Category Archives: Uncategorized

Homemade Thin Mints

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One of the things I’ve been doing aside from not blogging is cooking!! I’ve made lots of yummy things, and I hope to make more yummy things and actually take pictures. But, I did take pictures for these.

Thin Mints. The #1 bestselling girl scout cookie. Well, I have a confession. Up until about a year ago, I hated thin mints. Something about the mint and the chocolate just didn’t float my boat.

One day, Andres convinced me to try another, “just for kicks”. I took one, skeptically, and took a teeny bite. And my tastebuds exploded with chocolate minty deliciousness. And now I understand what makes these so dang delicious.

I accidentally stumbled upon the recipe from Hearty Appletite.  Try it. Just once. It’s amazing. The only thing I changed was that I added an extra 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract. They were quite pepperminty, but that works for me.

Here’s the recipe!

Homemade Thin Mints:   ~~~ from Chicagoist.com  (The View from the Great Island’s comments are in red)

For the cookies:
8 ounces butter
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used dutched dark cocoa powder which worked well)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
For the coating:
10 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate
1 ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cream butter until light and fluffy, then add the powdered sugar and mix until combined. Stir in the salt, vanilla and cocoa powder. Mix until the cocoa powder is integrated and the batter resembles a thick frosting. Add the flour and mix just until the flour is combined, making sure to not over mix.
  • Roll the dough out really thin on a floured surface, about 1/8-inch. Cut cookies using 1 1/2-inch cutter (I used a small cordial glass that measured almost 2″ and it was the perfect size).
  • Place cookies on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool completely on a wire rack. While the cookies bake, make the peppermint coating. Chop the baking chocolate into very small, thin pieces. Place in a glass measuring cup or similar container and microwave in short 15-20 second bursts. Stir in the peppermint extract. Feel free to add more peppermint as you see fit. (Don’t add any more, the amount is perfect)
  • Gently drop the cookies, one at a time, into the coating. Turn to coat entirely, then lift the cookie out of the chocolate with the fork and bang the fork on the side of the pan until the extra coating drips off. Place on a parchment or plastic wrap-lined baking sheet, and repeat for the rest of the cookies. Place the cookies in the refrigerator or freezer to set.

 

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Foodie Penpals: Finally!

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Hi. I’m so so so so sorry for almost month-long delay in posting. I don’t really have a good excuse, just that I got caught up in life. Lame, I know. I owe a huge apology to the wonderful Elaine over at Hungry Brownie, she was my Foodie Penpal for the month of July and I am so late in posting about her lovely package. If you haven’t visited her blog before, I strongly recommend that you hop on over. She posts awesome recipes and it’s really cool.

Honestly, I didn’t even realize what day it was. I’m on summer time – I thought yesterday was Friday, and I thought it was still July. But, it is in fact August third, and I should’ve posted this four days ago.

Elaine sent me an awesome package of delicious goodies. I’m not sure how, but it’s like she read my mind. Seriously. On everything. All I told her was that I love cherries and sweets, am trying to eat healthier, and I don’t like mushrooms or olives.

What did I get? First, a gorgeous card.

If I didn’t know better, I’d say that was typed. Isn’t her handwriting gorgeous??

 

And behind the card, you can see these!!

Cherry chocolate? Delicious!! Also, fair trade and organic? yes!!

 

I immediately tried the cherry chocolate one, and I wasn’t sure what to think at first. The cherries were very tart and it was fantastic chocolate, but since it was so dark, it was a bit bitter. The combination took me off guard and I had a hard time deciding if I liked it. I ate the half the bar before I finished opening the box, so I’m going to say that it was yummy!

Do you see this gorgeous paper sack?

Well, it contained this.

Puget Sounds (made in Washington, where Elaine is from!!) Strawberry Jam. Toast with butter and jam is pretty much one of my most favorite treats, so I’m really excited for this! Also, the ingredient list is strawberries, pure cane sugar, pectin, and lemon juice. It doesn’t get much more natural than that.

The other thing is, since I moved out and no longer had to eat the “strawberry spread” my parents bought, I’ve been on the search for a great jam. Many of the store-bought varieties are too sweet with little flavor. This jam is definitely not that! It is sooooo yummy.

