Cooking with the twitterer: Holiday Treats

As I was looking through my recipe files last week, a thought crossed my mind: what about parents who are too busy to follow complex recipes? Or people who live alone and either don't have the time to prepare a cake or pie, or don't want to spend money on a batch of ingredients to make something that "no one else but me" will eat?

Yet when we see magazine articles about Holiday Cooking and Baking or remember childhood treats, some of us wonder why we can't "make something nice like that" or we hold back a tear remembering the love that a parent put into a cake or pie or cookies or brownies.

Yesterday I stopped by a Dollar Store and a pharmacy. I noticed that both shops carried lines of bakery products that were quite inexpensive. Here are TWO that I found really usefuL. (I'm not putting "brand names" to these because some companies turn out anywhere from five to twenty different "brands" of the exact same product, including "store brands.")

My first purchase was at the pharmacy: 69 cents for an envelope of blueberry muffin mix. This stuff was great! All you add is water, pour the batter in a greased muffin tray and bake for 28 minutes! The muffins were truly amazing, the kids ate every single one!

Later in the day I was running so far behind with my errands I decided we'd have "fast food" for dinner, since the evening was peppered with appointments and commitments of various family members. The Dollar Store had boxes of bread mix, at $1 each, and I chose "Apple Bread with Apple Bits." All you do is add 3/4 cup of water and one egg, mix, pour the mixture into a greased baking pan, and bake about 55 minutes. To give it pizzazz, I sprinkled pumpkin pie spice on top. Once tucked in the oven, I got out my "fast food" order sheet, made the call-to-order, and within 35 minutes we were sitting down to dinner. The bread was done as we were eating, and after a few minutes on the cooling rack, it was ready to be served... another great treat for the kids, and a dessert that went excellently well with the adults' coffee!

Any cake that wouldn't be gone by bedtime would be placed in a container, but that was not the case: every bit was gone by 9pm!

SO: Little money, little time, little guilt, great treats... and of course we'll prepare the "special" homemade goodies on those evenings and Saturdays when we have more "time"! (Check out the Amazon linky!) Happy Cooking from the twitterer!

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