Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Quick.... and easy!

Lazzzzzy day today.  Tired now even. :)

Promised the girls I'd make them a snack.  LOL  Just because I can't seem to get myself out of the kitchen these days.  So I found this no bake recipe for peanut butter snack balls here:  Smashed Peas and Carrots

This is a pretty versatile recipe.  The honey, peanut butter, coconut base is really all that's holding it together - the add ins are what make it fun! On this batch I ran with the exact recipe.  I think next time I'm going to add in some dried cranberries or golden raisins.  My arsenal:

All Mixed Up:

The final product:

Hope the girls like 'em!! :)



Monday, January 9, 2012

Insert Foot Into Mouth

There are days that I literally can not stop with my sarcasm.  Today is such a day.  Never have I had sarcasm diarrhea of the mouth so bad to people that really... I should not be so linguistically free with.  Ugh.  I have a feeling this one is going to bit me in the ass.

So!  Among the several hundred non appropriate comments I made to my VP today, I also had the audacity to tell my CEO in my sarcastic way (as we were going to walk out the door and he was saying that he wasn't going to see us again until our show) "How will we ever get by without you??"  As soon as the words left my mouth I was hit with panic.  Really?  Did I just say that.... to my CEO?  Ughhhhhh.  I quickly added in "Man, I really need to keep my sarcasm in check... sorry!"then laughed my laugh and hugged him goodbye.  He laughed too and said... "No, no, no!!  You are so funny!"  and as I walked away I'm sure he muttered something along the lines of "how will you get along without a paycheck?"  I kid!  Although I'm sure that's what I would have thought if I were in his shoes....  Tomorrow will be interesting...

ANNNNNNYWAY.  No cooking tonight.  I got treated to some bourbon and coke and saltines with the awesomest jam EVER a la Kim.  On the way home though, I was reminded of this place I used to go to as a kid with my mom called "Fiddler's Three".  They had the BEST CHEESE SOUP EVER.  And I mean... the BEST.  So I scoured the internet to see if a disgruntled employee posted the recipe after all these years.  The restaurant is closed now, so far as I know.  But I found it.  A lady posted it saying that it was printed in the LA times.  Now here's the thing.  To make this soup right, you have to have the right cheese.  they say a quality sharp cheddar.  So now... the search is on for the right cheddar.  I am seeing some central market visits in my near future. :)  Here's the recipe she posted:

Fiddler's Three Cheese Soup

1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup thinly sliced celery
2/3 cup thinly sliced onion
2 1/2 T chicken soup base
2 1/2 cups water
1/3 cup flour
3 cups whole milk
1 pound good quality sharp cheddar cheese, grated (do not use pre-grated)
salt & fresh pepper to taste

Add the carrots, celery, and onions to chicken soup base mixed with water. Cover and simmer 10-15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Blend the flour and 1 1/2 cups of the milk and add to the vegetable mixture, stirring well. Add the remaining milk and cook until thickened, about 15 minutes. Add the cheese and stir until just melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. It was served with a dark rye or pumpernickle bread and lots of butter. 




Sunday, January 8, 2012

Superhero's and Cake

Today was jammed packed full of activity.  Woke up early, went to Walmart, went to a birthday party at a trampoline park, back to walmart, loaded up the fridge and then on to baking.  Seriously, I can't stop.  My friend and muse Kim made this killer buttermilk cake once.  And my buttermilk is a few days from needing to be tossed, so I thought I'd give it a whirl.  Here's our steal page:  Taste of Home

So right in the middle of my creation of the batter, my ex roommie calls needing me to find her movie times since she can't access the internet.  So trying to remember how much sugar I put into the bowl already and simultaneously fetching her a few phone numbers proved to be too much for my brain and I couldn't remember at one point how much I had put in.  Here's the batter after the call:

And to make matters worse - I thought I had a 6 bundt cake mold and it really is only 4.  Hrrrrrm.  That's going to add an extra 40 minutes to completion.  Oh well... thankfully I'm a late night sleeper.

Here's the ovenshot... :)

And the final product.  Love it!!  They really turned out good.

Now off to finish my evite for the get together i'm hosting next Sunday then off to bed... long day tomorrow with potential twists and turns...  it's gonna be a great week... right?



