Cooking with Anna: Chocolate-Peanut Butter Squares

Ready for tasty chocolate granola bars? Find the step-by-step pictures and instructions below, with the recipe following. Use your creativity for optional add-ins!

Measure butter.

Pour honey into a measuring cup.

Melt butter.

While waiting for the butter to melt, measure oats into a bowl. Mix cocoa into the oats.

After the butter is melted, add the honey. Stir.

Measure peanut butter and add to the honey/butter mixture.

Stir.

You’ll need vanilla and cinnamon.

Heat until the mixture is just bubbling, making sure to stir occasionally so the bottom doesn’t burn.

Pour cinnamon and vanilla in.

Pour heated mixture over the oats.

Stir. And for those who enjoy taste testing, now is the time!

Spoon mixture into a pan.

Spread evenly.

Put in freezer to allow to harden up a bit.

Delicious. Thanks, Anna, for another great recipe.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Squares

by Anna Maxwell

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Melt butter in pan. While melting, toss oats with cocoa in medium bowl. Once the butter has melted, add honey and peanut butter and cook on low until it starts to bubble. Remove from heat and quickly stir in vanilla and cinnamon. Pour over oats and mix well. Press firmly into 8×8″ pan, and freeze until firm enough to be able to cut. Cut and place in container. Best if stored in refrigerator.

    “My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste.”

    –Proverbs 24:13

    ITonRamp Webinar + Hot Chocolate = Perfect Combo

    I (Sarah) am taking the ITonRamp course, HTML-Step One in Website Design. I’m learning a lot and finding it challenging. Every Wednesday, I join other students to watch the webinar, all from the comfort of home. Joseph teaches, and in between his teaching, he answers questions students are asking him (via a question box). Lately, what I’ve found to make a perfect webinar is the addition of hot chocolate :-). The webinars generally last an hour and a half, and then we have a reading assignment and homework (which is extremely practical) to do before the next week.

    I come away from the webinars amazed at the practical information and the way it is presented. Okay, so you probably think I am biased, and I guess I am just a little, but it’s true.

    The Lord laid the burden of ITonRamp on our hearts, and it finally came to fruition this last year. Families want a way to prepare their young people for a future career and to become more familiar with their computers. We’ve also found parents are taking the courses and greatly benefitting from them too.

    Nathan continues to teach the five week Home Track, which is being renamed Computer Essentials. It entails a weekly webinar, with students given the ability to type questions to Nathan during the webinar, reading assignments, and homework. He will be starting the next class February 27th. I really encourage you, if you haven’t already, to consider enrolling one of your young people, or even you yourself, in it. It is very, very practical. Last track, we even had a business owner enroll employees in it.

    Love,
    Sarah

    “So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding.”

    –(Proverbs 2:2).

    Babies on the Way Update

    I know there have been several asking for baby updates, and you’re right, it’s time!

    Let’s start with Melanie. She is currently over half way and is grateful for a fairly non-dramatic pregnancy. She still has to be careful of her activity level being watchful of contractions: no real exercise, limiting trips up and down the stairs, and keeping stress and excitement to a minimum. She still has contractions, but they don’t seem to be very concerning, and the doctor is satisfied with how she is doing. Melanie is on a heavier dose of progesterone, administered by a shot, once weekly. We give them a fair amount of help each week. Mom goes grocery shopping for them and we girls (Sarah, Anna, and Mary) clean their house. From all appearances, Baby seems to be doing fine, is active and has a great heartbeat. We continue to pray that Baby will wait until close to due date before entering the world!

    So far, Anna Marie has had an uneventful, smooth sailing pregnancy with normal first trimester nausea. She is about four weeks ahead of Melanie and is excited to be starting into the third trimester. Baby seems very active and to have a great heartbeat.

    Both Nathan and Melanie and Christopher and Anna Marie are thankful to the Lord Jesus for their little ones and are looking forward to meeting him/her.

    There you have it!

    Love,
    Sarah

    Melanie and Anna Marie and Babies

    “For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.” Psalms 139:13

    Snow

    Our winter has been quite mild, with less than an inch of snow. That changed this morning, when a pretty, white blanket quietly fell on our town. It is a reminder of God’s cleansing over the lives of those who have accepted Him as Savior.

