Tag Archives: snacks

Confessions of a Childhood Cook

I grew out of a lot of things I liked to do as a child, as most people do. One thing I never outgrew was liking food and cooking. One of my confessions from my days as a young cook involves multiple confessions. So I might as well just get right to it. Mom? Dad? I’m sorry. I was not the angelic child you believed me t….sorry, I can’t finish that sentence with a straight face, even typing it instead of speaking it. Angelic? Middle child of 6 girls? Not likely. I’m sure these confessions won’t even raise an eyebrow from my folks.

Confession #1: The recipe I’m about to share has always been my guilty pleasure. From the moment I discovered it… I would sneak out of bed many nights to make it after everyone else was long asleep (or at least I assumed they were asleep)

Confession #2: After making the recipe, I plopped down in front of the TV to watch late night Nick at Nite shows like Donna Reed and Mr.Ed (such a rebel)

Confession #3: I ate the recipe straight out of the pan and drank 2 big glasses of milk along with it.

So, what is this glorious recipe? I’m sure you’ve heard of it. I’m sure you’ve even made it many times yourself. And I’m sure you even have eaten it straight from the pan. Perhaps not the entire pan of it like I did, though (please, do confess if you did, though! I’d love to not be alone on this one….)

NO BAKE CHOCOLATE MOUNDS (a.k.a No Bake Cookies)

Your Ingredients:

1/4 lb butter, 2 c sugar, 1/2 c milk, 1/4 c peanut butter, 6 Tbl cocoa powder, 3 c quick oats, 1 tsp vanilla

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In a large saucepan, mix together butter, sugar, and milk. Bring to a boil and allow to boil for 2 minutes. Imagine a child waiting for 2 minutes for sugar to boil. I think that kind of torture should be enough that no punishment for the crime of sneaking out of bed to make this yummy treat is necessary. Wouldn’t you agree?

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Add the remaining ingredients to the pan.

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Stir until well combined. And then, if you’re like a normal person, you’ll want to work fast to drop the mix onto wax paper before it begins to harden. (The cooler it is in your house, the faster they will harden.) [Note, mine are on foil instead of wax paper…because I don’t have wax paper. This is the only recipe I have that needs it, and well, I usually eat the dang things right out of the pan and never make it to this step!]

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Oh, don’t worry. I saved some for myself. I have it sitting right here next to me while I type. So, Mom and Dad? Now I guess you know why you seemed to always run out of oatmeal (and sugar, and cocoa powder, oh and milk….) quicker than expected. Loves! xx

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As I was remembering my late-night snacking adventures this morning on the way to work, it reminded me of other recipes from my childhood that I am now officially on the hunt for! Children’s books with recipes in them! There is one out there somewhere with cranberry cookies and I am determined to find it, along with many others I remember from my childhood. I will keep you updated on what I find. What are your favorite childhood food memories?

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Healthy Snacks

Fresh and Healthy Snacks for the week. What are you snacking on between meals?

I was going to write a big, long post about how important healthy snacking and healthy meals are. Complete with a confession that I gained 5 pounds while at a work conference, and upon my return, I ate more taffy in 3 days than any person should eat in a lifetime…

But I’ll spare you all that (oops, too late) and just say I am back on the wagon again and have my fresh snacks ready for the week.

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Bountiful Baskets

Bountiful Baskets

I have discovered (with the help of my Baby Sis) an amazing resource for affordable fresh produce, and I’m wondering what took me so long to participate in the Bountiful Baskets Food Co-Op. I picked up my second basket this morning, and am so excited about all the fresh foods my kids and I will be having this week! Plenty of fruits and veggies to last us all week.

When I say affordable, by the way, I mean that I got all the produce you see in the picture for just $15! That’s right. I got 6 sweet potatoes, 3 small zucchini, a bunch of asparagus, a large head of lettuce, 2 heads of broccoli, 2 bags of brussels sprouts, a pineapple, a bunch of bananas, 3 grapefruit, 5 apples, and 7 oranges! Thatsalottafreshfood! Will we eat it all? You bet! Possibly not all this week, but when stored properly, most of this will be good for 2+ weeks.

I bet you’re wondering how we’ll use all that produce… well, we started out tonight by roasting some in the oven and topping off big bowls of pasta with the vegetables and some fresh grated parmesan cheese. And for dessert? How about some pudding and sliced fresh fruits? Yes, please! And Thank You. 馃檪 And of course there will be plenty of snacks with all those fresh foods! (Hint: If you put out a bowl of cut up fresh vegetables and/or fruits while you’re cooking dinner, the kids will have something to snack on when they say “I’m HUNGRY!” Hummus or Ranch Dressing聽may make those veggies more appealing to the pickier eater.)

(I bet you thought I was going to be talking about a different kind of Bountiful Baskets, huh? Silly… the Easter Bunny hasn’t visited yet… that’s not til tomorrow!)

