Friday, May 13, 2016

Hoity Toity Health Food Cookies (AKA The Breakfast of Champions)

"Make my grandsons these cookies."
That was my first introduction to this recipe a few years ago, as given to me on a neat little 3×5 index card by my mother. I scanned the artful and slightly loopy writing I knew so well.
"No way. These look expensive to make. Walnut flour? Really? Almond butter? I never buy that! It's hoity toity. It's expensive. Can't I jus--"
"They'd be really good for breakfast on-the-go!"

That was a few years ago.  Today, I made these surprisingly simple and deceptively delicious little cookies on a whim. I'm glad I did because they're very good! They're packed with fiber, protein, and nutrients that our bodies need. The extra positive spin is that I can eat them on-the-go, just like my Mom recommended. Really, you should listen to your mother.  She's usually right on things like this.

***The dry ingredients for a single recipe fit perfectly into a quart-sized freezer bag.  Perfect for a more make-ahead approach!  The dough is also supposed to keep well in an airtight container in the freezer, for fresh cookies each morning.

Hoity Toity Health Food Cookies
makes 23 3-inch cookies using a medium (#40, 1 1/2T) scoop

1 c walnuts
1 1/2 c old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 c ground flax meal
1/3 c whole wheat flour
1T chia seeds
1t baking soda
1t ground cinnamon
1/2t salt
1 1/2 c mix ins, I like 1/2 c chocolate chips with 1 c dried fruit, but the possibilities are virtually endless.

1/2 c nut butter, I used peanut and the flavor isn't dominant
1/3 c brown sugar
1/4 c honey
1/4 c canola oil or applesauce
1t vanilla
1 egg

Preheat oven to 375°. Line baking sheets with parchment. Pulse walnuts in a food processor until they resemble a crumbly flour. Transfer to a bowl containing the other dry ingredients, excluding mix-ins. Stir until thoroughly combined.

In the food processor, combine the wet ingredients and process until well blended. Transfer to large bowl. Fold in mix ins, and, little by little, incorporate dry ingredient mixture into wet ingredients until well combined. Dough will be thick.

Scoop up heaping teaspoons of dough and form into balls. Place them onto prepared sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake til browned, about 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and flatten with spatula. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet before removing to a rack.

And that's it! What do you think? Would you eat these cookies for breakfast?

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Starving Soup aka 15 Minutes 'til Dinner

Yesterday was a flurry of activity as I processed my grapes into juice for jelly making. When I was finished, I was faced with a large amount of splatter that took quite a while to clean up. I didn't particularly feel like dealing with dinner at that point, so I procrastinated, and well, you know, things got away from me a little bit.
Lo and behold, Hubs was starving and this was approximately the dialog:

J:  Babe, I'm starving. What's for dinner? Can I go make something?
Me: No no, I'm going to go start on dinner right now. The boys got me a little off track earlier.
J: How long is this gonna be? I'm STARVING.

LO AND BEHOLD, about 20 minutes later, dinner was in front of him. I had given him the option of dumplings (+ 15 minutes) or wild rice (+1 minute) and he chose to have it right then and there. This soup came together so quickly because I had every component ready and waiting in my fridge or pantry.

I had roasted a chicken two days ago and I'd made some wild rice to go with it. I still hadn't picked the excess meat off of the carcass (we don't say that word here) bird, and that's the only reason why it took me a little longer. I like to keep some baked chicken breasts on hand in the fridge for quick meals such as this.

Anyway, I took the chicken out of the pot, took the cooled fat off and discarded it, removed the extra consomme jelly from the chicken and put it back in the pot and put it on the stove. I turned the heat to medium and BAM, beautifully flavored broth was waiting for me.

Here's where your pantry stock comes in. You can add just about anything that you have, and it works well! I added a 15 oz can of cream-style corn and a 15 oz can of carrots in their water. The key to fast and flavorful is to make every little bit count!

I tasted the broth after mixing it up and felt it needed a little more body, as well as some creaminess. I added a can of evaporated milk (NOT sweetened condensed milk) and SHAZAM! All the flavor and creaminess of using heavy cream, but a fraction of the calories. I use evaporated milk when I make any sort of creamy soup and it's wonderful (and inexpensive). Optional: I also added a can of condensed cream of chicken soup. Hey, it was raining and I needed a little somethin' somethin' else. I would have preferred to have used cream of celery, but I didn't have any on hand.

                                                        Next was the wild rice. *Dump!*

I also added salt and pepper, to my own tastes. The flavoring from the rice and condensed soup did all of the work for me and this was my result: a creamy, flavorful, easy soup in the blink of an eye!

I could have put dumplings in this soup, as I mentioned above. I use the Jiffy baking mix for this when I'm pressed for time and it's very delicious and easy on the cook! The directions on the box are as follows:

Dumplings for Soup
2/3 c baking mix

2.5 c chicken breast
4 c chicken broth
1 can cream-style corn
1 can carrots, undrained
1 can evaporated milk (or 1 c milk + 3 Tbsp butter)
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 box prepared wild rice rice a roni mix (2 cups when prepared) OR equicalent amount of already cooked    
       barley, white rice, pasta, whatever floats your boat.
salt and pepper to taste

serve with a green salad and some crusty bread and a tall glass of milk!

Returning to Blogging

After an unintentionally long hiatus, I am returning to blogging! I truly enjoyed it and I'm eager to dive back in. I hope to take baby steps and post biweekly at first, and gather up some more steam as I go along. Thank you in advance for your readership. I have so much to tell you all!


