Cooking Once a Month. Loving the other 29 days.

I tried really hard to take a picture of a lady in some gross sweat pants at the grocery store. They weren’t dirty or shredded, but they had wording on the butt which read, “FYI, I might not be wearing underwear.” It was only on the right booty cheek, which happened to be the same side her sweater was hiked up on. She obviously really, really wanted to have her message read. 

This was so confusing. What did she want me to gather from her information? Was it a warning to not sit where she has sat? Was it an invitation for conversation about society and undergarments? Does she need some money for underwear?

I followed her and snapped a dozen photos, all of which were blurry. Not sure if you really needed to see her pants, it was more of a need to have proof that these pants exist. 

Are you ready for the worst part? It was in a really, really bad font. 

download

Would you like a giant shortcut to dinner? You have two options. One, get really, really rich and hire someone to take care of your meals. Two, sign up for OnceAMonthMeals.com.

It will cost you $10 a month for a basic membership and $16 for premium. You will more than make that up with grocery savings, immediately. There are different monthly menus to choose from and once chosen, the site will compile a few lists for you:

1. A complete shopping list
2. A prep chart
3. Recipe cards
4. Cooking day instructions
5. Labels
6. A thawing sheet, with information for each recipe

The idea of Once A Month Meals is to plan meals, shop for them in one day and spend one day cooking, then freezing all of the meals. That day is not the most relaxing, but it is well worth it.

Onceamonthmeals

It would have made sense for me to take a photo of our freezer last month, when it was full of meals! I’m getting ready for round two of cooking for the month. Because I bought a premium membership, I can swap meals from the suggested menu and choose one of the other 3000+ meals on the site.

As of right now (October 2014), the menus offered are:

  • Traditional
  • Whole Foods (As in healthy, unprocessed foods)
  • Gluten Free, Dairy Free
  • Diet
  • Paleo
  • Kid’s Mini Menu
  • Vegetarian
  • Baby Food

The menus are seasonal and plenty of bonus menus seem to keep popping up, like the pumpkin menu!

Not only is it pretty awesome to have a homemade dinner every night of the week, it’s amazing how much money batch cooking saves. My other, other favorite part? There is usually only one crock pot meal per menu. 

Here is a sampling of what I cooked last month of my mega-cooking day -

Breakfasts:

  • GF Apple Pie Oatmeal Muffins
  • Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
  • Pumpkin Muffins

Lunches:

  • Taco Bowls
  • Lemon Orzo Soup
  • Quinoa Mexican Bowl

Dinners:

  • Perfect Roasted Chicken
  • Autumn Sausage Casserole
  • Crockpot Mongolian Beef
  • Honey Sesame Chicken
  • Mushroom White Wine Chicken

Doesn’t sound bad, does it? Regain your sanity. Stop cooking seven nights a week, that just plain sucks! 

swappable-300x250-logo

 

Biscuits On A Weeknight

What do you think of when I mention the idea of baking biscuits? 

Do you think of the urban legend, “Biscuit Bullet”, where a lady thinks she’s been shot in the head, but it is really the can of biscuits that popped open in her grocery bags and exploded? 

 

Do you think of June Cleaver, Martha Stewart, Betty Crocker or some other middle-aged white woman with a clean apron?
martha

Do you think of Sir Mixx A Lot and his masterpiece, “Buttermilk Biscuits.”

Y’all ready to get busy? (huh huh!)
Now, buttermilk biscuits here we go
Zip the flour roll the dough
Clap your hands and stomp your feet
Move your butt to the funky beat (huh huh)

Buttermilk biscuits (x 3)
(Lord have mercy Mix-A-Lot’s our here rappin’ about biscuits now)

Freak from L.A. to the Carolinas
Dip them suckers in Aunt Jemima
Don’t make a difference what food you make
Use buttermilk biscuits to clean your plate
You eat ‘em in the morn’, you eat ‘em at night
Kentucky Fried Chicken makes the suckers just right
I am eat ‘em with jelly at my favorite deli
Wrapped and sealed by a freak named Shelley (huh huh)

Buttermilk biscuits (x 3)

 If this has all been too much for you and a little break is what you desire. I’d like to offer up a quick video from a master biscuit baker. Ladies and gentlemen, the best of…Mrs. Paula Deen.


