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Sunday Supper Movement

Peanut Butter S'mores Bars

What's_Baking_BadgeI was pretty excited when Joanna of Kosher Kitchen chose Baking with S’mores Variations as the theme for this month’s What’s Baking? To me, s’mores are a summer dessert. We enjoy sitting outside around a fire pit, toasting marshmallows and making old-fashioned s’mores. I love the flavors, but apart from some s’mores cupcakes (which are amazing, by the way), I haven’t played with the flavors too much. I was thrilled to be able to try out one of the many s’mores-inspired recipes I’ve bookmarked over the past few years.

I, of course, couldn’t help but to choose what might be the most sugar-laden dessert I could find – complete with peanut butter baking chips, two types of candy, and a jar of marshmallow fluff. The photo really does not do these bars justice – they’re super rich and stayed soft, even after a few days on the counter. They definitely we a good start to the workweek.

Peanut Butter S’mores Oatmeal Cookie Bars

Adapted from Mom On Timeout

Makes 24 bars

Ingredients:

  • 12 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 c. light brown sugar
  • ½ c. creamy peanut butter
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 Tbs. vanilla extract
  • ¾ c. graham cracker crumbs (from about 4 graham crackers)
  • 1 c. old-fashioned oats
  • 1 Tbs. cornstarch
  • 2½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1½ c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. peanut butter baking chips
  • 7 full-sized Hershey’s chocolate bars
  • 1 7-oz. jar marshmallow fluff
  • 1 c. quartered Reese’s miniatures

Make the Dough: In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until well combined. With the mixer still running on medium speed, add in peanut butter, eggs, and vanilla – all one at a time. Scrape down sides of the bowl.

Reduce speed to low and one at a time, add graham cracker crumbs, oats, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, and flour. Scrape down sides of the bowl as necessary. Finally, mix in peanut butter baking chips.

Chill dough for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.

Assemble & Bake: Remove dough from fridge. Pour ⅔ of the dough into the prepared pan. Spread into an even layer. Top with Hershey’s bars, then marshmallow fluff.

Stir Reese’s miniatures into remaining dough, and drop onto fluff layer. The dough won’t completely cover the fluff.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden. Remove from oven, and let cool completely before cutting.

Serve at room temperature (or, as my hubby preferred, microwave for 10 seconds to make extra warm and gooey) and store in an airtight container.

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'Nut Butter' Crispy Balls

This week, Sunday Supper is looking at recipes for getting kids Back to School. While my kids are too young (they’re in daycare year round), I’m always on the look out for easy, healthy snacks and meals for my picky toddler. It’s especially difficult for me because daycare is nut-free – and my little one loves peanut butter, raw nuts, trail mix, etc.

In an effort to introduce some variety into her school snacks, I dug into my copy of Weelicious Lunches and picked out this healthy variation on the classic rice crispy treats. Much to my dismay, Little Miss. Picky wouldn’t even taste them, but my husband and I enjoyed these treats for a couple of weeks.

“Nut Butter” Rice Crispy Balls

Adapted from Weelicious Lunches (p. 298)

Makes 25-30 balls

Ingredients:'Nut Butter' Crispy Balls

  • 2/3 c. sunflower seed butter
  • 3/4 of 2/3 c. honey
  • scant 4 c. gluten-free brown rice crispy cereal

Combine sunflower seed butter and honey in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat. Stir constantly until the two are combined. Remove from heat and let cool slight.

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Fold in cereal until cereal is completely coated.

Lay wax or parchment paper on the counter. Use an ice cream scoop or two spoons to portion out rice crispy balls. Roll each ball between wet palms. If desired, individually wrap rice crispy balls in wax or parchment paper.

Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Check out these other great back to school recipes from the Sunday Supper tastemakers.

Getting Started On School Days

Ideas for the Lunchbox

After School Snacks and Beverages

School Night Suppers

Sweets to End the Day

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

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Blackberry Chia Seed Jam

Ever since starting my own family, I’ve enjoyed going fruit picking. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always enjoyed it. But there’s something special about watching your child eat fruit off of the bush or tree, and sometimes, become a complete and adorable mess in the process of eating the fruit.

I’m pretty new to preserving but it’s something I been enjoying as much as going fruit picking. Plus, it became a necessity when we picked such great quantities, particularly of berries, that we couldn’t eat them all before they went bad. If only berries lasted as long as apples… <sigh>

Anyway, with an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables in gardens, farms, and markets, the Sunday Supper Community is sharing their favorite recipes for preserving (freezing, canning, pickling, etc.) summer produce. With that in mind, this week I’m sharing a blackberry jam recipe that we enjoyed (chosen because unlike most jams, it had the minimal about of sweetener in it).

