As you may know, I love to cook. I’m always trying new recipes and I become more adventurous with each meal I make. That is not to say that I don’t enjoy making simple dishes as well—sometimes you just can’t beat eggs, pancakes and bacon for dinner!
The biggest drawback of cooking is the cleanup. The good vibes I get from enjoying a delicious meal I’ve made myself are short lived when I see the pile of dishes waiting in the sink. Scrubbing, soaking, and scrubbing again is not what I want to do at the end of a long day. In January I told you about a frittata and a salmon filet I made with the OrGREENiC Frying Pan. I loved being able to take the pan straight from the stove top to the oven and cleanup was shockingly simple! Nothing stuck to the non-stick ceramic surface! A quick rinse and the pan was clean. I remember wishing all my pots and pans would be this versatile and easy to clean.
My wish has been granted! There is now an entire set of OrGREENiC pots and pans! The OrGREENiC 10 Piece Cookware Set is easy to use and clean, and looks great! You can easily broil, bake, braise, steam, sauté, fry, boil, and sear without adding extra oil, fat or grease! The ten piece set includes an 8” fry pan, 10” fry pan with a lid, 1.5 qt. sauce pot with lid, 2.5 qt. sauce pot with lid, 6 qt. stock pot with lid, and an aluminum steamer insert. I’m looking forward to braising a roast and tossing it right into the oven with veggies!
I can’t wait to get my new set of OrGREENiC Cookware to start cooking more and cleaning less!
I love testing and trying new recipes. I am not afraid to fail in the kitchen…you win some, you lose some. Sometimes you spend hours attempting to bake or cook an item or a full meal to wind up throwing it away and ordering pizza or grabbing store bought cookies. I distinctly remember a time that I accidentally put in ¼ cup salt into my chocolate chip cookies instead of ¼ teaspoon…they had to go into the trash and ever since then I never really felt guilty about food fails. But, it’s also helpful to have the right tools, which I sometimes don’t have.
A few weeks ago on a Sunday morning I was watching the Cooking Channel while I ate my breakfast and drank my coffee before I started the day. I was watching Alton Brown and he made the quickest and easiest bread I had ever seen made (I am generally afraid of making bread because I am scared of yeast). This bread was perfect for me because it was just a few ingredients, only needed one bowl, and it used beer, therefore eliminating the need for yeast and/or time for the dough to rise. The problems I ran into were the following: Alton gave measurements by weight and I didn’t have a food scale, he also said the final product would be finished after it reached a certain temperature and I didn’t have a food thermometer. I estimated the measurements and the time the bread should be in the oven, and it actually turned out pretty good!
since this was a recipe testing success, my friend and I decided to make this bread for our friends for a BBQ to use instead of buying store bought buns for burgers. With that in mind, we planned ahead and bought a deep fry thermometer and a food scale. We figured we might as well buy these items for this BBQ because we cook so much together we’ll definitely use them again.
It has been something I should have addressed a long time ago. I have avoided it because I just didn’t want to think about how to go about resolving the problem. I wanted to continue to ignore the clutter, and just pretend like it would eventually be okay when I move one day. But my kitchen is small, I like to cook and serve, and I have too much stuff and not enough cabinets in the small kitchen.
I have been storing serving pieces, baking dishes, and small appliances that I do not use every day on top of the refrigerator and on top of the cabinets that don’t reach the ceiling. The other week, I opened the freezer door and a serving plate (luckily small and plastic) came tumbling down on my head. I knew at this moment that I needed a better solution to the lack of storage in my kitchen. Since it is not a home that I own and just an apartment I rent, I cannot redesign the kitchen to put in new cabinets that I like that will work for me. But I can search through different kitchen organization products to find some way to make my kitchen more manageable.
There are different ways and things to do in order to organize things better. My mom has something similar to the slim slide out pantry built into her kitchen, and she uses this for her spices – brilliant! No more digging around in search for the spice you need in a cabinet above your head! For me, I need more help in the serving pieces and appliance storage. For this, I found the perfect product: a four tier shelf. I can keep it just outside my small kitchen, it holds everything so I can see what I have, and doesn’t take up too much space from my living area. I can’t believe I didn’t think of this before!
I came across an article last week that I think many of you will find fun and even useful. It was Craft of the Day, a Pencil Dish Rack
Reading the article, and the other Craft of the Day items makes me realize that I can actually do these things even though I am not crafty at all!
I loved the idea of the pencil dish drying rack. It is such a neat idea, especially for those of us who may be on a budget. For Christmas I received a new cutting board with a tool drawer that can be used as a cheese board for parties. I have been hanging onto my old beat up board, but not using it. This is a great way to turn it into something useful that looks a lot better than a plastic drying rack!
Check out the article to see how to make the pencil dish rack with your old cutting board. Also, check out the other crafty items I am certain you’ll be able to do on your own!
What a weekend! The weather was crisp and cold, a perfect weekend for snuggling under the blanket while watching movies, sipping on some hot chocolate, and trying out some new recipes in the crock pot. But of course, this is real life and I had things to do. I did spend a good deal of time indoors, doing laundry, cleaning, and doing some cooking, so it wasn’t a completely rush-around weekend.
