Shared posts

21 Oct 16:10

Dusty Bones Sugar Cookies

by noreply@blogger.com (Heather Baird)

Boy, October seems to be flying by too fast! There are all kinds of things I'm still trying to squeeze in before Halloween - pumpkin carving, pie baking, costume-making - and I'm determined to not let it all go by without celebrating to the fullest.

I've been enjoying the recent box of goodies that Wilton sent me to review, especially this bone cookie pan. I squealed a little when I saw it because I knew I'd not only use it for Halloween treats, but also for dog biscuits for the pug-a-lugs. But first, I wanted to whip up some spooky people treats, and glazed sugar cookies seemed a good fit.

Continued, click to read more...
21 Oct 00:04

http://thereisnogoodtime.blogspot.com/2014/10/me-omg-this-rotation-i-feel-so-angry.html

by OMDG
Me: OMG this rotation!  I feel so angry all the time.
Resident: At least you have the energy to be angry.  Just wait until winter.  That's when the anger fades away and all that is left is sadness.
10 Oct 17:30

Les’ Go For A Sweem, Mon!

by Brinke

Let’s head back to the Bahamas for a quick dip with the Swimming Porksters! Just make sure you bring ‘em some snacks. They’ll be disappointed (OINK) if you don’t. (Memo to self: got to get a GoPro. -B.)


Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: Prosh Porksters
10 Oct 14:30

The New Tesla Is Faster Than a Ferrari

by Mike Newman

We were all giggles when Elon Musk announced the D was coming, but after the unveiling yesterday of the new supercar versions, we had to put a halt to our immaturity and pay attention. The new version of the Model S sports dual-motors (hence the “D”), all-wheel drive, and the top-of-the-line model can go 0-60 in a face-stretching 3.2 seconds. Yes, that Model S P85D boasts a silly 691 horsepower. Just FYI, that’s ridiculous. And while there were rumors the new ...
09 Oct 19:00

A Bush In The Fridge Is Worth Two In The Bush

Retail | Oslo, Norway

(I work in the customer service desk at a large store selling domestic appliances. This day one of my ‘regulars’ came in. He’s a really old man – and he seldom files complaints, he just wants to know how his stuff is working, and maybe have a chat.)

Me: “Hello. How may I help you today?”

Customer: *whispering* “There was something wrong with delivery of my fridge. It came with something in it.”

(I pull up his records, and see that he bought one of our display models earlier that week. It’s not seldom other customers leave soda bottles or other stuff in the fridges that’s out on the floor, and I immediately think that is the case.)

Me: “Well, I’m really sorry, sir. But may I ask, exactly what was inside the fridge?”

Customer: *still whispering* “George W. Bush.”

Me: “Excuse me? What?”

Customer: “The American ex-president. The younger one! He was in my fridge and now he’s on my living room floor, all tied up and ready to be shipped back.”

Me: “Shipped back?”

Customer: “Oh, don’t worry; I’m not going to have YOU do that, poor thing. I’ve called FedEx. I just wanted to let you know. ”

Me: *not really knowing what I can do, other than play along* “Well, thank you then, sir. And sorry for your trouble. Is the fridge working okay, though?”

Customer: “Oh yeah, it’s totally fine! But you should really stop selling appliances with republicans in them. Could hurt your business.”

08 Oct 06:01

Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Glaze

by Sara@Our Best Bites

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls_Glazed Cinnamon Rolls intro Cinnamon Rolls are probably my husband’s most favorite treat in the whole world.  And he admitted to me the other day that he never even thought twice about the whole pumpkin spice craze until he married me and thought I was a crazy person.  See, I was obsessed with pumpkin before it was a “thing.”  Like, well before Starbucks invented their infamous latte, or you could buy pumpkin spice flavored peanut butter and mouth wash.  (Okay, I made up the mouthwash thing, but I wouldn’t put it past those sneaky people at Listerine.)  And over the years I’ve converted him too, and now he loves pumpkin-anything as much as I do.  So the other day when he casually mentioned like, 4 times (really, you only have to mention baked goods to me one time to make it happen) that cinnamon rolls sounded soooo good, I whipped up a batch of my Everyday Cinnamon Rolls, but with a Pumpkin Spice twist.

This recipe is easy because there’s no proofing necessary with the yeast.  Just toss it in a bowl with the other dry ingredients and whisk them together.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls_Yeast and Dry Ingredients

Add in an egg and some pumpkin puree

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls_Pumpkin in Dry

and then with the mixer running, drizzle in a warm milk and melted butter mixture.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls_milk and butter

That will give you a nice orange-tinted batter, to which you’ll add more flour until you get a nice, soft dough.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls_Pumpkin Batter

I say this every time I post a sweet roll recipe, but resist the urge to add more flour than needed.  This dough is incredibly soft.  The trick is to scrape it onto a well floured surface and handle it very lightly.  Don’t knead in all of the flour, just dust all the sides so it won’t stick to you, and especially make sure the bottom is dusted well so it doesn’t stick once you roll it out.  A giant silicone dough mat is my absolute favorite here; well worth the price- I use mine ALL the time.

Pumpkin Dough

While your dough is resting for just a minute, whip up the filling.  This is basic cinnamon roll filling: butter, brown sugar, and a generous douse of cinnamon, plus those pumpkin-spicey flavors of ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.  You could use pumpkin pie spice as well, but I find I like using the individual spices better.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls_Spices

Gently spread the filling on and push it out to the edges.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls_filling

Then roll those babies up and slice them (I use dental floss, thread works great too.  See this post if you have no idea what I’m talking about!)

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls_cut rolls

Place them in a pan and let them sit to rise.  I have a “proof” setting on my Thermador Oven, but if you don’t- try placing them in a cold oven with the door shut and placing a pan of boiling water underneath them.  It creates the perfect little steam room to make nice, plump rolls.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls_Risen Rolls

Once they’ve risen, pop them in the oven until they’re golden brown and then slather them with a little maple glaze.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls_Maple Glaze

They’re super yummy with cream cheese frosting, too.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls_Glazed Cinnamon Rolls

Make sure to eat them warm, and I won’t tell anyone if you even slather a little extra butter in there.

Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls from Our Best Bites

Promise.  Our little secret.

Our Best Bites_Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Bite

Just go make them already.

Spiced Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls from Our Best Bites

    Print This!    

Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls
Recipe by Our Best Bites

Dough
3/4 cup milk
4 Tbs butter, cut into chunks
4 – 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 tablespoon rapid rise yeast
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg

Filling
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cloves

Icing
1 1/2 C powdered sugar
2 T melted butter
1 1/2 tsp maple extract
1-2 Tbs milk

Dough:
Place milk and 4 Tbs butter in a microwave safe bowl. Heat on high for about 1 minute 30 seconds. Butter should be at least partially melted. Stir and set aside. In a large mixing bowl of a stand mixer, combine 2 C flour, yeast, white sugar, and salt. When milk mixture has cooled to warm (not hot) add it to the flour mixture along with the pumpkin and egg while the beater is running.  Beat until well combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down sides of bowl and switch to a dough hook.  Add remaining flour only until dough comes together and barely leaves the sides of the bowl. It should be very soft and slightly sticky. Continue to let the dough knead for 3-4 minutes.  Scrape dough out onto a floured surface and let rest for about 10 minutes while you make the filling.

Filling:
make sure butter is softened well, but not melted. Beat with brown sugar and spices until smooth.

Assembly:
Dust dough ball with flour and make sure surface is well floured.  Do not overwork dough.  Gently roll dough into a rectangle about 18 x 14 inches (eyeball it). Spread brown sugar mixture (it will be slightly thick, you might have to “crumble” it) over the surface and use your fingers or the back of a spoon to gently spread around. Roll up from the longer side of the rectangle and pinch edges closed. Score the roll into 12 equal pieces and use dental floss or thread to cut into rolls.  Place in a 9 x 13 pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Cover pan with a clean towel and let rise in a warm place for about 30-45 minutes. If you have double ovens, place them in an oven with a pan filled with boiling water while you preheat the other oven.  In the mean time, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

When rolls have finished rising bake for 25-35 minutes or until light golden brown.  Mix icing ingredients and then spread on while still warm. Makes 12 rolls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The post Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Glaze appeared first on Our Best Bites.

23 Sep 01:03

geekymerch: These awesome vintage comic book hair barettes can...







geekymerch:

These awesome vintage comic book hair barettes can be found here!

