Chocolate Revel Bars {Recipe}

revel bars

Quite a few years ago, I tasted these babies and immediately asked for the recipe. It may well have been the first time I ever asked for a recipe from anyone.

My kitchen has been a mess these past few weeks with all the holiday cooking and baking, so I don’t have lovely in-process photos for you, colloquially known as “food porn.”

But I will share the recipe here!

Don’t even attempt to use less than a pound of butter for this. If you are looking for low-fat recipes, try my Da Vinci Dip recipe. Also note: ♩♪♫♬ this is my blog and I’ll blog what I want to ♫♪♩.

Chocolate Revel Bars

Ingredients:

Filling:

  • 1 bag (12 oz or 2 cups) chocolate chips
  • 2 Tbsp REAL BUTTER
  • 1 can CONDENSED Milk (not evaporated)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Crust:

  • 4 sticks (1 pound) REAL BUTTER, softened
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp maple flavor
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 3 1/2 cups old fashioned oats

Instructions:

  1. Warm  filling ingredients on the stove at low heat while making crust.
  2. Preheat oven to 375℉
  3. Cream butter and sugar together in a large bowl.
  4. Add salt and maple flavor, stir.
  5. Slowly incorporate flour and then oats until thoroughly mixed.
  6. Press half of the crust mixture into the bottom of a Jelly Roll pan (about 15″ x 10″ x 1″)
  7. Pour filling over the bottom crust and spread out with a spatula.
  8. Crumble remaining crust on top of filling and gently press down into the filling.
  9. Bake at 375℉ for 30 minutes.

When cool, cut into SMALL squares and serve.

I had my first weird pregnancy craving while making this. I don’t think I’ve ever used sweetened condensed milk before, and it was all I could do not to lick the can while I was pouring it into the pot. Something about the color and creaminess. It was perfection. I’m going to stop thinking about it before I start drooling over my keyboard.

Happy New Year!

Pinwheels—the Addictive Finger Food

Ham and Green Onion Pinwheels

As New Year’s Eve looms on the horizon, I am already scratching my head wondering what I’ll make at our New Year’s Eve party.

My mother would always make “pinwheels”—a name I later heard applied to these sorts of finger foods.

You take a flour tortilla, spread cream cheese over it, lay a layer of sliced ham, roll it up around a pickle, insert toothpicks like a crazy person, and slice. Pickles invariably fly out of one or two and soar through the air like little green cannonballs. Mom doesn’t particularly like making them, but if I help, she figures once a year ain’t bad.

But there are plenty of ways to make pinwheels. Last week I went to a party and had pinwheels that were made from tortillas, cream cheese, taco seasoning, green chilies, and cheese. We dipped them into salsa.

I’ve never seen pinwheels made with corn tortillas, but I have seen ones made with spinach-flavored flour tortillas. You could probably make them in any color or flavor, like with that artesian tomato type.

Perhaps the simplest recipe I’ve seen is cream cheese hand mixed with salsa and spread on the tortilla.

Recipes from friends

Cheesy titles complements of yours truly. Don’t blame my friends.

Gloria’s Tortilla hors d’oeuvres

1 pkg of 10″ tortillas (I like to use whole wheat)
8 oz (1 cup) sour cream
8 oz cream cheese
4 oz chopped, mild green chili peppers
4 oz chopped black olives
2 pkgs Budding thin sliced meat (ham or beef)
small onion, chopped
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp Lowry salt (I use onion powder or skip)

Mix all ingredients…
spread on tortillas, roll up, refrigerate overnight, slice in 1 inch pinwheels before serving.

Veggie Scramble

Chop carrots, radishes, cucumber, green pepper and green onion in a food processor, mix with cream cheese, and spread on the tortilla (from Katie)

Billy the Kid pinwheels

using goat cheese, tomatoes, and basil (From Katie)

Southwest Round Up

with cream cheesesour cream, black beans, salsa, and chopped red pepper (from Katie)

Spicy Turkey Pinwheels

with cream cheeseturkey, pepper jack cheese, black olives, and ranch (or spicy ranch) dressing (from Bev)

Recipes online

Here’s some recipes found online. Out of respect for the original posters, I’m linking to them so you can click through to read the recipe.

