Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Im back! It is Snackadium Time!! Pt 1

So, I think it is fitting to make my return to blogging about my most spectacular party spread yet.  First, why I have been gone for so long.  It was my dream to be a special education administrator so that I could help as many students with disabilities and their families as possible.  When I had started this blog I had worked 6+ years in special education and was teaching in a self contained special education high school for students with intellectual disabilities.  There I had taken many leadership positions as a teacher and helped improve the academic and transition programs at my school for 250 students and felt it was time to move to the next level.  I worked on getting my second masters in educational leadership, and that is why I stopped blogging.  There was no way I could write 10+ page papers each week and write for fun.  Then, I got my dream job.  However, district based leadership jobs are completely different than school based.  It was nothing as I imagined.  I won't get into specifics, but even though I was good at my job and made a difference, my heart is completely in the classroom with my kids.

So now I am back to blogging.  My plans have changed and for the first time in 11 years I don't have a career goal. It feels weird.  From when I graduated with my undergraduate degree until I finished my second masters degree I was continuously in school with no more than 2 semesters off.  I got my masters in special education and then was working on my doctorate in curriculum and instruction when I came down with Gastroparesis and had to scale down my dream of having a doctoral degree.  I then got my National Board Certification, and was back into school for the second masters.  I guess this is my time to breathe!

Enough about me... lets talk about the party.  For the Super Bowl our friends decided to have a party and as usual my husband and I started brainstorming what we were going to bring.  I made the mistake of mentioning a snackadium that I had seen earlier in Rachel Ray's magazine.  That small comment turned into the Snackadium madness.  My husband instantly started creating Facebook posts telling everyone about the crazy Snackadium we were going to build and bring.  Guess who was cooking it all?  Here are some of the recipe highlights.  I will share the construction, dessert dome, and final product in another post.

The first parts I created were peanut butter pretzel footballs.  I have to tell you, it took me forever to find these pretzels.  I went to 4 different stores over 2 days and nothing.  My husband finally found them at World Market.

The recipe for these pretzel footballs can be found at plainchicken.

Then I started to think about how I would create the walls of the snackadium.  I did not want to make 5 million sandwiches like other snackadiums, so instead I started to make pans upon pans of krispy treat bars.  I decided to make them using cookie pans so they would be thin enough so I could stand the bars up like walls.

The first type I made were basic krispy treats using Trix cereal.  I got the recipe from Cravingsofalunatic.  If I made them again, I would increase the amount of marshmallows.  They were a bit dry for me.

Since I wanted to do something different with my rice krispy treats, I looked for something using cake mix.  No, I can't eat them being gluten free but my cake mix chex mix went over so well I figured I would try it in another way.  I made cake batter rice crispy treats from Now you Can Pin It!  Since I didn't want to spend money on sprinkles with all of the ingredients I was buying (a small amount of $, but it was the point of it all) I used funfetti cake mix.  

Then I wanted to add some chocolate to the mix, so I chose to make these nutella rice crispy treats.

The last ones I made were my own creation.  Very easy but they were SOO good.  Glad I had some left over to snack on!

Candy Covered Rice Crispy Treats

6 cups of rice krispies 
3 Tbs of salted butter
1 10 oz bag of marshmallows 
Wilton candy melts in your favorite colors (took approximately 1.5 bags total)

In a microwave safe bowl combine the butter and marshmallows.  Heat for 1.5 minutes, stir, then go for 1.5 minutes more.  Stir until smooth then add the rice krispies.  Stir until coated.  Spray cookie sheet or pan with cooking spray and push mixture in pan.  Cool in the refrigerator.  Cut the treats into bars.  Heat the Wilton candy melts according to the directions on the bag.  Put the individual treats on parchment paper.  Take a silicone pastry brush and brush the melted candy on one side of the treat, turn, and then the other.  Let cool in fridge.  

Originally the candy was for candy coated Oreos in the Seahawks and Broncos colors, but I definitely think the krispy treats beat them out.  Did I mention how good they are?  Its the winter, I go sugar crazy. Its getting late so I will post more soon.  Glad to be back!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Recipes on Pinterest

Right now I have 7 fewer weeks to finish my principal program and will finish my second masters in educational administration on my 31st birthday instead of the end of September...

Until then, I do not have time to post... and only a little time to cook.  I have been storing all of the recipes I want to make and some that I have already made with comments on Pinterest.  

