Black Sheep Dancing

Why be like everyone else when you can be yourself?


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Sweet and Sour memories

 

When I was a kid growing up my mother had her old standbys for dinner. Meatloaf, spaghetti, and everyone’s favorite, sweet and sour chicken. It’s not hard. It’s not fancy. But we all loved to eat it. Well, I loved it minus the chicken. Heck, I’d eat just the rice with the sauce and soy sauce on it.

 

So tonight I decided to make sweet and sour veggies. I have fake chicken in the freezer, but it’s been a long day and I’m too lazy to get it out, THAT’s how easy this recipe is. I can’t even be bothered to warm up some fake chicken in the microwave.

 

Sweet and Sour Sauce

1/4 c. ketchup

1/4 c. vinegar

1/3 c. brown sugar

2 Tbs. soy sauce

1 c. pineapple juice

1/4 c. pineapple juice with 2 Tbs corn starch

  1. combine all but the last two ingredients in a small saucepan over medium low heat
  2. in a separate bowl combine the pineapple juice and cornstarch
  3. when ingredients in pan are combined, add in corn starch mixture a little at a time until a nice sauce has formed

Heat up some stir fry frozen veggies. If you used pineapple juice from a can of pineapple chunks, you can add in the pineapple to the stir fry!

Make some rice

Enjoy!


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Sometimes you fail

I post lots of photos of all the yummy, delicious things I make. But sometimes one needs to be taken down a notch and post a fail. Case in point? Granola.

 

So, not long ago I got it in my head that I was going to make my very own granola so I could have yummy cereal, and a sweet and crunchy treat for my yogurt. So, I googled “make your own granola” and found this recipe over at Food Network. Easy to make, for sure!

 

So yesterday I was at home with a sick kiddo, and said, I can whip this up, put it in the oven and get some work done while it bakes! An excellent idea! Except I have dark pans. And what calls for over an hour of baking, I soon found should only have been about 30 minutes. šŸ˜¦

 

 

I quickly pulled my granola gold out of the oven in hopes of saving it. It LOOKED okay, but when I tried eating a bowl of it, my yummy granola was a smokey pile of not-so-yummy goodness. I was so bummed.

 

That’s kinda how my day went. I LOOKED okay, but really was bummed on the inside. We all have days like that. I blame the recent reemergence of snow.

 

On the upside, I received in the mail today my coconut oil! I’ve seen a couple of recipes that call for it, and as I get more health-nutty as I age, am excited about all the health benefits and uses as well. Anyone have any great recipes/uses for coconut oil?


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I heart hearts

Ah, Valentine’s Day. Love it or hate it, it comes around every year. I’m not one to really enjoy the day. I’ve had some pretty awful v-days, but you just can’t make it go away. However, anytime you have an excuse to make everything pink and with hearts, how can it be ALL bad?

 

I decided to get to baking. I made a valentine for my valentines, both at home and work. I don’t care who you are, it’s nice to know someone is thinking of you on this day.

 

I made:

 

Jam cookies:

 

 

Chocolate Cake Balls

Cupcakes, chocolate dipped pretzels, chocolate raisin candy

And heart shaped chocolate chip cookies.

 

I then packed them for work:

 

 

And for my big valentine:

I put the goodies in one of my many hammered aluminum dishes and tied with some clearance ribbon I got after Christmas (yippee for 90% off!!!) I started collecting aluminum pieces after my grandmother gave me a casserole dish she had gotten as a wedding present.

 

And my little valentine. Of course munchkin was the most excited of all. Who doesn’t love cookies for breakfast? (Just for special occasions that is)

Recipes:

Chocolate chip cookies – made from a mix and then put down cookie cutter and dropped a spoonful of dough in and smushed it down.

Emily’s Cake Balls

Ingredients

  • 1 cake mix
  • 1 can complimentary-flavored frosting
  • bag of chocolate chips
  1. Bake cake according to directions. Allow to cool completely and crumble into a bowl. Put in the fridge if still warm.
  2. Mix in some frosting until it creates a dough-like mess. Freeze for 30-60 minutes
  3. Use a scoop to scoop out balls onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Use hands to make into a more uniform ball and place back on sheet. Freeze for 30-60 minutes
  4. Melt chocolate chips in double boiler. Add in butter if necessary to make it smooth.
  5. Use a fork to dip balls into chocolate, allowing extra to drip off. Place back on parchment paper.
  6. Cool in fridge until set. I like to keep mine in there until served.

Raisin candy and chocolate dipped pretzels – I had left over melted chocolate after dipping the cake balls so I dipped some pretzels first and then mixed some raisins in the remaining chocolate and spooned into candy wraps. Refrigerate.

