Thursday, August 15, 2013

Dark Chocolate M&M Cookies! - Cooking Post

Okay, so last week I had this grand idea that for our weekend baking extravaganza (that's right - every weekend we're baking a treat!) I decided that I just HAD to HAVE chocolate chip cookies, but I didn't necesarrily WANT chocolate chips, I wanted color... I wanted pizazz... I wanted M&Ms. So I enlisted the help of JR and we set to work. 

Once you go dark chocolate, you realize EVERYTHING tastes better with it


I had found this recipe online, and decided that it had a solid base. We tweaked it a little bit because I dont believe that nuts should EVER be in cookies, unless we're talking coconuts.  


Ingredients
2 cups dark chocolate m&ms
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons hot water
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup brownulated
1 cup white sugar
1 cup butter, softened

Directions1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2.Cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Dissolve baking soda in hot water. Add to batter along with salt. Stir in flour, and at the last possible moment the m&ms. 




3.Drop by large spoonfuls onto ungreased pans.

JR is super helpful!!! 

4.Bake for about 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are nicely browned.


I dont particularly like brown edges, so mine were a bit soft/fall-apart-y
So that's the recipe, but here's my main opinion... this cookie (and I can't believe that I'm about to say this) was WAY TOO SWEET. I recommend upping the salt by 1/2 tsp, and using dark brown sugar instead of the brownulated sugar that I used. I think that those two changes would definitely improve this recipe for the better.

Other than that... it turned out EXACTLY how we wanted them - tasty! Just because it was too sweet doesn't mean we didn't devour them, just put them with salted caramel ice cream for a delicious ice cream sandwich.

This weekend - red velvet brownies!!! We'll let you know how they go.


Happy Cooking! 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Puppy-palooza! - Puppy Post

Contrary to what it may seem on this blog, I do not live with JR. I just pretend I do by using his porch as my gardening experiment. I actually have my own apartment about 4 blocks over in the Shirlington version of a ghetto... which is practically the least ghetto thing ever, minus the gun shots I heard one night, which was HORRIFYING!

3 am is the last time of the day one wants to be awakened by a couple of gunshots firing off into the night. 10pm, expected. 1 am, understandable. 3 am? Why are you not sleeping like a normal person. Drug deal or no, you need some shut eye people!

Anyway, so while I do not live with JR now, it has been discussed that I shall probably should the time come that it is acceptable for me to do so. It has also been discussed that when I do, we shall explore the world of puppy ownership!

I. AM. THRILLED.

I love puppies. I love their cuddly little faces. I love their cute little clumsiness. I love their energy. I love their little whines. I love their little poops (I probably wont when I have to pick them up...) I love their cute little games. I don't love disciplining them, but there always is a draw back isn't there?

So... yeah... I LOVE PUPPIES!

For a very, very, very long time I have wanted a Shiba Inu puppy... Trust me I had done the research looked into breed temprement, history, everything, but after some consideration. JR and I decided it might be best to look into multiple breeds of dogs in order to find the one that would be the best fit for our lifestyle and currently his home...

So here's the five breeds of dogs that we're looking into (Puppy and Adult Versions):

SHIBA INU



SWEDISH VALLHUND



























SCHIPPERKE

















NORWICH TERRIER



























HAVANESE






What do y'all think? Which one should we choose?

Friday, August 9, 2013

Prepping for the Fall Garden - Garden Post

Sorry about the post delay, had a busy week! But we're back on track. 

So I'm gonna be real, I thought that as soon as JR and my annual plants died at the end of summer that we'd trim back the left over herbs, move them inside and turn the rest of the dead plants into mulch.

Nope...

Apparently there is something called a Fall Garden.

Now granted we have a container garden... so everything is scaled back a bit, but I am going to be making preparations for this new gardening endeavor.

Step 1... Order my plants from Burpee! I set myself a $50 limit, which I wasn't expecting to take me very far, BUT I found a promo to get 15% off, and they were doing flat-rate shipping! So I lucked out and got quite a nice haul for our container garden.

Step 2... Brag about my great choices... So, womp, I didn't consult JR on these because I was just way too ober excited to explore more growing opportunities, but he thinks I made solid choices, which... haha... I did!

So in our garden we're going to be growing some actual food for a Fall harvest, and planting perennials and a fruit so that everything is hunky-dory in the Spring.

Here's the Plants:
  • Lady Lavender Seeds
  • Early Harvest Tulips Bulbs
  • Coreopsis Route 66 (they were on sale, I'm not crazy about them, but I wanted to plant an actual plant-perennial to see what happened over the winter.)
  • China Rose Radish Seeds (because how could I resist? I'm from China! I'm a Rose! Match, Set, Heaven)
  • Silver Rose Garlic Bulbs (Again those names just pull me in)
  • Strawberry Pineberry Plant, which has a really interesting history. So essentially some dutch scientists brought these plants back from near extinction, a few years ago. Sat around at their gardening complex, took the highest yielding plants (most only yielded 1-2 berries per plant when they first discovered them), cross-bred those over a few years and now we have Strawberry Pineberries again, brought back from near-death. Why do you care? Because these Strawberries.... taste like pineapples. Boom! 
Strawberry Pineberries
Step 3... Wait for plants. Burpee only sends you the plants right when it's ready for them to be planted in your region. We'll see... I shipped my father 3 pepper plants for Father's Day and they sent him withered pepper plants... so benefit of the doubt here - our plants will arrive; they will be perfect, and I will get to planting!

