Sunday, September 30, 2012

Cinnamon Chips

When I was a kid I use to love visiting my grandmother over summer vacation. My mother and I would fly to a far away city and stay for weeks. We would go fishing for crawdads, take day trips to Juarez, and visit long-lost relatives. My grandmother spoke no English, and I spoke no Spanish; so it was always an adventure. My grandmother was a gifted baker--she made the best bread pudding, and prize winning peach cobbler. Today I'll be sharing one of her less glamorous recipes. Cinnamon Chips. Ok, I just made that name up. The authentic version is called a Bunuelo; but, I'm pretty sure real buluelos aren't made with flour tortillas...

You'll need: Flour tortillas, sugar, cinnamon, and oil

Cut the tortillas or leave them whole...I like 'em chip-shaped 

While the oil is warming up, combine the cinnamon and sugar in a bag

Kick the kids out of the kitchen. Heat about an inch of oil--if you use a deep pot there is less mess from popping and splattering. When its hot, put in a few pieces--just don't crowd the pan

Flip 'em over and take them out to drain on a few paper towels

Don't let yours burn like mine. After a few seconds of draining, drop them in the bag and shake around to coat


Try them with a drizzle of honey

Sugar, on fat, on flour. Love it. 

After the oil has completely cooled you can strain out all the little bits and use it again. I like to use a mason jar with a coffee filter that's secured with a band. No need to clean up a strainer--my kind of cooking!

Whew. Now that dessert is out of the way I can start thinking about dinner!

  • 6 Flour tortillas
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 Tbs cinnamon
  • cooking oil 
  1. Heat oil in deep pot
  2. Cut tortillas and set aside. Combine cinnamon and sugar
  3. Cook tortillas until golden, set aside to drain
  4. Coat tortillas with cinnamon sugar 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Getting the Stink Out of Sippy Cups

Sometimes the kids lose a sippy cup under the couch. Sometimes I don't get around to doing the dishes for a day or two. And sometimes I don't realize that a cup is missing until 2 weeks later, when it mysteriously turns up under the front seat of the car. Things get nasty quick in the summer. You know what you'll find inside. Before you toss them, give this a try. If this doesn't save them, nothing will. This is how you get that gross smell out of plastic cups and bottles.

You'll need: Baking soda, peroxide, vinegar, and dish soap

Measure out 1/2 c baking soda, 1/4 c peroxide, and 1/8 c dish soap

Mix it up until its nice and smooth

Drip it down the sides of the cup until everything is covered

Apply to the lids

And coat the valves

Let everything dry overnight. In the morning, move them to the sink and fill them with vinegar

Let them soak for a few hours. Scrub off the soap, and put them through the dishwasher. They should smell nice and clean!

Let me know how it works for you!

Blueberry Bran Breakfast Muffins

Bran muffins get a bad rap for being, well, nasty. But these are totally different. They are moist and cinnamony, sweet, and full of blueberries. They are perfect for a quick, make-ahead breakfast. 

Before we begin, you'll need buttermilk. What's that you say? You don't have any buttermilk? Then all you really need is milk and vinegar. If you don't have vinegar, use lemon juice. Put a Tablespoon of plain white vinegar in a measuring cup

Then fill it with milk the rest of the way up to the 1 cup mark

Let is sit while you gather the rest of your ingredients. You'll need: Wheat bran, water, buttermilk, sugar, flour, oil, butter, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, eggs, and blueberries

Mix the bran and the water and let it absorb. Then cream the sugar, butter, and eggs

Check on your 'buttermilk'--it should be pretty nasty by now


Yup. Disgusting. Add it to the mixing bowl!

Add the cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and baking powder

Mix it up, then add the oil and wheat bran

Mix it. Scrape the bowl and add the flour

Mix, scrape, then add blueberries (if you don't want your batter to turn blue, lightly coat the blueberries in flour, then mix carefully by hand--skip this step if you're lazy don't mind the blue color)

Scoop into your lined muffin pan, and pop it in the oven

Take them out and admire

Good Stuff.

