Peanut Butter Nanaimo Bars – #SRC

Peanut Butter Nanaimo Bars | Famished Fish, Finicky Shark #SRC

If I feed my pregnant sweet tooth anymore, I think my baby girl is going to enter the world asking for chocolate milk. I mean, my 3 year old is an addict to milk and Ovaltine, why not the rest of the kids?

This month for The Secret Recipe Club I was assigned such a delectable blog that it sent my cravings through the roof! I mean Slutty Cheesecake Bars!!?!! Who thinks of these things?!?!

Tracy at Pale Yellow is a science teacher by day and a baker by night. Science and baking go hand in hand right? The catch phrase on her blog even says “Cream together butter and sugar until Pale Yellow“. Yep, that’s science right there!

Peanut Butter Nanaimo Bars | Famished Fish, Finicky Shark #SRC

I would love to be a teacher at her school and enjoy the treats she shares in the lunch room. She has such a strong passion for baking that one day she decided, heck, put it on a blog and share some love.

I’m so glad she shared these Peanut Butter Nanaimo Bars. They are so addicting that I had to stash some in the freezer to keep from devouring them all in the same week!

If you happen to have these ingredients at home, please go make some now! I only made two changes with these bars. Instead of crushed graham crackers and cocoa powder, I used my son’s chocolate graham Avenger cookies. He didn’t mind at all, cuz he got to enjoy these peanut butter goodies. And I used milk chocolate chips instead of bittersweet, because that is what I had on hand.

Peanut Butter Nanaimo Bars | Famished Fish, Finicky Shark #SRC

Peanut Butter Nanaimo Bars

Ingredients:
Crust-
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs or chocolate graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1/3 cup cocoa powder (omit if using chocolate grahams)
Filling-
1 1/4 cups creamy peanut butter
5 Tb unsalted butter
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
Chocolate Topping-
8 oz bittersweet chocolate chips
2 Tb unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Peanut Butter Nanaimo Bars | Famished Fish, Finicky Shark #SRC

First preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 13×9″ baking pan with parchment paper. Hang the parchment paper over the edge of the pan for easy cutting later.

In a food processor, combine the graham crackers and coconut and process until they are fine crumbs.

Peanut Butter Nanaimo Bars | Famished Fish, Finicky Shark #SRC

Melt the butter in the microwave, then blend it quickly with the sugar.

Oh look, creaming together butter and sugar does make it pale yellow!

Mix in the eggs one at a time until completely blended and creamy.

Peanut Butter Nanaimo Bars | Famished Fish, Finicky Shark #SRC

Add the coconut graham mixture. Mix well and pour into the prepared baking pan.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until baked through. Mine were a bit soft in the middle and I didn’t realize it, but they were still yummy!

Peanut Butter Nanaimo Bars | Famished Fish, Finicky Shark #SRC

While the base cools off, prepare the addicting peanut butter filling.

Melt the peanut butter and butter in the microwave until smooth.

Then mix well to combine.

Peanut Butter Nanaimo Bars | Famished Fish, Finicky Shark #SRC

Add in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, and the milk a little at a time, mixing well and scraping the sides of the bowl in between intervals.

Peanut Butter Nanaimo Bars | Famished Fish, Finicky Shark #SRC

Spread or press the peanut butter filling on top of the cooled chocolate crust. Mine was a bit thick and didn’t cover the pan completely. I think my pan was slightly larger than 13×9″, but it didn’t take away the goodness of the bars. 😉

Peanut Butter Nanaimo Bars | Famished Fish, Finicky Shark #SRC

Refrigerate the bars for about an hour.

Then prepare the chocolate by melting in a double boiler with the butter, or microwaving at 50% power for 30 seconds at a time and stirring in between, until chocolate is a smooth consistency.

Carefully spread over the peanut butter filling.

Peanut Butter Nanaimo Bars | Famished Fish, Finicky Shark #SRC

Chill the bars completely before cutting into squares. The serving says 24. I don’t know how many I made. Some I cut into fancy fudge shop sizes and others I cut into big Reese’s cup sizes.

A little tip, when cutting, lift the bars out by the parchment paper handles you made earlier and place the whole block on a firm cutting board. (See that crack down the middle of my bars? These babies are heavy, so grab a good hold of your parchment paper handles!)

