Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Little Bit of This and a Little Bit of That = Red Curry Chicken

Last night was the night before garbage day here. They come to pick it up at the crack of dawn, or at least before I am dressed for the day so I always try to use up the odds and ends of refrigerated foods and vegetables on Monday and Thursday nights so I can hustle any trash out to the can. Today I actually remembered to check the fridge before I started to cook, so I had supper planned early for once.

I had bought a package of boneless chicken breasts for an little thing I am doing for lunch today. I had bought a huge package of chicken because it was so much more cost effective even though I would not need 3 of the breasts for lunch.  I knew dinner tonight would involve the chicken, plus I had 3 carrots, 2 almost wilted stalks of broccoli ( not the whole bunch just 2 straggling stalks), 2 small sweet yellow peppers, a slightly soft onion, a large handful of mushrooms, and about 7 asparagus spears.  There was not enough of anything to serve by itself but I thought they all might work in tandem. (When I chopped them they looked skimpy, but fortunately TheHub called on his way home from work and asked if I needed anything from the store.  (Why yes please, 2 zucchini!)

When I was checking the refrigerator I also found a jar of Thai red curry paste. I am not positive it is completely paleo but I think it is close enough. (I couldn't find my glasses and the ingredient list was too small to read, so I guess I am living dangerously, in fear of the paleo police!)  In addition to the curry paste I had my reliable coconut aminos, so a whacked out idea began to form.  I make a pretty good traditional red curry that is non paleo and I made it as close to my usual as I could substituting things as needed. (Not even close to what I usually use.)

                                                     Paleo Thai Red Curry

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 chicken breasts (Cut into pieces now or later, your choice, but now is prettier. I chose later)

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 carrots, chopped
1 onion, julienne sliced
2 small sweet peppers cut in strips
2 stalks funky looking broccoli chopped into smallish florets
1/2 ish cup of mushrooms, sliced
7 or so asparagus spears, cut in about 1 inch pieces
2 medium zucchini cut in "coins" then halved
2 cloves minced garlic

2 tablespoons red curry paste
1 can coconut milk
1 teaspoon coconut aminos
dash ground coriander
salt to taste

cooked rice or noodles for the non paleo diner, and for the paleo, well nothing

Put the olive oil in the bottom of a large pot and add the chicken breasts or chicken breast pieces.  Cook until they are light brown, but they do not have to be cooked through yet. Remove to a plate and add the additional oil to the same pot. (If you did not yet cut the chicken into pieces now is the time to do it.) Add the vegetables in the order they are listed, saving the garlic for the very last. Don't add it until the vegetables are somewhat tender since garlic has a short window between cooked and burned.  When the veggies are all nicely wilted add the chicken back into the pot. Stir in 2 tablespoons of red curry paste (less if you do not like much heat in your food, more if you like it blistering).  When the curry paste is all well incorporated add the whole can of coconut milk, coconut aminos, coriander and salt, and stir well.  Turn to a medium low heat and let this simmer until most of the liquid is cooked off.

Serve on rice or noodles (your choice) to anyone smart enough not to start paleo the week before Easter.  For anyone who is dumb enough to begin right before a holiday (a chocolate holiday to boot!), just put hers on a plate or in a bowl. The rice or noodles temper the "heat" from the curry paste.  After tasting a bite I realized I needed something to cool mine down just a little, I grabbed an avocado and sliced half of it to go on the top. It was perfect!

This was so full of flavor and texture I actually forgot this was a paleo meal.  I am thankful there was enough left over to have for lunch one day this week.  This is going to go in my regular food rotation and I can see having it often.  I think the only thing I can think of that I would do differently would be to add a tablespoon or so of minced, fresh ginger when I added the garlic and possibly add fresh bean sprouts to the sauteed veggies.  Yumlicious!

Now go clean out your refrigerator and let me know what you create!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Update For Last Week

Last week I posted a list of things I hoped to accomplish. Some I got done and some (about half) didn't.  Sometimes life gets in the way and instead of washing walls other things have to happen. Last week was one of those weeks, so I am just moving those to this week's list and crossing my fingers!

