Monday, May 30, 2016

Bake sales

Now that I have a kid in school we have entered the lovely world of fundraising, donating and volunteering. We do what we can when we can but it never seems enough. 
Ah, mom guilt.
The school has an annual festival in the Spring, and I'm on the list to bake for 
that section of the fundraising. 
Things like this normally put me in a tizzy because I worry that what I bake won't taste good, so I have a few favorites I like to make each time. 

The Pioneer Woman's brown sugar oatmeal cookies are the bomb.  So easy and so good.  It make a huge batch, so I had enough for a plate for the school, one for us, and one for work.  

This time around I added 3/4 cup of coconut, and they were extra delicious.

A few years back at a work potluck I tried a Lazy Daisy cake.  Another delicious and easy recipe.  The cake is very flavorful and that buttery coconut topping is heavenly.

Hey, I just realized I made 2 coconut things this year!  We do love our coconut.  

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Book Club - The Martian by Andy Weir

"And now I'm out of the daylight again.  I can't wait to get out of this damn shadow."

"I started the day with some nothin' tea.  Nothin' tea is easy to make.  First get some hot water, then add nothin'. "

"But really they did it because every human being has a basic instinct to help each other out.  It might not seem that way sometimes, but it's true."

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Pizza Ring

I found this recipe for Easy Sausage Pesto Ring in a magazine called Fall Baking.  
I switched it up with pasta sauce and pepperoni for The Boy.  He loved it.  
Here's what I did.

1 TB butter
2 pk pillsbury biscuits
pasta sauce or pizza sauce

Preheat oven to 350'.  Grease a bundt pan with the butter.

Open the biscuits and lay them out on a cutting board.  Gently flatten them slightly.  
Cut the pepperoni into roughly the same size as the biscuits.  
Top each biscuit with a spoon of sauce, some pepperoni, and some grated cheese.  
Stack the biscuits in groups of 3 or 4.  Turn each stack on its side and place 
in the pan, forming a ring.   
Bake for 20 minutes, remove from oven, sprinkle with some additional 
cheese, and bake 5 more minutes.  
Remove from the oven and let stand 10 minutes before eating.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Book Club - Yes, Please by Amy Poehler

"It takes years as a woman to unlearn what you have been taught to be sorry for.  It takes years to find your voice and seize your real estate."

"Stop whining about getting old.  It's a privilege."

"Make "No" a complete sentence."

"I am a moon junkie.  Every time I look at the moon, I feel less alone and less afraid."  

"I love my boys so much I fear my heart will explode.  I wonder if this love will crack open my chest and split me in half.  It is scary, this love."

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Fail, fail, fail

It wasn't the best week in my kitchen. 2 recipes that I had such confidence in both completely tanked.

 I've had icebox cakes on my mind for a while.
 I made a basic one years and years ago - chocolate wafers layered with whipped cream, and oh, how delicious. 
While doing a purge of the remaining recipes from my cooking notebooks, I found an article from and old Food Network magazine on fancier ice box cakes. Most of them didn't interest me or used cookies or biscuits that I couldn't find here but one sounded super easy and good - ritz crackers with a grape jelly cream. Mmmmm!

 I made it for my Mom's birthday and it was a total embarrassment. 

First - and I do blame the recipe a smidgen for the directions on plating - it looked hideous.  Like a blindfolded kid made it.  But worst was second and third - the cream was gritty, not soft and pillowy like the magazine photos, and third - it just didn't taste good.  I was very embarrassed about serving it to my family, especially for a birthday dessert.  Everyone said it was ok, but not much got eaten.  

Then I decided to make some flourless peanut butter cookies from a well known food blog. 

I read through some of the comments, which were people saying how good they looked or asking for substitution information, but no one who had made them.  But whatevs, well known food blog.  I'm sure it will be fine.  

Nope.  I wasted the last of the peanut butter on this mess.  

Flat, greasy, oily, YUCK.  At least no one but myself was witness to this disaster.  

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Pumpkin-Raisin Doodles

When I was on maternity leave last year I tried my best to do a big purge of the house - go into every room, all the nooks and crannies, and CLEAN. 
I have always hated clutter, but something in my brain has tweaked and gone
into overdrive, and now clutter drives me bonkers. 
It's super fun for all. 

One thing I really surprised myself at doing was taking a hard look at my notebook collection
and ask myself -do I really need all these books?  All these recipes?  
The answer was no.
 The first thing I did was go through them all and see what I wanted to save - what recipes did I love and which ones would I realistically make.
(Like the recipe for Lobster Oil that I'd saved 10+ years ago - I don't like lobster.  We don't cook lobster at home.  Why did I think I was going to MAKE my own oil from lobster shells???)

The pile has been moved around from place to place, and finally, over the past few weeks I've started going through it to cull it even further, and try to figure out how to store it for actually being used.

This was a recipe that I kept because  The Mister loves pumpkin.  I gave him a choice between these cookies and a pumpkin cake for a family dinner and was pretty surprised he chose these.
I loved them! 

(A plate I brought to work to share.  Although I helped myself a couple of times before actually sharing.....)

Pumpkin-Raisin Doodles
From Fall Baking

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
2 2/3 cups flour
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup sugar
1 TB pumpkin pie spice

Beat butter with a mixer on medium for 30 seconds.  Add sugar through salt.  Beat 2 minutes.
Beat in egg, then flour.  Mix in raisins.  Cover and chill 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350'
Combine the 1/2 cup sugar and the 1TB pie spice in a bowl.  Scoop the dough into 1 1/2" rounds and roll in the spiced sugar.  Place cookies 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet.  Bake 12 minutes, until the edges are set.  Cook on wire racks.
Makes 32 cookies

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Grocery Shop - May 1

Soy sauce, burrito kit, wheat germ, juice, pizza sauce, cookies, butter, cottage cheese, cheese slices, cheddar cheese, avocados, bell peppers, salad x 2, strawberries, apples, watermelon, steak, pita bread, english muffins, pepperoni, ham, cereal bars, fruit leather.