Friday, August 24, 2012

Super Simple Snack : Peaches and Cottage Cheese!

It's August, and I have posted before about the super awesome Colorado Peaches at BoB's Produce.  Love them, absolutely without a doubt.

I also really enjoy cottage cheese.

When I was growing up, my mom would have dinner, and would sometimes serve us up for dessert, peaches and cottage cheese.  I actually like it.  She used canned peaches, proabably because that was what she had on hand.  Well, I have fresh, ripe, super juicy Colorado Peaches! 

I ate this a couple of times for breakfast, and a couple of times as an afternoon snack waiting for the Boyfriend to come home.  He's been working until 6:30 lately, and, in order for me to not be starving and cranky, this was a nice mid afternoon snack for me.

Here we have it 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of cottage cheese, and a cut up peach. SO yummy!!
Peach segments and cottage cheese
Peach segments and cottage cheese.
Tonight I made beef kabobs on the grill.  Kabobs are so simple, a great summer time dinner.  Cut up peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, potatoes if you would like, some meat if you are into that. Thread them on some skewers and pop on the grill. Turn every 5 or so until the meat is to your liking. 

I cut up some beef cubes the last night threw some soy sauce, wirshesher, garlic, red pepper flakes and ketchup.  Ahh.. yes, quite odd combination, no idea what I was doing, but thinking, they probably taste good on a piece of meat, right?

Turns out I was right, as per usual. (ha, ha.)

I tossed them in the marinate this morning, and again when I got home from work. Once I knew the Boyfriend was on his way home, I fired up the grill, and while it heated up I threaded the cut up veggies and meat on skewers, and threw them on.  Cooked the kabobs for about 15-20 minutes.  And viola!  Dinner.  I picked up some coleslaw and stuffed mushrooms(to throw on the grill) on my way home too, so we had a little mini feast!
Beef Kabobs
I like my veggies charred.  If you aren't into that, turn the heat down.  It was all so yummy. 

Do you have a go-to marinade recipe to share?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Microwave Caramels

Ohhhhh Pintrest, you are a semi-ridiculous obsession.  If you have not heard of Pintrest, man are you lucky.  Basically what it is, is an online corkboard where you 'pin' things you like.  You can have what I imagine are an unlimited amount of boards. 

A few boards that I have are: Dinner, Let's Do Lunch, Breakfast, Drink Up, Spook-tac-u-lar, Bake Me A Cake, and Winter Wonderland.  They are pretty obvious what I have been pinning to each board.  Basically items that would fall into dinner ideas, get pinned to Dinner, lunch to the Lunch board, and Halloween items to the Spook-tac-u-lar board.  Pretty simp - right?  And super addicting.

I literally can waste about an hour a day on that site, on my nifty little iPhone.  If you know anyone that has a Pintrest account, they can attest, that they waste so much time on it.

Well one day back in March or something I came across a Pin for Microwave Caramels that I pinned to my 'Treat Time' board.  Takes only 6 minutes and five ingredients, and you don't have to fuss with a thermometer.  Perfect, because I don't own one of those anyways. 

So I started out, and I swear I always screw up when a recipe calls for x cups of butter.  Plus I hate when it does not indicate if it's salted or unsalted butter.  I know when you bake, generally you use unsalted, but why can't you just indicate if I should be using salted or unsalted butter in the recipe!!! Shoot.. 

At any rate the recipe calls for a 1/4 cup of butter.  I look at the package it says blah blah 1/4 cup of butter.  Perfect.  So I put the whole stick in.

I start melting the butter and the rest of the ingredients.  And at the 3 minute mark, it looks like there is an awful lot of butter in it, what an oil slick.  I have made taffy and caramel before, and I know this is not going to form a cohesive substance no matter how long I have this in the microwave or let cool.  So I scratch my head and think to myself, Self, what the heck went wrong here....  let's look at this again.. okay, 1/4 cup of butter. I re-read the stick of butter, 4 tbs = 1/4 cup, okay.  Look at the stick again.. oh.... there are 8 tbs in a stick.  Why the heck didn't they just say 1/2 stick of butter!!!

