Saturday, December 17, 2011
Friday, December 16, 2011
I remembered them when I needed to make something for a holiday party. What is one of the classic holiday cookies? Peanut Butter Blossoms. NOM NOM NOM! I remember eating these like a sugar addict as soon as the Hershey's Kisses started to get all glossy and melty. Oh, the chocolaty-peanut buttery bliss. How could I improve on these classics? MAKE THEM MINI SIZED! I had mini kisses, so of course I had to make mini cookies. And the result? Mega delicious!
Extra bonus: you don't need to unwrap all those kisses! They aren't encased foil like their big brothers. Here's how you make these miniature pieces of glory.
1/2 cup shortening
2/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup granulated (caster) sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Extra granulated sugar
Hershey's Mini Kisses- about 1/2 bag is what I ended up using
1. Beat together peanut butter and shortening.
2. Beat in sugars until combined.
3. Mix in egg, milk, and vanilla until well combined.
4. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.
5. Gradually add flour mixture to peanut butter mixture, mixing well after each addition.
6. Take out your teaspoon and scoop out teaspoons of the dough (they are miniature, remember), roll them into balls.
7. Roll the balls into the extra granulated sugar.
8. Place sugar rolled balls onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
9. Bake for 7-10 minutes at 350 degrees fahrenheit or until light brown.
10. Upon removing from oven, take one mini kiss and press it into the warm cookie.
11. Cool cookies for a few minutes on pan and transfer to wire rack to cook completely.
I have no idea when I am going to need to make pig-shaped cookies. But it's nice to know that I can, whenever I feel like it.
Monday, December 12, 2011
So winter has begun to arrive. It's officially snowed a few times now and the temperature has consistently dropped. I know, from the above picture it just looks like I painted the picnic table, however, I assure that is not what happened. It was actual snow. And it melted by the end of the day. However, now it's started to get legitimately cold, -8 celsius(I know all of you Midwesterners are laughing at my low tolerance). But let me ask you this; how many of you bike to work? That's that I thought. I am all for bundling up, but not for biking through the cold and wind. And man, is it WINDY here! Phew! I thought it was windy at UNI, but it is actually windier here. Or at least it feels like it when I'm biking. Even when I'm all bundled up. I am supremely bundled, see? (sorry for the bad quality, but it was taken in my camera phone, which may or may not have had some snow on it)
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
A big, blurry, confused mess. Luckily I've just finished writing my reports and have entered them into out fabulous grading system, so freedom is mine once again.
Since I was so busy, you are just going to have to be content with photos and small captions. Deal?
Recently, I don't even remember when, I watched Love Actually and put up my Christmas tree. (thanks to my mate, Carly, for that fabulous idea!) I love that movie. And I love having a real tree that is not made of paper and adheared with sticky-tak to our wall. So here's my first legit tree since movin' abroad.
After three days of ordering out so that I could get my reports sorted, we needed some greenery in our tummies. I'm all for splurging, but there is only so many carbs one can take before exploding. (PB might disagree, but I make the call on food, so he has no say in this matter) So tonight, PB hopped in the kitchen and became a vegetable chopping machine, so that we could enjoy a lovely chicken salad with peanut-soy dressing. Recipe to follow, when I'm not feeling so lazy.
My apologies, but a girl has to catch up on her TV shows, after all!
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Now yes, I do have a smaller oven than those in the states. but IT TOOK UP MY WHOLE FREAKIN OVEN! I couldn't use my roasting rack because it make the bird too close to the top of my oven. So I had to improvise and use rolled up aluminum foil. No judging people, my father usually just fries the stupid turkey for Thanksgiving. Also, I would like to see you lift and move a 20 pound bird by yourself.
And honestly, what is a fundraiser without the Smurfs? Apparently it was wild and crazy day in the middle school, so they channeled their inner Smurf and then came as a whole gang to donate money. How awesome is that?! When was the last time you saw the Smurfs up close and personal?
All in all, it was hilarious and shocking to watch all that hair fall off. I'll have to get a better shot of his shaved head for you later, as he was COVERED in
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
- 1/3 cup shortening
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Whipped cream
- 1. In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg.
- 2. Combine the water and molasses.
- 3. Combine the flour, ginger, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with molasses mixture, beating well after each addition.
- 4. Pour into a greased 8-in. square baking pan, or line the pan with parchment paper and don't grease it, mine came out just fine without greasing the pan or parchment.
- Bake at 350° Fahrenheit (176 Celsius) for 28-32 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
- Serve warm with whipped cream, if you're naughty like that. And trust me, you should be.
- Makes: 9 servings.
Saturday, November 19, 2011
1. Heat oil in a large pot- about 4 liter size will do. over over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, cumin, oregano, aniseed and dried red pepper. Sauté 5 minutes.
2. Push onion to 1 side of pan. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to pan. Sauté chicken approximately 5 minutes.
3. Drain beans; reserve 1/2 cup bean liquid.
4. Add beans, broth, salsa verde, chilies, cream and reserved bean liquid to chicken.
5. Simmer until chicken is tender and cooked through, about 15 minutes.
6. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
(Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Reheat before using.)
Ladle chili into bowls. Top with cheese and sprinkle with cilantro.
