Archive for October, 2009
My blog will be dark for just a few days while I recover from oral surgery. I’ll be back by mid next week, probably with a great smoothie entry!
Trick or Treat? Treats please!! I’ll get back to normal cooking soon, but it is a great weekend for spooky treats. My son has a party at school on Friday and parents are asked to supply the treats, so I looked around for something yummy. I decided on cupcakes because I’m sure everyone else will bring a bag of candy. I like to try new things, so even though I had some decent recipes (I could have turned my red velvet cupcakes into blood red something or other..) I looked around for something I hadn’t done.
An entry called Self Filled Cupcakes, posted by Star Pooley on AllRecipes.com caught my interest. I read through the reviews and decided to take some of one of the reviewers advice (naples34102). I tinted the filling orange, but kept the chocolate chips. The cupcakes turned out amazing. I iced them with chocolate frosting from the can that had the coupon (BUDGET!) and used some Halloween sprinkles I had in the pantry. The kids will love them. The teachers should love them more.
For trick or treating this year, we are headed to our friends’ house to sit on the driveway and greet the trick or treaters. Their neighborhood really gets into it and I’m sure we’ll see a hayride pulled by a golf cart along with some wild and crazy displays. I knew we needed snacks, so I found these kid friendly recipes for some homemade candy on Epicurious:
Both of these are chocolate covered, sugar laced treats. I did make a big mistake with the eyeballs. I should have read the reviews. After mixing up the dough, I tried rolling it into balls. Anytime I applied pressure to the packed dough, it would explode into a thousand pieces of peanut butter and sugar. I managed to make rough balls, chill them, and dip most of them, but I was displeased. Later, I read through the reviews and saw many had the same problem. I think I traced the problem to the simple issue of not letting the butter come to full room temperature. It was still cool, not rock hard, but certainly not soft as suggested.
I think this year we are all looking to cut back and do things ourselves. Homemade. It’s a shame we live in a time when you can’t bake treats for trick or treaters and expect them to be eaten. But, we can make treats and costumers with our own hands for our kids. They might not be as pretty as store bought, but make them with love and they might last forever.
It’s a Monday. Who wants to cook on a Monday? I debated just having cereal and sandwiches, but I had a half filled sealed container of that slow cooked pork staring at me in the fridge. I threw together 8oz of yellow rice, 2 cups of water, a small can of peas, and the leftover pork in a casserole dish. I covered it and slid it in the oven at 325 for an hour and a half.
The tempting aroma prompted my husband to ask if it was finished ten minutes early. When I did slide it out of the oven and scoop spoonfuls onto our dinner plates, he hovered breathing deep with his mouth watering. Sometimes he reminds me of our dog.
The dinner was delicious, required practically no dishes, and I have another serving for my lunch tomorrow! Now that is stretching the budget!
I have had a set of bread mixes sitting on the bottom shelf of my pantry for over a year. I went through a bread making phase and my mother-in-law gave them to me for my birthday during that phase. I can’t say why, but I phased out and hadn’t touched them since. They did look nice lined up in neat rows in my otherwise chaotic pantry. Since I had a few days at home, I decided to give them a taste.
I tried an Italian Herb and a Vienna, both were good. However, there was a mix taunting me in back row. Beer bread. I couldn’t just throw it in the machine. I needed something good to pair with it. Lo and behold, my next trip to the grocery store featured a picnic pork shoulder begging for a dry rub and a long roast in the crock pot. (I haven’t learned to “smoke” yet.) I dreamt of tender bbq, smothered in sauce piled high on beer bread rolls.
On Friday afternoon, I started the bread. I put it in the machine on the dough setting. After some time, I was able to pull it out, punch it down, split it up into rolls, give it a good egg wash (mixed with water) and let them rise in a warm oven for another hour. I let them bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. They were gorgeous and the house smelled fantastic! I let them cool completely then put all 8 rolls in a large freezer bag until I was ready to cut them on Saturday evening.
That night I also found a great carolina bbq dry rub recipe, though I have to say the salt content frightened me and my arteries. I mixed it all in an airtight, plastic container and kept it for the morning.
On Saturday, we had plans to visit the zoo, so I pulled out the pork shoulder, took off the netting, and covered it in the dry rub. I had read that you don’t just put rub on, you overdo it! I still had some extra left, so I placed it back in the pantry for another day. The pork went in the crock pot about 8am on Low. When we returned from the zoo, the aroma greeted us at the door. Our poor dog stood drooling beneath the crock pot. Within a couple of hours, we had napped, cleaned up, and finished preparations for the accompanying sides. (Bacon wrapped asparagus, bbq chips, and a cesear salad, all courtesy of our good friends joining us for the spread.)
It was a wonderful meal. The pork fell apart, taking no effort at all to shred it. I put it back in the crock pot shredded with just a few spoonfuls of sauce to enhance the flavor. The beer bread (made with a can of Miller Light…I know, I should have used something more exciting) was delicious. It was dense enough to hold up the sloppy bbq but still delivered great flavor and texture. All in all, a meal we are enjoying a few more times with the leftovers!
Bribery has such a negative connotation. I mean, if I have something that you like and I want you to do something, is it so bad for me to hold it over your head? Every mother I know does it! So, when we wanted some friends to come over for moral support while we watched our very sad college football team lose another game on a school night, I had to use encouragement. Thus, I baked some delictable Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies.
These particular friends have a soft spot for cookies and ice cream. It worked for the husband, the wife decided to stay home with the sleeping baby. I deferred to her good sense and sent home a sandwich baggie of cookies.
The link for the recipe is listed below and I highly recommend it. First, it comes from one of my favorite recipe sites allrecipes.com. This site is great for its sheer number of usable recipes, smart search engine, and the very helpful reviews (Tip: Always read at least a few reviews. You’ll find that other cooks who have tried the recipe include variations, substitutions, and usually a few helpful suggestions to serve with each dish.)
I should explain the term “usable recipes”. There is an exorbitant number of recipes out there. There are almost unlimited ingredients. I’m a complex woman, but I don’t need my food to be complex. I believe in trying new things and exploring new tastes, but I have a family, a budget, and limited time. I need the ingredient list, the preparation time, and the complexity to fit those parameters. Allrecipes.com is a “go to” site for me to explore. Plus, they have a great iPhone app for FREE. I’ll cover cooking apps later, but I think it’s time to go steal another cookie. Thanks Kathy, for posting such an sinful treat!