Archive for : December, 2014

Hurts So Good Crackers and Shorty Spice Tea

The last two recipes that I have shared with you, Christmas Crack and Slutty Brownies were both so decadent and over the top sweet, I thought the next recipe should be appealing to those of us who enjoy the spicy side of life.  I posted a picture on The Skirt Girl Facebook page of some Spicy Crackers and I had many requests for the recipe, so I’m sharing those with you.  I want to warn you that these are not for the faint of heart.  They are spicy.  I mean…really spicy.  No.  They are HOT!  Of course the heat can be adjusted but if you follow the recipe to the letter, your lips are going to be burning. Not an altogether unpleasant experience.  For that reason, I have named these little explosions of flavor Hurts So Good Crackers.

First let’s talk ingredients.  There are a lot of them.  Usually. when you see a recipe and it has twelve…yes, TWELVE ingredients you might just turn the page of that recipe book right past it.  Wait… does anyone but me have actual recipe BOOKS anymore?  With pages???  Anyway, my point is you should stop for this one.  It is so simple.  Quantity of ingredients has nothing to do with difficulty level.  Basically, it’s a bunch of dried spices you probably already have in your pantry.  Keep in mind that each spice is building a layer of flavor, not to sound too Food Networkish.  If you left one or two out, it might still be edible, even good to those who have never had these,  in all their twelve ingredient glory. But you will not have the depth of flavor that these have.  So try not to skimp, if you really want the full experience.  Besides that, these have dill in them…and anytime I use dill in a recipe I feel a little chefy…even though I know that a real chef would get all snobby about these being DRIED spices. But I’m just going to be honest with you, I use dried spices and herbs a lot.  I know…I know….fresh herbs are better.  But really…unless you have a herb garden, who has fresh herbs on hand all the time? I have a home and a job and a life.  I do not have time for a herb garden.  Plus, I have a horrible brown thumb.

Take a deep breath. Here’s what you will need:

Butter, canola oil, dill weed, parsley flakes, onion powder, granulated garlic, black pepper, salt, cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper, thyme and oyster crackers

Butter, canola oil, dill weed, parsley flakes, onion powder, granulated garlic, black pepper, salt, cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper, thyme and oyster crackers

 

Calm down! I warned you it was a lot of ingredients.  It’s simple.  Basically, we are just going to throw them in a bowl and stir. So first, you are going to put 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) of melted, unsalted butter into a bowl.  Just pop it in the microwave for about 10 seconds at a time, stirring it until it’s melted.  Mix that with a 1/4 cup of canola oil.  It’s going to look like this:

1/4 cup canola oil, 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted buter

1/4 cup canola oil, 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted buter

 

Next, to the butter and oil add all the spices as follows:

1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

I’m going to stop right here and say, don’t get these two amounts confused. I did that and had to start over. You definitely do NOT want a full tablespoon of cayenne pepper. So let me say this again, in bold print 1 TEASPOON of cayenne pepper.

1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper (I used freshly ground. Yaay me!)
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried dill

It’s going to look like this:

Remember we are building layers of flavor.  Try not to think about the fact that there are 12 ingredients.

Remember we are building layers of flavor. Try not to think about the fact that there are 12 ingredients.

 

Whisk that up. And … well … it’s ugly. But trust me, it’s gonna look better.

Not pretty.  But FLAVOR!

Not pretty. But FLAVOR!

 

What in the world are you going to put this in? I’m glad you asked. Because I’m using a roasting pan.  But not just any old roasting pan. I’m using my mother’s granite roasting pan. I think my mom has used it for over 55 years of Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. I want to make it clear, that is older than me. A LOT older.  I had to throw that in there, in case anyone was wondering. My earliest holiday memories include my mom taking the turkey out of the oven in that pan. She also has made vats of Chex Party Mix in that thing over the years. You don’t have to have a 55-year-old granite roasting pan. Any pan large enough to stir the crackers around in will do. I just happen to be partial to this thing, for obvious reasons.

My mom's over 55 year old roasting pan.  And the little Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus salt and pepper shakers are probably over  55 years old too.

My mom’s over 55 year old roasting pan. And the little Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus salt and pepper shakers are probably over 55 years old too. Don’t forget, I am a LOT younger than these.

