Peanut Butter Bars

This is how awesome I am at decorating and getting things up on my walls….

Christmas 2011 we got a Family Home Evening board from my aunt.  We’ve always wanted one, finally get one, and it sat.  It sat until just last month.  For over a year it sat and collected dust. 

Our intentions were good.  We loved the gift and planned to hang it right away.  The problem is, Anthony and I are 90%-ers.  It’s a sad story, really.  Every project we start gets done 90%.  The last 10% of the project gets left out completely.  And after all, actually owning the FHE board and planning to hang it up is 90% of the battle, right? 

But we did it!!  Be proud!  Sure, it’s a year late BUT it’s hanging up and getting used.  The kids love knowing who’s in charge of each part of FHE and I love not feeling like I have to plan the whole thing.  Being a 90%-er is hard work! 

Last week it was H’s turn to make the treat.  That’s the job that all the kids want each week because I don’t let anyone help except that one person.  Normally they have to take turns pouring ingredients in. 

Taking turns… ICK!  Nobody likes to do that.  At least not around these here parts.

But I digress.

H chose a recipe that we had never tried before from one of my cookbooks.  I’ve had peanut butter bars before but these were super yummy!  Better than any I’ve ever tried before.  I hope you enjoy them as much as we did.  It makes a HUGE batch… a large cookie sheet full.  Anthony couldn’t keep his hands off of them!

Peanut Butter Bars 1


  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. butter
  • 1 1/2 c. peanut butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 c. flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3 c. quick oats

Preheat oven to 325*.  In large mixing bowl cream first 4 ingredients.  Add the eggs and vanilla.  Mix well.  Combine dry ingredients in separate bowl and add to wet mixture.  Mix well and press into the bottom of a large cookie sheet.  Bake at 325* for 10 minutes then raise temperature to 375* and bake for another 10-15 minutes. 


  • 3 T. cocoa
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 3 – 3 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 6 T. milk

Melt butter with coca in a saucepan.  Remove from heat.  Add sugar, vanilla and milk.  Stir with whisk until smooth.  Poor over COOLED bars and spread.  Refrigerate to harden frosting. 

Recipe Source:  Worldwide Ward Cookbook:  Mom’s Best Recipes



Coconut Almond Brownies

As I was perusing my overflowing bookshelf of cookbooks the other day, my Pampered Chef Celebrate! book jumped out at me and I decided to take peek inside.  This particular recipe sounded so good that I just had to give it a try.  It was Monday and that means we have to have dessert.  Family Home Evening just isn’t complete without it.

I had all the ingredients on hand which made it even more appealing.  We all loved it!  We will definitely be making this one again.

brownie 1

Coconut Almond Brownies

  • 1 pkg brownie mix (13×9 size) plus ingredients to make cake-like brownies (usually you just add an extra egg)
  • 10 oz. sweetened flaked coconut (I had a 14 oz. pkg so I just used most, but not all of it)
  • 2 c. (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips or chocolate chunks
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350*. 

Prepare brownies according to mix directions for cake-like brownies.  Spread into 13×9 pan and bake for 18-22 minutes or until brownie is set but not completely done. 

Sprinkle coconut on top of brownie and layer chocolate chips on top of that.  Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over coconut and chocolate.  Sprinkle almonds on top to taste.  You could omit the almonds but I recommend keeping them!

Bake 20-23 minutes or until coconut is browned around edges.  Let cool before cutting.

We decided that we might try butterscotch chips next time or maybe caramel sauce instead of the sweetened condensed milk.  These were delicious as is we just want to experiment!


Sinful Chocolate Chip Oreo Brownies {triple threat!}

This past Saturday, Anthony had the ‘privilege’  (if that’s what you want to call it) of running yet another marathon.  He had been carb loading all week long in preparation and on Friday night, he left to go to Logan.  K was lucky enough to go with him.  Anthony’s sister was running with him so her husband and son were able to spend Saturday morning with K.  She even got to run the last 2.2 miles with her aunt and cross the finish line with her.  I can’t tell you how proud she was. 

Anthony was even more proud when K told him that she wanted to someday run a real marathon with him. 

Well, Saturday was also the ‘big game’!  Utah vs BYU!  I won’t gloat but….




