Wednesday, May 19, 2010


This is by far, one of my deadliest kitchen experiments EVER!

I had a craving for peanut butter cups- and it all went downhill from there.

All you need for this is
-parchment paper (tin foil would be ok)
-cookie sheet
-chocolate chips or melting wafers or baking chocolate
-good, gooey, unsweetened peanut butter
-icing sugar
-microwave (or double boiler if you want to make work for yourself)
-mixer (stand mixer is awesome, but hand beater is fine)

Add 1 cup of peanut butter and 1/4 cup of confectioners sugar to mixer. Beat on medium until the PB turns into a firm "thumpy" ball - yes I said thumpy- you want it to stick together and stop sticking to the bowl.
If you need to, add more sugar until you get the desired thumpiness.

I love that new word :) thumpy thumpy thumpy. My spell checker is having a cow.

In a microwave safe bowl or double boiler, melt about 2 cups of chocolate. If using a microwave, cook for short 15-20 second intervals... you can burn chocolate!

Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil, and spoon small (twoonie sized) pools of melted chocolate onto the paper (about 2 tsp chocolate at a time)
Then, use a spoon to make balls of peanut butter mixture, about the size of a cherry. Use your hands if you need to, just don't get peanut butter on your digital camera (oops). The rounder the ball, the easier it is to put the top coat on.
I ended up having to melt a bit more chocolate to put the top on- it's better to start with not enough, otherwise you're left with a giant bowl full of melted chocolate with a spoon in it.... well I guess that's better...
Spoon chocolate over the top of the peanut butter, try to cover as much of the peanut butter as you can, but not with so much chocolate that it starts spreading onto the base.
Once they're all coated, pop the whole tray into the refrigerator- they should only take a few minutes to "set", and maybe 1/2 an hour to firm up the PB.
Package carefully and store in refrigerator- they'll get eaten LONG before they'll go bad! I used squares of parchment to separate them. You could use cupcake liners, but then you may as well have used them in the beginning and they wouldn't be upside down peanut butter cups now would they!


Monday, May 17, 2010

Mr Magic Eraser, Meet My Stainless Steel Pots!

Ah, the best trick of the week! I have these GORGEOUS Kitchenaid stainless steel pots and pans that my FABULOUS husband bought me for my birthday a few years back, but let me tell you, "stainless" is a LIE!

In a fit of desperation I took the Magic Eraser to my saucepan, and with relatively little elbow grease, the pan scrubbed up like new! It's a good thing!

Now, before you get all antsy, here's what I really came to write about

Sam's cake!
Black forest cake with whipped cream topping, painstakingly hand drizzled dark chocolate palm trees, and a treasure map design on top!
Oh, and not NEARLY enough candles! lol

Marble cake with buttercream icing- there started to be piping decorations around the sides, but alas, my kitchen was too warm, and I'm just not bloody fast enough! The Chocolate art was again, done by hand, late at night by a crazy lady with a spoonful of melted chocolate in her mouth to keep her hands steady :)
That WAS a ship on the cake, but the sail never survived the move to Emma's house, and the candles (again, not enough by a long shot) turned the whole thing into a "shipwreck" cake.

All in all, the cakes were really tasty, and very much enjoyed by everyone there. Next year, they're gonna share a big ass sheet cake with "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" stuck on top in pre made lettering! haha

Thursday, May 13, 2010

In case of emergency, fry with butter and garlic.

Every once in awhile, I get adventurous...

I'll be out shopping in the produce section, and I'll see a bunch of fresh, nice looking vegetables that aren't on our regular menu and buy some.

Then I get them home and they sit in the fridge, getting less and less fresh and eventually not so nice looking, because I have no idea how to prepare them.

I've since discovered, that just about all of these interesting veggies will totally taste good sauteed in butter and garlic. You can use olive oil for the longer cooking foods, as butter will burn; you can add black bean sauce or hoisin or teriyaki; you can add meat (start the meat first)...

Stir fry over rice or noodles is quick, tasty, healthy, and usually a crowd pleaser.

and that's about all I have to say about that today.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Things that are really, really, bad for you...

There is nothing quite like the Internet when it comes to vast and indigestible quantities of useless information. However, I've learned some pretty important things about what we put in our mouths, feed our kids even, and never think twice about what's in it! Tobacco has NOTHING on the things in this list!

