Monthly Archives: July 2012

Butterscotch Popcorn

Butterscotch popcorn recipe;  You’ll love this easy and simple butterscotch popcorn recipe.

Butterscotch Popcorn from JensFavoriteCookies.comMy kids have the worst teeth.  You wouldn’t believe some of the things my dentist, orthodontist, and oral surgeon have told me.

Yeah, we have an oral surgeon.  No biggie.

Whenever we go to the dentist, the Lizard (kid #1) is the favorite.  He has no cavities, and no need of braces.  Of course, he doesn’t brush his teeth much, either, but that doesn’t seem to be causing him any problems.  He does have one weird little quirk.  The dentist’s exact words: “His teeth look like jelly beans.  Sideways jelly beans.”  Which really means nothing, except that sometimes it feels like he has a cavity, when he really doesn’t.

The Hippie Chick (kid #3) inherited an underbite.  She requires one round of braces for the underbite, and a second for teeth straightening after her molars all come in.

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Chocolate Pretzel Snack Mix

Pretzels and M&MsMy teenagers are growing so fast I can hardly keep up with it.  Our #2 son, “The Fruitarian,” was laughing at himself the other day, while trying to keep his shirt tucked in.  He said, “tucked…” then raised his arms a little, “untucked.”  At least a couple times a week he mentions needing new clothes, new shoes, or new swimwear.

On top of that, they are eating me out of house and home.  I bought two large pizzas for dinner the other day, which I thought would be plenty for three children and one friend.  It was naive, I know that now.  Our daughter told us she only got one slice of pizza and she was still hungry.  After questioning the boys, we discovered they had eaten about 5 slices each.

And they were still hungry too.

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Date Nut No-Bake Cookies

No bake nut cookieI just heard my kid say the words, “We’ve got to get mom off the computer.”

{pause for effect}

This is the same kid who said, “Blogging is a nerdy woman thing to do.”

He’s not related to me, I swear.  He didn’t spring from my belly, grow up in my house, and throw countless purple-face, sweating and screaming tantrums, only to disrespect me after FIFTEEN YEARS of patience, dedication, sacrifice, and wise parenting.  MY kid would never do that.

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Ash Cakes and Honey Drizzle for Pioneer Day

Bread in fireHere in Utah, we are coming up on a state holiday: Pioneer Day. We celebrate it pretty much like the 4th of July, except that basically no one but government employees get the day off work.

There is an old wives tale that when the Mormon pioneers first entered the Salt Lake Valley, there was only one tree in the entire valley.  It’s an obvious exaggeration, but it gives a pretty vivid picture of the barren desert conditions in the place they decided to call home.  They spent their first winter here with no crops, no real homes, and very few supplies.

I decided to celebrate Pioneer Day with a recipe that is a nod to the sparse conditions and limited means with which the pioneers lived.  I made this simple flour-and-water dough and cooked it right in the fire.  It’s a great treat for camping, because it is easy to make and takes just a few minutes to cook.

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Frozen Cherry Lemonade

frozen cherryONE. OH. TWO.  That’s the temperature here today.  Now, I’ll grant you, the bone dry humidity level makes the heat a little easier to take, but still.  It’s HOT.

When he was a young teenager, Robb moved from northern Wyoming where temperatures of -20 are not unheard of in the winter, to western Arizona, to a city that was frequently the hot spot in the entire country, with temperatures of 120 or more.  His thoughts about this massive climate switch?  “People still stay indoors for 3 months of the year.  It’s just a different three months.”

Indoors, indeed.  I’m pretty sure parts of Arizona were uninhabitable by humans in the days before air conditioning.

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Peppermint Meringues

meringue cookiesI’m tired.  I’ve heard tales of people who regularly experience life on only 5 hours of sleep or less, but let me tell you, I am not one of those.

Another fun fact about me: I can be kind of unpleasant to be around when I’m tired.  Or so I hear.

I dragged my tired butt out of bed, fighting the inevitable massive headache that would be coming soon, and announced my plans for the day.  “I’m making cookies.”  There’s nothing like sweets to brighten a crummy day, right?  I had been dreaming of these orange cream meringues, and I really wanted a peppermint version.

