Archive | January, 2019

Mixin’ It Up – Snack Mix Trials (And A Miss)

17 Jan

After doing my annual Christmas Cookie Baking this year, I started to think – what if next year I tried something DIFFERENT? And while I of course LOVE baking, I don’t love spending a whole day or multiple days doing it, switching cookie racks every 5 minutes for hours and scooping out a million cookies onto cookie sheets….I want to bake because I LOVE it – not because it is what I always do or have to do at Christmas – so I decided that this year – I want to mix it up. Luckily, I have all year to try out new recipes, and after making this amazing Crock Pot Christmas “Crack” this year, I knew that would be on my “must make” list this upcoming year, as would a few batches of the always amazing Saltine Toffee.

But I also wanted to do something a bit more on the “savory” side, as there are SO MANY sweets at Christmas time that even I get tired of it all sometimes (ME – a sugar FANATIC!). So I decided to make my family the guinea pigs (as they usually are) for this Cheesy Ranch Snack Mix:

Cheesy Ranch Snack Mix
(Recipe courtesy of Plain Chicken)

INGREDIENTS:
8 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp Worceshire sauce
1 packet Ranch dressing mix
4 cups Rice Chex
4 cups Corn Chex
3 cups Cheez Its
2 cups small pretzels
1 (12.5 oz) can redskin peanuts

INSTRUCTIONS:
-Preheat oven to 250ºF.
-In a large bowl (the biggest you have), mix together all ingredients. Place mix on 2 large baking sheets.
-Bake 1 hour – stirring every 15 minutes. Allow to cool and transfer to an airtight container.

Ok – so – this recipe made a LOT of snack mix. And it smelled SO GOOD while it was baking – just – made my mouth water! The finished product, however – was just nothing to write home about. My family and I found it to be too salty, and too “Worceshire-y”

BUT – I felt that something good could possibly come of this. So – I made it again, but with a few changes:
-Used UNSALTED butter
-Instead of Worceshire – I used Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, about 1 tsp
-I used Wal-Mart brand ranch dip mix this time (instead of the Aldi one I used the first time – not sure if this made any difference at all, but wanted to note it anyway!)

The second batch turned out a LOT better – less salty, and the seasonings were more in balance. I think this one will join the others as a winner for Christmas baking/gifting – as who doesn’t love a nice snack mix alongside their cookies? I know I do!

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Happy 32 Years To My Man – Here’s To “S’more” Fun!

17 Jan

Now that my son is 4, he is starting to understand things like birthdays, and birthday parties – and he even knows that every good party has a theme! So this year, when it came time to think about how to celebrate my husband’s birthday, I asked the little man’s advice. His answer? “A Marshmallow Party!” – whatever that is?

Best I can tell, it is essentially – roasting/eating marshmallows over a fire, making/eating s’mores, and having hot cocoa (with – you guessed it, more marshmallows! I mean – sounds fun to me I guess? So, in keeping with the theme, I decided a marshmallow-based dessert was in order too (because – well – s’mores isn’t enough sugar ha)

For this occasion, I think some skillet s’mores would make the perfect birthday dessert…

Skillet S’mores
(Recipe Courtesy of Yourhomebasedmom.com)
Ingredients
3/4 C butter softened
1 C firmly packed light brown sugar
1 C old fashioned oats
3/4 C all purpose flour
3/4 C graham cracker crumbs
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 C mini marshmallows
1 C semisweet chocolate chips
ice cream
chocolate syrup

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease your cast iron skillet
In a large bowl mix together butter and sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy. About 3-4 minutes.
Stir in oats, flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt.
Beat until combined
Press 2/3 of mixture into bottom of a 10″ cast iron skillet.
Top with marshmallows and chocolate chips.
Crumble remaining mixture on top.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool 10 minutes and enjoy!
Top with ice cream and chocolate syrup.

Of course my little sous chef was on hand to help ensure proper quality control

…and when I say quality control, I mean sampling all the ingredients of course (I drew the line at licking the butter, though…)

Crumble-y and ready for the oven!

The Birthday Boy making a wish with his giant skillet s’more

All smiles for this awesome dessert!

It turned out really well – easy to throw together, and tasted amazing, too! Nice and gooey, and the oats in the crumble/crust gave it a really nice texture. Overall – a winner!

The birthday boy really enjoyed his skillet, and he also loved these HUGE marshmallow pops I made too – a last minute addition that went over really well! I just melted some chocolate and dipped the marshmallows in it, and then gently rolled them in graham cracker crumbs. You could do a lot with these – different chocolates, sprinkles or other crushed candies, etc. Really versatile and fun to eat – because who doesn’t love giant marshmallows?