Snack attack

Confession: One good thing about having kids underfoot is that I can’t sit around eating all the time, like I wanted to those first weeks of pregnancy. This is a good thing.

But there is one snack I can always find time for, a perfect little creation of my friend Shaunda (whom I mention too often on this blog but I can’t help myself)…

Take a saltine cracker…

Top it with a slice of pepperoni…

Add a daub of cottage cheese…

And top it off with a sprinkle of black pepper.

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I can tell more than half of you are gagging by now. Honestly, it must be something about pregnancy hormones. Shaunda convinced me to try it one time when I wasn’t expecting, and it was… fine. You know. A cracker and cottage cheese—okay, little weird, but no problem.

I tried it the other day, pregnant, and it was (briefly) the culmination of everything I’ve ever wanted in my life. That good. I might be eating it every day from now on.

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How many of you are brave enough to try it now, hmmmmm?

Giveaway: Simple Servings cookbook!

UPDATE: As of December 6, 2014, this giveaway is closed.

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Dear people,

I’m happy to announce there’s a new cookbook on the market around here! – Simple Servings: recipes celebrating the place of food, faith & laughter at Faith Builders.

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Beatrice King has gathered an incredible collection of great eats. She’s been head cook at FBEP for ten years, and got so many requests for her recipes she decided to do it right and pack those babies into a spiral binding.

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It’s got a gorgeous design and user-friendly layout, as well as full-color-photograph divider pages—and five hundred plus recipes, all tried and tested.

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It’s not a comprehensive cookbook made to cover all aspects of cooking—rather, it ensures every recipe is a winner, and goes big with certain sections. I got my fingers in it by copy-editing, and as I edited – well, I admit it. I got crumbs and smears on the proof pages because I couldn’t stop trying out the recipes pre-publication. Awesome!

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From Mocha Smoothies to Italian Cheese Bread, from Mexican Tortilla Stacks to Dulce de Leche Cake, you’ll be wiping drool. Promise. And that’s not even touching the delightful salad section… Or the special “Large Quantities” sector for cooking with crowds.

We’ve slipped a little history of Faith Builders in the front and a couple of good essays in the back.

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And here’s my own little slice–a recipe I’ll share with you, but only in print!

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Christian Learning Resource is offering a copy of Simple Servings for free to one of you readers! We’re going to make it an unusually short giveaway, closing Saturday December 6 at midnight, so that those who don’t win have time to take advantage of a second offer: free shipping on all orders placed before December 10! These copies will arrive by Christmas, Lord willing—just in time for you to try out some new holiday recipes, or wrap the book in pretty paper for the chef in your life.

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We want the word spread on this cookbook! To enter to win, you must share the giveaway news with someone. You may share it on a public network, or simply copy and paste this link {http://shari.zooks.us/giveaway-simple-servings} into a private email to a friend. Leave a comment and tell me who you shared it with {“BFF” works for me…} and also, just for fun, what favorite food makes your mouth water.

Example: I’m sharing this giveaway with YOU and I would give a lot for a Lindor truffle right now…

Share the joy. And the Chocolate Brownie Trifle. (That’s right. Found on page 388.)

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UPDATE: As of December 6, 2014, this giveaway is closed.

Open to US residents only–or those with US mailing addresses. Giveaway closes at midnight on Saturday, December 6, 2014. Winner will be chosen by random.org.

High heeled shoe cupcakes

My little girl just turned four years old. This sends cold shivers through me. I wonder if it’s the beginning of the end, and if we will ever again be as close as we are now, and what I should be teaching her about femininity that I haven’t learned yet myself.

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So because I do not know how to raise a teenager, in the meantime I bake cupcakes for a little girl. {And after the guests have gone, I sit beside her in the darkness and sing.}

pink in front

This was one of the most fun cake ideas I’ve played with. I will say this once, loud and clear: IT’S NOT MY IDEA. As far as I can tell, high-heeled shoe cupcakes originated at Grandma’s Bakery. This site supplied additional ideas. I copied shamelessly.

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The sole is a Milano cookie, and the heel a Pirouette. They are sturdier than they look… The only one that collapsed on me did so under the weight of another cupcake, which I dropped right on top of it. So. Not that it had a lot of choice in the matter. You can even move them (carefully) to a plate.

cupcake on plate

whole set

I enjoyed the endless options for color and design, everything from girly to suave. I think they’d be fun at a ladies’ tea or a bridal shower. What style is “you”?

Mini hotdog buns

So last week was no-grocery week and I decided to bake hotdog buns instead of buying them. I got out a jiffy recipe from a trusted cookbook and started measuring and rolling. In typical Shari-fashion I made them the day of the cookout so they’d be fresh, pinning everything on one effort without leaving myself time to make a second batch if the first ones failed, and worrying most that I’d crank out these massive beefy buns large enough to engulf turkey drumsticks—you know how yeast is!

stack of buns

I went a little overboard in my efforts to keep small, and when I pulled them out of the oven they were—quite small. Really small. I thought the hotdogs might be able to wedge their paws in.

Embarrassed to serve them, I nonetheless had little choice. I sliced them halfway through with an electric knife and stuck them in the picnic basket with the other fixins.

Up until the moment the first guest put a hotdog in one, I thought “This will never work.”* But it did. Most perfectly.

hotdog in bun

*I think this a lot while I am creating.

The ladies liked them because they were dainty and low-carb and the men liked them because they were an excuse to eat more hotdogs—more like a hotdog handle, really. We found it refreshing to skip the usual big-hunk-of-extra-bun-on-the-side. Plus they were yummy. I think my brother ate five.

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And my daughter ate a s’more. Which is not what this blog post is about.

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As I was saying. I asked for permission to share the recipe with you! I’ve made it before as dinner rolls, and I love it because it’s the quickest yeast recipe I’ve made, simple and clean and no-fuss. Rhoda Byler graciously gave permission to share; it’s from her cookbook Kountry Kupboard Kook’n, available for purchase here. Lots more yummy down-home recipes in it too.

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Try it?

Jiffy Buns

4 to 4 ½ cups hi-gluten flour (or half wheat)
2 Tbsp. yeast
1 cup milk
¾ cup water
½ cup oil
3 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. salt

Stir together 2 cups flour and yeast. Heat water, oil, milk, honey and salt until very warm. Pour into flour mixture; beat well. Add rest of flour to make a soft dough; let the mixer knead briefly. Let rest 10 minutes. Roll ½” thick on well-floured surface. For dinner rolls: cut out in circles. For little hotdog buns: use a pizza cutter to slice into 1 x 4-or-5″ rectangles. Let rise ½ hour on greased sheet. Bake at 400° for 12-15 minutes.

Recipe compliments of Enos and Rhoda Byler

Kountry Kupboard Kook’n

What do you make with yeast just for fun?