Salty Joe

I love eating salty foods. Chips, fries, popcorn, pretzels… that sort of thing. Foods like that goes well with beer or sodas. We all know I like my beers… my belly shows it all too often.

Tonight I made Pretzel Bites with the help of our son. It was from a recipe by Terri. She introduced me to donuts! Here is her Pretzel recipe: Perfect Pretzel Bites with Honey Mustard Dip. By the way, the dip is great as well!

The family gathered in the kitchen to make dinner and do dishes. So we snacked on the pretzel bites while dinner was made. Lots of smiles and pigging out on this little appetizer before dinner. Like a regular Kitchen Party!

You have to make the pretzel bites. So amazing. My wife said I need to make them weekly now.

Homemade Pizza

We have been enjoying baking and dough making over the past few weeks. Last night I made pizza dough and we put on our own toppings for individual pizzas.

It was like returning to my time at Chuck E Cheese’s. I made the dough, weighed it out into 200g balls, put oil on them, covered them in plastic wrap and let them rise before rolling them out.

While the dough was proofing, I prepared all the toppings. Slicing peppers, onions, tomatoes, then grating cheese and frying sausage. once the pizzas were made, into the oven for 15 minutes at 475°. The final trick to making the pizzas taste delicious once out of the oven was 100% from the Chuck… A brushing of melted garlic butter on the crust.

The family loved dinner. We will probably do it again in the future. And for dessert- my wife made fresh cinnamon rolls. Baking is awesome.

More Christmas Cookie Baking

My wife turned me on to a wonderful tradition- baking cookies for Christmas. I bake a variety of cookies throughout December. The problem is that the cookies I baked two weeks ago are all gone. Now it’s time to buckle down and bake more for the winter break.

When my wife and I first met, we didn’t have a lot of money to spend on gifts for family and friends. So baking cookies, handmade candles, cards, and ornaments was a good way to show we cared. Crafting and baking was also a fantastic way to get some quality time.

Now, years later, I bake solo for the most part during this time of year. I’ve had the kids help periodically, but our weekends and evenings are filled up with activities. I bake during my days off with some Christmas tunes playing. I have a pleasurable time dancing around the kitchen.

I want to share one of my favorite recipes with you. No, it’s not Wookiee Cookies, even though they are top notch! I want to share one of the most basic recipes ever that is from a cookbook from 1979. I received the book in 1980 or 1981 and I’ve made these Peanut Butter cookies ever since. Only once did they turn out awful. That was a mix of the peanut butter I used (don’t use crunchy!) and the fact that I thought making them bigger would make them tastier. I was about 10 years old at the time- bigger should’ve meant better, right?

Here is the recipe:

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup regular sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Preheat oven to 350°
  • In large bowl mix shortening and peanut butter. Add both kids of sugar, stir until mixed. Then stir in eggs and vanilla. Mix throughly.
  • In a separate bowl mix flour, baking soda, and salt. Then mix all ingredients together.
  • Form dough into small balls on an ungreased cookie sheet. Gently flatten with a fork to create a “hashtag”.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes. Makes 3 dozen cookies.
  • An optional change I have made is adding a cup of Reese’s peanut butter chips into the mix. The chips don’t melt and really bring out more peanut butter flavor to them.

    Enjoy this recipe! I’m now onto making those Wookiee Cookies and moist ginger snaps. Maybe I’ll share those recipes at a later date.

    Baking Cake

    I enjoy baking cookies. I think I’ve mastered the art of deliciousness in each and every batch. My family and coworkers enjoy sampling my treats. And I really enjoy sharing them.

    Today I made ginger snaps. And just like every other cookie I bake- they turned out perfect. I also baked a cake for my wife’s birthday tomorrow. Cakes for me are easy. I only ever do the boxed cakes. Quick and easy. I usually have a variety of mixes on hand because we use them as a Waffle batter substitute. Best idea ever!

    However, I am not talented at icing cakes. I understand the concept behind butter cream icing, crumb coats and piping tubes. I can just never express in physical form what my mind is trying to achieve.

    Our son’s birthday cake earlier this year looked tasty. But it wasn’t exactly what I was aiming for. It did the trick though. A a sweet dessert treat for a quick celebration. The same goes for my wife’s cake for tomorrow. My heart is in it, but my skills just aren’t there.

    So I’ll just bake more cookies later this month. Those are always a hit.