Saturday, October 13, 2012

My First Extreme-Couponing Experience

It seems to me that we all know someone who likes to consider themselves an extreme coupon-er. 
Photo courtesy of

Previously, I've always perused our paper's coupons with a half-disappointment at the products that A. My family will never use, B. Are still more expensive than the off-brand, even with the coupon, or C. are terrible coupons. 25 cents off of a 4 dollar product? Get real!

A few days ago, our station paper was delivered. I brought it in and let it gather some dust. This morning, I decided that I needed to throw it out, but "perhaps I should check the coupons first."

WOW! I am so glad that I did. This week's was chock-full of coupons that were relevant to me! Great savings on lotion, herbal tea, Smithfield products, dried pasta, brand-name products for frizzy hair, rice, AH, the list could go on...

I cut them out eagerly and wished for more... but how? I thought back to all my neighborhood walks with the  little boys and of all the newspapers left to rot outside. 

I gathered all the boys, (the big one is off today!!) and we went for a walk. I didn't feel the least bit guilty when I gathered the abandoned papers on our route. I figure, if you leave it outside for more than half a week, you're obviously not going to use it. I found 10. :)  We will probably walk tomorrow in the other part of the neighborhood because I know there are more tea coupons calling to me...

Anyway, I'll let you know how everything turns out! I'm really excited to be able to use these coupons, but I'll have to wait until next week, when I get my AWESOME STAND UP FREEZER!!!


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Dreaded First Haircut

One of my little boys has curly hair like Mama...and usually it results in an unkempt jungle-child appearance. I've been postponing this haircut because when his hair chooses to behave, he has beautiful little angel curls around his ears and by his neck. As any mother knows, these are very treasured little bits of babyhood and it's difficult to let go of them and realize your baby is growing up. He's been looking the worse for wear the past few days, and I've finally come to terms with the inevitable: I have to clip his hair.

No, Dad, I DON'T want to pose!
I had to groom some of the curls so
I could save them for my mom.  This photo doesn't
do them justice.
The easiest way for me to trim the back was for Dad to hold him while he watched Sesame Street and occasionally checked on my progress.

The rest of the cut needed to be from his highchair because I had to get to the top of his head. It was a little difficult to keep everything even because he kept moving around, but I really think the secret is to do only a little at a time. You can always take off more, but you can't put it back.

Wes enjoys noodles for lunch after his haircut!
In the end, he didn't seem to care that he had a nice haircut. I'm glad that his hair doesn't go into his eyes and the back of it doesn't stick straight out a la mad scientist. I'm also glad that I didn't have to drag him, his brother, his father, and a bunch of baby gear to some place to have someone to cut his hair too short and then charge me for it.
But I digress. People with the proper schooling and skill know what they're doing. Just not in my area.

I think he looks quite dapper. 
Minimal hair was harmed in the making of this blog post.

I know that this post and the last haven't been the most substantial. This is mostly for our out-of-area families that missed the occasion.

Do you have a bad haircut experience that you'd care to share?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Some of Life's Grape Questions

Let me start this post by raisin the bar.
I stepped on a grape; it let out a little whine.
Okay, okay... these puns are really starting to grape on me.

Hahaha, you're such a grape group of people.

Done. Really.

A few weeks ago, I was mushroom hunting with Indulgent Husband (for pleasure only) and I came across some wild grape vines with unripe fruit. I took a few leaves home and identified them. Knowing that Muscadine grapes are native to North Carolina, I became very excited!
 A Muscadine leaf is identified by it's saw-toothed
  edge and  is unlobed, unlike other grape varieties.
Muscadine grapes are members of the "slip-skin" type of grapes. The skin 'slips' very easily from the inner pulp and large seeds. Muscadines range in color from bronze to black (dark purple) and pleasing, both to the palate and the eye. They can be identified by their leaf shape (see below) and by their grouping of usually no more than 4 to 5 in a cluster. More often than not, I found them in pairs or stand-alones.

A pair of ripe Muscadines.
When you are foraging, the most important thing is not to know what's available in your area, or when it's peak season is; it's knowing the dangerous plants and poisonous look-alikes. IF YOU AREN'T 100% SURE OF IT'S IDENTIFICATION, DO NOT EAT IT. I don't want anyone getting sick because they mistook Pokeberries (Phytolacca Americana) or Common Moonseeds (Menispermum Canadense) for grapes. Make sure to ID leaves, stems, fruit, flowers, and whatever else is available on the plant in question.
Pokeberries L, Moonseed R

I spent about two hours reaching, grunting and being attacked by shrubbery and I'm now the proud owner of  a pound and a half of wild grapes. It isn't a terribly impressive amount, but it's just the beginning of the season, after all. I tool a stroll in the surrounding areas and ended up finding a glorious Maitake (Hen of the Woods) mushroom. I deemed it inedible because it had been nibbled by bugs and was starting to be a little past it's prime.
It was a little smaller than a volleyball in diameter!
A few other sights from yesterday:

This picture doesn't begin to explain how large this tree was...

Purple mushrooms???

Whats up, hometurtle?
Later tonight I'll be making some wild grape jelly with my little haul of grapes. Since it's a time-intensive thing (juice straining, time for the jelly to set, etc), I'll be sharing my results on Thursday. I'm really craving some jelly now...

What is your favorite part about taking a walk outside?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Summer Gold

Peaches, unlike Olympic medals, are the gold accessible to almost everyone in the summer and very early fall season; and here in the South, they're sweet, abundant, and cheap! Read more after the jump!