Grating butter

I recently read somewhere that the easiest way to make pastry that involves cutting butter into the flour was to grate it with a grater.

The inner Michelle ears perked up. Grating butter. Why haven’t I thought of that.

The whole reason why I fave been leary about pastry and making my own pie dough was the butter part. It seems frustrating and tedious. I could see myself screaming, cut damn you, cut.

That and using knives seemed pointless.

A week ago, I found a recipe that only used rice flour to make a gluten free pie crust.

I was leary.

And then I remembered to grate the butter.

So I tried it.

It WORKS!!!!!!!!

And you use less butter by grating it.

1/2 cup butter becomes 1/2 a stick. Cutting fat is always a plus.

Now no pastry is too hard to make and I can make homemade pie crusts.

Amazing. Absolutely amazing.

Grating butter, a life hack every Susie homemaker baker needs in her arsenal.

Pie Crust Cinnamon Rolls

Happy Christmas Eve!

So you’ve made all these pies for Christmas and there’s some crust dough left over. What do you do? Do you throw it out? Do you put it in the freeze for later use?

Or you could make cinnamon rolls out of it for Christmas breakfast.

Genius!

You only need four (4!) ingredients and I bet you have it already in your pantry just waiting to be used.

They are very simple and easy to make and will go in a flash.

I tried it out on Bryan a few weeks ago, but learned from my first mistake – melting the butter and brushing it on to the pie crust. So DON’T MELT THE BUTTER.

They came out okay, but could have been better.

Second time around, they came out way better.

piecrustcinnamonrolls

Pie Crust Cinnamon Rolls

pie crust
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons sugar

Directions

Roll pie crust out into a square that is 1/4 inch tall.

Spread butter all over pie crust.

Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on butter.

Roll the pie crust tightly.

Cut into 12 slices.

Place on parchment paper on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 12 minutes.

Makes 12.

So the second thing I did wrong was not tightly roll the pie crust the first time. The tighter the roll, the more the cinnamon and sugar can bind to the layers.

To reiterate: DO NOTMELT THE BUTTER and ROLL TIGHT.

But most importantly enjoy.

You drizzle a wee bit of icing on them, but I thought they tasted perfectly without. The cinnamon definitely comes out and kicks you in the face.

An easy breakfast for the family on a crazy day of cooking. O you could snack on them as you go.

Gift Wrapped Holiday Cans

I really hate getting cookies and in the transport, they get all broken up.

Bags are soo overrated. And ruins all the hard work you did making these amazing cookies.

Bags are also overrated when it comes to gifting snack mixed. Sure its easy, dump and close with ribbon,  but presentation wise is sophomoric. Unless your child in the intermediate school age or younger. Then by all means bag it up and call it a night.

I just tend to overdo everything or as Bryan puts it, “Makes simple things complicated.” I just think presentation is the key to everything. I blame all those years writing papers, doing power point presentations, and making posters for college for this overachieving make everything look as pretty as can be mentality. College, it breaks you. It really does. And graduate school is full of high expectations where if you don’t meet these expectations you fail. Then you get a career in your field, and those damn expectations don’t actually go away. They become part of your life, your everyday life.

And guess what, there’s nothing wrong with that.

So put those cellophane or whatever Christmas bags you found at Walmart or Hobby Lobby up. And find some pringles cans.

I’m about to blow your mind.

Ok, maybe not. I’m sure you’ve seen this already on facebook. Wrapping up pringles cans so that they look like Christmas presents. Actually I know you have. I can feel it. And if you haven’t, well then consider you mind blown.

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Gift Wrapped Holiday Cans

Pringle can (pringles already eaten)
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 10X10 inch square of wrapping paper
transparent tap
long ass piece of ribbon

Directions

After you have eaten the pringles (Bryan loves the salt and vingar obviously), put baking soda in the can. Shake it up and leave it for a week.

When you are ready to use the can, wash the inside of the can and dry it.

Take your 10X10 inch square and see where you need to cut to make it fit better. I line it up under the metal ring at the top, wrap the wrapping paper around the canister to make sure it overlaps. Then, using my thumbnail, I make an indent at the bottom ring of the canister so that I know where to cut.

Once you have trimmed the wrapping paper as needed and double checked that it fits accordingly, place tape vertically on where you want the wrapping paper to attach to the canister. Place a piece of tape at the bottom and at the top.

Wrap the wrapping paper around the canister, making sure that the wrapping paper is between the to metal rings.

