Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Cheep Tix

Good news everyone!

Yankees Reduce Prices From "Highway Robbery" To "Alleyway Mugging"

So all those Yankee tickets noone could afford before....are the same price, so we still can't afford them! Sweet.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

New Year Oreos

Yeah, I know it's not the new year, but these cookies were made and consumed New Years Day, and they were great, so I want to post them. Courtesy of Smitten Kitchen, they are Homemade Oreos. Just like the original, it's a crispy chocolatey wafer cookie with a creme filling. On New Years Day we had a small get-together, and a friend and I made these for everyone. They were pretty fast to make, and they went pretty fast when eaten. I did not have enough confectioners sugar to make the filling properly (faux PAS!) so we used some regular sugar as a poor subsitute. It was a little gooier (gooyer? gooeyer? gooieyer?) than it was supposed to be, but you could tell how it was really close to classic Oreo filling. I will definitely make them again, sometime eventually.

The next cookie on my list is also a copy, so this could be the start of a series of copycat recipes. Keep your bookmarks bookmarked! (Ok that didn't make sense. But I didn't want to repeat "Stay tuned.")

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Cactus of My Own

Look what I got from friends for my birthday!  And they hadn't even read my previous post. Does anyone know how much to water a catcus? I've read once a month, or if the soil is really dry.  I dunno.  I have tried to have plants in the past, just little ones, but they have always died.  Maybe it's where I put them, maybe it's how much or little I water them, who knows.  Hopefully these will last longer, they look nice on the coffee table.

Friday, April 24, 2009

2nd Order

Remember my second order of business with Betty, my new KitchenAid? Well here they are: Grandmother's Buckeyes! Look at the beautiful sheen on the chocolate coating! There is a secret to getting that, and I'm going to use it ALL THE TIME now. They turned out just right! I wish there was a pic of the insides but I plum forgot to take one. My grandmother used to make a huge batch of these, and then store them in this big old Tupperware cake carrier, between layers of waxed paper. Open the fridge, grab a few buckeyes. They lasted a long time, then we wouldn't have them till we saw her again. So to be able to make these now is a real treat for me! :) Next I need her chocolate chip cookies and these crispy ones she called Cracker Jacks. I might be willing to share the recipe if someone were to ask really nicely. In person. With money.*

*Ok ok just have to ask nicely. Partypooper.

Here they are chillin' out in the fridge pre-dipping. You could probably stop there and be done but who would ever want to?

Ah...a nice dish of buckeyes just waiting to be chowed upon.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Like Buttah

What's this funky blob of yellow goo? Why, it's butter! Homemade butter, that is...take some heavy cream and a dash of salt in a jar, and just shake the living bejesus out of it! You can watch it go through the stages of heavy cream, then whipped cream, then suddenly, POW! The solids separate from the liquids and you have butter. The liquid part is buttermilk, I've heard.

This would be a good project to keep little kids occupied AND tire them out quickly.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Buggy Situation

Sunday was going to be my day of rest. It was a surprisingly busy week, so the plan was to do some yoga and relax the day away. Maybe make some bread too. Mmmm. That Guy was out playing golf so I had plenty of quiet time ahead.

I woke up, played online for a bit, then decided to make breakfast. Now here comes the mistake of the day: while my English muffin toasted, I went over to open the dining room window. "Ew, a bug!" I said, as I looked at the floor. "Ew, anoth--OH MY GOD!" I said as I realized there was a veritable swarm of winged insects invading my peaceful living space, via the window - at least they weren't actually flying, though. At first, I freaked out and ran away. As I did so, I found a couple more wingless versions past the kitchen (which means they crawled through the kitchen while I was in it to get to that area). Filthy. Disgusting. Horrible.

I put on crocs and started Dustbusting while debating my options. That Guy didn't answer his phone, so I irrationally called a friend in the pest control business that lives 35 minutes away and could not possibly help me at that moment. He suggested they were termites. Great. Thanks Brian. He did however say there was a slim chance they would move in, so I should just clean them up. Eventually I realized the super was the best person to call. He came immediately, vaccuumed the worst of them for me, and assured me the exterminator would be called. From there, all I could do was bug spray every inch of window, clean the whole area top to bottom, and caulk the edges of the window to close up any cracks.

