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 ♥

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 ♥

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♥