thursday things – easter is coming and other things

Here’s what you’ve missed over the last week

This guy who failed at Wheel of Fortune. He has ALL THE LUCK but unfortunately zero brains…

These tiny humans who make me want to make my own tiny human fight club which I assume would be judged by various levels of round-house-hug-attacks and “my-noggin-is-too-heavy-and- I’m-going-to-fall-over” combo moves.

And more adorableness in the secret (adorable) life of snails!macro-photography-snails-vyacheslav-mishchenko-2

Oh, and a tip about zesting citrus.  Let’s get something food-related in here, I guess.

And of course, since Easter is this weekend, a round-up is in order!

My Easter tends to be CARBS-CARBS-CARBS-CANDY-CARBS-HAM.

Easter 2014 Recipe Round Up

The Easter Eggs

Emma Magazine’s DIY Easter Egg Dye

The Carbs

This gorgeous tsoureki from A Periodic Table

Life Tastes Good’s tomato and scallion cream cheese bagel bombs

A super easy dutch baby from yours truly

0802b882-ced1-49ac-9e40-29fd8228d029

Playing with Flour’s sweet or savory crepes 

Blueberry waffles from Some Kitchen Stories

East of Eden’s almond breakfast rolls

The Desserts

Cream cheese and blueberry galette from Wit & Vinegar

Serena Bake’s lemon-lime pound cake

Movita’s Easter cake with swiss meringue buttercream

swiss-meringue-buttercream-easter-cake

Or some orange honey pound cake from Evil Shenanigans

13848332995_53b7fe4eb9_o

 

Oh, and let’s not forget these beauties

peanut butter egg 1291

The Drinks

Spoon Fork Bacon’s blood orange mimosas

This bellini bar from How Sweet It Is

bellinibar-1-2

Jellybean martinis from Wee Eats

jellybean martini

Blueberry-almond butter smoothies from Love & Olive Oil

Kitchen Simplicity’s family-friendly (aka: alcohol-free) sangria

The Rest

Savory Simple’s Boursin deviled eggs

Mini mediterranean frittatas  from FoodieCrush

Bacon and potato quiche from Foodness Gracious

Crunchy Creamy Sweet’s breakfast skillet casserole 

Kale, apple, and pancetta salad from Elephant Eats

This gorgeous glazed ham from Simply Recipes

 

 

 

thursday things – a better way to chop onions, owl facts, peanut butter pudding, and more

7bbb8af6c05b11e3a78f0002c99b0762_8

 

We are a couple of weeks into spring now so it’s only fitting that we are brushing triple digits, with our highs in the upper 90s. If anyone who does not live in the southwest US is looking for a summer room-mate – I’m free. Totally. Seriously.

Save me?

Please?

In food news I found one of those “kitchen tips” that is actually helpful (instead of rage-inducing). A whole new (to me) way to chop an onion. Seriously. I tried it and it was glorious and I will be chopping onions like this from now on.

I also stumbled upon what might just be the coolest cake ever. If you can call it a cake… It’s like a cake/gyro hybrid (is your brain melting yet?) I mean, they call it a cake so I think we can call it a cake. Let’s just stick with cake, OK?

Also, did you know that honey lasts forever? If so, did you know why honey lasts forever?

Ever confused about how much (or if) to tip? The answer is to always tip, but here’s a chart from Food Republic to help you decide how much.

I’m normally not a fan of videos because they require too much commitment. I mean, a whole minute and half of my time PLUS I have to turn on my sound? Come on now. But this one is worth it.

And this one only requires half of the commitment, because sound is completely optional. I think the moral of this one is that FH and I need to get a ping pong table.

I’ve also solved a problem that has been plaguing me for my whole life. The lack of peanut butter pudding. Has anyone else noticed this?

No? Just me?

There are a million flavors of pudding, aside from the usual chocolate and vanilla you can get butterscotch, pistachio, even cookies and cream and gingerbread… yet for some reason no one has created a peanut butter pudding that I can purchase at the grocery store.

