Thursday, October 28, 2010

Do the Monster Munch!

Yeah, yeah, I know! I can be a bit of a slacker when it comes to blogging.  Especially when college demands that all your waking hours be effervescently devoted to tests, papers, abstracts, quizzes, research applications, more tests, studying, busy work, study guides, ETC, ETC.  This last week has been probably the busiest, most insane, hectic, crazy, STRESSFUL week yet this year.  But, alas, I am almost through it! Tomorrow is Friday.  And, even better- it is almost Halloween!

Do you like Halloween? I'll be honest... I love it!  I'm not the biggest fan of all the crazy dance parties where everyone in sight is dressed... scantily (to say the least).  BUT, I love the feel of the fall, with the cool air, and yummy treats, and the fact that Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner.  Plus, who doesn't love candy.  Don't even try to say you don't.

 This "Monster Munch" is courtesy of the blog, Our Best Bites- they've got a lot of really yummy-looking stuff!  It is super Halloween-y, YUMMY, and easy, easy, easy.

The reason some of it is white, and the some is brown-ish is because I tried to get creative and add chocolate chips to half of the batch while mixing (I doubled it).  I wasn't really thinking... the melted white almond bark definitely caused the chocolate chips to partly melt.  But taste-wise... both kinds are equally delicious and I kind of liked the addition of the caramel color!


Monster Munch

1 lb. almond bark
12 cups popped popcorn (I used natural, with no butter flavor)
1 cup candy corn
1 cup dry roasted, salted peanuts
1/2 cup Reese's Pieces

Pop popcorn (discard kernels) and place in a large bowl- the largest you have to make mixing easier.  Pour peanuts, candy corn, and Reese's Pieces on top.  Take a large knife and break up almond bark.  Melt according to package directions.  (Best to just chop up and microwave in intervals, stirring as it goes)  Pour over popcorn mixture.  Stir until everything is well coated and then spread out onto waxed paper, parchment, or foil.  Let sit until completely dry, and then break into clumps.   

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Have you heard of the new blogging-world craze??  Well... let me tell you about it.  

OIAJ= Oatmeal in a Jar.  I've recently seen a lot of other bloggers raving about how amazing it is to cook your oats, pour them into an ALMOST-empty peanut butter, stir it around, maybe add some extra fix-ins, and then eat.  Frankly, I didn't see what was so fabulous about it.  I mean why not just put your peanut butter INTO your oatmeal?

Well about a week ago I had an almost-empty Skippy jar.  And since I love to eat oatmeal for breakfast, I thought I'd give it a whirl- I mean, peanut butter is, in fact, one of my favorite foods.  

I cooked 1/4 cup regular quick-oats with 1/2 cup water in the microwave, added a packet of Truvia sweetener, then added it to my jar that had about 1 1/2 tablespoons of peanut butter left in it.  OH. MY. GOSH.  This almost the best thing I have ever eaten!! It was the creamiest concoction my tongue has tasted and I could not get enough of it.

And regarding the part about just adding it to your bowl instead- well, a few days later I tried the same oatmeal base with a tablespoon of peanut butter stirred in, and it was NOT the same!  There's just something about the jar, using up every last bit of the peanut butter and eating it out of the jar... dreamy.  

Can't wait until I run out of peanut butter again.  *Sigh*

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Cinnamon-Cream Cheese Pumpkin Bread

In case you weren't aware, it is almost mid-October.  Halfway through! It seriously blows my mind and I often wonder where the heck the time goes.  If you're any kind of baker at all, you know very well that the fall baking hype is in full swing- with pumpkin this, caramel apple that- not that I am complaining!

I LOVE fall desserts.  

Maybe I should have waited until farther until the fall season to post this recipe. I mean, the leaves are just barely starting to change colors.  But then again, who am I kidding?! It's not like this is the only seasonal baking I'll do this year.  This month.  This week.  (Okay, maybe not this week, but you get the point.)

My mom has a killer pumpkin bread recipe that she's made for as long as I can remember (and by killer, I mean the BEST I have ever and will ever have- I will have to post that later...) but I wanted to try this new, pumpkin bread infused with a cinnamon-pumpkin-spiced cream cheese from Jessica at How Sweet It Is.  Ummm can you say decadent?!

It was very delicious, however the only thing I think I'd change is: 
1.  Use my mom's pumpkin bread recipe instead of this one (even though it is a good, standard recipe)
2.  Add a little more sugar to the cream cheese than the recipe calls for (it needed just a touch of sweetness!)

Spiced-Cream Cheese Pumpkin Bread 
from How Sweet It Is

1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/8 tsp. salt
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup + 1 Tbsp. buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix pumpkin and sugar together until fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, oil, and vanilla and continue to mix.  
Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.  Alternate adding dry-ingredients and buttermilk to pumpkin mix- beginning and ending with dry ingredients.  Pour into 3 mini loaf pans or 1 regular loaf pan, just halfway to the top.  Spread cream cheese mixture over first layer, then cover with more pumpkin batter, leaving about 1/2 an inch to the top.  For mini loaves, bake 35-40 minutes.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Spaghetti Squash Marinara

You know what? Sometimes life gets really busy.  And I'm sorry that it has to be that way.  But if it wasn't, well, then... I might have more time to blog.

I think its all about... oh yeah- prioritizing?  Yeah.  First things first.  Well today is a first.  Not only am I actually being diligent and posting, but I am posting a recipe that I made TODAY.  As in a few hours ago! It is still in my stomach as I type.

I've never tried spaghetti squash before, but only heard pretty good things about it.  It's literally shaped like thin, noodley strands that resemble spaghetti!  I approve of anything resembling spaghetti and this is no exception.  Super easy, very healthy, and incredibly yummy. It tastes just like pasta! That's all I have to say about it, other than you should make this.

Spaghetti Squash Marinara

1 large spaghetti squash
1 cup marinara sauce
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley (or 1 tsp. dried)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I used shredded Italian cheese)
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400.  Use a large, sharp knife to cut the squash in half.  Scoop out the seeds and place the squash halves facedown on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the shells are tender enough that you can pierce them easily with a fork.  Remove the squash from the oven and lower the oven temperature to 350.  With a fork, scrape the squash strands from the shells into a large bowl.  Mix with the sauce, parsley, and about two-thirds of the cheese.  Season with salt and pepper.  Place the mixture in a casserole dish, sprinkle with remaining cheese on top, and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the squash mixture is heated through and the cheese topping is golden brown.

Makes 4 servings

Nutrition per serving: 90 calories, 3.5g fat, 3g fiber, 11g protein, 11g carbohydrate
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