 

Now you are going to need two packages of oyster crackers. I’ve made this with Premium brand oyster crackers in the past. These came from….well…don’t tell anyone but they came from the dollar store. Yes, that is right. The dollar store. A dollar for them. And they are every bit as good as the Premium brand. Feel free to go cheap. Put those cheap crackers in your big old roasting pan and pour the butter, oil, spice mixture over the top of them.

Dried spices, cheap oyster crackers and 55 year old roasting pan

Dried spices, cheap oyster crackers and 55 year old roasting pan

 

Mix all this together. Make sure you coat all the crackers with the mixture. You can use a spoon. Or a spatula. But…

I use my hands because who has time for spoons?

I use my hands because who has time for spoons?

 

You are going to put this in a preheated 300 degree oven. Let it bake for about 12 minutes and then take it out and stir it. This time use a spoon. Put it back into the oven for another 12 minutes. Let the mixture totally cool before storing in an airtight container.

Cooled and ready for storage in an airtight container.

Cooled and ready for storage in an airtight container.

 

I bag them up in cute little goodie bags and give them as gifts. Just make sure that you label them as spicy on the bag. Some people can’t take the heat. We also keep these in a container for random snacking throughout the holidays.

 

Since it’s Christmas, I’m going to give you a little bonus recipe, in keeping with the “Spice” theme. I got his recipe from a coworker. She gave it to me in a little mason jar with a bow on it, this year. When I asked her for the recipe to put on the The Skirt Girl, she hesitated. Negotiations began. It came down to me giving her full credit and a snazzy name in her honor. So here it is….Shorty Spice Tea. It’s not just a Christmas thing. Make this stuff up and keep it in your pantry. She said she gives it to her kids when they have a little sore throat or just need a little warmth.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Tang, Pre-sweetened Lemonade, Unsweetened instant Iced tea, ground cloves, your favorite mug and...wait for it....Red Hots.

Tang, Pre-sweetened Lemonade, Unsweetened instant Iced tea, ground cloves and…wait for it….Red Hots.

 

I know this is probably the weirdest hodge-podge ingredient list you will ever see. Here’s a few things you need to know about them before we start. In the south, you will rarely hear of any of us using instant iced tea for anything. It simply isn’t done. But in this case, we’ll make an exception. We did not make an exception on the brand. For the most part, we use Lipton down here. The lemonade I chose was Country Time brand because this was the first time I’ve ever made Shorty Spice Tea and I don’t know my lemonade brands very well.  This was recognizable so I went with it. Tang…well…I don’t believe there is any off brand for Tang. I mean…it’s Tang. Right? Cloves. Make sure they are GROUND cloves. You don’t want to have those giant clove…nuggets floating around in your drink. And last but not least…Red Hots. I haven’t bought these since I was like 12. They are, honestly, my favorite part of this recipe. You cannot leave these out. You cannot substitute these for boring old ground cinnamon. Don’t even try it.

In a large bowl dump 1 cup of instant tea
2 cups of Tang
3/4 cup of pre-sweetened lemonade powder
1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
1 box of red hots

Is this not the most random ingredient list ever?

Is this not the most random ingredient list ever?

 

Mix all of this up well and store it in an airtight container. After it’s mixed it’s gonna look like this:

Mixed dry ingredients.

Mixed dry ingredients.

 

You are going to make this in single cup servings. To do that, put some water in your favorite mug. Mine happens to say Live Laugh Love on it. It was a gift but, for the life of me, I can’t remember who gave it to me. Does that make me a bad person? My all time favorite mug is my “I heart NY” mug. But it’s for my morning coffee at work. It’s my “get in the game”, ” get my head on straight”, “let’s do this” kinda mug. My home mug is for hot cocoa and, now, Shorty Spice Tea. It’s my “relax and hang out”, “take your time”, “read a book” kinda mug. Anyway…water in your favorite home mug and stick it in the microwave until it’s as hot as you like your hot drinks. When its done, you are going to add a couple of heaping tablespoons of the powder to the water.

A coupe of tablespoons of the powder to a mug of hot water.

