Sunday, April 28, 2013

Nestle Crunch Bowls

Want some foreshadowing for this experiment?

“The quietest poetry can be an explosion of joy” – James Broughton

I have no idea who that guy is. His quote just had the word explosion in it. Let me get started.

I LOVE crunch bars. I went through a phase earlier in this school year where I stashed them in my secret compartment in my desk and went to town during my conference. I was then able to focus and get stuff done. Let me clarify that they were MINI crunch bars.

I saved this onto my “Fun looking FOOD!” Pinterest board and thought I would never actually do it because it was too tedious. So instead of attempting it at my house, I opted to do it at my mother in laws house and use all of her utensils.

When I went to the grocery store, I realized I hadn't thoroughly read the directions before buying. I knew I needed crunch bars and balloons. I only bought 4 crunch bars, because I assumed that would be enough. I also bought raspberry sherbert (mmmmmmmmmmmm) and off to mother in laws we go.

Lucky for me, she had a candy thermometer (temperature will be important here) and a double boiler. Her double boiler had holes in the top part so I just put foil over it and solved that problem.

Here we go. I got the water in the boiler hot, but not boiling. I break up my 4 bars and dump them in, then clip the candy thermometer on the side. I completely misread or forgot what I read. Here is what I was supposed to do…

“Do not let the chocolate exceed 110° F. Use a spatula to stir chocolate thoroughly and regularly for about 1 minute or until melted and smooth. Remove the bowl of chocolate and stir in the remaining 1/3 of chopped candy bars. This will lower the temperature of the chocolate. When the chocolate is about 84° F, place back on double boiler or saucepan to raise the temperature of the chocolate back to 86-87° F. Do NOT let the chocolate reach 88° F.”

Here is what I did…

Dumped it all in, melted it, stirred it, kept it on the stove, and let it get to 175 degrees.

Well gee whiz, the chocolate is melted! Time for balloons! My husband’s 80 year old grandma was in the kitchen during this part of the process. She was hanging out with her walker, enjoying a strawberry, just talking away while I start dipping the balloons.

When I dipped the first balloon, it was hard to cover it with chocolate because the chocolate wasn't deep enough. I had to scoop it and try to slather it. It actually didn't work that well. The chocolate kept sliding off. After trying very hard, I was satisfied with the coverage and put it on my cutting board.

I guess you can call that "satisfied"

On to balloon #2. I dipped it in the chocolate and BOOM! There is this loud explosion, the word S--- came from somewhere (I think me) and chocolate went EVERYWHERE. My jaw dropped, I turned around to Granny and she just gave me the biggest WTF look I've ever seen. She said “Well, Jamie, do you know what you’re doing?” and I promptly answered “No.”

I dug the balloon out of the chocolate and dipped balloon #3. I started to slather it when BOOM!! I screamed this time and was blinded by chocolate. Once again, I dared to look back at Granny and she was calling me an idiot with her eyes. When I turned back around, I saw the mess that I had made in my mother in laws kitchen. Chocolate on my shirt, on the microwave above the stove, on the counter, on the stove, on the wall behind the stove on the wall BEHIND me, everywhere. I gave up at this point. I would make do with my one bowl.

I let it freeze for a couple of hours. I was able to let the air out of the balloon without it exploding but as much as I tried to get it out of the chocolate, the bottom just wouldn’t budge and it was stuck. My last attempt at getting the balloon out ended in part of the bowl breaking off. And to add insult to injury, the bowl was stuck on the cutting board.

I tried. I tried really hard. I really need to learn to read directions thoroughly.

I am quite sad about this one...

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Conversation Heart Cheesecake

This was my first attempt making cheesecake and I think I did a darn good job! I had no idea what really went into cheesecake, I just knew it was good. And that I could devour a whole cheesecake myself.

This recipe comes with another poop story. I will just start with the original idea. Here is what I was going for...

How cute are those??

I had to modify a few things. First off, I wasn't going to special order heart molds. I wasn't THAT serious about this recipe. Instead, I went to hobby lobby and got flower molds. Same thing.

Making the recipe was super easy and super tasty. I could have eaten all the graham crackers/melted butter in one mouthful. MMMMMM. Following directions was easy so I put the crust in and topped with different colored fillings.

You were supposed to have a roasting rack to "bathe" the cheesecake mold in and I didn't have one of those so instead I just put my mold into a glass casserole dish and poured boiling water in  until the water was halfway up the mold. It sounded like it would work to me.

