I went in for one thing. One. Thing. Some plastic baggies for my kid’s Valentine’s for school. That’s all I needed. But, alas…Michael’s is evil. So terribly, wonderfully EVIL. Out I came with a bag loaded down with rafia ribbon, chocolate melts and candy molds. I’m weak-minded. It’s true. I’m a marketing and merchandising gold mine. I see things that look fun and suddenly think I’m crafty & I buy them. I suppose I should consider myself (and my bank account) lucky that I didn’t find some uber involved super-craft project to throw myself into. One time, I went into Michael’s with my cousin and came out with about $150 worth of blank canvases, paints, brushes and what-not. I was absolutely sure I’d be the next Picasso with all that crap. I remembered very quickly that I haven’t an artistic bone in my body once I started trying to actually use it. This time wasn’t that bad I guess.
The title says everything you need to know. Say it slowly with me. Mango. Guacamole. Feel the words as they bounce from your lips. Mango. Sweet, light, tropical. Guacamole. Rich, creamy, delicious. Now put them together. You know it’s going to be unbelievable.
I have three indelible memories of my Nanny (my mom’s mom) and cooking. The first two revolve around holidays. Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve I have always spent with my Mom’s side of the family in my Nanny’s home. Thanksgiving found my Nanny with a faded apron in the kitchen with the turkey and all the trimmings. Christmas Eve it was the same apron, but this time a ham occupied the oven and all the cousins ran thru the house with glee at the mounds of gifts awaiting us downstairs. My third memory is possibly my favorite. It involves weekend adventures at the cabin with just Nanny and my best childhood (and adulthood) friends. Also bananas, Nilla wafers and pudding. Isn’t my Nanny the most adorable 85-year-old you’ve ever seen?
I took my daughter back-to-school shopping last week. We had a grand old-time preparing for the big first day of school. It was all fun and games until I realized that new school clothes meant she was actually heading off to school. Gulp. She started Kindergarten yesterday. My baby. She even (gasp!) rode the bus! She was so stinkin’ excited for her first day. And, she looked adorable in her brand spankin’ new duds. Yes…Mommy got new clothes too.
I have been looking for a no-fail, easy homemade granola bar recipe for a few weeks now. Fall is coming and my sweet Madison is starting Kindergarten. How did that happen so fast? I blinked and suddenly she was 5. Crazy. I cannot wait for after school snack time. I remember that being the best thing ever. Come home from school to a glass of cold milk and some kind of treat? Oh yeah. This recipe is going to be made every single week I’m sure. It takes 5 minutes, you don’t have to bake anything and they are incredibly delicious.
You heard that right. Trix. Krispies. No I am not kidding. Yes, they are as incredible as they sound.
Now, I have to admit, I have not tried the various other krispie recipes I’ve seen around lately. Making them anyway. I’ve certainly consumed my fair share. It is all the rage to do outrageous things to rice krispie treats and several of my friends have brought different batches around for me to taste. I haven’t gotten in on that action for two main reasons.
First, I love my recipe for the original rice krispie treats. They are incredibly gooey, perfectly rich and delicious. I cannot imagine a more perfectly easy treat. Second (and the “real” reason for not branching out), every alteration to the original seems to add gluten into the mix. Cake batter treats are delicious, but my Celiac sister and her gluten intolerant family cannot eat them. I’ve even seen a recipe for Lucky Charms treats that look very yummy, but again, it makes it hands-off for lots of my family members. With so many things already off-limits, I just didn’t feel right taking away the stand by good-for-everyone dessert.
Then I saw this genius idea for using Trix. Did you know that Trix are made from corn? Yes. Corn. Not wheat. Delicious, fruity corn. Non gluten, beautiful, colorful corn. Silly rabbit! These Trix are for everyone! I adapted this recipe to use a whole box of Trix and one bag of marshmallows. Why waste the little extra bits of either bag? Trust me, once they are combined into these amazing krispies not one little fruity ball will be left over.
I cannot begin to tell you the deliciousness of these. Truly. Like a bar version of fruit with a marshmallow dip. And, just looking at them makes you happy. That rainbow of colors winking out at your from beneath a layer of gooey butter marshmallow. Yuuuuuuuum.
adapted from Cravings of a Lunatic
1 (16 ounce) bag mini marshmallows
1 (10.7 ounce) box of Trix cereal (about 8 cups)
1/4 cup of butter
- Melt butter slowly in the microwave (I do this on half power). Once butter is just melted, add marshmallows and continue microwaving about 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently until mallows are melted.
