Category Archives: My Life

Chocolate Swirl Bars–A Slice of my Life

Most kids love to cook. Once when I was a Cub Scout den mother, I asked the boys whether they would rather do a science experiment or cook something–cooking won by a landslide.  This recipe for Chocolate Swirl Bars meets the kid-friendly test.  The measurements allow you to work a bit on math if you want.  Relatively few ingredients means it is easy to mix up.  And best of all, they LOVE the action of swirling the chocolate into the peanut butter dough.

chocolate swirl bar

Bar cookies with peanut butter and chocolate chips.

Note: If you’re making chocolate swirl bars with grandchildren or a group of kids, be sure to check for peanut allergies before you start. Unfortunately, one of my grandsons and one of my great-grandsons would be unable to eat these.

I know they are popular with kids, because my youngest son started making them when he was in eighth grade.  He liked making the chocolate swirl bars, and turned it into a business.  We discussed the cost of the ingredients, which he had to figure out and then return to me from his earnings.

The inspiration for starting a business could have come from Junior Achievement–a school program that helped kids in high school start their own business.  His older son had quite a company going, supervising a group of kids who made macrame’ plant hangers back when macrame’ was all the rage.

At the time, my husband also acted as an advisor for a J.A. group at another high school.  I still have a spatter guard for a skillet and a hamburger press, both made by teens, as reminders of those projects.

But COOKIES! A much better business, in my humble opinion.

My son baked a batch and took small samples of the cookies door to door in our neighborhood, fed them to the neighbors and took orders for a dozen cookies.  I don’t know how long before his interest flagged, but it may very well have been the beginning of a lasting talent in salesmanship.

Whether you cook them yourself, or find some kids to do the baking, you’ll find that the only problem with these chocolate swirl bars is waiting until they are cool enough to come out of the pan. The smell is heavenly. The taste likewise. Can you eat just one?

Other kid-friendly cookie recipes:

Peanut butter cookies

Pumpkin Cookies

Rhema’s Raisin Bars

Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Swirl Cookies

Serves 24
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 40 minutes
Total time 1 hour
Allergy Egg, Peanuts, Wheat
Meal type Dessert
Easy to make Peanut Butter- Chocolate Chip Swirl Bars look great and taste as good as they look.


  • 1/2 cup Peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup butter (softened)
  • 3/4 cups brown sugar (tightly packed)
  • 3/4 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 10-12 oz chocolate chips


1. Beat well the first four ingredients.
2. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
3. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in separate bowl, then beat into the peanut butter mixture.
4. Spread into greased 9" x 13" pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top, as evenly as possible.
5. Bake 5 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from oven, and draw knife through batter to make marbled effect with chocolate.
6. Return to oven and bake for 30-40 minutes in preheated 350 degree oven, until brown on edges, and almost solid in center. (Will continue to firm up out of oven.)
7. Cool on wire rack for ten minutes, then cut in squares. Put cookies on a cooling rack until completely cool. Freeze or store in airtight container.


You can use either semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips and either smooth or crunchy peanut butter in these delicious cookies.  Kids love to make them and get creative with the marbleing.

Guacamole served with corn ships

Dip Into a Happy New Year with Guacamole

Here’s a Slice of My Life entry that should have come earlier, so you could make Guacamole for New Year’s Eve and Bowl Game parties. But here’s to partying all year round.

When we moved to Arizona from Ohio in the mid 1960s, I started adding Southwestern dishes to my menus.  At restaurants, I frequently have to skip guac because it has onions. I was happy to read that original Mexican quac generally does not have onion–just the Americanized versions.  Although lime might be more common than lemon, I use lemon because that is what I have on hand.

The best hint here, is in how to remove the seed–easily with a deep cut of the knife.

So here’s the process:

Cutting the avocado

Cut into the avocado, pushing the knife into the seed. (Don’t push so hard you’ll squish the other side of the fruit.)

remove seed from avocado

Remove seed from avocado, by lifting up with knife. (I slide the knife through tines of a fork to gently remove the seed and discard it.)

Open the cut avocado

Open the cut avocado and scoop the fruit into a bowl.

Avocado Guacamole Ingredients

Easy Guacamole ingredients: avocado, lemon, garlic salt, hot sauce.  mash together with fork so it still has some lumps. Restaurants with table-side guacamole makers get creative and add all kinds of things. You can experiment, too. Hotter, cooler, more ingredients.

