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Three-Ingredient Chocolate Crispy Rice Treats

Happy World Nutella Day! To celebrate this most scrumptious of spreads, I thought I’d share the easiest crispy rice treats you’ll probably ever make.

Nutella no marshmallow rice krispies

My recipe doesn’t have any butter or marshmallows. I don’t know about you, but I always end up in a ridiculously sticky mess when I melt marshmallows. When I doubled my Crispy Rice Christmas Trees recipe for a school bake sale last year (by the way, NEVER do that!), I made the biggest mess and spent so much time cleaning up afterwards that I vowed to only ever make marshmallow crispies in small quantities in the future!

Thankfully you don’t need marshmallows to make yummy crispy rice treats and this recipe only leaves you with a small amount of (much less sticky) washing up to do. It’s a win-win situation on all fronts.

Not having any butter, you can also easily turn this recipe into a very yummy vegan treat. While Nutella unfortunately isn’t vegan, it’s not that difficult to find chocolate spreads that are vegan-friendly. Vegan Womble has compiled a long list of them and Dana at Minimalist Baker has an easy 4-ingredient recipe to make your own. Substitute agave syrup/nectar for the honey and you’ve got a completely vegan sweet treat.

If you’re worried you might scoff down the lot, it’s super simple to half the amounts, and use a loaf tin instead of a square tin. What are you waiting for?!

Nutella no marshmallow rice krispies

THREE-INGREDIENT CHOCOLATE CRISPY RICE TREATS

Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 0 mins plus 30 mins in the freezer to set
Makes 16 squares
Keeps in the fridge for 2-3 days

100g crispy rice cereal
150g Nutella or your preferred chocolate spread
150g honey or agave syrup

Line a 20x20cm cake tin with baking paper.

Put the crispy rice in a large bowl.

Melt the Nutella and honey together either in the microwave (approx. 30 secs on high) or on the stove (approx. 5 mins over med heat). Stir to thoroughly combine.

Pour the chocolate mixture over the crispy rice and stir until the rice is completely coated.

Spread the mixture into your prepared tin and put in the freezer for 30 minutes (or the fridge for 2-3 hours) to firm up.

Cut into squares and enjoy!

What’s your favourite way to eat Nutella?

You might also want to try:

Banana and Nutella Muffins                                 Nutella Pizza Stars

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Crispy Rice Christmas Trees

Today I’m sharing a last minute, super easy Christmas treat that kids will have lots of fun helping you make.

After our school Christmas Fair, the chair of the PTA handed over an almost full 1kg bag of mini marshmallows, saying she was sure I could use them for the last school bake sale of the year. I asked Instagram for ideas (popcorn snow balls, rocky road, chocolate brownies, marshmallow nougat…) but to save time, I settled for the rice krispie and marshmallow classic.

crispy-rice-marshmallow-christmas-trees

A lesson learned from making crispy rice treats in bulk: don’t double the mixture!!! It was hard (and very sticky work). Instead of saving me time, it slowed me down. So, my advice if you want to make these in bigger quantities would be to make one batch at a time. That way you avoid the marshmallow and butter mixture quickly cooling down and setting before you’ve completely mixed it through the crispy rice.

CRISPY RICE CHRISTMAS TREES

Prep Time: 15 mins (plus decorating)
Cook Time: 0 mins
Makes 8 large treats

35 grams butter
250 g mini marshmallows
150 grams crispy rice cereal (e.g. rice krispies)
sprinkles or edible glitter
4 candy canes

Grease a round cake tin (mine is 23 cm in diameter) with butter or cooking spray.

In a large, heavy-based saucepan, melt the butter over a low heat.

Add the marshmallows and stir constantly until they’re completely melted and combined.

Take off the heat and immediately add the cereal, mixing until all the cereal is completely coated.

Press the mixture into the greased tin. Use the back of a spoon or a spatula that’s been warmed in a mug of hot water to make it easier as the mixture is very sticky. Flatten the top and scatter over the sprinkles or edible glitter.

Let the mixture cool completely before cutting into eight equal slices (as if it were a cake).

Cut the curved tops off the candy canes (you don’t need these) and cut each straight piece into two. Gently push each piece into the bottom of each crispy rice wedge.

Merry Christmas!

 

Seven Recipes to Use Up Apples (and how to freeze them)

One of the many things I fell in love with when I first saw our current home were the apple trees in the garden. Both produce eating apples, one red and one green. Every summer since we moved in, we’ve had loads. And every year I promise myself that I’ll be better the following year with using them!

