Food, Faith, and Other Fabulous Finds

Recipes, devotional thoughts, and other cool things I come across.

Lots of life! July 25, 2011

See, I can post regularly.  You knew it, and I knew it.  And now I’m proving it.  This has been a fun week of little things that I want to tell you about.  Let’s jump right in.

I’ve heard through the blogvine (don’t you love making up words!) that Starbucks is doing their Treat Receipt program again.  Apparently, if you go in and buy something before 2 pm, you can go back after 2pm and get a cold beverage for just $2 plus tax.  I haven’t heard how long the program will last, but it sounds like a good program while it’s here.

While we’re speaking of treats, let me share another family favorite recipe that I’ve made recently.  My family calls them pizza cookies, but you could also call them the best oatmeal cookies on earth.  I think the original recipe came out of a newspaper, but I also believe that my mother adjusted it some, so I’ll just give you what I have.

Pizza Cookies (from my Mom)

1 c. butter

1 c. sugar

1 c. brown sugar

2 eggs

1 2/3 c. flour

1 1/4 tsp. baking soda

2/3 tsp. salt

2 1/2 c. quick cooking oats

1. Beat together butter and both sugars til light and fluffy; blend in eggs.  In a smaller bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.  Add dry mix to the wet, and mix well.  Stir in the oats.  Place 1/2 of the dough onto a foil-lined, greased, 12-13 in. pizza pan. (If you have 2 pans, you could prepare the other cookie in the same way.)

2. Spread the dough to within 1 in. of the edge of the pan.  Bake at 325 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until lightly browned.  Once your first cookie’s done, bake the other one the same way.

These cookies are just amazing, the outsides get lacy and crisp, and the centers are chewy and delicious.  I highly suggest trying them.

We’ve also recently made another of my husband’s favorite recipes.  It’s called Fiery “Fried” Chicken, and my husband loves to make it.  For the chili-garlic sauce, we use Sriracha sauce, and we’ve substituted the pineapple juice with any multitude of juices and flavored waters.  It is a little spicy, so you might want to dial down the sriracha if you don’t prefer hot food.

Fiery “Fried” Chicken (from the August 2007 issue of Real Simple)

1 tbsp. chili-garlic sauce

3 tbsp. pineapple juice

4 6 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breasts

3/4 c. bread crumbs (I love to use Panko because it makes the chicken extra crispy.)

3 tbsp. canola oil

1/2 tsp. salt

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine the chili-garlic sauce and pineapple juice.  Add the chicken and toss to coat.  In a separate bowl, combine the bread crumbs, canola oil, and salt.

2. Working with 1 piece at a time, coat the chicken in the bread crumb mix and transfer to a baking sheet.  (I like to put them on a cooling rack on top of a baking sheet so that they heat more evenly.)  Repeat with the remaining chicken.  Bake til cooked through, 12-15 minutes.

Fiery Fried ChickenFiery Fried Chicken 3

We also tried a new spicy recipe and found it quite delicious.  It’s called Slow-Cooker Spicy Chicken in Peanut Sauce.  The only changes I made were to use cubed, boneless, skinless chicken breast (since I keep it on hand), and to serve it over rice (for the same reason).  This is very spicy, but we really enjoyed it.  Another big bonus was that the prep work was fast and easy.  I put this in the crockpot on low, and, when we got back from church, I just had to add the peanut butter and make the rice.  Easy and delicious; thank you, Betty Crocker.

Slow-Cooker Spicy Chicken in Peanut Sauce (from Betty Crocker)

1 tbsp. veggie oil

3 lb. skinless chicken thighs

1 chopped onion

2 14 1/2 oz. cans diced tomatoes with chiles

1 14 1/2 oz. can crushed tomatoes

2 tbsp. honey

1 1/2 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/3 c. peanut butter

2 c. cooked couscous

1. In a 12 in. nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Cook the chicken in the oil for about 4 minutes, turning once, til brown.  (This is just to sear the meat for color and flavor.  It doesn’t matter if the chicken cooks through here, since it will be in the slow-cooker for several hours.)

2. In a 4-5 quart slow-cooker, mix together the onion, tomatoes (crushed and diced), honey, cumin, and cinnamon.  Add the chicken and stir to incorporate it.

3. Cover the slow-cooker and cook on low for 7-8 hours.  Right before serving, stir in the peanut butter til it’s melted and mixed in.  Serve over the couscous.

Slow-Cooker Spicy Chicken in Peanut SauceSlow-Cooker Spicy Chicken in Peanut Sauce 2

Another fun treat I ran across (via my MIL) is a teeny brand of grapes called Bunchkins.  They are just adorable!  None of the grapes are bigger than peas, but they taste exactly like regular grapes.  Aren’t miniatures cute?

I also wanted to tell you about an amazing sample that I tried this past week.  I received a sample of L’Oreal Paris Magic Perfecting Base Face Primer in a magazine, and I was wowed by it.  I used it instead of moisturizer before putting on my makeup this past Wednesday, and I was really amazed by the results.  After putting it on, my pores seemed less noticeable and my skin felt silky and smooth.  The makeup went on very smoothly and looked great.  As soon as I can, I’m going to purchase the full product.  (Update: I never purchased the full size product because it’s packaged in a little pot.  I just HATE little pots.  I like to grow my nails out, so when you try to get some product out of a pot, it just gets under my nails and frustrates me.  I still love the primer and would buy it in seconds if it came in a pump.)

Now, a while back, I told you about winning a free copy of a pre-release book, and I promised to get back to you about it.  Well, there’s kind of a story about that.  The program is set up so that you get the book before its release and can drum up word of mouth advertising for it.  The book (Madame Tussaud) came out back on February 15.  Unfortunately, I didn’t receive it until late in May because the package went to my apartment’s office, and they apparently don’t tell people when they get a package.  Since I didn’t get it in time for the release, I didn’t feel pressured to read it quickly, and I just now got around to it.  However much trouble getting the package was, the book was worth the wait.  Michelle Moran is a very talented writer of historical fiction; she made the French revolution and her character pop off the page.  I’m excited to read more of her works (mostly set in ancient Egypt), and I hear that she’s in the process of writing another novel set in France.

Another update I had for you was about the amazing brownie mix pancakes.  They are, as expected, fudgy and delicious.  I was a little disappointed that they didn’t get a flaky crust, but that’s sort of expected when you’re flipping them.  I think that if I cooked them on a bit lower heat and didn’t flip them, that they would get it and it would make them even yummier.  I had them as leftovers again today and used peanut butter as “syrup.”  They were even more amazing!  Try them; you’ll be glad you did.

What I wanted to leave you with was a little tidbit from my devotions.  In the July 23 Baptist Bread, they mention something that really illuminated Psalm 119:105.  They said that when the Israelites lived in the desert, they would tie a lamp on their ankle to light their way in the dark.  I always thought that the verse was talking about a lamp used like a flashlight, but this seems so much clearer and explains why the verse (at first) seems redundant.  The verse means that we should use the Bible to see every tiny step in front of us, not just the bigger picture.  It’s more than enough for me to think about, and I hope it is for you too.  Talk to you soon.

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