Fun fact. Ever wondered the difference between jam, jelly and preserves? Well, I learned here that jelly is made with fruit juice, jam is made with the actual fruit, crushed, and preserves are chunks of the fruit. Interesting, huh? I also learned that I kind of hate jelly (doesn’t spread) and I haven’t decided if I like jam or preserves better.

The other weird (but awesome!) thing about Elaine’s box. The night before I got the box in the mail, I had a huge brownie craving. Can you guess what else was in her box?

Brownie mix!!!!! I’m telling you, this girl has mind-reading powers.

And, last, but certainly not least, oatmeal!

Yay for quick and easy breakfasts! That’s what I’m looking for!

If you’d like to see what I sent out, check out Sandra’s blog, Hearty Appletite

And, if you’d like to get an awesome box in the mail from your very own Foodie Penpal, visit Lindsay at the Lean Green Bean.

Here’s the details, I strongly encourage you to join! It’s great fun!

-On the 5th of the month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treatsThe spending limit is $15The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you can choose to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
– Foodie Penpals is open to US, Canadian residents & UK residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. So, I’m going to keep two separate lists and match US w/ US and Canada w/ Canada!

Mini Sausage & Mushroom Quiche

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Today is Saturday. That means sleeping in. But apparently, today it does not.  I was up at 9:30. Ridiculous. I couldn’t get back to sleep, so I figured I should just get up and be productive. I decided I wouldn’t only be productive, but I would surprise Andres with breakfast. He is so so so good to me, and I wanted to do something nice for him. Quiche has been on my mind a lot lately, so I thought that was a good route. But, making or buying the crust seemed like such an unnecessary hassle – it is Saturday after all. Enter Crustless Quiches. I love Google. I was initially looking for something with mushrooms because Andres loves them. I hate them, but that’s another story. And then I found these. Perfect. However, I somehow had none of the ingredients on hand. I got a dozen eggs last night (pumpkin pancakes and eggs for dinner!) and I wish I could say I still have eggs left. I don’t. Minus the one egg needed for the pancakes, Andres and I gobbled up 11 eggs by ourselves. That’s 5.5 eggs each. They were soooooooooooo yummy. Brown eggs are the best.

Anyway, the quiches turned out extremely delicious. And they apparently freeze really well. I am testing this currently. I used pork sausage instead of turkey sausage though, because Checkers makes their own sausage with their own seasonings (I think they do all of the meat processing there too) and it is by far the best sausage I have ever had. I refuse to buy sausage anywhere else. It’s super cheap too, I paid about $2 for over a pound of sausage.  I really love Checkers overall. They are locally owned and operated, and provide as much local food/produce/stuff as they can. Also, they’re super cheap and open 24 hours. My favorite grocery store.

I also did not let them cool completely. Because a, I cannot be reasonably expected to wait 15 minutes for deliciousness to cool before eating it, and b, cold eggs are disgusting. But I do suggest letting them cool long enough so that you don’t burn your tongue.

Also, you know what I really like? Cherries attached to one stem. I bought a pound the other day and discovered these lovely goodies.

Four cherries on one stem? That’s kind of awesome. And then I found three. And then two. Best box of cherries ever. I wish I could say these lasted me longer than 24 hours….

 

 

 

Work in Progress

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I recently started cooking more using healthy-ish recipes. And I’m having a really great time doing it. It’s super fun. I know that sounds really obvious and kind of silly. But, I grew up in a house where if you wanted something fun for dinner, you had to make it. And fresh produce for cooking? Yeah, good luck on that one. There was plenty of fruit in the house, but it never lasted more than a day or so before my brothers and mom gobbled it up. Also, three boys? Any kind of organizational system I attempted in the fridge and cupboards was destroyed within hours. That is only a slight understatement. So, I rarely baked or cooked because it was so frustrating. The main meals were cereal, mac and cheese, burgers, or hamburger helper. I am so not kidding.

When I moved out, I was thrilled because I was finally able to cook whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. And my organizational systems didn’t get ruined. Clearly, that is working out well for me. Don’t judge me. I know where everything is. All the time. 🙂 It’s a work in progress. Also, please pretend you do not see an almost-empty bag of candy. I don’t want to talk about it.