Wash L.R., D.R., and foyer walls and windows
Quick Shine lr dr and foyer floors
Wash kitchen and den windows
Deep clean laundry room
Scrub master bath shower
Wash master bath shower curtain
Repair vanity chair
Finish moving spring/summer duds down
Knock down wasp nest from deck handrail (Sorry wasps, I know you need a home but not there!)
Deep clean master bath
Deep clean Son3 bedroom (Wash walls and windows.  He is away at school so I am not cleaning up                                                  after him, just doing needed spring cleaning.)
Rearrange D.R. furniture
Plant salad garden
Fill another Goodwill box and take  it to the donation center.
Volunteer work
De-pollen deck (ongoing battle for the next month)
Clean grill
Finish the blooming mending
Create something 2 times this week

I also posted a list of our menu so this it the menu and what really happened

Monday night  : Alfredo sauce over spinach noodles, tossed salad, steamed asparagus (done)
Tuesday night  : Book club, eating out (done)

Wednesday pm: Baked chicken, roasted brussels sprouts, rice, carrot and raisin salad  Grilled Conecuh sausage, coleslaw, baked potatoes

Thursday night : Mexican casserole, cole slaw, corn on the cob, tossed salad

Friday night      : Grilled Chicken, green beans, tossed salad, potato wedges, strawberries

Saturday night  : Stir fry with rice Hamburger patties, steamed asparagus, saffron rice, tossed salad

Sunday night    : Soup with cheese toast   Baked pork tenderloin, roasted potatoes, green beans, strawberries and pineapple slices

It looks like I got it right about 50 % of the time.  Maybe this week will be better or maybe not.  I guess I will see.

Monday: Red curried chicken, riced cauliflower, tossed salad
Tuesday: Grilled chicken, tossed salad, steamed broccoli, fruit compote
Wednesday: Spaghetti, tossed salad
Thursday: Braised pork steaks, with carrots, sweet potatoes, onions and mushrooms, coleslaw
Friday: Paleo tacos, with assorted fixings, tossed salad
Saturday: Grilled hamburgers, sweet potato oven fries, tossed salad
Sunday: Easter dinner with extended family (everyone brings a dish, no idea yet what they want me to make)

So I guess we will see what this week brings.  I know based on last week the jury is still out on whether it will go as planned or not.  If I were gambling on this I might place all the money on not, but hope springs eternal doesn't it?

Oh and there is a new club in town!  Check out Sonya Ann @ A Mom, Money & More

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Mexican Casserole

I'mmmm Baaack, well back on paleo that is.  I don't know why I leave it for a couple of weeks especially since  I feel so much better eating no sugar, grains and dairy.  I officially quit sugars on Monday, but had a half of a carton of milk that I needed to use before committing to a fully paleo diet.   Now that the milk is gone (2 recipes of sugar free pudding!) I have run out of excuses so it's going to be veggies, meats and fruits for me. (If I am being totally honest, I will probably let Easter  slide, but then hop right back on the following Monday)

I had already planned a Mexican Casserole for tonight, but when I envisioned it I had thought of something cheesy with black beans and crushed Fritos on top.  Not exactly paleo compliant so I had to quickly rethink my master plan using real food I already had.  After a quick Google search I found a recipe I could use as a starting point, knowing there might be many substitutions along the way. It is located here at Popular Paleo.  I did a cursory scroll through her site, then bookmarked it for later browsing.  It looks promising!

I am posting this as I made it, just follow the link to see the recipe in its original form, but these are the substitutions I used.

