China in oatmeal? You did indeed read that correctly. My co-worker and buddy Susan, who knows about my obsession with china, told me about a promotion that the Quaker Oatmeal company used to run. When you would buy a box of oatmeal, there would be a piece of china inside it. If they were to do that now, I would eat a LOT more oatmeal and my cholesterol levels would never be an issue. Sadly, this practice has been discontinued. Susan and her mother are fortunate enough to have some of the keepsakes, and she allowed me to take some pictures of the treasures.
Pictured below: “Pastoral Ware.”
Robbinsnest.com has more information about this, and other, Quaker Oatmeal patterns.
And this is only part of the stack! They will be fun for Miss Scarlett to give away soon. Mr. L helped with these. As a result, they are uniformly and nicely-balanced. Even the mess wasn't bad (see below). See the Crafts sidebar for instructions.
This post is for my buddy and co-worker Michele. I can take no credit for it -- check out the wonderful blog at Macaroni and Cheesecake. When I saw her post, I thought ohhhhhh . . . must try this. Could it really work? The answer: YES.
I used to have an ice-cream maker. It was an attachment to another kitchen appliance. We also had an old-fashioned crank maker, too. They both worked well, but have gone by the wayside. Making ice cream was such a . . . project. And who has rock salt kicking around, unless you live in snow country? When I saw this recipe, I was really intrigued. Technically, I suppose it is more of a frozen dessert than a true ice cream, but you could argue that point. It doesn't get much easier. Combine sweetened, condensed milk and whipped cream. You can stop there, or you can add a little vanilla or other flavoring. Then, go crazy. Chopped-up candy bars? Great. Nuts and chocolate syrup? Sure! Marshmallows. Coconut. Fruit. Just whip it up, and put it into a covered container. Freeze. I was so curious the first time that after an hour and a half in the freezer, I grabbed a spoon. It was like soft-serve. EXCELLENT. After dinner, we each had a small bowl. It was frozen hard, just like "real" ice cream. I made a half-batch, because I would rather have small batches of different types. I have a short attention span. Peach today; chocolate tomorrow. It also doesn't take up much room in the freezer. Michele, Mr. I and young Mr. K are going to be so happy when you make this!
My pal NJ recently had a birthday. Her birthday is easy to remember ("April 20, same as Hitler,") she'll say, wryly. While she doesn't enjoy sharing a birthday with Hitler, it does make it easy to remember. I'll think, now when is NJ's birthday, again? Wait, she said it's the same as Hitler. Then, I google it, and lo and behold, it's easy to find. It's a strange little trick but by golly, it works.
When she recently lamented about how much she missed her favorite cake doughnuts from home (Minnesota), a little light bulb went off in my head. I have a Betty recipe for cake doughnuts. I must make these for her birthday. Those of you who read my blog know my affection for Betty. Anyway, I pulled out my Betty Crocker cookbook, and there the cake doughnut recipe was. (Thanks to Peggy K. for this cookbook, a much-loved grad present). The recipe has since hit the internet, so check out the link. I have only made them once before (imagine!) and that time, I had Miss Scarlett's help. She is very good with dough things (I'm not) and I really missed her help. However, Mr. L. stepped up as Chief Doughnut Fryer, thank goodness. Together we cut and fried a dozen doughnuts. You will note the recipe makes two dozen -- I knew we didn't want that many, so I cut it in half. NJ had requested plain doughnuts, so that is what she got -- but these can be easily gussied up with powdered sugar, a dip in some chocolate frosting, etc.
Recipe notes: The dough is very gooey. Have lots of flour on your board, your rolling pin, your hands, etc. I ended up with flour on my chair, the floor, my fluffy pink bathrobe, etc. I do not own a doughnut cutter, but using a juice glass worked fine. I used one of Mr. L's shotglasses for the holes. Aren't shotglasses handy? Also: I rolled the first ones too thinly. They are hard to handle and don't look as nice if you roll the dough too thin.
Update 12/3: Just took a picture of a slightly different version. The crumbles on the top are bleu cheese. I also included a layer of thinly-sliced smoked ham.
Okay, okay. I'm not a housewife. But thrifty: Well, I am all over that. I am so weird that I enjoy the challenge of having odds and ends leftovers, and making a meal out of them. I know, I know. That brings us to: Strata.
The thing I really like about it is its versatility. If I need to feed a crowd, I make it in a 9 x 13 pan. Having vegetarians over? Just use vegetables. Non-vegetarians? Add layers of thinly-sliced ham. Vegans? Oh, you got me there. Make them something else, not a strata.
A variety of vegetables work in it, such as tomatoes, roasted red or green peppers, spinach, artichokes, etc. The texture is somewhat souffle'-like, which makes it a tad swanky. Like me! Well, that's what people say.
