The non-recipe recipe post

Okay, so that title probably doesn’t make much sense…but, I do have a couple of quick and easy meal/snack ideas that are not really recipes. Maybe the pictures should just speak for themselves!

BREADDDD! One of my favorite things.  In an attempt to get something on the table quick, fast and in a hurry AND having something my kids would eat….I came up with this. We’ll call it ‘ham n’cheese bread’!
Take a loaf of Italian bread and cut it in about 1 inch slices on the diagonal – but don’t cut all the way through the loaf. Then, make 1″ slices in the other direction (does that make sense?), but again, do not cut all the way through your loaf. You end up with these cool little pull apart bite size pieces of bread.  Once you have the bread cut…you can pretty much fill it with anything you have on hand!  This one I sprayed with a little olive oil and a very light sprinkle of garlic powder (picky kids and all), then stuffed it with whatever cheese I had in the fridge, and chopped Canadian bacon. Wrap in foil and bake until cheese is melted.  It would be a great appetizer, side, or add a side or two and it can be a quick and easy meal.
All you have time for is a Lean Cuisine for lunch?  No problem.  “Soup it up” with some pre-packaged greens (I like spinach and arugula), a few chopped cherry tomatoes, and a sprinkle of grated cheese (I used Asiago). Or, you could have a salad on the side like a normal person, but what’s the fun in that?!
This is a super easy, throw whatever is in the pantry together, type snack – but my kids love it!
I used:
1 cup Kashi Cinnamon Harvest Shredded Wheat
1 cup Cheerios
1 cup Nature’s Path Pumpkin Flax granola
1 cup Goldfish crackers (nuts would be good, but my son is allergic)
1 cup M&M;’s (cinnamon, regular and mini’s)
1 cup mixed dried fruit (cranberries, blueberries & cherries)
I kept the 1/4 measuring cup in the bowl for some portion control!
Happy Friday!

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

Want a big bowl of bran twigs for breakfast? What? That doesn’t sound appetizing? Hmmm, what about a warm, moist muffin reminiscent of pumpkin pie with a crunchy cinnamon topping? Sounds a little better right?  Now, what if I tell you these muffins are full of those twiggy bran pieces.  Not just any bran either.  Fiber One bran cereal.  So not only are you getting a muffin full of fiber, you are also getting the health benefits of pumpkin – full of antioxidants.  But the most important part….they taste delicious!
 Pumpkin Streusel Muffins
slightly adapted from Crazy for Crust
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 cups bran cereal (I used Fiber One original, not flakes)
1 1/4 cups fat-free milk
1 cup canned pumpkin
For streusel topping:
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon unsalted butter or butter spread, melted
Handful of rolled oats (optional)
 
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a 12-cup muffin cup with cooking spray.
  2. Place the bran cereal and milk in a large bowl. Let soak while you mix your dry ingredients.
  3. Place 1 1/4 cups flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice in a separate bowl and whisk.
  4. Add pumpkin to bran mixture and stir to combine. 
  5. Add dry ingredients to wet. Stir until just combined. 
  6. Evenly divide batter among 12 muffin cups (they don’t rise much, so you can fill them pretty full).
  7. Mix melted butter, brown sugar, 1 tablespoon flour and rolled oats in a small bowl. Sprinkle on top of batter.
  8. Bake for 14-18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool slightly before serving. Best served warm.

Rolo Cereal Treats with Brownie Mix

brrrrr! It actually feels like winter Fall this morning!  Since my puppy did not get the memo that I am NOT a morning person, he had me up and outside at 5:30am….and I had to grab my coat!  Granted, this is the South, so if it drops below 70, it’s cold.  But I dare say, it was in the 40’s! (Of course, it’s supposed to reach the upper 70’s later today).  Anyway, enough about the weather.  It’s just that the chill in the air is finally making me accept the fact that Fall is here, and right around the corner is Halloween!  So…I made you some “spooky” treats.

But not just any cereal treats…ones with gooey candy pieces, and brownie mix.  And spooky sprinkles.  And Cheerios mixed with Rice Krispies…b/c I want to lower your cholesterol levels.  Ok, maybe that last part isn’t entirely true.  Not that I want you to have high cholesterol…but…well, never mind.
I must say, adding Rolos to cereal treats is pretty brilliant.  I’m sure I’m not the first person to come up with this…but let’s just pretend I am. And adding brownie mix….well, you know how I just made the Brownie Biscoff Puppy Chow…I’m a little obsessed.

