Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Review: Reese's Spreads

I recently had the opportunity to try out the new Reese's Spreads, and I was pretty excited to see what I could do with it.  I received this product complimentary from Influenster for testing and evaluation purposes.  This is a peanut/chocolate spread similar to Nutella, but it definitely has that Reese's Peanut Butter Cup taste.  

I thought about how I could test this product out, and I had a ton of ideas.  You could dip fruit in it, you could swirl it into brownies, you could heat it up and pour it on ice cream (my husband tested that option out for me!), and so on.  Then I came across this recipe for Peanut-Butter Filled Cupcakes on the Martha Stewart website, and I knew that's what I needed to try.

I used a box of Tastefully Simple's Classy Chocolate Pound Cake, prepared according to the box, and baked in a 12-muffin pan.  When using Classy Chocolate Pound Cake, I find it useful to heavily grease the cups and dust with a bit of the baking mix to keep the cupcakes from sticking.  These were baked for 15-20 minutes, and taken out when they pass the toothpick test.

I let them cool completely in the pan on a cooling rack.  When they were cool, I ran a butter knife around the edge of each cupcake to loosen it in the pan and avoid any sticking.  Next, I used a metal measuring spoon to scoop out a "plug" from the bottom of the cupcake.  You could use a melon baller, but I don't own one!  If I were frosting these cupcakes, I would have done this on the top, since the plug will be hidden by the frosting.  Set the plug aside, and scoop out a bit more of the cake to make a cavity in the center.

Using a butter knife or a thin spatula, scoop a small amount of the Reese's Spreads into the cavity in the cupcake.

Once you've added the Reese's Spreads into the center, replace the plug back into the bottom of the cupcake. The plug should be flush with the bottom of the cupcake so it sits flat.

Then, just dust the tops with a bit of powdered sugar and serve!  This was a big hit with my husband and son, definitely a 2-thumbs up recipe!\

Sunday, January 4, 2015

My 2015 word is "self".

I know a lot of people that choose a word for the year, something to focus on, work towards, embrace, and reflect on.  I've chosen words here and there.  I even chose a word last year.

But I didn't do anything with it.

I chose the words SELF for 2014.  I created a journal for this word.  I wrote a bit in January, and then I stopped.  And my SELF suffered.  2014 wasn't a good year for me.  I have a lot of things to work on.  So, when thinking about a word for 2015, I was torn.  Should I choose a new word?  I felt like if I did, I'd be abandoning SELF.  I am notorious for starting projects and not finishing them.

So, I am choosing SELF again this year.  I need to work on myself physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.  I need to learn more about myself, take care of myself, figure out what it is I really want.  I firmly believe that you can't help and love others unless you help and love yourself first, and right now, I'm not and I don't.

So, I am hoping to post about SELF this year, and how I'm working on mySELF.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

I would have made a terrible 1950s housewife....

Never mind the gender inequality, I can't stand housework.  As in, I will procrastinate to the ends of the earth to avoid it.  I could cook all day long if I had a magic box that I could drop dirty dishes into and clean dishes would be instantly transported back to their cupboards.

The fact that I hate housework so much means my house is a mess all the time.  Cleaning it for company is a nightmare.  And nothing is organized.  It's a stressor on me, it overwhelms my circuits.  I hate that things don't have proper homes.  I hate that things don't return to their homes when they do have one.

It goes back to some of my inattention; anything that requires planning gives me anxiety.  I have a bin in the cupboard at my work space that I have random office supplies in, and I would like to clean it out and organize it, but the idea of sitting down and trying to think through it gives me the willies. And that's just a 6"x6"x12" bin! I will even procrastinate by doing other housework to avoid organizing.

I have no idea how to solve this.  I feel like I'm always behind, like there's a giant wave behind me that will crash at any time, and I just manage to stay in front of it.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Blast from the past

I was looking at a slideshow on Lucky Magazine's website yesterday that contained photos of celebrities when they were kids/models, etc.  This pic popped up:

And despite the fact that this magazine cover is 28 years old (oh dear Lord....), I recognized it immediately.  It was the first issue of Seventeen I ever owned.  It was the big thick fall issue of 1986, I turned 14 that month, I was starting high school in the fall, and my mom bought me this issue, saying "you don't have to be 17 to read it."  It started a love of fashion mags in me, and I know I kept this issue for a very long time (in a binder, with those plastic magazine spine holders).  I know I eventually purged everything, but it's funny how it stuck in my head, and how it again popped up so many years later.

I became a Sassy girl, then later on picked up InStyle, then got hooked on Lucky with the first issue. For those of you that know me, you might think it a bit weird that I have a thing for fashion mags. Yeah, I'd think it was odd too.  I may not dress the part, but I have a fascination, appreciation, and love of fashion and style.  And it started with this one issue of this one magazine.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Friday, December 7, 2012

A day that shall live in infamy.

It's important to keep the memories alive.  I'll admit that WWII doesn't impact me as much as it does others from a personal perspective: through the "accident" of when my ancestors were born, I haven't had a direct ancestor serve in combat since the Civil War.  So, while I grew up hearing about the Depression from my grandparents, they were too old and my aunts and uncles too young to serve in WWII.  My dad was too young for Korea and too old for Vietnam.  I try to make up for it in other ways by educating myself, learning about the history and the sacrifices Americans made.  Eric and I had the opportunity to visit Pearl Harbor in August 2000.  It is very moving, and still full of meaning, despite being long, long "dead".

My friend Ethan has a more familiar connection to WW2.  Check out his memorial here: Thelbert.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Third time's a charm for perfect popovers

Popovers are one of those things I have always wanted to try, but the opportunity didn't present itself until this summer when we went to the Jordan Pond House in Acadia National Park in Maine.  Jordan Pond House is known for its popovers, and expected, they were hot and delicious.  So, I then thought more about making them myself.

A couple weeks ago I picked up a box of popover mix by King Arthur Flour at the grocery store.  I made them, they only popped a little.  They tasted good, so they weren't a total loss.

This morning I looked at the popover recipe in my Fannie Farmer Cookbook.  Very different technique for this recipe, in which you start the popovers in a cold oven.  I tried a half batch, and they hardly popped at all.

So I went to the King Arthur Flour website and found this article: Never-fail popovers, fact or fiction?  I followed their recipe, and this time, they popped wonderfully.  I was whooping it up in my kitchen.  Here's the combination of techniques that worked:
  1. Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature.  I used the eggs in water trick they mentioned, and I microwaved my milk for a minute to bring it to room temperature.
  2. Preheat the pans in the oven to 450 degrees F so they are hot when you're ready.
  3. Mix the ingredients together until combined, then use an electric beater on high for 30 seconds.
  4. Pour the mix into the hot muffin pans so cups are 1/2 to 2/3 full, and quickly put back into the oven.
  5. Follow the timing instructions for when to reduce the temperature, and do not, under any circumstances, open the oven door.
I indirectly followed one of their other recommendations of having a pan over the popovers to deflect the direct heat.  I cooked a pork roast at the same time, so with it on the top rack it acted like the pan trick.