Cookies Again?!

I have to stop baking cookies like this or everyone in my house will have to start jogging!  Actually, sadly, I made up a wonderful sherbet recipe this weekend that I am going to have to make again (no photos!) and plan to put on the blog soon since it’s been so hot and everyone needs a good cool food recipe, so maybe that’s not good either.  🙂  Oh, maybe it’s a little healthier than cookies since it had fruit (real fruit!) and no sugar (really, no sugar).  Well, I won’t spoil the recipe here, I’ll try to work on it this week so it won’t be winter by the time I post it.  🙂

However, this blog is about Oatmeal Cookies anyway, so I’m not sure why I’m talking about sherbet anyway.  This is my old tried and true recipe that I used to make for the kids (and my husband and especially my Dad who loves them).  But, this time I decided to try something a little different, and WOW my husband said they were better than good, they were…  I can’t remember his exact words, but they disappeared.

So, go try this recipe.  I think they could easily become your favorite Oatmeal Cookies! You’ll find it by clicking right here on Date Oatmeal Cookies.

And don’t forget, it’s Handmade Monday again!  It’s wonderful to go check out what everyone else is doing.  I haven’t been working on many craft projects lately, it’s been so hot and I’ve been cleaning out the craft room in the back, so I haven’t wanted to start anything messy.  I will probably not start anything until the end of September.  But go see what everyone else is doing because they make the most beautiful and creative things!  🙂

New Take on an Old Favorite

It’s Handmade Monday! I hope you will hop over there when you’re done here and check out all of the cool stuff everyone else is doing.  It’s what I always do on Mondays, but even if you’ve found this on Tuesday or another day, go check it out, it’s fun!

I have been in a cookie baking mood lately.  I did make some of my old standby Oatmeal Cookies (which I will blog maybe next week) BUT I also decided to experiment and make them in a form I could eat, since obviously they had wheat in them.  So, I tried them with rice flour.  I have to admit, I like the rice flour version BETTER!  They are crispy and the taste is excellent.  Even my wheat eating husband was impressed.  I intend to make more and freeze some (I had better be careful or I will fatten us both right up!)

The only thing I want to remind you is that if you have a gluten problem these may or may not be gluten free.  Please do check with your doctor and see if rice and oat are ok.  And apparently some rice and oats are cross contaminated, so even if they are ok for you, obviously you would need to be sure they are made in a place that does not also make products containing gluten.  BUT otherwise, these are good.  And even if wheat is not a problem for you, but you just want something different, try them!  They are no more difficult to make than regular oatmeal cookies.

Head over to Cook It and try my Rice Flour Oatmeal Cookies.

Indoor Sun Tea

Ice Tea
I was going to post my recipe for Sun Tea (made on the counter, not in the sun), since I’be been making this for years, but I ran across something that discouraged sun tea on the basis of bacteria and food borne illness caused by it, so I’m not going to.  Instead I’m going to post the link to that.

In all of the years I have been making it, we have never gotten sick from it, but I sure don’t want anyone to get ill from it. Do check out the link here on Is Sun Tea Safe? . They suggest you make it in the refrigerator as a safe alternative, or go with the old method of heating your water.

At any rate, tea is still a healthy alternative to soda!

Happy Birthday Pam

I wanted to make something special for my neighbor who is always there when I need anything. She and her husband never mind picking up the mail or watching the house (or checking to see if it’s just a rat in the attic and not a burglar in the house–thanks Mark!) and we also enjoy spending time finding cool restaurants and seeing movies and things with them. They are that kind of neighbors.

So, I thought I would combine Handmade Monday’s blog and share a favorite recipe. This was my Father in Law’s favorite and I have been making them for so long I can’t even recall where I first ran across it. It doesn’t require very many ingredients, and makes a wonderful gift with very little work. I know most people think candy is difficult to make, and are little intimidated by it, but if you will buy a candy thermometer and just try it, I promise, you will get over that notion and be impressing your family in short order! It will make you a favorite!

