Reformed Grits

Honey-Nut Granola
December 15, 2008, 10:22 am
Filed under: Food and Drink

I've been making this recently and my kids eat it with yogurt for breakfast, especially Greek-style which I began to love on the last trip to Scotland where it seems everyone eats it!  (Greek yogurt I mean, which is also spelled "yoghurt" or something like that… Anyhow, I digress….)
The Greek yogurt you can get at Publix, I know, and there is an "Oikos" brand or something and then there is the Cabot, I believe.  I may be wrong about that but I'd encourage you to try it.  Yes, it's terribly fattening but you can get the low fat kind.  I'm serious, look at the label.  I think butter has less fat. 
Ok, So here's the recipe with my comments included because heaven knows I can't just post a recipe without commentary… I got this from Southern Living, of course. 

Honey-Nut Granola
    (that links to the original recipe)

18 oz. regular oats (not quick oats, but the rolled.  Not steel-cut either…)  this is about 6 cups
2 1/2 c. coarsely chopped pecans
2/3 c. toasted wheat germ
1/4 c. sesame seeds (I use flax seeds, whole, not ground)
2 c. sweetened coconut (the recipe says optional but I think it should be MANDATORY!!!)
1 c. butter (hey, I never said it was healthy just because it's granola… )
1/2 c. honey
1/4 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
2 t. vanilla extract (store bought works fine, haha, but for the love of all that is good use PURE not imitation… )
1/4 t. salt
6 oz. cranberries (we don't use these but it would be delicious and festive for Christmas I'm sure!)

Stir together first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. 
Combine butter and next 4 ingredients in a medium bowl.  Pour over oat mixture; stir until evenly coated.  Divide mixture evenly btwn 2 lightly greased 15×10 jelly-roll pans.
Position 1 oven rack about 6 inches from top heating element in oven; place a second oven rack about 6 inches from bottom heating element.  Place 1 pan on each rack.
Bake at 325 for 25-30 minutes or until toasted, stirring every 10 minutes and switching position of baking sheets after first 15 minutes.  Spread granola on wax paper to cool completely.  Add dried cranberries.  Store in airtite container at room temp up to 3 days or freeze up to 6 months. 


It’s blogworthy to me
August 20, 2008, 10:10 am
Filed under: Food and Drink, Life, What's she up to now?

Thanks for coming back to check on me in my prolonged absence.  I'm not "back" but I've been thinking of you.  It's hard to go back to regular blogging when you stop cold turkey but I've needed the break.  But I just can't get enough of you, my friends, so I thought of something I should share:

