The thing to remember about a cookie exchange is that it's completely voluntary. Naturally, a few people in our mommy group opted out because they: a) Had recently had a baby and didn't have kitchen-time on their schedules yet. b) Were still trying to lose the baby weight and didn't want the temptation. c) Have no talent/no desire for baking.
Tomorrow is the Mommy Group Christmas Party and Cookie Exchange. I decided to make the consistently popular caramel squares that my mother-in-law seems to serve at every event. (And no one is ever sorry.) Instead of typing and handing out copies of the recipe, I just decided to put it on here. Cause I suspect most people are like me and have their recipe collection on their computers instead of in binders.
Recipe for Caramel Squares
Larger recipe credit: Marsha Bloom
Make a crumb crust with:
1 1/2 C flour
1 1/4 C brown sugar
3/4 t baking soda
1 1/2 C oats
1/2 t salt-scant
3/4 C butter melted (I seemed to need a touch more butter.)
In microwave bowl melt 1 pkg-Kraft caramels (My mother-in-law says about 38.) in 7 T Cream -75ml.
Spray a 9x13 pan with Pam. Press half of crust mixture into pan.
1 1/2 C chocolate chips
1 1/2 C chopped nuts
caramels-don't get too close to the edges
other 1/2 crumb crust-press slightly unto caramels mixture
We got in at midnight last night from a 48 hour trip to Louisiana. My grandfather's baby sister passed away unexpectedly last week, and although it was nice seeing family I rarely see, I have been quite upset over the situation.
Luckily, I have little time to focus on sadness. This is finals week for the class I'm teaching. Plus, I have a special request series for EatLikeaRabbit.net that needs work to be posted next week. Then, there's Nora's swimming lessons and our little mommy-group holiday get together.
Good thing you don't follow me for the sales and deals. My father-in-law says the PF Chang's deal isn't on. Guess I should have checked my sources better. Sorry.
This is a lesson to me in organization, budgeting, and foodie-ism all in one. Keep the email inbox as empty as possible, but keep the ones from the restaurants you like the best, and you just might get a great deal.
Soups are wonderful. You can put anything in them. It's a great way to use up samples of something. Like the little cup of corn leftover from last week. I was really craving a potato soup this week. I imagined the finished product much different from the way it turned out, but Paul didn't complain. After I reevaluated my seasonings, I was happier, too. Below is the corrected recipe.
I do want to point out that you could have just as much fun with chopped onions and garlic instead of the dehydrated powders. Use what you've got!
Recipe Potato Vegetable Soup
2.5-3 lbs. potatoes, scrubbed and chopped bite-sized (smaller cooks faster)
2 cups or half bag frozen baby broccoli florets (again, smaller cooks faster)
1 c corn, cooked
3 cups milk, more if desired
1/2 T garlic powder
1 T onion powder
1 T herbed salt
2 T McKay's vegetarian Chicken broth powder
Parsley to taste
2 cups cheese, shredded (optional)
1 slice jalapeno, optional
Parsley to taste
In large pot, boil potatoes about 15 minutes. Add broccoli and return to a boil for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork and broccoli is cooked. Turn off heat. Drain the potatoes reserving 1 cup of water to keep the potatoes from sticking to the pot.
Return pot back to burner. Stir in corn and pepper. In food processor, blend two cups cooked potatoes (some broccoli, too) and return to pot. Add milk and seasonings. Reheat. Add milk for additional thinning, but remember to taste for seasoning. Top with grated cheese.
Makes 8-10 servings depending on appetizer or main course.
We dined out in Nashville at The Wild Cow, a vegetarian restaurant that came well recommended. Crazy name aside, this restaurant has a pretty good menu and a decent steady flow of patrons. We had quite a hard time choosing items from the two page menu. There's also a great kid's menu that I kind of wanted to order off of myself.
It's Nora's first Christmas. I wanted a tree, but we knew we couldn't have a large one with all of our breakable ornaments as she is mobile and curious. We chose a table top tree, and she's yet to notice it. I'd be pretty happy if it stayed like that for about a week.
Ever sat down in your house completely overwhelmed by the disaster? What about looking in your fridge and groaning because it's full to the brim, but you don't have a clue what to make out of all of that? Yep, that's about how my day started. The plus side? I managed to bring a batch of sweet rolls to a friend down the street who had a baby while I was still working and didn't have the time to share in the joy. They had to freeze over the holiday weekend.
