Friday, May 30, 2014

Frozen Golden Oreo Lemon Yum

There's just something about Golden Oreos and lemon that pair so nicely together.  

Then add frozen Cool Whip to the mix?


I decided to make a whole huge dessert out of this and prepare it in a 9" Springform pan.  I did this basically because I only had a 8x8 pan, so my 9" springform pan was the only dish that was large enough.  I bought a 16 oz container of Cool Whip so I decided to use all of that instead of the 12 oz the original recipe called for.  I filled the spring form pan all the way to the top.

This made for lovely slices of "cake" that was nearly like ice cream.

Frozen Golden Oreo Lemon Yum adapted from Crazy For Crust
36 Golden Oreos, divided (This is one full package.  I may have only used 35 cookies because one might have fallen into my mouth.)
3 T butter, very soft
1 box (3.4 ounces) french vanilla pudding (you can switch up the pudding flavor if you prefer)
1 c unsweetened vanilla almond milk
18oz Cool Whip
1 cup lemon curd (jarred or homemade) (I used some homemade stuff that never thickened properly, but wound up working great)

Place 20 cookies in a gallon sized plastic zip bag. Seal bag except for 1 corner so air can escape and mash with a rolling pin to coarsely crush cookies. Place cookies and butter in lg bowl. Mix til combined. Place in bottom of 9” springform pan.  Wipe out bowl and add pudding mix and milk. Whisk til smooth and set aside for 2 min. Fold in heaping 1 c cool whip. Carefully spread over cookies in pan. Crush all but 2 remaining cookies in a new zip bag. Sprinkle over pudding.  Mix lemon curd gently with heaping cup cool whip. Spread over pudding. Spread remaining whipped topping over the curd mixture. Coarsely crush remaining 2 cookies and sprinkle over top.  Cover with plastic wrap and freeze overnight.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Vegan Lemon Curd

I attempted to make vegan lemon curd from this recipe via Lunchbox bunch.

It didn't turn out exactly as I'd hoped.

While it was good, it never set up like it should have so it was more like a thick lemon glaze.

It was still tasty.  I used it in a frozen dessert instead of as a topping for toast. 

Vegan Lemon Curd Spread via lunch box bunch makes 1 1/4 cups
1/2 cup almond milk, vanilla
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp corn starch
6 T sugar
6 T fresh lemon juice
1 t lemon zest
5 T vegan buttery spread
pinch of salt

Dissolve corn starch in the cold soy milk and water in pot. Turn heat to med-high and continuously stir. Add in spread, juice and sugar and continue to stir until mixture starts to bubble and thicken. Reduce heat to low and beat with a hand-held beater for about 90 sec.Transfer mixture to serving dish and refrigerate until chilled. Store in fridge and eat in 2-3 days.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Spanish Rice

We had tacos one night and I thought some Spanish rice would make a nice side dish. 


I'd never made Spanish rice before so I took this recipe from Very Culinary and mashed it together with this one from Sunny Simple Life.

Spanish Rice
1.5 c uncooked rice
2T oil
1 onion, diced small
2 red pepper, chopped small
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 T tomato paste
2.5 c water (I added drained juices from rotel to make up part of this measurement)
1 can Medium Rotel
2 t cumin
scant 1/2 t salt
1/4 t chili powder

Saute rice, onion, pepper, garlic, and tomato paste in oil until rice is slightly browned.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer 15 min, covered.  Let sit 5 min covered, off of heat.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Pepper and Pepperoni Pasta

I've gotten in a bad rut of not taking photos again.  What can you do eh?


I made this dish for a dinner that my husband went to at church.  It went over so well that I got asked for the recipe. 

While it's a simple dish in that it's easy to make, it's not something I'd prepare on a regular basis.  It had a lot of ingredients that I don't normally buy.

I only made some very minor changes to this recipe.  First, I pre roasted and peeled the red peppers.  I hate the skins on peppers so that was my reasoning for that.  I swapped out the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses for a preshredded Italian blend that contained those cheeses in addition to a few others.  Finally I halved the pepperonis so they were a bit more evenly distributed when the dish was served.

