Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Happy Campers and the "Heirstream"

Best Blogger Tips A month or so ago, we inherited my parents' 1972 Land Yacht Airstream trailer.

After sitting at my brother's house in the country for almost eight years, it needed some love. We spent a few Sunday afternoons vacuuming, wiping down all of the surfaces, and cleaning the carpet and upholstery. With lots of  help from our friend, Michael, my husband was able to get the electrical working. We didn't have a chance to fix the plumbing, but that didn't stop us from taking her out on her "matron" voyage.

The Wednesday before Labor Day, we decided to take the "Heirstream" up to Camp Arrowhead for family camp. As a child, I went to Camp Arrowhead for a week each summer as a camper, riding horses, canoeing, and singing songs around the campfire with other kids. Although our boys are too young for camp kids camp, we thought it would be great for all of us to go together for family camp. We all needed to "unplug" for a while and get away.

Since Camp Arrowhead is a church camp, the grounds were clean and safe. Our two year-old ran around both days until he nearly dropped. Our six year-old played Uno and Frisbee with other kids. He also went on the zipline and rode an ATV around the camp. Before we left, the boys rode horses for the first time. 

I'm not saying that everything went smoothly. We used the nearby bathhouse and carted water from the water pump, which began to get irritating. On the way there, a tire on the Heirstream blew out about 10 miles from the camp. Thankfully, the owner of another RV lent us their spare tire to get to camp.  An electrical problem with one of the power poles (which was likely struck by lightning the night before) caused a power outage for several hours. Temperatures neared 100F that day and the AC couldn't keep up, so it began to leak at about 10:00pm. Overall, it was perfect, however. We had fun and managed to sleep well.    It was odd to come home from a short vacation well-rested instead of exhausted!

Here's the food I've been eating.


Egg and kale fritatta
and red beans with Frank's Hot Sauce
and a cup of Bulletproof-like coffee
Green beans, bean fry bread, and fried eggs

"Nutella" protein shake. 
Oh my you have no idea how yummy this is!

BLT salad
made with a whole romaine heart,
mayo, turkey bacon, and tomatoes from my garden.
We have been eating a lot of these this summer!

And can we talk about that Bulletproof-like coffee?

It is the best thing. Yes, it really is. 

I'm nearly addicted to the stuff. I don't use the fancy beans or special oil the original recipe calls for, but the taste is still fantastic! I make it with 2 cups of French press brewed coffee, 2-3 Tb. Rumiano salted butter, and 2 Tb. organic virgin coconut oil. It is divine.

Did you do any camping this summer? How was your Labor Day?

Are you a coffee or tea drinker?

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Monday, July 29, 2013

50 Healthy Food and Exercise Comment Luv Blogs

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I love reading comments from my readers.

When you leave a comment, you tell me if I'm writing about something you want to know. You also share your experiences, your thoughts, and a bit about yourself with me and other readers. 

CommentLuv enabled blogs take it a step further. When you comment in a CommentLuv form, you tell us about your blog, too.

A regular comment leaves my link, but nothing special to lead readers to my blog.

CommentLuv blogs give you free advertising by telling readers the title of your last post.

Learn more about CommentLuv and how you can add it to your blog here.

To get you started, here are 50 healthy food and exercise blogs which use CommentLuv. 