If you don't have Pinterest, but want an invite (you can only get a membership on an invite, or else you have to wait a few weeks to get on) post a message below with your email address and I will send you an invitation.  Please follow me when you get on and I will do the same.  My Pinterest screen name is smanseau1. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Wontons (Not GF)

I have been playing this game with gluten lately.  I can explain though!  Around 4 months ago, I changed doctors.  My previous GI doctor, who had diagnosed me with esinophilic gastroparesis and whom I had been with for 4 years moved to Flordia to start her own practice.  I was devistated, because she was such as great doctor.  She would answer emails when I was in pain at any point during the week, call on Sundays, have me come in without charging me, awesome.  Plus she was at a research hospital.  When she left, I tried another doctor at the same hosptial but he just wanted to do expensive tests and treatment without listening to me.  So I changed to a research hosptial.  There, the doctor told me that he didn't think I had gastroparesis and the tests he ordered showed that he was correct.  My stomach empties slower but empties none the less.  So now I have functional dyspepsia, basically pain in my stomach.  Some meds to deal with chronic pain and all of a sudden 5 years of chronic pain around food stopped.  Amazing.  Started eating everything again, meat and gluten.  This recipe was made when I was in my "I'm eating everything" stage. However, I found that meat was still hard to digest.  I was in a lot of pain when I tried to eat mild chicken wings and a hamburger.  I then started eating gluten almost every day.  I didn't get the sinus headaches intitaly, so I kept going.  It just made life easier.   Then after around 3 weeks the low grade sinus congestion started again later followed by body aches.  Going back GF the second time around is harder the second time around, and I have been having more cravings, but I am trying to go back to GF vegetarian.

I wanted to try something different with pumpkin pie.  I absolutely love it but wanted something different (plus I really don't like baking for some reason).  I've had a can of pumpkin in my cabinet for a year, and saw a recipe for a savory pumpkin wonton, so I thought to try it with pumpkin pie.  I was able to freeze half of the wontons and used them at a later date when I had people over.  Its a fun recipe to try (if you can eat gluten)

Mix pumpkin, maple syrup, brown sugar, and pumpkin pie spice in a bowl.  

Place one Tbs of pumpkin pie mix in center.  

Moisten the edges with water and fold in half.  Press edges to seal.   

Pumpkin Pie Wontons

1 28 oz can of pumpkin
6 Tbs maple syrup
9 Tbs brown sugar
3 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 packet of wonton wrappers
Cinnamon and white sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Mix pumpkin, maple syrup, brown sugar, and pumpkin pie spice in a bowl.  Place one Tbs of pumpkin pie mix in center.  Moisten the edges with water and fold in half.  Press edges to seal.   If you would like to freeze them, place them on foil or wax paper and put them in the freezer.  Once frozen, then you can put them together in a bag.

Put the filled wontons on a ungreased baking sheet.  Lightly spray them with cooking spray and then sprinkle white sugar and cinnamon on top of each.  Bake until golden, around 16 minutes.  Turn over, and cook for another 2 minutes.  When done, put on a cooking rack to cool.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Vanilla Butternut Squash Risotto

Isn't waiting so much fun?  Last school year I completed the National Board Certification for Teachers process.  Portfolio with essays, videos, achievements and a test.  All of it was finished by April 10.  Since then I have been waiting for the results.  Last week, I got an email that the results would be in November 18th and was soo excited.  That day I got to work, opened the website with my adrenaline rushing, to find that the server had shut down.  From 8 - 12 my friend and I must have hit the refresh button 100 times or more trying to see if the scores were posted.  Then I got an email saying wait until 4:00 pm.  Since then, every 4 - 5 hours, there is an update on the site saying that Pearson (why do they have their hands in everything?) is still working on bringing the site on line.  Argg!!!  For me, the process was not that hard, which surprised the other NBCT at my school since they all took classes to help prepare.  However, I have been in school for at least 10 years now, writing and reflecting on my teaching, so this was nothing different.  However, I am worried because I have heard that grading is very subjective, and I just don't know how I could have done any better?  Retaking a section of the portfolio or the test costs around $300 so I really need to pass the first time.