7-Apple-Recipes

So what can you do when you have too many apples? Here are some delicious recipes to eat now or to put in the freezer or pantry for later.

1. Slow Cooker Spiced Apple Chutney

NaturalKitchenAdventures-SlowCookerSpicedAppleChutney

Source: Natural Kitchen Adventures

The perfect accompaniment to a cheeseboard, this spiced apple chutney from Natural Kitchen Adventures is cooked in the slow cooker making it super easy – just throw everything in and leave it to cook itself! You can feel super organised by keeping some of this chutney for Christmas, when there’s never enough time to cook.

2. Carrot, Apple and Oat Breakfast Cookies

MyFussyEater-Healthyreakfastookies

Source: My Fussy Eater

A cookie you can eat for breakfast? Yes, please! Packed with healthy ingredients (oats, carrots and bananas as well as apples), these are a terrific way to get more fruit and vegetables into any fussy eaters you may have. Apart from grating the carrot and apple, this is a quick and easy ‘throw together and mix’ recipe.

3. Apple Crumble Flapjacks

CharlottesLivelyKitchen-AppleCrumbleFlapjack

Source: Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen

Charlotte’s apple crumble flapjacks would be a wonderful after school snack as well as a delicious dessert with custard. They’re so simple and quick to make, and a great way to get your little ones helping in the kitchen. These aren’t going to last long in our house!

4. Apple Cinnamon Blondies

MarshasBakingAddiction-AppleCinnamonBlondies

Source: Marsha’s Baking Addiction

These blondies from Marsha’s Baking Addiction look so lusciously gooey and packed full of apple. Like all my favourite recipes, they take very little time to prepare and better still, everything is mixed together in the one bowl, no mixer needed. Perfect for afternoon or dessert as the days are getting cooler, I can’t decide whether these would taste better with ice-cream or custard.

5. Mini Cardamom Apple Pies

DomesticGothess-MiniCardamomApplePies

Source: Domestic Gothess

These super cute mini apple pies from Domestic Gothess are spiced with cardamom and cinnamon. Make several batches to keep in the freezer to impress unexpected guests. And I won’t tell anyone if you use store-bought pastry to make them even easier and quicker.

6. Homemade Apple Chips 

LivingSweetMoments-AppleChips

Source: Living Sweet Moments

No dehydrator is necessary to make these yummy apple chips or crisps. While you’ll get a good arm workout slicing them, after that the oven does all the work. They should keep well in an airtight container or ziplock bags, and would be perfect to add to school lunch boxes.

7. Unsweetened Apple Sauce

apple sauce

Source: The Gingerbread Mum

Apple sauce isn’t just for babies or to eat with roast pork. It’s a brilliant sweetener and sugar substitute, and super easy and quick to make. You can freeze batches of sauce either in ice cube trays or ziplock bags depending on how you’ll use it later.

How to Freeze Apple

If you still have apples to use, simply freeze them. Then you’ll always have a supply to use in cakes, crumble or even smoothies. Shelly from Frugal Family Home has some advice for how to freeze apples.

What’s your favourite way to use up apples?

Lyle’s Chicken Satay Skewers

I was recently sent a lovely sample of goodies from Tate & Lyle, including the wonderful jam sugar I easily turned into strawberry and prosecco jam.  The tin of black treacle intrigued me, along with the bbq recipes using it.

I’d never thought about using black treacle with savoury dishes. I was tempted by the char-cooked courgette and pepper bruschetta as well as the treacle and spice marinated pork steaks, but decided to first try the chicken satay skewers.

LylesChickenSataySkewers

Lyle’s original recipe uses peanut butter and also uses the black treacle marinade in an accompanying salad. I substituted the peanut butter with almond butter to be allergy-friendly and was a bit rushed with guests arriving to try the salad.

The recipe is very quick and easy, and even though I only managed to marinate the chicken for half the time, it was super tasty and wolfed down by our guests!

I’ll definitely be experimenting more with black treacle after discovering how much more versatile it is than I knew.

All of Lyle’s black treacle recipes can be found here.

