peanut butter

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I’m sorry for the delay in choosing a winner for this delicious giveaway! The events in Boston recently definitely made me step away from blogging for awhile. I’m back now, and after meeting so many amazing therapy dogs on Boylston Street and feeling their healing powers firsthand, I am excited to announce that Noel is the winner of this giveaway. Please email me traveleatlove (@) Thank you, Gearharts Chocolates and Companions for Heroes!

How cute is this chocolate puppy? Well, I will have you know that, in addition to being adorable, he’s really delicious too. You can’t go wrong with handmade chocolate stuffed with homemade peanut utter, especially when it’s for a good cause.

Geartharts Chocolates started in Charlottesville, Virginia, a place I am dying to visit, and is headed up by Tim Gearhart, who learned his craft at the CIA. Tim’s career includes being stationed in Kuwait during the Gulf War where he served as a line cook. Now that he has his own delicious company, Tim is giving back with these Peanut Butter Pups, which benefit the organization Companions for Heroes.

Gearharts Chocolates

peanut butter pups

Being a huge lover of animals, I was smitten with this idea the second I received the email. I have heard of Companions for Heroes before, and I love the idea of shelter pets healing wounded veterans and vice versa. There’s so much ugly happening in the world, but there’s so much possibility for kindness too. Animals, especially shelter pets, have a huge capacity for love, and it’s amazing to see them giving that to American heroes to help them heal.

peanut butter pups

I loved being able to sample Gearharts chocolates, and what’s even better, they are offering a box of Peanut Butter Pups to one lucky Travel, Wine, and Dine reader.

Just check out Gearharts website, and let me know, in addition to the pups, which of their fine chocolates you’d like to try.

I will choose a winner next Tuesday evening. If you are so inclined, please spread the word about the great partnership between this chocolatier and Companions for Heroes; it’s the perfect match!




-“Pups” to Benefit Companions for Heroes-


Charlottesville, VA – April 1, 2013– Gearharts Fine Chocolates ( announces a new line of chocolates, Peanut Butter Pups, that will benefit Companions for Heroes (, a non-profit organization that provides companion animals for war veterans. The “Pups,” inspired by children but enjoyed by all ages, resemble a miniature dachshund, with their elongated noses and dark brown eyes. The Peanut Butter Pups are now available in nine-piece boxes at Gearhart’s Richmond and Charlottesville, Va., store locations and online at a MSRP of $22.00.

clip_image002[4]The Pups are made from premium milk chocolate, cream and Virginia-based Reginald’s Homemade peanut butter, then finished with a dark chocolate face and toasted almond ears. In true Gearharts fashion, each piece is finished by hand and includes no additives or preservatives.

Five percent of sales of the Peanut Butter Pups will be donated to Companions for Heroes (C4H), formerly named Pets2Vets. C4H was founded in 2009 by David Sharp, an Air Force veteran who was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in 2003 after serving a tour in Iraq. Sharp saw his life change after rescuing a pit bull puppy from a local Virginia shelter. C4H pairs rescue animals with war veterans to aid our country’s heroes in their recovery, while at the same time provide shelter and rescue animals with good homes.

Chocolatier and Owner Tim Gearhart of Gearharts Fine Chocolates, began his culinary career in the Gulf War. After graduating from high school, Tim joined the Marines and served as a line cook in Kuwait. He attributes much of the patience and repetitive nature that now benefits him as a chocolatier to his time there, having to cook for up to 20,000 Marines a day.

“We’re excited to partner with Companions for Heroes,” said Tim. “I know firsthand what the men and women protecting our country go through when they serve tours, and it feels good to be able to do something for them when they come home.”

