Quick and Easy No-Bake St. Patrick’s Day Rice Krispies Treats

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Son’s class is having a St. Patrick’s Day shindig tomorrow, so I stole my friend’s idea and decided to make green, shamrock-shaped Rice Krispies treats.   This is a great recipe for little helpers.  Son really did most of it himself.

The recipe is right off the Rice Krispies box, but you don’t have to use the name brands.  I used real Rice Krispies (they were on sale) and Great Value marshmallows.

You start with 3 tablespoons of butter, which you melt in a large saucepan (next time I’m going to use my pasta pot).

The recipe calls for a 10 oz. package of large marshmallows (approximately 40) or 4 cups of mini-marshmallows.  I had a 16 oz bag, so Son counted out exactly 40 large marshmallows (next time I’ll use more, as we barely had  enough goo) and poured them into the melted butter.

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I’m not a Rice Krispies treats fan, so Son has never had them before, either.  He didn’t really understand what we were doing, and why we were going to “boil” the marshmallows.  Still, he stirred…

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When the marshmallows began melting we added plenty of green food coloring.  Son didn’t have any idea what St. Patrick’s Day is, so he wanted to add red food coloring, too.  Grabbed his hand Just. In. Time.

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You keep stirring until the marshmallows are completely melted, then remove it from the heat and slowly add the Rice Krispies to the mixture.

When it’s completely mixed spread the mixture onto a large baking pan.  Normal Rice Krispies treats are thicker than what I wanted to do for these, so instead of a 13×9 pan I used a larger one.  The box says to use waxed  paper or a buttered spatula to spread out the mixture, but I found it much easier to wet my clean hands and press without an implement.

We waited for it to cool (really only a few minutes), then started to cut out the shapes.  It wasn’t easy – Son had to use his muscle to make the cutouts.  And I had to help a little…

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He kept pretending to lick them all. But he didn’t. Pinky swear.

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We both had a fun time  making them, and created another wonderful memory.

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I hope you enjoy your St. Patrick’s Day, even if it’s just another Tuesday to you!

How to Not End the Year Fatter than You Are Now

Did you know that the average American consumes 4500 calories on Thanksgiving Day? And if you’re like me you gave two different Thanksgiving dinners to attend.  That reminds me – put Pepto-Bismol on the shopping list!

For many of us, the six weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day become one long excuse to eat and drink to our heart’s content  I’ve taken that to the Nth degree and have been on the 12 month plan.  Not my  best idea.  Time to make some changes.

Holiday parties and gatherings with family and friends can take a toll on our willpower and our waistlines which is why millions of us pledge to go on a diet come January 1st. Here are some tips to make the holidays less weighty, and perhaps start the new year with a few less pounds to lose.

  1. Exercise. Not only is exercise a great way to burn off a lot of those extra calories you’ll be consuming, but it’s also a great stress reliever. Have a houseload of guests? Too many obligations and not enough time to get it all done? Take a break and take a walk, each and every day.
  2. Eat before you go out. Lots of us think that by not eating before we go out, we’re saving calories that we can use up while we’re out. Makes sense but often, we eat more than we normally would because we’re starving. Have a healthy meal, or even an apple and a glass of water before you go out and you’ll likely eat less later.
  3. Adapt old traditions. Make the traditions you’ve always enjoyed healthier.  Here’s an idea: use those cookie cutters to make fun holiday shapes out of cheese instead of cookie dough.
  4. Start new traditions. How about a healthy recipe exchange amongst your friends and family?  Everyone can bring their favorite healthy dish and written copies of the recipe to taste and share.
  5. Listen to you. If you feel stressed out and want to leave a party or get away from your family and friends for a bit, do it. Don’t force yourself to be uncomfortable, neither you nor any-one around you will have any fun.
  6. Remember what’s important. We all wish we were thinner and that our houses were cleaner, but that’s not why we get together with family and friends and it shouldn’t diminish our enjoyment of these social events. If you’re going out, don’t obsess over how you look; no one else will notice that you’re less than perfect. If you’re having people over, don’t frantically clean if you don’t have the time (except the toilet – that must be done, especially of you have a four-year-old with less-than-perfect aim). The point is to spend time with the people you care about, celebrate life and have fun.

Adapted from an article in Husband’s company newsletter.   Some are theirs as I found them, some of theirs I changed, and  some are all mine.  Please don’t sue me.

Deal of the Day November 8, 2008

The IKEA near me has been open for a year and despite my post just last month I’ve STILL not yet darkened it’s doorstep.

I KNOW!  I can’t believe it either!!!!!!

I may just go this weekend or Monday, as I can get a free breakfast just for walking in the door.  The offer is good only until 10:30 am, and only November 8-1 1th…

Better get started on my holiday gift list!

Check back tomorrow for another great deal!

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Deal of the Day October 9, 2008

The IKEA near me has been open for a y ear and I’ve not yet darkened it’s doorstep.

I KNOW!  I can’t believe it either!!!!!!

I may just go this weekend or Monday, as I can get a free breakfast just for walking in the door.  The offer is good only until 10:30 am, and only October 11-13th…

Better get started on my holiday gift list!

