Lucky Charms Crunch Bark

I took one of my beloved childhood favorites and covered it in white chocolate.  Holllllller.  To add a sweet/salty snack element, I added white cheddar popcorn to the recipe and served it in a bowl as a snack mix/bark.  I made one pan with popcorn and one without.  I like the one with popcorn better.  However, both are absolutely, positively, “magically delicious”!IMG_8250We are halfway through March, people!  That means that Spring is finalllllly within reach! Halllllllelujah!  It cannot come soon enough.  We have all “sprung forward”, my mom is already asking about our Easter plans, and people are leaving on trips for Spring Break.  And, speaking of Spring Break trips, Joey and I are leaving for good ol’ Mississippi on Saturday.  It will be my first trip to the South, and I’ve never been more excited for humidity, swampland, and authentic Southern food.  More updates on that in the coming weeks!

But for now, back to this chocolate-covered cereal. IMG_8301I figured I had to post something St. Patrick’s Day-ish.  So this is what I came up with.  This crunchy, sugary-sweet bark recipe is stinkin’ addicting.  I made (and documented) the first batch using just Lucky Charms and a package of white almond bark.  You just separate the cereal–marshmallows in one bowl and hard cereal pieces in another–and melt the white chocolate (I used almond bark), combine it, and voila!  It turned out spendidly.  Earlier this week, though, I decided to make another batch for our bible study group.  I just felt like it needed a little more salty-sweet action.  Want to know what I did?  I bought a bag of White Cheddar Smartfood Popcorn and mixed it in!  It was the crown jewel.  My friends could not get enough of it.  (See additional pictures at the bottom of post.) IMG_8033First you separate the hard pieces from the marshmallows (and try not to eat all the marshmallows). If you are adding popcorn like I did, you can layer the popcorn evenly with the cereal pieces at this point. IMG_8071Then you want to melt a pound of white chocolate or almond bark and pour it onto the cereal bits.  You’ll have to mix it together and then spread it out again to make sure it all sticks together in the end. Let’s make it pretty!IMG_8184Add your marshmallows and push down gently so that they stick into the white chocolate.  Let it sit for a few hours and break it all up!  You’ll be in your own Lucky Charms heaven. 

Lucky Charms Crunch Bark

  • Servings: As many or few as you'd like
  • Difficulty: super easy
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What you need:

  • box of Lucky Charms cereal, separated into 2 cups dry cereal and 2 cups marshmallows
  • pound of white almond bark or white chocolate
  • white cheddar popcorn (optional)

What to do:

  1. Get out a baking sheet or jelly-roll pan and line it with parchment paper or foil.
  2. Spread dry cereal pieces onto lined baking sheet. (If you are adding popcorn, do this now.)
  3. Melt your white chocolate according to package instructions- you MUST heat in intervals.
  4. Pour melted chocolate over cereal and mix gently to combine, pat cereal back together to form a layer again.
  5. Before chocolate hardens, top with marshmallows and press down lightly- just enough that you don’t break marshmallows, but hard enough that they stick into the bark.
  6. Let your creation cool and harden.
  7. Break into pieces and serve!
  8. ENJOY!

Notes: If you’re a sweet and salty addict like me, I’d suggest adding the popcorn to the mix.  Check out the photos below:IMG_8444IMG_8446IMG_8497IMG_8508

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Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro Lime Sauce

These shrimp tacos are super simple and can be whipped up in a jiffy.  They’re fresh and light and they’ll make you wish you were sitting by the ocean with the sand between your toes.  IMG_7719-2 I am like, a taco addict.  I bet you I could eat a shrimp taco or fish taco every day for the rest of my life and not be tired of them.  They’re just SO good.  I think part of the reason why I like them so much is because I literally never heard of a shrimp taco until I moved to Colorado.  Dead serious.  No joke.  I didn’t even realize that people ate any fish other than catfish, and all I knew was that we ate it at the annual Rotary Fish Fry.  I am not even kidding!  I lived in a tiny town on the Mississippi River until I was 13.  It was Small Town, USA.  I knew Chevy trucks were better than Fords, ground deer meat was a great substitute for ground beef, and the bubbly drink that comes in a can was called “pop”.  Was I sheltered?  Naiive maybe?  Call it whatever you want to call it.  I guess I moved to Colorado and my eyes were opened.  But I’m proud to have Midwestern roots.  IMG_7704-2 I love how versatile tacos are.  If you change the spices and leave everything else the same, it’s a different taste!  If you switch out the shrimp for fish, again, it would taste a little different! Feel free to add or take out anything you want!  This recipe is great for quick lunches on the weekend, or weekday dinners when you are in a rush.  IMG_7725-2These tacos just so happen to be Gluten Free and Dairy Free as long as you follow the recipe!  IMG_7655-2

Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro Lime Sauce

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1 to 1 1/2 lbs raw shrimp (frozen work just fine too)
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 lime or 1 teaspoon of lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce (I used lite soy sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • small garlic clove or garlic powder
  • fresh chopped cilantro
  • cumin
  • chili powder
  • garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  • oil for cooking
  • 6 corn tortillas
  • avocado, sliced
  • lettuce, or anything else you might want to put on your taco

What to do:

  1. First, we want to make the sauce.  In a small bowl, add the mayo, lime juice, soy sauce, honey, and garlic.  Combine well with a fork or whisk.  Then add chopped cilantro and stir all together.  Set sauce aside in refrigerator.
  2. Next, we cook the shrimp.  If your shrimp have tails, shells, veins, or anything like that, remove them.  Rinse the shrimp until they are clean, then blot them dry with a paper towel.  When they are dry, season them with garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper.
  3. Heat a tablespoon or two of oil in a pan on medium high heat.  Add shrimp to heated pan one at a time, making it so they are all in one layer.  Cook shrimp for a minute or two on each side until they change from clear to a pinkish white color.  After they’re done, transfer shrimp to a plate so they don’t overcook.
  4. After the shrimp are cooked, heat up your tortillas.  I’ve found the easiest way to do this is to dampen a paper towel and cover the tortillas with the damp paper towel before you microwave them.  Microwave tortillas for 30-45 seconds or until soft.
  5. Slice up some avocado and lettuce or any other ingredients you want to add to your taco.
  6. Assemble your tacos by adding 2 or 3 shrimp to each taco and loading it with lettuce and avocado and topping it off with the cilantro lime sauce.
  7. Eat and ENJOY!

Notes:**These shrimp tacos are gluten-free (GF) and dairy free (DF) as long as you use corn tortillas!  They are also fairly low in carbs, I would just count how many carbs are in your tortilla, and maybe switch out the honey for stevia or agave! These tacos are happy and healthy for just about everyone! 🙂IMG_7686-2

Cinnamonkey Bread (Pull-Apart Mini Cinnamon Rolls)

Cinnamonkey Bread is what you get when you make little tiny cinnamon rolls and bake them extra close together so they turn out like monkey bread!  These little bites are soft and moist and full of cinnamon-y cuteness! IMG_7620-2 Well, let me be honest.  This recipe was a big OOPS that I managed to turn into a blog post.  {HOORAY!}  So, here’s the deal.  I thought it would be cool to try to make mini cinnamon rolls for my sister the other day.  I saw a post on Pinterest for Mini Cinnamon Rolls from Iowa Girl Eats. They were totally cute, super simple, and looked they would taste amazing.

I got up, started doing my thing, and I realized I didn’t have my mini muffin tin!  I searched everywhere for that thing.  No luck.  Didn’t find it.  So, being the brilliant dingbat I am sometimes, I decided to just lay them on a baking sheet and cook them that way because surely all I needed to do was just watch the time because they’d bake much faster.  Weeellll, I baked them alright.  I baked them ‘REAL GOOD.  And not only were they exceptionally…um, crunchy, but they spread out and unrolled themselves in the oven so they looked like little blackened Cajun shrimp.  Mmmhm…

The good news is, I shook it off and all hope was not lost.  Fortunately, not all of the mini cinnamon rolls made it onto the first pan!  So after I gracefully incinerated my first batch, I figured I might as well use this as an experiment. The second time around, I decided to bunch them together before I put them into the oven, and the result was WONDERFUL!  I whipped up a glaze using syrup and cinnamon and that was all I needed to delete the memory of the charred cinnamon roll remains that were still on my stovetop.  IMG_7592-2 Here’s how to make this cute little whimsical masterpiece! IMG_7367-2 Flatten out the refrigerated biscuits using your fingers or a rolling pin and then layer them with butter.  Just butter those buns and call them biscuits….hehe. IMG_7395-2 Take each buttered little bun (hehe…I promise I’ll stop) and add your cinnamon and brown sugar. IMG_7419-2 Then you need to roll them up and you will slice them! IMG_7424-2 After that, you’ve got your cute little cinnamon rolls, but to make sure you don’t do what I did, we want to bunch them up together! IMG_7467-2IMG_7483-2 Once they are all nice and cozy, you’ll put them in the oven! After that, wait patiently while your home begins to smell amazing.IMG_7511-2 Tada!  Whip up a little glaze and eat your little heart out.  These are so stinkin’ good. IMG_7582-2 

