Friday night; the night I usually do my ‘once a week’ things (sad, used to be the night I’d go raging on the town). Blogging might just prove to be a fun avoidance from those pesky little things moving forward.
Am baking O’Henry bars and an apple pie, for youth ministry and thanksgiving, respectively. An old family recipe, the O’Henry bars are quick, easy and I’ve yet to find someone who does not like them. The apple pie recipe I tend to use, and I have a ton of apple pie recipes, is from the ‘bible,’ aka The Fannie Farmer Cookbook. Given to me by my sister, who excitedly exclaimed as she presented it to me, ‘it even tells you how to boil eggs’, I find the book to be a valuable resource in my various culinary endeavors.
So, before I go embark upon my exciting Friday night, a few thoughts:
Don’t be afraid of the crust: Pie crust is easy to make and takes one’s pie to the next level of yummy. While I remember, as a kid, making crust with Mims, my grandmother, my mother was the one who introduced me to the frozen crust. “It’s so much easier than making it from scratch and just as good,” she said. And dutifully, I listened. Well, it is easier and I’m a proponent of keeping one around just in case; however, it definitely isn’t as good (sorry Mom). So, go ahead, try a crust. The bible has a few easy recipes and you won’t be disappointed.
Fresh is the way to go: We’re a childless couple, and in the food department, that’s borderline being single. My sister and her family came over once, the kids were hungry, and the only thing I could offer was a can of sardines; apple sauce, that expired 3 years prior — we may have even moved in with the jar; or rice, that wasn’t cooked. My sister triumphantly pulled a box of microwave popcorn out and, we, sadly, couldn’t produce a microwave (we even called friends). So, sometimes, it’s a sad state when it comes to the food in our house. This doesn’t bother me as we tend to buy food as we need it, whether it be from a grocery store, the farmer’s market, or the local ‘farm’ by work, DePiero’s. And, I’ve grown to enjoy this. We don’t have food sitting around aimlessly and the quality is always better than things left in the fridge for Lord knows how long. So, I say go local, go fresh. In fact, my husband, Tony, and his friend, Manny, even buy a lot of our meat as needed and I’ve vowed to go with them to the chicken farm to pick out our dinner one night…ekks.
Ice can be fun: My fine friend’s at Maker’s Mark (who have a marketing budget I would kill for) send gifts at Christmas to their ambassadors (yes, I’m an ambassador). The gifts have been great, Maker’s Mark wax stamp, they’re known for their wax bottle top; a mini shaker and bar accessories; and, last year, bourbon ball ice cube trays. Well, we loved the frozen bourbon balls and used that thing so much that it cracked apart. So, for Tony’s birthday, I got him some fun ice cube trays. Actually, what I got him was this silicone baby food freezer thing from Williams Sonoma (really? Do people really make their own baby food?). So we have half bourbon balls and they’re fun. Sometimes, it really is about the simple things.
FYI, Ikea also has fun ice trays, however, the main draw back is that the ‘cubes’ are little.
Keep the basics around: I once needed to make cookies for some sort of event (thanks, Tony, for the advance notice) and really didn’t have a lot of things in the cupboard (again, we don’t keep a lot on our shelves). I pulled what we did have out and searched the verybestbaking.com website for some recipes. Happily, I now have a recipe for amazing pumpkin cookies!
Holiday Shopping: It’s that time of year. I work in a department with few employees. Christmas time has always been awkward with gifts. However, last year I stumbled upon an amazing candy jar at Williams Sonoma. I got the assortment and used them as gifts for my colleagues, which they loved. So, I highly recommend, for those needing to buy for numerous people, these fun confectionery treats as they’re inexpensive, yummy, and a classic gift for just about anyone.
I’ll update you on my baking endeavors this weekend and hope, as we get closer to Thanksgiving, to hear about your successes, challenges, and tips and techiniques you used to keep sane…opps…I mean to make your masterpieces.