Tag Archives: peanut butter

Trial and Error, Peanut Butter and Chocolate

Do you ever have those weekends where you have one million errands to run, few commitments to get in the way of them and then it’s Sunday night and your checklist only has one thing crossed off? Yeah, me too.

It’s not often that I go into a weekend without it being entirely booked. I spend a lot of them visiting friends and family, celebrating birthdays, babies and brides. And believe it or not it’s typically these booked weekends in which I’m most productive. Anyone else work best like that?

Bueller? Bueller?

Large open time frames and I are not friends. If given an open time frame on a Saturday in, oh let’s just say Target, I tend to comb every aisle, stopping often to stare and random items that I would never have noticed on a normal trip. This stop is usually followed by an internal dialogue that goes something like this:

Huh, I didn’t know Target sold floral patterned microfiber cloths?

Those are pretty. I like the colors. I wish I had a yard with flowers like that.

I do need to dust. Man, my place is dusty.

Ok, I’ll just put these in my cart and think about it for the rest of the trip.

Maybe I should buy some furniture polish to go with my new flower microfiber cloths?

Oh Target, you got me again.

Now where I fail in terms of loads of free time, I make up in efficiency when a last-minute project is on the line. You may be thinking:

But Sarah, if you gave yourself more time you wouldn’t have to ice elephant cookies at midnight or fluff pom pons 15 minutes before guests arrive, or attempt an intricate chalk drawing the morning of a wedding.

And you would be right. But then I’d probably say,

Psshhh! What’s the fun in that?

The moral of the story is while I had a lot of projects penciled in for this weekend, I have little to show for it. My frames are still sitting on their corresponding bookshelves, my “spring” wreath is in pieces and my herb pots are still sitting on my balcony, waiting for soil, seed and water.

I won’t tell you that all I did this weekend was nap. I’m not a napper. Not one of those who can come home, yawn and say, Oh I think I’ll take a nap now. I’m what they may call an accidental napper. And I don’t mean in terms of narcolepsy, but rather that if I do manage to actually sit down on a Saturday after a very warm 12 miler and the current episode of House Hunters isn’t engaging enough for me, I may fall asleep. And accidentally nap I did.

greater swiss mountain dog simply social blog

They say dogs can sense your mood. I’d have to agree.

And then I made cookies. For the second time in three days. My girlfriend had baked the most delicious gluten free cookies a few weeks prior at Ravinia and I’d been thinking about them ever since. This may or may not be because I ate the whole bag halfway between Darius singing “Wagon Wheel” and “Alright.” Alright is right. I have a cookie problem.

Anywho, I had a girl’s dinner last week and wanted to bring something to contribute. That and I knew if I made them and kept them in my house I’d have a Ravinia binge fest all over again. In hindsight attempting these cookies at 10:30 on a Tuesday night was probably the first indication that they might not turn out very well, but when I got halfway through the recipe only to find that I had but 1/4 cup left of the oats I buy in bulk on the regular, I was nearly defeated. And so I improvised leaving me with cookies that were tasty, but flat and ugly.

flourless gluten free chocolate chip peanut butter cookies simply social blog

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 3/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup of peanut butter
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3 cups of GF oats
  • 6 ounces of chocolate chips 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat butter, sugar and brown sugar untill creamy. Add eggs and vanilla and baking soda and mix well. Combine peanut butter. Then add oats. Ah here’s where I ran into trouble. Add oats. Not 1 package brown sugar oatmeal, 1 package raw oatmeal with flaxseed and your remaining 1/4 cup of old-fashioned oats. Add regular amount of oats and your cookies probably won’t be flat like mine. Then mix in chocolate chips and bake for about 10-11 minutes.
flourless chocolate chip peanut butter oatmeal cookies simply social blog

The good news is the cookies tasted great. The bad is that I am competitive so come Saturday morning I felt the need to make them again. This time I used a slightly different recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod via Tasty Kitchen. What can I say, I’m a sucker for a good cookie photo.

flourless chocolate chip peanut butter oatmeal cookie simply social blog

Flourless Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2/3 C Old Fashioned Oats (or gluten-free)
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 C Peanut Butter
  • 2/3 C Dark Brown Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • 2/3 C Chocolate Chips

This time I was a bit more bright-eyed (remember I napped) and followed the recipe accurately. Mix brown sugar, vanilla and peanut butter until creamy. Add eggs one at a time. In a separate bowl mix baking soda and oats. Mix dry ingredients into wet until combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Using a cookie scoop, spoon 1-2 inch rounds onto non-stick baking mat. Bake for 9-12 minutes (11 for my oven) at 350. Let cool on pan for 2 minutes before moving to cooling rack.

flourless chocolate chip peanut butter oatmeal cookies simply social blog

What I learned: Butter adds flavor but proper amount of dry ingredients adds fluffiness and height to a cookie. And either way, a bag full of your friends cookies are always going to taste better than the ones you make yourself. And so I delivered both versions of the cookies to my friends, both flat and fluffy (the cookies not the friends), with the hope that they would enjoy them more than I did.