 So, what makes these biscuits so wonderful? There is no need for a rolling pin, biscuit cutter or even kneading. You use two bowls, one for dry ingredients and one to whip egg whites. The egg white beating is the hardest part of this recipe and it is only so if you don’t have a mixer. As long as you keep any yolk remnants out of your egg whites, whipping the whites on high for about 2 minutes should change the liquid from foam to a puffy, white substance. Gently folding the eggs is the secret to allowing the biscuits to bake up light and airy. 

Try these, they are awesome. Once again, you can totally believe me. Not like those other freaks who swear the peas porridge in a pot, nine days old is the best way to eat it, sickos. 

peas

weeknight biscuits

 

Weeknight Biscuits
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1845 calories
250 g
704 g
71 g
53 g
39 g
764 g
2705 g
51 g
2 g
26 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
764g
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1845
Calories from Fat 626
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 71g
109%
Saturated Fat 39g
194%
Trans Fat 2g
Polyunsaturated Fat 6g
Monounsaturated Fat 20g
Cholesterol 704mg
235%
Sodium 2705mg
113%
Total Carbohydrates 250g
83%
Dietary Fiber 7g
29%
Sugars 51g
Protein 53g
Vitamin A
52%
Vitamin C
0%
Calcium
128%
Iron
41%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 2 c sifted all purpose flour
  2. 1 tsp salt
  3. 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
  4. 4 tsp baking powder
  5. 1/4 c soft butter
  6. 3 large eggs, separated
  7. 1 c whole milk
Instructions
  1. Sift dry ingredients 3 times.
  2. Cut butter into flour mixture.
  3. Beat egg yolks thoroughly and add milk and beat again.
  4. Stir egg yolk mixture into dry mixture gently.
  5. Beat egg Whites until stiff. Fold into batter and blend gently.
  6. Pour into buttered or sprayed muffin tins.
  7. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes.
  8. Check after 15 minutes and turn oven down to 375.
  9. Test with wooden toothpick for doneness.
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calories
1845
fat
71g
protein
53g
carbs
250g
more
Food it Forward http://fooditforward.com/

Apple Cake

I’ve told you about Lisa’s awesome apple cake in the past. Yet, I don’t see you making it, so I’m coming back at you with it. This time though, I’m changing something. I’m wondering if you aren’t making apple cake because you haven’t met Lisa in person.  

Maybe you are thinking, “I knew a girl named Lisa in high school and she was the worst. She was the Regina George of our school.”

Or, for you ladies (and gents) of the 80′s, “She was the Heather Chandler of our school.”

Or, for the readers of the 70′s, “She was the Carrie of our school.”

Friends from the 60′s, “She was the Yoko Ono of our school.”

For those who were in high school before the 60′s, “She was the Mary, Queen of Scots of our school.”

So even though I swear that Lisa is super fantastic and makes really, really good food, I’m going to rename Lisa’s Apple Cake to……

Apple Cake. 

Now, I know what you are thinking. 

How does a wordsmith of that caliber NOT have a job working for Hallmark?” Your guess is as good as mine. My first guess is, I’ve never applied for a job at Hallmark. 

You can use red or green apples in this recipe. Even the crappy ones that return home in your kid’s lunch! This isn’t your typical heavy, oil-laden cake. It’s light, airy and just sweet enough. Let me know if you try it. 

