Thursday, December 24, 2009

Congratulations, you've ruined Christmas

First of all, I want to be Martha Stewart, but I so don't have what it takes. Skill, patience, and know how aside.... Are the holidays NOT completely stressful when the best laid plans turn out looking like a kindergartner made them? *sigh*

In other news the copious amounts of sugar and butter in these christmas candy recipes kind of grosses me out. For goodies for John's parents (his dad is diabetic by the way, great idea lauren) and my boss I decided to make an old recipe for PB and chocolate bars that my mom used to make.

  • 2 freaking POUNDS of powdered sugar
  • 3 effin sticks of butter
  • 2 cups of creamy peanut butter

seriously, just thinking about it makes me want a vegetable. After I finally got all of those mixed (and had proceeded to get powdered suger all over myself and my kitchen) I patted it into the bottom of a casserole dish. I melted chocolate chips and poured it over the top. Then I waited... and waited, and waited. It was supposed to 'set' after a couple of hours. Bullshit. After two hours i 'cut' it into squares with a butter knife and then let it set all night to solidify. Did it? Not at all. So I put it in the freezer for 20 minutes. It helped, but mostly just for the chocolate part, which completely kept separating from the PB/butter mush.

I then proceeded to hand pack and mold each square as I loaded up the tins. It was labor intensive, and it really knocked the whole 'presentation' thing off it's game. F.

In other cooking (*cough* unhealthy *cough) adventures, I made a few treats for John's sister's tacky sweater party. I thought I would leave the endive/questionable but fancy appetizers to girlfriends (oh HEY jaclyn), and stick with what works when feeding people (boys) drinking beer. I.E. comfort food. Although I did kind of feel like a douche since John's sister got me a 'Clean Food' book for Christmas since she knows how much I like my healthy eating. Oops.

I started making pinwheels based on a taste of home recipe, but many subsitutions and ingredient changes later, it turned out with:
  • cream cheese (enough to feed an army, seriously)
  • green chilies (i finally found these in the grocery store! big step for me)
  • black olives
  • red peppers
  • white flour tortillas (so much more pliable than WW and more crowd friendly, sadly)
  • ground red pepper to excess
  • Mrs. Dash's 'chipotle' seasoning to EXCESS
  • Salsa to put in the middle

don't you like my dollar general plates? That's just $1 folks. After much tasting during the R&D stage, I couldn't eat any at the actual party because it was SO rich. This was a hit though, and was all gone when the party was over. On the other hand, what cream cheese appetizer isn't? That stuff is like gold.

I also was completely intrigued by a recipe I found for 'cheesecake on a stick' from Delish. No seriously, doesn't that sound like the stuff dreams are made of? I kept saying since so many people there grew up around Sedalia MO (home of the Missouri State Fair, obviously) that it was my on-a-stick tribute to their local cuisine.
  • no-bake cookies & cream cheesecake
  • dark chocolate chips to melt
  • sprinkles
  • mini skewers

Please click on the link to the recipe to see what is IMPOSSIBLE for these to look like. How are they perfectly spherical? While I was at my hair appointment that morning John was attempting to roll the hardened no-bake cheesecake into balls. Equipped with melon ballers, waxed paper, and a myriad of other tools he still was befuddled (yes befuddled) with how to make them any more smooth than you see there. They were frozen with sticks in them, then dipped in melted chocolate. With the chocolate still wet we attempted to dip them into christmas sprinkles..... you know, like the picture...... except that the chocolate swallowed them all. F. We abandoned the sprinkle idea pretty quickly. So glad I spent $6 on christmas sprinkles. Not.

Despite the so-so appearance (the plate helps, right?) these were hot property too. The stick makes it fun to eat, and who doesn't love cookies and cream. Am I right or am I right?
I also found some sweet new threads for John and I to wear to the party.

The plaid holiday headband matched the plaid holiday shoes. BAM.
John, on the other hand, stole the sweater I had actually purhcased for myself...... Apparently shoulder pads really ARE irresistable.

Okay everybody, only 2 more hours at this desk and then I . AM. OUTTA HERE! Too bad I'll be driving 6 hours north today for the Iowa Fam festivities and then 15 hours east on Saturday for a WEEK LONG VACATION with the fam in DC at my brother's place. Too bad we are supposed to be driving in a blizzard the whole time. No seriously like 20 inches of snow during or just before our journey.
Happy Holidays everyone!!!!!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Helllllllllllloooo Nurse!

It is times like this (sitting at my desk, ignoring my to-do list) that I wish I were at home in footie PJs watching animaniacs. Is that show even still on? The hello nurse comment is from there and a nod to Emily Millertime, obviously.

So my fair city has had some lovely guests in the first few weeks of December including but not limited to my BFF Nickie in for a wedding (isn't she beauteous?)

And a rowdy crowd this saturday for a birthday party. My camera caught a moment on the Dance floor and every single one of those hooligans is hilarious and so much fun.

Even this one :)
In other life altering ridiculously amazing things, a vendor sent me a Godiva gift box for spending so much in advertising with them. I can be bought with chocolate, oh yes I can. Highlight of my life. I am never going back to Russell Stover.

In food related activities Jaclyn and I had a little dinner party for ourselves! Our date night was with Julie & Julia and all of the fun apps we could handle. I pretty much love her little house she and her BF live in. Adorable and so fixed up.

I made the pumpkin dip again. Cream cheese + brown sugar + pumpkin puree = basically the pie and complete delicousness. I also made the mini baked potato bites from last NYE. Those are comfort food at it's finest and sound yummy to me even as I type this. I also was curious about an endive recipe that I found.

Endive Boat Things from Real Simple

  • Ricotta
  • Almonds
  • Raisins
  • EVOO
  • Endive leaves

Truthfully... these had no flavor. Maybe I should've got full fat ricotta? Jaclyn and I agreed a drizzle of honey instead of EVOO would've helped but either way, these were pretty forgettable.

Jaclyn made feta/green apple/craizin bites in a phyllo shells. YUM. Those were rocking my world. Also a hit was the pre-made frozen spinach bites. Sometimes you just can't one-up the pillsbury people. Good stuff.

Jaclyn also made little gingerbread men. Lots of Shrek jokes were going around, obviously.

Oh no... don't eat me....!

Yesterday I rented Funny Girl (i've never seen it!) from the Library because this week's GLEE episode had me singing 'Don't Rain on my Parade'. I think I'm officially a Streisand fan. It was good stuff and made for excellent shower singing. Also I talked John through his first chili recipe that I showed him from one of Paula Deen's sons on the food network. Sounds yummy, no? So proud of him, so proud.
Only 9.5 more days until Christmas vacation!!! :)