First and probably the nastiest- BPA "Bisphenol A (BPA) is a widely produced chemical used primarily for the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins." - BPA is what makes our plastic containers clear and nice to look at. Most plastics with the number 7 on the bottom with the recycle symbol has it. BPA leaches into our food and when ingested in high enough quantities, it begins to behave as a synthetic estrogen... eeew. They used to make those clever and "environmentally friendly" nalgene bottles with it. Prolonged consumption of BPA can cause hormonal imbalances, early onset of puberty in children, obesity, and may be linked to some types of (estrogen fed) cancers. The sneakiest product containing unsafe levels of this chemical is CANNED TOMATOES. They use a BPA laden resin to coat the tin in order to prevent the acid in the tomatoes from eating through the can. Instead, the acid eats away at the resin and releases the chemicals into the fruits. There is enough BPA in one can of tomatoes to impact your health. Imagine you are cooking with canned tomatoes once a week? Feeding it to your kids?
The solution is fairly simple. Ask your favorite grocery chain to start carrying "canned" tomatoes in glass. Here is a list of what I can find on the net.
  • Nativa organic pasta sauce bottled in glass jars at Shoppers drug mart.
  • Heinz ketchup still comes in glass bottles
  • Bottled tomatoes $1.99 at Sobeys.
If you can't find anything economical or practical, you may want to consider canning your own tomatoes (I'm on it this summer for sure). If that seems overwhelming or you don't have any equipment for canning, consider asking some like minded friends to go on a canning spree for you. Ask your grandma (or equivalent) if she would mind showing you and your friends how to do it. Most Grandma Types are more than happy to pass on the knowledge :)

Yet another horror of the commercial farming industry would be POTATOES! No, really! Potatoes!
Potato farmers won't even eat the potatoes they sell, instead, they grow a separate plot for themselves. Being a root vegetable, they absorb whatever is in the soil and hang onto it so we can eat it. Commercial potatoes are drenched with fungicides to prevent rot, then before harvest, sprayed with herbicide to kill off the vines, and treated yet again to prevent them from sprouting. It's easy to find organic potatoes, and they aren't that much more expensive. For your health, it's definitely worth it. source

Next up is fish. We are supposed to eat more fish for the omega fatty acids, which are important for heart health and brain function- but what the hell kind of fish are we supposed to eat? In one breath they're telling us to eat more of it, and in another, they're on and on about mercury and PCB's and a myriad of other contaminants. Fish is good for you, but you have to be savvy of the source. Read the package, for example; "Atlantic Salmon" is almost certainly farmed. Instead, look for "fresh caught wild Atlantic salmon" . Ask the guy behind the fish counter to help you choose. I live in an area that is densely populated with people from the East coast, and almost all of them are descended in some way from fishermen. They know their fish, and not one of them would be caught dead eating farmed fish. If you can't be bothered with all the choosing and checking, just buy canned fish. It's almost always fresh caught, as it's not economical (yet) to farm for mass production. So long as you're not worried about eating cute baby dolphins with your tuna :)

Now, the last thing I'm putting on the list is (and I really don't want to do it) is MILK.

I drink milk. My family drinks milk. We are NOT ever going to stop drinking milk... but...

"Milk producers treat their dairy cattle with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST, as it is also known) to boost milk production. But rBGH also increases udder infections and even pus in the milk. It also leads to higher levels of a hormone called insulin-like growth factor in milk. In people, high levels of IGF-1 may contribute to breast, prostate, and colon cancers. "When the government approved rBGH, it was thought that IGF-1 from milk would be broken down in the human digestive tract," says North. As it turns out, the casein in milk protects most of it, according to several independent studies." (source ARRRGH! PUS IN THE MILK! PUS IN THE MILK! Never mind the bloody cancer! PUS. IN. THE. MILK. Sooooo, maybe it's time to start reading the labels on the milk jug. You may even want to turn the jug over and make sure it doesn't have BPA in it.

Oh, I hate to rain on our food parade, but I have to say, it concerns me. I try hard to get the right amount of servings of the right amount of stuff into my family, and to discover that I'm also serving them fungicide, artificial hormones and UDDER PUS... well it's enough to drive a woman to farming.