Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait

I find it a little difficult to find healthy snacks when I’m away from home.  It’s even worse that I often end up in the coffee shop, full of cookies and other fat-laden baked goods.  I’ve given up a lot of things for this diet, but I still budget in the occasional Starbucks drink now and then.  Recently, I discovered their yogurt parfaits in the refrigerated section.  The berry version is only 220 calories and it’s delicious.  It didn’t take long before I was wondering if it was something I could replicate at home.  Oh, yes I can.

Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Crafty Staci 1

This actually doesn’t take a ton of different ingredients, and one batch can make 4 – 8 servings, so you’re set for breakfast for at least a few days. 

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Start the granola first, so it can bake while you whip up the fruit compote.

Granola

  • 3/4 cup oats (gluten-free, if that’s how you roll)
  • 2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • dash of salt

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl.  Spread on an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes, then stir.  Bake for 15 minutes longer, stirring every 5 minutes, or until golden brown.  Pour onto wax paper to cool.  Once it has cooled, break up some of the larger pieces.  Makes about 1 1/4 cups.

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Once the granola is in the oven, you can start the fruit compote. 

Strawberry Blueberry Compote

  • 1 cup sliced strawberries (5 – 6 large)
  • 1/2 cup blueberries (frozen is fine)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water

Combine the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice and water in a small saucepan.  Cook over medium low heat until bubbly.  Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture starts to thicken, around 5 minutes.  Add the blueberries and cook just until they’re heated.  Remove from heat and cool.  Makes about 1 cup.

Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Crafty Staci 4

You can also cook both berries together from the beginning, just be aware that while the flavor is there, your blueberries will not be recognizable in the final product.

To assemble the parfait, start with 2 tablespoons of the berry compote on the bottom for 8 servings, or 1/4 cup for 4 servings.

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Add 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt for either number of servings.  I like Zoi.

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Top with 1/4 cup granola for 4 servings or 2 tablespoons for 8.  You should have a little granola left over.

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After you’re done looking at how pretty it is, mix it all together and enjoy.  Oh, and it’s still pretty.

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One thing I really love about the Starbucks parfait is that the granola is in its own container so it doesn’t mix with the yogurt and get soggy.  You can just dump it in when you’re ready.  After a little brainstorming I solved that problem with my homemade version too.

Save and wash an empty applesauce container.

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Fill it with the granola and top it with a piece of foil.  Put it upside down on top of the wide-mouth jar lid and twist on the ring.  The foil keeps it in place!  I shook this and it didn’t budge.

Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Reuse applesauce container to hold the granola - Crafty Staci

Here’s the REALLY good news.  If you make this recipe into four servings (as shown in the first photo above), each one will have 206 calories, which is 14 fewer than Starbucks’.  If you make it into eight servings, as shown in my awesome travel container here, it’s only 125 calories!

Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Reuse applesauce container to hold the granola - Crafty Staci 2

Healthy on-the-go snack problem?  Solved.

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Buffalo Chex Mix

I love you guys.  I asked for help yesterday to make a decision, and you jumped in to give your opinions.  I can’t begin to tell you what that means to me.  Thank you!  By the way, the winner of the one-way trip to Japan can be found on yesterday’s post.  It was very close for a while there!

Now, on to today’s recipe.  I discovered Frank’s Red Hot Sauce about a year ago.  Why had I never tried this stuff before?  I am seriously hooked. (I also just had my first taste of Sriracha a few days ago – don’t even get me started.)  Frank’s is good on everything, so I decided to give it a go as the star of this Chex mix.  Of course, then I learned Chex already had a version, but mine differs in a few areas.

Buffalo Chex Mix - Crafty Staci 1

Do you like my non-committal colors?  A little Seahawks, a little Broncos?  That’s me – Go Team!

Buffalo Chex Mix

9 cups Rice Chex cereal (one 12.8 ounce box)

2 cups Bugles

2 cups pretzels

1 cup cashews

1/2 cup butter

3 tablespoons Frank’s Red Hot Sauce

1 packet ranch dressing mix

1 teaspoon celery seed

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

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Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine the cereal, Bugles, pretzels and cashews.  Of course, you can use combine different flavors of Chex if you’d prefer, I just like using up one whole box. 