And it worked!! I was proud. This lady said that the easiest way to get the cheesecakes out of the mold is to freeze them for a few hours. Nice and frozen. Makes sense. So of course, after only one hour, I got them out.

Now. I took the mold out and carefully started getting the cheesecakes out, one by one. I took my sweet time so that I didn't break or deform anything. Things were going great...

I hadn't written on them at this point. This would come later but as you see, the writing was easy. After I got the purple cheesecake out, I started on the pink one when I heard this loud cry for help across the house.

I dropped what I was doing, got that instinctual pose where you bend your legs, put your arms out, get in a crouching ninja position, look back and forth and think "What do I do?! What do I do?!". You know that awkward moment? That was me. So I ran to where the cries were coming from, not knowing what to expect. I see Husband holding baby in the air, naked from the waist down (because he tore off his diaper during nap), poop in the crib, poop running down his leg, poop coming out of his butt, poop everywhere. I then assume the "What do I do?!" pose and in my best soldier voice yelled "BATHTUB!!"

We got him in the bath and all cleaned up, got the poopy crib stuff pulled up and replaced and then I was able to get back to my cheesecakes. It had been a good 20 minutes. Back to the pink...

Can you tell when "the poop" happened? They sat out too long and got soft. This is the point I decided to go ahead and write my conversation words.

Despite the mess, they tasted delicious!! Husband polished them off quickly.

I learned a few things.

1. Freeze them for more than an hour JUST in case of a poop accident.
2. Freeze them for more than an hour because that's what she said and she knows what she's talking about.
3. If there is emergency,  put the cheesecake back in the freezer FIRST! Then proceed to said emergency.
4. I learned that this cheesecake recipe is yummy.

If there are typos, my bad. Baby is all over me and I can't proofread. I'm not illiterate. I pwomise.

Worth a shot!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Ranch House Crock Pot Pork Chops With Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

With a title like that, you can't really go wrong.

Or can you? Depends on if you follow the recipe...

I only messed up a little bit. Twice actually. It happens to the best of us. It's hard to concentrate when baby is pulling on my leg "MAMA!!!MAMA!!!" as I'm trying to read the recipe and saying "Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?!?!"

When I went to the store for pork chops, the store was having a buy one get one free sale. So I bought a total of 16 pork chops for about $10. SWEET! My recipe called for 6. When it was time to start this recipe, I took my first 4 pack out, put them in the crock pot and I guess got distracted. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse was on so I probably stopped to do the hot dog dance with baby and lost my train of thought.

I got a bowl and mixed my cream of chicken soup and ranch and then poured them over my 4 pork chops. I still hadn't figured out I was lacking a few pig parts. You know, I really wish I could be a vegetarian because I hate that an animal had to die for me to eat, but meat is just so good. So moving on...

I turned the crock pot to high and dealt with a cranky kid with his hands down his pants for a few hours. When it was time to cut the potatoes, I was singing that "head and shoulders, knees and toes" song in JAPANESE in my head. Thank you fancy app... atama, kata, hiza, ashi..hiza ashi....atama, kata, hiza, ashi....hiza la la la, I can't pronounce the words, atama, kata, hiza, ashiiiiii, HIZA ASHI!!!

So in doing so, I forgot to peel the stupid potatoes. Oh well, right? Right. After mashing them, and adding all the necessary ingredients, they tasted sooooo yummy.

When everything was good to go, I started the chef creation I saw in the picture on Pinterest. I plopped the potatoes down, slapped the pork chop on top and slathered sauce on top. Add some strawberries on the side and this dinner is ready...

Top 10 best dinners EVER!!! This was so dang tasty.

Next time, I will be adding another can of soup because there just wasn't enough leftover sauce to go around. I'll also probably actually make 6 pork chops too.

Yeah baby!!

Low Carb Stuffed Peppers

I have officially decided I want to start eating healthier. All these oreos and oatmeal cream pies and dr. peppers and cheetos (and I mean cheeeeetooooooos) and fast food have made me feel a bit blah and my thighs are now touching, which is my breaking point.

When I actually have the time and energy to work out this summer, I plan on starting Insanity. "Plan" being the key word. I might do one motion, huff and puff for a few minutes and then try something else, but I "plan" on doing it.