  1. Alex Tries It Out
  2. Avocado Athlete
  3. Chelcie's Food Files
  4. Coffee Cake and Cardio
  5. The Concrete Runner
  6. Day with KT
  7. Eat Learn Discover
  8. Family Fitness Food 
  9. Fit 'N' Cookies
  10. Fit Possible
  11. Fit Running Mama
  12. Food, Fitness, and Family
  13. Food Wine Thyme 
  14. For the Sake of Cake
  15. Frolic Through Life
  16. Happy Fit Mama
  17. Happy Wife Healthy Life 
  18. Healthy Running Mom 
  19. A Healthy Slice of Life 
  20. Hungry Healthy Girl  
  21. Journey of a Dreamer
  22. Keeping Healthy Getting Stylish
  23. Killer Bunnies Inc.
  24. Kiwi Fit Blog
  25. Koko Likes
  26. The Lean Green Bean
  27. Learning Patience 
  28. Life+Running
  29. Life After Swimming
  30. To Live and Diet in L.A.  
  31. Live and Love to Eat 
  32. Live from La Quinta
  33. Mangos and Miles  
  34. My Freckled Life
  35. My Life Sans Gluten
  36. Not Plain So Jane 
  37. Nutty About Health 
  38. Oatmeal in my Bowl
  39. Oatmeal with a Fork 
  40. Picky Runner
  41. Protein and Pumps
  42. Powerhouse Fit Foodie
  43. Remake My Plate
  44. Running for Cupcakes 
  45. Running with Spoons
  46. Run Pretty
  47. Sarah Learns
  48. Savor Life's Flavors
  49. Slim Sanity
  50. The Way  (Me, of course!)

If you are a healthy food and exercise blogger who uses CommentLuv, let me know in a comment below. I will add your name and link when I update the list!
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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What I Ate and the Ugliest Cupcakes You Will Ever See

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Sunday was my father's 80th birthday.

I don't ever remember my dad being happy about his birthday. He doesn't like people spending money on him or making a fuss. In years past, I have given him a framed poem I wrote about him (it's about him watching the moon landing on the eve of his birthday) and a handwritten book of 100 reasons why he is a great dad.
My dad and my boys last fall

Another thing I do for my dad on Father's Day, his birthday, and Christmas is to make his favorite food Kroppkakor or palt, as they are known in Sweden. They take HOURS to make!

This year, my mom said she was going to make the Kroppkakor for him. This left me completely out of ideas about what to make for my dad.

This is where the ugliest cupcakes come in.

Kroppkakor are probably one of the world's least appetizing-looking foods. They look like rocks. If you cut one in half, they kind of look like geodes because of the chopped bacon in the center. Did I mention we eat every bite with a little bit of butter?

Instead of making my dad a birthday cake, I made him "Kropp-cakes," cupcakes made to look like Kroppkakor. Here is the result.

I made them by wrapping homemade fondant around frosted white cupcakes. 

The result was wonderful! They may not have been pretty, but they tasted like a Little Debbie or Hostess cake. I am so making these again for myself! I may have found my new favorite dessert!

After the feasting on Kroppkakor, pizza (my dad's least favorite food in the world), and these cupcakes, I was ready to go back to healthier fare.

Here is what I ate.

I'm still being a good girl and getting my breakfast at 9:00am every day.
Since I don't think I've been eating enough protein, 
I had a few egg whites and one whole egg
and fresh chopped spinach
with black beans and smoked paprika.
The paprika really gave it a "bacony" taste!

For lunch, I had green eggs and black beans again.
I also threw in half a bag of Bird's Eye Recipe Starts Grilling Blend.
I've been using a lot of these lately. 
This bag had zucchini, yellow squash, red pepper, and red onion.
I topped it with Frank's Hot Sauce.

At 3:00pm, I had a Green Tea Energy Shake. 
I'm posting the recipe for it next week on the blog.

Again, I'm trying to get more protein, 
so for supper, I had a four Morningstar sausage links,
mashed northern beans with garlic, butter, and parsley,
a Power Greens salad with Caesar dressing and olives,
and green beans.

Here are a few of the other cakes I've made this year.
My six year-old's birthday cake.
My husband paints life size light towers that look like this one I made.

You can see more of my cakes here.

1. What is the best gift you ever made for someone?
2. What is the best gift someone made for you?
3. Do you like making cake or just eating it?

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Sunday, July 21, 2013

RECIPE: Flaxseed Breaded Fish (GF, Low Carb)

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Every Friday evening, we eat fish. 

Having the same meal every Friday night is easy to plan for. We also have chosen foods that we can use to teach our kids something about God.

