HAPPY HAUSFRAU: Sweet Tooth Wednesday (and yeah, I know it’s Monday)

Cheesecake with strawberry and whipped cream.

Cheesecake with strawberry and whipped cream. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, listen.

I have a sweet tooth. It was cultivated in my youth by a grandmother who saw it as her mission in life to fatten up her sweet little grand-babies. And since my sister and I found ourselves at her house every day after school, we always had a cookie in our hand.

Or a spoon-full of homemade frosting.

Or a plate of pie.

Or a bowl of homemade ice cream.

Or a paper bag full of homemade ‘tater chips (which aren’t sweet, but OH HELLS YEAH THEY WERE AMAZING).

Now that I’m a grown up whose metabolism and pancreas has decided that sugar really isn’t all its chopped up to be, I’ve all but cut the stuff out of my diet. *takes a moment of silence for the death of that childhood love* It was EFFING hard to do – the first three weeks or so were basically a Detox Hell the likes of which had the Hubster seriously considering calling a Catholic priest to Evict The Demons That Had Risen To Power In My Body.

These days it’s not so bad. I don’t tremble at the sight of sugar. I don’t feel like I need to be restrained at the sight of a cookie in a toddler’s hand. Really, I’m pretty chill about the whole thing.

And it’s all thanks to Sweet Tooth Wednesday.

Thursday through Monday I surf Pinterest for the best desert recipes I can find. Tuesday I go buy the stuff for one desert. Then, on Sweet Tooth Wednesday, I make said desert…

…and eat it.

Not all of it, mind you. Just one serving. But I eat that one serving with a kind of tantric slowness that, if we’re being honest, makes the rest of my family a trifle uncomfortable.

There’s nothing healthy about the deserts I make for Sweet Tooth Wednesday. They are a full-sashay foray into the world of Crap That Isn’t Good For A Person To Eat. But OH. MY. LORD. IT. IS. GOOD.

So, for funsies, I thought I’d link you up to some of the things I’ve made over the past few months. I stumbled across all these blogs on Pinterest, and there are many more recipes on my ME WANT FOOD Pinterest page. Head over there sometime. The Hubster calls it Food Porn. He might be right. *shrug*

Okay – now for my faves thus far:

Pip & Ebby’s CRACK BROWNIES are a revelation. We’re talking brownies, peanuts, marshmallows, peanut butter cups, chocolate chips, peanut butter, and rice cereal. If you’re not swooning just from that description you don’t have a pulse. Go to the doctor immediately and request the paddles. STAT.

Did you know that you can MAKE nougat? Yes. It’s true. You can. These Homemade Snickers Bars from How Sweet It Is are rich and addictive. My rule of just one serving was sorely tested with these…

You haven’t lived if you haven’t had Pavlova. I first tried this yummy concoction when I was in New Zealand in high school. It was topped with pomegranate and kiwi and homemade whipped cream and it was nothing short of a morgasm. (mouth + well…you know) Gourmet Traveler has Pauline Kwong’s version of it and yeah…it fit right in with Sweet Tooth Wednesday.

Four words: ICE CREAM SANDWICH CAKE. We’re talking ice-cream sandwiches layered with whipped cream, caramel sauce, and your favorite candy. This dish is total junk and so effing good it ought to be a sin. I LOVED it with a hot cup of coffee…the hot and cold and sweet and bitter had me flying on a sugar/caffeine high for more than a couple hours.

Okay, well, these aren’t as sinful as most, but Frozen Banana Bites from neverHomemaker are really delicious and easy, and some Sweet Tooth Wednesdays that’s exactly what I need. We’re not talking fireworks here. This is more like the meatloaf of deserts. Easy, predictable, and satisfying.

Continuing with the banana theme, these Banana Pudding Squares from Kraft are so yummy it’s stupid. It’s a good thing I only eat one serving on STW because the rest of my family falls upon these with the force of a hundred starving vampires. It’s frightening.

With a name like Sex in a Pan, you have to try it, at least once! And after you do you’ll keep going back over, and over, and over again. You’ll find yourself fantasizing about eating it in inappropriate places – the dressing room at Victoria’s secret, in your dentist’s chair, the elevator in Von Maur. This desert will screw you up, in the best way possible.

Now that I’ve talked myself into a frenzy with all these deserts, I’m going to totter off and make plans for this week’s Sweet Tooth Wednesday. Maybe I’ll try this, or this

unless you can suggest something equally as tempting!



