Vacation Preparation (Peanut Butter Cake Bars Recipe)

We leave on our Spring Break vacation this coming Friday. We are heading south to visit my parents, who live near sunny South Padre Island, Texas. With three kiddos, flying is typically not at all economical, so we usually make the 2 day drive all packed into the good old minivan stuffed to the top with treats and toys to entertain us all. Out of the five of us, I am normally the one who gets what my husband refers to as “car ADD”. I do pretty good on the way to places, but it is driving home that forces my ADD to come out. I can’t sit still, I get restless and I can hardly wait to get out of the car.

I know that several of you are master’s at vacation preparation. I am great at planning, but I never start packing things until the night before we leave. I know that probably makes some of you squirm to even imagine putting off packing until the last minute, but it seems to work really well for us and I rarely forget to bring something important along.

In the couple of weeks leading up to vacation, one of the routine things we do is to try to clean out the freezer and pantry as much as we can by using the food we have on hand in our meals for the week or two. We come up with some pretty interesting combination’s, especially when the countdown to vacation draws nearer.  The night before vacation tends to be the most mis-matched meals of all, but my kids do not seem to mind. I love coming home to a cleaned out pantry, fridge and freezer… a clean slate to start planning with again!

These Peanut Butter Cake Bars are one of those perfect “clean out the pantry” type recipes. Most everything in this recipe includes items many of us keep on hand. Plus, if you make these right before vacation, you will have a tasty treat to take on the road with you – nothing says peaceful road trip like keeping your kids mouths full of food the whole way!

Peanut Butter Cake Bars from March/April issue of Simple & Delicious Magazine

  • 2/3 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package (11-1/2 ounces) milk chocolate chips

In a large bowl, cream the butter, peanut butter, sugar and brown sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate chips.
Spread into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Yield: 2 dozen.

Looking for some more great recipes to clean out your pantry, fridge and freezer? Check out what these food bloggers have to offer:

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  1. says

    Suddenly I am very thankful that I’m an only child! It never occured to me that had there been more than just the two of us, we would have had to *drive*. Well, in all honesty, we probably just wouldn’t have travelled. I’m about to hop on a plane tomorrow, but I was sure to pack a few snacks because that airport food calls and is always so expensive.

    Judiths last blog post..Taste & Create: Hollandaise Sauce

  2. says

    These look so yummy! I am right there with you on the packing… Everything is much more fresh if I wait till the last second! Have fun on vacation!

    Janets last blog post..Kids

  3. pat/Mom says

    We are really looking forward to your visit! Hope I can keep up with your cooking prowess. I’m somewhat intimidated. We will have fresh peaches, tho’, with sugar and cream. How about homemade chicken and noodles. No goulash or hamburger gravy, right?

  4. Lisa :) says

    Have a safe and fun trip!
    Ooh, I saw your mom’s comment here, and I’m so jealous–fresh peaches with sugar and cream….
    Feel free to adopt me anytime! 😉


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