S'mores Mix

This past weekend I traveled back to Michigan to visit with some of my friends from my days as a Girl Scout camp counselor. Ahh, the life of camp...mosquitoes, swimming in a lake, showering outdoors, living in a cabin (or platform tent!), and cooking over a campfire.

The best thing about camp (aside from the friends and memories, of course!) is seeming unlimited access to s'mores. But my days as a camp counselor are done, and I don't often have access to an open campfire over which to toast marshmallows (a critical ingredient). I could try to puff the marshmallow in the microwave (although that would mean losing the ability to turn the marshamallow into a ball of fire, which is also a critical part of making s'mores) or go to Cosi to make s'mores. There are also some commercially-available substitutes that give you s'mores flavor without the campfire (and without the mess), including Ritz Bits S'mores Sandwiches and Pot Tarts S'mores. Which got me to thinking...how can I capture the essence of s'mores without the campfire and without the sticky mess that comes along with the best (and gooiest) of s'mores? Looking in my cupboard, I found the solution using a few ingredients I just happened to have laying about...

S'mores Mix
Use equal parts of all ingredients, depending on how many servings you need

Miniature marshmallows
Chocolate chips
Bite-sized graham crackers (e.g., Honey Maid Honey Bees, Teddy Grahams, Golden Grahams cereal)

Toss all ingredients together and serve!


Chocolate Chip Cookies

Earlier this week, the New York Times went on a hunt for the best chocolate chip cookie and offered a recipe that they say is great. I'm sure it is, but my favorite chocolate chip cookies are made using a recipe that I adapted from the top of the Quaker Oats canister. The recipe was originally for oatmeal raisin cookies, but I've used the base to make everything from raisin to chocolate chip to white chocolate cranberry to chocolate butterscotch.

p.s. If you need a quick fix and don't want to make up a whole batch of cookies, I suggest picking up one of the oatmeal chocolate chip cookies at Potbelly.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (4-5 dozen cookies)
1 cup (two sticks) margarine or butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 cups rolled oats (quick or old-fashioned)
1 cup chocolate chips*

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Beat butter, brown sugar, and granulate sugar until creamy.

3. Add eggs and vanilla, beat well.

4. Combine flour, baking soda, and cinnamon, then add to liquid mixute and mix well.

5. Stir in oats and chocolate chips until fully mixed.

6. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.

7. Bake 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.

8. Cool for 1 minute on cookie sheet, then remove to wire rack.

*or raisins, or 1/2 cup white chocolate chips + 1/2 cup dried cranberries, or 1/2 cup cinnamon chips + 1/2 cup raisins, or 1/2 cup chocolate chips + 1/2 cup butterscotch chips, etc.

Lemon Blueberry Cloud

It's summer time, which means that picnic season is in full swing. So, what's a girl to bring to the party? Today, it's lemon blueberry cloud, a fluffy and fruity summer dessert.

A few notes - I like to play around with recipes a lot, substituting in one type of fruit or flavoring for another. So, if you're not a fan of lemon or blueberry, this recipe can easily be modified to accommodate the flavors you do have a taste for. Also, don't be afraid to use the sugar free, fat free, or reduced fat versions of the cottage cheese, whipped topping, and gelatin if that's what you prefer (that's what I use).

Lemon Blueberry Cloud (enough for a picnic / potluck)
1 16 oz. container cottage cheese (small curd)
1 box (4 serving size) lemon-flavored gelatin [or 1-2 boxes of your favorite flavor]
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 quart blueberries [or 3-4 cups fresh or frozen fruit, or 1-2 15 oz. cans, drained]
1 8oz. container whipped topping, thawed

1. In a large bowl, mix cottage cheese and gelatin powder until thoroughly blended.

2. Add miniature marshmallows and 3 cups blueberries (reserve remainder of quart for garnish). Stir until marshmallows and blueberries are well coated.

3. Fold in whipped topping and mix gently until well blended. Do not overmix!

4. Top with remaining blueberries and additional miniature marshmallows. Cover and chill for several hours or until picnic time.