Oh, and if you have ever bought these somewhere, I have to say, I think these are better than any I have ever found in a store. But maybe I’m just biased. 🙂 Go ahead, try making them yourself, and see if you don’t think these Pralines aren’t the best you’ve ever tasted!

And don’t forget to go over and check out Handmade Monday when you’re done either. It’s the best collection of crafts! I’m going there myself!

Buttery Goodness

Back when I was first married we were able to get real milk. By that I mean raw milk from a farmer. It wasn’t homogenized or pasteurized. It came in a gallon glass jar with a screw on metal lid and the cream rose to the top. My neighbor told me I should make my own butter, that it was easy.

At first I thought, “Why would I want to do that?” After all, butter was readily available at the grocery store. Besides we usually used margarine anyway, because it came in little tubs and was easy to spread. This was before I was concerned about nutrition and cooking and mostly concerned about how much things cost and whether or not Jeff would eat what I made.

But, I was a little intrigued by the idea of making butter. My Mom had bought raw milk from the farmer down the road when we lived in Ruidoso, but she never made butter. In fact, I didn’t know anyone who had ever made it. If my Grandmother or Granny had they’d certainly never mentioned it to me.

Anyway, Sharon, my neighbor explained how to make it in my blender, and it sounded so easy, I really didn’t believe her. If it was that easy, why did we all buy it? There must be some catch. Something that I would discover when I tried to make it.

However, I decided give it a try. To my shock and wonder, she had not steered me wrong. It WAS easy! And wonderful. And so, you can do it too. Of course, in the intervening years it has become much more difficult to get raw milk, unless you have your own cow. But, you can make it with heavy cream from the grocery store. I did buy organic cream, but I suspect it doesn’t matter from a will it work standpoint.

You don’t really have to tell your friends how easy it is. And they will think you’re amazing when you tell them you made the butter yourself. 🙂 Unless they have the internet and look it up, of course. So, let’s go check out how to make Homemade Garlic Butter. Oh, you can leave the garlic out and make plain butter, I just decided to dress it up a bit.

Yes You Can

Cream cheese
Again with the Handmade Monday! And again with the food! This week is SO Handmade too. This is what I was going to make LAST Monday but I couldn’t find the magic ingredient and had to order it.

Rennet. If you don’t know what that is, then you’ve probably never made cheese or never known anyone who has. I actually thought the starter would be harder to get, but I was able to find kefir starter at Whole Foods (after looking 2 other places). But rennet was NOT to be found anywhere.

You used to be able to buy rennet tablets (made by Junket) in the pudding section of the local grocery store, but those don’t seem readily available anymore and besides a little reading online told me that those are a bit different than the liquid rennet that you use for cheese anyway. So, I ordered liquid rennet from New England Cheesemaking Supply Company and should now be ready to make cheese for quite some time.

I have to admit, making the actual cream cheese was about 1000 times easier than getting the rennet was! And, it made the stuff you buy in the store taste like an entirely different animal! So, without further adieu lets go check out how to make your very own Cream Cheese!

Sweet and Tart

It’s Handmade Monday!  And of course, I’m running late.  I keep promising myself I will do a couple of blogs and save them and just be able to pop them up Sunday night and be good to go, but no, I get so excited when I have something I can’t resist posting it right then, so I never have anything made ahead.  

The problem with making a blog post (for me anyway) is that it’s not just a matter of typing a few words and tossing it online.  I have to take photos while I make it, and then I spend quite a bit of time getting the photos just right.  Sometimes writing it out takes me awhile.  And in the meantime sometimes I just get distracted by other things.  I wonder if other bloggers have the same problem?  And how on earth to people with small children ever get anything like this done?

