Breaking All My Rules

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m sort of a food snob. At least when it comes to heavily processed foods.

It is just that I don’t think that it can possibly be good for your body to fill it full of chemicals you cannot pronounce. I have seen first hand how some of these chemicals impact members of my family. (More about that some other time.)

What’s more, I truly don’t understand the advantage of processed food when preparing healthy, unprocessed food can be easy and is far more tasty.

But tonight, I broke all these rules because I used Cool Whip.

I’m not a fan of Cool Whip, but I do like it mixed into the occasional dessert because it makes desserts light, creamy and fluffy.

In the fall, I pulled out my chocolate eclair dessert recipe for the first time in at least four years. This recipe is a great example of how Cool Whip can make a dish. (I realize I haven’t posted this recipe, but next time I make it, I will.)

The peanut butter cup pie recipe below is another example. I’ve had this recipe tucked away for a long time, and finally got around to making it tonight. It was yummy!

peanut butter cup pie
(adapted from Kraft Food & Family magazine Holiday 2009)

1 pkg. (8 oz.) Neufchatel cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup  plus 1 T. creamy peanut butter, divided
1 cup cold milk
1 pkg.  (3.4 oz.) vanilla instant pudding
1 cup thawed Lite Cool Whip
1 chocolate pie crust (6 oz.) such as Oreo or something similar
3/4 cup chocolate chips

 

Beat the cream cheese and 1/2 cup peanut butter together well. Add the pudding powder and milk, and mix well. Whisk in the Cool Whip and pour into the pie crust.

Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave or a double boiler; stir well. Let cool slightly and pour on top of peanut butter mixture; spread. Melt leftover peanut butter and drizzle on top of chocolate layer.

Refrigerate four or more hours before serving.

**Next time I make this, I will leave out the pudding because I don’t think it added much flavor, and I would increase the peanut butter to 3/4 cups.


What does it say about me that I don’t mind doing it, and that I feel a TON better after, I’ve gotten on my hands and knees and scrubbed the kitchen floor?

The coffee, sauce, dog drool and god knows what else didn’t appreciate it, but I sure did.

I also learned that the amount of time it takes to bake four dozen cookies (two dozen at a time), is the PERFECT amount of time to sweep and scrub when I divide the area into fourths.

Throw two dozen cookies in, set timer, sweep and start scrubbing.

Rotate cookies 180 degrees and switch racks, set timer, scrub.

Remove cookies, put in more, set timer, scrub.

**Bonus** The first area is now dry!

Rotate cookies 180 degrees and switch racks, set timer, remove first batch from cookie sheet, scrub.

Remove cookies, set timer, scrub.

**Bonus** Area near stove is now dry! Child can get bed time snack of warm cookies.

Remove cookies from cookie sheet.


Make

This is day six in the #Reverb10 project.

Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?

Last made

Friday night and Saturday morning I baked and frosted Jack’s 10th birthday cake. It was a football field.

Birthday cakes are a big deal around here if you remember from here, here, here, here and here.

As I was frosting it, I was a bit down in the dumps thinking how this was not one of my “better” cake decorating attempts. I’m not sure why exactly.

Maybe it was the fallen corners that I had to frost back together. It made the corners look like the field was sorta falling off a cliff.

Maybe it was the fact that of all the birthday cakes Jack has requested (except last year when he requested a chocolate chip cookie bar tower), this one was the most plain because Grandma made the edible images. (HUGE shout out to Grandma Mary for making those on the machine I told her she was crazy to buy.)

It just felt like it wasn’t up to par.

It was a HUGE boost when Jack walked into the kitchen, saw his cake and said, “That’s the best cake ever! I love you mom!”

{mom’s heart melts AGAIN just typing that}

I needed to remember that the cake needn’t be elaborate, just what he wanted.

Yet to make

My sewing list should be getting smaller each day closer to Christmas, but instead it seems to get larger.

Sewing to complete by Wednesday 3:45 pm when Jack comes home from school to his room makeover birthday present:

  • keyboard cover
  • curtains
  • 1.5 pillows
  • turn shower curtain into a comforter

Sewing to complete by Friday, December 17 for Mila’s birthday:

  • an owl jumper to match her owl birthday theme (the fabric is in the blog header)
  • alphabet book (probably will get shoved to Christmas)
  • felt crowns for her and her dad
  • a lola stuffed animal

Sewing to complete for Christmas presents:

  • present for Jakki and Babs (same, but different)
  • tactical vests for our nerf loving boys which then turned into holsters because Aaron and I both think they would work a lot better for them
  • finish free motion quilting my parents’ 25th anniversary quilt (1.5 years late) so I can start binding the damn thing

I need to exponentially increase my sewing time FAST!


Diets, Pie and Whiskey

I’ve been on a diet. In nine weeks, I lost the last 10 pounds of baby weight. Yay, me! Thank you WeightWatchers.com!

Despite my best efforts, I even lost a pound the week of Halloween.

I now have the last 5 pounds of post-marriage pounds to lose.

Well, until this week. I was hoping to hold steady at a neutral 0, but that isn’t going to happen.

Because I heart pie.

Thanksgiving night when others are rummaging for leftovers, I eat another piece of pie for dinner.

When I wake up Friday morning, I have coffee and pie.

I wish that was my breakfast every day.

Because I heart pie.

Today, I made crust and pecan pie. Tomorrow, I’ll make sour cream apple pie.

Tonight, I made The Pioneer Woman‘s Whiskey Maple Cream Sauce.

OMG!!

STOP what you are doing now and go make this sauce!

If you don’t have any pecan pie left, make one or not. This sauce would be wonderful on oatmeal or some other substantial food like that.


Buttercream, Dinosaurs and Rice Krispies

The 2010 Cub Scout Cake Walk is over, and I am exhausted.

Because we were were both inspired by The Bake-Off Flunkie‘s wonderful cake for her daughter and this special effect,

over the last two nights, Jack and I have:

mixed three batches of buttercream frosting into 5 colors,

formed sticky, stucky Rice Krispie Treats into a volcano,

made frosting palm leaves that looked more like fern leaves,

and brought a geriatric dinosaur back from the grave.

And despite, “very sore legs” from “all the standing”, Jack is still smiling!

Tonight, all that hard work paid off with a three-way tie in the Looks Like It Tastes The Best category (which used to be Coolest Cake and seemed more suited to this year’s entries)!

Unfortunately, I did not get pictures of the other two co-winners. One was a fabulous rendition of the hamburger cake and the other was a basic bundt cake covered in fudge frosting, sour gummy worms, and gummy bugs. Bugs are always a winner with our Pack!

We have so many creative folks, and here are some of my other favorites I saw tonight.

From the Looks Like It Tastes The Best category:

Leftover Halloween candy maybe?

From the Holiday category (new category this year with lots of fun entries):

This friendly reindeer has antlers made from the newest flavor of Cub Scout popcorn.

From the Best Scout Theme category:

I love those fish in the stream!

Love the “Bug” feel of this derby car!

Did you buy some Cub Scout popcorn this year???

And our category winner with a FAB-U-LOUS derby car track complete with cars! This boy’s number in the cake walk got picked first, and he left with his own cake!

Now, I’ve got to start cutting butter for my some pie crusts!


Pie Crust

Last night I made chicken pot pie.

“I want a new computer!”

“I want chicken pot pie.”

“I want a new car.”

Don’t understand? You should be watching Modern Family on Wednesday nights then.

So, I made pie crust because what is chicken pot pie without the pie crust?

Stew.

Hehe.

My chicken pot pie had only a top crust to save on calories. Under this, I added chicken, carrots, leeks, green onions and sweet potatoes. Those leek haters didn’t even notice!

Except, I forgot to add the peas.

Chicken pot pie really misses something without the peas.

It misses joyful green next to the vibrant orange.

And, it misses some flavor, some chicken pot pie flavor.

Back to the fabulous pie crust.

Do you know anyone that loves that weird, dull flavor of unbaked pie crust?

It’s me. I do.

I LOVE pie crust, unbaked, freshly rolled out.

Weird, I know.

But wonderful.


Halloween Preparations

We’ve been very busy around here trying to get homework done, Cub Scout popcorn sold, attend parties (3 of us are 0/4 for cousin birthday parties so far), pick pumpkins from Grandma’s patch, make Halloween costumes and wrap up volunteer commitments. The looks on these kids’ faces says it all. Like them, everyone in this family is going in completely different directions trying to get everything done.

We were, however, able to have a little fun along the way.

I’ve been sewing Mila’s mummy costume this week. It required me improvising from a tutorial I’ve wanted to use for a while from Dana and using some basic shirt construction techniques to make the top. It has been so much fun! AND, it looks great!  I made a mummy skirt, shirt, leg warmers and a hat.

Little Mila HATES her mummy hat. I went back and forth between a hat and a headband, but figured if she is going around the block even, she should have a hat. I think I’ll make a headband too for the daytime when she’ll wear the costume.

I’m working on a tutorial for the projects because it was pretty easy and looks so neat!  Here’s a sneak peak of the cowl necked shirt…

Jack missed the deadline for me making a new costume for him, so he is going to be a Viking because we have a cool costume that I made several years ago still. The bear fur coat will still fit him, so he’ll be that. I just have to make a new helmet.

I’d love to make this cake, but it is hard to justify making a cake the weekend of Halloween since the candy bowl will be overflowing. Maybe Jack will be interested in having a cake like that for his Cub Scout Cake Walk coming up in November.