-Marshmallow Crispy- Oreo Rice Krispy Treats, SRC March

Krispy Treats.jpg

For my first post back in over two weeks, I thought I might as well start off with a bang.  Or, you know… what I like to call a cannibalistic treat.  I’m going to try hard to only use one Hannibal Lecter quote in here.

I do wish we could chat longer, but... I'm having an old friend for dinner.

I do wish we could chat longer, but… I’m having an old friend for dinner.

Obviously I’m not in the business of cooking up people.  I’m talking about some delicious Krispy-on-Krispy action here.

Did anyone get a chance to go out and try the new Oreos yet?!  I hope you did, because they are so darn hard to find!  Oreo came out with a ridiculous line of special edition (so rude… just like the Disney Vault… now they’re GONE!) flavors:  Cookie Dough, Lemon, and MARSHMALLOW CRISPY.  They are amazing!  I have only tried the flavors with vanilla cookie- since Dave doesn’t like regular Oreos (WTF, right?!!) and they are bomb.com.  <List of the top Oreo Flavors!>

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Besides eating an entire sleeve of these babies this month… I bought another package to do something special.  Yes, remember where I”m going with this?  Something cannibalistic.  I had to try to make Marshmallow Crispy Oreo Rice Krispy Treats.  WOW.

You might wonder why the sudden sweet tooth?!  The inspiration for this outrageous dessert came from my awesome Secret Recipe Club partner, Katrina from the blog Baking and Boys.  Katrina does it all- she is a wife and a mother of FOUR boys… she cooks amazing food and even bakes (I could NEVER! So Impressed).

Secret Recipe Club

Forget what my Secret Recipe Club is?  Every month, we are assigned a new blogger.  We get to pick ANY recipe that blogger has written about and cook it up ourselves.  We can make adjustments according to our tastes too.  All of the bloggers post their results on the same day and we all get to see who had who and more importantly, what delicious dishes were made!  This month was so difficult since Katrina is so creative!  I had to pick her Oreo-Krispy-M&M mashup.  It just sounded too good to be true.

Krispy Oreo Rice Krispy Treats

Ingredients:

6 cups Rice Krispy Cereal

3 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

1 (10oz) bag Mini Marshmallows

15 Marshmallow Crispy Oreos

1/2 cup spring M&Ms 

Directions:

1.  Cover a 9×13 baking dish with foil, hanging over the edges and prepare with cooking spray.  Set aside.

2.  Chop the Oreos.  Combine oreos and cereal in a large bowl.  Set aside.

3.  In a non-stick saucepan, melt the butter, then add the marshmallows.  Stir over low heat until marshmallows have melted and are combined with the butter.  Dump the marshmallow mixture over the cereal and stir quickly with a sturdy rubber spatula or wooden spoon.  Add M&Ms.  

4.  Dump the Krispy mixture into the foil-lined baking dish and either use your hands or a potato masher to spread and smooth out.  Let sit for an hour, then remove using the foil, peel off the foil, and cut into squares.  Enjoy!

Recipe <seasonally> adapted from:  Baking and Boys!

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YUM!  I had wayyyy too many of these!  They are awesome!  I never had Krispy Treats with oreos AND M&Ms… the opportunities are endless!  I am dying to try to make these with the Peppermint Oreos when they are in season like Katrina made- yum!

Take a second to check out the rest of the bloggers in my group… these recipes sound awesome this month!

Lamb Chili

This week called for a crockpot meal.  I have been exhausted with everything going on right now, and HELLO… has anyone been outside in the last two months?!  This kind of miserable cold, snowy, icy, rainy weather practically begs for a nice hearty chili that smells up the whole house… mmmmmmmm.

Dave and I went to the market this weekend with Chili in mind.  Dave walked up to the meat area and turned around with something in his hand and a huge smile on his face.  “What if we make our chili… but with LAMB?!??”  I shrugged my shoulders and said “Why not?!”.  As we walked away with two pounds of Organic Ground Lamb, we couldn’t help but laugh that Dave’s comment was 100% something our friend Donny would say (or probably has said before).

Although there are probably some pretty awesome lamb chili recipes out there, we really were just in the mood for “our” chili, so we didn’t change the flavor too much, except we did add some extra cumin.  And as always (and as in most of the recipes I cook) you can change the ingredients and spices to fit your own preferences.  Do whatever you want… but I will tell you… this chili is bangin!