It started about six months ago, when we decided to again Remember the Sabbath, or Shabbat, as it is known in Hebrew. We clean the house on Friday or Preparation Day. I bake Challah bread and brownies (my husband's favorite). In the minutes before sundown, we get out the special tablecloth, napkins, dishes, and silver. We use stemware for wine and grape juice. We light the Sabbath candle and sing a song, inviting God to be with us.  

Although we don't tire of the Challah bread or the brownies each week, having fish prepared the same way does get old. 

Due to the popularity of my Flaxseed Breaded Chicken Strips recipe, I decided to try it with pollock, adjusting the cooking time and using Old Bay Seasoning instead of oregano and garlic powder.

Flaxseed Breaded Fish (GF, Low-Carb)

Prep Time: 15 min.
Cook Time: 20 min.

Ingredients (4 fillets)
  • 4 Pollock Fillets, thawed, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Tb. Water
  • 1 c. Ground Flaxseed (Flaxseed Meal)
  • 2 Tb. Grated Parmesan
  • 1 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
1. Preheat oven to 400 F degrees.
2. Beat eggs with water. Pour into pie plate.
3. In another pie plate, combine flaxseed meal, Parmesan, and Old Bay Seasoning.
4. Dip each fillet in the egg mixture, coating both sides.
5. Press fillet into the flaxseed mixture, turning over to bread each side.
6. Place fillets on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes.
7. Serve immediately.
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Do you have any weekly traditions?

How did you like the fish? 

What do you think of the new recipe format that I'm trying out? 

This recipe was featured on Make Your Own Mondays!
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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

WIAW: How I've Been Eating After the Sugar Detox

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What I've been eating the past few weeks isn't nearly as interesting as how I've been eating.

I've been doing What I Ate Wednesday off and on for a long time now. Each week, I would force myself to eat normally, how I thought should eat, three meals and a snack at regular intervals. I would pretend this was typical for me, even though it wasn't. 

Sometimes I didn't eat until 4pm. Sometimes I started my day with a bowl of ice cream in the early morning and kept eating refined, fatty starches all day. Other than supper with my family, I rarely ate meals and never at regular intervals. Either I ate everything or nothing at all. I was hungry all the time, fighting the urge to eat.

That all changed about three weeks ago when I detoxed from my sugar addiction. Since then, I eat breakfast, lunch, a snack, and dinner. I don't feel guilty about what I eat. I stay full between meals. I've also lost 5 lbs. without dieting or restricting myself. 

More about my sugar detox in a later post!

Here is what and when I've been eating.
I started mixing things up by having my Green Tea Energy Shake in the morning. 
I was having it in the afternoon for a snack, but I think it was keeping me from sleeping.
Even though I make it with lower caffeine Sencha tea,
it really gets me going without feeling jittery! 

  For lunch, I had my usual breakfast, 

green eggs with two pieces of Ezekiel bread toast.

This weekend, I roasted some raw peanuts.
Since they have no maltodextrin, msg, any of the other nasties in roasted peanuts
from the store, they taste so much better!

I had a few handfuls of these for a snack.

One of the blogs I read this week (sorry, I don't remember which),
inspired me to add canned artichokes to our salad we always eat for supper.
I topped it with black olives and Caesar dressing.
We also had vegan cheesy potatoes
made with a bag of O'Brien potatoes and Follow Your Heart vegan cheddar.
And we ate steamed peas.
I finished the meal off with some dates!

Have you ever had a problem eating "properly"?
Are you a sugar addict like me?
Have you ever been inspired by another blogger's post? What was it?

In case you missed it, check out my post 5 fruits in Season in June and July
including how to choose the best fruits and how to store them.
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Sunday, July 14, 2013

5 Fruits in Season in June and July

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When I was in junior high and high school, my parents were over-the-road truck drivers. Each week, they left our home in Nebraska and hauled meat out to the west coast. On their way back, they would pick up fresh fruit and vegetables from California and deliver them to St. Joseph, Missouri.
Back when I was little and Dad was the only one trucking.
I think I'm the same size as that steering wheel!

