Why Do I Do This To Myself?

I go to the grocery. I am always so good at the grocery. I turn my nose up at the Ho Hos and the Ding Dongs. That stuff is sooo bad for you. Why do people buy that crap? Then I get home and put the groceries away and putter around the house and think, Why didn’t I get any twinkies? I could really go for a twinkie right about now!

So here I sit, cussing myself because I didn’t buy any of the soft chocolate chip cookies, or snack cakes or bags of candy bars…Dang nab it! I didn’t even buy any chocolate chips. Where is that post about desperate snacking? I might have to go read it again.

But, it’s lunch time, and instead, I think I’m going to eat a proper lunch. That should help.

The International Language of Chocolate

Alice came back this week. It’s a long story, but I’ll give you the version of pertinent parts. Parts that pertain to food.

Last week, Alice wouldn’t eat any of our food. Since she has only been in the States for a couple months, I can’t really blame her. I was scarfing down my homemade Five-Way Chili, an internet knock-off of Steak N Shake’s chili, mmm good. She politely sipped water. So when I knew she was coming back this week, I wanted to feed her. It was going to be supper time; I knew she would be on the bus for a few hours, and what do you do when you want someone to feel comfortable in your home? You feed them. So I went online and actually found a recipe for the Huushuur. I made it, and ‘Alice’ was so delighted, that she called the interpreter just to tell him that I made it.

Also, when I got her at the bus station, she gave me a package full of Mongolian chocolate. I had no idea. I’m so naive. I thought South Americans invented chocolate and only shipped it to North America. Oh wait, I have also heard of Swiss chocolate, and Belgian chocolate and German chocolate…I just had no idea that Mongolians might also enjoy that heavenly dark brown bliss. DH had a good description for it. He called it ‘earthy’. I agreed with the assessment. It was kind of chocolate covered brittle, with just a hint of melamine. Okay, that was probably unkind. I mean, I’m still eating the entire bag, so it can’t be that bad, right? Or is it the fact that I haven’t had a decent candy bar in like, three weeks. But while Alice doesn’t speak a lot of English, and I don’t speak a lot of Mongolian (Huushuur, Buuz, Benno Benno), we both love our chocolate, and our meat pies.

I was exceedingly happy and gratified when she asked for four more Huushuur to eat after she tasted the first one. Here it is:

2 1/4 cups regular flour

half teaspoon salt

3/4 cup water

Mix that up into a dough, roll into sixteen small balls and let rest for two hours.

Mince garlic and onion (I used my MINI-CHOPPER!) Mix in with your ground beef. When your dough is done sitting, you roll the balls out into cute little pancakes. You put a couple tablespoons of your meat mixture on half, fold over into half-moon shape, crimp edges, and deep fry. They were pretty easy, and pretty tasty. It suggested serving with soy sauce, but we just ate them plain.

Desperate Snacks Call for Desperate Measuring

You know how it is. You’re out of candy bars, M&Ms, Donut Gems, Chocolatey Rice cereal, chocolate CHIPS, what do you do? Besides hop in the car and spend your well-earned money on your fix? Maybe you don’t have gas in the car, or cash in your wallet, or money in the bank, or sick kids at home or it’s Sunday. You Google, of course. You bake brownies from scratch. I don’t recommend this if you are ALSO out of milk. This recipe is great, because I NEVER have baking chocolate at home. If I did, I can bet someone in my house, (Dale) would eat it thinking it was the world’s largest candy bar.

¾ cup butter (170 g)
1+½ cup sugar (330 g)
2 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
¾ cup all-purpose flour (85 g)
½ cup cocoa powder (50 g)
1 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt (optional)
3 oz (100 g) chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350 deg F (Gas mark 4 or 180 deg C).
  2. Line a 13 x 9 in (33 x 23 cm) cake tin with grease proof or other non-stick paper and grease the tin. Melt the butter.
  3. Beat eggs with sugar, and add vanilla, flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt (optional) and melted butter.
  4. Add chopped nuts.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, approximately 20-30 minutes.
  6. Cool the cake. Dust with powdered sugar or glace with your favorite chocolate frosting.

How about if you are craving something salty? And you have no microwave popcorn? Or Lay’s potato chips? Here are some of my favorite ‘desperate’ salty snacks; please don’t laugh. I’m a gourmet cook with red-neck tendencies.

Popcorn: you can’t beat kernels that you pop yourself in a heavy-bottomed pan with 1/3 cup of oil. Then you melt some margarine and douse your popcorn along with a liberal sprinkling of salt. If you only want a single serving, did you know you can pop kernels in your microwave in a regular old lunch sack? Awesome! Just put enough kernels to cover the bottom with a tablespoon of olive oil or canola oil. Fold down the top, and push your ‘popcorn’ button on the microwave. You should still hang around and listen, when the popping slows down, pull it out. Salt and butter to taste.

Cold hot dogs. You know those things are LOADED with sodium.

Pretzel sticks in cubes of cheese. This is practically a small meal. I have virtually no guilt about eating this one.

Cheesy Omelet or Scrambled Eggs: When we are scraping the bottom of the barrel, we almost always have an egg or two left and a lonely square of cheese in the back of the fridge. I like sauteing a little garlic and onion, then pouring the egg in, then adding the cheese when it’s almost done. If you have some salsa to go with it, this will cure your salt fix great. Oh, and a slice of toast too. And a glass of tomato juice. What the heck. This is like, fourth breakfast, or something.

Tomato Juice: Sprinkle with salt, and stir with a celery swizzle stick. Salty, and healthy. Unless you can’t do the sodium thing.

Salty Salad: Fresh salad, either the bagged kind, or iceberg that you (gasp!) cut up yourself. Add shredded cheese if you like, but a chopped tomato is really nice. Season with Lemon Pepper and roasted peanuts, and maybe a teaspoon of Ranch. You don’t really need the Ranch. The Lemon Pepper adds such a nice flavor to your greens.

Bread and Butter. It’s not salty, but if I can’t put my finger on what I’m craving, a slice of bread or toast with butter or margarine and maybe a hunk of cheese, will satisfy. Chase with a glass of milk, and you have a full tummy.

Now, back to chocolate cravings, or sweet cravings. For some reason, when I wake from an afternoon nap, I NEED sweet. If the kitchen is Stage Three, then I am not baking brownies from scratch, thank you very much. If there is absolutely no chocolate or cookies or anything like that in the house, then I will put a thick layer of peanut butter on white bread and eat it open-faced. Along with milk, this will take care of that sweet craving. Peanut butter on sliced apples, if you close your eyes when you eat them, ALMOST tastes like caramel apples. The funny thing is, I don’t really like peanut butter all that much. But I guess there’s enough fat and sweet in it to fool part of my brain.

Instant pudding can be a quick fix for a sweet craving. You just have to have plenty of milk on hand.

PB&J: same as above

Frosting on crackers. My family really digs this. I’ll play along and have a cracker with frosting. Then the next morning, when I discover that they have left the chocolate frosting on the counter instead of putting it back in the fridge, I get out a spoon and eat the rest of it plain. So sue me.

White sugar sprinkled on butter bread. Look, don’t tell anyone. This is just really sick, but when you want something sweet and doughy, well this does the trick.

Chocolate syrup stirred into milk.

That’s all I got. A lot of things I picked because it doesn’t involve a lot of work or groceries. That’s where the desperation comes in. Good luck with your desperate snacks.