Trial and Error

Pretzel Wands

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Hey howdy hey!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas/Channukah/Kwanzaa/Festivus/whatever else you may celebrate.

Mine was lovely as always. My pops woke up early and began cooking the turkey, fresh cranberry sauce, stuffing and baked apples with fresh whipped cream (my aunt always brings the mashed potatoes and green beans). I watched Indiana Jones with the cat and when my brother finally woke up we had our gift exchange. I got a new set of pots and Wusthof knives. It. Was. Incredible.

Then the whole family came over. We ate dinner, opened more presents and then went and saw “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”.

Not gonna lie. It was awkward. At one point my brother leaned over to me and angrily whispered that it was the worst Christmas movie ever to see with the family.

Oh well! I liked it!

And now I’m in New York again! Running off of two hours of sleep! Getting ready to free-base some coffee! Hooray!

And for the most part I’m done with holiday parties, but I have one more to go and I’m shopped out.

If you still have some more parties to go and are shopped out like I am, I have a solution! Pretzel wands. It’s another Disneyland treat, but they’re so perfect and fun, and if you plop ‘em in a cellophane bag and tie a ribbon around it, you have a present anyone will love!

Experiment with different decorations too! Kat and I just pulled out whatever we thought would be good from the cabinets. Totally one of those recipes.

Let’s get to it!

Make sure to click on the orange drop down box at the end of the post for the recipe!
 


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Tomato and Basil Bruschetta

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We all have stuff to do right now. I know this. And by knowing this, I’ll offer a kind present to all of you.

I will give you all brevity.

I’m not going to say much, just that this is the easiest dish that packs a punch of fresh flavors. It’s also the perfect appetizer to bring along to the holiday parties I’m sure you’ll all be attending.

Plus it’s Christmas colors!

Happy Holidays!

Also, a little something to put you in the spirit of the holidays.

Make sure to click on the orange drop down box at the end of the post for the recipe!
 


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Gingerbread And Pumpkin Spice Mousse Cup Pies

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Oh the glorious cup-pie.

How often do you think about potential future desserts and have a hard time choosing? Do you want a cupcake? Do you want a pie? Do you want them to be combined into one super-dessert?

I’ll go ahead and answer for you. It’s the last one. A cup-pie is a mini pie baked in a cupcake tin. Delicious and adorable.

And not only is it delicious and adorable! I also made it festive! Hooray.

This recipe definitely takes some love and patience (i.e. it’s a total pain in the ass), but at the end you will be left with glorious cup-pies (a concept from one of my favorite shows ‘Pushing Daisies’- seriously one of the best shows ever that was sadly cut short) made from gingerbread and filled with a fresh and light pumpkin spice mousse.

Can’t go wrong, I promise.

*Sidenote- fun fact about today! It’s national cupcake day! BEST DAY EVER after national Nutella day, which takes the lead in my book. You should celebrate by making some of these cup pies! Do it do it do it.

Let’s get our cup-pie on.

Make sure to click on the orange drop down boxes at the end of the post for the recipes!
 


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Who Doesn’t Love A Panini?

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I have a story. Sit tight.

Despite being divorced now for about 21 years, my parents remain on very good terms with one another. Always have. And still to this day they get each other Christmas/Channukah gifts.

Sometimes I get recruited to help pick out presents for each side. This particular year took place some 5 or so years ago. Mom and I were walking around Costo feeling the cheer of partly the holidays but mostly free samples and she asked what I thought she should get my father that year for Christmas.

We happened to be walking in the kitchen appliance aisle, and I saw a panini press. I had strangely wanted one for years. Because who doesn’t love a panini??? I think it’s a rather reasonable thing to lust after, and I had been. For a long long time. My father on the other hand would find no use for a panini press.  He’s an old school cook and a no-frills guy in a kitchen.

Well the great thing about my father is he will love any damn thing you get him. Seriously. He is so moved by the idea that someone thought of him long enough to get him a present, he will be taken-a-back by anything you wrap and place in front of him.

Knowing this, I decided to exploit it for my own benefit. Because apparently none of my father’s good heart has rubbed off on me at any point in my life.

