Cookies with a Kix

When the girls were small, I used to go to Costco quite a bit.  What I liked about shopping at Costco were the free samples, which always entertained the girls well enough to get us through the excursions with minimal drama.  I also really loved the diapers in bulk.  I don’t ever remember making special trips to the grocery store at 10:00 p.m. because we were down to the last diaper, and I think the credit goes to Costco.

This being said, what I didn’t like about shopping at Costco were the storage problems following each trip.  Remember how I told you my home was built in 1929, and I have closet space issues?  Well, guess what?  Aside from plumbing and modern appliances, my kitchen remains in the same state it was in 1929, which means I have cabinet/pantry space issues as well.  There is simply no room for gallons of ketchup and a dozen boxes of rice.

kixI remember on one occasion, I bought Kix in bulk (someone must not have been sleeping through the night to prompt me to make such an egregious purchase mistake).  As you can imagine, when I arrived home, I was faced with an unsolvable dilemma: where to put the Kix?  I ultimately placed the cereal boxes on top of the dryer, but after the 10th load of laundry went in, the OCD in me kicked into overdrive, and I simply couldn’t handle looking at the Kix one more time.  So I started dumping them into casseroles, cookies and granola-esque bars in an effort to use them up and get them out of eyesight.  Most of these recipes don’t bear repeating, but the cookies were sort of a hit, and we still occasionally make them.  In case your Christmas cookies are gone and you too have over-purchased and are desperate to get Kix out of your garage, linen closet and foyer, here you go!

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup butter

1 cup peanut butter

2 eggs

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

8 cups Kix cereal

2 cups chocolate chips

Preparation:

Combine all except Kix and chocolate chips.  Beat until fluffy.  Add Kix and chocolate chips.  Mix well.  Drop by teaspoon on cookie sheet.  Bake at 325 for 10 to 12 minutes.  Cool 5 minutes before removing from pan.

I’m not too sure whether to tell you to enjoy the cookies or the free space – maybe both!

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I Can See Carrots Growing Back There!

Someone once told me, “Christmas is a woman’s holiday,” and three children later, I have to agree.  The organizing, the shopping, the wrapping, the baking, the cooking, the cleaning…while I’m not without help (thank you, handsome man), I’m afraid the lion’s share of the yule does fall mainly onto my plate.  And I don’t think I’m alone.  I watched my grandmother, my mother and my sister all navigate their way through their own holiday preparations this year, and at times it seemed as though there was no end to our collective “busy”ness.  So today, I was going to wax poetic on moms – the sacrifice, the selflessness, the grace….

mom-2And then I stumbled across this laugh-out-loud article on “motherisms,” and I had to share. I’d like to tell you the tradition of these words ended with me, and I have never-once-no-not-ever uttered them to my children, but we all know better. And even if we didn’t, my girls would bust me for sure. Read and enjoy; it’s okay to laugh at yourself.

“In our house, you follow our rules.”

“Elbows off the table.”

“Measure twice, cut once.”

“Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

“I’m not going to ask you again.”

“Just roll up the sleeves.”

“A place for everything and everything in it’s place.”

“Just scrape off the burnt part. It’s still good.”

“A little bird told me.”

“I didn’t ask who put it there.  I asked you to pick it up.”

“I don’t care who started it.”

“You just ate!”

“But your closet is FULL of clothes.”

“Because I said so.”

“Finish your meal. There are children starving in (insert name of impoverished country).”

“You’ll grow into them.”

“I’m not your maid.”

“Are you wearing that?”

“This looks like a tornado hit it.”

“I’m not an ATM.”

“That’s one…that’s two…”

“How do you know you don’t like it if you haven’t tried it?”

And then of course there’s the best motherism of all, which is:

“I love you.”

And in case you haven’t seen it, nothing beats admitting you say all of these “motherisms” than hearing them sung all at once. Check out Anita Renfroe’s “Momisms!”

Take a Bow!

child-actingLast night, my neighbors and I participated in a time-honored theater tradition: the neighborhood play. The plot was a little sketchy…something about a dolphin, and a dolphin family…all of whom had names reminiscent of Disney’s Dwarves: Splashy and Bubbly and Somersaulty and Frank (?). I believe the message was that dolphin safe nets are important to the environment (nice), and the soundtrack was a keeper – dolphins swimming along to Lady Gaga? Hey SeaWorld, eat your heart out! The actors, all four feet of them and all union of course, gave top-notch performances and I was impressed with how well the dolphin mother delivered her “Time Out for Bad Behavior” soliloquy in the second act. I’m sure she wasn’t drawing from real life experience…a-hem.

