Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Reindeer Chow

"When I'm worried and I can't sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep
And I fall asleep counting my blessings..."
- Bing Crosby

In the past few days, I've been thinking a lot about counting my blessings.  I look at my boys and I'm immediately reminded how incredibly blessed I am.  I can't even imagine how my life would be without them.  They're the reason why I get up every morning.  They're the reason why I even started this blog.  I wouldn't have had the drive and determination to create all these allergy-friendly recipes if it weren't for them.  So when life gets a little crazy, I stop and remind myself to count my blessings.

This entire week is filled with fun activities, school programs and parties for the kids to enjoy before they take a break for the holidays.  Today, I watched my typically energetic 3-year-old stand still on stage, like a deer caught in headlights, for his school's Christmas program.  Poor little guy.  He must've been shocked to see all those unfamiliar faces staring back at him.  I gave him the biggest hug and a kiss afterwards for his performance.  Then, I spent the afternoon making graham cracker gingerbread houses with my 7-year-old and his classmates.  It was so fun watching them get really creative with their houses and I was surprised that none of them even tried to eat some candy until school was out (wow!).  I'm really glad I got to spend some time with the boys at school today.  The past couple months have been really hectic with the move and getting settled into our new home.  It's nice to finally get back to normal.

Each year, I try to come up with something new and interesting for my kids to share with their classmates during the holidays.  This year I'm making a Christmas version of Muddy Buddies (aka Puppy Chow) and it's called Reindeer Chow.  It's filled with pretzels, cereal, cookies, cranberries, marshmallows and peppermint candies.  And everything is covered in melted chocolate and decorated with colorful sprinkles.  How fun is that?

Originally I decided to give them a dusting of powdered sugar.  I thought it would be so cute because it looked like snow.  Big mistake.  First of all, it made it really messy to eat.  I'm sure their teachers will love that.  Second of all, it made the Reindeer Chow look dull and unappealing; I couldn't even see the colorful sprinkles I added.  So I nixed the powdered sugar.

I love the sweet and salty combination this little treat offers and I'm so happy my boys love it too.  My 3-year-old loves eating the chocolate-covered Chex cereal with the dried cranberries while my 7-year-old loves the little bits of salt stuck on the chocolate covered pretzels as well as the mini Oreo cookies.  And making a huge batch of this for their classmates was a piece of cake: I just melted some chocolate chips and tossed in all the ingredients. I packaged them in clear plastic bags and tied a pretty red ribbon on top.  Voila! Instant party favor.

I hope you'll enjoy Reindeer Chow as much as we do. Feel free to create your own version.  Take a look in your pantry and cupboards and see what wonderful sweet and salty combination you can create.

Happy Holidays!

Reindeer Chow
Makes about 12 servings
Allergy note: contains wheat  and dairy ingredients*

2 cups Chex rice or corn cereal
2 cups Golden Grahams cereal or graham crackers, broken into bite-size pieces
2 cups Pretzel sticks
1 cups dried cranberries
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips*
1/4 cup colorful sprinkles
1 package Peppermint candies or small candy canes
2 cups bite-size cookies
2 cups mini marshmallows

* for a dairy-free alternative to regular chocolate chips, you can try Enjoy Life brand or Chocolate Dream brand)

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the Chex cereal, Golden Graham cereal, pretzels and dried cranberries.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, melt the semisweet chocolate chips, either over a double-boiler or in the microwave (heat for about 15-30 seconds, mix then microwave again until chocolate is melted).  Pour the melted chocolate over the cereal mixture.  Gently stir until everything is covered with chocolate.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil.  Spread the reindeer chow mixture flat on the baking sheets.  Top the mixture with colorful sprinkles then allow for the melted chocolate to firm up (you can put them in the fridge for a few minutes to help speed up the process). Break apart the reindeer chow into smaller bite-size pieces.  Mix in the peppermint candies, cookies and marshmallows.  Serve immediately, pour them into packages or keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 weeks, but I doubt you'll still have any left after 1 week :-)

Please note: I am not a paid endorser nor did I accept any free samples of the brands or products mentioned in this post.  I purchased these items myself and wanted to mention them by name because I used them and genuinely liked time :-) 


Anonymous said...

Such an adorable fun idea, I'm sure my little brother would love it! OX

Kristen said...

Fun mom award! Thanks for adopting me, sometimes. :)



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