Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Peanut Butter Bars

Since Sean has been spending two-three days each week sub-contracting for a couple different local companies, his dietary needs have changed. He has always worked hard; breaking a sweat is nothing new for him. But, there is definitely a difference between painting out an apartment or deep cleaning it and carrying two tons of concrete forms from point A to point B or removing a brick chimney and carrying the bricks down three flights of stairs. There just is. Busy in this new work, Sean had started to really lose some weight... fast. Sean has nice muscles, but there wasn't a whole lot of weight for him to lose. I suggested that he could lose some of my extra pounds, but so far, that is a "no-go".

Anyway, I started to make Sean a more hearty breakfast and lunch on the days he is expending more energy and needs those extra calories. I did not want to pad his lunch with empty calories; heavy manual labor requires calories packed with protein, fiber, and natural sugars. On a typical day, Sean will get a breakfast sandwich with 2 eggs, cheese, bacon or sausage on fresh home-made bread and a piece of fruit. I pack him granola, nuts and dried fruit (an assortment of dried cherries, cranberries, raisins, banana chips, pineapple or kiwi, etc.) in a pint mason jar for a snack. For lunch, I make him a protein-packed sandwich; tuna, chicken, or egg salad with sliced onion, tomato and lettuce on homemade bread with homemade mayo and a piece of fruit. I pack him two half gallons of freshly made lemonade in glass mason jars. And, if he is really going to expend some energy, a healthy piece of homemade peanut butter bars. There is nothing diet or low-calorie about these bars, but they make up for that in pure delicious tasty-goodness! These are not for every day snacking, unless you work concrete, farm, are a lumberjack or exert yourself vigorously in some other manner. But, as a sometimes sweet treat, they can't be beat. I promise.

What You Need: 
12 Oz. Jar of Creamy Peanut Butter
2 Sticks of Real Butter (unsalted is fine)
12 Graham Crackers (smashed into medium fine crumbs)
2 Cups Confectioner's Sugar
12 Oz Bag of Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
9x9 (8x8 for extra thick bars) Glass Baking Pan with Deep Sides

What To Do:
In a microwave safe bowl, completely melt the butter. While it is melting, in another large bowl, use a pestle or the bottom of a glass and crush the graham crackers into fine to medium fine crumbs. (If you like a crunchy texture, leave them larger. If you want a smooth texture, make the crumbs more fine.) When the graham crackers are to your desired consistency, add the melted butter, one cup of peanut butter, and 2 cups of confectioner's sugar. Stir with a spatula to thoroughly combine. Turn this mix into your 9x9 glass pan. (There is no need to line or grease the bottom.) Use the spatula to press the peanut butter mixture unto the pan evenly. Microwave 3/4 of the bag of semi sweet chocolate morsels until they are melted. Be careful not to over cook them or burn them! Add the rest of the peanut butter in the jar to the chocolate and mix thoroughly. Spread the warm chocolate-peanut butter mixture over the top of the peanut butter-graham mixture. Refrigerate for at least one hour before cutting.

If the girls and I are enjoying them, I slice them into 25 very-satisfying pieces. If I am making a batch for Sean and the men he works with, I slice them into 16 bars. I have no idea what the calorie count is in these magnificent treats, but they are worth every one of them. True Story.

For our friends who cannot tolerate gluten, just substitute a gluten free variety of graham or regular crackers. I would avoid herbed or garlic flavor varieties, but anything like a saltine works just fine. We made these gluten free for a visiting friend and used Glutino brand crackers. She loved them. And, my teens couldn't tell the difference. :)

Thanks for visiting on this rainy day.
~Sean & Sonja ♥

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