- Stir well.
- Mix in your trix and stir.
- Pour into a large greased pan (9 x 13 or 11 x 11) and press down with a spoon.
- Cut into squares.
I use the empty butter wrapper to press my krispies into the pan. It’s already greased and won’t stick. You could also spray your spoon with non stick spray before using it.
Full of bright colors, tang and texture, this bean salad is sure to be a hit at your next get-together. This salad requires a little time to hang out at the vinegar dressing dance party (aka: in your fridge), but if you know your way around a can opener, you throw the salad together in about 5 minutes. Why on earth would you buy the giant jug of this stuff at the store when making it yourself is so incredibly easy and delicious! Bonus, you won’t be eating a bowl of something that’s been salted and pickled beyond recognition.
The trickiest part of this salad is finding the wax beans. You’ll find the chickpeas and kidney beans with the chili, northern beans and navy beans – in the bean aisle. But the wax beans and green beans will be together hanging out with their friends in the canned vegetable aisle. I don’t want to admit how long I spent scouring for yellow wax beans among the jalapeno pinto beans. Sigh. Does anyone else think “beans” no longer looks like a word?
Fabulous Four Bean Salad
adapted from Food.com
1 can chickpeas
1 can green beans
1 can wax beans
1 can red kidney beans
1 red bell pepper (any colour can be used)
1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
2/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Drain a can of chick peas (garbanzo beans), rinse well, then drain again; place in a large mixing bowl.
Drain a can of green beans and a can of wax beans well and then add to bowl.
Drain a can of red kidney beans, rinse well then drain again; add to bowl.
Dice up a colored bell pepper and add to beans.
Peel a small red onion and slice into very thin strips and add to bowl.
Lastly, add about 1/2 cup of chopped fresh flat leaf parsley.
Now make dressing: in a separate bowl, whisk together the vinegars, oil, sugar (I use a scant 1/3 cup), minced fresh garlic, worcestershire, and salt and pepper.
Pour dressing over salad ingredients and toss.
Cover and refrigerate overnight, stirring occasionally (before serving, taste, as it may need more salt or pepper to taste).
When ready, spoon bean salad into a serving bowl using a slotted spoon, to drain off most of the dressing before serving.
Summer is here!! Time for long evenings watching the waning rays of sun disappear behind shadowed evergreens, enjoying a cocktail as the day slips away. Family, friends, cookouts and s’mores! It is no secret that I love s’mores. But sometimes, I want the flavor without having to fire up the flames. I love this easy dessert because I can make a batch and keep these delightful cups stashed in the freezer for when the chocolate graham cravings hit.
I put these babies in individual baggies so they are all ready for me to eat up (usually around midnight). They are sweet and cold with perfect layers of graham, chocolate, mallow and more chocolate. Topped with a cool and creamy hit of cream!
If you like s’mores, you will LOVE these. They are lip smacking good. I topped mine with a little graham sprinkle and some mini chocolate chips. Gorgeous!
You may have to devour more than one! And there’s nothing wrong with that!
Frosty S’mores Cups
from Easy Baked
- 18 graham cracker squares (9 sheets)
- 1/3 c. butter
- 1/2 c. milk chocolate chips
- 1/4 c. whipping cream
- 2 c. mini marshmallows
- 1 1/2 c. cold milk
- 1 box (4 servings, 3.9 oz) instant chocolate pudding
- 1 (8 oz) container of Cool Whip (thawed in fridge)
- 1/4 c. mini chocolate chips (as topping)
Crush graham crackers into fine crumbs. Melt butter and add to graham crackers, mixing until well combined to make crust.
Prepare muffin pan by spraying it with non-stick cooking spray. Evenly divide crust mixture into all 12 cups, saving about 1/4 cup to use as topping later.
Place milk chocolate chips and whipping cream into a small bowl and microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until melted and smooth.
Spoon chocolate into a zip top bag, cut a tip off and evenly pipe chocolate into the center of each cup, on top of the crust.
Divide Marshmallows among cups.
Mix cold milk with pudding on medium speed for 2 minutes. Fold in 1/2 of the Cool Whip container (the rest will be used as topping).
Spoon filling into a large zip top bag (and ZIP it or you might have a mess!) Clip a corner off and pipe pudding into each cup evenly. Try to pipe it in between the marshmallows so that the whole cup is filled. I did have a little left over (which was really tasty straight out of the bag!) Use a knife to smooth the tops level with the top of the pan. Freeze for at least a couple of hours.
