Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Cocoa Puffs Treats

Snow Day yesterday!
No school ... the kids were home ...what to do to keep them busy.

Thanks for the inventors of crayons, paper, scissors, glue and the Wii.
Got them busy for a while until they got hungry.
That means .. they want SNACK!!!
Not a healthy snacks, but junkie snacks.

I gave them choices,
but of course no one is interested in having what I had to offer.
Suddenly they're not hungry anymore.
WARNING!!!! Dangerously Addicting.

Then my 13 year old asked if she can try to make the cocoa puff bars 
that they sell at the market.
I did get her the Cocoa Puffs intending to make it myself.
She tried looking up the recipe online but could not find one.
So I thought why not make it just like you make Rice Krispies Treats.
With the recipe for the Rice Krispies Treats in hand,
she got her ingredients ready
plus the chocolate chips.
Let me warn you,
my darling daughter made a
seriously addicting chocolate treat. 
Prepare to eat more than 1 or 2 or 3 or reach for the 4th bar.
3 tbsp Butter
1/2 cup chocolate chips
4 cups Miniature Marshmallows
6 cups Cocoa Puffs Cereal
6 oz Chocolate Chips, (optional)


  • In large saucepan (non-stick preferably) melt butter over low heat.
  • Add chocolate chips, stir until melted and completely blended with butter.
  • Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.
  • Add Cocoa Puffs cereal. Stir until well coated. 
  • Using buttered spatula evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cool. Cut into 1 1/2-inch x 3 inch rectangular shape.
  • Or Evenly press mixture in cookie cutters. You can also free form your bar, make sure you tightly press puffs together.
  • Place 3 oz chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl and place over a saucepan of simmering water. Add remaining chocolate chips and stir with wooden spoon until completely melted.
  • Taking one cocoa puff bar at a time, dip the bottom side of each bar covering about a 1/3 of the bottom.
  • Best if served the same day.

  • Always use fresh marshmallows.
  • 1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow crème can be substituted for marshmallows.
  • I don't recommend using diet, reduced calorie or tub margarine.
  • Why fill instead of cutting cocoa puffs, I like the cocoa puffs to remain its round shape on the edges.
  • Cocoa Puff Bars can be stored up to two days at room temperature in airtight container. But I bet you nohing will be left to store. ;)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Spicy Hogs in a Blanket


I have been searching for hors d’oeuvres to serve
to the next Superbowl Party.

While waiting for my name to be called at the dentist's waiting room,
I browsed the pages of Food & Wine Magazine.
And I found this Posh take on Pigs in a blanket.
I can't say I'm a fan of pigs in a blanket,
but when I saw this recipe my heart skipped a beat.
Just because I love Spicy Jalapeno Andouille Sausage,
and this would be a great new take on the usual hotdog recipe, the boys will love this on game day.

So today, I tried making the recipe, and let me tell you,
the best thing about this recipe is ...
It's sooooo easy to make!
Cut, roll, brush, and bake.

The taste tester today is my little Taz
who has been patiently waiting after smelling the aroma from the oven.
Took a piece from the plate, then another, and another.
Came back in the kitchen and said, "Mommy can I have another piece please. Yum it's sooo good!"
Touching his belly.
He had 8 pieces!!!

Well, if my 4 year old loves it, the big boys will certainly love it.

I included a recipe that I think would go best with this hors d’oeuvres.
No one in my family liked the chutney and dijon dip that the magazine suggested
so I am not going to even try and suggest that.



2 sheets Puff Pastry, thawed and cut into eight  4 inch squares
1 large egg yolk, mixed with 1 tbsp water
8 Spicy Andouille Sausages (see note)

Dipping sauce (optional):
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded, and chopped
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonaise
Salt & Pepper, to taste


  • Preheat oven for 375°F.
  • Place puff pastry squares on a work surface, brush the top edges with the egg wash.
  • Place the sausages on the bottom edges, cut pastry to the same length as your sausage.
  • Roll up the pastry, pressing the edges to seal.
  • Freeze logs for at least 5 minutes or until firm.
  • Cut the logs into 1/2-inch slices, and place them cut side up in 3 mini muffin pans.
  • Brush more egg mixture at the top part of the pastry.
  • Bake for 25 minutes, until golden and sizzling.
  • Turn out onto a paper towel-lined rack to cool.
  • Meanwhile, in a food processor, add all your dipping sauce ingredients and pulse until mixture is combined and smooth.


