Desserts, Other, Recipes

Lemon Meringue Pie Puppy Chow #bookclubcookbookcc

Think pie is too complicated? Well, enjoy lemon meringue pie in puppy chow form. All that lemon flavor with minimal effort. #dangerous

Lemon Meringue Pie Puppy Chow  - easier than pie, but just as delicious! #bookclubcookbookCC |

Like my #dangerous hashtag? Lately I’ve been finding all sorts of things that are #dangerous. S’mores Oreos, for one. The new coffee shop that is getting REALLY close to being completed in my library, for two. Seriously–I can see it from my office window. It’s like 30 steps away. I won’t even have to walk across campus! I see a lot of $3.80 caramel lattes in my future. [Yes, I have the price of a latte on campus memorized.] And this tasty treat, for three. Cause I love me some lemon meringue pie, but it’s kinda complicated. Crust, filling, meringue… all that jazz. And dishes, dishes, dishes! Now I can have all the taste with almost none of the work. #Dangerous, I say!

Lemon Meringue Pie Puppy Chow  - easier than pie, but just as delicious! #bookclubcookbookCC |

Lemon Meringue Pie Puppy Chow is sort of a random recipe to make at the end of August, I realize. This time of year is all about getting the last dose of summer in before pumpkin and apple season hits. But lemons are citrus fruits, and citrus fruits remind me of summer [even though they’re really a winter fruit, right?], and lemons are sunshine-y yellow and happy! Plus, puppy chow is a no-bake treat… the perfect sweet that doesn’t heat up your kitchen. Score! So this puppy chow totally makes sense. And is delicious. Did I say that yet? It’s sweet and tangy and sugary… an always addictive snack mix. This version has white chocolate in it too. Mmmm!

Lemon Meringue Pie Puppy Chow  - easier than pie, but just as delicious! #bookclubcookbookCC |

But I must admit that I have a secondary motive [besides summery no-bake deliciousness] for making this treat. Lemon Meringue Pie was also the recipe of choice for this month’s edition of #bookclubcookbookCC, a cooking project I am part of this year. See here for more details! Andrea at Adventures in All Things Food hosted. She invited us to read A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson and make a Very Yellow Lemon Meringue Pie with her. I didn’t make a pie… and I didn’t get to reading the book [though I did check it out from the library, so maybe I will soon]. But I hope Andrea, the rest of the cooking group, and all of YOU lovely readers enjoy this lemony puppy chow. Who doesn’t like puppy chow? And this fun lemon twist will make anyone smile! Enjoy, and be sure to scroll down to enter the giveaway to win a copy of The Book Club Cookbook for yourself! 🙂

Lemon Meringue Pie Puppy Chow  - easier than pie, but just as delicious! #bookclubcookbookCC |

one year ago: Minty Turkey Meatballs with Quinoa
two years ago: Roasted Peach Muffins with Cinnamon Streusel
three years ago: Brown Rice, Feta, and Tomato Salad
four years ago: Whole Wheat Zucchini Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
five years ago: Peanut Butter Fingers

Lemon Meringue Pie Puppy Chow

  • Servings: makes 11 cups
  • Print

adapted from Living Locurto


  • 9 cups Chex cereal
  • 11.5 ounce bag white chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup butter or oil
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2+ cups powdered sugar
  • 2 cups Golden Grahams cereal or equivalent broken graham crackers


Place Chex cereal in a large bowl. Combine white chocolate and butter/oil in a medium bowl and microwave on 50% power in 30 second increments until chocolate melts. Stir well between each round in the microwave.

When chocolate is melted, add lemon zest then slowly pour in lemon juice, gently stirring to combine. If juice is too cold then the chocolate can start to seize up, so be careful. When combined, pour over Chex and fold together.

