Archives for the month of: October, 2012

I have been craving some major desserts this afternoon so I decided to try the apples in a bag recipe on Pinterest. This looked pretty good but I have to admit I was skeptical. Upon reading the instructions it suggested putting all the ingredients in a big and microwaving in the plastic bag, yeah, that was not happening. I’m cancer phobic. I used to glass bowl. I put all the ingredients in a glass bowl covered it and shook. I microwaved for the two minutes and just vented the cover. I used the raisins as suggested although that made the calorie count a bit higher. I will definitely be making this again most likely twice a week if not more it’s really good and not much to it.
Difficulty – 1
Results – 5, awesome.

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Ok, so I didn’t follow the pin instructions at all, but rather used the end product as my inspiration. Here is how she did it: http://swelldesigner.blogspot.com/2012/08/crayon-drip-art-pumpkin-tutorial.html

Here’s what I did:

1. Buy giant white gourds

2. Make a ring with blue painters’ tape, sticky side up

3. Break peeled crayons in half and arrange on tape

4. Using embossing heat tool (gets hotter than blow dryer), melt crayons

Voila!

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Difficulty (1-5): 2–pretty easy craft project, just a little messy
Result (1-5): 4–the first one is a little ugly because I didn’t get the tape covered well enough

You know I love pinterest for quirky things like being able search
“Desserts” and you find a page of amazing things. This past weekend we had a game night Mexican style and I was looking for quick and easy dessert to be served after build your quesadillas. I literally searched Mexican dessert and came up with sopapilla cheesecake pie. I looked at the directions it looked easy considering I had about 10 minutes to make it before people would be coming over I decided these were the way to go. The recipe basically consisted of sugar, cinnamon some butter, cream cheese and refrigerated crescent rolls. I used to reduced fat crescent rolls and fat-free cream cheese and this did not seem to affect the recipe. The baking time was perfect, the only issue I had was that the recipe said to wait until the sopapillas were completely cooled before serving. they looked way too good warm to serve cold. They were a little runny when we served them warm but not bad at all. They tasted really good and it we spent about five minutes trying to figure out what did they specifically taste like, they tasted like something we had all had before. Then we figured out they tasted just like cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting. like exactly. I would make the recipe again because it was very easy and the results were really good.
The one drawback about this recipe is that it did call for a stick of butter for the topping and quite a bit of sugar but this is for dessert so who cares right? I might actually cut back on some of the butter if I were to make this again because the butter on top of the crescent rolls not only looked a bit unappetizing until it settled in, I felt it was a little heavy from all that butter. I might cut it down to 3/4 cup and see how it comes out. I think the crust would be flakier and less dense.
Difficulty -1 this was really easy
Results – 4 it could’ve been prettier but it tasted pretty darn good

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I am a sucker for soup on a cold fall day. Well actually I’m a sucker for soup pretty much all of the time. I recently pinned the recipe for hamburger vegetable soup. I almost never keep ground beef in our house so I substituted ground turkey which is a staple for us. I was very pleased by the relative easiness of this recipe and the great results. Besides for the substitution of turkey and leaving out thyme as a seasoning I followed the recipe exactly. The only thing that I would do differently next time is less salt. The recipe told you to use between 1 tablespoon and 2 1/2 tablespoons of salt I think. Knowing our deep love for salt in my family I used 2 tablespoons. I think 2 tablespoons was too much. Next time I think I will use 1 1/2 tablespoons or possibly even just 1. The kids enjoyed this the first time I fed it to them but by the next day I think they figured out how many vegetables were actually in it and both refused to eat it. I will definitely make this recipe again, It was great to bring for lunches at work and my husband enjoyed it a lot too.

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I like

to think of myself as an equal opportunity pinner. I pin D I Y stuff but Ii pin a lot of recipes too. I probably try more recipes then I do DIY stuff but I probably do more pins than most people too.
When I saw on the pin about placing a shelf above your washer and dryer I thought it was pretty much genius. I also knew it was a easy cheap fix for me always laying across our washer and dryer trying to prevent housefires from all the clothes and and miscellaneous crap that falls behind there. The hubs was pretty happy that this project was going to be easy for him too. Frankly, I probably could have done it myself but I do enough already right?! We picked up the laminate board at Menard’s for about four dollars I think and three cheap L brackets that matched for about $.89 each so all in all a very cheap fix. It took the hubs about 10 minutes to install the board which involved measuring, cutting the board and screwing it in. Now we have a nice looking shelf and I have not had to climb on the washer and dryer for about a month Hooray!
Difficulty – 2 there was a level and power tools involved
Results – 5, effective and easy

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With all the pumpkin recipes flying around Pinterest I decided Jr and I needed to use up the can of pumpkin I had on my shelf. There seem to be two main recipes out there for pumpkin cookies. One had an entire stick of crisco plus a cup of butter. The other only had one cup of butter so I went with that one.
The cookies were really just okay. The actual recipe was super easy and didn’t have too many ingredients.They turned out cake like. I smooshed them a bit with a fork so they’d be easier to frost later. They just weren’t very flavorful.
I had Carmel cream cheese frosting in the freezer from a previous recipe.. This paired with the cookies turned out amazing. The hubs got home and immediately ate like 5.
Cookies – Difficulty -2, there was sifting involved. Results – on their own – 2, with the frosting – 5.
Frosting – difficulty 5, wow was that a pain in the butt, results – 5.

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For some unknown reason I felt completely obligated to have a big birthday party for my 4 year old and 1 year old, insert pinterest. I pretty much went pinterest crazy at this party. The menu included bug pizzas inspired by this pin , JELLO worms , caterpillar grapes   . There were also cupcakes made using the How to Make You Even Fatter I mean how to make a cake mix better.

