Category Archives: Food!

Christmas Trial Run (1st attempt)

It just occurred to me yesterday that Christmas is seriously less than two months away! TWO MONTHS! I’ve barely done any shopping ( although it feels like I’ve already spent a small fortune on the gifts I have bought), I haven’t planned any cookies, I haven’t even asked the rest of my cousins if they want to do a secret Santa thing again this year.

I blame my upcoming vacation, and the fact that this weekend is filled with so much crap I may explode at some point (business dinner on Friday night, looking at a house Saturday morning, picking up a sweet new chair for my living room Saturday afternoon, getting carpets cleaned late Saturday afternoon…blah blah blah). So I made myself section off two whole hours on Sunday just to do a few trial runs of at least one cookie or candy I’m making for Christmas.

After letting Josh go through the possibilities in my Pinterest recipe book, he decided he’d like to be the official taste tester for Apple Cider Caramels. I found the original recipe on this lady’s blog, which is hilarious as well as having awesome ideas.

Of course he would choose the one damn recipe that I was a little iffy on making. To be honest I haven’t even attempted to make a caramel in at least four years. It’s tricky. It involves watching the sugar like a hawk, and having a good candy thermometer on hand. Oh, and lots of pot holders. I’m not saying that I’m notorious for burning myself, but…

Anyways the candy is supposed to look like this:

Image

Look at how pretty that is! I’m sure mine won’t look anything like this. Thus the test run. I figured I’ll have loads of time to perfect it if the taste is good, but the presentation needs some tweaking before I actually hand these out to people. I’ve even found red and green wax paper squares to wrap the final product in. I think it’ll look super cute in a decorated mason jar or something. Lord knows I have enough of those (my cousin works at the Ball mason jar factory).

Wish me luck on my first winter candy making attempt of the year! I’ll update when I have a decent looking candy ( and Josh approves on the taste…because honestly he’d eat a candy even if it was poo shaped as long as it tasted good).

UPDATE!!!!!

When I set aside two hours to do this, I fully intended to be finished with the dishes in the dishwasher by the two hour mark. This took the full two hours. To be honest, I figured I’d ruin this awesome recipe around 45 minutes into cooking. But it actually turned out decent.

One of the longest parts of this process was taking about 2 cups of cider and reducing it all the way down to 1/3 of a cup. Boiling the holy hell out of it isn’t an option, as it will bubble out of control rather quickly. Plus I was cooking on an electric range which I hate. I feel like I have no control over the heat and every burner on my stove heats differently to top it off. Lame. Thankfully while the cider was simmering away (made the whole house smell lovely), I had time to mix the cream and spices in another bowl, and attempt to work with light corn syrup and granulated sugar to speed up this already lengthy project. The cider went into the fridge to cool, and I moved on…

This is sugar, corn syrup, cream, and a little water. It’s a gross texture until the sugar dissolves. It’s this milky white color and it virtually has no smell until it gets to about 230 degrees. When exactly 234 is reached, you add the rest of the cream, spices, reduced cider, and butter, then heat it back up to 248 degrees. This part seriously took forever. I was afraid to even push it that much as I haven’t made caramel in forever, so the cooking probably took a little longer than necessary. But it didn’t burn, and that was my main goal, afterall.

All finished. I didn’t have a square baking dish clean, so a circle one did just fine. I lined the dish with wax paper, poured the super hot caramel in, then covered it in foil. I left it out all night, and it made the whole kitchen smell like awesome.

Next morning I cut everything into bite sized pieces, wrapped a few more in wax paper and put the rest in the fridge. I took them into work, and I think they’re currently being eaten by my Mother, who says that they’re very awesome. Soooo I’m calling this pin a WIN!!!!! It wasn’t that hard to make, just time consuming.

Finished product, half gone already…and it’s not even noon. Keeping this recipe for sure.

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Yay First Post!!!

Wow, I think it’s been forever since I’ve had a blog. Bring me back to the high school Livejournal days!

Anyways, the point of this blog is to try out things I’ve found on Pinterest and blog about my experiences. Pretty simple. I think there are probably a million blogs already on this subject, but whatever. Most of the things are going to be food related. I enjoy food a lot, and cooking is fun for me. I did do a stint of culinary school about four years ago, but I didn’t graduate. I learned a lot while I was there, most of it revolved around the realization that the culinary industry is filled with uptight assholes and old farts too stuck on their ideas to ever teach anything that will help me make anything of myself.

There will also be some posts about arts and crafts. I’m a pretty crafty person. I’ve catered a few small weddings which include the table decorations and everything. So far I’ve been successful, so I assume I have a good eye for taking ideas from Pinterest and making them my own. Most of the posts will be cost conscious as well. I don’t make a lot of money, and I work 40 hours a week. So the crock pot and homemade gifts are two of my best friends.
With all that crap being said, lets start my first trial!

Yesterday I found a post for beef tips in mushroom sauce. You can find the original post here.  I found this recipe exceptionally odd because it called for a can of 7-up. Soda??? In my tasty red meat?!?!? I’m skeptical too. It’s a crock pot recipe, and I happen to have one of those (thanks to Mom…awesome Christmas gift). So I mixed everything together this morning. Trust me, I’m not a good morning person, so mixing a few simple things together at 7am while drinking coffee and fending off two dogs that have to pee NOW is a godsend. I added the soda last, and surprisingly everything mixed together smelled pretty good. I also threw in some frozen green beans and corn for color. I think it would’ve looked pretty bland without those little pops of green and yellow to beautify my noms.  I think I turned on my cooker around 7:30, and I get home at 6:30. So it’ll have around 11 hours to hang out in its mushroomy-soda bath.

It’s supposed to look like this:

Hopefully it turns out sometime like that. I was thinking of adding some garlic mashed potatoes along with it, which I’d gladly eat alone. Mostly because it’s freezing outside and I love mashed potatoes no matter what season it is.  I’ll update on it’s appearance and tastiness once I get home tonight. Wish me luck!!!

UPDATE!!!!!!

So I went home to the house smelling pretty damn good last night. Of course, my lovely husband claims that whatever is in the crock pot looks kinda like dog food…but dog food doesn’t smell that good, so he’s willing to try it.  I open the lid to find this:

It’s true that it’s not as pretty as the heavily doctored picture featured on Pinterest, but it’s warm and it smells like meaty-goodness. So how does it taste?

Honestly not that bad. It’s basically a pot roast stew. I think I added too much soda to the pot, because the sauce was a little thin. I ate mine out of a bowl (I put garlic mashed potatoes in the bottom and scooped this stuff on top), I think a plate would’ve been a little messy. Next time, I plan on doing the same recipe minus a lot less soda, and possibly making it into some sort of Shepard’s pie. I like pie no matter what type it is, and maybe the dough would add that little something extra that this needed.

Verdict: Win (ish). Definitely not a fail, since the hubs had seconds. But can I make it better…faster…stronger? You bet your ass. Next time I make it, I’ll post lots of pretty pictures too.