Archives

Cranberry Pecan Muffins: The Baker’s Equivalent of Erectile Dysfunction

Remember how I was telling ya’ll how it was hard to find a good jar mix recipe? Well, here’s another one I tried. It’s called Cranberry Pecan Muffins. It sounded really promising. Dried cranberries, pecans, brown sugar. What’s not to love?

It was one of those recipes in my organizer I’d never tried, and I’m always up for finding jar mixes cause they are so damn easy to keep in the cabinet and grab and make at a moment’s notice, so I figured, why the hell not! Plus, muffins are so easy to freeze. Instant lunch snacks.

So I grabbed and lined my muffin tins.

I had greased them prior and then decided against that and went with muffin cups. God I hate how my tins always get so stained. Anyway! Then I added the sugars and flour.

Add in the yummy cranberries and pecans, with some baking powder.

Then I added the wet stuff

Mixed it up

Plopped them into the muffin cups

Put them in the oven. Baked them. And took them out.

I was slightly disturbed at this point because they didn’t really “rise.” They kind of kept the same shape as the batter when I plopped them in. Oh well, I figured, there’s a lot of food that doesn’t look good but tastes dreamy.

Since my blood sugar can’t handle a whole muffin, and I was about to eat dinner and couldn’t afford the carbs, I called the Texan down to try one.

“Try one of these muffins!” I exclaimed

“They look weird.” he muttered

“Yeah, yeah, just eat them!” I demanded

He picked one up, took a bite. And then he got that look on this face. Not a look of “ew” but a look of “what the hell.” And he cracked a little smile.

“Try one.” he said

“I can’t, too many carbs. How are they?”

“No, really, I insist, try one.”

This couldn’t be good.

I broke off a quarter of one of the muffins and popped it in my mouth.

It was warm cardboard with a sort of cranberry after taste. F*#king great.

I picked up the tin and dumped them in the trash. SONOFABITCH. WHO in their RIGHT MIND actually came up with this recipe but then decided it was good enough to actually put in a recipe book? Are you freakin’ serious?

Ok, was it gross? No. It wasn’t puke gross. But it was nothing. It was like dry brittle pecan cranberry crap. I HATE WHEN THAT HAPPENS! It’s gotta be the baker’s equivalent of erectile dysfunction: You get so excited at the prospect only to find out the damn recipe is completely flaccid no matter how much you are attempting to will it into deliciousness. And even if it’s NOT your fault because it’s not your recipe you still FEEL like it’s your fault and you start apologizing and turning red faced to the other party:

“I’m sorry, honey, I really tried, I don’t know what’s wrong with my muffins. Why does this keep happening to me?”

And if the party is worth anything as a human being they will respond “It’s ok, dear, it happens to every baker.”

UGH! Martha Stewart I am not.

White Cranberry Bar Mix: Oh How Easy It Is

I must have a million recipes for “jar mixes.” You know, the ones where all the dry ingredients are layered in a jar and you just gotta add the wet stuff. I love them because they are easy to do and I can grab and bake, but let me tell you coming across GOOD recipes for jar mixes is not easy.

That is until I figured out DUH. You can just convert your already awesome recipes into jar mixes. BIG FAT DUH!

Say you’ve got a killer chocolate chip cookie recipe. Just layer the dry ingredients in the jar, stuff that won’t go bad, sugar, flour, chocolate chips, and attach a tag (or not if it’s for your own use) for what to add to it to turn it into cookies. DERP! I never thought of that before. I’m an idiot. Mind you you don’t HAVE to make these into jar mixes, but it’s an option.

But, anyway, a few years ago I ran across this recipe for White Chocolate Cranberry Bar Mix. It’s actually REALLY good, not that I can eat it because it’ll send me into, you guessed it, a diabetic coma. But I have taken nibbles and DAMN, it’s good.

Now, traditionally you layer the ingredients in the jar all nice like. Mostly because you are giving them as gifts. But this was for my cabinet. I made it probably about a year ago and totally forgot it was in there until I dug it out of the back. Not so pretty, but still works:

Then grease up your pyrex. I used cooking spray. The picture came out kinda weird, but it’s cool so I’ll show you.

