March 31

You know that pride thing.

That pride thing that goes before the fall thing.

Yep.

Yesterday I began making my TWD Coconut Butter Thins that Jayne from The Barefoot Kitchen Witch selected.

I wasn’t very anxious to make these.   They have cardamom in it.   And lime zest.  And coconut.

This combo didn’t sound very appetizing, but since I don’t want to be a slacker all the time, and since I have been doing this since June of last year, I wasn’t about to let a bit of lime zest and cardamom get in my way.

And besides, they are cookies.   Do you know how many cookies I have made in my lifetime?

I could do this in the dark.

With one eye covered.

And both hands behind my back.

So, I  whizzed my nuts and coconut, because I don’t like lumps in my cookies unless they are chocolate lumps.

I zested my lime.

I rolled my dough inside a gallon baggie.

I chilled the dough.

I cut the dough.

I docked the dough.

I put the dough in the oven, making sure that I rotated them half way through.

And you know what happened?


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That whole falling thing that comes right after the pride thing.

You see the recipe said that these cookies should not have any color, just slightly brown around the edges.

I had cookies that spread.

Cookies that didn’t spread.

Cookies that were mostly brown.

Cookies that were light brown.

And cookies that were just a wee bit brown.

All on one sheet pan.

So I began to wonder out loud what in the world was going on.

I reread the recipe only to find out that I had the oven to hot.

Oopsie…poopsie!

So I backed it down a bit, opened the oven to let some heat out, and baked the second batch.

They were a bit better.

Let’s compare.

They were better, but still brown around the edges.

Sigh.

So I put in the last batch, and didn’t bake them as long.

You know how many ‘good’ cookies I got from the last batch???

Seven.

But that isn’t the worst part.

The worst part of it is, I have a head cold, and I can’t taste a thing.

Not a blessed thing!

So, I have packaged these good, bad, and ugly cookies up and put them in the freezer for a time when my head isn’t full of gook and I can taste them.

If you would like the recipe, because I am quite sure they taste phenomenal, go check out Jayne’s blog.

Just make sure when you bake these you actually read the recipe.

It will be better for your ego that way.

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March 30

You know those puffy iced sugar cookies with the sprinkles on them that you get from Stuffmart.

The ones that you can eat 2 or 5 of in a single setting and not realize it because they are just. that. good.

Sometimes get a craving for them, but I absolutely refuse to pay $3+  for a dozen of manufactured cookies.

Except Oreos, but Oreos are chocolate and therefore special.

My refusal to pay that much for those cookies,  means that I have to patiently wait to have some till there is a church function.

They always show up at church functions, but unfortunately for me, church functions are very few and far between.

I just knew there had to be a better way for me to get some  of these cookies.

A tastier way.

A cheaper way.

Because I have frugal  skillz, Internet, I found a way to make these cookies cheaper.

Much cheaper.

And tastier.

These cookies have 3 ingredients.

  1. A white cake mix
  2. 2 eggs
  3. 1/3 c. oil

That’s it.

Mix well.

Use your tablespoon sized cookie scooper, plop some on your sheet pan and flatten slightly.

Bake for 6 minutes like the recipe says and find that they aren’t done.

At all.

Stick them back in the oven for a total of 6 more minutes till the edges are just barely turning golden.

The icing is just as simple.

  1. Confectioners sugar
  2. shortening
  3. vanilla
  4. a wee bit of milk

Mix it all up.

Ice and top with colored sugar, because Internet,  sprinkles are from the devil.

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My men said that they tasted better than Stuffmarts cookies.

I just know it is because I didn’t put those nasty devil sprinkles on them.

You want to make some fabulous cookies that are delicious, quick and cheap?

These are the perfect solution, and they only cost me $1.13 to make them.

Told ya I have skillz.

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One thing that I would do the next time I make these is to add a tsp-tbsp water to the cookie dough to make it just a bit moister.   Not much because that would change the structure of the cookie, but they were just a touch dry.