One of the advantages of having parents who delivered food across the country is knowing when fruits are in season. During different months, they would pick up boxed produce at different places, driving the same routes all over California at the peak season of crops.  When she was home, Mom always knew what fruits to buy at the grocery store when they were their best, too. She shared a bit of this knowledge with me.
In June and July, drupes come in season, also known as "stone fruits." Drupes have an outer flesh which surrounds a pit that contains the seed. The hard shell gives them the name "stone fruit."

Cherries, peaches, plums, nectarines, and apricots are all drupes and are in season during June and July. They are usually less expensive during these months, too, making it a good time to preserve them for later. I have had great luck canning peach jam and peach pie filling, as well as slicing and freezing peaches. A few years ago, I found sweet cherries at $0.99/lb. and we froze about 20 lbs.!

How to choose the best cherries: 
Look for the darkest cherries for their variety. This indicates that they will be riper and sweeter. Larger cherries are better for eating since they have more flesh in proportion to their pit. Cherries with green stems are fresher, having been picked recently. If they don't have stems, make sure to eat them within a few days; since stemless cherries do not keep well.

How to store cherries: 
Cherries can be refrigerated in the original bag for 5-7 days in the refrigerator. Do not wash until ready to eat.

How to choose the best peaches and nectarines:
Peaches and nectarines are essentially the same fruit, one being fuzzy while the other is smooth. When choosing peaches or nectarines, find fruits that will slightly yield to pressure and have rich yellow background color. If there is green near the stem, it is not ripe. The heavier the fruit, the more juicy it will be.

How to store peaches and nectarines:
Refrigerate only after ripe because the cold will halt the ripening process. Peaches and nectarines will ripen if stored at room temperature for 2-3 days. To hurry ripening process, peaches may be placed in a paper bag with an apple.

How to choose the best plums:
Choose fruits that have shiny skins and no bruises. Heavier plums will have more juice. Ripe fruits will also have a strong fragrance and will give slightly when squeezed gently

How to store plums:
Store ripe plums in an open bag for up to five days in the refrigerator. The cold will stop the fruit from ripening further. Unripened fruits will ripen at room temperature after several days. Plums can be ripened faster by placing in a paper bag.

In addition to eating fresh stone fruits, they are also perfect for canning, freezing, or in a delicious recipe. Here are a few smoothie and shake recipes from the blog. Most call for frozen fruit, but you can use fresh fruit, too.

Chocolate Cherry Protein Shake
Peach Cinnamon Smoothie
Peach Raspberry Smoothie

Which fruits are your favorite in the summer?
How do you like to eat "stone fruits"? Do you have any yummy recipes to share?

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

What We Ate Over the Holiday Weekend

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As far as most Nebraskans go, we're the odd ones.

Despite my husband and I each being raised by ranchers' daughters, we have evolved into mostly vegetarians. Some days, we are even vegans! The carnivorous cravings that are in our DNA sometimes come out of hibernation, however. About once a month, we go out for ribeye steaks. Every three or four weeks, I sneak out for fast food chicken strips. Otherwise, we usually don't even bring meat into the house.

My husband (MK) and our 6 year-old, "Peanut."
However, this all changes during spring and summer holidays. We could be some of those awesome vegetarians or vegans who grill vegetables or bean burgers, but we're not; we chow down on steaks, hamburgers, hot dogs, and ribs. And we enjoy every bite!

Peanut, our almost 2 year-old "Happy," and Felicia (our adoptive daughter, mid-bite!).
This holiday weekend, we did a pretty good job of spreading out the festivities instead of gorging ourselves in one or two meals. Each day, we had at least one cookout. On Independence Day, we grilled Spiral Cut Hot Dogs for lunch, then joined an evening Independence Day party with the family of my friends, Karen and Mary. We feasted with my in-laws on my husband's birthday, the fifth of July. My mom even made us burgundy marinated New York strip steaks to throw on our grill!

