Best-Tasting Cereal Bars | Real Simple

I came across this in my Twitter feed, and felt compelled to read it because we just recently started buying cereal bars again, after a friend introduced us to a yummy -and inexpensive!- one: Trader Joe’s “This apple walks into a bar…” Or the strawberry flavor, “This strawberry walks into a bar…” Get it? LOL. He’s a clever one, that Joe. I’d say they are a near-perfect clone of Nutri Grain bars, and at $1.69 a box, cannot be beat. The perfect solution to our everyday school snack dilemmas. What a godsend!

Read Real Simple’s cereal bar consensus here:

Best-Tasting Cereal Bars | Real Simple.

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Chicken Cacciatore

I was inspired by The Pioneer Woman’s recipe post yesterday, and decided to try it myself, with what I had on hand. We always have frozen boneless, skinless chicken thighs on hand, and I had several other ingredients I thought might go well together. I wasn’t digging the idea of egg noodles under the chicken, though, so I decided to go with cous cous. It felt like a good meal, but something was lacking. It was a lot better today, with some crusty bread. Especially when I took the garlic cloves and smushed them on the bread, and added some tomato bits… mmmmm.

One thing I’d do differently next time: salt the boiling water. I figured the chicken + sauce would be salty enough to flavor the cous cous, but it just wasn’t so. I usually add butter + salt when the kids ask for cous cous, and it’s yummy that way, so I’ll have to remember — always add salt!

I love cookies

These may just be my best ever. They turned out very caky, for some reason. Well, I kind of had to eyeball the flour and sugar measurements, to a degree, because I’m missing my 1/4 cup measuring cup. I left it in our community laundry room, and when my husband went to get it 2 days later, it was gone. Nice. And of course, the chocolate chip cookie recipe I always use calls for 2 and a quarter cups of flour, and three quarters of a cup of sugar & brown sugar. Have I mentioned before how my life is governed by Murphy’s Law?

chocolate-chip-cookies

First recipe sharing!

I’m going to share a recipe I like from “The Cuisine of California”, by Diane Rossen Worthington. It was a total impulse buy from the bargain section at Borders, but I’m quite pleased with it. I’ve only made this dish twice, using big scallops the first time, and tiny bay scallops this time. I preferred it with the big ones – they sautéed nicely, and these tiny ones just kind of shrunk up and steamed. -Shudder- But it was still tasty. The first time I made it was my first time eating both watercress and scallops. That was pretty bold for me, actually. I was so glad I actually liked it! So, here you go:

Warm Scallop Salad dressed with Tomato, Mint, and Lime

Serves 4 as main course or 6 as appetizer

For dressing:
1/3 cup olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely cracked black pepper
2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint

*******

1 pound scallops, well drained and patted dry
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch of coarsely cracked black pepper
3 bunches watercress, large stems removed

*******

1) For dressing: Heat olive oil in a medium skillet. Add shallots and sauté 2 minutes, or until soft. Add lime juice, salt, and pepper. Remove from heat and add tomatoes and mint. Set aside.

2) If using sea scallops, remove small white muscle at side of each. If scallops are 1 inch in diameter or larger, cut in half before using.

3) In another medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add scallops and sauté over medium-high heat for 3 to 5 minutes, turning often. They should be slightly translucent in the middle. Remove from heat.

4) Pour half of dressing mixture over warm scallops, add salt and pepper, and mix.

5) Divide watercress evenly among individual plates. Spoon scallops with some dressing in center of each plate. Spoon additional tomato-mint dressing around scallops.

And you’re done!

scallop-salad1

scallop-salad2

What we did Thanksgiving morning…

Little sister saw these on Noggin, and begged and pleaded for weeks… I told her we would make them, and planned to make the dough from scratch, but typical me waited until the last minute. It was the night before Thanksgiving, and I was at Target, so I just decided to buy everything there. They didn’t have the refrigerated dough, but they had a dry mix, and tubs of frosting. So bad for you, but so convenient! It worked out just fine, and they were yummy. I only dyed 2 small amounts of frosting, it was plenty, and there’s still some in the tub. The kids LOVED ’em. I didn’t mind them being imperfect, I just wanted the kids to participate and have fun. That’s something I need to work on.

Little sister’s hand made fairly big cookies:

turkey-cookies

thanksgiving-cookies

turkey-cookies2

Brrr!

I cannot believe it’s October. Coming up is my sister’s birthday, then Halloween, then Thanksgiving, little sister’s birthday, and then Christmas! And the year’s over! I hate that. Every Fall, it seems like time snowballs downhill even faster than normal. It was actually cold today. Well, just a bit. It did feel like it was getting cooler towards the end of September, but then we got this crazy heat wave that lasted about a week. I actually had to turn the air on, and I don’t normally like to do that. Anyway, I’m glad it’s getting cooler. I prefer wearing cool weather clothes to hot weather clothes. I don’t like feeling exposed! Can’t wait to start wearing my new boots with dresses and skirts and tights.
Nine West "Pardon" boots

Totally unrelated:

I made banana bread and Martha’s quinoa muffins yesterday, but tried to make them healthier by substituting a little wheat flour for the white. I didn’t make the ratio 50/50, more like 75 white/25 wheat. I didn’t have dark brown sugar, which both recipes called for, so I just used regular brown sugar. And, I didn’t have quite enough banana. Ughh. So, all these things combined, left me with a not-as-yummy-as-usual banana bread, and some pretty health-food tasting muffins. Not “pretty” as in nice-looking, but as in “rather”. Did that make any sense? Anyway, I thought the cinnamon I added to the muffin batter would help them taste nicer, as several reviewers of the recipe suggested, but they still tasted funky. I wonder if I didn’t rinse the quinoa enough? I’d better find out how many rinses it takes to get rid of the saponin before I attempt these again. My little ones actually like them, so I will keep trying. After all, quinoa is a “super grain”, and my little guy needs all the help he can get. He’s so skinny! I do worry so about his nutrition. Little sister, not so much. She looks like she’ll be taking after Dad (tee hee!).