Sure enough, Christmas day comes, pops unwraps the press and genuinely loves it. Takes it out of its box, puts it in a prominent spot in the kitchen and doesn’t touch it once. I, however, used it many times and when the time came for me to move out- I took the sucker with me. Thanks, dad!

Now after that long story, I realize that probably not many of you have conned your nice, un-expecting parents into buying weirdly specific kitchen appliances, and I swear to you that was the only time I can remember doing that. I probably haven’t done it since.

So not only do I have a delicious panini recipe for you to enjoy, but I’m happy to say it involves a no-thrills method using only things you already have in your kitchen. Let’s get to it!

Make sure to click on the orange drop down box at the end of the post for the recipe!
 


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The Reason I’ve Been Neglecting All Of You.

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It’s because I’ve come to realize I hate you all.

JUST JOKING!

You’re all wonderful, beautiful human beings. I adore each and every one of you.

I’m in New York, as I think most of you know by now. I admit I had some pretty big dreams of grandeur for the trip. My boyfriend lives here in New York and one of the main reasons I came out here was to help him move in to his new apartment in Forest Hills, Queens (a beautiful neighborhood for those of you who haven’t memorized the individual neighborhood layouts of the five boroughs).

I had these fantasies of us roaming Manhattan calmly, browsing in little boutiques to find just the right finishing touches to make his apartment home-y and chic all at the same time.

Not what happened.

Cut to us sprinting through Ikea trying to get out quickly so we’re not stranded in Red Hook, Brooklyn (NOT a beautiful neighborhood-I’m pretty sure 3 out of 4 openings to Law and Order take place in Red Hook, however the best Key Lime Pie on the planet and Ikea are there) after dark. Both of us hangry (hungry/angry) and complaining of tired feet, yelling at the other to keep going.

Cut to me, sweaty and hangry (there was a lot of hangry going on) assembling said Ikea furniture until I couldn’t move my fingers.

Cut to us hangrily sorting through curtains at 10:45 in target unable to find the right size in ANYTHING we need.

Basically, there wasn’t too much time for cooking. It’s been just over the past few days we’ve been able to slow down and enjoy our surroundings.

We even went and saw Avenue Q! I’ve seen it before, but in the middle of this showing the fire alarm went off and the entire theater complex had to evacuate. After a while, it was deemed safe to go back in and the show went on.

Later on boyfriend and I (he’s a filmmaker with his production company Suddenly Tragic and I’m also involved with a production company Get Out Of My Head) came across an incredible filming opportunity which we’ll be producing in January- so watch out for that!

Anywho, now the apartment is beautiful and put together, and tomorrow we both take off for California to have Thanksgiving with my family and then take off for Disneyland. Charmed life, I know.

I’ll keep y’all updated! I have some backlogged recipes I’ll attempt to get around to posting, but bear with me!

Hope everyone has a fabulous Thanksgiving.

Cheers!

Stuffed Pumpkin Pancakes

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Yesterday must have been devastating.

I’m sure it went something like this: You, the avid and enthusiastic diehard follower of this blog, wake up. It’s Thursday! Your favorite day! Why? Because there’s always a new post on Thursday! You open your computer, ignoring the shouting coming from your loved ones to pay attention to them, and automatically go right to this very blog. You’re so excited to see what I made and read my witty, concise and grammatically correct banter.

There is nothing. You spiral down into a deep dark place that no one can shake you out of. You can’t be reasoned with because there is no reason left in the world. Everything is over.

That’s how I imagined it playing out in my head, and I’ll confess I was wracked with a touch of guilt. If it’s any consolation, I was however-many-thousand of feet in the air on my way to New York. Now I’m a bi-coastal blogger! How exciting.

Well here is your long awaited blog post. Simple yet super satisfying for those crisp autumn mornings. Stuffed Pumpkin Pancakes. Ready??


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Caramelized Banana Bread

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Somewhere out there in the great wide world there is a woman named Jill Tarves.

Jill, I don’t know you but I already know you’re a genius and you changed my life. Jill, I’m sure you’re as beautiful as you are genius. Jill, if you’re reading this I hope you’re not too creeped out. Hopefully just the right amount. Jill, I think I’ve written your name a few too many times in this post for either of us to be comfortable with.

