theboxexperiment

Attempting to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

S’mores Graham Treats (similar to Rice Krispie Treats but different!) October 21, 2012

Filed under: Dessert,Snack — theboxexperiment @ 6:56 pm
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I know its been a very long time, almost a year. But it’s been a crazy year full of new roles at work and year 1 of grad school. On the grad school note, I am posting tonight instead of working on a paper. It currently seems like a good use of my time Ā šŸ™‚

I found this recipe on Pinterest and expect it to a big hit with my students. It was originally from the Country Cleaver blog- check her out!

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag (10 oz) Mini Marshmallows
  • 1 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate chips + 1 handful Ā for topping (this seemed like a lot of chocolate chips, next time I’ll probably use less)
  • 1 box (12 0z) Golden Grahams Cereal
  • 6 Tbsp Butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
  • Cooking Spray

Directions:

  1. Spray a Ā 9×9 inch baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large non-stick pot over medium heat, melt butter.
  3. Add in marshmallows and stir together with butter until marshmallows have melted and become creamy.
  4. Stir in vanilla extract.
  5. Gently stir in Golden Grahams until everything is evenly coated.
  6. Mix in 1 cup of chocolate chips.
  7. Spread and press mixture into sprayed baking pan.
  8. Sprinkle remaining handful of chocolate chips on top of the treats, lightly press into top of treats to make sure they stick. Place into fridge for 10 minutes to cool.

Slice into bars and enjoy.

 

Vegan Brown Sugar Blondies February 21, 2012

Filed under: Dessert,Snack — theboxexperiment @ 5:00 pm
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I found this recipe while searching vegan/dairy free blogs. I’ve convinced myself this recipe is quite healthy (please don’t make me accept the truth šŸ™‚ ). They are absolutely fantastic, JEM loved them. I am bringing them to school as well, hopefully the kids find them just as yummy.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cupĀ margarineĀ OR coconut oil, softened
  • 6 ounces coconut milk or soy yogurt
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 cups white flour, spelt flour, or whole wheat pastry flour
  • 8 ounces chocolate chips (chose dairy free if you want these to be truly vegan)
  • Sprinkles (again, if you want these to be vegan make sure you buy vegan sprinkles)

Directions:

  1. With a mixer, beat together the margarine, yogurt, and brown sugar.
  2. Add the baking powder, salt, and vanilla.
  3. Mix in the flour until just combine.
  4. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  5. Press into a lightly greased 9×9 baking dish, top with sprinkles.
  6. Then bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, or until the edges of light golden brown.

Enjoy!!!

 

Original post can be found at:Ā http://www.cheekykitchen.com/2012/02/vegan-brown-sugar-blondies.html

 

Thanksgiving Post December 1, 2011

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted- mainly because we haven’t really been trying many new recipes. I’ve got a couple new ones that I’ll post when I’ve got the time. But the main purpose of this is to post my Thanksgiving recipes! We are trying several new ones out that I’m pretty excited about!

Desserts:

Apple Crumble Pie (my family recipe)

Filling:

  • 1 Regular pie shell
  • 4-6 large granny smith apples (peel and cut)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 teaspoon cinnamon
Topping
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup butter ( 1 stick) — do not melt

Mix apples, sugar, and cinnamon. Put in pie dish. Mix flour, butter, and sugar by hand. Crumble on top of pie.
Bake at 400 for 45-50 min.

Texas Pecan Pie (JEM’s family recipe)

  • 1 9″ Unbaked pie shell
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 3 well-beaten eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups pecan (or more)

Mix sugar, corn syrup, melted butter. Add eggs and pecans. Fill pie shell. Bake 10 minutes at 400 then 30-35 minutes at 350. Cool thoroughly.