    The Big Freeze

    Yesterday I went into our large freezer to look for a dinner idea. I wasn’t able to find what I was looking for. That’s because our chest freezer had become chaotic.

    My wife and I were given this freezer twenty years ago from a family friend of mine. They were moving out of province and were giving away items. I picked up this chest freezer and an old school heavy a.f. pullout couch bed. Come to think of it, I have no idea where that couch has gone to now…

    Anyhow, I decided to clean out the freezer and reorganize it. Jut like I did with our fridge freezer last year: Freezer Food

    It was like diving into a time capsule. Deep down in the recesses I discovered ham from 2016 and beef stew from 2015. Looks like our dog was going to get those once thawed.

    I scrapped all the ice off and gave the freezer a wipe down before reorganizing and taking inventory of what we had. Seems like we have meals for a few weeks remaining. It also looks like our freezer is only half full now. Where as before it was a jumble of crap. I’m happy to have gone through it and make it tidy once more.

    To make myself feel warmer, I kept some frozen blueberries out and made a batch of tasty blueberry muffins. This has got me in the mood to start some Christmas Cookie Baking! Is it too soon? Maybe the first batches will be “testers”, right?

    Saturday Baking With My Kids

    On Saturday I spent a couple of hours with our youngest teaching him how to bake an apple pie. He was very thorough in adding the ingredients and the pie looked fantastic.

    As we finished baking the apple pie, our oldest daughter helped in the kitchen by baking some Wookiee Cookies. Those are a favorite of the family. If the recipe is followed they are really easy to make.

    Our home smelled delightful and the baked goods are ready for consumption. As the holiday season approaches (in two months!!!), it’s time to get the family involved more with baking.

    As well, we love to share home baked goods with friends. The holidays are a great excuse to share. Why not get some tastings going along the way?

    Kitchen Aid Quality

    Back in January, I mentioned that My Place Is In The Kitchen. I even spoke of my favorite appliance- The Kitchen Aid Mixer. Here’s the thing about my mixer:

    It was a Christmas gift to my father back in 1985. It cost $299. After he passed away in the year 2000, I inherited the mixer.

    It is the Kitchen Aid Ultra model. We still use it on a regular weekly basis and it has never failed us. It is by far the best appliance that I have ever seen. It is sturdy and durable. For a 33 year old appliance- it has earned its keep in our home many times over. It is still going strong.

    Today my wife and I got sort of sucked into Black Friday deals. One in particular was for a new Kitchen Aid Mixer. I know we don’t need one. But this new model has a larger capacity for our baking needs. It was regular $725 on sale for $399 with a $100 Mail in rebate. Essentially it ends up being $299. The same price as my father’s Kitchen Aid mixer was back in 1985.

    What I find awesome is that our old attachments can connect to this one as well. However, there is quite the size difference between the two mixers. Unfortunately the new one is just a bit too tall to slide nicely under our cabinets at the moment. So we will have it on display on our island for the Christmas season. Which won’t be an issue, since we will put it to good use this holiday season!

    Come by and enjoy seeing our mixer this holiday season! I mean, come by and enjoy some of our baking! We’d love to have ya.

    Pears

    I am not a big fan of pears. When I was younger, I used to find them sandy tasting. My preference is apples and I love baking apple pies. However, last year our apple tree fell over and subsequently is no more.

    Sad Joe.

    Near where the apple tree once was is a pear tree. It’s been there for a couple of decades, never really producing any fruit. That is until this year. I think a big part of of the bountiful crop was that our neighbors set up some bee hives last summer. Now our pear tree is producing juicy pears.

    Woah, that almost sounded appetizing.

    Sarcastic “Yay”.

    Anyhow, today I was in our backyard collecting some lovely leaves and I noticed the pear tree. So I walked up to it. When I touched one of the pears, it came off easily in my palm. I headed back to our home and grabbed a bucket and picked the tree clean.

    Now we have too many pears than I know what to do with. Off to Google I went looking for recipes. You know what I found?

    Pear Crisp.

    Lots of recipes for Pear Crisps.

    Seems like there isn’t much else to do with pears. So I made a Pear Crisp. But I am also going to try deep fried pears later tonight. I’m making a variation on Asian Pear Fritters. These sounded delicious.

    Anyways, hopefully my dislike of pears changes over the course of the next few days. We have more than enough of the fruit to make a half dozen more Pear Crisps.