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Archive for March, 2013

I don’t know about you but I get so tired of the piles of peeps, chocolate eggs, and jelly beans around Easter.  I just want some variety.  So when my daughter had to bring filled eggs to school tomorrow for an Easter party, I wanted to do something different.  I have seen these before so it is definitely not my new idea, someone else’s.  I simply made rice krispie treat mix and instead of putting it in a pan, I stuffed it into plastic easter eggs.  You can hide them like that or take the treats out and display them as eggs and a snack.

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Here are a couple notes from my experience.

-I suggest making a half batch at a time because it takes a little while to do it and the mix gets hard the longer it sits.  So small batches are the key to making this work.  A half a batch made about 15 eggs for me.

-Spray the inside of the eggs with cooking spray first.  It will get all over the outside, just wipe it off with a paper towel after.

-Stuff them as best you can, filling each side separately and then squishing them together to seal both sides.

Happy Easter Everybody!

Erin, The Burbs

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With the plethora of produce approaching us all in the few months, I thought this was a great little recipe to share.  My dad came up with this and Husband LOVES it.  Truthfully, he tolerates the jalapenos (he likes the heat but the taste is only so so for him) but he is a total fanatic about the other stuff I add to it.  Anyway, Husband has tweaked the add ins so I will post the recipe as my dad created it and then share some of the add-ins that Husband loves.  You end up with a whole bunch of spicy, yummy vegetables.

This recipe makes enough brine for approximately 12 Pint size jars.  You can use larger jars if you like but you should not use smaller ones.

I like to set out all my peppers into piles before I do anything else.  It takes me too long to do it while the brine is cooking so I prep that first.  To do so, grab the following for EACH jar.  I did six larger jars so I have six piles of stuff.

-3 to 4 peeled whole cloves of garlic

-1 tsp dried oregano

-several sprigs of cilantro

-6 to 7 slices of yellow onion

-fresh, whole jalapenos (the amount per jar should be enough to mostly fill the jar)

Add-Ins (I recommend at least two of these but you can pick as many or as little as you like as long as you can pack them all in the jar)

-sliced carrots

-asparagus (cut the bottom off enough to fit them in the jar without breaking them)

-artichoke hearts (these are canned but only in water and come quartered or halved and of course drained before I use them)

-heart of palm (these come in a bottle and you would need to cut them in half or so)

You may notice that in my piles, I have only 3 jalapenos per pile and I added 2 Serrano peppers.  I did not do this because I wanted to, it was necessity.  The jalapenos at our local store were NOT spicy.  They may as well have been bell peppers so I added the serranos to add spice.

You may notice that in my piles, I have only 3 jalapenos per pile and I added 2 Serrano peppers. I did not do this because I wanted to, it was necessity. The jalapenos at our local store were NOT spicy. They may as well have been bell peppers so I added the serranos to add spice.

Now, Get a large pot and a small one.  Fill the small one with water and turn on to a simmer (ish).  In the large one, put the following ingredients:  6 cups water, 3 cups white vinegar, 1/2 cup of olive oil, 6 T sugar, and 3/4 cup salt (canning salt, kosher salt, or non iodized salt).  Please note that on the salt, even an iodized salt will work just fine, it will just turn the garlic a blueish color, but it won’t hurt it.

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Now, bring that mixture to a boil.  While the pot is heating up, fill each jar with very hot tap water and allow to sit until you are ready to fill them with the peppers.  This will help so the jars don’t break when you pour the brine into them.

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Also, put the sealing lids into the small pot of hot water to soften them.

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It is helpful to have a canning lid tightener and a funnel handy.  Start by pouring out one jar of water, filling it up with the ingredients from one pile on the counter (it is difficult but the more you pack into it the better), then pouring brine into the jar up to about a quarter of an inch from the top of the jar (this is where the funnel helps).  Gently tap the jar on the counter a couple of times to let any air bubbles loose and then grab a sealing lid out of the hot water and place on top of the jar.  Then tighten for a good seal (where the canning tightener thing comes in handy).  Repeat this process for each jar until you are done.  Once all the jars are done, go back and try to re-tighten the jars, sometimes after they sit for a minute or two, you can tighten them more.  Mine were not packed with as much of the veggies as I would have liked but it was my first time making this in the larger size jars.  I blame that.  🙂

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The hard part now!!!  I know right, now I give you the bad news.  These should set in a cool dark area for about 3 months before eating!  They tempt Husband daily and if he thought for one second I would not kill him for opening one too soon and not waiting til they are PERFECT, I think he might sneak one early.

Erin, The Burbs

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Every year on our anniversary, Husband and I exchange new rings (not wedding rings, those are always with us, these are a second ring for our right hand).  The rings always have a new inscription on them and we love the tradition even though it is new.

This year, my ring is wood!  I love it!  It is pretty and comfortable and the care is pretty easy.  It was purchased from http://www.artistreewoodart.com.  All the rings are carefully made and are good quality.  There are a number of different styles and wood varieties to choose from and they are very well priced (believe me, I compared).  The owner, Dale, is good in response time and quite helpful.  If you want to try out a wood ring, I strongly suggest his site.  Ooh, and he engraves.  That is the most expensive part but again, pretty worth it!

This is not a good photo at all, the weather is not creating good lighting.  For a more accurate idea of how the rings look, check out the website I recommended.

