Leftover Friday

So it is Friday and growing up in our home Fridays were not a very happy food day. You see on Fridays my father took over the cooking of dinner. Now on the surface this may sounds like a wonderfully progressive thing for a man to do, sadly we did not see it that way. In fact it was the one day a week we all worked very hard to be somewhere else for dinner.

The reason for this is simple, dinner was gross on Fridays. My father would dig out my mother’s huge cast iron frying pan and toss in anything that was left over in our fridge.

Now I know you are thinking “what’s so bad about that?” Well let me explain. When I say everything I mean EVERYTHING. He would mix stuff like left over pasta with beef stew along with one dried pork chop and Monday nights fries. There were no rules everything got tossed into that pan and we were expected to eat it.

To this day I still get anxious if my food touches on it’s plate, I suspect that is the root of that little phobia. In theory I don’t mind leftovers, in fact I make them all the time, I just tend to do it with a little something special.

And so I will endeavor to present you with new and fun way to use your leftovers. I will not promise a weekly post, but as I make/invent new leftover creations I will post them.

Our first leftover post uses some left over Oreo Cookie Bread that I made last week (I will be posting more on that bread later). It did not turn out as well as I would have liked. It was eatable but we just did not like it as much as some of my other sweet breads so I decided to use the rest of the loaf up and make french toast with it.

Ingredients:

2 eggs (you may need more depending on how many slices you have, we had only 5)

1/4 cup milk

2 tbsp of sugar

1 tbsp Cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together in a shallow dish. Soak bread in mixture for a few seconds on both sides then drop into a hot pan which has been oiled. Flip after a few seconds (or longer if pan is not hot enough), brown on both sides.

Place on a plate and add a pad of butter. I served mine with raspberry syrup, whip cream and fresh raspberries, but feel free to dress yours up with your favorite flavors.

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After Holiday Cookies

So the story begins like this, it is late November and I am doing my regular grocery shopping when I stumbled upon the sale of the year, a 22lb bag of flour for $6.99.

Now my mother taught me to never pass by a sale like that so I lugged that bag of flour home and proudly displayed it on my counter (not like I could fit it in any of my cupboards anyway) and then walked around the house for the next three days muttering to myself. “What am I going to do with 22lbs of flour, you can’t use that much flour, are your crazy why would you buy that much flour.”

Well eventually I figured out what to do with it. I decided to make holiday cookies for friends and family this year and cookies did I make. Over 700 of them in total.

Over the next few posts I will share the recipes and words of advice for making your holiday cookie making an adventure for years to come.

We’ll start with the basics I live in Canada butter is worth as much as gold, we don’t buy it unless we have to, so the first thing I did was google the net for margarine  based cookies. This is not an easy feat but I managed it.

The first of our unusual, weird, wacky but strangely addicting cookies are Jello Cookies. I made 6 different types of them in all, each with a different flavor of jello just proving that there is NOTHING you can’t put jello in.

And so here we are Jello Cookies.

Ingredients: Yield: 24-30

* 3/4 cup margarine or 3/4 cup butter
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1 (3 ounce) package Jello gelatin, any flavor
* 2 eggs
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 2 1/2 cups flour
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

1 Cream margarine, sugar, jello and eggs together in a medium to large bowl.
2 Add the rest of the ingredients.
3 Mix well.
4 Roll dough into little balls and place on a greased and floured cookie sheet.
5 Flatten each with a fork.
6 (Sometimes a little flour on the fork keeps it from sticking).
7 Bake 6-8 minutes at 350 degrees.

The major tip I have here is try and use different colors of jello if you are making several flavors so they are easy to tell apart. And also be sure to check out the Cookie Making 101 at the side of this page for some general cookie baking tips and tricks, they will save your sanity as they did mine.

Well that is all for now, join me next time for more Adventures in Bread Machine Bread.

Adventures in Bread Making

I must apologize for the lack of pictures in these early bread attempts. I did not plan to turn this into a blog until around loaf 5. I will add pictures as I remake these original loves.

THE MACHINE!!!

Look how purrdy it is. It is shinny and black and oh so big.  I dig it out of the box and set it proudly on the counter and then notice the manual. Let’s see, page one, yeah yeah boring “about your bread machine stuff”, get on with the recipes already. ~flip, flip, flip~

How to measure, whatever, I know how to do that geesh I didn’t start cooking yesterday. ~flip, flip, flip~

Know your ingredients, oh please, come on it’s bread you need flour, liquid, yeast, how hard can it be? ~flip, flip, flip~

Finally recipes! Ok let’s see oh old-fashioned white bread that sounds good.

Skim the directions, start to add stuff, water, butter, salt, bread flour hum what the hell is bread flour, must just mean the regular white stuff.  Moving along now, yes this looks good, mash some buttons, and hit start and presto bread!

Well ok so it takes 3 hours and it was more of a rock then bread. It SMELLED like bread but it was a lumpy hard mess. I am sure the machine malfunctioned at this point so I decide to do what any good cook does and I read the manual to see what the machine did wrong.

One hour Later!

Ok back, turns out the machine is fine and the problem was with the user. So here is what I learned while reading the manual.

1.       I don’t in fact know how to measure things. (Refer to “Bread Making Tips & Tricks” section for details on how to measure stuff.)

2.       Bread Flour is NOT the regular white stuff. It is a special type of flour use in bread machines. (Refer to “Bread Making Tips & Tricks” section to learn the differences between flours and how to cheaply make your own bread flour out of all-purpose flour [the regular white stuff].)

3.       The settings are important. You can NOT mash buttons and expect a perfect loaf of bread. Hell even with the correct settings a perfect loaf is hard to achieve.

4.       All ingredients are not created equally, so it is vital you know them BEFORE you use them.

5.       While using your “bread rock” to drop on people from your balcony may seem like a good use for it, likely it is not. You can still use it by chopping it up and dropping it into a food processor and pulsing it into bread crumbs. In fact ALL your “bread rocks” can be used this way even the flavored ones.

So that is it for today’s post.  Join me next time for a bread success along with some holiday cookie posts.

Welcome!

So I know the internet is packed full of blogs about cooking, but I find myself needing a place to record my many adventures in the world of cooking and so I have done the predictable thing and started just another cooking blog.

I have always had a passion for cooking right from that very first pot of clumped together pasta that I proudly served to my family, to my current obsession with feeding anyone who walks through my door regardless of their special dietary needs.

This blog will generally focus on whatever cooking passion that tickles me at the moment I assure you that if you stick around you will find something here to tickle you too.

I plan to share all my failures and successes, along with tips and tricks to help you in your own adventures in the kitchen. I will try and provide ways you can include your family and friends in the process of cooking and help each other discover the joys of the kitchen.

So grab a cup of tea, pull out a notepad, sit back and enjoy the ride. At the end awaits something truly yummy, or if not you will at least have something funny to share with your friends and family while you sit around the order in pizza box.

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