Once the wrapping paper has overlapped, attach that side to the wrapping paper using a piece of tape. I use three pieces of tape, one at the top, middle, and bottom.

Flip the canister over and figure out where you want the ribbon to go. I put the ribbon where one side covers the overlap of the wrapping paper.

Make sure the ribbon is equal in length on both sides and attach it to the bottom of the canister with a piece of tape.

Run the ribbon up one side of the canister and attach it to the wrapping paper at the top of the can. Do the same to the other side. This way tying the ribbon into a bow at the top is easier. The ribbon won’t slide on you.

Fill the canister up with whatever yummy creation you have made to be gifted. Cover with lid and tie with a bow.

Makes 1 canister.

From the picture, the can on the left is the empty pringles can, the one in the middle is after what it looks like after the can has been wrapped and the can on the right is the finished product.

You can always stop at the wrapping and call it a day.

This can is great for gifting snacks, cookies, muffins and what have you.

I’m actually using them for the gifts I’m making the in laws.

One big thought – do not buy the smellier chips like onion, cheddar ones. The stinkier the chips, the longer it takes to get rig of the smell.

Other than that, wow everyone and save the cookies from being broken. And you could make them for pretty cheap and it comes with a snack.

$1.50 for the pringles can
$1 for tape
$0.50 for the wrapping paper – I got it from the dollar store on clearance.
$0.97 for the silver sparkly ribbon.

All of it for under 4. Hell, if you are a normal pringles eater or know someone who is, save the cans for future use.

And definitely buy the wrapping paper after Christmas.

It’s the cute little things that makes something mundane into something extraordinary.

Marshmallow Vodka

The big holiday is coming up.

I never know what to get my coworkers for Christmas. And I don’t feel like going out and buying a million different versions and colors of the same thing.

Mumika usually gives out coquito every year to coworkers. And I was going to do that, but then I realized some of my coworkers don’t drink, could have an allergy, and well, some I hardly ever see.

So asked two of the awesome ladies I work with if they wanted flavored vodka for Christmas and both ended up wanting Marshmallow Vodka.

Sounds easy. Might as well try it.

Originally I only put in three huge marshmallows and immediately knew I did it wrong. So here is the updated version.

But before you look, here’s a few things to know:

Marshmallows fully disintegrate in about 5 days.
As they break apart, you will notice the amount of fluid decreases.
You can either add more marshmallows or vodka when that happens.
It’s always good to shake the bottle once a day to make sure the vodka completely covers the marshmallow.
Use good vodka, not that handle for $9.99.

Looking at the picture it is obvious that there are still marshmallows in it. I wanted to give my coworkers a full bottle, so I crammed another marshmallow in it.
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Marshmallow Vodka

Good vodka
A bottle ( I used a 12 ounce Gatorade bottle that I had washed and rinsed out)
A bag of normal sized marshmallow

Directions

Cram as many marshmallows into the bottle as possible.

Fill bottle up with vodka.

As time goes by, either add more vodka or marshmallow if the liquid amount decreases.

Store in a dark area during the disintegration process.

Makes 12 one ounce shot.

The great thing about this is that you can actually control how marshmallow-y you want the vodka.

And it’s a great Christmas gift for anyone who likes flavored vodka.

Rice Cooker Banana Bread

You did read the title right. It says Rice Cooker, not slow cooker. But more of that later.

So Bryan took away my stove to tile. Which he still isn’t done yet because he just will not work on the house during the week. It’s driving me crazy. To make things worse, he’s taken the sink away too. And I will not wash dishes outside in 60 degree weather. Fuck that. So I can’t cook.

So it’s either tv dinners or eating out. My stomach is already screaming, “Why?!?!?!”

Which is also driving me crazy. He better get this shit done this week or I’m going to kill him.

As I was pursing the interwebs, I came across a website that claims you can make all sorts of things in the rice cooker. That’s right. The rice cooker is no longer just for rice, it’s for cabbage rolls and other things. In this case, banana bread.

I had bananas nearly black patiently waiting to be used. I was going to go to my mother in laws but I remembered she’s in Houston with her grandkids or something. So I can’t bake or anything. I want to stab things with plastic knives and snap the tops off. I need to bake or something. I had the longest week last week, I need to do something yummy and constructive with my time off.

Banana bread in the rice cooker it is.

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Rice Cooker Banana Bread

3 bananas
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

In a medium bowl, mash bananas and mix with butter and sugar until roughly smooth.

Add vanilla and eggs until well combined.

In a small bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until thoroughly combined.