29 Sep 22:27

More Wonderfully Atmospheric Backlit Cut Paper Sculptures by Hari & Deepti

by EDW Lynch

Backlit Cut Paper Sculptures by Hari & Deepti

Back in March we posted about the dramatic backlit cut paper sculptures of art duo Hari & Deepti (Harikrishnan Panicker and Deepti Nair). They’ve since produced quite a few more wonderfully atmospheric works for a recently completed show at the Black Book Gallery in Denver.

HariAndDeeptiFieldsOfGold3

Backlit Cut Paper Sculptures by Hari & Deepti

Backlit Cut Paper Sculptures by Hari & Deepti

Backlit Cut Paper Sculptures by Hari & Deepti

photos via Black Book Gallery

via Colossal

25 Sep 16:30

Leave Your Mark

by John Farrier

(Speed Bump/Dave Coverly)

Communication at work or home would be very different for us if we took the canine approach. I'm not sure that it would be better. But I'm certain that blog comments would be even more interesting to experience.

21 Sep 01:02

WHO’S A Hungry Stingray? WHO Is?

by Brinke

YOU are! So slide on up here and let’s have some munchies!


Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: Unusual Animals
20 Sep 14:58

pizzaback: wolves-whales-and-waves: griseus: The marine eels...





pizzaback:

wolves-whales-and-waves:

griseus:

The marine eels and other members of the superorder  Elopomorpha have a leptocephalus larval stage, which are flat and transparent. This group is quite diverse, containing 801 species in 24 orders, 24 families and 156 genera (super diverse). 

Leptocephali have compressed bodies that contain jelly-like substances on the inside, with a thin layer of muscle with visible myomeres on the outside, a simple tube as a gut, dorsal and anal fins, but they lack pelvic fins. They also don’t have any red blood cells (most likely is respiration by passive diffusion), which they only begin produce when the change into the juvenile glass eel stage. Appears to feed on marine snow, tiny free-floating particles in the ocean.

This large size leptocephalus must be a species of Muraenidae (moray eels), and probably the larva of a long thin ribbon eel, which is metamorphosing, and is entering shallow water to finish metamorphosis into a young eel, in Bali, Indonesia.

Is it just me or does he look REALLY excited about where ever (s)he’s going?

BBY EEL

20 Sep 23:52

Don’t Mess With Dad

by awkward

bbfe2ca9738a991eb0d812e19b8a96d5_dad13
Most teenagers deal with plenty of stress, from school to homework to their home life, but oftentimes teens don’t have to deal with unusual embarrassments like Rain has. This 16-year-old kid had to deal with his parents, Dale and Rochelle, waving as he left for school. Not wanting to endure the embarrassment any longer, Rain told his mother, “Don’t let dad go out there again.” Instead of listening to his son, however, Dale had something else in store.

The pictures below show Dale’s clever response to his son’s request.
e0146614cc9297601625e861df0ef11a_dad2 f05d4a0237655683aaa75a93f44d8ba8_dad19 d8b0150f33efa47331c0a699ee73194d_dad22 1a4a0d9df724319a2b71169634c86117_dad27 5950950105a03633896fea59ee9844c6_dad9 b4cf0454690305d358b9d1705c8ded8e_dad4 8d4de5768a442467030b16cd9068cbd0_dad23 9866aebed644e39f8fa9aaf3a073cdcf_dad11 f65ab61d89a3a65fba13c2f84cb9abf6_dad5 7228a113353e299adc365112eb2232af_dad15 1408de45cf303cb9e3ba8044bb130c2a_dad12 1dc2de8dd3d47f9d9f2c3ccb5ff3f6ea_dad17 371832a71f6a59c4a9e8fdca74682b91_dad6 0325ecdd733bb8581dd4befac24e52af_dad7 31470f5aa7f7cec03ce1853fba4cc556_dad3 28181ce52432c428ef761c7ad04e8a60_dad16 c1f989108b042e240343cd1b904fbe0d_dad10 4cb45f8d4a8f6e64eae9ada15f59fe7c_dad28 3e1e72911588d8e00bbaf67c711b02b0_dad18 93ba04e8d04bde7abbfa749844b4ca3a_dad25 9d512083411ef4859972e9cabe42cfe9_dad8 e1acbfef0ac789633a433988f1c9e040_dad21 81756ea56a9447bb5bbfb90f1d08b9f2_dad26
(via wimp.com)

bbfe2ca9738a991eb0d812e19b8a96d5_dad13
Most teenagers deal with plenty of stress, from school to homework to their home life, but oftentimes teens don’t have to deal with unusual embarrassments like Rain has. This 16-year-old kid had to deal with his parents, Dale and Rochelle, waving as he left for school. Not wanting to endure the embarrassment any longer, Rain told his mother, “Don’t let dad go out there again.” Instead of listening to his son, however, Dale had something else in store.

The pictures below show Dale’s clever response to his son’s request.
e0146614cc9297601625e861df0ef11a_dad2 f05d4a0237655683aaa75a93f44d8ba8_dad19 d8b0150f33efa47331c0a699ee73194d_dad22 1a4a0d9df724319a2b71169634c86117_dad27 5950950105a03633896fea59ee9844c6_dad9 b4cf0454690305d358b9d1705c8ded8e_dad4 8d4de5768a442467030b16cd9068cbd0_dad23 9866aebed644e39f8fa9aaf3a073cdcf_dad11 f65ab61d89a3a65fba13c2f84cb9abf6_dad5 7228a113353e299adc365112eb2232af_dad15 1408de45cf303cb9e3ba8044bb130c2a_dad12 1dc2de8dd3d47f9d9f2c3ccb5ff3f6ea_dad17 371832a71f6a59c4a9e8fdca74682b91_dad6 0325ecdd733bb8581dd4befac24e52af_dad7 31470f5aa7f7cec03ce1853fba4cc556_dad3 28181ce52432c428ef761c7ad04e8a60_dad16 c1f989108b042e240343cd1b904fbe0d_dad10 4cb45f8d4a8f6e64eae9ada15f59fe7c_dad28 3e1e72911588d8e00bbaf67c711b02b0_dad18 93ba04e8d04bde7abbfa749844b4ca3a_dad25 9d512083411ef4859972e9cabe42cfe9_dad8 e1acbfef0ac789633a433988f1c9e040_dad21 81756ea56a9447bb5bbfb90f1d08b9f2_dad26
(via wimp.com)

04 Sep 13:12

Aitch’s Rebellion Against Academic Anatomy

by Vanessa Ruiz

Aitch Beautiful Us Blood

Aitch Beautiful Us Skeleton

Aitch Beautiful Us Head

Aitch Beautiful Us Skull

Aitch Beautiful Us Womb

Aitch Beautiful Us Torso

Aitch Beautiful Us Series

In the 7 years of running Street Anatomy I’ve had the pleasure of listening to and reading about artists’ motivations for using human anatomy in their work. It ranges from having parents with medical backgrounds, to dealing with a chronic disease, to a fascinating anatomy lesson in school, and beyond. Romanian illustrator Aitch, was not so impressed with her past encounter with anatomy. Aitch says of her experience,

“I chose to work on this project because i always had an issue with the human anatomy. All those years in college and at the university made me so bitter to the academic/strict ways of dealing with the human form in such a degree that, now, my whole style is based on avoiding realistic body shapes and embracing awkward proportions and weird-fun characters.”

Her series titled “Beautiful Us” puts specific anatomy on display in a storybook feel, isolating organs and crafting a magical environment around them. All created in rich watercolor on paper.

View more of Aitch’s stunning work at aitch.ro and Behance! She also sells prints of her work via Society 6, although none of her anatomy series is available yet.

 

 

19 Sep 17:28

Persistent Weasel Tries to Play with Evasive White-Footed Orange Kitten

by Lori Dorn

A persistent and adorable weasel desperately tries to play with an evasive white-footed orange kitten who seems to be trying just as hard to avoid playtime with his persistent little friend.

via Nothing To Do With Arbroath

17 Sep 12:00

Get Ready For Halloween With Zombie Chia Pets

by Nicole Wakelin

hand

Halloween is just around the corner, and these zombie chia pets are the perfect finishing touch to all your spooky decor. You can choose from an arm reaching up out of the grave, Lifeless Lisa, or Creepy Holden. Better yet, buy all three and you’ll have the makings a a zombie chia family.

See more pictures after the break.

