Salty But Strangely Delicious Cookies

Good evening, everyone! Today I’m writing about the batch of cookies that I made last night for my son’s Kindergarten class’ party today. It was kindly suggested/requested by my son’s teacher that parents bring goodies if they wished. So of course, I couldn’t refuse.

This is the recipe I followed:

– 2 1/4 cups flour
– 1 teaspoon salt (Hubby commented that this and the baking soda was too much while we were baking, but I was adamant that the recipe called for it, so it must be put in…)
– 1 teaspoon baking soda (same comment as above)
– 1 cup unsalted, room temperature butter
– 3/4 cup white sugar
– 3/4 cup brown sugar
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 2 eggs
– Chocolate chips (recipe called for “1 bag” but as we buy huge bags, this wouldn’t work. So I estimated)

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The directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Pre-mix dry ingredients. I mixed this with a whisk just for fun. Note: This is when my husband said that there was too much baking soda and too much salt. I was adamant that I was correct because it said so in the recipe.

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3. Smooth/soften butter by mixing. I would ordinarily use my hand mixer for this, but Hubby insisted that he could do it himself.

4. Add white sugar to butter and mix.

5. Add brown sugar to sugar-butter mixture and mix.

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6. Add one egg at a time and mix.

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7. Add vanilla extract.

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8. Slowly incorporate flour mixture.

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9. Add chocolate chips. As you can see, we had helpers. My kids added the ingredients and Hubby stirred.

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10. Roll into balls and put on cookie sheet. We used parchment paper, which really helped with getting the cookies off the sheet afterward.

11. Bake for 9-15 minutes, depending on how hot your oven cooks. Ours tends to be on the low side, so ours took 15 minutes to bake. This recipe made four cookie sheets of cookies.

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12. Let cool and enjoy!

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Final thoughts: This recipe definitely had “too much” salt and baking soda. Needless to say, the cookies had an odd, salty flavour to them. But strangely enough, they ended up delicious. The salty taste contrasted the sweet, which could be dangerous in that one could easily eat too many.

They were a big hit with my family. I’m not sure how my son’s classmates enjoyed them, though, as I had to pick my son up early from school. He fell on the playground at recess and chipped one of his teeth. But don’t worry. He’s seen the dentist and is a-ok for tomorrow’s school day.

Thanks for reading, everyone!

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The Lettuce Wrap

Good morning, blog readers! Guess what? I actually cooked a dinner this week! Yes, amid my very busy schedule of late, I finally managed to make a meal. It was delicious!

At our house, we love lettuce wraps. I didn’t even have to search for a recipe on Pinterest, because this one is already a family favourite.

Ingredients:

– 1 head lettuce
– 2 cloves garlic, very finely minced
– 2 packages of lean ground turkey meat (or beef, if that is your preference)
– Hoisin sauce
– Soy sauce
– Ginger (peeled and minced from chunk no larger than the pad of your thumb)
– 2-4 large carrots
*Note: This recipe is also very good if you add chopped water chestnuts – we just didn’t have any)

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Directions: (for the crockpot – I will write about doing it in a pan instead at the end)

1. Lightly coat the bottom of the crockpot with sauce (both a dab of hoisin and some soy sauce).

2. Put ground meat into the crock pot. Mine was partially frozen still, but thawed would be better.

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3. Top the meat with dribble of sauce.

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4. Add ginger (I used a chunk no larger than the pad of my thumb, peeled it, and used my special mincer to mince it) and garlic.

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5. Put crockpot on high for several hours (could be 5 or 6, even longer, depending on when the meat is cooked). I opened my crockpot up several times throughout the day and “chunked” up the ground meat, though I suppose this could be done at the end.

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6. I added more sauce throughout the cooking process and also scooped out some of the liquid from the thawed meat after it had been cooked. When you know the meat is done, have a taste of the mixture to make sure the spices are to your liking. Add more soy or hoisin if needed.

7. Once it has been cooked, clean a head of lettuce and peel off the layers, trying to keep each layer in tact to create little lettuce bowls.

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8. Peel and shred 2-4 carrots (I peeled four in the photo, but only grated 3).

