Thursday, April 30, 2009

As Your BFF, I Must Ask, What is that Smell?


Blog Farts – noun. Def: Crappy ideas that are too short to make a real blog post, but when combined, join forces to make one unified, albeit half assed, post. see also: memes, surveys.

How is it that I have only posted one BFF with Jaci at Ravings of a Mad Housewife on Blog Fart Fridays, and I already feel like I have nothing to say?


1. I have terrible eyesight. Without my contacts, can't see jack squat. To compensate though, I can hear like a bat and smell like a bloodhound. To me music and smells are powerful memory joggers.

2. This week, I was in Kroger's, sniffing the body washes that were on sale, and came upon one that smelled exactly like someone I used to know. It was so powerful, taking me back, that I started crying in the aisle. I had to compose myself by looking at the hemorrhoid creams. The scent still stuck with me (I think I got the soap up my nose.) and I couldn't shake the memory. Had the remaining breakdown in the car on the way home.

3. I didn't make it to be weighed this week. My gym intimidates me. My personal trainer, The Meatball, doesn't appear to like chubby girls and avoids me at all costs. Plus, the last time I was weighed, I smelled like Old Spice Sport scent deodorant and patchouli (long, strange story - I hate patchouli). He probably remembers that smell and is intimidated by me.

4. This week I had ramps and rhubarb in my fridge at one point. I don't even think I can describe for you what my house smelt like.

5. I couldn't pin what I thought rhubarb tasted like - I now feel it tastes like patchouli.

6. Every year, I grow this beautiful herb garden that smells incredible. But I am now going to officially admit, I hate the taste of rosemary. So if you are in the area, and you like rosemary in your food, feel free to stop by and harvest your own.



Monday, April 27, 2009

Rhubarb Crunch

Please tell me you know something about rhubarb. It is consumed in great quantities by people in my area. I've always been put off by the smell and the tart taste. It is currently in season. My mom had two bags from two different people. I have a theory it most grow like zucchini - an overabundance when it comes. She sent some home with me. It looks like celery and has strings. My mom also sent me with this recipe. Since I'm getting weighed and measured this week, I was able to refrain from eating all but a small bite, warm from the oven. Not bad.



Oatmeal Rhubarb Crunch
1 c. flour
3/4 c. old fashioned oats
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. melted butter
1 tsp. cinnamon
4 c. cubed rhubarb
1 c. sugar
1 c. water
2 Tb. cornstarch
1 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together flour, oats, brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon
Use half of mixture to cover bottom of 9" square baking pan. Arrange rhubarb evenly over bottom layer. Boil sugar, water and cornstarch and vanilla in saucepan until thick. Pour sugar mixture over rhubarb. Top with remaining half of oat mixture. Bake for 1 hour. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Blog Fart Fridays


I'm joining Jaci at Ravings of a Mad Housewife in Blog Fart Fridays.


Blog Farts – noun. Def: Crappy ideas that are too short to make a real blog post, but when combined, join forces to make one unified, albeit half assed, post. see also: memes, surveys.
1. So in honor of my first BFF post, please know that this first one goes with the theme, kind of. I ate taco soup all week and was unable to go to the gym because of this.
(That would be me, the pig.)
2. Like Jaci, I have been exercising. I, too, thought I could run after work on the track beside the school. (Please see number 1 on why I wasn't at the gym.) I tried running the straights and walking the curves. I only ran two straights and walked the rest. Then, realized the entire middle school track team saw me gasping with my big-pop eyes bugging out after only running those two measly sprints.
3. It snowed here on Wednesday. It will be in the 70's tomorrow. This is killing my sinuses. (That's what I said to the track team when they asked about my heavy breathing.)
4. My grandma will be 89 this weekend. We will be having a big shin-dig West Virginia style at my mom's house. Party on the porch!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies

I have a thing for whoopie pies. These Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pies are some of my favorites. But this past weekend, I tried these Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies, lifted from a recipe from Martha from somewhere. If I find the link, I'll post it. These might take the number one spot in my heart for Whoopie Pies.

Here's the thing - I often buy the baby carrots because they are ready to eat. Great to grab from the fridge. But I wasn't grabbing them from the fridge. After eating one, they would start to taste like mildew to me. I always ended up throwing out the little midget carrots to the cows who would try and lick them up with those big tongues.

So, to save money, I bought whole carrots one week. Peeling carrots is a soothing kitchen action. I find it therapeutic to peel away that outer dirty cover and be rewarded with that bright happy orange.

And they taste so much better. There's that dirt smell you don't get with the already peeled carrots. That helps to take away the mildew taste. The cows haven't been getting any carrots lately.
After cleaning the carrots, be sure to grate them by hand for this recipe. It will make you feel like sunshine with the smell of dirt, the sight of the happy orange, and the feel of the scraped knuckles.

Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies

1 c. light brown sugar

1 c. sugar

2 sticks of butter, room temperature

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 c. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

2 c. old-fashioned oats

1 1/2 c. grated carrots

1 c. raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. In large bowl, combine the sugars and butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. In another bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Gradually, add flour mixture to butter mixture. Mix in oats, carrots, and raisins. Chill in fridge for at least an hour.

