Saturday, May 30, 2020

Homemade Rice Krispies Treats Cereal

This is a sponsored post by Challenge Butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

Some experiences in life are so special they become engrained in our minds forever. For me, one of those events is the first time I tried Rice Krispies Treats Cereal. Let me be clear, I'm not talking about regular Rice Krispies. Oh no. Rice Krispies Treats Cereal is essentially clusters of actual Rice Krispies treats that Kellogg's somehow managed to pass off as a breakfast food.

Before I was old enough for school, I was watched by a babysitter every day while my parents were at work. For me, the best part about going to the babysitter's house was getting to try all the processed foods my health-conscious mother deprived me of.

My parents always fed me breakfast before they dropped me off, but that didn't stop me from consuming the sugary cereals the other children were treated to. Fortunately, Rice Krispies Treats Cereal was among their favorites. This may appall some of you, but I remember finishing other children's bowls of cereal just for a taste.

But sadly, I grew up, and no longer needed to be watched by the babysitter. And I never got my hands on another box of Rice Krispies Treats Cereal. I think that's the reason I've been so fixated on it.

I know Kellogg's came out with a new version of the cereal, but it is not even remotely the same. So I finally decided to create my own version of the original recipe!

Typically, I like gooey, marshmallowy Rice Krispies treats, but I knew the structure if the cereal needed to be different so it wouldn't fall apart when soaked in milk. Also, one ingredient you typically don't see in Rice Krispies treats is powdered sugar. But I added it at the end so the clusters don't all stick together. You don't want to add a lot of it, just a few tablespoons.

I used Challenge butter for this recipe because I appreciate that the company prides itself on putting all-natural high quality products on the table.

Rice Krispies Treats Cereal
  • 6 Tablespoons Challenge butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 10 cups (about two 10 oz. bags) mini marshmallows
  • 12 cups Rice Krispies cereal
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  1. Melt butter in very large pan or pot on medium high heat. 
  2. Add vanilla and mini marshamllows to pan and stir until completely melted.
  3. Slowly add the cereal and continue stirring until mixed.
  4. Lay out a large sheet of either wax paper, and spread cereal mixture on it. Add another layer of wax paper on top and use a rolling pin to press it down into a thinner layer.
  5. Let it set up for about an hour. Then break off 1/2-inch clusters and put into large bowl or gallon-sized Ziploc bag.
  6. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top of clusters and mix so they're coated and won't stick together.
  7. Pour into bowl and serve with milk.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Dunkaroos Cookies

This is a sponsored post by Challenge Butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

Nostalgia can be a security blanket during times of uncertainty. In the past few months, I’m sure you’ve seen friends post old photos and reminisce about past vacations and other joyous events. I think people do these things because positive memories help them to evoke positive emotions.

Personally, food memories are the most powerful for me.

I sometimes think back on my childhood, especially during the summer when I had a long break from school and my family went on vacations. That was the life. I wish I would have appreciated that time more.

When I specifically think of childhood memories, I most often fixate on food. Kraft Mac & Cheese has been at the very top of my mind lately. I’ve also been thinking about Dinosaur Eggs oatmeal, French Toast Crunch, and Spaghetti O’s.

My mother worked hard to make sure we had a home-cooked meal almost every night. So why did I love “junk food” so much? I don’t know. Perhaps it’s because I rarely got a chance to eat it, so now I crave it!

This bout of nostalgia inspired me to create a recipe to help all my fellow 90s kids. I made Dunkaroos cookies. Essentially, they're chewy graham cracker cookies with a Dunkaroo frosting center. The frosting is a mixture of a vanilla cream cheese frosting and a buttercream frosting. My husband says they taste exactly how he remembers Dunkaroos taste.

I'm not sure why Dunkaroos got the boot from store shelves, but hopefully this recipe will satisfy your nostalgic urge for one of the best snacks from the 90s.

Dunkaroos Cookies
Yield: Makes about 12 cookies
For the frosting
For the cookies
  • 1 1/4 cup flour (150 grams)
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs (120 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Challenge butter, room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the frosting
  1. Beat the butter and the cream cheese on high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes.
  2. Slowly add the powdered sugar and beat until combined.
  3. Beat in the vanilla and the salt.
  4. Refrigerate the frosting while you prepare the cookie dough.
For the cookies
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, beat the brown sugar and butter together until creamy.  
  4. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until well combined.  
  5. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  
  6. Scoop dough into Tablespoon-sized balls. Stick your thumbs into the center of the dough to form a cavity.
  7. Remove frosting from refrigerator. Stuff the cavity with about a teaspoon of the frosting.
  8. Place cookie dough on baking sheet about 1 to 2 inches apart. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown.  
  9. Remove from the oven and let cool before serving.
  10. There will be leftover frosting. Unfortunately, there's no great way to make a smaller batch. You can freeze the leftover frosting, spread it on graham crackers, or eat it with a spoon.
This isn't a pretty photo, but I wanted to share it so you know what the dough will look like before you bake them!

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

How I spent the past 8 weeks in quarantine

I realize I haven't written a blog post in a long while. As many of you know, I work for a local news station, and my husband works in the healthcare industry. That being said, I am hyperaware of the coronavirus’ effects—on our physical and mental health and on the economy. It has been a heavy weight on my chest throughout the past eight weeks, and my heart hurts for all those affected.

