Monday, February 24, 2014

Easy Peanut Butter Bars

We had a reception yesterday at the church for a long time, dedicated volunteer who is retiring. Paul is known for his hard work, servant's heart and love of cookies. 
My co-worker Mary made a wonderful scrapbook with photos and blank pages that the attendees signed and we gave Paul a certificate for a dozen cookies a month for a year from the church's Sonflower Bakery, which is run by special needs adults who make the best cookies and scones! I baked several kinds of cookies for the reception, including this one, which was a first place winner in the KC Star's annual cookie contest in 2011:

Peanut Butter Lovers Cookie Bars


1 C. AP flour
2 sticks butter, room temperature--DIVIDED
2 C. chopped nuts--DIVIDED
1 1/2 C creamy peanut butter
1 C powdered sugar
6 oz chocolate chips, milk or dark chocolate (I used Ghiradelli milk chocolate)
12 oz. Reese's peanut butter chips (I think that the bag size has now shrunk to 10oz and that's what 
    I used)
1/2 of a 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk


Heat oven to 350 degrees

Cut in flour and 1 stick of butter until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Ad 1 cup coarsely chopped nuts.  Pat crust mixture into a greased 9x13 inch pan.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until light brown around edges.  Remove from oven.

In a large box, mix 1 stick melted butter, peanut butter and powdered sugar until smooth and creamy.  Spread this mixture over the crust evenly.

Sprinkle 1 cup of chopped nuts evenly over the peanut butter mixture.  Sprinkle bag of peanut butter chips evenly over the nuts.  Sprinkle chocolate chips over the peanut butter chips.  Spread condensed milk over the chocolate chips.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until bubbly and slightly caramelized around edges.  Cool completed  before cutting.  Refrigerate for best results (our temperatures were in the 20's yesterday and I set the pan outside for about three hours).  After cooling, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces. 
I was called for jury duty again a couple of weeks ago. I was so dreading this because we were warned in the summons that the trial was anticipated to last two weeks. I arrived on the appointed day to find 100 potential jurors had been called for 15 slots. Luckily, by the end of the day my name hadn't been called and I'm off the hook for another year. The trial involved rape, sodomy and murder and I'm sure the photos and testimony were hard to bear. I'm especially sorry that up to three alternates had to sit through the entire trial and then be sent home without deliberating. I saw on the news Friday the guy was convicted.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Week that Was

Warning---do not read if you are sick and tired of s-n-o-w. Our week began with several days of dire warnings about the huge snowstorm headed our way. Before the first flakes began falling I believe all the local stores were out of milk and bread.We did end up with a foot of snow on Tuesday, but most of the roads were plowed and passable by Wednesday and life went on. Kiska was very curious about the snow and every time we opened the door to the deck she had to check it out. She made it to the grill and then couldn't figure out how to get back in without touching that darned cold snow.
Every February our Women's Ministry hosts a conference at the church. They did a fabulous job transforming the narthex into a fun, welcoming atmosphere.

I loved the prayer wall--baskets of silver Sharpies were available for anyone who wanted to add their prayer.
We had the opportunity to provide donations to a local transitional living facility or funds towards buying sewing machines or solar powered laptop computers for our partners in Malawi.
Jenny Simmons and her band performed several songs and she shared inspirational stories and insights. Sorry, I took only one photo and it's pretty blurry, but if you ever have the chance to hear her speak or sing you are in for an amazing evening. She can bring it!