Pepperoni and Pepper Pasta adapted from Half Baked Harvest

1 lb angel hair pasta, broken in half
1/3 c olive oil
1 T dried basil
2 t dried oregano
1 t dried parsley
1 t dried dill
1/2 t crushed red pepper
1/2 t pepper
1/4 t salt
heaping 1/3 c kalamata olives, halved
1/3 c oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained of excess oil, reserving oil-sliced
2 c shredded Italian blend cheese.
4 red bell peppers, roasted and peeled then slicced
Pepperonis-halved (enough to cover the top of the dish)

Preheat oven to 375 F. Boil pasta until al dente. Drain well. While water comes to a boil add olive oil (make sure oil covers entire bottom of baking dish, if not add more oil), dried basil, dried parsley, dried oregano, dried dill, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper to a 9 x 13 baking dish. To baking dish add 3/4 pasta, olives,and sliced tomatoes. Toss well. Drizzle pasta with reserved oil from  sun-dried tomato jar. If pasta seems a little oily add in a little more angel hair or if you would like to use all  pasta be sure to add more oil to evenly coat all pasta. Add 1/2 cheese and scatter sliced peppers over top.  Top with remaining cheese, pepperoni and another drizzle of oil. Bake 45-60 min til top browned.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Crockpot Fruity Ham

I made ham in the crockpot!  Like most crockpot recipes, it was super mega easy.

Here's what you need:

8or so lb bone in ham
1 c brown sugar
1/2 c maple syrup
2 c orange peach mango juice

Put the ham in the crockpot, flat side down.  Slather on the brown sugar.  Pour syrup and juice over the top.  Cover and cook 8 hrs, basting every few hours.

The fruit juice gives the ham a fun fruity flavor, while cooking the meat in the crockpot makes it tender and moist. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Turkey Pot Pie

The pie crust recipe I used to make the Fauxberry Pie for April Fools made two crusts.  I decided to make Pioneer Woman's Turkey pot pie with the extra one I had stored in the fridge.

I'd never made any kind of pot pie that didn't come out of a cardboard box, so I was pretty excited about how this one turned out.

The recipe calls for a 2 quart casserole dish.  As I added extra veggies (corn and peas), my pie filling no longer fit in a 2 quart container!  I used the next biggest dish which held 3 qts, my 9x13 baking dish.  I just rolled the dough out thinner and longer to make do.

For some reason my pie crust just wouldn't brown like The Pioneer Woman's did.  I even baked it for an additional 20 min.  Even upon reheating the leftovers in the oven at 350F for 20 min, my crust didn't get that deep dark golden tan.  Looks aside this Turkey pot pie was scrumptious. The reheated leftovers were even better than the ones served on the first day.  The filling that had oozed out the side got this crust on it that was super yummy.  Just writing about it is making me salivate!

I will definitely make this dish again!

Turkey Pot Pie from Pioneer Woman
4 T Butter
1/2 c Finely Diced Onion
1/2 c Finely Diced Carrot
1/2 c Finely Diced Celery
(A few handfuls of frozen corn and/or peas if desired)
3 c Shredded Cooked Chicken Or Turkey
1/4 c Flour
3 c Low-sodium Chicken Broth, Plus More If Needed
Splash Of White Wine (optional) - I omitted because I didn't have any on hand
1/4 t Turmeric
Salt And Pepper, to taste
Chopped Fresh Thyme To Taste (I used a few shakes of dried thyme instead)
1/4 c Half-and-half Or Cream
1 whole Unbaked Pie Crust
1 whole Egg
2 TWater

Preheat oven to 375 F. Melt butter in a large pot over med-high heat, then add the onion, carrots, and celery. Stir them around until the onions start to turn translucent, about 3 min. Stir in meat, then sprinkle flour over top and stir til combined . Cook for 1 min, then add  broth (and wine if using) and stir it around and let it cook and thicken. Once it starts to thicken add turmeric, salt, pepper, and thyme (and frozen veggies, if using). Add half-and-half or cream, then stir and let thicken, about 3 min. If it seems overly thick, splash in a little more broth. Turn off heat. Pour filling into 2 (or 3)-quart baking dish. Roll out pie crust on a floured surface and lay it over  top of dish. Press dough so edges stick to outside of pan. Use a knife to cut little vents here and there in the surface of the dough. Mix egg with water and brush over surface of crust. (You will have some egg wash left over.)