First, I'm struggling to do dinner right now.  I don't wanna cook.  It's hot and I am really not in to eating things that are good for me because they don't taste good and are expensive.  So we've eaten chicken and minute rice 15 ways, had tacos and/or spagetti every other night and I'm tired of it.  So when I ran in to Publix the other night to pick up something I needed, they had a little cook-person handing out samples of one of their "Apron Meals." 
"Would you care for a sample of our 'Beenie Weenie Pizza'?" 
And then I threw up a little in my mouth and willed out, "Uh, no thanks."  The two kids with me obliged the lady and then I realized… I was STARVING.  I wasn't even sure when I had eaten last so I said, "I changed my mind… I'll try it." 
And with that, I scarfed it down, trying to not taste it…
But it actually was really good.  So I went back and got the recipe card.
And that night I found myself thinking about it again. 
That's when I started plotting out when I'd get the ingredients to make it myself.  It was so strangely satisfying, like some weird comfort food.  I wanted it again.  I started craving Beenie Weenie Pizza.  But I had to wait until grocery day, because you know Dave Ramsey lives here and I had my money doled out already. 
Here I need to interject some important commercial information.  Did you know that Publix sells pizza DOUGH?  I'm talking the squishy stuff in a bag in the bakery.  It. Is. Delicious.  And this, from someone who grinds her own wheat to make her pizza dough normally.  It was more expensive than I'd like (2.59 a bag, for Pete's sake) but I had to try it. 
Back to the story.  Grocery day came, and could hardly wait until I got my goods to make the much-anticipated Beenie Weenie Pizza.  The kids were in a frenzy from hearing about it from me and the other children who had the privilege of sampling it. 
That night, would be Beenie Weenie Pizza night. 
After a few stops and starts with the crust (does anyone have a two sided grill?  I'm thinking that's like a Foreman grill which they do NOT make in a size big enough for the Grits family and if they do I don't care to try to store one in my kitchen…) we were underway.   Reading the recipe, I did a double-take as I realized that the recipe was for four.  I had already planned to double it, but as I was reading the recipe I realized that their recipe for "four" would feed only Mr. Grits.  Seriously, people, tearing the original pizza dough ball in half and making it into an 8×10 oval?  Is that about the size of two normal pieces of pizza, or is it just me?  That is supposed to be the main course for 4?  That's just enough food to tick us off.  So I'm scrambling, folks, finding more beenies and more weenies and then I realized the kids hadn't liked the onions so what should I do to compensate for that, and the dough.  Oh the dough.  For real, it's delicious.  But it's made of silly putty.  No, no.  Silly putty actually stays flat if you make it flat.  This was some sort of flubber.    Consider trying to make a pizza crust out of something that did not want to be made in to pizza crust.  It had a will of its own.  And it was some seriously strong-willed pizza crust. 
It was at this point that the reality– and insanity– of what I was doing hit me.  I was making Beenie Weenie Pizza.  Which upon hearing the name of it had originally make me do a baby barf.  I was now attempting to stretch out some half-dried gluey dough into a semblance of… dinner for my family?  Stop the insanity! 
At this point, Sister began to hover around and I had to confess that I had failed her… not only as a person who was supposed to feed her and nurture her, but to protect her from the evils of the world– like Beenie Weenie Pizza. 
An hour and a half later, we sat down to this "easy and delicious recipe that may take as little as 15 minutes to prepare" and I probably should have set the table with spoons and bowls.  Yes, I followed the recipe but it was a MESS.  Most of the kids loved it.  Bee pushed it away and said, "I no wannit."   Mr. Grits tolerated it, and actually may have liked it.  I couldn't bring myself to ask and he never complains when I go to the trouble to cook a meal for him.  No one had enough to eat, however, so I whipped out some chips and dip, and veggies to dip as well because like I mentioned– I'm all about health food right now. 
My friends, I have hit my all time low in life.  Considering that it was a good idea.  Spending hard-won money on it.  And serving it to my beloved family. 
We all may need to seek professional help after this.  Pray for us, my friends.  Pray for us. 

I dare you to try this one…
July 17, 2008, 11:47 am
Filed under: Food and Drink

Ok, I mentioned leeks yesterday and I had never had a leek before I went to Scotland last year.  I’d seen them in the stores but had never bought one. 
Now, it’s a deep love in my life.  Leeks.  Yum. 
A leek tastes like a VERY mild onion.  And because you use the greens, it’s a really healthy veggie!  When preparing leeks, you have to know this is no green onion.  You have to cut off the greens and separate them out because sand lodges in the leaves and they have to be washed separately.  It’s a labor of love.   But before I turn you away from trying it, shall I mention… bacon? 

This is my Americanized adaptation of THIS recipe from the ASDA website which is Walmart’s UK division.  Yeah, I know, I just got a great recipe from Walmart of all places whose produce I wouldn’t touch with a 10 meter pole.  But I like to think I got this recipe from dear Wilma, and when I make it I want to take the whole pan and sit in her little summer house in the back yard, eat it with a fork turned down, and listen to the absence of crickets and frogs chirping at night.  This is comfort food at it’s finest and I think you will agree. 

If you dare! 

Cheesy Potato Bake

2 lbs. scrubbed, red potatoes, sliced thin
1/2 lb bacon, cut in bite sized pieces
2 leeks, thinly sliced (I used one this last time since I was cooking for the kids.  Yes they ate it.)
2 T. olive oil
1 sprig rosemary
6 oz. freshly grated romano (or the gruyere is good if you can afford it!)

Preheat oven to 350. 
Gently boil the potato slices in salted water for 10 minutes.   Drain.
Fry up the bacon and drain on paper towel.  Use a T or so of the bacon grease to wilt the leeks.
Toss the potatoes, leeks, and bacon with the olive oil and rosemary.
Put the mixture in a greased 9×13 pan.
Scatter the cheese over the top and bake for 20 minutes. 
Hide from the family while eating it alone. 
Come and leave me a comment telling me that you are leaving your earthly goods to me. 
The end.