Check back tomorrow for another great deal!

Subscribe to my RSS feed to make sure you don’t miss a thing!

B

Deal of the Day October 8, 2008

Traveling for the holidays on Northwest Airlines?

Buy your tickets and pay with Paypal and you’ll get $50 back per ticket, up to five tickets.  Click here for details.  Expiration unknown.

Check back tomorrow for another great deal!

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Deal of the Day September 10, 2008

Did you know that Hickory Farms is open all year – not just at Christmastime?

Well, apparently they are. And to help you remember.

Send a Hickory Farms gift pack for birthdays, anniversaries, as a than you, or just because while saving 20% on an entire purchase. Use coupon code ONLINE20 when checking out. Famous for their beef sticks and cheese, you can also find terrific gift sets that include fruit, desserts and nuts. Coupon expires 09/30/2008.

Check back tomorrow for another great deal!

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Where’s my Dadgum Sales Tax Holiday?

I ran across this article listing tax holidays state by state. Our ten-day tax holiday gives us a break on clothing, school supplies, backpacks and other items, and is always in August (at least since Jeb! was in office). I wanted to confirm the dates, and I was puzzled when I didn’t see Florida’s holiday listed.
The tax holiday must be approved each year, and this year the politicians do all the usual posturing, using three million words to say nothing at all. Florida politicians were so scared about losing revenue they were reluctant to approve any loss of income, and consumers are once again paying the price.

First, there was one. Then, there wasn’t to be one. Then, maybe there would be a shortened one. Then, there was confusion. The dadgum politicians dragged their asses until it was too late.

What’s so ridiculous is how short-sighted this indecision was. This tax break is real economic stimulus. Consumers feel good getting a little break, and it gets them into the stores. Many are likely spend more than they would have otherwise. Frugal shoppers like me are in heaven when they can take advantage ofgreat deals and save another 6-8% on tax. Every year I buy school supplies to use as stocking stuffers and gift bag items at great savings.

Retailers win, consumers win, and the state wins because they will get tax money on non-exempt items. The tax holiday saved Floridians anywhere between $41 and $46 million last year. They also jettisoned a similar tax holiday on hurricane supplies. That $12 million break, in place since the devastating hurricane seasons of 2004-2005, was removed from the budget in May.

I know balancing the state budget is a very difficult process. And I really appreciate that we still have no state income tax.

But really, come on. What’s $46 million between friends?

I WANT MY SALES TAX HOLIDAY! Ahem.

Habit Forming

I’ve often read that it takes a month for something to become a habit. After thirty days it becomes ingrained; no longer unusual or requiring much effort. Whether it be dieting or exercising or prayer it becomes a normal, everyday part of your life.

I don’t think that’s true for all things – at least not for me. Eating well and exercising, for example, have never become ingrained and have always required much effort. I need to constantly re-commit, constantly re-direct my focus, constantly keep my eye on the prize (being svelte, being healthy). Sometimes weekly, sometimes daily, sometimes every fifteen minutes. At times I have the energy and/or resolve and/or willpower for it, other times I don’t. They may become part of a routine, but never become a habit.

Other things I seem to assimilate with little or no effort; almost too easily. I don’t even notice it’s happened, or if I do I have no recollection of having started it. Turning off the water while I brush my teeth or do dishes is a water-saving habit that I don’t even think about. Shutting the lights when I leave a room, or doing dishes in the ambient light from the living room are habits, too.

Shopping for good bargains is another big one for me. I read PaidTwice’s article Start Planning For Next Year’s Valentine’s Day Now about shopping the after-Valentine’s Day clearances to stock up for next year and my initial thought was, ” Well, yeah. Doesn’t everybody do that?” I’ve been doing that for years. In addition to buying trinkets to save for next year’s holidays, I also buy nondescript, non-perishable after-Christmas candy for Valentine’s Day, after-Valentine’s Day candy for Easter. After 4th of July candy for Halloween, After-Halloween candy for Christmas. Then the cycle starts over. I won’t buy unless the sale is at least 75% off, and more often ( like today at Target) 90% off.

After-Holiday isn’t the only time I look for clearance items. When I walk into a clothing store I walk directly to the clearance racks. I rarely look at anything that isn’t on them. It’s not important to me to be trendy – it just has to look decent and fit adequately (perhaps if I was svelte fashion would matter more…). I do the same when shopping for my husband, my son and anyone else for whom I’m buying a gift.

And Target. Sweet Target. I’ve already written that every week I walk their aisles looking for bargains. Now that’s a habit!

Craigslist. Garage Sales. Clipping coupons.

I’m not saying I always get the best deal possible. I don’t. I even (gasp!) waste money, on extravagances (hello pedicure!) or buying healthy food that never gets eaten (see above healthy eating comment). And it’s certainly easier to get those great deals since I’ve become a stay-at-home Mom.

But frugal shopping is such a habit for me that it’s uncomfortable not to do it.

Now if I could only get eating right and exercise to become that same kind of habit…

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