Place pie on a rimmed baking sheet and bake 25-30 min, til crust is deep golden brown and filling is bubbly. To prevent crust from getting too brown, you might want to cover it lightly with foil for  first 15 min baking time (I omitted this step).

Friday, May 16, 2014

Hot Mess Circus Donuts

I got sick of grazing on Easter jelly beans so I thought I should make something out of them to be done with them in one fell swoop.  After much searching I settled on these Jelly Bean Donuts from Melanie Makes.

Oh. My. Word.

What a hot mess they turned out to be.

First, they stuck to the pan and broke apart as a result of the stickage.  Second, the ratio of jelly beans to donut was way way off.  There were more beans than cakey donut!  Third, the jelly beans got so chewy after baking it was almost like eating taffy.  Last of all, they just looked plain ugly.


Hot mess.

I think they look like a circus threw up on them.

Blockette thought they were great.  Mrblocko and I not so much.

Here's what might have went wrong:

First, I made quite a few substitutions.  I had cream in the fridge that needed to be used up so I used that instead of milk.  I also used sour cream instead of yogurt.  This may have made the batter thicker than it should have been.  The thing is that the actual donut part tasted great, so I'm pretty sure these substitutions were not the problem. 

I also don't think these substitutions would have made a difference in the volume of batter.  The donuts on Melanie Makes look the same size as the ones I made, however her recipe states that it makes 12 donuts.  I only got 6.

The substitution that may have caused the biggest problem was the jelly beans.  Her recipe calls for Laffy Taffy Jelly beans.  Mine were some other brand.  Perhaps Laffy Taffy Jelly beans react differently to baking than the brand I used. (I think it was Jolly Rancher flavored Jelly Beans.)

Second, I think the jelly beans may have been better if they had been chopped up in the dough.  Maybe they would have dissolved a little bit more upon baking.

Third, there were just too many jelly beans.  If I were a brave baker, I'd use 1/2 c of jelly beans instead of the 1 c the recipe calls for. 

Let me know if you are bold enough to test out these theories.  I promised my husband that I would NEVER make these donuts again.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Luna's Scarf

The older I get the more I identify with Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter.  I used to think I was most like Hermione.  After several years of being a mega Harry Potter fan, I've come to the realization I have more in common with Luna.  She's smart AND weird. Moreover, she's cool with her weird quirks, even oblivious.  She doesn't really fit in much of anywhere, but is extremely loyal to her true friends. 

Yup. That's me.

Naturally, when I saw a pattern, on craftster, for the scarf that Luna wears in "Order of the Phoenix" I went completely gaga.  I went out the next day in search of the perfect yarn.

Well, I couldn't find the perfect yarn so I settled on Bernat Softee Baby in the Flannel color.  This yarn is classified as a light or 3.  Even though the yarn is thinner than the suggested yarn I thought my scarf was getting too wide compared to the one Luna wore.  I omitted one of the center most rows.  I still think this scarf is too wide in comparison to the original.

You can see my scarf is as wide as Luna's, even with the missing row.
Here's a closeup of the missing ladder type row.  If you look carefully at the picture of Luna you can see her scarf has two of these rows.

If I could have found it, I think a sock weight, or even a finger weight yarn, and a smaller hook would have replicated the scarf better.  Alas, I could not find anything that was not made of wool in a grey I liked.

All things aside, I love how this scarf turned out.  It's a really soft and comfy fashion scarf for spring and winter.

Head to Craftster for the wonderful pattern.   The creator of the pattern has written instructions and a chart which are super easy to follow.

Monday, May 12, 2014

How I survivied the winter

Leg warmers.

Yes!  Leg warmers!

