Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Chocolate Bacon Peanut Butter Bars

Once we had gotten settled into the house and got a feel for the work load of school, Benjamin decided that he wanted to host a poker night once a month as a way for the guys in the program to do something social outside of the school setting.  This gives me the perfect opportunity to try new recipes!  

For the first one, I made Angel Sugar Cookies.  They are amazingly light and super delish!  Put them on your list of things to try.  Right now... do it.  It makes a bunch and the cookies are so addicting.  But it's okay to eat, like 7 in one sitting because they are so airy!

For last month's poker night, I came across a very manly sounding dessert.  Manly because it has bacon in it.  Chocolate Bacon Peanut Butter Bars.  Now, for those of you who scoff and turn your nose up at the sounds of bacon and chocolate together, you just HAVE to try it!  Years ago a company called Vogues came into my life with their wonderful collection of bacon chocolates.  And because my hubby loves peanut butter, a little chocolate and bacon this recipe was perfect to try out!


Let's start with the ingredients:
1 pouch of peanut butter cookie mix
1/3 cup of vegetable oil
2T of maple syrup
1 egg
10 slices of bacon (crumbled)
1/2 cup of peanuts
1 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips

Directions
Heat your oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9x9 pan with cooking spray.
Stir the cookie mix, oil, syrup, and egg to create the dough.
Cook your bacon and break into small crumbs.  Oscar Mayer's Fully Cooked Bacon that you microwave for only seconds is my favorite way to "cook" bacon when I need it quickly.  AND it gets super duper crispy.  I love crispy bacon.  If you've ever been to IHOP or Denny's with me, I always ask for my bacon to be crispy.  No wiggly bacon here, please.  Plus for this recipe, you need your bacon to be crisp.
Save a handful of your bacon bits to be used for the top of the bars.  The remaining bits of bacon, stir into the dough.
If you are a peanut lover, here is where you would add the peanuts also.
Spread the mixture into your 9x9 pan.
Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Now this next part you can do one of two ways.  You can either melt the chocolate chips in the microwave and then spread the chocolatey goodness on top or you can wait a few minutes for cake part to cool and then scatter the chips like so:
Put the pan back into the oven for about 1 minute and then spread the melty chips.  Once there is a nice layer of chocolate, sprinkle on the extra bacon crumbles!
Cut into squares and serve!
The guys that ate this dessert said it was yummy and the piece that I ate had the same effect on me!  For a printable version, click here.

I'm starting to look for the next fun recipe for the next poker night....
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Monday, September 19, 2011

One More Week

It seems like just yesterday that I was saying my good-byes to The Web and those I worked with to start the transition of moving to Houston.  
That was April 15th.

In the following months I have packed a house, moved, unpacked a house and gotten settled into a routine of making Houston home once again.  Knowing that I would find a job here was always part of our plan. We just weren't sure what that job would look like.  Once our internet was finally hooked up, the search was on.  I made a list of sites to check each day and set goals for myself.  

Then the unexpected.  
A family friend asked if I would send my resume in for him to review, to see if there would be a fit.  That led to a two hour conversation about an open position followed by an interview with a few folks that he worked with.  Weeks after the interview I received a call offering me a job to which I gladly accepted!  After hearing that I had passed the drug test (whew!) and background check, I was given a start date of Monday, September 26th.  
Next Monday.

When we started this transition I thought that I would have started work by at least the beginning of August.  I'm not complaining in the slightest - I have loved every minute of being home.  I have been able to spend precious time with Mom and Salem, with Lulu and with Benjamin.  I was able to visit Dallas, go to San Antonio with Benjamin and travel to Pittsburgh with the girls without having to worry about vacation days.  I have been able to settle into the house, experiment with new meals, do a few crafty projects.  I was able to host a meal for Benjamin's family and have folks over for this and that.  And while I know that these things won't stop when I start working, it was nice to have a glimpse of what life after orthodontic graduation will hold!  

I'm not sure why I get surprised at how impeccable God's timing is.  Over and over again I find myself in awe of how He orchestrates all details to work out.  For His glory.  While I my heart is a little sad to not be able to be at home with Lulu or even come home for lunch, my heart is excited and looking forward to going with Jesus on this next step of life.  I am hopeful that this next stage will be one of growth.