The bug pizzas were a cute idea but none of the 15 kids ages 2-8 actually made a bug design with their pizza toppings. They just made pizzas which was cool too. I didn’t rate these since we didn’t actually do them and really, there were no instructions.

The JELLO worms were a crazy hit. Basically you add cream to raspberry jello and food coloring, rubberband the straws together and pour the mixture into the straws. Use an orange juice box, it’s really the best idea to stand up the straws. Also buy the fattest straws you can. I had to run each straw under hot water for 20 seconds not the few seconds they mentioned and then squeeze the straws out. The worms really looked real. There was lots of screaming. So Worms, Difficulty – 3, there was a lot of busy work involved, Results – 5, very cool

          

The caterpillar link has changed so I linked you to the picture. It suggested using cream cheese to attach the chocolate chips at eyes but I kinda wondered what kid would eat cream cheese on a grape and decided the stickiest substance on the face of the earth was marshmallow fluff so I used that. It still slid down the grapes a bit. I applied with a toothpick and kind of rolled the fluff on. I also found candy googly eyes at Michaels so I used those instead of chocolate chips, so yeah, basically I didn’t follow much from the original pin but really, how can marshmallow fluff and candy googly eyes ever be wrong. I made the caterpillar heads and laid them flat so nothing would make it slide down. Right before I served them I skewered them with the rest of the grape kabobs. Difficulty – 3, they weren’t difficult once I figured it out but kinda fussy. Results – 5, they were really cute and the kids loved it.

The doctored up cake mix was used for cupcakes. I used pilsbury devil’s food cake mix then added an additional egg, used double the oil but sub melted butter and milk instead of water. I really can’t see that this made a big difference as opposed to regular cake mix. It tasted the same to me. Difficulty – 1, Resuslts 2. Meh, don’t waste the calories. I also read on that same blog to mix frosting with marshmallow fluff, that crap was divine. Do it, then lick the spatula and use it sparingly so you can eat any extra.

The activities were pinterest inspired as well.

            

Rock Bugs  were a big hit. I used washable paints, glitter glue, pipe cleaners, googly eyes,  sequins, and hot glue. There was a bit of figuring with this, we had to have the kids paint the rocks immediately so they would dry in time to decorate later. Other than the logistics, it was easy and the kids had fun. I had to use hot glue to attach all the wings, googly eyes, and pipe cleaners. It would have helped to have 2 glue guns, hindsight is 20/20.  Difficulty – 2, Results – 5 they were glittery awesomeness.

          

We also did a bug hunt and made bug habitats. This was also crazy popular. I had about 150 bugs and a bug net bought from the Target $1 spot. We used mason jars for their habitats. I bought pebbles, moss, and we found sticks. After the bug hunt which involved my husband and I throwing bugs everywhere in our backyard and lining up all the kids on the patio before releasing them to find bugs, they brought back their bugs and put all sorts of moss or rocks in their jars and put their bugs in there. It was pretty cool but messy. I was very glad we did this outside with the dust from the moss and pebbles.  Difficulty – 1 , Results – 5

Their goodie bags had the butterfly bags, and all sorts of bug crap from oriental trading (bug gliders, tattoos, bug magnifying glasses, etc).  We made the clothes pins ahead of time and it was easy for Drew to do, he just painted them with washable paint, I hot glued the googly eyes on and we just curled the pipe cleaners around. Just pick something easy to put in the bags. It’d be easier to use one thing, I did banana chips and yogurt covered raisins and that was kind of a pain, keeping things separated.  Difficulty – 2, Results – 5

So overall, I put way too much thought into my kids’ party but hey it was fun and check out all this cool pinterest stuff I got to try out!

For some reason, whenever I need to bring a dessert (or pretty much any food item) to an event, I feel like it has to be extra special.  The plain simply will not do.  That’s where these brownies come in.

Yes, your standard, out-of-a-box brownie is tasty on a Tuesday night when you just want to eat the whole pan instead of going to the gym.  But when you’re bringing a dessert to an event where everyone is going to be dressed to the nines, you want to make something that fits the occasion.

The pin I originally followed was to here: http://www.loveandlemons.com/2012/04/19/raspberry-goat-cheese-swirl-brownies/ , but I wasn’t going for “healthy” brownies, so I followed her link to this post:  http://www.thekitchn.com/sweet-recipe-raspberry-goat-cheese-brownies-165612, and that is what I was looking for.

I opted to use frozen raspberries (organic), and used Cointreau, because that was the only liqueur I had on hand (I know, it is a travesty that I’m from Wisconsin and don’t own any brandy).

I also chose to melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave.  Who has time for a double boiler?
Difficulty 1-5: 2

Results 1-5:  4.5 (even my picky mother-in law enjoyed them)

I LOVE caramel corn. However, it can be really annoying when the hulls get stuck in your teeth. The solution? Use puffcorn! I’ve made this recipe twice now and it’s been a hit. It’s pretty easy to do, but a little time consuming.

Tips:
-Turn off the burner before adding the baking soda
-Make sure you stir thoroughly at 10-15 min intervals, and do the entire 40-45 minutes.
– Use two large cookie sheets with lips instead of a roasting pan
-For clean up, just add a little water to the pans and let soak. The caramel will then come off quite easily

Original source: http://tastykitchen.com/recipes/appetizers-and-snacks/puffcorn-caramel-corn/
(The recipe was also on the back of the puffcorn packages that I bought)

Difficulty 1-5: 2
Results 1-5: 5