{Cougar fans, can we still be friends?} 

Anyway, after running a ridiculous 26.2 miles, Anthony had to drive his sore legs, blistered feet, and raw nipples home.  Yes, I said nipples!  You see, it rained throughout pretty much the whole duration of the race meaning that all the runners had blisters covering their feet and the males (at least most of them) had bleeding nipples… Anthony was one of them. 

The proof was on his shirt.  I really should have taken a picture of the shirt when he got home, darn it! 

I tell him I’m really sorry and that I feel bad but maybe just a small part of me thinks Well, now you know how I feel during the first SEVERAL weeks of nursing… FIVE TIMES!!  Oh, and at least your nipples get a break and can heal… mine had a tiny creature feeding on them every couple of hours.  OUCH! 

Sorry if that was TMI.  But I think next time he’ll sympathize a bit more…

Now where was I?

Oh yes, so he drove himself and K home that afternoon.  We had plenty of time before the game but I had already been busy from the time the boys went down for their naps making treats. 

I had never made these particular recipes before so I was unsure how they might turn out.  Let me tell you… they were SOO good! 

I’m only going to share one for now.  I’ll share the other in a later post.  Just think cheese and bread.  And Sarah, if you’re reading this, think high school!!

But right now think of chocolate chip cookies, Oreos and brownies!  Now think CARAMEL!  Mmmmmm, are you drooling yet?  Yeah, me too.

This is from a recipe I found on Pinterest.  The original post is here.  This is my take on this decadent treat!  Only slightly adapted.

Let’s get started…


Preheat the oven to 350*

The first thing I did was make the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.  I then lined a 9×13 pan with parchment paper and sprayed it with non-stick spray.

(That’s what the original post recommends.  The next time I make it, I think I’ll just spray the pan itself but feel free to do it however you want.)

Then I pressed the cookie dough evenly into the pan.  The whole recipe.


And now you’ll take Oreo cookies and layer them on top of the cookie dough, like so… (you can use regular or double stuf)


I hope you have a brownie mix on hand. 


A normal family-size mix is perfect!  Make it as per the directions and pour over the Oreos.  You’ll probably have to help it spread since brownie batter is quite thick.

cookie5 cookie6

Are you dying yet?  My cousin called this a heart attack in a pan. 

Bake it for 45-55 minutes.  Mine took closer to the 55 minute range. 

Once you take it out, let it cool to a comfortable eating temperature and serve with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce!  You could use hot fudge if you’d like.  Or both!  I won’t tell ;)


This really is best eaten warm but if it cools to room temperature, no worries!  Just stick a piece in the microwave for about 15-20 seconds. 

You’ll think you’ve just died and gone to heaven!! 




Bitter {one year ago today…} but Sweet {brownies}

I’ve had a hard time putting this post together.  Not really sure why.  It could possibly have something to do with the fact that today marks the one year anniversary of the day my sweet Grandma passed away.  Today also marks what would have been her 76th birthday. 


Yes, she died on her 75th birthday.  I think it was planned. 

That may sound funny but you’d have to know my grandma.  Besides being loving, caring, happy, carefree, spirited, a phenomenal cook, and overall just amazing… she was also very stubborn.  I don’t mean just a little bit. 

Everyone always believed that she was the type of woman who would live to be 104, at least.  Unfortunately for us, her stubborn ways were no match for the Parkinsons and Alzheimers.  It wasn’t the alzheimers that ended up taking her away, at least not physically.  It was the Parkinsons.  Mentally, the alzheimers was taking over and made her, at times, not seem like Grandma anymore.  However, she was quite witty in that state.  And even hilarious at times. 

I had the privilege while she was sick {along with many cousins and aunts/uncles}, of taking dinner to Grandma and Grandpa at their home once every other week.  It was a huge group effort to keep them both full and keep Grandpa from losing it.  He was Grandma’s main caregiver and often had a hard time.  These mealtimes also gave each of us that helped a chance to spend some quality time with Grandma before she passed.  We knew it was only a matter of time.  The amount of time may have been unknown but it was time we needed to spend with her and we all knew it. 

It got to the point that she had to be fed, like a baby.  She could no longer feed herself. 

Last summer, a nurse and doctor started coming to the home during the day to aid Grandpa in caring for her.  She was getting to the point that she could no longer walk, even with assistance and Grandpa just wasn’t able to do it on his own.  In the evenings, it was a chore to get her to bed on his own.  It became necessary for someone in the family to assist him in changing her and getting her up the stairs.  This task was most often left to my mom or my cousin.  When they were unavailable, Anthony was often called upon to help.  I am a weakling and pretty sure that I would never have been strong enough to do it.  

