Butterscotch Revel Bars

I have a problem. A baking problem. I can’t get enough of it. It is a problem because most recipes make 12-24 servings and there are only 4 of us in our home. That means we are stuck eating all of whatever I make. I suppose I could freeze some of the treats, but the truth is neither John nor I are good at moderation when it comes to sweets.

After weeks of looking at a recipe for Chocolate Revel Bars I had pulled out of my latest issue of Cooks Country I decided it was time to make them. I opted for the butterscotch version, as we are big butterscotch fans in our house.

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Oh my wow. These suckers are delicious. Imagine using the topping for apple crisp (oatmeal, brown sugar, flour, almonds, and a shameful amount of butter)  as a cookie bottom layer. Now imagine that is topped with a mixture of butter, butterscotch chips, and sweetened condensed milk. The top layer is even more of the crumb topping.

Are you drooling yet? You should be. These heavenly bars are almost gone. I brought some to my book club this afternoon to help us get through them. John is in charge of eating the rest. They are amazing but incredibly unhealthy (337 calories each!).

These are now my go to pot luck dessert recipe. I can only be trusted to make them when I can get them out of my house. I really want to make them again, so please invite me to a party at your house. I promise to bring delicious treats.

These are from Cooks Country magazine. The website is a subscription, so it doesn’t work for me to post a link to it. I am able to e-mail the recipe from the site however, so if you are interested in the recipe leave me a comment with your e mail address and I’ll get it to you. If you don’t feel like leaving your e mail address out in a public space, you could send me a message on Instagram (I’m mildly_granola over there).

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to eat the crumbs John has left behind. I said I was done with the bars, but I didn’t say I was done with bar remnants.

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Crazy Spaghetti

In an effort to find something that Audrey and Elliot would eat using only things we had in the house (because I didn’t want to go to the grocery store) I stumbled on to a dish that they both enjoyed: Crazy Spaghetti.

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Crazy Spaghetti is a mix of the leftover pasta we had at our house, some mini meatballs we had to use up, and a jar of pasta sauce. I just boiled up the pasta and dumped it in a 9 X 13 baking dish with a jar of pasta sauce and the meatballs. I topped it with a small amount of asiago and parmesan cheese (maybe 1/4 cup). I baked it at 350 for about 20 minutes (until it was hot) and served it to the kids

Shockingly they both loved it. I’m not sure if it was the mini meatballs, the two kinds of pasta, or the lie that I told them about it being Goofy’s favorite food. I don’t care why they decided to eat it, I’m just happy they ate a meal without complaining.

5 on Friday: More Aldi Finds

Last week I shared some of my favorite Aldi finds. This week I thought I would share five more things to check out at Aldi. Aldi has so many great products I want to tell you about – I couldn’t limit myself to one post.

Half & Half ($1.99)

20180503_162516892617623.jpgI take my coffee with cream. I drink a lot of coffee. This is a great price on an item I use daily.

 

 

 

 

 

Costal Cove Sauvignon Blanc ($6.99)

20180503_161950137089954.jpgSummer is white wine time in my house. It’s great for drinking on the patio. Most of the time I tell myself I’m going to drink a bottle over the course of the week, but I only have two glasses and the I pour the rest down the drain later that week.  At $6.99 this wine tastes like a $12 bottle (that is high praise in my book). I still feel bad pouring out wine that has gone bad, but when the whole bottle costs less than a glass when we go out to dinner it doesn’t sting as much.

 

Pane Turano Italian Bread ($3.69)

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Honestly, this bread alone is worth a trip to Aldi. My parents go to Aldi just for his bread. They are the ones that introduced me to this bread, which is why my kids call it crunchy Grandma Runchey bread. The bread is crunchy and makes the best toast I have ever had. It is a huge loaf. We usually freeze half of it. You can toast the frozen bread straight from the freezer. This bread also makes amazing grilled cheese and egg in the hole.

Fancy Cherry Tomatoes ($3.69)

20180503_1624592030155897.jpgI could not buy all of my produce at Aldi. The selection changes constantly and they never have all of the produce I am looking for. One thing that is consistently available and always good quality is their cherry tomatoes. I love cherry tomatoes. They are a great snack off the vine, and they are good sliced and added to sandwiches. My favorite way to eat them is to sautee them in some truffle oil with a handful of spinach, then scramble some eggs in with them and top that scramble with goat cheese.

 

Stir in Pastes (2.49 each)

20180503_1617181403889719.jpgI cook with ginger and garlic a lot. I usually use whole garlic cloves and grate my own ginger. There are times when I don’t have those on hand and I am not able to cook what I want to cook. It’s at those times that I reach for paste. Once opened, they keep for four weeks in your refrigerator. I don’t think these are going to replace fresh ingredients in my kitchen, but they are great to keep on hand for ingredient emergencies.

 

I get so excited talking about my love for Aldi. Do you have any stores that you get excited to talk about?

Camp Snacks

Tomorrow I’m packing up the kids and driving four hours to camp with my friend Kirsten and her two kids. We will have four kids under four in a camper. We are clearly insane.

