Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Vanilla Nut Cereal Bars

Well, we are still getting the house in order following the remodel.  Final touches.  That's code for still crazy busy.  Workers coming and going.  Dog constantly barking.  Husband steadily grumbling.  Wife holding her tongue.  Mostly.

This morning I wanted a quick grab and go snack.  We were out of my favorite granola bars.  Instead of running to the store (because I had to be here to let workers in), I decided to whip up some cereal bars with what I had on hand.  It took less time than a trip to the store and tasted much better.  Here's how I did it:


2 TBS butter (plus extra for buttering dish)
2 cups mini marshmallows (or 15 big marshmallows)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup Rice Krispies
1 cup Honey Nut Cheerios
1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts

Butter an 8 inch square dish.

In a pot (big enough to mix everything in), melt the butter and marshmallows over medium-low heat.  Stir this often to keep it from burning.

Once it is all melted together and smooth, remove it from the heat.  Then add the vanilla.

Add the cereals and nuts.  Stir well.

Press into the buttered dish.  I dampen my hands and press it out flat.  Using damp hands keeps it from sticking.

Let it sit for a few minutes to set up then cut it into 12 small squares.

These are so yummy!  They are sweet and salty (from the peanuts) and the vanilla gives them a great warmth.  The best part about these cereal bars?  No preservatives.  You control the ingredients.  Use whatever cereal you like.  Use whatever nuts you like.  Make them for a chocolate-lover by using cocoa krispies and almonds.  Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Apple Jacks would be good.  Granola cereal and sunflower seeds.  Whatever flavors you think would taste good together.  You can easily double this recipe and press it into a 9x13 baking dish.  I love a customizable recipe!  These keep well in an airtight container.  Great for a lunch box or afternoon snack.  Enjoy!


Friday, January 15, 2016

Cajun Roast Beef

Sorry it's been a while since I've posted, but we have been super busy!  The renovations are very nearly complete, only a few minor things left to do.  Yay!  Also, my daughter was accepted to the Disney College Program so we had to drive her to Orlando and help her move in to her new apartment (and visit the Happiest Place on Earth while we were at it).  Yes, it's been very busy here.  But, now it's back to the real world.

Today, I thought I'd post a recipe for Cajun Roast Beef.  This is a nod to the way my Paw Paw used to make his roast.  He would cut slits in the roast and stuff it with garlic then, slow cook it until it was tender and delicious.  I never got his exact recipe but here's how I make mine.  I add two not so secret ingredients:


2-3 lb boneless chuck roast
1/2 an onion
3 cloves garlic
1 stalk celery
1 can beef broth
1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
1 TBS Louisiana Hot Sauce (I like Crystal brand)
Tony's Creole Seasoning (any Cajun seasoning will work)
canola or vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Finely dice the onion, garlic and celery (pulse it in the food processor a few times or just use a knife).

Using a sharp knife, slice holes all over the roast (top, sides and bottom).

Stuff the holes with the onion mixture.

Once you've stuffed the entire roast, season it all over with Tony's (Cajun seasoning).

Put some flour on a plate (a cup or so) and season it liberally with Tony's.

Stir it well then coat the roast on all sides with the seasoned flour.

Heat a little oil (about 2 TBS or so) over medium-high heat in a dutch oven (a pot with a lid that is oven-proof).  When the oil is very hot, brown the roast on both sides.  Make sure you let the roast brown well.  You need to make a good crust (that helps to make a good gravy).

Once both sides are browned, add the beef broth, Worcestershire and hot sauce.

You want the liquid level to be about half way up the side of the roast.  That's how you braise meat.  Never cover the meat completely.

Bring the liquid to a boil then put the lid on and put the pot in the oven.  Let it cook for 2 - 3 hours or until very tender.  I had a 2.5 lb roast and it took 2 hours.

Here's what it looks like when it's done:

Use two forks to shred it up, then stir it into the gravy.

Being "Cajun" Roast Beef, it has to be served over rice.  Us Cajuns love our rice and gravy (I guess, if you must, you could serve it with mashed potatoes).

This roast is tender and flavorful with just the right amount of spice.  It's the perfect comfort food!  I hope you'll give this one a try.