Have you ever looked at the price of vanilla sugar? It's priced somewhere between "Gold per Ounce" and "Firstborn Child." And if you've ever had the pleasure of smelling vanilla sugar, it's not hard to see why they feel like they can charge prices like this.
But if you're savvy, you know better. DIY vanilla sugar is something everybody can do. All you need is a big ol' jar like a pickle jar, except with all the pickle smell long, long washed out; some sugar, and some vanilla beans.
I must confess, I must be a sucker for challenges, cause when the YMC editor threw down the gauntlet asking if anybody would be willing to make a real honest to goodness fruitcake (like the kind you marinate with alcohol for weeks), I actually volunteered. In my defense, I had never made a fruitcake before. I was thinking it couldn't possibly be a big deal. Also, I heard that real, authentic, honest-to goodness fruitcake is amazeballs and totally worth it.
Well, it is. Both a big deal and totally worth it. But you'll have to have a lot of patience and a little faith.
As is often the case, some of the best recipes seem to come out of everything going pear-shaped. Case in point: coconut breakfast buns.
Cinnamon buns had been on brain for a while, and I had a recipe sketched out. I happened to have some time on my hands and I thought I would bake. But I was well overdue for a grocery run. In my poor, nearly-empty fridge, next to expired milk (which I tossed), was non-expired table cream I had for guests for coffee. I had only salted butter. And when I went to my pantry, my coconut oil was sitting there looking me right in the eye.
Winter is coming! And besides the next season of Game of Thrones, that means you need football and hockey-watching eats, after school snacks, busy weeknight meals, and munchies for watching movies through the cold winter season. These super-fast and easy baked pizza pockets will cover all your bases.
Our bacon, that art delicious, hallowed be thy name. Thy crispy crumbs when fried till done makes the kitchen smell like heaven. It's just too bad that it's such a PITA to make, right? That to have a love affair with bacon, you have to be a bit of a masochist, willing to endure the pain of its delicious kisses. That there is no way to cook bacon painlessly and perfectly - every time.
I was experimenting in the kitchen, hardcore, when disaster struck. As I was folding in egg whites into the candied gelatin mixture that would shortly become blueberry marshmallows - the last step before putting them in the pan - the beautiful purple began to turn... green? Flummoxed, I tasted it. Tasted fine. I tried stirring it up. No luck. So as I went looking on the internet for the answer, a Google book provided me a little tidbit I never knew or thought about before:
I inherited the original Mars Bars Rice Krispies recipe from a friend years ago. I believe there's recipes floating around on the internet too, cause she was a follow-the-recipe kind of gal. The taste was delicious, but they were really dense, kind of greasy, tough to chew, and kind of overkill on the chocolate... and the calories. With a few tweaks, I got a really light square that was more economical, easy to eat, produced more than 16 tiny (impossible to cut) little squares, and was not death-by-chocolate.
If you're bored with the traditional summer offerings of hotdogs, potato salad, and corn, then clearly it's past time to try grilled fruit in your diet. High heat caramelizes the sugars in the fruit - it's everyone's favourite chemical reaction, the Maillard, and the grill can impart a complex smoky and uber-sweet flavour that will make you say wow!
There's an awful lot of red wine sangria recipes out there, and they're pleasant enough, but I'm a bigger fan of white wine--if for no other reason than because red wine is unkind to me in the hangover department. Sangrias are so incredibly easy--virtually impossible to do wrong, actually - and something that I almost never make the same way twice. There's always a great new flavour, or a new fruit that's in season.
It was a long month on our budget eating adventure, and I've learned some amazing things along the way. I hope you have too. I wanted to share a list of some of the most unusual things I've learned...hopefully you find them helpful for either yourself, or when trying to perform compassionate acts for those in need.
The world is a little bit of a darker place now that Christopher Lee has passed away. He was 93 and he lived a life more amazing than most people will ever hope to do. Here are some amazing things about Sir Christopher Lee, because the man many today know as Saruman from Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit was not only a great and powerful wizard, but also so much more.
The Hunger Games Week Three has us sitting pretty much at our "new normal." It's humbling to think that it took us three weeks to get here - to recover a good chunk of my pantry and set myself up in a decent position where we had a good variety of food, enough of every food group to get us comfortably through the week (according to the Canada Food Guide), have some of the treats that my family has requested, and finally actually be below budget.
Most people wouldn't consider using their slow cooker to cook a whole chicken. What if I told you that it was not only EASY, but also a great way to save the day when you wake up in the morning and realize that you've forgotten to defrost anything for supper? You can cook a chicken straight from frozen in the slow cooker, safely ,and without stress.
I was hobnobbing on a PR trip when the topic of preservation of foods came up, and it wasn't long before everyone admitted that they really wanted to learn canning, but were afraid of that dreaded b-word: Botulism. Botulism is no joke, and it can have deadly consequences. I admit, I'm one of those people who knows just enough about it to know I don't want to mess around. I detoured firmly into the realm of preservation by freezing, and I've been happily ensconced there since.
Week Two of the Hunger Games Challenge has us pretty firmly in stride. We stopped feeling so hungry all the time, our stomachs adjusted (mostly) to the change in diet, and the quality of food improved significantly after the second grocery trip. Kidlet has stopped giving us so much grief about the lacks of certain things and he appears to have filled his hollow leg. We had a bit of a breather on Sunday, too, as we were invited to a BBQ by friends and Mother-in-Law for Mother's Day.
We're just at the end of week one, and it's been a bit of a rough week for us, in all honesty. Morale was a bit low throughout the week as we tried to make do with things that weren't our usual fare and the discomfort that came with the sudden change to our diet, and it was compounded by the fact that my son appears to have just started stocking up for a growth spurt.