Valentine’s Day Fortune Cookies

Well,  I think the time has come to start giving you guys Valentine’s Day ideas. I’m really sorry that I ran out of steam for the end of the 25 Days of Christmas, but now there are some secrets to save for next Christmas 😉

So, I saw these perfect, adorable little fortune cookies that I was so excited to make for you guys. I was like: “this is great! What an adorable way to spend the day. You order chinese and just hang out, watch movies etc. Then, it’s fortune cookie time. Instead of finding a regular, boring tan one, that says “you will be hungry again in one hour” (true story, that really happened to me) you find a colorful one made with love by your significant other.

I clicked the link, and it brought me to a Martha Stewart project page entitled “Felt Fortune Cookies.” What in the world do you do with a felt fortune cookie?? And tell me that these little guys wouldn’t have fooled you too.

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Okay, maybe I should have guessed by the opened one in the corner with hershey kisses in it, but I just noticed that right now. I was super annoyed, but I thought “okay, I’ll still give it a chance. It might still be easy and cute.” So I take a trip to Michael’s, which is 20 minutes away and ti was snowing, by the way. I assemble all of the listed materials, which are: felt, ribbon, fabric shears, wire cutters and craft glue. I thought nothing of the fact that it required wire cutters but no wire. I got all of my materials home, and started the project.

“Step one: Using wire cutters, cut a piece of floral wire slightly shorter than the length of ribbon.”

Can I just take a poll of how many people have floral wire sitting around their house? What even is floral wire? Come on, Martha. Step it up.

So, then I was determined to find a fortune cookie recipe. As you know, I’m limited to what I can find on Pinterest only, because this blog is dedicated to helping you figure out what’s actually easy and what’s just labelled “easy” as a sick joke. I did find one pretty quickly, and I have a funny little story about it.

So I’ve been trying to come up with a fitness pin to blog about, because I mentioned in the very beginning that I would include those, and I haven’t yet because it’s really hard for me to work out at school. Now that I’m home and back at my regular gym, I can start to try again. I came across this pin that claimed to be a Jillian Michaels recipe for losing five pounds. Here it is:

I was like “oh, this is cool. I could totally do this for the blog.” So I pinned it to my “For the Blog” board and promptly moved on to my fortune cookie search. The first one that I found took me to a blog called “My Name is Yeh.” Ironically, the girl’s name is Molly so I’m kind of confused but she’s adorable, and I really like her blog.

OH it’s her last name. Continuing.

She has this fortune cookie recipe that she says is way better than restaurant ones. She also said it’s chewy though, so I’m a bit skeptical. Regardless, she posted a bunch of pictures of her finished product, and take a look at the one of the fortunes she wrote:

I was a little weirded out, considering I just pinned a juice cleanse to the blog board, so I went back to it and clicked the link. I got an error message telling me that the page was taken down due to a possible problem with the page’s content.

UMM WHO ARE YOU, MOLLY? GOD?

Anyway, I’m live-baking today, so I’m finding out about these fortune cookies as I write about them, just like live-crafting. Here’s the link so you can follow along without me having to explain eeeeverything. http://blogs.forward.com/the-jew-and-the-carrot/189801/diy-fortune-cookies-for-christmas/

Okay, all of my ingredients are together. They’re not too crazy, but I did make a couple adjustments. I used cinnamon and nutmeg rather than cardamom, because I didn’t know what it was and the internet said this was a substitute. I also am adding red food coloring to make them more Valentine’s Day-like.  I also have to separate more eggs! I’m glad I had that miserable meringue experience now 🙂

Okay, so I mixed all of my dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately, and I’m about to mix them, but I’m a little skeptical about how this little bit of liquid is going to mix with aaaall of that flour and sugar.

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Aaaaand I was right. I’m very confused. This is not a batter, it’s dough. That’s fine if it works, but her mix looks like she’s making pancakes and mine looks like I’m baking cookies. I’m gonna go with it.

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I’m using the mason jar method that she mentioned to get the right shape and size. I took it off of a decorative one that my sister has in her room. Shhh, don’t tell her.

Oh my God it’s so sticky.

Okay, so I have three set up on parchment paper, and I’m moving them to a tray to put them in the oven for their 5-7 minutes.

It’s taking longer than five minutes…longer than 7 minutes…okay 8 minutes to turn golden brown. The problem is, they look like regular cookies. They’re too thick and unfoldable.

