Friday, February 25, 2011

Google Recipe Search

Google has just added a new feature to their website for food lovers. They added a recipe search that includes pictures and reviews. It works much like Google Shopping where you type what you want and then you get a pictures and reviews. You can search a specific recipe, or be vague like "cookies," or you could just search for "St. Patrick's Day" recipes. As of now it looks like they have only a few databases in their search, but they are good ones like Food Network, AllRecipes, Family Fun, and About.com. However, I am certain with this being a new feature Google will do what it can to add more recipe databases.

Here is the official announcement and explanation site: Google Recipes
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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Thriller Zombie


Neil has been working on a project for school which requires him to make the "Perfect Present" for a friend. He has decided to make a felt mushroom for his friend Andrew, but I thought I would supply him with some books and patterns on how to make felties as they are commonly called. One of the books I got from Amazon was Zombie Felties, which included a pattern for this "Thrilla" zombie. It brought back old memories, and I even made Lexi watch the Michael Jackson music video, which she just thought was weird. I thought you guys might appreciate my handy work.


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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Three Pound Cotton Assortment


I just love Fabric.com, and I have been ordering from them for over five years. I have had very few problems with them and the times I did they had excellent customer service and straightened up things right away. They seem to have a very true color of the fabric, and they add great descriptions so you know exactly the type of fabric you are getting.

With such a great history with Fabric.com I decided to order one of their assortments, and I must say I was not disappointed. I've ordered assortments from many fabric sites and mostly came with major disappointment and regret, but I was pleasantly surprised when my Fabric.com assortment came in. Yeah I admit there are a two fabrics I have no idea how I will use, but there was also fabric that even my husband got excited about.

What I ended up getting was just over 9 1/2 yards of designer quilting fabric for $20. For those less brave, you can order a half yard assortment from a specific designer for $23 which gives you a total of 5 yards of fabric.

The thing that makes this fabric assortment better than the ones I've received in the past: thought and consideration. Almost all of the fabrics I got coordinates with another fabric. That makes it much more likely to use, even the fabrics that I am less than crazy about. It is much easier to make a gift for someone out of random fabric if you have two coordinating fabrics to play around with.
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Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Tasty Temptress: Pepperidge Farm Orange Milano Cookie Truffles

The Tasty Temptress: Pepperidge Farm Orange Milano Cookie Truffles: "Godiva chocolate is one of my favorite indulgences! I am SO thankful they finally came out with larger size bars that you can buy all..."

For those who liked my entry about making your own chocolates, here is a great way to make your own truffles.
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Homemade Chocolates


Make your own chocolates this Valentine's Day!


Supplies
  • Chocolate
  • Mold
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Paraffin Wax
  • Cooling Rack
  • Cupcake Paper

You only want to use a little bit of the paraffin wax for a handful of chocolate. For a whole bag of chocolate chips you should use a quarter bar of Gulf Wax. If you are using "melting chocolate" you do not have to add the paraffin wax or oil.



Melt the chocolate, wax, and a teaspoon of oil in a double boiler. Alternatively you can follow the chocolate package instructions of melting it in the microwave. Slowly drizzle a spoonful of chocolate into the mold.

Take a small cupcake spatula or a butter knife and even out the chocolate. You then need to tap it on the counter to get all the air bubbles out. After that you can clean up the edges with a paper towel.

After you have prepared your mold you need to refrigerate it for about an hour. It is time to remove the chocolate when the bottom of the mold looks cloudy. To remove the chocolates, turn the mold up-side-down over the cooling rack. This will catch your chocolates as you pop them out of the mold. Gently press on the mold to release the chocolate. When they all come out of the mold place them in the paper cup and storage them in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.

I am lucky enough to have access to Belgium chocolate at an affordable price. While your personal choice of chocolate may vary, I would recommend starting with milk chocolate because it seems quite popular.

This is a great activity to do during Valentine's, Easter, Halloween, and Christmas. While there are molds for almost every holiday, I would seriously consider being honest with yourself. I have bought many molds and used very few of them because it seems like a good idea at the time. Of course you maybe able to find quite a few at second hand shops for very cheap.
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Passion Fruit Salad




I found some passion fruit during my last grocery shopping order, yep I order my food online now. I have had passion fruit juice which is yummy, but I've never had a passion fruit. So I ordered some and thought I would try it out. Come to find out, you don't actually eat the passion fruit, you just juice it.

So to start off I get a mixing bowl and my mini strainer/sieve. I cut

the passion fruit in half and scoop out the inside with a spoon. I use the spoon to push the juice through while keeping the seeds out.

Once I free the juice from the fruit, I add some basic salad dressing ingredients. You can change the ratio to suit your taste, but for mine:
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
juice of 3 passion fruits (about 1/3 cup)
salt to taste

I put all the ingredients in a small water bottle so I can shake it up when I need to. It makes for easy storage as well. Personally I like warm salads, so often I saute parts of my salad in the salad dressing to give it some flavor. For my salad I started with a plate of spinach because it takes the heat well. Then I prepare small bowls of chicken, bell peppers and onions, and mushrooms. Once I get the skillet warmed up I add a little bit of the salad dressing because the oil in it will prevent anything from sticking. I add the chicken, bell peppers, and onions first. As the salad dressing begins to reduce, I add another tablespoon of dressing into the skillet.
You don't want to add too much at once, otherwise you would be boiling your veggies and that is no good. As it cooks, the salad dressing reduces a little. Depending on how flavorful you like your dressing this is fine, but if you are watching your calories then you can add some water so that you are not eating too much salad dressing. Finally, a minute or two before it is all done, I add the mushrooms. I don't like to cook my mushrooms for too long, but it is nice to have them get the flavor of the dressing. When everything is cooked to how you like it, pour the contents of the skillet onto the spinach. Toss it around a bit, and you have a yummy salad. Of course next time I'm just buying the passion fruit juice.



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Friday, February 04, 2011

Apple Tart

For a long time I've always wanted to learn how to make pastries. I guess it is because I feel like I can cook and bake pretty good, but pastries seems like a whole new ball game. I always like to learn new things, so for Christmas my family got me a pastry instruction book. It is actually from the French Culinary Institute, but thankfully it is all in English. The one thing I love about this book is that it tells you exactly what you need, from the ingredients, cooking tools, and most importantly time. This was an all day adventure for me with a toddler running around, but officially it should have only taken me 3 hours. I plan to go through my book a chapter at a time to learn the secrets of all the goodies behind a pastry counter at the bakery.

I'm really not trying to create a food blog here, so I will spare you the three pages of instructions that I had to follow to create this master piece. The readers digest condensed version is you make the crust, put it in the fridge for a half hour. Then you come back to it, roll it out and put it in the pan, and then it goes back in the fridge until you are ready for it. In the mean time you peel and chop up apples and cook them in a saucepan with some water, sugar, and a whole vanilla bean. Once that is done you let it cool while you chop up the apples very so thinly for the top. Finally you put it all together and sprinkle some sugar on top. If you like, which I did, you can melt some apricot jam and brush on top. It makes it just a little more sweet, but more importantly it makes it shiny.
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