at school
Linking with the Gratitude Community at Ann Voskamp’s Holy Experience
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Last weekend, our friends treated us to an Italian Dinner/Evening at their home. We decided it would be another enjoyable way to share our heritage. The husband is part Italian and I am pure Italian. My grandparents came from the area around Naples. When we get together with our friends, we always have amusing stories to recall from our ethnic heritage.
As promised, here are the recipes from the dishes my friends prepared. She used a frozen shrimp scampi mix but the cannoli are homemade. Recipes courtesy of my friend Karen.
1 large package of Shrimp Scampi (my friend used Seapak)1/2 carton (frozen)1 bag (about 6-10 oz) of fresh baby spinach1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes1/2 of a 16-ounce package linjuine cooked and drained1/2 Cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 Cup whipping cream
Cook the shrimp in a 12-in skillet for 6 min. Add the spinach and tomatoes. Cook and stir for about 5-6 min more or until the shrimp turn pink, and spinach wilts. Add the Parmesan cheese and a 1/2 Cup of whipping cream to the pot to make a light cream sauce. Add pasta to the skillet and toss to coat.
Makes 4 servings
3 Cups flour1/4 cup sugar1 tsp cinnamon1/2 tsp salt3 TBL shortening (my friend used Crisco)Several cups of oil in which to fry the shells
Perhaps a Fry Daddy or a wok or deep frying pan. According to a recipe on line, they recommended using a pan that could hold 3-4 cannoli and is deep enough for the oil to cover the cannoli and then some.
You will also need tubes to wrap the final dough around before frying. These can be purchased on line–just look up cannoli shell forms, you could make your own from some CLEAN pipe purchased as a hardware store, or check a local kitchen store. My friend Karen’s wre homemade and are about 1 and 3/4″ in diameter.
Also make a pattern or form that you can use to cut out the dough. A piece of cardboard shaped as an oval that is 4 and 1/2″ by 3 and 1/2″.
Now to make the recipe for the Shells:
Mix the flour, sugar cinnamon and salt together in a bowl using a pastry blender until the pastry is the size of peas. You could also use a food processor with the cutting blade to form the pastry into pea size. Then add 2 well beaten and stir until the dough forms a ball. Blend in 1 TBL at a time of 2 TBL of white vinegar and 2 TBL of cold water. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead until dough sticks together well and is stiff.
Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 min.
Roll the dough out to about 1/8 in” thick on floured surface. Place cardboard pattern over the dough and use a pastry cutter to cut out the dough. Heat the tube form in the oil (not long; just to coat it). Wrap the dough loosely around the tube, placing the longer side of the oval end to end with the length of the cannoli form. Lap the dough together and seal with eegg white. Use tongs to hold the cannoli tubes in hot oil (my friend fries them at 325 degrees. (She also used a Fry Daddy this last time and they fried a lot faster) With the Fry Daddy, it took just a minute and 1/2. If using another source of heat, it may take up to 8 min. Fry ’til golden brown.
Drain on paper towels. Make a day ahead and store in an open container on counter top.
2 and 1/2 lbs. ricotta cheese, strained 1 TBL vanilla extract1 1/2 Cups mini chocolate chips
1 1/2 Cups powdered sugar
Mix and chill. Then spoon the filling into a soft pastry bag with an opening about 3/4 “. Pipe it into the pre-made shells. Refrigerate.
Just before serving, dust with powdered sugar and chopped pecans.
Makes 24-30 shells
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The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. Psalm 18:2 NIV
Linking up with Word Filled Wednesday at the Internet Cafe
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When we first moved here, it was the middle of a blazing-hot Arizona summer. I laughed as we crossed a bridge with a caution sign that read, “Ice Forms First on Bridge” and the thermometer was sizzling in the triple digits. I thought the road crew was crazy. Ice on the bridge would have been a welcome sight!
As we wound our way up to our new home, wavy heat shimmers radiated off the asphalt street. There were no spreading mesquite trees to block the sun’s light or provide shade. Just one pink-toned stucco track house after another baking sparkles in the Arizona sun.
Inside our home, postal wrapping paper partly decorated the windows Hubby could cover before I arrived with my Mom. The boys, who had traveled to their new address on an earlier moving trip, were tumbling down the stairs in giant cardboard boxes. And the air-conditioning insulated us from the scorching temperatures. We collapsed in sofas and chairs, soaking in the refreshing cooler temp, assessing our most important next chore, and staring in utter amazement at the boxes stacked like building block towers atop the white, kitchen tile counters. I worried they would weaken the tile overhang on the breakfast bar area and kitchen island. But the first chore would be postal wrapping more of the windows for privacy.
We stretched the brown paper make-shift curtain about two-thirds of the way up the windows, leaving an opening to the Arizona sky, sun, heat, moon and stars. While the heat baked our bedrooms in the daytime, and awakened us with the chickens each morning, this one-third opening held breathtaking views as the gentler evening sun sank in the West.
Colors from an artist’s pallet streaked across the the celestial canopy in hues from baby blue and pink to burnt orange and crimson red. Someone in the house would catch the first glimpse peeking above the paper curtain and call everyone else to the window. There we would stand, mouth agape, filled with awe, entranced by the beauty drifting across the sky. There, looking in wonder at God’s artistry, I found joy in a land that had seemed hostile, that made me bristle like its native cacti, that left me dry and hungering for all I had left behind.
These moments became a regular evening occurrence during the summer months when everything else about the desert blistered our sensitivities. Someone would be looking for the spectacular in the heavens and would notify the rest of us. Born of beautiful repetition, these events became known as “Sunset Alerts”. Just two words was all it took to tip the house to the west as we all ran toward the magnificent view outside our windows.
For years, this lived as a summer ritual for our family, even after we peeled off the postal wrap and enclosed ourselves behind wood blinds and Plantation Shudders. Then Mom became ill, not able to move as quickly, and some of the zest whooshed out of our “Sunset Alerts.” Life became more routine, focused around care for the family, getting dinner on the table, making sure homework was done, checking that Mom had taken her medicine, and eventually tucking all into bed. Occasionally, someone’s eyes would drift upward through an open window and note the painted sky.
It was just this summer with new camera in hand and a blog to publish our discoveries that “Sunset Alerts” became the evening’s highlight. The desert joy that we once experienced was renewed, and we could not take our eyes off the heavens.
May our summer repertoire bring you as much joy as it has brought us.
“May his name endure forever; may it continue as long as the sun.” Psalm 72:17 NIV
In what difficult situation have you found joy?
Three from here & there have asked us to capture “Joy” in a photo.
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