Product Review: Graze Snack Box Update

It’s been 6 months since I signed up for a monthly snack box subscription from Graze. I’m definitely still loving it. In fact, many friends have signed up on my recommendation. My husband even signed up too!

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The variety of snacks has definitely diversified in the past 6 months. They’ve really upped the variety of snacks and the nutritional value too: each box is well balanced with a little bit of everything (dessert and savory snacks, fruit, nuts, dippers, high fiber, low calorie, etc).

Recent dippers:

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Recent nuts:

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Recent fruit/dessert snacks:

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These continue to be the perfect kind of snacks for me – easy, portable, healthy, and satisfying. Each box gets better and better too since I use the snack rating tool which logs your preferences for the next box.

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If you are interested in joining Graze, here is my “friend code” for you to use to get your 1st and 5th Graze box free: PC7L4LHXP.

(Product reviews are never sponsored; they are just my musings on products I’ve tried and want to share with you.)

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Recipe: Cocoa Rice Krispie Treats

Rice krispie treats aren’t always at the forefront of my dessert game but when I get a craving, it will not shake until I make some. Normally I would whip up my standard rice krispie treat recipe but I wanted to switch it up and make some with cocoa krispies. Then I got the wild idea to add even more cocoa flavor to them with cocoa powder. Wild? Nay. Genius!!!

Domestocrat’s Cocoa Rice Krispie Treats (makes 16 treats)
8 tbsp. (1/2 cup) butter
1/4 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. cocoa powder
10 oz. mini marshmallows (roughly 6 cups)
4 cups cocoa krispies cereal

In a large pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat. When the butter has melted, add the salt and cocoa powder and mix together.

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Next, add in the marshmallows and stir until they are fully melted and the base is completely smooth.

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The last step in the pot is to stir in the cocoa krispies. Make sure every piece is coated with the cocoa/marshmallow base mixture.

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Pour the krispies into a greased baking dish (mine here is an 8×8 glass Pyrex) and press down firmly into the dish to ensure a uniform batch.

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Chill in the fridge for 4-5 hours, cut, and serve!

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These cocoa rice krispie treats were as tasty and whimsical as regular rice krispie treats but with the added decadence of double the cocoa. It’s totally worth it to turn up basic recipes with the slightest of creative tweaks. Enjoy!

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The Monday Mix

Here’s The Monday Mix for this week! To visit past mixes, click here.

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SNew

I finally watched Dallas Buyers Club over the weekend. I really liked it but have a few thoughts: 1) McConaughey’s free wheeling, bad behavior was much more believable since I had already seen all of True Detective. I think if I had seen DBC first, it wouldn’t have been believable at all to me (as a lover of his rom-com persona). 2) I obviously know now about all the Oscar buzz and success this movie had but if I had watched it when it originally came out I would never have pegged McConaughey and Leto as Oscar contenders for this one. Not that they weren’t good, I just didn’t think this movie was that level. 3) Speaking of which, in my opinion, the only Oscar-worthy thing about this movie was Jennifer Garner. 4) People always comment on McConaughey’s weight loss for this movie but it was Leto’s that shocked me more. Yikes.

SDelicious

How amazing does this Cacio e Pepe with Brussels Sprouts from What’s Gaby Cooking look?!

SBrain

Did you know that the US Navy has found a way to turn sea water into fuel? This is mind blowing stuff! More reading material here as well.

SFun

Really loving these fun and cute no-dye Easter Egg ideas from A Subtle Revelry.

SCrafty

Patterns like Laura’s Trellis Scarf over on The Purl Bee make me wish I were a knitter. So beautiful!

SReal

Really loved this thought piece in Time Magazine last week from Brigid Schulte about how overwhelming every day tasks make us feel like we’re mismanaging our time and squandering our lives: I’ll Finish the Dishes When I’m Dead.

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Recipe: Pepperoni and Cheese Bread

John keeps a stash of pepperoni in the fridge at all times – mostly for snacking but I also have a hunch that he hopes it will subliminally inspire me to whip him up something special with it. Well, it worked. The dude loves a meat and cheese based bread so I knew he would freak out over this pepperoni and cheese bread recipe I came up with.

Domestocrat’s Pepperoni and Cheese Bread (makes one loaf)
1 cup King Arthur Sir Lancelot flour
1 cup King Arthur bread flour
1/2 tbsp. active dry yeast (1 packet)
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. sugar
1 tbsp. King Arthur Pizza Seasoning (you can swap this for any italian seasoning)
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2/3 cups warm water
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup pepperoni (24 slices)

Like all of my recipes, the first step is to use really good ingredients. You know I’m obsessed with King Arthur’s Sir Lancelot flour; it’s light, soft, and gives any bread the perfect texture. John also loves this Wellshire Farms all natural, uncured beef/pork pepperoni.

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I also highly recommend King Arthur’s Pizza Seasoning – what a game changer this was in the dough!

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Time to get started with the dough! Mix all of the ingredients (minus the cheese and pepperoni) in a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment on. Be sure to slowly add the water and only give the dough enough so that it comes together in a firm ball.

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Here is one of my favorite bread baking tips. In the winter/cooler months it’s harder for dough to naturally rise as it sits out on the counter because room temp isn’t very high. To help the dough along I create my own steam box – just boil a pot of water, pour the boiled water into a cast iron pan set on the lowest rack in the oven, put the dough in a bowl on the top rack, close the oven door, and let it rise in there for 1 hour. Make sure the oven is OFF though!

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After the dough has risen/doubled in size, prepare to put the bread together.

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On a floured surface, roll the dough out into a rectangle shape about 1/8 inch thick.

