Rice Krispie Heart Treats (for Valentines Day)

fullsizeoutput_1470

Guess what? I had never made rice krispie treats before.  Lame, right? They’re so easy and a huge crowd pleaser.  I’ve been considering signing up my oldest for soccer, and can’t help but reminisce about my own soccer days.  Soccer was always so much fun: practice during the week, games on the weekends, sometimes weekend long tournaments.  I looooved soccer weekends! After games, the mom’s rotated bringing snacks and we’d always have orange slices, capri suns or gatorade, and so often  we’d have RICE KRISPIE TREATS! These were always the best – and I’m not talking the store bought kind.  I’m talking the mom melted the marshmallows and added the rice krispies, cut them out into little squares – real, homemade rice krispie treats.  Does anyone else remember this?!

With three out of four kids in soccer at the same time, my mom would make these so often during soccer season.  As I stood over the stove with my little ones watching the marshmallows slowly melt and taking in that sweet sticky smell, I couldn’t help but feel nostalgic for those old days.

However, these rice krispie treats took a different turn as we used a heart cookie cutter to punch out hearts – for valentine’s day, of course. You welcome :

fullsizeoutput_1487

img_2198

fullsizeoutput_146f

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 10oz bag of marshmallows
  • 6 cups of Rice Krispies
  • 8 oz white chocolate
  • your choice of sprinkles!

INSTRUCTIONS

Rice Krispie Treats:

  1. In a pan, melt the butter over medium-low heat.  Add milk and marshmallows. Allow the marshmallows to melt over low heat.  You don’t want the pan to get too hot, because you don’t want burnt marshmallows! Let them melt slow and easy.
  2. While they melt, prepare a 9×13 inch baking dish with parchment paper along the bottom.
  3. Once the marshmallows are melted, remove from heat and mix in the rice krispies.
  4. Pour the marshmallow/rice krispie mix into the prepared baking dish and spread out in an even layer.
  5. Put them into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to cool and set.
  6. Use a cookie cutter to cut out “hearts” from the rice krispie treats – much like you would do when making sugar cookies!

Chocolate “Sauce”:

  1. If you don’t have a double boiler, put a little water in a pot and place a heat proof bowl on top of it.  Bring the water to a simmer, and add the white chocolate.  Allow to melt.
  2. Once melted, remove the bowl from the heat.
  3. With the help of a spoon pour white chocolate over the rice krispie treats however you like, and finish off with some sprinkles!

img_2202

fullsizeoutput_147f

fullsizeoutput_1476
This little one having her first taste of a rice krispie treat!

Cheers!

Advertisements

My Favorite Healthy (and super easy) 3 Ingredient Green Juice

 

fullsizeoutput_12c2

Happy New Year! Is anyone else super excited for a clean slate!? I can’t quite remember the last time I was so happy for a New Year.  At the end of 2016, I was so ready for the New Year, that I overindulged like mad.

I’ll try and justify myself by telling you that for a big part of the holiday we were all fighting some cold or other so we stayed inside a lot and ate, slept, ate more, watched movies, and did a lot of reading.  Honestly, it was actually quite nice to fully enjoy cookies, cakes, spaghetti, steak, lasagna, an endless flow of chocolates, bacon, sausage and eggs. Of course, the only downside is that I’ve now begun 2017 with a few extra pounds, which don’t feel so good!!

In an attempt to counteract these extra pounds, I’ve been juicing a bit. Last year I did not use our juicer at all, not once! However, after pulling it out of the garage and putting it back on the kitchen counter, I realize that I forgot how much I like having fresh, alkalizing, and nutritious green juice to get my digestion, mind, and body to feel alive and alert again.  Moreover, I love how drinking 100% makes me crave more fruits and vegetables in my diet.  Also, the broccoli, apple, lemon combination does wonders for your immunity from to all the vitamin C they provide! Cheers to 2017 and more fresh fruits and veggies! Oh, and maybe a trip to New England, I lived in Boston years ago and haven’t been back in 5 years… 😉

INGREDIENTS:

4 heaping cups of broccoli (stem included)

1 1/2 – 2 green apples

1 lemon

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Put all the ingredients through the juicer, stir, and enjoy!

*Makes about a cup and a half.

img_2122

img_2130

img_2136

img_2170

img_2178

Cheers!

