Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Rocky Road Rice Krispie Treats

During our recent heat spell I had a craving for chocolate (shocker). I didn't, however, feel like heating up the house and baking. After scrolling through some of my favorite food blogs, I came across these Rocky Road Rice Krispie Treats. They were a cinch to make and really tasty. Total prep time was only 10 minutes!

Ingredients: semi-sweet chocolate chips, peanut butter (smooth and not the healthy natural stuff), Nutella, mini marshmallows, pecans and Rice Krispies.

In a microwave-safe bowl, add the chocolate chips, peanut butter and Nutella. Microwave for 2 minutes, stir to combine.

It should be smooth without any lumps. (I snuck a spoonful at this point. Yum.)

Stir in the marshmallows and pecans.

Then add in the Rice Krispies.

Spread into greased pan and top with extra pecans and marshmallows. Refrigerate for 1 hour and cut into squares.

My very religious old granny of a neighbor calls these "sinfully good!"

Rocky Road Rice Krispie Treats


1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. Nutella
1/2 c. mini marshmallows
1/4 c. pecans
3/4 c. Rice Krispies


Melt the chocolate chips, peanut butter and Nutella for 2 minutes in the microwave. Stir.

Mix in the marshmallows and pecans. Fold in the Rice Krispies.

Pour mixture into a well-greased 8"x8" glass baking dish. Top with extra pecans and marshmallows. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Cut into squares and enjoy!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Joys of Home Ownership

Our house is 20 years old this year and we're starting to feel it! Last year our dishwasher and oven decided to quit working. This year we decided to remove the very early 1990's hunter green pine cone wallpaper from our guest bathroom/kids' bathroom.

Removing wallpaper is one of my least favorite activities. Right up there with washing the tracks out of windows. Ick. I think it all started with the first house we lived in after we were married. The bathroom had layer upon layer of wallpaper. Instead of removing the wallpaper and reapplying, years of renters simply added what they liked on top (space ships, stripes, etc.). It was a hideous mass of paper, glue and mold in between. I digress...Anyway, I really HATE removing wallpaper.

So, we're taking off the wallpaper and find that whomever put it up: a) Loved glue. It was gobbed on. b) Cut the paper on the wall, thus cut the wall. c) Moved the toilet paper holder and towel rack a gazillion times (yes that is a technical term). This simple project of removing the wallpaper and painting has suddenly gotten a lot more complicated. Now we are talking about:

Steaming the walls



Getting a new mirror (the hubby broke the mirror removing it so we can remove the pine cone paper)

Finding a new bath tub faucet (I somehow broke it while washing out the bits of paper that fell in the tub during removal)

Redoing the counter tops

Finding new cupboard knobs

And, getting new flooring

One word: Yikes!

I'll keep you posted on what comes to pass. Luckily we have a great helper!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

French Lentil Soup

With the cool change in weather we've been wanting soul warming food. I found this recipe in a Bon Appetit magazine and have been wanting to try it based on the simplicity. It is easy enough for a week day meal and stick to your ribs good!

The ingredient list is simple: olive oil, onions, celery, carrots, garlic, vegetable broth, french lentils, and diced tomatoes.

Start by dicing the carrots, celery and onions.

Then rinse the lentils. They often have sand or dirt in them so you definitely want to rinse them!

In a heavy saucepan or dutch oven, heat the olive oil. The saute the veggies until they begin to brown.

Add in the rest of the ingredients and simmer until the lentils are tender. I had some rock hard lentils and had to cook them for 45 minutes.

Mmmm...Looks good, right? Wait! We're not done.

Puree about 2 cups of the soup until smooth. Add back to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle a little balsamic vinegar on top.

Be sure to sop up the soup with lots of bread!

French Lentil Soup


3 T. olive oil
2 c. chopped onions
1 c. chopped celery (plus chopped celery leaves for garnish)
1 c. chopped carrots
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 c. vegetable broth
1 1/4 c. french lentils, rinsed, drained
1 - 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice

balsamic vinegar (optional)


Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery, carrots, and garlic; saute until vegetables begin to brown, about 15 minutes. Add 4 cups broth, lentils, and tomatoes with juice and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, adn simmer until lentils are tender, about 35 minutes.

Transfer 2 cups soup (mostly solids) to blender and puree until smooth. Return puree to soup in pan; thin soup with more broth by 1/4 cupfuls, if too thick. Season with salt, pepper, and a splash of vinegar, if desired. Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with celery leaves.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Gone Fishin'

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. With this beautiful weather I've become a bit of a slacker. Now that the rains back I'll get back into the swing of things!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Our Little Gourmond

Nate is becoming a great little sous chef. He measures, he mixes, he emulsifies! It's amazing how much more he is willing to try new foods now that he has a hand in the preparation.

Strawberry season is upon us so we made this super simple spinach and strawberry salad. Start off by putting cleaned spinach leaves in a salad bowl and the sliced berries on top.