I will be forever grateful to those people, relatives and otherwise, that helped Grandma during the latter part of her life.

For the last several weeks of her life, she was bedridden.  No one could even touch her without her grimacing in pain and agony.  It was agonizing to watch.  Seeing your SuperWoman grandma in a state like that is heart wrenching. 

A hospital bed was brought to her home and she was confined. 

Around the 8th or 9th of August last year, Grandma had given up.  No matter how hard anyone tried, she just wouldn’t open her eyes.  Her feedings had all but depleted and even when she would eat, it was only a bite or two.  The nurse let us all know that it was only a matter of days.  Usually seven was the max at that point. 

Maybe it was selfish of me but I hoped that I would walk in there the next day and she would be awake, eating and talking.  I knew she could prove them all wrong.  Her communication skills had been… interesting for the past little while.  Often, no one could make sense of what she had just said.  She counted a lot… “One, two, two, two, two, three, three, two, two…” 

There were many times that she would start a sentence but end with the counting.  “I want to… two, two, two…”

It broke my heart that she didn’t believe that she was at home.  No matter how many times we told her, she never believed us.  We were all ‘in on it’ as she would say. 

I must say that I am grateful for the fact that she never forgot who I was.  At least not when I was around.  She did, however, forget my poor grandpa at times.  That broke his heart into a million little pieces.  {He is her second husband… my grandpa P, her first husband, passed away when I was six}

There were times toward the end that I believe she was able to see beyond the veil.  She told me {and other people too} some things that didn’t make sense at the time but as I reflect back, it made perfect sense.  I believe there were many angels {including Grandpa P.} in the living room with her, by her bed. 

I have two favorite ‘beyond the veil’ moments with Grandma.  One of them is when I was holding her hand and trying to talk to her.  She wasn’t looking at me yet but as I spoke she turned toward me.  She smiled then and squeezed my hand just a little tighter and said, “I don’t know why…. I love you!” with a big ol’ smile on her face.  I could have taken offense to the ‘I don’t know why…’ part but I know that’s not how she meant it.  She then looked to my left just slightly {no one was there} and gave a little nod of her head, smirked and said, “She’s mine!”  And then she looked back at me and smiled. 

I’ve never felt more loved!  In that moment, she possessed all the love in the world, just for me!  At least that’s how she made me feel.  I believe she was talking to someone on the other side announcing that I was her granddaughter.  You may think it’s silly, but that’s how I feel.

The other favorite memory is when she looked at me one day when I came for a visit {just before she was bedridden} and told me that she was so sorry.  I couldn’t figure out what she was so sorry about.  She just kept shaking her head in sympathy and saying, “I’m so sorry!”  At first I thought it was just the alzheimers talking.  She often had funny things pop up in her head that made no sense.  But she finally said, “I’m so sorry for what you’re about to go through.  I can’t imagine going through that.” 

At the time this made no sense but I felt the power as she said it.  It was real! 

Grandma, thank you for the warning.  I think I’m living it now.  It’s been rough but we’ll get through this!!  I love you!

Other members of my family have stories similar but I will not write them here.  They are stories for them to tell, not me. 

Anyway, as she neared the end of her life, we all kept holding on to hope that she might wake up again and talk.  It was not meant to be.  After the seven days that we were expecting something to happen, we knew it would be any time. 

Her breaths became very labored.  She was heavily medicated to keep her from feeling so much pain when she had to be rolled from one side to the other to keep from getting bed sores.  It was the only time she showed any sign of life {aside from the labored breathing}, when she would grimace in pain. 

I believe it was the night before our anniversary last year that everyone gathered around her bedside in her living room.  Anyone that could be there was there.  She was going to pass at any moment and we all wanted to say our final good-byes.  Each of us that wanted to took a moment with Grandma, in private, and said our final words to her.  My girls each gave her a kiss as they tried to understand and accept exactly what was happening.  It was hard.  C didn’t want much to do with her.  I think it was a little scary to him.  B was just a baby but held her hand for a brief moment. 

Afterwards, we all gathered and had a meeting of sorts.  It was kind of like a testimony meeting.  People shared their thoughts and love for Grandma.  Told funny stories of better times.  It made us all cry…. and laugh.  How great to be someone so loved, like Grandma, and have your family be able to tell such wonderful stories of your life. 