A coupe of tablespoons of the powder to a mug of hot water. Make sure you get plenty of red hots!

 

Before each use, you are going to want to shake these dry ingredients up. The ingredients do tend to settle and you want to make sure you get a little of everything. The amount of powder that you use is going to vary according to the size of your mug and your personal taste. I tend to like it strong so I go a little heavy with my tablespoons. When you drop it in the hot water it is going to bubble up and look like this:

Bubbling up!

Bubbling up!

 

Keep stirring and tasting. Add more powder if you want it stronger. Add a couple more Red Hots, if you want. Add some honey. Add some sweetener. Add whatever comforts you! Stir it until the Red Hots melt. While you are stirring enjoy that wonderful, warm, spicy smell. When it’s dissolved the bubbles will disappear and you are going to be left with this beautiful red (depending on the amount of Red Hots you use) spiced tea.

Shorty Spice Tea

Shorty Spice Tea

 

I hope you enjoy both of these recipes and that they add a little spice to your holidays. As always, I appreciate that you stopped by The Skirt Girl. This Christmas has been made even more special by all of you! If you enjoyed reading this post you might also enjoy The Skirt Girl’s Green Smoothie or The Skirt Girl’s Super Lotion

Merry Christmas from The Skirt Girl!

 

Slutty Brownies

The moment has arrived.  I am about to give you a recipe that will change your life.  Brownies.  Yes, I know.  You think you’ve had brownies before.  And when I tell what is in these brownies you will say “No, Skirt Girl.  It’s too much.  It’s too much!!  It’s overkill! Less is more!”  Trust me.  When you taste these,  all other brownies will no longer be brownies.  They will be….bland…they will be…well…like gray-ies.  Colorless. Flavorless.  Just another dessert.  These will forever be the standard by which all brownies are measured.  What makes them slutty?  Well….first of all they are easy.  Super easy.  The ingredients are all pre-packaged and you are just gonna throw them together and bake..  Don’t let the word “bake” scare you.  Really. Easy.  The other thing that makes them slutty?  They are sooooo naughty.  It’s December.  Santa’s list has already been made and checked twice, so you are safe.  Go ahead…indulge in the naughtiness for a couple more weeks

I wish that I could say that I thought of the name myself.  It sounds just like something I would come up with, however, I can’t take the credit (or blame) for this one.  I got this recipe from my cousin.  We had a girls weekend with my mom and her sister, and several neices.  I don’t know about your family, but when my family plans a get together the first thing we plan is the menu.   My cousin excitedly said that she would bring Slutty Brownies and that my world would stop when I tasted them.  She was right.  This rates right up there with my Christmas Crack recipe.  You can find that recipe here: Christmas Crack

This is what you will need for maximum sluttiness in your brownies:

1 Package of chocolate chip cookie mix,  1 box of brownie mix, 2 eggs, 16 Oreos, 1/2 stick of butter, oil, water

1 Package of chocolate chip cookie mix, 1 box of brownie mix, 2 eggs, 16 Oreos, 1/2 stick of butter, oil, water

Let’s talk for a moment about these ingredients, shall we? First of all, I chose Betty Crocker brands of cookie and brownie mix because Betty and I are dear friends and we go way back. But if you have a relationship with Duncan Hines, the feel free to use him. I also chose dark chocolate brownie mix. I wasn’t really thinking about it when I bought it. My hands just naturally reach for dark chocolate if it is available. Regular brownie mix would be just as delish.

I am about to devote a whole paragraph to Oreos. I do not allow myself to go down the cookie aisle at the grocery store. It has been, literally, years since I bought Oreos. I like them a little too much to just have them lying around my pantry. Imagine my surprise when I got to the cookie aisle and saw that there were at least 6 different kinds of Oreos. Were you aware of this? The last time I checked there were two kinds. Regular and double stuff. Now they have strawberry, mint, chocolate stuff and chocolate covered. They even had MEGA stuff. I swear those cookies were three inches tall. The one option that I did not understand was this one:

Reduced fat Oreos?  Really? No.

Reduced fat Oreos? Really? No.

Why? Why on earth would anyone buy reduced fat Oreos? Do not put this in these brownies. I am serious. Do NOT do it. That would just be ludicrous. So very wrong.