Or, I’ll keep writing about it. a la The Shining.

jack

light apple cake

Apple Cake
Serves 12
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
233 calories
50 g
65 g
3 g
4 g
1 g
147 g
26 g
34 g
0 g
1 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
147g
Servings
12
Amount Per Serving
Calories 233
Calories from Fat 25
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 3g
4%
Saturated Fat 1g
6%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 65mg
22%
Sodium 26mg
1%
Total Carbohydrates 50g
17%
Dietary Fiber 3g
10%
Sugars 34g
Protein 4g
Vitamin A
3%
Vitamin C
9%
Calcium
5%
Iron
4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 c. sugar
  2. 4 eggs
  3. 1 1/2 c. flour
  4. 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  5. 1/4 cup pineapple or orange juice
  6. 4-5 large apples, peeled, cored and chopped (large pieces)
  7. For the top - cinnamon, sugar, butter
Instructions
  1. Whisk eggs and sugar, add juice, then dry ingredients and stir until combined. Stir in chopped apples. Pour into greased 13 x 9 pan. Sprinkle top with cinnamon and sugar, and place dabs of butter on top (as much or as little as you want). You can also sprinkle top with chopped walnuts. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.
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calories
233
fat
3g
protein
4g
carbs
50g
more
Food it Forward http://fooditforward.com/

Paleo Pumpkin Pie

This morning, I offered Dallas some advice about being a good friend, he told me, “I know, Mama.”

My mother hates to be called mama. Totally not her thing. To her, mama means this:

mama-june

When I hear mama, I think of this:

mom-child-oldfashioned3455

 I’ve transitioned  from a working mom back to being stay at home mom and things have been going really well. Yesterday, as we drove home from 2nd grade pick up, I was joking around with my kids. I had been feeling pretty good about all the stay at home mothering I had been lavishing on my children. 

oprahmeme

We listen to lots of music on Pandora in the car and a song from the Disney movie, Tangled came through the speakers. Rapunzel is singing on about all the chores she does before 7:15 am, as she has nothing else to do in her lonesome tower.

Max took this opportunity to tell me, “Mom, you are like Rapunzel!”

I couldn’t quite figure out what he meant, because I have recently cut my hair. Before I had more time to think, Max explained it’s because “I don’t ever give them any attention.”

Luckily, Dallas stood up for me, laughing and telling Max how his accusation was untrue. 

Still Max stood his ground. “No, mom. You don’t ever do anything with us.”

WHAT?

cats

He was trying to make some point about me being so busy doing chores all the time. Whatever kid. I think I only spend 19 or 20 hours a day (including a few hours at night) with you. Tell it to your future therapist. 

I know some drama is headed Max’s way, because he is determined to have three wives. Dallas offered some great advice this morning on the situation. “Max, it’s illegal to have three wives. But, it’s not illegal to have three girlfriends.” Should I call TLC now?

sister-wives-season-4

I joined a 7:30 pm meeting last night, after cooking my family some beef stew, biscuits (gluten-free),  homemade potato salad and (paleo) pumpkin pie (with non-paleo whip cream). A little treat was in order, so I got myself a Vietnamese iced coffee. 

Have you had one of these drinks? HOOOLY heartbeats. This type of coffee highlights caffeine for what it really is, a close cousin to crack. 

At 9 pm, I drove home and sat to check my email before bed. It wasn’t until then that I just how fast my heart was beating. 

 tub

I couldn’t get to bed, so I sat and watched old clips of Joan Rivers. Honestly, I had no idea she was that funny. What a talented woman. The real win came this morning around 6 though…

woke

Sorry, that meme shouldn’t be funny. It still makes me giggle though. Maybe because I picture them as sister wives, too? Plus, its kind of stupid. They are all around 70, which is totally the new 55. Not nearly old enough to worry about sleep-dying. 

I was a total zombie the rest of today. Jy reheated leftovers and added in some extra hot dogs for good measure. I ate a protein bar for dinner. Why can’t my family just be happy with protein bars, too?

bumew

Ok, so after this marathon day, let me share a great recipe! You don’t need to be a paleo-person to eat a piece of paleo pumpkin pie! Heck, it makes it even better, because now you can add some whipped cream. I also chickened out and dropped about 1/4 cup of raw sugar into my pie mix. The real winner here is the crust. Bookmark or pin this for the holidays, it will come in handy, I promise!

