Quarantine Cooking: Sweet Potato Fries with Comeback Sauce

One of the biggest things I miss while being under stay-at-home orders is eating at restaurants. Remember that? When you could go out, have someone else cook for you, serve you and clean up afterwards? Because I can mostly create anything I want at home, eating out was always more about the experience and the break from being inside for me, so take out isn’t cutting it. All the cooking is staying at home. But I miss fries. I love fries. All fried things really. I’ve never been a huge fan of sweet potato fries though. But, since I had some on hand, and am limited on ingredients in general, I gave them an at-home-attempt. Also, I tried to cut out the deep fried part of sweet potato fries when I made these…because with all the eating and no gym time, well, quarantine isn’t being kind to my ability to fit into pants. Making the comeback sauce was definitely a mistake in the weight gain department. That stuff would turn an old t-shirt into a gourmet snack. Enjoy!

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Sweet Potato Fries

2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

Heat the oven to 400.
Cut the sweet potatoes into sticks 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide and 3 inches long, and toss them with the oil.
Mix the spices, salt and pepper in a small bowl, and toss them with the sweet potatoes. Spread them out on 2 rimmed baking sheets.
Bake until brown and crisp on the bottom, about 15 minutes, then flip and cook until the other side is crisp, about 15 minutes. Broil until desired crispiness. Serve hot.

Comeback Sauce

1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chili sauce
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 small garlic clove, grated
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Serve on everything. Keeps for about a week.

Quarantine Cooking: “Julia Child” Quiche

Over the past 6 years, my life has become a whirlwind of homeschooling. All other personal pursuits (ahem, blogging) have been swallowed up. Probably not the best self care on my part to have allowed such a thing to happen, but c’est la vie! My kids are 11 and 13 now and through this whole COVID19 quarantine, we’ve suddenly gained a lot of time. It seems odd. Life in general hasn’t changed much because of stay-at-home orders in our state. My husband has worked from home for the past 5 years, and homeschooling has marched on virtually unchanged, but suddenly all our extra-curricular activities POOF were gone. Result? More time for cooking. Seemingly that’s all I do these days. Maybe you are having that same experience? Anyway, in the spirit of trying new things, I’ve made a few videos that I’ll be posting here. They are shot on my phone with my husband/kids recording. We’re very professional round these parts. Hope you enjoy!

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This first video was requested by my darling sister, a public school teacher (shout-out to all the teachers working countless hours from home to give students in isolation a great educational experience still). She happens to live by herself, which, coupled with the incredible pressures of her job suddenly being at home, means she is the most deserving person I know to get some entertainment into her quarantine days. Don’t worry – all my videos will not be in this ridiculous format. Also, I absolutely ADORE Julia Child, so this is meant in the most flattering way possible.

Quiche is a great way to use up ingredients hanging around your fridge. Feel free to substitute in whatever you have. Any kind of cheese, veggie or meat. Quiches are very forgiving.

Quiche a-la-Tonya
1 Pie Crust (store bought or homemade)
1-2 Tbs olive oil, butter or bacon drippings
about 3 cups total of any kind of combination of veggie you’d like, chopped into small dice this could include:
onion
bell pepper
mushrooms
broccoli
cauliflower
zucchini
spinach
anything you have in your fridge will be delicious — use what you love!
1 cup meat of choice, chopped/diced:
leftover ham
taco meat
breakfast sausage
cooked chicken
bacon
again, anything you have that you like will probably be delicious
1 tsp salt and pepper
8-10 Slices Canadian Bacon, chopped (can be left out if making it vegetarian)
5 Eggs
1 cup milk
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese

  • Preheat oven to 375. Unroll Pie crust and line a deep dish pie dish with crust and cover the bottom with half the cheese, enough to cover the bottom.
  • If using bacon, dice it and saute in a skillet until crisp. Remove bacon and fat drippings. Wipe pan with a paper towel. Add 1-2 Tbs bacon fat back to hot pan. If using butter or oil, just add that to the pan and bring up to medium high heat.
    Saute the veggies for 3-5 minutes, season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat mix with your meat and spread over your crust on top of the cheese. Sprinkle bacon (if using) over your veggie mixutre.
  • In another bowl whisk together the eggs, milk and dijon then pour into pie.
  • Sprinkle with more cheese.
  • Place on top of a baking sheet (if you’re worried about it spilling over) and bake for 35-45 minutes, until eggs mixture is puffed and firm and crust is golden. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

American Girl Tea Party Birthday

After begging for an American Girl doll the past three years, my daughter’s greatest desire was granted her last birthday with the gift of a green-eyed, curly blonde haired mini-me. She promptly named her doll “Maddie” and they’ve been inseparable ever since. The gratification of at last owning an American Girl doll all of her own could only be topped by celebrating her birthday this year with a themed American Girl tea party extravaganza. She wanted all her friends to come over and play dolls with her, while enjoying a delightful (and very grown up) tea. So here’s my great big American Girl Tea Party Birthday post, complete with free printable invitations, menus, name tags and all the food and craft ideas you could hope for!

