Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tag, I'm It!

Well, it happened.  I got tagged.  Thanks Amanda :)  Check out her blog Baking Without a Box for some yummy treat-making and healthy living ideas!

Our little corner of the blog world has been a-buzzin' lately with this 20-questions type game.  Each person tagged has to answer 8 questions created by the person who tagged them, and then come up with 8 new questions, then tag 8 new people to answer them.  Make sense?  Just roll with it :)

Here are my answers to Amanda's questions (these are good, BTW - thanks for being creative!):

1. What's your all-time favorite "to die for" dessert?  
  • Oh geez.  Such a hard question since "dessert" is my middle name (no joke, look at my birth certificate :) ).  I would have to say a hot fudge brownie sundae: a warm, fresh-out-of-the oven brownie with chocolate chips in it, topped with vanilla bean ice cream, hot fudge sauce, a little whipped cream and candied nuts.  Gulfstream makes a killer version and I love ordering it whenever I go :)  It's so rich and gooey and decadent!

2)  If you could meet any celebrity chef and spend a day with them, who would you pick?
  • This is another toughie.  I'd probably pick Aarti Sequeira from Aarti Parti and The Next Food Network Star because she is so darn adorable and down to earth.  She seems like she could be your best friend before you even meet her.  I also love Giada (and Hubby has a crush on her) and Ina (her food is so comforting and she has such a warm smile, plus who wouldn't want to stay at her house in the Hamptons?).
3)  Favorite fair food?  You know you've got one.
  • Churros!  I love the combo of fried dough + cinnamon sugar :)
4) What's your biggest kitchen blooper?
5)  Is there any common food that just gives you the icks?
  • Mayonnaise disgusts me.  Something about the egg yolks and how much fat is in it grosses me out.
6)  Your blog is becoming a film a la Julie & Julia, only more wonderful because it's about you.  So who do you cast to play your part?  (Bonus:  How about anyone else's part?)
  • I've had people tell me I'm a Natalie Portman look-alike, so I'd probably pick her to play me.  As for other peeps, I'll have to think about it.  I don't know if I could pick someone who'd match Hubby's handsomeness :)
7)  What's your favorite thing in your kitchen right now?
  • Hubby and I have been making a TON of paninis lately with our Breville Panini Maker - it's fabulous!  It heats up quickly and leaves those awesome grill marks, plus you can cook meat on it too.  Love it :)
8)  What's your biggest goal coming up to tackle and conquer?
  • To find a full-time job with benefits.  This has been a huge struggle for me since I finished my master's degree in May.  Financially I do not feel independent nor like I am able to really help support Hubby and me.  It's extremely frustrating to be asked "so, what exactly do you do with a divinity degree?" ("Um, get a job?"), especially since I haven't been on ordination track since my first year of seminary.  I'm working part time at a coffee shop right now, and while I enjoy it, it's frustrating to make minimum wage + tips with a master's degree.  I do feel lucky to have a job at all, but I wish there were better opportunities out there (or at least was able to find the ones that are out there).  Networking is tough when you move to a new city and don't really know anyone (hello, San Diegans, I'm here!).  Okay, 'nuff complaining.
So since many of my blog friends aren't necessarily food bloggers (that and I don't want to tag people whose blogs I read but haven't ever made contact with - that would be weird, no?), I tried to come up with a few un-food-related questions for them.  Have at it, friends!  Please check out their awesome blogs, too.  They are fantastic bloggers and their posts always brighten my day :)  They are (in random order):

1. Maren at Simply Maren
2. Tina at Faith Fitness Fun
3. Sara at Beautiful Feet
4. Meghan at Megster Meter
5. Wendy at The Weekend Gourmet
6. Eve at The Pizza Files
8. Sarah at Baking Serendipity

I know a lot of Sara(h)s, huh? :)

Here are my new questions.  Have fun!
1.  Do you have a favorite family recipe or food tradition that's been handed down to you?  What is it?
2.  What's the worst thing you've ever eaten?
3.  What would you have for your last meal?
4.  What are you most grateful for in your life right now?
5.  What is one recipe/new thing you've always wanted to try, but haven't (or are afraid to make) yet?
6.  What do you consider your greatest accomplishment as of now?
7.  If you could eat and travel your way through any city in the world, where would you go and why?
8.  Do you have a favorite cookbook that you go back to again and again?  What is it?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Spicy Chocolate Rice Krispies Treats

To me there's nothing better than a warm and gooey dish of Rice Krispies treats.  My mom gifted me with a bag of marshmallows when we moved into our apartment, so I was set on getting around to making some of the tasty morsels.

As I was pondering how I could put my own spin on them, I couldn't help but think of the Cocoa Krispies I used to down by the bowlful after track practice in high school.  Chocolate + cereal + milk = a hungry teenager's best friend :)  Then it hit me - CHOCOLATE Rice Krispy treats.

Since we had regular TJ's brand Rice Krispies, I decided to add cocoa powder and vanilla extract to the mix.  As an homage to fall, I threw in some cinnamon and nutmeg too for a little kick.  Don't worry, it's not too spicy...but the flavor definitely leaves you wondering what that extra something is.

Chocolate also calls for more chocolate.  I couldn't make chocolate Rice Krispy treats and not drizzle chocolate over the top.  That would be mean.

Bottom line: they're chocolatey deliciousness and I guarantee they'll be gone by the next day.  All of them.  Not that I would know or anything ;)

You'll need a little more than 5 cups of these...

...which you may melt with 1/4 cup of butter (Best Life spread in my pan) over low heat.

As the 'shmallows and buttah melt, add in 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg:

Stir it all together.  Lookin' good so far :)

But wait.  Oh...just you wait.  Here is the crowning cocoa glory, 1 tablespoon to be exact.  Don't be shy.

Dust your lovely 'smallow mixture with the cocoa.

Add your vanilla.

Stir and take in all those incredible chocolately-spicy-marshmallowy aromas filling your nose.  This is heaven in a saucepan, no joke.  Look. At. That.

Add 8 1/2 cups of Rice Krispies...

...and stir.  Don't forget to eat bits along the way (how else will you get it off your fingers?).

Spread into your greased 9"x13" baking dish and press down evenly with your fingers or wax paper.  Eat some more.

Hold on there, you're not done yet :)  Pop a few of these babies in the microwave for 30 seconds or until melted.

Using a fork, drizzle over the top of your pan of glory.  Cry tears of joy at the wonder you have just created :)  Now that's dessert, baby!

Recipe: Spicy Chocolate Rice Krispies Treats
Adapted from the back of the Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallow bag :)

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
  • 5 cups marshmallows
  • 8 1/2 cups Rice Krispies
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 a Hershey bar
  • In a large saucepan, melt butter and marshmallows over low heat. 
  • Add cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and cocoa.  Stir until everything is well mixed. 
  • Stir in Rice Krispies until they are evenly coated.
  • Using a spatula or wax paper, evenly press the mixture into a greased 9"x13" baking dish.
  • Melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds or until just melted.
  • Using a fork, drizzle the chocolate over your Rice Krispies treats.  Allow to cool.
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