Add dry mixture to banana mixture and stir until well combined.

Grease the inside of the rice cooker with cooking spray or butter. Which ever tickles you fancy.

Pour baker into rice cooker and press cook.

Makes 14.

So using my rice cooker was a bitch. It popped off to warm a million times and I had to keep pressing cook every 5 minutes. It was supposed to take 90 minutes to cook using two cooking cycles. But that was obviously not the case with my rice cooker.

Meaning, if you want to check the damn thing every 5 minutes to turn press the lever to cook, then all means be my guess. If not, then DO NOT DO THIS.
JUST DON’T DO IT.

Also the batter is insanely thick. You’re going to look at it and think, “This is not right. This is definitely no where near being right”, but it is.

I was so hoping it would be an awesome life hack and in a way it is, but it’s not worth it.

The possibilities are endless in reality. The bread was actually good and moist and spongy. I was actually surprised. I might add a little more sugar if you want it to be sweeter.

All in all it was a welcomed cooking experiment. Would I do this recipe again, no. Will I try something different, sure why not. I mean, I’ve done a cheesecake in the bloody slow cooker. What will I try next.

Waffles using coconut flour

My mother in law gave Bryan coconut flour when he went over for something…I can’t remember what.

He comes home from his parents, gives me a little container of white stuff and demands waffles. Originally I thought he was joking so I ignored him. Two hours later, “When are you going to make the waffles?”

This is not a joke. This is not a test of the Bryan hunger system. This is not test.

The man is dead serious.

Then he tells me, “Oh, add an egg or liquid and mix it with normal flour.”

What did the man give me? Coconut flour.

I have never worked with this flour in my life. So, I had to do some research.

Coconut flour is made from dried coconut meat leftover from making coconut milk. It is denser than normal flour and very little is needed. However, you cannot fully replace flour with coconut flour because it binds differently. It is rich in protein and fiber and is great for gluten-free diets.

That’s what Bryan meant by add liquid and mix with normal flour.

It smells like coconut, has a light coconut taste to it.

Waffles it is, then

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Coconut Flour Waffles

3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cup milk
2 eggs
splash of vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat waffle iron.

In a large bowl, combine flour, coconut flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.

Add milk, vanilla, and eggs until well combined.

Stir in melted butter.

Spray cooking spray onto waffle iron.

Pour 1/6 of the batter into the waffle iron well.

Cook until golden brown.

Makes 6. Per Waffle.

The waffle in the picture has chocolate chips in it.

You know how you usually have to separate the eggs and whip the egg white into meringue form to create those delicately light and fluffy waffles? Um, yeah. Coconut flour makes them light and fluffy and airy. No longer do you have to look for the hand mixer and dirty extra things in order to get those amazing light fluffy clouds of happiness.

And there’s a light coconut taste to them which makes them even better.

So, if you want the best most yummy and amazing waffles that will make your family swoon without overextending yourself and using more electrical equipment than it’s worth, make these waffles.

You’ll never go back to the hand mixing meringue folding into batter waffles again.

Cut’s the time in half and is less of a hassle. Because we all know deep down inside when we crave waffles, there’s a groan of OMG, I don’t want to take all day making these damn things because I have no clue where the hand mixer is and then take the rest of the day trying to clean the thongs. But you make them anyway, because of that puppy look on your baby girl’s face that makes everything worth it. And next thing you know, you’re out of batter and it’s time to clean.

Now all you have to clean is a bowl.

 

 

Pineapple Maragarita

After drinking the watermelon margaritas and getting some food into us. I made pineapple margaritas. But first, we let Jimmy and Bryan fruit ninja the pineapple with one of Bryan’s swords. You know, priorities. Of course, Bryan wanted us to go to the store and buy plums, apples, bananas, kiwis, and what have you to do a real fruit ninja.

Maybe one day we will do it and it will be amazing, but today is not the day.

The pineapple margarita was a little easier to make because you use actual pineapple juice instead of muddling pineapples. If you have a juicer then that can work also. I still ended up muddling the pineapple because I like eating boozy fruit.

pineapplemarg

Pineapple Margaritas

2 pineapple chunks
4 oz pineapple juice
1 1/2 oz tequila
1/2 oz triple sec
1 tablespoon simple syrup
Ice

Directions

Muddle the pineapple chunks in the shaker.

Add pineapple juice, tequila, triple sec, and simple syrup.

Top with ice.

Shake it like a polaroid picture.

Pour into a glass filled with ice.