Anthony and I took our kids home that night, sure that it would be on our anniversary (the 18th) that she would pass.  That would be hard.  It didn’t happen!

The 19th is my aunt’s birthday and we thought for sure it would be that day.  She wouldn’t be able to hold on any longer than that. 

The night of the 19th, we gathered again… with birthday cake!  We figured if she hadn’t passed, we would sing to her on her birthday… the 20th.  As the clock struck midnight, she was still with us.  Her breathing was even more labored than ever before.  It was a solemn time.  To realize that she had made it to her birthday after not eating or drinking anything for almost two whole weeks was baffling!  But everyone was somber. 

I had left Anthony and the kids at home.

Around 12:30 we sang.  It was a very spiritual, and quiet “Happy Birthday” song.  Same words, same tune, different tone.  It was magical!  Grandpa kissed her, told her how much he loved her and cried. 

Everyone was handed a piece of cake.  We ate.  And then I went home. 

Most everyone else stayed. 

After coming home and being in bed for no longer than maybe an hour {if that}, I got the phone call…

Grandma was gone. 

It hit me hard!  I knew it was coming but it still felt like someone had stabbed me in the chest to hear the words. 

I believe she wanted to celebrate her birthday both here on Earth and have another celebration on the other side with loved ones lost long before!  And I’m sure she had quite the reunion with so many people.  Her Ma and Pa, her Mother {who died when my grandma was only 3}, her dad, her sister, my Grandpa P, and many many more. 

Happy Birthday Grandma!  We all miss you so very much.  But we’re all doing alright.  We’re taking care of Grandpa for you.  He’s bought a few new cars since you’ve been gone, trying to ease the pain but he’ll be alright, too.  You take care!  I love you!


But now… on a lighter note! {We like lighter notes, right?}

A few weeks ago, my cousins and I had a Girl’s Night Out at one of their houses.  As I entered her home, I realized she had made what she always calls ‘Grandma’s Brownies’. 

I’ve had them a couple of times when she’s made them but I thought maybe Grandma had made them once and she got the recipe from her.  Never again did Grandma make them.  They’re good so I was excited! 

I was one of the first ones there.  As one of my other cousin’s entered, she looked at the brownies and gasped.  “Are those Grandma’s Brownies?”

Huh, that’s weird.  She knew about them too.  Hmmm….

A third cousin entered and said the same thing.  “Oh, I love Grandma’s Brownies!”

What the heck?  I don’t remember these famous brownies.  Where was I? 

When I informed them that I don’t remember Grandma making these brownies, they were all shocked.  They say that she ‘always’ had a pan of them on her counter. 

So the next day I inquired of my mother.  She also was surprised that I didn’t remember them.  “She always had them out.”

She did?  I remember no such brownies.  I remember pilafi, orange chiffon cake, cinnamon rolls, homemade bread, blt’s, delicious sandwiches, bread pudding, and many other delightful creations but I do not remember brownies. 

My guess?  She hid them from me, knowing that I would eat them all!  She knew me well enough to know that I was a sugar-holic.  Seriously! 

I even asked Anthony… even he remembers “a sheet pan of chocolate cake, not brownies”. 

Yes, they are cake-like but oh-so-delicious!  He refuses to call them brownies. 

Anyway, I’d like to dedicate the posting of this recipe to Grandma. 

We’ll call them the “Hide From Brooke Brownies”.


In a medium bowl, combine the following:

2 c. flour

2 c. sugar

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

Set aside


Bring the following to a boil in a saucepan:

1 c. butter

1 c. water

1/2 c. cocoa


Pour the boiling ingredients into a large mixing bowl and add the flour mixture.  Mix until well combined. 


Add the following:

2 eggs

1/2 c. sour cream {buttermilk may be substituted}

Mix until well combined and pour into sheet pan {large cookie sheet} sprayed with non-stick spray.

Bake at 350* for 20 minutes.

Pull out of oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes before starting the icing.


Bring the following to a boil for icing:

1/4 c. butter

1/4 c. cocoa

6 T. milk

1 tsp. vanilla

1 lb. powdered sugar

Pour over warm brownies as evenly as possible.  Spread gently so as not to ruin the top of the brownies.