Cut by pressing straight down with a sharp knife and serve immediately or refrigerate.

These may also be cut and frozen, with wax paper strips between the layers.

Peanut Butter Nanaimo Bars | Famished Fish, Finicky Shark #SRC

Now you really don’t want to forget the milk with these bars!

Let me know what you think and don’t forget to check out Pale Yellow.

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Peanut Butter Nanaimo Bars

Prep Time: 2 hours, 12 minutes

Cook Time: 18 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Number of servings: 24

Per Serving 420 calories

Fat 26 g

Carbs 44 g

Protein 6 g

24

Peanut Butter Nanaimo Bars

Weight Watchers PointsPlus®: 12

*Nutritional value may vary depending upon which ingredients are used.

*PointsPlus® calculated by Famished Fish and in no way endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc.

Ingredients

    For the Crust

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs or chocolate graham cracker crumbs
  • 3/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder (omit if using chocolate grahams)
  • For the Filling

  • 1 1/4 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 5 Tb unsalted butter
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • For the Chocolate Topping

  • 8 oz bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 2 Tb unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 13×9″ baking pan with parchment paper. Hang the parchment paper over the edge of the pan for easy cutting later.
  2. In a food processor, combine the graham crackers and coconut and process until they are fine crumbs.
  3. Melt the butter in the microwave, then blend it quickly with the sugar.
  4. Mix in the eggs one at a time until completely blended and creamy.
  5. Add the coconut graham mixture. Mix well and pour into the prepared baking pan.
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes until baked through. While the base cools off, prepare the peanut butter filling.
  7. Melt the peanut butter and butter in the microwave until smooth.Then mix well to combine.
  8. Add in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, and the milk a little at a time, mixing well and scraping the sides of the bowl in between intervals.
  9. Spread or press the peanut butter filling on top of the cooled chocolate crust. Refrigerate the bars for about an hour.
  10. Then prepare the chocolate by melting in a double boiler with the butter, or microwaving at 50% power for 30 seconds at a time and stirring in between, until chocolate is a smooth consistency.
  11. Carefully spread the chocolate over the peanut butter filling.
  12. Chill the bars completely before cutting into squares.
  13. Lift the bars out by the parchment paper handles you made earlier and place the whole block on a firm cutting board. Cut by pressing straight down with a sharp knife and serve immediately or refrigerate.

Notes

These may also be cut and frozen, with wax paper strips between the layers.

Eating Clean Around the World and a Book Giveaway

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What’s your resolution for the New Year? Is it organizing your life? Is it getting rid of household clutter? Is it spending more quality time with the family? Is it getting more exercise? Perhaps it is making better food choices for better health, like eating clean?

So what exactly is eating clean? Eating clean doesn’t always have to mean steamed vegetables and plain proteins. I love to shop along the outside of the grocery store. Take a look at your pantry and your refrigerator. Which of these has more abundance of foods? Which of these has a longer shelf life? We all know, the longer the shelf life, the more processed crud is crammed into the food right? But yet we still buy them! And the foods in our refrigerator are consumed quite quickly-because of their freshness factor!

You can learn more about clean eating in my friend Chris Freytag’s eBook and even WIN a copy from Chris herself! Chris Freytag is a nutritional and fitness expert who has literally helped me find a new and healthier self. I have followed Chris on Facebook for 2 years now, beginning with a motivational fitness group she started with her 10 Pound Slim Down workout series. I’ve used her eBook and love it! Check out my review on her page!

Famished Fish, Finicky Shark has teamed up Chris to give away a copy of her eBook Getting Started with Clean Eating.  Continue reading to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below.

Now the challenge. I challenge you this year to shop more on the outskirts of the grocery aisles and less in the middle. Buy whole wheat pastas and fresh herbs and vegetables and skip the packaged “helper” meals. Buy lowfat milk and natural cheeses and skip “cream sauces”. Stock up on packaged beans and lentils and skip the canned ones packed in sodium.

Orange is the new white! Substitute sweet potatoes for white. Choose fresh or frozen vegetables and avoid the ones sitting on the shelf for months. Eat more fruit! Fresh and frozen are all the rave.

Whole grains are cool! You don’t know how many times I’ve swapped whole grains in my kid’s food, or added oats to their pancakes and they had no clue. Make a cake from scratch and sneak in some whole wheat flour and ground flax seeds. Substitute apple sauce and fat free greek yogurt for the oil and butter in your baking. Look for raw cookie recipes like raw date cookies over butter filled sugar cookies.