In the midst of waiting, comes Thanksgiving.  I have been so busy preparing professional development sessions for work, organizing our school wide data management tool, and getting ready to teach my students I haven't really had any time to find and rehearse any new recipes.  For the side dish, it is a toss up between my sweet potato risotto, which everyone liked last year, and this dish.  For my vegetarian mom I am going to make toasted quinoa with blistered tomatoes, spinach and walnuts because she can't eat white rice because of osteoporosis.  Then, I'm making a new cranberry sauce recipe.  At first I was going to make Spiced Tea Cranberries but as my mom pointed out, some people really hate tea.  So, I am going to go instead with Maple Orange Cranberry Sauce.   

When we went to Michigan over Labor Day, we stopped at a few different farmers markets and found butternut squash super cheap!  Its so nice how squash lasts and last week I finally used it to make a butternut squash risotto.  I wanted to make it differently than my sweet potato risotto, so I found this unique recipe from Giada De Laurentiis.  

To cut and dice a butternut squash, first cut off the top and bottom of the squash.  Then cut in half.  I found it easiest to cut off the peel, even though some people say you could use a peeler (hasn't worked for me yet).

Vanilla Butternut Squash Risotto
Adapted from Food Network

4+ cups of vegetable broth
1 vanilla bean
1 small butternut squash peeled and cubed
1 Tbs olive oil
1 medium onion finely chopped
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup parmesan cheese (optional)

In a pot, warm the broth on medium heat.  Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise.  Scrape out the seeds and add them and the bean to the broth.  When it begins to simmer, turn heat to low.   Add butternut squash and continue to cook for around 5 minutes until soft.  Using a slotted spoon, take the butternut squash out and put to the side.  Continue to simmer broth on low.  

In another pot, heat olive oil on medium.  Add onion and saute until translucent.  Stir in rice and stir constantly for 1 minute. Add in white wine and stir until soaked in. Then add in 1/2 cup of broth.  Cook and stir until liquid is absorbed.  Continue adding in broth 1/2 cup at a time, when the rice has soaked in the previous additions, and stop when the rice is just tender. You may have to add more broth to the pot.  Take out the vanilla bean and take off of stove.  Add in butternut squash and salt and pepper to taste.  Add parmesan if you would like and serve! 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sweet Potato Spoon Bread

Even with this holiday season being so full of things to do (work, grad school, and now my new video game Skyrim) I have been trying out recipes for Thanksgiving.  We go to my aunt's home each Thanksgiving so I do not have to cook dinner but I like bringing over different side dishes.  Last year with my sweet potato risotto I was able to get people who had never liked sweet potatoes to try them, and like them.  I wanted to do something different for this year, so this is one of the recipes that I chose.

This is a time intensive recipe.  I don't know if my oven is getting hot enough (got to get it checked) but I started this recipe when I got home from work and it wasn't done by 8 pm.  By that time I was sooo hungry.  I thought it was a decent side dish, but a bit bland.  Others in the house thought it was great.  I think I just like more complex flavors in a dish.  Enjoy! (And yes, its gluten free!)

Sweet Potato Spoon Bread

4 Tbs of butter
1 lb of sweet potatoes, roasted and mashed
1 Tbs of fresh thyme
1 Tbs of fresh rosemary
2 Tbs brown sugar
2 tsp coarse sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup finely ground cornmeal
4 eggs, separated
2 tsp baking soda

After roasting sweet potatoes, reduce oven temp to 350 degrees.  In a pot, combine milk, rosemary and thyme, sugar, salt and pepper on medium heat.  Let boil.  Then slowly whisk cornmeal into milk mixture.  Keep stirring until the mixture is thick and pulls away from sides of pot.  Take it off heat and put in a large bowl.  Let cool for 3 minutes.  Add potatoes, egg yolks, 3 Tbs of butter, baking powder and stir to mix together ingredients.

In another large bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixture until soft peaks form.  Fold the whites into the potato mixture, so you can see white swirls.  Put the final mixture in a dish that has been greased with the remaining 1 Tbs of butter.

Bake for 35 to 20 minutes until the internal temperature is 165 F.  If you would like a little browning on the top, you may have to put under hot broiler for 2 minutes.  Edges will be firm but the inside will be a little soft.  Take out of oven and let sit for 10 minutes.  Best when served warm.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Quinoa and Black Bean Tacos

There must be something in the water, a full moon, something.  My students have gone absolutely nuts this week and I have had a headache for 3 days straight!  See, my problem in creating engaging blog posts is I can't really discuss the biggest part of my life.  I cant tell you about my students, what they do in class, my successes (and failures) because of confidentiality.   However, if there are any other teachers out there I'd like to know if your students have lost their minds too :)  I don't know what it can be.  Halloween was last week and we made it through the day after with little incident.  Daylight savings was this last weekend but they got an extra hour of sleep so it shouldn't be that.  Maybe its the weather.  However Monday it was 60 degrees.  I don't know.... at least we have Thursday off.  Thank goodness!