SHOOT. Gosh.  Man, sometimes I wish I could comprehend things better.  Well, let's double this biotch.  So I dump in the rest of the ingredients again, to make it double.  And start heating/stirring it up.  I cooked it a little longer because I needed to make sure it all got hot enough to the boiling or whatever that traditional caramels need... and then I decided I would put some in a couple of silicone ice trays that I had that were in the shapes of stars.  Well, doy.  Of course I am going to burn myself with the extremely hot caramel, why wouldn't I? I mean, I have been doing so well with this super simple recipe so far.

Once I have 12 little silicone stars filled, I dump the rest into the buttered 8 x 8 Pyrex, and throw them all in the fridge.  Other people said they wouldn't leave it in there for 20 minutes, so I kept checking them to see if they were hardened enough. 

Uh. No.  I checked at every 5 minutes for an hour.  They were not hard enough.  Then I moved to checking at every half hour. After 2 hours, they were not solid enough.  I would cut through them with a knife, and they were never solid enough to keep the cuts visible.  So I left them overnight, and put the silicone trays in the freezer.

This morning I checked on them, they were sort of ready?  I pulled them out and cut them, and took each piece out, and layed them seperately on a piece of plastic wrap.  And threw them back in the freezer, because I could see they were wanting to relax, spread out again.
Caramels after being in the freezer all day.
They taste good.  I mean, they are soft.  I think it would be super delish to put over ice cream, or throw on some popcorn, well, maybe the popcorn will be too messy yet, since it never really set up.  But it's good, put it in your coffee for a lovely caramel coffee treat.  But yeah, not worth trying to wrap up in individuals.  Too many things went wrong with this to tell if it's user error, or what.  Plus it's in a microwave, and microwaves vary greatly.

Try a different recipe that I have previously posted, check out the ones that are not a fail in my book.
I might make this and then a fudge sauce and then put them in some jars, and give as Christmas gifts or something for an ice cream topping gift.  It really would be good.

The silicones?  I threw them away, caramel stuff and all.

So.  Fail for what I wanted them to be.  But success for ice cream or coffee.  Have you tried this recipe?

*Update*  I dipped the frozen caramels in melted chocolate, to see if the chocolate would hold them together to make them something you could put in a dish or something, it sort of worked, I should have made sure I had a thick coating on them.  The caramel was soft like in a Milky Way bar.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Visitors and the Museum

The Boyfriend's car had some sort of serious issue this week.  I am not a mechanic, and quite frankly, not going to lie, I don't really care what the problem was.  His best friend and his son came over on Friday night and started to fix the issue.  Now, the Boyfriend's best friend's kid is like 9 or something. I have no idea really, old enough to the point where he should be able to control himself, or at least figure out how to be calm.  He doesn't.  The kid isn't a bad kid, just has a hard time being good.

On Friday the kid and I played Uno, and there was a little bit of cheating going on, so, I had to end that.  Otherwise the kid wanted to talk about his DS game.. not sure which one.. but he is very passionate about all the cool things it can do.  I asked him if he wanted to go find the park or something, but he replied he was more of an 'indoor kid'.  I asked what that was, he said I just like to be indoors, I asked why, he said because that's where all his video games are.  Well, that does make sense.  He said his grandma will sometimes tell him to go outside though.  I asked if he had ever been out of breath before, he asked what that was.  Slight problem there..

But anyways, the guys weren't done playing car mechanic on Friday night, the Boyfriend had to work on Saturday, so I knew the kid would be heading over with his dad, not a huge problem, but I have to figure out how we are going to be entertained together, I figured he was old enough to cook or something, so I hatched a plan.

