Happy May!!! First let me just say HOORAY FOR SPRING!!! Yep, in my little corner of the world, spring has FINALLY sprung…and I have the sunburned forehead to prove it! Today is May 5th (Happy Cinco de Mayo!!), and just last week here in Michigan, we had snow flurries!!! UGH!! Don’t get me wrong, I do love me some snow flakes…IN THE WINTER!!! BUT snow flurries in the last week of April??? Not so much!! Anyway, I am so glad that the nicer weather is finally here, as I am in desperate need of some vitamin D. So desperate that, much to the chagrin of my hematologist, I went to Ryan’s soccer game yesterday sans sunscreen. Okay before I get clobbered for being irresponsible, let me say that I intended to sunscreen up, but I forgot as I was racing out the door. Per usual, I made sure that everyone had water, that the soccer bag was packed, and that my camera was charged and ready. Therefore, in my race to the soccer field, I inadvertently forgot to apply my sunscreen to my face. I mean c’mon it was the first afternoon game in which sunscreen was even necessary, and my moisturizer already has a 15 SPF. That said, I didn’t take the time to carefully apply the moisturizer evenly on my forehead. I just slathered it on after my shower, but didn’t take the time to massage it into my hairline… which is the only spot on my whole body that got a little pink. Oh well…moving on to the recipes. I’ve tried a few new recipes in the last few weeks. The first recipe was for a spinach pie pizza. I have made spinach pies in the past, and actually blogged the experience in post number 5. If you are interested you can read about it here: http://thecookiemama.wordpress.com/2012/01/02/spinach-pies-and-veggie-meat-pies-made-with-l%E2%99%A5ve-by-the-cookie-mama-2/ Well, I made those delicious spinach pies again, but I accidentally only prepared 1 pound of dough. I usually prepare 2 pounds of the dough, as the spinach mixture I make, requires that amount. Needless to say, I had a ton of the spinach mixture left over, so I defrosted some pizza dough that I had in the freezer, and we had a spinach pie pizza the next night. Here is a link to a recipe for a spinach pie that is similar to the recipe that I used: http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=285181
Next I recreated two of my family’s favorite restaurant appetizers…mozzarella sticks and fried pickles. Let me start by saying that I do not own a deep fryer of any kind, so I knew from the start that I would need a recipe in which these yummy treats were baked and not fried. I came across the recipe for the mozzarella sticks on “Pinterest,” and I knew immediately I would have to try it. The recipe is simple, and I had all the ingredients in the pantry…SCORE! I made the mozzarella sticks for a snack during one of our movie nights. Ryan of course wouldn’t try them, but Dan and Victoria LOVED them. I thought they were good, but in my opinion, they needed to be crispier. Therein lies the issue with baking versus deep frying. I do not regret making this restaurant treat at home, as my version is a ton healthier. I used low fat, organic mozzarella sticks, organic ingredients, and of course they were baked not fried. Here is a link to the recipe that I used: http://www.skinnytaste.com/2012/02/skinny-baked-mozzarella-sticks.html
The next restaurant appetizer recipe that I attempted was for fried pickles. When Dan and I were in high school, there was a little restaurant in the food court of Eastland Mall called “Wallaby’s.” It was an Australian themed restaurant, and they served these yummy deep fried pickles called “boomerangs.” Dan and I loved them. Well that little restaurant didn’t last long unfortunately, and Dan and I always talked about how much we missed those boomerangs. Flash forward about 20 years, and “Cheeseburger in Paradise” enters the picture. Dan and I saw our first “Cheeseburger in Paradise” restaurant whilst in Maui on our honeymoon. Happily, there is a now a “Cheeseburger in Paradise” on Hall Road. We have been there lots of times with family and friends. It is one of my favorite places to go when we eat out, because I love the atmosphere, all the Jimmy Buffett music, and of course the food. My favorite things to order off their menu are the “CPK cocktail,” “frickles,” and the chocolate nachos for dessert. YUM!!! The cocktail is so delicious, and its sweetness contrasts perfectly with the salty goodness of the deep fried pickles. Then, for a perfect finisher, we order the chocolate nachos for dessert! I do usually order an entree (veggie burger), full well knowing that it will be breakfast or lunch the next day, as I will only take a few bites. I introduced my Dad and sister to Cheeseburger in Paradise” as well, and they love it too. After making the mozzarella sticks, I had the thought of using the same batter but with pickles, in the attempt to recreate the “frickles” that I love so much. Well it totally worked! I am so in love with this recipe that I made it twice in one week. Again, Ryan wouldn’t try it, but Dan, Victoria, and I LOVED it!!! I am so happy that I can recreate this recipe at home. It is a ton healthier than if I ordered it at a restaurant, but it is still an indulgence. I love love love pickles, but worry about their salt content. So I do eat them, but I try to limit how often I enjoy their salty goodness. If you too want to try this recipe, just use the batter recipe in the above mentioned mozzarella stick recipe, but use pickles instead of the cheese sticks. I used two different types of pickles. The first time I made them, I used pickle “stackers.” The second time, I used a combination of the stackers, and pickle chips. Both times I made them, my family devoured the breaded, baked pickles and wished there was more. I will totally make these again!