“Christmas Stars” (Or Valentine’s Hearts)- Allrecipe.com

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons strawberry jam
  • 1/4 cup green decorator sugar (optional)

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir flour mixture into the butter mixture until well blended. Refrigerate dough for three hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease several cookie sheets.
  3. On a floured surface, roll out 1/2 of the dough at a time to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut dough into star shapes using a 3 to 4 inch star cookie cutter. Using a 1 to 2 inch star cookie cutter, cut a star into the center of half of the big stars. Sprinkle colored sugar on the cookies with the center cut out if desired. Put onto prepared cookie sheets about 1 inch apart, and bake for 6 to 8 minutes.
  4. After cookies cool completely, spread 1 teaspoon of preserves in the center of each cookie that does not have a star cut out in the middle. Place a cookie with a cut-out on top of the layer of preserves. Pack cookies in a covered tin to preserve freshness.


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Blueberry kind of morning

This morning was a classic pancake morning. Not just any pancakes, but I made the classic Betty Crocker pancakes from my grandmother’s 19__ copy. Half with blueberries. Half with apples and pecans. Mmmmm.

 

 

I’m not one for sweet foods. I don’t like to eat cookies or cake, but I do love me some pancakes. My senior year of high school I did post secondary enrollment, and I had extra time in the morning so for a whole year I made chocolate chip pancakes nearly every weekday for breakfast. It was awesome. I even had the recipe memorized.

 

Here’s the recipe:

 

 

I always add in vanilla extract and cinnamon as well. Now, what I find interesting is how recipes were written. Throughout the book they give you the basic recipe, and then variations on a theme. Some of the recipes also have terms that I really don’t know what it means. Luckily, it is usually in reference to meat, so they aren’t recipes I would try anyways.

 

I made a double batch, so we have breakfast tomorrow covered too!

 


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It’s not Easter, but I’ll eat like it is

 

Being stuck in the house, I’ve had an overwhelming urge to bake things. Yesterday I made the bagels. I made them plain because that is what the Munchkin wanted, even though I REALLY wanted cinnamon raisin. While my bagels were baking I continued to browse my “Betty Crocker’s Best Bread Machine Recipes” cookbook and saw a recipe for Hot Cross Buns. It had raisins. It had frosting. I had all the ingredients.

 

Munchkin helped me measure everything out and roll the buns and even snip the crosses on top. Because I cannot think of Hot Cross Buns without singing the children’s song, I decided to look it up online. Apparently itĀ  is a food eaten at Easter, and is said to bring good luck. I’ve never had them before, and all I knew about them was the song.

 

Maybe I’ll continue my nursery rhyme food binge and make some more foods from songs. You can say you know the Muffin Man…er…lady.


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Bagel Bagel

I was stuck at home today due to the ice…couldn’t get out of the driveway. I hear tomorrow is supposed to be even worse. What to do when I need a break from work? Make some bagels, of course! Why? I don’t really know. It just sounded good.

 

I used another All Recipes recipe. Bread Machine Bagels by Cristy.

 

Mix the dough.

 

Shape the bagels.

 

 

Boil them.

 

 

Bake them.

 

And then you enjoy them!

 

 

What I learned in making bagels:

  • You don’t have to make the hole THAT big
  • You really should use cornmeal (I didn’t have any)
  • Skip the floured surface.
  • If you make them smaller, don’t cook them as long.

 

Overall, it was quite fun to make them. I think next time I’ll make big huge batches and freeze them.

The recipe from AllRecipes.com:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 3 quarts boiling water
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal
  • 1 egg white
  • 3 tablespoons poppy seeds

Directions

  1. Place water, salt, sugar, flour and yeast in the bread machine pan in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select Dough setting.
  2. When cycle is complete, let dough rest on a lightly floured surface. Meanwhile, in a large pot bring 3 quarts of water to a boil. Stir in 3 tablespoons of sugar.
  3. Cut dough into 9 equal pieces, and roll each piece into a small ball. Flatten balls. Poke a hole in the middle of each with your thumb. Twirl the dough on your finger or thumb to enlarge the hole, and to even out the dough around the hole. Cover bagels with a clean cloth, and let rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle an ungreased baking sheet with cornmeal. Carefully transfer bagels to boiling water. Boil for 1 minute, turning half way through. Drain briefly on clean towel. Arrange boiled bagels on baking sheet. Glaze tops with egg white, and sprinkle with your choice of toppings.
  5. Bake in a preheated 375 degree F (190 degrees C) oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until well browned.


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Ship Wrecks and Pears

Tonight’s dinner was compliments of $5 Dinners. I have been obsessed with her blog lately, and was able to make a couple of her recipes for tonight’s dinner.

