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♥

Bite Sized Apple Pies

Hello darlings!

I want to start by showing you my five favorite pins from this week. I think I’m going to start doing this with all of my posts, because it might inspire you! 🙂 These aren’t going to follow my pattern of easy things that I can show you how to make (or how NOT to make) but they’re still fun! I’ll do a food one, a clothing/accessory one, a home decor one, a wedding one (my very favorite even though I’m a good five years from acceptable marriage age) and maybe a random, like a cute puppy. Or Channing Tatum. We could all use some Channing Tatum in our lives.

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As we recover from the fainting that I’m sure we all just did, here are my top five pins this week 🙂

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Hotline in Nude by Chinese Laundry $70 pinned from Heels.com

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Glen Oaks pinned from Houzz.com

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Cilantro Lime Shrimp pinned from Lanascooking.com

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Elegant Sweetheart Ball Gown Wedding Dress $299 pinned from weddingdressbee.com

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Pinned from “Best Earth Pics” on Twitter

Those are the pins from this week that made my heart hurt I wanted them so badly. Yes, I even want the elephant. Better get rich quick. And move to Africa.

Anyway, the challenge this week was Bite Sized Apple Pies, as you may have deduced from the title of the post. I thought I would make a fall-themed dessert to celebrate the beginning of October 🙂 Each week this month, I’ll be taking on a Halloween or autumn themed pin. I have them all mapped out already and I’m so pumpedddd!

This week’s apple pie pin took me to this link: http://cookinupnorth.blogspot.com/2011/09/bite-size-apple-pies-from-taste-of-home.html and it’s a cute blog by a lady named Laurie who really REALLY enjoys her home “up north.” Now, care to venture a guess as which end result belongs to me and which belongs to Laurie?

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Honestly, even though they aren’t exactly pretty, they tasted pretty delicious. The most amazing part of the whole thing is that when I brought all of my ingredients down to the kitchen in my dorm building, I neglected to bring the recipe. And the dorm kitchen has the weirdest assortment of useless items that I’ve ever seen. There’s no peeler and no brush thingy to spread stuff, but you better believe there was a whole drawer dedicated to grill utensils. There’s no grill anywhere near my building. So, I had to spread my melted butter like this:

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and peel my apples like this:

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And the counter space that you see here is the only counter space in the whole kitchen. And I thought my room was small.

Anyway, let’s start at the beginning. Here’s the recipe Laurie used, with my edits.

  • ½ c sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • If the grocery store happens to somehow be out of cinnamon, (what?!) just substitute cinnamon sugar. It eliminates a need for sugar, and you don’t have to mix them together so in the end it saves time.  
  • 1 pkg refrigerated pie crust (mine came with two 8-inch round crusts, worked perfectly)
  • 3 tbsp melted butter divided (Don’t know what “divided” means- didn’t bother with it)
  • 2 medium tart apples sliced into 8 wedges each (I got green apples because I heard they’re “tart” but Laurie used red ones)

If you do it my way, you can just unroll the pie crust on a lightly floured surface. What’s that? You didn’t get any flour because that wasn’t in the list of materials? Join the club. It’s okay though, it didn’t make a difference to me. Then, melt your butter and brush it all over the crust. Next, sprinkle the cinnamon sugar all over it, and slice it into 8 slices, about one inch thick. Now, you can set that aside.

BUT DON’T SET IT ASIDE ON THE STOVE BECAUSE THE OVEN SHOULD BE PREHEATING (at 425, by the way) AND THE STOVE WILL BE HOT ENOUGH TO MELT YOUR CRUST! Yeah, it’s a good thing the package came with two pie crusts. I only got to make half the recipe though, which meant that an apple went to waste.

Next, you need to deal with your apples. If you have a handy dandy apple slicer like I have at home, this should be a piece of cake. At school though, it was a little bit harder because I had to use an old dull knife to cut through the core of an apple. Since there was no peeler, I also had to use that same knife to peel the skin off. Laurie said that she kept the skin on because she liked the color, but I was worried it would make the texture a little tougher or something, so I peeled it off. Then, all you have to do is roll each little apple up in the slices of dough you just made, and brush the top with melted butter and sprinkle with some more cinnamon sugar. If you’re me though, and you’re brushless, you’ll find a slotted spoon and dip each pastry in a bowl of butter. I actually thought it was pretty clever of me.

Then you just pop them in the oven for 13 minutes! If everything had gone as planned, which it never does of course, this would have been done in under a half hour. Regardless, they were delicious and easy. Look at these cute little guys!IMG_1597

Well, I hope you enjoy your Bite Sized Apple Pies, and I hope you have an absolutely fabulous October! Keep track of how many days are left until Halloween with my nifty countdown in the sidebar 😉

Stay wonderful ♥

~Nicole

Strawberry Banana Quinoa Muffins

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These little bitches are Strawberry Banana Quinoa Muffins. Have you ever cooked with quinoa? Do you even know how to SAY quinoa? Because it’s like KEEN-wah which blew my mind a little bit. Everything about cooking with quinoa blew my mind a little bit.

The pin took me to this page: http://www.poorgirleatswell.com/2012/02/recipe-strawberry-banana-quinoa-muffins.html which is where you’ll find the recipe. It’s a really cool website where you can find ways to eat well on a tight budget. Each recipe has a little tag on it that says how much it costs to make per serving. These muffins are $.50, which is pretty awesome when you think about it. If you think about it in real life terms though, it’s not that awesome. Fresh fruit isn’t cheap, and neither is quinoa.  But, I guess if it makes you breakfast for 12 days straight, it’s a good deal.

