Monday, September 27, 2010

There is a code out...

Be sure and check your swidget or mine in the right colomn for a code clue. This is worth 4 Swagbucks!

If you are new to here is how it works: Swagbucks is a search engine like google or ask.You can click here and sign up with the website. It is completely free! Then all you have do is search a few times a day and win Swagbucks which are your currency. Most people average 10 Swagbucks. I have received as little as 6SB and as much as 50SB per search. Another way to win is the Swag code. Its a string of text released for a limited time and worth a random amount. What are you waiting for, get swaggin'!

The Thanksgiving plan

I have been going to my Boyfriends ex-wife's family the last two years for Thanksgiving (there will be a whole other post about that). The number of people is high, probable 20 people at least. To say they are good cooks is putting it nicely. What can I say. I am a southern girl who owns her kitchen. I know how I want things done and if I don't see it happening I will over-rule with an iron rolling pin!

This year I want to take over the desserts. Last year I made my mother's famous pecan pie and it was a hit! This year I want to make a chocolate tart, pumpkin pie, and the pecan pie. I also would like to get the mashed potatoes done the night before and in the freezer. I will of course have my fingers in every pot on The Day. But this is my game plan.

Chocolate Tart
  • 450 Lindt chocolate - 75% cocoa solids
  • 250 ml milk
  • 225g softened unsalted butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 175 g fine castor sugar
  • 60 ml Cointreau (Grand Marnier is just as good)
  • Blind baked sweet, short-crust shell
  • Shaved dark chocolate shavings – use a thick slab or block to make good shavings
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder to garnish
  • Pour milk into a heavy-based pot on very low heat, add chocolate and stir constantly until chocolate just melts
  • Remove from stove and stir until both are well blended, setting aside to cool
  • Cream butter and sugar until light and pale, using electric mixer and add yolks, one by one and whisk very well
  • Whisk the chocolate mixture into the cream and butter mixture and finally whisk in the Cointreau
  • Pour the filling into the blind baked shell and chill until set.
  • Garnish with more chocolate, dusted cocoa.
  • Serve with cream on the side if you wish.

Silky Smooth Pumpkin Pie
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, November & December 2008

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk (I used 2 cups of half and half instead of one cup each of cream and milk)
  • 3 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup drained candied yams from 15-ounce can (regular canned yams can be substituted)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger (I used 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground because I’m not a huge fan of fresh ginger)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Roll out dough on generously floured (up to 1/4 cup) work surface to make 12-inch circle about 1/8-inch thick. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang all around pie plate.

Working around circumference, ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Refrigerate 15 minutes. Trim overhang to 1/2 inch beyond lip of pie plate. Fold overhang under itself; edge should be flush with edge of pie plate. Using thumb and forefinger, flute edge of dough. Refrigerate dough-lined plate until firm, about 15 minutes.
Remove pan from refrigerator, line crust with foil and fill with pie weights or pennies. Bake on rimmed baking sheet 15 minutes. Remove foil and weights, rotate plate. Bake 5 to 10 more minutes until crust is golden brown and crisp. Remove plate and baking sheet from oven.

Make the filling: While pie shell is baking, whisk cream, milk, eggs, yolks and vanilla together in medium bowl. Combine pumpkin puree, yams, sugar, maple syrup, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in large heavy-bottomed saucepan; bring to sputtering simmer over medium heat, 5 to 7 minutes. Continue to simmer pumpkin mixture, stirring constantly and mashing yams against sides of pot, until thick and shiny, 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove pan from heat. Whisk in cream mixture slowly, until fully incorporated. Strain mixture through fine-mesh strainer set over medium bowl, using back of ladle or spatula to press solids through strainer. Re-whisk mixture and transfer to warm pre-baked pie shell. Return pie plate with baking sheet to oven and bake pie for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 300 degrees. Continue baking until edges are set (instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 175 degrees), 20 to 35 minutes longer. Transfer pie to wire rack and cool to room temperature, 2 to 3 hours. (The pie finishes cooking with resident heat; to ensure the filling sets, cool it at room temperature and not in the refrigerator.)

Fleischmann's pizza crust yeast

The boyfriend made me dinner last night since technically it was Stepmother's Day (even if technically I am not a stepmother). I wanted a big pot of soup because it was rainy and gray here. He called back from the store and told me he wasn't in the mood for soup-insert soup-nazi reference here- and he was thinking of making calzones.

I wasn't sold. He has never made a yeast project and gets frustrated easily in the kitchen. But I rattled off a list of things to pick up.

He called back again and said, "what kind of yeast,...there are a bunch of different stuff?"

I told him to get the rapid rise. He mentioned that there was a packet that said it was for pizza crust. I flipped out. I had been wanting to try this but every time I go to the store they haven't gotten it in yet. He told me he would pick up a few packets but that I needed to calm down, it was just yeast!

The directions on the back of the package say how to prepare your dough. The boyfriend followed this recipe to make out calzones. I sat on the counter and watched.