How can this be!?

Well, after enduring this hardship for 29 years, I finally made my own. I wanted to keep it as easy as possible, so I just doctored an instant pudding mix to include peanut butter.

peanut butter pudding 1210 2

And it was glorious.

Never again shall I have to endure a life without peanut butter pudding, my friends.

Never again! (But seriously, Jell-o, get on that, will you!? Powdered peanut butter exists, PUT IT IN A PACKET WITH YOUR PUDDING MIX! WHO IS IN CHARGE OF THESE THINGS!?)

peanut butter pudding

Ingredients

  • 1 box instant french vanilla pudding
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter

Instructions

  1. Melt peanut butter in a microwave-safe bowl on 50% power until smooth and runny, about 30 to 60 seconds.
  2. Beat milk and pudding mix in a medium bowl until the mixture begins to thicken, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add peanut butter and continue beating another 2 minutes until combined.
  3. Cover and refrigerate until set, at least five minutes.
http://wee-eats.com/2014/04/10/thursday-things-a-better-way-to-chop-onions-owl-facts-peanut-butter-pudding-and-more/

thursday things – broccoli stems, proper salting, and laser-engraved rolling pins

a198d872b81e11e3a8c912d80cc6bccf_8

Ever since I got my new waffle iron I’ve been wanting to make crazy waffled concoctions, so far this is the craziest I’ve gotten. We will need to remedy this soon.

I had originally intended to include this video for today’s cuteness, but then I found this one (below) instead.

I have no idea how this much cute was packed into less than two minutes of video, but it seriously made my day. Like a thousand times over.

In other news, am I the only one who has apparently been wasting my broccoli stems?? She shouldn’t have posted that on April 1st because I’m still not sure if it’s a joke or not… I’m going to test this for us though. Don’t worry, I’ll be our guinea pig.

And apparently we are all under-seasoning our dishes… I know I’m definitely guilty of that one. No matter how much salt I put into a dish I know that FH is just going to salt it up anyway, so I try to trick him into consuming less salt by under-salting our meals…

Have you seen these amazing laser-engraved rolling pins? I can’t think of a better way to spend $42… can you? DINOSAUR ALL THE THINGS!!!

Some Kitchen Stories has released their April desktop calendar and it is filled to the top with spring. I’m sure staring at risotto all day can’t be that bad, right? Plus, vegetables!

Serious Eats just did an expose (can I call it that? Sure, why not?) on “The Life of a Cook’s Illustrated Test Cook” and I realize I’m a huge nerd but, um, you should read it.

Also, remember Shannon’s post once upon a time ago about how us bloggers “get out there” in the world? Well, we met (kinda) through Serious Eats “Share Your Sweets” slideshows. And you don’t have to be a blogger even to share your sweet! This week’s sweet is the Oatmeal Cookie. I know you all have an oatmeal cookie recipe. Make it, snap a pic, and shoot it over to Serious Eats!

I talked about the @Idafrosk instagram account ages ago, but she’s just been mentioned on 123inspiration so I thought I would give another shout-out since I love her pictures SO MUCH.

In other news, not only have mad scientists reversed aging in mice, but apparently I’m going to live forever. Oh, and fat is no longer bad for us. Well, not as bad as all those low-fat foods they’ve been marketing to us.

Also, apparently I wasn’t the only person who hated Starbucks’ “La Boulange” food items and the company is responding to their customers by bringing back some of the old items (yay!) I picked up a slice of their lemon loaf this morning to celebrate its return. Oh, how I missed you.

Oh, and Kim Kardashian narrowly escaped death (or you know, being touched by an elephant) and made a priceless face while doing so.

Thanks, Kim, for making my day that much brighter. Can’t wait to see that episode next season.