A big thank you to my father-in-law for forwarding me this great story from the NY Times that appeals to me as a medical professional, as a mother, and of course as a budget-friendly vegetarian blogger.
Although it's past the peak season for pumpkins and squash--as is evident by the increased prices for the fresh produce--people often associate pumpkin with the Thanksgiving holiday. I know I do. We won't be having pumpkin pie at our Thanksgiving dinner (contrary to tradition) but I've collected a few ideas for adding pumpkin to our meals throughout the week.
As you know from my Thanksgiving Day menu post, we will start the day with a 5k walk at the Turkey Trot. Our goal for the day was to not spend the day in the kitchen. Moreover, I didn't want to make my mom who can't attend the walk feel like she has to do all the work herself. So, let's just go over the menu items, how easy they are to prepare, and whist day-of requirements there are.
What does this picture have to do with Thanksgiving? Well, this light dinner we ate a few weeks back reminds me that that's about what I normally eat. I don't have to have an overflowing plate Thanksgiving Day just because it's a holiday. I hope I remember that next week. . .
OK, the moment many of us (including myself) have been waiting for: Our Menu Plan for Turkey-Day 2010.
Thanksgiving will be hosted at our house this year. Err, maybe not since it's the smallest. But it will be hosted near my home none-the-less. I may be a tad late. . .OK, really late. . .getting the menu together, but it's time I do a little research about Thanksgiving dishes for vegetarians. I'll be sharing what I've found. Meanwhile, if you have any suggestions, please pass them on!
OK, as expected, this wrap just didn't go too well. I guess there wasn't anything sticky enough to keep it all inside and it fell completely apart. Frown.So much for cleanliness. But the smile was right back on my face again when my husband said it would have been great just as a salad. The next time, it was a salad. And he was right!
This may seem a little late to post such things, but in Florida it's been warm enough to still yield in some really nice "late, late summer" crops.
Recipe for Cucumber Tomato Salad
2 Large Wraps, warmed
1 1/3 Tablespoons chives, tightly packed
1 teaspoon herb salt
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 cucumber, sliced and quartered
2 Campari tomatoes, quartered
2 thin slices of onion, separated
In a measuring device, like a tumbler, mix chives, salt, olive oil, and lemon juice. In a bowl, combine the veggies and pour the dressing over top. Stir carefully and serve in or on the wraps.
The black bean burger recipe from Parents Magazine was so fabulous, I figured the recommended switch to chickpeas or garbanzo beans would also be a success. After all, we love the falafel recipe from a previous issue of the magazine.
Recipe for Dilled Yogurt Dressing
2 (heaping) Tablespoons plain yogurt
3/4 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
1/8 teaspoon herb salt
Whisk together ingredients. Pour over and have extra on the side of wraps and salads. I have been using an herb salt we acquired on one of our trips. I'm sure regular table salt would work just fine.
Here's the week's menu based only on what is already in the cabinets or what I froze before leaving town.
Since we didn't land until late Monday evening, dinner had to be simple. Also, Paul's folks will be visiting on Friday. And dinner will be up to their meeting schedule. I'll also be taking care of a friend's baby, which means that I have to plan and make our lunches and dinners the night before so I can simply reheat and serve them. This will be a great test to see how I like two children instead of just one. I hear they are a lot of extra work!
I'm not in a position where I worry about an excess of basil. If I'm lucky, I collect all spare leaves and dehydrate them. That came in very handy last year when my plants froze. I had just enough dried basil to keep me content until about a week before the fresh crop popped up.
Start the gravy first. Then, start cooking the squash (if microwaving). In a large skillet, Saute onions and garlic in olive oil. When onions are translucent, add edamame. Cook through. Add cooked spaghetti squash to vegetables. Pour gravy over the vegetables and allow flavors to marinate (3-5 minutes.) Serve vegetables topped with toasted sesame seeds.
Recipe for Soy Sauce Gravy
Recipe from my mother. Have no idea where she got it, but she's made it all my life.
1/8 C soy sauce
1 T cornstarch
1 1/4 C water
In a mall saucepan, combine all ingredients. Cook on low-medium, stirring frequently, until clear.
Is this not the most beautiful grain you've ever seen? It was almost too pretty to eat. I'd never heard of red quinoa before, which meant it was a splurge purchase at Trader Joe's where our budget always seems to go out the window.
The box said you could cook the quinoa in the microwave. Uh, yeah, that didn't work. My next option was to try the rice cooker. That worked really well and really quickly because it had already partially cooked in the microwave.