                                                            Mexican Casserole

1 medium pepper diced (I used yellow cause I had it)
4 medium carrots, diced
1 large onion, diced
1 bag of pre-washed spinach
couple of pinches of salt
1 heaping tablespoon ghee
1 1/2 pounds ground beef (No less than an 80/20 blend)
2 tablespoons taco seasoning mix ( I didn't have any so I had to punt but use prepared if you want)
2 cloves garlic, minced fine
1 can diced tomatoes, drained (I didn't drain mine and should have)
2 large sweet potatoes, grated
1/3 cup coconut oil*melted
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon powdered coriander
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

Preheat oven to 350
In a large saucepan, melt the ghee and add the pepper, carrots and onions.  Cook until they are nearly tender then add the spinach.  Cook and stir until all the vegetables are tender.  Add a couple of pinches of salt, remove from the pan and let it rest in a bowl.  Wipe out the pan and add the ground beef to begin browning,  When it is about halfway cooked add the taco seasoning and the minced garlic.  Cook until the garlic is wilted then add the drained tomatoes.  Stir well and cook together for a couple of minutes.  Stir the vegetables back into the pan with the beef and mix thoroughly.  Put the meat mixture into a 9x13 oven proof pan.  Melt the coconut oil* and toss the grated sweet potatoes in it, coating it well.  Quickly stir in the chili powder, coriander, and the garlic salt.  Spread the potatoes over the meat mix, cover with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes.  Remove the foil, turn the broiler on and let the sweet potatoes crisp a little.  Serve piping hot with a couple of avocado slices on top of it!

This was a mostly tasty dish, but there are a few further modifications I will make next time. (And yes, I will make it again. Can you say Cinco de Mayo?)  In addition to the sweet pepper, I will add 1 can of drained, chopped medium heat chili peppers.  The original recipe called for zucchini and I had none but I will make sure I have it before making this again.  It also called for a parsnip but we are not big parsnip fans so I will omit it again.  As I said in the ingredient list, be sure to drain the tomatoes.  The body of the casserole just had too much liquid for me.

*This next thing is strictly a personal preference.  I do not like sweetness in savory dishes and I thought the coconut oil gave the sweet potatoes entirely too much sweetness,  Next time I will not mix any oil with the potatoes, but will just blend the seasonings in well and cook as instructed. Then right before I broil them I will give them a spritz with grape seed oil. (I keep 3 sprayers filled with different oils and grape seed oil has not taste so it will be my choice. Pam would work equally well) It might not crisp as well as the coconut oil does, but for my personal taste it should work better.

I had planned on having corn on the cob as a side, but no one wanted it, so a simple side salad was all it took to call it a meal.  Even the non-paleos liked it and were talking about having it again.  If you are looking for a little lighter Mexican dish this might be for you.  Next time I will probably serve theirs with grated cheese and a dollop of sour cream, and make guacamole for mine.

Now go do some international-ish cooking!

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Start of Something, Oh Yeah, The Week

I see all of you uber organized people who start their Monday blogs with to-do lists and menu plans, and I sit here amazed that people are that together.  I never have a clue what we are going to eat until at least that day, except for the rare occasion I am trying a new recipe that requires ingredients I don't normally keep on hand.  And even then, instead of planning for it in advance,  I usually run to the store right before I make it.

I do keep an ongoing to-do list, but it is a fluid list with no designated days or times to get things done. This week I am making a concerted effort to put my plans to writing with more intent. (This is so against my nature)

                              Goodbye 1st load of heavy, dark winter duds! See you next year!

Monday: Routine cleaning. Plan menu for the week (ugh) Catch up on all laundry. Begin changing over wardrobe to spring/summer clothes. Plan garden plantings. Inventory big freezer. Exercise

Tuesday: Routine cleaning. Deep clean guest room. Deep clean upstairs office. Continue wardrobe change over. Run to Aldi to stock up on butter and asparagus. Create something. Exercise

Wednesday: Class. Routine cleaning. Laundry. Deep clean laundry room. Clean oven. Visit parents. Exercise

Thursday: Routine cleaning. Clean coat closet. Wash walls and woodwork in foyer.  Wash walls and woodwork in living room.  Wash walls and woodwork in dining room.  Clean windows in living room and dining room. Touch up paint foyer, living room and dining rooms.