However, cooking with quinoa was not as easy as I expected.

For those of you who are not familiar with quinoa, it seems to have exploded in popularity lately. According to Wikipedia, it’s a “grain-like crop” with a little over 200 calories per cup when it’s cooked. People put it in everything lately, from salads to chicken to breakfast foods like this. It’s gluten-free, so that’s always a plus for a lot of people, but it’s also regarded as having a striking overall nutrient richness. It has a lot of qualities of grains, but it has much more protein and more of the good fats than wheat, oats, barley, etc. In this particular recipe, the cooked quinoa was meant to add a moist texture.

Okay, so I didn’t worry about using quinoa flour, I just used regular all-purpose flour. The rest of the ingredients are pretty self-explanatory EXCEPT COOKED QUINOA! I horribly misjudged this situation and it was the downfall of these poor muffins.

It wasn’t my fault though 😦 I had to separately look up how to cook quinoa, because apparently the girl who writes the Poor Girl Eats Well blog keeps some sort of quinoa stockpile in her house so she doesn’t have to cook it every time. Since I was a first timer, I googled it and here’s what you should do:

 

How to Cook Quinoa

  1. Rinse it: If you’re me, and you don’t have a “fine-mesh sieve,” you’ll try to use a paper towel to catch the bits that fall through the bottom. They’re supposed to be tough when wet, right? Wrong. That paper towel will rip, and your quinoa will go down the drain. And on the counter. And the floor. You need a “fine-mesh sieve” which is just a strainer with super tiny holes.
  2. Cook quinoa in water: The ratio is 2 cups of water for every cup of quinoa. Wait for the water to boil, stir in the quinoa, turn the heat down low, and then wait for the liquid to be absorbed. You’ll know it’s done because it’ll look like it’s “popped.” It should be about 15 minutes, which would’ve been nice to know.
  3. Fluff it: I don’t think you really have to do this, especially since you’re mixing it into a batter. The directions I’m looking at (which are from eatingwell.com, by the way) say “quinoa loves a little pampering.” So you might be okay if you skip that.

 

NOW the most important thing to do here is MEASURE THE QUINOA AGAIN!! A cup of dry quinoa is not the same as a cup of cooked quinoa since it “popped” while it was in the water. This is a dumb thing to have to mention, but I didn’t think of it so I’m hoping there’s someone out there who’s as stupid as me.

Please at least pretend for me.

So, measure out a cup of your cooked quinoa, and just put that in the mixture with the rest of the ingredients. With the extra, start a stockpile like the author of Poor Girl Eats Well. Or feed it to your dog or your bird or the deer in your backyard. Or throw it out.

Long story short, this recipe may have worked pretty well if I was a little bit more experienced or was more aware of what I was doing. I may try this recipe again, but probably not until the quinoa nightmare wears off a bit. My mom is still finding little pieces of it all over the kitchen. I don’t even know how it got to some of the places we’ve seen it.

I hope this helps you if you come across this pin, or even if you’re trying to cook quinoa for some other recipe. And give me some feedback! This is my first real post, aside from my little intro one, so let me know what you think! I’m always going to be looking to know if I’m explaining things clearly, if I’m as funny as I think I am, or if there’s anything in particular you want me to try next. I appreciate any support you’re willing to give me, and I can’t wait to hear from you!

Stay wonderful ♥

~Nicole

Oh Shit, I’m Really Doing This…

Hey guys!

I’m Nicole, and this is my BRAND NEW blog, Pinebriated. I know it’s not much to look at yet, but hopefully with time it will get better!

So, I know you’ve all heard of Pinterest by now. On the off chance that you haven’t, here’s a short description: It’s a magical world of perfect hair, nails and bodies, perfect nutritious dinners, things to wear to the dinner plans you made because you spent all day pinning recipes, and crafts that look store bought. The “pinners,” are people like you and I who have high hopes of becoming the perfect (wealthy) domestic engineer using only a hot glue gun and a trip or two to Goodwill. A pinner will scroll endlessly through her feed, looking for “pins” to “repin” onto her “boards.” You’re supposed to think of it as a virtual bulletin board. So, when a pinner “repins” a “pin” it’s like making a copy of something you saw and loved on someone else’s bulletin board, and putting it on your own. You can have more than one board, and you can categorize them. For example, I have a board for yummy recipes, another for clothes I love, and yet another for funny pictures. I have 35 boards total, and over 7,000 pins! It’s not stopping any time soon 😉

So, what’s the point of Pinebriated? There are so many women out there who sit and stare at their pins thinking: “I’m never going to ACTUALLY do any of these things.” That may be because they don’t have enough time or don’t want to put in the effort to try to cook these recipes or make these crafts or try new workout routines just to have them not come out the way they were expecting. That’s where I come in! I’ll be the test subject that tries everything out, and I’ll let you know how it ended up for me.

Let me tell you right now:

I AM NOT AN EXPERT CHEF

I AM NOT A FITNESS ENTHUSIAST

I AM NOT AN EXPERT SEAMSTRESS OR CRAFTER

I’m literally just a college kid. Everything I take on will be simple enough to do in my dorm room or my building’s main kitchen. I’m never going to throw a recipe at you that’s full of stuff you’ll need to hunt down at your local Bulgarian Organic Market. I don’t have the time or money for that, and I know you don’t either, so no worries! I know you and I are going to become great friends, and you’re going to love what you find on this blog 🙂 

Now, let me close with a quote coming directly from my “Words” board:

“Earth without art is just ‘eh.'”

Stay wonderful ♥

~Nicole