Transfer mixture to a gallon size ziptop bag, then add 1 cup powdered sugar. Seal and shake to combine. Add an additional cup powdered sugar and repeat. If you want more powdered sugar in the mix or you want to fully coat the cereal, you may need to add more–another cup or so. Spread mixture on a large baking sheet or a piece of wax paper to allow chocolate to harden. When chocolate has set, mix in Golden Grahams/graham cracker pieces.


Note: Unlike regular puppy chow, this is best the day it is made… so it may not be a great recipe for making ahead. It’s definitely still edible [and enjoyable] for 4-5 days but because of the fresh lemon zest and juice you’ll want to eat it quickly.

Andrea at Adventures in all Things Food, this month’s host, is giving away a copy of the book.* Enter to win a copy of the cookbook so you can join us in future months, if you wish!
One of our lucky readers – US and Canada only! – can enter to win a copy ofThe Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club’s Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp, courtesy of Tarcher-Penguin. Giveaway runs from August 1st till August 31st at 6 o’clock PM, Pacific time. Please see terms and conditions in the rafflecopter widget below. Many thanks to Tarcher Books. You may find Tarcher: on the web, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Pinterest.
Enter the giveaway at the link below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclosure: Andrea received a complimentary copy of The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club’s Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp to use in this year-long project plus the opportunity to give a copy away. Opinions are our own. We received no further compensation for our posts.

Desserts, Other, Recipes

#10DaysofTailgate: Cinnamon Puppy Chow

Take regular puppy chow up a notch with this cinnamon-infused version. You gotta have some sweets for tailgating, right?!

Cinnamon Puppy Chow | #10DaysofTailgate

It’s Monday and the first day of a week’s worth of recipes I’m sharing as part of #10DaysofTailgate, the special blogging event I am participating in through the rest of the month. This event has been graciously organized by Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla. While you’re thinking about it, be sure to pop over here to read all about the event and enter the giveaway. You won’t regret it! 🙂

#10DaysofTailgate Sponsors

Puppy chow–always puppy chow, never muddy buddies–is THE snack I associate with friends. One of my good friends from high school always made puppy chow for Christmas gifts, packaging it in cute tins. My college friends and I are also huge puppy chow fans. Almost all of our post-college get-togethers [which are sadly few and far between, since the five of us live in three states and three countries: Tennessee, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Korea, and France :(] involve this simple peanut butter and chocolate snack. Though we have many puppy chow memories, my favorite is when we made puppy chow in a hotel room during one of the girl’s wedding weekends. This was ridiculously fun, as you may imagine, since we bought all the supplies at Target including some cheap-o plastic bowls to use in the microwave for melting the peanut butter mixture. Oh my, such fun! I don’t think that hotel room has ever seen so much powdered sugar!!

Cinnamon Puppy Chow | #10DaysofTailgate

Since puppy chow and I have such history, I have a hard time with all these “variations” floating around the internet. But sometimes tailgating calls for something a little special, right? So I sacrificed [ha] and whipped up this easy amped up version of puppy chow….CINNAMON Puppy Chow. And guess what? It is awesome… full of that chocolate peanut butter goodness you’re used to, but with a fun fall cinnamon-y twist. Please try it and experience the awesomeness for yourself! I bet you’ll love it!

Cinnamon Puppy Chow | #10DaysofTailgate

Cinnamon Puppy Chow

  • Servings: 20
  • Print

from 4 Little Fergusons


  • 2 cups chocolate or cinnamon chips
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 boxes Chex cereal, divided [13 ounce box Cinnamon Chex; 16 ounce Corn Chex=18 cups total]
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, divided


In a saucepan set over low heat, melt chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter together, stirring continually. When melted, remove from heat and stir in vanilla and cinnamon.

Place half of the cereal in a large bowl and pour half of the chocolate mixture on top. Carefully stir, then transfer to a gallon-size ziploc. Repeat with the rest of the ingredients, using a new bag too. Divide powdered sugar between two bags and shake to combine.

