The Bad - Our business dropped over 70%. We suffered the losses of family and friends, sold many prized possessions, and watched too many friends loose their homes and businesses. Survival mode set in.
The Good - Our faith increased not 10 but 100 fold. DH and I spent lots more time helping and supporting our friends who were hurting, some worse than us. We prayed together way more often, giving thanks and acknowledging the tiniest blessings on a daily basis. We didn't miss a mortgage payment and have a few jobs on the books for 2010. Red moved home to help out while he completed college. In August he received his degree. My oldest son Luis, after serving eight years in the marine corps, has enrolled in college. With lots of new found time on my hands, I made quite a few blog and foodie friends. I won a few online giveaways and I learned more about food than I ever could have imagined. We did lots of food sharing with little funds. Using ingredients I had on hand and what I learned, I spent way more time in the kitchen and way less time focused on the bad....
The Food - FOODalogue was one of my first inspirations; took me on a culinary trip that was over the top. All of Joan's dishes are dressed for success and I learn a great deal from her blog. Check out the 2010 Culinary Tour, South of the Border and you'll see what I mean.
In 2009 I made homemade applesauce and cheddar crackers for the first time, inspired by Cookin' Canuck.
Ohhhh man I can't tell you how good it felt to serve my family fresh cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving Day which I credit to my dear foodie friend Mary, author of Deep South Dish.
That's Claudia's photo of her Seafood Pasta Primavera, which is now part of our family Christmas Eve Feast. I must mention Gera over at Sweet Foods, what an inspiring blog. Did you see those best of weekly round up posts? Talk about sharing! You'll really miss some good stuff, so go on over and check it out. Reeni, owner of Cinnamon n Spice puts out some incredible eats and posts that I really do relate to. Southern Grace Gourmet has some wonderful dishes, giveaways, reviews, and even some baby food recipes for all you foodie moms. Do I have time to mention the other hundred or so foodies I follow? I don't think so.
AND, (a drum roll please) after a full year of food blogging, I finally overcame my baking phobia. It started with that apple addiction and the apple cranberry crisp via Ginger Rose, followed by a pathetic pumpkin pie that my DH donned pumpkin pizza. All the holiday baking posts just pushed me over the edge. The week of Christmas (2009 was almost over ha!) I made a few dozen of these easy, "no flour" peanut butter cookies that I found cooks.com. I added a half cup of peanut butter chips per Red's request. Red took a dozen of the PB cookies to his Christmas party at work. He claimed they were the first cookies to be gone.
Next I made cake mix sugar cookies, recipe follows. I was amazed that both turned out really good. I liked the sugar cookies far better than the peanut butter.
On New Years Day I made these Oatmeal Brownie Bars. The oatmeal gave top and bottom just the right crunch. The middle brownie was nice and moist. I didn't have nuts on hand so I used raisins. They were perfect little bits of sweet chewy goodness I'll tell you. In fact I think nuts would make it too crunchy. Now I know these baked goods are probably no brainers compared to what some of you all serve up but hey it's a start right? All I can really say is YUMMY!!
As you can see, The Bad is short, The Good quite a bit longer, and The Food is long, really long... point taken?
The recipes -
2 1/2 cups quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 package Betty Crocker® Original Supreme brownie mix (with chocolate syrup pouch)
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1.Heat oven to 350ºF. Grease bottom only of rectangular pan, 13x9x2 inches.
2.Mix oats, flour, brown sugar and baking soda; stir in butter. Reserve 1 cup of the oat mixture. Press remaining oat mixture in pan. Bake 10 minutes; cool 5 minutes.
3.Stir brownie mix, chocolate syrup, water, oil and eggs in medium bowl about 50 strokes or until well blended. (Mixture may be lumpy.) Stir in nuts. Spread over baked layer; sprinkle with reserved oat mixture.
4.Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted 2 inches from side of pan comes out clean or almost clean. Cool completely for easier cutting, about 2 hours. For 48 brownies, cut into 8 rows by 6 rows. Store covered.
High Altitude (3500-6500 ft) Bake oat mixture 15 minutes. Follow High Altitude directions on package for cakelike brownies. Bake 40 to 45 minutes.
Recipe from Betty Crocker.com
Cake Mix Sugar Cookies
1 (18.25 ounce) package white cake mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1. Mix together cake mix, eggs and oil in a large bowl.
2. Make little balls with the dough and set on ungreased cookie sheets.
3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 4 - 10 minutes.
I rolled the balls in powdered sugar as advised by many of the comments. Make sure the dough balls are small, about 1" in diameter, otherwise you will end up with giant cookies. Also, time frame was rather broad, I baked mine for 8 minutes. Roll in a mix of powdered sugar and cinnamon for a snicker doodle sugar cookie.
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