Valentine’s Day Candy Molds!

Hi guys!

So, this semester is supposed to be my craziest one yet. So far it is, but not for the right reasons.

I’m taking almost all psychology classes, and I have a job with a psych professor (I assume you’re all applauding) BUT since the very first day of classes after winter break, we’ve been bombarded by snowstorm after snowstorm after snowstorm. There have been almost as many snow days as class days (and we’re expecting another storm today, of course). That might sound fun, but I’m soooo not about it anymore. And I’m not the only one, either. My cousin made this her profile picture on Facebook:

Plus, I’m one of those people who can’t function without structure, and so Wednesday and Thursday both being snow days seriously made my brain hurt.

My friend Alli and I are alike in that way, so we’ve been suffering together, spending endless hours in the library doing work that hasn’t been assigned yet. Everyone off campus has supposedly lost power from this last storm, and they even made our Health Sciences building into a shelter for residents of our town. We had figured it was too dangerous to leave, until we hit rock bottom on our boredom scale. We had to get out, and naturally we ended up at the craft store.

Our friend Jill has a car on campus, so we took the bus down to the parking lot where she keeps it. The temperature was that painful level of cold where your eyes tear and then the tears freeze to your face, and we missed the first bus so we had to wait for another one. When we got there, her car was buried under like, three inches of snow and a layer of ice above it. The people in the parking spot across from her were also trying to dig their car out, and it kind of turned into a ruthless competition of who was going to get out first. The two girls kept giving us looks from the backseat of their nice warm car while the three of us hacked away at Jill’s car and their guy friend handled theirs. In the end, they got out first. But we were there first so technically we still win.

It pretty much felt like we were in the middle of “Frozen,” and I was starting to get really nervous about the roads. I got into a bad accident a few years ago because of black ice, so it freaks me out a lot. But as soon as we got out to the highway, everything was dry as a bone. There were no trees down, no wires down, and I only noticed a few buildings that seemed to be out of power. The Michael’s that we go to is in a giant strip mall (it’s really like a series of strip malls…it’s like an adorable little neighborhood full of every store you could ever want. I love it there!) and everything seemed to be up and running. I don’t really understand how we ended up in a state of emergency and all this stuff. 

We ended up in that section of the store for cake decoration and candy making. They have molding chocolate (well, most of them are vanilla flavored, but they also had chocolate and peanut butter) in every color and you can choose which ones you want and a mold to put them in. They have molds for lollipops, pretzels, or just plain candy, and they’re super cheap. There was a package with like hundreds of shapes in it for $9.99, and the candy wasn’t bad either. 

We got back to campus without incident, and here’s the best part of this project: We didn’t have to sign out the kitchen! You can literally do this right in your dorm room. Here’s what ya do:

1. Melt the molding candy stuff in the microwave the way it says on the package. Don’t deviate from those directions, because if you do it too long, it’ll burn. When it burns it smells bad and can start a fire and gets chunky, not liquid-y. We got red and pink candy, and here’s what it looked like before and after melting (we mixed colors for fun, but yours will be a solid shade if you use one color)

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2. Put the melted candy in the molds. We used a spoon, but they suggest a piping bag because it’s more precise. We’re dorm chefs, we don’t have piping bags sitting around. We’re lucky if we have spoons lying around, actually. 

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3. Once all of the molds are filled, you can even off the tops if you want to, but we didn’t bother. We put them right in the freezer and waited for a while until they had hardened back up. 

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4. Once they’re solid again, you can pop them right out and eat them right away! Here’s how ours turned out:

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They’re not all perfect, but we are first-time candy makers. I can’t wait to try this again, because they can be so impressive but it’s so so so so easy. We did this in like a half hour in four easy steps. Then, we went around our building offering them to our friends and even some strangers 🙂 It was a lot of fun!

So if any of you are as single as I’m going to be this Friday, there’s still something you can do. Make these cute little guys and spread some Valentine’s Day love to everyone around you. Candy is much better than boys anyway 😉

Oodles and oodles of love,

Nicole ♥

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Day 10: Reindeer Peanut Butter Cookies! (Kind Of)

So, you can really only wait so long for the perfect conditions to make things. I thought I had enough crafts and recipes prepared to get me through the end of the semester, but I was wrong due to several factors. Some were my own poor planning, and some were the fault of the weather and my university.