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Sprinkle the cheese on top of the dough in one even layer and then place the pepperoni on top of the cheese.

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Tightly roll the dough up from one end to the other.

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Use a little bit of water to seal the back seam as well as the folded over side pieces. Place the loaf seam side down on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and let it rise again (1 hour at minimum, I let mine rise for 4 hours at room temperature, no steam box needed here).

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The baking method I used here is my go to baking method for any bread. First, preheat your oven to 450 degrees with a cast iron skillet and baking vessel inside. A word about the baking vessel: you can buy a very expensive cloche bread baker (a pricey unitasker) or you can do what I did and use a dutch oven. Mine is a Le Creuset but you could use anything that can withstand a lot of heat with a cover or lid. Sorry, there are no pictures of the next steps because it happens fast! If you’d like to reference some pictures of the baking process, check out my sourdough boule post.

Once the oven was preheated, I placed my bread dough and parchment paper in the middle of my Le Creuset. I then poured a cup of water into the hot cast iron pan and closed the oven door quickly. This allows the dough to be fully surrounded by steam. Steam creates an amazing crust and enhances the interior of the bread (you’ll see later).

After three minutes in the steamy stove, I put the lid on the Le Creuset and baked the bread like that for about 15 minutes. This ensures that all of the steam inside the dough will be trapped there while the bread actually bakes.

I then removed the lid and baked the bread for an another 10 minutes until it was a deep golden brown. Here is the final result:

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Slicing into the bread was heaven. It was soft and pillowy, and smelled fantastic with the pizza seasoning studding the bread and the cheese and pepperoni all warm and gooey.

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The steam really created a lot of nooks and crannies. I might try to roll the dough tighter next time though, I’ll be honest, it was perfectly fine like this. John’s only request? More pepperoni. Go figure. Enjoy!

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The Monday Mix

Here’s The Monday Mix for this week! To visit past mixes, click here.

MondayMix

SNew

I’ve mentioned it in passing here but from December to March I was studying like crazy for a professional certification exam I had to take for work. I finally got my results back last week and I passed! I’m so excited!!!

SDelicious

I am definitely making Half Baked Harvest’s Quinoa Crusted Chicken Strips with BBQ Honey Mustard this weekend!

SBrain

Check out this really interesting article from NPR’s Planet Money Team about how spending changes from age 25 to age 75. Hint: less booze, more house.

SFun

Click here for an all emoji music video for Beyonce’s Drunk In Love. Laughed out loud through most of this.

SCrafty

Calling all crafty locals! The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston just opened their Quilts and Color exhibit which runs April 6th through July 27th. You can preview the exhibition here and check out The Boston Globe review here. I am definitely going to this!

SReal

Just because: George Orwell’s 11 Golden Rules for Making the Perfect Cup of Tea.

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DIY Recipe: Pub Style Nachos

We are nacho freaks. Cheesy, crunchy, spicy, gooey, yummy. We go to our local watering hole just to chow down on their loaded nachos. But, as we know, this is much less healthy than making our own at home. This DIY recipe is method guide really, giving you the freedom to top your at-home nachos with whatever you like. For us, it’s cheese, chicken, black beans, corn, jalapenos, salsa, guacamole, and greek yogurt.

Line a baking sheet with tinfoil and spread out an even layer of tortilla chips. Sprinkle with a layer of cheese…

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…and then add on your toppings (again, here I used beans, chicken, corn and jalapenos).

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If you’re feeling extra snacky or serving a crowd, add a second layer of chips on top of the first layer and then another layer of toppings and cheese on top of that.

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Bake/broil until the cheese is melted and browned.

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Serve alongside your favorite dips – salsa, guacamole, or sour cream (or, in our case, greek yogurt)!

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Ordering nachos out sometimes means a whole bunch of plain chips on the inside of the pile. Not with this method! Here you’re guaranteed perfect distribution in every bite. Plus you can control the toppings and really get creative. Enjoy!

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Recipe: Lemon Blackberry Breakfast Cookies

I’ll admit – I’ve been really reluctant to trust this “breakfast cookie” trend that’s happening right now (they are often still full of sugar and butter). However, Iowa Girl Eats’ recipe really impressed me so I decided to give it a try. No added sugar, gluten free, dairy free, and egg free. I made it my own with a few tweaks too. And I calculated out the calories on my Lose It app – 236 each!

Domestocrat’s Lemon Blackberry Breakfast Cookies (makes 10 cookies)
4 cups old fashioned oats, divided
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 ripe banana, mashed
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 lemon (zest and juice)
6 oz. blackberries, rinsed then patted dry

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Start by making oat flour with 2 cups of the oats in a food processor. Pulse until the oats are ground into a fine flour.

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In a stand mixer or big bowl, start by thoroughly combining all of the dry ingredients. Next add in the wet ingredients and then the lemon zest.

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When the dough has come together, gently hand-stir in the blackberries. Reserve a handful of blackberries for the next step.

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Form 10 equal sized cookie dough balls with your hands (wetting your hands with water first with prevent sticking!) and place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Press 2-3 blackberries into the top of each dough ball. Make sure to flatten the cookies a little with your hands; they won’t flatten while baking (because there’s no butter!).

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Bake for 10 minutes on 350 degrees.

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These breakfast cookies are the real deal. They are what a true, healthy breakfast cookie should be – full of good protein and fiber and low on sugar and fat. They are filling and hearty. I’m totally a breakfast cookie convert.

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I wrapped each breakfast cookie in plastic wrap and we took them to work for breakfast for a week. Easy, portable, and a great make ahead that lasts all week. Warm in the microwave for 30 seconds and have with some tea – perfection!

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