Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Easy doughnuts post

It was published today by Mom Spark.

Go check it out and while you are there, read all the other good stuff there!

Microwave potato chips

Yesterday was another banner day for baking at my house. I made potato chips in the microwave and they were “da bomb”! They were so good, the kids loved them, the adults loved them, and I made them more than once - on the same night even!
When I originally made them,I did not take pictures, but when I made them again, I did take some pictures, so lucky you!

I used a recipe from – surprise, surprise – It was this potato chip recipe. It was so easy and had only three ingredients!! Even non-cooks can do this (although why you would be reading this blog is beyond me!)

You might think by all the baking I do that I am quite the chef. Nothing could be further from the truth! I just love to bake, and even like to do it with the kids for the first five minutes or so until they lose interest. I am so NOT the chef in the house that DH has banned me from making dinner. I could, but the fact that he WANTS to is fine by me!!

Back to the potato chips.

The first time I made them, I peeled the potatoes, which was probably the most time-consuming part. When I made them again, I did it without peeling the potatoes and they were amazing, so while the recipe says peeling is optional, you can do it if you love to peel potatoes, but it is really not necessary.

After the potatoes were ready (peeled or washed – you pick!) then I cut them super thin with a mandoline. The mandoline is not required, but if you have one, they make quick work of this and you get nice uniformly skinny pieces. If you can slice thinly, then by all means, use a knife. I had a hard time getting my potatoes to stand up in the mandoline holder, even with a flat surface and a good start, and I know that the blade is SHARP, so I put on the trusty OVE-GLOVE and went to town slicing the potatoes. DO NOT DO THIS WITHOUT PROTECTING YOUR FINGERS! With the mandoline, this can be dangerous, so please use something for protection.
Then you just shake them in oil and put them on a microwave-safe plate sprayed with cooking spray. When I cooked them in the microwave, I did notice that the ones with peels on took a lot longer in the microwave than those without peels. YMMV on this. (Standard internet terminology, Your Mileage May Vary = YMMV)

After they were done cooking, I tossed them with some salt, although what is called for in the recipe is A LOT OF SALT, so if you want them less salty, cut down on the salt a lot. My oldest, who LOVES salt, even said these were too salty the first time, so I know they were salty. They were a little salty to me, but they are potato chips!

The one downside is that one potato does not make a lot of chips, so if you just want a few, these are great. They are also a good way to have portion control because we all know we can eat a whole bag of chips in one sitting, but the effort of making them means there are less and you will not eat as much! But, if you are going to go to the trouble of making them, a single potato (which is what is in the recipe) is hardly worth it. I made three potatoes at a time, two times last night. I think two would be the minimum. Even with three, it was 3-5 times in the microwave, so it took almost 30 minutes just to cook them. If you can find a way to do more chips at a time, by all means, DO IT!

Monday, October 27, 2008


After dinner and dessert Sunday night, we had all the junk for meatballs. I made up a bunch. It is on the menu for tonight and I wanted there to be a bunch in the freezer.

I made up a huge batch of these meatballs from my favorite site, I had a little more meat than was required for a double batch, so I made a double batch and just used all the meat. It also wanted me to fry them up in a skillet, but I have always cooked meatballs in the oven, so I did that. It made a LOT. I have 6 dozen little meatballs in the freezer and 16 for tonight. They will be perfect for spaghetti and meatballs.

Coconut Cream Pie

Last night was my night to make dessert, but we were gone all day. I didn't even have time to make dinner. So I went to Wal-Mart and got frozen food for dinner. Then I took out a few pieces of frozen pie and let the kids and DH go nuts on the pie.

I had frozen pie from the "backup pie" last weekend that I did not use. There were two pies in the freezer - one banana cream that required thawing overnight and one coconut cream that you can slice off a piece and just let it sit out for 15 minutes. So I went with the shorter time frame one and that was that. I am not a huge fan of coconut, so I did not have pie, but the kids and DH thought it was awesome!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Chocolate Pie

I made a French Silk Pie at the request of my DH for dessert tonight. Again, I went to and got a recipe for it and it turned out really good. The whipped topping for the top was not part of the recipe, so I had to go back for that, but as soon as I made it, I knew it was missing something and needed that, so when my youngest woke up from his nap, I took him BACK to Wal-Mart (yes, on a weekend!) to get it.

As you know by now, we do not have dessert that often, but on Sunday night, it is sorta our tradition.

