My kids have been learning about the day of the dead and doing alters and skeleton art projects at school. They had lots of questions and although we didn’t celebrate in the past and am not of Mexican heritage, I like the idea of embracing death and remembering and honoring those before us. With all the Halloween activity, I wanted to be sure we did a bit of remembering and celebrating those our family has lost.
We sat around the dinner table and I told a few stories about some past relatives and what I miss most about them. We also remembered some of their favorite foods and recipes. The kids were able to chime in about their gido (my dad) and how they remember him doing gymnastic tricks with them in the living room and how much he loved old cars and Mediteranean food. I recalled my own grandfather and how I loved when we went for ice cream (chocolate mint) and to the movies. I even remember making him his drinks (scotch on the rocks) when I was about 10 years old. It smelled bad and strong then and still does to me now.
We recently put in a fire pit in our backyard, and have been enjoying after dinner s’mores on occasion. Because of Dia de los Muertos we dressed up the marshmallows a bit by coloring on them with food dye pens. I know not very healthy, but fun. It was pretty neat to see their faces dance in the flames. This was a simple and fun way to celebrate and create (hopefully) a new day of the dead ritual for our family.
O.K. so everyone calls these Rice Krispies treats even though they are made with other rice crisp cereal and vegan marshmallows. I guess it’s like calling a tissue a Kleenex. Anyways, I thought these would be fun to make and package for my daughter’s soccer team snack. My box had a peanut butter version, so I went online to look up the original. This was a fun one to do with my kids. Super easy. I realized I hadn’t made these in quite a while when my son looked into the pot with an amazed face and said “Wow, these are cool looking!”
How can 3 little ingredients add to so much fun, ease and taste? The thing is we don’t buy Rice Krispies Cereal (high fructose corn syrup) or regular marshmallows. No worries. We used Trader Joe’s Puffed Rice cereal (Ewewhorn makes one too – no GMO’s and organic) and found vegan, gelatin free marshmallows (Dandies’ or Sweet & Sara). Of course once my vegetarian daughter found out what was in regular marshmallows (gelatin is made of hides and bone) she wasn’t haven’t any. I don’t blame her – yuck! I bet you could even make this recipe with vegan sticks, but no need to go there if you don’t have to. The expense of the marshmallows alone is twice that of the regular gelatinous ones. The funny thing is even one of my daughter’s friends who apparently rejected one of these earlier in the day at Starbuck’s, ate this version after the game. Maybe we’re on to something. Of course most people didn’t know about the vegan marshmallows so when another family made Rice Crispy treats another game my daughter passed and said they weren’t vegetarian and told the dad all about what’s in marshmallows. Oops! We need to work on simply saying “no thank you” without a political or nutritional statement.
Here’s the recipe, which may not be on the box of other rice cereal.
Crisp Rice Treats
3 Tbl unsalted butter
10 oz. vegan or regular marshmallows
6 cups crisp/toasted rice cereal
Coat a 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan with butter or cooking spray. Set aside.
In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.
Add cereal all at once. Stir until well coated.
Using buttered spatula or wax paper evenly press mixture into prepared 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan while warm. (Be careful if children are helping) Cool. Cut into 2-inch squares. (Best if served the same day.)