Cow Appreciation Day
July 11, 2008, 11:21 am
Filed under: Food and Drink

If you didn’t know, today is Cow Appreciation Day at Chickfila!  Today only, if you dress like a cow in any shape, fashion, or form– head to toe– then you are entitled to a free meal!  If you just go minimally (cow nose, couple spots, or horns) then you get a free entree!  This is good for breakfast, lunch, and dinner so go eat some chikin! 
We had breakfast this morning…

So get out there and get a great lunch!  (or dinner…!)

This will fatten you up a bit
April 29, 2008, 12:07 pm
Filed under: Food and Drink

Last June, I mentioned that my kids won first place in a church contest for their banana pudding (I feel the need to say puddin’) and I thought since spring is here and summer’s a’comin’ you might like to have it just in case you need one.  I must give you a little background on where this recipe came from.  In coming up with the recipe for the contest, they looked over a number of recipes for banana pudding in magazines (mostly Southern Living) and cookbooks, and we talked about what in the recipe made it good or bad, whether it was using milk vs. cream vs. half and half; lots of butter or not; meringue vs. whipped cream vs. cool whip; flour to thicken or cornstarch, etc.  It was really educational and fun.  In the end, they decided on these ingredients and proportions, and lemme tell you, they work.  My butt gets bigger (and rounder) just putting the ingredients in the buggy at the store.

Grits’ Kids Banana Puddin’
4 c. Half and half
4 egg yolks
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/4 t. salt
1/3 c. flour
3 T. butter
1 T. pure vanilla extract
4 large, ripe bananas– sliced  (We dip ours in lemon juice to prevent browning)
1- 12 oz. box ‘Nilla wafers
1 1/2 c. whipping cream
3 T. powdered sugar

1.  Heat the half and half, egg yolks, sugar, salt, and flour over low heat.  Stir constantly for 20 minutes or until thick.  (It usually takes at LEAST this long.)  Take off heat and add butter and vanilla. 
2.  In a trifle bowl, add half the cookies, half the bananas and half the pudding.  Repeat.  Refrigerate until cool. 
3.  Just before serving, whip whipping cream and powdered sugar until it’s stiff.  Spread over pudding.  4.  Call 911 cuz you are about to have a heart attack. 

P.S.  Don’t even think about stealing this recipe if we have another dessert contest at our church.  😉

Intervention needed– HELP
April 11, 2008, 8:50 pm
Filed under: Food and Drink

Mr. Grits has taken Jojo and Sydney to watch their favorite MMA crap match tonight at a friend’s house; the youngest 4 are now in bed.  I’m in my PJ’s.  There is a box (NO, not even homemade; don’t freak out on me) of Betty Crocker Supreme Triple Chunk Brownies that climbed the stairs from my basement pantry supply (all by themselves!) and is now sitting on my bed, beckoning me to partake.   

I am about to eat some serious brownie dough.

My belly fat would appreciate it if someone would call and make me stop. 

I may cry if you do it though.

Just call me Betty Crocker
February 7, 2008, 8:26 pm
Filed under: Food and Drink

Tonight we had some seriously YUM Chicken-and-Artichoke-Salad that I decided needed something besides like, boring crackers to go with it.  Somewhere in the craziness of my brain, I got a wild hair (in my brain) that homemade whole-wheat English muffins would be gooood with this. 
Have I mentioned that my beloved Mr. Grits bought me a grain mill for Christmas in 06?  This was my favorite Christmas gift.  EVER.  Yes, it’s something I wanted and I love gifts like this.  I know it sounds old fashion, or like I’m working too hard when I could buy bread for like $2.00 at the bread store but there’s NOTHING like this. 
But I digress…
I found a recipe from my deeleecious Bread Becker’s Recipe Book for whole wheat (from my grain mill) English Muffins.  It didn’t look too difficult or time consuming, so I thought I’d give it a whirl.  Not much time or many ingredients invested later, after 2 rises, I had 2 cookie sheets of risen, yeasty dough patties to cook on a griddle…  yes, you cook English Muffins on a buttered griddle.  Who know? 
Y’all.  They were some good.  You really can make English Muffins.   And they were OH so much better than the nasty store things. 
In fact, I’m ruined. 
Oh dear…