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Organizing my Gift Wrapping Mess


This post has nothing to do with traveling and food,
but most definitely for my sanity.

Do you still have those wrapping paper, gift bags and tissues lying around from the holidays?
Well, I do!
I can never find my gift wrapping items in one place.
I tend to just hide them in place where it's convenient for me at the time.
Some are in the garage in between storage boxes, in my closet, in the kids closet, in our storage room, in the coat closet, name every room and I think I have one stashed in there.

Here's what I've learned using things already in our closet to organize this suckers.

#1 Hang those gift bags in a HANGER. I manage to hang up to 12 gift bags on 1 hanger.

#2 Hang gift wrapping Tissues on a skirt/trouser hanger.
    Just clip them on.

#3 Using TROUSER HANGERS. Here's another great idea from Home Depot to organize all those messy ribbons tangled in a box.


#4 Use a FRONT ZIP GARMENT BAG, we all have this in our closets. It is a perfect to storage for all your gift wrap rolls. Just label the outside what occassion it is for.
If you have a clear garment bag, the better, so it is easy to see what gift wrappers are in it.

I also have an extra under-the-bed plastic bin, also another perfect storage bin for those gift wrappers.

So there, gift wrapping mess ORGANIZED!
And it only took a 5 inch space in my coat closet.

Do you have any organizing ideas?
Share it with us.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


To my friends who have been filling up my inbox with request
for the Biko Recipe,
Here it is!
What is Biko?
It is a dessert made from glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk and brown sugar.
The Visayan version is ginger spiced.
And that is what I am sharing with you.
I am from Panay Island which is from the Visayas Region.
Like any other Filipino Kakanin every region has their own way of making this desssert.
And most probably have a different name for it too.
A lot of patience is needed for this dessert.
You will be cooking this in medium low heat, and it is hard on the arm from all the stirring.

2 cups Glutinous Rice (malagkit)
2 cups water
2 inch Ginger root, sliced
2 cups Coconut Milk
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cups dark brown sugar
A pinch of salt
  • In a casserole pot or a non-stick pot, add rice, ginger and water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer. Cook until water is absorbed.
  • Discard sliced ginger. Increase heat to medium-low heat.
  • Add coconut milk, sugar, and salt, stir constantly to avoid rice from sticking at the bottom of the pot.
  • Cook until all liquid is absorbed, the rice is translucent and al dente.
  • Transfer to a baking dish. Let cool. Cut and serve.
  • You can use just one kind of brown sugar. I used both so my Biko is not very light or very dark in color.
  • For the traditional Biko, you can opt out using ginger.
  • You can top Biko with Latik.
  • Remember this is a sticky dessert, you will know when the rice is ready when you find it hard to stir because of its stickiness.

Monday, January 14, 2013

GRATINÉE À L'OIGNON (French Onion Soup)

The climate took a sudden dip today.
Nature is such a teaser.
We got warm for a few days, hot enough to melt all the snow on the ground,
and today,
woke up to a sudden chill.
But hey, at least it was sunny.

I'm craving for some hot soup.
For some unknown reason my kids always eat well when I am making soup.
So soup with dinner it is.

I made French Onion Soup on New year's Eve, and everyone loved it.
So why not make it again.
And leftovers would be perfect with a grilled cheese sandwich tomorrow.


1 stick or 1/2 cup Butter
4 large Spanish Onions, sliced thin from root to tip
Salt & Pepper, to season
1 Garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp All-purpose flour
4 Fresh Thyme Sprigs
2 Bay leaves
1 cup Dry White Wine
4 cups Beef Broth
4 cups Chicken Broth
8 oz Gruyere cheese or Emmenthaler cheese, grated
1 baguette, sliced crosswise into 1/2 inch pieces


  • In a Dutch oven or a heavy bottom pot, melt butter on medium-low heat.
  • Add onions, spread them out thin, cook, stirring as needed to keep them from sticking, until the onions are soft and golden brown, and caramelized.
  • Dust with flour, cook for a good 5 mins. 
  • Add minced garlic, cook for 2 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  • Add wine, bring to a boil, and reduce by half.
  • Add thyme and bay leaves.
  • Add stock, cook partially covered for 30 mins.
  • Meanwhile, lightly toast bread under a broiler and set aside.
  • Discard, thyme and bay leaves, ladle hot soup into ovenproof bowls, filling the bowl almost to the rim.
  • Place bowls on a baking pan, place 1-2 slices of toasted bread over each bowl of soup.
  • Top with a good amount of grated cheese, place under the broiler until cheese is melted and crusty brown around the edges.
  • Serve immediately.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Irresistible Monkey Bread

It's lazy Saturday for our family.
No plans to get out of our cave today.
Will be organizing and putting away some Christmas wrappers
 and gift bags that we found lying around.
Maybe I'll get hubby to organize his garage work stand.

Didn't really feel like getting up
 but our little Taz was saying he is hungry.
So hubby and I got out of bed,
  he was off to make us coffee while I got all the ingredients
for cousin Colleen's monkey bread
that I decided to make this weekend for my little bears and Papa bear.
She posted this lovely picture of the monkey bread she made at Facebook,
 I asked for the recipe and she generously shared it,
she said that it was a Pillsbury recipe.

What is a monkey bread?
Well it is unknown who really made this recipe.
It was known to first appear at an American women's Magazine in the 1950's.
Monkey bread is made of small pieces of sweet yeast dough or quartered biscuits, covered in cinnamon sugar and baked with more caramelized sugar.
It is also know as monkey brains,
or monkey puzzle bread or sticky pull-apart bread.
Often served at breakfast or on afternoon coffee or tea treat.
I changed the recipe a bit,
since we all love cinnamon, I added more.
And also added another stick of butter to make sure that the bread
is covered with the caramel sauce.
After cooling the bread and transferring it to the cake stand,
you'll see that the addition of another stick of butter
was still not enough to cover the bread all the way through.
Next time I will use a different bundt pan
since the one I used was deeper and narrower.
Or just make more caramel sauce.
3/4 cup pure cane or granulated sugar
3 tsps ground cinnamon
4 cans (7.5 oz each) or 2 cans (16.3 oz each) Pillsbury Buttermilk Biscuits,
                  do not use Flaky biscuits
1 cup or 2 sticks of unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Lighty grease 12 cup Bundt pan with butter or cooking spray.
Cut each biscuit into quarters.
In a gallon plastic zip bag, add granulated/pure cane sugar and cinnamon. Mix well.
Add in the quartered biscuits in the bag. Shake to coat well.
Place coated biscuits in the pan.
Mix melted butter and brown sugar and pour over biscuits.
Bake approximately 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool for at least 5-10 minutes.
Turn upside down on a plate or a cake stand.
Serve Warm.
  • You can add chopped pecans on your caramel sauce for a little crunch. 



Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Meringue Hugged Peppermint Kisses

I was browsing my blog reading list,
and  Pint Size Baker's blog for that day caught my attention.
Two of my favorite things all in one.
Peppermint & Meringue.
I made sure to bookmark the recipe.