And if you’re thinking oh, nice weekend Sarah. All you did was run, bake and nap. Rough life. Here’s the part of the blog where I justify why I didn’t get any projects done by sharing photo recaps of my weekend activities. Ready, go.

On Friday I got to spend time with one of my favorite girls, Ella.

ella_collage

We had 3-day passes to the Windy City Smokeout so much of the weekend was spent eating BBQ and listening to live country just steps from Michigan Avenue and Nordstrom. For a girl who loves all of these things equally, it was pretty awesome.

windy city smokeout chicago

Amongst the plethora of things going on in the city this weekend like the Taste of Chicago, Cubs/Cards and various fests, was the annual kick-off to the Race to Mackinaw. I caught a glimpse on my run Saturday morning, along with one million others on the lake path.

race to mackinaw

And so wraps another summer weekend in the city. I wasn’t able to check very many things off my to-do list, but this post has made me realize that the time I spent with friends and family is well worth the project procrastination. It was a beautiful weekend to be in Chicago. And I’m glad I got to experience it sans one short nap.

What did you do this weekend? 

Have you ever experienced a baking flop? 

I hope you have a great week!

Will Bake for Barks

Growing up as a family with dogs, we always had a box of milkbones in the pantry. Sat down when told to? Milkbone. Did your business outside without running away? Milkbone. Now there were pig ears and other dried meats given as well, but from my memory, milkbone had a corner on the dog treat market throughout most of my childhood.

Fast forward 18 or so years and you have to search through a million varieties to even find a box of old-fashioned milkbones. Trust me I did it. I bought a box when Finn was a pup and tried to give him one. He sniffed it, looked up at me and walked away. This coming from the dog who gets his daily fiber from bark chips and the occasional chewed piece of gum?

greater swiss mountain dog puppy

When we started manners class, I was told to bring high-value treats to use as rewards for our training exercises. We mixed kibble in there as well, but I found if I rewarded with beef jerkey or dried chicken, I could get that dog to fold my laundry for me if I asked. And still today, I can’t make a batch of almond or peanut butter without his nose nearly inside the food processor. We officially have a treat-lover.

It wasn’t until we started lurching and sprinting into  visiting our local pet food store daily that I realized just how crazy the dog treat market is in Chicago. Not only is there aisle upon aisle of packaged treats, but there are entire bakeries dedicated to dog treats, special sections in grocery stores and as I learned last night on our evening visit to the dog park, gourmet dog food trucks. That’s right folks, you might be starving for a snack, but this vehicle caters to pooches only.

They see me rollin’ they barkin’

Don’t get me wrong, I think everyone deserves a special treat now and then, but on the regular, I’m not going to pay $3.00 a piece for a custom designed Preppy Puppy Mini Poodle Puff so my dog can inhale it in less than 5 seconds and not taste the sprinkles. I am however a sucker for a food truck so I may or may not have taken their business card, liked them on Facebook and went home and whipped up a batch of my own homemade treats immediately after.

homemade peanut butter dog treats

Homemade Dog Treats

  • 1 C whole wheat flour
  • 1 C all purpose flour
  • 1 C Oats
  • 1/2 C peanut butter (I used chunky)
  • 1/4 C honey
  • 1 tsp olive oil (or coconut)
  • 1 C chicken broth

Prefer the original? Recipe adapted from A Cozy Kitchen.

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, mix peanut butter, honey, oil and chicken broth. In another bowl mix flours and oats. Here’s where it gets tough, mix wet ingredients into dry until combined. Try to avoid the looks coming from your puppy as he smells his favorite things all rolled into one giant ball.

greater swiss mountain dog puppy

Listen lady, this better not take all night.

Roll dough onto floured surface.

homemade dog treats
Use cookie cutter to cut treats and place onto non-stick baking mat. I used a 3-4″ biscuit cutter. Bake for 14-16 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack.

homemade peanut butter dog treats

Hold in front of your dog while you try to take a photo, causing him to bark incessantly because you are a mean mother.

homemade dog treats greater swiss mountain dog puppy

ok, go ahead and reward your puppy for being patient with you.

homemade peanut butter dog treats

I would say enjoy but I don’t know how you feel about the combination of peanut butter and chicken broth. Perhaps it’s the new chicken and waffles? Finn seemed to enjoy them but remember he also has an affinity  for stranger’s chewing gum.

Have a great weekend!