This pattern is from Cobbler's Cabin. I used Claret Red Heart Super Saver Yarn  with an H hook for the main part of the leg warmer, and switched to an F hook for the upper and lower ribbing.  I made one legwarmer using just an H hook and the ribbing was much too loose to stay on my legs, even over jeans.

I followed the pattern as is, and as you can see by the below picture they are as long as my short stumpy legs.  I'm only 5'2" so if you aren't a shorty short pants like me, they will be much longer on you. 

These babies are super warm.  After that first sub zero stretch we had at the beginning of the winter, I knew we were in for some freakishly frigid weather.  Even though I was wearing 2 pairs of long underwear, jeans, and a pair of my husbands fleece pajama pants under my full length down coat, my legs were still really cold after 5 min of outdoor exposure.  This extra layer was so warm, it made being outside bearable for just a bit longer. 

As it got warmer, and more like a normal winter, I opted to wear the legwarmers instead of long underwear.  It just made getting dressed for work so much easier.  For me, the legwarmers were as warm as 2 layers of silk long underwear pants.

I luv my legwarmers!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Viscose Pie

Viscose pie?  What in the world is that?  

It's my feeble attempt at being clever.  
Viscose is the European word for Rayon, or synthetic silk.  
And today's pie is a fake French Silk Pie.  

Yeah, I promise I won't quit my day job. 

I got the idea for this pie when I made Avocado Pudding back in February.  I kept murdering the avocados with neglect, so it took me a while to get around to actually making the pie.

My husband and daughter absolutely LOVED this pie.  I thought it was just ok.  Even though they both knew that it contained Avocado, they each claimed they couldn't taste it.  I, on the other hand, could taste it occasionally, which weirded me out.  It's not like there were big chunks of the green fruit in the pie filling.  The filling was 100% chocolatey brown.  I couldn't figure out why it tasted like I occasionally got a big bite of avocado. 

Perhaps my avocado to sugar ratio was off.  Comparatively, the avocados I used for the pudding were much much smaller than those I used for the pie.  I also used honey this time, instead of syrup.  The syrup had a much stronger flavor, and I think it did a better job of masking the avocado in the pudding than the honey did in the pie. 

Viscose Pie 
6T butter, melted
10 cinnamon graham crackers, crushed into fine crumbs (I used the food processor)
1/4c dark chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli)
2 avocados, pitted and rough chopped
1/4 c high quality cocoa (I like Penzeys)
1/4 c + 1 T maple syrup or honey
1/4 c + 1T chambord (or Baileys or Kahlua)
1/4 t kosher salt
2 T milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond)
8 oz cool whip
more chocolate for decoration

Preheat oven to 375F.  Combine butter and crumbs and press into 8 1/2" pie pan.  Bake for 8-10 min.  Let the shell cool completely before filling.

Melt chips in microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring after each time, until fully melted.  Stir in Cocoa powder.  (This prevents the cocoa from becoming a dusty mess when the food processor is turned on.) Place the chocolate in food processor with avocados, syrup, salt, booze and milk.  Blend until even color and super smooth.  Place in large bowl and fold in 1/2 of the cool whip.  Pour this mixture into the pie shell.  Top with remaining cool whip and additional chopped chocolate if desired.  Chill for at least an hour, but the pie tastes better the next day.  Store leftovers in the fridge.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

PBJ Bars

Have you ever had one of those cravings that just hits you out of the blue?  The other day I had a massive crave attack of the peanut butter jelly variety.  This is quite peculiar for me as I am not a jelly lover.  Peanut butter, yes.  Jelly?  Not so much.

But on this occasion my brain INSISTED my belly needed a sweet treat with both 
peanut butter 
I searched through quite a bit of recipes, but some of them contained one or more ingredients that I didn't have in the pantry, or made a 9x13 pan.  I wanted a small batch so there would be minimal leftovers to tempt me the remainder of the week. 

This recipe for Peanut butter jelly bars, from The Gunny Sack made only a 8x8 pan and the ingredients I didn't have, I was able to successfully change around.

The recipe calls for a whole cup of peanut butter chips.  I only had about 1/4 c of peanut butter chips on hand, so I swapped out the remainder of the chips for 1/4 c chopped roasted peanuts and 1/2 c old fashioned/rolled oats. 