We finally finished all the desserts from New Year's,
and since my family like a sweet treat after dinner,
took out my new Professional series KitchenAid Stand Mixer.
I finally got the Heavy Duty Prof.
Thank you hubby!
Let me tell yah, this is the only stand mixer you'll ever need.
I love that the bowl is so large
and can make bigger batches of whatever you are thinking of making.
And perfect if you have problems such as Arthritis or Fibromyalgia like me.
The lever makes it easier to lift the bowl rather than the Artisan Tilthead which is quite heavy for someone who has a problem with their joints.
Despite all the reads about having problems about attaching the bowl, I find it actually easier.
And because it's a stainless steel bowl it's not heavy. The bowl is quite wide, so it's easier to add ingredients.
It fits perfectly under the counter,
and you don't have to move it out to use it like the tilthead.
We all know how heavy this suckers are.



Back to my sweet treat,
search for my own meringue recipe,
took out the leftover peppermint kisses from the pantry,
made sure the eggs were at room temperature and that my mixing bowl is clean with no residuals of grease and fat,
any grease on the mixture will deflate your meringue.
The reason why you should not use plastic bowls for this recipe, plastic bowls tend to harbor grease.

How do I describe the taste of this dessert?
This fabulous cookie is fresh crisp piece of peppermint cloud in my tongue.
The peppermint
 was an added sophistication to the plain meringue.
4 egg whites, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2-3 drops of Food Color of choice
24 - 30 Candy Cane Hershey Kisses, unwrapped

  • Preheat oven for 225° F.
  • Beat egg whites with an electric mixer on medium speed until frothy. Use the wire whisk attachment if using a freetstanding mixer.
  • Add Cream of Tartar, beat until soft peaks form.
  • Add sugar, a tablespoon at a time. Beat into medium high speed until sugar is dissolved and until stiff and glossy peaks form.
  • Add vanilla extract and food color (optional).
  • Fill pastry bag with meringue mixture and pipe a 1/2 inch button size meringue 2 inches apart on a parchment lined baking pan.

  • Rest one peppermint kiss on top of the button size mixture, and pipe meringue mixture around the peppermint kisses starting from the bottom up.


  • Bake for 45 minutes. Rotate baking sheet  from front and back halfway through baking time to ensure even baking.
  • Turn oven off, and let cool in oven for about an hour or until completely cooled.
  • Use Stainless steel or a glass bowl, plastic bowls tend to harbor grease and grease in the mixture will deflate your meringue.
  • Eggs should be at room temperature, it separates well. If you find forgetting, just add lukewarm water to a large bowl and let eggs sit in it for a few minutes.
  • Store Meringue in an airtight container, any humidity or moisture will soften the meringue. Can keep for a week.
  • Do Not Open oven door on the first half of baking time, this will prevent meringue from cracking.
  • Do Not use wax paper, meringue tends to stick on wax paper.  Use Parchment paper or aluminum foil to line baking sheets instead.
  • Leaving the meringue to cool in the oven for an hour or overnight makes a successful crispy on the outside meringue.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Reusing Plastic Apple Containers from Costco

We love apples in my home.
We love biting into
that crunchy sweet juicy fruit.  
I also use it for pancakes, pies, turnovers, fritters and salads.
We go through a lot of apples.
Today, I had a Lightbulb moment
while I was emptying my apples from the protective plastic containers it came with from Costco.
We normally just put the plastic container in our recycling bin.

"Hmmm,This would be a great to hold the cupcakes
 I'm taking to my our son's school this week." I told my husband.
And reminded me that I already have a real cupcake transporter.
Well, I said it would still be great to put cupcakes in it when you have to take it to a friends house and not worry about leaving the container.
While transferring the apples to our fruit basket I glanced
at my still up Christmas Tree.
And I looked at the size of the individual holders,
it's perfect for my christmas ornaments.
I'm sure I'm not the first person who have thought of this,
but hey I did today.
And while I'm at it, this would be great as an accessories organizer in my drawer.


Other uses for the container:
1. Hair Accesories Holder
2. Costume Jewelry Organizer
3. Panna Cotta Mold - cut individually, pour panna cotta and chill. 
4. Cupcake Transporter
5. Chocolate Bowl Mold
Do you have any more awesome ideas for reusing this apple plastic container?

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