Freeze any extra in a zip top bag, they will keep for a couple months

  • 2 c Wheat Bran
  • 1 c hot water
  • 1 c buttermilk (or 1 Tbs vinegar, and fill to 1 cup with milk)
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 c flour
  • 1/2 c butter
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbs cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c blueberries
  1. Preheat oven to 375° and line pan
  2. Mix bran with water, allow to absorb 
  3. Cream together butter and sugar, add eggs
  4. Add baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon, and buttermilk, and mix well
  5. Add wheat bran and mix well
  6. Add flour and mix until combined
  7. Stir in blueberries and spoon into muffin tins
  8. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes

Deviled Eggs

This is one of the few dishes I learned from my parents. I was put in charge of making this for every family gathering--Christmas, Easter, get the idea. It was our go to appetizer.

Here's what you'll need: Eggs, mayo, mustard, deli mustard, horseradish, salt, pepper, milk, and paprika

Truth be told, the hardest part about this dish is peeling the hard boiled eggs. Woohoo for store-bought hard boiled eggs! If you are boiling your own eggs, add a tsp of baking soda to the water to make peeling easier. Slice the eggs and put the yolks in a bowl

 To the yolks, add mayo, mustard, deli mustard, horseradish, salt, and pepper--then mash it up

Add a little milk to get the right consistency

Taste it, and adjust ingredients as needed. i.e. add more salt, horseradish, whatever you like

 Fills the eggs and top with a sprinkling of paprika

These are approximate measurements based on an odd number of eggs, so adjust as you see fit

  • 8 hard boiled eggs
  • 1/4 c mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1 tsp deli mustard
  • 2 Tbs milk
  • dash salt
  • dash pepper
  • paprika as garnish
  1. Boil and peel eggs.
  2. Slice eggs and put yolks aside
  3. To yolks, add mayo, mustard, deli mustard, salt, pepper, and milk
  4. Taste and adjust
  5. Fill eggs with yolk mixture, and garnish with paprika

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Cheerio Treats

If your kids are anything like mine they will beg, whine, and manipulate to get what the want. When they get tired of the thing they cried for, they leave you with a mess to clean up. Case in point, Cheerios. "Please, Mommy, buy these. We like them!" Liars. After eating only a bowl or two, the stuff starts getting stale and a thin layer of dust settles on the box. Those little liars. This recipe was due to a perfect storm of expiring ingredients--the result was pretty tasty. Turns out they do like Cheerios (when they are smothered with candy).

Here's what you'll need: Cheerios (probably stale, but preferably not), marshmallows (hard and dry, or wet and sticky, maybe even store-fresh, your choice), chocolate chips (that white powder growing on them is just oxidation and it never hurt anyone), butter, and some cooking spray

Melt some butter

Central Texas humidity + opened bag of marshmallows =

 Add those to the butter, on medium heat (around 5 on an electric stove)

Catch your kid red handed, pilfering the goods

 Add more marshmallows--this ain't science, we don't need to measure

It takes a while to start melting

And its surprisingly difficult to stir

Maybe I need to get to the gym more often

Or just make more things that are hard to stir...

Hummmm. Back to the recipe. When its nice and smooth you can shut off the heat and start adding the Cheerios

When they're all in, lightly spray your lined dish, and get a big burly man to help you scoop them out of the pot

Spray your hand with cooking oil and press it down

Sprinkle on the chocolate chips and mash them in

Admire your work while it cools. Like a shark to blood, kids are to chocolate

Slice with a sharp knife

I wrapped them in wax paper. It just ended up being more sticky and messy than it was worth, so I don't recommend it.

  • 8 cups Cheerios (or whatever almost inedible cereal you have on hand)
  • 4 Tbs butter
  • 16 oz marshmallows 
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  1. Line baking dish with foil and lightly spray with cooking oil
  2. On medium heat, melt butter in large pot and add marshmallows
  3. Stir constantly until completely melted and smooth
  4. Turn off heat and add cereal to pot
  5. Extract from pot and press into lined dish
  6. Sprinkle on chocolate chips and smash them in