Kurt (MK's brother) and MK
Remarkably, I managed to lose three pounds over the past five days! I think it is because I watched my calorie intake during the non-cookout meals and ate plenty of veggies and fruits. We also ate a salad with supper every night, just like we have when we aren't feasting.

My mother-in-law, Marylene and my boys.
By Sunday night, we were both sick of eating meat. It is really hard for us to understand how people can eat it three times a day.  I'm sure we will be ready to devour some beef by the time that Labor Day gets here, but I think for now we will be sticking to the veggies, fruits, grains, legumes, and a little dairy!

Now, what did I eat after all of the feasting was over? All kinds of yummy stuff!

I started my day with my usual, egg whites, spinach, and Ezekiel bread or tortilla.
This time, I made "green eggs" by running three egg whites in my Vitamix
with a handful of fresh spinach and making it into an omelet.
I folded it up and ate it between two buttered pieces of Ezekiel toast.

I wasn't very creative for lunch, either, going with one of my favorites:
an Ezekiel tortilla with Italian seasoned tomato paste,
a smear of whipped cream cheese
and a handful of fresh spinach.

I ate the last piece of my husband's Dairy Queen ice cream cake.
He was upset to learn that I had eaten the rest of it.
(He only had one piece on his birthday.)
But really?
It was there for FOUR DAYS and he didn't have any.
I feel like I had great self-control only eating a piece a day.
(It's upside down because I always eat the chocolate ice cream first.)
I also drank a cup of kombucha tea.
(Click here if you want to see my son drinking a glass of it!)

We always start dinner with a leafy green salad topped with vinaigrette dressing,
but I didn't take a picture of it!
Our main entree was multi-grain pasta
mixed with sauteed onion, red pepper, celery, and shredded cabbage
and topped with a little bit of Parmesan cheese.

(When I keep this eating schedule and make sure I get plenty of fiber and protein,
 I don't overeat or eat between meals/snacks.)

I hope you had a great holiday!

A candid with me and my boys

Check out how I spiraled those hot dogs with this how-to post!

How was your holiday?

Do you eat on a schedule or whenever you feel hungry?

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If you need a giggle this afternoon...

Best Blogger Tips Here is a short video of my son drinking kombucha tea.

He begs for it and drinks it, despite the faces he makes!

(NO, this isn't booze. It's tea. I SWEAR!)

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Sunday, July 7, 2013

Best Hot Dogs for Grilling: How to Spiral Cut Wieners (PICTURES)

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Although 90% of the time we eat a vegetarian diet, on holidays we feast on traditional meat-centered meals.

In the fall, we eat turkey and Eldon's Steak and Dressing.  For Christmas, we usually eat chili that my family makes with hamburger. Once in a while, I will crave chicken strips or we will go out for a ribeye steak. And for Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day, we grill meat like most Americans.

Usually when we fire up the grill, we decide to make either steaks or beef short ribs. Then, since it is such a rare event (excuse the pun) for us to cook out, we decide to add some hamburgers and beef hot dogs. We might as well while we have the grill hot, right?

The next thing we know, my husband and I are sick from eating so much.

For the Independence Day holiday, we seem to get through without overeating. Part of the reason is because my husband's birthday falls on the fifth of July. Instead of trying to feast for one meal, we spread the festivities out over three or four days. We don't eat as much at each sitting since we know we need to save room for feasting the next day.

On the fourth of July this year, we decided to have beef hot dogs for lunch. Until last year, we always cooked wieners like everyone else, just opening the package and dropping them on the fiery grill.

Then, I read about how to spiral cut a wiener.  Since it makes the best hot dog for grilling, we always take the extra few minutes to prep and spiral each one. The cut makes the entire wiener crispy, instead of just on the outside. They fit the bun better since they are stretched out. And, since we like to top our dogs with *ketchup, yellow mustard, and sweet pickle relish, the spiraled design keeps all those goodies from sliding off.