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9. Add carrots and mix.

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10. Serve. I put the meat in a large bowl and place in the centre of the table with a serving spoon. Each person can take a “bowl” of lettuce and fill with meat mixture.

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**How to cook this in a pan:

Mix all ingredients (except carrots) in a deep pan and cook until meat is done. Add carrots at the end and serve.

*Note: This can get really messy, so I would eat over a plate or bowl.

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This is a delicious meal that my husband and kids love. I like my crockpot version, but it is faster in the pan. Over all a favourite in our house!

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Enjoy and thank you for reading!

The Fabulous Nuts and Bolts

Good morning, blog readers! Today should be a short entry, because, well, let’s face it, nuts and bolts are pretty simple to make.

This was another case of “how can I fit as much iron into my diet as possible” type moments. I know that the cereal Shreddies is really high in iron, so I wanted to incorporate it into my daily intake of foods. So here we have it.

I followed both this recipe and this recipe for this food project. Though with slightly different cereals and theirs has nuts and mine didn’t.

The ingredients:

– 1/2 cup butter
– 3 cups pretzels
– 2 cups cheese sticks
– 2 cups cheese squares
– 3 cups cheerios
– 3 cups shreddies
– 3 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
– 1/4 teaspoon cumin
– Splash of soy sauce
– Dash of garlic powder
– Dash of onion powder
– Shake of seasoning salt

*Note: in my original photo of the ingredients, I didn’t have Worcestershire sauce and I had the wrong type of shreddies. A special thanks to my husband for running to the store for me! xo

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The directions:

1. Melt butter in saucepan.

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2. Remove from heat and add all sauces and spices. Mix well.

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3. Mix cereals, pretzels, and cheese crackers together in large bowl.

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4. Pour butter and spice mixture over cereal and cracker mixture.

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5. Mix well.

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6. Spread over 2 cookie sheets and place in the oven at 250 degrees F for one hour, stirring around every 15 minutes.

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7. Let cool and enjoy!

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These went over really well with my kids. Seriously. This was all gone within the day.

Final thought: There’s no question. These were fantastic. I plan on making another batch this weekend. I highly recommend these for yumminess factor. Mmm…

Enjoy and thank you all so much for reading!

Colourful Chocolate Chip Cookies

Good morning, blog readers! Today I’m writing about a very odd batch of colourful chocolate chip cookies. My eldest son wanted green cookies and my middle son wanted purple… so I obliged them.

Again, I went on Pinterest and searched cookie recipes (let me tell you, there are some crazy delicious-looking cookies on there that I definitely plan on trying) and this is what I found:

*Note: firstly, I’d like to add that I thought the ratio of chocolate chips to flour was off, so I removed 1/2 a cup of chocolate chips and added 1/2 cup of oats (the recipe below reflects this change).

This is the recipe I followed:

– 1 1/4 cups flour
– 1 tsp baking soda
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
– 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
– 6 tbsp granulated white sugar
– 1 egg
– 1tsp vanilla extract
– 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
– 1/2 cups oats

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These are the directions I followed:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. I ran out of space on my sheets, so I snuck in a couple of larger cookies. Next time, I think I’m going to prepare a third cookie sheet.

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3. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. As I did in a previous recipe, I didn’t sift these. I used a whisk and mixed the dry ingredients together.

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4. In large bowl, beat butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth (two minutes?).

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5. Add egg and vanilla then mix on low.

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6. Slowly add flour and mix until incorporated. Here, my electric mixer began to sound like was going to burn out… the grinding and groaning tipped me off, so I switched to a wooden spoon.

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7. Add chocolate chips and oats.

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8. Here, I separated my dough into two sections and began adding the food colouring. In retrospect, I probably should have added the colour along with the wet ingredients, because this was very difficult to stir and the colour didn’t integrate very well.

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9. Scoop balls onto parchment paper.

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10. Bake one sheet at a time for approximately 13 minutes. Mine were in for a little longer because my cookies were bigger. It was also very difficult to judge if they were fully ready because of the colour. Some cookies ended up a little crunchy on the outside.