Add plenty of healthy fat foods like avocados, olive and canola oil, nuts and seeds to your diet. And don’t forget that ever forgiving and satisfying rich dark chocolate. Consumed in moderation, it is a guilt free treat.

I spent the last month of last year preparing some additional clean eating meals for my family and readers. These meals are so rich and delicious, you will forget they are good for you. And some may be a bit higher in calorie, but added up with the healthy fats, they are still body beneficial.

Here are some of my original recipes, scattered from around the world.

America and Extra Fiber

Pumpkin Sage Quinoa

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Herb and Cheese Stuffed Pork Chops

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Mini Quinoa Quiches

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Pumpkin Black Bean Chilis

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Greece and Herbal Sauces

Greek Chicken Meatballs

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Baked Falafels in Pita Pockets

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Greek Herb and Citrus Roasted Potatoes (try these with sweet potatoes!)

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Garbanzo Bean Patties with Tzatziki Yogurt Dip

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Cuba and a Juicy Burger

Pineapple Avocado Turkey Burgers

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Italy and Tomatoes

Penne with Sundried Tomatoes with Baby Lima Beans and Crumbled Bacon

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Whole Wheat Stuffed Crust Personal Pizzas (sneaking in whole wheat for the kids)

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Lasagna Cupcakes

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China and Stir Fry

Spicy Shrimp with Cashews

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Mexico and Beans

Lightened Up Charro Beans

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India and Chicken

Baked Indian Chicken Drumsticks

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Thailand and Peanut Sauce

Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps

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And the treats

Gluten Free Double Chocolate Brownie Cookies

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Banana Key Lime Protein Smoothie

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So do you accept this challenge? A challenge to do good by your body and enrich yourself with good, clean nutrition. And your family’s?

What diet changes have you made this year? Please comment below and let me know if one of these meals is a favorite of yours!

And don’t forget to enter the GIVEAWAY!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Get Mugged by Chocolate-Lowfat Fudgy Brownies in a Mug

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I’ve been mugged. By chocolate and mug cakes and brownies galore. Mug cakes are all the rave right now. Mix a few things in a mug and zap it for a minute or two in the microwave and get a delicious treat out of it?! Sure! I’m especially into testing out the many protein mug cakes for my finicky shark for a great breakfast treat. I’ve seen a few on Instagram I can’t wait to try!

Maybe these mug creations were inspired from the simple microwave lava cake mixes and muffins that are famously sold in grocery stores. Either way, I’m pretty hooked. I came across this super simple brownie mug recipe on Pinterest while looking for a gift ideas for my sons’ teachers. Of course, after calculating the nutrition on this and recipe testing, I came to the conclusion that applesauce works great in this recipe, as well as scaling it back in half! So one great recipe and crafty idea from Pinterest turned into these yummy Lowfat Fudgy Brownies in a Mug.

Quick Ingredients:
2 Tb all purpose flour
2 Tb granulated sugar
1 Tb unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tb semi-sweet chocolate chips
pinch salt
1 Tb unsweetened applesauce
1 Tb water

On a side note, if you mix a whole lot of this for gift giving as I did, measure 1/3 cup, plus 2 Tb mix and add 1 Tb each of applesauce and water for each mug brownie.

First get your ingredients together.

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Next, mix them all inside a  microwave safe mug. None of that fancy stuff with gold foil trim, this brownie will cause enough sparks to your taste buds.

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If you are feeling daring, sprinkle a few more chocolate chips on top of the mixture.

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Microwave this on high heat for 60 seconds. This will get you an almost lava like consistency. For a slightly firmer brownie, but just as fudgy, make it 90 seconds.

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Dust it with some powdered sugar. You know you want to.

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And scoop some out for a fancy bite.

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Or run a knife around the inside of the mug and turn it over on a plate so you can dress it with some whipped cream. Oh yum!