First of all, I checked off materials that I didn’t actually have, so I thought I had the right supplies to make a bunch of things but I actually didn’t. Second of all, it was finals week and I fried my brain by accident so that was another problem. THEN on top of that, classes were cancelled on Tuesday, which was supposed to be the first day of finals. My school has been running since 1871 and somehow they seemed to have never experienced snow during finals week, because they did not have any backup plan in place at all.

Gee, snow in the middle of December? How odd.

They decided to just push all of those Tuesday exams to SATURDAY, which screwed everyone over. Now that that nightmare is over for me (my professor didn’t want to be there on a Saturday either, so she found a way to hold it on Thursday) I can look back and laugh at the hysteria it caused. So, even though today is the 13th, I’ll be doing day 10. Hopefully I’ll be able to catch up in a day or two. Don’t worry, even if I don’t post every single day, there will still be 25 crafts and recipes by Christmas!

Anyway, since we had a snow day Tuesday, my friend Lindsay and I decided to bake peanut butter cookies. I’d had the mix sitting in my room for weeks, hoping to be able to do this recipe:

Reindeer cookies! So cute. Gotta get the kiddo to help me with these :)

However, I couldn’t seem to get a hold of a freaking bag of M&Ms. So, we just made a regular batch instead of these cute little Rudolphs. If you’d like to make those though, you’ll need

A bag of peanut butter cookie mix (unless you know how to bake, then by all means make better ones than the ones Betty Crocker can make for you)

If you get the Betty Crocker mix I used, you’ll also need water, vegetable oil and one egg. I was informed that I could get a small little package of eggs at Walgreens instead of having to buy a dozen, but that was proven to be false. I bought a dozen eggs just to use one. I also bought like, a quart of vegetable oil to use like, 1/3 of a cup. AND OF COURSE, when Lindsay and I got to the kitchen, THERE WERE ALREADY EGGS AND OIL IN THERE. I can’t get over this kitchen. It’s a new surprise every time.

You’ll also need chocolate covered pretzels. You can choose to make them yourself, but I strongly suggest taking the easy way out and buying Flipz, these ridiculously addicting little bitches.

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Finally, you’ll need M&Ms for the eyes and nose.

The first step is to preheat your oven, and you should probably make sure there’s nothing in it, because if there is something in it, you’ll probably come close to setting your dorm building on fire, which Lindsay and I now know from experience. We were forming the dough and all of a sudden she goes “it smells really weird in here,” and I was just like: “it’s probably just some leftover crumbs burning at the bottom of the oven or something.” So I opened the oven and there was a giant empty pot in there that definitely was not supposed to ever go in an oven. And of course, there are no oven mitts in this kitchen, but there is a little box labelled “dirty towels.” Guess how many options we had?

I was very lucky to have Lindsay with me 🙂 She took charge. She said to me: “Don’t you do this like, every week?” And I said “umm yeah but people don’t read my blog because I’m good at cooking. They read it to laugh at how bad I am at cooking.”

Anyway, then we started making the cookies. I was using a whisk (actually I was pretending that one of those electric mixer insert thingies was a whisk) and Lindsay was looking at me with this pained look on her face. I said, “do you wanna do it?” and she goes “This is how we make cookies in my house,” and proceeded to show me this, which worked a lot better.

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When the dough was completely mixed, and we’d gotten out as many little balls of dry dough as possible, we started forming the cookies on a nonstick pan. If you’re doing the reindeer version, you’ll want to make them sort of egg shaped, like in the picture. If you choose to make regular ones like we did, make little balls and flatten them with a fork so you get that cute criss-crossy thing. In the end, they only had to go in the oven for about 8 minutes. Somehow though, when we took them out, they were burnt! And they pretty much tasted like the pan we baked them on, so that’s not good. Maybe we should have put something on the pan instead of just putting the cookies right on it, but I don’t really know. I can’t even make cookies out of a box, how pathetic. I shouldn’t be trusted in a kitchen. But, practice makes perfect I guess, and as long as I keep doing this, I’ll be getting plenty of practice!

Maybe one day you won’t be able to laugh at me and my cooking/crafting skills. But then you’ll probably stop reading so I guess this is kind of a lose-lose for me. Oh well. Here’s the final product. They look pretty good, but they tasted kind of like burnt metal.