Cinnamonkey Bread

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • tube of buttermilk refrigerated biscuits (6 biscuits)
  • stick of butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven according to directions on package of biscuits.  Grease a cookie sheet (a loaf pan would also work) or line with parchment paper.
  2. Lay out the biscuits and flatten each one with your fingers or a rolling pin.  Try to get them as flat as possible, they do start to puff back up a little bit.
  3. Spread some butter on each biscuit and layer with brown sugar and cinnamon. (This recipe has a lot of wiggle room, you can do what you want as far how little or how much.)
  4. Roll each biscuit into a log shape and cut into 5-6 pieces.
  5. Place the little individual cinnamon rolls onto baking sheet or pile them into a loaf pan, sides touching as close as possible.
  6. Bake according to biscuit package directions (about 8-10 minutes) or until golden brown.
  7. After they are in the oven, get a small bowl and whisk together some maple syrup and cinnamon to make a thin glaze. Drizzle glaze over warm cinnamonkey bread.
  8. Pull apart the bread like monkeys and ENJOY! (finger licking is totally okay)

Notes: **The glaze helps make these cinnamon rolls extra moist and delicious.  The recipe works just fine without it!

Pantry Pad Thai

This is a pretty darn tasty recipe for Pad Thai that is thrown together with a little bit of everything.  It is a great meal option for when you look into the pantry and all you see are odds and ends.  This dish is also perfect for all those hungry college students who are tired of eating cereal for every meal, but can’t afford takeout.IMG_7332-2  You know what I hate?  Hate is a strong word, I know.  But I hate this one thing.  I really hate when you are so hungry that you are like starving, and you can’t find anything to eat.  Um, Karlie, starving is also a strong word…

Okay, sorry.  So I’m not really ever starving.  But you know those times when you are like really, reallllly hungry and it’s like so hungry that you don’t want to go out and buy food and you just want to eat something from home because you’re THAT hungry…but you can’t come up with anything to make so it is making you angry?  Yeah, that is what I hate.  I hate being hangry.  Anybody know if they’ve put hangry into the dictionary yet…?  It kinda seems like it should be since “selfie” is officially a word.  Selfies…bleh.  That’s another thing I hate.  Okay, [end rant].

On to the good stuff!IMG_7275-3 So, yeah.  This Pantry Pad Thai is flavorful, fast, and really easy to throw together.  You can make it using whatever noodles you’ve got at home, a few dashes of this and that, and some peanut butter.  The peanut butter is the game-changer here.  I think peanut butter is just about the only thing that is absolutely necessary to make this recipe work.  I added shrimp because it packs a little protein and because I am not in college anymore, so I can afford it 😉 IMG_7288-2Before you do anything, you’ll want to whisk together the sauce and let those flavors hang out and mingle for a little while.  After you get the sauce party started, you want to cook the noodles.  If you are adding shrimp or veggies, boil the noodles first and then right before the noodles are done, throw in the shrimp (and/or veggies).  After that, you just mix it all together and eat!  IMG_7354-2

Pantry Pad Thai

  • Servings: Meal for Two
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter of choice
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of ginger
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon or lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper or a squeeze of Sriracha
  • 1/2 lb of noodles of choice (spaghetti, linguine, or even ramen would work)
  • 20 frozen shrimp (optional)
  • frozen vegetable mix (optional)
  • 1 egg (optional)
  • red onion (optional)
  • 1/4 cup of coconut (optional)
  • 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro (optional)

What to do:

  1. Fill a medium-sized pot with water and place on stovetop set to HIGH.  Boil water.
  2. While waiting for water to boil- In a small bowl, whisk together peanut butter, ginger, honey, lemon juice, garlic powder, and red pepper. Set aside.
  3. Once water is boiling, add noodles.  Cook noodles for about 7 minutes.
  4. **If adding frozen shrimp and/or vegetables, add to pot with noodles and cook an additional 2 minutes or until shrimp is slightly pink. Remove pot from heat.
  5. Drain water from pot of noodles/shrimp/vegetables.
  6. Pour sauce mixture over noodles and shrimp and combine.