Saturday, January 7, 2012

Man I was bored today...

I think today was the first day i actually felt bored in a long while.  I actually felt the need to find something to do.  It was an odd think for me.

So Jasmine had a sleep over.  That went very well. :)  We had our sugar and cinnamon pretzels and watched a movie.  All super fun and then after a bike ride - I was left with this sense of ... "what do I do now?"

Bake bread of course!  So here I go, searching pinterest for a fab recipe and then I pick up the ol standby.  My Bible. The Betty Crocker Cookbook.  Wrapped up in those pages are thousands of recipes.  Tons of idea and tutorials. So I'm thinking... how about just a plain white sliced bread?  Bwham! Betty's got it covered.  but I'm flippin pages and i see this recipe for Challa... and I have no idea what it is.  Google Tiiiiiiiime!  Super beautiful loaves, super easy recipe...but man! that is a lot of braiding...  I watched a few tutorials, looked at a few recipes...  this is definitely one that I'm going to have to try. I almost did today but then thought... let's not be disrespectful.  This is a bread traditionally cooked on a Friday and served on Saturday.  Welp, to late for that!  So that will have to be next week.  It might actually work to my favor since I'm hosting a party on Sunday.  We'll see.

Anyway, I caught a glimpse at a few different bread and opted to retry a different recipe for pretzels and also to make Amish Friendship Bread.

Link to the Link to the blog

Amish Friendship Bread:

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Sleepover

Dreading going home more than being at work today knowing that I had promised Jasmine a sleepover this weekend with her girls since she had such a stellar week at school.  I thought about what I could do that would be fun for the girls and came up with mini pizza's.  Thinking that I could use a calzone recipe for the bread and let them design their own.  What a cool mom i would be!  Picked up Jasmine and found that my friend was busy in the kitchen making pizza for the family as well!  I knew I liked her for some reason! :P  We tend to do that with each other and have a lot of weird similarities in our history even though we grew up thousands of miles away from each other and brought up in COMPLETELY different lifestyles.

Needless to say the pizza idea didn't go over as I planned.  Jasmine wasn't very hungry and her friend had already eaten dinner... but dammit i had worked myself up to having pizza!  so I opted for a different approach and made cheesy bread sticks with dipping sauce.  That seemed to appease everyone. :)  Winning!

I also have been hell bent on trying pretzels since trying my friends.  I stole the recipe from her, she stole it from here:

Link to the link to the blog

So it's 1:15 in the morning and i just finished them  what do you think?

Pretty kick ass if I do say so myself.  Salty on one side, sweet on the other... and my house smells A-MAZ-ING.

I've got to come up with a cheap gift for a b-day party.  Pinterest to the rescue?  We'll see in the morning!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Another day another dollar...

You know... I'm such an emotionally sensitive person.  I never realized how much so until I was living on my own how scary things can get when you have a little person who is relying on you to make everything seem normal in a time when chaos seems to be running rampant.  My friend Kim looked at me one day amid one of my emotional break downs and said... "Does everything always happen to you all at one time?"  It seems like there is always this calm in my life for a period of time, we'll say a few weeks to a month, and then everything gangs up on me all at once.  This week seems to be that week.  It started out great... I mean it's a 4 day week!  It's the beginning of the year. There is no errors on the table as this point, right?  LOL I swear I already need a vacation!  I'll have one shortly enough.  Well a weekend vacation at least.  Knowing me, I'll be 10x more exhausted than when I left!  It will be great to see January though.  It's been almost a year. :)

Okokokok.... enough with the ranting...  on to the crafting!

The only reason I do anything Christmasy in the house is because of Jasmine and this year I really wanted to make her Christmas special since her Dad was not going to be around this year. I had 2 weeks off and a LOAD of time to fill up doing things with her.  So this craft was easy.  I already had all the materials - I love to scrapbook - and as all scrapbookers do, I have an EXTENSIVE ribbon collection.  And all the left over ornaments from the wreath I made, plus a few from the ones we put on the tree provided just the right amount.  Here's what I'm talking about:  The Link Doesn't Work so here's the Pinterest post

Here's how mine turned out:

And here is where I went wrong... The example uses HUGE ornaments (which I didn't have) and I think there are fewer of them.  Plus I need a bow and some pine needle garland.  That make have helped more, but overall... I chalk this one up as a fail.  Jasmine loved it though... so maybe it was a C-.