Guacamole served with corn ships

Guacamole served with corn chips.

Happy New Guacamole to you!


Ohio State Buckeyes–The Guaranteed Winner in PB and Chocolate

Will a plate of Buckeyes affect the outcome of a football rivalry? A guaranteed winner.

Ohio State Buckeyes

Ohio State Buckeye Cookies

Are they cookies or candy?  Whatever Buckeyes are–the ones we are baking and eating today are NOT the Buckeye nut.  That nut, related to the Hickory, can be eaten by deer and squirrels, but not humans.  They look kinda like the little cookies/candy on the plate.

This weekend the whole state of Ohio vibrates with excitement. It is the weekend of THE BIG GAME.  The Buckeyes play against “That state up North”.  If that is not enough of a clue for the football clueless, team _e_bers are cautioned against using the 13th letter of the alphabet for a week. (Which can be tricky when you are addressing Coach Urban _eyer).

The rivalry goes WAAAAY back.  In fact, even before the first football game the two schools played, in 1897, way back before 1837 when Michigan became a state, the two states were skirmishing on the political field.  What is now called Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, belonged to Ohio.  A complicated deal traded the city of Toledo and the Toledo Strip to Ohio and the Upper Peninsula to Michigan, after a war of words known as The Toledo War.

Harriette Anderson Joins the Buckeyes

Ohio State University stadium

The Ohio State “Shoe” in 1923–one year after it was built.

My mother was attending Ohio State in 1923 a year after the “Shoe”, the massive new stadium, opened.  The second game in that stadium in 1922 was against Michigan Wolverines and announcers said the crowd was 72,000.  That in a stadium with 62,210 seats!  Crowd sizes measure the enthusiasm even that far back for the rivalry game.

Family Tradition Continues

I arrived at Ohio State in 1956 and promptly joined “Block O” a section of students who made pictures out of cards they held up.  Ten years later, my sister also became one of the Buckeyes.  She has never recovered from the fact that Ohio State’s marching band, TBDBITL–The Best Damned Band in the Land, was all male until AFTER she graduated, so she never got to play her trumpet out on that hallowed field.

Here’s a page with all the skinny  on the rivalry. When I was a student at Ohio State, we won two and lost two, but recently, the state up north as not been doing so well.

Game Time Sweets–The Recipe

But on with the Buckeyes cookies–or candy if that’s your category for this peanut butter/chocolate treat.

According to a December 1972 recipe in OSU employee newsletter, the Buckeyes recipe was invented in 1967 (just seven years after I graduated from Ohio State).  The “original” contains paraffin, which I wouldn’t want to put into the chocolate coating even if I had any on hand. But if you want to try the original–be my guest.

Instead, I surfed for a different version of Buckeyes, and found this slightly lower-sugar, lower-fat recipe on the Smitten Kitchen site.  Rather than repeat it here, I suggest you follow the link to Smitten Kitchen.

However, I must warn you that the volume amounts and the measurements by weight did not compute on my scale.  For instance, I found that a 1-pound jar of Jif Creamy Peanut Butter made a generous cup and a half, which equals 454 grams, not 145, and was definitely enough peanut butter for my taste. I don’t know why she thought 190 grams would be necessary.

Also, the air is dry here in Arizona, which may have accounted for the dough being too dry to form into balls until I added another couple of tablespoons of melted butter.  So play it by ear.

I used dark chocolate chips instead of chopped chocolate.

Finally, getting the dough dipped in the chocolate so that only a little spot of peanut butter filling shows was much harder than I thought it would be. It would be a snap to just cover half the ball, but that doesn’t look like a buckeye to me.  Smitten Kitchen’s methods didn’t work for me. Let me know how you cope with that step.

I’m hoping we will win tomorrow, but on the list of unpredictability–the outcome of the annual Ohio State Buckeye/Michigan Wolverine game stands out.  You never know what will happen.  Wish us luck.

But peanut butter and chocolate is a guaranteed winner. Have a cookie.

Ohio State Buckeyes. Great football team. Great cookie. Fitting pillow.

Buckeyes and pillow

Buckeyes with the never humble pillow for THE Ohio State University alumni.