Friday: Routine cleaning. Scrub master bath shower stall. Deep clean Master bedroom.

Saturday:  Chores at lake cabin

Random for the week
Gather, load and drop off 1 box of Goodwill items
Get screened porch ready for the pollen onslaught
Scrub kitchen garbage can
Finish all mending
Fix bedroom vanity chair

Monday night  : Alfredo sauce over spinach noodles, tossed salad, steamed asparagus
Tuesday night  : Book club, eating out

Wednesday pm: Baked chicken, roasted brussels sprouts, rice, carrot and raisin salad

Thursday night : Mexican casserole, cole slaw, corn on the cob

Friday night      : Grilled Chicken, green beans, tossed salad, potato wedges

Saturday night  : Stir fry with rice

Sunday night    : Soup with cheese toast

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Not So Fancy Chicken

I laughed out loud at a comment about my last post.  I was told I had gotten fancy with the food, which is true about 1 percent of the time I cook.  Most of our meals are tasty but pretty simple and easy to make.

To make my point let me tell you about our last meal. Yesterday I remembered to take chicken out of the freezer to thaw, but I was having a lot of trouble adjusting to the time change, and I suddenly realized it was 6:30. I had a meal conceptualized, but nothing started, much less close to ready.  I had seen a recipe  somewhere for a quick crock pot meal, but knew it was far too late for the time needed to cook it in a slow cooker. (So sorry for not crediting the blog, but the instructions had only 4 ingredients and even my pea brain can remember that without needing to bookmark the site for further reference.) I figured I could just mix everything together and braise it in a covered pyrex bowl at 350 until it felt done. ( Felt done? Do you like that technical cooking term?)   Since my current meal plan is to have dinner on the table every night by 8 it seemed like something I could make happen easily. (Did I mention how badly this time change is kicking my butt?)

                                                        Easy Peasy Crock Pot Chicken


4 chicken breasts, skinned and boned
1 8 oz package of cream cheese (neufchatel works fine here)
1 can cream of soup, I had mushroom so that is what I used
1 envelope Good Seasons Italian dressing mix

Put the chicken breasts in the bottom of a crock pot.  Cut the cream cheese into chunks and put them on top of the chicken.  Mix the cream of chicken or mushroom soup with the Italian dressing mix.
Pour on top of the cream cheese.  Put the cover on the pot and cook on high for 4-6 hours or on high for 6-8 hours.  Serve over rice, pasta or couscous. (Or, if you are like me and forget to cook things because Daylight Savings Time is causing a weird deviation in  the time, space and cooking continuum, then serve it over a long slice from a baguette .)

Alternate cooking method.  Lay the chicken pieces in the bottom of a pyrex pan. Follow the above directions for the cream cheese and soup. Seal the top of the pan with aluminum foil and bake at 350. It took about 30 minutes for the chicken to be tender.  I served it over the baguette slice with a side salad and some pickled brussels sprouts.  It was pretty tasty (insanely good for the amount of effort it took) and about the easiest main dish I have ever made.

The cream cheese did not melt totally and was a little bit lumpy.  I think with the protracted cooking time in the crock pot it would have melted completely. Also in the crock pot the chicken could be well cooked so it could be easily shredded, which is just exactly what it needed.  Eating it that way would give you a forkful of sauce coated chicken in each bite.

I will do this again, but I will not use the can of cream of soup.  Instead I will use my S.O.S.  soup mix ( I am out and need to make more) and will also make my own Italian dressing blend.  I am not crazy about a lot of salt and thought it was saltier than I prefer.  If I make my own I can control it.
I will also add a bit of white wine and a little freshly ground pepper.  I am not sure how much wine I can add without it altering the consistency of the sauce greatly, and the next time I do this it will be a crock pot meal.