61nrFBa3Z7L._SL1500_

61OInS858uL._SL1500_

Product Page ($16.99 via The Green Head)








17 Sep 14:00

Check Out These Stunning Star Wars Prints By Eric Tan

by Amy Ratcliffe

eric tan star wars 1

Though I’ve seen hundreds of pieces of Star Wars art over the years, every one is slightly different. Artists constantly show me different ways to see the saga, and Eric Tan’s posters for the original trilogy definitely have that effect. While I wouldn’t necessarily call his posters minimalist, they have that simple but effective vibe. I love how Darth Vader figures prominently in the layout of the first two but takes a backseat in the Return of the Jedi art.

Tan, a designer for Disney, said he’s never had more fun on a project. It shows.

See more pictures of the art after the break.

eric tan star wars 2

eric tan star wars 3

eric tan star wars 4

eric tan star wars 5

Product Page ($399.95/each via /Film, photos via Eric Tan)








11 Sep 23:17

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/GuideDogs/~3/Lyk0-XORSN8/a-city-dog-gets-to-work-and-play-by.html

by noreply@blogger.com (Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB))

A City Dog gets to Work and Play

By Katie Crocker




Katie Crocker and her black Lab Jetty




Every August, as part of my job, I record an event that is held at the Massachusetts state house.  My job at this event is to set up audio equipment, record speakers and audience discussion, and ultimately, turn that audio into a radio show.  The event features a yearly program run by the Massachusetts agency for the blind.  In any case, this was the first time I've attended this event with a guide dog since 2011.  Jetty and I have been a team now for about 15 weeks; he is by far the youngest dog I have ever taken to this particular event (I've attended this yearly since 2006).  This involves tons of people, many with white canes, several with guide dogs, tables, crowds, food, the whole nine.  In addition to these distractions, I also had many situations where Jetty needed to do a sit/stay or down/stay, while I untangled wires, tested audio equipment, etc.  This also involved him helping me trace along walls to find wires, and tape them down to avoid tripping hazards, much of this was just him and I, without sighted assistance.  Let me just say, Jetty was a total rock star! He did an amazing job, weaving me past tables, podiums, other people who could not see us, led me past curled up wires, even stopping patiently while I rearranged wires along the wall so others without sight would not trip.  His work was exemplary; never before have I seen such restraint and focus in such a young partnership.


Another thing I found amazing was Jetty's ability to read me before I gave any commands.  As I've been behind the scenes at this event for multiple years, I know the surrounding area quite well.  It only took Jetty a trip or two to figure out: A, where my assigned chair in the audience was, B; where the podium we needed to connect to was, C; where our recording devices were (in a separate room, D; where the press media ports were in the room.  We needed to frequent these places periodically, as the recording requires two separate speaker systems.  There were folks there who were deaf/blind, so we also needed to account for an FM transmitter to accommodate listening devices.  This was my first time making on the spot changes to our rig, but it worked out for the best!
There were a number of guide dogs there.  One belonged to MCB commissioner, another belonged to the ADA coordinator of the state house.  Then there were several in the crowd.  One I knew from my previous guide dog school, and a few from our own GDB.


Jetty was a gentleman, through and through.  He targeted the areas I needed, with very little verbal cues, which I found amazing! He and I are getting into that  "mind reading" phase, where before I can utter a command, he seems to already know!  We move like a fluid force, together. At every step he seems to know what I need, and in turn, I feel through all things what he needs.  We have been a good team so far.  Of course there have times where we have had to figure each other out, but it seems like with each trip out the door we get better and better.  We are learning more about each other every day.  But, we are staring to respond to each other on a level that is almost surreal.  Sometimes it's nonverbal.  Sometimes a gesture, or my pace, or...I don't even know what, will prompt my boy to do move in a way where we just flow.  It completely takes my breath away.


The minute we get home, and the harness comes off, Jetty turns into a goofy, sloppy teenager. He grabs whatever toy is closest, snorts, and will do backflips right into you.  He likes keep away games, loves to chew, and loves, more than anything else, to feel needed and important.  When I sit on the floor, he will curl up in my lap, and he seems to feel at peace.  He needs both work, and play, in that order.  If Jetty can't guide, he really doesn't feel like himself.  But when we are out and about, he is his happiest.  This is an amazing dog.....


The streets of Boston are loud and chaotic.  At every turn there are crowds, buses honking their horns, construction, you name it.  But nothing ever phases Jetty, or gets him worried.  He is the most confident city dog I've ever had.  GDB did a wonderful job pairing us together, and I can't thank them enough for this amazing gift!  I look forward to every day as an adventure with this boy by my side! This is how we/have grown.  I feel so blessed!

11 Sep 15:00

Candle Attachments Turn Candles Into Mini Bat-Signals [Video]

by Amy Ratcliffe

bat-signal candle 1

Get ready to turn your house into the safest version of Gotham City ever with these small Bat-Signals. Made by Geekhex, the 3D printed Bat-Signals are built to be inserted into a candle with prongs; you’ll be able to summon a tiny Batman in a heartbeat. You can order the signal in various types of metal and choose from Bat-Signals over the ages including designs from 1992, 2001, 2003, and 2008.

See the other eras of Bat-Signals available and see them in action after the break.

bat-signal candle 2

bat-signal candle 3

bat-signal candle 4

bat-signal candle 5

Product Page ($35 via Oh Gizmo)








15 Sep 13:30

These Star Wars Character Icons Are Delightfully Simple

by Nicole Wakelin

s1

Artist Filipe Carvalho has created beautiful and very simple images of the characters from Star Wars using something called Flat Design. Rather than complex, detailed images, he uses only a few colors and shapes to convey an entire character. The results are pictures we’d love to have hanging on the wall.

See more examples after the break.

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s1

s2

s3

s4

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(Movie Pilot via Nerdist)








15 Sep 04:27

Intestine Socks, For Those With A Strange Sense Of Humour

by David Ponce

intestine-socks

If you’re not one, you likely know one. You know, that guy with a quirky sense of humour, always wearing novelty trinkets for kicks and giggles? Yeah, so here’s another one for his arsenal: Intestine Socks. They are exactly what they sound like. Actually, no, they’re nothing like that. They’re not, you know, made from guts. They just look like them. And they cost $11 a pair.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ BoingBoing ]

The post Intestine Socks, For Those With A Strange Sense Of Humour appeared first on OhGizmo!.

15 Sep 13:07

ALU Machined Dog Collar by MEMA Pets

by Capree Kimball

ALU Machined Dog Collar by MEMA Pets

The ALU Collar from San Francisco-based MEMA Pets features CNC machined aluminum hardware with sustainable cork and hemp webbing, and a Neodymium magnet buckle (one of the most powerful permanent magnets in the world). Simply put, it’s “the dog collar, re-designed”. And? It’s awesome.

ALU Machined Dog Collar by MEMA Pets in collars leads

ALU Machined Dog Collar by MEMA Pets in collars leads

While this collar isn’t available for purchase quite yet, you can sign up to be notified when it’s available for pre-order through MEMA Pets‘ website.


Share This: Twitter | Facebook | Don't forget that you can follow Dog Milk on Twitter and Facebook.
© 2014 Dog Milk | Posted by capree in Collars + Leads | Permalink | No comments
08 Sep 12:35

Orange Chicken

by Ree

DSC_5209I made this Orange Chicken on my Food Network show a few weeks ago, and I just realized yesterday that I’d never shared the recipe here on my totes cray recipe blog. So yesterday, as I whipped some up for lunch, I took photos and documented the step-by-step process. For I am a foodblogger. And that’s what foodbloggers do.

As I explained on the show, wherein I whipped up my girls’ and my favorite Chinese take-out dishes, every Friday when we go to Tulsa to our all-day homeschool co-op, one of the rewards the girls and I look forward to is a lunch from Panda Express. To three females who live on an isolated ranch, being less than 5 minutes away from drive-through Chinese food is enough to keep us going back to co-op week after week. My preferences can fluctuate wildly between things like Kung Pao Chicken and Beijing Beef—whatever I’m in the mood for—and Alex’s stay more in the Beef-and-Broccoli realm. But for Paige, it’s all Orange Chicken, all the time. She loves it and can’t get enough.

Here’s how to make Orange Chicken in the comfort of your own kitchen! It’s a very citrusy, very sweet chicken dish; Definitely worth trying if you’ve never had it before.

 
 
 
Orange ChickenFirst get the chicken ready. I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs, because I love their texture and flavor—particularly in Chinese dishes. But chicken breasts will work just fine, too; just be sure to cut whatever chicken you use into small, bite-sized pieces.