Well, anyway, I was planning something completely different, but even tho my wonderful husband spent all day Saturday taking me all over we could not find one important ingredient, which I finally had to order online.  So, if it gets here in time, I will make that for next week.  But I was scrambling for something for this week, and fortunately Jeff had found a wonderful recipe for Limeade, and he suggested we try that.  It’s pretty simple, but it really IS awesome!

I’ll stop babbling now and share this easy and tangy Brazilian Lemonade.  BTW I don’t know why it’s called lemonade, it’s made with limes!

Jets & Eggs –Butter Oh Boy!

My middle son Jordan is probably a better cook than I am.  He is a Foodie with a capital F.  I can honestly say he was born that way. He has always loved food, and was interested in cooking from an early age.  He asked for family recipes as soon as he had his own kitchen and actually made them.  Not only that, he experimented and shared new ones.  Several years ago he decided to make a family recipe that we had made when the boys were young.  It was passed down to us by Jeff’s Mom, and it had been passed on to her by her Mother.  These were an Easter tradition, but he had probably never seen them made because the whole point was to make them without the kids seeing because, of course, the Easter Bunny brought them.

He had some problems with the recipe, and sent the following email out.  It’s pretty funny, at least it had most of us laughing.  I think I know what his problem was, and I’ll explain, plus I will share the recipe and step by step instructions with pictures, so hopefully you can make these without your own disaster.  Read on for Jordan’s details of making Jets and Butter Cream Eggs:

So I really only have half the experiment complete.  Let me explain…

I set out to do two batches of butter cream eggs for Easter.  It had been way too long since I had them, and I was feeling in that holiday spirit.  After reading the recipe, I noted that it called for margarine, not butter.  Being the foodie snob that I am, I couldn’t reconcile why you would use an inferior product in such a rich treat.  Thus, it was off to experts.  Needless to say, Dad does not make enough of these to be an expert, though he did share my enthusiasm for a higher quality treat.  So off to Aunt Jane, the great sage of our family recipes (and in recent years, Granddaddy’s Jet extraordinaire), who suggested that the current recipe may have been altered after Granddaddy’s first heart attack (apparently butter is not exactly good for your heart, and margarine makes a suitable substitute).  She too thought it would be possible that butter would be a better idea than margarine.

With this in mind, I decided to go for the old horse race.  Buy enough ingredients to make the recipe both ways and let my taste buds decide for me.  With thanks and love to Aunt Jane, I promised her a full write-up of my findings (thus the increasingly lengthy e-mail).

Excited by the prospect of fundamentally changing the way our family views one of their favorite Easter treats, I reviewed the recipe, decided to make a double batch of each and headed to the store.  To keep things as equal as possible, I chose Land of Lakes for both the butter and the margarine (thinking at least the quality of ingredients should be the same).  I bought the unseemly large number of bags of powdered sugar (5 bags), and splurged for the really nice bitter chocolate, Sharfen Berger (note that this chocolate is more than 3 times as expensive as the cheaper brand, but is fantastically good).  I was also fortunate enough in my last trip to Henderson to sneak out to Hidalgo’s in Longview (a great Mexican pottery, statue, furniture type store) that actually brings back real Mexican vanilla (like you get from the little shops in Mexico).  It beats vanilla extract from a tiny bottle any day.

Planning ahead, I left out the butter so that it would warm to room temperature (otherwise, creaming would be impossible).  I chose the butter test first (can you tell which one I expected to win yet?).  I started creaming it with the powdered sugar (so far so good), and adding half and half).  This continued…and continued…and continued, until I almost wore out my electric hand mixer.  No matter how much powdered sugar I added, I just couldn’t ever reach the “firm” consistency called for in the recipe.  I had already been adding, and mixing, and adding, and waiting for the mixer to cool down, for about an hour and a half.  After 3½ bags of powdered sugar, I began to think this butter thing must not be working.  I decided to employ the refrigerator to firm up the butter cream mix (which was effective, but time consuming).  After about half an hour in the fridge, I was able to start rolling the mixture into balls (yes, I was making eggs, so ½ of the batch was colored yellow, the other half left white), a couple at a time.  My hands warmed up the mixture pretty quickly, and it was apparent that there was no way this was going to be a clean experience.

After managing about 30 little yellow balls, covered in a white outer layer (this process itself probably took another 2-3 hours), I stuck them in the freezer (it was getting late on a Friday, and I was planning on bringing these with me).  I started melting the chocolate, and brought the eggs out a few at a time to drop into the chocolate.  Between trying to cover the eggs before letting them warm up and melt, and fish the eggs out of the pot with a fork, I managed about 10 great looking eggs, and 20 that looked like they had been made by Edward Scissorhands.  The chocolate covered (if you could really call them covered at this point) eggs were set up in my fridge & freezer on cookie sheets to further harden (I was slowly realizing that these would never be able to be served at room temperature) before transportation to work the following day.

How did they taste you ask?  Fantastic.  Super.  Creamy.  Better than I ever remembered.  However, I am hoping my big flaw in preparation was using too much half & half.  I guess I could have kept adding more sugar, but I was running out of bowl (and this was the largest bowl I had).  With my current batch not going exactly as planned, and few hours left before work the next morning, I opted not to give the margarine Jets a go.  I am thinking a weekend at Aunt Jane’s would provide a little firmer grasp of how the process “should” go before setting out to tackle the margarine method.

So in answer to your questions, sure – butter probably has a taste advantage, but if you don’t know what you should be looking for in the first place, it is probably wise to stick to the recipe as printed.

Aunt Jane – if you give the butter option a go, let me know how they turn out for you.  I will probably make another attempt after I finish off my freezer full of Butter cream eggs, but will try a single batch next time.

Love,

Jordan

Let’s just head over to Cook It and check out how you really SHOULD make then at Buttercream Eggs and Jets.  If you start now you can still have them for Easter morning.

Jets and peeps

Who Doesn’t Like Potatoes?

It’s been awhile since I did a recipe, so even though it’s Handmade Monday (yes again–and go check them out by clicking on the link, you will be amazed!) I’m going to do a food thing today, because it’s handmade, and I have discovered those other crafters like food too. 🙂

I made this up after we ate what was supposed to be potato skins at a restaurant one afternoon. They were good, but I didn’t think they were potato skins, and I thought, I could make something like this, but better! So, This recipe is my version, which is more like a baked and then roasted potato. I’m not going to lie to you and tell you it’s easy or quick. It’s not really either of those. But it’s really GOOD! And, twice we’ve had it and made a whole meal of it.

I think it could be a side dish though. And good enough for company. And it just begs to be jazzed up with additions. My neighbor suggested rosemary, and I can think of a few more things right off the top of my head. So, pop over to Cook It and let’s make Baked and Roasted Potatoes! I think they’re worth the effort, and more important, Jeff has asked me to make them again! And again! 🙂

It Was One of Those Weeks

I had something planned for this week’s Handmade Monday, but a couple of things worked in concert to thwart me. First, I was sick all last week. I thought I had a migraine or headache from the Florida weather changes, or even allergies (which I don’t really have). A cold didn’t really occur to me because I rarely get colds or flu. However, my husband came down with it too, so, I guess it really was a cold. All of that is to say, I haven’t felt up to snuff and have been dragging around a bit.

Secondly, this weekend is a 3 day weekend for us (President’s Day) anyway, and I hated to spend the whole thing on crafts, so I worked on a cooking thing (which I needed his help for, lucky him!) and I just didn’t get the craft done. So, I can only offer a food item for my Handmade Monday offering, which feels like cheating, since it’s food and it was really put up on Saturday. However, it’s all I have until later in the week. 🙂

But, the truth is, mochi really IS wonderful, and for those of you bloggers and crafters who need a little treat, this is a fun thing that is pretty easy to make. 🙂