Fact: I Love Awards Shows.

Fun fact about me: I love award shows. I pretty much love all of them (except the Grammys…that’s not my jam). And guess what was just on?!…The Golden Globes. Of all the award shows the Golden Globes are my fave…it combines everyone worth seeing. TV stars: check. Movie stars: check check. Random musicians: they got’em (I’m looking at you TSwift).

I love the red carpet,

Those ladies, those dresses…THAT FACE! I LOVE IT!

I love the celebrities,

This is definitely one of the greatest moments of any awards show ever

I love the audience reaction shots

Goop is NOT entertained you guys….

…I love all of it.

So obviously I needed to gather than gang to watch this biz last weekend. Plus, its Tina and Amy; how can you NOT watch when they’re hosting?

I decided to make some golden globes for the golden globes….do you see what I did there?…such a clever girl. I decided to whip up some home made cream puffs…also some chips and dip and sangria because…well every party needs a beverage.

Party Punch!

Party Punch! check out this super simple recipe!

But back to the cream puffs. So for Christmas my Gram got me an electric cookie press (poorly named because it does soooo much more than make cookies). Said cookie press makes things like cheese crackers, cream puff, cookies, it frosts cupcakes and fills cream puffs…that kind of thing.

This beast is so much more than a cookie press....

This beast is so much more than a cookie press….

I’ll be honest, it did not go smoothly. Making the puffs themselves is actually pretty simple…except I messed it all up almost immediately. I misread the recipe and like tripled the flour…which incidentally was exactly how much flour I had at the time, meaning I had to RUN to the store for more and restart the dough.

The press came with a little recipe booklet with some decent recipes in it…which is where I got the recipe for the puffs.

Combine 4 Tbs butter and 1/2 c. water in a pan.  Take off heat and add 1/2 c flour. Mix it up until it cools. Beat in 2 eggs one at a time until smooth (like a thick cake batter).

Combine 4 Tbs butter and 1/2 c. water in a pan. Take off heat and add 1/2 c flour. Mix it up until it cools. Beat in 2 eggs one at a time until smooth (like a thick cake batter). Use the press (or spoons) to make 2 inch-ish blobs on your parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  

I had a few issues. The recipe have the wrong baking temperature…so my puffs deflated a bit (womp womp). You need to preheat the oven to 500F, then turn the heat OFF and put the puffs into the hot over for 10 mins. Then turn the heat up to 375 for about another 20 mins.

The primary issue I had was with the press itself. The design of this thing is ridiculous. It’s VERY difficult to fill the press with only yourself…1. it leaks out the tip 2. you have to either put the press in between your legs or (as my gram suggested) use a cup to hold it while you fill it. To me, this is a MAJOR flaw because the time and frustration it took for me to get the first batch of puffs in the over was insane. Ain’t nobody got time fo’ this sh**.

See what a mess this is?! You can see how much leaks out the bottom.

See what a mess this is?! You can see how much leaks out the bottom.

I swear I called my gram no less than 3 times that fateful Sunday when I undertook these globes. I want to love this press but we’re going to have to get to know each other better before I attempt to make anything again.

To make the filling I simply used a box of vanilla instant pudding (made with 1/2 c less milk) mixed with some homemade whipped cream.

To make the filling I simply used a box of vanilla instant pudding (made with 1/2 c less milk) mixed with some homemade whipped cream.

Golden GlobesAll the stress and frustration paid off though, because they tasted like actual cream puffs. And we were able to have our very own golden globes while watching the Golden Globes 🙂

See ya next year ladies.

Suck it Betty Crocker…I Make My Cake from Scratch

okay…so the title of this blog is only partly true. I frequently make cakes from a box out of laziness and poverty. But when I DO make a cake from scratch BOOM. It’s all “Betty Who?”

I had to buy some carrots a bit ago to make some Beef Stew (I’ll be posting about it soon!). I’m not huge into carrots…I only like them cooked. I needed to use them or lose them, so I decided that there was no time like the present to whip up a sweet treat.

