Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pinterest Fail: Coke Toilet Cleaner

You may have seen the Pin claiming that a simple soak with Coke will take away all your toilet ring blues.  Well, I decided to give the beverage a shot and glug, glug, glug, into the bowl it went.  After a few hours of soaking, some scrubbing with a toilet brush, and a couple of flushes, I am sad to report that the ring (which was not too bad to begin with) got WORSE!  Argh!  The brown color of the soda seemed to make the ring darker. 

I wouldn't give this one a shot if I were you.  I'd consider this myth busted.  Back to bleach for my toilet cleaning needs.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Cute as a Button: How to Make Fondant Buttons

A friend of mine requested cupcakes for a baby shower with pink & black buttons.  Now i know you could go and purchase fondant molds that would turn out perfect little buttons, but why bother when you can make them with items you probably already have if you do any kind of cupcake decorating.  I went through my various piping tips and found 3 different sizes that would be perfect for my needs.

First I tinted my fondant to the desired colors (I did some pink & some black) and rolled it out to the desired thickness.  Then, using the wide ind of a piping tip, I cut out circles. 

Next, using a smaller sized tip gently press in the inner circle.  Be careful not to go all the way through. 

Finally, using the smallest tip you have make for small holes in the center.

Use them to decorate how ever you need and your cupcakes will be cute as a button.

*Please note:  I recommend making these at least one or more day(s) in advance, so that your fondant had time to dry. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Go Giants!

Opening Weekend at AT&T Park

Little Sis & I at a game

The brick @ AT&T Park we got our Dad for Father's Day last year


We're off to SF tonight to see the Giants/Padres game.  I'm super excited!  We haven't been to a game since opening weekend (gasp! whaaat???) do to what has seemed to be the busiest summer we've ever had.  Little sis from Reno shall be here shortly, then we'll scoop up Mr. B & his buddy and head to the city to see my favorite boys in Black & Orange.  Garlic fries here we come :)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Stuffed Cabbage Casserole

I saw THIS recipe on and knew it had to grace my kitchen.  I love stuffed cabbage and this is a great way to capture all the essence with out all the tedious rolling and stuffing.  Unfortunately I discovered after I spent all the time making it, that Mr. B does not share my love for cabbage, but oh well more for me!

I will definitely make this again (probably when the Mr. is not around one night).

Stuffed Cabbage Casserole
2 tsp olive oil, divided
1 lb. 95% lean ground beef (I used ground turkey)
1 large onion, chopped fine
1 tbsp finely minced garlic
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp sweet Hungarian Paprika
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 heads green cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 can (14.5 oz.) petite dice tomatoes with juice
1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce
1/4 cup water
2 cups cooked brown rice
2 cups low-fat mozzarella cheese  (I used a combo of cheeses I had on hand)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a large glass casserole dish with non-stick spray.  In a large pan on medium heat; cook ground meat until it's browned and cooked through. Remove from pan and set aside.

In the same pan, add 1 tsp olive oil, chopped onion and cook over medium heat until the onion is translucent and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic, dried thyme, and paprika and cook about 2 minutes more. Then add the diced tomatoes with juice, tomato sauce, and ground meat. Add water to the pan. Simmer until it's hot and slightly thickened, about 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop the cabbage coarsely into 1 inch pieces.  Heat remaining olive oil in a large frying pan or dutch oven; add the cabbage and cook over medium-high heat until the cabbage is wilted and about half cooked, turning it over several times so it all wilts and cooks. Season with salt and fresh-ground black pepper.
When the meat and tomato sauce mixture has cooked and thickened a bit, stir in the 2 cups of cooked rice and gently combine.

Layer half the cabbage, half the meat mixture, remaining cabbage, and remaining meat mixture. Cover tightly with foil and bake 40 minutes, or until the mixture is just starting to bubble on the edges.  Remove foil and sprinkle on cheese.  Bake uncovered an additional 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and starting to slightly brown. Serve hot.  Enjoy!

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Best Shredded Chicken

Remember this post?  Well if you do, think of this post as a reminder to make this tasty chicken.  If you missed this one, you can thank me for the repost after you've made this tasty & EASY dish!

It doesn't get any easier than this tasty Mexican style shredded chicken! On a hot day there's nothing better than coming home to a dinner that it practically done. Hot, delicious & no need to turn on the oven! How so? The crockpot! Most of the time we tend to only pull out the crock pot during the cold winter months... but warm days are perfect for your slow cooker, since it doesn't heat up the kitchen. And with the beautiful weather outside, anything that minimizes the time spent in the kitchen preparing dinner is a friend of mine!

I decided to pull this together for Football Sunday dinner with some friends.  In the morning, I threw all my ingredients in the crockpot... then we went about our busy day.  Came home that afternoon and the house smelled great! A few quick steps at that point and dinner was on the table no time.

Simple Shredded Chicken
(This can easily be doubled - this amount fed 4 of us with leftovers)
3 to 4 chicken breasts (mine were frozen)
1 jar of salsa
1 beer
desired seasonings (optional)

Combine all ingredients in crock pot. I chose a medium heat salsa that happened to be on sale.  In the past I've used one w/ black beans and corn.  Any salsa will do.  For the seasonings I went with a couple tsp of my homemade taco seasoning, fresh ground pepper, garlic, and some sriracha for a little extra kick. The lid went on & I set it to low for 8 hours, since that's when we would be ready for dinner.  You can certainly put it on high for 6 hours with great results as well.

When I got home, I removed the chicken from the crock pot and dropped them into my Kitchen Aid mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mixed for a few seconds and had perfectly shredded chicken.  (So easy this way!  no need to stand there with 2 forks shredding, or burning your fingers.)

Return chicken to crock pot and and all those yummy juices while you prepare whatever it is you'd like to use this yummy filler for! We had chicken tacos & burritos. I warmed some tortillas, shredded some cabbage and whipped up some smashed black beans and Mexican rice. Served with desired toppings and we had a fantastic meal! Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Broccoli Cheese Soup

I had bread bowls and I had broccoli...  what to do, what to do?  I turned to the ever so popular Pioneer Woman for inspiration & came upon this recipe.  I could eat soup anytime of year.  This soup was incredibly simple to make and oh so delicious!

Broccoli Cheese Soup
1 Onion, Diced
1 stick 1/2 Cup Butter
1/3 cup Flour
4 cups Whole Milk
2 cups Half-and-half
4 heads Broccoli Cut Into Florets
1 pinch Nutmeg
3 cups Grated Cheese (mild Cheddar, Sharp Cheddar, Jack, Etc.)
Small Dash Of Salt (more If Needed)
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Chicken Broth If Needed For Thinning

Melt butter in a pot over medium heat, then add the onions. Cook the onions for 3 to 4 minutes, then sprinkle the flour over the top. Stir to combine and cook for 1 minute or so.  Slowly add in milk and half-and-half, stirring while adding. Add nutmeg, broccoli, salt, and black pepper.

Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the broccoli is tender.  You will want to stir periodically.

At this point you can pick your consistency.  I wanted a good amount of texture to my soup, so I decided to go with some pureed, some chopped, and some left as is.  You could absolutely leave it all as is, or blend it all up nice and smooth.  If you choose to blend it, make sure to use caution.  Always blend hot liquids in smaller batches.  Or is you're lucky and have an immersion blender just use that.

Once you're satisfied with your consistency and everything is back in the pot and the heat is back on, stir in cheese and allow to melt.

Taste seasonings and adjust if needed.  At this point I added a little hot sauce, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Serve in a bread bowl if desired.  But this soup is tasty enough to be served in a regular ole bowl with some crackers.  Enjoy!