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In addition to not looking like a fortune cookie, it tasted like way too many spices and it kind of gave me a headache. I threw the rest of the batter out. Also, I just realized I forgot to put in the red food coloring anyway. Duh. Well, I’m clearly out of practice. I haven’t baked since my last blog. Ugh, ya live and learn I guess. I may try to find another recipe for fortune cookies to see if this was something I did wrong or if Molly is in fact not God. If I do, you’ll be the first to know!

See you next week!

Love,

Nicole ♥

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Day 16: Spiral Sugar Cookies

Well, this afternoon I took a chance on one of the more complicated recipes that I’ve tried. It was this version of festive sugar cookies, but I adapted it to make a Christmas version.

25 Days of Christmas 2013 Day 16

From “Make Bake Celebrate” blog

So the first step in this recipe is to make sugar cookie dough, and form it into a log, like so:

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Obviously, I made this dough all by myself with no help from a certain chubby white guy who giggles at the slightest poke. No help whatsoever.

Set the dough on parchment paper. The next step is to cut the log into four equal pieces, and roll them into balls. Then, dig a hole into the center. You’re going to put some food coloring into those holes, which just helps to keep most of the dye off of your hands (key word: most).Mix it all up, and you should end up with four balls of dough that look something like this:

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Now, take off little chunks about the size of a quarter, or maybe a taaad smaller, but not by much. This recipe was made for a cookie with four colors, so it was a little odd to do it with two. You should have two little green balls and two little red balls, and they should be arranged in a little square with alternating colors. Now, roll it into one ball! Do this until you run out of dough. Here was my set of balls:

…hehe

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I guess I don’t know what the size of a quarter is because as you can see, I had a rather significant problem with keeping them all a similar size. I think the bigger ones were better to work with. Once all of these little balls have been made, I’m sure the dough has become really soft and greasy. To solve this, you can put them in the freezer for a little while to harden them back up. They’re easier to work with when the dough is harder. The blog that I originally got this from said that you can put them in for 1-2 minutes, but that didn’t work for me. I needed to put them in for more like 5-6. Once they were hardened, it was time to do the coiling. Roll out the balls into long rope-kinda things, and then roll them back up into a cute spiral shape, trying to expose both colors. If you’re confused, you have every right to be. These were my first couple of attempts:

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It got a little easier though, as I got the hang of it.

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They started to get sticky again, so when I was done coiling all of them, I had to put them in the freezer again. Then, I put them in the oven, and I was kind of excited. I didn’t know how they were going to come out at ALL.

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As I was checking up on them, I noticed they were getting bigger and consequently closer together…until they were all squished together and they came out looking like this:

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And to be honest, they all came out looking like an odd reddish greenish soup. They taste fine, but they don’t look nearly as cute as the picture at the top of the page. They’re also really skinny, so the sprinkles from the picture didn’t really work out. I guess to make this recipe better I would have had to be more careful when I smooshed them all up from the separate little balls. It also might have helped to not wait so long to put them in the freezer when they were getting greasy.

Well, hopefully you guys have better luck with this recipe. And also, there are less than 10 days left of the Christmas Spectacular! Hope you’ve enjoyed it so far!

Love,

Nicole♥

Day 11: Candy Cane Heart Lollipops!

So Day 11 is dedicated to an easy little recipe that you can do not only for Christmas, but also Valentine’s Day, or any other day if you happen to keep candy canes in the house year round 😉 

You’ll need:

Mini candy canes

White chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate because I already had them in the house…my car was in use by my dad because it’s only my car when he says it can be my car…I think white chocolate is prettier and more delicate looking though)

Sprinkles- in any color or shape that you feel is Christmas-y or appropriate for the occasion

Some sort of stick that should be oven safe for three minutes

It’s really simple, but the result is pretty fragile. Here’s what I came out with in the end:

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But here’s what I came out with when I was actually just finished. It’s honestly really cute, and it can definitely be done the right way if you’re a little more careful with it than I was:

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Even in this picture though, you’ll notice it’s a little cracked at the bottom. It’s okay though. Like I said, it can be done but you have to be more talented and patient than me. Well either way, here’s what ya do.

