Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Heart Peanut Butter Cookies

I saw these little heart cookies on Pinterest. They were cute. And easy. And I realized that I haven't shared my very favorite peanut butter cookies with you.

So I thought I would kill two birds with one stone and give you a cute Valentine's idea and my favorite peanut butter cookie recipe.

Of course you don't have to make hearts if you're Valentine's Day averse. You can just make neutral little circles. And then you can roll them in sugar. And they are pure deliciousness.

Peanut Butter Cookies
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
makes 36 cookies
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes/batch
Cost: $3.55
flour: .20, butter: .60, peanut butter: .50, sugar: .20, brown sugar: .15, egg: .10, chocolate chips: 1.80

1 1/4 C flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 C unsalted butter, softened
1 C peanut butter
3/4 C sugar
1/2 C brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 C chocolate chip cookies, optional
sugar for rolling or dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine butter and peanut butter. Beat. Add egg, milk, and vanilla. Beat.

Add dry ingredients. Mix.

Add chocolate chips if using. Mix.

To shape into hearts, take two small balls and form them into a...wait for it...heart shape (you can do it). Then mash with a fork like you normally would with peanut butter cookies.

Alternatively, you can always just roll these into a traditional ball. Then you can roll these in sugar, which gives these a delicious crunchy outer shell.

Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. (You can also bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes.)


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Asian Pork

Ah, winter. You are beloved to me in so many ways. I honestly love the cold weather (as long as I have my warm fireplace). I love the holidays, the comfort food, sweaters, boots, jeans, fuzzy socks. I love it all. Except for one tiny thing. I cannot for the life of me get a decent picture of any food I make any time surrounding the dinner hour. It's just too dark and my photography skills end when the light does. Thus. You will have to make due with this picture I snagged of this Asian Pork in its pot for now. By the time it was plated and pretty, the light was fading and everyone was ready to start eating off their own fingers, so dinner had to be served quickly. One day I will replace this picture with something staged and lovely. But for now it's all I have.

You may comfort yourself with this comfort food I made you and then took an un-staged picture of. You're welcome.

Not only is this fantastic, but it's also the perfect thing for feeding a crowd. This is how I was first introduced to it. We were at my sister's house for Christmas. All 700 gatrillion of us. And we all needed food (preferably food that wasn't just cookies). My sister made this Asian Pork (she actually made Asian beef, which you can do too; it's delicious with both types of meat). She said it is her go to big crowd pleaser. And it was. And it is.

It is also dead simple, so you can please your crowd and also spend most of your time hanging out with them instead of with your dishes in the kitchen.

The one caveat is that it takes forever to cook. It just simmers and simmers and simmers its little heart out. And every little simmer is worth it. But it takes four hours of simmering, so this needs to be made on a lazy afternoon, or a time when you're home with your family for the holidays or, in my case, on a day when you'll be sitting by your computer screen all afternoon anyway, so why not cook something amazing while you're at it.

Note: I suppose it could be made in the crock pot, but the sauce will suffer a lot--it just won't be right. Stove top simmering allows the sauce to reduce into an epic creation that you'll lick off your plate. Crockpotting will leave tender, but blander meat in a puddle of watered down sauce. So... my advice is to leave it stove top. But you don't have to take my advice now, do you?

Asian Pork
Serves 10-16
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 4 hours
Cost: $10.00
pork: 7.00, soy sauce: .30, mustard: .10sweet and sour sauce: 1.50, onion: .10, carrots: .50, peas: .50

2-3 pound pork (or beef) roast
2 C water
1/2 C soy sauce
bottle sweet and sour sauce (I used a 16 oz bottle, but it is a bit forgiving, so you could use smaller)
2-3 Tbsp spicy mustard
1 onion, diced small (or grated)
3-5 carrots, peeled and diced small (or grated)
1/2 lb peas (half a bag)

Sprinkle pork with salt and sear in heat resistant oil (I used a Dutch oven).

Add water, soy sauce, sweet and sour sauce, and spicy mustard.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer covered with a lid. Simmer for 3-4 hours. Check it every once in a while. If the liquid is getting low, add more water. If the pork looks a little dry on top, flip it over.

About 30-45 minutes before serving add the diced onions and carrots. Cover and simmer another 30-45 minutes.

At end, take out the pork and shred. Then return it to the pot, add the frozen peas, and heat through. (Add a bit of water if you need a little more sauce.)

Serve over rice


Monday, January 23, 2017

Grains to Try for the New Year

Since January is still with us and perhaps some of us are still even with January, I thought that it might be a nice time to talk about grains. (Why, yes, I am a very exciting person. Thank you.)

One thing I've been trying to do this year is to be a little more interesting in the kitchen (and you see that, with this fascinating post about the fascinating topic of grains, I'm clearly accomplishing this). Because seriously, wheat just gets so so boring. Wheat and rice and maybe some corn. Let's mix it up a bit, shall we?


What you need to know. It's the only non-meat food containing full-chain amino acids, plus it's high in iron. If you buy it and it's not been pre-rinsed, it will have a soapy taste, so rinse it. You can make it the same way you make oatmeal and you can eat in like you would oatmeal or use it as an easy rice replacement. You can also make pancakes. And they're awesome.

Quinoa Oat Pancakes


What you need to know. Farro is actually wheat. But it's an ancient variety of wheat that is supposed to be better for you (and easier on the digestive system) because it hasn't been cross-bred and GMO'd and what not. At any rate, it is super delicious, so who cares how healthy it is (you do, of course, because you are a good person, I know). This farro recipe is the type of thing that give vegetarianism a good name. It is one of my all time favorite recipes and it's perfect January comfort food.

Farro with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Tahini Dressing

Black Rice:

What you need to know. It's even healthier than regular brown rice due to its black (really, a very deep purple) color that contains boodles of anti-oxidants. It takes longer to cook than white rice (about the same cook time as brown rice, so plan for that). It also has a nuttier, sweeter taste than regular rice. I fell in love with it a few years ago and made tons of stuff, but then when I went to share something with you, I found that I only had this wrap on this blog. It's a pretty great wrap, but know that there's tons of other stuff you can do with it, like make rice pudding.

Black Rice Wraps


What you need to know. Okay, barley isn't as exciting as these other grains (told you I was an exciting person). But this casserole is. So make it. Also, barley is still high in vitamins and fiber and delicious.

Broccoli Barley Casserole

Chia Seeds: 

What you need to know. Okay, first they're not a grain at all. They're a seed. I know I know--I'm cheating. But they're a very nice seed and you can eat them with so much--tossed into smoothies or over cereal. I often eat them with grains so I'm including them here darn it. They're loaded with omega-3's that are easily accessible by your body. Also high in vitamins and B vitamins. Also, delicious. Especially with these oats.

Refrigerator Oatmeal with Chia Seeds and Maple


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