American Girl Tea Party Ideas and Printables - Bakerlady [Read more…]

Alton Brown’s Baked Eggs

Perfect hard-boiled eggs require very specific boiling time, and the max you can boil at a time (perfectly) is about 12. My hard-boiled eggs recipe has served me well for many years. But there’s a new sheriff in town. Alton Brown. More specifically, his gloriously creamy, perfectly cooked, dozens at a time baked eggs.

Alton Brown's Baked Eggs
[Read more…]

Get On The Veggie Train With Your Lollipop

My kids love walking to the mailbox for one reason. It comes in the form of a brightly colored magazine called Clubhouse Jr. Within the pages are stories, life lessons, jokes and activities. They pour over every amazing detail together on the couch and then inevitably have some craft request from within. I am decidedly un-crafty. This month, the “craft” they were interested in was a fun food activity. Whew. Food crafty-ness I can handle. If you are looking to make vegetables incredibly delightful for your kids, or simply enjoy throwing some fun into lunchtime, try out these veggie train and lunchtime lollipop recipes, courtesy of Clubhouse Jr.

Veggie Train and Lunchtime Lollipops - Bakerlady

I went with the hummus version for the trains and added an olive for my smokestack on the engine. You can fill those little celery cars with peanut butter, cream cheese or whatever your kids love instead. And I’m sure there are much more creative veggie toppers than I used. Let your (or your kid’s) imagination run wild! My kids have officially reached the “awkward-never-a-good-picture” age. Notice my son’s olive engine is already gone. He loves olives with the passion of a thousand suns.

Veggie Train and Lunchtime Lollipops - Bakerlady

Print Recipe for Veggie Train and Lunchtime Lollipops

Veggie Train
adapted from Clubhouse Jr.

Ingredients

Celery stalks, washed
Cream cheese, hummus or peanut butter
Carrots
Toothpicks
Olives or cherry tomatoes
Bits of veggies, fruit or nuts (optional)

Directions

Cut celery into 2 1/2 inch stalks.
Spread one teaspoon of cream cheese, hummus or peanut butter in each stalk.
Cut a carrot into circles about 1/4 inch thick to make the wheels.
Push a toothpick into the center of a carrot wheel. Add a wheel to the other end. Repeat to make 2 sets of wheels.
On a plate, arrange the wheels 1 1/2 inches apart.
Place the filled celery between the wheels to rest on the toothpicks.
Repeat as neccessary for more train cars.
Place an olive (or cherry tomato) with a piece of green pepper (or broccoli) in the top on the front of on of the cars for an engine stack.
Add a piece of carrot (or a baby carrot) for the engine body.
If desired, load your train cars with raisins, craisins, peas, broccoli or nuts.

Lunchtime Lollipops
adapted from Clubhouse Jr.

Ingredients

cream cheese, softened
tortillas
lunch meat, sliced
lettuce
toothpicks

Directions

1. Spread thin layer of cream cheese on tortilla.
2. Cover tortilla with lunch meat.
3. Add lettuce, if desired.
4. Roll up tortilla tightly.
5. Poke in toothpicks, 1 inch apart.
6. Cut between toothpicks to make 1-inch pieces.

If desired, slip a 2-inch piece of straw over the toothpick. Wrap each lollipop in a 5-inch square of plastic wrap. Tie with curling ribbon at the top of the toothpick stick.

Gobble-Berry Lollipops: Fill tortilla with cream cheese, cranberry sauce and sliced turkey.

BLT Lollipops: Fill tortillas with herb cream cheese, bacon bits, thinly sliced tomato and lettuce. Eat right away—tomatoes can make the lollipops soggy.

Rainbow Fruit Lollipops: Fill tortilla with cream cheese and fruit leather or jam. Make several lollipops, using a rainbow of colors.

Pizza Pops: Fill tortilla with cream cheese, pepperoni, mozzarella and sliced black olives (optional). Dip in tomato sauce.

Sunny Hawaiian Lollipops: Mix 2 tablespoons of cream cheese with 1 tablespoon of well-drained, crushed pineapple. Fill tortilla with cream cheese mixture, shredded carrot and a thin layer of ham.

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