 
 
 
Orange ChickenNow, for orange chicken (and other similar sticky chicken dishes), the coating for the chicken is key! It starts with 4 egg whites. I do the back-and-forth-between-the-two-halves-of-the-shell thing, but you can separate the whites however your heart, soul, or family tradition dictates.

 
 
 
Orange ChickenTo the egg whites, add some cornstarch…

 
 
 
Orange ChickenAnd whisk it together…

 
 
 
Orange ChickenUntil the mixture is totally combined and a little bit frothy.

 
 
 
Orange ChickenSo now, just throw in the chicken pieces…

 
 
 
Orange ChickenAnd smush them around so that they’re all coated in the egg white/cornstarch mixture. Just let them sit in there for 5 to 10 minutes while you get the sauce going.

 
 
 
Orange ChickenI used a nonstick skillet, which works really well, but you can use any skillet…or just a saucepan. The sauce starts with orange juice! Easy peasy.

 
 
 
Orange ChickenThen comes all the other good stuff: Soy sauce…

 
 
 
Orange ChickenBrown sugar (or you can use white sugar or even honey instead!)…

 
 
 
Orange ChickenVinegar (this is rice vinegar, but you can just use regular white vinegar)…

 
 
 
Orange ChickenSesame oil (there’s nothing like it in the world)…

 
 
 
Orange ChickenA little salt…

 
 
 
Orange ChickenSome red pepper flakes (the spice is very nice!)…

 
 
 
Orange ChickenSome garlic (I grated it in with a microplane, but you can just mince it if you prefer)…

 
 
 
Orange ChickenThe garlic is important in the sauce, so don’t skip it.

Sorry to be bossy.

 
 
 
Orange ChickenNext up: Fresh ginger, if you can get it. Just cut a piece, slice off the skin…

 
 
 
Orange ChickenAnd grate it or mince it, just like you did the garlic.

 
 
 
Orange ChickenFinally, a little orange zest.

Orange zest is so purty.

And so citrusy.

And so…zesty.

Yum.

 
 
 
Orange ChickenWhisk it around until it’s all combined and heat it over medium-low heat until it’s heated through and barely starting to thicken.

I’ll say this more than once, but it’s important: Be sure to taste the sauce and add more of whatever your tastebuds want. Some folks like more soy, some like more garlic or ginger, some need a little more salt. I think this sauce is highly personal…so just use my quantities as a guide.

 
 
 
Orange ChickenNow it’s time to fry the chicken: Heat some vegetable or peanut oil (I used the latter) over medium heat, or until it registers around 350 on an oil thermometer—not too hot, but not too cool! Then, using tongs, carefully drop individual chicken pieces in so they won’t stick together. You’ll need to do this in 4 or 5 different batches; you don’t want to crowd the pan or it’ll be a royal mess.

IMPORTANT: If you have small kids in the house, please ALWAYS put pots of hot oil on the back burner. Curious kiddos can reach up and grab handles…and terrible accidents can happen! So hot oil = backburner. Thank you for listening to Pioneer Woman.

 
 
 
Orange ChickenLet the pieces fry for 2 to 3 minutes for the first stage. They’ll be slightly golden, but not dark yet (if they browned really quickly, the oil’s too hot.)

 
 
 
Orange Chicken Take them out…

 
 
 
Orange ChickenAnd set them on a paper towel-lined plate. Keep going until all the chicken has been fried.

 
 
 
Orange ChickenThen comes the fun part. Grab a batch of the fried chicken from the plate…

 
 
 
Orange ChickenAnd plunge it back into the hot oil for another minute. This just “solidifies” the coating and gives it a little more structure…whatever that means. Ha. And truth be told, it would probably be fine just to fry the chicken all the way through during the first frying stage. This is just the way I do it, man. I’m old and set in my ways.

 
 
 
Orange ChickenWhen the chicken has fried for the additional minute, drain it on a new paper towel. Note that the coating isn’t hard and crisp as it would be if you’d used a batter; it’s very light. Just right!

 
 
 
Orange ChickenNow it’s just time to finish up the sauce: Combine a little cornstarch…

 
 
 
Orange ChickenWith a little water…

 
 
 
Orange ChickenAnd pour this into the sauce, whisking it to combine.

 
 
 
Orange ChickenTurn up the heat just long enough to let the cornstarch thicken the sauce…

 
 
 
Orange ChickenThen remove it from the heat…

 
 
 
Orange ChickenAnd throw in the chicken!

 
 
 
Orange ChickenQuickly toss it around to get the chicken all coated. There is not an abundance of sauce—just enough to coat the chicken.

 
 
 
Orange ChickenI really wanted to drive home the orange, so I grated up some more zest…

 
 
 
Orange ChickenAnd tossed it in. (You can see the benefit of the nonstick skillet here; all the sauce ends up on the chicken rather than stuck to the pan!)

 
 
 
Orange ChickenNow, of course, you can serve the orange chicken with chow mein or fried rice…but it’s absolutely lovely on its own. (One thing a savory side dish like fried rice or noodles can do, though, is provide a counter to the sweetness of the chicken. Food for thought.)

 
 
 
Orange ChickenA little sliced green onion adds a little extra prettiness…and flavor, of course.

 
 
 
Orange ChickenVery flavorful, very citrusy, very good! If you’re a fan of orange chicken, give this one a try sometime. Just remember that you can customize the sauce to your taste, adding more ginger, garlic, soy…anything that makes you happy in life!

 
 
 
Orange ChickenHere’s the handy dandy printable.

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Recipe

Orange Chicken

Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Difficulty:
Easy
Servings:
4

Ingredients

  • Vegetable Or Peanut Oil For Frying
  • Chicken
  • 4 whole Egg Whites
  • 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
  • 4 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs, Cut Into Bite Sized Pieces
  • Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup Orange Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Packed Brown Sugar (OR White Sugar OR Honey)
  • 1 Tablespoon Rice Vinegar (or Regular Distilled Vinegar)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sesame Oil
  • Dash Of Salt
  • Dash Of Crushed Red Pepper, More To Taste
  • 1 clove Garlic, Pressed Or Minced
  • 2 teaspoons Minced Ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Cornstarch (additional)
  • Zest Of 1 Orange (optional)
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 2 whole Green Onions, Sliced

Preparation Instructions

For the chicken: In a large bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and egg whites with a fork until almost frothy, about 1 minute. Add the chicken to the mixture and allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes.

For the sauce: Meanwhile, put the orange juice, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, sesame oil, salt, crushed red pepper, garlic and ginger (and orange zest, if using) in a small nonstick skillet and whisk together. Heat until bubbling and starting to thicken, about 3-4 minutes.

Whisk together the cornstarch and 1/4 cup water in a small bowl and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of the cornstarch slurry to the sauce. Mix in and thicken for 1 minute. (If sauce gets overly thick, just add in another 1/4 cup water and whisk in.)

Heat about 2 inches of vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed pot until a deep-fry thermometer inserted in the oil registers 350 degrees F. In batches, carefully drop a few pieces of chicken into the oil (drop them in one by one to keep them from sticking together) and move it around, 2-3 minutes or until light golden. Let the pieces drain on a plate lined with paper towels for 2 to 3 minutes. Then drop them back into the oil for 1 minute to really solidify the coating.

Toss the chicken in the sauce and serve immediately with orange zest and sliced green onions on the top.

Posted by Ree | The Pioneer Woman on September 8 2014

10 Sep 08:07

Baking Bootcamp: Apple Pie Biscuits

by joythebaker

apple pie biscuits

Baking is all about sharing. Sharing recipes, sharing techniques, and most definitely sharing biscuits!

It’s time for our second challenge in the Baking Bootcamp series with King Arthur Flour!  You blew me away by baking the Triple Berry Braided Bread with me for our first challenge.  Hundreds of you participated and made the most lovely loaves of bread studded with summer berries.  I’m so happy you took the time to bake with me! It really means so much.  Let’s do it again, shall we!?

Apple Pie Biscuits

For this month’s Baking Bootcamp Challenge, we’re exploring King Arthur Flour’s Self-Rising Flour.  It’s a wonderfully light white flour combined with non-aluminum baking powder and salt.  It’s absolutely perfect for biscuits, pancakes, and muffins.  It’s a staple in my kitchen when it comes to perfectly fluffy, no-fuss biscuits.  Hop on this bandwagon and let’s get baking!  Below I’ll offer some alternatives for a DIY self-rising flour and a gluten-free option.  I want all of us in biscuit mode!

