Saturday, February 4, 2012

7+ layer bars

Compulsive-grocery shoppers need to never go to the store unsupervised. Especially when knocked-up.

I love seven-layer bars. I don't recall ever having them as a kid, but somehow I've conned my adult mind into believing they are a necessity to growing up. Therefore, since I still have a lot of growing up to do, I require a lot of them.

Well what seven-layer bars require a lot of are butterscotch chips. At least when I make them. And butterscotch chips are usually more expensive than regular store-brand chocolate chips. So one can only imagine the look on my face the day I walked into Fresh & Easy and saw they had butterscotch chips on clearance, for $1.25/bag.

I may or may not have walked away with 14 bags.

It's been a few months, and I surprisingly have some left. (Ok; I did until this past week. Don't judge me.) This is my favorite thing to do with them.

1 sleeve cinnamon graham crackers
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 - 12 oz. bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 - 12 oz. bag butterscotch chips
4 oz. sliced almonds
6 oz. chopped hazelnuts
4 oz. chopped pecans
1 bag sweetened coconut flakes
1 can sweetened condensed milk (the little ones. I think they're 10.5 oz.)

Grease a baking pan (at least 8"x8"). Melt the butter and crush your graham crackers into itty bitty crumbs. Mix the butter and graham crackers together and press into the bottom of the pan. Top that with a layer of chocolate chips. Dump the bag of butterscotch chips on top. If you're like me, put some more chocolate chips on top of those. Pour your nuts in there - the more the better! These are super sweet and the nuts help cut that a little. Top with coconut and a can of condensed milk. Bake at 350* for 20 - 25 minutes, until coconut on top is toasted.

A few notes:

  • If your pan is 8"x8" or smaller, don't use the whole can of condensed milk. It makes your graham cracker layer soggy. 
  • Make sure you wait at least half an hour for these to cool before cutting them and taking them out of the pan. You'll be disappointed and end up with a gooey mess if you don't. 
  • If you double this, still only use one can of milk! (I routinely make this in a 11"x17" pan with only one can of milk. Trust me.)
  • If you're making these for an event, make them a day ahead. They are always better on the second day. 

As always, enjoy, and don't eat them all at once!! 

Friday, February 3, 2012

OMG Quinoa salad.

I'm so sorry for dropping off the face of the earth lately! I posted a little update on what's been keeping me so busy lately over on my personal blog. The short and sweet version: school, boot camp, and credit stuff. The ex is trying to close on a house and has been soliciting my help. I think we wrote and then re-wrote a letter threatening legal action probably six times this week. Ugh.

Anyway. Quinoa.

I have a confession to make. I'm not a big fan of cilantro. I used to have a Russian piano teacher when I was in high school. I was over at her house one day practicing for a competition, and she invited me to stay for dinner. She was making fish stew and asked me if I liked cilantro. I couldn't quite understand her, but knew enough to know that she was asking about some herb she had grown in her garden, so I said yes.

Well I was wrong. Very wrong. She tossed handfuls and handfuls into her fish stew... I don't really like fish either. I wasn't super impressed with the entire experience. So ever since then, I've despised cilantro.

When I was home for Christmas, though, Mom talked all about this delicious quinoa salad she makes, and how she puts handfuls and handfuls of cilantro in it. I was skeptical at best, but then I came back, was gathering all my fruits and veggies for my juice cleanse, and cilantro was $0.50/bunch. I gave it several dirty looks, and then I bought some. This is what resulted.

So. Good.

Quinoa Salad 

1 c. uncooked quinoa
2 c. reduced-sodium chicken broth
a handful (or more, if you like it) of cilantro
1/2 white onion, diced
2 green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 can kidney beans or black beans, drained and rinsed
juice of 1/2 lemon
a few liberal shakes of curry powder

Saute the onion and garlic in a little evoo in the bottom of a saucepan. When it looks suitably done, toss in your chicken stock and bring to a boil. Dump in the quinoa, green onion, and cilantro. Cover and reduce heat to low.

Leave it alone (don't peek under the lid!) for 15 minutes. Then toss in the beans, lemon juice, and curry powder. Stir it all together and let it simmer there for another five minutes or so, until the liquid is absorbed.


Beware! I was late to work because I couldn't put the fork down when I made this. :)