Homemade Holiday Hot Chocolate

img_1734img_1736

“Mommy, are we going to have hot chocolate on Christmas Eve?” – my four year old has been asking all week.  At first I curiously would ask him “Christmas Eve?” wondering where he ever got the idea of hot chocolate on Christmas Eve.  But, I like it.  I love it, actually.  I told him: “Yes! Of course, hot chocolate on Christmas Eve sounds like a great idea.”  So here we are, perfecting our hot chocolate for Christmas Eve…

When I was little, we would often visit family in Argentina and it always blew my mind when I’d order hot chocolate at a restaurant or cafe and the waiter would serve me a tall glass with hot milk on tea plate, with a wrapped chocolate bar, and usually a teeny tiny sugar cookie. I would marvel with delight at that little chocolate bar, and unwrap it to dunk into the milk and stir until a perfectly smooth, delicious, chocolatey milk  formed.  It was the coolest thing to my little girl self, and a treat I only got in Argentina.  They call it “un submarino” in case you ever find yourself in Argentina craving hot chocolate, and want to order one 🙂

When Jack asked for hot chocolate earlier this week, I couldn’t help but think of those times in Argentina, ordering a true hot chocolate – made of real chocolate and milk, not Nesquik or Swiss Miss sugar laden stuff. Not that there’s anything wrong with Nesquik, I have a huge tub of it in our pantry! But, sometimes, if you have an extra 10 minutes it’s nice to make the real thing.  This is my Argentine inspired holiday hot chocolate: img_1710

img_1730

INGREDIENTS:

Whipped Cream

  1. 16 oz heavy whipping cream
  2. 1/4 cup granulated sugar

Hot Chocolate

  1. 5  oz 66% chocolate (depending on how rich you want your hot chocolate) + extra for garnish
  2. 4 cups (1 quart) of 2% milk
  3. 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  4. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  5. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

  1. First, I like to make the whipped cream. Pour the heavy whipping cream into the mixer with the whisk attachment, add the sugar, and whisk on medium setting.  Keep an eye on it as you don’t want to over whisk your cream!
  2. Next, either use a double boiler or create one buy setting a glass bowl over a pot filled with simmering water. Add the chocolate and let heat until melted.  Be sure to stir the chocolate as it begins to melt, and take off the heat once melted, so as not to burn the chocolate.
  3. In a saucepan, over medium heat, pour the milk, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla extract.  Once heated to desired temperature (I like mine pretty hot, but the kids like their’s warm) add the melted chocolate and whisk whisk whisk until a smooth, creamy, hot chocolate forms!
  4. Divide into mugs, add cream, and garnish with chocolate shavings if you like 🙂

img_1717

cheers!

The Only Cookie Recipe You Need this Holiday Season

img_1102These Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Spice Cookies were love at first sight! I first fell in love with them when I saw them on Displaced Housewife’s Instagram post, before I even saw the recipe or tasted them.  She created these cookies, and they are incredible.  They could be one of my most favorite cookie I’ve ever made to date.  Yeah, they’re that good.  I’ve given them to family, neighbors, friends, more family, people on the airplane.  My kids have devoured them – I almost let them eat them for breakfast.  ALMOST.  I figured they had pumpkin in them, but then I came to my senses and peeled them a banana.

I have this thing with pumpkin.  I love everything pumpkin EXCEPT Pumpkin Pie.  It’s just a too much pumpkin, not enough spice, not enough dough, weird textured pie.  I’ll reluctantly eat it smothered with ice cream and drenched with whipped cream, but that doesn’t count, does it?   Alas, maybe next year I’ll figure out a Pumpkin Pie recipe I can eat like a normal person, with a little dollop of whipped cream and nothing else.  I suppose it bothers me that I don’t like pumpkin pie because I like pumpkin everything (else) pumpkin: pumpkin bread, pumpkin gelato, pumpkin scones, pumpkin cookies… and hope you enjoy these pumpkin cookies like I have!

img_1104

img_1125

img_1115

img_1122

img_1133

img_1142

I’ve made these cookies using both sunflower oil, as the recipe calls for, and grape seed oil and they were equally good.  I could not taste a difference.

I also made them with semi sweet chocolate chips and milk chocolate chips and I think the pumpkin tastes much better with the semi sweet chocolate chips – but you decide

Cheers!

And a Good October it Was!

img_2743So long, October! That was fast. Pumpkin patch, train rides, Halloween decorating, pumpkin scones, sweater weather – and flip flop weather, who am I kidding? This is California after all!

In the midst of all this Halloween/October excitement, we celebrated two kiddos turning 4 and 1 a couple of weekends ago.  It’s hard to believe, yet true. It makes me want to stop and reflect on the beauty of this life we’re given. I hope that like children, we always find joy in all things, love deeply, and continue to develop, grow and learn about ourselves and this enormously small world. Stay curious, and courageous.