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Food Trials: Beef Jerky

Have you seen Runaway Bride? What about the famous egg scene from that movie? In that scene, our Runaway Bride is standing in the kitchen with eggs prepared several different ways, having a taste test. Why? Well, as she explains, she doesn’t know what kind of eggs she likes. She has always eaten her eggs in the same manner as her current “beau”. This, I believe, is all-too-common.

I find myself in similar situations as I realize I am in my mid-30s and fully, 100% single for the first time in my adult life. And, surprisingly, it’s not too bad (most of the time, anyway…but you don’t want to hear the boring details of my non-dating life).

Early in the fall, my kiddos and I spent a weekend at my baby sis’s house to attend a local festival where we got to make fresh apple cider. Before heading her way for the weekend, I decided we should bring some beef jerky from our hometown. I ran into a problem with this. I don’t know which shop’s beef jerky I like best. So, what’s a girl to do? Well, buy from all of them and have a taste test, of course.

And so, in true Runaway Bride fashion, I gathered up some beef jerky from the shops in our hometown and set up a taste test for everyone. Here’s what I discovered:聽Of the 3 we tried, I found 1 to be too dry and too salty. The other 2 both had good flavor, with 1 that I had never even tried previously coming out the clear winner in my book. It was the least salty of the 3, and had the most interest with different layers of flavor and smokiness. But the real discovery? I guess I’m just not a beef jerky kinda girl. Yes, that’s right, the results of this taste test for me was: I don’t really care about beef jerky.

Stay tuned for more food trials. There are many foods I have not tried. Some because I’ve just never had the opportunity, and others because someone else said they didn’t like it, so I just never made it. My kiddos are pretty adventurous with food, so they’ll get to try some of these foods with me, as well. But some, well, some I will make for myself on my own date night when I find myself at home by myself watching sappy chick flicks (like Runaway Bride and Eat, Pray, Love). Because I deserve to eat well, even when I’m eating alone.

What are some foods you have always wanted to try but for whatever reason, just haven’t? Will you join me in this food trial and share your new food experiences with everyone?

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Bagel Day

Making bagels is one of those things people just don’t expect to be so easy. A bit time-consuming, but easy and worth the effort! I have made these bagels many times, and the last time I made them was Memorial Day weekend while my sister聽was in town. She went for a quick run one morning, (I say “quick”, but it wasn’t. It was 13 miles- a half marathon! She’s AWESOME!) and I thought she’d enjoy some fresh-out-of-the-oven bagels. (And she did.) My niece came by that afternoon also. Just to hang out with my kids and my sister’s foster daughter. They hung out, played some games and she marvelled at me actually making bagels from scratch. She called me an awesome cook. Yeah, my head got a little bigger that day.

On this particular day, I created blueberry bagels (using a bag of dried blueberries) and cheese bagels (using a mixture of asiago and parmesan cheeses). There are still a few sitting in the freezer. I think my kids have forgotten that they are there. But my niece remembered. She was over a few nights ago and asked if she could steal a couple bagels before she left for work. Of course I said yes. Because what good is making the food if I’m not gonna share it, right?

In the past I have made bagels to bring to work, and even sent a few along on a hunting trip for a friend. And do you know what’s funny? I don’t really love bagels all that much. But I really enjoy making them! And sharing them, of course! 馃檪

The bagel recipe follows… it uses a mix (that I also included the recipe for) and someday I’ll post other recipes that use this same mix. Enjoy!

Bagels
路 1 Tablespoon active dry yeast or 1 (1/4-oz.) package
路 1-1/2 cups lukewarm water 110F (45C)
路 5 cups HOT ROLL MIX **
路 Cornmeal
路 3 qt. water
路 1 Tablespoon sugar
路 1 egg yolk, beaten
路 1 Tablespoon water
路 Poppy seens, sesame seeds or coarse salt
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in 1-1/2 cups lukewarm water. Beat in 4-1/2 cups HOT ROLL MIX. Let rest 2 minutes. Add enough mix to make a very stiff dough. On a lightly floured surface knead dough until smooth, 5-10 minutes. Add more mix to surface as needed. Dough will be quite firm. Lightly butter bowl. Put dough in bowl and turn to butter top. Cover dough with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 30-45 minutes.

Punch down dough; knead 4-5 times. Divide in half. Divide each half into 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball. Flatten each ball with palm of hand. Holding a ball with both hands, force one thumb through center. Place bagel on lightly floured surface. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover lightly; let rise in a warm place 2-30 minutes.

Lightly grease 2 baking sheets. Sprinkle with cornmeal; set aside. In a 5-qart pot, bring 3 quarts water to a boil. Add sugar. Lower hear to keep water boling gently.

