Recipe Review: Unicorn Bars

I received a recipe for unicorn bars in my email last week and figured I should try it out. The internet keeps telling me that unicorns are a thing and who am I to pass up a delicious, colorful treat?

I shared the recipe with a friend and we decided to try it out during our monthly cooking date. We had originally planned to make a sweet chili tofu recipe but ended up going in completely the opposite direction health-wise due to time constraints.

We started making the bars after 9pm and it was probably one of the latest cooking parties I’ve ever attended. We didn’t buy any sprinkles specifically for this project but instead used a pre-mix of colorful sprinkle balls that my friend had on hand.

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The beautiful mixture was a nice prequel of the cuteness to come.

After everything was mixed, we put it in the pan. It was very difficult to spread, so we had a nice shake shake shake dance party and there were some heavy pounding noises.

We cut the bars into pieces that would be big enough for the frosting – they turned out super adorable.

We used the frosting recipe that was included and added in blue food coloring. We only needed one tablespoon of milk, and the frosting turned out perfect and delicious.

After we were done decorating our goodies, we took a few selfies before diving into the required taste tests.

If you’re looking for a delicious treat that is 100% a wonderful addition to a selfie or your Instagram account, unicorn bars are a definite option. I personally did not love the sugar load, but they were super tasty and would definitely cure any sweet tooth needs. However, keep them safe if you have any men around. 2/3 of our unicorn bars were devoured by the men in our lives. Without permission.

Ready for the recipe? Here it is (from dearchrissy.com)

INGREDIENTS:

For the bars

  • 1 Box vanilla cake mix
  • 1 small box instant vanilla pudding (just pour the powdered mix in your bowl)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 4 tablespoons sprinkles

For the frosting

  • ⅓ cup butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk
  • assorted sprinkles of your choosing!

DIRECTIONS:

For the bars

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine cake mix, pudding, water, vegetable oil, eggs, chips and sprinkles in large bowl. I used a wooden spoon to stir.
  3. Pour the batter (it’s going to be thick) into a 9×13 pan lined with foil and sprayed with non- stick cooking spray.
  4. Bake your bars for 20-30 minutes (I took mine out at 25.) Bake just until the middle isn’t wobbly and edges are golden brown.
  5. Cool completely then lift out of the pan using the foil.

For the frosting

  1. Using an electric mixer beat together the butter and powdered sugar until well blended and smooth. Beat in the vanilla and 1 tablespoon of the milk. If necessary beat in  the remaining milk a little at a time until desired consistency is reached.
  2. Add several drops of gel food coloring to frosting and stir.
  3. I piped some frosting on the middle of each bar, but, you could alternatively spread onto the cooled bars and decorate with additional sprinkles.

Interested in trying this out yourself? Let me know how it goes! I want to see your color combinations and decorating skills.

 

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Recipe Review: Cabbage Fat Burning Soup

One of my all-time favorite recipes has a ridiculous name: “Cabbage fat burning soup.” Fortunately, this name makes the recipe really easy to find when I haven’t thought about it in ages. I don’t remember how I first came across this recipe – probably during some search for a healthy meal in the early ages of interneting, but it has been a favorite ever since.

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The recipe is mainly veggies, but added tomato juice and beef broth elevate the flavor and make it quite hearty. Since the recipe is so gigantic, one batch lasts for ages. You can switch it up by adding extra pepper, chili flakes, or hot sauce depending on your mood. I like to cook a batch, put it in the fridge, and enjoy it for lunches/dinners throughout the week. If I get tired of it or am feeling extra hungry, I will add quick protein to the side – usually rotisserie chicken. I don’t remember whether or not this recipe had the desired “fat burning” impact that the title claims, but you really can’t go wrong given the amount of veggies that are in each serving.

The recipe is rather straight forward, so I am copying/pasting directly from allrecipes.

Ingredients
5 carrots, chopped
3 onions, chopped
2 (16 ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes, with liquid
1 large head cabbage, chopped
1 (1 ounce) envelope dry onion soup mix
1 (15 ounce) can cut green beans, drained
2 quarts tomato juice
2 green bell peppers, diced
10 stalks celery, chopped
1 (14 ounce) can beef broth

Directions
Place carrots, onions, tomatoes, cabbage, green beans, peppers, and celery in a large pot. Add onion soup mix, tomato juice, beef broth, and enough water to cover vegetables. Simmer until vegetables are tender. May be stored in the refrigerator for several days.

While the recipe is quite simple, I did make a couple of small improvements.

  • Since I hate cutting carrots, I bought pre-cut carrot “coins” and added in three cups worth.
  • I bought chopped peeled tomatoes with liquid rather than the whole version. There is no point to buying the whole version because there is no circumstance where it is pleasant sticking an entire mushy tomato into your mouth.
  • Buy low-sodium canned ingredients. I am the biggest salt lover of them all but I am currently working on reducing my sodium intake. It is one of the hardest things I have ever done because I genuinely enjoy the taste of ocean water, but you do not need the extra salt in the green beans, tomato juice, or beef broth. If you are really missing the extra sodium when the soup is completed, you can always add a bit of salt in.

In addition to making a few ingredient changes, I also cooked this in the crock pot rather than in a pot on the stove. This is mainly because I did not have a pot that was large enough at home and also because I was hoping to throw everything in, run errands and come home to completed soup. Unfortunately the soup took much longer to cook than I was expecting (I blame the cabbage) and after five hours of cooking on high, I turned the temperature to low and left it on all night. It is possible to cook it in the crock-pot, just don’t expect it to be done as anywhere near as quickly as it would be on the stove.

That’s about it! I’m super excited to enjoy my soup for lunch and dinner today.. And tomorrow.. And everyday this week. And to share some with my family!

Please let me know if you end up making this recipe – and pass along any recipe variations or tasty additions!

Want to read more of my recipe reviews, tips and tricks? Visit my “diet” section.

Recipe Review: Pad Grapow (Cravings by Chrissy Teigen)

I recently took a look at Goodreads’ list of the best cookbooks of 2016 and put a few of them on hold. I got into cookbooks when I worked at the public library during college, but since it’s rare that I want to make every recipe in a single book, I usually check the books out from the library and save the recipes with the most potential. Cravings by Chrissy Teigen was one of those books.

I took a look through the book today and decided to make Pad Grapow Chicken, which is Thai basil chicken. I was looking for a recipe that would be on the healthy side, delicious, and still easy to cook. This recipe has relatively few ingredients, was something new, and looked like something my family would enjoy. After a quick stop at the grocery store, I got to work.

1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into thin strips
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
5 cloves of garlic
1 serrano chile
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 cups fresh basil leaves
Cooked rice for serving

In a bowl, toss the chicken with the oyster sauce and soy sauce and marinate for 10 minutes. Mash the garlic and chile until finely smashed.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the garlic-chile mix and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Increase the heat to high, add the chicken, and cook, stirring, until just cooked through, about 4 minutes. Add the basil and cook until wilted, about 1 minute.

Serve over rice.

A couple of notes –

  1. If you aren’t familiar with oyster sauce, don’t be put off by the name! It is a brown, salty sauce that is commonly used in Chinese food. It does not taste like fish.
  2. I used a garlic press for the garlic cloves and serrano. It worked perfectly. You could also cut into tiny bits, you mostly want the flavor to come out and add to the taste of the chicken.
  3. If you aren’t comfortable using a serrano, a slice of mild green pepper would add the flavor without the kick.

Please let me know if you have any questions. Definitely check out the cookbook – whether it’s from your local library or by purchasing – there are quite a few tasty looking recipes (and pictures – John Legend, mmm) inside!