So my day of rest became my day of "vacuum the entire place for the second time in as many days and oh yeah Swiffer too and while you are at it clean out the entire office area because hey, you never know."

But guess who still managed to make French bread and go for a very brief jog? ME! Take THAT termites!

Sunday, April 19, 2009


This past Thursday I planned to go to a job fair at my alma mater, Kean University. Since I was recently un-jobified, this was a great opportunity to get a head start on looking for something new to do with my life (sadly, turns out "Sit Arounder" is not a good career choice.) So with the rest of my life looming over my head, I polished my resume, put on my interview outfit, and set out toward greater horizons.

Only to find that the fair was postponed due to lack of companies represented. Thats right, only two companies commited to show at the fair, and one of them was only hiring unpaid interns. The economy is so far in the toilet that noone even wants to hire college students.

What a sad state of affairs we are in. I will keep you posted on my progress, but in the meantime, if anyone is hiring people to sit around, you have two great applicants over here!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Easter Candy, sort of

This is kind of a follow-up to my Easter post, where I mentioned making chocolate candy. I'm not going to give out my super-secret truffle recipe, so don't bother asking. I will however tell you how I made these yummies. The idea for the marzipan ones was from here; they turned out just like the photos, I was very pleased. It is simply chocolate truffles with marzipan formed around them. The cherries were dipped in the chocolate ganache before it was cooled into truffles, then dipped again in melted chocolate for coating. They really were as decadent as they look. And I don't use the word "decadent" often - it just seems appropriate here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Birthday Loot

I had the best birthday! After a lazy morning, I opened up my present from That Guy: a shiny new PINK KitchenAid!! (Pink for the Susan G Koman Foundation: "I support boobs.") And a super nice knife from his mom! I cannot wait to cut and mix things*! A friend also gifted me with a set of silicone bakeware, which will be fun to try out...has anyone used these? Do you have to decrease baking time or anything?

Isn't she beau-ti-ful?

Note to everyone: I am GOOD on bakeware and cookware! I'm set, thank you!!

*Not at the same time.

After a brief nap (opening presents is TIRING!), I took two solid hours to get ready for my birthday night out with That Guy (I don't dress up much). He took me to dinner at a nice restaurant I always wanted to try (Risotto Primavera...mmmm!), then to our favorite bar where folks celebrated with us (it's like Cheers over there, really). And I now drink Cosmopolitans, yum!

First order of business with the KitchenAid (I should name her Betty or something): pizza dough. The recipe came from the mixer's book, and it was good.

Second order will be Grandmother's Buckeyes. OMG are they ever good!!

I'm sure you will be seeing much more of Betty in the future, so stay tuned for awesomeness!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Happy Birthday (to me!)

I am 30 today! My greetings come from me rummaging around Cake Wrecks and stealing a pic. Thanks Jen! :)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Cuuuute Video!

There is a store in the city called KidRobot. They make toys. For grown ups. Not to play with, but to collect. It's hard to explain. Enjoy this brief video:

MUNNY Sprouts! from Kidrobot on Vimeo.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

I Dare You...

...To say these cupcakes aren't cute!! I decided to make Carrot Cake Cupcakes and chocolate candy to bring to my brother's for Easter. Today, we investigate the cupcakes (pics after the recipe):

I had two recipes to use for these, but one was too simple (two main ingredients: oil and LOT of sugar), and the other seemed to have too MANY ingredients for what it is. So I struck a balance and made up my own recipe. For the first time, here is the actual recipe I used. I can do this because it's my own now! I'll take the instructions from this site, because they are written up all nicey-nice. (Recipe ©2009, i do things, a subsidiary of ACME Design)

Carrot Cake Cupcakes©2009, i do things, a subsidiary of ACME Design

Dry ingredients:
2 cups Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Baking powder
1 tsp Allspice
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Salt
3 cups Grated Carrots

Wet ingredients:
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
3/4 cup White Sugar
4 Eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup Applesauce
1/4 cup Oil
1 tsp Vanilla

©2009, i do things, a subsidiary of ACME Design
  • Sift together all dry ingredients except for the carrots. Add the grated carrots to the dry mix and stir to coat everything evenly. Set aside.
  • Whisk the eggs together in a large bowl. Then add the rest of the wet stuff and whisk until the oil is fully incorporated. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into that. Fold the wet and dry together just until you can no longer see the flour. Remember not to over mix!
  • Pour into greased pans and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. For cupcakes, bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

I had a hard time picking out pics of these, there were a bunch of good ones. That's the candied carrots sitting on top there ;).