Use a small ice-cream scoop to scoop dough on baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between cookies. Bake until browned and crisp - 12 - 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Once cooled, put cookies together with frosting. Keep in airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Cream Cheese Filling

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature

8 Tb. butter, cut into pieces, room temperature

1 c. confectioners' sugar

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Combine butter and cream cheese in small bowl. Beat until well-blended. Stir in confectioners' sugar until smooth. Stir in vanilla.






Friday, April 17, 2009

Get out the Grape Kool-Aid

When I was in college, I lived my last semester off-campus. As poor college students, my roommates and I would take turns cooking. One of our favorite dinners to make was Manwiches, tater tots, and grape Kool-aid. We live in West Virginia so we were/are allowed to call it our "trailer trash" dinner.



Nothing beats the combination. I'm not sure how nutritional it is, but it was filling and comforting and cheap. This isn't a post about Manwiches (I could write a whole love sonnet about Manwiches if required, though.) This is a post about a similar meal, another "trailer trash" dinner that is one of Farmer Brown's favorites.


Serve this up with some corn niblets from the freezer (you know, the little ears of corn) and some grape Kool-aid and it will be filling and comforting and cheap. Live a little if you dare - my son loves white bread with butter on it with this.

BBQ Kielbasa

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

1 medium pepper, thinly sliced

1 Tb. butter

1 lb. polish sausage

1 c. ketchup

1/2 c. brown sugar

2 Tb. Worcestershire sauce

In large skillet, brown the onion and pepper in the butter until tender. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer uncovered for 3 minutes, until sauce is slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.



Thursday, April 16, 2009

Among Friends






Do you have these cookbooks?


They are my absolute favorites. They make beautiful gifts, even for non cooks. Not only are they beautifully illustrated, I've never had a bad recipe from any of the books. Never.



You can find out more about them here.


Out of the Keeping Good Company book, I made the Chocolate Chip Banana Bread with the other bananas. Would you believe I still ended up throwing out two of them?


Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Beat first six ingredients together until blended

1/2 c. butter, room temperature

1 1/4 c. sugar

2 eggs

1/2 c. sour cream

1 tsp. vanilla

1 c. mashed ripe bananas

Stir in the dry ingredients and chocolate chips until moistened

1 3/4 c. flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

pinch of salt

3/4 c. semisweet chocolate chips


Put batter into two greased loaf pans. Bake at 325 degrees for about 40 - 50 minutes. Cool in pans for 15 minutes and them remove to rack to cool. Drizzle with chocolate glaze when completely cool.


Chocolate Glaze

1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips

3 Tb. butter

In a heavy zip-top bag, heat chocolate chips and butter together in microwave for 35 - 40 seconds. Knead bag until ingredients are well blended. Snip off bottom corner and drizzle over each loaf.
(Sad, little, lonely piece was the only thing left from the two loaves. Didn't even get a glaze.)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bananarama




Do you remember Bananarama? I had this song on a 45. Maybe it was my sister's. I was always stealing her stuff. Anyway, loved this song when it was out back in the day.

Different kind of bananarama today. You recall that the nutritionist recommended that I drink Kefir for breakfast, so I've been blending it up with fruit, a little milk, and some ice cubes. Pretty good. Bananas were on sale last week, so I stocked up, then went to visit my mom. I returned home to a bowlful of these:

This recipe came from a regional cook-off contestant. Great way to use bananas.

Banana Crunch Cake

Crumb Mixture:

1/2 c. flour

1 c. rolled oats

1/2 c. chopped pecans

1 c. coconut

3/4 c. packed brown sugar

1/2 c. butter

Cake:

2 large, very ripe bananas

4 eggs

1/2 c. sour cream

1 pkg. yellow cake mix

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10" tube pan (I used my Bundt pan.) In medium bowl, mix together the flour, coconut, oats, brown sugar, and pecans. Cut in butter with a fork. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine bananas, sour cream, bananas, and eggs. Blend until smooth. Add cake mix. Beat two minutes at high speed. Spread 1/3 batter into prepared pan, sprinkle 1/3 of crumb mixture. Repeat twice, ending with the crumb mixture. Bake at 350 degrees fro 50-60 minutes. Cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove from pan. Place on serving platter crumb mixture side up.





Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Homesick

Another poem that makes me feel warm all the time. Makes me want to go home.

Knoxville Tennessee

I always like summer
Best
you can eat fresh corn
From daddy's garden
And okra
And greens
And cabbage
And lots of
Barbeque
And buttermilk
And homemade ice-cream
At the church picnic
And listen to
Gospel music
Outside
At the church
Homecoming
And go to the mountains with
Your grandmother
And go barefooted
And be warm
All the time
Not only when you go to bed
And sleep

Nikki Giovanni

Sunday, April 5, 2009

National Poetry Month

In honor of April being National Poetry Month, I give you

Animal Crackers

Animal crackers and cocoa to drink,

That is the finest of suppers I think;

When I'm grown up and can have what I please

I think I shall always insist upon these.

What do YOU choose when you're offered a treat?

When Mother says, "What would you like best to eat?"

Is it waffles and syrup, or cinnamon toast?

It's cocoa and animals that I love most!

The kitchen's the cosiest place that I know;

The kettle is singing, the stove is aglow,

And there in the twilight, how jolly to see

The cocoa and animals waiting for me.


Christopher Morley (1890-1957)

Chocolate animal crackers! What is your favorite treat to eat?
 

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