Friday, August 19, 2016

Cocoa Rice Crispy Treats

Recently a friend and I were interviewed about a project we were working on about food gardens. One of the questions was about which foods represent home to us. Some people who don't know me well would probably say "Kale!", "Peas!", or "Swiss Chard!" Yes, I love growing these foods but these don't represent home to me.

We laughed when we both said processed food reminded us of home and childhood. Her selection was Kraft dinner and mine was Sapporo Ichiban, and we agreed on a bunch of other things like perogies...mostly processed foods. Don't get me wrong, both my parents were good cooks and made some things from scratch.  But we grew up in the era of convenience foods- and my mom was a renaissance woman of the 80s, holding down a job and a family so these foods were definitely convenient. And we may have eaten less processed food than some kids but Sapporo Ichiban (and of course Kraft dinner!) was what remind me of home and childhood.

Nowadays home-cooked foods and making things myself are delicious and rewarding---from making homemade pasta noodles and pressing corn tortillas to crafting homemade candy. I like tinkering and trying to make things just to see how challenging they are to make. But truth be told, this is not an every day occurrence.

I love making these things but you sometimes need extra time, which doesn't always happen. I only make things that make a huge difference if homemade. Cookies? Yes! Pickles? Yes! Ketchup? No. (Plus, my kids go through ketchup like water. I could never keep up with that demand!)

I do love Michael Pollan's quote, "Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself." This generally applies to cookies and homemade doughnuts in our house. This is not always a good thing, but it is a delicious thing. We still love treats I try to make them more than buying them if and when I can.

This is one of the treats that represents home to me- it's a cross between my mom's famous Cocoa Puffed Wheat Squares (required eating for camping and summer) and standard Rice Crispy Treats. I just made them for my kids so I thought I would share a slice of real life.

So eat treats. Make them if you can. But try to eat them in a garden...where you are growing some of your own food. :)
Cocoa Rice Crispy Treats
Use the wrapper from the butter to grease the pan if you can. These are naturally gluten-free.

1/4 cup butter, unsalted preferred
1- 400 gram bag mini marshmallows (can buy vegan ones if needed)
4 tbsp cocoa
2 tsp vanilla
10 cups rice crispy cereal

1. Butter a 9"X 13" glass or metal pan.
2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, cocoa and marshmallows together. Stir constantly with a heat-proof spatula or wooden spoon until smooth.
3. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and rice crispy cereal until combined.

4. Spoon into greased 9"X 13" pan. Press down with parchment or greased fingers. Leave parchment on and refrigerate until firm. Cut into squares. Store in fridge if keeping for more than a day or two. Good luck with that...