Lofthouse Cookies

1 box white cake mix

1/3 c. oil

2 eggs

Mix together till moistened.   Use a tablespoon and drip onto parchment lined cookie sheet.  Flatten slightly.  Bake at 350º for 6-8 minutes or until the edges begin to show a little brown.

They will firm up when they are cool.

Makes 1½ dozen cookies

Frosting

2 c. confectioners sugar

¼ c. shortening

1 tsp. vanilla

enough milk to make it spreading consistency

Cream till smooth and stiff.

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March 26

Early this morning when I woke up, I began thinking about my best friend from high school, Beverly.

Because I have a serious case of the writers block, I want to know about your high school years.

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when I mention high school?

Bev is always the first thing that comes to my mind, but the second is a very vivid memory is of me  sitting in a history class at Sam Houston High School in Houston, (9th grade) watching my history “teacher” read a Harlequin romance novel, chomping on gum and reading bits of the story out loud to us.

This was a daily occurrence and I got an ‘A’ in that class.

I think we all did.

That is why I am so brilliant in history today.

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March 25

The brain it is tired from all this getting up early and being responsible every single morning of the last 20 years.

Maybe the brain would be better if it went to bed just a wee bit earlier every night, but since it is fried half the time, it doesn’t think to go to bed just a wee bit earlier.

The brain has nothing for you, Internet.

Please…talk amongst yourselves…tell me what is going on in your lives.

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March 24

I heart coffee cake.

Bisquick coffee cake was the first coffee cake I can remember eating.

But there was never enough crumb topping, and we all know that the topping is the best part of a coffee cake.

Whenever I make a coffee cake, I always double the topping.

Always.

I would rather have coffee cake than cinnamon rolls.

I would rather have coffee cake than pancakes.

I would rather have coffee cake than any other breakfast item (except for Schulers donuts or  maybe a McGriddle).

Last year,  Smitten Kitchen posted a recipe for Big Crumb Coffee Cake.

This coffee cake has a ginormous amount of topping.

And rhubarb, which I like to think of as optional.

And by optional, I mean we will never consider putting it in.

Ever!

I immediately printed off, shoved it at the boy and said “Make it now!”

And he did.

And I was forever in love with Smitten Kitchen’s crumb topping.

Today’s TWD recipe for Blueberry Crumb Cake that Sihan of Befuddlement picked for us today is a wonderful coffee cake.

The only problem for me, is that the topping is wimpy.

So I immediately turned to my favorite topping (which I have tweaked changed adapted from Smitten Kitchen) and used that instead of Dorie’s.

Sorry Dorie, but this girl goes big, or she goes home!

If you want to make this fabulous cake, check out Sihan’s blog.   She has the recipe.

If you want to make this fabulous crumb topping, look no further.

I have it here!


Crumb Topping

(adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch salt
  • ½cup melted butter
  • 1 ½ cups flour

Whisk all dry ingredients together.   Pour melted butter over top.   Mix with spatula or hands.   I prefer the hands because it just works better.   Set aside and make your coffee cake.

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March 23

A few weeks ago, I suggested to Chefboy that he invite his friend over for supper.

So, last Thursday, he came over.

One of the things that Chefboy has been begging to make here recently, was Bananas Foster.

Bananas Foster is really simple to make.   First you wait for almost 2 weeks for your bananas to ripen grab about 3 ripe bananas.

Then you chop them up and douse them with cinnamon.

Melt a stick of butter.

A wee bit of brown sugar.

And liquor.

This is the only shot I had of the Rum and Brandy.

See!   It’s over there by the lighter on the counter.

After you melt your butter add your sugar and boil it a bit.

Dump the liquor on top and set it on fire.

Maybe that is why more men are Chefs.

They like to play with fire.

Add your bananas and cook for a bit.

I’m not exactly sure what the proper way to serve this is, but we served it over ice cream.