Be sure to check out the other Sunday Supper recipes for preserving your produce after the recipe.

Blackberry Chia Seed Jam

 Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

Makes about 2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. fresh blackberries
  • 2-3 Tbs. agave
  • 2 Tbs. chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, bring blackberries to a boil, stirring frequently. Lower heat and allow berries to simmer for 5 minutes, or until soften. Lightly mash berries to desired consistency.

Stir in agave and chia seeds. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

If using immediately: Allow jam to cool before pouring into a clean, airtight jar. Store in the fridge for up to two weeks.

To Preserve: Pour into a clean, airtight container and freeze.

EDIT: Preservation via canning has been removed from this post, as it has been suggested that canning chia seeds is not safe.

More Recipes to Preserve Your Summer Harvest

Canning

Dehydrating

Fermentation

Freezing

Infusing

Pickling

Preserving in oil or butter

And for even more help and support

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License to Pawn{Book Review}

License to Pawn:

Deals, Steals, and My Life at the Gold & Silver

By Rick Harrison with Tim Keown

License to Pawn details the story of the Harrison family and the creation of the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas.

The reader is given a glimpse into Rick Harrison’s upbringing, tenacity and life behind the scenes of the show. There is a chapter by each of other three main characters – Old Man (Rick’s father), Big Hoss (Rick’s son), and (family friend) Chum. The reader learns about Old Man’s work ethic, Big Hoss’s troubled youth, and Chum’s real personality, not the goofy guy we see on Pawn Stars.

Recommendation/Review: If you’re a fan of the hit reality show Pawn Stars, then I think you’ll find License to Pawn a fascinating read.

For me, the book made the characters on the show more relate-able and likable. It’s not that they weren’t relate-able before I read the book, but I have a newer appreciation for the men who faced some intense challenges to get to where they are today – a childhood filled of epileptic seizures, financial hardships, drugs… but the men persevered through stubbornness, determination, and ingenuity. I particularly enjoyed the stories Rick told of scouring shops and markets for decent knockoff purses and jeans with his parents – capitalizing on whatever fad was going on at the moment, in order to make a little extra money.

I’ll admit it – I’ve never actually stepped into a pawn shop. I have no idea what one is like, apart from the show, so I found Rick Harrison’s insight into the pawn industry incredibly interesting. It never occurred to me that all transactions that take place are downloaded to Homeland Security or that a pawn transaction is actually confidential. It’s crazy to hear about the contradictory or slightly bizzare laws. For instance, pawn shops can buy and sell pre-1898 guns that can shoot bullets produced today, but they can’t sell more modern guns. Both can kill, but age classifies one as an antique, and therefore acceptable to sell at a pawn shop (and no need to file all of the paperwork that would be required for a modern gun).

This book is worth a read for anyone who enjoys the show or history. I’ve got my husband to thank for my enjoyment of this book (as well as of the television show). I definitely have a new respect for the Harrison family after reading their story.

Grade: A-

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Confetti Cake Milkshake from Sprinkles Bakes

Confetti Cake Milkshake from Sprinkles Bakes

Today is the last in my Frozen Fridays series, and I’m sharing an assortment of frozen beverages – milkshakes, cocktails, and other concoctions – that had me tracking down where we put the blender when we moved.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these roundups and have gotten some good ideas for your own kitchen adventures. I didn’t try nearly as many of the recipes as I would have liked, but that seems to be the story of my life.

{Frozen Fridays}

Frozen Beverages

  1. Almond Butter Banana Oatmeal Smoothie (from Cooking with Ruth)
  2. Cherry Lambic Milkshakes (from Love and Olive Oil)
  3. Confetti Cake Batter Milkshakes (skinny!) (from Sprinkles Bakes)
  4. Cookie Dough Milkshake (from My San Francisco Kitchen)
  5. Frosted Blueberry Lemonade (from Pinch of Yum)
  6. Iced Snickerdoodle Latte (from Feed Me Seymour)
  7. Kahlua Mudslides (from Sugar Dish Me)
  8. Lemon Blueberry Ice Cream Floats (from The Sugar Hit)
  9. Raspberry Colada Smoothie (from The Housewife in Training Files)
  10. Rice Krispie Treat Milkshake (from Beyond Frosting)
  11. Salted Caramel Bailey’s Milkshake With Vegan Irish Cream (from Spabettie)
  12. Skinny Mocha Frappuccino – Starbucks copycat recipe (from Healthy Sweet Eats)
  13. Strawberry Almond Smoothie (from Healthy Recipe Ecstasy)
  14. Strawberry Riesling Slushies (from Annie’s Eats)
  15. Toasted Marshmallow Peanut Butter Milkshake (from Honey and Birch)
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Warm Pasta with Grilled Zucchini and Tomato