Combine both bags into a large tupperware, making sure to stir together so the Cinnamon Chex is mixed in.

Here’s what the rest of the crew brought to the table…

Grilled Shrimp with Bloody Mary Dip
 by Curious Cuisiniere
Carnitas-Stuffed Potatoes with Carrot Karma Pico de Gallo by Culinary Adventures with Camilla

Oktoberfest Beer Mustard with Dippers
 by Eliot’s Eats

Bacon Cheeseburger Egg Rolls
 by Things I Make (for Dinner)
Brat Bites with Spicy Mustard Dipping Sauce by Cheese Curd In Paradise
Kalua Pork Sliders With Spicy Pineapple Relish by Cooking In Stilettos
Chicken Parmesan Sliders by Debbi Does Dinner Healthy
Cherry Chipotle Meatloaf Sandwiches by The Not So Cheesy Kitchen
Cherry Chipotle Meatballs by From Gate to Plate
Asian-Inspired Turkey Burgers by Sew You Think You Can Cook

SRC Surprise Recipe
 by A Day in the Life on the Farm

Cinnamon Puppy Chow by The Pajama Chef
Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies by Love and Confections

Desserts, Other, Recipes

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice

This pumpkin pie spice is the perfect seasoning for all of your fall baking. Be sure to check out my secret ingredient that gives it a special POP. 🙂

Pumpkin Pie Spice |

Before last fall, I swore by store-bought pumpkin pie spice. Specifically, from Trader Joe’s. But then I ran out and didn’t have time to drive across town to my friend the Trader. Soooo I made my own. Let me confess, I was scared I wouldn’t like it. But guess what! I did. And now I won’t go back to the store-bought stuff.

Pumpkin Pie Spice |

My special blend of pumpkin pie spice has all the usual suspects–cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, ginger… and when you’re measuring them, it smells like the essence of fall in your kitchen. Nothin’ better! I’ve spent some times playing around with the ratios of spices and have deemed this recipe my favorite for now. 🙂 But wait… there’s more! I added a lil secret ingredient to give this pumpkin pie spice blend a special pop, a little wow, a big bang, a bunch of deliciousness to all your pumpkin goodies: dried lemon peel! It’s just a tiny amount in the grand scheme of this spice blend, but it adds some citrusy zing that elevates the flavor so much. I will tell you that my buddy the Trader did add lemon peel to his pumpkin pie spice first, but I’m glad I could capitalize on that success. Thank goodness for ingredient labels! 🙂 You can find dried lemon peel in the spice aisle, but I will warn you it’s a little pricier than most spices. However, a little goes a long way so it will last. If you have cardamom I’m sure that would be a good addition too.

Pumpkin Pie Spice |

I keep this pumpkin pie spice in a small mason jar in my spice cupboard all year long and add it to anything and everything that can use some fall spice love: pumpkin quick breads and desserts of every kind, of course, but also oatmeal, yogurt, applesauce, and even on toast [a la cinnamon toast]. Some of my favorite pumpkin recipes include: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins, Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cake with Nutella Frosting, and Pumpkin Brownies. To see all my pumpkin recipes, click here. I’ll be adding many more this fall so stay tuned! You’ll want a jar of this stuff in your pantry to enjoy the deliciousness. 🙂

one year ago: Pumpkin Coconut Soup
two years ago: Iced Tea with Ginger-Mint Simple Syrup
three years ago: Pumpkin Granola
four years ago: Spaghetti and Meatballs

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice


  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 tablespoon allspice
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried lemon peel


Combine all ingredients in a small jar and shake to combine.

Use in anything and everything this fall–breads, pies, muffins, cakes… yogurt, applesauce… the possibilities are endless!

