Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sweet Shop Sunday

This work week definitely caught up with me and I am so thankful for Sunday’s off! I need to catch up on housework, other things, etc. but instead I am going to go meet my parents for the afternoon—so everything else can wait. :-)

But what can’t wait is this..

  • My first time making homemade granola barslove them!
  • And, a new video tutorial on how to make my beloved Fiber One Pie Crust..I get quite a few questions on it, so this video is well overdue.

With the pie crust you can make all of these recipes:

So sit back and enjoy the (short) show!

Video Notes

  • 1 1/2 c Fiber One original cereal goes into a Magic Bullet or food processor.
  • Once ground up, add in 1 Tbsp of Fat Free I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Spread.
  • Stir, then add in 1 cup of warm water and mix until there are no loose crumbs left.
  • With a spatula, press into 9 inch pie pan and continue with desired pie recipe—you can pre-bake this as well, or just fill with pie filling and eat.

Now onto the granola bar recipe many of you are waiting for!

By the way, if you can make Rice Krispie bars, you can make these!


No-Bake Chewy Granola Bars


  • 4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 cups plain granola
  • 1 cup rice cereal (Rice Krispies, etc.)
  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup any other kind of chips (peanut butter, white chocolate, toffee, etc)
  • Directions:
  • 1. Combine honey and butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in brown sugar after butter starts to melt.

    2. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat.

    3. Add the granola and rice cereal into the saucepan and fold them into the sauce until evenly coated.

    4. Spread the mixture into a 9×13 inch ungreased baking pan and press firmly with a spatula to evenly fill. Sprinkle the chocolate and peanut butter chips onto the top of the granola and gently press them down.

    5. Put the pan in the refrigerator until cooled and firm, about 15 minutes, then cut into bars.

    18 servings


    These are SO good and very open to customization. What flavor combos are you thinking of trying?!

    Saturday, June 26, 2010

    Summertime Snack Attack

    Weekends are a bit like rainbows; they look good from a distance but disappear when you get up close to them.”


    Hope everyone’s week went well and that you have a fun or relaxing weekend planned. As for me, I will be working today and then possibly meeting my parents for a lunch date tomorrow afternoon at one of our favorite buffets! Speaking of eating out, I forgot to mention that last week I ate at Buffalo Wild Wings for the first time ever. We don’t have one in our city yet, but word is one is in the works! I ordered the Buffalitos which are two soft flour tortillas with seasoned, grilled chicken, lettuce, pico de gallo, a blend of cheese, sour cream and whatever sauces you choose. I picked their Spicy Garlic and Caribbean Jerk. I fell in love with both sauces and the Buffalitos were the perfect amount of food, plus I got the roasted potato wedges.


    Here’s the rest of this weeks work re-cap:



    • Finnish pasties (recipe here)
    • Tossed salad
    • Sautéed zucchini and corn
    • Rice Krispie Bars

    (Side note: Pasties are a northern Minnesota food that started out due to the huge demand of mining. Miner’s would find it easy to just grab a pasty, which is somewhat like a hot pocket filled with all the necessary nutrients they needed. Many restaurants in northern Minnesota specialize in pasty making. More of the story here.)



    (Had to make one gluten-free rice krispie bar, in front)



    • Cream of Asparagus Soup
    • Cucumber Boats with Egg Salad
    • Perfect Bread with Peach Preserves
    • Strawberry Shortcakes






    I had to draw the Indian Tribe flags because the wild rice came straight from the lakes surrounding our area and it is harvested and picked by the Native Indians.




    Like I said before, working 6 days a week gives me a chance to finally try all the different on-the-go snacks I have had sitting around for quite some time.

    First of all..have you heard of a jazz apple?


    “Jazz is a modern apple variety, developed in New Zealand in the 1980s. It is a cross between two other major apple varieties - Braeburn and Gala. Not surprisingly it has a lot of "shelf appeal", being a medium size, and with a very attractive appearance. It is marketed as a "bi-colored" apple, because the strong red/maroon color is broken up by areas of green / yellow / orange.”