When my family comes to visit, sometimes I feel like meal planning is a real struggle. I always try to accommodate everyone’s food preferences – there is no Mexican food and limited Asian-inspired options; the meal has to be substantial enough for two big guys (salad, sandwiches, quesadillas, etc. aren’t the best options for dinner); and there are few seafood options that the majority will eat. But the hardest person to cater to is my little brother. He’s is the only vegetarian in our immediate family, and having a husband that prefers meat at almost every dinner (this Pasta with Walnuts and Parmesan is the only vegetarian dish I’ve made to date that really leaves him happy and satisfied), I don’t have much of a repertoire of vegetarian meals in my arsenal.

While my brother would happily fend for himself, he visits enough (and is so good to my daughter!) that I’ve been trying to make an extra effort to prepare new dishes (eggplant parmesan gets tiring after a while!) that he would enjoy. Last time he was in town, we tried out this warm pasta salad with grilled tomatoes and zucchini – definitely substantial enough on it’s own but paired with grilled chicken for the carnivores. I could have eaten the whole thing myself. The pasta and grilled vegetables are lightly dressed in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, which lets the sweetness of the warm tomatoes and the saltiness of the freshly grated Pecorino Romano shine through. (Don’t skimp and buy buy the pre-shredded/shaved/grated stuff – the freshly shaved cheese really makes this dish).

Warm Pasta with Grilled Zucchini and Tomato 2

Recipe Note: The original recipe calls for chopped thyme and chives, which is reflected below. I’ve also omitted these and made the salad with a sprinkle of Herbes de Province sea salt and chopped fresh basil (pictured here). The basil was a stronger flavor, but the pasta salad was equally amazing.

Serving Note: While the pasta salad is meant to be served warm, the cold leftovers were also good.

Warm Pasta Salad with Grilled Tomatoes & Zucchini

Adapted from Fine Cooking, Issue #86

Serves 4-5 as a meal; 8+ as a side

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 lb. ripe plum tomatoes (about 8), cored and halved lengthwise
  • 1-1/4 lb. small zucchini, trimmed and halved lengthwise
  • 5 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 tsp. chopped fresh thyme (see recipe note above)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 oz. Pecorino Romano, shaved with a vegetable peeler (about 2 cups)
  • 1 lb. dried penne
  • 1/4 c. thinly sliced fresh chives (see recipe note above)
  • 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar, more to taste
Prep & Grill the Veggies: Preheat grill to medium heat. Meanwhile, toss veggies in a bowl with 2 Tbs. oil, 2 tsp. thyme, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Set bowl aside – do not empty or clean bowl.
Grill veggies, cut side down for about 5 minutes before flipping and cooking for another 5-8 minutes, until desired doneness (I like my zucchini still slightly crunchy). Remove from grill and return them to the same bowl.
Allow to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package. Drain and set pasta aside.
Assemble the Salad: Coarsely chop the warm veggies and toss with half of the cheese, 3 Tbs. chives, remaining olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with remaining chives, thyme, and cheese.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
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So we’ve made it through ice cream, toppings and servers, and popsicles. You might be wondering what else is left. Why, desserts, of course!

This week, I’ve desserts that don’t fall into one of the above categories. They’re frozen pies, cakes, sandwiches, and other ice cream-like creations. Some are simpler to make and others have a number of steps. The thing they all have in common? They’re sure to impress your guests!

Salted Caramel Brownie Ice Cream Cake curtesy of Diary of a Recipe Collector

Salted Caramel Brownie Ice Cream Cake curtesy of Diary of a Recipe Collector

 