I've also started up with that helps you stay on track with what you need to eat everyday and types of foods that are good for you, etc. all while on a descent budget. We'll see how that goes.

So since I'm on the topic of healthy eating, I tried this delight of a recipe. It looked dang good even though I hate turkey. Every time I think of turkey, I think of this video. Makes me laugh out loud every time.

The recipe seemed simple enough and was easy to put together. It cooked just like the directions said it would but when all was said and done, there was a huge puddle of juice in each pepper and in the pan. What I would probably do next time (which there WILL be a next time since Husband liked it) would be to put the pepper on a wire rack on top of a cookie sheet. Also I would poke a few small holes in the bottom with toothpicks to let it drain during cooking.

In the end, to me, they were hard to eat and I didn't really like them. As soon as you take your knife to cut a piece off, another piece falls apart and then the piece you try to stab with your fork falls apart. So you have two differing opinions to go off of. Although, I would trust me if I were you...

I'll have taco bell next time...

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Brown Butter Snickerdoodle Cookies

I made these a few weeks ago and I'm just now coming down from the sugar high after eating most of them all on my own.

When first hopping over to this link, I was irritated with all the pictures and the claims that they were so good before even getting to the recipe. Now I understand. I TOTALLY understand.

If these are not the best cookies in the world, then they are a close second. I make extremely tasty regular snickerdoodle cookies but after eating about 12 of these, I realized that these might trump MY cookies.

I took some to work the next day. First, I need to say that teachers can throw some goodies back. Our jobs are demanding all day, so any break we get, we need something to de-stress. These cookies were it. I ate 3/4 of the cookies at home and took the remaining 1/4 to school and they got finished off pretty quick.

I very highly recommend you try these. Don't be scared off by the amount of butter you will see. Your thighs will thank you one day.

Oh yes.

Gluten Free Vanilla Cinnamon Muffins

Prepare yourself for a story...

First off, I don't do gluten free. Ever. I eat what I want. And when that starts showing, I guess I will be going gluten free. Anyway, what sold me was the "vanilla cinnamon muffin" part.

I was planning on cooking this last weekend for breakfast but Ma was in town and said the magic word. "Donuts?". YES PLEASE!!

So now it's this weekend. I figured one of these mornings would be good to make my muffins.

At 6:00 this morning, I hear baby crying and gagging. I go in and get knocked down by this overwhelming stench of poo. He's still on his stomach, just squirming, coughing and gagging with his hand in the air. I grab his hand and feel this warm, mushy stuff. Yep. Poop. I suppose he was hungry already because it was in AND around his mouth. I'm assuming this started the gagging and coughing.

So I yell in the monitor that I need serious help. So Husband comes in, armed with an arsenal of wipes and wipes down poor baby. It's bath time, even though it's 6 in the morning. He's so mad (and his breath is just flat out gross) that he won't get in. He is trying to crawl out. I sacrifice myself and say "Want mommy to get in with you?" and I do.

Bath time goes great. Get all the poo off, wash him, he smells like roses so we get out. I put his diaper on and let him run around half naked and not even 5 minutes later I smell it again. He's pooped again and it was enough for 3 people.

Ok, so I get him changed again and decide to put clothes on him. I get him a dry bowl of lucky charms, sit down in the chair, get him on my lap and he starts throwing a massive fit and kicks the bowl of lucky charms into the air. Not long after, he ran up on me and bit my foot.

Great. I'm thinking that when I pick up the mess and get him calm, I will make my muffins. But calm never came so I just threw in some cinnamon rolls. While they were cooking, I made him eggs. When the cinnamon rolls were done, I put his eggs and a cinnamon roll on a plate and he sat at his table and ate like a big boy.

Now it was my turn to eat. It had been a long morning already and it was only 7. Right after I sit down and dig in, he gets out of his chair, comes over to me and once again, I smell it. Rancid. So I sit down my cinnamon rolls on the end table and go get a diaper. I lay him down on the ottoman and this time, he has overflowed his diaper. He was starting to squirm while I was taking it off and reaching down to grab a handful. In a panic, I put the diaper on the end table. Guess what spilled out of the diaper onto my cinnamon rolls? Yep, you guessed it. Poop.

My breakfast was ruined. But the good news is that baby seemed happier. I guess my only option now is to make the muffins.

So NOW shall I get to how the muffins went down?