Allow to cool completely before cutting.  {In the pic below, I got a little anxious and failed to let the brownies cool.  That’s why the icing is cracked.  If you allow it to cool completely, it will cut very smoothly without cracking.  OOPS!  Do as I say, not as I do!}









Lemon Bars (they’re better than your SIL’s)

Once upon a time, many years ago, I tried making lemon bars.  A recipe from one of my gazillions of cookbooks {I have a slight problem}.  Cookbooks truly are my favorite reading material.  It’s kind of a sad story. 

Anyway, the recipe I tried just wasn’t up to par.  They were dry and just blah.  Not one I would make again.

My sister-in-law, however makes lemon bars quite often and they are pretty darn good!  She’s pretty proud of them, and she really ought to be. 

But as I was perusing my stash of Family Fun magazines a couple of weeks ago {another of my ‘slight’ problems, but that’s another post for another day}, I came across this recipe for lemon bars.  It was the perfect treat for my girls’ lemonade stand they are running each week.  I was getting tired of making the Confetti Squares and Dirt Cups

So, I whipped these up these bad boys and I am telling you, Anthony, being the one of us with more willpower, could not keep his hands off them.  Being that we’re on a ‘clean eating’ diet, this is rare for him.  I, however, have a harder time.  This gets me thinking, why in the world are most of the recipes here unclean?  Are you wondering the same thing?  Good question.  One I’ll answer… at some point. 

But I’m pretty sure these beat out my SIL’s lemon bars… SHHHHH! don’t tell her I said so.  All I know is that they could at the very least contend with her bars.   

Hmmm, nope!  I’m pretty sure they win!!! 

So, if you’re looking for a great lemon bar recipe (who isn’t, right?) this is it!  I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.  And if you are, then you did something wrong ;)

The first thing you’ll do is preheat your oven to 350*.  As it heats, you can make your cookie bar crust. 

You’ll need to cream the butter, sugar and salt together with a wooden spoon. 

Then you’ll stir in the oats.


Next, stir in the flour a little at a time (in thirds).  You may have to mix it with your hands with the last addition of flour….


….. until it resemble coarse crumbs, like so. 

At this point you’ll sprinkle the cold water over it and briefly rub it into the mixture.  And now it should hold together when gently squeezed in your hand. 

Press the dough into the bottom of a 13×9 pan that has been buttered or sprayed with non-stick spray.  Press so that it is even and it raises slightly up the sides. 

Chill the pan for 15 minutes. 

Bake the crust in oven on center rack for 15 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Cookie Bar Crust

3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened but cool

1/3 c. sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 c. oats, quick or old-fashioned

1 3/4 c. flour

1 T. cold water

Cream softened butter, sugar and salt with wooden spoon.  Add the oats, stir, add flour 1/3 at a time, stirring between each addition.  May have to use hands to get the last bit in.  Stir until it looks like coarse crumbs.  Sprinkle cold water over mixture and rub in briefly. 

Press the dough into the bottom of a buttered or sprayed 13×9 pan, going slightly up the sides of pan as well.  Chill the pan for 15 minutes. 

Bake pan on center rack for 15 minutes.  Cool completely on wire rack.

Once the crust is cooled, you can make your lemon filling (the good stuff!). 

Now, please don’t hate me.  The day that I made these, I was in a mad rush to get them ready and cooled in time for our lemonade stand so I didn’t get any pictures of the process from here on out.  The end product is the only one I have.  Good enough, right?  The next time I make them, I will be sure to take some pics of the process. 

You’ll need to have your oven at 350* 

Lemon Bar Filling

1 1/2 c. sugar

1/3 c. flour

1/4 tsp. salt

3 large eggs, room temperature

1 egg yolk

4 T. unsalted butter, melted

1/2 c. milk

1/4 c. lemon juice, fresh or bottled

Zest of one whole lemon, finely grated

1/2 tsp. vanilla

powdered sugar

Whisk together the sugar, flour, salt, eggs, and egg yolk in large bowl until smooth.  Add butter and milk, whisk.  Stir in the lemon juice, zest, and vanilla until it’s evenly blended. 

Pour the filling over the cooled cookie bar crust and tilt the pan from side to side, very gently, to get it all even.  Bake at 350* on center rack until filling is set and just starting to turn golden.  22-25 minutes. 

Cool on a wire rack.  Once they are almost completely cooled but still slightly warm, dust lightly with powdered sugar using a sieve or sifter.  Chill for at least one hour, dust again with  powdered sugar to your liking, and slice into bars. 

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