This is not a good photo at all, the weather is not creating good lighting. For a more accurate idea of how the rings look, check out the website I recommended.

Please note that wood has a little more care involved than a traditional ring.  It should be rubbed with beeswax periodically and should be taken off before washing hands or showering.  I do not know how long a ring like this can last but Dale says that while they obviously don’t last as long as a metal or traditional ring, there lifetime is good when they are taken care of.

Erin, The Burbs

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These are a great easy side dish for when you are in a hurry or just need a new vegetable to serve in your house for some variety.  I can’t be the only one that gets in a funk and realizes she has served the same 10 side dishes for 6 months or so!

Preheat your oven to 375*F and rinse off about 3 cups of brussel sprouts.

Now, cut your sprouts in half.  You want to cut them so that you cut through the stem and there is half a stem still attached to each sprout half.  That will ensure they stay intact rather than falling apart.

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Drop them into a ziplock bag and season them with salt and pepper to taste.

Take about 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar and whisk together in a small bowl to incorporate them as much as possible.  Pour about half of that mixture into the bag and squish it around to coat the sprouts.

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Place the sprouts in a single layer on a cookie sheet.

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Drizzle the remaining dressing mixture on top of the sprouts and bake them for about 25 minutes (turning them over once about half way through).  They are done when they are lightly browned.  Yum!

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Erin, The Burbs

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Quick update to the no spend program for the month of March in my house.  Things are going pretty well.  Husband has done very well and has only spent $1 on a redbox movie.  I have done okay but over the course of the last two weeks I have bought 3 drinks with change from my change bin in my car.  I also purchased a lunch because I had a lunch meeting held at a restaurant.  We have had a few bills this month that we don’t normally have which doesn’t mess up the goal of not spending unless it is a necessity (I mean a bill is obviously a necessity) but when we look back at how much we spent on necessities, I will have to consider that those are not monthly and will not continue.

All in all, I think we are doing very well in the goal and I am very happy with it.

Erin, The Burbs

 

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Husband has been requesting that I send cupcakes with him to work more often so that he can buddy up to his trainers (who basically own his life right now) so I will probably be posting more cupcakes in the future.  The first ones I made for him were root beer cupcakes.  I hate to admit this but I don’t know what they tasted like.  I make cupcakes but it is rare that I eat them.  I will say that everybody I gave them to seemed to really like them so they were worth making.

This recipe is adapted from one I found on http://www.mysweetgems.com.  Theirs was a little more work intensive and I also assumed it would not work right at high altitudes so I changed it for that too.  Worked great!

Start by preheating your oven to 375*F (350* for non high altitude) and line 12 muffin cups with cupcake wrappers.

Beat 1/2 cup butter and 2/3 cups sugar until fluffy.  Add 3 eggs (1 at a time) beating until just incorporated after each egg.  Beat in 2 1/2 tsp root beer concentrate.  Each time you beat new things in you want to make sure it is incorporated but NOT over beaten.   In a separate bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 tsp baking powder (1 1/2 tsp for non high altitude baking), and 1/4 tsp salt.  The reason we whisk them rather than just stirring them to mix them is that the whisk fluffs it a little bit and acts sort of like a sifter.

Now, grab 1/3 cup milk.  Add about 1/2 the flour mixture to the wet mixture and beat slowly, then add milk and beat slowly.  Finally add the rest of the flour mixture and beat until well incorporated.  Fill the cupcake liners 1/2 to 3/4 full and put in the oven to bake for about 18 to 20 minutes (until toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of a cupcake).

Allow them to cool.

While waiting, you can make the cream filling and icing.

For the filling, whisk together 3 T flour and 1/2 cup milk and pour in a small saucepan.  Heat over medium heat, stirring continuously until it just starts to thicken.  You don’t want to let it thicken too long because it goes from slightly thickened to one big stiff mess in a matter of seconds and you will have to start over.  Remove from heat, and place in fridge to cool.  In a bowl, beat 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup sugar until fluffy.  Now add the milk mixture and 1 t vanilla and beat until smooth.

For the frosting, beat 3/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup shortening.  Add 1 tsp root beer concentrate and 4 cups powdered sugar (1 cup at a time) until well combined.  Finally add 2 T milk and mix well again.

Once the cupcakes are cooled use a small knife and cut out a cave sort of in the cupcake.  Fill with some filling and place the top part of the “cave” back on top to make it sort of prettier.  Finally, frost and done.  I am sorry I do not have a picture of how to fill them but you can find some instructions pretty easy on the internet.

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Enjoy, Erin, The Burbs

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I am getting sicker by the day and when I have a wicked cold and nothing makes me feel better than a hot toddy when I am sick like this I am not sure that any part of it really makes me feel better than the whiskey does, however if I put it in a mug with hot water and call it tea than I dont feel like a lush.

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Thats my favorite mug I got it on a trip to New York with Erin I will cry if it ever breaks

So here is how I make my Hot Toddy

I use my favorite tea Bigallows Orange Spice

about 4 tbl spoons of Honey

Hot Hot Water.

Jack Daniels as much as you like I do about a shot

That is really it I steep my tea until it is just right and then I add liquor and honey and I am done.

Bottoms Up

Kimmy (the sticks)

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