Seacrest Out!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A late night post...

So today was better than yesterday, but still not great.  I had a long talk with my old boss which was way overdue and very reassuring by the end of the conversation.  The work day was brutal.  I did bring in a few of the angel biscuits for the girls at work and have to say they gobbled them up... then ate the ones I had saved for my friends later that night.  Damn co-workers always stealing my food!!!

Anyway, here's my first craft post on here.  I used to have this really annoying wreath that had a Santa on it.  There was a  motion detector and it would spew out "ho ho ho!!! Meerrrrrrryyy Christmas!!!" even if no one walked by.  Yeah... annoying.  So I saw this beautiful beautiful wreath on Pinterest that had a great picture tutorial.  The thing I love about Pinterest is that all you do is keep on clicking... there is no typing at all to get what you what infirmation-wise.  So after reading the first blog, i kept digging and digging until I found the original post: Matt & Becky

Here's my series of assembly pics:

The arsenal:

After 2 hours:

Completed (3 hours total)
 On my door... awwwww!

Exhausted and have yet another long day tomorrow...  Cheers!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

When I'm upset I bake... or clean...

So I had a pretty bad day today.  Call it the winter break blues... or whatever, but really I could have given two cents about anyone in particular today.

Yesterday I found a pinned recipe for Paula Deen's Angel Biscuits.  I've been wanting to try a simple biscuit recipe and thought what could be more therapeutic than beating the crap out of some dough.  It's better than the alternative...  Here was this link: Nate Burkus Show

I picked up Jasmine, excused myself from reality, went home and started making some good 'ol southern baking.  To preface a little, I have made biscuits before.  They actually made better dog treats than biscuits.  I think my ex even used one to hammer a nail into a wall once.  I can say will all honesty... if I ever made biscuits from scratch that we edible... they were bought in a tube.  I even found a way to mess up bisquick biscuits. So to say that I was ok with not "winning" on this one tonight was a pretty accurate description.  It was more about kneading the dough and working out the aggression.

Also, if you haven't noticed by know I'm not the keenest person on when to "take" my photo shots - somewhere in the middle of beating the crap out of the dough I thought, "Crud... now I have to go wash my hands."  So there is a lack of pics on this one... but here's what i did take:

Jasmine looked at this picture and said, "mom that's not an angel biscuit, it's a skeleton biscuit!"  Aye yi yi...

And man.... were they goooood.  I also picked up a pretty decent gravy recipe using only chicken stock instead of the drippings.  These got dunked into that several times we'll just say.

Ok ok ok   so now onto the bundt cakes!  OMG they were so good.  So the back story:

A friend of mine's husband apparently loves bundt cakes.  I found this out when he fixed one of my co-workers computers and she paid him with an Anything Bundt Cake.  He devoured it.  He had been saying that he would fix my dinosaur of a computer for me - but to haul all 150 lbs of it to his house made it a "bottom of the list" kind of job.  So one day, I took over the CPU... the next I took the monitor... the next he fixed it.  So to repay him I made a mini bundt cake.  Mind you i have never tried to cook one before - and rather than screw up a huge one, I went to Joanne's and purchased a 4 cake tray of bundt cakes.  I scouresd the web looking for a recipe that I already had ingredients for and found this: Jolts and Jollies  Peanut Butter Bundt Cake with Chocolate Ganache?  Seriously, who wouldn't love that?  And since I had a huge fail with my peanut brittle I had some that I could used to top my ganache instead of butterfingers....  sweet biscuits!

I was so pleased with how they turned out:

All dolled up!

Yeah...  that didn't suck.

Needless to say that they were a hit.  We couldn't even wait 5 minutes before devouring one...  And my friends husband was happy to have 2 bundts in a year. :)

Crafty things completed are up for tomorrow's post!

Monday, January 2, 2012

I did that too???

Since moving to Texas I have pretty much played down my ability to cook among my friends.  So here is my admission... yes, I can bake and cook.  I still can stay without any uncertainty that I can not grill anything to safe my life though.  Unless they liked charred food.  Or as I call it... CayJenn.