A little prep work before we begin. First, you are going to want to preheat your oven to 350. There were a couple of questions about this recipe when I read over it. It was written by someone in Great Britain, so some of the terminology was a bit….well…foreign to this southern girl. The recipe said you should “line a baking tray with grease proof paper.” Ok…Ummm. First of all baking tray? In the south we don’t bake brownies on a tray. We bake them in a pan. I used an 8×8 pan to be exact. Next…grease proof paper? Does she mean parchment paper? Wax paper? Is there a difference between the two? So…I googled, of course. Parchment paper and wax paper are most definitely NOT the same thing. Wax paper is not recommended for baking. The wax coating will melt and is not meant to be exposed to direct heat. Parchment paper is the best choice for cooking. It can withstand heat up to about 420 degrees Fahrenheit. Parchment paper is probably what was intended for this recipe. But again, I’m from the south and we use aluminum foil. That is what I had on hand and that is what I used. I just molded it in the bottom of the pan and left some hanging out. These brownies are not meant to be served straight out of the pan, like normal brownies. We are going to lift them out of the pan when they are cooled and then cut them. So you want to have something to grip onto when you remove it from the pan. The pan looked like this when I was done with it.

8x8 pan lined with aluminum foil...because that is how we roll in the south.

8×8 pan lined with aluminum foil…because that is how we roll in the south.

Now we are getting to the good part. You are going to follow the instructions on the cookie mix. The recipe that I saw said that she added a teaspoon extra of water and a teaspoon extra of oil. I did that, but I kinda wish that I hadn’t and I probably won’t do it in the next batch. The brownie is moist enough and I feel that it may have hampered more than it helped in the baking process. Add it if you want, don’t if you don’t. I used a wooden spoon and mixed it until it was all combined and looked like this:

Mixed up just like Betty Crocker tells us. Butter, egg, oil.

Mixed up just like Betty Crocker tells us. Butter, egg, oil.

When it’s all combined and looks like cookie dough should look, you plop into your foil lined bowl and smoosh it all around the bottom. Make sure you take it all the way to the edge. I started out trying to be all neat and proper, using a spoon to try to smoosh the dough. It’s very sticky and just wouldn’t spread with the spoon. So I moved up to a spatula…still getting more on the spatula than in the pan. I finally resorted to using what all really good cooks use. My hands. I buttered them up and started smooshing until finally I had the pan covered and I was satisfied with the smoosh.

Cookie dough smooshed to the edge.

Cookie dough smooshed to the edge.

I’m not really sure why there are not chocolate chips in the lower left corner of this picture.  It bugs me now that I look at the picture.  It wasn’t intentional.  So you might want to make sure that while you are smooshing you are distributing the chocolate chips evenly.  Lesson learned.

And now you are ready for those Oreos.  You are going to line them up end to end on top of the smooshed cooked dough.  An 8×8 pan holds exactly 16 Oreos.  You’ll want to purchase your Oreos exactly 5 minutes before baking these brownies.  Trust me. Any longer and a second trip to the store for more Oreos will be necessary.

 

16 Oreos on top of smooshed chocolate chip cookie dough.

16 Oreos on top of smooshed chocolate chip cookie dough.

And now you are ready for that brownie mix. Do it just like Betty says. No variations from the box. It’s perfect just the way it is. In my head, I just burst into a heartfelt chorus of Billy Joel’s I Love You Just the Way you are.

"Don't go changin'..."

“Don’t go changin’…”

Now you are ready to pour this beautiful batter over the top of the cookies. This is probably my favorite part of the whole thing. And definitely my favorite picture. The batter just looks so rich and thick. Would it be weird if I said I kinda wanted to roll around in it? Nevermind.

Beautiful batter!

Beautiful batter!

Let's just a take a minute and enjoy.

Let’s just a take a minute and enjoy.

Ok…enough with the food porn. Moving on. When you get it all spread out evenly and to the edge you are going to put it in your preheated 350 degree oven. The bake time on this is iffy. And “done’ is subjective. The recipe that I saw said that she liked them more gooey and she cooked them for 30 minutes. I like gooey. I mean, I really do. But if I’d taken these babies out of the oven after only 30 minutes I would have had to eat them with a spoon and we could have just called them Slutty Soup. I ended up cooking them for 40 minutes and quite honestly, they were still a bit underdone for me in the very center.