Now you go ahead and dump your mix into a bowl and add the wet ingredients like eggs, vanilla, etc. Whatever the recipe calls for.

Then you mix the hell out of it and pour it into the pan. Well, for this recipe it’s not pouring, it’s more like “pressing” cause the batter is kind of thick.

And now you bake the hell out of it. After you stuck your fingers in the batter and tasted it of course.

As you can see, these don’t last long. At all. Not in my house anyway.

They are REALLY sweet and REALLY rich so be prepared. Even if they didn’t send me to blood sugar hell, I doubt I could eat a whole bar of these because they are so rich. They’re evil. And they are SO worth making!

—————

White Chocolate Cranberry Bar Mix

Layer in a quart mason jar:

1/4 cup white chocolate chips

1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries

1 cup buttermilk biscuit mix

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup regular brown sugar

To Make You’ll Need:

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 tsp vanilla

1 large egg

Dump jar mix into a bowl and add the butter, vanilla and egg. Mix well. Spread into a greased 8×8 pan. Bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.

Holy Sh*t I CAN Eat That: Broccoli Salad

As you well know by now, I’ve got to watch my blood sugar. I come from a long line of people with diabetes. I have to watch my blood sugar like a hawk. My numbers are kept super tight. A fasting of under 95 and under no circumstances am I allowed to let me sugars get above 120. And I’ve been taken off my medication, which I’m both THRILLED about and pissed about because it means an even STRICTER diet. If you know ANYTHING about diabetes, you know that this basically means I can eat air. And that’s about it. If you aren’t insulin resistant in any way and have perfectly working beta cells, you can probably pull off those numbers while eating a banana split everyday. Us beta-cell-handicapped cannot. I can’t eat half a cup of plain yogurt with blueberries on top without spiking higher than that.

Finding things I can shove in my face that aren’t cheese or meat has become increasingly difficult. So I was totally thrilled when I found this recipe buried in “never tried this” pile.  I’m pretty sure I got this at my county fair a few years back. The extension office was giving away free recipe booklet things and I think I snagged this one up.

First ya take some sour cream

And add  in some ranch dressing mix and some mayo. I used miracle whip for this cause I thought it might give it a little bit more zing.

Now chop up some broccoli

And some cauliflower

And throw them both in a large bowl. Now throw in some frozen peas, too.

Toss the veggies together a bit, add a couple of chopped green onions, and dump the sour cream mixture on top of it an mix the crap out of it.

Chill it in the fridge overnight to gather flavor and top with bacon bits before serving.

The verdict: It was pretty damn good.

Honestly, I would buck up the ranch a little bit next time just to give it more flavor and funny enough maybe try regular mayo. The miracle whip didn’t really seem to add any zip to it.

But this is a good recipe for anybody really, especially if you are looking for a sort of primal or diabetic friendly recipe. Ok, yeah, it has mayo, which isn’t “primal” but it’s not the worst splurge ever. Tons of fiber, raw, pretty damn healthy!

———

Broccoli Cauliflower Pea Salad

1 bunch broccoli

1 bunch cauliflower

1 bunch green onions, chopped

1 10 oz package frozen peas

1/2 cup sour cream

3/4 cup mayo

3 TB ranch dressing mix, dry

bacon bits

Chop broccoli and cauliflower into bite size pieces. Toss with green onions and peas.

In separate bowl, mix sour cream, mayo and dry dressing together. Add to the vegetables, stirring to coat.

Chill overnight.

Before serving, top with bacon bits.

Crunchy Chicken Boobs

As you probably well know by now, I’m going through my “I never did this” recipes and am finding quite an overwhelming stash to get through. I also had gone a little crazy on buying chicken breasts. They were on sale. And a REAL good deal. I mean. Real good. They had to be because I actually don’t like chicken breast. I find it way too dry. I much prefer whole chicken, from my co op actually, but it was just way too good a deal AND I have so many recipes that call for chicken boobs.

When I ran across the recipe, it seemed pretty easy. And since that day I seemed to be being super lazy, it was a perfect fit.