Lamb Chili

Ingredients:

10 Servings

2lb (2 pkg) Organic Ground Lamb (we found ours at Wegmans, but whole foods should have it)

1 medium Sweet Onion, diced

3 cloves Garlic, minced

4 large Carrots, peeled and sliced

1 Green Bell Pepper- diced

2 Fresh Jalapenos, diced- remove seeds to lower heat

1 can Dark Red Kidney Beans, drained

28oz Tomato Sauce (can)

2 cans Diced Tomatoes, undrained

1 can Stewed Tomatoes

¼ cup Dark (or light) Brown Sugar

1 packet Chili Spice (hot)

1 Tablespoon Cumin

1 Tablespoon Teriyaki Sauce

2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce

Extra Seasoning:  Garlic Powder, Cayenne Pepper, Ground Mustard, Chili Powder, Crushed Jalapeño Chili (whole foods carries it… omg. It’s like crushed red pepper but from jalapeños.  WOW)

Directions:

1.  Cook the lamb over medium-high heat in a large pan, chopping into small pieces.  When the lamb is cooked through- drain and place in the bowl of a crockpot, leaving about a Tablespoon of grease in the pan.  Cook the onion, garlic, carrots, and peppers for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are soft.  Add to the crock.

2.  Add the rest of the ingredients into the crock.  The extra seasonings are what I suggest to add, but you can really do whatever you’d like!  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  mmmm!

Do yourself a favor and serve with this cornbread.  So. Good.

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Some of our other favorite crockpot meals…

Chickpea & Veggie Curry

Chickpea & Veggie Curry

Asian Beef

Asian Beef

Sweet & Sour Brisket

Sweet & Sour Brisket

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

Buttermilk Skillet Cornbread

I am seriously SO over all of this snow!  We have now had the third snowiest winter of all time in Philadelphia… ew ew ew ew ew!!  All last week while stuck inside because of the terrible weather, all I could think about was soup.  I was looking at recipes of soup that I’ve made before and ones that I’ve saved for a rainy day.  I didn’t even care what kind… I just really wanted soup.

And honestly, what better soup to make on a snowy day than one that cooks in a crockpot and makes your house smell all sorts of delicious?!  I decided to spend some time on Sunday making a new chili recipe with Dave.  We like to experiment and try new things, so this time around, we made a lamb chili.  It was so delish!  Stay tuned because I’ll be posting about that recipe soon :)

We decided to make this amazing cornbread to go along with the chili, which was a fabulous idea because it was so freakin’ easy and so yummy!

I have actually always wanted to try a baking recipe in my cast iron skillet, so this was the perfect opportunity.

This recipe is from the super popular blogger, Michelle, from Brown Eyed Baker.  This is the first recipe I’ve made from her site, and I am so excited to try others… this one was great!  Check out her blog and instagram… she has two adorable Golden Retrievers and posts so many pictures of them, I just love it!

Buttermilk Skillet Cornbread

Ingredients:

1¼ cups Yellow Cornmeal
1¼ cups All-Purpose Flour
2 Tablespoons White Sugar
1½ teaspoons Baking Powder
½ teaspoon Baking Soda
1½ teaspoons Kosher Salt
1¾ cups Reduced Fat Buttermilk
1 large Egg
1/2 can Creamed Corn

4 Tablespoons Butter, cut into 4 pieces

Chives

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt.  Measure your buttermilk in a large measuring cup, then add the egg and stir.  Add the buttermilk mixture and the creamed corn to the dry ingredients and stir using a rubber spatula until the mixtures are completely combined.  Chop or snip some chives into the batter as well if you’d like.

2.  Put the four pieces of butter in a cast iron skillet (10-12 inches) and then place the pan in the preheated oven until the butter is melted (about 3 minutes).  Remove the skillet from the oven and swirl the pan so the butter coats the bottom and partially up the sides of the pan.  Add the batter to the skillet and smooth the top with the rubber spatula.  

3.  Cook in the oven for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick entered into the middle comes out clean.  Let cool slightly then cover the pan with a cutting board and flip, removing the cornbread.  Slice and serve warm.

Recipe Adapted from:  Brown Eyed Baker

Ready to go in the oven...