I loved the butter/sugar/liquor sauce, but the whole warm, mushy bananas thing…well, I won’t be eating Bananas Foster again.

Maybe Chocolate Foster.

That sounds really good.

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March 21

Good afternoon morning Internet.

I know that I am severely late with a post this morning, but I can explain.

You see on the 7th of this month, the girl had a dizzy spell and tripped into a corner of the wall.

She didn’t bother to tell me about it till late last week.

I took her to to doc Monday and we had it X-rayed.

Not broken.

Whew!

So, thinking we should rest it so it could heal better,  we borrowed a sling from the neighbor.

Tuesday it began to get worse.

More swelling.

More bruising.

Last night a nurse friend of mine looked at it and told me that she really thought it was broken.

10:30 PM last night found us at the ER.

12 AM found us getting an ultra sound on her veins to make sure she doesn’t have a blood clot.

1 AM found us back in our room.

2:15 AM the ER waved bye-bye to us, saying that she has some tissue damage, that the sling that we had her arm in all week was the worst thing we could have done for her (oh the guilt!) and she needs to keep her arm above heart level so the swelling can go down.

9 AM the sunshine woke me up.

And just this once,  I was not happy to see the sun.

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March 19

When Sister and I were in our very early teens, we moved to Houston so that Dad could go to Seminary there.

Mom worked for the college in the cafeteria serving breakfast, and Sister would go with her to wait for her ride to Hogg Middle school.

I on the other hand had to walk to school with Tony Seebles and my best friend’s brother.

They would walk about 100 yards ahead of me, and crisscross the streets just to see if I would.

And because I had absolutely no clue where I was, or where I was going, I’d crisscross the streets with them.    I am quite sure they had a wonderful time laughing at me while I sent daggers of loathing at their backs.

But I’m not bitter…much.

Anyway, whilst I was being humiliated by those two boys, Sister was sitting in a warm cafeteria inventing a wonderful thing we call Hot Chocolate candy.

Take an envelope of hot chocolate powder~~preferably with marshmallows~~dump it into a Styrofoam cup and add just enough water to make it wet.

We are talking drops here.

Stir and eat.

Internet, Hot Chocolate Candy is poor mans fudge and it is fabulous!

It is also exactly what today’s BB recipe of Brownie Pudding that Tia of  Southern Eh? picked, reminds me of.

Thick, gooey, chocolaty, fudgey, and rich.

Oh, it takes me back to teen-age angst of  friends, zits, and fashion faux pas.

This recipe is a bit more involved than opening a packet of Swiss Miss and adding water, but it is worth the 10 minutes of mixing and 60 minutes of baking.

Brownie Pudding

* 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus extra for buttering the dish
* 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
* 2 cups sugar
* 3/4 cup good cocoa powder
* 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
* Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean (or 1 tbsp. vanilla bean paste)
* 1 tablespoon framboise liqueur, optional (I didn’t have any, so I used Sweet Cream Sherry)
* Vanilla ice cream, for serving

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly butter a 2-quart (9 by 12 by 2-inch) oval baking dish. Melt the 1/2 pound of butter and set aside to cool.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on medium-high speed for 5 to 10 minutes, until very thick and light yellow. Meanwhile, sift the cocoa powder and flour together and set aside.

When the egg and sugar mixture is ready, reduce the speed to low and add the vanilla seeds, framboise, if using, and the cocoa powder and flour mixture. Mix only until combined. With mixer still on low, slowly pour in the cooled butter and mix again just until combined.

Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared dish and place it in a larger baking pan. Add enough of the hottest tap water to the pan to come halfway up the side of the dish and bake for exactly 1 hour. A cake tester inserted 2 inches from the side will come out 3/4 clean. The center will appear very under-baked; this dessert is between a brownie and a pudding.

Allow to cool and serve with vanilla ice cream.

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March 18

I know that everyone is biased about their children.

They are the brightest, the cutest, the sweetest…and I am no different.

I have the best kids in the world.