As for the recipes… 

I want to dive into this soft pile of naan pillows

Shower myself in these honey roasted chickpeas

Drown myself in these cucumber + ginger mojitos

Stuff my face with this turkey bacon meatloaf

And devour at least one pan of these Reese’s brownies. Or at least the frosting. Look at the frosting. LOOK AT IT!

 

thursday things – sunsets, new toasters, and rotary phones

ef7ab1acb2f911e39eff12aebab46ba5_8

How is it the last Thursday in March already? What happened that April is just around the corner?

Since Phoenix decided to skip “winter” this year and we’ve been steadily roasting in the 80′s we got a slight reprieve today and yesterday with highs only in the 70′s. I’ts like a Christmas miracle!

All of this comes at a price though, like having tons of dust particles floating around in the air which, while hazardous to our health, does make for some beautiful sunsets.

The other night I got a random craving for graham crackers, followed by a desire for graham crackers dipped in peanut butter (pb, graham, and I go WAY BACK) which then morphed into a peanut butter s’more craving. So, I did the only logical thing and made a s’more… using a Reese’s cup… and my hand-held kitchen torch.

eff2068eb2ff11e38f9d125ac6cb0dab_8

And then I did that about three more times until the monster inside my belly was satiated (and we were out of Reese’s).

Oh, and the most exciting news: I BOUGHT A NEW TOASTER!

This probably isn’t exciting news to you, but our old toaster was a $5 gig from Target that was deemed Mr. Sparky due to his love of sparking whilst shooting our toast up like part of a fireworks finale.

He also enjoyed things like burning our toast for no reason, randomly deciding to cook only one side of the toast, and occasionally smoking (he just couldn’t quit the habit). So, I decided to do myself a favor by buying myself an overpriced fancy new toaster.

After much research and internal struggle, I settled on the Breville Lift & Look toaster, henceforth to be known as Sir Toastington the Second.

I love him. I love him SO. DARN. MUCH.

In food news… 

Pastry chef mad scientist Dominique Ansel is at it yet again with more marvelous pastry creations like this “garden” pot de creme. If and when I make back to NYC, I swear I’m sleeping in front of his bakery to be first in line when it opens.

Google has a (relatively) new tool offering nutrition comparisons which means, yes, we finally can actually compare apples to oranges. It does not work for all comparisons (I tried “Big Mac vs Whopper” and nothing happened).

There is finally science behind my roasted banana muffin recipe proving not only that roasting bananas does make their flavor more intense but you don’t even have to wait for them to ripen. This is a real game changer ending the tyranny awaiting banana ripeness has over all of our banana bread cravings.

Cheetos tried to help Lay’s ”Do us a flavor” campaign with a pretty amazing idea for fiery Cheetos-flavored Lay’s. This could only be good. (I don’t think Lay’s appreciated the joke though).

cheetos tweet

In other news…

Watch these kids react to a rotary phone.

Oh, and here is a video of a tiny dog who has the same eating habits as I do (tip: be careful how close you get to me when I am eating)

In drool news… 

These tiramisu brownies from Simply Stacie

Tiramisu-Brownies1

These strawberry jam toaster pastries from Love & Olive Oil.

homemade-pop-tartsB

This cauliflower & brown rice gratin from Sprouted Kitchen

Untitled

These korean chicken nuggets from Spoon Fork Bacon

543f87abc5c5aa1885c7735cf0a0e6fb

These spicy rice noodles with chicken, basil, and lime from The Right Recipe

spicy-noodles1

thursday things – my birthday and some other things

1486885_10100645385030298_819587728_n

Sunday was my birthday – the big ol’ 2-9. I can’t believe this is going to be my last year that I can say I’m “In my 20′s” (although, it just occurred to me that I can totally keep SAYING I’m in my 20′s… it just won’t be true anymore. A minor difference.)

Anyway, you’re only in your twenties once (for 10 years) so I’ve gotta make sure I spend my last year really “living it up” as they say…

First step of “living it up”? Making myself two cakes for my birthday.

