a new toy

I am really nerdy about grocery lists. I plan out our meals for the week and optimize our ingredients. Every week, I make our list and email it to my guy for approval and revisions. I think it is a skill that may come in handy someday, especially once we have a growing family.

I have been anxiously awaiting my new cookbook all week. I am really excited to take my hobby to the next level.

new cookbook


tomato and basil salad dressing

Maybe it was the recent long weekend or the longer days, but I feel like time is moving slower lately. We have been enjoying the time by putting more effort into our meals. I even made salad dressing. Salad dressing. Not a baked good.

This salad dressing was basically like salad salsa. It was chopped up tomatoes, basil, and green onion. A little garlic, salt, pepper, red wine vinegar, and oil. Shake it all up in a jar. We put it on a salad of spring mix, white beans, and red pepper. Fancy, right??

salad dressing2 salad dressing1 salad dressing3 salad dressing 6 salad dressing4


following the recipe

While I was making some cookies tonight (and eating waaaay too much dough), I starting thinking about following recipes.

There is something very calming to me about following a recipe. I think it is a control thing. You can measure and mix according to instructions, and it will come out as a finished product (and you can add your own flair here and there).

pudcookies

It is also a little connection to home and family. I can follow a recipe given to me by my ma, knowing that her ma, and the ma’s before her, have all made the same thing. Its like you can taste the love.

But when I was making cookies tonight, I thought about trying to make something without a recipe. Cookies sans recipe. I know the basic ingredients and mixing order, but it could be a total disaster. Or it could be awesome. And something I could pass down for years to come.

 


tiny pies

My ma gave me a fun mini pie pan (like this kind) for a gift. Because I like pie and tiny things. We made some tiny apple pies to test it out while I was home.

They turned out great! Plus, it was fun to say that we were eating half of a whole pie. But I will definitely make the top crust a little larger than the cutter next time, since I like a more robust pie.

I could see these being a cute dessert choice at the wedding! Who wouldn’t drop dead at the sight of a big plate of tiny pies??!!

tiny pietiny pie2tiny pie1


off to a good start

We got the year started off right with a recipe from my “new” Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book. It is full of recipes that I can’t wait to try, but we started with the Butterscotch Brownies. They are simple, chewy, and good in all the right places.

I really love old school cookbooks. I get lost in the little stories and history behind the recipes.

butterscotch brownies 2butterscotch brownie 1

Also, thank you to my panda, who got me this sweet chalkboard plate for Christmas. I am still figuring out how to write neatly with the chalk.


christmas candy

For our Christmas goody bags this year, we went with a selection of candy. I have only made a couple kinds of candy before, so it was fun to experiment. Secret: candy making really isn’t all that hard.

We made gingerbread caramels (on which I burned my thumb very badly…). It was so satisfying to wrap the little squares in parchment.caramel

We made gingerbread cookie ornaments (not candy, but still in our goody bags). I actually had to put a label that said the cookie was for your tree, not your mouth. But, despite the presence of a piece of ribbon going through a hole in its head, people still ate it!gingerbread man

We made sweet and spicy peanut brittle, which turned out really delicious.peanut brittle

And we made candied citrus peels, because we are engaged now, and these seem more grown-up and fancy.candied citrus


Another good idea stolen by someone else

So this weekend while the Girl was baking up a storm, I had an idea that someone should be making phone and tablet accessories that protected people’s devices while they used them to look up recipes and cook in the kitchen! I had thought I was on to something because when I searched for the phrase “case for phone while cooking or baking” it returned limited results that appeared promising to me that I might have stumbled across an untapped market…

Screen Shot 2012-12-09 at 10.32.53 PMThat is until I found www.chefsleeve.com which looks like they have a fairly good stranglehold on the cooking/baking protective cases for the iPad and iPhone. I have to admit that their cutting board with iPad holder is simple, yet ingenius…

Screen Shot 2012-12-09 at 10.36.34 PMOh well! Maybe there’s still time for me to tap into the Android market…


my first pecan pie

My reasons for making a pie were threefold:

  1. We just got engaged, so we can do whatever we want.
  2. My fiance’s favorite kind of pie is pecan pie, and I need to learn how to make one for him.
  3. I have been having trouble with my pie crusts, and after watching the master make turkey day pies, I really thought I could conquer the crust.

I wish I could say that it was equal part all those reasons, but I won’t lie. It was mostly because I wanted to make a perfect pie crust.

pie crust 1pie crust 2pie crust 3

I know. I could weep with joy. It turned out exactly right. The pecan part of the pie wasn’t too shabby either.pecan pie


conquering the donut fear

I have had a mild, if not severe, donut infatuation for a while now. I have played with some of the baked kinds, but really, the money is in the actual fried in oil kind. We bought a huge jug of oil several months ago, but I have been scared to try it. Because according to all moms on earth, oil is hot and it will burn me.

But guess what? It really wasn’t that bad. I prepared this recipe here (but I think we will try a different recipe next time).  I am guessing that unless you burn them, bits of fried dough dipped in cinnamon sugar are by definition delicious.

It said not to crowd them in the oil, so we gave them plenty of space. They don’t like friends, since they know they are going to be eaten very quickly.

I actually made the dough twice because I thought I messed the first batch up, which I didn’t, so we ended up with 5,000 donuts. Towards the end of our double batch of dough, we got a little creative with our shapes. The snail shell one turned out the best.


lucky girl

I know I am a lucky girl to have such a sweet boy. He surprised me with beautiful amaryllis measuring cups. Because he loves me. : )


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