IMG_0223

Paleo Pie Crust
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7204 calories
836 g
742 g
406 g
116 g
76 g
2787 g
4287 g
157 g
0 g
309 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
2787g
Amount Per Serving
Calories 7204
Calories from Fat 3535
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 406g
624%
Saturated Fat 76g
378%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 150g
Monounsaturated Fat 159g
Cholesterol 742mg
247%
Sodium 4287mg
179%
Total Carbohydrates 836g
279%
Dietary Fiber 35g
139%
Sugars 157g
Protein 116g
Vitamin A
1373%
Vitamin C
72%
Calcium
75%
Iron
221%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. Crust
  2. 1 ¼ cups raw walnut halves (you could also substitute pecans)
  3. 1 cup blanched almond flour
  4. 1 egg white
  5. Generous pinch of salt
  6. Pie
  7. 1 ¾ cups pumpkin puree (use fresh or this is the equivalent of a 15oz can)
  8. 2/3 cups raw walnut halves
  9. 1/3 cup raw or roasted unsalted cashews
  10. 3 eggs + 1 egg yolk
  11. ¼ cup honey
  12. ¼ cup maple syrup
  13. 1 cup water
  14. 1 tsp ginger
  15. 1 tsp allspice
  16. 1 tsp nutmeg
  17. 2 tsp cinnamon
  18. ½ tsp cloves
  19. ½ tsp cardamom
  20. ¼ tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Grind walnuts in a food processor or blender until finely ground and almost starting to turn into walnut butter (i.e., just starting to clump together).
  3. Mix walnuts, almond flour, egg white, and salt together (you can pulse in your food processor or do this by hand).
  4. Press/pinch into a 9” pie plate (an 8” deep dish pie plate will work too).
  5. Pierce the crust with a fork every ¼” or so to stop the shell from bubbling up while it bakes.
  6. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until starting to turn golden brown.
  7. Let cool at least 10 minutes before pouring the custard in.
  8. Preheat oven to 350F (if you’re making your pie right after making the crust, just reduce the temperature).
  9. Place cashews and walnuts in your food processor or blender and pulse until finely ground. Add eggs, honey and maple syrup and blend for 2-3 minutes until completely smooth (you could also add some of the water if it’s too thick for your food processor or blender to puree well). It is very important to blend until completely smooth, otherwise your custard will be watery.
  10. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until combined.
  11. Pour into cooled pie shell (doesn’t need to be room temperature, just cool enough to touch). Spread the top out evenly with a spatula.
  12. Bake for 40 minutes. Allow pie to cool completely before serving.
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calories
7204
fat
406g
protein
116g
carbs
836g
more
Food it Forward http://fooditforward.com/
 

Chocolate Chip Cookies – Thin and Crispy

Vacation is officially over! It would have been awesome if I had somebody blogging for me over the summer. That way, I could show up, acting as if nothing has changed and make some type of hilarious Becky Conner joke (a la the 7th season of Roseanne).

becky

 Instead, let’s just hit the recipes and act like none of this vacation stuff ever happened. 

mkay

I don’t know if mothers of generations past truly did make cookies for their kids to enjoy after school. Maybe it’s an urban legend that won’t go away. Maybe my mom just never got the memo?  Either way, the story isn’t going away and kids end up hearing about it from their friends. 

Wouldn’t you rather your kids hear it from you? Sit down and talk to your kids. If you aren’t sure where to start, maybe you could order some pamphlets. 

pamphlets

Enough joking around, let’s get cookie-ing. This recipe is from the cookbook I am convinced everyone should own, not just those with the title of “mom”. I’ve referenced The Mom 100, written by Katie Workman, in many different posts. Her recipes just don’t fail. They work and they work every time.

Sometimes it is easy it bypass the cookbook section of your local bookstore (or ahem…Amazon), thinking any recipe needed can be found on the internet. 

