Sunday, December 21, 2014

Product Review: GF Chex Oatmeal

Normally, you would never find special gluten free food in my house. But it was on sale, and I had a coupon, so I got two boxes of GF Chex Oatmeal for $1.00 total! I couldn't pass that up, especially since regular oatmeal is anywhere from $2.29-4.29 per box.

I was kind of prepared for it to taste horrible, as I have found most GF products do, but it is actually pretty awesome. If nobody told me, I would never know it was GF. I got the "apple cinnamon" and "maple brown sugar" flavors, and they both taste just as good, if not better, than regular oatmeal! Depending on the price, I might actually buy this stuff again. If you need to be gluten free, I highly recommend GF Chex Oatmeal.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Post Full of Updates

M is still settling in with the baby, so she hasn't yet had time to update. Let's keep them in your prayers, healing thoughts, etc. during this hectic holiday season!

In other news, my Holiday Bake off seems to have come to an end. Today, JI and I will be decorating pre-baked sugar cookies, just as something fun to do, and that about wraps it up for the holidays! It's not that I do not have any more ideas - I do! - it's just that a family can only eat so many sweets before the Type 1 diabetic husband, the Type 2 diabetic mother and mother-in-law, and the pre-diabetic father start to get a little woozy. Plus, even though I'm pregnant, I really don't want any extra weight to lose! So far I haven't gained any pounds at all, and I would like to keep it that way.

Next up we'll have a product review, I believe M is planning a post about the new baby, and then we will probably take a break for the holidays. Poke has his first vacation since Spring of 2013, so I won't be posting too much during that week. I will return, however, after the first of the year with a lot of photos! Hopefully we will have a white Christmas here in Ohio. I can't imagine a gray, yucky Christmas like the days we've had for the past few weeks!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Holiday Bake Off Days Eleven through Fourteen

So, I was all prepared to make the following:
  1. Custard Pie
  2. Brownies
  3. Tollhouse Cookie Bars

... And then I realized that I had NO gifts wrapped! So unfortunately, days 11-13 were spent wrapping presents. I did make a tasty baked french toast for lunch, so maybe I can count that?

Today, Day Fourteen, I made Tollhouse Cookie Bars. Man, were they EASY! When I was a professional chef, I worked at an assisted living facility, and at least once a week I had to make 400+ cookies from scratch. It was nothing short of torture. I grew to loathe cookies, and so I never make them at home. I love Tollhouse bars though, so I said to myself "It won't be as bad as scooping out 400 ounces!" and I whipped them up in a jiff. I can't even express how simple they were to make, and they turned out perfectly.

Baked French Toast Casserole

  • One dozen eggs
  • 1.5 c milk
  • 1/2 loaf of bread (about 12-14 slices)
  • 3T Cinnamon
  • 1T Nutmeg
  • 1t Ground Cloves
  • 1/2 c white sugar

Combine Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves, and Sugar, set aside. Whisk eggs and milk together, set aside. Grease a deep pan (very deep, at least 4", like a roasting pan - I used the Pampered Chef Deep Covered Baker) and place half the bread slices on the bottom. Shake half the sugar mixture over the bread, then pour half the egg-milk mixture over that. Place the rest of the bread on t
op of the first layer, and again top with sugar mix and egg-milk mix. Bake at 400F for 45-65 minutes or until center is no longer wobbly and bread has turned golden brown. Serve with maple syrup and powdered sugar.
(Apparently I was so busy scarfing this down that I forgot to take a single picture... Sorry!)

Get the original Tollhouse Cookie recipe here!

Fresh from the oven... mmmmm!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Holiday Bake Off Days Nine and Ten

I'm halfway through my 20 day bake off, and let me tell you, I am beat! I used to be a professional chef, spending 12+ hours per day on my feet, making all kinds of complicated recipes. These past 10 days have really reminded me of how exhausting, both mentally and physically, that job truly was. I cannot believe I did it up until three days before JI was born. Here I am, nine weeks until Baby K arrives, and I can barely exist without becoming tired!

I aimed to make one recipe per night, but some of the tasks I've been undertaking have not cooperated with that plan. I'm not upset about it; after all this is all for fun (and a little bit of profit!), and I am quite pregnant. On top of that, JI has decided that his horrible behaviour will be the norm rather than the exception. We went to two birthday parties this past weekend, and between those and the short trips to public places, I have never been more embarrassed in my life. I don't know how to get a handle on this kid! So, I bake, and I try to keep calm. I really miss wine.

On days 9 and 10 I made Oreo Truffles at the request of my neighbor friend. She gave me all the stuff to get them done, which was great. I have never made them before, but the process was easy: one bag of Oreos, finely crushed + one room-temp block of cream cheese; combine, roll into balls, freeze, dip in melted chocolate. The end! I struggled with the dipping, because I didn't put toothpicks in the night before like I should have. They still look okay, and they will still be delicious!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Holiday Bake Off Days Seven and Eight

Whew! What a week!

I finally got everything completely finished on day seven, so on day eight, I rested. Baby K has been killing my back, and decorating six dozen cookies did not help. I actually had to sit to decorate! The chef in me was reeling. But everything is finished, so now we can be on to the next projects. A neighbor friend of mine requested a couple recipes, so I will be making those next. Yippie!

Stockings and Trees

Creepy Gingerbread Men


More Stockings

Chocolate dipped jumbo marshmallows


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Holiday Bake Off Days Four through Six

I was well on my way to being awesome when my body was like "NOPE!" and shut this production down immediately. I had the full body aches, Baby K was flipping around like a madman and would not relax, and I had a low-grade fever. So I had to take off day four from the Holiday Bake Off, but on day five, I was awesome and better than ever!

On day five I started what I thought would be a very easy day - cutout cookies. I thought I would bake the cookies during the day and frost them at night... well, not so much. I used this recipe that I found on Pinterest, and it turned out fine. The problem was that the person who created the recipe did not stress enough just how cold the dough needed to be between/during the process. They said chill for an hour, I chilled for two, and in less than five minutes the dough was soft and sticky. So I chilled again. And again. And again. It took for-freakin-ever! I was literally chilling and cutting out cookies all day and night. But in the end it was worth it, because they turned out perfectly (except for the few that got burned thanks to my lovely uneven oven). I had two dozen more to do today, so instead of messing around with the fridge, I just stuck all the dough into the freezer and sped up my cutting-out game. Worked like a charm!

Thus the six dozen cookies were finished this afternoon, day six, and I started on the buckeyes. Here in Ohio, especially in Central Ohio, buckeyes are HUGE. Not only is it our state tree (nut?), but it is the name of everyone's favorite sports team from The Ohio State University. Oh, and one other thing - the magical combination of peanut butter and chocolate! Apparently everyone loves peanut butter and chocolate! Not me. Yuck. But tis the season to make one's friends happy, so I undertook the task of making six dozen buckeyes. While the last two dozen cookies were chilling and baking, I mixed up the filling for the buckeyes, rolled them into 74 inch-sized peanut butter balls, and they are chillin' in the freezer and fridge until tomorrow when I will dip them in melted chocolate. I'll be frosting the cookies tomorrow, so hopefully tomorrow night I will have some beautiful photos for you!