Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentines Baking: Sweet and Bittersweet

Jeff and I have never been huge gotta-celebrate-Valentines-Day people (ironic since our first official date was on Valentines Day - you'd think we'd be ones to celebrate!) Oh, and today would have been Charlotte's birthday if she miraculously came on time, ha :)

This year, we had a MOPS (Mother's Of PreSchoolers group) Valentines party, and had to bring snacks inspired by the day of love ;) Since our meeting is 9-11am, I wanted to do something a little more breakfast friendly, so got a mix of Banana Bread Muffins.  I found this great idea on Pinterest (of course!) on how to make your muffins or cupcakes heart shaped and voila, Valentines Ready!  All you do is stick a marble beside the muffin paper in the tin, and when the muffins bake up, they turn into hearts!

They weren't perfect looking hearts, but they did the job.

(It isn't baking related, but at MOPS we decorated onsies for the local hospitals NICU!  Aren't they adorable!

We had a mix of iron-ons, stamps, and puff paint.  It was great fun and a good cause!)

We ended having so much food and so many leftovers, I had a ton of them to take home (the mix made 24)  And we won't eat that many muffins!  So I decided to send them to work with Jeff.  I was afraid they would dry out overnight, so I tried this Pinterest idea to put a slice of bread on top of your cake (I figured it would work with muffins) and the bread will dry out but your baked goods wouldn't.  It actually worked! So I sent Jeff off with the bowl of muffins this morning. :)

Our romantic plans tonight will include a spaghetti dinner with Charlotte, and then watching Breaking Dawn once she goes to bed. (you're jealous, I know)  But I did want to do something special for dessert.  We have a heart shaped cookie cutter that we use for Charlotte's play doh, so I cleaned it off and decided we could bake heart shaped sugar cookies.  I also wanted to make Jeff's favorite Peanut Butter Pie for our movie time.  So that was my plan this morning...

First up, Peanut Butter Pie.  Got the recipe out and realized I didn't have the cool whip needed.  Scratch that plan. I looked on Pinterest on my Yummy Board for something that I could cook using ingredients I already have, namely that  grahman cracker crust originally meant for the pie.  I found this great Chocolate Chip Cheesecake bar I figured I could put it into a pie shell instead of the 8x8 pan.  We got out all the ingredients, Charlotte helped my measure and dump stuff in.  I got through the first 5 ingredients and realized I had more than doubled the amount of brown sugar needed.  No way to salvage, so I dumped it out and started again.

This time I triple checked my measurements, but apparently was paying so much attention to that, I forgot to read the directions. I was supposed to stir it all together, THEN add the flour, THEN add the chocolate chips.  I had it all in the bowl together and tried to mix it.  Did not work well at all.

I gave up at this point. Charlotte even gave me a hug cause she knew I was frustrated.  I wasn't gonna attempted it AGAIN, I don't have enough butter to do this over and over!  I may attempt it again while Charlotte naps and I can fully concentrate. Blah.  Looks like we may only have sugar cookies for dinner... oh wait, those had their own FAIL!

I used Betty Crocker Cookie Mix for the sugar cookies (I swear by her dry mixes! They make great cookies and all you add is butter and egg!)  There is a version to make cut out cookies, so I added the needed flour to the mix with the butter and egg.  Turns out, I was supposed to put the flour in alone with the dry mix, combine those, then add the egg and butter.  I figured they would still work.  We laid out the dough and did our heart cut outs!

Sadly, they weren't solid or thick enough to pick up from the cutting board (yes, I dusted it with flour) and put on the pans. So, change of plans again, we rolled them up instead and baked them regular.

After they baked, we sprinkled sugar and pink sprinkles on them and called it done.  Still tasty, but not very cute :(


Well, it's time to go fix lunch. It may seem silly to have blogged about all this, but I was frustrated!  and my 140 character limit for Twitter just wasn't going to cut it.  Maybe I'll just give up on baking anything that does not come out of a box.


Monday, February 6, 2012

More Pinterest Recipes!

I have been cooking up a storm thanks to Pinterest!  I have had some frustrating moments with things that don't turn out like they are supposed to, or recipes that aren't as specific as I need them to be.  But overall, it has been great adding things to our menu, I'm hoping I'll keep them in our rotation.

The first recipe that will definitely be sticking around, is Sour Cream Chicken!  It was really easy to make, and had the perfect blend of crunchy stuffing on top, and very juicy chicken. I usually don't go back for 2nds and I did for this one! This is going to be one of my go-to chicken dishes, it's made up of things I usually have in my fridge or pantry all the time.  I'm not good at taking photos as I go as most food bloggers do (I'll try to get better!) So you'll just have to settle for this bad picture of my plate with my sour cream chicken, green beans, and mac and cheese :)

You'll notice the green beans on the plate?  They were actually replacements for the Microwave Potato Chips (think Zaxby's/Logans) that were major duds. They didn't crisp up at all, just got majorly soggy. I figured it was too good to be true, but there were lots of comments from people who loved them, so I thought I'd give them a shot.  One recipe marked off the "to try" list!  Oh well, gotta try new things, right?!

Oh, and Charlotte enjoyed her Apple/Grape Cars for lunch the other day!  She loved eating the "wheels"  (sorry, no pic from me, just a screen shot)

The Super Bowl was this Sunday, we had a little party just the 3 of us ;)  I did go the easy route on 3 dishes - I got TGI Friday's frozen appetizers for Jeff's Buffalo Wings, my Potato Skins, and our Spinach and Artichoke Dip.  For frozen appetizers, they were pretty good!!

I did try my hand at one new Pinterest recipe for the big game: The Peanut Butter Mini Brownies. Wow-o-wow were these good!  I thought they were too gooey and put them back in for a couple more minutes, but I shouldn't have.  They didn't "cave in" quite like they should have, but I was still able to get some peanut butter in them and of course top them with chips!  Jeff and I both thought they were delicious.  They are super rich though, so watch out!

I was going to make the Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie, but realized I bought the wrong kind of crust, so that's back on the menu for later.  Instead, I had a box mix for Lemon Squares so I went ahead and made those.  I also used my crock pot for a Super Bowl must have -  Chili Con Queso!  (Velveeta, Rotel, and 1/2lb ground beef)

Overall, we had a great Super Bowl, just the 3 of us. (and all that food!)


My menu for the next 2 weeks has these new Pinterest recipes: Slow Cooker Pork Chops, Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole, Crockpot Chicken Tacos (may do chicken or pork), Grilled Cheesy Potatoes, Three Cheese Chicken Alfredo Bake, Crockpot Hawaiian Chicken, Taco Casserole, Heart Shaped Muffins (for MOPS), Breakfast in a muffin tin, Crescent Roll Cheesecake, and I'm gonna try the Sliced Baked Potatoes again, with smaller potatoes.   Wow! That's a lot of food to cook!! (You should see how full my fridge and pantry are!)  I'm not going to  link them all, you can find them all here.