thursday things

xnxiKtr

When I logged in this morning I noticed an unusual amount of traffic from Reddit. When I followed the trail to the source I discovered this picture… featuring a League of Legends character running across my biscotti. And it made my mother-freaking day. I’ve been toying with the idea of getting into LoL lately and it might have just given me the push I need to start…

Other things that made my day this week include this tiny human who for some god-forsaken reason decided to turn Oreos into mascara… WHY ON EARTH you would waste PERFECTLY GOOD Oreos to make cosmetics is beyond me… Unless you wanted an excuse to to eat your eyelashes….

After the cronut and the cragel our slutty friend, the croissant, is at it again by now breeding with a cookie to create the “crookie”… WHEN WILL THE MADNESS END!?

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Cheetos has created a sweet cinnamon snack, aptly named “Sweetos” which I can only assume is essentially a bag of cinna-twists (in untwisted form). I’m so down.

Although I’ve mentioned it with basil before, we finally have a definitive list of foods that will magically regrow themselves.

Scientists have found a way to let our astronauts enjoy espresso in space. Next up, maybe we will cure world hunger… but at least we found a way to fix space caffeine-withdrawal in the mean time.

The Super Bowl is taking place in my general vicinity this year, but I would be much more excited to score tickets to the Puppy Bowl. And by “score tickets” I really mean just roll around in the pile of Puppy Bowl pups.

And I could give you a super bowl round up but first I want to let you see this video of Will Ferrell blasting this cheerleader in the face with a basketball. I could watch this freaking loop ALL. DAY. LONG.

Super Bowl Recipe Round Up

Pretzel Bites from Yours Truly (cut the ropes into 2-inch pieces for bites)

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Hot & Cheesy Crab Dip from Foodness Gracious

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Sugar & Spice Cocktail Nuts from Some Kitchen Stories

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Make some chili to eat as-is or to put on hot dogs, or even some chili-cheese tots!

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Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Dip from FoodieCrush

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Spinach-Ricotta Turnovers from A Periodic Table

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Fig & Prosciutto Flatbread from right here

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Popcorn Party Mix from Smitten Kitchen

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it’s national peanut butter day! (+ a giveaway!)

IT’S NATIONAL PEANUT BUTTER DAY! And it’s no secret around here that I love peanut butter. Like, to an unhealthy extent. Like, eat-it-straight-out-of-the-jar-with-a-spoon extent or a substitute-graham-crackers-for-spoons extent or a literally-everything-is-better-with-peanut-butter-extent.

So yeah, a lot.

So below you’ll find some of my favorite peanut butter recipes…. and a chance to win your own peanut butter prize pack!

Peanut Butter Eggs from Wee Eats

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 Fluffernutter Cake from Life Tastes Good

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Peanut Butter Truffle Brownies from Some Kitchen Stories

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Reese’s Pieces No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie from Wee Eats

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A Periodic Table’s Favorite Peanut Butter Cookies

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Chocolate-Peanut Butter Layer Cake from Wee EatsDSC_5996-2

Wit & Vinegar’s Baked Peanut Butter Oreo Doughnuts

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Buckeye State Ice Cream from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

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Movita’s Peanut Butter Swirled Brownies 

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My Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Bundt Cake

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Peanut Butter Granola from Pinch of Yum

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So… How about that giveaway?

Mr. Eats, knowing my deep love of peanut butter, insisted that I host a giveaway for National Peanut Butter Day  0 So, What do you get?

One lucky winner will receive their choice of :

PB2 Prize Pack: 

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1 container of regular PB2 and 1 container of chocolate PB2 – This stuff is great for smoothies or for baking (you can use it in place of peanut flour in recipes, or to give an extra peanut butter kick to anything you’re baking!) Learn more about PB2 on their website!

PB&Co Prize Pack

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Winner will receive one of each Peanut Butter & Co flavor: Smooth Operator, White Chocolate Wonderful, Crunch Time, and Dark Chocolate Dreams. These peanut butters are great for your pb&j sandwiches or to use as a dip!

Enter using the Rafflecopter below! The lucky winner will be chosen Sunday, Feb 1st. Contest ends at 11:59 PM (EST) on Jan 31st. Good luck! Entry only available for US & Canada residents.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

cinnamon apple bourbon

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I’ve been infusing my alcohol for awhile now, as you may recall, but this is the first time I’ve ever chosen bourbon as my vessel. Partly because I never drink bourbon (personally, I’m not a fan) and… well no, that’s probably the only reason. Mr. Eats’ family on the other hand… well they ARE bourbon drinkers. Or whiskey. Or scotch. Or anything, really.

With the winter season around us, the weather just screams for something rich, warm, and comforting. So what better way to celebrate than with a spin on a hot toddy using none other than apple-infused bourbon. You want to start the infusion at least one week ahead of time, but you can keep it going longer if you please. For a more mellow infusion, remove the cinnamon sticks after the first couple days, or you can leave them in for a spicier experience (think, “Fireball” with a bit less burn).

apple bourbon

You can let it infuse in the refrigerator, giving it a shake every few days or so, until you’re ready to strain out the infusers. There will be some sediment after you strain the bourbon, but it can easily be removed with a quick trip through some cheesecloth.

Create your own toddy using 2 ounces of this bourbon with 6 ounces of warm apple cider, sweeten to taste and add a twist of lemon or cinnamon stick for garnish if you so please. Or, if you’re feeling sassy, shots for everyone! It’ll warm you up in no time at all.

