Friday, January 27, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

Robbie sent me an email this week with only the words "interesting article on nagging" in the subject line and then a link to this article from the Wall Street Journal. I then spent the next two hours trying to remember when I last nagged him, wondering if this was some passive aggressive way to tell me how I was getting on his case to much. Then I remembered that Robbie is not a girl and only girls would do something like that. So I read the article and had to admit it was interesting. And he assured me that he sent the link only because he knows how much I worry about nagging him too much (sure . . .) and that I am not nearly as bad as the individuals used in the article as examples.

But it got me thinking. It got me thinking at how Robbie and I seem to be doing ok for two people who had very independent lives (read - long-distance for the vast majority of our relationship) until August when we crammed a few of our possessions into a teeny apartment and tried this whole 'married-people-live-together' concept. It also made me realize how incredibly stereotypical coed living is. Yes, Robbie can't find anything in a cabinet/refrigerator/closet even if he is looking right at it. Yes, on trash night, I get super-annoyed when we take the trash out and then Robbie throws away a piece of paper when we Just. Took. The. Trash. Out. I even forced him to not throw a magazine away for an entire night so that we could have a clean trash can for at least 12 hours. But that's not nagging. Crazy, yes. Nagging, no.

Here's another pretty typical moment in the Samuel household. Let me set the scene for you. I am standing about 8 feet from our trash can in the apartment breaking down some boxes (a NYC rule - or maybe a building rule - who knows?). Robbie is standing between me and the trash can reading. (Robbie stands up to do almost everything. I am constantly ducking around him while he is standing up to eat, drink, read, write, etc. It's something I never noticed until I lived in a place with only five square feet of empty space which, when someone stands in it, takes up two square feet of said space leaving three for me and a 20+ pound cat around which to maneuver.) I finish breaking down one box, throw it at his feet and say "Can you throw that away please?" I may or may not have added the please but I find that fact a moo point (Friends fans, you've got that reference*). Robbie doesn't move. In the meantime, I finish breaking down the other box and he still has not picked up the first box and walked the four feet to throw it away. So I storm over with the second box, I'm sure making some combination of a human sigh and a horse's snort, pick up the first box, and throw them both away as if I just had the biggest I-am-a-martyr moment since Joan of Arc. Robbie just looks at me and says "You should've left it. I was going to get it." Which launches me into a discussion on, not his ability to throw the box away, but the fact that he could have done it ten times over again and just done what I asked him to. He claims I have no argument since it didn't inconvenience me that much as I clearly was going to throw the other box away anyway. Oy. Lawyers.
Now, what does this have to do with Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars you say? Nothing. Except, if I keep making these peanut butter and chocolate goodies, Robbie will always be at my mercy. Because I can get my way anytime I'm holding something chocolaty and peanut buttery. MJ - 1, Wall Street Journal - 0.

*The Moo Point - A Friends scene where Joey claims a point someone has made is a "Moo Point" because "It's like a cow's opinion -- doesn't matter."

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
I couldn't remember where I first saw this recipe but I found basically the same recipe here.

1 stick butter, softened
1 cup chunky peanut butter
1 16-oz package powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups Nilla wafers, crushed (about 45 cookies)
1 regular bag of semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup of whipping cream

Beat the softened butter and peanut butter together until well blended. Add the powdered sugar and Nilla wafers until blended. I recommend using an electric mixer here as your arm will get tired otherwise. Press the mixture into a greased 9 x 13 inch dish lined with wax paper. In a medium saucepan, combine semisweet chips and whipping cream. Heat over low heat until melted. Pour the liquid over the mixture in the pan and smooth it out. Put in refrigerator to chill for at least one hour and then cut into squares.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Twice Baked Sweet Potato

Happy New (Detox-time-of) Year! After averaging six desserts per day between December 15th and January 2nd, I am ready to put a bit more balance in my diet. This realization is quite promising since it suggests I do have a limit on how many cookies I can consume in a set time period. Alleluia.

I arrived back in the Big Apple on a day when the high was 29 and I realized I wasn't in North Carolina anymore. I took a moment to ask my first New York winter to be gentle on me and jumped into a cab destined for our apartment where I was ignored for eight hours by Newt-the-cat (who was punishing me for boarding him over the holiday) and the sounds of the steam radiators (as they worked as hard as they could to heat the apartments on the fifth floor). But I was glad to be back. I was sad to be further from my family and hometown but I was happy to get back to my little (super-tiny) corner of New York.

And back to a routine where I'm not constantly tempted by red velvet cake and fudge made by my dad's clients, Momofuku Milk Bar goodies that Robbie had sent to Newton ahead of our arrival, and an incredible variety homemade cookies my mom had gathered through the prior week's cookie swaps and holiday parties. Having plowed through these treats quite well while at home, I now turn to simple meals like this one - stuffed baked sweet potato. A touch of sweetness and yumminess that isn't nearly as unhealthy as my third apple pie cake truffle (nuked in the microwave for six seconds as only the professional Milk Bar aficionados do). This recipe can be made to taste and I encourage you to add sweet or salty as you see fit. I imagine maple syrup would be just as delicious as brown sugar, or swap sour cream for cream cheese. Or, if you were me two weeks ago, throw in maple syrup with the brown sugar and top it off with some cream cheese frosting. And have it at 5:30 in the evening as an appetizer.

Twice Baked Sweet Potato
Adapted from my own, sweet-obsessed mind.

1 Sweet Potato
Olive Oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons walnuts
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons cream cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rub some olive oil into the potato and wrap in foil. Bake in oven for about 45 minutes or until soft (may want to check it at 35 - 40 minutes). While your potato is baking, mix vanilla, walnuts, brown sugar, butter and cream cheese. Once the baked potato is baked through, cut it in half and scoop out the meat, adding it to your bowl of other toppings. Mix thoroughly and divide it back into your empty potato skins. Place the skins back into the oven to bake for another 5 - 7 minutes or until heated through to your liking.