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Melt the butter in the microwave.  Add the hot sauce, ranch and celery seed.  Mix well with a whisk.  This is very mild on the hotness, so feel free to add more sauce if you’d like.

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Pour over the cereal mixture and stir until the pieces are evenly coated.  Sprinkle the parmesan over the top and gently stir.

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Spread on two large cookie sheets. 

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Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.  Cool.

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If I wasn’t on what I’m affectionately calling The Mother of the Bride Diet, I’d spend Sunday with a big bowl of this waiting to find out what the Budweiser Clydesdales and that E-Trade baby have been up to.  Oh, I mean who wins the game.  Yeah, that.

Friday Favorites–Super Bowl

I have a confession to make.  I only watch the Super Bowl for the commercials.  We usually play board games while the football part is happening.  I’ve been known to choose which team I’m rooting for by the color of their uniforms.  This year, though, I’m going with Seattle.  Not because I know anything about them as a team, but because I like Seattle, the city.  I haven’t visited Denver yet, but I’m sure it’s a great place as well.  I know I just made some of you football fan grit your teeth, so how about some Super Bowl crafts and recipes to make up for it?

Friday Favorites - 10 Super Bowl Crafts and Recipes - Crafty Staci

One of the most important parts of any Super Bowl party is the food.  These Pizza Bites from Somewhat Simple would be a great addition to the buffet.

Pizza Bites from Somewhat Simple

Right up there with the food are the beverages.  This Super Bowl Dessert Cocktail from She Knows is such a great decoration it would almost be a shame to drink it.  Almost.

Super Bowl Dessert Cocktail from She Knows

To protect your furniture and make those drinks look even better, whip up these Burlap Football Coasters from Snap.

Football Coasters from Snap

If you have little ones who might have an even shorter attention span for football than I do, let them play along with these Football Player Peg Dolls from Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy.

Football Peg Dolls from Boy Oh Boy Oh Boy

I love pickles, so I think this Dill Pickle Dip from Foodie with Family would be a perfect Super Bowl addition.  In fact, if you use low fat or fat free cream cheese, it’s also a pretty healthy one.  Don’t tell anyone.

Dill Pickle Dip from Foodie with Family

Thanks to the chalk-on-green on this Football Field Serving Tray from 504 Main, it could transition right into St. Patrick’s Day after the big game.

DIY Football Field Tray from 504 Main

You’ve got to have some sweets, so my vote is for these Football Macarons from Creative Juice.  They taste like Snickers.  Mmmmm.

Football Macarons from Creative Juice

There are plenty of snacks and utensils that need to be stored on Super Bowl Sunday, so you’ll need a few of these Football and Field Party Cans from Mom on Timeout.

Football and Field Party Cans from Mom on Timeout

Show your team spirit with these Sports Jersey Beverage Holders from Positively Splendid.

I seriously want a pair of these Kids Fan Fingers from Every Day is a Crafting Day.  I guess I’ll have to find out what color Seattle wears.

Fan Fingers from Every Day is a Crafting Day

Good luck to your favorite team (or your favorite commercials)!

Friday Favorites–Radiant Orchid

Say goodbye to Emerald and hello to Radiant Orchid.  Pantone, the standard for all things color, has selected the light shade of purple as their color of the year for 2014.  I’m pretty happy about this one, because I love a little purple once in a while.  And in the case of Radiant Orchid, a little goes a long way.

I will admit, I did take a little creative license in choosing my favorites today.  They’re definitely all purple, but I interpreted the orchid part a little loosely.  Don’t hold it against them.

Friday Favorites - Radiant Orchid Crafts - Crafty Staci

There’s something so adorable about a macaroon.  I’m going to have to try making some one of these days.  I’m keeping this recipe for Lavender Macaroons with Honey Earl Grey Buttercream from The Cottage Diaries for when that day arrives.

Lavender Macaroons from The Cottage Diaries

This Purple Three-Strand Necklace from My Girlish Whims would be a great way to add just a little bit of orchid into your wardrobe.