The next recipe I tried was for Amish friendship bread. My “brother from another mother” Jim’s wife Kim, and I belong to an online book club. The April selection was a book titled “Friendship Bread” by Darien Gee, and Kim and I both really enjoyed the book. If you ever get a chance, this book is a quick read and an interesting story. The characters in the book, deal with life issues such as grief and loss, friendship, community, food and family. As a side note, I would love love love to own a tea parlor like the one described in the book. Over the last few months, I have read several books in which food is central to the story’s plot, and in fact, almost qualifies as a main character. I LOVE books like that, so this book was a perfect fit for me . Some of the other books like “Friendship Bread” were: “Like Water for Chocolate,” “The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake,” “Under the Tuscan Sun,” “Everyday In Tuscany,” and “The Christmas Cookie Club.” I’d recommend any of those books…especially if you are a “foodie” like me. Anyway, when I was a little girl, I remember this friendship bread making the rounds at my elementary school. Then when I was in my twenties, the friendship bread recipe made a comeback, and circulated again. After reading this book, I was inspired to bake Amish friendship bread once again. True to my nature, I still had the instructions from both my childhood, and my younger adulthood days, so I decided to put together a “starter mix.” The entire process takes 10 days. You follow instructions every day for 10 days, and then on day 10, you bake. Every starter batch yields two yummy loaves of the friendship bread. From my starter mix, I made 2 separate batches of the friendship bread 10 days apart. The first go round, I made the original version of the bread. Here is a link to that recipe: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1E0WwPpBh5E-BM5lGrbYFQqQvSqnCxkXVncsgqdv5WMw/edit?pli=1 On the second go round, I made 2 different chocolate versions…double chocolate bread, and triple chocolate coconut bread. I definitely liked the chocolate versions better, as did my family. Here are the recipes for the chocolate versions:http://www.friendshipbreadkitchen.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/AFB-Triple-Chocolate-Coconut.pdf and http://www.friendshipbreadkitchen.com/pantry/double-chocolate
The last recipe was for snickerdoodles. These are my Ryan’s favorite cookies in the whole wide world. I have made them multiple times, but I haven’t featured them in this blog yet. There were featured in my “Cookie of the Week” blog. If you are interested, you can check out that entry here: http://chris-cookieoftheweek.blogspot.com/2010/12/week-2-12-snickerdoodles.html Ryan’s birthday was on a Thursday this year. Since his party was on Saturday, and I was making both a cake and cupcakes, I was hesitant to make a third cake just 2 days before his party day. So in lieu of a cake, I decided to make his favorite sweet treat to celebrate his 10th birthday. When he came home from school, he was pretty excited to see his favorite cookie waiting for him. The look on his face as he ate his snickerdoodle was priceless. I cannot believe that my “baby” is 10…when in the heck did that happen anyway?? Ryan chose to have a “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle” themed party this year. I think his choosing that theme is hysterical. When Jim and Chris my “brothers from another mother” were little boys, they loved TMNT too. Ryan already reminds me a lot of them when they were little, so this is just another similarity. Ryan’s actual birthday was a school day, but when he came home from school we celebrated with Ryan’s favorite cookies. Then on his party day, we started the day with a soccer game. I am happy to report that not only did Ryan’s team win (GO RAPTORS!!), Ryan scored his first goal of the spring season! Then after the game, we had family and friends over to celebrate my 10 year old boy! Ryan was really pleased with his birthday, his party, his gifts, and especially his cookies.
I hope you try the recipes, we loved them. Enjoy! ♥♥