Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Lazy, Lazy

I'm not cooking. I think that must be obvious. At least during the summer, I cooked once a week. I remember when I used to cook nearly every day. Not saying that I want to cook every day, but I wasn't eating fast food all the time. Plus, I wasn't spending the money I am now. Meh.

I have oatmeal muffins in the oven. They're a box mix I probably got from my mom a year ago, but they're baking along with an egg, some powerdered milk, and extra brown sugar. I've been meaning to make muffins for weeks now.

I'm trying to come up with a game plan. I set aside Monday nights witht he boyfriend. Our fallback is to cook and watch a movie. Somehow, I don't expect us to cook all that often. But there are certain foods that I always come back to. Muffins, for example. I need a quick breakfast or slightly sweet treat most days, so they'll get eaten. Maybe I should make it Muffin Monday or something. I just miss slowly working my way through the pile of recipes I had. Maybe I should find another day for a full meal like my old Sundays. Any suggestions?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Dulce De Leche Oreos

Have you ever heard of these things? I hadn't until I stepped into a Big Lots. I don't mind picking up name brand or interesting looking things at closeout places because they're so much cheaper. It's all written in spanish, so I'm guessing that's why I've never really heard of them. Still, it's always cool for me to see what the big names are marketing to different target groups. I hope everyone can find a box of these because they're worth it.

They look like Halloween cookies. Maybe they're a seasonal product. But it's still the same old Oreo chocolate cookie on the outside. But the inside, now there's a treat. I'm not a huge fan of regular Oreos. Yes, they're nice, but not something I want all the time, especially without milk. These I can eat without milk. It's an interesting combination of the slightly unsweet chocolate cookie against something that is almost, but not quite caramel. It wasn't bland, but it almost had a calming taste to it. Like it was a real fall cookie that you pair with coffee, a blanket, and a fireplace. I'm very impressed with these little gems. See if you can pick yourself up a box in your area. They won't disappoint.

Why the Foster's? Look at it! It's huge. I put them on a full size dinner plate and it dwarfs it. And yeah, that's what I was drinking with them. No, I don't recommend the combination. Though they'd probably go well with Guinness.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Frugal Eggy Pies

My mom never made buttermilk pie when I was growing up. She only made it once for my step-dad who grew up on them. I've had fond memories of them since. Actually, I think I've only had it that once. I kicked around the idea of making one for a while. The recipes I found on them were very similar and simple. All I needed was crust (because I'm lazy) and buttermilk. So abaking I went.

It tastes like I remember. Warm, custardy, sweet yet not too sweet, with a slight tang. It reheats pretty well and really hit the spot.

I got my recipe here, from a tried and true recipe that happens to be the author's signature dessert. I opted to make a mix of her sweet and not so sweet recipe. I used the full 1 1/2 buttermilk, but only 3 eggs. It turned out just like I wanted, only I think I'm going to find out how to get a firmer custard next time. Anyone know how?

While I was at it, I threw in my first quiche. I found a basic recipe online, modified it, and added the tasty additions of bacon, feta, white cheddar, and shredded romano among several spices. It also turned out very well. As with the pie, I'd like a firmer custard next time, but this was great.

Also, I used powdered milk in baking for the first time. I don't drink it very often or eat cereal on a regular basis, so there's always some left over that just goes bad if I don't cook. Since milk is expensive, I went out and bought the largest box of powdered milk I could find. I couldn't tell any difference in the quiche, so it's a good first start. I look forward to all the money I'll save on milk in the future.

You may have also noticed that I'm on egg overload. I never used to buy them. I always had to make last minute runs to the store for eggs because I thought I had little use for them. Even more expensive at at $.13 a pop are cheap as anything. I'm trying to cook more and spend less for my financial goals. Of course, the next step would be to actually make the crust instead of wasting money on them. Crust skills are a imperative for any baker, I believe, so I should probably learn that anyway. There will always be a next time.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Butterfinger-Chunk Cookies

The title sounds exciting doesn't it? Yeah. It's not. I was mostly disappointed with this recipe. But let's start out with how I came to make them.

When I think of food blogs, there are four that immediately jump to mind as being the best. I've been incredibly lazy on updating and/or adding my links to food blogs I like to read. The following blogs have been added to my links as favorites and were the four mentioned a moment ago: Gastronomy Domine, Cooking with Amy, Smitten Kitchen, and Baking Bites. Honestly, I check the first two the most often. Why? They're at the top of my favorite food blogs list which is not listed alphabetically. Kind of shameful, I admit. Anyway, I finally remembered to read more than just the first handful on the list and remembered how much I loved Baking Bites, formerly Baking Sheet. Just looking at her blog will make most people gain at least 10 pounds. It's luscious and full of inspiring recipes- it's so easy to fall in love with the pictures she takes. Anyway, me and my envious self decided that I'd been eating out of a can for a bit too long and was going to have something sweet and tasty lazing on my counters.

That was the plan anyway. I chose a recipe that I had most of the ingredients for from the Bon Appetit Cookbook thinking that they couldn't go wrong. Well... it didn't hit the mark as far as I'm concerned. They were sweet enough, but incredibly boring. The peanutty taste of the Butterfingers got lost in the baking and the chocolate isn't strong enough to represent itself when mixed with anything else. I won't comment on the texture of them because I ran out of baking soda and did without. I'm pawning them off on the boyfriend. I'll add the recipe so you Butterfinger nuts can decide for yourselves. Putting the candy bars in the freezer for a few minutes, then crushing them in the wrappers worked very well.

Butterfinger-Chunk Cookies
from the Bon Appetit Cookbook

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 c plus 2 T all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 c Butterfinger BB's candies* (about 5 1.7 ounce packages)

Cream butter and both sugars in large bowl. Add egg and vanilla; beat until light and fluffy. Beat in flour, salt, and baking soda. Stir in candy. Refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour to an hour. (I forgot this part as well, possibly why mine were so funky shaped.)

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 3 large sheets with parchment paper. Drop dough by heaping tablespoons, keeping 3 inches apart. Bake until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Cool completely.

*I used 4 regular sized candy bars for this because they're easier to find, cheaper, and taste better.