First, preheat the oven to 300. Put your two candy canes on a tray, and have them touching either side of the stick so they’re shaped like a heart. Melt your chocolate chips, and fill up the whole center. Then, stick it in the oven for just three minutes! When you pull it out, add your sprinkles and put it in the fridge until it hardens. BUT make sure your candy canes are touching the stick before it cools! I put mine away to cool for like a half hour, and it was rock solid, which was good, but probably most of the reason why it cracked. And after all that effort I put into making a place for it in the fridge…

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When it had hardened, I used a toothpick to kind of scrape it off of the pan. There was probably a better method, because that’s how I broke it, but I don’t know what that better method might have been. Maybe using parchment paper instead of the plain tray. It probably would’ve peeled right off. You live and learn, I guess. 

In the end, I wouldn’t call this one a complete failure. It looked cute for about 30 seconds, and when it broke, my sister ate half of it and said it was good. I consider that a win. 

So, let me know what you think! If you try it, I always like to hear how it came out for you! 

See you guys ASAP!

Love,

Nicole♥

 

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♥

Gobble Gobble!

Happy Friday, pinaholics!

I normally wait until Sunday to post, but I wanted to show you guys how my Thanksgiving crafts went over with my family yesterday! Starting on Sunday it’s going to be all Christmas all the time, so this had to be separate 🙂

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This was my family’s adorable table on Wednesday night, complete with little pumpkin place cards that you guys now know how to make! My aunt wanted to bring hers home, claiming she still had some of the other cute ones we’d made, like the turkeys that I told you about. She’s too cute!

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This was the pumpkin pie dip from a couple weeks ago. I arranged it so adorably, and yet it still didn’t exactly disappear 😦 I’m attributing it to the fact that we saved it to serve with dessert, and everyone was either full or more concerned with the traditional stuff like apple pies and pumpkin pies. Soon I might have to accept that this one was just not a winner. That’s okay, every recipe can’t turn out perfect I guess.

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The cupcakes were a hit though! They were more so a hit for the cuteness factor than for the taste though. Fondant doesn’t taste very good. But this was their biggest fan, Lily 🙂 She said they were the best green beans she’s ever tasted, and I take that as a huge compliment!

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Finally, this is my wonderful family enjoying our obnoxiously huge dinner. Two turkeys, somewhere in the area of 12 side dishes, and like 8 different desserts. We’re italian; we eat a lot. Don’t judge.

Anyway, I hope your day was filled with great food and great company. And if anyone went Black Friday shopping, I hope you stayed safe and got the best deals out there! Mostly though, I hope you gained as much weight as I did! Hehe, see you on Sunday for the first day of my 25 Days of Christmas Spectacular!

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♥

S’more Bites

Before you say anything, I know I’m a slacker. I ended up getting sick this week, and then of course it was homecoming and I was very tied up with lots of wholesome, school sanctioned events.

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Don’t worry, there will be a bonus post right after this to make up for my absence last Sunday. I know you’re all terribly angry and missed me deeply. Another reason that I’m posting a second thing though, is that this one is going to be pretty short. Seriously, I picked a recipe that was so easy that there isn’t much to say about it.

This week’s recipe was S’more Bites. If you’d like to see the original pin, feel free to visit my board just for this blog! 🙂 It has all of the pins I’ve posted about, and also some ideas for new ones that I might do. If you’re the curious type that liked to try to find their Christmas presents before Christmas, then you might also be the type who might be interested in this link:

http://www.pinterest.com/paranormal627/for-the-blog/

Mostly I’m just desperate for new followers…ANYWAY S’mores Bites. Super cute and super easy. Here’s a picture of all of my ingredients. I made the mistake of buying semisweet chocolate chips instead of milk chocolate, and that was the downfall of these guys. There’s always a downfall when I do something, I think. Also, don’t worry if you don’t have a scruffy, marshmallow-loving dog. You can still do the recipe without one. Actually, you might be better off -____-

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So as you can see, you only really need three ingredients. First, you melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, and then you crush your graham crackers. Side note: have a better method than me. I had this really clever video of me pounding graham crackers in a little plastic baggie with my fists but I would have to post it separately and it’s not worth it. Just use some sort of utensil or meet an unfortunate fate. After you have your melted chocolate and your safely crushed crackers, here’s a pictorial description of what you do. ImageImageImage

And that’s it for me today, guys! Last but not least, I’ll post my top five pins for this week, and be on my way 🙂 Don’t forget to come back in a little while for your bonus post. It’s not autumn-themed, but I think you’ll like it!

Stay Wonderful♥

~Nicole

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