When they came over, I heard some more about his video games and what not, and then I asked him if he liked to cook.  I am not saying everyone who is an indoor person has to like to cook (but what the heck are you doing inside all day if you aren't cooking?!).  But I figured if we worked on creating something, rather than being destructive, than it was okay in my book.  What is one of the simplest things to make?  Well, heck, Rice Krispies!  But, I didn't have any of those, what I did have though, were Peanut Butter Cheerio's that did not have a very strong peanut butter flavor.  So, let's make PB Cheerio Bars!
Peanut Butter Cheerio Bar
Behold, the magic of peanut butter!
It's basically the traditional Peanut Butter Rice Krispy Bar Recipe but made with Cheerios instead.  I had him measure out the marshmallows and the cheerios. And stir it all together.  You can see the full PB Cheerio Bar recipe here.

I had to put them in the freezer to get them to harden, because it didn't take the Boyfriend and his best friend to finish whatever it was that they were doing.  I was baking some boxed cupcakes to hopefully frost with the kid too, but he left before they were really ready.

I had made some Crock-Pot Chicken Taco meat earlier in the day, threw in some extra jalapenos to use to make Chicken Tostadas, I had some cilantro, and threw on some extra salsa and Queso Blanco for extra goodness.
Crock-Pot Chicken Tostadas
Chicken Tostadas
I asked if anyone wanted any, no one did, it was 7pm, and I was starving, more for me then!  So I ate mine, it was SO filling!! You kind of eat it like a pizza.  When the Boyfriend ate some later on, he crushed up the tostadas, and poured everything on it, threw on some regular shredded cheese, added some sour cream, and ate it that way.

I also frosted those cupcakes once they were cooled.  I used my ultimate favorite Rainbow Chip Frosting by Betty Crocker, which is surprisingly hard to find where I live.  When I go down to Southern Minnesota, I stop in at a store in Bricelyn to pick some up.  And since I was there last weekend, it only made sense that I would come home with some.  But that means, I needed to use up an older container that I bought apparently in the Spring, since it was called Spring Chip, date was good, so let's slap it on some cupcakes.
Yellow Cupcake with Spring Chip Frosting
I ended up bringing the cupcakes with me to a picnic with my little sister and her son.  We went to the Children's Museum on Target's Free Sunday.  The Children's Museum was listed in Parent's Magazine 10 Best Children's Museum in 2011.  It was good entertainment for the Nephew (he's just over 2 now).  I will say this, I wish I could go when there were no kids there, then I could get everything to work like it should.. me and my adult sized brain can figure it out all on my own! 

After the museum we went back to the parking ramp, and ate sandwiches, veggies crackers and juice and my cupcakes.  Yes, we ate IN the parking ramp, in the corner on a blanket, next time I think I will suggest bringing outdoor chairs.  I sent her home with some extra PB Cheerio Bars to share with my dad.  I transported the cupcakes in upside down Tupperware.  You can sort of see it in the photo.  It worked out decently.

On a side note, my older sister had her 3rd kid on Wednesday. So now she has a 12 (girl), 6(boy) and newborn(boy).  That's really all there is to say about that.

Do you have a better way to transport goodies?  Do share!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Cream Cheese Poundcake

Well I had been trolling blogs earlier in the week, and came upon a recipe for Cream Cheese Pound Cake.  I had a slice of Lemon Pound Cake the week prior from a gal at work, and it was pretty good.  So I figured, I should make one.  And with cream cheese?  Sounds even better. 

I gathered up all the ingredients and put it together.  I will say I followed what she said, but it took forever to bake.  Literally. FOR-EV-ER.

True story.  I don't think it was worth it.  The crusty part on the bottom was tasty, I cut it off, because it wasn't sitting correctly.  And cut it up, whipped up some heavy cream with some sugar, and served it with strawberries.
Pound Cake
Cream Cheese Pound Cake with whipped cream and strawberries.
Like I said, I don't think it was worth it, and will not make it again.  Maybe I am not a pound cake person.  I just didn't understand why people always say how much they love a pound cake, but how it is so fattening that they don't eat it very often.

