Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Pretty good cookies!  From this Kraft recipe, Splenda subbed for the white sugar.  We had crunchy peanut butter and it worked perfectly.  Mrs J had too many to fit on one pan, she opted to test drive the first tray rather than load two.  She thought she needed to mash the second batch a little bit flatter and add minutes to the bake.It’s finally cooled down outside enough to cool the cookies, thanks to a front that brought us some rain early this morning and sun this afternoon. The smeared look to the chips is due to her mashing that first batch while they were still mid-bake.

It added a bit of an interesting look to the batch.  Top was mashed during the bake, the bottom cookie is from the second batch.  The longer baking time added a little more crunch to the texture, as you would expect.  I ate some from both batches and can’t pick the winner.

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Tidbits

Mmm… another Reuben.  We’ve pretty much settled on an assembly standard:  The corned beef, sliced just so, homemade sauerkraut, and cheese all warmed in a skillet – adding the cheese only when the beef and ‘kraut are warmed through.  The rye slices are started in the toaster when the cheese goes on.  The thousand island dressing goes in a small bowl to be used as a dip – this helps to keep the sandwich intact because it is not soaking through the toast.  Pickle spear garnish is optional but encouraged!We’ve been seeing a lot of rain, 10 inches in the last week, and rivers and creeks are overflowing.  Whenever we get high water  one of the obligatory stops on the gawking tour is this municipal band shell at the aptly named Riverside Park.  The Big Muddy River (actual name!) is a tributary of the Mighty Mississippi, it enters a few miles below Grand Tower, IL.An access road loops around the park.  It would be visible below the shell but for the high water.  Right now we are kinda “meh” – we’ve seen it higher.  All bets are off should the rain come back.  Crews are sandbagging the big levee along the Mississippi just in case and they are keeping a 24 hour watch.We’re using those naan loaves for pizzas, and here is one replacing a tortilla in a vaguely Tex-Mex hodgepodge with rice, beans, chicken, cheese, eggs, and a salsa verde.Another selfie with Bitsy that I’ve run through the Prisma app.  This is using the Heisenberg filter.  My favorite filter is the one they call Gothic.Time for another pineapple upside down cake!  I used dark brown sugar in this one rather than the light brown I usually go with.  Pour melted butter mixed with brown sugar in the bottom of a pan, this one was made in a 9-1/2″ x 12″ hotel pan with 3/4 cup of butter and 3/4 cup sugar.  I drained the juice from a can of pineapple tidbits and used about half of them in the recipe.  Use the pineapple juice to replace some of the water needed for a yellow cake mix and pour the prepared mix over the pineapple bits.  These baked at 350 for 20 minutes and were not quite done so I added 10 minutes to the timer and reduced the temp to 325 because the top was browning nicely.  If you would rather go from scratch this recipe should work fine for you.These are a favorite and this surely won’t be the last one you’ll see here.  We are just getting warmed up for those summer garden tomatoes.

Monkey Bread!

20160208_154046[1] (1600x1060)No one knows why it has the name it does although there is no shortage of guesses.  Google led me through several articles that all seemed to be cribbing from the same page.  There is a tree called a monkey puzzle tree with bark that looks sorta kinda like one of these things if you squint just right.  I won’t be bothered to care much one way or another.  Mrs J remembers seeing these made using canned biscuit dough but we went with scratch made from this recipe.20160208_170917 (1600x1060)This one appears to be pretty close to what we were looking for.  We had a tray under it but didn’t need it to catch any sugar bubbling out but it did make it easier to handle.  Give it a few minutes to cool, then turn it over onto a platter.20160208_171012 (1600x1060)Wait too long and it will be glued in there pretty tight.  Mix the powdered sugar for the glaze while you wait those few minutes for it to cool.DSC_1798 (1600x1060)It wouldn’t hurt to add a drop or two of vanilla to the glaze but we didn’t do that.  I’m thinking various other additions to the sugar might be gilding the lily but I have some maple extract that might have played a role were I not old and forgetful.DSC_1799 (1600x1060)We, and by “we” I mean “I”, tore into it right away.  You may wish to wait a wee bit longer than I did but the burns on my fingers will heal.  No worries!

