an army wife's guide to life

food and homemaking goodness

S’more Cookies

This is another snack for my hubby. Because I seriously don’t like marshmallows, and he loves them. He really, really loves them. In fact, I bought the bag of mini-marshmallows for this project and I almost didn’t get to do it because he just sat there and ate them! But I saved enough to do this one

You can see what my husband likes to snack on, right? (the open marshmallows and chocolate chips should be a clue!) This is definitely one of those recipes that doesn’t need much in terms of stuff or work, and that is always nice for me. It was easy, just laying everything out and getting it into the oven.

This is where I veered off the recipe and tried my own thing. I thought, if I used the broiler, it would go quicker, and the marshmallows would get that pretty golden brown color that we all love. I was so wrong. I put them in and cleaned everything up and wanted to check something on my computer really quick, less than 5 minutes, really, and when I popped open the oven to check them, there was fire. (No, really, literal fire) Once I got the fire put out, this is what I was left with:

Lesson learned: marshmallows and broilers are a bad combination. The chocolate didn’t even attempt to melt and the marshmallows turned into little charcoal puffs. My house smelled like smoke for the next two days, even with the fan running and the porch door open (I hate that there is no way to have real air currants through the house!)

I did try again. Not that day (I was too annoyed to try again), but a few days later, I did it again, this time following the directions. With much, much better results.

Here’s what they should look like toasting in the oven. They got all round and very lightly brown before I pulled them out this time, instead of pulling live flames from the oven. And the chocolate was melty, but not too much. I could still see some individual chips after they were assembled.

I tried to coat them in chocolate like in the recipe, but I have never been very good with that. My chocolate ended up not melting very well and not coating the cookies. So one got thrown away in failure, but the rest are wrapped and waiting to be eaten!


The moral of this story is that, sometimes, following the directions is the best idea ever!

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Energy Bars

My husband goes through Chewy Bars like they’re going out of style. And really, they’re not good for you. So when I saw this, I knew I had to make them for him. Now, generally, I’ll make a recipe just the way it is if he’s the only one eating it, but this recipe calls for coconut, and he is not a fan. So nix the coconut for me. Here’s what I used:

The peanut butter is crunchy, and instead of honey, I used Agave Nectar, which I found out you can use in place of honey with exact measurements. (I used the Agave nectar because I was curious about it, and also because I couldn’t find honey at the grocery store. it’s moments like that when moving across the country sucks!) As I went along, I added more things in, but I’ll get to those later on.

I mixed everything together as instructed in the recipe, and then realized that it wasn’t as cohesive as it should be because I’d used the crunchy peanut butter. So I pulled out the creamy and added a spoonful to make up for all the extra peanuts that got added. While I was in the cabinet, I noticed the dried fruit mix that was in there as well, so I grabbed it and added a handful to add something that would help keep him fed in the mornings. And then added more peanut butter to make sure everything was sticking together.

Now, instead of making them into balls, I decided on making bars, because he’s going to be taking these with him to work and it’s way easier to transport them that way for him, plus it’s the more familiar version, and he likes familiarity. So I spread them in a loaf pan lined with tin foil and let them set up overnight (because I didn’t want to finish them that day and I really didn’t need to. The next day I cut them easily into bars and wrapped them individually for him, so he could grab one and go. Here’s the finished product:

 You’ll notice I labeled them “granola bars” even though that’s not technically true, mostly because he calls everything in that form “granola bars.” They’ve been taste-tested and approved of by him, so this will probably end up being a weekly recipe, with tweaks along the way to make sure they don’t get boring.

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Cream of Mushroom Soup

OK, so, Cream of Mushroom Soup. This is something I’ve always seem come from can , and usually cooked with chicken and rice. SO why no make it myself? I thought it sounded like a good idea and I turned to my go-to online recipe file allrecipes for an easy cream of mushroom soup recipe and found the one from the picture. Go, take a look at the recipe, than come back for the twists. I’ll wait, I promise.

So now that you’ve seen the super-simple recipe, I’ll tell you what I did and what was different. First, I discovered that I had no chicken stock that wasn’t frozen…oops. And I don’t have chicken bouillon cubes, so I used beef instead. And I didn’t have thyme (although I did have plenty of time). I’m terrible, I know, ignore the bad jokes.

I followed the directions (with the changes above), and added two cloves of garlic (because I have a total love affair with garlic).

There’s everything boiling away in the pot, getting nice and soft together in the improvised beef stock. I also had a brilliant idea while the mushrooms were cooking down to use my immersion blender to get everything blended together, but I don’t recommend it. It really, really didn’t work out for me. I ended up still needing to use my actual blender.

It looks pretty bad, right? It’s just about one of the ugliest things I’ve ever seen. Now, when it came to making the roux, I had about half a sick of butter in the fridge, so I decided to use 4 tbsp of butter instead of 3…and initially i stuck with the original amount of flour, too, but ended up adding another tbsp to make up the difference. This made my soup a lot more thick than it was supposed to be, and I’ll tell you how I fixed that later.

Roux is something I’m still learning, so I have no idea if that looks right (someone can let me know, ok?), but it seemed about right, so I added the milk (forgot the half-half) and the pureed mushroom mix back into the pot to cook again.

I mixed it together and realized that it was super-super thick. Like, way, way too thick. So I added more milk. And I didn’t measure, because I’m terrible at measuring. But I got it down to a thinner consistency and let it thicken up a little bit again until it looked (and tasted) good. I was also adding the salt and pepper and a little bit of garlic powder to get the taste back to what I wanted. This is where I ended up:

This made two pints of soup (more than I would use soon) and it’s not the pretties thing in the world, but it came out tasty and it’ll go nice with my chicken and rice tomorrow night.

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