Dinner Time

So there is a fruit and vegetable stand right outside my T stop that sells really cheap and yummy produce. Its incredibly convenient…and WAY cheaper than what I pay at the grocery store. I was feeling a serious need for some veggies on Monday so I picked up a few things before heading home.

I ended up grabbing a huge zucchini, 3 big potatoes, a lemon, a bunch of bananas, and four apples…all for the bargain price of $8.50. BEST. On my ride home I decided what I would whip up for dinner.

Here’s what I ended up making:

I made some herb roasted potatoes, Parmesan crusted baked zucchini, and lemon and herb grilled chicken tenderloins.

For the potatoes I peeled and chopped them first. Then drizzled them with some extra virgin olive oil, and seasoned them with salt, pepper, garlic flakes, montreal chicken seasoning (so good, from McCormick), some thyme, and some lemon.

For the zucchini I peeled and sliced them. Then I dipped them in whole wheat flour, egg, and a mixture of Italian breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and spices. I baked them on a cookie sheet for about 10-15 minutes (until they’re golden brown on top).

For the chicken I briefly marinated the tenderloins with some olive oil, spices, and lemons. Then I slapped them on my trusty George Foreman grill until they were cooked through.

I found a really interesting desert idea on Pinterest that I decided to try as well.

You can see the full recipe here. But to summarize: you only need banana, peanut butter, cocoa powder,an egg, vanilla and a little sugar and BOOM 2.5 minutes in the microwave later you got yourself a cake. I topped mine with some fat free cool whip. Its really easy to make and tastes pretty good.

All in all it was a great end to a less than pleasant Monday.

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Mmmmm…Cupcakes

It was my friend’s birthday on Saturday so I made some cupcakes to celebrate. I decided to go with a chocolate cupcake. But just plain chocolate is boring…so I decided to try adding cream cheese. The end result is sort of a black-bottom cupcake creation. 

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I used a regular mix for the cupcakes…nothing particularly special or challenging. I grabbed some fat free cream cheese and mixed it with a little sugar and vanilla. Then I spooned about a tablespoon on top of the chocolate mix.

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Then you pop them into the over for about 20 mins. The chocolate cake actually bakes up over the cream cheese. Its pretty cool.

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When they come out of the oven the majority of the cream cheese is hidden. They’re not especially pretty…but you can hide it with frosting and you can minimize the mess by being a little neater when adding the cream cheese.

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I frosted them with some regular milk chocolate frosting. I never feel very bad about using store bought frosting because let’s face it, Betty Crocker has it pretty much figured out. I topped it with a splash of colored sugar. 

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And then when you eat them they have some tasty cream cheese filling inside! Really easy and extra yummy.

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Sometimes I Craft…

Ok…so this is another one of those ‘not-cooking-related-but-still-relevant-in-that-it-involves-kitchen-related-stuff’ posts. I found this really cool DIY project on Pinterest one day so my girl friends and I decided to give it a try last Friday. And who doesn’t love a good DYI project? The pin showed you how you can marble glasses (check it out here). It seemed like a totally doable thing. I decided to use wine glasses instead of the shot/cordial glasses they used.

This post is mostly a visual step by step…but let me tell before you attempt this at home. It is most definitely NOT as easy as the Pinterest pin makes it seem! It was actually super hard lol.

Tape up whatever you are marbling. Put the tape wherever you want the color to stop.

This is where Pinterest lied…drip is NOT what you do..you POUR that biz. No joke. You have to like dump the polish in to make it work.

This part gets REAL tricky…move LIGHTENING FAST and swirl the colors with a toothpick or other device. I’m serious about the fast part guys. The polish will harden after like 5 seconds.

Again with the quickness dip your glassware into the color for like 2 seconds and slowly pull it out.

Now you may have to re-dip/do over. Use nail polish remover to remove the polish first.

I re-dipped the one on the left and you can see that there is a lot of white…I only looked at the bottom (which looks awesome) and didn’t think about the angle most people would see.

Ultimately worth the effort because it looks cool. The bottom isn’t totally flat so the color only stayed on the rim, but I like it anyways.

Happy Crafting! I WILL be posting food related biz again…and SOON!

Being a Homemaker: Mason Jar Herb Garden

Ok, so at first glance this post doesn’t fit EXACTLY with the general flow of the Chronicles. But it basically does…just in a more tangential way…yup, I went to college and I can throw out words like tangential :P…I digress…

Focus, Kristine, focus. Anyways, I’m making this post because 1. I will be referencing it in the future and 2. I feel like a lot of you folks out there will be into it. I’m talking about herb gardens people.

When I was in the Peace Corps I started a garden. And after a few failed attempts, I had a pretty decent garden growing. I grew carrots, lettuce, basil, garlic chives, cucumbers, and tomatoes. It was something I came to really enjoy. Plus, it was great having a seemingly endless supply of lettuce and basil. I ended up making my own pesto sauce, as well as whipping up a homemade carrot cake with the carrots from my garden–it was awesome.

So flash forward to the present! I really wanted to start some kind of garden, but alas, my apartment is somewhat ill suited to such endeavors. I do however have smallish window ledges in my kitchen, so I figured I could start a small herb garden there. I decided to plant my herbs in mason jars…because lets face it–there is nothing classier or more trendy than a mason jar.

