Thursday, June 14, 2012

Spicy Oatmeal Cookies

We enjoy spicy cookies around here (these Molasses cookies are a particular favorite, and I always add some cinnamon to chocolate-chips).  That's why I wanted to try out this recipe from Cooking Light:  Spicy Oatmeal Crisps.  I made a change in the baking time because I didn't want crispy cookies; I prefer them to be soft and chewy.  The "secret ingredient" here is black pepper!


3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup packed brown sugar
5 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats

Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine flour and next 7 ingredients (through pepper) in a medium bowl. Beat sugar, butter, and vanilla in a large bowl with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add egg; beat well. Stir in flour mixture and oats.
Drop by level tablespoons 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheets (I use a silicone baking-sheet liner). Bake at 350° for 10 minutes. Cool on pan 2 to 3 minutes or until firm. Remove cookies from pan; cool on wire racks.  Makes about 24 cookies.

2 dozen cookies is not usually enough around here; I'll double this next time.  Also, I think they'd be great with the addition of some chopped walnuts or hazelnuts, and maybe a bit of ginger as well.  These cookies were a crowd-pleaser, and they made the kitchen smell terrific, too!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Trinity Rice with Almonds

There's a whole bunch of things you can make with leftover rice:  rice pudding, fried rice, and breakfast rice to name just a few.  Today, though, I didn't want to make any of these.  I was looking for a way to use up about 2 cups of cooked white rice.  I found a recipe here that looked good, changed a few ingredients (wasn't in the mood to put raisins in it) and everyone was happy with the result.  This recipe would be just as good with brown rice as it was with white.

I called it "Trinity Rice" because it uses the vegetables that, in French cooking, are called the "trinity"--carrots, celery and onion, all chopped the same size.


Get the recipe and nutrition facts at Cook and Count!

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Making Space and Sharing Space

An occupational hazard of letting the Big Kids use your kitchen is that on the (rare) occasions when they do clean up and put things away, things are not necessarily put away where you usually keep them.

Last night I practically tore this drawer apart looking for the meat fork.

I never did find it.  This drawer was getting so bad that it wasn't always easy to open or close.  Something had to give.

So I dumped the contents of the entire drawer on my kitchen table, cleaned out the inside of the drawer and the baskets, and started fresh.

I found a few items that were duplicates (and who needs two "push-me-pull-yous" for oven racks?) so I put those aside for Big Brother to take to his college apartment in the fall.

Some other items, like the pancake turner, are used so frequently around here (grilled cheese and tomato, anyone?) that I didn't want them back in the drawer.  But they didn't fit in the oatmeal canister that I use for a utensil crock.

Then I remembered the coffee can from Cafe du Monde that I'd saved.  It brings back memories of my trip to Louisiana during my own college days, when I was my school's delegate to a campus ministry event.  I sanded down the open end with some coarse-grit sandpaper, cleaned the can, and tossed some ladles and pancake turners in there, as well as a few other things.

The kids will be able to find things easily, and they might even put them away in the right place when they clean up.

I have coffee-can lids on the bottom of both of those cans to prevent rust.

I'm still working on the arrangement of the rest of the drawer, but at least it's cleared out enough now that it can be opened and closed without things getting stuck.

Like my fancy paper-tower-tube holder for my cooking tongs?  Yes, it looks junky, but it takes a lot of abuse.  Eventually I will use up the last paper towel on the current roll, and then I'll have a whole new holder.

It's a little change, but it should make a big difference in a kitchen that is no longer a one-mom operation.

Now the issues involved in sharing a 10 x 10 kitchen with 3 kids (2 of whom are taller than me) and 1 husband are a different story.  We trip over each other a lot.  It's a traffic nightmare, but that's a project for another day.


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