Normally, when I’m stressed or sad, I turn my focus to cooking and baking, but that hasn’t felt right. I try to avoid the grocery store, opting instead to get our food delivered, and I’m very sensitive to the fact that many people in my community are struggling with food insecurity.

I am also using this time to slow down and focus on my priorities. I've spent a lot of time throughout the past decade comparing myself to others. I've been worried about my appearance, whether my pictures are Instagram-worthy, whether anyone will like the recipes I make, etc. The past month, I've tried to spend less time consuming and more time living.

The following photos show what I've been up to since I started quarantining. They aren't "professional" pictures by any means (not saying my pics normally are), but I'm realizing that's okay.  I wanted to share this part of my life with you. I don't need to give the impression my meals only consist of perfectly plated food because they don't.

I love larb! Have you ever had it? It's a Lao meat salad. You can get it at Thai restaurants. My favorite place to get it is Taste if Thai in the Castleton area in Indianapolis. It is so extremely flavorful. My version was tasty but not quite as flavorful despite the copious amount of cilantro and mint I used. This was the recipe that served as my inspiration. I am often unable to find special chiles in the grocery store, so I always substitute with red pepper flakes. I made this in my wok. You will see this wok in a lot of my pictures. It's my go-to pan when I'm cooking a lare quantity of something. Pro: It's big and nothing sticks to it. Con: It doesn't have a lid.

I served the larb with cucumber salad. This was the recipe. It was very tasty! I didn't add sugar, and Iused more sesame oil.

This looks very similar to the recipe above, but I promise it's different. This is a Korean ground beef bowl. Same cucumber salad recipe as the one above. It was tasty! Here's the recipe I used.

I love Trader Joe's frozen meals. The "Saucy Scallops with Mushrooms" is a favorite of mine.

I cook the "saucy scallops" in my wok with Trader Joes' cauliflower gnocchi—another favorite frozen item of mine. The scallops plus the gnocchi has a "comfort food" vibe and is plenty of food for two people.

I've made a lot of cauliflower rice while in quarantine. A LOT! I LOVE regular rice, but I started a keto diet before the quarantine, and I've been trying to eat fewer carbs. This is a concoction I made that I'm caulling (I know this word is misspelled. I did it on accident, but I thought it was kind of punny since I'm talking about cauliflower rice) Greek cauli-salad. All the flavors of a Greek salad in cauliflower rice form. I cooked the cauliflower with red wine vinegar, red onion, oregano, and feta. I threw some spinach in there too. It was a good idea, but I've come to realize cauliflower rice will always predominantly taste like cauliflower no matter what you do to it. 

The frozen salmon from Costco is fantastic. The filets are individually wrapped, and easy to move from the freezer to the fridge the night before you want to cook them so they're unthawed by the time you're ready. I made a mustard sauce for this salmon. It was the first time I've ever done that, and it was fantastic! Here is the recipe.

This is in the category for top two worst pictures I took in quarantine. It's cauliflower risotto with leeks. I realize it doesn't look appealing, but I really loved it! I had leeks I didn't know what to do with and I love risotto, so somehow I landed on this. I used this recipe, but no mushrooms. I like mushrooms, but I didn't have any.

Fennel was available, and I hadn't had it in a very long time, so I decided to get it! I made this recipe, except no Granny Smith apples, red wine vinegar instead of lemon juice, and blue cheese instead of parmesan.

This takes the cake I think for worst picture I'm posting. It was supposed to be a healthy meatloaf, but it wasn't very good. I used golden flax meal instead of breadcrumbs. The golden flax seed meal gave it an odd aftertaste. I was kind of disappointed.

This is literally just Trader Joe's cauliflower gnocchi (always pan roasted or baked in oven—never boiled), pesto, and parmesan cheese. It's an easy comfort meal.

Four avocados for our Cinco de Mayo guacamole. One of the most important parts of making good guacamole is to never overmix it!!! I don't want your guacamole soup. I want chunky guacamole!

The best guacamole has the fewest ingredients, in my opinion. The guacamole I make is my favorite guacamole. Find the recipe here.

The most beautiful pork carnitas. Corn tortilla + guacamole + pickled red onions + carnitas = perfection! Get my recipe here.

Now onto some non-cooking projects... We purchased this credenza on Facebook Marketplace in October. It was pretty beat up, but it was very cheap and it fit the space which is an awkward size.

We originally thought we would stain it, but then we decided a pop of color would be nice since we already have a lot of wood in the living room.

We went with blue to match the tile near the fireplace and our blue chair.

We also added new handles and knobs from CB2. I love the way it turned out!

We took this picture on Easter Sunday. It was sad not to be able to attend Traders Point Christian Church for service, but we're fortunate they are streaming the services online. We dressed up to watch it in our living room.

William grilled Costco steaks I had in the freezer for Easter dinner.

A very non-traditional Easter meal, but it was delicious.

I went on a cleaning kick and decided to clean the grout in our bathroom.

I decided it was way too much work for almost unnoticeable results.

Did you know you're supposed to clean your washing machine filter? I had no idea. It was one of the most disgusting things I've ever done.

Also, I had no idea that I can and I should be cleaning my range hood vents!

So much better!

Another painting project.

Our bedroom went from beige to white—we're very bold.

I had a really tough and stressful day at work, and when I returned home, William had a candlelit dinner set up. It was so thoughtful!

He was even wearing a suit. I took a picture of us to remember the moment.

I love this beautiful, flowery tree. I stare at it outside our living room window every day.

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