Thursday, December 18, 2008

a lesson in the kitchen

for some cooking and baking is second nature.
but for others (like myself) it something that has to be worked on.
i was never one to help my mom out in the kitchen (even if she was making cookies).
that was something that my sister seemed to enjoy more (but doesn't anymore).

i decided that i needed to start learning how to cook as i grew older.
i'll admit, i would make grilled cheese sandwiches and be proud of myself for "cooking".
but as the years have continued to go by, i have gradually gotten better and better.
i started making homemade pizzas, stews and casseroles a couple years ago.
and this year, i've managed to finally bake cookies without burning them (or messing them up in some other way).

cooking and baking my own food makes me feel accomplished.
i like to just sit and enjoy the food that *I* made myself.
i guess that's why i often take pictures of what i bake.
i am proud of myself for finally being able to make something with my own two hands.
being proud leads to joy.
and i can finally say that i turned into someone who hated cooking, to something that enjoys it.

sometimes i enjoy it a bit too much.
i often find myself making stuff just because i have the ingredients to do so.
what am i going to do with 3 big batches of cookies?
i didn't need them, why did i bake them?
because i enjoyed doing it. but that just means i have to figure out how to get rid of those cookies.
that just means i will try to shove them down my boyfriend's throat. :D

i am trying to get better about not over baking/cooking.
because i realize that over-doing it is not saving me any money and it is making me fatter.

i'd like to share with you one of my newest favorite cookie recipes!
it's fool-proof and easy to make.
you can pretty much throw in whatever you want.
the original recipe called for corn flakes instead of rice krispeys.
instead of using dried cranberries, you could use chocolate chips and/or nuts.
i just used cranberries because i got them for free. :)

cranberry cooky cookies:

directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

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2. Beat butter and sugars until fluffy (i added about 2 tbsps of red colored sugar to mine this time). Slowly add oil and beat until oil is well incorporated. Add egg and vanilla, beat to mix.

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3. In a small bowl, combine flour, soda and salt. Add to butter mixture and stir just until mixed. Combine corn flakes (or rice krispeys), oatmeal, nuts (or cranberries) and coconut and add to cookie mixture; mix just until combined.

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4. Use a cookie scoop to produce consistently sized cookies, but you can drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet, if you don't have a scoop. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Since these are so rich, you can chill the individual balls of cookie dough and then freeze them in freezer bags. You can then take them directly from the freezer to the oven, just add a few minutes to the cooking time.

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this is what i figured MY cost broke down to. your cost will be different depending on if your food staples were purchased on sale or not. i stocked up on sugar and flour when they were on sale for close to $1.50 per 5 lb bag.

1 stick butter = .20
1/2 cup canola oil = .27
1/2 cup sugar = .07
1/2 cup b. sugar = .12
tsp. vanilla extract = .06
1 egg = .11
tsp. baking soda = .01
2 cups flour 1.67 = .37
1/2 cup coconut = .66
1/2 cup oatmeal = .20
1/2 cup rice krispys = .14
1/2 cup dried cranberries = free from work = no cost!
= $2.22 for appr. 24 cookies homemade versus $5.00 grocery bakery

look, you just saved almost $3 by making your batch of cookies at home. :)

sure cooking takes a lot more time than to pop a frozen dinner in the microwave, but lets be honest, would you rather have a home cooked meal or a nasty little tray of "food"(because you don't really know what it is)?
you don't have the time to cook?
if you have the time to sit on your couch in front of the tv for 3 hours a day, you have the time.
unless you have a 2 babies hanging off you chest at all times, you can do this.
it just takes practice and patience.
with time, you will get better and faster at cooking, just like with any other hobby or skill you have attained.

still don't think you have the time to cook dinner after work?
prep the night before, and then in the morning, throw it in a crock pot.
the crock pot will slowly cook your meal for you while you are at work.
no big cooking extravaganza needed.
i just got my new crock pot on black friday and it has already paid for itself.
i've made some of the best stews and dips already in this thing.
next, i will be moving on to making desserts in my crock pot.
a year of crockpotting's blog has a yummy apple crisp recipe that i'd love to try out soon!

give cooking homemade meals a try for a month.
i bet that you will see a drastic change in your food budget.
and maybe even a change in your pant size!

1 comment:

ZombieKitteh said...

Mmmm. Store bought cookies are so bland. I love the homemade ones. Andy would love those.