TWO!

DSC_1192

I was torn over whether to do Faygie’s fluffernutter cake or the Baked Sweet & Salty cake when Shannon offered up a novel idea – “Why not make both?”

Genius. Pure genius. Or evil genius. I’m not completely sure which type of genius, but there is some sort of genius involved.

The unforseen consequence of having two cakes was that every time I decided to have a piece of cake, I couldn’t decide what kind I wanted to have, so I ended up having a piece of each cake, thus doubling my cake consumption.

Naturally, I mashed them into a hybrid cake to see how they would taste… and they were amazing together.

photo 1

Salted caramel chocolate fluffernutter cake. Yes….

Birthday Things…

This is the part where i tell you about my gifts, if you don’t want to read about my gifts, scroll down to the next part where I talk about other stuff.

Future Husband hit it out of the park this year with a FitBit, some fancy make-up, and a 90-minute massage.  He even decorated while I was at my massage! (See that birthday banner up there? All him.)

The FitBit, for those of you who don’t know, tracks your activity and sleep. So it tells me things like how many steps I’ve taken (which is dismally low on workdays, btw), and even tracks my sleep.

10009516_10104179391158535_1318531168_n

See all those light blue-green lines? Those are all the times my jerk cat wakes me up to pet her.

Jerk.

Oh, and I almost forgot, FH also got me another owl. He is a cookie jar (which is currently holding candy) and his name is Owlbert.

IMG_2973

I feel like this whole owl thing may be getting out of hand…

Meanwhile my BFF traveled all the way to Paris JUST to ship authentic Laudree and Pierre Herme macarons halfway across the world for my birthday!

Ok, that may not have been the motivation for going, but it was still a by-product of going.

BjD08zECcAAEtaL

And Shannon sent me some of the best chocolate in THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD – from Askinosie Chocolate.

IMG_3074

Seriously, guys, if you haven’t had Askinosie chocolate. It’s life changing.

Life. Changing.

Then, my grandma who is probably the sweetest grandma in the whole world (she totally rocks your grandma, trust me) sent me my own taste of home in the form of our famous Tony Packo’s hot dog chili sauce and pickles. If, for some god-forsaken reason, you ever find yourself in Toledo, Ohio, you must go to Tony Packo’s. Then you can go to Rudy’s and pick a side.

It’s like a war. People have died defending their side.

Ok, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration. I happen to think they are both delicious.

1069422_10104180549257695_1511072597_n

The universe also got me a gift – When I logged into Instagram the morning of March 16th, my instagram account had hit 1,200 followers!

I remember when I was excited about 100 followers and now I’m at 1,200! I love each and every one of you (and them) so much!

Bi3GFArCIAA0BX-

And then, my gift to myself, more cake.

photo 2

So much cake.

Other things…

St. Patrick’s Day came and went, we were super Irish this year with soda bread and corned beef.

Movita Beaucoup announced this year’s “Bake My Cake” competition and the theme, as only Movita could possibly have thought of, is crappy cakes. In her words, “The crappier the better.” Which means I might stand a chance this year!

Adam Roberts wrote a great post about how food blogs aren’t really food blogs anymore…  It’s definitely worth a read.

Writer’s block seems to be a common thing amongst my blog friends and I as of late. Not only is it the topic of Shannon (A Periodic Table)’s next “Just One Question” project, but Ms. Jennifer Farley (of Savory Simple) wrote about it (and how some people think it’s not a thing)  earlier this week.

Someone finally created an app that I can truly appreciate - where was this app back in college when I needed it?

The video below gets off to a slow start but trust me, if you stick with it, you will be handsomely rewarded.

Things I want to eat…

These peanut butter cup stuffed chocolate chip cookies from Love & Olive Oil

These garlicky avocado grilled cheese sandwiches from FoodieCrush.

These sweet potato straws from Edible Perspective.

These almond honey squaresfrom David Lebowitz.