Archive for August, 2011

August 31st, 2011

corn pops gooey cereal bars

This past weekend I traveled back home to Texas to go house hunting in West Texas, aka the desert of death.  Hubs and I will be moving there in early 2012 (thank goodness it won’t be summertime) and so we needed to scope out the options we had available for a place to live.  Since we’ve been married I think it’s the longest amount of time I’ve been gone from home. Hubs is gone a lot because of his job, but it’s rare that he is home and I am not.  When I walked in the house at midnight on Sunday night, after a long day of traveling, I saw these beauties waiting for me on the kitchen island:

A pyramid of Kellog’s Corn Pops Cereal Gooey Bars – a treat he made up on the spot!


Hubs and I are cereal freaks. Seriously. We registered for twice as many bowls and spoons as we did plates and forks for our wedding. Also, at any given time you can find at least 5 varieties of cereal in our pantry, and we usually have at least two cartons of (lactose-free) milk in our refrigerator at any time.  Spoons are never in full stock in our silverware drawer and we oftentimes eat cereal for breakfast and dinner.

We don’t play around with the cereal here at the O’Brien household.  

Corn Pops has always been a favorite of mine, mostly because I can eat it dry or with milk, and it’s all the same. I’ve recently strayed away from keeping it on hand, but that’s not for lack of loving the taste. So hubs got all domestic on me this weekend and made me some gooey treats for my arrival home. I must say they are quite delicious at 12 midnight, especially after you skipped dinner because you were rushing through an airport to make your connecting flight home.

Corn Pops Gooey Cereal Bars


3 Tbsp Butter, cold

1 bag of large white marshmallows

2 Tbsp of brown sugar

4 – 5 cups Kellogs Corn Pops cereal


In a large saucepan, melt the butter and marshmallows until smooth. Add the brown sugar and mix well until melted.  Remove from heat and stir in cereal, one cup at a time, making sure all the cereal gets coated evenly with the gooey mixture.  You want there to be more gooey, and less cereal.

Pour into a greased 9×13 pan and let completely cool.  Cut into squares to serve.

Can be stored in an airtight container up to 6 days, if they last that long!

The only thing sweeter than these treats was the fact that my hubs made them just for me…I am so blessed to have him!

August 26th, 2011

strawberries & creme frozen bars

I first spied these frozen treats in Martha’s FOOD magazine for the summer. Then I saw them over at ValSoCal’s blog and since everything Val dishes up makes me drool, I knew it was a sign I had to make these!  They remind me of virgin strawberry daiquiri’s…yum.


  • 2 pounds strawberries, hulled, halved if large (6 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • Coarse salt
  • 7 large egg whites
  • 2/3 cup cold heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I use a homemade version that includes scrapings of Tahitian vanilla beans and pure clear rum)


  1. In a blender, combine strawberries, 3/4 cup sugar, and pinch of salt and puree until smooth. Pour into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Transfer to freezer and scrape with a fork every 30 minutes until mixture is thick and slushy, 2 hours. Smooth top with a rubber spatula.

The bars are very simple in terms of ingredients and even though they contain vanilla extract, it’s safe to say they are gluten-free (just for you Jules!).  The hardest thing in my opinion is the process of freezing/scraping the puree so it makes a sort-of granita mixture.  This takes about two hours.

Don’t let the 2-hour process scare you away.  Once it’s done you can be proud of yourself for (1) sucessfully making granita and (2) sculpting your arms.

When you’re an avid workout-avoider like myself, you gotta take what you can get wherever you can get it!

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat egg whites on high until foamy. With mixer on medium, gradually add 3/4 cup sugar. Increase speed to high and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form, 3 minutes. In another medium bowl, beat cream and vanilla on high until stiff peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. With rubber spatula, gently fold whipped cream into egg-white mixture. Pour over strawberry mixture and smooth top with rubber spatula.

Freeze until firm, about 4 hours (covered, up to 3 days), before cutting into 12 squares. Don’t worry about them melting, they will be gone before you can say, “Dessert’s ready!

August 22nd, 2011

vanilla dipped pretzels

This is an easy (and inexpensive) snack idea and it’s something everyone will enjoy, but no one will feel guilty over it like they might about a dessert like: double peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.