I did get a frozen pie as a backup pie, in case this did not turn out for some reason. Sadly, since I like to experiment, some of my experiments have not turned out great so the backup pie was a precaution. Since it is a frozen pie, it will last for weeks because we did not need to use it, so it was not a bad thing at all. I will just use it as a dessert some Sunday when I forget or am not in the mood to bake something…

The pie inside was pretty easy, but you do need an electric mixer. DH STILL has not fixed my stand mixer, even though the part has been here for over 2 weeks, so I am using the super-cheap backup mixer I bought at Wal-Mart for $7. It is not half-bad! If you do not have an electric mixer, this is a great one so far. I use it at least weekly and have for a month now. It has worked very well! It makes me wonder why I paid so much for the other one…

Again, no pictures, but it was your standard chocolate pie. It was so good. There are 2 pieces left but I am thinking they will be gone at lunch!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Banana Bread

I made delicious banana bread last night. I do not make it that often, but I should! I wait until there are a couple old bananas and use those. Well for a couple of days, I had been saving these three old bananas on my countertop. I made this recipe from You have seen this link before. I use this site A LOT for anything I need the recipe for.

It turned out pretty good. I had three small-ish bananas and assumed that would mash to the right amount. It was a little less, but I made it anyway. I think if I had the full amount it would have tasted even better.

I have no pictures because by the time I remembered to take them, the loaf was half gone and looked just like your standard banana bread, which you have all seen.
The first step was creaming together the butter and brown sugar and although the recipe did not say room temperature, IT NEEDS TO BE. I did it with butter straight out of the fridge and it did not combine well. In fact, I would go so far as to say that in any recipe that does not specifically say COLD butter, but calls for creaming, the butter needs to be at room temperature. I thought about using shortening but did not, and in retrospect, it might have been better because I would have been able to cream the ingredients much easier! As it was, I just waited about a half hour and tried it again. It was still not great, but better.

The final verdict is that it was a little dry, but I think that is because I was a little light on the mashed banana. I will definitely try this again, as it tastes great, even as it is. I know it would be 100 times better if I did it right!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Favorite food blogs

There are so many good food blogs that it is hard to pick just a few, but there are some I read every once in a while and some I read EVERY DAY, without fail. YMMV and you may like some more than others, but these are the blogs that I love to read:

A Year of CrockPotting
She is using her crock pot every day in 2008. Most days it is for dinner, but some days are crafts (that shrinky dink idea is great!) and some days are dips in her Little Dipper.

This is one of my favorite podcasts and when I finish listening to it, I am sad that I have to WAIT for the next one...

Al Dente
I heard about this on the aforementioned munchcast and have been addicted to it ever since. Not the healthiest fare, but I like to think of it as food porn.

The rest are much more hit or miss, and I will tell you all about those soon!

Beignets - A French Doughnut

Since I already had the oil out on Sunday and I had Beignet mix from I got from someone 4 years ago and had never made, I decided to try it out on Sunday night.

No picture, because they did not look great.

So I followed the directions on the box, which were 2 cups mix from the box with 7 ounces water all mixed up. I did that and they were a little sticky, but it said roll it out on a board with a lot of flour, so I thought the sticky would go away. I did that and they rolled out great. I cut them with a pizza cutter, because they are square, but they were still too sticky to pick up. So most of them were scraped up off the counter and then rolled into a ball because they were so mangled. Some were square because my oldest son used a spatula to get a few up off the counter. Some were flat circles because my middle son picked them up and when they were all mangled, he flattened them with his hands. Once they were fried, they all tasted the same. (And what isn't good fried!)

I drained them on paper towels and when they were all done (it made a LOT) we sprinkled powdered sugar on top of them. They tasted good and the kids loved them. One of them even thought it tasted like a funnel cake. I tried them and thought they were OK. They were not as good as the biscuit doughnuts I had made that morning, and they were not nearly as easy and were much messier to make. I will use up the rest of the mix, but I am not sure I will make them again. Like I said, tasted great, but if I am going to waste calories on doughnuts, they are going to ROCK MY WORLD!

Kristen also write for Kristen is Organized! and is a frequent contributor on Mom Spark.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Easy doughnuts at home

This is not quite as easy as picking up a few at a bakery, but close! And if you, like me, live out in the boonies and nowhere near a bakery, then it is even easier than picking up a few doughnuts at a bakery!

I first heard about this on an old podcast of Munchcast, which I love (you can subscribe on itunes, which I did!) This is called something like Boy Scout doughnuts because I guess they can make them while they are camping, and since I have 3 boys and 2 of them are in scouts and they are camping this next weekend, I thought that the time was perfect for trying these out. And I am so glad I did! I am sure that the pictures do not do it justice, but they tasted PERFECT!