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Stay tuned for a Day 11 post! Hopefully it’ll come out tonight, but it might be tomorrow. Since I’m home for break now, it should be easier to post! See you soon 🙂

Love,

Nicole♥

Day 8: Reindeer in the Dark Christmas Card

Happy Day 8! Who woulda thought I’d be able to actually get a post out on the right day?

Today, I decided to try one of the cutest Christmas cards I’ve ever seen. I’m actually writing this post as I do the craft, so I’m going to be just as surprised as you by what happens. Live crafting: the actual dictionary definition of intense.

Alright, so here’s a picture of all of my supplies. Image

And there’s a little cameo by the peppermint tree from the other day 🙂 sitting on top of my wireless router that doesn’t work. I thought maybe I’d put some joy there to balance out the burning frustration that thing brings me.

Anyway, I’m undecided as to whether or not I should color the whole thing black first, or if I should do the ribbon around the edge first and then color it. By the way, if you have something better than a sharpie to color the WHOLE page black (well, the half that’s going to be the front of the card) feel free to use it. Actually, feel privileged rather than free. Think of me developing carpal tunnel syndrome as you paint your whole paper in a few brush strokes.

I made the executive decision to color first and then add ribbon, and I declare this to be good enough of a coloring job.

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Now I just finished adding the ribbon on, and I think it looks pretty cute but I used this stuff that’s not really “ribbon,” it’s “decorative trim” so it’s got a wire in it and that sparkly tinsel stuff wrapped around it. It was hard to glue down, but I think I finally got it. Regardless, I know it would work if you use regular ribbon and glue so just be careful of what you buy and you’ll be fine.Image

Now it’s time for googly eyes!

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And the final touch!!

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Tell me that’s not the cutest thing you’ve ever seen?? I love it! It’s one of those things that’s so simple but has such a big affect!

Well, this wraps up the first week of the 25 Days of Christmas, and quite appropriately, it’s been snowing all day. It’s so sweet. Last year, we somehow managed to get no snow at all at my school. This is the first time I’ve seen my campus completely coated and it’s beautiful. Take a look at the view outside my window!

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Those people outside are so brave though. I’m quite content sitting in my cozy dorm listening to Glee holiday songs and writing to my lovely readers. No cold for me.

Well, that’s it for me tonight. I hope everyone has a wonderful week. For anyone who is starting finals tomorrow:

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Love,

Nicole ♥

Day 4: Mason Jar with Epsom Salt Snow

Are you guys feeling jolly yet? I don’t know about you, but doing something Christmas related every single day really puts me in the spirit 🙂 It might also have to do with the constant Christmas music playing in my room or the million decorations I put up. I can tell you one thing though: it’s got nothing to do with finals week which is looming ominously ahead.

Anyway, today is another super easy craft. It’s this sweet mason jar!IMG_2143[1]

You guys can put your own spin on this, which is why it’s so fun! The only things that you pretty much have to have are the jar and the candle. I used a fake one because it’s dorm safe, but if you’re allowed to have real candles, go for it! Aside from that, you can do almost whatever you want.

The title says Epsom Salt snow because that’s what the description said in the pin that I got this idea from. And it really does look like snow! However, I just got lucky and had some around the house. (I was home for Thanksgiving when I did this project) You can use whatever you have lying around that looks like snow to you (salt, sugar, etc). I would not recommend using bits of paper if you’re using a real candle. Just a friendly heads up 🙂

Now, all you have to do is pour the amount of “snow” that you want in your jar, and put the candle in. My little sister had some silver glitter in her room, so I sprinkled some of that in with my snow to give it some extra sparkle! I really love that little touch. Then, all I did was tie some red sparkly ribbon around the neck of the jar, and I was done! When I turn it on at night, it adds the sweetest warm glow to my room. I don’t even think I’ll want to take it down after the holiday season is over 😦

My sister helped me with this project, and we went a little crazy with the mason jar ideas. Here are some more things we came up with!

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So cute, right?! Look at that snowman! I can’t take credit for that one, but I wish I had one of those for my room too!

I hope you enjoyed Day Four! Be sure to come back tomorrow 🙂 See you then!

Love,

Nicole♥

Creamy Pumpkin Pie Dip

Hello Lovelies!