Garnish with a pineapple chunk.

Makes 1.

I really loved this one. It is definitely my favorite of the two margaritas I made.

And it’s really simple to make which is always good.

The addition of the simple syrup turned the bitterness of the pineapple juice sweet, but not overly sweet.

A little way to cheat and skimp on calories which can be helpful for diabetics – after you make the margarita, water the drink down. It still packs a punch but you get more drink for less calories. I actually did it with the watermelon margarita first because I noticed mine was a little low in the happiness department and ended up adding like 4 ounces of water in it and was surprised how it still tasted good.

So if you want to skinny your fresh fruit margaritas up – just add water.

 

 

Chicken and Dumplings – the cheater’s way

My mother inlaw made chicken and dumplings while Mumika was in town. The chicken was already made so I got to watch how the dumplings were made which is where the real magic happens. Except it wasn’t magic, it was a cheat. She used refrigerated biscuit dough to make the dumplings. I wasn’t horrified, I was intrigued and thankful for learning how to do it.

And then I started craving chicken and dumplings. Which meant finding a recipe for it. And as it turned out ruined chicken and dumplings for Bryan because I went the healthy way and added carrots, onions, and celery.

Ok, I already had the carrots and celery and was looking for a way to use it up. Especially the celery – hate that stuff with a mad passion.

Only problem was, I didn’t know which biscuits to get and after calling Bryan to find out he didn’t know either, we settled on Texas style butter biscuits. Bryan doesn’t like the bitterness of the buttermilk.

Usually I would use chicken breast, but I understood how I needed that awesome flavor of the thigh to achieve the right flavor of the chicken and dumplings.

Personally I like this version of chicken and dumplings. I don’t understand what is up with southern comfort food and no vegetables. Chicken and rice has nothing of veggie value and supposedly the same goes for chicken and dumplings. What is chicken and dumplings, well just chicken and dumplings of course! So it’s broth with a roux and chicken and flour dough that gets cooked in the broth? That’s it? No one people in the south die from heart attacks.

What I love about this recipe is that you make your own chicken broth. I don’t know why, but it makes me feel accomplished even though I have chicken broth readily available in the fridge. I guess that’s why I cheated. If I made the broth from scratch then I could get away with the biscuit dough. But honestly, if you’re in a rush or have some sort f time constraint, biscuit dough is the way to go.
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Chicken and Dumplings

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 1/2 pounds boneless chicken thighs
1 teaspoon salt
1  teaspoon black pepper
4 stalks celery, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup flour
10 cups of water
1 tube of refrigerated Texas butter biscuit dough

Directions

Heat the oil in a large stock pot over medium heat.

Season chicken with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Cook in batches until both sides are brown. Plate chicken and set aside.

Add the celery, carrots, onions, and garlic to the drippings in the pot and cook, stirring, until the vegetables begin to soften.

Add the chicken and water. Bring to a simmer and let it simmer for 30 minutes.

Transfer the chicken to a plate and let cool before shredding the chicken and returning it to the pot.

Whisk together the flour, 2 cups of the cooking liquid, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 a teaspoon pepper in a small bowl.

Slowly add the flour mixture into the pot, stir until well combined and simmer until slightly thickened.

Pop open the biscuit dough and cut each biscuit into fourths.

Slowly add the dough to the chicken broth. Put as many pieces of the dough into the broth to create a layer, let it stand there until dough gets puffy and then combined it with the broth. Do this step over and over until there is no more dough left.

Cover the pot and continue simmering for 15 minutes.

Makes 9.

So the original recipe where you make your own dumplings had 517 calories, 52 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of sugar, 4 grams of fiber, and 25 grams of protein.

That totally sucks. Southern comfort cuisine is definitely not for diabetics.

But on the Brightside, one bowl is enough to do you in. And the fiber count is at 4 grams too.

I loved the flavor of the broth. It was nice and inviting. Gave you this feeling of so what if my day totally sucked because my wolf got off her runner and I had to use reverse psychology to get her back, my house smelled like rotten meat because Bryan hasn’t burned trash in nearly a month making me want to throw up whenever I’m downstairs, or that I was out of Dr. Pepper, or that I had to buy insulin, and I had a migraine for two days and my midterm was finally posted and compromised of listing and defining and then sorting out 128 core competencies.

All of that melted away the minute the chicken and dumplings hit my taste buds.

But this is one of those hardly ever sort of meals because if I made this more than twice a year it would kill me.