Optional steps (to continue from step 6):

  1. Crack one egg into hot pan on stove, as if making scrambled eggs. Break yolk.
  2. Add some chopped red onion and coconut to frying pan, stirring together.  Cook just for a minute or two until egg is cooked and you can smell the onion.
  3. Add egg mixture to noodle dish.
  4. Top with chopped cilantro for added flavor.
  5. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Notes:  This dish is best served warm and immediately after prepared.  If refrigerated, warm in microwave for a few minutes the next day.  I hope you like it!

Mini Pancake and Sausage Breakfast Bites

This is what happens when fluffy pancake blankets get cozy with a few sausage links and they go for a dip in a warm maple syrup bath.  Good things happen, friends, very good things.      IMG_7153First off, let me apologize for not posting a recipe last week!  I am so sorry I’ve been slacking!  Valentine’s Day came and went, (I’m still not engaged FYI) and life is suddenly crazy busy with a bunch of little things!  And I feel like they just keep coming!  The good news is, while I haven’t been blogging, I have been accomplishing things for Karlie and Oats!

One cool thing is that there are officially business cards floating around the Denver Metro area with my name on them!  I’ve been handing those things out like candy.  Another thing I did was filed my taxes!  Why is that significant, you ask?  Well, with my tax refund I plan to revamp the blog!  I’ve got a redesign planned, I’m working on getting a new camera, self-hosting talk is being thrown around…? AH!  I am nervous…but stinkin’ excited, too.  Keep checking back!  BIG THINGS AHEAD!

Meanwhile, back to this sticky, syrupy yumminess. IMG_7115 This little breakfast nugget is atop the high dive, suspended above a warm and sticky bowl of syrup.  It looks like he is ready to take the plunge. IMG_6987These little bites are so easy to make.  Get out the sausage links, pull the pancake mix from the pantry, heat up a little oil, and put some syrup in a bowl.  Cut, poke, dip, fry, and DUNK! Then you’re dunzo!IMG_7013

Mini Pancake and Sausage Breakfast Bites

  • Servings: Makes 16 bites
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

  • box of pancake mix
  • water
  • box of fully cooked sausage links (8 links)
  •  oil (for frying)
  • syrup for dipping
  • skewers or chopsticks

What to do:

  1. Empty about 1 1/2 – 2 cups of dry pancake mix into a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Add small amounts of water to pancake mix and whisk together until mix has no lumps, just enough to thin it out slightly.  Set aside.
  3. Heat oil on stove in deep pan.  (I used a pot and filled it 3 inches or so with oil.)
  4. If sausage links are frozen, place in microwave for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Cut each sausage link in half (you should have 16 halves).
  6. Press chopstick or skewer into one end of sausage link and dip sausage in pancake batter, coating evenly.
  7. Quickly submerge your pancake-batter-covered-sausage-on-a-stick into the hot oil, frying for a minute or two, or until it is browned, and transfer to a paper towel covered plate.  (If the oil is too hot, your outer shell will seem to burn before the inside batter is cooked.)
  8. Repeat process with each little chunk of sausage.
  9. Serve all those mini bites alongside warm maple syrup for dunking.
  10. ENJOY!

Fresh Strawberry Cookies

These bright pink cookies are made with REAL strawberries!  They’re extra fluffy, super moist, and loaded with strawberry flavor.  I don’t know if you noticed but…they’re PINK! These are the perfect treat for any pink occasion! heartcookie So!  Valentine’s Day is on Saturday!  That’s exciting, right?  Anybody else excited?

….?

Okay! Moving right along…

I figured since love is in the air this time of year I would post a recipe for something that you might love.  It is safe to say that I love these cookies, so I hope you do too.  They are bright pink, which is kind of a funny color for a cookie, but they taste really good!  Let me describe how they taste:  let’s say you had a moist, fluffy, frosted strawberry cupcake in your hands.  If you took that cupcake and flattened it in between your hands and shaped it into a round cookie, you would have a….mashed up, sticky, not-so-pretty strawberry cupcake cookie.  However, it would still taste good!  If you love the taste of strawberry cupcakes, but you’d prefer a sophisticated cookie over a messy cupcake, you will love this recipe! IMG_6670I have a confession.  The only reason I’m beyond excited for Valentine’s Day this year is because I’ve convinced myself that my boyfriend is going to propose.  I really shouldn’t get my hopes up, though.  Any time we go out somewhere, I start to think it is going to happen.  So it probably won’t happen.  But I think about it all the time. It’s BAD.