Use slotted spoon to carefully lower bagels, one at a time, into boiling water. Turning often, cook until slightly puffed, about 5 minutes. Add more water if necessary. Drain bagels briefly on paper towels.

Preheat oven to 400F (205C). Arrange bagels, not touching, on prepared baking sheets. Combine egg yolk and 1 Tablespoon water. Brush bagels with egg yolk mixture. Leave plain, or sprinkle with poppy seeds, sesame seeds or coarse salt. Bake 15-20 minutes in oven until browned. Cool on a rack. Makes 16 bagels.

鈥-Make-A-Mix cookbook

My notes: Add more flavor! You are limited only by your imagination!
路 Mix in chives and garlic to the dough. Sprinkle with poppy seeds.
路 Mix in cinnamon and craisins or raisins
路 Mix in dried minced onion and top with additional onion

** Hot Roll Mix
路 5 lb. (20 cups) all-purpose flour
路 1-1/4 cups sugar
路 4 teaspoons salt
路 1 cup instant nonfat dry milk
Combine all ingredients in large bowl. Stir together to distribute evenly. Put in a large airtight container. Label with date and contents. Store in a cool, dry place. Use within 6-8 months. Makes about 22 cups Hot Roll Mix.

Variation
Use 9 cups whole-wheat flour and 8 cups all-purpose flour instead of 20 cups all-purpose flour. Decrease sugar to 1 cup.

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Cherries to Cheer You

Yesterday was National Cherry Cobbler Day. Cherry Pie is one of my favorite desserts (not that I eat it, or any other dessert, very often… In fact, last time I had Cherry Pie was when I had lunch with a friend back in October at Twede’s Cafe.) As you know, I’ve never really been great at making pie crust, so Cherry Cobbler is second best, since it does not require the labor (of love) of making the crust.

So, in order to celebrate the Holiday, it seemed appropriate to make a cobbler. And since the day’s work brought me to Prosser, home of Chukar Cherries, I took a moment to stop in. I had never been to their store previously, and I was greeted by one of the best smiles backed up with the most excellent customer service I’ve experienced in a long while. (Thank you, Tami! You were a true bright spot in my week.) So, I was happy to pick up a beautiful jar of cherries, along with a snack pack of nuts and dried cherries to stash in my desk for a quick “pick me up”. And because I was made to feel important while in that little shop, I will definitely be stopping in again.

Now, I know that what you’re actually waiting for is to see the cobbler come together, right? So, without further ado:

Triple Cherry Pie and Cobbler Filling from Chukar Cherries, and some Dove Dark Chocolate

Pour cherries into ungreased casserole dish, and grate chocolate over the top.

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Bake at 400* until biscuits are browned and filling is bubbly.

Invite a friend over and enjoy with ice cream and laughter to cheer you!

I was blessed to have my best friend and her kiddos join me and my kiddos for this cheerful dessert. We agreed that the chocolate grated over the top of the cherries made all the difference in this wonderful mid-week treat. Thanks for joining me, friend!

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Let Them Eat…

A sleepover birthday party for the boy child. This means a house-ful of pre-teen boys. And THAT means food…and lots of it. It also means I had the pleasure of being part of great memories for a group of young boys. They will hopefully forever remember the night their friend’s mom bought too many pizzas (who knew there was such a thing for so many boys, huh?), made brownies for dessert (while they were here, so they were yummy and warm and they got to smell them while they were baking), let them run through the house with nerf guns, play video games, watch movies, eat, drink, eat some more, be loud…oh AND their friend’s mom even attacked them with silly string. Not once, but twice. Now THAT was the best laughter I’ve ever heard, and I was even able to snap a group picture of them all while I was shooting the string at them. They will each get a copy of the picture to help them remember the fun night.

We have leftover pizza and leftover veggies (now made into tonight’s stir fry), and possibly some Otter Pops in the freezer (hard to tell… I did find an awful lot of wrappers around the house today 馃槈 ), and as I said earlier, memories of the laughter and happiness echoing through the house.

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Bagels, Bagels, Bagels

I was talking to a friend about food yesterday. (Is that surprising? Yeah, I didn’t think so…) In this conversation, I commented that I love to make bagels in many different flavors and continued on about something else, while he was interrupting聽me with聽“Wait! What? You make bagels? Like you toast them聽and put cream cheese on them, not like actually make bagels, boiling and all that”…. I laughed, and replied that of course I mean I mix the dough, shape it, boil it, bake it… how silly to assume I meant anything else, right? 馃槈

So, making bagels has been on my mind for quite awhile now, but always gets set aside. It is time to stop putting that task aside. I have asked my friends what their favorite bagel flavors are and I received several responses. “Blueberry” “Cheese” “Onion” “Garlic” “Dried Cherries with Honey” (let me add my YUM! to that request!!! Sounds great!) “Pumpkin Spice” “Sun Dried Tomato with Italian Spices”

