Wednesday, February 27, 2013


We (I) needed (wanted) a treat for family night on Monday night, but it had to be something that didn't require an oven (this oven not working thing is killing me).  I grew up eating scotcheroos at family gatherings with my Dad's side of the family.  I'm pretty sure that these treats were originally made with Rice Krispies, but rewind to a few years back and my Aunt Karie swapped the Rice Krispies for Rice Chex.  Using Rice Krispies is now a thing of the past.  I think she is also the reason that I stir the chips into the scotcheroos and don't spread the melted chips on top.  I don't make these chocolatey, crunchy, peanuty, butterscotchy treats very often, but when I do, I'm reminded why I don't....I seriously can't stop eating them! This sweet treat is extremely addicting, so beware, you may just want to eat the entire pan (or maybe that's just me).


6 cups Rice Chex
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light Karo syrup
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup milk chocolate chips
Pinch of salt

Grease a 13x9 inch pan, set aside.  Put cereal in a large mixing bowl and set aside.  Combine sugar and corn syrup in a medium size saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar dissolves and mixture begins to boil.  Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter until melted and smooth.  Pour over cereal and stir until well coated.  Add the butterscotch chips, chocolate chips and a pinch of kosher salt to the Chex mixture.  Fold the chips into the Chex mixture.  Press the mixture into the prepared pan.  Let cool (if you can wait).  Cut into squares.

Monday, February 25, 2013

No Bake S'mores Granola Bars

My oven is currently out of commission (so sad).  The heating element on the bottom of the oven started on fire while I was baking a cake.  Fire is scary and thankfully it went out quickly.  I've had the same oven for nearly 12 years and it has done its fair share of hard work.  The past few days, I've been patiently (I really wish it wouldn't take so long) for the part to come in and I'm pretty sure I will feel like it is Christmas morning when it is heating and baking again.  (Please let it be sooner than later!)  I made these granola bars over the weekend and they were super quick and easy and best of all, required no oven (hip hip hooray).  My kids loved them and I'm excited to try a few different variations (peanut butter, coconut, the options seem endless).

No Bake S'mores Granola Bars

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (I like a heaping 1/4 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cup quick oats
1 cup rice krispies
1/3 cup mini marshmallow (I cut mine in half)
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (I may had add a few more)

Line an 8x8-inch square baking pan with parchment, extending it up two sides, or foil. Spray the parchment with a nonstick cooking spray.

In a mixing bowl, combine oats and rice krispies.  Set aside.

In a medium sized sauce pan, add the butter, brown sugar, honey and salt.  Cook over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to bubble.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Pour over oat mixture and stir until well coated.  Next, stir in marshmallows.  

Pour mixture into the prepared baking dish.  Press mixture down firmly.  Sprinkle the mini chocolate chips over the top and gently press into the granola bars with your hands.  Allow granola bars to cool for about an hour (the fridge speeds this process up).  Cut directly down the center and then slice into 10 bars.  Store granola bars in an airtight container (I put mine in a Ziploc and keep them in the freezer).

*I'm not a huge marshmallow fan, but I think next time I would use a 1/2 cup of marshmallow because my little ones really liked them.

Recipe adapted from Alaska from Scratch

Friday, February 22, 2013

Egg Salad with Stone Ground Mustard and Pickled Celery

I found this recipe for egg salad about a week ago and its addition of pickled celery had me hooked (I like pickley things).  I don't make egg salad very often with the exception of when I was pregnant with my now almost 9 year old (how did time go so fast??).  Once I slowly crept out of the "food is not my friend" stage, I found that I could manage to eat egg salad sandwiches on white bread.  I am pretty sure that I ate an egg salad sandwich for lunch the entire second half of my pregnancy (that is a lot of eggs).  I think it's safe to say that the reason egg salad hasn't made frequent appearances in my kitchen is because of my egg overdose 9 years ago. But I can assure you that after eating this egg salad for lunch yesterday, it won't stay away for long and is sure to make many more appearances in the very near future. (The pickled celery is awesome!)

Egg Salad with Stone Ground Mustard and Pickled Celery
Pickled Celery

1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 stalks celery, trimmed, very small dice

Combine vinegar, water, kosher salt and sugar in a jar and stir or shake until the salt and sugar dissolves.  Add diced celery to jar, cover and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, ideally one hour and up to one week.

Egg Salad

4 large hard boiled eggs, chopped
2 teaspoons stone ground mustard
1 tablespoon minced red onion
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons pickled celery (or more to taste)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Fresh dill (to garnish)

Place chopped hard boiled eggs in a medium bowl.  Add mustard, red onion, mayonnaise, pickled celery, salt and pepper and mix to combine.  Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.  Serve on lightly toasted good quality bread.  (I had a loaf of bread that I had made for a different meal in my freezer that worked great.  The recipe for the bread is on my Aunt Traci's blog.  See recipe here.)

Recipe adapted slightly from Smitten Kitchen

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Homemade Yogurt and Butter Toasted Cinnamon Almonds

This yogurt seems to be filling up my breakfast bowl quite a bit these days.  There are so many tasty toppings for yogurt and this is one of my new favorites.  I love almonds, but toss them in a pan to toast with some melted butter, cinnamon and pinch of salt and then I really, really love almonds!  This breakfast is best eaten after my boys leave for school when I can actually sit down at the table and enjoy my breakfast.  Most mornings I'm scrambling around making lunches and getting my boys out the door with a few bites of my breakfast in between all the craziness (often resulting in a bowl of soggy Wheat Chex).

Homemade Yogurt and Butter Toasted Cinnamon Almonds

Homemade Yogurt

1 gallon of milk (I use whole)
1 cup yogurt starter (you can use a cup of plain Dannon or Yoplait yogurt, or you can use a cup from your previous batch of homemade yogurt)
1/2 cup Agave nectar
2 tablespoon vanilla extract

Place 4 quart glass canning jars, four lids, and four screw-tops in a large pot.  Fill with an inch of water; cover with lid and heat to boiling.  Boil ten minutes.  Leave the lid on the pot and move it off the heat until you are ready to use the jars.

Pour one gallon of whole milk into a large, heavy bottomed stockpot.  Over medium heat, warm the milk to 190 degrees F.  Make sure to do this slowly, you don't want the milk to scorch on the bottom of the pan.

Place the pot in a sink filled with cold water and let the milk cool to 120 degrees F.  While the milk is cooling, stir in the agave nectar and vanilla.  Once the milk has reached 120 degrees F, stir in the cup of yogurt starter using a whisk.  Stir well to ensure that the starter is thoroughly incorporated into the milk.

Pour the milk into jars and put the lids and bands on.  Place them in a cooler.

Heat one gallon of water to 120 degrees F and pour into the cooler.

Shut the cooler lid and leave in a warm place for 6 hours (don't open the cooler lid). When the 6 hours are up, place the yogurt in the refrigerator.

*Once I've added the yogurt starter and the agave, I end up needing a small jar in addition to the 4 quart jars because I have a little more than 4 quarts of the milk/yogurt mixture and don't want any to go to waste.

*If you like your yogurt sweeter, you can add more agave.  You can also use sugar in place of agave.

Adapted slightly from Frugal Girl

Butter Toasted Cinnamon Almonds

1 tablespoon butter
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup chopped almonds

In a large skillet melt the butter.  Add the cinnamon, kosher salt and almonds.  Toast until the butter browns and the nuts smell fragrant and toasted, about 3-5 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool.

Top yogurt with toasted almonds, blueberries a drizzle of honey.

Recipe inspired from Not Without Salt