Sunday, March 31, 2013

Crispy Easter Nests

First of all: Forgive my absence... I am in the middle of moving and things have been pretty crazy around here!
Second of all...
Aren't these fun!  We had such an awesome Easter Egg Hunt yesterday and my friend brought these cute treats.  They were a big hit with kids and grown-ups. :)

Crispy Easter Nests
1 (14 oz.) bag sweetened flake coconut
Green food dye
1 (7.5 oz.) jar Marshmallow Fluff
3 cups Rice Krispies
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Cooking spray
24 Jordan almonds (She used jelly beans)

Place 1 (14 oz.) bag sweetened flake coconut in a bowl. Use a toothpick to apply and stir in a few drops of green food dye. Let dry. Melt 1 (7.5 oz.) jar Marshmallow Fluff in a pan over medium-low heat, stirring, until soft and pliable. Stir in 3 cups Rice Krispies. Stir in 1/2 cup chocolate chips; remove from heat. Arrange 8 paper cupcake liners on a work surface. Mist hands with cooking spray. Gather a small amount of cereal mixture and shape to fit into a cupcake liner. Add more cereal to make a rim around top. Let cool. Make 7 more. Fill each nest with a bit of coconut and 3 Jordan almonds.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Good Morning Granola...

This has been my favorite way to start the day lately.  Healthy, delicious, and quite filling... not to mention EASY to make.  Winner all around!  I have made my own regular granola and honey nut granola, but I have been lazy lately and just found one I like at the store.  It is much cheaper to make your own, though.  Anyway, just giving you a good reason not to hit snooze! :)

Healthy Good Morning Granola and Yogurt (By Lyd
1 cup Vanilla Yogurt
1/2 cup Granola
1/2 cup Trail Mix
Handful of dried cranberries

Layer ingredients and mix in your bowl.
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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Butternut Squash Gnocchi

Yes, I'm still at it... sneaking squash into thing. :)  I was amazed how easy this was to make, and although the kids were a little disappointed that they weren't the "chicken nuggets" that they thought they were, they still ate them up. (It's ok... you can admit that you had the same thought. :)  The garlic sage butter was a little strong.  I think they would taste the best with a creamy sauce or in a soup.  We actually put ours into our creamy tomato soup and it was quite delicious.  Just another fun way to sneak in those veggies. :)

Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Garlic Butter and Sage Sauce

For the gnocchi:
3lb butternut squash (I think just about any kind of squash would do.  I used acorn.  I would definitely recommend following my tip below and slow cooking it.  Super easy!)
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, whisked
2-1/4 cups flour, plus more for rolling

For the Garlic Butter & Sage Sauce (for two, 1-cup servings):
2 Tablespoons butter
1 garlic clove, minced
7-8 leaves fresh sage, chopped
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pierce bulb end of butternut squash with a sharp knife several times then microwave for 3 minutes, flipping halfway through. Slice top and bottom off squash, then cut in half lengthwise and remove seeds with a spoon. Place squash halves cut side up on a foil-lined baking sheet then brush with extra virgin olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 50-60 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the thickest part of the squash meets no resistance.

When squash is cool enough to handle, scoop from peel and place in a food processor. Process until very smooth (or mash by hand) then place puree in a large saucepan over medium heat and cook until it is no longer extremely moist, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Spread squash puree on a plate then refrigerate until cool (doesn’t have to be cold – but will be more difficult to roll out.)

Measure out 2 cups cold squash then place in a large bowl and stir in whisked egg and salt. Add flour, 1 cup at a time, and stir until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl. Turn out onto a heavily floured surface and knead until dough comes together. (Dough might be sticky, just keep flouring hands lightly.

Remove large hunks of the dough then roll into a rope and cut into 1″ sections to form the gnocchi. Place onto a wax paper or foil-lined baking sheet and freeze until solid then transfer to a freezer bag, or cook gnocchi immediately. Cook frozen gnocchi the same as fresh (do not thaw.)

To cook gnocchi: Bring a large pot of water to a boil then salt lightly. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat, then add garlic and sage. Cook until garlic is just starting to turn golden brown.

Add 1 cup gnocchi at a time and to the salted, boiling water, then cook at a gentle boil until gnocchi float to the top, about 2 minutes. Transfer using a slotted spoon or spider to the garlic butter & sage sauce. Cook remaining gnocchi then add to the skillet. Season with salt & pepper then toss to coat, and plate.

*She has some great step by step instructions and pictures.

Lyd's Tip:  My sister was telling me a while back how she chopped up her Halloween pumpkins and put them in her crockpot and they ate them up.  I thought it was brilliant.  I was too lazy to even cut mine up.  I was in a hurry so I just threw the whole thing in, put it on low, and left.  It was done in just a couple hours.  So easy!  No hassle with baking it in the oven forever and burning it.  Love these time savers!
Here they are, ready for a dunk in our creamy tomato soup. Yum!
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