30 Before 30, Beans, Chicken, Main Dishes, Other, Recipes, Salads, Sides

Mystery Dish: BBQ Chicken Salad with Jalapeno Basil Ranch Dressing

Today I have the BEST SALAD EVER to share with you!! I am so psyched, I can hardly wait to tell you about it [even though it is not original at all. But that’s okay.] But first, this recipe qualifies for not just one, but two challenges. Woohoo! First of all, I created this recipe for Mystery Dish. But since it includes a fantastic homemade ranch dressing, it also helps fulfill one of my 30 before 30 goals. Score!

BBQ Chicken Salad with Jalapeno Basil Ranch Dressing | #mysterydish #salad #summer

This month for Mystery Dish, Chez Catey Lou is our host. Cate is so sweet and gave us such a creative list to work with! We had to use at least two ingredients from this list: raspberries, peanut butter chips, edamame, lemon, yeast, whole wheat pastry flour, bacon, buttermilk, basil, and zucchini. There were a thousand ways I thought about going [I probably say that every month…sorry] but my craving for a salad won out in the end. I used a few of Cate’s ingredients [lemon, buttermilk, and basil] to make an awesome Jalapeno Ranch Dressing to dress up a BBQ Chicken Salad.

BBQ Chicken Salad with Jalapeno Basil Ranch Dressing | #mysterydish #salad #summer

I have long searched for a good homemade ranch dressing. I’ve made this recipe once before and let me tell’s a keeper! It’s creamy, spicy, and best of all… clean! No weird mystery ingredients in the powder, thankyouverymuch. The key to this recipe is the jalapeno. It just elevates this creamy, herby dressing with a bit of spice. Oh so good!

BBQ Chicken Salad with Jalapeno Basil Ranch Dressing | #mysterydish #salad #summer

You know what else is good? This salad! I know a zillion restaurants have variations of BBQ Chicken Salad and this was mine. I just used seven ingredients so it’s pretty basic: lettuce, chicken, BBQ sauce, corn, tomatoes, black beans, and ranch dressing. You could also add avocados, onions, bacon, or anything else that strikes your fancy.

BBQ Chicken Salad with Jalapeno Basil Ranch Dressing | #mysterydish #salad #summer

I kept it simple though so the flavors could really shine. You will really want to make it again and again. One bite of this and Ben was swooning. Seriously! This is a man’s salad, and definitely fancy enough for a restaurant. Hope you enjoy it as much we do!

BBQ Chicken Salad with Jalapeno Basil Ranch Dressing | #mysterydish #salad #summer

one year ago: Strawberry Muffins
two years ago: Sweet-Tart Quinoa Salad
three years ago: BAST sandwich

BBQ Chicken Salad with Jalapeno Ranch Dressing

  • Servings: 4 meal-size salads or 8 side salads; 2 cups dressing
  • Print


  • 2 cups cooked chicken [leftovers from a roasted chicken work great]
  • 1 cup bbq sauce [I used Sweet Baby Ray’s]
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 2 cups black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups fresh corn, cut from 3 ears of corn
  • 1 head romaine lettuce
  • Jalapeno Ranch Dressing, recipe below


Stir together chicken and bbq sauce in a skillet set over medium-low heat. Heat for 5-7 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, toss together romaine lettuce and Jalapeno Ranch Dressing in desired amounts. Divide lettuce between four plates, then top each with a quarter of all ingredients: chicken, tomato, black beans, and corn. Toss together and enjoy!

Jalapeno Ranch Dressing [slightly adapted from The Lively Kitchen]


  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk [for this I use real buttermilk, a substitute could be kinda weird]
  • 4 green onions, chopped, with white bottoms removed
  • 1/2 of a chopped, deseeded jalapeno [~2 tablespoons]
  • 3 tablespoons  fresh parsley, chopped [or 1 teaspoon dried parsley]
  • 1/3 cup fresh Thai basil, chopped [or cilantro, basil, etc.]
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste


Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth. An immersion blender works great!

Dressing thickens in the fridge so add some extra buttermilk before serving leftovers as desired.

