Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Chocolate Dipped Oreo Truffles

My oldest loves a feast!  She loves getting the whole family together and eating delicious food that you pretty much only eat once a year.  She loves meat too.  Corned Beef is right up her alley...unless she finds the brining strange.  I guess we'll find out.

My sister and I host the St Patty's Day Feast and invite our parents over to partake in the festivities.  We split up the duties.  The last two years it has been her job to make the corned beef and the accompaning veg: cabbage, potatoes and carrots.  I am not a fan of corned beef.  It kind of makes me want to gag a little bit.  So I am happy to turn over this job to her.  My dearest husband though LOVES it, so I guess once a year I can stomach long as my sister cooks it. It is my job to do everything else! 

I was going to turn dessert over to her but then she informed me that she was just going to buy something at the store.  GROSS!!  What can you get at the store that's very tasty?  I would much rather have something home-made.  So I am doing dessert, colcannan (this crazy Irish dish with mashed potatoes, loads of butter, cabbage and ham) and Irish Soda bread courtesy of Ina.  Very tasty! 

truffles before chocolate coating
Dessert is going to be oreo truffles.  If you haven't heard of these, it's pretty simple.  I got this off of Bakerella's web-site.  Take 20 mint oreos and (you're suppoed to have 12, but my package only came with 10 more) cookie part with the cream filling taken out.  Make into crumbs in food processor.  Stir in one package softened cream cheese.  Form into balls.  Refrigerate til firm.  Dip in chocolate.

I am using Callebaut dark chocolate to dip the truffles in...and something tells me the chocolate quality is going to far surpass the oreo truffle quality.  Nothing against oreos, but, come one.  Delicious, dark callebaut should probably be paired with something a little fancier.  I am all about the fancy you know.  But we will see.  I am hoping to turn them into little pots of gold.  I bought some gold chocolate rocks to top them with.

I think they are a success.  You have to use your imagination a little bit to see the pots of gold.   I feel they are a little odd texturally, and very very rich.  The minty taste is nice.  And the fine-quality chocolate is an excellent dipper.  If I were to do them over again I would definitely freeze vs. refrigerate the un-coated balls before hand as swirling them in the melted chocolate caused them to fall apart slightly and I couldn't mold them into a very good pot shape.  Both girls were licking every little crumb off their plates.

Chocolate Tips (disclaimer: I am not a chocolatier, so there you have it)
1. Don't get water anywhere near your chocolate!  It will cause it to seize up and be a complete disaster
2. Chop your chocolate into small pieces and when melting, melt on a very low heat
3. Try not to melt it completely, when it looks mostly melted, remove from heat and start stirring and let the residual heat finish melting the last few lumps
4. Add a pile of unmelted chocolate into the melted chocolate and stir like crazy to get the unmelted pieces to melt using whatever heat is left.  This helps bring the temperature cool enough to dip in.
5. If the chocolate in your pan gets too cool.  Briefly put back on burner until it starts to melt again.  Stir stir stir. You don't want it to get too warm.
6.  The chocolate needs to be cool to the touch before you dip anything in it.  No warmth whatsoever!

Here's the thing about tempering, you see, you want your chocolate to solidify after you've dipped whatever it is you're dipping in the chocolate.  If you do not temper it correctly, it will never harden.  So then you're left with a gooey chocolatey mess instead of a nice hard chocolate shell. 

Here's my final word on chocolate dipped oreo truffles...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pin-cushion Fun

If you are Thomas and you are my pin-cushion swap partner, please avert your eyes! 

I am showing off the goods here and now....I'll wait 10 seconds for you to scram....

...this is what I organized this weekend.  I am a notorious magazine and newspaper page ripper-outer.  Luckily I tossed probably 2/3 of this pile.  I only kept the very best for me to (hopefully) try at a later date.

Is Thomas still around?



Cute right?  There was basically no rules about what make.  It was just have fun and if your partner has any wishes, like me, no civil war reprints please, just make something awesome.
So I used Heather Bailey's square pin cushion tutorial as a jumping off point, but as my printer doesn't work, I had to figure it out on my own.  I made the top out of a cute little 4 patch using what I feel are complimentary fabrics, but at the same time an unexpected pairing.  And in the middle I added a little be-jeweled fanciness.

The white with brown polka dots around the edge is just fun! I used this fussy cut of a bird on the back because after checking out Thomas' blog, I saw he likes birds.

See ya!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Just like that

So I got the binding done too!
I think it turned out really cute.  I like the black binding with white polka dots, I think it frames the quilt nicely. And I feel the yellow isn't too much.  Sometimes I like too much color and too much pattern and the main focus of the quilt gets lost.

Yay!  Happy St. Patty's to my family, we now have a decoration to celebrate the holiday of my  husband's ancestors.  A totally cute one too if you ask me.

Instead of quilting it traditionally, I used 3 strands of yellow embroidery floss.  I made bigger stitches and it went so quickly and gives it that extra touch of detail.

