Monday, November 12, 2012

Game On

So, last week, the dearly devoted hubby bought a two-pound bag of cranberries. He bet me a margarita if I could use the entire bag. Since then, he's agreed that for each cranberry-laced goodie I make, I get a margarita. Yum! As of tonight, I've baked my way through half the bag, and plan on using the other half this weekend when we host our annual Fauxgiving with some friends.

This week, the hubby raised the stakes by buying a three-pound bag of pecans. (Can you tell that we've recently become Costco members?) I plan to blow his mind this week by using both "secret" ingredients later this week. Maybe that'll earn me a Mai Thai ... on the beach ... in Hawaii. (A girl can dream!)

In all reality, I wish I was a little more creative with these secret ingredients. As my husband told me this week, out of all the recipes we can make, we only cook a fraction of 1 percent of what's out there. 

Is that another challenge? If I could muster the strength, I might try a "365 homemade dinners expedition," making a different homemade gem every night for a year. But, with a crazy work schedule -- that isn't showing mercy -- to weekly migraine attacks (how much fun is that? *noted sarcasm*), I'll just do these little friendly bets with the hubby. Who knows? Maybe in January, I'll kick off a 90-day bet of 90 different, unique homemade dinners for 90 days. Anyone can do anything for 90 days, right? Right?

A perfect way to celebrate a summer-like
November evening
Well, between now and then, I took my beloved's statement as a challenge. Last night, I kicked off a new recipe voyage with pulled pork, chow chow and potato salad. I think that choice was a winner. Afterall, I stumbled across this posted on his Facebook page last night:
"99 percent of the time, my mouth, esophagus, stomach and brain are pleased and more than satisfied by Elizabeth's cooking. But tonight? Holy Moses. Another stratosphere of cooking and pure deliciousness!"
I'll take that as a "win!" And the girls agreed. They loved the "chicken." Let's face it, when you're 2 and 3, everything is chicken. And, they loved the chow chow and baked beans. We need to work on the potato salad, though.

Tonight, I tried for a second win.  If last night's dinner was a homerun, then tonight's was only a double. (Hey hubby, look, a sports metaphor!) I didn't get any rousing kudos and I certainly didn't get any public accolades on Facebook. (*sniffle*) I thought dinner was delicious: rouladen and spaetzel. Maybe he was bitter that I had him helping skim the spaetzel or whisk the gravy. But, the kiddos agreed. Our oldest wouldn't touch the stuff, even though she's a bacon fanatic. The littlest one liked the spaetzel and loved the soup (er, gravy). But, she wouldn't even try the "chicken" tonight. 

Rouladen and spaetzel
For dessert, I made fresh cranberry and chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. (If I had only thought of adding some pecans to the batter.) So, maybe with the cookies, it was a triple, when all is said and done. 

But after this weekend, and after my lovely husband's little seemingly innocent comment, I'm on a new mission: not only to come up with homemade meals as often as we can (we're averaging six days a week), but now, to find unique meals to expand our portfolio. We want to expose our children to all sorts of yummy things. And on a good night, when they're not intent on eating a bowl of Cheerios, perhaps they'll taste something unique that they love ... like chow chow. 

* * *
Fresh Cranberry and Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies (Courtesy of Coconut and Lime)


Fresh from the oven:
A unique cookie recipe
that uses FRESH
cranberries, not craisins!
1 1/2 cup fresh cranberries3/4 cup dark brown sugar3/4 cup flour1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats1/4 cup semisweet mini chips4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature1/4 teaspoon salt1 teaspoon vanilla paste1 teaspoon baking powder1/4 teaspoon ground ginger1 egg

Directions:Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper*. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, vanilla and sugar. Add the egg, beat until fluffy. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, and oatmeal. Mix until well combined. Fold in cranberries** and chips. Place 1 tablespoon sized blobs of dough on the cookie sheet (about 1/2 inch apart) and bake for 12-14 minutes or until they look "set" and the bottoms are just brown. Carefully, remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Yield: about 2 dozen cookies

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