A Book, Photo’s, and Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Bars

I’m dreaming of spring.  I want sunshine, warm temperatures, budding flowers, and green grass.  I want campfires, picnics, and days on the water just rowing our canoe to nowhere in particular.  I want to be able to open the windows and let loads of fresh air in, without letting all of the heat out.  I want to work on the Pink Paradise, and once she’s road ready I want to camp, or should I say glamp.

I’m not asking for much considering I live in upstate New York and we’re not even through the month of February yet. 

To help the cold winter months pass more quickly I’ve been reading and walking more.

I just started to read a book that I won during a giveaway hosted by the blog Pixi Wishes & Forehead Kisses.  It’s too early to give a  review, but I have to say that I was so glad to have found out that the author, Sandy Ward Bell, grew up a little less than an hour away from where I did.  

And as for the walking, it’s being done in an effort to help burn off some of the calorie laden treats that I can’t seem to stop making.  To make my walks more interesting I’ve been taking photo’s.  I thought I’d share a few.  If you’re looking for anything that resembles spring you won’t find it in these pictures.

And as long as I’m sharing – here is one of those calorie laden treats I was talking about.

Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Pretzel Bars

1 c. chopped pretzel pieces

1/2 c. creamy peanut butter

2 tbsp. margarine

2 tbsp. sugar

1 c. mini- marshmallows

1/4 c. powdered sugar

1 12 oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided into two

1 tbsp. vegetable shortening

Lightly coat an 8”x8” pan with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.

In a large a saucepan on low heat, melt peanut butter, margarine, and brown sugar.  Add marshmallows, half of the chocolate chips,  powdered sugar,  and stir until completely melted and mixed. Remove from heat and press mixture flat into prepared pan.

In a double boiler, melt other half of chocolate chips and shortening.  Spread melted chocolate over top of peanut butter mixture.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

What are you most looking forward to this spring?

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Sunday Morning and Doughnut Holes

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This Sunday morning I enjoyed my first cup of coffee while looking out our window at the thick blanket of snow that now covers the ground here in the Finger Lakes.   Shortly thereafter, I crawled out from under my warm blanket and made my way into the kitchen to whip up an amazing treat.

My inspiration to crawl out from under my warm blanket came after reading a post written by Heather at  Curly Girl Kitchen.   I ask you this, who could resist making  Vanilla Bean Sour Cream Cake Doughnuts

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These doughnuts are baked, not fried.  For some reason they remind me of a cross between a muffin and a baked doughnut.  The flavor is delicious.

I modified the recipe slightly by using two teaspoons of pure vanilla extract in place of the vanilla bean.  I  quartered a naval orange and squeezed the juice of one of those quarters into the batter.  And lastly, I also added two pinches of cinnamon to my batter.  So, the name for my version of the recipe? Vanilla Orange Cinnamon Baked Doughnut Holes. I don’t have a doughnut pan so I broke out my trusty Babycakes Cake Pops maker which  worked like a charm, and I got about 2 1/2 dozen doughnut holes in all.

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These are a great way to ward off any cold winter morning…