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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Puppy Chow


Is there anything better than Puppy Chow?

Monkey Munch
Muddy Buddies
Reindeer Food

These names are hilarious... I'm not sure what you know this deliciousness as, but I grew up with Puppy Chow.  It seems like an easy thing to make but I swear, mine is the best.  It's all about ingredients and technique.  And I'm going to finally share my secrets. 

If you want the best, it has to be as follows:

Rice Chex (Chex brand, general mills) - 6 cups
Skippy Natural Super Chunk peanut butter - 1/2 cup
semi-sweet chocolate chips - 1 cup
1 stick of butter (salted)
2 cups of powdered sugar

Listed above are the measurements, however I tend to be quite heavy handed.  Begin by SLOWLY over low heat, melting the stick of butter in a small sauce pan.  I always seem to buy salted butter, I just prefer it.  Once melted, add a heaping cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips and the peanut butter.  I probably end up with closer to 3/4 a cup or even a cup of peanut putter.  And to truly have incredible puppy chow, it does need to be Super Chunk. (and I've tried it with the fancy natural brands, it doesn't work... I'm loyal to Skippy now - forever).

In the meanwhile, pour 6ish cups of Rice Chex into a very large bowl.  Also line a cookie sheet with foil (personal preference here, I just find it's easier for cleanup). 

Grab a paper grocery bag - if you don't have one, I really have no suggestions.  This is literally why I don't use the cloth bags at the store, I need paper grocery bags.  Fill the bag with 2-3 cups of powdered sugar.  If the grocery bag has handles, carefully remove them, it's just easier.

Once the butter, peanut butter, chocolate chip mixture is completely melted - remove from the heat, add a splash of vanilla (for love).  Using a spatula, pour the mixture over the bowl of rice chex and fold/stir gently until completely coated.  You will need to work sort of quickly but also let this mixture sit for just a minute or two once it's completely coated, I think this lets the chocolate soak in... makes the clumpy ones - and you know those are the really good bites.

Scoop the chocolate coated chex into the bag full of powdered sugar.  Fold the top of the grocery bag down a couple times to ensure it's closed.  (This part is more important than you think.  I've had some pretty serious disasters at this point in the process - twice maybe, I still notice powdered sugar in random places in my kitchen from the last accident.)  Shake the bag vigorously coating all the chocolate/pb chex in sugar.

Open the bag carefully, check to ensure coverage.  If the chex looks "wet" or dark, just add more powdered sugar and keep shaking - too much powdered sugar is never a problem.  Once it looks great, carefully cut the top of the grocery bag straight across to access the puppy chow easier.  Then pour in an even layer onto the foil covered cookie sheet.  Allow the puppy chow to dry/cool as long as you can.

Store in an air tight container or zip lock bag.


(ahhhh, make this with love for people you love!)

-Justine






Scotch Bonnet Pineapple Cole Slaw


I found Crazy Gringa Hot Sauce at the Old Market Farmer's Market last season for the first time (they are still a vendor for 2016)... I'm completely in love.  My first purchase was the Jalapeño and small batch Scotch Bonnet - they threw in a couple printed recipes to try and I couldn't wait to test the cole slaw.  I'm a die-hard lover of all things "slaw."  Went straight to the store to collect all the necessary ingredients for the recipe as listed.

Here is their original Scotch Bonnet Recipe un-altered:
16oz Package cole slaw mix 
6 green onions - sliced 
1 small red pepper - diced
3/4 cup diced pineapple
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons Scotch Bonnet Hot Sauce
1/2 cup mayo
salt and pepper to taste

*Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.




I follow the recipe for the most part.

1 package Cole Slaw Mix
6 sliced green onions - white and green parts
1-2 red small red peppers or green or yellow
1 can pineapple tid bits (juice reserved)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro*

Toss all this together in a large bowl

for the sauce:
1/2 cup mayo
3 tablespoons Scotch Bonnet Hot Sauce*
3-4 tablespoons pineapple juice
salt and pepper to taste

Pour over the salad and toss together.  Best if it can sit for a bit but also great immediately.  

Finish with sunflower seeds for crunch! Don't forget this part.

*I've made this completely without cilantro because I forgot it and I've also made it with the cilantro fresh paste (added it to the mayo sauce part) honestly still works both ways. 
*Depending on who's eating this, for me - I take it up a couple notches and add more hot sauce.  I've also made this with the Jalapeño sauce, slightly more mild.  Tastes amazing either way!

This slaw is just a beautiful balance of flavors...spicy sauce, sweet pineapple, crunchy cabbage, and a hint of salty from the seeds.  You will not be disappointed.  Perfect as a side.  I could literally eat an entire bowl of this...well I have before. 

Enjoy!

*This hot sauce is available at Hyvee.  I saw it recently, but the Scotch Bonnet was limited small batch so I'm not sure if it's still out anywhere.  I swear the Jalapeño works perfectly!

-Justine