(Drink responsibly, of course.)

cinnamon apple bourbon

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 500 mL

Ingredients

  • 1 (500 mL) bottle bourbon (I used Maker's Mark)
  • 2 apples, preferably organic, washed, dried, and sliced
  • 2 to 3 sticks cinnamon
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 large jar, washed and sanitized (a trip through the dishwasher will do)

Instructions

  1. Place apples, vanilla bean, and cinnamon in a large clean container. Place the cinnamon sticks in last so they will be at the top in case you want to remove them early for a smoother infusion.
  2. Secure lid and place in refrigerator for at least one week, shaking every few days, making sure that the apples stay submerged.
  3. When ready, pour through a fine mesh sieve and discard apples, cinnamon, and vanilla bean (or you can keep the vanilla bean if you have a use for it). If there is still sediment in your alcohol, run the liquid through some cheesecloth to remove the sediment and transfer to a smaller container for storage.
  4. The concoction should keep indefinitely in the refrigerator.

Notes

If you don't want to "waste" your apples, you can use just the skins (I would increase the amount to three or four apples in that case) and enjoy the apple insides as you like!

Enjoy mixed with warm cider or on its own!

http://wee-eats.com/2015/01/17/apple-pie-bourbon/

peppermint bark

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Since I couldn’t share my holiday basket recipes with you in December (that would have spoiled the surprise for the recipients!), I’ve decided to share them with you in January! Here’s a quick peek at what we’ll be covering…

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  • Gingerbread blondies
  • Peppermint bark
  • Parmesan-thyme crackers
  • Cheddar crisps
  • Cinnamon-apple bourbon
  • Toffee chip shortbread cookies

Today’s topic: Peppermint bark.

The first time I had peppermint bark was years ago at Williams Sonoma and at almost $30 a pop I limited myself to their free samples and other, cheaper, knock-off varieties of the holiday treat. While I was thinking about what to put in my 2014 baskets, I realized that I still had a good amount of Chocoley laying around and thought it would be perfect some holiday bark!

You can use any chocolate you like, of course, but I’ve already told you about how I love the snap of Chocoley’s Candy Molding formula, which makes a nice sturdy base for this bark without having to temper the chocolate at all. Just melt and pour, then top it with some white chocolate and a generous sprinkling of crushed candy canes on top and voila! You have a whole sheet-pan of peppermint bark for a fraction of what you would pay for the tiny bit you get from Williams Sonoma one!

peppermint bark

Ingredients

  • 14 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • 14 ounces white chocolate, chopped
  • 3 candy canes, chopped or crushed

Instructions

  1. Line a sheet pan or 9-by-13 pan (for neater corners) with aluminum foil and/or parchment, smoothing out any wrinkles.
  2. Melt dark chocolate over just steaming water in a double boiler. (Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals at 50% power, stirring in between each session).
  3. Stir in the peppermint extract and pour into prepared pan, spreading to form an even layer. Set in the fridge to firm up while you melt the white chocolate.
  4. In a separate bowl, melt the white chocolate in the same manner as the dark chocolate (it may take less time).
  5. Remove dark chocolate layer from fridge and pour white chocolate over the dark chocolate layer, spreading the white chocolate to form an even layer. Sprinkle with candy canes and return to fridge for about 10 minutes to set up.
  6. Set on the counter to continue firming up, about one hour, then cut into desired size chunks.
  7. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
http://wee-eats.com/2015/01/11/peppermint-bark/

 

gingerbread blondies

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HAPPY NEW YEAR! I’m sure I should be focusing on green things and healthy recipes, but I made these gingerbread blondies over the holiday for my Christmas treat boxes and it would just not be fair for me to keep them from you.

I know exactly what some of you are thinking right now: “Gingerbread? Ew!” But, hear me out… I know that you think you don’t like gingerbread. You probably had a bite of a gingerbread house as it was under construction and spit it out in disgust, or ate the legs off of a tiny gingerbread man only to be disappointed by the flavor… or maybe you had a bite of some dry gingerbread cake that fell to pieces in your mouth.

I’m here to tell you that those, my friends, are not what gingerbread is really all about. These blondies, on the other hand, will redeem every negative gingerbread experience you’ve ever had in your life. They are soft and delightfully chewy and filled to the top with molasses and spices that will make your mouth do the happy dance.

I adapted the recipe from Mr. Eats’s favorite blondies.  I kept the basic ratios the same, but punched up the spices and added a healthy dose of molasses to make these babies really shine.

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gingerbread blondies

Ingredients

  • 2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • pinch ground cloves
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil and parchment. Lightly grease the parchment with cooking spray or butter.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the flour with the baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Stir to combine.
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars with an electric mixer until fluffy. (If you are using a stand mixer, you will want to use the paddle attachment)
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating to incorporate the egg after each addition.
  5. Scrape down the bowl and add the molasses, beating until incorporated.
  6. Add the vanilla and continue beating another 10 or 15 seconds until it is mixed in.
  7. Add half of the flour mixture and beat on low just until moistened. Add the other half of the mixture and beat on low until just combined, being careful not to overmix. There should be no traces of white flour in the dough.
  8. Spread batter into the prepared pan - it helps if you moisten your hands and use them to help spread and pat the batter into place (it will be quite thick and sticky). Bake until edges are dry and the center is completely set, about 30 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the middle should come out clean.
  9. Cool completely on a wire rack and cut into squares.
http://wee-eats.com/2015/01/06/gingerbread-blondies/

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