    “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18

    How can blood make something white? This, my friend, is the beautiful mystery of following Jesus, Who loved you so much, that if it had only been you on this earth, He still would have given His life. Just for you. It is an incredible thing to serve Him. He alone is worthy to be praised.

    “Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.” Revelation 5:12

    Love,
    Sarah

    Bethie getting a ride in the sled.


    What a great daddy!

    Bethany was pretty serious all bundled up--but then the smiles came.

    The squirrels are grateful for the food provided (sunflower seeds).

    Cooking with Anna: Yogurt Making

    Making yogurt is not hard nor is it a complicated process. And, if you flop a batch? No problem. There are plenty of things plain yogurt is good in, so runny yogurt would work great. Start thinking muffins, cornbread, smoothies, and more. That being said, we have not had any problems (except for forgetting the milk on the stove and what a mess that makes!) that we can remember with this way of making yogurt. The full recipe is at the end of the post.

    Get your gallon of whole milk out.

    Pour the milk into a large pot. We know others that use crockpots, but Anna prefers the large pot.

    Stir, keeping an eye on the temperature. Beware; it does take a while to warm up, so it is easy to forget about it! Setting a timer is a must. We have experienced forgetting it and finding milk boiling out of the pot–it got just a little too hot!

    Checking the temperature.

    Once the temperature has reached 185-190°, remove pot from stove. Place the pot in the sink, and fill sink with cold water.

    Stir occasionally, keeping an eye on the temperature. Once it has reached 120°, you are ready for the next step.

    It’s best to have these next two ingredients out and ready so once your milk has cooled you can add them. This is unflavored gelatin.

    Yogurt starter ready.

    Dump into cooled milk.

    Empty gelatin packets in. Make sure you stir the milk well!

    Pour milk into jars.

    Put lids on each jar.

    Place in cooler.

    Give the jars a warm/hot water bath.

    Let sit in cooler for 6-10 hours.

    Take out of cooler, wiping each jar off.

    Yogurt is ready to be placed in the refrigerator.

    After yogurt is chilled, enjoy! Make it into fruit yogurt by stirring in non-sugar sweetened jam. Add vanilla and honey for a creamy, vanilla yogurt. Top with fruit and drizzle honey for a pretty breakfast. Add yogurt to a breakfast smoothie. The possibilites are endless. Use your creativity.

    Anna’s Yogurt Recipe

    1 gallon whole milk
    2 packets unflavored gelatin
    1 Yoplait yogurt (I like to use Yoplait, because I know it works well. The little bit of starter doesn’t flavor the batch, so it doesn’t matter what flavor you get. Important: whatever brand you get should say “Live and Active Cultures” on it!)

    Pour milk into saucepan. Turn on low. Stir while heating milk (Doesn’t have to be constant, but don’t want the milk to burn on the bottom). Heat milk to 185-190° then place pan into cool bath of water in sink. Cool to 120°. Thoroughly whisk in the yogurt starter (Yoplait yogurt). Whisk in gelatin. Pour into jars and put on lids. Place jars in small cooler. Cover jars with hot tap water. The goal is to keep the cooler around 110°, but it varies. I really don’t watch the temperature that closely anymore I just make sure it stays nice and warm in the cooler. Let it sit for about 6-10 hours give or take a few hours. When it has reached the desired consistency/tartness remove from cooler and put in fridge. Once it has cooled serve and enjoy.

    You can make smaller batches just by shrinking the recipe without any problems.

    “Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.”

    –Genesis 50:21

    Mooooo … Mmmm Milk

    Ready for the tour

    Saturday, we girls, Mom, Bethie and Abby, went to a dairy farm for a tour. This dairy farm, Shatto, is known for their amazing milk. The milk is sold in glass bottles in a number of stores in the Kansas City area. It was an interesting time, and it made me appreciate the hard work farmers go to to provide us food. To you farming families, thank you! Thank you for your sacrifices, for your endurance, for working to produce quality food. We are grateful!

    Love,
    Sarah

    A close up.
    Okay, so I milked a cow, just briefly, but enough to give me the experience. Abby perched on my lap and watched me.
    Bethie in the Ergo carrier.
    Cows lined up to be milked, the automatic way.
    In front of the milk truck. For those a bit older reading this, you'll know that milk used to be delivered in trucks like these.

    “If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey.” (Numbers 14:8)