They were made by deep frying refrigerated biscuit dough and then shaking finished doughnuts in a lunch bag with cinnamon and sugar in it.

Fortunately, I do have a deep fryer. If you don't, I am sure that any heavy pan would be fine. I ended up buying generic biscuits, because they were going to be fried anyway! I mean, everything is good fried, so why spend more for name-brand biscuits! And I had a choice between the regular and the jumbo biscuits. I ended up getting the regular ones, because there were more in the package and I did not want to get more until I knew they were good. The good thing about the regular sized ones is that they were easier to shake in the bag, I think. And they were more single-serving size!

I did document the process, but EVERYONE should try this, because they were amazing!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Peanut Butter!!

We made homemade peanut butter last night! With all the cooking and baking I have done, I cannot believe I have never done this before! It turned out great and it is so much better for you than that processed stuff

I was glad I had a recipe this time too, because without it, I might have given up on the mixture before it was done.

My youngest got a book as a gift called “C is for Cooking” based on the Sesame Street characters and this one was in there. If you want simple recipes, a gift for a child, or have a child, I HIGHLY recommend this book. My youngest, who does not really know it is a cookbook, has read it a few times each day. Now he is all about finding the little flying bugs on each recipe page.

The recipe says it will last up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. In what universe would PB ever last that long in my house? Maybe pre-kids (PK) it did, but now, never!

Since there was some left after PB&J sandwiches at lunch and I wanted to make sure I used as much as I wanted before the older two kids got home from school, because they would eat the rest, I also made PB cookies. A recipe (EASY!) came across my desk this morning and I decided to give it a try. If you want to make something super-simple, try these!

Here is my take on the cookies. I will not get rid of my existing recipe yet, but I do want to try it again with a few modifications. When I made them, they ended up being a little dry for my taste, but good, so I will try it again and add more PB to see if that helps with the moisture level.

Did I mention PB cookies are my absolute favorite cookies of all time???

Chocolate-covered bananas

I made dessert again Sunday night and it was SO good! I made chocolate-covered frozen bananas, but did not use a recipe, which was probably not the best idea. In retrospect, I wish I had used one because I could blame someone else if they did not turn out great. Do not get me wrong, they tasted amazing, but they did not look like what I had hoped.

I saw an episode of Healthy Cooking with Ellie Kreiger on the food network on Saturday. I know by the contents of this blog, you would never know it but most of the time, we do eat pretty healthy, so this is one of our favorite shows. Even DH and the kids watched the show! Anyway, she made these and they looked good, healthy, and easy. I should have gone out to the website to get the recipe. But I thought I knew better and could just do it.

I went to the store to get bananas and chocolate. I wanted to melt dark chocolate to make it as healthy as possible. My store did not have anything in dark chocolate besides the baking squares in the baking aisle. I looked. For a long time. So I ended up back in the candy aisle and got a chocolate bar there.
I cut each banana in half, stuck in a stick (I had sewers at home, so I chopped them in half and used the pointy side of those. The episode I saw called for popsickle sticks). I froze the cut bananas with a stick in them. Those would have probably been pretty good as is!

After they were frozen, I melted to chocolate bar in a bowl over a small pot of boiling water. I do have a real double boiler, but I think I can get by without it and this worked great. I added a little, very little, corn syrup. This is the point at which I was wishing I had a real recipe. It was way too thick. I am assuming I should have had more corn syrup or something, but the melted chocolate looked and tasted great.

I put the chocolate in a cup to make it easier to dip the bananas. I got the frozen bananas out of the freezer and dipped them in the chocolate. It was WAY too thick! The first banana had full coverage, but the chocolate was maybe twice as much as I wanted to use. The second banana had most of it covered, but it was very splotchy (the technical term!). After only two bananas, the chocolate in the cup was getting hard again, so I put the whole cup in the microwave to melt it again. It melted, but did not stick well to the remaining banana halves. FYI: There were 6 banana halves to feed my family of five.

I will do these again, because they tasted amazing, but next time, I want the chocolate more “runny” and will follow a recipe to get that.

Kristen also writes for Kristen is Organized! and loves to organize her own kitchen, herself and others.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Lego Brick Cake icing

See the last post about the cake itself.

But the icing was SO blue that when anyone eats it, including me, the lips, tongue, and teeth all turn blue. And I gave some to the youngest, who is still learning to use the potty and needs some help with wiping and his poop is BLIGHT BLUE. That is so not natural! If ever there was a good reason to have different color icing, that is it!