Rolo Cereal Treats with Brownie Mix

  • 6 cups cereal (I used a combo of Cheerios and Rice Krispies)
  • 3 T. butter
  • 1 bag of miniature marshmallows (minus a few my kids ate)
  • 1/4 cup brownie mix (*I will use 1/2 cup next time)
  • 1/2 cup Rolos candy – frozen and halved (optional)
  1. Melt butter over medium heat in a large pot. Once melted, add marshmallows and stir until almost melted.
  2. Add brownie mix and stir until marshmallows are completely melted and brownie mix is incorporated.  Remove from heat and add cereal.  Mix until coated.
  3. Add frozen candy pieces and stir.  You have to do this  fairly quickly b/c the mixture begins to cool and it is difficult to get the candy mixed in.  (but is it a bad thing to have a few clumps of chocolate and caramel candy? Not in my world.)
  4. Place mixture into a greased 13 x 9 inch pan (can use parchment/wax paper/aluminum foil for easy removal if desired.)  Mash cereal treats into pan, I like to spray my hands with cooking spray and use my hands.  But utensils are okay too.  Top with sprinkles if desired.
  5. Let treats cool, then cut into squares.  Store in airtight container.  They lasted about 24 hours at my house.  If that.

Monster Magic Bars

You know how sometimes you get those crazy intense chocolate cravings that have to be satiated immediately? Please tell me I am not the only one.  Mine usually hits when it’s getting late, and I don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, or do not feel like going to the store for a particular ingredient. Enter Monster Magic Cookie Bars! They have a short ingredient list and I knew with chocolate and sweetened condensed milk, they would be delicious. And I was right.  Again.  (I know my sweets peeps!)
When I first saw these at Something Swanky, I drooled all over myself.  Her pics are amazing!  Those bars were pinned in a flash, and called my name until I relented.  Okay, that sounds a little creepy.  I’m not hearing voices or anything.  But, ya know what I mean.  These bars had to be made.

Monster Magic Cookie Bars

slightly adapted from Something Swanky
  • 9 full reduced-fat graham crackers
  • 4 tbsp. butter  *I used 2 T. butter and 2 T. coconut oil
  • 1 can fat free sweetened condensed milk
  • approximately 3/4 c. (old fashioned) oats
  • approximately 3/4 c. M&Ms;
  • approximately 3/4 c. chocolate chips *I used mini semi-sweet choc chips

 

  1. In a zip top bag, crush the graham crackers using a rolling pin.
  2. Once crushed, add the 2 4 tbsp. butter & coconut oil to the bag. (not necessary if your coconut oil is already in a liquid state – then you can add after you heat the butter)
  3. Place in the microwave and heat up for about 20-30 seconds.
  4. Remove from microwave, let out the air and make sure the bag is sealed (be careful, it’s hot!), and “mush” the butter, coconut oil and graham crackers together until fully incorporated.
  5. Press the graham cracker crumbs into a well-greased and parchment lined (I did not line mine with parchment paper) 9×13 baking dish.
  6. Evenly pour the sweetened condensed milk over the graham cracker layer.
  7. Sprinkle the oats, M&Ms;, and chocolate chips evenly over the sweetened condensed milk and gently press in a little.
  8. Bake at 350º for 30 minutes or until browned and pulling away from the edges.
  9. Let cool and serve.
Someone was very eager to give these a taste test….
Moving in…. 
a little closer… 
Yay! Mom is finished taking pictures and I can have one!
Another perk to this recipe, it’s egg and nut free! (M&M’s do have a warning on the bag that they may contain an occasional peanut. However, I still let him have them. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone who has a severe nut allergy.)

Cookie Butter Cheerio Treats

Speculoos, Biscoff, crack….whatever you want to call it, the stuff is delicious. And addictive.  I can dive into a jar with a spoon and do some damage.  Recently, I tried Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie Butter and decided to actually make something with it instead of consuming it straight from the jar. (My son eats Biscoff sandwiches almost daily! I know it isn’t the healthiest thing, but that is another post altogether!)
 
As I was obsessively casually stalking perusing Pinterest, I saw Peanut Butter Cheerios Treats from justJENN recipes.  I decided to make them immediately, but with a couple of changes.

Cookie Butter Cheerio Treats

6 cups Cheerios cereal
2 Tablespoons butter
1/3 cup Cookie Butter
1 bag of mini marshmallows
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)

 
Grease a 9×13 dish, set aside.  Melt butter and cookie butter in a large pot on medium heat, add marshmallows.  Stir until marshmallows are melted.  Remove from heat and add Cheerios.  Stir until cereal is completed coated in gooey marshmallow cookie butter goodness.  Quickly spread cereal mixture into greased pan. (I like to spray my hands with a little cooking spray and mash the cereal into place. Be careful, it’s hot!) It is going to be sticky. Once cereal is in pan, sprinkle chocolate chips on top if desired.  Let cool (yeah, right!) and cut into squares.
  They were a huge hit and the entire pan lasted less than 12 hours.  I may have been largely responsible. Maybe.
Have you tried cookie butter? Do you love it?!
I’m linking this recipe up with Gooseberry Patch

Blueberry Lime Salsa

I’ve been a little more adventurous of late with the food combinations I have been willing to try.  I have pretty much been alone in this endeavor since my children have zero sense of adventure when it comes to eating new things.  (Unless they are covered in chocolate.  But even I could not add chocolate to this.)  Now, if you want to see if they will use an air mattress as a launching pad (even though they have been told repeatedly not too); or use snow boards on the slip ‘n slide; or combine several items of makeup together for their own personal ‘makeover’ from hell then I would say their spirit of adventure is alive and well.  But ask them to try something new that involves a vegetable….not so much.  All I can say is, their loss.  (And if anyone out there is an animal trainer, I could probably use a few pointers, since as I type, the kids sound like they have the Wild Kingdom plus WW III going on in the next room.)

