Her children rise up and call her blessed…
…because she threw frozen chicken wings in a crock pot, smothered them with a bottle of barbecue sauce and cooked them on high for four hours selflessly dedicated four hours to cooking perfect, fall off the bone tender chicken wings dripping in finger-licking good sauce.
Prep/Work time? 5 minutes
End result? sticky fingers and happy kids
I’m ALWAYS on the lookout for “dump it in the crock pot and walk away” recipes, so if you have one, LINK UP or post it in a comment!!!
I was supposed to be baking a cake shaped like THIS for a children’s home:
My cake was so flat it would have looked like the bunny was roadkill. (sorry kids)
It was past midnight. I was leaning toward bailing on the bunny cake commitment.
Then FavoriteSon asked: Are you starting over?
Me: No. it’s too late to start over.
FavoriteSon, mocking me: “okay…but those kids can’t start over.”
So me and Betty Crocker, baking another cake at nearly one in the morning. The good news is that this cake didn’t taste like oil. It actually tasted like cake. Very dense cake, but cake. The bad news is that it was flat AGAIN. Like, pancake flat. Roadkill bunny flat.
So I switched gears and cut out the bunny cake shape in my Easter Bunny Cake blog post of 2009. The one that got over FIVE THOUSAND hits that day. My blog is getting insane traffic on this post and I had yet to make one of these cakes since my childhood.
I cut it out, iced it and PinkGirl decorated it this morning. Just so you can get a good understanding of the flatness of this cake, the mini-marshmallows littering the tray are taller than the cake.
and now there are sprinkles stuck to the bottom of my feet.
I suppose I should clean the kitchen floor, it appears cats don’t like sprinkles.
Last week, as FavoriteSon and I were preparing to go to to a rehearsal before an evening church service, he said: “Mom. Get something to eat. I know you’re not hungry, but you don’t get hungry, so you need to eat something before you get a headache.”
He knows me.
I don’t get hungry these days. And it’s not that I don’t eat and then become ravenous and overeat later. I just don’t get hungry.
this is new.
Food used to be a driving force in my life. In the mornings I would wonder if I had the time or money to run through a McDonalds drive-thru for breakfast. Pancakes? A stack of three at least. Butter AND syrup. Chocolate chip pancakes? make it four. Eggs? They came with bacon, cheese grits and toast with butter. Bagels had two halves and the cream cheese was slathered. Then I would spend the morning thinking about what I would have for lunch. Standard drive through was McDonalds Quarter Pounder with Cheese, Fries and a Diet Coke – supersized or three tacos, nachos supreme and a burrito supreme from Taco Bell. Dinner was always big and I would eat out every chance I could get, whether I could afford it or not. Nachos. Burgers. Fried anything. Take home boxes? Never asked for one. Never needed one.
Food was my favorite hobby, a source of entertainment, a way to show love . . . a coping strategy.
now? not so much.
Now, my life is so full that I have to remind myself to eat. And when I say “full” I don’t mean busy. I don’t just fill my discretionary time with activity, I fill that time doing things I LOVE – and it doesn’t leave room for an eating hobby. Now, I set alarms on my phone and computer to prompt me to stop what I’m doing and eat lunch and snacks. Now, in my efforts to keep my metabolism somewhat stable, I’m trying to eat something every 3 hours or so, I carry snacks in my purse and my van.
and sometimes, my son reminds me to eat.
How did I get to this place? I have my theories, so check back for “this is new. part 2.”
(I originally posted this back in December of 2008, but I’ve made a revision since then. I used to float cloves in a coffee filter, sealed with a twist tie. Not very Martha of me, I know. But I’m reformed. Check out the photo below.)
When I was in high school and college, I sang at a few madrigal dinners. If you’re unfamiliar with madrigal dinners, here’s a sampling. (and no, I’m not in this video).
One thing was a constant in every madrigal dinner – Wassail. It’s a kind of warm cider drink my choral director would make every year. I’ve made it on Christmas Eve for years. It’s a family favorite and a longstanding tradition. It only takes about 5 minutes to prepare, but allow it to simmer for a couple of hours in the pot if you really want the flavors to blend together.
1/2 gallon apple juice
2 cups pineapple juice
2 cups orange juice
2 cinnamon sticks
2 teaspoons whole cloves
1 orange (optional)
Pour all juices in a pot or crockpot.
Float Cinnamon sticks in the pot.
Here’s the update:
Take an awl and poke holes in an orange in any pattern that strikes you. Then insert the stems of whole cloves in the holes. Float the cloved orange in the pot while simmering.
When it the smell starts to waft, you know it’s gonna be GOOD.
So, what do you do with meat that’s gotten a little freezer burn because it’s been left in the freezer longer than it should have been? Don’t throw it away!