The directions are after my photos!


1. Using a thin metal or wooden skewer, insert the skewer lengthwise through the hot dog. It's okay if the end pokes through a little off center. If you happen to poke through the side, just pull the skewer out a little, realign it, and push it through again so it comes out the end.

2. While rolling the skewer and wiener with one hand, use a sharp knife to cut half-way through the hot dog, stopping the blade on the skewer. Continue rolling the hot dog until spiraled all the way to the end.

3. Grill and enjoy!

Do you allow yourself to feast on holidays?

What is your favorite summer food to grill? 

*My husband, ever the St. Louis Cardinals fan, refuses to eat ketchup on his hot dog, insisting on mustard and relish only. He refers to everyone who puts ketchup on a hot dog as a "Chicago fan."

Thank you for your comments! I love to read them!

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

What I Ate Wednesday and Where I've Been...

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It's been a long time since I blogged on here. I've been busy with stuff and things.

Since I really wrote a post:

1. I subbed full-time for six weeks as the high school English teacher at my old high school.

2. My five year-old turned six and graduated kindergarten!

3. My baby is almost two years-old! I can't even begin to tell you how much HE has changed!

4. My husband started working days.

5. I started writing fan fiction.

I thought that a good WIAW post would be a great place to start blogging again.

Here is is.

 A great day of yummies!


Egg whites scrambled with sauteed onion and fresh spinach
topped with a sprinkle of Daiya cheese in an Ezekiel tortilla.

(Leftover from last night.)

Whole wheat thin spaghetti
mixed with a bag of Birds Eye Tuscan Veggies 
with tomato sauce, garbanzo beans, and 
sauteed fresh basil and garlic from my garden
and a chopped zucchini from the farmers' market.


Green tea powder slushie
A Wasa cracker and a nectarine


Black bean enchilada in Alvarado Street sprouted tortilla
with chopped romaine lettuce, tomato from the farmers' market,

My husband came home from the store with picante sauce, romaine lettuce, and E.L. FUDGE COOKIES.
They were not on the list!
Don't let these smiling guys fool you; they are loaded with fat and sugar.
I had four of them. 

Honestly, I have been horrible at eating breakfast for years now. I hate to do it. I feel like if I eat breakfast, then I'm hungry all day. 

In an effort to really get this eating thing right, I have started eating breakfast at 9:00am every day. I try to get enough protein and fiber so that I feel full until lunch. I've found that the 9:00am, 12:00pm, 3:00pm, and 6:30pm schedule keeps me full all day. 

How have YOU been since I regularly blogged back in November??

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Food Order Arrived Today!

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Organic food order arrived today!
I bought
I’m excited!

Do you have to order any food that you can't find locally? What do you get and from where?
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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Peanut Butter Haystacks (RECIPE)

Best Blogger Tips Hello.

I know I haven't blogged in forever. I really haven't been feeling it? I've been busy, etc.

Well, here goes.

I promised to put this recipe up over a year ago. I have friends and family who absolutely love these things and keep asking for the recipe. In fact, I think I'm the only person I know who doesn't like them. I like peanut butter, but I don't like anything peanut butter flavored.

Yep. I hate peanut butter cookies, too.

These no-bake cookies used to be served in our school lunches growing up. Kids would gobble the golden treats down before anyone else stole them.  I always passed mine off, eager to trade for something else.

Here is to all of you who have been asking for this recipe. It is from the old Friends and Neighbors cookbook produced when I was in elementary school.

Peanut Butter Haystacks

Ingredients (70 "Haystacks")
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups corn syrup
  • 4 cups peanut butter
  • 10 cups Rice Krispies
1. Bring sugar and syrup to a boil in a large saucepan. Add peanut butter and mix well.
2. Combine Rice Krispies and peanut butter syrup until well incorporated.
3. Drop by spoonfuls onto sheets of waxed paper, creating the look of stacked hay.
4. Allow to completely cool before eating.
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