This makes a side dish for two, with two slices over to reheat the next day. (It reheats beautifully in the microwave.) Here's how.
Get out a casserole dish and either spray it with Pam (or similar product) or butter it. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt a quarter cup of butter (half of a stick). Put four slices of french bread in the casserole dish, and brush them with melted butter. Aren't we off to a good start?
Now, add a layer of whatevertheheck you want. I had a few slices of pepperjack cheese and a tomato I wanted to use up. Spinach and chopped artichokes are nice. Red roasted peppers are sporty. Use your imagination.
Add another layer of bread. Yes, please brush the slices with the rest of that melted butter. Put more veggies on top. Now, beat together four eggs and 1 1/2 cups of milk. Pour that over the top of everything. Sprinkle on a cheese. This time I decided to use up some Parmesan. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes, until the top is browned.
Notes: Whole-wheat bread doesn't work well. Also, this can be put together the night before, popped into the refrigerator, and baked the next day. It becomes even more souffle'-like that way. If you really dress it up, that makes it a great meal for Christmas morning.
There they are: Spring 2012's first batch of seedlings for the garden. Why, you ask, are they on top of the kayak? Answer: Needed a flat spot, away from slugs and snails. It works great, at least until we want to go kayaking. This weekend we had a beautiful Saturday, and we decided to work in the garden.
The first step was to get it cleared and get the dirt loosened up. I dug a little section. Mr. Logistical did most of it. I need a lot of breaks, and I had the excuse that I needed to take pictures. Not sure he bought it. Anyway, he then added some minerals, gypsum and ammonium phosphate.
Next up: We added in compost. Amazing how all those potato and carrot peels, and other vegetable matter, break down.
Lastly, used the hoe to mix it all in. Lots of work, but we know it will soon be worth it!
I am sure you are wondering why I'd try to "fake" the Wendy's Spicy Guacamole Chicken Club. Well, I'll tell you. It's because the ad for this gem comes on around oh, 9:00, 9:30 p.m., when it's time to get ready for bed. Seeing this makes my stomach alarm go OFF, as does Mr. Logistical's. It's just torture. To complicate this issue, it's not like we can just pile in the car and head to Wendy's. We don't have one. So when these commercials for really great-looking stuff air on TV, we grouse a lot. (I'm also talking about YOU, Olive Garden, and YOU, Red Lobster.) Island living comes at a price. After enough pain, I said okay, Mr. L., let's us make this sucker. (I didn't really say it like that. He's a stickler for grammar.) Little did I know, he had already bought the bacon, with the same idea. I think we cracked the code, and it was pretty good.
Fake Wendy's Spicy Guacamole Chicken Club
Serves two, unless you tackle the other person and eat theirs, too, in which case, serves 1
2 Kaiser rolls, split
2 boneless chicken thighs
1 egg, beaten
1/2 ripe avocado
1/2 t. garlic salt
1/4 t. lime juice
2 slices pepperjack cheese
2 pieces bibb lettuce
2 slices tomato
4 slices bacon, crispily fried
2 T. flour
1 T. Lawry's seasoning salt
For the chicken: pound the thighs slightly with a meat mallet, just so they will cook evenly.
Combine flour and seasoning salt.
Dip each thigh into egg wash, then into flour and seasoning salt mixture. Shake off excess and fry on both sides in olive oil until crispy.
Mash the avocado. Add garlic salt, lime, and Tabasco; gently stir.
Toast kaiser rolls with cut side down in skillet with a little olive oil. Watch carefully -- they burn quickly/easily.
Place chicken thigh on bottom half of bun. Add slice of pepperjack cheese. Follow with two slices of bacon, lettuce, and tomato. Slather with guacamole and top with bun top. (Mr. L recommends a swipe of mayonnaise on the bun top, too.)
Thanks to buddy Crystal, this charming cafe' has become one of my favorite new Hilo dining spots. The Surf Break is located at 17 Haili Street (which is itself a wonderful, scenic street to walk or drive). Clean, bright, and airy, it is quickly becoming a popular spot for delicious breakfasts and lunches. Service is friendly and the food is absolutely delicious. I am hooked on their cilantro lime chicken. The salads are huge and the drinks refreshing. Crystal, a vegetarian, loves their Ranch wrap. If you want to surf the web, they offer free wi-fi and a comfy couch. It's close to shopping, the farmer's market, and of course Hilo Bay.
Yes, this is Janis the Cat's scratching post. In all honesty, I HATE this cat-scratching post. The carpet on it looks yukky, and it's in my way. However, Daisy (whom we adopted from Tasha Ohana) has taken over this spot. I don't think it looks very comfortable, but she loves it.