I know it’s still technically the New Year. I know the ink is barely dry on your gym membership contract. I know, I know, I know. However.
It’s Valentine’s Day, our God-given right to indulge!
I have a question for you. Okay, two: Do you like chocolate? Do you like Snicker’s? Then you’ll probably like my mom’s Snicker’s Cake. The following recipe is an ‘ol family favorite in these parts, something that my mother, Mama O, has made since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. I’m telling you, everyone in my family goes crazy for this cake that doesn’t even need icing. Add some vanilla ice cream and you’ve got yourself a dessert that is downright splurge-worthy.
Here’s what to do:
1 package German chocolate cake mix
½ cup margarine
1 12-ounce package of caramels (Oh, how I used to love unwrapping these for my mom when she made this recipe!)
1/3 cup of milk
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup of peanuts
Mix cake according to the package directions. Pour half of the batter into a greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Melt caramels, margarine, and milk together in a small pan. Pour over the baked cake and top with chocolate chips and nuts. Pour remaining cake batter over top. Bake at 275 degrees for 20 minutes, and then at 350 for 10 to 15 minutes.
In the photo above, the cake has been drizzled with extra caramel, which you don’t have to do; but it does make the cake look fancier. And after you’ve gone overboard eating that, you can redeem yourself with this…
Lately, I’ve really tightened up my act in the dietary department. Gaining nearly fifty pounds during pregnancy will do that to you. But, calories notwithstanding, I have to like what I’m eating. It has to taste good. I don’t care if gnawing on a tree branch will melt my saddlebags, if it tastes like, well, a tree branch, I’m not eating it.
The following has been a tasty – and healthy – go-to meal I’ve been making for myself for years. And now that my dinnertime routine involves making a meal for a toddler, nursing an infant, and trying to eat myself, I need something quick and easy. In fact, this is so easy, there’s really no recipe to follow. Here’s what you do:
- Wash one cup of 100% whole grain quinoa according to the directions on the package. I prefer a brand exclusively sold at Kroger stores called Simple Truth – both their plain and red quinoa are delicious – but any brand will do.
- Combine quinoa with 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Here is where I add a Wyler’s chicken flavor bouillon cube. If you prefer to go vegetarian on this step, substitute the chicken bouillon cube for a vegetable one by Knorr. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and continue cooking until grains are translucent and the germ has spiraled out from each grain. Approximate cooking time is 15 minutes, and when it’s all done, you’ll have about four cups of quinoa. I scoop into a bowl what I plan to eat right now, and then store the rest in a glass container in the fridge. (You can, of course, store it in a plastic container, but I prefer glass.) Now move on to the next and final step.
- Top quinoa with a handful of raw almonds and sprinkle with a few dried cranberries. Oh, and there’s one more step…
A note about the wonder grain that is quinoa (pronounced keen-wah): Although it is cooked and eaten like a grain, quinoa is actually a seed, and is related to spinach, chard and beets. Quinoa is a complete protein, which means it contains all the amino acids necessary for our nutritional needs. Complete proteins are rare in the plant world, making quinoa an excellent food for vegetarians, vegans, or anyone looking for a healthy protein source, including, but not limited to, mothers who cannot seem to lose their postpartum baby weight fast enough. (Sorry, couldn't help myself.) It's also high in iron and calcium, and is a good source of manganese, magnesium and copper, as well as fiber.
Happy Valentine’s Day, my lovely readers! (A friendly reminder that you have until 11:59 p.m. this evening to enter the Chicken Soup for the Soul Valentine’s Day book giveaway here.)