 

To be perfectly honest I’ve never been a big fan of carrot cake. This post is making me seem super picky lol (I’m really not). For some reason I just never like carrot cake that much. But back in my Peace Corps days I had a garden and I grew some stellar carrots. Back then EVERYTHING I made was from scratch, so the idea of making a cake from scratch with carrots I grew all by myself was too good to resist. So I ended up finding an awesome recipe.

Blast from the past Peace Corps photo of the day I picked my carrots!

So the other night I decided to bring forth the magic….also I may have needed something productive to do while I drank my wine…

I used my carrot cake recipe and a great cream cheese frosting recipe from the one and only Martha Stewart.

Here’s the recipe:

1 c sugar
1 c vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 1/3 c flour
1/2 tsp vanilla (that’s pretty conservative)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon (again this is conservative)
2 c grated carrots

Combine sugar and oil in a bowl and beat in the eggs one at a time. Add vanilla. Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and mix. Add it all together and mix in the carrots.
Put batter into a greased pan (spring forms work great) and bake for about 35 mins at 350.

Ok so in reality you can be a little more relaxed with this recipe. I legit dump everything in one bowl in whatever order I happen to read the ingredients. I’m not dirtying any more dishes than it is absolutely essential that I do.  Also when they give measurements for things like vanilla and cinnamon I take that as more of a suggestion. Who am I? the spice police? you use however much flavor you like!

Check out the link for the frosting recipe. Its super simple with only a few ingredients (powdered sugar, cream cheese and butter).

Apples to Apples: Part 3

Apples apples and more apples. That has been my life for like 2 weeks. But in my recent post I told you that I made Apple Butter in my crockpot.

I’ll be honest with you. I had NO idea what apple butter was, what it looked like, what it tasted like, or what the what you did with it. But friends and the internet said good things so I figured hey why not?

It is a bit of a process so it works best as a weekend thing.

Start by peeling, coring and chopping about a dozen apples. Then toss them in your crockpot.

Next add 1/4 c brown sugar and cinnamon (I used like 1.5 Tbs) and 1/2c water. Set your crockpot on low and cook for about 10 hours (overnight works best time wise).

In the morning you have this!

Then use a wooden spoon to prop the cover open and cook on high for around 4 more hours.

After around 4 hours the water cooks off so you have this tasty mess. You can leave it like this, or you can use a Magic Bullet or Immersion Blender to smooth it out. I happen to have both so I opted for smooth.

I divided my batch in half. I filled this adorable mason jar and put it in my fridge, and filled a tupperware container and stuck it in my freezer for later. Its really tasty stuff. It also makes for great holiday gifts come Christmas time.

Apples to Apples: Part 2

So this is another in my mini series of apple-type fall treats. In my previous post (check that guy out here) I told you about my apple orchard excursion that resulted in my picking a 1/2 bushel of apples (aka roughly 50 apples!). And after baking an apple pie and an apple peach cobbler I still had TONS of apples left over.

My friend L was having the ladies over for some TV time one Wednesday night, so I figured I would make a treat for us. Some casual interneting led me to some cool recipes. I decided on this guy: Danish Apple Pastry Bars from Midwest Living. Com (check out the link here). They looked simple enough and more importantly they looked delicious. They have a really yummy crust that is sort short bread like. Beware bakers: these guys are addictive. But a word of advice, READ THE RECIPE CAREFULLY! It is really poorly written. Try my version below for a more step by step approach.

 

Here’s how to make these guys:

2.5 c flour
1 tsp salt
1 c shortening
1 egg yolk
milk (almost 2/3 c…see directions)
1 c corn flakes
8-10 apples (peeled, cored, and sliced)
3/4-1 c white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon (more if we’re being realistic)
1 egg white lightly beaten
1 c powdered sugar
3-4 tsp milk

