Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Peanut Butter Cornflake Clusters

It is easy treats like these PB cornflake clusters that will make one blow their good eating habits out the door. I made a batch of these for Thanksgiving and whatever was left would be treats for work. Well, it didn't work out that way. My kids and grandkids inhaled them and I opted for PB cornflake squares for work. (January 2012 post)

These came to mind one evening when Andy and I were discussing the ones the junior high school cafeteria served back in the 70s. They were a huge block---guessing 3" x 3" if not more---and you'd give away just about anything on your tray to garner one of your friends'.

After a quick grocery run, I picked up the ingredients and decided to fix them at the cabin so I would have one less thing to fix for Thanksgiving. I believe we sampled one that afternoon and then had one for dessert that night. Andy confessed he ate one additional one when he got  up to turn on the coffee pot or some other midnight kitchen run. Oh yea. They are that addictive!

6 cups cornflake cereal 
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter

Measure out six cups of cornflakes in a large bowl.
In a medium saucepan, heat one cup each of sugar and corn syrup.
Stir constantly until the sugar dissolves.
Remove from the heat and stir in the peanut butter.
Mix until well blended.
Pour sugar/syrup/peanut butter mixture over the cornflakes. Carefully, but quickly blend well until flakes are coated. Drop spoonfuls of the mixture on waxed paper. Let the clusters set-up. Store in an airtight container.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Peppermint Almond Bark

If I could only get through the holidays of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas; I could easily by-pass sweets. I've had an instance at work recently where a few sweets for a snack was needed for groups who generously donate their time to decorate some Christmas trees. Now ya'll know I'm not a baker, but this girl can put together a plate of treats when needed. The great part? You don't even have to turn on an oven. I'll be sharing several recipes over the next few days but don't think Andy and I have totally back slid on eating healthy. Like I said, I "have" to do this. LOL! The Peppermint Almond Bark is one of my favorite Christmas treats to fix. Using this basic recipe, you can substitute the white with chocolate bark; and the peppermint with nuts and mini marshmallows to make a Rocky Road version or any combination you prefer.
 In a large bowl, carefully break up the squares of one package of white almond bark, with a knife on a cutting board. Cook for periods of 15-20 seconds, stirring between time settings, until the blocks are smooth and creamy. Stir in one teaspoon of vegetable oil.
 Crush King Leo Peppermint candy (sticks or the puffy kind) work fine. I put several sticks in a sandwhich bag and use the flat side of my meat cleaver until I have small pieces.
 Stir peppermint into the almond bark mixture until it is well blended. If you really want to boost the flavor,
you can add a few drops of peppermint extract.
Line your counter-top with waxed paper and spread the mixture out. Try to get it thin--around 1/8" or more, but not so thin it breaks off too easily. Let this mixture set-up until firm--around 30 minutes. Peel the wax paper from the candy and break up into chunks. Store in an air-tight container.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Pumpkin Juice Punch

My trusty drink dispenser was jazzed up by Elizabeth which sat near the Sorting Hat created by Laura. Special guest Hedwig kept an eye over the assembly of fully costumed attendees.
The library where I work hosted a Harry Potter Trivia event recently. Although I am an avid reader and my boys loved to read Harry Potter, I never had the urge to read it. That is until we had the trivia event coming up and I was totally clueless to help organize the event. I set to reading the first book and found myself turning the pages rather quickly. Elizabeth and Laura (two of my very creative co-workers) had created an incredible display and now the items totally made sense. The display case photo album can be seen on Facebook.

When it came time to think about what we would serve for a beverage; I thought about pumpkin juice. After reading the recipes out there and realizing pumpkin was really an ingredient, there was no way I was going there. Let's say my mixture had a pleasant pumpkin color but the flavor was totally awesome and contained not one hint of pumpkin. (Let's save that for a pie drowning in whipped cream.)

Basically I made a variation of my Sun-Drop Punch. Everything was diet and caffiene free except for the sugars in the fruit juice. By the time the group noshed on unique flavored jelly beans and triple chocolate cupcakes with chocolate icing (in lieu of Harry's birthday cake), I thought we could pull back on some of the sugar in the drink. They all seemed to love it and everyone had an incredible time painting wands, playing table-top Quiddich, black out poetry, posing with props in the photo booth and several rounds of trivia with the Hufflepuff house (and one Slytherin) beating out the others. Now if I can fit in the Elsa gown I'll be donning for our special "Frozen" story time next week!

(Chill everything before mixing)

2 - two liter Sun-Drops (Diet, caffiene-free is a good option)
1 - two liter Diet Orange Crush
1 - 64 oz. bottle of pineapple juice
1 - 12 oz. can frozen lemonade
1 - 12 oz. can frozen orange juice

Pour all ingredients in a punch bowl and mix well. Add several scoops of ice to keep chilled.