Fiesta Pinwheels

Fiesta Pinwheels

with cream cheese, sour cream, olives, green onions, cheese, pimento, green chilies on Make Life Delicious

and also picante sauce and garlic powder on Allrecipes

Ham and Onion Pinwheels

with cream cheese, sliced ham and green onions on SheKnowsFood (see top image)

Home on the Range Pinwheels

with cream cheese, ranch mix, green onions, green chilies, and black olives on SheKnowsFood

Oriental Turkey Pinwheels

with oriental sauce, green onions, smoked turkey, and lettuce on SheKnowsFood

Boursin Pinwheels

with Boursin cheese, basil, sweet red peppers, deli meat, and mayo on SheKnowsFood

Spinach Roll-Ups

Spinach roll-ups

with cream cheese, spinach, ranch mix, mayo, sour cream, bacon bits, and onion on Allrecipes

Tomato Pesto Pinwheels

with cream cheese, ham, sun-dried tomato pesto (or basil and sun-dried tomatoes and red leaf lettuce on Allrecipes

into the swing (of things)

The last few weeks have been filled with chasing the little man around (he’s very fast at scooting), buying stuff from thrift stores, and trying to get into a schedule of housework, which right now includes a whole lot of catch-up work from the last year of being pregnant, having a newborn, and catching up on all the stuff besides housework that I’ve needed to do.

little champ

CAUGHT RED HANDED: Little J likes to pass the time by getting into things and chewing on shoes. He will go after them while you are wearing them, too, which sometimes makes social gatherings even more awkward.

Other hobbies include showing ice cubes who’s boss.

Pulling things off of shelves and waving them about madly.

Eating “cookies” and looking grown up. (Looks like I will need to cut his hair again)

And literally getting into the swing.

this momma

Now that Joey is finally starting to nap regularly—it’s still a battle sometimes. Obviously he would rather spend every moment with his awesome mommy—I am able to catch up on things and tie up loose strings. (rhyme not intended)

I’ve tried to take hold of my chores because I have been slacking and not getting into a schedule. I’d been writing daily to-dos and notes to myself, but needed a checklist/schedule I could keep constant. Once I decorate the magnets, I will post a tutorial on how to make your own :)

I finally finished the tiny throw pillows (each is about the size of a man’s fist) for my neighbor’s daughter, who was born in December… Hey. They took a long time because I hand-embroidered her name on the backs of the pillows, I’m new to embroidery, and I rarely get more than 3 consecutive minutes to do crafts.

Because I tend to not have 3 consecutive minutes to do anything except sleep and (sometimes) cook, I’ve gotten really far behind on folding laundry. Also because I hate folding laundry. This is about 5 loads of laundry and took me hours to fold, because I have an adorable sweet baby to chase around and entertain and feed and change. (I wouldn’t trade lives with anybody!)

I’ve also been going to church 8-10 hours a week and hosting two Bible studies. Lots of God, lots of treats, like these fruit tarts I made in a graham cracker crust. Check out the recipe here.

This one’s crust wasn’t particularly pleased with my brushing it with almond bark. I don’t recommend this for crumb-y crusts.

Baby Food

I would love to make baby food for the little man. Unfortunately, with all the pizza and ice cream in our tiny little freezer (and frozen fruit…) we have no room for baby food, yet.

So in the meantime, I’m feeding my little man organic jarred baby food that was marked way down and on sale at Babies R Us. It also makes me happy, because then I get to reuse the baby jars later.

Also, I am relying on those awesome mesh feeders I talked about as a really easy way to give Baby J frozen fruit and veggies all the while soothing his teething gums and teaching him to self-feed. I got one from Babies R Us but they are available in two-packs from Amazon here.

The plan was to just start him on veggies before introducing the glory that is fruit, but now I am allowing him some as a treat or “dessert” after he eats the vegetables. As much of a meat-loving family we are, I think that a vegetarian diet is the healthiest out there, and I am not going to give him meat until he is no longer breastfed and is a toddler. Hopefully by then LT and I will be eating mostly fish and lean meats (I am already trying to limit red meats—though I love them so—to sit-down restaurants and pasta dishes).