I made this recipe on Sunday.  I wanted to continue to use items that I have stocked up in my cabinets and get a little more room (and save some money while doing so).  I saw black beans and began trynig to build from there.  When I saw this recipe, it fit well with my current stock of items.  All I had to buy was tortillas, cilantro, and a pepper.

To make this dish, I first decided to toast the quinoa.  From somone who has eaten a lot of quinoa before discovering toasted quinoa, take the extra time and do it.  It gives you a nutty flavor and stronger texture. To toast quinoa, first rinse it in a fine mesh strainer.  Then shake to remove as much water as possible.  Heat 1 Tbs in a pot over medium heat.  Add the quinoa and stir until light brown.  This takes around 10 minutes.

If you want to use one pot, then pour the quinoa into a bowl while you cook the vegetables.  Otherwise, you can start the vegetables in another pot.  Put 1 Tbs of vegetable oil in a pot and heat over medium heat.  Add onion and pepper.  Saute until vegetables begins to soften, around 5 min.

Combine vegetable mix with quinoa, cumin, and Sazon in a pot.  Stir for 30 seconds.  Combine tomatoes with water to make a total of 1 1/2 cups of liquid.  Then add liquid to pot.  Bring to a boil, cover, then let simmer for around 14 minutes until quinoa is tender.

Add black beans and cilantro.  Cook uncovered until liquid is fully absorbed, around 3 minutes.  Take off of heat and mix in the lime juice.  You can serve it on its own or wrap in warm corn tortillas.

Quinoa and Black Bean Tacos
Adapted from Epicurious

2 Tbs vegetable oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup of quinoa
2 tsp of ground cumin
2 packages of Sazon con culantro y achiote
7 oz can of salsa mexicana (I used Embasa)
1 15 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup of chopped cilantro
Juice from 1/2 of a lime
Corn tortillas optional

Rinse quinoa for 1 minutes in a fine mesh strainer and shake, removing as much water as possible.  Put 1 Tbs of oil into large skillet.  Add the quinoa and stir over medium heat until light brown.  This takes around 10 minutes.  If you want to use one pot, then pour the quinoa into a bowl while you cook the vegetables.  Otherwise, you can start the vegetables in another pot.  Put 1 Tbs of vegetable oil in a pot and heat over medium heat.  Add onion and pepper.  Saute until vegetables begins to soften, around 5 min.  Combine vegetable mix with quinoa, cumin, and Sazon in a pot.  Stir for 30 seconds.  Combine tomatoes with water to make a total of 1 1/2 cups of liquid.  Then add liquid to pot.  Bring to a boil, cover, then let simmer for around 14 minutes until quinoa is tender. bAdd black beans and cilantro.  Cook uncovered until liquid is fully absorbed, around 3 minutes.  Take off of heat and mix in the lime juice.  You can serve it on its own or wrap in warm corn tortillas.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


As someone who is GF I am always looking for quick ways to make bread-like things.  To be honest, I really don't have the attention span to measure all of the types of flour, wait for yeast to rise, and to make bread.  This recipe looked like a fun way to make something with a bread-like texture and to use the vegetarian refried beans from Amy's that I love.  It also gave me a chance to use the masa that I have had up in my cabinet for almost a year (my classes have eliminated the time for me to try to make tamales for the first time).

adapted from Vegetarian Times

4 cups masa harina
3 cups of warm water
3 Tbs of ground cumin
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup of refried beans
8 tsp vegetable oil

Combine masa, cumin, baking poder, and salt.  Stir in 3 cups of warm water to form soft dough.  You can add more water if needed.  Cover, and let stand for 30 minutes.  Put wax paper onto a baking sheet.  Roll dough into 16 balls.  Made indentation in the centers of each.  Put 1 Tbs of beans in each.  Fold edges over fillings and roll into balls again.  Press down into 4 inch disks.  Heat 2 tsp of oil in skillet on medium-high.  Add 4 pupusas at a time to skillet and cook for 5 - 6 minutes, turning over once.  Garnish with salsa, guacamole, etc and enjoy!