I’ve written before about how I used to go way overboard as a hostess. There was the time I made 12 pounds of nut brittle for our engagement party. Or the time I decided to throw myself a Southern themed 28th birthday, complete with deviled eggs, pralines, a muti-tiered cake and specialty cocktails. Or the time I baked two enormous gingerbreads for a holiday dinner, just because the first one wasn’t quite pretty enough.
I wish I could say that I came to my senses and realized that everything didn’t have to be perfect, but the truth is that I had a baby and I just didn’t have time anymore. These days when we have people over, I prepare not by artfully arranging cheeses on a platter and polishing wine glasses, but by shoving toys under the furniture and making sure that the training potty is presentable.
This past Saturday was gorgeous, and on a whim, we decided to invite a bunch of friends over for a barbecue. We inflated the kiddie pool, stocked up on burgers and hot dogs and TONS of veggies for the grill, and… that was it. I didn’t really clean, and I didn’t make one thing. Except for dessert. Because everybody knows it’s not a party unless there is dessert.
But in keeping with my new laid back mode of entertaining, I went with something quick, simple, and homey: Rice Krispie treats. My plan was for them to be vegan, but I didn’t quite make it all the way to Whole Foods, which is the only store in our area that carries vegan marshmallows. So let’s call them “almost vegan.” I swapped coconut oil for butter, and added a shower of toasted coconut flakes for good measure. Then freeze-dried strawberries crushed and crumbled all over the top because why not? I had them on hand and they looked a little bit fancy. Coconut + strawberries = yum.
The party–and the Strawberry Coconut Rice Krispie treats–were a huge success, but I do wish I had prepared a little bit more for all the kids. When Owen and his friends were younger, I never had to think about food for them because the parents always brought bottles and purees and stuff. But now that he is a big boy, I’m realizing I should have had more things for the kids to eat for dinner.
I’m curious–what do you serve to kids when you are hosting a party? Tell me in the comments!
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 package (10 ounces) marshmallows
- 5 cups Rice Krispies
- 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut, toasted and cooled
- 1/2 cup freeze-dried strawberries
- Line a 9-x-9-inch baking pan with foil so that it extends up the sides. Spray with nonstick spray. Line the bottom of the pan with a square of parchment paper.
- Melt the coconut oil in a large pot over low heat. Add the marshmallows and cook, stirring, until melted and smooth. Immediately remove the pot from the heat and stir in the Rice Krispies and shredded coconut.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and use a small square of wax paper to press it down evenly. With your hands, crush the strawberries over the Rice Krispie treats (you will have some strawberry "dust" and some larger chunks.) Use another small square of wax paper to press the strawberries gently into the Rice Krispie treats so that they stick.
- Cool completely. Use the foil to lift the entire piece out of the pan, then cut into squares and serve.
- Substitute vegan marshmallows, if you can find them, for a totally vegan version.