Here is a reminder of how Baking Bootcamp works:

Four Flours + Four Recipes Challenges + One Instagram #bakingbootcamp

+ Four Awesome Sets of Prizes!

The idea is simple!

• Make these Apple Pie Biscuits (they’re sooo delicious!) and take a picture of your creation!

• Follow @joythebaker and @kingarthurflour on Instagram

• Photograph your beautiful biscuits and post them to Instagram with the hashtag #bakingbootcamp

• When you submit a photo, you’ll be entered to win a one year supply of King Arthur Flour and a Baking Essentials box valued at $250!! Official rules and details can be found here.

I’ll be answering questions and sharing your photographs here on Joy the Baker. By entering the challenge you’ll also have amazing Apple Pie Biscuits in your kitchen, so… you really can’t lose.

Let’s get started!

Baking Bootcamp Essentials II

 1 • King Arthur Unbleached Self-Rising Flour is perfectly soft and rolls out beautifully for these tender biscuits.

2 • I use this King Arthur Flour Bench Knife just about everyday in my kitchen. It’s perfect for scraping little dough bits from the countertop… something a sponge just pitifully attacks. You might also use the bench knife to slice though the center of the rolled dough. It’s sharp too! I love this tool!

3 • Kitchen fashion is important to me. Hedley & Bennett understands my needs for a functional, durable, totally chic apron. Not too frilly. I always want to be more badass than 50′s housewife-y in the kitchen.

4 • My Cast Iron Skillets are a staple in my everyday kitchen. Some are more successfully seasoned than others, but I try to keep some cast iron specifically for savory and other just for sweets.

5 • Having Colorful Mixing Bowls is the kitchen equivalent of having a great black dress in your closet. Necessary treat.

6 • Vegetable Peelers with good finger grips to peel apples in a flash!

7 • I inherited a Marble Rolling Pin from a family friend and now I don’t know how I’ve gone without one for so long! This piece has great weight and can be chilled in the refrigerator prior to rolling to keep our doughs more amiable.

8 • Don’t skimp on good Silicone Spatulas. The ones that melt along with the butter are just infuriating.

9 • Is it normal to have a completely mismatched set of Measuring Cups, or should I just treat myself to a matching set like this? Don’t answer that…

10 • Same goes for the Measuring Spoons… it’s nice to have a full matching set.

11 • I go through Paring Knives like I go through socks.  How is it possible to have them one day and then lose them the next? I don’t know.  Clearly I have an issue.

Apple Pie Biscuits

Let’s get baking!  #bakingbootcamp

photos in this post by Jon Melendez

Apple Pie Biscuits

 This super easy biscuit recipe features King Arthur Flour’s Unbleached Self-Rising Flour.  I encourage you to go buy a bag and experience just how convenient it is!  Self-rising flour has a lower protein content (8.5%) than all-purpose flour (11.7%) because it’s made using a soft wheat flour rather than the hard wheat flour that makes up all-purpose flour.  The lower protein content makes the flour extra light, creating wonderfully tender biscuits.

Self-rising flour also contains non-aluminum baking powder and a dash of salt so we don’t have to deal with measuring spoons and extra additions.

How to make your own Self-Rising Flour: 1 cup all-purpose flour + 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder + 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Of course, if using all-purpose flour, the protein content will be a bit higher. Whisk together until thoroughly combined.

How to make your own Gluten-Free Self-Rising Flour:  1 cup King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour + 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder + 1/4 teaspoon salt + 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum.

For more on flour, check out Baking 101:  The Difference Between Baking Flours.  

Apple Pie Biscuits

Cold butter is cut into small cubes and added to the flour.  The colder the butter the better!

Apple Pie Biscuits / joy the baker and king arthur flour

Measure out the cold buttermilk before your hands get dirty.

Apple Pie Biscuits / joy the baker and king arthur flour

Using your fingers, break the butter down into the flour.

Apple Pie Biscuits

Quickly press the butter and flour in between your fingers creating little bits of butter throughout the flour.

Apple Pie Biscuits

If you work quickly, breaking down the butter into the flour will take about 4 minutes.  The result will be butter bits that are the size of oat flakes and small peas.

Apple Pie Biscuits

Add granulated sugar.

Apple Pie Biscuits

And stir the mixture together.

If that seems easy, it was!  Baking powder and salt are already in the flour!

Apple Pie Biscuits / joy the baker and king arthur flour

Add the cold buttermilk.

If you’re out of buttermilk, you can make your own buttermilk substitute using one of these feisty tips.

Apple Pie Biscuits

Begin to stir the dry ingredients into the buttermilk.

Apple Pie Biscuits

The biscuit dough will feel rather fluffy and wet.

Apple Pie Biscuits

You’re on the right track!  Once all of the dry ingredients are worked into the buttermilk (you may need to add a splash of extra buttermilk), place it in the refrigerator for just a few moments while you make the apple filling.

If you’re using your own homemade self-rising flour or gluten-free self-rising flour, you’ll want to add the full 3/4 cup of buttermilk.

Apple Pie Biscuits

Using either a paring knife or vegetable peeler, peel an apple.  I like Fuji apples for this recipe because they’re both crisp and sweet.

Apple Pie Biscuits

This is how my grandmother slices apples (and everything else), and I wonder how old I’ll be when I finally feel comfortable with this move.  Don’t be like me, or my grandmother.  Slice safely.

Apple Pie Biscuits

Add the apple slices to a skillet of melted butter.  Add cinnamon.

Apple Pie Biscuits

Add sugar, too!

Cook the apples down for just a bit to melt the sugar and meld the spices.  The apples won’t be cooked all the way through, but they’ll finish softening in the oven.

Remove the skillet from the heat and allow to cool while you roll out the dough.

Apple Pie Biscuits

Back to the biscuit dough!

Generously dust a work surface with all-purpose flour.

Apple Pie Biscuits

The dough should be moist but not overly wet.

Onto the floured surface we go!

Apple Pie Biscuits

Knead the dough three or four turns.  We want to create a cohesive dough, but not overwork the dough at all.

Apple Pie Biscuits

Use your hands to shape the dough into rough rectangle shape.

Apple Pie Biscuits

Pat it down to a 1-inch thickness.

Apple Pie Biscuits

Sprinkle a rolling pin with more all-purpose flour.

Apple Pie Biscuits

Begin to roll the dough using a firm and even pressure.  Try to keep the rectangle shape as much as possible.

Apple Pie Biscuits

Roll the dough to a 1/2-inch thickness, about 7 x 10-inches.  Move the dough around the surface a bit to ensure that it’s not sticking; this will become important later when we’re folding the dough.

Apple Pie Biscuits

Time for the apples!

Apple Pie Biscuits

Spread the apples in a mostly even layer across half of the biscuit dough.

Apple Pie Biscuits

Gently fold the dough over the apples.

Apple Pie Biscuits

Use your hands to gently press the seams together.

Apple Pie Biscuits

Use the palms of your hand to nudge and suggest the filled biscuit dough  back into an 8″ x 6″ rectangle rectangle if the edges have rounded a bit.

Apple Pie Biscuits

Be the boss.

A friendly boss, but definitely the boss.

Apple Pie Biscuits

Use a large and sharp knife to cut 12 small biscuits.  Flour the knife a bit if it gets too sticky.

Apple Pie Biscuits / joy the baker and king arthur flour

Place the biscuits on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Apple Pie Biscuits

Beat an egg.  Lightly brush the tops of each biscuit, for browning.

Apple Pie Biscuits / joy the baker and king arthur flour

Generously sprinkle with granulated sugar and cinnamon.

Apple Pie Biscuits

Take a coffee break, but be careful that your rolling pin doesn’t roll right off the table.  The biscuits will bake up in about 12 minutes!

Apple Pie Biscuits

Now it’s your turn!  Take on the challenge! Share your beautiful biscuits with us on Instagram #bakingbootcamp. You have until October 11th  to submit your photos to be entered to win a one-year supply of King Arthur Flour and a Baking Essentials Box valued at $250.  Official rules and details here. Leave any questions about the recipe in the comments below and check back here for all of your baking photos!

This post is brought to you by Joy the Baker in partnership with King Arthur Flour.

Baking Bootcamp: Apple Pie Biscuits

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

12 biscuits

Baking Bootcamp: Apple Pie Biscuits

Join King Arthur Flour and Joy the Baker for a second baking challenge. Bake these delicious biscuits, post a picture to instagram with the #bakingbootcamp between September 10th - October 10th for a chance to win a year of free flour from King Arthur Flour and a gift basket of prizes worth $250! Thank you for baking along with us!