Pumpkin Pie

recipe coming soon…

Sides

Slow Cooker Candied Sweet Potatoes (adopted from Stephanie O’Dea: A Year of Slow Cooking)

  • 3-4 peeled and chopped sweet potatoes
  • 1 tsp t vanilla
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • a scant pinch of Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup of orange juice
  • (optional) enough mini marshmallows to dot on top
  • (optional) roasted chopped pecans

Dump the chopped sweet potatoes and all ingredients into your slow cooker. Toss together. Dot enough marshmallows on top to satisfy young children. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hrs or 2-3 on high. Top with toasted pecans and serve.

Roasting Pecans will bring out their flavor and is quite simple. Pre-heat oven to 350*. Lightly spray a cookie sheet with Pam. Spread out the pecans, pop in the oven. Pull them out once they become aromatic (~ 5 mins). Keep a close eye on them, they can scorch easily.

Chive and Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes

recipe coming soon…

Roasted Red Potatoes

  • 8 baby red potatoes
  • EVOO
  • chopped rosemary
  • chopped garlic
  • Salt and Pepper
Pre-heat oven to 400*. Peel potatoes (if you like, we normally don’t) and cut into bite sized pieces. Drizzle with EVOO till lightly coated. Sprinkle rosemary and garlic evenly, salt and pepper to taste. Really, all the spices are taste. Pop in the oven for ~45 mins. Half way through, toss the potatoes so all sides get nice and crunchy.

Cranberry SauceĀ 

  • 12 oz bag of fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 c sugar
  • zest of 1 medium orange
  • juice of 1/2 a medium orange (~ 2 tablespoons)

Empty theĀ cranberriesĀ into aĀ saucepanĀ and transfer 1/2 cup to a small bowl. Add 1 cupĀ sugar, addĀ orangeĀ zestĀ and 2 tablespoons orange juice to the pan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until theĀ sugarĀ dissolvesĀ and theĀ cranberriesĀ are soft, about 10 minutes. Increase the heat to medium and cook until the cranberries burst, about 12 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the reserved cranberries. AddĀ sugar,Ā saltĀ andĀ pepperĀ to taste and cool to room temperature before serving.

Roasted Asparagus

  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • EVOO
  • S&P
Pre-heat oven to 350*. Trim the asparagus. Drizzle with EVOO, S&P to taste. Pop them in the oven until roasted till desired tenderness. About 15 minutes.

Homemade Bread

recipe coming soon…

Gravy

recipe coming soon…

Main Course
Brined TurkeyĀ 
recipe coming soon…
 

Cake Pops June 22, 2011

Filed under: Dessert,Snack — theboxexperiment @ 11:29 am
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JEM read an article about cake pops and became pretty excited about making them. So, I told AbEm about them and she got also got excited. What’s a woman to do when 2 people in your house are excited about a desert? Get them the means to make them and then put them to work. That is exactly what I did, helped them prep, found a recipe, and then directed šŸ™‚ Cake pops are somewhat time-consuming and definitely messy. But well worth it, JEM and AbEm had fun making them and had fun eating them (so did I!).

Ingredients

  • 1 box of cake any flavor you like (we used chocolate- I have heard it is denser so the balls hold better to the stick…it was also what we had in the house at the time)
  • 1 can of frosting (or if your more skilled at baking have the time, make your own. We used cream cheese frosting but you can use any flavor you like.)
  • chocolate for melting
  • popsicle sticks
  • sprinkles
Steps
  1. Make a 13Ɨ9 cake.
  2. Let it cool. Crumble the cake and mix in 1 can of frosting.
  3. Throw it into the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
  4. After refrigerating, roll the mixture into balls.
  5. Place a sucker stick into the top of each cake ball. (If you have a styrofoam block, you can hold this step until after you dip them in chocolate. See step 10)
  6. Put them back into the refrigerator for another 15 mins-24 hours.
  7. Once your ready to finish making them, start melting your chocolate. (We used a microwavable variety- Baker’s.)
  8. Dip and swirl each pop into your candy melt.
  9. Once youā€™ve got an even coating on the cake pop, roll them in sprinkles or sprinkle on top.
  10. Place upside down on a cookie sheet covered in wax paper (for easy cleanup). If you have a styrofoamĀ block- you could stick the pops in there and there avoid the flat top they’ll get from sitting on a cookie sheet.
  11. Put back into the fridge until the chocolate hardens.
  12. ENJOY
 

