I hope you considered trying some new things after my last post. Did anyone try the zucchini cakes? I have two more cooking ideas for you, and then some tips.
My husband said he wanted something different for breakfast, and suggested granola pancakes like they have at Cracker Barrel. I looked online and found a granola recipe, and a pancake recipe. I made them both.
Aside from the adventure of making something new, my granola really did turn into an experiment, because I made a few purposeful changes--and I didn't really read the directions carefully until it was too late....
The granola called for almonds and dried cranberries. In an effort to save money, I bought a bag of almonds, sunflower seeds, and cranberries and put them in the food processor to chop them up.
After pouring the mixture onto the aluminum foil in my oven, I read that I was supposed to add the cranberries after cooking. Too Late!
Before Baking After Baking
The granola is really good, even though I didn't follow the recipe exactly, and the pancakes turned out very nicely.
By the way, if you decide to make the granola, it makes a lot. And--the pancakes are deceptively filling.
The third "experiment" I did is this "Stained Glass" Candy from Food Gawker.
Let me tell you about this adventure. I decided I was going to make this recipe, and I bought the chocolate chips. I have been to five stores (each carrying marshmallows) and none of them had the multicolored ones. I really wanted to make these, though, and so I tried to think of things I could substitute. I wanted something chewy, and I needed something that would show up like the marshmallows when I sliced them. I went with a bag of dried fruit, and because it wasn't as big as a bag of marshmallows, I added extra nuts. They were good, but I wasn't extremely impressed. I thought about how I could improve this one. I think if you used bigger pieces of fruit, like the chunks of papaya, mango, or pineapple, that would be good. The pictures below go with the instructions in the recipe from the link.
My husband and I also thought of spice drops. We had two little girls staying with us, and so for fun, we made it again using gummy worms and fruit slices. I also substituted milk chocolate chips for the semi-sweet ones, because I like sweeter things. Again, I learned something--gummy worms do not get hard in the refrigerator, and so they are difficult to cut. We put them in the freezer and that helped.
The girls had a good time with the cooking, and I thought the end result looked pretty good. By the way, since there were two girls, I divided the recipe and used two bowls, so each girl got to make a roll.
I have been eating the candy for the past week, and both Tommy and Rachel said they tasted fine.
If you want to branch out with your cooking, I have these tips:
1. Don't be afraid.
2. Start with simple changes, like leaving out or substituting for a spice that you do not like/do not have on hand.
3. Ask yourself the questions, "What could I do to make this better?" and "What could I use that would be LIKE this ingredient that I am missing?"
4. Be brave. Check out Food Gawker.
I know you can do this. You'll be great! What are your favorite recipes? Leave us a link in the comments!