Thursday, December 18, 2014

Asian Brussels Sprouts





If you ask most people, they'll tell you they don't like brussels sprouts. That's because they've never really had brussels sprouts. They've only ever had soggy little cabbage balls. Or perhaps they haven't even had those--they've only had the idea of soggy little cabbage balls in this woefully slandered member of the broccoli family. At any rate, before you pass judgment, you should make these. They are fabulous beyond fabulousness. They are like the brussels sprouts you thought you knew went to Hollywood and made it big (minus the plastic surgeries).



Asian Brussels Sprouts
adapted from The Baker Mama
serves 2-4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Cost: $2.00
brussels sprouts: 1.50, other stuff: .50 (yeah, I'm totally guessing here; sorry)

1 lb brussels sprouts
3 Tbsp canola oil
3 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 garlic clove
1 Tbsp Sriracha sauce
pinch black pepper
salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Set a rack on the top (yup--top).

Cut sprouts in half and remove any leaves that are wilty or falling off.

Spread brussels sprouts on a cookie sheet. Coat with oil and sprinkle with satl.

Place on TOP rack for 40-60 minutes, stirring them every 15 or 20 minutes to ensure that all sides get browned and crispy.

During the last 10 minutes of cooking, put other ingredients in a pot and boil them until they reduce into a thicker sauce (about 5 minutes)

Remove sprouts from oven and brush with the sauce. I did this with a pastry brush and it worked perfectly. You'll likely have leftover sauce. You can use this for dipping if you wish.

PRINTABLE RECIPE


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Oatmeal Cream Pies



This month I joined a Cookie Carnival (as part of Secret Recipe Club), which is a group of bloggers who make each others cookies in December and then blog about them. I got the blog Join Us, Pull Up a Chair. It's written by Heather who is a mother, blogger, business woman, and she has a full time job. I'm going to bed now. No wait, because I have to tell you about these cookies which were everything I'd hoped they'd be and more. Truly, I had NO problem picking my cookie.

I picked these oatmeal cream pies because I used to love the Little Debbie version. I have many memories of coming home after school, climbing up on my counter, and stealing them from the cupboard where my mom kept them. In defense of this questionable behavior, let me distract you from myself and point the finger at someone else and say that I also have plenty of memories of my parents snarfing them down. So there we go.

Even though I haven't had a Little Debbie cream pie in years, anything that professes to be a better, homemade version can catch my eye. Now it can catch yours too. These are one of the best cookies I've made in a while. And I like to make cookies. They are way way better than any oatmeal cream pie you'll buy in a store. And you don't have to change out of your pajamas to enjoy them.

Oatmeal Cream Pies
from Join Us, Pull Up a Chair
Makes about 20 cream pies
Prep time: about 20 minutes
Cook time: 10-12 minutes
Cost: $2.65
oats: .20, flour: .10, butter: .50, sugar: .10, brown sugar: .20, egg: .10, cream cheese: 1.00, confectioner's sugar: .10, maple syrup: .25, other spices: .10

1 1/2 C rolled oats
1 C flour (I used all purpose)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C light brown sugar
1 egg

Filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 C confectioners sugar
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350.

In small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and spices.

In a separate bowl, cream together butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add in egg. Then add flour mixture until well combined. Stir in oats by hand.

Roll batter into balls (about 1-2 Tbsp worth). Bake 10-12 minutes until lightly browned (on bottom).

Allow to cool completely.

While it's cooling, make the filling. Beat cream cheese with confectioner's sugar until smooth. Add maple syrup until combined.

When cookies are cool, plop a tablespoon or so of filling between the flat sides of the cookies.




They're amazing.

PRINTABLE RECIPE




Thursday, December 11, 2014

Jewelry in a Candle Tart--a Gift Craft



So this isn't quite a recipe, but a month or so ago, I developed a tiny obsession with candles that come with jewelry in them. It's like Cracker Jacks meets the lottery because there's a chance that instead of a cheap piece of jewelry in your candle, you'll get a nice, expensive piece of jewelry. But cheap or not, there was something thrilling about burning a candle and then seeing a bit of foil peek out of the wax--foil that contains a prize. (Okay, not everyone gets this, but if you are a prize or surprise person, you probably do.) After a foray into the candled jewelry world, I had a huge and awesome couponing streak with these candles and got several for nearly free. Naturally, my three girls also became obsessed with this concept, but none of the rings I got ever fit their tiny fingers. There were other companies that sold candles and tarts (wax without a wick that you melt in a melter/warmer) with things like necklaces and earrings in them, but I already had all the candles I needed for cheap and didn't want to pay for more. I also--for the record--had earrings that I'd been planning to give for Christmas (sterling silver ones, which are often better quality than what you'll get in a gamble of a candle jewelry).

Enter brilliant idea. I would make my own little tarts for them to melt in our melter. They get the fun and the jewelry. I get the cheapness.

You can too. Because this is pretty easy. If you've got someone in your life who loves jewelry, nice smells, and surprises, this will be a triple win for you.

Also, it'd be a cool way to propose. Just melt that tart throughout dinner gentlemen.

1. First you melt your wax. You can use a cheap candle you buy for this. Or if you've got old candles lying around your house (who doesn't) that are used or nearly used up, you can use these. You put the candles on a candle warmer (Note: If you don't have one, put them in your crock pot and set it to low--this is what I did.) Melt the wax.

2. While it's melting, prepare your jewelry. Put it in some type of tiny Ziploc bag. I had little ones left over from other jewelry I've received at various points of my life, but if you don't, a small Ziploc bag or even some tightly wrapped Saran wrap will probably work. Put the jewelry in the tiny bag and seal it up tight.


3. Then wrap this tightly in aluminum foil till it's a sweet little square.



4. Put this at the bottom of an ice cube tray (or how ever you can get it to fit).



5. Pour your melted wax into the tray and let it cool.

6. When it is thoroughly cool--not just rehardened, but cool--it should come easily out of the ice cub tray.

7. Now bag it up and wrap it. If you're a cute person, you'll bag it all cute and wrap it with a bow and stuff. If you're me, you'll throw it in a Ziploc bag and call it good.



Note: Not going to do any of this, but intrigued by the idea of a candle with a ring in it. Here's a link for 20% off from Diamond Candles.
http://my.cndl.es/x/x7oCzB

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