My fridge is actually semi-organized. I know you don’t believe me, but that’s okay. I’ll show you sometime. Right now, I’m too lazy to take a picture.

Anyway! Even though I had the ability to cook whatever I wanted, I didn’t exactly have a lot of experience. I knew how to cook, but I didn’t know what to cook. I didn’t have a bunch of super easy, quick recipes just jumping out of my brain and since I’m quite shy, I was too afraid to try anything. Confession. I am terrified of failure. I have a huge struggle with myself on an almost daily basis about ridiculous things. I have parked a block away from my apartment instead of trying to parallel park right outside the door. More than once. I wish I was kidding.

The same goes for cooking. For several months, Andres and I ate a lot of pizza and pasta and take-out because I had no idea what to cook. Finally, I got fed up with how much money I was spending on food that I could probably make myself. And I LOVE cooking. So does Andres. And all of the eating out was really starting to hurt both of our wallets. So, I grabbed my cookbook and I found a recipe for an “Easy Risotto” that sounded good. I had the wrong kind of rice and I had to run to the store in the middle of cooking to get peas, but I did it. And it was delicious. Far more delicious than I was expecting.

I don’t feel as limited in the kitchen anymore. I know that there is A LOT that I don’t know but that’s okay. I’m sure sometime soon I will attempt a recipe that will blow up in my face and I may or may not get upset. I have a lot of dinners planned for next week and I’m really excited. Maybe they’ll taste good, maybe they won’t. But I promise you I’ll learn something from every one. And I think each one will make me a little less afraid and little more confident. Win-win.

Also, it really helps to have someone like Andres that won’t make fun of me when I mess up.  And he’ll go so far out of his way to make me laugh. Like this.

Yeah, that’s a whole plum. In his mouth. Just ’cause, you know, we’re awesome. Or something. I sense some fun kitchen adventures coming up!

Excitement!

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It’s pretty rare that I am suddenly struck with a great blog post idea. Even less rare that it occurs as I am trying to sleep, at midnight. Despite my inevitable tiredness in the morning, I will not look this gift horse in the mouth. I am so glad I finally feel like I have something worthwhile to write about!!

Several really exciting things happened to me today  yesterday. In the last 24 hours.

1. Andres and I baked these. Homemade pizza rolls as a midnight snack? Yes please! They were even more delicious than we anticipated. I have a bowl of the filling and the extra wonton wrappers in my fridge. I plan on making more. The ones that don’t get munched will be frozen for another night. Thanks, Cassie! In case anybody isn’t familiar with Cassie’s blog, Back to Her Roots, I encourage you to immediately start reading it. I read it daily. And I check it far more often than daily. Cassie is super inspiring and posts great recipes. Can you get much better than homemade pizza rolls? Yeah, she can. Hard Cider Salmon and Veggie Packets , anyone?

2. I have found a camera! If you’ve been around for this post or that one, then you are probably already familiar with my lamentations about only having my phone for pictures. I’m currently saving up to get a new camera, because my phone blurs more often than not. But! I was looking through an old box this evening and I found my moms’ old camera. I’m so excited! It has a tiny screen and lens and barely more megapixels than my smartphone, but it’s an actual camera! Finally, you should being some better pictures around this blog. Yay!!!!

3. Speaking of pictures, I got to see this kid twice in the last two days.

Isn’t he just the cutest baby ever? Um. Yes. He is. He’s Andres’ baby brother. He’s seven weeks old. Six or so in the above image. Man, I’m a goner! I think he likes me. When I changed his diaper today, he let out this ginormous coo. And my heart melted. Talk about cute.

4. Foodie Penpal Postings are sent out today!!! Yay!

5. I have found an exercise partner! My friend Lauren and I were lamenting our gooeyness so we are going to work together to fix it. Starting by playing tennis on Saturday. I used to play tennis in junior high and LOVED it. Unfortunately, I haven’t played in years. But that won’t stop me! We’re going to have loads of fun.

6. I should be posting delicious food soon! Andres and I fell into a slump where we had the same sort of meal combinations in our pantries (read: sandwiches, pasta, and pizza) and so we started eating out a lot. Not only is this not healthy for our bodies, it takes quite of bit from our wallets too. Also, Andres was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes a few years ago, so all the sugar we inevitably eat is not good for either of us. We both love cooking, and since we eat most dinners together already, I’ve started attempting to create balanced meals for us. And we can take the leftovers for lunch the next day, making it even more budget and waistline conscious! Yay!