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About Gearharts Fine Chocolates

Founded in 2001, Gearharts Chocolates is an artisan chocolate shop specializing in handmade fine chocolates. Gearharts blends premium chocolates from around the world with local sweet cream and butter, and forges complementary flavors and textures using premium fruits, nuts, herbs, teas, spices and liqueurs. The company, co-owned by Tim Gearhart and Bill Hamilton, is headquartered in Charlottesville, Va., with a second location in Richmond, Va. Products are available for retail, wholesale, corporate events and weddings, and also are sold online. For more information, visit

About Companions for Heroes

Companions for Heroes (C4H) was founded in October 2009 by David Sharp, an Air Force veteran who served a tour in Iraq in 2003. C4H pairs shelter and rescue animals with war veterans and other heroes suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and similar symptoms to aid in their recovery. To date, C4H has aided more than 150 of the nation’s heroes, while finding caring homes for shelter and rescue pets. For more information, visit

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Tags: candy, chocolate, giveaway, peanut butter

My Kind of Dessert

I love a dessert that requires no flour, baking soda or powder, pre-heated ovens, or even baking. Through my time poking around Pinterest, I have found dozens of recipes for everything from cocktails to dessert to healthy meals in between. I kept coming across Chubby Hubby truffles, and since they are the perfect marriage of salty and sweet, I decided to combine the Chubby Hubby idea with the haystacks I made as a child (peanut butter, chocolate, chow mein noodles, and sometimes butterscotch chips) and made chocolate peanut butter pretzel stacks.


I started by crushing a cup and a half of pretzels. Crushing things after a long day is fun, so this was one of my favorite parts.  I set aside the pretzels while I got to work on the main part of the dessert, the peanut butter mixture.

It contained:

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

2 teaspoons light brown sugar. . . after my last baking snafu I finally bought some!

3 teaspoons powdered sugar

1 tablespoon softened butter

a pinch of salt

peanut butter

brown sugar

peanut butter

Once the peanut butter mixture was whipped up, I folded the crushed pretzels in and then made little stacks out of the pretzel peanut butter mixture.


I let these chill in the fridge for a few hours and then added the final touch, a dollop of melted chocolate on each stack.

melted chocolate

Once chilled, these were a delightful two bite treat. They don’t look like or contain as much chocolate as the traditional Chubby Hubby truffles, and I didn’t intend them to. I just really liked the flavor combination. And my not chubby hubby did as well! I think he preferred me calling them something different, to be honest. Winking smile

peanut butter pretzel truffles

I’ll call this dessert making adventure a success.

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Tags: chocolate, dessert, Food, peanut butter, pretzels, salty, Sweet

It’s very rare that I have a craving for anything sweet. If you have read this blog for any period of time, you know I would skip dessert for chips and salsa, and that I find most sweet things to be way too much. But lately, I have had peanut butter and chocolate on the brain, and this weekend I decided to do something about it.

peanut butter

I scanned lots of websites for brownie recipes and finally came across a recipe that was for peanut butter brownies, no chocolate involved. The recipe was perfect as I had all of the ingredients in the house already (subbing butter for margarine)

peanut butter blondies

The addition of peanut butter to the batter really gave it a thick, creamy texture, and it smelled amazing. I cut back on the sugar called for in the recipe just a bit to make room for semi-sweet chocolate chips. While the peanut butter would be great by itself some days, I needed my chocolate peanut butter fix!

peanut butter blondies

The end result was perfect. I always end up cooking things for less time than the recipe requires, and it usually works like a charm. I loved the texture of these, moist and buttery but with a bite here and there from the chocolate chips.

I would make a few changes to the recipe next time. I would add more peanut butter to enhance that peanut butter flavor even more, and I would leave out the vanilla. Even the tiniest bit of vanilla extract in a dessert seems to overwhelm me. That’s some strong stuff!

peanut butter chocolate blondies

These made a nice dessert and also a perfect pairing for a cup of tea on a rainy Monday morning. I am going to DC for Eat, Write, Retreat this weekend and despite the gloomy weather outside, am trying to keep upbeat. Spring has to be somewhere out there!

What is your favorite dessert combination? How are you dealing with our extended winter?


Peanut Butter Brownies


  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup margarine, softened
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C ). Grease a 9×9 inch baking pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together peanut butter and margarine. Gradually blend in the brown sugar, white sugar, eggs, and vanilla; mix until fluffy. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; stir into the peanut butter mixture until well blended.
  3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in preheated oven, or until the top springs back when touched. Cool, and cut into 16 squares.

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Tags: baking, chocolate, chocolate chips, dessert, peanut butter

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