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Thankful Thursdays #31: it’s a imacurl!

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I made a thanksgiving resolution to find something to be thankful for every day until next Thanksgiving.  Here’s what I am thankful for this week!

Thursday: My husband’s sense of humor.  As an example, here is an actual exchange we had last Saturday:

Me: “I wonder where the Kansas Medical Center is.” Dennis: “Kentucky.”

And this is the exchange we had this evening.

Me (after asking him a question from the kitchen): “Am I just talking to myself?” (no response.) “I guess I am if no one is listening.” Dennis: “I guess you’re not talking to any body if you’re not even listening to yourself.” (Silence.) Dennis: “Did you have something to say?” Me: “No.” (annoyed) Dennis: “Guess I didn’t miss anything, then.”

These exchanges occur regularly and I always act peeved, because it’s like a requirement to the balance of our relationship, but deep down it amuses me. We’re like an old Jewish couple.

Friday: I can’t believe I’m saying this…but…Doctor Who.  That’s what I was thankful for on Friday.  I’m sooo not a sci-fi girl, but this television show I’ve learned to enjoy.  But I was more thankful for it as a distraction on Friday, the night before the 710 exam that would determine my future with the Post Office.  I did all the prepping I could, and Doctor Who helped me unwind.

Saturday: That my test is over!  It is a relief to have it behind me.  I put my trust in God and that made a big difference.  I’ve taken this test four times now and never felt as good about it as I do this time.  I won’t know my score until next week, but I know I did my best and so I’m at peace with whatever it may be.  I’m fairly certain I at least did well enough to keep my job, even if it doesn’t help advance me to a permanent position.

Sunday:  Money is tight this week, but God always provides!  I got an unexpected grocery gift card and $10 for a cake I made that I asked no $$ for.

I showed you guys the July 4th wedding cake I destroyed.  I gave free cake to the bride for a year and this is my last one, requested by the mother-in-law, a topper for their first anniversary, since there was no surviving topper for them to freeze.  It is a near-exact replica of the top of the actual cake, minus all the carnage.  The MIL took this photo from the side instead of the front (the stripes should be going down the front at a slant), but you get the idea.

Monday: For having enough but not too much.

Tuesday:  A couple week’s ago, my Dad’s cell phone, which is on our plan, died and refused to charge when we plugged it in.  It is still under warrantee and ATT&T said they would mail a new battery and charger to see if that would fix the problem.  Well, the battery they sent wasn’t the right size and when I called, they said they didn’t have the right one and to go on Amazon.com to buy one and they’d reimburse me.  Aggravated, I finally just tried to charge Dad’s phone with his old battery and the new charger. And it worked! It was just the charger that had stopped working and now that we have a new one, the phone is good as new. Woot!

Wednesday:  Children.  I have felt very poor physically the last couple days and after work I just wanted to lie down and die.  But I teach a toddler Bible class on Wednesday night so there was no lying down or dying tonight.  I sucked it up and got myself to Church and went in still wanting to die, but after an hour with a delightful two-year-old girl, I was much restored.  It was my body that was ailing, but Leah helped me focus on something else and was her usual delightful self (The most precious moment came when I said “It was a miracle!” (about Daniel not getting eaten by lions in their den) and she repeated “imacurl!”)  I know children can be a challenge, but they are also one of God’s greatest miracles and blessings.  And thankfully, as I don’t have any of my own, I don’t have to face the challenges very often and get the benefits of brief contact instead. :)

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Cake Batter Crispy Treats

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If you’re like me and need a little help getting through your Mondays, I’ve got a happy fix right here!  I’m a fan of crispy treats, especially those that are a little different, like my favorite Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats and Gingerbread Crispy Treats, and now I have a third unique and fun recipe to add to my growing list of favorites.  Cake batter flavored crispy treats!

Come on, get up, throw your hands in the air, squeal a little “Yay!” and do a happy dance for technicolor sprinkles.  OK, now your Monday is already off to a better start!

Cake Batter Crispy Treats

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1 (10.5-ounce) bag of mini marshmallows
1/2 cup yellow cake mix
6 cups Rice Krispies cereal
1 (1.75-ounce) container of sprinkles

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and add marshmallows. Stir until they begin to melt, then add cake mix and stir until combined and marshmallows are completely melted. Stir in cereal until it is completely coated with marshmallow mixture.  Add half of the sprinkles and mix. Press into a 8 or 9” square baking dish and top with remaining sprinkles.  Let sit for at least 30 minutes before cutting.

Recipe source: adapted from Dana’s Food for Thought who snagged it from How Sweet It Is

So if you’re like me, you’re wondering what to do with the nearly full bag of cake mix that will remain after making this recipe.  Don’t fret, there are plenty of things that you can easily add it to for more delicious cake batter flavor.  So far I have made cake batter oatmeal (I subbed wheat bran for oat bran and more cake mix for the vanilla protein powder but did everything else the same and felt I was eating a fairly nutritious, not to mention delicious, breakfast), cake batter candy (stirred some mix into leftover white candy coating from a batch of cupcake bites and poured the chocolate into candy cups molds, then topped with sprinkles–tasted fantastic!), and here are a few more ways to use up your extra mix: Cake Batter Pancakes, Cake Batter Cinnamon Rolls, or how about mixing some into a vanilla milkshake to magically turn it into a sprinkle-licious cake batter milkshake?  The possibilites are endless!  Wheeeee!

