Yay me! 100 days since my resolution to eliminate processed foods and cook from scratch. How've I done so far? Pretty well. We still eat processed foods, but not nearly as much. We'll never be puritans about it, because we do live in America and situations arise where there are more important things than our food choices (such as being pleasant company, having a good time, and enjoying life, for starters), but it's easy to balance that out with nutritious home cooking most other times. I'm pleased with our progress and looking forward to forever. Here's a taste of what I have planned to cook in May:
- Grilled Pita Pizzas with Feta cheese
- Grilled Fruit Kebabs
- Strawberry lemonade...with my very own strawberries!
- Chocolate Almond Milk Ice Cream
- Quinoa-stuffed peppers, maybe on the grill
- A summer stir-fry with soba noodles
- and much more!
Meanwhile, it's still April. And I need to get back to my riddle. So...
Tell me: What screams and stomps and laughs and cries and eats you out of house and home?
Five little girls having a sleepover in your house.
What? You mean to tell me you're not crazy enough to have five little girls sleeping over under one roof?
I'm just crazy enough. My Bayberry and Kitty Cat have friends spending the night, as a sort of last hoorah to spring break. It's easy to throw pizza and chips and Cokes at the wild pack of wolves... I mean lovely children. But I am trying to get away from all that. Not wanting to be a complete fuddy-duddy, I did spring for some pop: root beer and 7-Up, and a bag of chips. It's all about balance! I had two of the children drinking juice over the sodas (and one of them was my own!). On tonight's dinner and snack menu:
- Panko-Parmesan Breaded Baked Chicken Drummies
- Basmati Rice made with minced veggies, garlic, parmesan cheese, and olive oil
- Baby Carrots
- Frozen Grapes
- Banana-Carrot Cookies
The only thing I have a real recipe for is the cookies, and I'll get to those in a moment. To make the chicken, simply preheat your oven to 400 degrees and lightly grease a large cookie sheet. Toss a couple cups of Panko bread crumbs, a cup of shredded Parmesan cheese, a little salt and pepper, and a teaspoon or so of paprika in a bowl. In another bowl, scramble a couple eggs and add some milk. Dip each drum in the egg wash, then the crumbs. Place on the cookie sheet. Drizzle the drums with olive oil and bake 30 minutes or so, until they're cooked through.
And here is the recipe for the cookies. They taste like banana bread, and have a kick of nutrition from the carrots.
Banana-Carrot Sandwich Cookies
Makes 18 sandwiches
for the cookies:
- 1 cup butter, softened (about 20 to 30 minutes on the counter is plenty)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 medium bananas, peeled and mashed
- 1 cup minced carrot
- 1 egg
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- dash of salt
- 2 cups confectioner's sugar
- 1/4 cup softened butter
- 1/4 cup softened cream cheese
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- Make the cookie dough: Beat butter and sugar on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl frequently. Add egg, banana, and carrot. Add vanilla extract. Mix in baking powder, baking soda, and flour.
- Refrigerate dough until stiff. I left mine in the fridge overnight. A couple hours is fine, though.
- When dough is firm, preheat oven to 350 degrees. On parchment-lined baking sheets, drop balls of dough 2" apart. Flatten slightly with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar. Bake 12 minutes. Let cookies cool completely before filling.
- Make the filling: Beat sugar, butter, and cream cheese on medium-high speed. Add vanilla and cinnamon. Beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Use a teaspoon of filling for each sandwich.