Friday, October 24, 2014

Adventures in Baking Week 4: Viral Pinterest Pumpkin Muffins



You know what?

I am TIRED of baking.

And it's not just the last few weeks that I'm talking about...

Last Sunday I made a dozen pulled pork empanadas, one and a half dozen wheat rolls for lunches, another dozen regular dinner rolls, a banana bread, and a roast beef bottom round for sandwiches.

The Sunday before that, I made two dozen rolls, cookies, and the pulled pork that ended up in those empanadas.

Add into that the periodic refreshing of dinner rolls throughout the week (seriously they are so good I can hardly keep them in stock), plus the baking I committed to for this blog, and I am tired of standing in the kitchen struggling with my stand mixer and praying that the baked good du jour will not fall, deflate, stick to the pan, or otherwise be/look gross.

So this week I'm saying SCREW IT and making something super easy instead.

Surely we've all seen this too-good-to-be-true-looking recipe floating around Pinterest and Facebook:

(photo by SkipToMyLou.org)

That's right...theoretically you can mix a box of spice cake mix, a can of pumpkin, eggs, and water into a bowl, toss them into the oven, and get a completely serviceable, even delicious, batch of pumpkin spice muffins.

Now when I first saw this on Facebook about a month ago, I called bullshit. It looks way too easy. It looked (to me) like those "chocolate cake in a mug" recipes: seems like a great idea, and they'll do if you have a condition that means you will absolutely die if you don't have chocolate cake in the next five minutes, but overall kinda crappy and disappointing.

But see above: I am TIRED of baking.

So we're going to give it a shot.

Click "Read More" to find out how this little experiment went...


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Baking Bonus: The Perfect Dinner Rolls


I am sorry. I'm gonna come right out and say it. I make the best damn dinner rolls in the world. 

I sort of stumbled across this recipe because the previous recipe I used to use included an egg, and simply put, one night I was out of eggs. 

So I hunted around for an eggless recipe, but frankly they all seemed...boring. I didn't want just white bread in bun form. I wanted a chewy, fluffy, flakey, beautiful roll that was reminiscent of croissants and the cafeteria rolls of my childhood. 

I got the gist of what other recipes wanted me to do. Some wanted me to use more yeast. Some suggested replacing the egg with oil. Nothing seemed quite right on its own.

But I figured it out. On the first try. And now I'm writing it down, for posterity and the world-wide fame that will inevitably follow the publishing of this recipe. 

I know, I sound very full of myself. 

But guys. Guys. Look at this picture:


#nofilter y'all. 

Go ahead. Click "Read More." I dare you. 


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

"Kitchen Sink" Banana Bread


So I'm gonna be honest: I don't really like bananas. I mean, I'll eat them because they're filling and a good source of potassium, but like a lot of people, I only like them when they're still a little firm and a wee bit green: basically underripe. My daughter hates bananas with a fiery passion. So does my boyfriend.

And yet, I always have bananas in the house. Why?

Because:


My son LOVES them. He loves them so much. He would eat a whole bunch of bananas every day if I let him. It was the first food he ever learned how to prepare for himself. It's a go-to "MOM I'M HUNGRY" pre-dinner snack. It's a pre-breakfast snack. It goes into lunches and gets cut up over cereal. Nobody loves bananas more than this kid, I swear to god.

And yet, somehow, we occasionally end up with bananas that go bad before they've been eaten. And by "go bad" I of course mean "ripen". Many will argue that when the banana starts to turn black and brown and gets really soft, it's "perfect" for eating. Blergh.

Until recently, I've been throwing them away when they get like that. But then someone reminded me that overripe bananas are PERFECT for banana bread! And while I may not particularly enjoy bananas, I do love me some banana bread...


Click "Read More" to find out what I did with two particularly overripe bananas and why I call this recipe "Kitchen Sink Banana Bread"...

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hulking Plastic Bag Caddy


Hello shoppers! :)

Do you have a pile of unsightly plastic grocery sacks currently hiding in your cabinets, at the bottom of your pantry, or under your sink?

I SURE DID.


That's after I threw about 150 of them away...ugh.

I have been looking at grocery sack dispensers on Pinterest and elsewhere for a long time, but I never quite could figure out how they're supposed to work. It wouldn't exactly be like Kleenex - how could you guarantee that pulling one bag out didn't result in three or four more spilling out as well? It just DIDN'T MAKE SENSE.

But I figured they looked pretty easy to make, and frankly anything is better than having a big pile of sacks spilling out from my pantry every time I open the door. So I decided to give it a shot.

Click "Read More" for the step-by-step tutorial, including lots of Hulk goodness and my continued doubts...

Monday, October 20, 2014

Sweatshirt to Romantic Cardigan


There is really nothing like a nice comfy sweatshirt. 


Nope...nothing like that at all...sigh. 

Truth be told, I loved this sweatshirt. It was so warm and comfy and awesome. It was such a shame though because it was so very unflattering. I puttered around the house in it in the evenings when it got cool, but I would never have been comfortable wearing it out. Besides, I bought it with the express intention of turning it into something fabulous. 

And...

I did! Click "Read More" to find out what I did and how I did it.