HAPPY HAUSFRAU: Caramel Apple Spiced Cider

I’m not above bribery.

For instance, when I make a meal I know the Offspring won’t be jazzed to eat, I usually make some kind of treat to sweeten the deal. A kind of If You Eat Those Sauteed Mushrooms You Can Have A Pumpkin Cupcake kind of deal. All you moms and dads out there know what I’m talking about. BRIBERY and DISTRACTION are two pillars of surviving parenthood. (The other two are CAFFEINE and A BATHROOM DOOR THAT LOCKS.)

Anyway, the other night I was making a meal I knew for a fact would be met with groans and gags and possibly even tears. In an effort to avoid an all-out war at dinner time, I tried this recipe I found on Pinterest. It’s supposed to be a knock-off of something Starbucks makes, but I’ve never had it, so I really couldn’t tell you. Also (like always) I tampered with the recipe a little, because, well…that’s just the way I am. Here’s the link for the recipe on Pinterest; what I did follows below.

(BTW, I let the kiddos have a taste before supper so they knew what they’d be getting if they ate well. I’m very happy to report that all plates were happy ones that night, and my kids were all grins as they enjoyed their cider. I didn’t have any, but apparently it was goo-oo-oo-oo-d!)

Alright. Here’s what you need:

One bottle apple juice (I used the frozen concentrated kind, and followed the instructions on the can. Not really nutritious, but nothing about this recipe is, so I shrugged and went with it.)
3 Tbs brown sugar
3/4 C. Water
1 tsp. whole cloves
1 tsp. almond extract
Whipped cream in a can
Caramel sauce (the kind you squeeze onto ice cream)

Here’s what you’ll do:

Pour the apple juice into crockpot. Set crockpot on low. On stove, in small saucepan, mix water, sugar, almond extract, and cloves. Make sure the sugar dissolves. Turn the heat up and get it to a rolling boil. You’ll want to keep stirring to make sure it doesn’t get too sticky or burn. When the consistency becomes syrupy, you’re done. Turn it off and pour into crockpot with apple juice. Stir. Let sit on low heat for a couple hours until it’s nice and piping hot.
Using a ladle (a turkey baster works great, too), pour into mugs. Top with whipped cream and caramel sauce.

This is such a terrific cold-weather treat – will definitely be a repeat in our house.

Happy Hausfrau: Easy Peasy ‘Italian’ Chicken and Veggies

I use the term ‘Italian’ here very, very, very loosely, because really, it’s more of a savory chicken than Italian. But I got the idea for this from this recipe, and have just, by default, always referred to it that way.

Originally, there were a couple elements of this recipe I didn’t like: canned green beans, for starters, and also, the packet of Italian dressing mix (whose very first ingredient is sugar, followed by a bunch of unpronounceable non-foodish words).

Here’s my version.

What you’ll need:

4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
6-7 new potatoes, cut into quarters or smaller
Green beans – frozen or fresh (I prefer fresh, but didn’t have any on hand when I made it the other night, so the picture is frozen french cut)
One sweet bell pepper, chopped
Olive oil
Dried onion
Garlic powder
Finely ground sea salt
Black pepper

Here’s what you’ll do:

Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Place in a line down the middle of a large baking dish. Line potatoes on one side, green beans on the other. Sprinkle bell pepper on top (not pictured, sorry!). Brush with olive oil. Don’t be stingy, but don’t get carried away. (If you want, you could substitue the olive oil with melted butter, but olive oil was lots easier and maybe a little bit healthier.) 
In a small bowl, mix the herbs and seasonings together. I didn’t put measurements down, because I didn’t use any – I tend to shoot from the hip with that kind of thing. To give you an idea, I listed them in order from most to least, and if I had to estimate, I used about two tablespoons of onion and garlic powder, one tablespoon salt, and a couple teaspoons of everything else.
Once they’re mixed, sprinkle evenly on top. Cover with tin foil and bake for an hour or so at 350. Remove foil (carefully, there’ll be steam trapped inside), turn on your broiler, and let cook for an additional five minutes, or until the top is sufficiently browned and crispy-ish. 

I thought I had taken a picture of it all finished up, but either my camera somehow hid the pic from me (very likely *snort*), or I hallucinated the whole thing (that doesn’t sound like me *giggle*). Anyway, it finishes up almost as pretty as it goes in, which always makes me happy, ’cause the only thing better than eating good food is eating good, pretty food.