Farmer’s Market, Memorial Day, and Candy Cookies May 28, 2011

Filed under: Dessert — theboxexperiment @ 3:25 pm
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Happy Memorial Day Weekend! We ventured to the farmers market this morning and ran into some friends we know who live in town. We talked to some vendors everyone was super friendly. They had tons of fresh strawberries, lettuces, herbs, potted plants, etc. In the end we came home with 2 bunches of asparagus for $8, 1 very long zucchini for $2, 1 doz eggs for $4 (no-hormone, no-chemicals, free range), a mint plant for $2.75, and a big rosemary for $3.75.

Today, we are having a barbecue with severalĀ friends, one of whom came from Boston for the weekend (not just for the bbq šŸ™‚ )! We are very pumped to have her here.Ā The bbq today will be your traditional, relatively unhealthy variety with hamburgers, hot dogs, veggie burgers, potato salad, corn on the cob, and for dessert…candy cookies!!Ā These are great, I’ve made them for my students and for adults and everyone loves them. They are a special treat for every once in a while!

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup of butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup of white sugar
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • M & M’s
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, cut into bite size pieces

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray or line the cookie sheet with a silpat baking mat. (Cooking spray only required if your pan is not “non-stick”
  3. In a large bowl, mix the butter, white sugar, brown sugar and vanilla until creamy and smooth.
  4. Slowly beat in the eggs.
  5. In another bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt together thoroughly.
  6. Slowly add the flour mixture to the egg mixtures until well blended.
  7. Add most of the M&M’s and most of the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and mix carefully.
  8. Drop by rounded spoonfuls on cookie sheets.
  9. Add the remaining M&M’s and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup pieces to the top of the cookies.
  10. Bake for 8-12 minutes or until golden brown. (Today I made gi-normous cookies that are taking longer to bake.
  11. Allow to cool before moving them to a wire rack.
  12. Enjoy.


 

Apple Bread May 4, 2011

Filed under: Bread,Breakfast,Dessert,Fruit,Snack — theboxexperiment @ 9:16 pm
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This recipe is amazingly good and amazingly unhealthy. It’s a recipe that I brought with me from home, though Mom doesn’t have it so I’m not sure where I originally found it. You shouldn’t mess too much with the ingredients in baking recipes like you can with cooking recipes, baking is more about chemistry than cooking it. So this post is the original recipe in all its unhealthy glory. As I made the bread tonight I adjusted the measurements of the sugar and the oil to make it slightly healthier, if it turns out just as good I will update with a “better-for-you” recipe.

Note: this will make 2 loaves.

Ingredients

  • 3 c. flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 c. fine sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/4 c. vegetable oil**
  • 2 peeled, cored, and chopped apples (I always use 3 but it’s a lot of apple.)
**A good replacement for oil in any baking recipe is applesauce. It can be replaced in a 1:1 ratio with the oil. Ex: the recipe calls for 1 cup of oil, you can sub in 1 cup of applesauce. In baking oil helps to keep the muffins/cake/bread moist, from what I understand applesauce will keep the moistness without leaving an apple-y taste.
Steps
  1. Preheat oven to 350*
  2. If needed oil bread pan (don’t do this on non-stick pans!!)
  3. Mix the dry (flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon) ingredients in a bowl.
  4. Mix the wet (sugar, eggs, vanilla, oil) ingredients in a separate bowl.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mixture and stir till joined.
  6. Add the chopped apples and mix until just combined.
  7. Spoon into bread pan.
  8. Cook for 60 mins (1 hr).
  9. Enjoy!!
UPDATE: I used 1.5 c of sugar and 3/4 c. of vegetable oil + 1/2 c. of water and it is fantastic!!!
 