Mmm… Cookies

DSC_0003 (1600x1060)Mrs J busied herself in the kitchen after dinner and tried out a new cookie recipe she found written on the Splenda sweetener blend package but it’s also online here.  They are amazingly good, even considering my expectations were low because of the artificial nature of the substitute brown sugar stuff.  I does contain significant parts of the real thing so it’s better than the Kroger store brand of the same sort of sweetener.  I will note that she added pecans to her batch.  We both give this recipe thumbs up!

Friday Recipe Exchange: Preparing for Thanksgiving

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Cornbread Stuffing Photo by JeffreyW

Bixby and I are hitting the road for the holiday, as long as the weather stays nice. I’m planning on arriving early so I can help with prep, because I like love to cook. Bixby is growing fast and you can see his latest photo here, along with a quick update. I hope he does as well in the car as he did last trip.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, next to 4th of July. Food, family, friends…and leftovers. I compiled some favorite recipes for tonight’s recipe exchange.

JefferyW makes Cornbread Stuffing,  part 1 here and part 2 here.

Roasted Butternut Apple Soup makes a great starter, recipe here.

I think I’m going to volunteer for mashed potato duty this year so I can make these again, a lost recipe found, Hearty Garlic Mashed Potatoes, link here. I made them years ago and then completely forgot about the recipe.

And this recipe is the reason I think I get invited to many holiday gatherings, my Cranberry Upside Down Cake, click here.

Since my brother is cooking again this year, we’ll probably have deep fried turkey, which is ok by me, as long as I’m not cooking it. I have a real fear of deep frying anything, which is why all the deep fried recipes on the blog are from JeffreyW. I will still cook a turkey, though, because, leftovers. This year I’m going to try the braising method from America’s Test Kitchen’s Braised Turkey technique, link here, minus the brining.

Not sure how you want to cook your turkey this year? I’ve listed some ideas from people smarter than I am: turkey four different ways, here.

What’s on the menu for your Thanksgiving this year? Do you have a must-have recipe for your holiday dinner?

I’m not a fan of traditional candied sweet potatoes, so tonight’s featured recipes are some non-traditional styles of recipes for sweet potatoes.

Cajun Sweet Potatoes

  • 4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup butter,  melted
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • ¼ tsp cumin (opt)

Covered casserole dish, well-greased

Steamer and saucepan

In saucepan, add water, steamer and sweet potatoes. Steam until you can easily stick a fork in them. They don’t need to be completely soft. About 10-15 minutes. Add sweet potatoes to casserole dish. Combine oil, butter and spices. Pour evenly over potatoes. Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes until potatoes are soft. You can adjust cooking time if you prefer your firmer or softer potatoes.

Sweet Potatoes w/Apples

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled & cubed
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 apples, cored & sliced
  • 8 oz can sliced pineapple (including liquid)
  • 2 tsp butter
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt

2 qt casserole dish, greased

Add ingredients to casserole dish. Stir gently and bake at 375 degrees for 40-50 minutes, uncovered, until apples and potatoes are very soft. Cover if it begins to brown too much

That’s it for this week. No recipe exchange next week I hope you have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.   – TaMara

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Pastry Pr0n – Cream Horns

DSC_9345 (1600x1060)Mrs J was wanting to use up the puff pastry dough so she baked up a few cream horns.  Not wanting to reprise the pastry cream fillings from the last time we fooled around with more cream filling recipes.  I made up a batch of the stuff made with shortening but she didn’t like the thought of it.  I dumped the lot and went with a cream cheese – marshmallow fluff recipe that was pretty easy:  beat 1 cup of cream cheese with 1/2 cup marshmallow cream and 1/4 cup of powdered sugar.  Great Success!