Monday, September 05, 2011

Well. That was exhausting.

For the past few days, it seems that I have been living in my kitchen.

I've been craving salty snacks, so instead of indulging in potato chips/pretzels/popcorn/SaltySnacksInMyFaceRightNow (which leave me feeling sick and tired), I decided on Thursday to make some healthier options to have on hand instead.  (Before anyone jumps to any sort of conclusion: it is no longer medically possible for me to have children, so NO, I am not pregnant!)  :-)

First, zucchini chips:
Zucchini Chips (pre baking)
I used my Mandoline Slicer to cut the zucchini nearly transparently thin, then tossed them in the lightest coating of extra virgin olive oil, and laid them out in rows.

After baking for about an hour at 300 degrees, they were shrunken and crisp (perhaps a tiny bit TOO crisp!)
Zucchini Chips

Zucchini Chips
With the 2nd batch of zucchini chips, I kept an eye on the time and at 45 minutes, they were a perfect pale gold, resulting in chips that were still perfectly crisp, but had a little more delicate flavor instead of the deeply toasty taste of the others.  My children aren't sure about these, but Greg and I like them a lot.  I lightly salted them after they came out of the oven (I have read that salting them before baking would lead to gummy "steamed" vegetables rather than the shatteringly crisp texture I was looking for).

Next time I am going to try baking them at 200 degrees instead.  I'm guessing it'll be more of a dehydrated chip rather than toasted, so more of the raw nutrients will be preserved.

Once the Zucchini Chips were done, I made some Crispy Kale Chips:
Crispy Kale Chips
I tossed these with a bit of extra virgin olive oil, then baked them at 200 degrees for at least a half-hour...but at this point I don't remember exactly how long (sorry, it's been a long weekend!).  With these, I don't like the bitter flavor the leaves get when they are toasted brown, so I was very careful to take them out when they were still dark green.  As with the zucchini, I did not salt the kale until after it was out of the oven to prevent steaming.  Perfectly crisp and delicious!  (You can flavor these any way you wish after baking, but this time I just went with simple sea salt.)

When I was done with all of that Good For You business, I made a birthday snack to take to school on Friday for Sparky's "school birthday" (he turned 8 on Saturday):
Birthday cookies for Sparky's "School Birthday Treat" at recess
These Thumbprint Cookies have become our traditional "School Birthday Treat" for our family.  The other children in the boys classes are never too sure about these, but Sparky and Max love them, so there we are.  The recipe is, of course, from my favorite go-to baking book: Baking: From My Home to Yours

On Friday afternoon, I prepared Joy the Bakers Salt and Vinegar Potato Salad (so yummy!) as well as White Bean Hummus (with scallions and parsley added in for extra flavor -- my new favorite recipe!), and lemon cupcakes (from my fav. baking book of course) with stabilized whipped cream frosting -- all for Sparky's birthday party on Saturday morning.
Sparky's birthday cupcakes

After the children were in bed that night, I quickly threw together this little reversible super-hero cape for Sparky's birthday gift:
Sparky's birthday Superhero Cape
(His birthday was pirate themed -- thus the eye-patch and bandanna)

Sparky's birthday Superhero Cape

(A huge thanks to Greg, who made the party SUPERFUN with a Pirates' Booty Treasure Hunt through the woods and a Pirates' Grog -- created after the fashion of Army Grog, except sans alcohol -- along with decorating the playground as a pirates ship and being the energizing force behind the festivities, and grill-master of the sausages.)

On Saturday, once we got home from the birthday party, I scrubbed and vacuumed the house, and then made a tiramisu to go with a lasagna I had put together (and frozen) earlier in the week to deliver to a friend who has just had a baby.  And yes, I made some tiramisu for myself as well.  You're welcome.  

Last night we had dinner company....and today, I am not cooking at all.  I think that's the smartest idea I've had all week.  ;-)


a.susie said...

I would expect NOTHING less form my nephew. (Wish I'd thought of that theme back in youth camp!)

a.susie said...

The salty snacks look delicious! I am such a huge salty snack person!


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