Chicken Satay Skewers

Prep Time 10 mins, plus 2-3 hours to marinate
Cook Time 15 mins
Serves 4

2 tbsp Lyle’s Black Treacle
100g nut butter (I used almond)
4 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp lemon juice
500g skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks

Put the black treacle into a large mixing bowl (not a metal one) with the nut butter, chilli sauce, soy sauce and lemon juice. Spoon half this mixture into a small serving bowl, stir in 2 tbsp just-boiled water, then cover and set aside to serve with the cooked skewers.

Add the chunks of chicken to the rest of the satay sauce in the bowl. Mix well, then cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours (or overnight, if preferred).

When ready to cook, preheat the barbecue or grill. Thread the chicken onto soaked wooden kebab sticks or skewers. Barbecue or grill, turning often, for 8-10 minutes, or until the chicken is done. (Test with a sharp knife – there should be no trace of pink juices).

Serve the chicken skewers with the reserved satay sauce.

Disclosure: I received a tin of Lyle’s Black Treacle to try out this recipe. My opinions are honest and my own. 

Strawberry and prosecco jam

Here in the UK seeing an abundance of plump strawberries doesn’t just mean summer is here, but that it’s Wimbledon. Did you know they get through more than 23 tonnes of strawberries every year at the tennis tournament?

Strawberries have been know in Europe since Roman times when they were used to help bad breath and labour pains. They have anti-inflammatory properties, are an excellent source of vitamin C and have a good amount of potassium. Do you need any other excuses to eat them?

Strawberries and Jam

Well, when I was sent a selection of recipes to try from Tate & Lyle, the first one that jumped out was strawberry and prosecco jam. How could that combination not be delicious?

I’d never made jam before but knew that some fruits, like strawberries, cherries and grapes, only have small amounts of pectin making it more difficult for the jam to gel. But Tate & Lyle have solved this issue with their Jam Sugar which has added pectin to ensure a perfect set.

I’ve discovered making jam is actually easy! And having a few jars of homemade jam on hand is great not only for lazy Sunday breakfasts but perfect to impress your guests for afternoon tea, either dolloped on scones or in a Victorian sponge.

Strawberry & Prosecco Jam -low

Being a novice jam-maker, I did rather a lot of reading about jam-making. There’s quite a lot of debate about how much sterilising is needed for the jam jars as well as how to seal them properly.

Whatever method you use, you do need to sterilise your jars properly, and it’s also important to put the jam into hot jars while the jam is still piping hot.

I boiled my filled jars of jam. Many people online say this isn’t necessary to properly seal the jars and that it’s enough to turn the jars upside down while they’re still hot and leave them this way until they’re completely cool. I wanted to make sure any bacteria that might have gotten into the jar while filling them was killed as well as ensuring a tight seal on the jars.

To boil your filled jars you just need to put them in a large pot, completely cover them with water, bring to the boil and then boil for 10 mins. Carefully take them out of their water bath and leave to cool. As they cool, you’ll hear pops as the air comes out and the jars completely seal.

Whichever method you use, check the seals on the jars when they’re cool and use any that haven’t sealed well first.

But how does this jam taste? Absolutely delicious! While the added prosecco is subtle, it gives the jam another layer of flavour. And the added bonus is you’re just going to have to drink the leftover alcohol – what a shame!

Strawberry and Prosecco Jam

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15-20 mins
Makes 5 x 450g jars

150ml prosecco
1kg Tate & Lyle Jam Sugar
1kg strawberries, hulled

Put the prosecco, sugar and strawberries into a large heavy-based pot and place over a low heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.

Increase the heat and boil steadily for 10 minutes, taking care to keep an eye on the jam to ensure that it doesn’t boil too rapidly.

Meanwhile, sterilize your jars by washing them in hot soapy water, rinsing well, then placing them in a low oven at 150°C/Fan 130°C/Gas Mark 2 for 10 minutes.

Test the jam for setting point. To check, remove the saucepan from the heat, spoon a little jam onto a cold plate and leave for 2 minutes – it should wrinkle softly when your finger is pushed over the surface. If this point has not been reached, return the saucepan to the heat and continue to boil for another 2 minutes. Test as before until setting point is reached. (You may need to test several times, though be patient, as this testing is crucial to achieve the correct consistency).

Pour the hot jam into the warm sterilised jars. Leave to cool, then seal and label.

Store in a cool dark place. Once open, keep in the fridge.

StrawberryandProseccoJam

Tip: Chill a stack of small plates in the fridge, so that you have a few lined up for checking the setting point. You can also use a thermometer; the setting point for jam is 105c (220F).