My Thoughts:
This is going to be great for those nights we want pizza but I don't have any rising in the fridge. It has a lovely quality of not fighting to return to its shape. You all know what I am talking about, the stretch and snap! Anyway, it rolled out really smoothly and stayed in whatever shaped he wanted.

It doesn't have the same taste as the one I make and rise in the fridge for 24 hours. It doesn't have the chewy/airbubbly/ thin crust ness that I like. I know what a horrible description that was.

All in all I think it worth having in the pantry for a quick pizza night. If you want thin crust you will get enough dough for two pizzas and it will be done in half an hour. But if you are a true artist with your pizza and struggled for a long time to get your recipe just right, stick to making it on the weekends when you have time.

To Do List 9-27-2010

Today, it is raining and rolling thunder. I am having a hard time getting my butt in gear to do anything. I mean it! I am still in pajamas at 9:47 am. I have managed to pour myself a cup of coffee and I did find the remote but other than that, meh, it can wait. Here is the list of what is waiting

Mop kitchen floor
clean master bathroom
Clear boyfriends desk
Clean kitchen
enter a ridiculous amount of grades

Review: Butoni Wild Mushroom Agnolotti

Last night was very busy for us. The boy was getting back into the school routine. The BF and i were meeting friends for drinks late that night. I had data entry to do while the BF had a mountain of grading in front of him. So naturally this is when I am hit with the question of "What's for dinner?".

I knew we would be going out so I didn't want something that would be really heavy on our stomachs but I need something that would fill us up so we wouldn't snack. I peeked in the freezer and spied the Butoni wild mushroom agnolotti I had bought a month ago. I wasn't sure if it would feed all three of us but boy did it.

I cooked it for 6 minutes per the package instructions over a gentle boil. No time at all with two hungry men lurking in my kitchen! I grabbed a jar of left over sauce from the fridge and heated up. I poured it over the plump pasta and ta da! Dinner is done.

I loved this. I loved how easy it was to cook. I loved how it really filled me up, and honestly sometimes pasta just doesn't for me or the family. I liked how fresh the mushrooms tasted even though it had been in the freezer for a month.

By the way, no need to thaw, score!

My only complaint was the size of the package. I would love to find one that was a single serving so I didn't have to freeze the rest. I know my guys don't like to eat a lot of mushrooms but I just love them.

Method Go Naked- Review

I recently helped a friend move into thier new home. She asked me to specifically pick up the Method multipurpose cleaner, Go Naked scent. I have been trying to phase out buying cleaners and instead making my own. The chemical situation is getting to  be too much for me. But at her insistance I picked the bottle up a bottle for myself as well.

The bottle says it is all natural formula without any toxic additives or Uneccassary impuities. It is the scentless and odorless option of their mulitpurpose cleaner line. Since I usually research and read reviews before I buy a product I thought I would let you all know what I thought of it.

And the verdict is: Love it!
I would/will buy this again. Not only does it stay true to the claim of odorless it really has been a multi purpose cleaner. I cleaned the master bathroom last night using only this product. It cleaned the grim out of the bathtub with ease. I got rid of the residue on my shower walls. Pure fabulousness right there ladies!

I also used the cleaner on all my counter tops and fixtures. Everything was super clean and shiny. I noticed that there was no residue or oily feeling left on the surfaces. A big plus. The came my true test: the mirror. BF is notorious for getting toothpaste and the like on the mirror over the sink. It can be really hard to get off with glass cleaner sometimes. Not this time though, I sprayed it on and let it sit while i cleaned the rest of the glass. I came back to it and it wiped off ridiculously easy. I didn't have to keep scrubbing to get it off. And of course, I only had one bottle to tote around!

I will tell you I always use a microfiber cloth. I noticed My firend was using paper towles with the cleaner during the move and I think it made a bit of difference in how little residue was left on the glass surface.
*I was in no way paid or compensated for this review, good or bad. I bought the product at target for $3.00.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

To Do List 9-26-2010

Clean kitchen
Change sheets on bed
Enter Grades/ update grade book
Enter attendance
Clean master bathroom
Clean out fridge
Find expanding file with strap for Steve
Pick up Sunday Paper
Mop kitchen floor
Clean Balcony

I am in love with Swagbucks

I just sent off for my third $5 Amazon Gift Card this month. So $15 may not seem like much but I am saving up all of my AGC for a Kitchen-aid stand mixer. These are very expensive kitchen toys ($183.50) and I don't have the spare cash for that purchase now. So I stash my $5 gift cards in my Amazon account and slowly it is adding up.

So I came to later than a lot of people. But I am so glad I did. Here is how it works: Swagbucks is a search engine like google or ask.You can click here and sign up with the website. It is completely free! Then all you have do is search a few times a day and win Swagbucks which are your currency. Most people average 10 Swagbucks. I have received as little as 6SB and as much as 50SB per search. Another way to win is the Swag code. Its a string of text released for a limited time and worth a random amount. What are you waiting for, get swaggin'!