Monday, November 30, 2015

Banana Split Fluff Salad

Lately my daughter has been asking me to teach her how to cook- which, of course, is an idea I'm totally on board with.  Honestly I think it has more to do with her secret aspirations to find herself on Masterchef Junior than a desire to learn any real-world skills, but I'm up for some kitchen time with my not-so little girl regardless of her motivations.
A couple of weekends ago she asked if she could help me make lunch after church- I honestly can't remember what I was making but I was in a hurry to get it done so I could get to work on popcorn orders and whatever it was was really a one person thing anyway.

Then I remembered the Banana Split Fluff Salad ingredients I'd purchased the day before and realized that she could absolutely help in the kitchen that afternoon- in fact, she could make a dish completely on her own!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Easiest Crispy Baked Chicken Wings EVER

With football season comes fun snack food, at least in our house.  I've made a bunch of yummy stuff lately, but ever since I made those low carb boneless wings with "Who Needs Buffalo?" Sauce last month I've really been craving chicken wings.

I'm a little obsessed with that sauce, truth be told.  Goodness it's good.

Anyway, while I enjoy those boneless wings and they're definitely delicious, I really enjoy a real wing too.  One that actually comes from the wing and doesn't require breading.

I've kind of shied away from making wings over the years because I really didn't feel like I knew what I was doing when I made them and I had an incredibly hard time achieving a crispy skin without frying them.  I even went so far as to remove the skin before cooking them just so they wouldn't be soggy and gross.

Have you ever tried skinning a bunch of chicken wings?
No? That's because you're normal.
Just trust me, it's a huge pain.  Plus you don't get that nice crisp outside underneath the sauce.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Iced Fudgy Chocolate Cutouts

Ok, so picture this: it's the last week of October.  My kids are excitedly punching out ghosts, bats, and other spooky Halloween shapes from the cookie dough we've just rolled out.

And I say, "Hey guys...this little bit of dough here is for me...I have some Christmas cookies to make."

You see, the day before Halloween is a little late in the game to blog about Halloween cookies.
I knew these cookies were going to be something special enough to write about...and that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I found myself decorating Christmas trees, candy canes, and snowflakes in October.

But look at my willpower!  I sat on this recipe until after Thanksgiving!

Not an easy task, let me tell you- these cookies are extraordinary.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Homemade Peanutbuttery Dog Treats

When my sister and I were kids we begged for a dog.
We wanted one so very much.

Sadly, my mom was not a dog person.  Not even a little bit.
Then, one glorious day, my dad came home with the news that a doctor he worked with at the hospital had a litter of puppies that needed homes- and my mom caved.

I remember the excitement of picking out a puppy- the family had already named them all after characters from Popeye.  Olive Oyl, Sweet Pea, Brutus, Popeye...we took the quiet and calm little guy  they'd named Popeye home with us that day and he was a loyal friend to our family for the next 15 years.
This was a dog who eagerly anticipated his very own pancake every Saturday morning.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Watergate Salad

When I was younger I seemed to have this knack for having a story to go with any topic.

It kind of became a game with my friends, like "Here's a topic- go!"

These were the days before smartphones when the internet was a baby- we had to fill time somehow.  :-)

Sometimes blogging kind of feels like a flashback to that silliness.  This weird tangential loose association of memories that all somehow tie in to whatever I happen to be cooking.
I kind of love that about food, though.

It's life.  It's family.  It's friends.  It's good times.  It's memories.
It's something that ties us together, good times and bad- from the almond bread I remember baking to send to family at my grandma's bedside as kid to the image of my dad making us pancakes on Saturday mornings.  It's this thread running through life that ties it all together.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Sugar Cookies: All They're Cracked Up To Be

Remember the other day when I wrote about baking cookies for the people on my husband's team?

I told you about the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies but I thought the Cracked Sugar Cookies really deserved their own post.

Often when I make sugar cookies I make these Thick Cut Outs because they're soft, sturdy, and easy to decorate too.  I wanted to do something different for my husband to take to work, though- and lets be honest, I was just itching to make something I hadn't made before.  :-) Pretty much all of my kitchen time lately has been on popcorn and I wanted to make something fun.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies: The Stuff Of Legend

I've been crazy busy with my popcorn thing lately and I've had a lot less time on my hands in which to cook for fun.  I've really missed baking especially.  

Thankfully my husband came home from work last week and asked me if I could make some cookies for him to take to work for his team.

Um, yes.  Of course I can.  Thanks for making my day and giving me something fun to make!!

I guess he was talking about motivating employees and someone made a joke about how the motivating power of cookies...knowing that I'm always up for making baked goods, my husband asked what kind they wanted.

And that is how I found myself looking for a new cookie recipe.  :-)

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Crazy Green Salsa Yumminess

A few weeks ago my son came home from school with his first birthday party invitation.  My daughter's kind of been there done that with birthday invitations...when she brings them home my inward reaction is more like "uuuuuuuughhhhhh....another free Saturday spent being socially awkward when I could be on my couch with a glass of wine and my husband...."- though that's not a sentiment I share with my daughter and I have a rule that we always attend parties to which the kids are invited.
Once we had to cancel an RSVP to a little girl's party at the last minute and I found out later that NO ONE showed up.
Talk about feeling like a terrible person...yes.  Every party we can make it to we do.

Anyway, back to my story.
So my son came home with an invitation.  I was genuinely ecstatic.

This is so big for him!
Of course, I knew that all of the kids in the class likely scored an invite.  Didn't care.

Little Man actually has two classes- his early intervention Pre-K class due to his autism and his regular Pre-K class for his inclusion time for the majority of the day.
I had no idea which class this kid was in.
Again- didn't care.


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Best Blue Cheese Dressing On The Face Of The Planet

I have such a hard time with my husband and his lunches.

If I pack them, 9 times out of ten he tells me he was too busy at work to eat and whatever I pack comes right back to me with a promise that he'll take it again the next day.
If I don't pack them, he complains and spends a bundle going out to eat several times a week.

I can't win.

Well, a few weeks ago I started seeing a bunch of charges on our bank statement for a sandwich place near my husband's office.  I'm not crazy- I don't care if he goes out to lunch every once in awhile any more than he minds if I do.  But several times a week for something that I can make a better version of at home for way less money?  Ugh.

When I asked him about it and offered to start packing him a lunch again the truth came out...he'd just been hooked by the blue cheese dressing.  He went on and on, waxing rhapsodic about the amazing blue cheese dressing this sandwich shop has for their salads.  How he has to order extra dressing because sometimes the chunks are so big they take up half of the little dressing cup.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Mini Pot Pies And A Happy Daughter

I didn't grow up eating pot pies.  I actually remember the exact moment when I tried one for the first time while having dinner at a friend's house, I was probably my daughter's age.  I don't even remember the girl's name.  I just remember two things about that playdate- 1) she had property with horses and 2) I left asking my mom to buy pot pies for our house (spoiler: she didn't.  We pretty much only ate homemade food when I was a kid...).

Unlike me, my daughter is something of a pot pie connoisseur.  She LOVES them.

Not just any pot pie, though.  She refuses to eat a pot pie that has potato chunks in the filling...which eliminates  almost every single variety of frozen pot pie.  Forget any cheap little pot pies for that kid- it's Marie Callender's all the way.  Unless I make it from scratch, of course.

That kid LOVES homemade pot pie.