I am just not going to eat it very often in general. 

But on the plus side, I did make some pretty good whipped cream.  It may not have been very stiff, but I really wanted to avoid the problem I had when I made my Magic Strawberry Ice Cream, where I turned it halfway into butter..

I didn't throw it away (even though I wanted to), I brought it to work and left it in the galley, a.k.a. the magic area where everything gets eaten. Were you looking forward to trying a new recipe only to find out that you wanted to throw it away once it was finished?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Birthday Party!

This past weekend was the Boyfriend's sister in law and good family friend's birthday celebration.  Their birthdays are 1 day apart, and they share a bunch of mutual friends (ha - and probably family members), so it really only makes sense to have a joint birthday party!

The birthday party was super fun, had a great time, and met a couple more of my Boyfriend's Southern MN friends.  Got to catch up with the Boyfriend's family, and play Corn Hole.  Which I ABSOLUTELY love.  I love lawn games.  I think there might have been some miss calculation of the score, so if you are playing, I definitely recommend having a score board of some sort.  Here is a site I found on how to make a few different score boards, and with drink holders no less!

Growing up, as a family, we rarely showed up with out anything to share.  I sent a text to the Boyfriend's sister in law, and she said bring a yummy dessert.  AWESOME!  I have been waiting for a reason to make Oreo Truffles.  I know they are extremely unhealthy, and make a ton of servings, so it would be best for me to have a reason to bring them somewhere before making them.  So that is exactly what I did!
Peanut Butter Oreo Truffle
Yummy Peanut Butter Oreo Truffle!
I couldn't decide what flavor of Oreo to use.  But it was a Birthday Party! So I made two different batches.  One batch was made with Birthday Cake Oreo Cookies, and the other was with Peanut Butter Oreo Cookies.  How AWESOME!

Basically you take a package of cookies, crush them into a fine powder, and mix in 8 oz. of cream cheese, form them into balls.
Oreo Truffle Base
Oreo Cookie Truffle Base
Dip each ball into melted chocolate (I used Bakers White Chocolate), sprinkle something to make them prettier on top, and DEVOUR!   Wait, I mean package up so others can enjoy!
Melted Chocolate and Oreo Truffles
Dipping the Oreo Truffles in melted chocolate
I put sprinkles on the Birthday Cake Oreo Truffles, and mini semi sweet chocolate chips on the Peanut Butter Oreo Truffles, so that I could tell them apart from one another.  They were so good!  And were devoured pretty quickly at the party. 

I will say this, they were a little putzy, I found a rhythm once I started dipping, and you can certainly tell that I dipped the Birthday Cake Oreo Truffles first, but I would make again, for sure!  You can find more information about the Oreo Truffles and other recipes over on my Recipe Page too!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Focaccia Bread

I first made this recipe last year, and I absolutely loved it.  And have been wanting to make it again ever since.

I love the America's Test Kitchen TV show on PBS, and their cookbooks.  America's Test Kitchen does the Cook's Country show also, but I like America's Test Kitchen more for some reason. I greatly enjoy how they break things down and tell you why things are the way they are, what they did to make it better, and how you can re-create things on your own at home.

The show has a Rosemary Focaccia bread.  I don't buy Rosemary, and didn't bother with it either time I made this.  I just used the Italian Seasonings grinder that I already own.  I used it on the big grinder setting, and then I twist it to a small grind halfway through, so I can get a big bits, and little bits on my bread.  I don't know if it makes that much of a difference?  But I do it anyways.

You can find the recipe for Focaccia Bread on my recipe page.  You can also view it on America's Test Kitchen site too!

I will admit I made the Biga, let it set for 24 hours, and then threw it in the fridge this time, and on the 3rd day, I made the focaccia.  It still was delicious.  When I first made it, I had cheese on it, and then this time, I forgot the cheese at the store.  I liked it more when I had the cheese.
Focaccia dough
Dough and seasonings waiting for the oven.
Focaccia witch cheese and pasta!
Focaccia without cheese
Focaccia without cheese.