Please check out the other awesome recipes from this month’s Mystery Dish!

May Mystery Dish Collage

1. Raspberry Lemon Sweet Roll Cake with Buttermilk Glaze – Baking a Moment
2. Twice Baked Zucchini Boat – Chelsea’s Messy Apron
3. Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Raspberry Mint Compote – Blahnik Baker
4. Lemon-Raspberry Bundt Cake – I Dig Pinterest
5. Peanut Butter Chip Cookies – The Dessert Chronicles
6. Mini Coconut Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting – I Want Crazy
7. Zucchini Noodles with Meat Mushroom Tomato Sauce – Joyfully Healthy Eats
8. Baked Wonton Cups Filled with Edamame Corn Salad – The Well Floured Kitchen
9. Easy 30 Minute Orange Rolls – Yummy Healthy Easy
10. BBQ Chicken Salad with Jalapeno Basil Ranch Dressing – The Pajama Chef
11. Mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cupcakes – Culinary Couture
12. Zucchini Muffins with Lemon Glaze – The Weary Chef
13. Lemon Bundt Cake – Chez CateyLou

Desserts, Other, Recipes

Bunny Bait, or White Chocolate Snack Mix You Can Make All Year

I feel so lame calling this snack mix “Bunny Bait.” What I REALLY want to call it, despite those springtime Easter M&Ms, is Ho Ho Ho Cheerio Mix. Because that’s its real name [for Christmastime]. My mom was given this recipe back in the day with her friend Kim, and it’s been a family favorite ever since. The sweet and salty snack mix is super addictive, so I don’t suggest making a batch unless you have lots of friends and family to share with.

Bunny Bait, or White Chocolate Snack Mix You Can Make All Year Long |

Though I want to tell you that the ingredients in this snack mix–Crispix, Cheerios, pretzels, peanuts, and M&Ms are sacred, they really aren’t. Case in point: when I was shopping for ingredients to make this batch, I accidentally grabbed Chex cereal instead of Crispix. I don’t know what I was thinking! But it worked just fine. So feel free to substitute ingredients with what ya got or what you want to use. Cause really, when you pair M&Ms with crunchy cereal and salty pretzels and peanuts [that I left out this time because this batch was a gift for student workers in the library, and I wanted to be sensitive to possible peanut allergies], and top everything with white chocolate, you can’t go wrong. This Bunny Bait or Ho Ho Ho Cheerio Mix or White Chocolate Snack Mix is just divine. It’s perfect for Easter or any holiday, just use the seasonal M&Ms to make it extra festive. Enjoy! 🙂 Happy Easter!

Bunny Bait, or White Chocolate Snack Mix You Can Make All Year|

one year ago: Pork Chops with Quinoa, Kale, and Blood Orange
two years ago: Best Burrito Bowls Ever
three years ago: Sausage Egg Apple Strata

Bunny Bait, Ho Ho Ho Cheerio Mix, or White Chocolate Snack Mix You Can Make All Year

  • Servings: 12 cups
  • Print

from my mom’s friend Kim

  • 6 cups Crispix or Chex Cereal
  • 6 cups Cheerios
  • 2 cups pretzels
  • 2 cups peanuts, optional
  • 2 cups M&Ms [I usually use the smallest “large” bag they sell, about 12 or 13 ounces]
  • 12 ounces white chocolate chips, or 1 package vanilla/almond/white chocolate candy coating –> this works wayyy better than the white chocolate chips and I think it comes in 18 ounce packages
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil, optional


In the largest bowl or roaster you own, stir together cereals, pretzels, peanuts, and M&Ms. Then melt white chocolate chips or candy coating  in the microwave, heating in 30 second bursts and stirring well in between until melted. This usually takes me about 90 seconds.

Stir oil into white chocolate to help with pouring if you like, then pour white chocolate over cereal mix. Stir together to coat, then spread on wax paper to set.

Linked up with Weekend Potluck.