Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sweet & Salty Peanut Butter Pretzel Bars

This past weekend my friend Meg & I had an Origami Owl party.  If you have never heard of Origami Owl, check out my friend Wendi's website here... super cute personalized jewelry! :)

For a snacky dessert, I made Sweet & Salty Peanut Butter Pretzel Bars... and they were a-maz-ing!


  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 2 cups creamy peanut butter, divided
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, divided
  • 4 cups (roughly 1/2-inch pieces), broken small pretzel twists, divided
  • 2 cups (12 oz package) semi-sweet chocolate morsels, divided

1. Line 13 x 9 inch baking pan with foil leaving an overhang on two sides.  Lightly spray foil with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Beat 1 1/4 cups peanut butter and butter in large mixer bowl until creamy.  Gradually beat in 1 cup powdered sugar.  Stir in remaining 1 cup powdered sugar.

If you do not have one of these, go get one!  It makes measuring peanut butter so much easier!

3. Stir in 3 cups pretzel pieces and 1/2 cup morsels.  Press evenly into prepared baking pan.  Smooth top with spatula.

4. Microwave remaining 1 1/2 cups morsels and 3/4 cup peanut butter in medium, uncovered, microwave-safe bowl on medium-high (70%) power for 45 seconds.  Stir.  If necessary, microwave at additional 10 to 15 minute second intervals, stirring just until morsels are melted.

5.  Spread chocolate layer evenly over powered sugar mixture.  

6. Sprinkle with the remaining pretzel pieces, pressing down lightly.  Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or until firm.

7. Lift from pan; peel off foil.  Cut into pieces and store in covered container in refrigerator.

Find original recipe here.

Cream of Crab Soup

For Mother's Day this year, my mom wanted steamed crabs.  Since I have the best mother in the world (yea, that's right) I also made her some Cream of Crab soup... and it was gooooood!!

  • medium onion
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 (1.25 ounce) envelope hollandaise sauce mix
  • 4 cups half-and-half, divided
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon cooking sherry
  • 1 pound fresh crabmeat

1. Melt butter in a medium, heavy saucepan over medium heat.  Add chopped onions and saute.

2. In a medium bowl, blend flour and hollandaise sauce mix with 2 cups half-and-half.

3. Slowly add hollandaise mixture to onions, stirring constantly until thickened.

4. Add remaining half-and-half, Old Bay, dry mustard, celery seed, and whipping cream.

5. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low.  Add crab meat and sherry, stirring gently until warmed through.

Make sure to pick through your crab meat to get out the extra little shells!

Serve immediately!  Goes great with sourdough bread from Panera :)

I got the recipe from a Marylander on allrecipes.com.  You can find it by clicking here.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

I didn't like San Francisco...

... I loved it!

My friend Meg was presenting at the AERA conference in San Francisco and invited me and our other IUP comrade, Monika, to come along for a vacation.  We jumped at the chance and had a blast!!

First things first... ride a cable car!  Very fun! :)

We ended up at Fisherman's Wharf where we went to the Wax Museum... which was a little disappointing.  I would not recommend it.  If you've been to Madame Tussauds, this is nothing like it.  But we still had fun!!

Afterwards we walked 1.3 miles to Russian Hill for a bar crawl.  We saw this at the beginning of our walk... and we're still laughing!

We walked up and down the famous hills of San Fran and were exhausted!  But we finally made it to Shanghai Kelly's, our first stop.

After a few drinks we went to Nick's Crispy Tacos where the tacos and nachos were delish!!  Then we went to Bullit and Green's Sports Bar, where I had an Anchor Steam on tap for my dad :)

About that time we were super tired so we went back to the hotel for a quick rest before heading to Colosseo Ristorante in Little Italy for dinner.

We went back to Fisherman's Wharf the next day on a double decker tour bus.

We were going on a boat tour under the Golden Gate Bridge, but first we went to see the adorable sea lions!

After walking around the shops, we went down to Pier 43 1/2 to get in line for our boat tour under the Golden Gate Bridge.  It was cooooold!!

We stopped at the aquarium before heading to dinner...

Never leave a shark alone in the gift shop....
We ate at Mango's Taqueria & Cantina... where the margaritas were flowing :)

Then one last stop to say g'night to the Sea Lions before heading back to the hotel!

Meg had to prepare for her presentation so Monika and I headed to breakfast.  I quickly found a spot that was in walking distance (the Tenderloin district) called Dottie's True Blue Cafe.  Come to find out they were on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives! 

It was a Monday morning, so we only waited in line for 45 minutes and it was worth the wait!  This was the best breakfast I've ever had.  Sooooo good!!!

Our next outing was back to Fisherman's Wharf where we had a great dinner at Lou's Fish Shack.

And then onto Pier 33 for our Alcatraz Night Tour, which was awesome!  I highly recommend it.  Buy your tickets online beforehand and go at night.

Hospital room... only open at night!


Here is a video I took of the cell slamming demonstration:

Today we rented a car to drive over the Golden Gate Bridge....

... and then Muir Woods!

Our car for the day!
On the way back to the city we stopped for dinner at Mel's Diner... where there was 49ers flags hanging.  I am a proud Raven's fan & had to document :)

Then we went to Ocean Beach to watch the sun set over the ocean and dip our toes in the Pacific.

Today was Meg's presentation (which she rocked of course!) so afterwards we headed to Fisherman's Wharf (yes, again!).  But on the way we stopped in Chinatown to get some souvenirs and fortune cookies.

Back on the bus to Fisherman's Wharf where we went to Boudin Bakery.  The food and service was amazing!  I ordered the famous clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl.

And our last stop was Ghirardelli Square where we got ice cream sundaes.  After our meal at Boudin, we only ate half, but it was very yummy!

The next day we flew back home to the east coast.  I had a fantastic time, but was definitely ready to go home!  It was a perfect trip. :)