Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Apple Crisp

The time before last when I went grocery shopping I bought oats and Granny Smith apples. You should know what that means. 

Apple Crisp! YUM

This dessert is so easy and relatively healthy due to both the apples and the oats.

It is super simple and fast as well. It bakes in about half an hour. Which is great because when I finally got around to making this one I had a small, small window such that I had to leave the house to take a final about 40 minutes after I put it in the oven.

I forget what else we were doing that day. I think I was playing chauffeuror Mom Taxi which I don’t do religiously anymore. My evening final was on one of the daughters school days where in which she attends for a few hours in the afternoon.

Piled on top of that I had a morning class. It just made for busy days our schedules this quarter. That mixed with the cold spells here and there made the warm spiced comfort food delight that much more delish'.

Grab a large baking dish 9x12 or so will do. I like mine thin but you can get more of a deep dish effect by using a smaller pan. 
4 Cups of sliced apples (Approximately 4)
3/4 Cup packed brown sugar
1/2 Cup flour
1/2 Cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
1/3 Cup butter softened
3/4 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 Teaspoon ground nutmeg 
I take one third to one half of the sugar and sprinkle it with the spices over the apples in the dish. 
Then sift the dry ingredients and cut in the butter until you have a uniform consitnencey. Sprinkle the resulting mixture fully over the apples.
Bake 350 for 25-40 minutes. Apples should be softened and the crust should cook and begin to brown and crisp just slightly. That is how you can tell it is done.

Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. I eat mine plain but people like it al a mode aka with a scoop of vanilla ice cream which could also be fun.
Living in a split level I have resorted to using the oven to heat the downstairs when the temperature really dipped. So it was nice to have the thing on and the smell of food actually coming out of it.
Most of what I eat these days can be cooked on the stove or reheated in the toaster oven. I no longer microwave but the daughter likes the ease that affords.

She has tried her hand at making pasta which came out better than average considering she had no experience and was just kind of going on a whim that day. She has however not ventured too far into baking. Cookies and cupcakes so far has been her limit.
I should see if she wants to make fudge.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

How Many Pets is Too Many

A few years back had the daughter and I living together, in a one bedroom apartment trying to get back on our feet as a family unit.

It was a spacious one bedroom but we had­­­ furniture for a two bedroom apartment. 

We live in a two bedroom condo now. So why do I feel that strange, over run by animals feeling, creeping up on me again? Maybe it is because my daughter brought home a feeder mouse as a pet.

Did anyone forget we have two cats? Does anyone have any idea how to feed and care for a pet mouse? What the heck is going on here?
Oh well Melody the mouse is cute enough in a rodent sort of way.

The cats agree... 

Back to the one bedroom. 

Maybe it was not the size but my daughters perspective on it all, life and pet ownership. 

So we took in two kittens from a litter a few doors down from us. Their mother had not litter box trained them. That was an adventure. 

A cute little adventure that had me digging a kitten out from behind wall furniture but we made it past that hurdle.

Then a mom I knew through social media sent out an SOS about a friends' cat they were trying to adopt into their household. The friend was out of town or out of state for good and had left two cats. 

One was fine and one was not doing so well. Her house, with two little kids under 7 was too much for this older kitty. Would anyone take her.

We said yes. The family even delivered her to us in a cardboard pet carrier. I set the carrier inside the apartment and went back out to say goodbye to the family. 

My daughter opened the carrier and either tried to take the cat out or put a kitten in…

What was inside the carrier was a grumpy, SMELLY, anti social, fully grown, black, female cat with talons not claws. 

This did not go over well. 

She hissed at the kitten who for the first time in it’s life arched it’s back and puffed out in defense mode scared to death!
To all of this, weeks later, my daughter wanted to add yet another kitten from the litter. 

I said "No". She kept asking. I held firm. So did she.

One afternoon she was on the patio with the third kitten. Through the screen she tried to tempt me to agree to adding it to our household. I really thought she was nuts. She got mad at me for not budging. 

Finally I said

"Listen here is the deal, no other living creature can live in our home. Five is enough. So you can add the cat if you want to sleep outside. Otherwise the answer will remain no."

She gave me a mean look and stopped talking to me but eventually she came inside, without the kitten.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Kitchen Adventures

After a recent shopping adventure I told my daughter to cook some flank steaks I had brought home.

The kitchen was a mess so while she was cooking I was washing dishes. We decided on a rice dish to go with our protein so that was working as well.

With all my distraction the food was ready before I could finish. After she had taken a few bites of her meal I asked my daughter if the meat came out okay.

Yes she said the prep had come out well but the steak she was eating was a tad bit salty.

"I don't know why" she said "I always season my meat the same way."

"It could not be that you over seasoned by a tad could it?" I asked

To which she replied "Oh no it can't be that."

"So then it is what the cows fault?" I asked

"Yes!" she said

So I started laughing and I said "Darn that salty cow." She countered with

"Yeah it is because you bought organic." and I nearly lost it. I was laughing so hard. What the heck kiddo? Whatever you say...

I hope she will realize for next time that thinner meat might not need as much seasoning but my pieces were not overly salted so she did not do a bad job.

Before this she had gotten a hankering for friend chicken one night and chicken breast the next. Both of which she artfully prepared all by herself.

Then more recently she decided one night she needed to make cup cakes. One of our many problems that night was that we had no baking soda.

I thumbed through my Betty Crocker Cookbook as well as searching the web.I think we ended up adapting the Silver White Cake recipe. We added chocolate powder and used oil for the shortening.

    2 1/4 cups cake flour
    1 1/2 cups white sugar
    3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup shortening
    1 cup milk
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    4 egg whites
 Since we were not going for an all white cake we used two whole eggs as well in lieu of four egg whites.

Sift the dry items and add the liquids. Stir all together and put in prepared pans etc.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes if making cup cakes. Ours came out yummy. I ate a couple before she put her make shift frosting on them. She does not like chocolate and I don't like frosting. I hate to say the rest of them just went to waste.