At least I can look at this.  So pretty!  And yes, it is a little odd to see beautiful red strawberries and blueberries mixed in with cilantro and red onion.  But give it a go, you will be pleasantly surprised.

Blueberry Lime Salsa

recipe from How Sweet Eats
1 cup fresh blueberries

5 medium strawberries

1/4 red onion

1 teaspoon lime zest

juice of two limes

1/3 cup fresh cilantro

1/2 avocado, chopped (I omitted)

salt and pepper to taste

Combine blueberries, strawberries, onion, lime zest, juice and cilantro in a food processor (or blender) and pulse until you reach desired consistency. Add salt and pepper if desired. If using avocado, fold in now.  I ate mine with tortilla chips, but had the intentions of adding it to shrimp or fish tacos.  It just didn’t last long enough!
I will not even mention what my kids said this looked like.
*sigh* Just eat it!

Homemade Brownie Larabars

Do you eat Larabars?
They are made only with fruit and nuts.  And my favorites, of course, contain chocolate.  When I saw this post over at Chocolate Covered Katie’s blog, I knew I wanted to give it a try.  I found a large container of dates at Sam’s Club the other day, and decided it was time.

Homemade Brownie Larabars

from CCK
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 and 1/3 cups pitted dates
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3-4 T cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Dark cocoa)
  • 1/8 tsp salt (optional)
  • chocolate chips (optional) (of course I used chocolate chips! Ghirardelli 60% chips)
Blend all the ingredients, using a food processor, Magic Bullet, etc. Form into bars. (bars are sticky, so I placed in between waxed paper and shaped them into ‘bars’)
Verdict?  They taste just like Larabars!  Wholesome ingredients that are great for an energy boost or quick snack on-the-go.  You can change up the nuts and add different fruits to make your own varieties of bars.

2-ingredient Apple Angel Food Cake

Yes, it can be done! Another tested 2 ingredient recipe that turned out oh so tasty! You may remember that I have already tried the 2 ingredient brownies, which were quite good.  I have also made the 2 ingredient lemon bars, but my pics were lost on my crashed computer.  They were also pretty good. So now….the 2 ingredient apple cake!
SO EASY!

Apple Angel Food Cake

1 can pie filling (any flavor, I used apple)
1 box of Angel Food Cake Mix
nuts (optional)
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Mix can of pie filling with dry cake mix. {No other ingredients}
  • Stir until blended.
  • Pour in a greased/sprayed 9×13 baking dish.
  • Top with walnuts if desired – making this a THREE ingredient cake 🙂
  • Bake at 350 until done. *I saw on a pin somewhere that it should be baked for 20 minutes.  This was not long enough in my oven.  It took at least 25-30, and the middle of mine still wasn’t done, and my oven usually cooks faster than the recommended times.  Next time I will def. cook it longer and make sure to check the center.  Mine also ‘deflated’ by the next day, but that could also be because I didn’t cook it long enough.  However, the flavor was really good, especially since I was craving something sweet like a mad woman.
This is a great little recipe to have tucked away when you need to throw something together in a hurry, looking for something low fat (definitely not low in sugar however), or just have a sugar craving.  You can use any flavor pie filling you want, so you can make lots of variations.  I have also found a ‘no sugar added’ pie filling, so that would cut down on the calories as well.  Now, if I could just find a chocolate recipe with no sugar, no carbs, no fat, but full flavor.  Yes, it IS nice in my dream world, haha.
I’m linking this up with Carole’s Chatter for Food on Fridays

Harvest Blessing Mix

I mentioned this mix last year, but I think it’s so cute!  It makes great little gifts – put in a baggie with the meaning of the ingredients attached! My son brought it home from pre-school a few years ago & we have made it ever since.

Harvest Blessing Mix

Bugles – represents a cornucopia…horn of plenty
Pretzels – represents arms folded in thanks and prayer
Candy Corn – During the first winter, the pilgrims were each allowed 5 kernels of corn per day b/c food was so scarce.
Raisins – Thanksgiving is the celebration of the harvest
Sunflower seeds – Seeds represent the potential of a bountiful harvest for the next season, if they are planted and well tended.
Chocolate chips – What’s a mix without chocolate?