First, I have to give a shout out to my friend Taylor and her new blog. A few days ago she posted this seriously awesome idea about walnuts and I literally cannot wait to go back to my room and try it with every kind of nut I have available to me. (well, almost every kind available to me…) If you’re interested in a different take on college cooking (I live in a dorm and she lives in an apartment, so she has a different variety of things available to her) you can check her our here: http://letallfoodiesunite.tumblr.com/

Next, let me show you what I tried out this week. The pin was a general pin for easy Thanksgiving recipes that a college kid could make if they were staying at school, or if they were coming home at the last minute and still wanted to have something to offer to the table. I looked through them all, and oddly enough only one of their ideas was actually doable, and it was this one.

Actually, that’s not really true, I’m just a pretty picky eater and all of their other ideas grossed me out.

Anyway, the recipe calls for these ingredients:

8 oz spreadable cream cheese

1 cup canned pumpkin (didn’t know that was a thing)

3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar (is a liquid 3/4 cup different from a dry 3/4 cup? If so I screwed that one up)

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (didn’t know that was a thing either but it certainly made my life easier)

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup sour cream

If you’re anything like me, you were thinking that this was going to be a dessert dip until you saw the cream cheese and sour cream. I planned on making this recipe for Thanksgiving and just posting about it then, but I decided I should probably try it out first before I subject my whole family to something that could be horrfying. So, here we are.

The instructions say to cream together the cream cheese, pumpkin, sugar and pumpkin pie spice until smooth. I started by stirring with a spoon and when I wasn’t even getting to what my loose interpretation of “smooth” was, I moved on to a whisk, which worked much better, duh.

Now, I’m home for the weekend, and this whole time my mom was standing over my shoulder making me nervous about how it was going to turn out. She wasvery skeptical about everything I was doing. She had me let her try it after this step, and she proclaimed that it was “just okay.” I was like mom, that’s probably because you’re eating a mixture of cream cheese and pumpkin. Luckily, as we found out through this preemptive taste test, the pumpkin greatly overpowers the cream cheese, and you don’t taste it at all. It’s most definitely a dessert dip.

After that’s “smooth,” whatever that means to you, it was time to add in the rest of the stuff. I say that it doesn’t have to be completely smooth because you still have to stir all of these things in. It’ll be really smooth by the time you’re done. Anyway, in this next step you stir in the cinnamon, vanilla, ginger and sour cream. I’ve never had sour cream before, just because there’s nothing at all about it that sounds appealing. I almost forgot to put it in, and I think it’s because I had a mental block preventing me from doing it. Of course though, mommy dearest was still over my shoulder, and she convinced me that sour cream isn’t really sour, and it’s kind of like plain yogurt. I don’t know if that’s true, because I still didn’t try it. I also don’t know what plain yogurt tastes like, so I don’t know why that was a comfort to me. Either way, I added it in with the rest of the ingredients and mixed it all up again. However, after another taste test, it was still deemed “okay.” I thought it was really good.

The last step is to refrigerate it before serving. It requires at least two hours of fridge time, but you can leave it in as long as you want. I left it in overnight (I forgot about it) and this morning I gave it one more taste test to see if it was any good. I don’t know if she was in a better mood today or what, but it moved up from “just okay” to “pretty good.” I don’t know. I thought it was good the whole time.

One thing I’d like to note is that the taste of pumpkin is pretty strong. Obviously, it’s a pumpkin pie dip so it should be, but to me it’s stronger than it is in most pumpkin pies I’ve had. I don’t dislike it, but if you’re not crazy about the sound of that, you might want to cut down on the amount of pumpkin yout put in. NOT BY A LOT but maybe 3/4 cup instead of a full cup. Overall, I actually think this was one of the least eventful recipes I’ve tried. The ingredients were easily accessible, it didn’t require any baking or any complex equipment, and it actually came out good (by my standards). I’m going to bring it back to school and get a better verdict there.

Lastly, you may be wondering what to dip into this wonderful dip you created. I have no clue. The pinner who pinned the original pin (…that’s obnoxious isn’t it?) said to try Stacey’s cinnamon sugar pita chips, so I bought a bag of those. However, when my dad tried the dip he said “what are you gonna dip into it? Apples?” and I thought hmm…that’s a great idea. So try apples. Let me know what you think!

Well, I hope you all have a wonderful week, and I hope you liked this post, and Taylor’s blog, and this recipe if you decide to make it. And I want your feedback! If you like my posts, or even if you don’t like them (but mostly if you like them please) leave me a comment! I’d love to hear from my readers so I know what I’m doing right or wrong. I couldn’t do this without you guys!

Happy Sunday!

Love,

Nicole♥