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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Thursday Treats: Taste the Heat: Jalapeno Chinese Chicken {Pinterest Inspired}

I don't know what it is about packing, but I always wonder why I ever bought all the "stuff". I suppose at the time it seems like a good thing and perhaps even useful...but, when you're downsizing, the only thing you can think is, "Why?!?!". Ah...becoming a college student once more has its benefits and negatives :D

I'm going to have a roomate, and one of the deals was I had to get groceries/cook. I think this will force me to quit living like a bachelor[ette] all the time eating cereal and chocolate milk--to making nutritious, full meals {a lot more often than I did the last year :D}.

A dish that I recently tried, Jalapeno Chinese Chicken will definitely be on rotation.




Jalapeno Chinese Chicken
Pinterest Inspired


1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes
1/4 cup cornstarch
4 cups vegetable oil
2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp chopped garlic or 1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp rice wine {have also used regular vinegar}
2 tsp soy sauce
2 jalapeno peppers, sliced {I put in 4-6 depending on how much heat I want that day :D}
2 Tblsp sugar

1. In a seal-able plastic bag, combine the chicken pieces and cornstarch. Shake until the chicken is coated and then let rest for about 5 minutes.

2. Heat the 4 cups of oil in a deep fryer or deep pot until 375 degrees. Drop chicken in batches until all of it has been cooked. Drain on paper towel.

3. In a wok, or large skillet, heat the sesame oil and then add the garlic and jalapenos and fry for 1 minute. Add the rice wine/vinegar and soy sauce and let cook for another minute. Add sugar and cook till thickened.

4. Enjoy on a bed of rice, or just eat as is {I do!}.

Now, the first time I made this, I did not have very much liquid at all and saw no need to put the sugar in. However, the sugar helps to thicken as well as even out the heat from the jalapenos, so I added about 1/4--1/2 cup water/soy sauce mixture before adding the sugar. Worked for me :D As always when cooking, I say go by what you see, taste, and smell. A little bit of this, and a little bit of that. A recipe is just a base for you to jumpstart your creativity!


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thursday Treats: Dangerous Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies {Pinterest--Nikki}




Dangerous Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
{Pinterest Find}

1/2 cup butter, unsalted
1/3 heaping cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 egg yolk, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1+1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

--Oven Temp @ 325--

1. Melt the butter and peanut butter in a microwave safe bowl at 50% power until mostly melted. Remove from microwave and stir until the butter is completely melted and smooth, then set aside to let cool.
2. In a mixing bowl fitted with the paddle attachment (or using a wooden spoon), mix the cooled peanut butter and butter mixture with the sugars until fully incorporated. Beat in the egg, yolk and vanilla until combined.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually add to the sugar/butter mix until a dough forms. Fold in the chocolate chips.
4. I used my cookie scoop to make evenly sized balls of dough and baked for 8-10 minutes. You don't want to over bake these.

These were so good, and got rave reviews by all who tried them. This is my favourite PB chocolate chip cookie and have made them at least 3 times now--with plans to make many more batches! :D

Visit Nikki at her blog, Seeded at the Table, for her post on these amazing cookies.



Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Timeless Treasures: Brothers

The pictures of Russell are from when he was seven months old...Andrew is five months old.




"What'cha lookin' at, huh?" A cute chubster :D


"Oh? How exciting!"



Different, and yet similar...both utterly adorable.

Monday, September 1, 2014

My First Dress: Fawn Lily




It's hard to believe that a pillowcase would be the basis of this dress. My friend, Sarah, and I wanted to get together to do some sewing, and she strongly suggested I learn to follow a pattern :D You see, I have this habit of "free-handing" my creations, and while most work out...some don't.



It's pretty important to pin your pattern/materials....nothing stays in the same spot otherwise :D



This was the pattern we used--Sarah made the tunic, and, I made the dress! 


There you go, folks....after picking out three different fabrics, lots of pinning and poking, cutting, a few frustrated sighs, sewing, ripping apart, laughs, and late night ice cream sandwich snacks--the Fawn Lily --from Willow & Co--dress is born.



Following a pattern isn't so intimidating after all. Not when you have great instructions and your very own tutor.


For my first dress, I would say this turned out wonderful! I love the colours and patterns, and this outfit just says classy. 


And, my little model buddy makes the dress that much cuter :)











So, I went from having this...


...to this! 



I will definitely be sewing more...and following patterns! :) Check out Sarah's tunic on her website--I think she did a fabulous job.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thursday Treats: No-Cook Chocolate Fudge {Betty Crocker}




My friend Deb loves fudge more than any other dessert or sweet. She has a favourite recipe, but doesn't like baking very much--enter Elsa. This was the first time I made fudge, and wanted to test some recipes, so I began with this simple one from Betty Crocker's book. Her fiance really loved the book variation, but Deb swooned when she tried my second batch with my adjustments. Crocker's fudge is pretty good...but it lacked the richness and creamy smoothness of what you expect from fudge [my variations were an improvement, but I'm still on the search for great fudge!]. To me, it tasted like glorified semi-sweet chocolate chips. However, I did like her recipe in that you could eat more than just one tiny square and not get sick :D

I would say that this is a great first-timer's recipe to follow, but to me the taste didn't scream "FUDGE!". You decide!

No-Cook Chocolate Fudge
Betty Crocker Cookbook: 1500 Recipes for the Way You Cook Today
Betty Crocker
[Blue changes my modifications]

1 can [14 oz] sweetened condensed milk
1 bag [12 oz/2 cups] semisweet chocolate chips
[1+1/2 cups milk chocolate chips + 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips]
1 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, if desired
[Left out]
1 +1/2 cups chopped nuts, if desired
[Left out b/c Deb doesn't like nuts in her fudge, but would've used toasted pecan pieces.]
1 tsp vanilla

1. Grease bottom and sides of an 8-inch square pan with butter.

2. In a saucepan, heat the condensed milk, chocolate chips, and unsweetened chocolate over low heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth; remove from heat.

3. Quickly stir in the nuts and vanilla. Spread the fudge in the pan. Refrigerate about 1 hour and 30 minutes or until firm. Cut into 1-inch squares. Store in an airtight container.