That is all I am going to say about that.

Cookies! heartcookie4 

Fresh Strawberry Cookies

  • Servings: Makes around 4 dozen
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

  • 8 fresh strawberries, stems removed
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)
  • red food coloring

For the frosting:

  • 3 oz box strawberry jello
  • block of cream cheese, softened
  • powdered sugar
  • water

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).
  2. Place strawberries in a blender or food processor and pulse until pureed or liquefied. Set aside. (If you don’t have those things, mash strawberries with a fork until they are a pulp.)
  3.  In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy.
  4. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
  5. Add in pureed strawberries and mix until evenly blended.
  6. In a small bowl, mix together flour, salt, and baking soda with a fork.
  7. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture one cup at a time and mix well. (Batter will be thick.)
  8. Stir in pecans and 5-10 drops of red food coloring to the dough if you’d like.
  9. Drop tablespoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets and bake for 12-15 minutes at 350(F) until edges are slightly brown.

**While cookies are cooling, you can make a simple frosting!

  1. In a small bowl, blend together a block of cream cheese and a package of strawberry jello using an electric mixer.
  2. Beat powdered sugar into mixture and add drops of water until you reach desired frosting consistency.
  3. Frost cookies with a spoon, or place frosting in Ziploc bag, cut the corner, and decorate!
  4. ENJOY!

 

NOTES** Frosting these cookies is the key to making them exceptionally moist!  You can create just about any frosting you want.  I frosted mine in several different ways and stored them in a sealed container and they stayed moist until they were all gone!  I also tried rolling some dough up into plastic wrap (like a tube) and threw it into the freezer to bake later.  This works just as well!  It’s kind of like slice and bake cookies from there! If you tend to like a little less sweet, opt for no frosting, but keep these cookies sealed up in storage for moisture!

Birthday Rice Krispie Treats

Sprinkles make me SO happy!  This recipe makes me happy too!  Easiest birthday treats ever! Cake mix + Rice Krispie Treats + SPRINKLES!  birthday2HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME, HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR KARLIEEEEEE, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MEEEEE!

Today is indeed my birthday!  Hooray!  I am officially 24 years old. Weird. The big 2-4.  This is the first birthday I’ve had where I feel like I am actually getting older.  23 didn’t seem too bad last year, but 24…not sure how I feel about it.

Birthdays.  Gotta love ’em!  Since it is my birthday, I thought it would be nice to share a fun little birthday treat recipe!  It is pretty darn easy.  If you have ever made Rice Krispie Treats successfully, I will guarantee you can handle this one.  It’s literally the same as making those, but you add one other ingredient to bring out the birthday flavor: cake mix! birthday Tell me this picture doesn’t make you happy?!  They’re chewy, gooey, marshmallow-y, and festive!  Any person at any age will appreciate this fun recipe! These treats are great, too, if you are in a hurry because you can whip them up in like 5 minutes.birthday5 

Birthday Rice Krispie Treats

  • Servings: Makes 12-15 squares
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 (10 oz) bag of large marshmallows (or mini)
  • 2/3 cup of dry yellow or white box cake mix (dry mix straight from the box, not batter)
  • 6 cups Rice Krispie cereal
  • 1/2 – 2/3 cup of sprinkles of your choice

What to do:

  1. Grease a pan of your choice (8″x 8″, 11″x 7″, or 9″x 13″) and set aside.
  2. Over low heat on stove, melt butter in large saucepan.
  3. When butter is melted, add entire bag of marshmallows and stir constantly.
  4. Stir in dry cake mix when marshmallows are completely melted.
  5. Remove from heat and mix in cereal.
  6. When cereal is coated, mix in half of sprinkles. (Don’t mix too much or the sprinkles won’t be as pretty!)
  7. Press into greased pan and top with remaining sprinkles.
  8. For firmer treats, let sit 30 minutes before cutting into squares.
  9. ENJOY!

 

 

 

I got the idea from: http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2012/03/25/cake-batter-rice-krispie-treats/