So now you know how simple some things I make are. (BTW, though this was delicious I will only make it about once or twice a year.  It was pretty rich even using the neufchatel)

Now go make something crazy easy!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

"Moque" Croque Monsieur

I am trying to use up all the uneaten food I purchased for our recent house guests.  As usual I over bought some things (like deli meats)  and did not buy nearly enough of others (like eggs and milk). Having all this food here means I need to get a little creative with it and use it in a non-traditional manner, or we are going to be stuck eating a boatload of sandwiches.

TheHub suggested we have sandwiches for supper the other night, quite unlike him actually.  He is not a sandwich kind of guy at all, so I began thinking about some ways to have an upscaled sandwich that would seem a little more substantial and a little fancier than just ham on bread with a slather of mayo and a pickle.

I decided a croque monsieur would be a good way to use the ham slices, but had already realized I would have to punt a little.  I knew I had no gruyere or emmentaler cheese, but they both have  nutty undertones and I was positive I had an unopened package of swiss in the freezer.  It would be a little different but would stay true to the slight nuttiness found in the cheeses.  Since the sandwich would cook so quickly, I did not bother getting things ready until about 6:30.  Big mistake on my part  When I opened the freezer, I found I had  multi packs of cheddar,  mozzarella, and pepper jack but no swiss.  I had no time to change dinner plans so I thought I would just try and take it in a different cheddary direction.

                                                    Desperation Croque Monsieur

2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup sour cream ( just using remnants and no other reason)
4 ounces cheddar cheese, grated

Melt the butter in a small saucepan.  Add the flour and stir until smooth.  Cook the buter and flour over low heat for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly.  Slowly whisk in the chicken broth, stirring until it is smooth.  Continue cooking until you have a very thick sauce.  Remove from the heat and stir in the sour cream. Return to a very low heat and stir in the grated cheese, until it is all melted.  Remove from heat and set aside.

3 thin slices of ham per sandwich (I had enough for 5)
1 slice of bread per sandwich, toasted (doing the math for my ham slices this was five slices of bread)
1 tablespoon  mayo
1 teaspoon dijon mustard

While the sauce is cooling, toast both sides of the bread and place it on a cookie sheet.  Mix the mayonnaise and dijon together and spread lightly on each slice of bread.  Put the ham over the mayonnaised side of the bread.  Next, put 1/5 of the cheese sauce on top of each sandwich.  Spread it with a knife to within about 1/4-1/2 inch of the edge of the ham.  Place the cookie sheet on the top oven rack and broil until the sauce is bubbly. (It took my oven about 2 minutes but I had not turned it on until right before putting them in the oven)  Remove and serve piping hot.

We ate ours with just a simple side salad and a couple of pickle spears.  It was a filling dish and was much prettier on the plate than a plain sandwich would have been.  Since you eat with your eyes first we probably subconsciously had decided it would taste much better.  I really did like serving it open faced.  I have had traditional ones with both slices of bread and it really does get a little too doughy for me.  It was very tasty, but honestly I would have preferred the taste of gruyere or even swiss cheese.  I thought the cheddar was a little too sharp and really did overwhelm the ham.  But then that is just my taste.  It certainly did not keep us from eating and enjoying them.

So, go use your refrigerator excess in a new way.  It's fun to play with our food sometimes!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Cure for a Silent House and Broken Heart

We have had a full house for the last 2 weeks.  Son3 was home for spring break and had a small surgery on his second day home.  It was not a fun way for him to spend his holiday, but it was necessary.  Since it was a tad more involved than we originally thought, he spent the entire 2 week break in various stages of recuperation.  5 days post op Son1 and his family came to visit also. Probably the best medicine for Son3 was not seeing his brother or K.K., but was spending lots of quality time with their beautiful daughter.  Truth be told, she was also the best medicine in the world for her great-grandparents, Son2, TheHub and me as well. The week was wonderful, but flew by as weeks tend to do.