Here’s the deal, everyone else who is reading this and is probably just as creeped out as Jill, I used to be bound by what I believed were the laws of banana bread. The over-riding law of banana bread goes something like this: the riper the better. Wait and wait and wait until your bananas have turned brown and then they will be perfect for baking.

Well, I should come clean. On my long long list of vices, somewhere close to creepy, complete and utter impatience is near the top.

Then one day I was given a secret and magical tip by my housemate’s boss’ wife and it was one of the happiest baking breakthroughs I’ve ever had. And although ‘baking breakthrough’ is a pretty specific event, out of the few I’ve had, this one is a doozy. I guess you’ll just have to read on to discover what it is.

Also, remember that surprise post that I published yesterday? Well now would be the perfect time to bust out that salted caramel sauce, because you’re going to have some serious drizzling to do.

Let’s get to it.

Make sure to click on the orange drop down box at the end of the post for the recipe!
 


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Salted Caramel Sauce

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Congratulations! You just stumbled upon a surprise post. The best part about this post is that it prepares you for tomorrows post. Also the other best part of this post is that there’s a recipe for delicious salted caramel sauce at the end of all those pretty pictures and awkward ramblings.

I’ll confess I cheated a little when making this sauce. I saw recipes that called for unsalted butter and then adding salt later and I thought to myself “well that’s kind of dumb, why not just use salted butter and be done with it?” so that’s what I did.

It takes a little patience and thorough prep-work but once it gets going it’s a super quick process which yields incredible results.

Plus it’s waaaay cheaper than buying caramel with an unreadable ingredients list at the store. It’s perfect for drizzling on ice cream, adding a spoonful to your coffee, or dunking apples, but my personal favorite way to enjoy is coming up in tomorrow’s post, so stay tuned!! Let’s get started, shall we?

Make sure to click on the orange drop down box at the end of the post for the recipe!
 


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Tomato and Yam Focaccia Galette

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Welcome to the galette.

It’s an incredible dish with identity issues.  It doesn’t know if it’s a pie, a tart or a pizza.  Thank god it’s pretty.

I’ve mainly experienced sweet galettes, with a pie crust edge and thinly sliced fruit for the filling- typically apples or pears.  It’s a beautiful, rustic dish, but as y’all know I can’t just settle for a run of the mill recipe or concept.  I like to change things up a little, so that’s what I did.

I decided to use a focaccia dough, since it’s such an easy and deliciously savory bread and I decided fill it up with tomatoes and yams, which are perfect for roasting.  This dish is the epitome of autumn.

It’s a fairly easy process, although the focaccia takes a while to rise, but it’s so worth it.  Let’s get to it!

Make sure to click on the orange drop down box at the end of the post for the recipe!
 


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Pumpkin Peanut Butter Sandwiches

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So like I said in my previous post it’s not that I was slacking last week, it’s that I was just a touch busy tearing it up at the HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH. And boy is it ever. I love Disneyland. I don’t know how to put into words how MUCH I love Disneyland. And I don’t care about anybody’s lectures of consumerism/ crying children/ blahblahblah. They’re wrong.

I. Love. Disneyland. Crying kids and all. I’m convinced they’re only crying because they’re so happy. So happy to be riding rides and stuffed with treats all day.

And like I said in my last post, my favorite Disneyland treat lives in Pooh’s Corner, a candy store in Critter Country right by the exit of the Winnie the Pooh ride. It’s the Peanut Butter Sandwich and it’s pure bliss. Chocolate-dipped graham cracker smothered in peanut butter and given a second bath in delicious chocolate to cover the whole thing.

I didn’t get one this go-around because it was painfully hot, but when I got back to San Francisco it was noticeably cooler and I desperately wanted one. Longed for one. Needed one.

So of course I decided to make them. But as you lovely readers could have probably guessed by now, I couldn’t just do the run-of-the-mill peanut butter sandwich. It needed a twist, and a can of pumpkin gave me the bright idea to make this treat a little more festive.

It was a definite leap in the dark, so I only did half of my sandwiches with the pumpkin frosting, but after tasting there is no doubt that I would cover the entire batch if I could go back again. It was delicious beyond delicious, a huge crowd pleaser and incredibly easy. Let’s get to it!

Make sure to click on the orange drop down boxes at the end of the post for the recipes!
 


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