Purple Three Strand Necklace from My Girlish Whims

This gathered skirt from Cook Clean Craft makes great use of the color by mixing it with a little white to keep it bright and fun.

Tiered Gathered Skirt from Cook Clean Craft

Get the kids in on the fun with this Lavender Cloud Dough from Growing a Jeweled Rose.

Lavender Cloud Dough from Growing a Jeweled Rose

What Else Michelle brings a little orchid into a room with her Yarn Wrapped Lamp Shade.

Yarn Wrapped Shade from What Else Michelle

Granted, I might have a little wedding on the brain right now, but I could totally see these DIY Lavender Bubbles from Smart School House making great wedding favors.

DIY Lavender Bubbles from Smart School House

These Purple Ombre Mini Cakes from Glorious Treats make good use of orchid’s ability to coordinate well with other colors.

Purple Ombre Mini Cakes from Glorious Treats

There’s no shortage of orchid yard out there, so this All the Glamour Shawl from Red Heart would be easy to add to your closet.  If you’re a crochetist, that is.

All Glamour Shawl from Red Heart

If you said yes to the last one, you’d probably also like this Easy Tote Bag from Hopeful Honey.  I know I do.

Easy Crochet Tote from Hopeful Honey

Would you just look at these Purple Candy Apples from Rose Bakes?!?

Purple Candied Apples from Rose Bakes

For even more inspiration, check out Pantone’s own Radiant Orchid Pinterest board!

Peppermint Vanilla Chex Mix

Just in case you’re looking for one last sweet treat to add to your holiday, I thought I’d share with you a recipe I made last week, which was inspired by recipes at A Pumpkin and a Princess and Daily Dish Recipes.  Even my son, who isn’t a big peppermint fan, loved it.  The big batch I made did NOT last long at all. 

Peppermint Vanilla Chex Mix - Crafty Staci 1

Peppermint Vanilla Chex Mix

7 cups rice and corn Chex cereal

1 1/2 cups vanilla chips or melts

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

6 large candy canes

1 cup white peppermint M & M’s

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Using a food processor, crush the candy canes to a powder.  Who thinks this is going to sound like a bag of hammers in a garbage disposal?  That doesn’t even cover it.  I should have worn ear protection.

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Combine the candy canes and powdered sugar in a large ziplock bag and set aside.

Melt the vanilla chips in the microwave or a double boiler.  Stir in the peppermint extract.  Pour over the cereal in a large bowl and gently stir until coated.  Add to the ziplock bag and shake until coated.  Stir in the M & M’s.

Peppermint Vanilla Chex Mix - Crafty Staci 4

Are you done with your Christmas baking?  Yeah, not me!

Friday Favorites–Quick Gifts to Make

It’s December 20th, so there’s no denying it any more – it’s crunch time.  If you think it’s too late to make those gifts you need to finish your list, you might want to check these out first.  From stocking stuffers to co-worker or neighbor gifts to gifts for a whole family, there’s a little bit of everything here.  Just don’t take too long reading it…you have work to do.

Friday Favorites - 10 Quick Gifts to Make - Crafty Staci

If you’ve got an ornament exchange coming up but still want to give it a little personal touch, try this One Minute Ornament from No Time for Flash Cards.  There are some great ideas for ornament fillers, but I just can’t wrap my brain around how she got those flat marbles in there.

If you have a little more than one minute, there’s always a Five Minute Infinity Scarf from Sweet C’s Designs.  This is a great idea if you still need a gift for a co-worker.

5 Minute Infinity Scarf from Sweet Cs Design

Gift cards are always appreciated.  Add a little handmade to them with a 10 Minute Gift Card Holder from See Vanessa Craft.

10-Minute-Gift-Card-Holders from See Vanessa Craft

If you need a gift for a family, this Root Deer Float Kit from Thirty Handmade Days would be fun to make and to give.

Root Deer Float Basket from Thirty Handmade Days

A tea-loving friend would enjoy this Tea Wreath from Dollar Store Crafts.

Tea Wreath from Dollar Store Crafts

Your neighbor might like this Peppermint Crunch Dark Chocolate Cookie Mix in a Jar from The Frugal Girls.  I love the Santa belt, wrapped in just the right spot.