So why did I feel the need to break that silence this Christmas with a bunch of random cooking techniques and skill that my friends would think I probably paid someone to do?  I'm still wondering the answer to that question...

I did cheat a little with the cookies we made.  I figured that since the candies were all pinterest inspired gems.  I could afford to go the quick route on the cookies...  except for one.  The Snowman Nutter Butter cookie.  THe moment I saw the cookie, I knew Jasmine would be allllll over the decorating.  So my part was simple, right?  Ice the Nutter Butters...well... that assumes I'm coordinated.  Here's were we got our recipe: My Pretty Purse 

Super easy recipe.  I used a fork to manipulate the nutter butter in the almond bark.  For the life of me, I could not find black icing anywhere...so instead I used Brown.  Close enough...

If I could have changed anything... It would have been to wait a little bit longer to set the tic tac's and M & M's in.  

Since I was in the Almond Bark mood, I figured I would attempt the santa hat mix as well.  This one... was a total and utter failure.  I have no idea how they made those hats look so awesome... but me... I really sat back and looked at the mess in my kitchen and was determined to try to make it work.  It just didn't.  heehee.  Well at least i can laugh about it now.  That night, however... wasn't such a tee hee moment.  Here is where I got my recipe from:  Cookies and Cups

So right off... I realized I didn't have enough vanilla almond bark because I used so much on the above cookie.  So instead I used chocolate almond bark.  Maybe that's where the difference lies?  

Here are the bugles...covered in muck.  Looking...like yuck.  We waited for them to dry, them I gave Jasmine a few options on how she wanted to decorate her hats.

Re-dipping them was brutal... I can't even believe I'm posting these honestly...  

Here's the mix pre chocolate bath

Really, when you put it all in your mouth and tasted it - it wasn't bad.  It just looked bad all mixed together and NOTHING like the pics on the blog.  So this one was a failure on my part.  And really it was no cooking at all, that's the funny part.

School starts back tomorrow and i'm back to work...ugh.  I miss not working and being able to do creative things like this.   Tomorrow I'll blog about my adventures in bundt cakes.  Funny story behind that one too...

Ta ta for now!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Christmas 2011 - The Cooking Extravaganza!

First of all... HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

It's my family's tradition to make holiday cookie boxes for all our friends and those who help us on the day to day, week to week or month to month...

My grandma started them with my mom, my mom continued with me, and now I am handing the tradition to my daughter.

This year of course Pinterest had a HUUUUGE factor in the goodies we decided to make in our packages.  My pics of each as well as links to the original bloggers are all provided.  I will say their pics are going to be WAAAY better than mine... but at least you can see what it will look like not stylized... :)

So first I made a list of all the "stuff" we were going to need to make the goodies.  Here's the arsenal:

So the first one we tackled was the pretzel and kisses and M&M's. Totally repinned over and over and over again.... and like 7 different varieties... Here's the blog we pulled ours off of:  House on Hilltop

We went the easy route and I wasn't able to find circle pretzels:

I think in total this one took us 10 minutes to complete and in all honesty...I've made it a few more times since this initial batch...  It was SUPER yummy to take into the movie theater and an easy snack for new years.

Next we made an english toffee that was not a pinterest item, but one that was given to me by my friends grandmother.  Super easy recipe -

2 Sticks of butter
1 cup of Sugar
2 Hershey Bars
Chopped nuts of your choice

Consistently stir butter and sugar about 10 minutes until its a caramel color - over medium high heat.

On a cookie sheet spray non stick spray (I do this even on my non stick pans) sprinkle 3/4's of your chopped nuts on the pan.  Once the butter and sugar has changed color, pour it over the chopped nuts on your pan. Melt hershey bars.  I do this on a double broiler, some people like to microwave... your choice.  Coat the toffee with the chocolate and sprinkle the remaining nuts. Let cool and crack into pieces!

Next up!  Christmas Crack.  Another repinned item I saw many times over.  We got ours from here: The Girl Who Ate Everything

Jasmine loved this one.  So easy!

Jasmine felt this looked too much like the english toffee we made, so she wanted to add some "Jazz":

That's it for now.  New post tomorrow with more competed foodie recipes! :)