Saturday, November 28, 2015

It's a weekend cooking show!

Not really, but I did spend my Friday night making some chocolate covered pretzel rods.

Yes, I know you can buy them in the store, but what's the fun in doing that? When you've got all the ingredients at home, just mash them all together and have a party.

Which is what I'm doing later this evening.

The first step is not admitting you have a problem, but making sure you have everything correct.

The list of ingredients:

  • Pretzel Rods (any will do, honestly. I happened to have Benzel's available).
  • Chocolate Chips (again, any will do; I had some Toll House left over from my last excursion).
  • Wax Paper (because you'll need one sheet to leave the pretzels on to dry, and one for jimmies).
  • Jimmies (rainbow is the best. But if you're doing this for a themed party, get different colors and make each rod a solid color).
  • Whoppers (I think the last time I had some of these malt balls, I was 7. "I haven't had them in years!!!!!" I said out loud). 
  • A short glass (I happened to have an Old Fashioned type of glass. guess we're drinkers here. You're going to need this to stand the pretzels in the Whoppers in the end),
  • A microwaveable safe bowl (because you're going to need to melt the chocolate).
I'm not going to go step by step with pictures, as any person who attempts to cook, will understand what to do (I hope).

After you get everything out and on the kitchen counter or dining room table, get the wax paper set up. Two pieces near each other - one has a mound of jimmies on it (so you can roll the newly melted chocolate rod), and the other has nothing (so you can put it down to dry). 

Pour some Whoppers in the short glass and set it to the side.

Pour the chocolate chips in the microwaveable safe bowl, and microwave for 40 seconds. Take out and stir (with a spoon, duh). Put it back in for 45 seconds and when it's done, take it out and stir. It'll start to become melty and hot, so if you're doing this with kids, have them use pot holders from this point on. If the chips are still lumpy, keep repeating the process until the chocolate is smooth.

From this point on, you can start dipping the pretzels in the chocolate, and then roll them in the jimmies. It's best to have a helper, as the chocolate will harden quickly; therefore you need to keep it stirred (or at least kept warm so it stays a liquid form). 

If you have a lot of pretzels and not enough chocolate, don't go all the way down the rods with it. But if you have equal amount, you can certainly go halfway down the stick with the melted goodness. You can even choose where you want the jimmies rolled on it - be creative. 

Let it all set for a few hours, if not over night. If you have time, set it on an oven pan (with the wax paper) and put it in the fridge if you're not using them right away. 

Once you're set to stand them up for your party, take the glass you filled with the malted balls, and stick the pretzels (non chocolate jimmies side) in the cup. Voila, neat little party snack!

Have fun baking!


By the way: Cyber Monday 2015 deals start today on Amazon. Go play :)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Another recipe (for disaster?)

A few weeks ago, I went into Starbucks and got one of those refreshers drink they sell (both in the coffee shop and as "create / drink at home" in the grocer aisle). It was a combination of "Sweet and Sour" refresher mixes, blended together as a Frappucino instead of being poured as a liquid.

The combination was interesting, as the ingredients were equal parts Very Berry Hibiscus and Cool Lime. Substitute lemonade and blend like a Frappucino. Add some berries to it, and no lime wedge because that's just weird to blend in. The outcome is odd because it looks like it's a new ice drink - all pink and red, with spots of berry seeds. The liquid actually stays somewhat on the bottom because it's too heavy, but you get a tart kick when you first drink it.

Definitely one for the books.

I figured this afternoon, I'd try something similar at home.

What I did, was substitute the lemonade for Ocean Spray 100% Juice - Cranberry Mango, and left out the Cool Lime and the berries. It's tangy, it's tart, it's sweet... it's a lot of things mashed together. Not for the faint of heart - more for the sweet tooth lovers who want that kick of sour.

My first mistake was putting the Hibiscus packet in the blender and then the juice and  (already crushed) ice (my ice maker makes cubes and crushed. The crushed actually makes the drink more airy, I'm thinking), to mix all at once. 

I should have blended the juice and powder first, as the instructions normally call for powder in the cup, a little water to start the mix, then more water once the mix gets dissolved, followed by ice and how much more water you want. 

Either way, I think it would work, as the mistake didn't turn out to be bad; I just had to add more juice to the mix, to get the clumps out of the bottom of the blender. So it's more liquid than ice, and the ice became airy, so it floats to the top (which is what ended up happening with my original drink from the chain).

I think, if I had a Vitamix blender instead a Black and Decker, maybe it would have come out better. I don't know; allegedly Vitamix is the blender every restaurant / bar / food establishment uses. 

I guess all in all, there's always room for improvement and keep trying. Sometimes things just work out!


Friday, November 6, 2015

Start singing when you're playing!

Yesterday, I was editing some movie film, and pieces of the family memories were from Camp Dearborn in Milford, Michigan.

Elmo projector.
Yes, that's Pinnacle Studio 18 Ultimate on the monitor.

I've not had the opportunity to visit The Mitten State, but I did have to laugh, as I kept singing "Second Week Of Deer Camp" by Da Yoopers (search around for the music video. You'll laugh too, I promise). I don't know why it popped in my head; maybe Milford is one of the villages (who knew it was a village and not a city?) where the Upper Peninsula toes the line to the rest of the state (so I read somewhere.. also saw on a map). It's that last stop for "yoopers" before they get into normal charted territory (maybe?). I shrugged it off because I don't know that much about the city nor do I know a lot about the state (Except "M Go Blue" [Hi, Abby]).

Needless to say, it was a good couple minutes of rummaging through comedy songs... all in no thanks to my Michigan and Canada friends.

Outside of having play time with an old projector, old movie film and a new computer, I had time to spend with a quiet old broad that runs the front office.

She gets dolled up every Christmas with a red Santa's hat, and people laugh at her... only after they think she's real. 

As soon as you walk in the door, bam, there she is. 

Yeah, I know, I screwed up the background blur.

She quietly waits outside one of the offices, wanting to give you a plate of nothing. 

What else do you need in life, I ask? She doesn't talk back, although she vibrates if you plug her in (stop guttering). She'll keep your secrets safe (for a song) and don't bother looking up her skirt. She's all coiled wires and Styrofoam.

(All in all, I'm amazed how I've edited my pictures in Photoshop. All without the use of a Wacom tablet and pen! It's nice to have a digital camera and practice editing.)