Peppermint Crunch Dark Chocolate Cookie Mix in a Jar from The Frugal Girls

Do you have a young lady still to shop for?  Make her this Bottle Cap Necklace from Mrs. Greene.

Bottlecap Necklace from Mrs Greene

How about the guy who has everything?  Give him the gift of prognostication with this Fortune Telling Cube from DHagen on Instructables.

The Fortune Telling Cube from Instructables

We all need a little unwinding and pampering after the holidays are over, so this Cinnamon and Vanilla Sugar Scrub from the Idea Room is a great idea for just about anyone.

Cinnamon Vanilla Sugar Scrub by The Idea Room

If you need something a little more substantial, but still pretty easy to pull off in a short amount of time, check out this Quick Drop Zone from The Shabby Creek Cottage.

Quick Drop Zone from The Shabby Creek Cottage

Here’s hoping you only need one or two of these!

Salted Caramel Drink Mix

I spent the day out shopping with my husband yesterday.  We visited a mall, Costco and, my favorite, Crafty Wonderland.  Between the three, we were able to wrap up the last of our Christmas shopping, which I’m pretty happy about.  Once that’s done, I usually move on to the next holiday task – making delicious treats.  This year I decided to try a new take on a favorite from last year and make Salted Caramel Drink Mix.  Notice the word “cocoa” does not appear there.  Nothing here but milky, caramel goodness.

Salted Caramel Drink Mix - Crafty Staci 1

Salted Caramel Drink Mix

2 cups dry milk powder

1/2 cup dry plain creamer

1/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 1/4 cup caramel-flavored dry creamer

1 tablespoon coarse sea salt

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Combine all ingredients in a food processor.  Process until the salt is a fine texture.  To serve, add 1/4 cup mix to a mug full of hot water or milk.

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If you want a chocolate version (or spiced chai) you can find those here.  Put any of these in a decorated jar and it would make a tasty gift for someone you really like a lot.  I mean, a lot.

Vanilla Brown Sugar Coffee Syrup

I live about 7 miles from the nearest store.  Not that far, I know, but when I only need one thing it’s impossible to motivate myself to make the half-hour round trip drive.  I’d rather spend that thirty minutes in the kitchen trying to make an acceptable substitute for whatever it was I thought I needed.  This time, it was coffee syrup.

I try to confine myself to two cups of coffee in the morning.  Most days I stick to it, but sometimes I cheat my own system.  Rather than having a third cup of hot coffee, I switch to iced instant espresso.  I know, it’s really no different, but I feel a little less like I’ve fallen off the wagon because it’s in a different cup. 

Vanilla Brown Sugar Coffee Syrup - Crafty Staci 1

Last week, on a particularly tiring day, I was headed for that third cup of denial when I realized we were out of both caramel and vanilla coffee syrup.  How does that happen and I don’t notice?  Anyway, I did a quick search for a caramel syrup recipe, but every one I found listed caramel sauce as an ingredient.  Huh?

I decided to aim for a caramel flavor on my own, so I whipped up this syrup.  And I wouldn’t really say it tastes like caramel, but it is oh-so delicious.

To make this, you’ll need:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

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Combine the water, brown sugar and salt in a saucepan.

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Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently but gently, until the mixture just starts to come to a boil and all of the sugar has dissolved.

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Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Cool, then pour into a bottle.  Add a tag or label and this would make a great gift.

Vanilla Brown Sugar Coffee Syrup - Crafty Staci 5

This would also be tasty with some other spices, like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves.  I think I would try brewing them in the water  (the way the Chai Tea Concentrate is made), then using that water to make the syrup.

In case you’re wondering, the way I make my iced espresso is I fill the 20 ounce glass half full of water, add about 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons powdered espresso, fill to about 3/4 with coconut almond milk, sweeten to taste with the syrup, then finish filling the glass with ice.  Zero drive time.

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Speaking of my glass, these are in my Zibbet shop now, along with that stainless steel straw, which I completely love and is available straight or with that little bend at the top.  Also, that coaster?  It’s made from leather and a mason jar ring and you’ll find those in my shop as well.  I haven’t listed the wraps yet, but if you’re interested just let me know.  It’s been a busy couple of weeks around here!