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Despite what the recipe that I followed had said, this was FAR from the perfect cookie recipe. I’m trying a different one next time. Plus I’m going to avoid using colouring. There’s just something strange about eating green and purple cookies. My kids loved them, though!

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Enjoy and thank you for reading!

The Hideous but Delicious Banana Bread

Good morning, foodie readers! Today I’m blogging about my experience with making banana bread.

I had realized that we had an abundance of bananas that were a day or two past their “perfect” ripeness, and as I had so many, I decided to make something with them. I searched Pinterest for a recipe. Lo-and-behold I found one that seemed perfect.

This is the recipe I followed:

– 3/4 cup of room temperature butter (I got impatient so I put mine in the microwave for 15 seconds)
– 1 1/2 cups of sugar
– 2 cups flour
– 2 eggs
– 1 1/2 tablespoons of milk
– 3 ripe bananas
– 1 teaspoon of baking soda
– Chocolate chips (recipe said 1/2 a bag, but we buy huge bags, so I had to guestimate how much that would be – plus in this particular case, we were nearly out of chocolate chips so I had to improvise)

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As appealing as the “featured image” at the top of this blog may be, when the banana bread came out of the pans, they were anything but pretty.

Here are the steps that I took:

1. I measured out the ingredients, including the chocolate, which I replaced with a crunched/chopped 85% cocoa organic chocolate bar (yes, crazy expensive, but it was all I had) – as pictured below.

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I took lots of pictures of the chocolate… because I love chocolate.

Step #2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

3. Combine, in a large bowl, the butter and sugar. I used my hand mixer, which worked very well.

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4. Add eggs and blend.

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5. Add in the bananas and milk and mix well. It’ll be lumpy because of the bananas.

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6. Add baking soda and flour (I mixed the two together before I put it in my mixture) and stir.

-Here I tried to continue using my hand mixer and I ended up feeling like a fool. Please don’t do what I did; it ended up being a giant, clumpy mess that took a little while to clean. When mixing in the flour, I highly recommend using a wooden spoon or whatever utensil you are accustomed to using.

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7. Stir in chocolate chips (or in my case, the crunched chocolate bar mixed with chocolate chips).

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8. The recipe I used called for “non-cook spray” on the pans, but as I don’t use that, I spread butter over my two loaf pans.

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8. Divide the batter between the two pans.

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9. Bake for 45 minutes. I put mine in for 40 minutes and then kept an eye on it for another 5, just in case it had browned enough before the full 45 minutes.

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10. Let them cool! I *thought* I had learned my lesson with my son’s birthday cake (when I hadn’t let the cake cool before I tried taking it out – it ended up falling apart), but even after having let my loaves cool for an hour on the counter then half an hour in the fridge, they still came out looking like the pictures below.

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I just don’t understand it. I thoroughly buttered the pans, I waited until they’d cooled… what more did I miss? How can I get a cake/loaf to come out absolutely perfectly? Any advice would be appreciated.

Despite my banana bread looking hideous, it was startlingly delicious. I will definitely make this again, regardless of whether or not the loaves come out of the pans looking pretty.

Enjoy, and thank you for reading!

My Painful Experience with the Giant Bagel

Last night I tried something that was miles away from my comfort zone. It wasn’t good. But for a novice such as I, it was… acceptable.

Be prepared, folks, this blog post will be chock full of pictures! I took pictures along the way and hopefully we can all learn from my mistakes.

I will start at the beginning. Yesterday I knew that I wanted to try something that I’d never done before. So I searched recipes on Pinterest. I found a remarkable amount of things that I’d like to try, but sadly I did not have all of the required ingredients. Then I saw it. The perfect recipe for me to try. Bread! This is the recipe I followed. (The bread/bun recipe is below that of the sloppy joes, so you’ll have to scroll.)

I gathered all of the ingredients but then realized that I did not have bread pans. Instead, I pulled out a bunt cake pan and used that. *Please note that I doubled the recipe in the link, as I thought it wouldn’t be enough. Turned out I was wrong.