Ingredients

    For the Apples:
  • 1 Fuji apple, peeled, cored and sliced very thin
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • For the Biscuits:
  • 2 cups King Arthur Unbleached Self-Rising Flour
  • 1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2/3 to 3/4 cup cold buttermilk
  • For the Topping:
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. To make the apples, place butter in a medium skilled over medium heat to melt. Add the apples, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Toss with a wooden spoon until all of the apples are coated and the sugar is melted over the apples, about 2 to 4 minutes. The mixture will be warm and glossy, but the apples won't be cooked through. That's right! Remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. To make the biscuit dough, place flour in a medium bowl and add cold butter cubes. Use your fingers to quickly break the butter down into the flour. Some of the butter bits will be the size of oats, some the size of small peas. Stir in the granulated sugar.
  4. Create a well in the center of the butter and flour mixture and add 2/3 cup buttermilk. Stir the mixture together until it is well moistened and holds together well. Biscuit dough should be soft and moist. Add the remaining buttermilk as needed. If you're using your own homemade self-rising flour or gluten-free self-rising flour, you'll want to add the full 3/4 cup of buttermilk.
  5. Use all-purpose flour to generously dust a clear work surface. Spoon dough onto the floured surface and use your hands to gather it into a ball and gently pat it into a small rectangle. If you're using gluten-free self-rising flour, the dough will crack a bit as you shape it into a rectangle, and again as you fold it over the apples. That's OK; just keep patting it back together.
  6. Use a rolling pin to gently roll the dough into a rectangle 1/2-inch thick, about 7-inches x 10-inches. Arrange cooled apples in a single layer over half of the rolled out biscuit dough. Fold the bare side of the dough over the apples and gently press the edges to seal in the apples. Use the palms of your hand to pat the dough into a 6 x 8-inch rectangle if the edges are looking a bit rounded.
  7. Use a sharp knife to slice the dough into 12 squares. Use a spatula to place each biscuit onto the prepared baking sheet, about 2-inches apart.
  8. In a small bowl, whisk together sugar for topping, cinnamon, and salt.
  9. Brush each biscuit top with beaten egg and sprinkle generously with the cinnamon sugar mixture.
  10. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes until the biscuits are risen and golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve warm or cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Biscuits are best enjoyed within two days of baking.
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08 Sep 23:52

SNAP Challenge: Week 1 Summary

by Beth M

Wow, one week of the SNAP Challenge is over and I can’t believe how many thoughts I’ve had so far. I could write a ten page paper on my feelings, experiences, and observations already… but I’ll try to keep it short (yeah, right). I also want to thank everyone for their insightful comments and support while I take on this challenge. You’ve helped me dive deeper and discover more.

Before I begin the summary, I want to discuss one aspect of the challenge. The SNAP challenge rules state that you shouldn’t use any food purchased prior to starting the challenge. I’m not following that rule because I don’t feel like it’s very realistic or a responsible way to eat on a budget. Sure, some SNAP recipients will start out with no kitchen supplies, but maybe some do. Each person’s SNAP experience will be unique and involve several variables. I can’t replicate anyone else’s experience, so I have to try to mimic what my own would be. I’m approaching this challenge as if I had to suddenly go on SNAP and will definitely utilize some of my pantry staples. Those staples will not be counted as free and as I replenish those pantry staples throughout the month, I will have to do so within my weekly budget of $30. A good portion of what I bought during week one will actually be spread out and used during the following weeks, so it only makes sense that I also would have had some things left over from previous weeks. And hey, this challenge isn’t perfect, but it’s still incredibly insightful. My goal isn’t to get every detail perfect, but to draw attention to and start the conversation about food insecurity, as well as recalibrate my own spending and food consumption habits to be less wasteful.

What Did I Buy?

SNAP Challenge Week 1 Groceries

Here is everything I bought during my shopping trip for week one. Not a whole lot, right? I bought some pantry staples from the bulk bins at Whole Foods (rice, oat bran, chickpeas, almonds), and picked up the rest of my fresh and canned goods at my neighborhood grocery store. I stocked up on some frozen greens because that’s a super easy and inexpensive way to add veggies to your meals. I splurged on feta because it ads a lot of flavor, but only used 1/4 of that block this week. The rest will be used in the following weeks.

SNAP Challenge Week 1 Receipts

Here are my receipts (with a couple notes on volumes that I made for the bulk items. I had to measure them when I got home for correct calculations).

What did I use that was already in my pantry? Admittedly, more than I planned to. I did not plan very well this first week, so I found myself scavenging through my fridge and pantry just looking for something to kill my hunger. I used soy milk, eggs (I’ll have to replenish both next week), a couple tortillas, butter, peanut butter, tea, brown sugar, cinnamon, hot sauce… well, a lot of things. Week one did not go well.

What Did I Make?

Soy Dijon Chicken Meals

My main meal throughout the week was the Soy Dijon Chicken with Sweet Potatoes, plus 1/2 cup of Seasoned Rice, plus 1/2 cup of frozen broccoli florets. I pre-portioned them out so that I could grab them and go without thinking twice, or giving myself an opportunity to think about eating something else. Each one of these bowls cost $1.49.

Slow Cooker Chickpeas

I cooked one pound of chickpeas from dry in my slow cooker (1 lb. dry, unsoaked chick peas plus 6 cups water, on high for about 5 hours). I only used half of the batch this week and froze the second half for use next week.

Curried Chickpeas with Spinach

My secondary meal throughout the week was Curried Chickpeas with Spinach. I used frozen spinach this time, less olive oil, and the chickpeas that I cooked from dry, so the total batch came to $4.25 and I got about 5 servings, for a cost per serving price of $0.85. Unfortunately, I got so busy and had so many unexpected things pop up this week that I wasn’t able to even cook this recipe until day 4.

Feta Slaw

Cabbage is super cheap and I wanted some more vegetables in my plan, so I made a half batch of this Vinaigrette Slaw with Feta. I used only red cabbage this time (half head) and halved the other ingredients as well. Luckily, I had the bottom of a bottle of Caesar dressing left over in my fridge that was waiting to be used up. This batch cost me $2.28 and I got 4 servings, for a cost per serving of $0.46.

Cut Melon

After I got home from the grocery store I realized that I had NO FRUIT in my plan for the week. I had used up all but a few dollars of my weekly budget, so I turned to this melon that had been sitting in my fridge, uncut, for almost a week. I had let the melon go and it was already starting to have that over ripe sweet smell, like it was on the brink of rotten. I was determined to not let it go to waste, so I cut it up, divided it into 8 portions, and froze almost all of it. I eat the frozen portions while still frozen, like a frozen treat, because once they thaw they are not very good. Ick. But, you have to do what you have to do. The melon cost me $2.99 the week before, or $0.37 per portion.

So, that’s what I made the first week. I realized about mid way through day two that I did not plan well and this week was going to be really awful because of it. Add to that all the drama of the home buying process and trying to show my apartment to prospective new tenants, and I had a complete disaster of a week. I didn’t get a chance to make the curried chickpeas until day 4, so I ended up filling in my meal gaps with pita, peanut butter, and eggs. It was not good. I would consider week one a FAIL.

What Did I Eat?

As I just mentioned, week one was a disaster, but it showed me how much planning and how meticulous you have to be to actually make a budget like this work. Is that level of dedication realistic? Not very much so, especially if you have a family to take care of or are working two jobs (although some people DO make it work, and I applaud you!). Even with my well stocked kitchen and all of my background with cooking and portioning, I still needed to put in more effort to make this work. There were many nights of the week that I just fought off my hunger with a pita and peanut butter instead of a real meal. After only a few days I was so hungry that I was looking for calories everywhere and anywhere. It was bad. So, here is my daily breakdown with relfections:

Day 1

  • 1 small flour tortilla $0.16
  • 1 large egg $0.21
  • dash of hot sauce $0.05
  • pinch of salt and pepper $0.05
  • 1 tea bag $0.13
  • 1/4 cup soy milk $0.09
  • 1 Soy Dijon Chicken meal bowl $1.49
  • 1/2 pita $0.17
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter $0.23

Daily Total: $2.53

Reflection: Having to keep a tally of the total cost of my groceries as I picked items from the shelves brought me back to the early days of the blog, when I had to eat on a budget like this. I felt more responsible doing so, but wondered if people saw what I was doing and felt bad for me because I had to be so careful about every penny. I still have a positive outlook and am feeling good about the challenge.