Monday while I took the girl to have her arm x-rayed,  knowing that I was going to be making the custard for the ice cream for today’s post, the boy made it for me.

(Her arm isn’t broken, just severely bruised…and swollen…and sore…and just awful looking)

It sat in the fridge over night, and yesterday morning around 10, I called the girl up from the dungeon where she was busily stuffing knowledge into her brain to take a picture for me.

She is just so sweet to do whatever I ask of her.

I set it to churning, set the timer for 30 minutes because that is how long it generally takes my ice cream machine to make ice cream.

I then grabbed my lovely bar of Victoria Toffee that See’s gave to me, and began to chop it up.

Since I have the will power of a kleptomaniac in Walmart, I had a bite or ten while waiting on the ice cream to freeze.

It was about this time when I felt Mr. Murphy begin to follow me around.   I even thought I heard him cackle a time or two.

After the timer went off, I went in to add my chunks’0’toffee.    The custard was still liquid.

So the timer was set for another 30 minutes.

And another, and another.

I won’t bore you with all the details of my weeping and gnashing of teeth, of my frantic texting to my son to get an idea of how to make ice cream when the thing wouldn’t freeze, of my emailing of friends for advice, of my BFF google  finding this way to fix it for me, of me thinking it would only be another 2-3 hours of stirring to make ice cream, of my freezer completely letting me down, of me around 5pm moving the still liquid custard to the deep freeze,  or of it finally being ice cream around 9pm.

I won’t, and you can’t make me.

So  after 11 hours of Mr. Murphy getting in my way, I finally had luscious Victoria Toffee Salted Butter Caramel Ice cream courtesy of See’s Candy company, my son, my derelict ice cream machine, my mostly broken refrigerator and my deep freeze.

And it was so worth every bit of all that frustration.

This ice cream has the most fabulous flavor.

Intensely caramel, buttery and slightly salty, and the chocolate covered toffee (if there is any left) compliments it to perfection.

Victoria Toffee Salted Butter Caramel  Ice Cream
(adapted from David Lebovitz)

  • 2 cups whole milk, divided
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • scant ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cups  heavy cream
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract

Make an ice bath by filling a large bowl about a third full with ice cubes and adding a cup or so of water so they’re floating. Nest a smaller metal bowl (at least 2 quarts) over the ice, pour 1 cup of the milk into the inner bowl, and rest a mesh strainer on top of it.

Spread 1½ cups sugar in the saucepan in an even layer. Cook over moderate heat, using a heatproof utensil to gently stir the liquefied sugar from the bottom and edges towards the center, stirring, until all the sugar is dissolved.

Once caramelized, remove from heat and stir in the butter and salt, until butter is melted, then gradually whisk in the cream, stirring as you go. The caramel may harden and seize, but return it to the heat and continue to stir over low heat until any hard caramel is melted. Stir in 1 cup of the milk. Whisk the yolks in a small bowl and gradually pour some of the warm caramel mixture over the yolks, stirring constantly. Scrape the warmed yolks back into the saucepan and cook the custard using a heatproof utensil, stirring constantly (scraping the bottom as you stir) until the mixture thickens. If using an instant-read thermometer, it should read 160-170 F.

Pour the custard through the strainer into the milk set over the ice bath, add the vanilla, then stir frequently until the mixture is cooled down. Refrigerate at least 8 hours or until thoroughly chilled. Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Add in your toffee bits (if there are any left) and let ice cream cure or harden in your fridge for at least 6 hours or overnight.

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March 17

Last week, the girl got the movie ‘Forrest Gump’ out from the library for us to watch together.

She must have been bored stiff.

It has been about 12 years since I watched it, so we watched it because I was bored stiff.

I made sure that she closed her eyes at the appropriate times, because Forrest Gump is really a great movie except for all the bad stuff in it.

One of my favorite quotes from that movie is “Were like peas and carrots.  Jenny and I.”

Peas and carrots compliment each other.

