How I Make Homemade Chex Mix That People Crave

This weekend I’ll be leaving for a service trip to the Washington, North Carolina area to work on building a house…we think…we actually don’t know what tasks they will give us to do until we get there.  My mom, dad and sister and a group from Ohio are going and I’ll meet them there on Saturday.   As I have been gathering supplies and getting my stuff together I had an unexpected request from my sister…can you make chex mix?

I use the standard recipe but I do make some tweaks which I think is what makes people crave it.

  1. I use chex mix seasoning packets.  They aren’t the easiest to find but when you do you can usually pick them up for about 50 cents each.  I really wouldn’t pay much more than that.   Not only do I use those packets to season my chex mix but I also double the seasoning packet per batch.  So the directions say one packet per 3 cups of this and that but I do two packets.  I keep the butter the same at 6 tablespoons.  Below are the directions from the back of the packet.

  2. I usually use whatever chex like cereal is the cheapest at the grocery store.  This batch was Weis Market brand.  I always get a corn chex, rice chex and the third chex is one with some sweetness to it…I used a honey vanilla flavor this time.  So now it’s not regular salty chex mix, it’s a sweet and salty mix that really makes it awesome.  I also use a good nut mix, like shown in the picture below.  My personal favorite for pretzels is the butter snaps.  They are square and have a good taste to them and those that don’t like pretzels, like my sister, can easily pick them out.  All these ingredients make about 3.5 batches and I usually use all the ingredients because it does get gobbled up quickly and keeps well.

  1. My third trick is I microwave it in batches.  This really speeds the process along and allows for a nice even cooking time and allows for more stirring so nothing sticks.  I also, by accident, found out that my stock pot lid fits perfectly over this microwave safe bowl.  I tend to make a batch (3 cups of all the chex and double the packets) in my stock pot and pour the butter and seasoning mix over top.  I then put the lid on the stock pot and shake and stir.  This gives a nice even coat and keeps big spoons from breaking your mix.  I then pour half of the coated mix in the microwave safe bowl and put it in the microwave for 1 minute.  I then, using pot holders, take out the bowl, put the the stock pot lid on and shake and stir again so there won’t be any clumping and burning while cooking.  I do this about three times and then spread the chex on a paper towel to cool.

It is so good!  Makes a ton and is great anytime of the year!

Anyone else have some great Chex mix recipes?

That’s Neat!

As I’ve been discovering, and the hubs rediscovering, Lancaster, PA we’ve come across some pretty awesome things.  Today I would like to share with you our love of Neat!

Around Christmas time we stumbled into a healthy food store in Lancaster, I think to get out of the rain.  It’s not our regular stomping ground for groceries but we do like to go in them every once in a while to see what’s up.  Side note…They are also usually a great place to get spices from bulk containers…so much cheaper and you can get only what you need instead of buying a whole jar.  Back on track…While at this health food store we came across Neat.  We were intrigued and bought a pouch.  Now I am a vegetarian and have been for a long time, mostly because of the taste and texture of meat.  Other than that I am not a picky eater at all!  The hubs IS a meat guy!  It doesn’t gross me out when he eats meat (except the whole dipping bread in the bloody meat platter with his mom…that IS gross) but he has really been great about the fact that I don’t eat it.  When we cook we never feel like there are certain things we can’t make, we just substitute or take out the meat all together.  It really does work but I know he does miss meat a little but does get it from time to time.

Italian Neat MeatMexican Neat Meat

So what is Neat and why is it so great?  Well it’s a meat substitute and the only one I’ve seen that isn’t in the frozen food section.  Most of the frozen food section fake meat products are soy based, which I am not opposed to, but some people are sensitive to it.  Neat is soy free and you can pronounce and recognize every ingredient in it so you can also feel great about that!  Neat also comes in four different ‘flavors’ (Original, Italian, Mexican and Breakfast).  There is also an egg substitute pouch.  It is SO easy to prepare…some water and eggs, cook it and you are good to go!  Each pouch also makes quite a bit.  Since we live in Lancaster it’s pretty easy for us to find Neat, if you don’t live near Lancaster you can order from their website.  So far we’ve tried the Italian pouch and made meatball subs and the Mexican pouch and made Taco Tuesday!  I am excited to try the other flavors as well and see what we come up with.

Let me just say that the hubs also loves this stuff!  I would say he puts up with the other ‘fake meat’ but this he really gets behind!  We both love the flavor, texture and it’s a company based out of Lancaster County, PA…who knew?  We are happy and proud to profess our NeatMeat love and support this local company!  That’s Neat!

 

*I have not been asked my Neat to write nor was I compensated for this post…just sharing the love!

Homemade Coffee Creamer – Flat White Copy Cat

I love coffee.  I love the taste and the smell.  I am a one cup in the morning type of gal, sometimes another in the afternoon if a social occasion promotes it.  During the week the hubs just makes a pot of Folgers, he has a few cups (black) and takes one to go in the morning and before I leave for my hour commute I fill my tumbler (with creamer) and drink it on the way.  It’s a ritual, it’s comforting and comfortable.  On the weekends, it’s more special and more of an event for us.  We like finding local coffees to be our weekend coffee brew.  We grind the beans, brew it and savor it.

I have experimented a few times and made myself homemade coffee creamer.  Pinterest is full of recipes and I have tried a few.  Most people can agree that making basic food items, like this, are just better for you since you can control what goes in it.

Most recipes call for sweetened condensed milk, which I am not opposed to.  Sometimes it’s just TOO sweet.  The coffee creamer recipes I’ve played around, with using sweetened condensed milk, also call for you to heat the milk with whole milk and add your flavoring in a sauce pot which also takes time etc.  It comes out pretty good but the flavoring usually separates in the bottle and requires a good amount of shaking before each use.  My other issue with this type of recipe is it won’t last as long since your creamer is only as good as the expiration date of the whole milk or whatever you use.

My latest creamer adventure has me using evaporated milk instead of sweetened condensed milk.  I think I like this better because I have much more control over the sweetness.  You also don’t have to heat it up to combine all ingredients.  You just add all ingredients into your jar, shake and go.  I also used Almond milk because it lasts so much longer than cow milk.  Guess what?!?! It actually tastes like the Starbucks Flat White Latte.   Yeah I know I’m not doing fancy steamed milk and espresso but it really does taste similar!

Here is what I did:

Ingredients & Supplies:

• Low-Fat Evaporated Milk

• Almond Milk (I used original flavor but you could use the vanilla flavored almond milk, etc)

• Vanilla Extract

• Belgian Candied Sugar (this can be found at tea shops like Teavana but MUCH cheaper at homebrew shops)

• Bottle to store and pour creamer in

• Funnel (because of the type of bottle I was using)

Directions:

  1. Shake the unopened can of evaporated milk really well and add the whole can into the jar using the funnel, if necessary.  
  2. Add 1 Tablespoon on Vanilla Extract
  3. Add about 1-2 cups of the Almond Milk depending on your taste and how big your bottle is
  4. Add about 2 Tablespoons of candied sugar or more depending on your taste (those are the brown bits you see in the bottom on the jar in the photo)
  5. Screw on the jar lid and shake really well
  6. Taste and adjust sweetness to your liking
  7. Store in the refrigerator, shake before each use and enjoy!

*Also note that if you use a candied sugar like I did it will take a few hours for it to fully dissolve so it will eventually be sweeter once that happens.

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