(Almost) Meatless Monday?

So we keep hearing on the news about how everyone should try Meatless Monday and blah blah healthy etc etc and finally we’ve caved to the peer pressure and as of today I’m rolling out Meatless Monday at my house. We’re starting super easy with veggie burgers, but hopefully I won’t wind up stuck in that rut. Lucky for me, my uncle is a vegetarian so I’ve put out an email to him to start sending me recipes and due to my extreme Google talent I have learned there is a WHOLE FREAKING WEBSITE dedicated to Meatless Mondays so I’m sure they have a few suggestions there too. (Holy run-on sentences. I considered fixing them, but maybe next time.)

(Maybe.)

I’m guessing Jack will not be 100% on board with this whole thing because he’s 3. I’m cool with that though because really he’s only fully on board with dinner probably a couple nights a week so it won’t be anything new. Harper, on the other hand, is still in that nice phase where she eats pretty much everything we put in front of her. (Aside: When Jack was little I thought he was SUCH A GOOD EATER. I mean man that kid ate anything and I was so relieved I had avoided that picky eater (which I totally was and then some) and I think you can see where I’m going with this. Slowly he stopped eating things he used to love and now here we are. Whatever.)

So if anyone has any vegetarian meals that they love and want to share with me, please do! Especially if you have a small person that also likes to eat that food.

UPDATE: The veggie burgers were actually pretty good. Both kids ate them fairly well. They were also kind of small so Nate had a turkey hotdog in addition to his burger, and next time I’ll know to make him 2. Jack also had a turkey hot dog because we had one leftover in the fridge and he only had half a burger because I underestimated how much people would eat. Next time it will be Completely Meatless Monday I hope!

Oreo Balls

So they’re pretty much exactly what they sound like. If they sound like ground up Oreos mixed with cream cheese and dipped in melted white chocolate.

Nate and I were invited to a holiday gathering a couple of weeks ago and someone had made these delicious Oreo balls at work so I thought “how hard can that be?!” and decided to make some to bring with us.

It was actually much harder than I thought it would be. Everything started out great! I used my food processor (for the first time in.. umm.. years maybe?) to ground up the Oreos, then I mixed in a block of cream cheese letting my stand mixer do all of the heavy lifting, and then I rolled the mix into little balls to refrigerate for a few hours. See how easy that was? So easy!

Then came the hard part.

The next part of the directions I had advised me to melt almond bark to use for dipping. Since I did not see anything “bark” related at the grocery I decided to use white chocolate chips instead.

Did you know that chocolate chips don’t lose their shape as they melt? At least, not until you start mixing them up. So after microwaving them for 1 minute, if they look like they haven’t melted even in the slightest, they’re lying. Start stirring! Do NOT put them back around for another minute, it will not end well. Your kitchen will smell like burnt chocolate for hours and you’ll have to send your husband to the grocery store for an emergency “buy more white chocolate chips” trip.

So anyways, once I (thought I) figured out the chocolate melting part I stuck each ball with a tooth pick and started using the tooth picks to dip the balls into the chocolate to coat them evenly and turn them into pretty little desserts. Not surprisingly, this too went poorly. The chocolate was heavy and the Oreo balls kept falling off their tooth picks which was not in any way completely frustrating. So I started dropping the balls in and pulling them out with a spoon while quietly (or loudly) cursing myself for ever thinking there was any such thing as “quick and easy” in the kitchen. As a bonus I also learned that the longer you microwave chocolate chips, the less melty they actually become. They hit their maximum meltiness and then start turning back into a powdery solid. Who knew?!

In the end I wound up assuring our party hosts that they tasted much better than they looked (and they did) and Nate was sure to add that while he’d love to say they were made with love, in reality they were made with hate and loathing with some swearing thrown in for good measure.

I wish I had taken a picture of them but I did not. I was just so relieved to have them done with I never wanted to look at them again! (Until the next day when it was time to eat them, by then I was over it.)

It’s Amazing the Difference a Mixer Can Make!

Yesterday Nate remembered that he has a work potluck lunch thing on Tuesday. Because I am such a wonderful wife I volunteered to make a cake for him to bring. A sour cream pound cake. Since I’m such a messy baker I decided to document the event. Seriously, the mess I make, it’s impressive. The recipe is one that I got from my mom, and she got from a friend that I think got it from one of those Cake Doctor books.

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They all start with a box cake, with extras.

So that was the easy part. Then comes the mixing part. Here’s where things normally go wrong. And when I say wrong I mean wrong in a “how did the cake batter get all the way onto that wall over there” wrong.

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Only this time, it didn’t happen. As full as that bowl was of stuff, it didn’t happen.

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I wonder if a new mixer really could make that big a difference. My mom gave me an awesome Kitchen Aid hand mixer after my last mixer died to suddenly. It was pretty awesome though. I think this is the first time I’ve ever used a mixer without flinging batter onto every adjacent surface. Rock on, Kitchen Aid!

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Ingredients:
1 box cake mix – Duncan Hines Goden Cake Mix
1 c. all purpose flour
1 c. sugar
1 stick margarine at room temp
3 eggs
8 oz. sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
2/3 c. water

Directions:
Put all ingredients in the mixing bowl and mix for 4 minutes or until well mixed. Place in a well greased and floured bundt pan (I just spray with Pam with Flour).

Bake at 325° for 1 hour 10 minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minutes and then turn out. Makes 16 servings.

The sad part is where I won’t actually get to eat any of the cake.

Easy Chocolate Lover’s Cheesepie

Ingredients:

3 (8oz) pkgs cream cheese 
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups (12oz) hershey’s mini chips semi-sweet
1 extra-serving-size graham cracker crust
2 tbsp whipping cream

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 450 F

2. Beat creamcheese and sugar in large bowl with mixer until well blended. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Stir in 1 2/3 cups small chocolate chips; pour into crust.

3. Bake 10 minutes. Without opening oven door, reduce temperature to 250F; continue baking 30 minutes or just until set. Remove from oven to wire rack. Cool completely. Cover; refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

4. Place remaining 1/3 chips and whipping cream in small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH (100%) 20-30 seconds or just until chips are melted and mixture is smooth when stirred. Cool slightly; spread over top of cheesepie. Refrigerate 15 minutes or until topping is set. Cover; refrigerate leftover cheesepie.