Ready to go in the oven…

all done :)

all done :)

I sliced mine like a pie :)

I sliced mine like a pie :)

 

I was literally in shock when this recipe turned out right.  I’m not very good at baking (I rarely follow instructions the right way) and could not believe how perfect this cornbread came out of the skillet!  What a relief.

The only change I would make to this recipe for next time would be to add either a little bit more sugar or kosher salt… or even jalapeños!  The good thing about cornbread is that the opportunities are endless… you can add whatever you’d like.  This cornbread was so delicious and was the perfect accompaniment to our lamb chili!

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cornbread

 

Roasted Pineapple with Honey & Cashews

It has been so ridiculously cold this winter, I cannot stand it!  It’s Wednesday night and all anyone can talk about is the upcoming snow storm we’re expecting.  It’s supposed to last all night and into tomorrow, ending in the evening on Thursday.  I’m just over it!  It’s all over the news, twitter and facebook… shut up people!  Let’s talk about how the Phillies started Spring Training today!!

Snoop can show you exactly how I feel!

Snoop can show you exactly how I feel!

All I keep thinking about is how badly I wish I had another pineapple to make this dessert again.  But I don’t have one… and it’s already snowing.  BOO!

Stelly loves the snow!  The doggies are so excited.

Stelly loves the snow! The doggies are so excited.


Roasted Pineapple with Honey & Cashews

Ingredients:

1/2 cup packed Dark Brown Sugar

1/2 cup Orange Juice (I used Trader Joe’s fresh Tangerine Juice)

3 Tablespoons Honey

1 ripe Pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut lengthwise into 8 wedges

1/4 cup Fat Free Plain Greek Yogurt

1/3 cup Raw Cashews, coarsely chopped

2 Tablespoons torn Fresh Mint Leaves

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 450.  Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.*  Stir the brown sugar, OJ, and honey in a large bowl until sugar dissolves.  Add pineapple and carefully toss to coat in the mixture.  Let marinate, tossing occasionally for about 10 minutes.  Place pineapple on the prepared sheet and reserve the marinade.

2.  Roast the pineapple for 15 minutes.  Turn, brush with marinade, and roast until tender and caramelized (10-15 minutes longer)  Drizzle remaining marinade over the pineapple and let cool slightly.

3.  Divide pinapple among bowls (Dave and I ate the entire thing ourselves!!).  Spoon greek yogurt alongside.  Garnish with cashews and mint.  

Slighty adapted from:  Bon Appetit

*Make sure to line the entire pan!  The marinade is very liquidy and mine leaked all over the pan- it was a tough one to scrub off when I was finished.

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What’s so funny about this recipe is that I originally posted the Bon Appetit version on my facebook so I would remember to try it!  Dave’s Mom thought it was mine and re-posted on her own wall showing me off!  I was happy to have all the love but that was enough inspiration for me to make it myself.  It’s probably the best dessert I’ve ever had.  After the Banana Cream Pie at Chef Vola’s.  

The original recipe uses pistachios, but Dave loves cashews and I had ‘em so i used those instead.  Also, you can swap out the greek yogurt for some creme fraiche if you’re feeling fancy.  Whatever you do- don’t skimp out on the fresh mint.  Seriously.  It’s like a dollar at the grocery store and you can use the rest in tea and in recipes like this (I made it last week and holy moly it’s amazing).  While every single part of this dessert has its own perks… the mint… oh my gosh…. the mint.  It just makes this dish.  I don’t know why but it just does and it’s SO GOOD.

Anyway, this is a super easy dessert that will seriously impress people, so give it a try.  I can’t wait to make it again!

Tips for Planning the Perfect Winter Olympics Party (guest post)

USA,USA,USA!!!

USA,USA,USA!!!

Hi Party People!  I’ve been super busy these last few days so today I have a special treat for you… a fellow blogger, Quinn has written a post for you that will give you some ideas on how to plan an AWESOME Olympics Party.  I don’t know about you, but I absolutely cannot wait to watch my favorite winter sports… (forced to watch hockey by Dave) Figure Skating, Snowboarding, and who doesn’t love Curling?!  Check out these great tips and let the games begin! (May the odds be ever in your favor…)

Kinda obsessed with the flying tomato...

Kinda obsessed with the flying tomato…

Trying To Plan The Perfect Party For The Olympics? Here Are Some Things You Might Need!

The Olympic games will be here in a couple of days and many people have begun the party planning process. Sometimes, finding the perfect cocktail or appetizer dish can be difficult.

My husband and I host many sporting event parties over the years. Each year, it gets a little bit easier to host a party because I feel I have found out how to make the party planning process smoother. Below are a few tips for having a great Olympic party:

Break Out the Décor!

What’s a better way to celebrate than decorating for the theme? Break out the national flags and homemade Olympic rings. Even Fourth of July décor would work just fine with the red, white and blue theme!

Plan A Fun Game

Even though the Olympics are really exciting to watch just in itself, playing a game can ensure your guests have a great time! One thing I suggest is buying an array of international beers and holding a blind taste test! Use a score sheet with quirky descriptions of each beer. Whoever guesses the most correct wins a (homemade) medal!

Choose A Great Appetizer

The Olympics come around only every 4 years making them unique. An Olympic party simply would not be the same without a unique appetizer. My husband enjoys a bacon-wrapped meatball dish that I make. My party guests love it, and people are always asking for the recipe. I use the recipe from this site.

Personal note: My husband purchased me a casserole dish a couple of years ago from here as a token of his appreciation for hosting every year. Every time that we have guests over I use it! One of the many great things about this dish is that it can be microwaved and is also dishwasher safe. I would encourage anyone to get a casserole dish that can be used and reused.

Pick A Patriotic Cocktail

Everyone loves a tasty drink. What’s more patriotic than a Red, White and Blue Sangria? As the name suggests, it is perfect for the Olympics. My husband and the party guests, as well as I enjoy the sweet taste. If you are looking for a great Red White and Blue Sangria, then you should consider checking out this website.

When planning a party, it sometimes can be hard to break out of the normal mold, especially if it’s tailored towards a certain event. Over the years, we’ve switched things up and our guests seem to really enjoy it! I hope these tips help out for this year’s games!

-Written by Quinn from Healthy Living by Quinn

More about our special guest blogger, Quinn:

Quinn is a self-proclaimed health enthusiast. She loves spending time with her husband and two boys. When she’s not driving her boys from sports practice to sports practice, she enjoys a nice glass of wine and a good book. 
Blog: healthylivingbyquinn.blogspot.com

Caramelized Carrot Cake Bread : Feb SRC

I’m hoping you’re reading the title of this post and having the same reaction I did… WHATTTTT?!??!!  When I read about this recipe on my SRC partner’s blog… I was just amazed.  I don’t think I can personally ever be so creative.  What an awesome recipe.  Whoa.  I just had to try it.

After a month off, I’m back on with the Secret Recipe Club.  For those of you who haven’t checked it out before, please do!  The Secret Recipe Club (or the SRC) has been a really fun way to encourage me to try new recipes and connect with new bloggers.  Each month, everyone in the club gets an assignment to check out another blogger’s page.  We then pick ANY of their existing recipes and make them ourselves!  Then, on reveal day (today), we all post about our findings and experiences.  I have made some of my favorite recipes EVER from some of my paired blogs (check out THIS one… omg).

Secret Recipe Club

This month, I was paired with the blog:  Easily Good Eats.  It was so hard to pick just one recipe to make from this blog.  Like I said- she is so creative!  There are so many interesting recipes from different cuisines and countries around the world.  Very impressive.  I was automatically drawn to this recipe once I saw the word “Caramelized”…. I was practically drooling (as I am sure you are now too!)…  I won’t waste any more time, here is what I made:

it's as good as it looks.

it’s as good as it looks.

Caramelized Carrot Cake Bread

Makes:  1 Loaf

Ingredients:

1 cup Flour
½ cup Sugar, divided into 1/4′s 
1½ cups Carrots, peeled and grated
½ cup Unsalted Butter (1 stick)
2 Eggs, large
just under 1/4 cup Milk (I used 2%)
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
¼ teaspoon Kosher Salt
1½ teaspoons Baking Powder
 
Directions
  1. Prepare a loaf pan with cooking spray.
  2. Add ¼ cup sugar and 1 Tablespoon of water to a saucepan. Bring to the boil and cook on high heat until the sugar turns dark red. It will happen- I promise.  (I used a rubber spatula) Stir and don’t let it burn!
  3. Add carrots and butter.  Cook over low heat until the carrots becomes soft. This will take about 15-20 minutes. Puree the mixture (optional). Let the mixture cool completely.  *Optional to puree the mixture in a food processor- I did not*
  4. In a bowl beat ¼ cup sugar and eggs until the sugar dissolves. Add to the carrot mixture together with milk and mix well.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Fold the flour mixture into the carrot mixture.  Don’t overmix.
  6. Pour the batter into loaf pan and bake at 350°F until done, about 30-40 minutes. A skewer inserted in the middle of the cake should come out clean.

