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Today my baby, Miss E, started FOURTH grade.  I feel like she was just starting Kindergarten.  Also, we took Miss F to sixth grade orientation at her new school. So exciting!!  The girls are totally ready, but I’m not sure I am.  Different schools, different arrival and dismissal time, different days off – we’re in for a new year and big changes!

PB Butterscotch Chocolate Krispie Bars

One thing that won’t change are special lunchbox treats!  I try to bake something once a week as a treat for the Misses, but the beauty of these Rice Krispie bars is that there is no bake!  Heat, melt, dump, chill, slice, enjoy.  I can’t tell you  how much the Misses loved these (Can you ever go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate?  I think not.).  They reminded me of a crispy Reese’s peanut butter egg and there is nothing wrong with that.  :)  Perfect for a lunchbox!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Krisipe Bars

Yield:  Depending on how large you cut them, 24-32 bars

6 cups Rice Krispies cereal

1 cup smooth peanut butter

1 cup honey

1 cup granulated sugar

12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

12 oz. butterscotch chips

1. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Set aside.

2. Combine the Rice Krispies cereal and the peanut butter in a large mixing bowl, but do not mix.

3. In a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat, combine the honey and sugar.  Cook, stirring occasionally, just until boiling.

4. Remove the honey-sugar mixture from the heat and pour over the cereal and peanut butter.  Mix well with a wooden spoon until the peanut butter is melted and all of the ingredients are well combined.

5. Turn the mixture out into the prepared baking pan and press into an even layer.

6. Prepare a double boiler or set a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Combine the chocolate chips and butterscotch chips and heat, stirring occasionally, until melted and completely smooth.

7. Pour the melted chips over the cereal layer and smooth with a spatula.

8. Cover and chill until the top layer is set before slicing into bars.

Source:  Annie’s Eats

I think my love for jalapeños has been pretty well-established on this blog thus far.  I love spicy, especially when it has a flavor and doesn’t just incinerate your tastebuds.

I somehow stumbled across this blog called “The View From Great Island” that I liked immediately and decided to really investigate.  I pulled quite a few recipes that I wanted to try and – completely frankly – because this only has only FIVE ingredients in a food processor, it moved immediately to the top of the list.  #lazyme  #thankgoodnessbecauseitissuperdelicious

The original recipe calls for farmer’s goat cheese, which leads to a crumbly texture, unlike regular goat cheese which becomes spreadable.  I sent the hubs to the store and he came back with regular goat cheese so I went with it.  This takes two minutes to make and the creamy cheese offsets a lot of the heat.  Don’t get me wrong, it is hot, but you can still taste the jalapeño, which I love.  This made an appearance on a sandwich or two and was terrific!

Jalapeño Goat Cheese Spread

Yield: about a half-cup

4 ounces farmer’s goat cheese

1 jalapeño pepper, unseeded (if you want less heat, remove some or all of the seeds and ribs)

2 – 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Pinch of salt

Juice from a half of a lemon

Assorted crackers, to serve

1. Cut the stem off the pepper and cut it into large chunks.

2. Place the pieces into the bowl of a mini-chopper or small food processor. Process until finely minced.

3. Add the goat cheese and pulse until the cheese and jalapeños are well combined.

4. Pulse in two tablespoons olive oil. You are trying to achieve a spreadable consistency. If needed, add another tablespoon of oil.

5. Taste and add salt and lemon juice. (My measurements are below, adjust to your liking.

6. Refrigerate until ready to serve, and serve with crackers.

Source:  The View From Great Island

I know it’s been a while since I’ve been here.  Two things going on.

One, I feel like I don’t know what to say lately.  I have plenty of things to share with you, but don’t have the ability lately to get them onto the screen.  My head is too full of a million thoughts that I can’t concentrate on one of them at a time. This is a problem.

My new inspirational quote taped to my computer monitor at work:

CTFD

Two, I’m soo busy.  I hate it when people say this dramatically, as a way to validate their existence.  Like if they weren’t busy, busy, busy all the time, their life would end.  (Busy to one person means something entirely different to the next.)  I’d rather not be this busy.  I just have a lot of balls up in the air – work, family, kiddo’s schools, pets, running, home – and I am not a circus-trained juggler!

Not even sure why I am writing this at all, but just thought I’d check in, say

Howdy Doormat

and promise to get my act together soon.  Love this doormat.  It will surely grace the front entry of my next house!

Doormat:  Reed Wilson Design, $50, available at Houzz.com

 

 

Hope you had a great Fourth of July weekend!

Summer is here, full on and HOT!!!  It’s so hard to be so busy at work when your Misses are sleeping late, going to camps, having summer fun.  I wish grown-ups had summer break…

Mango Salsa – A simple, classic mango salsa recipe from the Houston Chronicle that I can’t find online.  If I can get my hands on some more mangos, I’ll share the recipe!