You will need:

  • 1 bag of pretzels (you can use mini pretzels or pretzel sticks)
  • 1 block of white (vanilla) almond bark
  • wax paper
Almond bark is a vanilla flavored candy coating used in a ton of sweets; it is basically an artificial chocolate.  You can buy the bar and chocolate cover anything you want. I like to use pretzels because they satisfy both salty and sweet tastes. You could also try strawberries (for a fruity flavor), Oreo cookies (for a super-duper sweet treat) or even almonds for a protein-packed snack.
Melt the almond bark a couple of squares at a time in the microwave; I suggest melting in 30-40 second increments so you don’t over-cook the chocolate. Stir with a long fork until smooth and all lumps are gone.  Then, dip pretzels in as far as you want and remove quickly and place on wax paper until they harden (about 5 minutes).  I like just dipping half the pretzels, it leaves a little more room for the saltiness to prevail.
Remove from wax paper and store in an airtight container up to 5 days. I had no idea until I made these, but they are a favorite in our house!


August 16th, 2011

TAMPICO® juice julius + juice pops

Recently I was contacted by TAMPICO® about their new 20 oz size bottles and they wanted me to try them out.  Of course, the only proper way to test anything out is to try it out on your friends first! And how could I NOT offer to review it when they have awesome videos like this one?

I know it’s “sick and twisted” but I can’t help but crack up when I see videos of people falling/getting hit by an object. Of course only when I know they didn’t really get hurt.

I’m not that sinister!

Well, maybe I am…did you see the outtakes at the end??? Hahahaha…

So we took a cue from the guy in the video and decided to make some UNIQUE TAMPICO®-inspired snacks in honor of TAMPICO’s Unique Like You Photo Contest. On the menu: TAMPICO® Julius’ and TAMPICO® Pops, both perfect for a hot summer day in Florida.

Did you know that Tampico Beverages, Inc. is a global brand sold in over 55 countries worldwide?
Can you even name 55 countries? I probably could, but it might take me a while…

Also, TAMPICO® is the leading refrigerated juice drink sold in grocery store across America! Being primarily a water consumer, I had no idea – but after tasting some this past weekend, I can see why they are so popular!

TAMPICO® Julius (twist on a classic) - serves 2

In a blender, combine 4 generous scoops of vanilla frozen yogurt with 2 cups TAMPICO® Citrus Punch.

Blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

To add some flair to the presentation, I halved some marshmallows and stuck them (sticky side in) on the sides of the inside of the glasses. Polka dot TAMPICO® Julius anyone?

What’s better than updating a childhood classic like the Julius? How about a chance to win a top-of the line laptop computer, a digital music player, a set of designer headphones, and a $100 digital music gift card?!?!

Yes, please.

TAMPICO® is celebrating the launch of the new single-size 20 oz bottles with an online photo contest entitled Unique Like You.  How do you get in on this awesome giveaway?

Go to the TAMPICO Facebook page and submit any (tasteful) photo of yourself, customize it with fun add-ons and bling and ask your friends to vote for your tricked-out photo! NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER/WIN.

We’ll drink to that!

At our party we used the Citrus Punch TAMPICO® flavor to make our drinks and popsicles, but you could use any of the three flavors they offer: Tropical Punch (cherry, orange, pineapple), Mango Punch (mango, orange, tangerine) or Citrus Punch (orange, tangerine, lemon).  In addition to the Julius’, check out these layered TAMPICO® popsicles!

We made them in about 20 minutes with my Zoku Pop Maker – they were a hit and they were perfectly portioned, just like the new TAMPICO® 20 oz bottles. Don’t you just love personal-sized things?

So what did you think of those beats in the YouTube video? Well, here is your chance to mix your own music, because I have a $15 iTunes giftcard to give away!
To enter you must leave a comment and tell me what your favorite summertime SONG is or “like” Tampico on Facebook.
For an extra entry, submit a photo of yourself to the Unique Like You Photo Contest on Facebook and send me the link to vote for you on MY Facebook page!

I’ll draw a random winner on August 20th and that person will win the iTunes giftcard!