Well, that’s a lot of flavors! And I am not ambitious enough to try to do them all in one bagel making session, but I will make bagels this weekend! (Please, would someone remind me to pick up some more flour, cheese, onion, garlic and I guess some blueberries…) I will mix, shape, boil and bake… and then I will wrap and freeze for easy breakfasts and snacks. And yes, I will share! Of course I will share. It’s what I do. 馃檪

You can find my recipe HERE! Happy boiling. 馃檪

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Gettin’ Pickled

Two weeks ago was “pickle-makin’ weekend”聽at my sis’s house. I joined my parents, my sis and her foster daughter, and my own kids (who had arrived on Friday afternoon with my parents, as I was at a training and not arriving until nearly midnight) for the weekend on our quest to get pickled!

Mom & Dad picked up the cukes and other supplies needed for the pickling extravaganza, including snipping all the dill from the plants in my garden (I was hoping that big ol’ thing that was out-of-control was going to be useful!)

We had a great time all day, the kids were helpful… the girls were helpful by staying out of our way (at least I think that’s what they have made themselves believe. 馃槈 ) and the boy was helpful and learned how to make pickles, like聽my Great Grandma used to make!!! I’ll share the recipe with you, and you can see my sis’s video in her post about the weekend (linked in the first paragraph). As a reward for the all the boy’s hard work, the girls did all the dishes while he got to sit and relax. And he got to be the one to try the very first pickle out of the jars!!!

So, why did I wait 2 weeks to tell you about gettin’ pickled? Because it is 2 weeks from pickling day that the hard work pays off and you get to open the first jar and give them a try. Which means that TODAY, while my sis and her foster daughter were here, we opened the jar and watched as the boy child chose his pickle and took the first bite. And it was good. (And he is still alive, so we must have done it right, huh?)

Want to make your own pickles? Here鈥檚 the recipe:

Mom鈥檚 Dill Pickles
(Well, my Mom’s Mom’s… so that would be my Great Grandma)

Put 1 quart cider vinegar, 1 quart water, and 陆 cup pickling salt together in a non-reactive**** saucepan and boil for a few minutes. Then pour the mixture over small cucumbers which are packed tightly into jars along with garlic, peppers, and fresh dill. (Ratios to your taste.) Process in water bath for 15 minutes.

I got to take home 28 of the 54 jars of pickles, because of my larger family. For those of you who think this sounds like a lot of pickles… well, today for lunch, we ate half a jar. My kiddos love to take pickles for their lunches and I like to put them out as a snack when we have people over, and聽then of course there is potato salad, sliced pickles on sandwiches, chopped pickles in tuna sandwiches… the list could go on and on…聽So… I think we might have enough to last us the year…

::Notes taken from my sis’s post:

** We are not bound by these guidelines, but if we want to enter things in the county fair, they must be made to USDA standards. Oh, and it鈥檚 meant to be safer.
*** Ratios of water/vinegar have been changed from the original to be in line with what we made. Dad also points out that some of the reasoning for this is that 鈥榠n the olden days鈥 vinegar was more acidic that it is today.
**** Non-reactive saucepans are a stainless steel, chip-free enamelware pan, or glass pans.

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Hearty Breakfast Cookies

It’s time for Back-to-School! With Back-to-School comes the recreational soccer league for my kiddos. To me, this means getting the freezer stocked up with easy to grab-no-go snacks, breakfasts and lunch items. I planned on doing some of that this past weekend, however, when I went to make my baked goods, I discovered I was out of flour (by out, I mean I only had a few cups left… plus lots of whole wheat flour…), so my baking endeavor has been postponed until Labor Day Weekend (a fitting weekend for laboring in the kitchen, wouldn’t you agree?).

I have been asked many times for the breakfast cookie that I use. Since I have not posted it on this blog yet, I will do that today so that you can all join me in making these cookies for yourself and your families next weekend. I generally double the recipe and then I wrap each cookie in wrap and bag them all up for the freezer. Wrapping them individually allows you to grab 1 and not have to thaw the whole bunch of them. They thaw quickly, but you can also pop them in the microwave for 20-30 seconds (1 or 2 cookies at a time, just what you need for the day). These are a favorite for the kiddos for breakfast, lunch and after school snacks. I like to grab one for a late-afternoon pick-me-up at the office.

Enjoy! (This recipe was originally posted at AllRecipes.com and when I printed it for my recipe box, it called for buttermilk instead of water. I suggest using buttermilk!)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 1/3 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup raisins

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together butter, peanut butter, brown sugar, and vanilla until creamy. Beat in eggs and water.
  2. Mix together flours, oats, wheat germ, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda. Mix into peanut butter mixture. Stir in raisins. Drop by ice cream scoopfuls 2 1/2 inches apart on greased cookie sheets. Flatten slightly.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 18 – 20 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to cooling racks. Store in an airtight container.

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