Apple Dumplings – the easy way

I know you’ve seen it, the facebook and pinterist posts of apple dumplings using an apple, a tube of refrigerated crescent dough, butter, sugar, cinnamon, and get this: sprite.

Does it work? Does it not work? Why on earth am I using sprite?

The whole sprite component through me for a loop. A complete loop. Most of these recipes use mountain dew, but I HATE mountain dew. Sprite it was.

This is also half the original recipe. Why? I was testing it out.

The only reason why I’m making apple dumplings this way was because it was my anniversary and I didn’t have the time to homemade apple dumplings. That and well, I spent the day with Mumika and we ended up spending the day getting alcapurria and empanadas and drinking coffee. You know, importante boriqua stuff.

Bryan had never had apple dumplings until his dad took us to a Chinese buffet that happened to have them. I couldn’t resist having one and as usual, because I did not make these, I had to give half of it to Bryan. We have rules. They keep me alive.

“Oh my god, this is amazing!”

This is the thing though – Bryan doesn’t like pies or anything where the fruit is baked. The fact that he loved the dumplings sort of opened a new universe to me.

So I tried the – I don’t have time for that easy way.
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Apple Dumplings

1 granny smith apple, cut into 8 wedges
1 tube of crescent dough
1/2 stick butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cinnamon
6 oz Sprite

Directions

Spray 8X8 square cake pan with cooking spray.

Pop open dough tube and wrap 1 triangle around 1 apple wedge.

Place apple wrapped dough wedge in baking dish. There should be enough room.

Mix melted butter with sugar, vanilla, and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.

Gently pour the sugar buttery goodness over each dumpling.

Gently top each dumpling with cinnamon.

Pour the sprite into the cake pan. Be sure not to pour it on top of the dumplings. Pour it on the sides until each dumpling is surrounded by sprite.

Bake at 350 in the oven for 40 minutes.

Makes 8. Per dumpling.

OMG! OMG! Whoever thought of this was a genius!

The vanilla and the butter and the dough and the apple is phenomenal. It made my house smell like fall. Smelled so good I could taste it.

The sprite, holy fuck balls Batman, created a citrus caramelized syrup of awesomeness.

I loved how the apple wedge disintegrated into the dough.

This is perfect for Thanksgiving. Skip the pie. Make little individual apple doughy goodness instead. You could put some ice cream on top and spoon some of the left over citrus syrup on top to make the most gooey yummy happiness ever created.

I should of thought of that the second time I made it. Grrrr.

I wonder if I could make peach dumplings the same way…..hmmmm…..

 

Perfect Corn on the Cob

You already know I love corn. Love it, love it, love it. I could eat it every single day if I could get away with it.

When they put braces on me, I nearly cried when I realized I couldn’t eat corn on the cob for roughly 4 years. Well, I could, it just would not be pretty. And I didn’t feel like taking a whole day trying to water pick the corn out of my teeth. I felt the same way about kissing. Especially if the other person had braces. Oh hell no! I’m not going to end up in the ER because me and boyfriend’s got caught on each other’s braces. I’ve heard horror stories about that shit. Needless to say I was a late bloomer in the romance department.

I also had to wait 4 bloody years to eat corn the way God made it to be eaten. Corn and gummy bears.

Yeah, I was a diabetic waiting to happen.

When I went to cook the corn, Bryan was around.

“What are you doing?” He asks.
“Shucking the corn so that I can boil it,” I replied.
“You’re nut supposed to do that, it dried out the corn.”

I was confused. Like really confused. This is the way I was taught. How else are you supposed to boil it?

“How much salt did you put in it?” He asks.
“Um…none.” I reply.

You see where this is going, don’t you.

So um, yeah, turns out country people don’t boil corn that way. They boil the corn in the husk in sea salt water. This is new to me.

I know what you’re thinking, “What’s the difference?”

It’s corn like you have never tasted in your life. It’s sweet. It’s salty. There’s no need for butter because it’s cooked perfectly in the salt water. OMG. How have I not know about this?!?!?!

And that’s how you make the perfect corn on the cob.

I used about a tablespoon per ear and boiled it for 20 minutes before I turned the heat off and let it steam the rest of the time.

Absolutely crazy.

corn

A little diabetic tip – 1/2 an ear of corn is one serving. So if you eat a whole ear of corn, you are in reality digesting 2 servings of corn. It’s like how 1/2 a banana is actually 1 serving of a banana but no one just eats half a banana. What do you do with the other half, give to someone? throw it away? put it in a smoothie? Seriously!