 

The Ship Wreck Casserole I made this past weekend and instead of one big dish, I split it between two and froze them both forĀ  later, which was perfect for tonight’s dinner. I also vegetarianized it, using fake beef instead of the real thing. I really like the idea of making things ahead, and love that it is a vintage recipe.

 

 

While it was baking, I made the Gingered Pear and Blueberry Cobbler. I actually had no eggs, so looked online and read somewhere you can substitute cornstarch for eggs. Not quite the same, but it still turned out super yummy, and really, cobblers are so easy. I wish I would have had some whipped cream or ice cream to go with it.

 

 

Both dishes were delicious, easy and cheap. So, go ahead, head on over to theĀ  $5 Dinners and check out these and some of her other recipes.


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Depression Cooking

When I was younger I lived with my Grandmother for a year of high school and for some of college so I could go to the university by her house. She loved to feed me, and one of her quick menu items I made for breakfast today, although it is just as good for lunch or dinner too. Her fried potatoes are easy and quick and good for you.

 

Of course I always enjoy my potatoes like this:

Grandma’s Fried Potatoes

3-4 potatoes, either sliced or cubed
1 small onion, diced
3-4 eggs
1 Tbs oil
salt, pepper to taste

  1. Warm skillet to medium high, add oil when pan is ready
  2. add potatoes. While potatoes are cooking dice onions and add in, cooking until both are tender. Add in salt and pepper to taste
  3. wisk eggs and add to skillet, cooking everything until done.

Now, you can add to this recipe if you want. You could also use veggie dogs cut up, or for you meet eaters, hot dogs or sausage or something. You could also use additional spices such as rosemary, but I like it with just the pepper and salt.

 

I also found this Youtube video a few months ago that is essentially the same thing, and Clara is just the cutest! She has an entire series of Depression Era cooking. What a great way to track oral history!

 

 


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Warm soup on a cold, cold day

Lately I have been craving chicken noodle soup. However, not eating chicken, this can pose a problem. It’s not like Campbell’s makes a version just for me. So, I decided to make my own. I kinda just thew some stuff together and it turned out pretty good!

 

It turned out quite yummy! I served it with some of the fresh wheat bread I made the night before and some oranges and had quite a lovely dinner and lunch today.

 

Here’s how I did it:

 

Emily’s Faux-Chicken Noodle Soup

8 cups water
4 vegetable bullion cubes
1 Tbs oil
1/2 to full bag/box fake chicken, (I used Morningstar Farms Meal Starters)
3 medium carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 tsp. thyme
3 cups egg noodles
2 Tbs parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large soup pan, bring water and bullion to a simmer.

2. While base is simmering, use the oil in a skillet and cook the fake chicken. Remove from pan.

3. Put carrots, celery, onion, and thyme in skillet and cook until soft.

4. While vegetables are cooking, cut “chicken” into bite size pieces. Add to vegetables.

5.Ā  Add vegetable/chicken mixture to broth. Add in noodles, parsley and salt and pepper as desired. Simmer for 20 minutes and enjoy!

 

I did a whole bag of the fake chicken this go around and it was too much for me, but it’s really to your taste, so add as much/little as you want.


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Add this one to the que

New muffin recipe! My friend, Russ, once said how much he loved Morning Glory muffins. I saw a recipe the other day, so I decided to try them AND THEY ARE AWESOME!!! Seriously, it uses a little of everything that you probably already have on hand and makes this moist, totally yummy muffin. I made 18 and they are already gone.

 

As I’ve been whining about, it’s also been super cold here. Not good for someone who lived in Florida for the past six years. So Monday, after the weather guy on television told me to dress for -10, I rediscovered my leg warmers my dear friend Nash gave me for my birthday last year.

 

Totally hot, right? But they are WARM, and they have lime green in them! Perfect! Don’t worry, I wore them under my boots, so unless you were looking own into the boots, you couldn’t really tell. Can you imagine the looks at work if I wore them as is? That would be hilarious!

 

I also just ordered my first real winter coat. You like? It took me forever to find one that I liked AND that I could find in my size. I wanted something girl, but super warm, and nice enough I could wear it to work and not look unprofessional. I had to get black since that was the only color left in my size.

 

Okay, back to under the super warm covers for me!

 

Recipe for Morning Glory Muffins II from Allrecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups grated carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled and grated apple
  • 3/4 cup flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly oil 18 muffin cups, or coat with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
  3. In a second bowl, combine carrots, apples, coconut, dates and pecans. Stir in eggs, oil and vanilla. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients; stir until smooth.
  4. Spoon or scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pans. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.