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The ingredients for my doubled recipe: (*note: the regular recipe is on the link I posted)

– 2 Eggs plus enough warm water to equal 2 2/3 cups
– 1/2 cup melted butter
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 3 teaspoons of sea salt
– 8 cups of flour
– 3 teaspoons of instant yeast

Then I followed these instructions: (I mixed by hand)

1. Blend all ingredients except flour.

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2. Add one cup of flour at a time, mixing well after each addition.

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At this point, I was absolutely terrified that I was doing things wrong. Throughout this entire process, the same thoughts careened through my mind – “OMG I don’t know what I’m doing! What am I doing? What am I doing? Should I just stop? Ah! What do I do? Should I use a mixer? Should I use the blender? Ah!”

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3. When all the flour is mixed in and the dough stiffens and can be mixed by hand, put on well-floured counter and knead for 5-10 minutes.

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4. Cover and let rise for 20 minutes.

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5. Punch down dough and let it rise again.

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Now, the directions on the link I posted says that the dough should get to about double its size. Well, mine didn’t. I asked my husband about it when he got home and he said that it was likely one of two things: 1. The salt and yeast shouldn’t be added at the same time because the salt does something that cancels out the rising quality of the yeast. (At least, that’s my interpretation of what he said) 2. I over-kneaded the dough.

So, after waiting and waiting… and waiting… I moved to the next step.

6. I divided the dough into buns, one giant clump for my loaf, and another chunk for my strange dinner project.

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7. I rolled my dough out and placed it in my bunt cake pan (which I had powdered with flour) and I put the separated buns onto a cookie sheet.

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– The instructions then said to cover them up again and let them sit, so I did. It made little difference in this situation, though, because my dough wasn’t rising.

Then I moved on to my odd dinner project. I wanted to use the dough to create something different. I’d seen pictures of things online and thought I would improvise. This is what I did:

– First, I rolled out my dough with my rolling pin.

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– Then I got my ingredients ready. I used cream of potato soup (only a half of a can mixed with a tiny amount of water *note: the picture of the soup below is the full can; I separated it after I took the picture) and chopped carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower, then mixed them all together.

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– Next, I sliced the edges of my dough and spread the mixture of soup and veggies into the centre.

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– I folded the dough over the mixture then brushed a bit of egg wash (an egg mixed with a fork) over it.

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*I used parchment paper underneath to keep it from sticking. I didn’t do that for the buns because I figured I could scrape them off if there was a problem.
– I put it in the oven at 350 degrees F for a good 20 minutes, but kept watching it to see if it would cook right. I ended up raising the temp to 375 for another 5-10 minutes, continuously watching it.

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The end product looked and smelled pretty good, but in retrospect, I should have pre-steamed the veggies, as they came out still crunchy.

– The loaf and buns went in the oven next. Again, I started the oven at 350 degrees F. The loaf was in for 25 minutes and then kept in and watched for several minutes after that. The buns were in for 15 minutes, and again, kept in and watched for several minutes until I was satisfied with their colour.

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The above picture is the under-side of my giant bagel.

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The above picture is the top of my giant bagel.

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After reading this blog, you may be wondering what it is about this process that was “painful” as the title says. Well, allow me to enlighten you. While I was taking the buns off the cookie sheet, I had the sheet in one oven-mitted hand and the scraper in the other… and for goodness knows what reason, I decided to use my stomach to hold the sheet still as I scraped the buns off. Yes. My stomach. Needless to say, I quickly put the sheet down on the counter and ran for the ice. The burn hurt last night, but it is fine today. But boy is my pride scarred.

In retrospect, I would change four things with this process:

1. I would mix the salt with the flour, not adding it to the beginning mixture with the yeast but slowly with the flour.
2. I would not take out my frustration on the dough. (Because of the first two mistakes, my buns and “loaf” came out thick and dense like the dough of bagels. While tasty, they aren’t my goal result – bread.)
3. I would pre-steam the veggies added in all baking.
4. I wouldn’t use my stomach to stabilize the hot things that are in my hands.

Phew! All done. Now to go enjoy a slice of round bagel toast.

Thank you for reading!