Thursday, May 29, 2008

Foodie Mommy: Peanut Butter Swirl Bars

Ten years ago, I met Paul. And, regularly for the past 10 years, he's hounded me to make Peanut Butter Swirl Bars, a decadent treat his mother made when he was a child.

This weekend, I decided that it would be a perfect recipe to make with my sous chef Mitchell.

Oh, they were delish! Just check out Mitchell enjoying them!

Peanut Butter Swirl Bars

1/2 c. peanut butter
1/3 c. butter
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla

1 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 pkg. (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together peanut butter, butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, blend together dry ingredients flour and baking soda. Fold into peanut butter mixture.

Pour mixture into greased 9x13 baking dish. Top with chocolate chips. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven. Swirl the chips. Bake an additional 20-25 minutes.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Rant & Rave: my Rowenta Iron

I hate, hate, HATE my Rowenta iron.

Back in February, my trusty old iron bit the dust. So, I hopped in the car and headed to Target to buy a new one.

There it was, a beautiful Rowenta Acti Steam iron ON SALE! Rowenta is known as a fabulous brand for keeping clothes looking great, and I can't pass up a deal, so I sprung for one.

I was so excited to get it home and out of the box. What would I iron first, I wondered.

Well, right out of the box, it was a beauty. So sleek. So hot.

Now, SO NOT!

When I fill the water reservoir and turn it to its upright position to heat up, most of the water I've just deposited leaks out. I have no idea where it's coming from, but there is always a puddle on my ironing board. And, I have to refill it everyday.

Turns out, my fancy schmancy iron hates good water! That's right. Their website has a section devoted to the darn thing leaking. It says to use traditional tap water, not water that's been purified, softened or distilled in any way. Apparently it makes steam that's too fine for the iron so it leaks.

Well, we San Antonio gals have to have our softened water. Our hair and skin would be awful if we didn't. Guess I'll have to bottle up some water from the hose bib outside to use to fill my iron.

Note to Rowenta: You should really put this in big, bold letters on the box!!!

Rant & Rave: Cerama Bryte

I love, love, love Cerama Bryte! Before we moved into our new house, I told the construction super that it looked like some plastic had melted onto the smooth top burners on my stove. Of course, nothing was done about it. It's been a thorn in my side since.

Since January, I've tried something new every weekend to remove the stuff. I even tried acetone nail polish remover. Nothing had worked.

Yesterday, during a trip to Home Depot, I saw this kit made just for smooth top ranges, and I thought "Why not purchase yet another product that only has a single use?" (I'm really into multi-tasking stuff.)

Lo and behold, it worked! The creamy cleaner started to pull up the residue instantly. The little scrubber helped more, and the handy dandy blade thingy scraped it all up with ease!

An Ode to Cerama Bryte
Oh how I love thee, Cerama Bryte.
You cleaned my stove with effort so light.
The spots had been there for months
They had really been driving me nuts.
But you entered my life -
Your creamy cleaner and handy little knife.
Now the spots are no more
And I can't want to tell all my friends to buy you at the store.
Note: I've read on its website that Cerama Bryte is also good for stainless steel sinks and cookware. Can't wait to give it a whirl!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Goodbye, house with one tree

We're headed to the title company to sign the papers selling our first home to a new family. It's bittersweet to me: I love the space in our new house and the large yard with all its trees, but the old house was OUR house. We purchased it eight years ago, just after our wedding - before kids, before a minivan, before real careers.

Here are some memories of the house with one tree (a nickname awarded by Mitchell):
  • Bringing home babies. Both Mitchell and Noah were welcomed into this loving home with family and friends in the driveway.
  • The passing of Tigger. Mitchell experienced his first great loss in this house, when Tigger went to the great beyond.
  • Friends, friends everywhere. Aside from the wee hours of the morning, there was almost always someone outside to say "hello" when we came home.
  • The patio out back. Paul put love into designing and hand-laying the flagstone patio out back - in the heat of the summer while I relaxed in the air conditioning inside (albeit on bed rest during the end of the pregnancy with Noah).
  • Playing in the yard. One of my favorite photos is of Mitchell playing in the sprinkler in the front yard.

So, new family: I hope you'll grow cherished memories in your new home. And, I'm sure we'll see you on the block sometime soon.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Wild, Wild World

It's a wild, wild world out there. (And by "out there," I mean in my yard!)

Earlier this week, we were greeted by a new friend of the eight-legged variety. There was a Texas Brown tarantula on our driveway. She was enjoying a light shower from our sprinkler. Last night, we found her deceased in our grass. May God rest her furry soul.

This morning, I was putting a key under the doormat and noticed a dog in the yard. "That's strange," I thought, "I don't recognize that dog." I went back in the house and it dawned on me - it's not a dog, it's a fox. Yep, in my yard.

I stalled the boys and watched out the window as it sniffed around my yard and then meandered across the street and hung out in that yard for a while. Finally, it went through the wash-out and into the backyard across the way.

I took the boys and put them in the car, all the while watching the fox as it watched me. When I got into the car, it lost interest and started to walk through the backyards of the neighbors on the other street.

(Oh yeah, Mitchell will be quick to point out that we saw a snake while on a walk the other day. And, Paul will be quick to point out that I wanted him to touch it. I suggested that he nudge it with his shoe to see if it was a snake or a stick. No harm!)

I don't dare imagine what we'll see next.