    It’s by far my new favorite apple!



    Heard of the sugar free Crystal Light Iced Cups? I hadn’t either until I stumbled upon them at Wal-Mart. I got the Lemonade/Cherry Pomegranate flavor—so good, and at only 35 calories a cup, you can’t go wrong!



    I also tried a new-to-me bar, Powerbar Cranberry Oatmeal Cookie.

    Chew Review: It was just ok. It was somewhat small in size, and didn’t really have a taste resembling a cookie at all. However, I did like the generous amount of cranberries and the non-sticky texture of the bar. Probably wouldn’t buy it again.




    Chocolate and peanut butter have to be one of my favorite combos, and rice krispie bars have to be one of my favorite childhood snacks. This bar satisfied it all in one, plus it was a decent size and organic which is a plus!

    EnviroKidz Organic Crispy Rice Bar—Peanut Choco Drizzle



    Stay Tuned for a homemade granola bar recipe tomorrow!

    What’s your current favorite snack food?

    Wednesday, June 23, 2010

    Workin’ My Way Through the Work Week

    “I put all my genius into my life; I put only my talent into my works.”—Oscar Wilde


    I just looked at my calendar, and can you believe it’s almost July? Summer is going too fast, but at least we’ve had decent weather here in Minnesota, and it is continuing through this week, or so I am told—I am inside most of the day in a hot and steamy kitchen, so the 80 degree weather isn’t benefiting my situation. But I am glad it’s ideal summer weather for everyone who is out baking on the beach!

    This work week is actually quite nice. We are serving only 8 adult students, some from Canada, and various places in the US. So like I said before, we are trying to serve dishes native to this area. I’ve been trying some amazing food, some new to me, and others are old favorites. And every night I have food to take home, oh the perks of a foodie job! It’s pretty hard to take pictures of everything when we are on a time schedule and things move fast, but I’ll try my best to get the highlights of the days for a recap!



    Only dinner was served

    • Vegetarian Vegetable Soup
    • Whole Grain Bread
    • Eggs and Olive Mold
    • Crackers
    • Fruit


    This has to be hands down the best vegetable soup I’ve ever had. SO loaded with numerous veggies, I can’t wait to make more for me!

    You can find the recipe we used here.



    • Fry Bread Tacos
    • Tomatoes, Lettuce, Onions, Sour Cream, Salsa
    • Potato Salad
    • Corn on the Cob
    • Orange Cream Frosty (a mixture of vanilla ice cream and orange juice—so good and refreshing!)



    The potato and leek soup was fabulous. It was my first time having leeks in a soup. The recipe we used can be found here, but the only adaptation we made was using our water the potatoes boiled in for the 6 c of water called for in recipe—it definitely added more flavor.

    (Yes, I am in charge of the menu board!)



    This cake, Gateau Breton, was out-of-this world. I am so glad we have such a good baker on staff! :-)






    A similar recipe for the corn stuffed peppers and sauce we used can be found here.


    Peppers ready to be cut and stuffed. 


    Corn stuffing 


    The pound cake was to die for, and the lemon curd was the perfect summertime flavor.

    What is your favorite soup? If so, share a link to the recipe!

    Monday, June 21, 2010

    My Pizza Project

    “Ideas are like pizza dough, made to be tossed around.”

    Well, it’s Monday folks. And that means for most people, myself now included, that it’s back to the work week. Sometimes during the summer, by the end of the day when suppertime rolls around, not only are you hot/tired, but you don’t even want to consider firing up appliances and making dirty dishes in the kitchen. So instead you pull out your handy list of pizza delivery numbers, and you’re just a phone call away from a hot and tasty dinner on your doorstep. Pizza has always been one of my favorite foods, but for some reason, I have yet to hit all the pizza places in my college town, which being here almost 3 years, you think I would have made a significant dent. But, I suppose it’s never too late to make the rounds and find a favorite. Lately, I’ve gotten the chance to try out three local pizza places in the past couple weeks—I blame it on my busy schedule, and it isn’t going to slow down anytime soon, so I hope to make it to the other 8 or so in the duration of summer—I am going to label it “My Pizza Project”! So I hope you’ll follow along, or maybe start your own!?