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Now for my craftiness…I wrote on some mugs with a Sharpie Oil Based Pen, then I baked the mugs for 30 minutes at 350. Make sure you get the oil based or ceramic pens because regular Sharpie will stay on in the dishwasher, but it will rub off after a soak in the sink, go figure. But for a quick Christmas gift, it can work on a short time schedule with no time to shop for ceramic pens. Which is what I did-doh! (But I went back for the good pen after the holidays and it works like a charm!) After that I made a quadruple batch of brownie mix, placed it in a zip bag with instructions, shoved that into the mug, topped it with a 4 oz container of applesauce and topped that with a fresh mug brownie. Then I wrapped it up with plastic wrap and viola-gifts for teachers. See, don’t you just love Pinterest?

Finicky shark tips? My boys have requested these several times since first making these 6 days ago! Two fins up!!

Lowfat Fudgy Brownies in a Mug

Prep Time: 4 minutes

Cook Time: 1 minute

Total Time: 5 minutes

Number of servings: 1

Per Serving 244 calories

Fat 4 g

Carbs 52 g

Protein 3 g

1

Lowfat Fudgy Brownies in a Mug

Weight Watchers PointsPlus®: 7

*Nutritional value may vary depending upon which ingredients are used.

*PointsPlus® calculated by Famished Fish and in no way endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tb all purpose flour
  • 2 Tb granulated sugar
  • 1 Tb unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 Tb semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • pinch salt
  • 1 Tb unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 Tb water

Instructions

  1. In a microwavable mug, whisk together dry ingredients.
  2. Stir in chocolate chips.
  3. Add applesauce and water and mix well.
  4. Microwave for 60-90 seconds, depending on desired consistency.
  5. Garnish as desired with powdered sugar or whipped cream.

Notes

Microwave this on high heat for 60 seconds. This will get you an almost lava like consistency. For a slightly firmer brownie, but just as fudgy, make it 90 seconds.

What are you wrapping for your child’s teacher this Christmas?

You may also enjoy Hot Coco Cocoa or Gluten Free Double Chocolate Brownie Cookies

Sweet Cravings-Pumpkin White Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies

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I’d been craving brownies.  And cheesecake.  And pumpkin anything.  What’s the quickest way to satisfy such cravings?  Put it all into one delectable dessert!  Oh, but why can’t all these things be healthy?!?

Oh, but they can.  And they can be just as rich and satisfying, too.  Especially these little gems.  With just around 100 calories each, you’ll want to make these again and again.  And they freeze well too!

These Pumpkin White Chocolate Brownie Bites have a sweet chocolate soft brownie crust and a rich and creamy pumpkin cheesecake topping with bits of white chocolate folded in.  You would never guess it’s lightened up.

Here is my famished fish original ingredient line up.

1 family size box brownie mix
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
1 – 29 oz can pumpkin purée, divided
2 – 8 oz packages Neufchâtel cream cheese
2 Tb light sour cream
3 eggs
1 cup, plus 2 Tb sugar
2 Tb flour
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

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First preheat the oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, combine brownie mix and half the can of pumpkin puree.  Mix well.

You see what I did here?  The pumpkin puree stands in for oil and eggs, knocking of unnecessary fat grams.

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Spread into a large 13×9 inch baking pan that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray.

In another large bowl, cream together the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and pumpkin pie spice.  Mix in the eggs and remaining pumpkin puree.  Fold in white chocolate chips.

Again, I used LIGHT cream cheese and LIGHT sour cream with just a small amount of white chocolate chips.

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Pour mixture over brownie crust in baking pan.

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Spread cheesecake batter over brownie bottom to cover evenly.

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Bake in preheated oven for 50-60 minutes, until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

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Remove from oven and cool pan on wire rack for at least 30 minutes before cutting into 5 rows of 9 squares, making 45 brownie bites.

Or cut one piece out right away, because you just can’t resist.

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Enjoy warm or refrigerate overnight.

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Oh so good, oh so rich, and oh so indulgent.

Makes 45 bars

What is your favorite cheesecake combination?

Pumpkin White Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Number of servings: 45

Per Serving 106 calories

Fat 3 g

Carbs 18 g

Protein 2 g

36

Pumpkin White Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies

Ingredients

  • 1 box Betty Crocker Family Size Brownie Mix
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 - 29 oz can pumpkin purée
  • 2 - 8 oz packages Neufchâtel cream cheese
  • 2 Tb light sour cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup, plus 2 Tb sugar
  • 2 Tb flour
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

You may also enjoy  Lowfat Caramel Cheesecake Dip for Fruit