Because I imagine it is going to be a crazy weekend I wanted to get some of the work done before we left. I also wanted to make sure we had some healthyish items. I threw together a few things that I think the kids will like to eat. As an added bonus Kirsten and I will like them too. 20180510_195417436169163.jpg

I’m still on my hummus high, so I made some more sun-dried tomato and basil hummus. I sliced up some bell peppers to use for dipping sticks. I am also bringing crackers for the hummus.

For quick snacks and an on the go breakfast I made some peanut butter energy bites. These are basically no bake cookies, so I think the kids will love them.

I am on the e-mail list for volunteer recipe testers for Cooks Illustrated, and just this week they sent out a recipe to test for raw fruit and nut bars. I thought they looked good so we are trying them out this weekend. They have dates, dried cherries, almonds, and cinnamon. They are basically the homemade Lara bars I’ve been making for years, but with smaller bits of almond. I think the kids will like the texture of these better.

Do you have any make ahead snacks you like to take on trips?

Cheese and Knitting

I love hosting people. I love long conversations over wine and cheese. I love knitting. My favorite nights combine all three things. I am glad I have friends who enjoy these things too. Last night Ivy came over for some knitting, so I put threw together a cheese board.

I love making a cheese board. It looks fancy, but it couldn’t be easier. For the cheeses I like to do a soft cheese, a medium cheese, and a hard cheese. Or, when I have the Spanish cheese sampler from Aldi, I just use that. That’s what I did last night.  I also added Unexpected Cheddar from Trader Joe’s, because I love a sharp cheddar. I like to do an assortment of crackers, as not everyone loves Wheat Thins as much as I do. I add some nuts, one or two kinds, as the crunchiness is a nice break from the cheese. If I have hummus I put it out too. I figure there are already crackers on the board, we might as well go wild. I add tiny pickles for a sour note, and because tiny pickles are adorable. I usually put some grapes or other fresh fruit on the board, but the only fresh fruit we have at the moment is bananas (it would be bananas to pair a banana with cheese. Sorry, I know that was cheesy).I always put dried sour cherries on my cheese board. Their sweetness pairs well with cheese, and I feel bad-ass to have a signature cheese board item.

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I’ve been putting cheese boards together for about a year now. I love serving them when friends come over because I almost always have the components in my house to throw one together.

What do you serve when you have friends come over?

My Favorite Hummus

Do you have recipes that you love and make over and over again? Do you ever stop making them and forget about them for five or six years? I do that a lot.

I have something I adore, so I make it a lot. Then I get sick of it and stop making it. I eventually forget about the recipe only to remember it when I wake up in the middle of the night to pee and can’t fall back asleep or when John asks me why we haven’t had something in a long time.

This recipe falls into the John keeps asking about it category. Every few weeks he says “do you remember that hummus you used to make?” or “whatever happened to that hummus?” When I buy hummus he says “Do you remember when you used to make hummus?” He doesn’t specify the hummus. I know the one he is talking about. He wants the sun-dried tomato and basil hummus.

He isn’t the only one that loves the hummus. I love this hummus too. I didn’t even get sick of making it. I stopped making it because we ran out of tahini. I hate stirring the oil into tahini. It is gloopy and messy and never turns out right. So I just stopped making hummus because I couldn’t face a new jar or tahini.

A few weeks ago I was reading the internet (I don’t remember which site I was reading, so I can’t site a source, my apologies) and I came across the suggestion to use your mixer to stir the oil into natural peanut butter. I figured if it works for peanut butter it would probably work for tahini. I decided to give it a shot, and it did not disappoint. I spent the evening shoveling hummus into my mouth while texting everyone I know that makes humus to tell them about this trick.

I just poured my new jar of tahini into my mixer. OK, fine, if you want to get technical, poured is a lie. It is gloopy and icky and it was more of a two spatula scrape job. One spatula for the jar and one to clean the spatula (do you call them spatulas or rubber scrapers? I call them spatulas). I turned on my mixer with the paddle attachment and 20 seconds later my tahini was perfectly mixed. Once it was mixed together I could actually pour it (So smooth! No lumps! Not gloopy!) back into the jar. It was well worth washing my mixer bowl and paddle attachment. I am kicking myself for not doing this until now, as it seems sort of obvious. Maybe this is something everyone else has been doing all along and no one has told me? If that is the case, what else aren’t you guys telling me?

Before and after:

Tahini issues solved I grabbed my ingredients and trusty kitchen helper and got to work. Hummus is really easy to make if you have a food processor.

First I put about 6 sun-dried tomatoes and a couple of garlic cloves in the food processor in pulsed. Then I added a can of drained and rinsed garbanzo beans. I turned on the food processor until they were mostly mixed. Next, I threw in about a tablespoon of cumin, a squirt of basil (I forgot to buy basil so I used prepared basil – normally I would go with a handful of basil), and a couple of tablespoons of tahini and whirred it for a few more seconds. At that point I remembered that I should add some olive oil and lemon juice, so I added 2-3 T of olive oil and about a 1 T of lemon juice. I whirred it around a few times until it looked like hummus and called it good.

Audrey and Elliot were my official taste testers. They both loved it on the spoon, but refused to eat it on their plates. Toddlers are jerks. It’s OK though, John and I will happily eat it up.

Do you have any kitchen tips or great recipes to share? Please let me know; I’m always looking to try new things in the kitchen.