While I'm excited for a new adventure, I will be missing this little girl like crazy...
 
She is my sweet lap lump.  Don't worry, we have found her a friend who will be coming every afternoon to break up her day and let her out to chase squirrels.

So.  The job.  I will be working for An Oil Company who has an office right across the street from Discovery Green less than 20 miles from the house.  I will have a 9/80 schedule giving me every other Friday off!  I will be working in the Global Drilling and Completions department and I will be a Planner.  What does a Planner do?  Great question.  I'll be able to give more details after next week!

The next few days will be spent enjoying the freedom of grocery shopping in the mornings, snuggling with Lu at 7 am and having dinner ready for when Benjamin comes in from a long day in the clinic.  And praising God for the time off, for the job and the new stage to come!
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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Travels: San Antonio

Being in Ortho residency allows for opportunities to travel to cities to attend conferences and learn about bracket systems and techniques.  A bracket system called Speed hosted a conference in San Antonio and I travelled along with Benjamin!  Luke and his wife Kala also went along and the four of us bunked in newly renovated rooms at the Hyatt on the Riverwalk.  
On the car over, we introduced Kala and Luke to the deliciousness of Crave Cupcakes.  Since it was Thursday, Benjamin was particularly interested in trying the Mint Chocolate cupcake.  Me, I tried the Apple one and it blew.me.away!
Friday the boys went to their conference while Kala and I had a relaxing morning.  After discussing that we should probably do a little site seeing, we decided to venture out to the Riverwalk Center.  Can I just say that it was not as I remembered it from when I was little...  There were more homeless people creeping around and plenty of people staring awkwardly.  Plus, the only store worth writing about is the Everything Purple store.  We did walk down to the Alamo and tada! my one picture of it...
The Alamo is a lot smaller than I remember it being... And I thought there was more of a ceremonious tree lined entry way up to it.  Apparently, my imagination depicted it differently!  Still very cool to see.

The thing we were most looking forward to was dinner on Friday night.  After seeing an episode of Man vs Food Thursday evening, we discussed the possibility of heading to Lulu's for dinner the next night.
What?  You've never heard of Lulu's?  Or Man vs. Food?!  Well, let's kill two birds with one stone while you watch this short video clip:
Doesn't that food just look like you could get clogged arteries and diabetes all at the same time?  That's what we were excited about.  All eight of us that were there from Houston all went to have this experience together.
Lulu's is located downtown San Antonio and kind of in a sketchy hood.  But don't let that stop you from going in - the food is amazing!  And very Texas sized!
Here is Luke as he tackles the Sheriff Special - A larger than the plate chicken fried steak and four spoonfulls of mashed potatoes....
What a trooper!  Good thing he had three other people helping him out to eat it!  There were four of us that shared the largest Chicken Fried Steak smothered in gravy.  I will admit that there are only a handful of times that I remember eating chicken fried steak and I believe most of them were at the HBU cafeteria for dinners.  Lulu's Chicken Fried Steak - so good!  And everyone who ate it agreed!!  

After the steak came the cinnamon roll.  Three pounds of bliss!  We passed it around the table and took pictures with it because really, when else are you ever going to eat a cinnamon roll this huge?
Can you tell that we were excited to dig in?  Now, one would think that this cinnamon roll would be either way too hard with no taste or a soggy, uncooked mess in the middle.  Friends, this cinnamon roll was perfection!  It was light and airy with the correct sugar to cinnamon ratio and the icing was delectable!  The sad thing...even with eight of us, there was STILL cinnamon roll left over!

Saturday Kala and I spent the afternoon at The Shops at La Cantera.  She and I agreed that it was one of the best outdoor malls we'd ever been to.  The landscaping was beautiful and they had an awesome selection of stores.  I hear that there is a conference next year at La Cantera...sign me up to go along!

The moral of this story is: The next time you are in San Antonio, make sure to swing by and eat at Lulu's.  If you don't have time for a chicken fried steak, at least try their cinnamon roll.  You can get it to go!
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