Day 2

  • 1/4 cup oat bran $0.19 (1/4 cup oat bran + 3/4 water cooks up to be a 1 cup bowl)
  • 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar $0.02
  • 1/2 Tbsp butter $0.08
  • 1 Tbsp sliced almonds $0.18
  • 1 cup Cabbage Slaw with Feta $0.46
  • 1 portion melon $0.37
  • 1 Soy Dijon Chicken meal bowl $1.49
  • 1 small flour tortilla $0.16
  • 1 large egg $0.21
  • dash of hot sauce $0.05

Daily Total: $3.22

Reflection: This is the day that crazy stuff started happening with the home buying process. I was stressed, busy, and didn’t have time to calculate my daily food costs to know where I was coming in, or to make the curried chickpeas. I ate an egg in a tortilla for dinner and was hungry most of the day (except the hour or two after lunch). If I had time to calculate my daily cost, I would have known to eat more, but what? I didn’t have much in my fridge and no time to cook.

Day 3

  • 1 Spinach Rice Breakfast Bowl $0.64
  • 1 tea bag $0.13
  • 1/4 cup soy milk $0.09
  • 1 portion melon $0.37
  • 1 cup Cabbage Slaw with Feta $0.46
  • 1 Soy Dijon Chicken meal bowl $1.49
  • 1/2 pita $0.17
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter $0.23

Daily Total: $4.11

Reflection: By today, my brain was screaming “FOOD!” at me all day long and seriously affecting my concentration. No, more accurately, it was screaming, “CHIPS, WENDY’S, PIZZA, CAKE!” My body wanted calories and in any form it could get them… and it’s only been 3 days. Imagine going a whole month, finally getting your SNAP benefits replenished, and finally going to the grocery store. Do you think you’d make healthy decisions? I can honestly say that I wouldn’t. My body was now in control and health was not even on the radar. I just wanted calories. I still didn’t have time to make the chickpeas today.

Day 4

  • 2 large eggs $0.42
  • 1/2 pita $0.17
  • dash of hot sauce $0.05
  • 1 portion melon $0.37
  • 1 cup Cabbage Slaw with Feta $0.46
  • 1 Soy Dijon Chicken meal bowl $1.49
  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter $0.13
  • 1 portion Curried Chickpeas with Spinach $0.85

Daily Total: $3.94

Reflection: I still hadn’t had time to calculate my daily food costs, so I had no idea where I was coming in. I did, however, finally have time to make the curried chickpeas and I was so happy for a change of flavor, plus they were super filling. Finally a little relief. I had woken up so hungry that I ate two eggs for breakfast. That might have been the first day that I didn’t feel like I was going to die waiting for my lunch break.

Day 5

  • 1/4 cup oat bran $0.19
  • 1 Tbsp almonds $0.18
  • 1/2 Tbsp butter $0.08
  • 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar $0.02
  • 1/4 cup soy milk $0.09
  • 1 portion melon $0.37
  • 1 Soy Dijon Chicken meal bowl $1.49
  • 1/2 pita $0.17
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter $0.23
  • 1/2 pita $0.17
  • 1 large egg $0.21
  • dash of hot sauce $0.05

Daily Total: $3.25

Reflection: I really can’t believe how delicious every single commercial for food looks. Things I never would have been tempted by before, like Wendy’s or those nasty looking cappuccino flavored potato chips, I could seriously devour and love every second of it. It’s fascinating how hunger can change your tastes and perceptions. My body was still screaming at me for calories and blocking out most every other thought. I’m still relying on eggs/peanut butter in pita because it’s fast and kills my hunger.

Day 6

  • 2 large eggs $0.42
  • 1/2 pita $0.17
  • pinch of salt & pepper $0.05
  • 1 cup Cabbage Slaw with Feta $0.46
  • 1/2 pita $0.17
  • 1/2 Tbsp butter $0.08
  • 1 serving Black Bean Soup $0.79
  • 1/4 cup uncooked popcorn kernels $0.09
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil $0.04
  • 1 Tbsp butter $0.15
  • Cajun seasoning $0.05

Daily Total: $2.47

Reflection: Today I really started to lose it. I thought about sneaking a bag of chips from the store. No one would know, right? Ack. I can’t do that. I needed calories so bad that I ate butter in pita bread. I started scouring my cupboard and freezer for something different to eat because I was sick of the same ‘ol food. I found one last frozen serving of my Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup and ate that. It was SO. GOOD. That made me feel like I broke the rules, but OMG, I felt full and happy for a minute. I had my favorite snack for dinner: stove top popcorn with Cajun seasoning (and butter because apparently I want that on everything now).

Day 7

  • 1 Spinach Rice Breakfast Bowl $0.71
  • 1 tea bag $0.13
  • 1/4 cup soy milk $0.09
  • 1 portion melon $0.37
  • 1 serving Curried Chickpeas with Spinach $0.85
  • 1/2 pita $0.17
  • 1/2 pita $0.17
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter $0.23
  • 1 oz feta $0.43
  • 1 cup soy milk $0.36

Daily Total: $3.51

Reflection: I broke into my stash of feta today because I NEEDED CHEESE. I realized that dairy goes a really long way towards filling me up and making me feel satisfied because I’ve been craving cheese and yogurt for a couple days now. I’m definitely working that into next week’s menu. I CAN’T WAIT to go grocery shopping and try a new approach next week, because this sucked. Oh, and I finally got a chance to sit down and start calculating my daily costs and saw how low I was coming in. ARG. I could have been eating more all week. *sigh* Failure.

Final Reflection

Total Consumed: $23.30

Grocery Total (incl. tax):  $28.13

This did not work at all. I’ll try again next week with a different approach. Even with all the advantages working in my favor (pantry staples, cooking equipment like a slow cooker, cooking skills, food knowledge, easy access to grocery store(S), etc.) this just did not work and was not sustainable. I wanted to eat fast food every day. I wanted to go splurge and spend 2-3 days worth of food budget on a pizza or burger. What would I do if I had children? I am full of a mix of emotions—gratitude, guilt, and sadness.

The post SNAP Challenge: Week 1 Summary appeared first on Budget Bytes.

04 Sep 16:00

New Toppl Toy from West Paw Design

by Katherine Becker

New Toppl Toy from West Paw Design

West Paw has recently introduced a new member of their Zogoflex line of durable toys: the Toppl, a stuffable puzzle toy designed to entertain clever and curious pups. The bouncy, chewable Toppl can be stuffed with treats and tasties, and dogs can roll, wobble, and bounce it to retrieve the treasure. Here’s the special twist: small and large Toppls interlock to make an even more challenging game. Check out (recyclable, BPA- and phthalate-free) Toppl over at West Paw.

New Toppl Toy from West Paw Design in toys


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05 Sep 18:00

Amazing Charlie Brown Nerdy Mash-Up Fanart

by Amy Ratcliffe

charlie brown guardians of the galaxy

The characters from Charlie Brown fit right into any environment, and the art featured in Dorkly’s list of the best Charlie Brown mash-up pieces proves it. The illustrations feature Charlie Brown, Linus, Snoopy, and the rest of the gang in well-known television series, comics, and movies. The above image by Matthew J. Fletcher putting Charlie Brown into the role of Star-Lord from Guardians of the Galaxy is perfect.

See a couple more of our favorites after the break.

Charlie Brown game of thrones

by Adams Pinto

charlie brown hellboy

by Zio Adams

Check out the entire list at Dorkly.








02 Sep 19:41

SNAP Challenge: Seasoned Rice

by Beth M

For the entire month of September, I’ll be participating in the SNAP Challenge and attempting to eat on $4.50 per day. Read more here.

If there’s one thing I knew right away, it was that I was going to have to bulk out my meals considerably with inexpensive beans and grains to stay under $4.50 per day. Instead of using plain old rice, I made a big batch of seasoned rice the first day, which will be used as a base for multiple meals throughout the week (and maybe the whole month). 

I used brown jasmine rice for this recipe for two reasons: jasmine rice has way more flavor than regular white rice and whole grain rice is way more filling. That being said, it can be made with plain white rice if desired. Just adjust the cooking time and water to rice ratio to compensate. This recipe can also be made in a rice maker.