When buying ingredients, I just looked at what was needed, not the portions I would be using. As I gathered everything and started on the directions, I got baffled right off the bat. I was supposed to whip the egg whites and honey until they formed "stiff peaks". I got my mini whisk out and whipped and whipped and there were no peaks. Later in the directions, it says "mixer" so I went ahead and threw them in my mixer and turned it on 6. It was going and going and going and going and going and no peaks ever formed. So as of right now, I still have no idea how to get "peaks" with egg whites.

In the mean time, I started to mix together the other ingredients. This is where the portions concerned me. 2 egg yolks, 2 tbsp coconut oil (which is like lard by the way), 1 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp cinnamon and only 2 tbsp of flour.

Surely that can't be right. That's only a few teaspoons and tablespoons for an entire recipe. The recipe said up top that it serves 3.

But I keep going. My mixer has been going this whole time but all there are is bubbles. I add the second mixture and let it mix. While it's mixing, I read the rest of the directions.

#7- fill 3 cupcake liners to the top.

Just three? WHAT IS GOING ON!!! I notice in my mixer that there really isn't much mix at all and that this lady is serious about only using 3 muffin liners. But I do it. And sure enough, there's only enough batter for 3 muffins.

So yeah, this recipe does serve 3 people. It serves 3 people ONE    MUFFIN    EACH! What the...

In the end, they looked like crap, they tasted WORSE than crap, they had the consistency of meatloaf, and I'm still hungry.

More like decency free...

Fruity Pebbles Crispy Treats

I went back to my childhood with these treats (even though I never had them in my childhood...) and it was awesome!

SOMEBODY (Husband) saw that these were on the menu and didn't even wait for me to get to them, he just busted everything out and started making them himself. Upon witnessing this, I became terrified because as awesome as Husband is, his cooking abilities are still in the infant stage....(love you Husband)

But he actually did alright and refused some of my suggestions which turned out to be a good idea. I would have ruined it had he done what I said. I didn't read the directions, he did, so he was shooting me down left and right with " it SAID...". Oh :)

These taste just like you can imagine they would. YUMMY!! Your kids will love you if you make these. If they are teenagers, they will probably still hate you, but will eat them none the less.

Taste the rainbow

Featured Again!

I decided to submit my egg dye fail to Pinstrosity and it got featured, along with other people who didn't have much luck with their egg projects :)

This is SUCH a fun blog to look at Pinterest disasters and to get a good laugh. Ch-ch-check it out HERE!!

Roasted Asparagus

You know how you have those side dishes or recipes that you always make a certain way and you NEVER deviate from because they're just so good the way they are?

That's my asparagus. My asparagus is so good MY way. Every time I make it for a group, they always ask how I do it and want the "recipe". So I'll share my way.

I put the asparagus in a casserole dish and pour olive oil over it. I toss it to get it nice and coated. I add a good helping of garlic salt, regular salt and pepper. I toss them some more and roll them around. I do another round of garlic salt, salt and pepper and top with sesame seeds. If they are the big, fat asparagus, I cook on 400 for about 25-30 minutes. If they are the skinny asparagus, I cook for about 15-20 minutes. They are soooooo good.

But I jumped outside the box and decided to try this new asparagus flavor. I've never been a fan of lemons but after a lemon green beans/potato recipe, I was hooked. I've never played much with herbs because the few I've tried, I didn't like. Oregano, basil, ewwww...

This recipe called for lemons and rosemary. I learned that I don't like rosemary. The lemon flavor was ok but after having my yummy asparagus, I learned that nothing lives up to MY asparagus concoction. But if you like lemons and rosemary, they you will probably like this.

The original looks so yummy though!!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Watermelon Bunny

I think I bit off a bit more than I could chew with this one but it was fun to try.

First of all, the original picture has a long watermelon but the watermelons at my grocery store were just big and fat. Second of all, I suuuure didn't want to have to buy ALL the fruit required to fill it so I just bought SOME fruit and didn't gut the watermelon that deep. Or so I thought.

It apparently was too deep because the fruit didn't fill up the bowl, plus there was munching of the fruit going on before the official stuffing. Fresh strawberries are just so good!

I stopped decorating at the eyeballs. I was tired of attempting to cut the stupid bunny shape out that I didn't bother with the whiskers or nose. So it isn't as cute as the original but I get an A+ for effort.

Well folks, my eyeballs are burning from an accidentally overly spicy chicken wing dinner so I bid you adieu.

Bummer :(