If you are interested in making baby food for your young-un, here’s a blog post from Simply Thrifty that can help  you out.

Sort-of Authentic Italian Lasagna

LT isn’t particularly a fan of Ricotta or cottage cheese, but that’s what my grandmother always used in her lasagna. So, because I love my husband and want him to be happy (and was curious about lasagna), I went in search of a recipe that didn’t use either of the chunky cheeses.

Some recipes said to just use shredded mozzarella, but I did want a little more texture. Then I discovered bechamel sauce, which is the white sauce that the Italians actually use in their lasagne, along with pork. So I altered my grandmother’s already yummy recipe to use bechamel. It was wonderful. And surprisingly easy, considering I am no chef. And because I love my readers oh so much, I have decided to share the recipe with ya’ll. So enjoy!

Prep time: 1-2 hours. Cook time: 30 min. (Some people think that lasagna tastes better if it ages in the refrigerator for one day. I am not sure if that means they bake it first…)

INGREDIENTS

Ragu (meat sauce):

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb can tomatoes
  • 12 oz tomato paste
  • 1 T parsley flakes
  • 1 ½ t salt
  • garlic salt to taste

Bechamel sauce:

  • ½ c (1 stick) butter
  • ½ c flour
  • 4+ c WARM milk
  • ¾ c shredded Italian cheese (Parmesan is the most authentic)
  • homemade Italian seasoning to taste
  • salt, pepper, parsley to taste

Other ingredients:

  • 10 oz lasagna noodles (or 10 noodles)
  • 1 lb mozzarella sliced thin (=two packages of sliced cheese)

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS

I cook the meat sauce, noodles, and Bechamel sauce simultaneously. You’ll use four burners if you have to heat the milk.

Ragu:

  • Brown the meat in a large pot.
Noodles: 
  • Boil water for the lasagna noodles.
Bechamel sauce:
  • Heat the milk on low heat until ready to use, in its own pan.
  • Melt the butter on medium-low heat in a large sauce pan (don’t use a nonstick pan).
Ragu:
  • Drain and return to pot.
  • Add other 5 ingredients for meat sauce.
  • Simmer uncovered until sauce is thick, 45 min-1 hr. (Just keep it on low while you prepare everything else. The tomato paste will soften. Stir, and it will thicken to a good consistency)

Bechamel sauce:

  • Once the butter is bubbling, brown the flour and mix it until it doesn’t smell like flour anymore, 3-5 minutes.

Noodles:

  • Add noodles and cook according to package directions. Dry on wax paper, or let dry haphazardly in the colander, like I do.

Bechamel sauce:

  • Add milk slowly while stirring vigorously to keep lumps from forming.
  • Stir slowly over moderate heat until thick. Add extra milk as needed.
  • Add seasoning and cheese to taste.

Preheat oven to 375°F

Place half of the noodles in a 9×13 pan.

Layer half of the bechamel sauce, half the mozzarella, half the meat sauce.

Finish with noodle, bechamel, mozzarella, meat.

(I like thinner layers, so I usually go the 3 layers of everything route . You have to get a bit creative with spacing the cheese and noodles, but no one has ever noticed a gap of cheese here or there)

Bake 30 min uncovered. Let stand 15 min covered with tin foil.

REHEATING INSTRUCTIONS

Heat covered (with foil) at 220°F for 20-25 min. (This is generic reheating instructions for lasagna. Maybe it’s just our oven, but 220 is way too low to heat our lasagna. We reheat portions at 350 for 15-30 minutes.)

RECIPE VARIATIONS

For a more authentic lasagna, use pork instead of hamburger and use fresh tomatoes and pasta, rather than canned or packaged.

For a less authentic (or more Southern Italian) lasagna, find a different recipe that uses cottage cheese or ricotta instead of bechamel sauce. Most American recipes use either cheese. You could also try exchanging a pre-made Ragu sauce for the meat sauce.

Have fun, and buon appetito!