Cow Pies Candy

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I got the above Hallmark (because I care enough to send the very best, lol!) card for my Mother-in-Law’s birthday.  Most of my husband’s family lives a couple hours north of us and I usually mail some sort of edible goodies to them on their birthdays.  Since I haven’t figured out how to ship a cake without destroying it, I thought this would be a great card to send  to her along with some cow pies candy.  Cute, if a little gross, right? :)

I’m not sure where this recipe originated but you can find it all over the web.  Mine is a little different from the others, which only call for almonds and raisins with the chocolate.  Because cow pies have grass in them (OK, maybe I’m getting a little too graphic here!), I like to add coconut to mimic that.

Although I went with sliced almonds this time (it was all I had on hand), my favorite way to make these is with roasted, salted peanuts, raisins, and coconut.  If you like Chunky candy bars, you’ll like that version too because it is very similar in taste.  (I also have an award-winning recipe for cookies that are based off the flavor profile of the Chunky Candy bar, if you’re interested in that!)

It’s best to use salted nuts to counteract the super-sweetness of the candy.  If you only have unsalted, just add some salt to the mixture before stirring. Kids love these things (apparently the idea/grossness as much as the taste–KIDS!), and they would be great for Halloween…and maybe even Easter.  We usually think of barn animals (OK, barn animal babies) in correlation to Easter, so I guess cow pies fits, right?  Or maybe I’ve grown a little twisted over the years.  I blame my husband.  He is the King of Strange.  I mean, remember those horrific-looking no bake cookies he made? Yeah.  He totally started it.

Cow Pies Candy

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 (12 oz) bag milk chocolate chips
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
2/3 cup roughly chopped salted nuts*
1/2 cup packed raisins
1/3 cup packed shredded coconut
*Add 1/4 teaspoon salt to the recipe if not using salted nuts.

Gently melt chocolate and shortening together in double boiler or in microwave, stirring frequently until smooth. Stir in remaining ingredients. Drop spoonfuls onto a wax paper lined baking sheet and let sit until firm, about an hour.

Veronica’s Note: If you want to add more mix-ins, decrease the amounts of the other mix-ins accordingly (for instance, decrease nuts to ½ cup and raisins to ⅓ cup in order to add an additional ⅓ cup mix-ins). Ideas for mix-ins: toffee bits, crushed pretzels, bacon bits, crumbled potato chips, additional types of nuts or dried fruits.

Makes 24 candies. Per serving: 121 calories; 7.6 g fat; 12.7 g carb; 1.1 g fiber; 2.2 g protein

Recipe source: adapted from Taste of Home

Secret Recipe Club

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

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Grilled cheese sandwiches paired with tomato soup seem to be childhood staples in America, but I never had a grilled cheese sandwich until I was a teen, and never with tomato soup until much later.  I remember when I went to babysit my neighbor’s little boy she asked me to make him a grilled cheese sandwich and I meekly asked her how to do it.  She was dumbfounded, needless to say.  That was my first grilled cheese experience, at sixteen, but after that I started making them at home.

No one gave me the memo that tomato soup pairs perfectly with them until a few years later, but I ignored it since I’ve never liked condensed tomato soup.  That is until I discovered Pacific Natural Foods’ Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup.  That’s when I started serving the classic combo of grilled cheese and tomato soup.  I loved that stuff!

This homemade version is thicker and a little tangier, perhaps because I used jarred red peppers and yogurt rather than roasting them myself and adding heavy cream or milk, but it is just as delicious with the benefit of a homemade taste.  Add more or less sugar to your tastes, and if you decide to use peppers you roasted yourself, please let me know how that turns out–that’s how I’m going to try it next!

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with link

1 jar (12 oz) roasted red peppers in brine, drained
1 can (14.5 oz) fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 can (28 oz) tomato puree/crushed tomatoes
1 cup low-sodium and fat-free chicken broth
3 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
Croutons, for serving

Combine drained peppers and diced tomatoes in a blender. Puree until smooth. Alternatively, you can place them in your pot and use an immersion blender to puree until as smooth as you like. I left some little chunks in mine because I like a little texture. Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat, or just add it to the pot if your puree is already in it. Add pepper-tomato mixture, tomato puree, chicken broth, sugar, salt and pepper. Heat just to simmering, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in yogurt. Return to stove and heat through. Ladle soup into bowls; top each with a few croutons.

Makes 6 servings.  Per serving:  139 calories; 2.5 g fat; 24 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 3.5 g protein.  (Calories calculated with 4 croutons per serving)

Recipe source: adapted from Family Circle, February 2011.

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