They are like chocolate and peanut butter, or chocolate and espresso, or chocolate and Chocolatechic, or chocolate and caramel, or chocolate and orange or chocolate and chocolate.

They are meant to be together.

Today’s TWD that Liliana of My Cookbook Addiction picked for us is French Yogurt Cake with Marmalade glaze.

It called for lemon zest and lemon marmalade, but y’all just gotta know that Pothole has never even heard of lemon marmalade, and quite frankly, neither had I.

So I used orange, and added some mini chocolate chips.

Purely for the compliment factor.

Your supposed to wait for it to cool completely before painting on a strained lemon orange marmalade glaze, but since I have the patience of a 3 year old in the check out lane wanting a candy bar, I let it cool all of 10 minutes.

And in a test of extreme will power, I let it cool a whole 30 minutes before I cut into it.

Only, mini chocolate chips don’t cool down that fast and when you slice it open, chocolate schmears everywhere, including your fingers, but believe me I know how to take care of that problem.

This is a fabulous cake.   The orange flavor is just right.   Not to overpowering, not to subtle, and the mini’s….perfection!

Go check out Liliana’s blog.   She has the recipe.   Make this for your next get together, make it for your next brunch, make it for your co-workers, or you could always make it for yourself and eat it all watching the next episode of  “24”.

Just sayin’.

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March 16

Saturday, I got a box in the mail.

A box of something that I didn’t order.

I knew it was coming, but I didn’t know exactly what was in it.

If you have watched Food Network long enough, you have seen the show Unwrapped.

See’s Candy Company has been featured on there several times, either that, or I have just watched way to many reruns.

A couple weeks ago a lovely lady from See’s contacted me and asked if I wanted some candy from their store.

Who in their right mind turns down chocolate?

Not this chic!!!

I perused their site looking for the perfect thing to get.

And, after about 30 minutes, I narrowed it down to 2 things.   California Brittle or  Victoria Toffee.

I couldn’t choose, so I asked if they would choose for me.

So when the box arrived, I had no clue which one I would get.

Nothing is better than a wee gifty, let alone when it is a surprise.

I was not disappointed.

She sent me both!

Score!!!

Internet, let me just say that this is the best toffee I have ever had.

It is light, airy, and buttery all at the same time.

Absolutely fabulous!

I gave the men a wee tasty, and while their mouths were full I informed them that from now on, for Valentines Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Chocolatechic Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas I want this candy.

Easter is right around the corner, and Ma Internet if you would like to try some of this fabulous candy their Easter candy are on sale.

I am in the process of  making something fabulous with this toffee.

Come back Wednesday, and you will see the most fabulous …………. you have ever seen.

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March 14

Growing up, I don’t ever remember my parents taking me to a library.

The parents weren’t as bookish as I am.

But being the proper home school mom that I am, we are library folk.

When we lived in the country, I would take the chips once a week.

Now that we are in town,  and live about 7 blocks from that wonderful building, they can go as often as they like.

On their own.

And they go about every 3 days.

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March 13

It is Friday, Internet, and I’m nosy.

I’m always on the look for something quick and easy because most of the time it is just me eating, so I just gotta know…

What is your favorite heat and eat food?

I would have to say mine is a cheesy.

Take a flour tortilla, spread some cheese down the center, roll up and heat for 1 minute.

Voila, instant lunch.

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March 12

My Grandma Teal (my dad’s mom) rarely gave gifts, but when she did they were practical.

I heart a practical gift.

When I got married in 1989, Grandma gave me the best practical gift  I have ever received.

It came in a shoe box that she had covered in brown and orange contact paper.

Inside that box was a set of hair clippers, hair cutting scissors, hair clips, a home made cape, a powder puff and some baby powder.

That was 20 years ago, and even though the box is gone, the clippers and the cape are still going strong.

That one gift has saved me at least $2,220 on the men’s hair cuts alone.

You know what I heart more than practical gifts?

Saving at least $2,220.

What are some practical gifts that you give or have received?

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