I got my brown jasmine rice from the bulk bins at Whole Foods, which is a luxury that most people who rely on SNAP benefits probably don’t have. There aren’t many Whole Foods Markets around and even though my regular grocery store has bulk bins, their prices are higher and selection is more limited. That being said, you can do the same thing with plain white rice, if needed. My rice was $2.69/lb. and I bought about 3 cups, which came out to be $0.61 per cup of uncooked rice (or about 3 cups cooked rice). This is more expensive than plain white rice, but I was able to work it into my budget, so I did. Stay tuned throughout the week to see how I used the rice in my meals!

Seasoned Rice

Seasoned Rice

5.0 from 3 reviews
Seasoned Rice
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Total Cost: $1.36
Cost Per Serving: $0.22
Serves: 6 (1 cup each)
Ingredients
  • 2 cups brown jasmine rice $1.21
  • ½ tsp garlic powder $0.05
  • ½ tsp dried thyme $0.05
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper (optional) $0.02
  • ¾ tsp salt $0.03
  • 4 cups water $0.00
Instructions
  1. Combine the rice, garlic powder, thyme, red pepper, salt, and water in a heavy bottomed pot. Give it a brief stir to evenly distribute the ingredients.
  2. Place a lid on the pot and place it over high heat. Allow the pot to come up to a full boil. Once it reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, turn the heat off and let it rest with the lid in place for 20 minutes more.
  3. After 20 minutes without heat, fluff the rice and serve, or refrigerate until ready to eat. Extra rice can also be frozen for quick meals later.
Notes
You can use any mix of herbs that you like, this just happens to be my favorite combination.
3.2.2708

 

Step by Step Photos

Rice and HerbsIn a heavy bottomed pot, combine 2 cups of rice, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp dried thyme, 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper, 3/4 tsp salt, and 4 cups of water. Stir briefly to evenly distribute the ingredients.

Fluffed RiceCover the pot with a lid, then place it over high heat. Allow the pot to come to a full boil, then turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, turn the heat off and allow it to rest and continue to steam in the residual heat for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, fluff the rice and serve. 

Seasoned RiceIt may not seem very revolutionary, but when working with a limited budget, it’s important to make sure every meal is as satisfying as possible. I plan to eat pretty much the same thing throughout the week, so I have to make sure it’s damn delicious so that I keep coming back! Ha!

Stay tuned to see the different ways I use this rice throughout the week.

The post SNAP Challenge: Seasoned Rice appeared first on Budget Bytes.

06 Sep 15:35

SNAP Challenge: Soy Dijon Chicken Thighs with Sweet Potatoes

by Beth M

For the entire month of September, I’ll be participating in the SNAP Challenge and attempting to eat on $4.50 per day. Read more here.

Whew. I meant to post this days ago, but this week has been out of control! More about that when I do my SNAP Challenge week one summary on Monday.

I loved the Soy Dijon Pork Tenderloin that I made ages ago and have wanted to use the same marinade for chicken for quite some time. Chicken thighs are cheap, so I figured that it might be a good cornerstone meal for the first week of my SNAP Challenge. The sweet-salty marinade was just as delicious as I remembered!

To add a little extra flavor, nutrients, and bulk, I cubed a sweet potato and layered that in the roasting dish before adding the chicken and the marinade. The sweet potato added a nice sweetness to the dish and definitely helped keep me full. That was a good decision. I also doubled the marinade to provide plenty of sauce to cook the potatoes in, plus drizzle over the rice and vegetables that I served on the side.

Soy Dijon Chicken Thighs with Sweet Potatoes

Soy Dijon Chicken Thighs with Sweet Potatoes

5.0 from 11 reviews
Soy Dijon Chicken Thighs with Sweet Potatoes
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Total Cost: $8.31
Cost Per Serving: $1.19
Serves: 7-8
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup Dijon mustard $0.48
  • ¼ cup soy sauce $0.40
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil $0.10
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar $0.04
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced $0.16
  • Freshly cracked pepper $0.05
  • 2 lbs. chicken thighs (8 pieces) $5.65
  • 1 medium sweet potato (1 lb.) $1.43
Instructions
  1. In a bowl, stir together the Dijon, soy sauce, vegetable oil, brown sugar, minced garlic, and some freshly cracked pepper. Add the chicken thighs to a large zip top bag or shallow dish, and then pour the prepared marinade over top. Refrigerate the marinating chicken for at least 30 minutes (can be prepared in the morning and refrigerated all day).
  2. When you’re ready to cook, begin to preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Peel and cube the sweet potato into ¾ inch pieces. Lay the cubed sweet potato in the bottom of a casserole dish. Lay the chicken thighs over the sweet potatoes and pour all of the marinade over top.
  3. Cover the dish with foil and roast in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, removing the foil after the first 30 minutes. After baking, spoon some of the liquid from the bottom of the dish over the chicken and serve. Use the extra juices from the bottom of the dish to spoon over rice and vegetables.
3.2.2708

Soy Dijon Chicken Thighs with Sweet Potatoes

 

Step by Step Photos

Soy Dijon MarinadePrepare the marinade by stirring together 1/4 cup Dijon mustard, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 2 Tbsp vegetable oil, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 2 cloves minced garlic, and some freshly cracked pepper.

Chicken ThighsI used about 2 lbs. of chicken thighs, which was eight pieces. Two of the pieces were pretty small, so I counted those as one serving, for a total of 7 servings for this dish. Depending on the size of the thighs, you might get about 8 servings.

Marinate Chicken ThighsAdd the chicken thighs and prepared marinade to a zip top bag or a shallow dish. Refrigerate the chicken thighs as they marinate for at least 30 minutes. If preferred, you can mix up the marinade before work and let them marinate all day so it will be ready to cook when you get home.

Cubed Sweet PotatoesWhen you’re ready to start dinner, begin to preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Peel and cube one sweet potato (about 1 lb.) and lay the cubes in the bottom of a casserole dish. Cut the cubes into no larger than 3/4 inch pieces so that they cook through completely while in the oven.

Chicken ThighsLay the marinated chicken thighs over the sweet potatoes and pour ALL of the marinade over top. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil after the first 30 minutes to let the top brown.

Baked Soy Dijon Chicken ThighsAfter it bakes, spoon some of the yummy juices over top of the chicken.

Soy Dijon Chicken Thighs with Sweet PotatoesDon’t let that delicious juice go to waste! I used mine to moisten and season the rice and vegetables that I served with the chicken. It’s SO good.

Stay tuned to see how I worked this into my SNAP Challenge meal plan!

The post SNAP Challenge: Soy Dijon Chicken Thighs with Sweet Potatoes appeared first on Budget Bytes.

05 Sep 20:35

Homemade Stroopwafels

by noreply@blogger.com (Heather Baird)

I've always wanted a waffle cone maker, but admittedly, there's very little space in my cabinets for one to live. I've talked myself out of buying one many times, but the desire came back anew when I walked into my favorite ice cream parlor. I can testify that the warm fragrance of freshly made vanilla waffle cones is strongly persuasive (not that I needed much arm-twisting in the first place). So, I got one.

I fully expected the machine to be single purpose (waffle cone iron = only waffle cones) but I've found it has a second, and maybe even better use for making one of my favorite coffee time treats - stoopwafels!


For those not familiar, stroopwafles are thin cookie-like waffles with a chewy caramel syrup in the center. They hail from the Netherlands, and recently my friend Darla (who happens to live in Nederland) sent me a care package with all kinds of delicious Dutch treats inside. To my delight, authentic stroopwafels were included. They were better, more dense with filling, than the ones I can find locally. That made me curious enough to seek out a stroopwafel recipe. Until now, I'd never dreamed you could make them at home. I'd pondered their thinness while eating one, and figured it defied any tool that inhabited my utensil drawer. To my great surprise, scratch-made stroopwafels are achievable.

Continued, click to read more...
05 Sep 00:29

Stick Figure Death

by Fizzy
Circa 1998, there was a little fad on the internet called STICK FIGURE DEATH THEATERS....

The basic idea is that you animate little scenarios of stickmen dying in creative ways. Always one to get sucked into internet fads (in college), I immediately downloaded some animation software and made my own stick death site.

I made about a dozen or so animations. I showed them to everyone. I was very ghetto and low tech about my animations, but I got a lot of hits initially because I came into the game early. I was on the top 20 site for a while and I was an early member of the stick death ring. The animations on other sites quickly became pretty elaborate and my site got pushed out of the mainstream, but I will always carry a piece of that site with me (on my harddrive).

Here's a sample:



For the next month I'm going to keep posting these intermittently. Because it's my damn blog and I want to.

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