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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. have fun and be safe… oh, and eat well :)

    Danis last blog post..#46) Banana Bites & Cinnamoney

  2. These bars would keep me going for couple days. They look good.

    Hélènes last blog post..Toffee Squares

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. Have fun on your spring break :) Thanks for the awesome recipe, deff gonna try it sometime.

    Alexandras last blog post..And a dash of cinnamon…

  6. Car ADD…lol.I think I suffer from the same thing!

    leslies last blog post..Asian Beef with Broccoli and Noodles

  7. Yep, these look good! I think I’d have to at least have one meal left so that when I got home I wouldn’t have to go to the store that day.

    Claires last blog post..Chocolate on Call

  8. I’m a last minute packer as well, but I do always remember to bake some treats for the trip! I would love to bring these bars, but I’d probably eat the whole batch :)

    sharons last blog post..Quick & Easy Creoleesque Chicken & Shrimp

  9. Will be making these for the hubby. 2 days in a car…ugh. I remember my family car trips not so fondly. ;) Hope you have a good time.

    peabodys last blog post..Milk and cookies make the world a better place…

  10. I wish that I have an oven s that I could cook that!

    Paul Us last blog post..The TV that blogging bought

  11. Those look so good! I love anything with peanut butter and chocolate!

    Lyndas last blog post..Homemade Chicken and Noodles

  12. 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?

  13. Your mom is a hoot, “No goulash or hamburger gravy, right?” (That post of yours cracked me up!)

    Have a safe & enjoyable trip. These peanut butter bars would make any drive enjoyable!

    Sandies last blog post..A Recipe and Tutorial: How to Make Basic Crepes

  14. Looks amazing, very high caloric though.

    Learn English Onlines last blog post..50+ Blogs and Websites to read in English

  15. Yay pb and choc!

    The Duo Dishess last blog post..10 Items or Less

  16. Peanut butter cake bars soiund like a better way to prepare for vacation then packing if you ask me! :)

    mariss last blog post..They’re Always After Me Lucky Charms

  17. 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! ;)

  18. Those bars look good! I’ll have to keep them in mind when I get ready for our road trip later this month.

    Lisas last blog post..Potato Bread Bowls

  19. Oh…. have fun on your vacation! I’m planning a Stay-cation I think. Spring break!

    ~Delta Whiskey

    Delta Whiskeys last blog post..Barefoot! Chicken Picatta

  20. Mmmmmm, those look so good! Have a great vacation, lots of fun and relaxing!

    Lyndas last blog post..Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry


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