Melba’s Swap Shop
Everything is better with peanut butter
DEAR MELBA: For these Peanut Butter bars, you can prepare your peanut butter cookie dough yourself or you can use the packaged peanut butter cookie dough. They both result in good bars.
PEANUT BUTTER BARS
1 package (16 ounces) peanut butter cookie mix, prepared but unbaked
1 package (10 ounces) peanut butter chips
1/2 cup half-and-half
11/2 tablespoons peanut butter, approximately
1 cup chopped nuts, your choice
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Press prepared cookie dough as thin as possible into bottom of 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Do not press it up the sides. This makes the crust. The thinner the crust, the better. You will have a little leftover dough; use it for cookies.
Measure out 1/2 cup peanut butter chips and set aside. In small saucepan, combine remaining peanut butter chips, half-and-half and peanut butter. Cook over medium heat until all ingredients are melted. Remove from heat and stir in nuts and vanilla.
Pour over cookie crust, spreading gently with rubber spatula. Sprinkle with reserved peanut butter chips and bake 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting. Will cut into about 2 dozen to 3 dozen bars.
— Mary Lee Colwell, Wilburton
Happy 100th, Mr. Hrdy!
DEAR MELBA: This request is from the children of Frank Hrdy. We are so pleased to announce that our father, Frank Hrdy, will be 100 years young on Aug. 18. He would love to receive birthday cards from readers. His address is Route 4, Box 20, Okarche, OK 73762.
— Elaine Straka, Okarche
Box tops requested
DEAR MELBA: It’s that time of year again. Please ask readers to send their Box Tops for Education to Edmond Central Middle School, Attention: Candace Gideo, 500 E 9, Edmond, OK 73034.
And, thanks so much to all the readers who continue to send them to us.
Sign of maturity
DEAR MELBA: Here is another church sign I saw in Harrah: “Someday I will be what I am becoming.”
— Bill Fisher, Harrah
Croutons are tops
DEAR READERS: While I was visiting with Jennifer McNeil recently, she mentioned that her late father, Raymond McNeil, was a good cook. One of his favorite recipes was for making croutons. She shared the recipe. I made them. They’re really good, if you like garlic, and I do.
I took some privileges with her father’s recipe. Example: She said her father used about 1/4 teaspoon salt. I used 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt. You’ll like them either way.
1 loaf (14 ounces) sourdough bread, sliced
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 cloves garlic, crushed
You can cut bread slices in approximately 1-inch cubes, spread on a cookie sheet and set aside, at room temperature, until they’re dry and crisp. In a hurry? Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spread bread cubes on cookie sheet and put in oven until thoroughly dry. Cool and put in large bowl that can be sealed.
In cast iron skillet, or any medium skillet, heat oil. Add salt and garlic. Cook over low heat until garlic starts to sizzle. Remove from heat and pour over croutons. Cover and shake until well coated. Remove cover and let cool completely, tossing from time to time to be sure they’re all well coated. Store at room temperature. Serve with salads.
If you have a problem other readers might help solve or an idea you’d like to share, email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Melba’s Swap Shop, Box 25125, Oklahoma City, OK 73125. Please include your name and address.