Well, the most adorable 16 month old in the world is safely back at her home, and I am left with a very quiet house and a somewhat broken heart.  Now don't get me wrong, I am thrilled beyond measure that we had the week to spend with her.  I cherished the sound of her voice as she came downstairs yelling Aye-ee! (16 month old speak for Annie, though it will be just as fabulous if she continues calling me Aye-ee forever.  Since she is the first and only grandchild, she gets to set my grandmother name.)  I had the pleasure of watching her grow and change so much in one week, and can only imagine how different she will be when I get to see her in the 3-D world again.  Meanwhile I will be forever grateful to the Gods of Apple and their implementation of Facetime!  Bless you Steve Jobs and Co.

                                    The Most Adorable 16 Month Old In The World

I have been kind of on automatic pilot today, getting a few things back in place and doing a bit of cleaning.  We are debating on whether to clean the dining room table or not.  There are these wonderful baby smear marks where she ate.  (Lots and lots of smear.)  You don't need crazy detective skills to win the "Where Did Piper Sit?" game.  Still, I can't clean them__yet.

So now life resumes much as it always is. It is a bit boring, predictable and right now lonely.  Give me a few more days and I will be out of the blue funk I am in, but today the only way to survive it involves chocolate__decadent chocolate.  Since I am a rule follower, I am obeying the call of Pi Day, even though it was officially Saturday and it is now Monday. I am cutting myself some slack here since they were here Saturday and then we had to run to the lake house to check any possible storm damage from a Friday night storm. (There was none, yay!).  I intended to make it when we got home, but I fell asleep in the recliner. Now, 2 days later, I am celebrating Pi Day with gusto!

I am not sure there is anyone out there who has not had a crustless fudge pie with ice cream, but on the off chance someone has not, here is the official recipe. Also I am including the easier/cheaper way I usually make it. (Because I am a simpleton I generally use the K.I.S.S.* method of most things.)

Official Crustless Fudge Pie Recipe

preheat oven to 350 degrees

1 stick butter (1/2 cup) melted
2 squares unsweetened chocolate
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Melt butter with the chocolate.  Let sit for about 2 minutes to cool.  Add sugar, eggs, salt and vanilla. Pour into a greased 8 inch pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Serve alone, with whipped cream, or ice cream.

Easier Crustless Fudge Pie Recipe (The one I actually made)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

1 cup melted butter
1/2 cup cocoa
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 beaten eggs
1/2 cup flour

Put the butter in a large pyrex bowl and melt the butter, either over boiling water or in a microwave. Stir in the cocoa until it is well blended.  Add the sugar and vanilla and mix well.  Stir in the beaten eggs until completely blended, then add the flour.  Mix well but do not over beat.  Pour into a 10 inch greased pie pan and bake for about 30 minutes. Serve warm either plain, with a dollop of whipped cream, or with ice cream.  From the picture you can tell our preferred ingestion method.

Using either recipe will give you a delicious pie.  It really just depends on what ingredients you have on hand and want to use. So the next time you are celebrating Pi Day or just want some pie, take a few minutes and make something delicious!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Best Thing in the World

Our only grandchild lives in Oregon and we get to see her about 3-4 times a year at the most. Though we do Facetime with her on a regular basis, nothing beats seeing her in the 3-D world This week she is visiting at our house.  I am completely uninspired to do anything other than be with her.   So until sometime next week I am planning on not cooking anything of note, not trying new recipes, not commenting on blogs or not doing anything memorable to anyone other than me.  Instead I will be spending my time with Piper and doing those things 16 month olds like to do.


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Cheater Coconut Macaroons

I do not bake cakes using cake mixes, actually I don't bake that many cakes at all.  But I always have a couple of mixes on hand for the occasional emergency "sick" or "condolences" meal. Since we never know in advance when someone is going to be sick or "pass", having  a cake mix and an aluminum pan on hand enables me to have something piping hot and ready in an hour or less .  My go to emergency dessert is a dump cake made with lots of fruit and real butter that covers the artificial flavor of the cake mix.  About every 3 months my local Piggly Wiggly has Duncan Heinz mixes for $.89 each.  When that happens I buy 6 yellow cake mixes and store them unopened in the freezer.

