Sunday, I made Snicker Doodle Crispy Snack, a recipe from my mom and Caramel Bars, a recipe from Gretchen. And here is the recap…
I am tired, really tired today. It is snowing big flakes and will continue to all day. I am at the point where I am sick of cooking and sick of dishes. I am sick of grocery shopping and sick of going out in the snow. Maybe I can take a break this week? No…then I will have too many recipes for the end of the year. Fine, I will cook! I write down the ingredients I need (which gets smaller every week as my inventory increases), bundle up and head out. I decide to go to Whole Foods first and get as much as I can. It is out of the way and more expensive, but I feel so much better when I eat more natural things. Unfortunately, you can’t get instant Quaker oatmeal or 1 lb of caramels at Whole Foods, at least not that I could find. I don’t feel like wandering around to find anything and just commit to making a trip to Kings Soopers. I had no great adventure at either store today. I didn’t put food in any unsuspecting person’s cart, I didn’t have a panic attack, and I didn’t even get cheese samples. Just in and out as fast as I could.
I am home and I procrastinate for a while, organize my pictures, and watch some TV. Finally, I realize the food is not going to cook itself and I start with the Snicker Doodle Crispy Snack. The recipe calls for 4 cups of popcorn, which takes me a little longer than normal because I only have 100 calorie packs. I mix the popcorn with chocolate rice crispy cereal (I use organic EnviroKidz). I melt some butter, toss in some sugar and cinnamon, and put it in the microwave for while. Then I add some dried cranberries and presto! Done! This recipe is really easy and really good. It is crunchy, a little sweet and won’t totally break your diet. When my parents took Jeff and I to Las Vegas, my mom made this snack for me. I was gluten free still and she was worried that I would get hungry during the trip and wouldn’t have good choices around to snack on. Thanks Mom!
The next recipe was a little more challenging for me. I turn on CSI: Miami…not my favorite, but all I have to work with. The recipe calls for 1 lb of caramels…so that translates into sit down and unwrap 1 lb of caramels until your fingers bleed! Not really, but it took some time and a few samples. I melt the caramels with a little milk and work on the ‘bar’ part of the caramel bars. I open a container of instant oatmeal, which apparently is packed rather tightly. POW! An explosion of oatmeal covers me, the counter and the floor. I clean up right away so Max doesn’t eat any. This is a good time to mention…DON’T LET CATS EAT PEOPLE FOOD! I thought his cute little begging was enough to let a few things slide. Little did I know that onions cause anemia in cats. He appears to be okay, but I don’t want to risk anything else! Sorry Max, you are stuck with turkey flavored cubes in turkey flavored juice (NASTY)! So I clean up little pieces of oatmeal, trash them and continue to mix up the base. I don’t have a ‘1 cup’ measuring cup, so I use a ¼ cup measuring cup to add 1 ½ cups of brown sugar (was that enough math for you?) That should have equaled 6 scoops…by 5 or 6 though I got distracted and lost count. So if anyone tries these bars, they could be missing that little bit of brown sugar flare, or be too sugary….we may never know. Alright, next problem arises. ‘Place brown sugar mixture in a 9x13 pan’…I have a casserole dish (smaller) and a pie pan (round). Hmmm, perhaps I should have checked ahead of time? I put most of the mixture in the casserole dish and fill half the pie pan with the rest. This will work right? Not really…I sprinkle with chocolate chips and pour the caramel over. The caramel works great in the casserole dish, but spreads across my ‘unused’ portion of the pie dish. I just ignore that this might not work and bake them anyway. I pull out the pans after they are finished baking to my result: a beautiful looking casserole pan of bars and a lump of crap surrounded by burnt caramel. At least some of it worked! I try to cut out a caramel bar and it is just plain stuck! Was I supposed to grease the pan? Probably. Jeff comes home later and says that these are usually hard to get out. You really have to know what you are doing with a knife and I am too tired to even try. Jeff wrestles one free, however, and approves with a YUM.
My cooking was finished on my sleepy day and I watch the Canada-USA Hockey game. Maybe next week I will have more gusto to cook, more passion to bake, more energy to shop. But for today, I am glad to be done.