{Frozen Fridays}

Desserts

  1. Banana Split S’mores Ice Cream Cake (from Beyond Frosting)
  2. Blackberry Icebox Cake (from Beyond Frosting)
  3. Cannoli Ice Cream Sandwiches (from A Sprinkle of This and That)
  4. Cherry Almond Chocolate Ripple Semifreddo (from Girl in the Little Read Kitchen)
  5. Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Bars (from Two Peas and Their Pod)
  6. Coconut Brownies Sundae (from Roxana’s Home Baking)
  7. Fried Ice Cream (from Overtime Cook)
  8. Frosty S’mores Cups (from Easybaked)
  9. Frozen Chocolate Cherry Bars (from Running to the Kitchen)
  10. Fudgy Grasshopper Ice Cream Pie (from Through Her Looking Glass)
  11. Funfetti Cookie Dough Ice Cream Pie (from Beyond Frosting)
  12. Ice Cream Crepes (from French Press)
  13. Lemon Cloud No-Bake Ice Box Cake (from The Slow Roasted Italian)
  14. Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake (no-churn) (from Cupcakes and Kale Chips)
  15. Mocha Brownie Ice Cream Pie (from Handle the Heat)
  16. PB&J Ice Cream Sandwich (from Mom’s Kitchen Handbook)
  17. Pan-Fried Banana Split (from Taste and Tell)
  18. Root Beer Float Pie (from Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch)
  19. Rum-Soaked Grilled Pineapple topped with ice cream (from Gimme Some Oven)
  20. Reeses Ice Cream Cake (from Lemons for Lulu)
  21. Salted Caramel Brownie Ice Cream Cake (from Diary of a Recipe Collector)
  22. Salted Peanut Caramel Ice Cream Bars (from Not Without Salt)
  23. Strawberry Sorbet Cookies (from Epicurean Mom)
  24. Toffee Ice Cream Brownie Bars (from Two Peas and Their Pod)
  25. Vanilla Frozen Yogurt and Blueberry Terrine (from Cooking and Beer)
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Not long ago, I had the opportunity to take a short trip to Denver for a friend’s wedding.Tattered_Cover

As much as I enjoy going out and seeing the sights, I’ve learned something about myself – I enjoy a new city so much more when I’m able to experience it, to savor it. I like being able to linger over a good meal (like we did at Tamayo in Lower Downtown, or Lodo) or wander through the streets looking at street art and architecture. Denver had some beautiful architecture – brick buildings framed with the snow-capped Rockies in the background. We visited the recently remodeled Union Station, where I wished for such elegant train terminals in my area. The train station had loveseats and desks and glass lamps. I could not believe how peaceful and relaxing it looked!

Alas, we did not stop to enjoy the scenery, but instead headed to The Tattered Cover, a large independent bookstore in LoDo. My hubby looked like he wanted to roll his eyes at me when I notified him about our destination, but it didn’t take any real convincing to get him to stop. I was smitten with the place  as soon as I walked in. I was immediately struck by the smell of books – which I rarely find anymore – and the worn wooden shelves, arranged in 90-degree angles rather than straight rows. I could have stayed in there for hours, but I would have come home with more books than my suitcases could handle.

As my hubby and I sat having a cup of coffee, me thumbing the pages of my purchases (two books for me, one for my daughter, and a baby shower gift), we discussed the fate of bookstores in general. My hubby wanted a graphic novel, but told me that it was $10 (about 30%) cheaper on Amazon. While I’m all about shopping around, books are one of the things I’m more than willing to spend money on, especially at brick-and-morter bookstore. Doubly so at an independent bookstore. It makes me sad that so many bookstores are struggling to stay open. I love being able to go, browse the shelves, read the book jackets, sit with a cup of coffee and enjoy a new purchase. That’s something that no online retailer (or e-reader) can give me. (And I feel this way, despite reading about half of my books each year on an ereader.)

Does anyone else share my sentiment on the fate of bookstores today?

And now for a review of one of my purchases from The Tattered Cover. 

The Intern's Handbook{Book Review}

The Intern’s Handbook

By Shane Kuhn

John Lago is one of the best interns Human Resouces, Inc. employes. But he’s not just an intern, Lago, like other interns HR, Inc. places into large corporations, is an assassin.

It’s a pretty brilliant set up. You see, interns work long, thankless hours doing grunt work in order to succeed. They are pretty much invisible to the corporate executives who come to rely on them to do everything from getting coffee to doing work that results in hundreds of thousands of dollars in billable hours. A a result, these interns gain easy access to the company’s executives, their targets, while largely being ignored. And then they move in for the kill, literally.

The Intern’s Handbook is Lago’s unofficial guide for new HR, Inc. recruits who are still in training. It tells of the lessons he’s learned in his decade at the company, through the story of his last assignment – the assassination of a partners of a top Manhattan law firm. The assignment is far from ordinary. Not only must Lago figure out which of the partners to kill (the one that is selling the FBI’s witness protection list) but during the course of his investigation, he learns that his primary asset, Alice, is actually an undercover FBI agent working on the same case that he is. What an assignment!