THIS MAKES 4 LITERS OF CHILI! It would feed PB for quite a few lunches and dinners, so if you'd like to make less, just halve the recipe. Or you could have a bunch of mates over and enjoy this easy dinner together!
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
You wouldn't want to unpack it all either, would you!? It's on my to-do list for this weekend,
but I gotta be honest, its a wee bit low on the list. I LOATH unpacking. And packing. Alright, lets be honest. I love to buy stuff but never manage to get everything put away in a timely manner. It's enough to drive PB mad... which is why we have our own rooms. See how that works?
I love this because it's mega cheap and I know exactly what's in the puree. Pumpkin! No mystery ingredients here. And I can make a huge batch (see stacked containers above) of puree and put it in two cup containers and freeze it for whenever I need it. It defrosts well and can be used in cookies, bread, cake, pasta... anything your pumpkin lovin' self wants to do!
So go out there and make some pumpkin puree! After all, you can use this delicious pumpkin puree to make your own pumpkin spice latte syrup. Tempting, isn't it?
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Sorry that this is a few days late, but man, I had things to get done! Do you ever feel like you to-do list will swallow you whole? And then still goof off on the interwebs and spend time in front of the T.V. any way? Cause that's kind of how I roll. I'm a procrastinator like that. Anyway... Sundays are for going out to breakfast and stopping at Starbucks before going to the grocery store. Yeah, I live in Beijing, can you tell? I know this makes me a terrible person who makes living abroad look bad, but DAMN, I love me some Starbucks. I do, it's true. And the best part? I didn't even like the 'bucks until about five years ago. One of my friends used to stop on her way to work and started picking me up things. Then I found one of my reasons for living: the Caramel Macchiato. OMG that is a ridiculously delicious meal in a cup. I say meal in a cup because it has to have that many calories. OH WELL. I dig it. Another reason for living that Starbucks has provided: the Pumpkin Spice Latte. And wouldn't you know it, they don't have those in China. So I've had to learn to make my own. It's surprisingly easy and delicious. I'll include the recipe soon, I promise. For now, I leave you with my favorite part of the day: How I almost convinced PB (the living in sin partner) to own a furry seahorse.
Let's set the scene. We're enjoying our post breakfast, pre-Starbucks bevs whilst sitting outside and people watching. I saw a lady bike by with an ADORABLE puppy in her bike basket. Now, before you get all "Poor puppy!", this was the Mercedes Benz of bike baskets, complete with padding and a safety strap. I comment on how badly I wanted a dog and how we could easily get a tiny dog like that. His response? "It looks like a sea horse." WTF? was my polite, ever genteel response. "A sea horse, with fur. A furry sea horse. It's a furry sea horse in a basket" I started at him incredulously, and yep; boys and girls, he was serious. I could do nothing but laugh at the ridiculousness of it all.
A bit later, however, we spied two of THE CUTEST PUPPIES ON THE PLANET playing in the parking lot. We assumed they belonged to a gentleman who was playing with them, but not so. I ranted and raved about them and saw PB's reserve get a little shaky. He was going to cave, I could feel it! He was going to suggest tucking one (or both) of those adorable little creatures into our bike baskets and giving them a good home. Or he was going to suggest that I go pet them and get puppy wanting out of my system. Guess what happened.
Hint: we biked home without a furry sea horse, or a puppy.
Oh well, at least I got my Starbucks.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Friday, November 11, 2011
One of my best mates from Cairo, Jen, is visiting us in Beijing this week. We are generally an awesome duo. Not to toot our own horns, but we are fabulous. Put us together and we'll rock your socks off. We can bake circles around normal folk and Jen is slowly learning to cook. Living abroad for three years now, we have become copy kat extraordinaire. No pumpkin spice latte available? Make your own. I pride myself in being able to figure out how to make things, from scratch. So when I mentioned to my living- in-sin partner that I REALLY REALLY REALLY wanted some candy corn this Halloween season, he found a recipe for me online. Which I had not gotten around to making until reinforcements arrived. Don't get me wrong, the recipe is simple enough, I just had other things on my mind- you know, settling into a whole new country, setting up a house, figuring our the curriculum to a whole new school- easy stuff. Jen leaves tonight, much to my dismay, and we decided to make candy corn; while enjoying some Christmas music. We were a well oiled machine of organization and badass. Until we calculated the incorrect amount of butter. Oops. No worries, we had plenty more where that came from. Batch number two held nothing but possibilities and potential. It came together beautifully, was relatively easy to color. 2nd batch was a success... or so we thought. As we started to roll out fabulous ropes, it started to harden a bit. Hmm.... we thought,and rolled faster. Let me here state that whomever wrote this cakespy recipe found here must have some kinda magic up their sleeve. Because our candy corn looked and tasted nasty. N-A-S-T-Y. It was hard and crunchy in an unappealing way, which really, is everything hard and crunchy unless we're talking biscotti, but that's another post. We struggled to roll some ropes and put them together. We did cut out a few candies and while they look passable, they are now cute rocks. Just as my living-in-sin friend. We told him to try one and he's currently at the dentist, getting new teeth put in. And so friends, I declare the Brachs vs. Jen and Lauren Candy Corn Throw down an epic fail. We were bitch-slapped by a simple recipe. And thus, we order pizza and slink off to leave the sugar coated conundrum for another day.