In between grocery shopping and folding loads of clean clothes, I wanted to get some cooking done so I didn’t eat junk all weekend. I used the new Orgreenic Frying Pan to make a Green Chili Frittata. The Orgreenic pan is oven safe, so I could start the frittata on the stove and then place the pan directly into the oven. The aluminum core helps the pan heat evenly, so the eggs were cooked perfectly. I also used the pan to make salmon. The non-stick ceramic surface kept the fish from sticking so I didn’t have to use any extra butter or oil to keep it from sticking. I love this pan and can’t wait to make more meals with it!
Yesterday was a very rainy day! I don’t really like rainy days–not sure that I know of anyone who does. But I know that I’d prefer a few inches of rain over a few feet of snow, so I’ll try not to complain. While I knew it was supposed to rain and I planned for it by bringing my rain boots along, I neglected to bring my umbrella. So my feet were dry and my jacket was soaked. No big deal though because as soon as I got home, I pulled out my collapsible bamboo drying rack and I hung my coat and wet clothes to dry. If it were laundry day, I would have just tossed everything in the washer, but it isn’t and I don’t want those clothes going in the hamper soaking wet and getting mildewed. Everything was dry this morning, so I collapsed the drying rack and tucked it back in the closet beside the washer. How handy!
Luckily, today is a sunny day so far…but I’m bringing my umbrella just in case!
I realized the other day that over the past 2 months I must have blogged about pumpkin chocolate chip cookies at least 3 times. I came across this recipe on Kelly’s blog and it has been a hit for me ever since I baked them the first time.
These cookies are amazing…hands down just great cookies. When I made them the first time I was nervous because the consistency of the cookies turned out to be cake-like instead of chewy, so I wasn’t sure how my audience would receive them. When the 5 dozen cookies were gone in just a few days and people kept asking me for more, I know this was a recipe to keep and definitely repeat. I even made a batch of these pumpkin chocolate chip cookies for Thanksgiving and I divided up the large amount between me and 2 of my friends. I figured with the amount of cookies one batch makes, all 3 of our families could enjoy some for the holiday. This past Sunday I made them again for an upcoming party.
With all of this being said, I am not sure if I ever provided you with the recipe for these cookies! Here is the recipe. My recommendations are as follows: Use half semi-sweet chocolate chips and half milk chocolate chips, use more than 2 cups (no one ever complains about having too many chocolate chips in their cookies), make sure you use sheet liners, and be sure when you put them in a container to put wax paper in between the layers so they don’t stick together. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
Today I am happy to report to you that I ate my first Bake Pops yesterday, and the verdict is…they are delicious!
Over the weekend my friend and her daughter were looking for an activity to keep them busy and decided they should bake something different. They are already experts on rice crispy treats, chocolate chip cookies, and brownies. So this past weekend it was time for the two of them to add a new baked good to their list—and I am sure glad they did! They made two flavors: chocolate mint with vanilla inside and vanilla outside with coconut/pecan inside. I had one of each. They were both great!
So, the review is: my friend and her daughter could make Bake Pops together and they turned out unbelievable! You can do it too!
One of the coolest things happened to me the other week. I waited this long to tell you all about it because I wasn’t sure about it myself. But, it’s pretty cool, and I think you all can appreciate this reuniting story.
I opened up my email and found I had a message from someone I didn’t know via a social networking website. For some reason, normally I delete these types of messages, I decided to open it and read it…and I was thrilled to read it. It was a girl who I haven’t spoken to in 20 years who found me by my name (I do not have a picture of myself posted). She took a chance, and sent me a message. I must have read and re-read this very short note a million times over…I knew EXACTLY who she was without even looking at her picture. I sent her a message back and gave her my personal email address and just hoped she would get back to me. I literally waited by my computer to see if she would write back. She did! The night before Thanksgiving, I saw she wrote back—this time she sent me a surprise in her letter—a video of the two of us from when we were 8 years old! I laughed out loud for the full 2 minutes of the video (soundless). I dragged my mom out of the kitchen and away from her pie dishes that needed to be filled with pumpkin pie over into the other room and made both of my parents watch the video with me. I easily watched the video half a dozen times…laughed every time.
I am so excited to be back in touch with my old friend from so many years ago! I know so far we are “pen pals” and send emails back and forth, but I am enjoying getting to know her again. It has also given me a great conversation-starter and I can prove to my friends who know me now that I was, in fact, always camera shy. Have you reunited with anyone recently? How did you reconnect?
It’s about that time of year that everyone starts to be really nice and kind to each other—they do call it the season of sharing! The funny part is that we show our love by baking sweet treats for our friends. Then, you bring the sweet treats to everyone, everyone gets really excited, and then they bake a sweet treat for everyone in return. It’s such a vicious cycle, but it’s part of the fun of the holiday season.
I always have the staple baking food in my house at all times because you never know when a craving to bake something sweet. Of course, I don’t want these treats sitting in my house as I will be tempted to eat every last one! So I pack up the cupcakes in my cupcake carousel to carry those my friends or to work to share with others.
Do you have a favorite go-to sweet treat you bake for your friends on a regular basis?