First, grab some chicken boobs and slather them with mayo. Well, that’s what the recipe says anyway. Says more specifically to coat them with Miracle Whip. Which I didn’t have. So I used ranch dressing. Yes, I had mayo, but it was REAL mayo, and it probably wouldn’t add that “zip” the recipe was looking for so Ranch dressing seemed the way to go.

God that looks vulgar. Anyway…

Now you are gonna pop open a box of stuffing. Stove Top style. I used the chicken flavored one. And to that add 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese.

Mix that up real good. Don’t grind it or crush it, just leave it as is.

Now dip the chicken in it and coat it with the stuffing mix.


Now, slap those on a foil covered cookie sheet and stick it in the oven at 375 for 30 minutes. Well, mine actually took 45 but that could be the size of the meat.

And out it comes.

See? Easy peasy. Not even worth writing a recipe down. I love recipes like that, so simple they are in your head.

I ask my “testers” to tell me not whether the recipe is “good” or not, but whether it’s good enough to repeat because honestly, I’d like to get rid of some of the thousands of recipes I have.

The verdict on this was, and I was surprised, yes, it was a repeater. When I tried it it was nice and tender with an outside crunch and actually pretty pleasing. It’s a bit plain for me, but that could perhaps be because of the omission of miracle whip. This could EASILY doctored up and seems a good staple meal too. Maybe hot sauce? Thousand island dressing? Italian dressing even? It’s not exactly diabetic friendly, but it’s certainly NOT the worst thing you could.

Try it, doctor it up, let me know. I’m thinking this is one recipe for chicken boobs that might have some serious potential!

Stupid. Freakin’. Bread.

Right. So. By now you know the seething hatred between me and bread. Or you only have to look back some posts to figure it out. And here I am again. Trying to make it work.

You can’t say I’m not putting my part into this relationship!

I ran out of bread, store bought, and I didn’t feel like running to the store. The Texan also loves Hawaiian bread, and I had the ingredients for it. Stupid bread. I figured it’d do just fine as a PB&J sandwich bread.

So I held my breath and tried not to cuss too much. I grabbed out the ingredients. And I started. Again.

You’d think I would learn.

So, add the water and the butter to the stupid bread machine.

Now add the stupid cake mix. This is supposed to be what makes hawaiian bread different. Whatever. Stupid bread.

Now add the stupid flour. And the stupid yeast. In a stupid well inside the middle of said stupid flour mix.

I set the stupid bread machine to light crust and walked away.

I didn’t peak. I swear. I swear I swear I swear.

I walked away and did other things so I didn’t go mad.

And THIS, dear readers, is what I get!

Are you F*@(ING SERIOUS RIGHT NOW? What is THAT? It caved in?

This is the part where I normally curse a lot, complain, tell you that God hates me and try to figure out what happened.

I’m not doing that today. I’m on FREAKIN STRIKE!

Ugh.

I don’t care. They’re gonna eat it anyway and LIKE IT!

In a Pickle

I can go a little nutty with canning. I tend to find something on sale and go totally apeshit with it. A few years back, it was pickle mixes.

Some store had on clearance OODLES of Ball pickle mixes. Dill and bread and butter pickles and oh my. I had about 30 packets of these things I swear.

After making some jars of pickles, which everyone just LOVED, there the rest of the packets sat in my pantry.

And after awhile I started feeling guilty. There was a sale on pickling cucumbers, they were SUPER cheap, so I decided what the hell. Let’s use up these packets. I enlisted the help of BFF and kids, and boy did we can up the pickles.

At first I started trading pickles with neighbors and freecylers for different things. Then I think everyone got sick of pickles. And remained sick of pickles for quite a few years.

Yes, I know, pickles stay good forever. But honestly, me and the Texan don’t really like canned pickles. I’m more of a hard, crisp, never cooked pickle person. As a matter of fact, I won’t even eat canned pickles unless it’s on a hotdog or something.

I needed the room in my pantry that was being taken up by the tons of canned pickles. I wasn’t canning any more because I didn’t have room, damn the pickles. So many pickles.

