Sunday, September 9, 2012

Yellow Squash and the New and Improved Special K Plan, with Bonus Recipe

I never thought I’d see the day when I’d actually eat the yellow squash from my garden raw—as in, uncooked—and enjoy doing so. But that day has come. Usually I do my best to give nearly everything I grow of the yellow stuff away. After all, I thought I only liked it if I cooked it, and what’s the fun in that if I actually need schedule time to stir fry it or stick it in the oven?

These days, time to do anything is a rare commodity. And if I can put decent food into the mouths of myself and my babes where I get the biggest return for the least amount of work, I’m a happy person. Thus, you can imagine my joy at discovering more and more how good and satisfying fruits and vegies are when they come right off the vine, or bush, or tree, or what have you.

Okay, so maybe I don’t eat all my fruits and vegies raw. I do enhance the squash with a bit of ranch dressing, but still. Ranch dressing is merely a condiment, equivalent to topping off a burger with a dollop of ketchup and a swirl of mayonnaise. So in my book, it all adds up to a good thing at the end of the day.

Am I on a health kick? Kind of.

Some of you may recall a post a few weeks back where I abhorred the thought of going on a Special K diet, despite the plea from my children that in doing so might win us a trip to Hawaii. While the thought of losing a couple inches off my waist does sound appealing (and actually needed, lest I find myself looking to expand my wardrobe); the idea of having to eat Special K twice a day was approaching nightmare status, considering the fact that eating what amounts to “air” might actually end up killing me. (We can not live by flakes alone.)

Nevertheless, the Special K conundrum did get me thinking on how I might shed an inch or two without giving up life’s basic necessity of food (sugar and chocolate included). The fact that I actually had to spend time THINKING to come up with my latest game plan should NOT impress you, meaning, I should not have had to THINK at all to realize that perhaps I should get back to doing what I used to do in the past. Getting MOBILE.  I.E., exercise. Kicking my butt out of the office or out of the house in order to do whatever I can find to do Outside.

Seems like a simple solution. But I do have that Lack of Time issue. So I had to think a bit more. And I came up with this: Why not bike to work? It’s not far. The weather is still good. I’ll work on my tan. Plus, I’ll still be able to eat more than Special K. (BONUS!) All I’ll have to do is get up a bit earlier, and avoid drivers who text. #Don'tHitMe

Plus, I figured Chef John (who wrote a book called "Doughnuts for Amy") would be proud. He did show concern on my Special K dilemma and suggest I spice up my morning with a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice in a tweet. Lucky for me the grocery store serves up cartons of the Fresh Squeezed Brew.

So far, so good. As for Special K, it has redeemed itself. Thanks to the most amazing woman on the planet (a.k.a. my Mom), I now have a great recipe filled with what I call protein. My children, who are NOT SO KIND, call it Fat. (They are still hanging their hopes on Hawaii). But that doesn’t keep me from making it (when I have time) and eating it (when I need fuel). At the very least, it will keep me biking to work, and happy in the fact that I'm doing something normal with my life, like breathing air instead of eating it.

The "Might Not Get You There From Here" Special K Bars (That's up to YOU)

6 cups Special K cereal
1 cup Karo syrup
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

This recipe is pretty similar to those beloved Rice Crispie treats. If you don't know how to make those, then read closely. If you DO know how to make those, then read even more closely. (Yes, I kind of messed up the first time ... #Don't Ask). Plus, unlike Rice Crispie Treats, this recipe has two steps (i.e., a topping). So, take care to see below.

> Cook the Karo syrup and brown sugar together on medium heat in a decent, medium-sized pot until they come to a jolly slow boil.  Turn down  the heat good-and-low and stir in that creamy peanut butter (no Nuts!), and make a mental note not to serve these bars to anyone with peanut allergies. Remove that pan with the goodies from heat and mix in that 6 cups of Special K. You might want to make it easier on yourself by approaching this as a step-wise process and only add two cups at a time. Finally, butter a 11x13 pan and press this sticky, greasy batter into the pan.

NO, you are not Done!

There is a topping.

1/2 bag of semi-sweet choc chips
1/2 bag of butterscotch chips

You'll want to heat these together in one pan on the stove. Or maybe you'll want to try melting them in short bursts of medium-radiation in the microwave (in a microwave-safe bowl). The path you choose is up to you, but after you have a bowl or pan full of gooey goodness, spread it on top of the bars.

Cover the pan and put it in the fridge to chill for a bit. Then cut into Bite-sized! squares. Freeze most, because you definitely don't want to go eating all of these in one sitting. As for the cutting, you'll want to use one of those long and strong, wedged knives that are often featured in Horror Films. This type of knife will serve you well in giving leverage as you press down thru the bars. (And That's Physics101, Baby!). Give yourself an A.


  1. loved the recipe mmmm mmmm good
    Thanks shaunda. for the yummy treats :)) so very good

  2. Hold on now Mrs. W. I said "fresh squeezed" as in squeezed yourself, not purchased juice that's been pasteurized. Try one of these Breville juicers

  3. I know, I know, Chef John. But there is such a thing as supporting our hard-working Florida orange growers. :)

    I do have one of those pyramid-in-a-bowl contraptions that require a bit of hand pressing the poor fruit up to its rind. I suppose I should add "pressing" to my new and improved exercise plan?

  4. Loved your article Shaunda, very entertaining, would have to agree with your children that the Special K bars are really a great source of fat, but non the less a wonderful treat and a enjoyable way to eat Special K!!
    Keep on writing, you are a talented!

  5. Glad you liked the recipe and the post! It was fun to make and write about. Life is good like that, sometimes.

  6. Love this post Shaunda. You're writing always makes me smile. Love ya!

  7. Thanks, Heather! Keep your beautiful smile smiling!

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