I chose these little guys. I decided to grow Basil, Lavender, and Oregano. I also planted chives but they chose not to grow…I’ll try again soon. I should tell you, I bought EVERYTHING at Target, so this is totally a doable thing for peeps on a budget like me.

I got a 4 pack of mason jars, a bag of planting dirt, and a few packs of seeds. I went home and planted them and added a ribbon to the tops to make them look prettier. After about a month this is what I have so far….

I’m really excited to start cooking with the herbs and create some cool lavender infusions…and then blog all about it lol. I encourage everyone to bust out their inner homemaker and plant a garden of your own!

Sunday Crockpoting

So last week, as a result of a few too many Sunday Funday shenanigans, I didn’t go grocery shopping. Which means that my crockpot stayed in its home on top of my fridge. womp womp. But this week I was determined to cook something (also a week of buying lunch REALLY adds up and I’m simply not prepared to do that for another week lol).

The thing is, I always WANT to cook things…but I get really indecisive about what I want to cook. So before I hit up the Price Choppers (thanks J) I had to ask the wizards at Google what I should make. I start by searching for healthy crockpot recipes and then surf the interweb for things that sound good. This is when I get real indecisive. Some recipes sound good but I just don’t ‘feel like’ making them…lame I know. But I found a recipe that sounded really intriguing–Cream Cheese Broccoli Chicken. I mean this sounds awesome right? Cream Cheese–love it. Broccoli–yes please. Chicken–always. win win win.

Plus its pretty easy to make. However, unlike my previous crockpot posts its not really a one pot wonder (meaning you throw everything in the pot and then got about you biz). You have to do a little stove work and add ingredients on a somewhat staggered timeline. But overall its simple and worth a little more effort.

You can find the recipe here.

I did make some alterations to the recipe that I’ll tell you about. First, I nixed the sherry and mushrooms…I don’t love mushrooms and I clearly don’t have sherry. Also, I used MUCH more broccoli and added garlic. I used close to 4 cups broccoli–fresh not frozen. I also used fat free cream cheese and used 12 oz instead of 8. I started by adding the chicken, about 2 Tbsp olive oil and the italian dressing mix to my crockpot set on high. I cooked it for about an hour. Then I added the sauteed onion with minced garlic and the soup. I cooked all that for about 3.5-4 more hours. Then I added the broccoli and cream cheese and cooked for about 45 more minutes. I also added about 3/4 box of whole wheat spaghetti as well. I cooked the pasta and added it at the very end.

It makes a TON of food. I ate it for dinner Sunday and then filled 8 tupperware containers. Its really filling and tasty. Changing the flavors up can only improve it I think–maybe use Zesty Italian or add a little heat with cayenne pepper.

Also I whipped up a batch of these guys while the crockpot was working its magic. A little stress baking hurts no one…especially when cupcakes are involved.

I’m getting ready to make a chocolate cake for a friends birthday coming up next week, so if anyone has any ideas/suggestions leave a comment or send me a message! I think I want to try something new so help me out!!

Things I Love: Celebrating Birthdays

Lately, I’ve found that I’m super into birthdays….not my own birthday really, but helping others celebrate theirs. I don’t really know why that is, but I’m ok with it. So when party plans for my friend Dana’s birthday started taking shape I got got really pumped. My other friend C and her roommate J have a special talent for party throwing, so I figured the best way for me to contribute to the festivities was to make the cake. Plus, I the only thing better than baking is baking for an occasion 🙂

So I tried to sneak some cake preferences out of Dana but I’m just not smooth like that. My go to line is: “So if on you’re birthday your mom told you she got your favorite cake, what kind of cake is she talking about?”–I know, I know…reallllll smooth. Turns out Dana’s mom would be referring to a vanilla cake with rainbow chip icing. NOTE: I said rainbow chip NOT funfetti. There is a difference.

The best news came a few days later when Dana told me that her favorite color is…wait for it…RAINBOW. BOOM. Best.News.Ever. You guys may remember my previous post about tie dye cupcakes. I decided that I absolutely needed to make a tie dye layer cake with rainbow chip icing.

My brain wasn’t ready to stop at just rainbow cake. It was Dana’s birthday after all, I could do more. I decided that I needed to add rainbow sprinkles to the sides. I have no idea how to go about doing that so I YouTube tutorialed it (do it) and leaned how. Turns out its actually a really doable thing. You kind of just throw the sprinkles at the sides. It makes a complete mess but its really fun.

While I was learning how to do the sprinkle thing I saw a cool video on how to make this funky tie dye frosting too! Which made for a cool edge to the cake. A while back I bought this cool frosting pump/cake decorator thing from the Target Dollar Spot, so in my mind I had everything I needed to complete this cake. So I used my cool new frosting technique and set it all up in the pump and then FAIL. The thing EXPLODES and covers my hands with purple frosting. I totally froze…there was just frosting all over me. Luckily I had a friend with me who could 1. take a commemorative photo and 2. hand me a zip lock bag so I could make my own pastry bag and finish the cake. The end result was pretty cool though.

Everyone at the party loved the cake. Another of Dana’s friend’s brought that CRAZY candle that starts off like a big sparkler and then upfolds into this lily type flower covered in birthday candles. It was really cool (and at first really startling) the watch.

All in all, everyone had a blast at the party. We ate some rainbow cake, drank some Smash Juice, played a little tambourine, and danced the night away! Kudos to C and J for throwing an epic bash 🙂