Preheated 350 degree oven....30-45 mintues?  You choose!

Preheated 350 degree oven….30-45 mintues? You choose!

When they come out of the oven they are going to be poofy and as they cool they will start to sink a little. That is exactly what you want them to do. You are going to let them cool in the pan and the foil…for as long as you can stand it. The wonderful chocolatey smell that is going to be in your kitchen by now is going to make waiting for complete coolness nearly impossible. I’ll just go ahead and say it… if they are still a little warm and you put a scoop of ice cream on it…you may not be able to stand it. When they are at least cool enough to handle, lift them out of the pan by gripping the foil. They should lift right out. Then peel the foil away from the edge.

Waiting for them to cool.

Waiting for them to cool.

You are going to want a really big knife to slice through them and cut them into squares. The layers of cookie/brownie/Oreo stuff will be mesmerizing.

Mesmerizingly slutty.

Mesmerizingly slutty.

As I said, serve it warm with a scoop of ice cream, cool with whipped cream, on a fancy plate, or on a paper plate. Or you could do as I do… eat them standing over the kitchen sink in your favorites sweat pants by the light of the refrigerator. Did I just share too much? Ahhh well, it’s just us.

I hope you are enjoying the The Skirt Girl’s December free-for-all-bingefest. I still have a few decadent recipes to post before the month ends. And then it will be back to reality. I will have some product reviews, healthy recipes, healthy snack ideas and some fashion tips all coming up in 2015 I’m looking forward to where The Skirt Girl is going to take us! If you haven’t already, please subscribe. You don’t wanna miss what’s coming up!

I hope you enjoy the Slutty Brownies. Let me know in the comments section how you like them!

If you like this post here are some of my other blogs that you might find interesting: The Skirt Girl’s Green Smoothie or The Skirt Girl’s Super Lotion

 

 

Blessings, Hurdles, Future Plans and Gratitude

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone that has visited, subscribed and commented on TheSkirtGirl.com.  The response and interest has been overwhelming! The website has been so successful that I am having a bit of difficulty handling the traffic with my current webhost.  I am having to do some upgrades to avoid the website becoming sluggish. This should all be resolved in the next couple hours.   TheSkirtGirl.com will be running at full speed.  I know how aggravating it is to look at a website and it take forever to load.  Or worse yet, get in the middle of a picture that you really want to see and it not load .  It  just leaves you hanging! The Skirt Girl does not intend to ever leave you hanging!  I feel honored anytime any person stops by to view my website.  If someone likes it enough to subscribe, I am so humbled by that, it makes me strive to make everything better.  Bear with me as I figure out the best way to serve you the content that you want (and that I want) in the best way possible.

For December, I have a couple more decadent recipes that I will share.  Because…well, let’s just face reality.  The time between Thanksgiving and January 2 is just a free-for-all-bingefest, when it comes to diet. I’m just being honest. Life is about balance.  No one should have to eat kale and bean sprouts during the holidays…unless that is your deal.  Then feel free, but no one is going to say “Oh hey…I brought you some Christmas goodies.  It’s kale!  Merry Christmas!”  Don’t panic, though.  It’s ok. It’s one month. Balance, remember? So enjoy your holiday parties, the Christmas treats you get from friends and the ones you make yourself.  The memories made in the kitchen are some of the most important and impactful.  Can a Christmas memory be built around brussel sprouts?  Not any of my memories!

Come January we will be talking about how to lighten things. And by “things” I mean food AND the scales. I will be sharing more healthy recipes and helpful hints to get things back on track.  I will also be doing more product reviews/favorites with a spotlight on hair products.  Okay, really, I have no idea where this thing is going but I’m so excited about the future of The Skirt Girl! It’s so fun to share things with you and I always learn things from your comments.  So I hope you share them often!  Y’all are just the best!

There is one more thing that I want to mention. The Skirt Girl now has a Facebook page.  Look her up! Just type The Skirt Girl into the search box.  There will be extra little tidbits and info about The Skirt Girl.