Review/Recommendation: Author Shane Kuhn’s debut novel was a good, quick read. The cover of the book calls it a thriller, but I’m not sure I’d categorize it so. It was more of an action-packed fiction novel that was heavy on the deception. It’s written in Lago’s blunt, sarcastic voice which is part wit, part dark humor. (If you’re sensitive or easily offended, then this isn’t for you.)

Kudos to Kuhn for taking some twists and turns I didn’t expect. Because everything is based on multiple deceptions, I found myself questioning which threads were complete fabrication and which had some basis on reality. As I was reading the book, I wondered how Kuhn was going to tie everything together. I can honestly say that the ending was something I never saw coming – couldn’t have guessed it in a million years – which is part of the reason that I rated this book so high. You just don’t find that any more.

Grade: A

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Peach-and-Blackberry-Margarita-Popsicles-from-Real-Food-by-Dad

Photo courtesy of Real Food By Dad

If you’ve been following Books n’ Cooks for a while, you know that over my past two pregnancies, I ate like a 6 year old during my first trimester – very little, mostly popsicles (or as I call them, ice pops) and my childhood favorites (bagel pizzas, peanut butter sandwiches, etc). It wasn’t a problem during my first pregnancy, but during my second, my daughter watched me eat ice pop after ice pop. She knew what it meant when the freezer opened and she heard the crinkle of a wrapper. She would come running to share whatever I opened. (I’m ashamed to say that I used to wait for her to go to bed so that I didn’t have to share.)

Now that my son is here, I’m eating a lot less ice pops, but we still have some in the house. It’s beautiful weather, so it’s a refreshing treat. And, I now have the energy – some days, anyway – to make my own. I recently made boozy Raspberry Sangria Popsicles (link below) for my hubby and I to enjoy after the little ones went to bed. That batch didn’t last long. Now I have to decide whether to make them again (they were a hit!), to try another boozy popsicle recipe, or to try out something my daughter can enjoy. What do you think?

{Frozen Fridays}

Popsicles

 

  1. Banana Split Pudding Pops (from The Kitchen McCabe)
  2. Berry Beer Popsicles (from Floating Kitchen)
  3. Blackberry Cheesecake Popsicles (from The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen)
  4. Blueberry Greek Yogurt Pops inspired by Frozen (from A Mindful Mom)
  5. Coconut Salted Caramel and Chocolate Popsicles (from The Foodie Teen)
  6. Dark Chocolate Fudgesicles (from Annie’s Eats)
  7. Earl Grey Latte Pops (from Dessert for Two)
  8. Green Monster Popsicles (from Pink Parsley)
  9. Honey Yogurt Berry Pops (from 1-2 Simple Cooking)
  10. Key Lime Pudding Pops (from A Spicy Perspective)
  11. Lime Creamsicles (from Prevention RD)
  12. Limoncello Pops (from A Spicy Perspective)
  13. Milk & Cereal Breakfast Popsicles (from In Katrina’s Kitchen)
  14. Nutella Brownie “Cow” Popsicles (from Lady and Pups)
  15. Peach & Blackberry Margarita Popsicles (from Real Food by Dad)
  16. Peach Creamsicles (from The Cookie Rookie)
  17. Rhubarb Coconut Popsicles (from In Sock Monkey Slippers)
  18. Raspberry Coconut Popsicles (from In Sock Monkey Slippers)
  19. Raspberry Sangria Popsicles (from Chef Savvy)
  20. S’mores Popsicles (from The Crafted Sparrow)
  21. S’mores Ice Cream Popsicles (from Smells Like Home)
  22. Strawberry Basil Green Tea Popsicles (from The Healthy Apple)
  23. Swirled Berry Yogurt Popsicles (from Smitten Kitchen)
  24. Thai Tea Ice Pops (from The Novice Chef)
  25. Tiramisu Pops (from A Spicy Perspective)

If this isn’t enough for you, check out last year’s round-up for another two dozen recipes that caught my eye.

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Fresh Cherry Sauce (photo and recipe from Confections of a Foodie Bride)

Fresh Cherry Sauce (photo and recipe from Confections of a Foodie Bride)

Considering the dozens and dozens of ice cream recipes that catch my eye, I’ve seen surprisingly few homemade servers (bowls, cones, etc) and toppings. I guess if you’re making your own ice cream, the flavor is so vibrant that you don’t want or need a topping for it. However, there are a couple of these goodies that caught my eye recently. If they’re as good as they look and sound, they’ll be sure to elevate any ice cream – store bought or homemade – to another level.

{Frozen Fridays}

Servers and Toppings

 


Want more? Here’s a dozen more ice cream servers and toppings.

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