Allow the pan to warm just a bit before running a butter knife around the edge and popping out each dessert cup out.
For topping, I just piped a little bit of the left over Cool Whip on each dessert using a decorating tip. Then I sprinkled the remaining crust and mini chocolate chips on top.
Serve cold right away– or put them in a sealed container and freeze until you are ready to serve.
The only time I’ve ever cared about the raw eggs in cookie dough was when I was pregnant. Honestly, I figured if I got sick eating something so delicious it would be worth it. Until I was growing another human that is. Those months were torture. The things we do for our children. If I had known about these cookie dough truffles back then, I’m sure I would have gained about 100 pounds with each pregnancy. Now that the little munchkins are hovering around mixing bowls waiting to lick the batter/spoon/bowl/anything with dough clinging to it, I find that I’m mildly guilt ridden at the idea I could make them sick. Nevermind that I never once felt ill after “helping” my mom with cookies as a kid. Chalk it up to societal pressure. Am I the only one who feels it?
Finally, I found an answer. These delightful little bites hold all the perfect flavor of chocolate chip cookie dough and no eggs. Oh sweet joy! And for those of you who love cookie dough ice cream, just freeze smaller balls and drop them into some plain vanilla — ah-mazing.
We start with a basic cookie dough, but instead of eggs, use a little milk to give it the right consistency. And, since we’re making small truffle sized treats, use mini chocolate chips instead of the full size version. Cover and chill the dough about an hour. Yes, you will want to just eat it immediately. I can’t give you any tips on how not to. A spoonful or two may have found its way into my gullet.
Then we roll the dough into bite sized balls and pop it into the freezer to chill up a little more.
Finally, a little dunk in some chocolate to contain all that sweet dough goodness inside a decadent shell. I’m a fan of the dip, scoop, tap, swoosh method. You’ll need a bowl of melted chocolate, some waxed paper, two forks and your chilled dough balls.
Dip in chocolate.
Scoop it up with a fork.
Tap off the excess and swoosh it off the fork (with another fork) onto the wax paper to firm up.
Then, drizzle with a little melted chocolate for that truly professional look.
And, absolutely scrumptious.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles
from Eat. Drink. Smile.
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup milk
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
14 oz semi sweet or milk chocolate chips
1 T shortening
Beat butter and sugars in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add milk and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt and mix on low speed (or stir by hand) until incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips.
Cover and chill dough for 1 hour.
When dough is firm enough to handle, form dough into 1″ balls and arrange on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Place sheets in freezer and let chill for 30 minutes.
Melt chocolate and shortening in microwave until smooth. Using forks as a dipping tool, dip cookie balls into chocolate to cover. Tap on side of pan to remove any excess coating, and return to waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Chill until set. Store, chilled, in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
I do not have an ice cream maker. This upsets me greatly. However, this recipe for strawberry ice cream doesn’t require a fancy confection making gadget. That fills my heart with joy and gladness. Just think, in only a few minutes you could be eating frosty creamy glorious ice cream. Added bonus, there’s no added sugar and it’s gluten and dairy free! Which means I can make it for our next family BBQ and my special-food-issues family members can ALL eat it! Celiac disease, diabetes and dairy allergies can just bite me! Hooray!
This ice cream uses coconut milk, which I’d never really used before. I was shocked to open the can and find it was solid. Then I read the side and saw that it was natural for it to separate and solidify in the can. Make sure you mix it up if your can has done this too. There’s liquid underneath, it just needs to be recombined.
Some frozen bananas and strawberries get blended up in a food processor (or a good blender would also work I’m sure).
It gets a little hit of vanilla and just enough coconut milk to make it creamy and smooth.
Only moments to sweet ice cream perfection. A little sweet and full of fruity goodness that everyone can enjoy. Yuummmy!
Non-Dairy Strawberry Ice Cream
adapted from The Primal Home
1 banana, sliced and frozen
2 handfuls of strawberries, frozen
1-2 tablespoons coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Place the frozen bananas and strawberries into a food processor. Start blending then add in the vanilla and coconut milk. Just enough for it to blend together but not too much, we want it to be really thick! Once it is nice and smooth but still very thick scoop it out and enjoy! It needs to be eaten right away as it will not keep very well in the freezer. Makes 2 servings.