Thursday, December 7, 2006

The Munchies and Other Food-Related Ramblings

I have had food on the brain. It's partially because I should be dieting and I'm not, but the real reason is that I came to the brilliant conclusion that a recipe book would be the ideal gift for my sisters-in-law for Christmas. I've currently entered over 135 recipes, the vast majority of which I've made myself. The few I haven't are family classics that I just let somebody else prepare for me.

The problem with all this recipe talk is that it makes me hungry. It would be a slight understatement to say this is detrimental to my half-hearted diet plans. Sifting through hundreds of recipes in cookbooks and scrawled on notecards has left me with a severe case of the munchies, and an overwhelming urge to bake something - anything. The desire will not go unfulfilled - I have a Christmas party Friday for which I am required to bring goodies. The real dilemma will be deciding which little bite of heaven I will concoct.

In the meantime, I thought you might be hankerin' for another recipe or two. I might even throw in some of my favorite kitchen tips - if it turns out that the stars are properly aligned for such a thing!

Peanut Butter Crinkles

1 c. margarine
1 c. peanut butter
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
additional sugar
Nuts, jam, chocolate stars, etc.

Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl with mixer at medium speed, cream first six ingredients until fluffy. At low speed, beat in the next four ingredients. Shape into 1-in balls; roll in sugar. Place two inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press nuts or candies into cookies. If using jam, press a dent in the cookie with your thumb and fill with jam or jelly. Cool on cooling racks and store in airtight container.

Notes: These cookies make a great project for younger kids. I use Brach's chocolate stars instead of Hershey Kisses because they store more easily. Strawberry jam is my other favorite. You could also try hazelnut spread, pecans, or anything else that suits your fancy.

Cappuccino Slush

1 can Eagle Brand milk
2 c. water
1 c. ice cubes
2 tbsp. instant coffee granules
Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth.

Notes: This tastes a lot like frappuccinos you get at Starbucks. I like them with caramel syrup, but you could use chocolate or strawberry syrup, mint, almond, or vanilla extracts.


2 loaves (1 pound each) frozen bread dough, thawed
1/4 lb. sliced cooked ham
1/4 lb. sliced pepperoni
1/4 c. chopped onion
1/4 c. chopped green pepper
1 jar pizza sauce, divided
1/4 lb. sliced mozzarella
1/4 lb. sliced bologna
1/4 lb. sliced hard salami
1/4 lb. sliced Swiss cheese
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
Let dough rise in a warm place until doubled. Punch dough down. Roll loaves together to form one 15x12-in rectangle. Layer ham and pepperoni lengthwise on half the dough. Sprinkle with onion and green pepper. Top with 1/4 c. pizza sauce. Layer mozzarella, bologna, salami, and swiss over sauce. Sprinkle with basil, oregano, garlic powder, and pepper. Spread another 1/4 c. pizza sauce on top. Fold dough over filling and seal edges tightly. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter. Heat remaining pizza sauce and serve with sliced stromboli.

Notes: So I don't always follow the recipe. So what? Hubby and I like different toppings, so I sometimes make a smaller loaf for each of us. I like canadian bacon, roma tomatoes, banana peppers, and red onion. Feel free to experiment to suit everyone's tastes.

Are you ready for the intuitive, highly intelligent cooking tip of the day?

Do you hate having hands that smell like onion when you've chopped up one of the odiferous vegetables? Rub a metal spoon over your hands under cold running water. Voila! The smell will disappear, ensuring that folks believe to be some kind of kitchen wizard.

T-t-t-th-tha-that's all, folks!


aimee said...

You know, you really aren't fair to this poor RAVENOUSLY HUNGRY preggo girl!

I have just hit that really constantly hungry phase, and it is driving me bonkers.. .all of your talk of recipes and stuff is killing me... It is 11:00 and I am ready for a stinking 4 course meal!

mandalee65 said...

Just consider it tough love, my dear! LOL

Hey - I checked out your myspace. Very cool, but I had trouble leaving a message. Let's just say DH managed to load a virus on the computer....