I absolutely loved this substitution!

A whole cup of peanut butter chips, in my opinion, would have made the bars overly sweet.  The saltiness from the added nuts also helped to balance the sweet in the bars.  I also think the oats gave the bars a feel that was some where between granola and an oatmeal cookie.  Double win!

Even Mrblocko, who is not the biggest fan of peanut butter desserts, gave these bars the double thumbs up. 

PBJ Bars adapted from The Gunny Sack
1 white or yellow cake mix (I used yellow)
2 eggs
1/3 c veg oil
1/2 c peanut butter (I used creamy)
1/2 c strawberry jelly
1/4 c peanut butter chips
1/4 c salted, roasted peanuts, chopped
1/2 c old fashioned or rolled oats

Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix cake mix, eggs, oil and peanut butter. Set aside 1/2 c of mixture. Press remaining mix into parchment lined, greased 8x8 pan. Spread jelly over crust in pan. Mix 1/2 c cookie mix with peanut butter chips, peanuts and oats until large crumbles appear. Sprinkle crumbles evenly over jelly topped crust. Bake 20-25 min until light brown on edges.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Deviled Egg Spread

I love deviled eggs.  

Sadly, I'm cursed with the "I can't peel an egg" gene.

They wind up looking like Freddy Kruger or Edward Scissorhands had a go at them.

It's really rather disturbing to look at.  Sort of like this cartoon.

C'mon.  Admit it.  It made you chuckle.

With this dip, you don't have to worry about how the eggs look when you peel them because you're just going to hack them up anyway.

Oh sure, you could call it egg salad, but Deviled Egg Spread tastes and sounds so much more fancy schmancy.

Deviled Egg Spread from The Cutting Edge
1 dozen large eggs
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
Salt & pepper
Paprika for dusting

In large pan, cover eggs with cold water; make sure water is  an inch above eggs. Add vinegar. Bring to rapid boil. Cover pan and remove from heat. Let stand 15 min. Drain water from eggs and cool under cold running water. Shake pan vigorously to crack shells. Let eggs cool in water.

Shell eggs and halve them lengthwise. Coarsely chop half egg whites and transfer to large bowl. Add remaining white and all yolks to food processor with mayo and mustard. Process til smooth. Scrape mix into bowl and blend with chopped egg whites. Season with salt and pepper and top with paprika.  Can be made ahead and refrigerated overnight.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Avocado Tuna Melt

One of Blockette's least favorite dinners is the tuna melt.  What I normally do is take some ranch dressing, mix it up with tuna, and top it with cheese.  Sometimes I put it over a baked potato instead of a sandwich.  She hates that too.

She must not be part tiger.
I asked her what she thought of this recipe from The Kitchen Paper, and she said she was willing to try it.  She thought the avocado would make the tuna taste better. 

When I tasted it I was worried she would turn her nose up at it.  My strange child does not like pickles either.  Even though there is not a lot of pickle relish in it, I thought the pickle flavor was quite strong.  Apparently, avocado is magic. 

She even gave a cheer the day I told her we were having it as leftovers.  Actually, her reaction was more like this:
If you want to take any sandwich to the next level, make this multi-grain bread.  It's totally amazeballs.  It may also have had something to do with Blockette's excitement toward tuna sandwich leftovers.

I tripled the recipe so we would have leftovers, but below is a recipe for a single serving.

Avocado Tuna Sandwich from The Kitchen Paper serves 1
1 6-oz can of tuna
2 T mayo
1 T prepared yellow mustard
1-2 T dill pickle relish
1 t lemon juice
1 splash hot sauce
2 T minced onion
salt and pepper to taste
1 slice of bread
¼ avocado
1 slice of cheddar cheese

Drain liquid from tuna, and combine with mayo, mustard, relish, lemon juice, hot sauce, and minced onion, adding more mayo if needed.  Season with salt and pepper. Toast bread, then spread on the avocado. Top with tuna mix, then cheese.  Broil 3-5 min til cheese is melted and browned to your liking.