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April 20, 2015

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Bars

Time for another month of The Secret Recipe Club!

This month I was assigned to Kara's blog, Happy Go Lucky. So many yummy recipes to choose from, like her Pizza Casserole, Samoas Milkshakes, and Jalapeno Pimento Cheese Spread... can I have them all?!? At once? But man, I couldn't pass up a chance to make these.

These remind me of peanut butter crackers.... with chocolate. Mmmm. The chocolate and peanut butter really shown through, along with the crunch of the crackers. And the graham cracker concoction that goes in the middle?! I wish there was more! I think in the future I'm going to try it without the peanut butter, and maybe with some sea salt on top to give it that sweet and salty taste I always love. So many ways you could go with these! You could try with different kinds of crackers... maybe Townhouse (love!). Or use saltines and make something that kinda resembles these guys.

Basically, what I'm trying to say is, whether you're a peanut butter, chocolate, caramel, crunchy-crackery-graham crackery-lover, or all of the above, you'll enjoy these treats :)

Thanks for the great recipe, Kara! And I'll be back to make that casserole for sure.

*Note: we didn't use the whole box of Club crackers, but almost all of it.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Bars
from Happy Go Lucky
  • 1 box of Club crackers
  • 1 box of Honey Maid Graham Crackers
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup peanut butter
Line an ungreased 9 x 13 pan with foil. Spray foil with cooking spray to prevent bars from sticking. Line the bottom of the pan with Club crackers.

Crush graham crackers using a food processor.

In a large sauce pan, melt butter. Add crushed graham crackers, brown sugar, sugar, and milk. Bring to a boil; let boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Pour 1/2 of the mixture over the crackers. Place another layer of crackers and spread the remaining butter mixture over the crackers. Top with a third layer of crackers.

In a small sauce pan, melt chocolate chips and peanut butter over medium-low heat. Spread evenly over the crackers.

Cover and chill for at least one hour before cutting to allow to set.

Check out my past Secret Recipe Club posts!  

Linking up here.

Peace, and bacon grease!

March 16, 2015

BLT Stacks with Buttermilk Bleu Cheese Dressing

Hey you!

Time for another month of the Secret Recipe Club!

This month I was assigned to Jenna's blog, The Painted Apron. Ooooh my goodness, she has sooooo many good, unique, creative recipes on her blog! (She's also an amazing painter...check out her gallery. I'm OBSESSED with the painting, "Hair Salon"). I found myself so torn and it was so hard to decide. The weather has been really nice around here lately... perfect grilling weather!... and so her BBQ Grilled Chicken Nachos were calling my name. Um, Cheddar & Chive Hushpuppies?!? That sounds like the best thing ever, but I was just a little timid to bust out the deep fryer. Asian Short Ribs and French Onion Stuffed Mushrooms with Gruyere & Rosemary Croutons. I'm so impressed! I want it all. 

I chose her delicious Stacked Tomato Salad because I had some bacon and beautiful lettuce to use up. And, well, BACON. PJ made a song about me (he raps!) and it was the sweetest thing ever, of course he had a line in there about loving me so much he'll put bacon in my casserole  :) That's true love right there. Anyway, I digress, I digress. 

I decided to add some sweet red onion to set these tomato stacks over the top, and for that extra pop of purple for the photos. I can't lie. The things that go into being a food blogger :) I also did a mix of sour cream and mayo to thicken up the dressing a bit. 

These are the perfect light side item, and that homemade buttermilk blue cheese dressing really sets it over the top. It looks so fancy, but is so easy. And you know I love that. Who doesn't???

BLT Stacks  with Buttermilk Bleu Cheese Dressing
adapted from The Painted Apron

*Yields: 2 BLT Stacks

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup bleu cheese crumbles
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced
Tomato Stack:

  • 1-2 tomatoes, sliced into 6 slices
  • 2-3 slices bacon, cooked
  • 2 lettuce leaves
  • 2-4 bleu cheese dressing (recipe above)
Season tomato slices with salt and pepper. On each lettuce leaf, stack one slice tomato, 1/2 slice bacon, one slice tomato, 1/2 slice bacon, and top with another slice of tomato (3 slices per stack). You can use a toothpick to secure stacks, if desired. Drizzle stacks with bleu cheese dressing. Top with additional bacon for garnish, if desired.

Printable Recipe

Check out my past Secret Recipe Club posts!  

Linking up here.

Peace, and bacon grease!

February 16, 2015

Stuffed French Toast with Banana Syrup

Hey friends! 

You know what time it is!

Secret Recipe Club time!!!

This month I was assigned to Julie's blog, Little Bit of Everything. She has a cool list of 50 things she wants to cook like me. I bet we'd get along very well. Plus she has so many delicious recipes, from desserts like Brown Butter Salted Caramel Rice Krispie Bars to savory dishes like her Caramel Glazed Scallops. Yum! But ultimately I went with her World's Best French Toast. I mean, who can resist stuffed French toast topped with a banana syrup?!?! Not I!

We decided to stuff ours with peanut butter because peanut butter and banana go together so well! So.good. I love plain French toast as it is, and this was just over the top! Definitely a keeper.

Stuffed French Toast with Banana Syrup
from Little Bit of Everything

*1 serving

Stuffed French Toast
  • 2 slices white bread
  • Peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Spread peanut butter on one side of bread slices. Make a sandwich out of the bread.
Whisk egg, milk and vanilla together in a small bowl..Dip the bread in the egg mixture, coating well.