Friday Favorites–Hot Cocoa Bars

Last year I made hot cocoa bars for my husband’s work party and a family gathering at Christmas time.  They were really fun to put together, and were a hit at both events.  However, I managed to not get a single decent photo to show you.  No worries though, we’ll be doing it again this year.  In the meantime, other cocoa cooks have some great ideas, inspiration…and photos.

Friday Favorites - 10 Hot Cocoa Bars - Crafty Staci

We’ll start our tour with this beautiful blue Winter Warmer Party from Catch my Party.  If this doesn’t make you want a hot cup of cocoa, I don’t know what will.

Catch My Party

The use of wrapping paper as a backdrop makes this hot chocolate bar from Parties for Pennies very affordable, and those peppermint cookie pops are the perfect accent.

Parties for Pennies

I love the milk jars and chicken wire in this version from Clean and Scentsible.

Clean and Scentsible

Hymns and Verses’ cocoa station has a lovely antique feel to it.

Hymns and Verses

This hot cocoa bar on Hostess with the Mostess has lots of fun details, including kid-friendly cups with caps.

Hostess with the Mostess

Also from Hostess with the Mostess, this party is whimsical enough to bring out the kid in anyone.

Hostess with the Mostess 2

With the chaos of the holidays, sometimes it’s a good idea to let someone else take on some of the work.  Check out this Hot Cocoa Party Collection, personalized just for you, from passforparties on Etsy.

passforparties

Sometimes you don’t need an entire bar, just a little cocoa centerpiece will do.  Gluesticks has you covered.

Gluesticks

Hanging strings of mini marshmallows to decorate your hot cocoa bar?  Love!  Thanks to Style Me Pretty.

Style Me Pretty

You just can’t go wrong with red and snowflakes, proven by this party from Amanda’s Parties to Go.

Amandas Parties To Go

Hot cocoa bars are great, not only for ordinary parties, but things like teacher appreciation events or cookie exchanges.  The potential mix-ins and combinations are endless.  When I made mine last year, I used this cinnamon syrup recipe from Food Network, made orange syrup from Foodie Knowledge, made vanilla syrup from Annie Eats and tried this chocolate sauce from AllRecipes.  Now that I’ve started talking about it, I can’t wait to do it again!  Who wants a cup?

Pulled Pork

I’m not going to pretend I know anything about authentic pulled pork.  I’ve made a barbeque version before, which basically consisted of cooking a pork shoulder covered in barbeque sauce in a crockpot all day.  Probably something a chef capable of making actual pulled pork would laugh at.  But we like it, so it worked…until now.

Pulled Pork - Crafty Staci 1

We bought some pork sirloin tip roast at Costco last week.  I didn’t have a plan for it, I just liked the nutrition stats.  I wasn’t sure if it had enough fat to use as pulled pork, but we had a bunch of burger buns left over from a party we were trying to use up, so I went for it.  As usual, no recipe I could find made me completely happy, so I made my own.

Pulled Pork - Crafty Staci 2

Pulled Pork

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  My roasts were about 2 pounds each, which I didn’t think would be enough, so I used two.  Rinse the roasts and pat dry.  Place in a Dutch oven.

Combine:

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

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Rub the mixture into the meat on all sides.

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Combine 12 ounces of beer (gluten-free if that’s your thing) and 1 tablespoon liquid smoke.  Pour down the side, not over, the meat.

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Cover tightly with a lid or foil.  Place on the bottom rack inside the oven and cook for 3 hours.  Since I was cooking two small roasts, you might need to cook it longer if you’re working with one larger roast.  Cook until it reaches a safe temperature on your meat thermometer.

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Remove from the pan and shred by pulling apart with two large forks.

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We served this on pub-style hamburger buns, generously drizzled with barbeque sauce and topped with pickle slices.  My girl had hers on a toasted gluten-free bun.

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This was a winner with the entire family, but my daughter liked it so much we’re having it for her birthday dinner later this month with a side of coleslaw.  I’m going to try making it with hard cider (still gluten-free) instead of the beer.  It can’t come soon enough – just revisiting these photos is making my mouth water.

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