Almond Kisses February 14, 2011

Filed under: Dessert,Snack — theboxexperiment @ 6:00 am

It’s Valentine’s Day and I wanted to bring something in for my darling junior and seniors who are studying the chapter most kids like the least: the dreaded logarithm. I’ve had almond slivers around the house waiting for something to happen to them, we’ll something finally happened to 1/4 of them. ALMOND KISSES!

The following recipe has beenĀ from the Almond Kisses recipe by Wes Martin on FoodNetwork.com and a traditional Sugar Cookie Recipe from an awesome cookbook “The Cookie and Biscuit Bible” By Catherine Atkinson (recipes by Joanna Farrow and Valerie Barrett).

These cookies turned out SO fluffy, they are very different from the traditional flat sugar cookie. They are super sweet, so for the future I may use less sugar than the 1 c. called for.

Ingredients

  • 3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 c. softened-melted butter (or margarine)
  • short 1 c. fine sugar
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract (I used imitation and it was fine)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1/2 c. finely chopped almonds
  • 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • several tbls of red sugar for sprinkling (clearly any color could be used)

Steps

  1. In a food processor chop the almonds and set aside.
  2. Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and nutmeg together. Set aside.
  3. Cream together the butter/margarine, sugar, and almond extract until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  4. Add the egg and mix well.
  5. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk and mix well.
  6. Add the chopped almonds and mix till completely incorporated.
  7. Wrap in wax paper andĀ refrigerateĀ for 30-45 mins.
  8. Pre-heat oven to 350*
  9. Using a tsp ball the dough and place on a baking sheet (I recommend using a silpat on the sheet, though we currently don’t own one.)
  10. Bake for 12-14 mins until the bottom turns golden brown.
  11. Mix the powdered sugar and the red sugar in a shallow bowl.
  12. While the cookies are still warm roll in sugar mixture until completely coated. Gently pressing the cookies into the mixture to adhere the sugar.
  13. Mangia.

 

Snow Day and 6 Ready to Go Bananas January 27, 2011

Filed under: Bread,Breakfast,Dessert,Fruit — theboxexperiment @ 9:02 pm
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…sounds like the beginning of a bad joke. Wonderfully, DC had its first snow day today and just in time for my birthday! I brought tons of work home to do but instead JEM went out to a birthday lunch and then I did some serious baking.

My baking from scratch recipe list is pretty limited but I can make a mean apple pie, banana bread, and Uncle Pete’s Dessert (a pudding-y goodness concoction that is all together awful for you but sooo good). We had 6 bananas that were about to turn into compost so I searched and found these recipes onĀ For the Love of Cooking.net.

Banana Cinnamon Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup of mashed bananas, about 3 small bananas
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp fresh nutmeg, grated

Steps:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Pull out a non-stick baking sheet (or a sticky one and coat with Pam)
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla
  4. Continue to beat until the mixture is well combined.
  5. Mash the bananas in a bowl with the baking soda. Let sit for 2 minutes. (This gives the cookies their lift.)
  6. Mix the banana mixture into the butter mixture.
  7. Mix together the flour, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  8. Add to the butter and banana mixture then stir until just mixed.
  9. Drop by the spoonful onto the cookie sheet.
  10. Bake for 11-13 minutes or until nicely golden brown.
  11. Let cool on wire racks.
  12. Mangia.

Like I’ve said, I’ve never really done baking from scratch. All the cookies I’ve done are Tollhouse and generally the pre-made stuff that you just need to drop onto a cookies sheet. I ALWAYS over cook them and they come out flat and crunchy. These are exactly the opposite, fluffy and moist–SO good.

