{Recipe} Funfetti Rice Krispy Treats

Have you ever tried looking up Rice Krispy Treats?  There are essentially 75 different ways to spell the name of this super common treat.  But I guess you aren't really here for a spelling lesson. When I make desserts that are blog worthy, they mostly revolve around chocolate.  I love chocolate; chocolate cake, chocolate brownies, bars of chocolate, chocolate cookies, chocolate ice cream...I just love chocolate. Truthfully,  I don't really understand why you'd want to eat dessert that didn't contain at least a little chocolate.  
However, & I can't believe I'm saying this, chocolate isn't perfect. We were invited to a BBQ a few weeks ago & I knew I wanted to bring a dessert.  After spending a bit too much time scrolling through recipes, I decided chocolate outside in the heat was probably not a good idea.  I've had this recipe pinned for quite some time & I figured it was time to make my *gasp* first batch of rice krispy treats EVER.   I have to say, I was a bit nervous because I thought these sticky suckers would be really hard to make.  NOT EVEN CLOSE.  They were SO easy & the added cake mix made the treats a bit fluffier than normal.  I don't know that I'd ever want to make them without the cake mix again! Also, they're really really pretty.

Makes:12-14 bars depending on how big you cut them
Prep/Set time: 15 mins to pull together, 1 hour to set
How difficult was this for me? EASY. Sticky yes, but easy.

 4 Tbsp butter
1 (10oz) bag mini marshmallows
1/2 cup funfetti cake mix, dry
5 cups rice krispies cereal (less than one large box)
1 (1.75) jar of sprinkles

In a medium sauce pan, over low hear, melt 4 tbsp of butter

Add in bag of mini marshmallows & stir until completely melted. 
Remove from heat.  Add in cake mix & stir until completely mixed in
In a large bowl, combine marshmallow mix & rice krispies thoroughly. I used a spatula & spoon to make this happen.
You can add in some sprinkles but don't mix too well because the sprinkles will melt!
Pour mixture into a very well greased 9x13 baking dish.  
I ended up using my hands to spread out the treats.
Use remaining sprinkles & cover top.  Then let sit for an hour to cool off.
Cut & Serve!



Happy One Year!

Seriously, how the hell has it been one year since we got married?  It feels like I was just spending every extra second of my day working on wedding related tasks.   I'd be lying if I said I liked being a bride.  I didn't like it. I FREAKING loved it.  I loved planning the ceremony & party, I loved dress shopping, I loved working with the florist & planner,  I loved coming up with our set list (even if the band ignored part of it) I loved working on all the fun details, I loved when people called me a bride...seriously, I loved it all.  Call me shallow...hell, I'll call myself shallow; it was fun! I'd also be lying if I said I wasn't sad when it was all over.  I was.  The upside though was I now had an amazing man to call my husband, so I guess it was worth the mini depression.

Now that a year has gone by, it's crazy to think just how much has happened.  We've definitely had our fair share of struggles this year between family deaths & illnesses, a totaled car, a major leak causing chunks of our ceiling to fall down to name a few.  But we've also been incredibly lucky & it's important to celebrate it all.

J & I discussed ahead of time setting a $25 limit on anniversary gifts because money is a bit tight right now (thanks HOA for your $30K special assessment!) which was actually a really fun challenge.  Given that the first year gift is supposed to be paper,  I found this amazing custom card maker on Etsy, Kenzie card co & after just a quick conversation, had this card made.  On the inside, I filled it with everything that I love about him.  Let me tell you, this was one of my favorite gifts I've ever given anyone.
Since that we weren't spending a ton on gifts, I wanted to make the day extra special since I know we won't always be able to really celebrate.  I decided to plan a small day trip to Santa Barbara.  Our first stop was The Four Seasons Biltmore Hotel in Santa Barbara (technically Montecito) for their ridiculous champagne sunday brunch (crab legs, sushi, omelette station, eggs benedict station, meat carving station, bottomless mimosas/bloody mary's...need I go on?).  If you've never been to the Biltmore, it is a MUST. Even if you just go for a meal or a drink.  The property is STUNNING & the views are just INSANE.
Round #1
 I'll take one of each please...
After stuffing ourselves silly, we walked along the beach for a bit before heading into town. Downtown Santa Barbara, State Street specifically, is filled with tons of cute shops & restaurants. I was actually quite proud of myself for not shopping while J bought 4 pairs of socks. WE GOT CRAZY.

Our next stop was the Deep Sea Tasting Room on Stearns Wharf.  Known for their 360 degree views of the pacific coast line,  I knew this was a must.  We each did a tasting flight & then settled with our full glasses while enjoying the views.  J tried Rose for the first time & actually really enjoyed it!
 The view though....seriously.
Finally, we ended the night sharing a giant bowl of seafood pasta at The Harbor Restaurant.  Besides the insanely rich & delicious dish, the views from this place were gorgeous. It was such a perfect ending to an incredible day.


{Recipe} Baked Pasta with Sausage & Spinach

You know what's really good? Carbs. I love carbs. I love all things filled with carbs...my pant size is evident of this. But you know what? I don't care. A world without carbs is a world I'm just not interested in, OK? I'd rather be a few sizes larger & enjoy food, than be a size 2 & live off of lettuce. You know what else I'm not interested in? Wheat noodles. Yes, I'll use them from time to time, but in general, I'd just rather eat something else. There are many healthy alternatives to foods I enjoy & I will often supplement those foods but wheat noodles just have a taste & texture to them that reminds me of non fully cooked white noodles.
So, with those important facts laid out,  say hello to my new favorite pasta bake. You look at these pictures & tell me you don't want a forkful! This recipe actually came from Skinnytaste but I'm not going to pretend it's healthy. Either way, who cares...it was GOOD. For my vegetarian friends, this recipe can easily be made without the turkey sausage that I used!

Serves: 6-8
Cook time: 50 - 60 mins
How difficult was this for me? Not too bad!

Olive oil cooking spray
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano
8 oz fat free ricotta cheese
8 oz part-skim mozzarella, shredded
14 oz uncooked sweet Italian turkey or chicken sausage (I used turkey), removed from casing
12 oz rigatoni pasta
1 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced or chopped
10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed & drained
4 cups Marinara sauce of your choosing
Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 F. 

Spray 9x13 in baking dish with olive oil spray.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil & cook noodles according to directions but undercook them 4 mins less since they will be baking in the oven as well. Drain & return to pot.

While noodles are cooking, in a medium bowl combine the ricotta, 6 tbsp of the Pecorino Romano cheese & half the mozzarella cheese. Set aside.
In a large skillet, brown the sausage - breaking up into small bits until cooked through, set aside.
Without draining skillet, add olive oil to skillet & sauté garlic for a minute over medium heat, being careful not to burn

Add spinach & season a little salt & pepper.  Cook for another minute.
Return sausage to the skillet & add the marina sauce.  Cook on low for 3-4 minutes.
Place half the cooked pasta in the prepared baking dish & top with half the meat sauce.  
Spoon ricotta mixture on top of the meat sauce layer.  I used a spatula to spread it around, but it was tough!
Cover with remaining pasta, then sauce & then ricotta mix.  Add remaining mozzarella & Pecorino to the top.
Cover with foil & bake for 20 mins.  Because my baking dish was so full, I sprayed cooking spray on the tinfoil side that was face down to prevent the cheese from melting to the foil.
Remove from heat & serve!