Speaking of birthdays, we also celebrated my “little” sister’s birthday this past weekend.  By little, I mean, she’s like, oh, say: 5’10 and a cool college kid!  Not your typical “little”. We had a blast driving our whole family in a rental van up to Napa for some wine tasting, lunch, and general day trip.  V. Sattui has a great area with picnic tables and a BBQ with ribs and mozzarella tomato paninis that were amazing over a few bottles of their wine! Afterwards, the wine at Turnbull did not disappoint! Either did their gardens, I got so much inspiration for our yard we’ve been landscaping over the last couple of months 🙂

fullsizeoutput_10e0

img_2459
Both of the kids cakes came from Icing on the Cake – one of my favorite bakeries since I was a kid!
img_0935img_2525

img_2567
He did not want to be anything BUT a GARBAGE TRUCK for Halloween!! Hence… we scrambled at the last minute… he LOVED IT!
fullsizeoutput_10e6img_2723fullsizeoutput_10ed

img_1095

img_2281
RAIN COATS!! Hope we get to wear these a lot this winter 😉

cheers!

An Easy Peachy Cobbler

 

img_0597

Fall is here.  Really, how? The Weather app tells me it’s going to be in the high 90’s this weekend.  This happens every year: fall comes around and in September/October we get a week or two of killer heat, blazing sun, AC-busting weather.  The only time I appreciated it was when I was living on the East Coast and it had been cold and rainy, when I came back to visit in October and laid by the pool for 5 days straight.  Bottom line is I’m ready for fall ya’ll.  Real true fall weather.  Until then, I’ll leave you with this super easy, and delicious Peach Cobbler that is perfect for a large gathering of friends and family on a hot weekend.

Disclaimer: this isn’t the prettiest cobbler in the world. I’ve made it dozens of times, it’s never “pretty” but it tastes incredible.  I guarantee it will be devoured. img_0592

RECIPE

Recipe Notes:

  • The recipe calls for nectarines, but I almost always use peaches. 5-6 peaches, instead of the 4 nectarines the recipe states.
  • I typically use less buttermilk: 2/3 cup instead of 3/4.
  • Sometimes, if I don’t have raspberries, I’ll use blueberries.  Just as good!

img_0589

Cheers!

Summer Zucchini Bread

IMG_9796

Zoooooochini Bread! A little while back this recipe popped up on Smitten Kitchen’s Instagram feed, I knew I had to make it.  I had a few zucchini sitting in the fridge, and I didn’t want them to go bad, bud I didn’t really feel like using them in anything.  Cue: Zucchini Bread.  Like Banana Bread is to bananas when they are starting to go past due, Zucchini Bread is to zucchini when it’s on its final days.

This recipe yields 2 loafs, which I love because you can keep one loaf for yourself and gift the other to friends, family, neighbors.  My brother lives really close, so I called him and told him there was a loaf of zucchini bread wrapped up and ready for him to pick up when he could.  A couple of hours later, he popped by and happily took his loaf home with him, to keep as a snack for his long hours studying and working.  It’s a win – win because I got to see him for 10 minutes and he got a loaf of bread.  Who wouldnt love that? Right? In fact, I think I’m going to get a few zucchini at the store this afternoon solely to make this bread again tomorrow…

IMG_9797

INGREDIENTS:

3 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 cups grated zucchini
2 teaspoons  vanilla extract
3 cups  all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)
1 cup raisins or chocolate chips (I used about half a cup of chocolate chips and half a cup of raisins)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease two 8×4 inch loaf pans.  I always take about a tablespoon of butter and smudge it all over the pans, then I sprinkle some flour over the butter, and pat it around to make sure the pan is greased well, and that the bread will fall out when it’s done.  There’s nothing worse than taking the time and energy to bake something delicious and then not be able to get it out of the pan!! Please tell me it’s happened to you too, no?
  3. In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Mix in the oil and sugar, then the zucchini and vanilla.
  4. Combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Add the nuts, raisins, and/or chocolate chips.  I added a combination of raisins, pecans, and chocolate chips, totaling almost 2 cups worth.
  5. Mix these dry ingredients into the wet egg mixture. Divide the batter into the prepared pans.
  6. Bake the loaves for about 60 minutes.  I start to check it around 50 minutes, then let it bake for another 10-15 before I take it out and let it cool.

IMG_9822

Cheers!