Recipe slightly adapted from: Butterscotch (Caramelized) Carrot Cake

At first, this recipe was a little more labor-intensive than what I’m used to.  First of all, I don’t really bake that much.  I also rolled my eyes when I saw how much carrot I’d have to grate.  But then I remembered, OMG, I have a food processor!  I finally was able to use our engagement gift from Dave’s parents in a new way- the grating tool!  Once I got it set up and peeled my carrots, it took literally 45 seconds.  It was the easiest thing ever, I totally recommend doing this- it will save you so much time!  Once the carrots were grated, the rest was simple.  Cook up the sugar, add the butter, carrots, and make the bread.

Lots of shredded carrots!  Thank goodness for our new food processor :)

Lots of shredded carrots! Thank goodness for our new food processor :)

If you were curious about what caramelizing carrots looked like...

If you were curious about what caramelizing carrots looked like…

Here is the batter with the wet ingredients and carrots

Here is the batter with the wet ingredients and carrots

I should also tell you that you should make DOUBLE this recipe.  You’re going to want to eat the whole loaf yourself, but also share one- it is one hell of an impressive recipe… show off your skills!  Next time, I’m going to double AND make a little bit of cream cheese glaze to drizzle overtop.

Finished product!  YUM!

Finished product! YUM!

Now that I’ve probably made you hungry for something sweet…

check out some of the other blogger’s recipes from this month’s SRC!

Roasted Jalapeño & Honey Hummus

Holy Hummus.

I think I’ve discovered my favorite snack, like… ever.

This stuff is legit.

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Don’t get me wrong, my other hummus recipes are awesome.  I love making this stuff from scratch.  It’s so easy and I love being able to customize the flavors.  This recipe puts all others to shame.  It’s just so-freakin-awesome.

The idea for this hummus recipe came from one of my absolute favorite bloggers, Jessica, from How Sweet It Is.  Not only do I love reading her hilarious stories, Jessica has just the best recipes.  Her pictures are amazing too.  I knew I had to try this recipe out when I read it a week or two ago.  I love roasting peppers and adding honey to hummus was something I had never even heard of.  I’m all in.

hummus

Roasted Jalapeño & Honey Hummus

Ingredients:

1-4 Jalapeño Peppers, roasted*

2 cans Chickpeas, drained, reserving liquid

1/4 cup Tahini

1/4 cup Honey

1/4 cup Olive Oil

2 cloves Garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper

1/4 teaspoon Cumin

1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder

Directions:

*To roast the jalapeños, you can hold them with heat-safe tongs over a gas range, or you can roast them in the oven (what I do) on a foil-lined baking sheet.  Roast at 400 checking/flipping every 5-10 minutes or so, until the peppers are soft and browning.  I used 4 peppers with seeds.  Use one at a time, tasting to see how spicy it is.  Dave and I love spicy food, this is about average spice for us.  Remove the seeds if you don’t like spice at all.*

1.  Add the chickpeas, jalapeño, and garlic to the food processor.  Pulse until finely chopped.  

2.  Add in the tahini, honey, and all four spices and continue to blend, stopping to scrape down the sides if necessary.  With the processor turned on, slowly stream about half of the olive oil into the hummus.  Depending on how you like the consistency, add in a few tablespoons of the bean “juice” (from draining the chickpeas).  Keep processing until you get the desired consistency, adding bean juice or oil as you go.  I stop and taste often.  Serve with chips, cucumber slices, carrots, or spread on a sandwich!  MMM!

Recipe adapted from:  How Sweet It Is

Ready to whirl!

Ready to whirl!

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So while these pics might look like any old hummus… I promise you, this stuff is special.  Try it out!

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Or… try another one of my favorite dips!

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Italian Hoagie Dip

Italian Hoagie Dip

Smoked Salmon Dip

Smoked Salmon Dip