And what the HELL can you do with them? They aren’t really recipe friendly and quite frankly no one was going to eat them all out of the can so I had to get crafty.

I thought, well, why not dry them? But I knew better.

Cukes are almost all liquid with subtle flavor, so they’d dry basically into salty nasty flavorless chips. I already knew that. There’s a reason you never hear of dried pickles.

But then it dawned on me. You DO hear about pickle CHIPS. As in potato chips! AHA! There was something.

So I grabbed some of my pickles. Mind you, an entire dehydrator load (and my dehydrator is HUGE) didn’t even make a dent in my pickle stash.

And I laid them out on trays.

And I dried the shit out of them.

THEN! And here’s the crafty part. I ground them into a powder in my coffee grinder.

And I fried up some potatoes and coated them in pickle powder.

Was it good? Why yes, yes it was.

You REALLY have to coat the chips with it though. Like a LOT to get the flavor. It’s not as bold or salty as you’d think. It has more of a pickle after taste. But it’s pretty good, and I bet it’ll be pretty damn good on popcorn too.

Would I suggest this to someone just to do it? NO. It wouldn’t be worth it. But I have so many pickles that are going to go to waste otherwise and I just can’t have that. All that work! I had to come up with something. So, pickle powder it is.

I’m sure there aren’t many people out there that feel my pain with this one, but I was proud of my little creativity. Yes, I’m feeling a bit smug.

Course I  have no time to stand here and feel smug and let you adore my awesomeness because I have about 4, 928, 018 pickles that I now have to go dry.

The Perfect Italian Beef

I love Italian beef. I’m also a Chicagoan, and I’m going to tell you right now that outside Chicago, there is really no such thing as Italian beef. I’ve been everywhere, and it just don’t cut it. It’s like trying to get a Chicago hotdog out of Chicago, A Philly cheesesteak outside Philly. You can do it, just ain’t the same.

So many of my friends that move out of state tell me at one point or another how they miss Italian beef. It is REALLY good.

My BFF’s mom actually sent me this recipe years ago and I made it ever since. Is it true to form Italian Beef from a greasy hole in the wall in Chicago, no. But it’s still DAAAAMMMMNNNN good. In some ways it’s BETTER than a greasy hole in the wall in that instead of being shaved beef, it’s chunked and meatier and heartier. I’m drooling thinking about it.

It’s perfect because it’s a crock pot recipe. That means minimal work. And maximum flavor. I made it for super bowl because it can be made the night before no problem. Actually gathers flavor that way.

First, get yourself a chuck roast. I use grass fed.

Dump that bad boy in the crock pot with some oregano, red pepper flakes and some onion soup mix.

Now add a jar of peproncini’s with the juice. Mind you you don’t have to cut the stems off, they get nice and soft and you can do that after they cook if you want and just make sure not to serve any up.

Now dump in a can of beef broth.

And a can of French Onion soup.

And in 8-10 hours, you’ve got a soupy, delicious, meaty, spicy mess.

When you serve that puppy up on some crusty italian bread, or french bread, don’t skimp on the juice. A real Italian beef should be so soggy the bread is kind of falling apart.

It’s got some spice to it too, it’s not at all wimpy, so if you like your spice, this is for you. And it’s SO damn good. Freezes AWESOME too!

I never ask this of you but don’t question me on this, just make it. It’s freakin GLORIOUS.

————

CP Italian Beef

3 lb chuck roast

1 can french onion soup

1/2 bottle peproncini and 1/2 bottle of juice if you are using large jar, whole bottle of juice and peppers if it’s a small jar

red pepper flakes to taste (I use about 1/2 tsp)

black pepper to taste (about 1 tsp)

1 can beef broth

1/2 package of dried onion soup mix

1-2TB oregano

5 cloves of crushed garlic.

Put everything in your crock pot. Keep on high 4 hours, reduce to low and cook until tender, about 4-6 more hours. Break the meat the stem the peppers with a fork when they are tender, discarding stems when it’s served. You can make this the night before. Serve on hard rolls.