It's so hard to see.  Taking pictures with a lot of white makes my camera go crazy. 

Now, I know you have enough time.  7 days to be exact.  Go make something green!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Endless Winter/Give them a chance to help

Where are the flowers you say?  Why, they're right there.  Can't you see them? Burried under inches of snow!  Forget my last post.  Winter is here to stay.  I will say though, the only good thing about snow in March is that it's sure to melt the same day it falls.  So, that does allow for a bit of hope to sneak it's way back in.

Now, on to what this post is really supposed to be about.  The snow was just an unfortunate detour.

I want to encourage parents to have their little ones help out with household chores more.  Both my girls love to help!  I can remember when my oldest was just about 2 and she colored all over my mom's floor with a crayon.  My first instinct was to clean it myself.  But, I handed her a damp towel and let her clean up her mess as best she could.  I have tried to do this with my kids.  If they make the mess, I want them to clean it up.  But more than that, I believe that starting at 2, they can help out with every day chores to a certain degree.

My youngest helps me unload the dishwasher every day and it is her job to put the silverware away.  I hurry and get all the sharp knives out before she gets to it, but this makes her feel like such a big girl and she feels that she has a done a good job.  She also likes to help with all the other dishes too.  Watching her precariously dig out glass bowls and plates just about gives me a panic attack, but still I let her.

Sometimes I put everything in the right spot...sometimes I just leave it like this.

Now for the big one...Laundry.  I hate doing laundry.  I can load the washer and dryer all the day long, but to fold and put it away is like torture for some reason.  But then, I realized my kids can help with laundry.  This was an epiphany!  Now, it works a little better with their clothes.  I just hand my oldest a pile of folded laundry and she knows where everything goes.  For my youngest, I hand her a couple things and tell her things like, "Top drawer", "Shirt drawer",  "Pants drawer".  And they pretty much make it into their respective spots.  They aren't necessarily folded anymore, but the upside is they are out of the laundry basket and put away.  I think I can handle a few wrinkles.

The kitchen linens on the other least they're in the drawer...right?

Because it was so chilly last night, I decided the only thing to be had for dinner was...chili  Yum.  I wanted to make cheddar jalapeno biscuits, but didn't have two important ingredients.  Luckily I was invited to my sister's house for lunch and she just happened to have sour cream out. don't happen to have jalapenos as well, do you?  Why yes she did.  A couple weeks ago I had bought her rolls for her supper and so this was a nice way to repay me since I'd forgotten about the debt.

Sour Cream a la baggy.


Yum.  The recipe I used is courtesy of Smitten Kitchen.  I loved it the first time I made these, I think I must have done something different this time as I didn't love it quite as much.  I think I might have needed more cheese and less flour.  They were a little dry.  But I think using sour cream is such an interesting ingredient. 


Monday, March 7, 2011

Signs of Spring

Do you know what this means?

Leaps of joy!
Hallelujah winters frigid grip is losing it's hold!
The Crocuses are blooming!  I've already begun planning when I am going to plant my peas and what lovely veg I'm going to plant in my garden this year!

Here's the progress on my St Patty's Day Quilt...St. Patty's or St. Paddy's?  I've seen it both ways.

My assembly line ready to be assembled.  I find that when I'm first putting together a block, I don't pre-cut anything.  I just cut as I go, that way if I don't like something or if something isn't the wrong size, I haven't wasted a bunch of precious fabric.  But, once I get it figured out, then pre-cutting is the only way to go.  Of course remember...Cut once, measure twice.

I feel like such a rebel when I cut these fabric ears off.  Of course, I have made the mistake of sewing my pieces on the wrong, then cutting the ears off and then...well the fabric can't be used again.  So...again, watch carefully that you are sewing your pieces properly before you cut.

See, less bulk.  Makes everything much tidier.

Here's what I had, 3 blocks.  My original and then the two I made after.  I had run out of my main white and so started using the white with yellow dots, which I like quite a lot.  But I was stuck knowing what to do to complete it.

I love a checker board.  Plus I had this cute fabric that looks celtic to me and i figured it would work perfectly.  I didn't have much though...just enough for this...

And I think this is about what it's going to be.  I'll throw on a border somehow and then call it done!
A warning to all parents of toddlers.  My husband was running on the treadmill last night when my 2 year old was playing nearby, I don't know if she was trying to get on or what, but she ended up face down on the treadmill, trapped and unable to get up.  Luckily Ryan was quick, ripped out the safety stop  latch and pulled her off with only minimal damage.  I've read where kids have gotten 3rd degree burns off the moving track.

So my youngest is doing fine.

A burn on her wrist.

And on her chin, but you can't even seen the chin owie in this picture.  I think she's going to be fine.  This is just a lesson to mom and dad!  Be careful!

Banana?   Milk?   Yogurt?  Geez, you'd think I don't feed these kids!  She's holding an egg I crocheted.  I think Easter last year made a big impression on this little one.  She has loved eggs ever since!

One last glimpse of spring.  sigh
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