Step 4... Plant!

Step 5... Eat the things we've grow! We had our first dabble with this from the serrano pepper plant last week in some salsa - Yum-tastic!

Happy Gardening!

Anyone have other recommendations for the fall garden? Let me know!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Reading all the Reads - Book Post

Since last I wrote about books, I had put a few on a summer reading list for all you lovely readers. Haven't quite made it to the ones on my list aside from "I Just Want to Pee Alone," by the Kick Ass Mommy Bloggers, and so far only 2 stories in, but they are just as hilarious as I imagined they would be!

Instead, I had heard about this book called, "Zoo," by Tara Elizabeth that was so far up my alley it surpassed all of the others. So after finishing "The Tenant at Wildfell Hall," I downloaded "Zoo" to my Kindle App and started devouring it. Finished it in 5 hours - not joking.

You see readers, I love and adore all things dystopian, I finished all of the Hunger Games books in 13 hours. Yes. That's right I read three books in 13 hours. (We're not talking about how long it took me to finish 'Tenant' - high English is just so rough to speed through!).

But "Zoo," "Zoo" is a winner.



It's the story of Emma, who in 2013 died in a horrible car crash, while texting - of course, only to wake up in the early 23rd century to find herself stuck in a people Zoo. The idea is that in the future, after WWIII, all of the world's peoples unite to form one world. This one world slowly changes the ideas of culture and self identity until the point that cultures no longer exist.

The heads of state essentially realize that without culture - people lose the beautiful things of the world like art, literature, music, and languages. So they require that when you turn 18 you identify yourself with a culture from the past, which you can study - by going to a People's Past Anthropological Center aka... People Zoo, which is where Emma finds herself.

This book has some great twists, turns, and definitely some movie potential. Touted as book #1 of The Enclosure Chronicles, Elizabeth seems to be promising some more titles down the road with similar story lines. Hopefully they come out soon, because I'm eager to see where she takes us!




Thursday, August 1, 2013

Snapper Time - Cooking Post

We had a literally the laziest past weekend, ever! Aside from JR scoring a great deal on a MacBook Pro at Best Buy (Black Friday in July anyone?), we pretty much just lazed about playing Rogue Legacy and watching Celebrity Ghost Stories (my choice, not his). I like it okay?! How can you not want to watch Tom Green tell you about the night he spent at a haunted museum, complete with re-enactments? 

YOU CANT!!!!

Okay, maybe you can, but then we need to re-evaluate our friendship... or non-existent friendship if I don't know you.

Any way.

So we did a lot of cooking this weekend and one of my favorites we made was beer marinated red-snapper with a toasted coconut topping. We started out with a gorgeous filet of quality snapper from our local fisherman's market, aka the Harris Teeter. I really don't know why they put that paper on the outside, they're not fooling anyone.


Then we filled a 13x9 pyrex with Bud Light - Platinum, because we had it in the fridge (Only top shelf American lager for us *awkward wink*), and the other option was an apple wheat, which probably wouldn't have melded with the coconut. 


Sliced the filet into single portions. 


And popped them, flesh-side down into the beer. 


While those were doing their Rumors-tango (as I like to call all booze-filled adventures), I started toasting 1 full cup of sweetened coconut flakes in a cast-iron skillet. Excuse my upside-down picture, but I'm not changing it. 


When the coconut had a gorgeous, golden-brown color, I popped them out of the pan (I'm not going to tell you how long it took, because, one - I dont remember, and two - you should be watching your food as you cook it), and let them cool/harden up in a bowl. 

After that I flipped the fish so that they were scale-side down so that that side had the opportunity to really soak up the bad-decisions, then I started our side dishes (some roasted baby corn and spicy corn and yeast rolls, because who doesn't love yeast rolls?!). Once I started the sides and the cast-iron skillet was cooler, I cleaned out the remainder of the coconut from the skillet, did a circle of EVOO, to coat, then heated it to medium-high. 

Unfortunately, I didn't think about taking a photo until I was in the middle of eating, so everything else is basically just instructions on fish cooking. 

After the fish have marinated for 30 minutes, total - 15 minutes on each side. Pat the filets dry. (I added a dash of cumin and paprika and some garlic powder). Then when the skillet is good and hot drop them scale side down. cook till you see the color on the side change from translucent to opaque about 3/4th of the way up, then flip. Cook another few minutes until done. 

Top with toasted Coconut, and Voilá! Near - instant delish! We had some pineapple to go with it, and it was amazing! Sorry for the gross picture, but if you wanted to see it finished, this was all I had... oops! I'll remember to take better pix the next time! 



It wasn't until we'd put everything on our plate that we realized everything was yellow/white... Probably the most boring color combo ever, but everything was pretty taste-tastic!

Happy Cooking! 

Stay tuned every Monday and Thursday for new posts!