7. I go back to work tomorrow! I had some health problems earlier in the week, but tomorrow I will finally get back to my job. So excited.

Happy Fourth of July!

 

 

Foodie Penpal Reveal Day!

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The Lean Green Bean

Greetings! I know I’ve been gone for awhile, but I’ve been swamped with various activities. I will be back soon. But, for today, I came to tell you all about Foodie Penpals, the brainchild of Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean. It’s a really great program – you should check it out!

Basically, you sign up to receive a box of goodies from a stranger in the mail, and you send a box of goodies to another stranger. It’s super fun! I love getting mail.

Anyway, I sent a box of yummies to Erika at You Just Did What?!

And, I got a box from Jen at One Curly Fry in a Box of the Regular.  I told Jen that I really like snacks, and what did I get? A kickass box of snackies from Philly. Yum!

First up: Butterscotch Krimpets.What are butterscotch krimpets you ask? Only delightful spongecake with butterscotch icing. Hello, deliciousness!

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The other thing I told Jen is that I love granola. Or maybe I didn’t, I forget. She might’ve just intuited that I am obsessed with granola. Either way, she definitely came through by sending me this HUGE bag of PB&J granola. I have never heard of such a thing, but it is SO YUMMY. Oh my goodness. Go try some. Right. Now. It is most definitely worth it.

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Also, I’m sorry the pictures suck. It was a sunny day and I was too excited about my box to try to take better pictures. I knew I had to be quick with the picture taking, otherwise my goodies would be gobbled up before I had a chance to photograph them. I have a massive sweet tooth.

I also received some tasty peanut chews. They were basically chopped peanuts coated with chocolate. I was surprised at how much I liked these, they were quite yummy but not too sweet. Which, somehow, ended up being a great combination.

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I wasn’t kidding about rushing to take the pictures. I knew if I took them out of their baggies, they would not last.

Speaking of not lasting, I ripped into these immediately. Image

Pomegranate White Tea Gummy Pandas. Not gummy bears, gummy pandas. How insanely adorable is that?! Also, I looooooooooooove everything pomegranate and these were no exception. Oh. My. Goodness. It had a convenient zipper thingy on the bag, but I was so impatient to try these that I quickly gave up and just cut the bag open. It was definitely worth it. Don’t judge me. Try them, you’ll understand!

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And a gigantic bag of YUMMY pretzels.

Last, but DEFINITELY not least, tootsie pop drops!

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I’ve never heard of these until Jen sent them to me. But, I will certainly be keeping my eyes peeled for them. They were AWESOME. Just like tootsie pops but without the stick. These lasted maybe…ten minutes. Just as long as it took for me to eat them all by myself as fast as humanly possible. They’re THAT good.

Thanks for a GREAT box, Jen.

TOMS Repair Update

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Back in March, I made a post about how to repair worn TOMS. I figured it was time for an update on how my repairs are holding up.

For the silver Glitters – I wear these more often, but they were far less damaged than my other ones.

There is a rip in the heels again, but it is much smaller than before. When I break out the hot glue gun, I plan on scraping off the excess glue and regluing it.

The patches on the sides have held up pretty well. There are no noticeable breaks in the patching. Also, it’s super comfortable.

For the navy ones with yellow oceany fabric –

-Not as comfortable. Part of it is that the leather is messed up from being put in the dryer (I would seriously recommend NOT putting your TOMS in the dryer!!) But part of it is the enormous amount of hot glue I used. I would definitely use the hot glue method again, I would just be a little more conservative with the glue.

-The patches/heels are holding up pretty well though. Especially my “water-proofing”. I stepped in a giant puddle and while the shoe got wet, no water got inside the shoe. Yay for hot glue!

-The yellow fabric is starting to come up at the edges slightly. If I had used fabric glue, I imagine this would not happen as much but I am not sure. Also, I did a pretty rough job around the edges.

 

Overall, I am VERY pleased with the results. But, it is still time for me to get some new TOMS….Maybe these? But too many Dorothy jokes…So about turquoise?

 

What are your favorite TOMS?