Add all of the dressing ingredients to a food processor or some sort of emulsifying gadget.

Emulsify until smooth except for the poppy seeds. Drizzle the dressing on top of the salad and enjoy!

Spinach and Strawberry Salad


2 bunches spinach, torn in pieces
2 pints strawberries, cleaned & hulled

1/3 c. sugar
2 T. sesame seeds
1 1/2 t. minced onions
1/4 t. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 t. paprika
1/2 c. oil
1/4 c. cider vinegar
1 T. poppy seeds


Place spinach in a large salad bowl with the strawberries on top. Do not mix and set aside.

Place all the dressing ingredients into a food processor and blend until thickened. Toss salad just before serving. Note, if you toss the salad too early the dressing will wilt the spinach leaves.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

To all you mothers, grandmothers, godmothers and step-mothers Happy Mother's Day!

Rice Pot Mama and family

Friday, May 11, 2012

Cowboy Caviar

Cowboy Caviar photo

We have had the most amazing weather lately! With that weather I don't feel like heating up the house with baking or cooking so we have been barbecuing up a storm and fixing foods that don't require cooking. One of our staples when the weather turns nice is Cowboy Caviar. It's light, flavorful and packed with healthy ingredients. Best part is that there is absolutely NO cooking!

Start out by rolling the lime on the counter top. Really put some weight onto it as this will help you get the most juice out of the lime.

In a large bowl add the juice of the lime, red wine vinegar, hot sauce, vegetable oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

Dice the avocado and carefully toss in the sauce.

Chop all the veggies and add to the bowl along with the drained and rinsed beans. I am not a big fan of pinto beans so I typically substitute an extra can of the white or black beans or black eyed peas. Toss gently to combine. Eat with lots and lots of tortilla chips!

Cowboy Caviar


Juice of 1 lime
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
1 T. hot sauce (Tabasco)
2 T. vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 t. pepper
3/4 t. salt
3 firm ripe avocados, diced into 1/2" cubes
1 - 15 oz. can small white beans
1 - 15 oz. can black beans
1 - 15 oz. can small pinto beans
3 c. frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 c. green onions
1 c. chopped fresh cilantro
1 lb. small cherry tomatoes, halved


Combine together in a large bowl: lime juice, red wine vinegar, hot sauce, vegetable oil, garlic, pepper, and salt.

Add in the avocados.

Rinse and drain the white beans, black beans and pinto beans.

Add to the large bowl the beans, corn, green onions, cilantro and cherry tomatoes. Mix gently.

Serve with corn/tortilla chips.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Family Resemblance

I was going through some old pictures the other day and came across one of Nate from when he was 9 months old, the same age Gabby is now. Check out the family resemblance with his baby sister! People often tell me that they look alike. I never really saw it until I saw these two pictures next to each other.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Snickerdoodle Success!

Back on St. Patty's day I mentioned how I am a complete and utter failure when it comes to making snickerdoodle cookies. I think that because I can't make them I love the cookie even more than I probably would if I could make them! In my endless pursuit of finding a recipe that doesn't turn out crisp, I came across this snickerdoodle blondie bar recipe from the Brown Eyed Baker. The bars are moist and probably better than any regular snickerdoodle cookie I've had!

Before you are actually ready to bake, pull out a couple of sticks of butter. They need to be at room temperature in order to make these cookies. (If you forget to take the butter out in advance. Beat the butter cubes with a rolling pin or cut up into smaller cubes. The more surface area, the faster it will come up to room temperature).

Many recipes have you mix dry and wet ingredients in seperate bowls. When I bake my time is limited so I cheat. I always start with the wet ingredients. In this case, blend the butter and brown sugar until thoroughly incorporated.

Add in the eggs and vanilla and beat until smoothe.

Dump all of the dry ingredients on top and incorporate slowly.

The dough mixture will be thick and your mixer might struggle a bit. Be sure to scrape the sides of your bowl so you don't have any dry or unincorporated flour bits.

Smoothe the dough into a lightly greased 9" x 13" pan. It won't be completely smoothe, but that is okay.

In a small bowl mix the granulated sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly atop the dough. Bake.

Cool completely before cutting or the bars will fall a part. Also, cut them on the smaller side as these are rich!

Grandma's verdict: "These little things are tasty".

Snickerdoodle Blondies


2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan; set aside.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl; set aside.

Beat together the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, and then the vanilla. Beat, scraping the bowl, until thoroughly combined. On low speed, gradually add the flour mixture until just combined. Give the dough a final stir with a spatula or wooden spoon to make sure the flour is incorporated.

Spread the dough evenly into the pan (I found an offset spatula was the best tool for the job, as it’s a thick batter). Combine the granulated sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the top of the batter.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the surface springs back when gently pressed. Cool completely before cutting. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.