Saturday, December 17, 2011

Anything to avoid Christmas shopping

Everyone knows I hate shopping. The Chef hates shopping. We confine even our grocery shopping to once a month because we HATE the stores. So of course, two Grinches wouldn't want any part of Christmas shopping. Heck to the NO !!

It was pretty comical- the great lengths we went to in order to avoid actually leaving the house for the store. The Chef declined an invite to go with a buddy to Mens' Disneyland- Best Buy and Guitar Center. He busied himself with concocting a big pot of lentil soup. We agreed to go to the store when the crowds die off for the day. He did housework !!!

 He hinted at cookies, and his favorite is Oatmeal Raisin.

So while he did the housework, I threw together his favorite cookies- Oatmeal Raisin. No walnuts or pecans in the house but I did find a tub of slivered almonds in the cabinet. I roughly chopped them, tossed them in a hot dry skillet for a few minutes and threw them in the dough with the raisins.

Frog's Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup butter (NEVER NEVER NEVER use margarine or you will have hockey pucks, not cookies)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 cups oats- I always use Quaker Old Fashioned- the long cooking kind
1/2 cup chopped almonds, toasted
1 cup raisins

Cream shortening and sugars, add eggs and vanilla and beat well. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Add to creamed mixture and mix well. Add nuts and raisins. Add oats last, mix well.

Spoon onto cookie sheets in rounded tablespoons. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.

The Chef and I have several "He Said She Said" recipes - you know what I mean, we each make the same thing but in a very different style- like pizza, spaghetti sauce, and lentil soup. My version is thick and homey and very German. His version is very Italian style- lots of tomatoes and big bold spicy flavors. The broth is rich and tomatoey with just the slightest hint of heat from the banana pepper.The vegetables are cut in big chunks and make it seem more like a stew than a soup. This is a serious, stick-to-your-ribs big bowl of awesome !

Joe's Lentil Soup

1 bag lentils, rinsed and picked over (DO NOT soak !!)
1 14oz can diced tomatoes with juice
1 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
5 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 cup fresh or frozen cut green beans
4 stalks celery, sliced
thyme, bay leaf, chives, parsley, salt and pepper
4 cups chicken stock
4-6 cups water
3 tb beef soup base
1 kielbasa sausage, cut into chunks
small handful dried banana pepper slices with seeds (We have dried banana peppers from our garden. If you don't have banana peppers (fresh is ok to substitute) or can't find them you can substitute a pinch of crushed red pepper but use sparingly, it's much hotter than banana pepper)

In large soup pot heat 2-3 tb olive oil. Saute onion, garlic, celery and carrot for a few minutes. Add all ingredients to pot.

Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, simmer until vegetables and lentils are tender. Serve in big bowls with lots of crusty bread for sopping up the broth.

After all this cooking and good food we seem to have a big case of the LAZIES..... and it's doubtful that any Christmas shopping is going to be finished up.'s just prolonging the agony......

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