The first thing I did was clean up the kitchen a bit, and pulled out a fresh dishtowel.  When I opened the drawer of kitchen linens, I found a hand towel.  Apparently my children will never understand the difference between a towel that is meant for the kitchen and one that is meant for the bathroom.  This reminded me of the last time I did laundry, and found green shirts in the red load, and white socks in the black load.  Which memory did not help my mood.

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Chocolate Banana Parfait

We may have celebrated the single most boring 4th of July in my entire life this year.  In years past, we have gone camping, or swimming, or had family barbecues.  Maybe it’s because the holiday was on a Wednesday, but we had nothing planned.  Nothing at all.

I take that back.  We had one thing planned.  Her Royal Highness (offspring #3) wanted to march in the parade with the karate school.  We have never been around to do this, and I thought it sounded like a fun way to start the day.  I promptly signed up all three kids to march.

And then I learned that the parade begins at 6:00 pm.  I ask you, who holds a parade at 6:00 pm?

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Banana Chocolate Chunk Mini Muffins

Chocolate Banana BreadI have this problem.  When I bake stuff, I always want lots of people to tell me how amazing it is.  Because I’m vain.  My family has learned to accommodate me.

When I made these banana muffins, I was pretty proud of myself.  I yelled through the house, “Chow’s on!,”  expecting people to come running, but much to my dismay, they did not appear.  It was kind of a blow to the ego.  So I went looking for them, warm muffins in hand.  Just then, Robb emerged from the garage with greasy hands.  He walked right past me and didn’t even look at my muffins.


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Cherry White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cherry cookiesI’m not a big fan of bribing my children, as a general rule.  I much prefer beating them.  (Calm down, I don’t actually beat my children.)  I think kids should behave just because I ask them to, and not because I begged and bribed them.  It gives the kids the impression that they’re the ones in charge.

And we can’t have that, now, can we?

But, let’s just say it’s a Friday, and the kids are supposed to be doing their Friday chores.  And, let’s just say there were fresh hot cookies coming out of the oven, and the whole house smelled like cookies.  And, as long as we’re at it, let’s say it’s lunch time, and no one has eaten lunch yet.  Then I can use one of my favorite parenting stand-by moves:

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Chocolate Sheet Cake with Cherry Topping

Do you like camping?  Our family goes camping a fair amount in the summer.  We’re cheap, and we camp in a tent, which means that we have to think about meals very carefully.  And by “we,” of course, I mean “I.”  I mean, tents don’t come with stoves and ovens, and carrying pots and pans on a tent camping trip is Not. Fun.  And so, fire danger threat level permitting, we usually use a cast iron dutch oven and make one-pot meals.

What I really love about the dutch oven is the desserts.

Okay, let’s face it.  What I really love about any kind of cooking is the desserts.

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Banana Pudding

Bananas and creamI think most of you know by now that my son is a fruit lover.  A “fruitarian,”  my mom calls him.  I’ve yet to find the fruit he dislikes, but among his absolute favorites are cantelope, kiwi, and bananas.

Wow, does that kid love bananas.

I remember a friend saying that she never understood why her mom bought bananas, because they always sat on the counter until they turned black, and then she threw them away.  This is what would happen if I lived alone, because the thought of eating a plain, raw banana kind of makes me gag.  But the fruitarian can’t keep his sticky fingers off of them.

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Cherry Muffins

Oat Muffins with CherriesI did something this week that I have never done before.  I bought a frozen cream pie.  It’s just one of those things that would never cross my mind to purchase.  But, among the many coupons I came home from BlogHer Food with were a couple for frozen Sara Lee products.  In other words, I got the frozen cream pie practically free.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against the people at Sara Lee, and I think the company makes some good products, but expecting a frozen cream pie to taste anything like a homemade cream pie is like going to see the movie Jackass and being disappointed that it’s not Schindler’s List.  They’re just not the same thing.  The experience did, however, reinforce my love of eating fresh food, from scratch, with produce that’s in season.

Have you seen Russell Van Kryaaenburg’s gorgeous seasonal produce charts?  There is one for fruits, one for veggies, and one for herbs.  If you check out the fruit chart, you’ll notice that cherries are supposed to be in season only in May and June.  The thing is, I’ve been scouring my local grocery stores, and only this week (last week of June) did I finally find some fresh cherries.  I bought up a bag, and figured I had better make the most of them.

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