Monday, February 21, 2011

New dessert

Now, I realize this is totally simple, but it's new to us. Here's what we made for dessert tonight...

I'm calling ours triple chocolate treat, but the inspiration came from Pioneer Woman's recipe for Frozen Cappuccino Cups.

Here is what I actually did:

24 Oreos crushed (this made too many and I should have used my food processor)
2 Tbps melted butter

Mix these two together and put in the bottom of 12 foil liners in the muffin tin.

Chocolate ice cream, softened (the small carton, I have no idea what size that is)
About 1/4 cup of mini chocolate chips
About 1/4 cup of the leftover crushed Oreos
A dash of cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix all of this together and layer on top of the Oreos in the muffin tin.

Top with softened Cool Whip and freeze until set. These can be put in a Ziploc after they have fully refrozen. I added a drizzle of chocolate syrup before eating.

I can just imagine all sorts of possibilities! Think of vanilla sandwich cookies topped with strawberries mixed into vanilla ice cream. Or graham cracker crusts topped with chocolate ice cream with chocolate chunks and marshmallows. It's endless!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Hot Vanilla Drink

With this being Day 4 of being at home due to the snow and ice, I've been able to try new things (which also attests to how much time I've had to look at recipes online). It's finally not in the teens for temperatures, so the kids and I headed outside this morning for some snow fun, which gave us the perfect chance to try this: Hot Vanilla. It is so simple to make and delicious! If you don't want to click on the link for the Family Fun site, here's what you do:

Heat up 1 cup of milk and 2 tsp. sugar for each drink you want to make. Add about 1/2 tsp. vanilla per drink after it's warmed. That's the basics of the drink, but the best part is the topping. The recipe calls for making your own whipped cream, but I had Cool Whip on hand so I used that. Add about a tablespoon of chocolate syrup and a dash of cinnmon to the whipped topping before putting it on the hot vanilla. Drizzle a little more chocolate syrup and sprinkle a little cinnamon on top. It's a really "pretty" drink (if there is such a thing) and it's warm and cozy.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Trying new things 3

Three days in a row...three new things. First, brussel sprouts. Second, edamame. And third? Polenta. I used the store-bought stuff because, well, because it was an impulse purchase. I had visions of crispy outside, creamy inside rounds of the stuff. It didn't work out quite like that, but I liked it.

I just cut the tube-shaped polenta into rounds. I attempted to "fry" it in a little oil/butter mix. That was a mess and it never crisped up like I thought it would. I drained the butter and oil for the second batch, and it turned out much better! It got a little browning action going. I did not like the flavor of it by itself though, but I topped it with chili from the crockpot (and a little cheese and sour cream). It was perfect! Nice and creamy under the spicy sauce. Good stuff!

I think next time I will make the polenta myself so I can add a little salt and parmesan though.

So, three new foods in three days. And I made pretzels for the first time too. These snow days aren't so bad after all :)

Repurposed crayons

So, technically, they aren't "repurposed" since the purpose remains the same...they color. Still, they are a fun way to use up those bits and pieces of leftover crayons, and the kids can help for most of it. And don't start thinking I'm all creative and crafty. This idea came from my mom, who used to make these either with or for her preschool students (of which I was one).

Start with your broken, old crayons.

This is where the kids can help (and we've actually been working on this part on and off for some time). You need to peel the paper off of them and sort them into muffin tins. We used the disposable foil ones. I know you can use shaped molds as well. Check out Etsy for some really cute ones. We sorted ours by similar colors, but you can let the kids go crazy with them.

Then, put them on a larger cookie sheet for stability and put in the oven at 350 degrees. I started worrying that this was too hot and turned them down for a while, but then they weren't melting. They will be very runny, so be careful pulling them out of the oven. I didn't watch to see exactly how long they took, but I'd guess about 15 minutes or so.

Pop them out of the molds after they have cooled. This didn't take nearly as long as I thought it would.

We have two sets of them...Ryan's and Sarah Beth's.  

The kids are looking forward to coloring with them this afternoon. The cool thing about these is that they color with a swirled effect. These are really great for toddlers who can't hold the skinny crayons yet, but they're fun for all ages.

Trapped in the house = cooking

Yesterday, I attempted to make homemade pretzels. Ok, attempted isn't the right word because they were delicious! I used this recipe: Butter Soft Pretzels. I followed it pretty closely, but I did take the advice of one reviewer and started with 4 cups of flour with the intention of adding more if needed. However, it didn't need more. My dough didn't want to rise, but it worked anyway. I was really impressed with the dough...very smooth and stretchy. I was also impressed with the baking soda/water dunk before baking. It really did make a crispy crunch on the outside. I doused mine in melted butter as they came out of oven and sprinkled them with a cinnamon/sugar mix. I did one with salt, but with this dough, I'd stick with the sweet. They were really, really in, I think I ate 3 or 4 of the dozen I made.

See, don't they look tasty?

I'm sure we'll tackle another recipe right now, but first, we're going to do some crafting. I'm getting all the crafty stuff out and letting the kids play away. We'll see what they come up with :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Trying new things 2

Yesterday it was brussel, it's endamame. I'm hooked! I keep meaning to try it, and in fact, have 3 bags of it the freezer because, apparently, I remember that I want to try it every time I go to the store only to forget about it once I get home. I just boiled it in some salted water and tossed it with some kosher salt after I draiend it. It is so yummy! I've already bagged it up for snacks later in the week. Or day. It's a "snow day" so snacking is invetable. At least this one's healthy.

So, I'm thinking I'll try the polenta tomorrow. After I get to the store again, I'm going to try beets. I am not sure if I've ever eaten them, to be honest. I saw a beet slider on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives last night, and I read an article about them somewhere. Once again, I no idea what magazine or web site I'm thinking of...and honestly, I'm not even sure what the article said.