Banana, Blueberry, Lemon Muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 large ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups of blueberries
  • 2 tbsp grated lemon zest, divided
  • 3 tbsp sugar

**Mentally replace the baking soda w/ baking powder šŸ™‚

Steps

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Coat a muffin tray with cooking spray.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon of lemon zest together in a small bowl.
  4. Beat together the bananas, eggs, brown sugar, melted butter, lemon juice, and vanilla until well blended. (Probably easier if you have an electric blender, I don’t but it worked just as well to do it by hand.)
  5. Stir in the dry ingredients until just mixed.
  6. Carefully add 1 cup of blueberries and gently mix together.
  7. Scoop the batter evenly into the muffin tray.
  8. Sprinkle the remaining blueberries evenly over the tops of each muffin (push them down a bit).
  9. Combine the sugar and remaining tablespoon of lemon zest together and sprinkle evenly on top of each muffin.
  10. Bake for 25-27 minutes or until a knife (or toothpick) comes out clean.
  11. Let cook on a wire rack.
  12. Consume

 

Chicken Thai Basil Rice January 26, 2011

Filed under: Dessert,Poutlry,Vegetable — theboxexperiment @ 2:05 am
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JEM and I really enjoy Thai food, so for his birthday last year I bought him a wok, a Thai cook book, and an Indian cookbook. We haven’t tried many of the recipes yet, though many have been dog eared and we want to try them. One of the recipes in the Thai book is a favorite of mine, and a dish I order whenever we are out at a Thai restaurant: Chicken Thai Basil Rice.

This dish can easily be more vegetarian by omitting the chicken and adding in more vegetables. It does call for fish sauce, so it might be difficult for a purist but I assume a substitute can be found. We generally do add in moreĀ vegetables, namely slices of red and green pepper and chopped carrots. Tonight we were going for simplicity and omitted them.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbls vegetable oil (the recipe calls for 3 tbls and we typically use no more than 1 tbls)
  • 1 tbl coarsely chopped garlic
  • 1/2 red or yellow onion thinly sliced or roughly chopped
  • 1/2 red and/or green bell peppers
  • 5-15 baby carrots (we throw in some random amount every time)
  • ~1 lb boneless chicken, either ground or cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 tbls fish sauce
  • 1 tbls dark soy sauce or soy sauce
  • 2 tbls water
  • 2 tsps sugar
  • 1/2 – 1 coarsely chopped hot green chilies (we typically use a Thai chili or a Serrano)
  • 1 c fresh basil (Asian basil or Italian basil)

Steps:

  1. Heat the oil in a wok (a deep skillet would also work) over medium-high heat and then add the garlic, onions, and carrots.
  2. Toss well and when they begin smelling awesome add the chicken.
  3. Toss well to help the meat brown evenly (and/or to break up big chunks of ground chicken.
  4. Add the bell peppers, fish sauce, soy sauce, and sugar.
  5. Cook 2-4 minutes, tossing until the meat is cooked and the seasonings form a thin, smooth sauce.
  6. Add the chilies, basil, and toss well.

JEM likes to mix his rice and chicken basil separately, so his was dished first. He also likes to have cilantro on the top of it.

I like to have my rice and the mixture tossed together in the pan. I’ve convinced myself that the in the few minute the rice and sauce together really help the flavor.

Recipe: Quick & Easy Thai by Nancie McDermott

 

Banana Bread January 23, 2011

Filed under: Bread,Dessert,Fruit — theboxexperiment @ 3:52 pm
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I also want to use this site as a way to track and manage the recipes JEM and I are collecting. We currently have a Google Docs “Family Recipes” document which is good for now, but it isn’t the easiest document to manage. We’ve also had family and friends ask us for recipes. If they are listed here, we can be lazy and say: go to the blog!

So here is a banana bread recipe that I used to finish up our bananas that we had pre-box. I suspect I’ll be making another banana bread, or looking for a banana based recipe. We typically buy 4-5 bananas for the 2 of us for a week, the box brought us 10…

Ingredients:

Wet

  • Mash 3 rip bananas
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 2 eggs (blended)

Dry

  • 1-1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Fun

  • 1 c of chocolate chips (I used mini chips and it turned out awesome. Use more than 1 c if you want Ć¼ber chocolately bread)
  • 1 c of Ā chopped walnuts (I didn’t use for the most recent batch)

Steps:

Pre-heat oven to 375*, grease a bread pan (9″ x 4″ x 3″)

Mix wet and dry ingredients

Add nuts and chocolate

Bake on middle rack for 1+ hour

Let cool for ~ 1 hour

Enjoy….