1. Peel, core, and slice all your apples. Place them in a bowl.
2. In a large bowl, combine salt and flour. Using a fork or pastry cutter blend in the shortening until its nice and crumbly.
3. In a liquid measuring cup, add the egg yolk and enough milk to fill 2/3 cup.
4. add milk/yolk combo to the crumbles. When it all comes together it should form a sticky dough. Divide the dough in half.
5. On a well floured surface roll half the dough out into a rectangle the size of whatever pan you’re using. Then put it in the pan (oil/spray it first).
6. Crush the cornflakes and spread them on top of the dough in your pan.
7. Spread your apples on top of the corn flakes.
8. Combine white sugar and cinnamon. Spread over apples.
9. Repeat step 5 and place dough over apple.
10. Spread egg whites over the top layer of dough.
11. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes, then cover with foil and bake for another 30ish minutes until top is golden brown and apples are tender.
12. Combine the powdered sugar and a few TBS of milk to make a glaze. Spread over warm bars. When cooled, cut them into squares and EAT UP!

When I made these, the original recipe messed me up and I ended up adding the powdered sugar to the white…yikes…luckily I was able to scoop it out!

 

But lets be serious people, 50 apples is too many…and I STILL had so many left. So I realized that this was the PERFECT time to make some Apple Butter! Which happens to be my next post! Stay tuned!!

 

Apples to Apples: Part 1

‘Tis the season you guys!…the season for APPLES! And I’m pumped about it! I love going to the orchards and picking my fruit off the trees and tasting all the fun cider based treats. I also love going home and making apple treats. This year I may have gone slightly overboard….

I haven’t been apple picking since college (ugh that was 3 years ago….I’m old) so I was extra excited to go. Long story short I ended up with 1/2 bushel of apples.

I realizes once I got these guys home I needed to start baking ASAP as I picked entirely too many lol. But these things happen…especially when you go with friends who’ve never been apple picking before (shock) and the weather is gorgeous.

I decided to start with an apple pie and an apple peach cobbler (we also picked peaches).

I started with the pie first. I prefer butter over shortening for my crusts so here’s the recipe I use…I roll mine slightly thin so that I get two crusts out of this (one for bottom and one on top)
Pie Crust:
2 1/2 c flour
1 stick of butter
1 tsp salt
cold water

You cream the flour, salt, and butter together with a pastry cutter or a fork (I don’t own a cutter anymore 😦 ). When the mixture looks like a bowl of small crumbles add water 1 Tbs at a time until you get the right consistency (not too wet not too dry, slightly elastic).

Flour your surface area and roll your dough out in a circle until its about 1/4 in thick. Transfer it to your pie plate.

Filling:
I don’t generally use a recipe for this, but here are some rough guidelines. I peel and slice about 8 apples and put them in a bowl. Add about 1/4 of sugar and 1 Tbs cinnamon (I like cinnamon so I use more of it) and a quick squirt of lemon juice. Mix it all up and put it in your pie plate. I add about 3 tbs of butter (3 pats) on top of the apples.

Roll out another pie crust and place on top of your apples. Pinch or fork your edges to seal it and make it all pretty and slice some ventilation in the top. Brush with milk or add a little butter on top to make it golden. Bake for like 30ish mins until golden brown.

 

You can get edges like these by pinching your thumb and pointer finger on one hand, and pinching the crust into those fingers with the pointer finger on your other hand.

Apple Peach Cobbler:

Repeat the filling from the Apple Pie recipe above…except also add peaches.
Put your filling in a casserole dish or pan.

Crumble Topping:
1 c Corn Flake type cereal (I used Special K Vanilla Almond…YUM)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4-1/2 flour
1 c melted butter
cinnamon for flavor

Crush the cereal. Mix the cereal, flour, sugar, and cinnamon together and add melted butter. Mix until a crumble forms. Spread it on top of the apples and peach mixture in your  dish. Bake for 20-25 mins until apples are soft and crumble is lightly browned.

Both were really tasty and made my house smell amazing. I’ve been baking like crazy with the millions of apples I have so look for posts later in the week to find out what else I made!  SPOILER ALERT: apple bars, apple butter, and apple cider sangria…stay tuned!

The gang and I had a fun time picking apples and walking around Smolak Farms the other weekend.