    Did you know : Pizzerias represent 17% of all restaurants in the US?

    My favorite so far: Keith’s Pizza


    I got their Spinach Pie pizza minus the olives and added pineapple, fresh tomatoes, and mushrooms. I am a thin-crust kinda girl, so this pizza was right up my alley. It wasn’t greasy at all, had a generous amount of topping and overall was two thumbs up in my book!


    Also tried their new Aloha wings which were a fantastic combo of sweet, salty, and spicy—I wish I could remake them at home!


    My 2nd favorite so far: Green Mill



    The Green Mill offers three types of crust; thin, Pescara (hand-tossed), and deep dish. I decided to go with the Pescara instead of the thin. I’ve always been a huge fan of Green Mill’s special tomato sauce, and I was also impressed with the variety of topping choices they had. The pizza ended up with smoked ham, pineapple, caramelized onions and mushrooms. Turned out to be a fabulous tasting pizza, except next time I think I would go with the thin, just because it was a lot of crust!

    My 3rd not-so-favorite: Giovanni’s


    We actually ordered this pizza at work the other day, and I was the least bit impressed. To me it seemed overly greasy and the cheese was a rubbery texture. Maybe if I tried some of their veggie pizza or something? I’m not sure, but don’t think I’d care to order from there again.

    In non-food related news..

    I got a chance to go to the Moondance Jammin’ Country Fest this past weekend! It was so awesome, and even better, the weather cooperated!

    On Saturday night, the main stage had Kellie Pickler, Sammy Kershaw and the Zac Brown Band performing—they all put on a fantastic show!!







    And another highlight of the day…this delicious banana vanilla swirl soft-serve ice cream!!


    Where is your favorite place to get pizza in your town and why!?

    Sunday, June 20, 2010

    First Two Days of the Rest of My Summer

    For those of you who don’t know about my new summer job, read about it here and here.

    Thursday was basically the first day of work, and the first day of what I will be doing the rest of the summer. I work 6 days a week—days spent cooking, learning new things, cleaning, and just enjoy being around all things food! The kitchen I am working in for the Concordia Language Villages is in charge of preparing breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the adult campers, who are actually here for a seminar to learn to teach the language they teach in a better and more effective way—and like I mentioned before, they are coming from all corners of the world.

    Here’s my new kitchen I’ll be cooking in probably more than my home kitchen:






    dining hall

    This is the dining hall where the students will be eating.

    Meals don’t start being served until today, so Thursday and Friday were brutally long days (8-9 hours on my feet) spent stocking the kitchen with everything. During the actual school year, the kitchen is used for other purposes, so we came into a completely empty kitchen. A huge truck load delivered numerous boxes filled with everything from utensils to kitchen appliances. And all things that came through the door had to be washed, so needless to say many many loads of dishes were done.


    Friday, I was pretty much in charge of all things going on. More unloading, and another delivery from the food distributor.


    When the food is delivered, everything needs to be checked on the inventory sheet and put away immediately—it’s quite the process, but I will get the hang of it!


    Stay tuned for more job adventures—glad you’ll be around for the ride!! :-)

    During this job, I can definitely see I will need to snack a lot to keep up my energy, so it’s the perfect opportunity to try out my outrageously growing bar collection.


    Kashi Go Lean Cinnamon Coffee Cake Bar

    “This all natural vanilla coffee cake flavored snack bar is infused with the dreamy combination of cinnamon and roasted hazelnut chunks.”


    Chew Review: This bar was great! It's made its’ way into my top 5 favorites. I loved how it had the sweet coating both on the bottom and also drizzled on the top. It was the perfect crunch as well. And as far as keeping me full, I don’t think it would as a meal replacement, but it works perfect as a sweet ending to a meal.


    Happy Father’s Day to all the dad’s out there! :-)