“Freezerburn Soup” is a favorite in this house. Here’s how it works:
Around the holidays, FirstHusband smokes an abundance of meat in the smoker because he can’t seem to use his smoker unless he completely FILLS his smoker. Then, for days after, we eat all the smoked meat we can eat . . . and freeze all the smoked meat we can’t eat.
Then, just before the holidays the next year, we realize we need to make room for this year’s abundance of meat, so we start pulling out what’s left over from the year before. Often, it’s on the edge (or over the edge) of freezerburn. Rather than throw it out, FirstHusband invented Freezerburn Soup.
He fills the crockpot with the the frozen meat, covers it with vegetable stock (we freeze stock and store it flat in ziplock bags). He turns the crockpot on overnight and we wake to a great smelling kitchen. (And usually a counter of boiled over stock, but today wasn’t too much of a mess.) Then he removes the meat, lets it cool, de-bones it, puts it BACK in the crockpot with whatever veggies he can find.
By FirstHusband: “Add some earthy spices like coriander, sage, parsley sometimes even hickory smoked seasoning. The mix simmers in the crockpot all day making the house smell great.”
. . . and torturing FavoriteSon with the waiting.
That meat you thought was a goner has now been infused with stock for nearly 24 hours and is moist and tender!
Second to last step, a couple hours before serving, he adds wild rice. Then in the last 15 minutes, he adds 6-8 crushed bullion cubes. (I’ve put in a request to go easy on the bullion – the sodium is a little much for me.)
And then, if we’re lucky, we end up with this: half a crockpot of freezerburn soup. Unless we’re really hungry and eat the entire pot.
There’s not really a recipe for this, it turns out different every time because FirstHusband changes the spices each time. He’s also used pasta instead of rice before. I wonder what orzo would do for this soup? hmmm.
For my entire life – until this week, pineapples either came in a can, on a buffet or on a plate a restaurant server placed in front of me. “Real” pineapples were impenetrable. I mean, look at it. In my mind, in might as well have been a coconut. Or a big rock.
Then, I watched a devotional video by Lysa Terkherst on youtube. She voiced my same reservations about pineapple, and then casually proceeded to cut one up without any trouble at all. Where’s my “easy” button? So, ever the “good idea stealer” I passed up the container of cut pineapple at Sam’s Club, priced at $6.98 and bought myself a “real” pineapple for $2.98.
I cut off the top and bottom. And I didn’t need a chainsaw or a hedge trimmer, just a knife:
Then, I cut along the core:
Then sliced off the outside:
Took five minutes, tops. That was Wednesday afternoon. By Thursday evening, we were out of pineapple. Same thing happened to the pineapple my dad brought over for lunch on Sunday. Gone by Monday evening.
Ready for a pun? How easy is it to get my family to eat fresh fruit? Easy as PIneapple.
It’s sometimes a daily challenge to get my kids to eat fruit. In my house, when a kid stands in front of the fridge with the door open, this is my “go to” snack. If I offer this up before they head over to the pantry, they don’t have time to choose carbs over fruit.
Sugar-free chocolate syrup (we don’t have problems with artificial sweeteners)
Banana sliced with my favorite banana slicer and
Strawberries (DO NOT use the banana slicer on the strawberries or you’ll need a new banana slicer)
This never fails to disappear in my house. And it’s just too easy. The kids can go through a pint of strawberries in the blink of an eye. But that’s kinda the goal.
We go through bananas pretty quick in this house, but occasionally, we find a few black, soft bananas on our little banana hanger. Before they start to grow hair and drip, we pop them in the freezer, skin and all. We collect bananas for a few months until we have enough to bake our favorite banana bread. Then they get ignored in the back of the freezer until I feel like baking. Let’s face it, by the time I feel like baking, I always have enough to make two…three…maybe four loaves of banana bread.
This is what the bananas look like when we pull them out of the freezer:
I just put them all in a bowl and fill it full of warm water to thaw:
I’ve been cooking dinner. Every day. And I’m not talking frozen, microwavable meals.
this is a big deal people.
Yesterday, I made Pork Tenderloin Diane for the first time since I originally posted the recipe back in January.
It’s a fast, easy, cheap recipe with a light sauce made from deglazing a pan with lemon juice, Worcester sauce and Dijon mustard. Except I didn’t have any lemon juice. FirstHusband (a sauce man) said he would substitute Sprite, but that just seemed too sweet. I googled “substitute lemon juice” and found a suggestion to use vinegar – but half the needed amount. I was doubling the sauce for this recipe and it called for a total of four tablespoons of lemon juice so I used two tablespoons of vinegar.
PERFECT. The sauce tasted exactly as I remembered it and everyone liked it – even PinkGirl!
I’m definitely going to remember this because I probably won’t remember to buy lemon juice in the near future. I know me. But vinegar is a great substitute for lemon juice when used in small amounts.
And I wouldn’t substitute vinegar if I was making lemonade from scratch.
Me. make lemonade from scratch. yeah. that’ll happen.