Well, I am supposed to buy yellow cake mixes.  I was straightening out the big freezer when I noticed in addition to purchasing 4 yellow cake mixes, I had accidentally bought 2 coconut cake mixes.  Bummer! I had no idea what I would do with them, but I knew I dang well would not just throw them out.  They have been taunting me every time I open the freezer, so last night I decided I would try something just to see if it worked.  I had found a bag of coconut that had been stuck in the back of the cabinet and was past it expiration date, so I wanted to use it also.

I am pretty sure everyone knows the formula for making cookies from a cake mix.  It doesn't matter what flavor it is, the measures are the same.

I am using pink and silver in this picture so someone might think I am a girly girl.  I am not one at all, but thought I might just keep y'all wondering if I might be.  If you have any doubts just ask someone who knows me in the 3-D world.  They will tell you I have 3 sons and look and act like it.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees

1  double layer cake mix ( I used coconut)
1/2 cup vegetable oil ( I always use expeller pressed grape seed oil because it is neutral flavored)
2 eggs

To the basic mix I added 1 small bag of coconut. (I think there was about 1 cup in it but not positive)

I suppose if you want to get out your mixer to make these you could but it stirs quite well with a wooden spoon so that is what I used.  Mix the cake mix, eggs and oil in a medium bowl.  When it is blended well stir in the coconut.  Roll into balls about the size of shooter marbles. Place on a parchment covered cookie sheet about 1 inch apart.  Using a fork, flatten them using the peanut butter cookie criss cross method.  (They will not flatten out while baking if you don't physically flatten them)

Cook for 12-15 minutes until they are light brown.  Remove to a rack to cool.  I left half of them plain and I put melted chocolate on the other half. ( Melt 2 ounces of bittersweet chocolate in a small microwaveable bowl.  Start with 30 seconds, stir then zap at 10 second intervals stirring until it is smooth.)  I dipped the top face of the first couple of cookies, but decided it had too much chocolate on the cookie tops.  After that I just used a butter knife to spread about a quarter size dot of chocolate in the middle of the cookie.  If the kitchen is cool the chocolate will harden, but if it is warm put the cookies on a cookie sheet and stick them in the freezer for a couple of minutes.

As much as I love chocolate, I actually preferred these plain.  So did a friend of Son3 who ate nearly all the plain ones.

I am glad I tried this and even happier they tasted so good.  I will use the second coconut mix for these and might possibly buy more intentionally at the next big sale.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Back Among the Breathing

Wednesday before I left for new York, I went to my weekly class.  While there I noticed the guy sitting next to me was having a difficult time, then I noticed he was coughing in my direction, and then I rolled backward until my chair was almost in the corner.  In MHO people who are sick and contagious should really skip class instead of sharing with those of us who have vacation plans for the next week.

Thanks to you, unnamed cold assailant, by Sunday evening I was coming down with something. And by Wednesday the flight to New York was pretty miserable, followed by a 4 day trip to the big city, spent mainly in my hotel room with boxes of tissues, Mentholatum, cough drops and cold medicines and low grade fever.

I suppose the upside is that I did get full use of the hotel room for which we had prepaid an outrageous city price.  Another plus was the hotel's signature bed.  If you have to feel rotten in a distant place you might as well have luxurious bedding.

I am also very happy that we could find soothing take out soup within a two block area, and that TheHub was willing happy to get out of The Toxic Hotel to explore the area solo, and to get me the much needed soup.  I am pretty sure he had a much better time than I did. (He did remind me that a few years ago in Boston we had reverse roles after he ate bad clams I was the fetcher of ginger ale and crackers.)  Don't you want to travel with us?

Anyway, we are back and I have returned to the land where people breathe through their nostrils rather than the land of the dreaded mouth breathers.  Maybe I will begin to cook again, but for now soup and oranges are still my food of choice.