©2009, i do things, a subsidiary of ACME Design

Happy Easter!!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Candied Carrots

Did I invent these? I've heard of candied orange peel, candied ginger, etc, but candied carrots? Whether I invented it or not, they were good. Just a little sugar and water boiled in a pan, grated carrots thrown in and cooked a few mins, and then spread on parchment and dried in the oven. They came out crispy and sweet, and will be perfect to top my Carrot Cake Cupcakes (post to come!). And look at that color!

I don't say this often enough: FAAAAABulous!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Cherry Pickin'

I've had a craving for cookies lately, leaning toward chocolate chip. Sometime before I made them, I was browsing the dried fruit section of the grocery store. What a glorious selection of dried fruits and nuts! There's every type of prune you could imagine (individually wrapped? Come on now.): apricots, "tropical blend", berries, pineapples, what have you. And raisins! Lord, the raisins - don't get me started.

Anyway I quickly scanned the shelves for deals and spied a good one: $1.00 off coupon on Mariani's Dried Cherries. Score! I had no idea what I would do with them but I had to have them. AND with a coupon!

So imagine my chagrin when I got home and realized, despite handing the cashier my coupon at the beginning of the sale (as they tell you in the little signs), she failed to use it! I paid full price for those bitches! So now they probably don't taste as good (because we all know the better the deal the better food tastes), but I still love them.

So here they are in Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Cherry cookies. I got the recipe for Red Velvet cookies here and added the fixin's. The frosting is buttercream with cherry juice instead of milk.

What else would be good with these dried cherries? They are tart and sweet, so maybe a dessert with whip cream of some sort?

For the uninitiated, here they are unfrosted:

No matter what you add to them, these cookies are delicious. They are cakey, nice and soft, even days later. Cherry-ific! I just made that up! :)

Saturday, April 04, 2009

I got laid off this week. So did my boyfriend (from the same place). I'm more upset than he is. He's actually happy. I was there for 5 years, felt like I pulled my weight. It seems they managed to layoff just about the only person who liked going there; I enjoyed my work, despite recent downturns and overall dumb decisions by management; liked my coworkers (for the most part); and did a lot to try to insure my place in the company, not even because I had too, but because I wanted to learn as much as possible (smart move, in retrospect).

Apparently that doesn't get you anywhere these days. It's an odd feeling, not having anywhere to go every day. Of course, I'm mad. The first day, I went through a full range of emotions. But that is wearing off as I become accustomed. What will I do with my days? I have no idea. I've been meaning to exercise more, so that will happen. And cooking and baking, so good thing I will be exercising! And it will be a great time for you to come over, because the house will be super clean!

Saying goodbye to people, I got a lot of shocked faces, and a lot of "but you are the only helpful one!" That made me feel good - like I was appreciated, and will be missed. Maybe I left my mark.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Arizona Highlights

As promised, here's a few more pics from Arizona.

My Dad and stepmother live in a RV ("on" an RV?) They currently reside in a resort for RVs and trailers in Arizona, and it's so nice! It's a little community of retirees and they have grapefruit and lemon trees, and palm tree-lined streets. And the speed limit is 14 1/2.

At my brother's, farthur north in Prescott Valley, we went off-roading in his Jeep. That Guy drove for a bit and he did a pretty good job! We stopped to shoot at things in a public shooting range. Turns out Russ' wife Karen is a really good shot! Here she is kicking beer-bottle butt.

And here's a closeup of the bottle popping! Click for larger images!

We ended the trip watching the sunset climbing at the Dells, then dinner at Gurley Street Grill, and Trivial Pursuit. Good times!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009