Hey Sugar….Cookie

I have never baked cookies in my 29 years of life. I have helped other make cookies…okay, not really. I have watched other bake cookies…using my mixer too. :p I’ve helped to eat cookies mostly. I have baked quick breads, pies, muffins, I’ve made cheesecake once, but never cookies. I have no idea why. Maybe I was intimidated by what I could do with them. I had no cookie sheets. I don’t have a real rolling pin. I had no patience to wait for the dough to chill. Really, I have no idea why. I just never made cookies.

Finally, I decided to take the plunge and do it. Norm got some cookie sheets during Black Friday. I found a super easy recipe. I didn’t even need a rolling pin, or cookie cutters for that matter. No chilling either! Wow! I think to myself that I could do this.

Seriously, this is all you need for this recipe – EASY SUGAR COOKIES.

Recruit a cute little helper.
Make sure your oven is preheating to 375 degrees F.
In a small bowl, stir flour + baking soda + baking powder.

Recruit another helper (so you can take photos of the process).
Uncle Bakkie was here this day, so he was the lucky one forced to do chosen for the job.
In a large bowl, mix butter + sugar until smooth. + egg + vanilla

Add dry ingredients.

Assure the audience they will get to try some cookies after the show is over, unless they are not of age.

“Mommy, where are the cookies?”

Roll into dough balls and place on ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 8 minutes. Let stand on cookie sheet for 2 minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.

Here are the cookies on the plate that our neighbors gave us last year filled with goodies.

I will remember to soften the butter next time (unless I want an arm workout again), and will definitely use my KitchenAid mixer, although if you don’t have a mixer and if the butter is softened, it is fine, and it’ll just take a few extra minutes to get it all mixed together. Seriously, so easy. Try it! And then give me some to taste test and make sure you did it right. I’m not sure I can brave doing frosting and all of that yet.

Does anyone have any great cookie recipes that I can try? You know how I like my recipes…1) With few ingredients 2) With ingredients I would normally have on hand 3) Doesn’t take a lot of time.

Thanksgiving Dinner 2009

We hosted an early Thanksgiving dinner at our house this year this past Saturday. We (the Laus) were cooking the meal, and told everyone else not to bring anything. But of course, everyone came with food in hand, so we were stuffed with goody goodness at the end of the night. There were 20 people total (3 being under 3). (It started out just being the 11 of us, then we thought the number might go up to 27.)

We made:
* Butternut squash soup – Make your life easier by using a hand blender instead of transferring.
* Sweet potato casserole – Golden brown is about 15-20 minutes depending on your oven.
* Apple-Cranberry sauce –  Oops! We only had sparkling cider. We’ll have to try this again with apple cider. It was a little tart.
* Pumpkin Pie – We used Pillsbury pie crust. It’s okay, but we’ll try something else next time to see if it’s better. This recipe is so easy that Melody did most of the work with my help.
* King’s Hawaiian Sweet Rolls – We had these already from Costco that Norm’s parents bought earlier in the week, so we just added it to the menu.
* We were also going to make banana bread but ran out of time.

Other items on the menu for the night were:
* Green Bean Casserole – Love the mushrooms in there. I usually make it from the classic canned recipe, but this was yummy! Eric made this.
* cucumber salad
* mashed potato and gravy
* ham
* Pepperidge Farm Baked Natural Cheese Crisps
* chip and salsa
* sodas and sparkling cider

And because it’s how we roll:
* rice
* fried chicken

Goody goodness from our guests:
* japchae
* sushi
* pumpkin pie from Costco
* little cakes from Sheng Kee
* hung yun dofu (almond tofu)

What are you having for Thanksgiving this year? What are you thankful for?

We’ll post some photos on Friday for Our Week in Photos album.

Recipe: Cinnamon Tortilla Chips

1/8 cup sugar
1/4t ground cinnamon
2 flour tortillas (10″)
1T butter, melted

*350 degrees F
*spread butter on tortillas
*mix sugar + cinnamon together
*put in oven, bake 10 mins
*cut into 8 wedges each

Recipe: French Toast

I’ve tried a few recipes, and I found this one to be the best so far.