More yummy Tate & Lyle recipes using their jam sugar can be found here.

Disclosure: I received a packet of Tate & Lyle’s Jam Sugar to try out this recipe. My opinions are honest and my own. 

Spinach frittata

SpinachFrittata_TBCP_2

As you know I’m in the midst of doing The Body Confidence Program. Because it’s a high-protein diet that doesn’t allow dairy and greatly limits fruit, the biggest change to get used to has been at breakfast time.

To be honest, after 6 weeks I’m still struggling having to cook breakfast most mornings instead of throwing together my usual granola with yogurt and fruit, or grabbing overnight oats from the fridge. But, I have to admit, a cooked breakfast full of protein definitely keeps me going, without my tummy wanting a snack, right up to lunchtime.

One of my favourite breakfast options on the program is the spinach frittata. Surprisingly tasty for such few ingredients, after you’ve made it a couple of times it’s very quick and easy to make even first thing in the morning. Before starting the program I would have been tempted to throw in some bacon and possibly some cheese as well. Trust me; it doesn’t need any additions at all.

You can easily halve the recipe to make just one serving, but leftovers can be eaten cold or quickly heated up for another breakfast, an easy lunch or even a snack.

Spinach frittata

Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Serves 2

1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
50g spinach
4 eggs
60 ml almond milk
pink Himalayan salt and ground black pepper to taste
pinch of paprika (optional)

Preheat your grill to high.

In a medium ovenproof frying pan, melt the coconut oil over a medium heat.

Add the onion and cook until just starting to brown. Add the spinach and toss for a minute or two to wilt, then remove from the heat and set aside.

Beat the eggs in a bowl and whisk in the almond milk. Add salt, pepper and paprika (if using).

Put your pan back on the heat. Evenly spread the onion and spinach in the pan and gently pour in the eggs. Cook until you see the mixture start to set at the bottom of the pan with the top still quite runny. Immediately turn the heat off.

Place the frying pan under the grill for 2 to 3 minutes or until the frittata is golden and cooked through.

Serve either hot or cold.

SpinachFrittata_TBCP_1

What are your favourite breakfast dishes that keep you going till lunchtime?

Margaritas – a healthier version

We’ve had a surprising number of sunny days in the UK. Fingers crossed it continues for the rest of summer!

When we’re able, enjoying being outdoors in the garden fills me with happiness and tops up my energy levels, and nothing feels more deserved than relaxing with a lovely cold drink after playing and running around with Nicholas.

Hubby is the cocktail king (I don’t think I’ve ever used any of our cocktail-making gadgets!) and makes the most luscious drinks so there’s no need for me to even contemplate trying. But, when I came across Cookie and Kate’s Skinny Margarita I knew I had to give it a try.

To make their margarita ‘skinny’, Cookie and Kate replace the traditional Cointreau with freshly squeezed orange juice, thereby lowering the amount of alcohol while adding some natural sweetness. They also add some more sweetness with agave nectar, avoiding the refined sugar some people like to add to the mix.

I prefer maple syrup so that’s what I used to add some more sweetness, as well as convert their American measures to English ones.

This margarita is tart, very refreshing and oh so satisfying. I was very tempted to make another one immediately!

healthier_skinny_margarita

Margaritas – a healthier version
(adapted from Cookie and Kate)

Prep time: 10 mins
Serves 1

Sea salt
60 ml blanco or silver tequila
50 ml fresh lime juice (about 1 1/2 limes)
30 ml fresh orange juice (about 1/2 a medium orange)
1 tsp maple syrup (or agave nectar)
1 lime wedge (or wheel) to garnish

Chill your glass by either putting it in the freezer or filling it with ice while you juice your limes and orange.

Pour a little salt onto a small plate just a little bigger than the rim of your glass. Slice off a small piece of lime and run it around the rim of your glass to moisten it. Dip the rim of the glass lightly into the salt (if you don’t like too much salt with your margarita, only dip half of the rim).

Fill your cocktail shaker with ice . Pour in the tequila, lime juice, orange juice and maple syrup.

Put on the lid and shake for 30 seconds.

Double strain the mix into your glass and garnish with the lime wedge.

Sit back, relax and enjoy!

Tip: Use a good quality tequila. In a classic margarita only a blanco (white) tequila, also called silver or plata, is used.

What’s your favourite refreshing drink when the weather is sunny?