Banana Crumble Cake – I always seem to have one or two bananas on my counter that are waiting to be turned into something delicious (others would argue that they are ready for the trash bin, but they would be WRONG).  I didn’t feel like banana bread, so made this little coffee cake-like treat.  Super easy to make and the Misses liked it because they though they could eat cake for breakfast!

Mama’s Best Broiled Tomato Sandwiches – Get some really delicious tomatoes and make these easy sandwiches for a quick dinner.  Watch them in the broiler though, my corners got a little too toasted and I had to cut them off!

Shrimp and Spinach Pasta – Another simple weeknight dinner that relies on freezer and pantry staples for the most part, with some feta cheese and Greek seasoning. Whole thing takes under 20 minutes and is really good!

little_quinoa_patties-0511-wholeliving_l

Little Quinoa Patties – I made these as a side dish and they are a nice, healthy option!  Really yummy with this Jalapeño Chutney!  (Photo from Whole Living)

Crab Salad with White Beans

Crab Salad with White Beans and Gourmet Greens – Really delicious, fresh salad from a really old (1999) issue of Cooking Light!

Cranberry Ginger Granola

Cranberry Ginger Granola – Delicious with vanilla Greek Yogurt!

Parmesan Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Smoked Paprika – The recipe uses frozen sprouts which makes it easy to throw together anytime.  Even though it is an easy preparation, and I like the idea of the roasting, they still taste like frozen sprouts. I wonder if you could blanch fresh sprouts and then continue with the recipe?  Will have to try that…

Honey-Peanut Sauce – Asian-inspired sauce for sautéed chicken that I made for the Misses.  One liked, one didn’t.  I thought it was not bad, but I don’t eat chicken! :)

Jalapeño Goat Cheese

Jalapeño Goat Cheese – Two of my favorite things in one spread!

Carrot Cake with Ginger Marscapone Frosting – DIVINE cake from the Barefoot Contessa!!!  Made for Father’s Day and it is one of the best carrot cakes I’ve ever had!

Penne alla Vecchia Bettola – From the Barefoot Contessa book Foolproof, this pasta is from Nick & Toni’s in East Hampton and it was soooo decadent and good – NOT diet food.  I made this on Father’s Day, so it was a Barefoot kind of night!  :)

Roasted Tofu

Marinated Roasted Tofu – Totally easy prep and the tofu turned out great.  I used it on salads for lunch during the week for some added protein.  Will definitely be making this again!

Dry-Rubbed Salmon Tacos with Tomatillo-Avocado Slaw – I was worried about this one because the rub calls for coffee and quite a bit of assertive spice, but the salmon was so flavorful.  The slaw was really great too.  I made the full recipe of salmon (to ensure leftovers) and halved the slaw because I didn’t want the avocado to turn gross brown before we could eat the leftovers.  I also used flour tortillas because I like them better.

Oatmeal Chew Bars – A cheaty (uses cake mix) cookie bar that is really easy, gooey, and sticky sweet.  Miss E loved.

One-Pan Orecchiette with Chickpeas and Olives – If Erin likes it, I had to try it. Odd method in that everything goes in one pot to cook the pasta.  Was really worried about it, but turned out fine. We both liked this pasta, but D liked it more than I did.  The raw arugula is a nice addition.

So, that’s it for June!  16 more cards to be filed away for a grand total of 88.  Not quite to 100 yet, but still pretty happy with the progress so far.  Hope you are a little inspired by some of my makings this month!  Happy July!

Ginger, it seems, is one of those polarizing food items – you either love it or you think it tastes like soap.

I happen to fall in the first category and really like the flavor of ginger.  I am loving the candied ginger in this granola and the little zingy “bite” that it gives!  (If you don’t like ginger, you can surely leave it out and substitute any other dried or candied fruit.)

Cranberry Ginger Granola

Every time I make a new batch of granola, I immediately declare it my new favorite.  Then I find another recipe to try and my favorite gets bumped.  There are just so many different flavor combinations to try!

Hope you like my new favorite! :)

Cranberry Ginger Granola

Yield:  Makes about 6 1/2 cups

4 cups old-fashioned oats

1/2 cup coarsely chopped Brazil nuts

1/2 cup whole raw cashews

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup canola oil

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

pinch salt

3/4 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup candied or crystallized ginger, finely chopped

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line one rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.  In a large bowl, stir together the oats, Brazil nuts, cashews, and pumpkin seeds.

3.  In a small saucepan set over low heat, combine oil, butter, brown sugar, and salt.  Stir until the sugar is dissolved and pour over oat mixture, mixing thoroughly.

4.  Spread the oat mixture onto the prepared baking sheet in a single layer.

5.  Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until brown, stirring occasionally.  Watch the granola carefully so it doesn’t burn.

6.  Remove baking sheet from oven and allow granola to cool in the pan.  While oats are cooling, add the cranberries and ginger, stirring thoroughly.

7.  Once fully cooled, transfer the granola to an airtight container.

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