Today starts one of the few absolute constants in my life: the Annual Searing Family Science Fiction Movie Marathon. Approximately 36 hours of wonderful, awful, and wonderfully awful science fiction movies. It’s also 36 hours of sinful eating: chips, candy, pop, pizza, cookie dough…whatever sounds good and happens to be within reach when we get the munchies. Which usually turns out to be pretty much constantly.
This year, however, we’ll have two kids old enough to eat the same food we are. And if there’s one thing every parent knows, it’s that junk food is B-A-D! So I’ve got a new challenge this time around: how do I maintain the culinary ambiance and tradition of the marathon while also maintaining a regular meal schedule without having to spend lots of marathon time in the kitchen?
Well, it wasn’t easy, but after a brief discussion, my husband and I came up with this compromise: we’re having some of our favorite (and simplest) comfort food style meals, two bags of chips, a couple candy bars, and brownies (to share with the group). We’re also going to have some trail mix style Rice Krispie treats along.
The exciting part from my picky-eaters stand point is, of course, the sweets: the brownies and the Rice Krispie treats. They may not be healthy, but they’re sure to be wonderful in their sinfulness. Below are the recipes and some pictures to go with it.
1 box of brownie mix
1 bag of chopped walnuts
1 bag of marshmallows
3/4 can of chocolate frosting
Preheat the oven. Mix the brownies according to the directions on the box. Mix in the walnuts (or sprinkle them on top after you’ve poured the batter in the pan like I ended up doing). Cook the brownies for five minutes less than you’re supposed to. If you’re supposed to cook the brownies for 30 minutes, then cook them for 25 minutes. Remove them from the oven and dump the bag of marshmallows on top. Spread the marshmallows out so they’re in an even layer. Put back in the oven and cook for the remaining five minutes, or until the marshmallows are melty looking. While the marshmallows are melting, soften the chocolate frosting. I heated my can in the microwave for 30 seconds and then stirred with the knife. When the marshmallows had melted, I removed the brownies from the oven and carefully spread the frosting on top.
This is what they look like:
My second snack is the “Rice Krispies Trail Mix Treat.” I found the recipe on the back of a Rice Krispies box and they had it listed as a Melissa d’Arabian recipe. She’s one of the “Next Food Network Star” winners and has a show that deals with budget meals. I had most of the ingredients on hand already, so I thought I’d go ahead and try it. I’ve included her recipe and the changes I made to it.
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter or butter
2 cups miniature marshmallows or 20 regular marshmallows
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups Kellogg’s Rice Krispies cereal
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup raisins or dried tart cherries
1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds
1. In large saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter and vanilla until peanut butter melts.
2. Add Kellogg’s Rice Krispies cereal, oats, raisins, and sunflower seeds. Stir until well coated.
3. Portion evenly into twenty 2 1/2″ muffin-pan cups coated with cooking spray. Firmly press cereal mixture down into cups. Refrigerate about 30 minutes or until firm. Use fork to life treats out of cups.
Now, as for the changes I made, I basically just left out the stuff I didn’t have. Instead of rolled oats, I added an extra 1/2 cup of the Rice Krispies, I used the dried cherries instead of the raisins, the butter instead of the unsalted butter, and honey roasted sunflower nuts instead of toasted sunflower seeds.
I also combined the marshmallow and butter in the microwave (in 2-30 second bursts, stirring the mixture after the first 30 seconds). I then stirred it again, added the peanut butter into the mix, microwaved for another 30 seconds, and then stirred until it was well-mixed, also making sure to add the vanilla at this point. I then added the rest of the ingredients, mixed well, and plopped them into my reusable silicon baking cups. Here’s a picture:
I also did some of these with the left over chocolate frosting, per my husband’s request. I tried a bite of it (using the frosting that was left on the spoon and the little bits of “trail mix” leftover in the bowl) and it just didn’t taste good to me. For the first time that I can recall, I understood what all the “famous” chefs mean when they say that something tastes artificial. All the good, fresh tastes that are in the trail mix made the frosting totally…waxy and just plain unnatural tasting. My husband, however, quite liked it. Who knew that I would ever find a sweet that plain didn’t taste good to me?
To my readers: What’s your food “sin”? What one item won’t you give up even when you’re trying to eat healthier?