Monday, February 27, 2012

mint chocolate chex treats

I am a nut about a lot of random things.  In my kitchen I am neurotic about not wasting food and keeping a clean refrigerator and pantry.  I do not like half eaten packages of food to sit around and rot.  During a bit of spring cleaning in the kitchen I discovered a bunch of partially used holiday baking products.  The chocolate mint combination will not translate in the spring so, I threw chocolate chex cereal, chocolate mint marshmallows and mint truffle kisses together.  I was really skeptical of the results when I started to melt the mint marshmallows and the mixture had a grey tone.  Grey food is really unappetizing.  Once the marshmallows were mixed with the cereal and kisses the grey tone was replaced and things were looking up.  We were on our way to Mammoth for the week and because I was put off by the grey tone I almost left these treats at home.  Bringing them was a smart decision because they were gobbled up by the adults.  The kids thought the mint flavor was too prominent.  My type A behavior paid off.  Tasty, simple no bake treats and a cleaner pantry which is a win all around.

mint chocolate chex treats
source: sweetflours

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
10.5 ounce bag chocolate mint jet puffed marshmallows
4 cups chocolate chex cereal
2 cups cocoa krispies
2 cups mint truffle Hershey kisses; chopped

Melt butter in large saucepan over low heat. Add mint marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.

Add chex cereal. Stir until well coated. Add chopped mint truffle Hershey kisses and stir until pieces are incorporated.

Using a buttered spatula press mixture evenly into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cut into 2-inch squares when cool.

Monday, February 20, 2012

kid's candy cookies

I realized something last week.  It kinda broke my heart.  I became aware during the lead up to Valentine's Day that some day my sweet boy is not always going to want me as his Valentine.  During pick up I noticed that the door was decorated with hearts.  Each kid had to explain what love was.  Carter nailed it with "love is hugs from my mom".  I mean come on he stole my heart.  Then I started to glance through the other responses and there it was.  A heart with "love is CARTER".  A girl with a crush on Carter.  what ?!? A very cute, sweet little girl.  Of course the minute we got in the car I started in with 20 questions.  I got nowhere.  He got embarrassed and flustered and just did not want to discuss said crush.  My spot in the world felt jeopardized.  So I did what any good mom would do and came home and baked up some cookies with all sorts of his favorite candies to solidify my place in his heart for a little longer.  We snuggled in our breakfast nook snacking on cookies and milk and the whole world felt right again. 

kid's candy cookies
adapted: food network magazine


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 cup pretzel m&m's
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chunks or chips ~3 ounces
1/2 cup toffee pieces
3/4 cup peanut butter chips


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with silpat sheets or parchment. Whisk the flour and baking soda in a bowl.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar on low speed until incorporated, then increase to high speed and beat until light and fluffy.

Add the salt, vanilla, whole egg and egg yolk to the mixer; beat until thoroughly combined. Add the m&m's and beat for a few seconds until slightly crushed. Gradually add the flour mixture, mixing on low speed until just combined. Mix in the chocolate, toffee pieces and peanut butter chips.

Roll heaping tablespoonfuls of dough into balls and place on the prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Slightly flatten each ball.

Bake the cookies until the edges are golden brown and the centers are no longer wet, 11 to 13 minutes. Cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Monday, February 13, 2012

buttermilk pancakes

The Secret Recipe Club is back for the first cycle of 2012.  I was assigned the blog eggs milk and honey.  The blog is written by Heather an American mother of four living in England.  Her blog is filled with delicious family friendly recipes with glimpses of her family life in England.  My motivation to replace processed food in our house this year without total household revolt has not dropped.  I have successfully tackled and replaced the breakfast bars.  When I read through Heathers blog I came across a recipe for buttermilk pancakes.  This was a perfect opportunity to give bisquick the boot from my cupboard.  I have to be honest I am not a pancake person.  I like a bite but, I am much more and eggs and bacon girl.  My kids and husband however, request pancakes at least once a week.  I pull out the bisquick do a quick mix and pancakes are on the table.  There are always a few left so, I freeze them to pop in the toaster later in the week.  This Saturday I changed things up with Heather's recipe which is not much harder then bisquick but, tastes so much better then bisquick.  They are light and fluffy with the perfect tang from the buttermilk.  There was not a single cake left.  My daughter even ate the little crunchy pieces that end up on the griddle.  I knew this was going to replace my bisquick box once and for all so, I mixed up a few mason jars of the dry ingredients so, I can quickly pull them out and mix up a batch of perfect buttermilk pancakes.

buttermilk pancakes

source: eggs milk and honey


1 cup flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup whole milk
1 large egg, separated
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Whisk together all the dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Combine buttermilk and milk into small bowl. Whisk egg white into mixture. Mix yolk with melted butter in separate bowl. Then stir into milk mixture. Dump wet ingredients into dry ingredients all at once; whisk until just mixed.

Once the griddle or pan is hot enough, pour 1/4 cup of batter onto a lightly oiled or buttered surface. When the pancake surface starts to bubble and the bottom is lightly browned, turn over. It should take a couple of minutes. Cook until remaining side has browned.

Monday, February 6, 2012

banana pudding pops

The kids are still asking for popsicles every day.  You may be thinking popsicles in February what is wrong with this girl.  The weather here is unseasonably warm this winter.  The past two weekends we have spent at the beach.  My kids are wearing SPF 50 and I actually have a little sunburn on my back.  Crazy but, incredibly amazing.  The kids loved the orange pudding pops but, in my effort to reduce the processed food I looked for another way to achieve a pudding pop with out pudding mix and cool whip.  They may have actually liked these even more which is a win for all of us.  Perfect southern California winter treat for an afternoon snack or dessert.

banana pudding pop
adapted: eating well

1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
pinch of salt
2 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups diced bananas, (~ 2 large)
6 ounces greek honey yogurt
10 animal cookies or nilla wafers crushed into small pieces

Whisk sugar, cornstarch and salt in a large saucepan. Add milk and whisk until combined. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking occasionally. Boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla.  Allow mixture to cool slightly.

Put about the pudding in a blender and add bananas and yogurt. Process until smooth.  Stir the crushed cookies into the pudding mixture.  Divide the mixture among freezer-pop molds. Freeze until firm ~6 hours.
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