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add the bread and cook until golden brown. Flip and cook on the other side.

Banana Syrup
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 banana, sliced in 1/2 inch slices
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat; stir in honey. Once combined, add cinnamon. Once the sauce is bubbling, add the banana and cook an additional minute or two.

Pour over French Toast. Garnish with powdered sugar, if desired.

Printable Recipe

Check out my past Secret Recipe Club posts!   

Linking up here.

Peace, and bacon grease!

January 19, 2015

Buffalo Ranch Cheese Ball

Hey there, friends!

Happy new year! I know, I know... January is almost over at this point. I'm getting adjusted at my new counseling job and it's just been a crazy couple months. Really a crazy couple of years! It feels so good to finally be done with grad school and to officially be licensed as a counselor... with my LPC license and all  :)

So point being, I hope to post more this year! That's my goal for 2015. I think I'll have more time to devote to the good ole blog that I miss so much.

Now it's time for this month's Secret Recipe Club!!!!

This month I was assigned to Bobbi's blog, Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen. She's been blogging for a few years now so it was great to peruse through her many recipes! I was so inspired! I was so tempted to make her fancy Bacon Wrapped BBQ Cheeseburger Meatloaf because PJ and I both are not huge fans of meatloaf but are determined to find a recipe we love. And don't even get me started on these adorable, creative Deluxe Cheeseburger Kabobs. Why had I never thought of that?!? Definitely making these this summer. PJ claims he doesn't like ribs so I'll definitely be making her Thai Ribs to prove him wrong  :)

But for a quick and easy appetizer for the conference playoff games this weekend, we made her Buffalo Ranch Cheese Ball. It was so easy, no cooking required... just some chilling in the fridge and you've got yourself a nice, spicy, cheesy appetizer. You can add whatever you like to it! Maybe some chives or green onions would be nice  :)

Buffalo Ranch Cheese Ball 
from Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 and 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 tablespoons buffalo hot sauce
  • 1 packet ranch seasoning
  • 1 cup crushed Town House crackers
  • Additional crackers or veggies for dipping

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl. Form into a ball. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until time to serve.
Remove the cheese ball from the refrigerator, unwrap from the plastic wrap. Place the crushed crackers in a shallow dish and roll the cheese ball in them, pressing firmly to adhere the crushed crackers to the outside.
Serve with crackers or veggies for dipping.

Printable Recipe


Hold me to posting more in 2015, k?

Check out my past Secret Recipe Club posts!   


Linking up here.

Peace, and bacon grease!

December 15, 2014

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Happy holidays!


Tis the Christmas season and I'm loving it as always. Aside from being busy and a lot going on in the past month - I left my job of 7 years and started my new full time counseling career on Monday!, passed my NCE counseling exam on Friday, and have been finishing up my last semester of grad school and applying for my licensure - I am super excited for Christmas! I always love shopping for presents for my loved ones... it's the best part!

And holiday cookies, of course!

This month we're taking a break from the Secret Recipe Club and some of us are participating in a Cookie Carnival. It's all about the cookies, baby!


I was assigned to Julie's blog, The Texan New Yorker. I've never been to Texas OR New York, so cool! We sound like we have something in common because she used to be a picky eater like me but has expanded her horizons and now enjoys all kinds of foods like I do! She had some tasty cookie recipes to choose from, but brown butter. That's all I gotta say. Brown butter. 

What better way to make a classic chocolate chip cookie even tastier? Add brown butter, that's how. You already know how I like to add brown butter to desserts. So I had to go with her Brown Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I actually did heaping tablespoons on one batch and they came out thicker and more cake-like. On the second batch I used tablespoons and flattened the dough and they came out crunchier and thinner obviously. PJ preferred the thick cake-like ones, but I also like the crunchy thin ones. Point is, they're good either way. 

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
from The Texan New Yorker
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter; 1 stick needs to be at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 and 1/s teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 and 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
To brown the butter, melt 1 stick plus 1 tablespoon butter in a medium, silver-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Once completely melted, the butter will foam, froth, and make a crackling noise. This is the water cooking out. Swirl the pan gently and occasionally during this process. Once the water is cooked out, the butter will begin browning. This happens quickly, so do not walk away or attempt to muti-task here. Once the solids reach a rich, chestnut color, remove the butter from the heat and immediately pour it into a separate container. Scrape all the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. It should smell rich and nutty with no traces of anything burned. Let the butter cool a bit. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the remaining 1 stick softened butter with the granulated sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the vanilla extract and molasses; beat until incorporated. Once the brown butter has cooled somewhat, pour it into the creamed butter mixture, along with the brown sugar. Cream about 2 minutes until well incorporated. Add the egg and egg yolk, and beat for 1 more minute.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda. Add the flour mixture, all at once, to the butter mixture and beat on low speed just until the flour is incorporated. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 375 F. Line 2 baking sheets with silpats or parchment paper. Roll tablespoons of dough into balls and space about 2 inches apart on the baking sheets.

Bake cookies 12 to 14 minutes until lightly browned on the outside, but still soft and tender in the center. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes on the baking sheets. Then transfer the cookies to cooling racks. Eat warm or at room temperature.

Printable Recipe

Check back next month when we'll be back to our usual Secret Recipe Club posts  :)

Linking up here

Peace, and bacon grease!