Here’s the problem with good ole’ internetty, baby girl just ain’t reliable. Sure, you’ll find 984,3454,345 recipes for clam chowder, but it is truly hard to know what to trust. Many times reviews of recipes or books are written by friends, fans and family, so you can’t always be sure of what you read.

Besides, everyone with a kitchen should own a couple of go-to cookbooks. They save you from wasting ingredients and time and offer insurance of happy tum-tums. 

*For those who don’t spend most of their time around kids, tum-tums are tummies, or stomachs. If you happen to be a middle-aged man with no children in their familial or social circles and you actually DO use the word tum-tum, I want you to stop. I want you to stop reading this blog and stop owning a computer. You sir, are strange. 

 

If you need a wee bit of proof before trying out this cookie recipe, read a couple posts of the past. Or, posts of yore, for those of you who prefer fancy Sherlock Holmes talk. 

These aren’t the only recipes from The Mom 100 I have made, just a small sampling. I baked her vanilla cake on Sunday, which turned out great too. If you don’t believe the most trustworthy person on the face of the earth, you can also check it out from the library. Just wash your hands after touching the pages. You never know where people take their library books once they get home. Reminds me of a little story…

 

Chocolate chip gf cookies

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies
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5928 calories
823 g
860 g
297 g
55 g
180 g
1352 g
3890 g
598 g
7 g
98 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
1352g
Amount Per Serving
Calories 5928
Calories from Fat 2582
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 297g
457%
Saturated Fat 180g
899%
Trans Fat 7g
Polyunsaturated Fat 13g
Monounsaturated Fat 85g
Cholesterol 860mg
287%
Sodium 3890mg
162%
Total Carbohydrates 823g
274%
Dietary Fiber 27g
106%
Sugars 598g
Protein 55g
Vitamin A
124%
Vitamin C
0%
Calcium
44%
Iron
94%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups all-purpose flour (I use Cup 4 Cup gluten free)
  2. 1 teaspoon kosher or coarse salt
  3. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  4. 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  5. 3⁄4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  6. 3⁄4 cup granulated sugar
  7. 2 large eggs
  8. 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  9. 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chunks or hand-chopped chocolate bars (we use milk chocolate chips)
Instructions
  1. Position two oven racks so that they divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 375°F if you are planning to bake the cookies right away, otherwise preheat the oven 30 minutes before you want to bake them.
  2. Place the flour, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl and whisk to mix. Set the flour mixture aside. Place the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in a large mixing bowl and, using an electric mixer, beat them on medium speed until creamy and well blended, about 3 minutes.
  3. Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the eggs one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. Blend in the vanilla.
  4. Gradually add the flour mixture, mixing in each addition until incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips using a spoon or a rubber spatula if you like your chips to be intact or continue using the electric mixer if you are interested in little bits of the chips breaking off and flecking the batter attractively.
  5. If you are not planning on baking the cookies immediately, press plastic wrap directly onto the dough in the bowl and refrigerate it for up to 4 days (the longer the dough sits, the richer and more developed the flavors will be).
  6. When ready to bake, roll pieces of dough into 11⁄2-inch balls and arrange them about 21⁄2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
  7. You’ll probably fit 12 cookies on each baking sheet so this will take at least three baking sheets for all of the cookies. You’ll want to bake two sheets at a time, placing one on the top rack and one on the bottom.
  8. Bake the cookies until nicely browned, 14 to 16 minutes. Peek partway through the baking time and rotate the baking sheets if the cookies seem to be cooking unevenly.
  9. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and let the cookies sit on them for about 1 minute to firm up a bit. Using a spatula, transfer the cookies to wire racks to finish cooling.
Notes
  1. Original recipe found at http://www.themom100.com/the-mom-100-blog/recipes/bigfatchocolatechunkcookies/#sthash.hhBrCHyJ.dpuf
Adapted from The Mom 100
beta
calories
5928
fat
297g
protein
55g
carbs
823g
more
Adapted from The Mom 100
Food it Forward http://fooditforward.com/