At any rate, after the final bow was taken and the curtain closed, it was time to feed the theater masses in my living room. While pizza and Christmas cookies sufficed beautifully for the cast, the audience was treated to Ina Garten’s lasagna, my absolute “cozy evening at home” fave. You don’t have to pre-cook the noodles, you can make it ahead of time, and yep – it’s delish (as if anything that includes three kinds of cheese and fresh basil leaves wouldn’t be!).  Here’s the recipe, in case your neighborhood actors’ guild has opening night scheduled for this weekend: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/turkey-lasagna-recipe2/index.html

Bravo!

These Boots Were Made for Everything!

boots

I MUCH prefer the snow to the rain.  I live in a neighborhood that used to be a forest preserve, and yards are resplendent with some of the tallest, oldest trees around.  One good snowfall, and I feel like I’m living in a private winter wonderland.

What makes the snow tough however, is footwear.  Too wet for suede, too icy for heels…time for some hardy boots!  I really love the Hunter boots that are so popular right now.  The array of colors and “welly socks” give you the opportunity to make your own mark on the trend, and they function well in both rain and snow.

And if you’re looking for something with a little more of a “rugged” appearance, I can’t say enough good things about Sorel’s winterwear.  I’ve had the same pair of Sorel boots since college (yes, for those of you paying attention, I did wear them with the windbreaker), and not only do they still keep my feet warm and dry, but I dig how they look so many years later – broken in and well loved.  Hope the same can be said of me in 20!

I’ve seen many a mom in the check-out line at the grocery store with feet brightly adorned in Bogs, and each of my girls actually received a pair for St. Nicholas Day (filled with candy, which I shamelessly ate after they went to bed!).  For the record, something about pastel flowers all over their little feet in the dead of winter feels hopeful to me, and I smile when they jump out of the car each morning.

So for those of you who have been dragging your heels (pun!) on donning winter footwear, take heart!  Boots are more stylish than ever!  And it turns out they’re cheaper than ever too!  Check out the selection at Nordstrom right now – 50% off and free shipping!  And hey – Ugg is running a 30% off sale with free shipping too! (I’m gonna’ give a personal plug for the slippers – they are the perfect antidote to cold hardwood floors!).

And while you’re checking out the sales, throw a pair of fashion boots into your cart,  too.  In the words of Nina Garcia, “Putting on fierce boots is an instant pick-me-up.”

Gucci BootYa’ think? 🙂

Stop Smirking and Drink the Smoothie!

Ok, so I’ve told you I run.  What I haven’t told you, is that running is just about the only uber healthy thing I do.  I’m not a vegan, I don’t mind gluten, I only take vitamins when I suspect I’m getting sick, and I have no idea what it means to eat a macrobiotic diet.  While I think these choices mean I have quite a lot in common with most women, they also mean I have very little in common with the likes of Madonna, Gwyneth and Gisele (as if we didn’t know this already).

So imagine how riddled with doubt I was when a girlfriend recommended Gwyneth’s smoothie recipe.  I immediately conjured up images of seaweed, kale and flax seeds in my blender, and I subsequently balked.  My friend was not to be deterred, however, and so after our last run, she hit the kitchen.  I’m not gonna’ lie.  Gwyneth’s on to something, and it’s not just perfect gowns for awards season!  The smoothie was delish, and though there’s a few ingredients that raised my eyebrows (green powder?), from a taste perspective, this smoothie hit the spot, especially post-run.  Here’s how it goes (and yep, you might have to hit Whole Foods for a couple of the ingredients).

Into the blender:blueberry-smoothie

1/2 Cup of blueberries (the recipe calls for fresh, but my girlfriend used frozen)

1 Scoop whey powder

1 Scoop of green powder (my girlfriend used something called Macro Greens; I looked it up and Vitamin World offers something similar called Life’s Greens)

1 & 1/2 Cups of almond milk

Blend away!

I know, I can feel your doubt emanating from the pixels on my computer screen, and I promise, I was right there with you.  But you know what?  It was tasty, it was refreshing, and it was a nice way to start the day!  Despite the weird green powder, the only thing I tasted were the blueberries, which I love!  So go on….I dare you.

Tastes like chicken!