Focaccia with cheese
Close up with the cheese!
I love spending my Saturday mornings watching all the cooking shows on PBS.  I don't have cable, otherwise I am sure I would watch a TON of cooking shows.  But I am sure I would always tune in to America's Test Kitchen.

Is there a cooking show that you love?  Let me know you try this recipe! (or well, any of the recipe's I have posted)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Cookies - 2 Ways

My Cookie Jar I found at Goodwill a few months ago!
The temperature has died down today, and I thought that was for sure a reason to start up and use the oven!    So I did.  I knew I had leftover white chocolate chips from when I made Magic Strawberry Ice Cream, and didn't have much to do with them.  I also *might* have opened up a bag of dark chocolate & mint chips.. so.. I should use those up too!

So I made up a batch and a half of Hershey's Chocolate Cookies, and split it in two batches.  I poured most of a bag of white chips in one bowl.  And then I poured most of a bag of Hershey's Dark Chocolate and Mint Chips into the other.  Formed them into balls (about 2 tbsp.) and then I pulled the dough ball apart turned the two halves a quarter turn, and pushed together to look like this:
Forming a rough edged cookie - changes the look of an end product!
By doing the pull - twist and push process, it makes it so the baked cookie doesn't look so store bought, but rather more like a home made cookie!  I did this with both batters, the White Chocolate Chip Chocolate Cookes, and the Dark Chocolate and Mint Chip Chocolate Chip Cookies.

White Chocolate Chip Chocolate Cookie
See the top of the cookie? It is not smooth like when you roll it in a ball and plop it on the sheet.

Here is a photo of the end product of the Dark Chocolate and Mint Chip cookies.  The flavor isn't bad, it kind of tastes like if you were to chop up Andes Mints and mix that into the batter.  Because of the mint, I think it makes it hard to eat these in multiples. But, that's not such a bad thing really.
Dark Chocolate and Mint Chip Chocolate Cookie
I have posted the recipes on my recipe page, check out some of the other items too!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Colorado Peaches!

The peaches are here!
Fresh Colorado Peaches
They were fantastic, I ate 3 the day I bought them.  I set this bowl out on my desk, and people at first were reluctant to grab one, but then I walked away, and swoosh - 2 hours later, there were none left.

These are incredibly juicy, and no lie, I eat them over a sink or or while at work, over a garbage can.

I am going to pick up more, unfortunately with work being so hectic, I haven't been getting out of work on time, and then just want to go home.  I will make sure I get a bunch more though, I would like to try freezing some, and also make a lattice topped pie.  With store bought pie crust.

Last week because of the time I had to put in at work, the Boyfriend was in charge of chow for dinner.

He didn't do too bad, we had Cub's fried chicken deal on Monday, and then pizza, pork chops and kielbasa.  We didn't starve, which is always good.

Since we made it through the week in one piece, I treated him to the movies.  We saw Men in Black III.  It wasn't as good as I remember the first 2 movies, which is a little sad.

But what happened during the movie is what is more annoying. The gal next to me had just drenched herself in Este Lauder perfume, and after she had been eating her popcorn she stops, and busts out the scented anti-bacterial solution.  Okay, lady, public place, can you lay off the scents, it's not like I can walk away. 

And then there was the guy and his companion (maybe his kid, maybe not).  When something would happen (throughout the movie), he would tell his kid, see he just realized he needed to do that for this... MAN - stop it.  And then three-quarters of the way through, the kid person, put their feet up on the seat and basically shoved/kicked the Boyfriend in the shoulder.  My Boyfriend got pretty ticked, but handled it appropriately. 

Needless to say, the movie was okay, but the experience negated the movie a little more.

Have you ever had to shush a fellow movie goer?  How did you handle it?