Friday, December 30, 2011

Foodie Friday #20 - Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread

I can't believe it's almost the new year already!  I hope everyone has a great New Year's Eve tomorrow.  I wanted to say a big THANK YOU to all of you, my readers.  It still sounds weird to me to say that I actually have READERS.  I can't believe how much my tiny blog has grown since I started it -and that, of course, is all thanks to all of you.  So THANK YOU so much!

We tried this recipe I found on Pinterest for Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread (Pull Apart bread).  It's from Confections of a Foodie Bride.  It turned out pretty good, and I love the idea.  But I think I'm going to stick with normal pizza for awhile.  At least until my kids are a bit older.  It seemed to take me 3 times as long to get it ready to put in the oven, just because they were crazy and whiny (probably because their dinner wasn't ready yet!).  They enjoyed it when it was ready, though... between making faces for the camera! haha.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudge

Ok, I'm in LOVE!  I found this recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudge by  Bake at 350 and instantly started day dreaming about it.  Cookie Dough Fudge? Seriously?  Two of my favorite things, combined?  How could you possibly go wrong?
But ... I didn't have cream in my fridge... and I didn't have dark brown sugar.  But I had to have it -like RIGHT NOW.  But I found this on Pinterest as well.... Substitute evaporated milk for heavy cream!  And I figured I'd just give it a shot with regular brown sugar instead of dark.  I also used regular salt instead of kosher (I don't really know the difference).  So, unsure if this would be a success with all the substitutions (especially after my Funfetti Fudge FLOP), I went ahead with my fudge making adventure.

So, with my revisions, here is the recipe:
oil for the pan
1 & 3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c.evaporated milk
1/4 c. milk
1 TBSP corn syrup
3/4 tsp. salt
2 TBSP unsalted butter (I used hard margarine instead)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. flour
1/3 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Check out the full instructions here
It will change your life... well, maybe not drastically, but still.  It is delicious -and deadly (I have been munching on it LOTS).  It was even better after sitting in the fridge for a day.  I will DEFINITELY be making this again soon -and it whenever "soon" is, it won't be soon enough!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Papier Mache Santa Ornament

In case anyone missed it before, I decided to post the tutorial for my Papier Mache Santa that I shared over at Sugar Bee Crafts a couple weeks ago.  Enjoy!

You will need:
-wire (or coat hanger)
-newspaper, flyers or old phonebook (not glossy works best)
 -masking tape
-thread (or embroidery floss, etc)

First, you need a length of wire.  I just used an old wire coat hanger, but any wire about that thickness should work fine.  I bent a crook for the hat.

Then get out your newspaper (or flyers or old phone book... that's the thing about papier mache -it's very forgiving!)

 Tear into strips along the grain (it will rip fairly straight).

Get some masking tape strips ready (this will make it easier later on when your hands are busy holding things together).

Take some newspaper and start wrapping it around your wire (keep it tight!). 

Keep wrapping more and more newspaper, moving along the wire.  Go back over places where you want it thicker (ex: the point of the hat will have less paper than the base).

Use your masking tape to hold things in place as you go.  Remember to keep it all tight!  Keep tension on your tape!

I used some well-placed wads of newspaper (taped on really well, of course) to give the face some shape.

And add some small wads on for plump little cheeks!

Then I took a couple strips together and twisted them to make the "brim" of the hat.

I decided to make his beard curly, just for fun.  Twist your wire into the shape you want.

And continue wrapping paper and tape around it ...

Until you have it looking the way you want.

 You can add some small wads to make the cheeks even plumper....

Or maybe add a nose...

I twisted some paper to make a mustache and chin.

And rounded the back of the head a bit.

 Add another wad of paper to the tip of the hat and secure it with tape.

And then I decided to twist some small strips to make brow bones/eyebrows.

Ta-da!  Now that we have our base, we are ready to papier mache!  

First, make a paste with flour.  I started with about 1 cup of flour (no need to use any fancy schmancy breadmaker quickrise stuff - the cheaper, the better in my books).  Throw in some salt (less than 1/4 cup -I never measure... it's not rocket science).  Then add WARM water until you get a gluey consistency (about a cup -maybe a bit more).  Why WARM water, you ask?  No reason other than it just feels so much nicer on your hands.  This is not exact -it will work if the measurements are slightly different than mine (my measurements are different every time, so don't worry).  This made enough glue for me to do all of this ornament and something else I was working on -so you might want to half it.  Use your fingers to mix it and squish out any flour lumps until it is smooth.  I put down a garbage bag on the table to make clean up easier!

Now, there are two ways you can do this -it's just a matter of preference.  The first way is to dip your strips of newspaper into the glue

And then use your thumb and fingers to squeeze the extra glue out.  Hold your paper between your thumb and your fingers while you run your fingers all the way down the length of the paper. 

Then place the paper on your ornament.  Use your fingers to smooth it down and squish out any air bubbles, lumps, or wrinkles.  And to mold it to the shape of your santa.  Keep adding paper -overlapping -until the whole thing has several layers (about 4).

The second way (and one I actually use more often) is to use your hands to put a thin layer of glue onto the santa.  Then place your strips on dry and use your hands to apply the glue on top.  If you use this method, make sure you keep your hands WET with glue and always completely cover each strip of paper.  You may want to quickly apply a thin coat of glue in between layers.

Here he is with 3-4 layers on him.

Now do one more layer, but this time use plain newsprint or white paper.   It will make it easier to paint after it's dry.  I didn't have any plain newsprint and didn't want to use printer paper, so I just used some white lined paper -at least it's whiter than the newspaper.
 Put your santa on the garbage bag to dry (it will do faster if it's somewhere warm like a heating vent).  I like to turn it over every so often so it doesn't get flattening anywhere.
When your santa is COMPLETELY DRY, you can move on to the next step.

Take a large needle and poke a hole all the way through the top of your ornament to make a small hole.

Thread a smaller needle (I used red thread -and doubled it over).  Then tie a knot or two. Make sure the thread that does not go THROUGH the papier mache is on the back so you won't see it when your santa is hanging up.

Now your thread is 4 strands thick.  Loop it back down to the other knot(s) and tie it on to make a strong loop. 

 Now you can start painting!

 I used a felt tip marker to outline the eyes and mouth.

And for the beard I used a large brush and thick white paint (I used my artist grade white paint-the kind that comes in the jars, but you could also use that kind that is supposed to look like snow) so his beard had some texture.