Monday, July 29, 2013

Easy, Fast, Homemade Donuts

I've made yeast fried donuts once or twice, and as delicious as they were, they were a lot of work.

I learned about this "recipe" (which can hardly be called such, in my opinion) from my sons, who learned it at Scout Camp! I've never done this in a dutch oven, but I hear they taste even better-- because (say it with me:) everything tastes better when you're camping!

First, assemble your ingredients:
I use canola oil in when I fry, but I think you can also use coconut oil, which is even healthier.
Any kind of biscuits will work. I had a coupon for these, so this is what I bought. 

Pre-cook Prep: Lay a couple of brown paper sacks on a cookie sheet, and top that with a cooling rack. 

Step 1- Pour about 1 inch of oil into a pan (I use a cast iron skillet, but you can use a basic pot-- I wish I had this one from! If you do deep-fry, you'll need more oil) and turn it on to medium-high. 

Step 2- Mix up your glaze- whisk together about 11/2 cups powdered sugar with about 1/4-1/2 cup water (add a little at a time) until a thin syrup consistency.

Step 3- Lightly flour your work surface and flatten the biscuits either with your hand or a rolling pin. Cut out the centers. I have a little biscuit/cookie cutter, but you can really use anything that is the right size, or even a butter knife. 

Step 4- Once the oil is about 375 degrees, drop dough in, a few at a time. Cook until they float and you can see light golden edges, then flip them over until golden on both sides. 
    TIPS: Don't crowd them. It will make them too hard to flip and cool the oil down. Also, if you don't have a thermometer, you can test your oil by dropping a few drops of water into it. If it pops, it's hot enough. Your first donut might need to be a "test", just to make sure it's not too hot, however. 

Step 5- Remove the donuts from the oil and put them on the cooling rack.
A couple got a little dark, because I was distracted by taking pictures...

Step 6- Dip them into the glaze, flip gently, then put back on the rack.
You can see a few of mine have dark spots. My oil wasn't deep enough at first and they burned on the PAN! Duh. 

These are really yummy warm, but also quite good after they've cooled. They taste very similar to yeast donuts, but without all the fuss!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Flipping Good Cheesesteak Sandwiches

I had my heart set on trying a recipe for slow cooker cheesesteak sandwiches this week, but last week, my cooker committed suicide, so I had to find another way. I dug around a bunch of recipes on the web, read lots of opinions (Cheeze Whiz?? Really?? Nothankyou...) and decided what I wanted to do. I'm writing it here, not just to share it with you, but because I want to go back and make it again soon, it was that delicious. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Cat Lady, Almost Crazy

We have a young cat named Holly (she really can't be called a kitten anymore), about 9 months old, and though she's about full grown, she still thinks she's a kitten and plays and chases and is just SO MUCH FUN. I had no idea she would be this much fun. (This picture is from a few months ago, when she was still small. She's much bigger, now!)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Parenting Ideas: Protecting Kids in the 21st Century

I believe it is parents' responsibility, duty and obligation to not only teach their children morality, ethics, virtue and general goodness, but also to do everything in their power to protect them from the evils of the world. Not that they shouldn't learn about the evils of the world, just that they don't necessarily need to be exposed to them. Primarily, for the purpose of this article, I'm talking about pornography.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Bathroom Psychosis

Preface: My son has Crohn's Disease, and every 8 weeks we go to the local children's hospital so he can sit on a bed and play video games for 4+ hours while I try to find ways to keep myself busy and not go stir crazy or get stiff joints from sitting for so long. The purpose of the 4+ hour visit is so they can stick a tube in his vein and pump him with meds that keep his body from tearing itself open from the inside. Good stuff. 
Good thing they outlined it in black. 

In hospital bathrooms, there is usually a thick, metal bar near the toilet (I can only assume that some people have a hard time lifting themselves up from the toilet. I really don't want to know.), and below or adjacent to the bar is a long, cord with a knob at the end. At our hospital, it's red, and where the cord comes out of the wall are three words: PULL FOR HELP. Whenever I'm in there, I have to control a compulsive impulse to yank that cord. Sometimes my hand actually twitches toward it when my eyes inevitably land on it.

Of course I don't need help and, frankly, I would collapse and DIE of embarrassment just knowing the I had lit up the nurses' station with the "Someone needs help in a bathroom" alarm. (Of course, then I would need help. But I would still be mortified. And dead.) 

If I didn't collapse, they would hurry down to the room only to find it empty and me bolting down the corridor, hiding behind my hair, (like the little girl in that scary movie I can't watch-- "The Ring", I think) never to return again.

I don't really understand this phenomenon. Why do I feel like I have to pull that cord? Is it because, on the whole, I always follow instructions? Is it because the print is in red and the cord is red and there is some level of authority that comes with the color red that makes me want to obey? I have to remind myself that it's not a command. It's NOT THE BOSS OF ME!

The double room. The bane of social anxiety sufferers.
My social anxiety is such that, when we have to share a room with another patient's family, I won't use the bathroom in the room. I will walk out of the treatment center, into the hospital at large, and use the public restroom in the hall. I just can't stand the thought of someone knowing that's what I'm doing on the other side of that wall. Especially since it involves both nudity and private parts, which are fine and dandy, as long as no one acknowledges MINE. I'm blushing just writing this. And I think I've forgotten the point of this paragraph...

Oh, yeah. The point is that I'm sure glad I've developed a massive amount of self-control over the years and I hope it never fails me. Because the world is just packed with buttons to push and boxes to open and signs commanding me to do all sorts of things that I don't actually want to do.

And that's just one small way I'm crazy, boys and girls. 

The End

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

By Request: Slow Cooker Dinners

We use our slow cooker a lot, especially during the fall and winter months. I had a friend ask me for my recipes, and I decided if I'm going to make that list, I'd better make it here so I can find it again. I do make the basics: Pot roast, Whole chicken, etc. which are basically just meat and veggies and seasonings and are yummy standards, but I got bored of that and started collecting other recipes. All of these, except the last one, we have tried with great success.

So by request, here are my favorite oft-repeated slow cooker dinners: