Friday, July 31, 2009

Recycled Gift Boxes

I have always thought that cigar boxes made great containers. Back when I was in elementary school, we used to keep our crayons and other supplies in them. Now they are especially colorful and are made of wood instead of cardboard. Cigar stores have them and will sell them to you for a very fair price. I decided to buy several in order to have them on hand for unusual gift containers. I found these at The Humidor Room, which is a dark, smoke-filled casbah on Hwy 280. The man who ran the store let me pilfer around until I found my favorites. These were $2.50 each.

There is the Romeo and Juliet scene on a brown background:

The fancy lady on a yellow background:

And another fancy lady. I want a headdress like hers. I need that headdress.

There is one slight drawback, though. It's that whole surgeon general's warning label:

Yeah, that's a downer on a gift container. Some peel off easily and some don't. You could always cover it with a fancy gift label or sticker.

I am good as long as the general of surgeons does not start giving warnings about chocolate cookies.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Coconut Macadamia Macaroons

This is a recipe I found on a box of Premium Saltine Crackers. I love coconut macaroons and it sounded interesting to me that one of the ingredients was crushed saltines. They turned out to be moist and delicious!

Coconut Macadamia Macaroons

1 pkg. (7 oz.) frozen coconut
1 cup macadamias, chopped
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla
30 saltine crackers, finely crushed
3 egg whites
2 squares BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread coconut and macadamias into 15 x 10 x1-inch baking pan. Bake 10 min. or until lightly toasted, stirring frequently. Cool.

Combine milk and vanilla in a large bowl. Add coconut mixture and cracker crumbs; mix well. Beat egg whites in small bowl with electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Add to coconut mixture; stir gently until well blended. Drop rounded tablespoonfuls of dough, 2 inches apart, on lightly greased baking sheets. (I used parchment).

Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until edges of cookies are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks; cool completely. Melt chocolate as directed on package; drizzle over cookies. Place in wax paper-lined shallow pan. Refrigerate until chocolate is set.

Place crackers in a food processor:

Process until finely ground:

Toast coconut and macadamia nuts for about 10 minutes:

Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form:

Fold ingredients together:

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto parchment:

Drizzle with chocolate:

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Chili Mac

I had jury duty a few weeks ago which I actually really enjoyed. During that week, I had the opportunity to eat lunch at the Alabama Power cafeteria. I had Chili Mac and it was delicious. So I perused the interweb and adapted a recipe from a combination of several.

Chili Mac

1 lb ground chuck
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
8 oz pasta, cooked and drained (elbow macaroni is traditional, I used penné)
1 can dark red kidney beans, drained
1 can white shoepeg corn
1 pkg chili seasoning mix
1 can drained petite diced tomatoes
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Brown ground chuck with onion and pepper until done. Drain. Return to skillet and add remaining ingredients. Pour into a large greased baking dish or individual oven-proof dishes. Top generously with cheese. Bake at 350° for 20-30 minutes. Serve with crusty buttered bread.

Cook pasta in boiling water according to package directions and drain:

Cook ground beef, onion, and bell pepper together until done and drain. Add remaining ingredients:

Top with cheese and bake at 350° for 20-30 minutes.