“He Who Goes to Bed Hungry Dreams of Pancakes!”

pancakes1Guess what?  It’s National Maple Syrup Day!  I know, right?  Yesterday it was “Chocolate Covered Anything Day” and today it’s “National Maple Syrup Day.”  With heartfelt apologies to the partridge, the pear tree and the swimming swans, I think this week’s line up might be a little more fun than the 12 days of Christmas (except for maybe the golden rings…)

At any rate, National Maple Syrup Day, whether real or make-believe, is very good news for me because my cupboard is bare, and now I have the perfect excuse to pull a “breakfast for dinner” maneuver and serve up pancakes!  (This, by the way, buys me a couple of hours of celebrity status with my girls).  In honor of the event, I pulled together a little pancake trivia for ya’:

Did you know

Aunt Jemima pancake mix was the first pancake mix sold commercially?  (Yep.  It debuted in St. Joseph, Missouri and became popular at the Colmbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893.)

Get this…

The world’s largest pancake breakfast was in 1999.  71,233 pancakes served 40,000 people.  (Oh man.  I just thought about all of the dishes.  My head might explode.)

Here’s a little tidbit for ya…

The first pancake dates back to early Greece.  (Opa!)

Guess what?

It is common in France to touch the handle of the frying pan and to make a wish while the pancake is turned, holding a coin in one hand.  (If I wake up tomorrow with cap toe Lanvin ballerina flats, you’ll know this really works!!!)

And consider this

The world’s largest pancake was cooked in England in 1994.  It weighed three tons and had an estimated two million calories.  (Jillian Michaels arrived on the scene the next day to make everyone do a “last chance workout.”)    🙂

Check it out

Pancakes are also known as: griddlecakes, flapjacks, wheatcakes and flannelcakes.  Crepes and blins also fall into the “pancake” category.  (In my house, syrup is also known as “sauce.”  Ketchup and Ranch dressing also fall into the “sauce” category).

Size this up…

One pancake aficionado actually ran a marathon while continually tossing a pancake for three hours, 2 minutes and 27 seconds.  (I wonder if he was wearing a windbreaker circa 1985?)

Please pass the maple syrup…

Going Bananas over Cereal

Every year, the second grade class at my daughters’ school holds a Rice Krispie treat sale.  Each second grade child brings at least ten homemade Rice Krispie treats to school, and during lunch, the treats are sold for 50 cents a piece.  The money is then donated to a charity.  I love this little event.  Not so much because my daughter gets to practice making change (important!), and is learning to give to others in need (even more important!), but because the moms (and dads!) knock it out of the park with the Rice Krispie treats.  Some are pink, some have sprinkles, some are drizzled with chocolate and caramel.  Some incorporate Fruity Pebbles, others use colored marshmallows, and there are always a few with candy bars crushed on top.  It is a Rice Krispie treat smorgasbord, if you will.  The kids LOVE it, and the table of over-the-top goodies outside the second grade classroom doors always gives me a laugh.

Last week, the girls and I were online trying to decide how best to doctor up our treats.banana-nut-cheerios-snacks  We ultimately cut them into the shape of a Christmas tree with a cookie cutter and gave them licorice garland and Skittle ornaments.  (Yep, it was a little too-much project, and in hindsight, I think I bit off more than I can chew for a weeknight after 6:00.)  But while online, we stumbled across this recipe for Cheerios treats.  I thought it looked promising (and I think the sunflower nuts at least give it the illusion of being healthier). I have several boxes of assorted Cheerios in my house right now, AND someone told me it is National Chocolate Covered Anything Day (now there’s a nice holiday), so why not give it a go?  In case you care to join us, here’s the how-to:

Banana Nut Cheerios Snacks

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons butter (do not use spread or tub products)

1 bag (10.5 oz) miniature marshmallows

6 cups Banana Nut Cheerios cereal

1/3 cup roasted sunflower nuts

1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 teaspoon canola oil

Preparation:

Spray a 13×9 inch pan with cooking spray.  In a large, microwave-safe bowl, microwave butter uncovered on high for 30 to 45 seconds or until melted.  Add marshmallows.  Toss until coated.  Microwave on high 1 minute 15 seconds to 1 minute 45 seconds, stirring every 30 seconds, until mixture can be stirred smooth.

Stir in cereal and sunflower nuts until well blended.  Press evenly in pan.

In small, microwave-safe bowl, microwave chocolate chips and oil uncovered on high 45 to 60 seconds, stirring every 15 seconds, until melted and smooth.  Drizzle over bars.

Cool one hour until glaze is set.  Store loosely covered.

And yes, I’ll be throwing down some Kashi and GrapeNuts over the next couple of weeks in a desperate attempt to prove to you that I don’t always eat my cereal with assorted candy and marshmallows.

Enjoy!