->1 T flour
-1/3 cup milk
-1 egg
-1/8 t cinnamon
-1/4 t vanilla
-1 t sugar
-4 slices of bread

*Stir flour + milk
*+ remaining ingredients
*Oil skillet, med heat
*Dip bread in mixture
*Put in skillet, flip

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Recipe: Corn Chowder

-1/2 lb bacon, cut up (we actually skip this part and just use bacon chips…less tasty, but more convenient)
-1 med onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
-2 med stalks celery, chopped (1 cup)
-2 T flour
-4 cups milk
-1/8 t pepper
-1 can (14 3/4 oz) cream-style corn
-1 can (16 oz) tiny whole potatoes, drained and diced
-fresh parsley, chopped (optional)

*Cook bacon in saucepan, med heat until crisp
*Drain fat, reserve 3 T  in pan
*Drain bacon on paper towel, set aside
*Cook onion+ celery in bacon fat, med heat 2 mins, stir
*+ flour, med heat, stir constantly
*Remove from heat
*Gradually + milk
*Heat to boil, stir constantly (seriously…constantly)
*+ pepper + corn + potatoes
*Heat until hot
*+ bacon
*Sprinkle each serving with parsley

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Recipe: Green Bean Casserole

Everyone’s seen this recipe on the can label, but I’ll post it just because we like it, and it’s easy to make.

-1 can (10 3/4 oz) cream of mushroom soup
-1/2 cup milk
-1/8 t pepper
-2 cans (15 oz each) French-style green bean
-1 can (2.8 oz) French-fried onions

*Heat oven 350 degrees F
*Mix soup + milk + pepper in 2-qt casserole
*+ beans + onions (about 1/3 can)
*Bake uncovered 30-40 mins
*Sprinkle remaining onions on top

Note: Make sure you use French-style green beans instead of regular green beans. It tastes much better that way. I also tried a recipe where you add a bit of soy sauce. That works too. You can also use whatever soup you want – cream of chicken, cream of celery…

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Recipe: Rice Pilaf

My dad had bought some rice for us when we first moved in. It wasn’t good rice. You have to soak it really long and put in extra water for it to taste decent. Usually it was just dry and hard. I found that it tasted a lot better when I made rice with this recipe. And plus it’s pretty tasty to begin with.

-2 T butter
-1 small onion, chopped (1/4 cup)
-1 cup uncooked rice
-2 cups chicken broth
-1/4 t salt

*Melt butter in saucepan, med heat
*+ onion, 3 mins, stir occasionally
*+ rice, 5 mins, stir frequently
*+ broth + salt
*Boil, stir once or twice
*Reduce heat to low
*Cover, simmer 15 mins
*Remove from heat, let stand covered 5 mins

Note: This makes 4 servings. Usually I double the recipe to have it for the next day. When you do that you have to simmer it for longer than 15 mins.

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Recipe: Ground Pork & Tofu

-4 oz ground pork (that would be 1/4 lb)
-1 t cornstarch
-1/2 T blackbeans
-2 T soy sauce
-3 cloves garlic, crushed
-1/2 t fresh ginger, minced
-1 packaged tofu, drained and cut (14 oz)
-1/2 cup chicken broth
-1 T cornstarch mixed w/ 1 T water

*In bowl, mix pork + cornstarch
*In another bowl, mix blackbeans + soy sauce + garlic + ginger
*Heat skillet med heat
*1 T oil, cook pork
*+bean mix + tofu
*+ dissolved cornstarch mix

Add more ground pork and black bean sauce.

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Recipe: Baked Peaches

This is a repost of a recipe from 9/1/08 from Joyce’s xanga.

Remember those peaches from my dad’s yard? We got our last batch from him last week. I’m positive they got over 100 peaches this year. Usually we just eat the peaches as they are, and if you know Norm and Melody, they’re suckers for fruit. Norm wanted baked peach today, so we looked up a recipe, and he tried this one from RecipeZaar:

2 ripe fresh peaches
1 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons honey
vanilla ice cream as topping (optional)

Wash and peel peaches, cut into halves, place on casserole dish
Mix honey and lemon juice together, pour over peaches
Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until tender
Serve warm or cold with ice cream

We used cookies ‘n cream ice cream because that’s all we had. I think the vanilla would definitely be better with the peaches. Love this recipe and will definitely try it again next summer when the peaches are aplenty. Yum! If you visit us next summer, this is what we’ll be having for dessert in the sunroom.

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Recipe: Raspberry Walnut Spinach Salad

Another one of Norm’s recipes.

-baby spinach leaves
-raspberry vinaigrette
-candied walnut pieces
-cherry tomatoes
-shredded carrots
-cucumber slices
-white mushroom slices
-crumbled feta cheese
-salt and black pepper

Use your own discretion in how much to put in. Some people like more of one thing than the others.salad

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