Thursday, 31 January 2013

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus

BACON!!!!!! (wrapped asparagus)  I know there will be those who just turn up their noses at this whole concept and say it is a waste of bacon. Yes, several people commented  exactly that on my facebook status when I posted what was for supper tonight. (dangit, I promise I am not so lame as to post what supper is every night, just once in a while)

Anyhow, back to the point of the story.  I saw this pin on Pinterest (yep magic word there again) for a recipe for Bacon Wrapped Asparagus.  I thought it was definitely worth a try since our family loves bacon, and has a moderate enjoyment of asparagus.  Enter Costco...2.2 lb bag of Asparagus for $3!  Then I sat around and waited for a sale on the bacon I liked...JACKPOT! Half price today at Sobeys!

Here is the original pin and the link to the original recipe (because we all know Pinterest crashes at the exact time you are looking for something specific)

Now I fudged the recipe a little, I didn't mix the sugar, butter and soy sauce in a pot and pour it on, i just sprinkled the sugar on, and drizzled melted butter and the soy sauce on top.  Then I baked it.....For too long!  I know what the recipe says and how that picture up there looks - but that is NOT how bacon comes out of my oven after 30 min at 400 when wrapped around asparagus. The asparagus ended up way too soggy for our liking (we like it a bit firm still, not totally mushy inside)  and the bacon was still half raw and chewy.  I was not overly impressed, and my 6 yr old agreed.  He actually took the bacon off and asked me to fry it crispier, then tried to feed the mushy asparagus to the dog (who wouldn't touch a vegetable if her life depended on it).  So where did this recipe go wrong?  Somewhere around the time the bacon didn't go straight into the oven ALONE and then straight into my belly!  Overall, I guess if you like your asparagus and bacon both mushy, then by all means, make this recipe.  If not, take a pass and cook em separately.

Before going in the oven, and after it came out.  You can see the bacon isn't even close to being done but the asparagus got way too wilty way too fast.  And no, that isn't is uh....extra character? 

(On a side delicious note, the circular things you see in the completed picture were awesome!  Basic thin slices of potato sprinkled with pepper and parmesan cheese. If you want them soft, bake about 30 min, crispier ones take 45 or more.  They taste just like the wedges from a pub, but waaaaayyy healthier!)

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

The trouble with Pinterest

I am a die hard Pinterest fan.  It is such a great website!  The problem, however, is that you can't always believe what you read.  I follow all kinds of people's boards for all kinds of different things but I can never be certain of the accuracy of the claims.  This leads to websites like Pinstrosity where people submit photos of their failed Pinterest inspired projects.

My problem isn't with DIY projects, or beauty treatments, because really, what works for one person just may not work for another.  (I have hair that will pretty much cooperate with any of those pin curl or foil wrapped or pop can in the hair techniques, but most don't)  You can't just assume it was a bad pin with bad advice.  Lots of times the pins don't link back to the original source, or they are missing some (or all) instructions, so a person just guesses.  No, this is not the kind of pin I have a problem with.

Have you seen those pins for a recipe that just looks incredible, melt in your mouth, add 40 lbs to your butt delicious but claims to be either sugar free, fat free, gluten free or whatever else free?  Too good to be true but you pin it anyways? Yeah, those are the pins I hate.  We all follow that one (or more in my case) friend or random pinner who just pins everything that looks good but doesn't click the pin and read the information.  Well, this pin caught my attention.  Who doesn't love peanut butter cups? (besides those who seem to be allergic to it of course)

Well, first off, sorry Lindsy, I'm not picking on you, it was just the first pin of this recipe I stumbled on today.  Notice right away it says they taste EXACTLY like Reeses' peanut butter eggs with absolutely NO sugar whatsoever! 55 cal each?  But looking at the picture you can clearly see there is chocolate in it right?  Yeah   my spidey sense was tingling too.  I had to click the link to the blog.  I feel so bad for the woman who posted this recipe to her blog in the first place.  She never once claimed her recipe to be sugar free or low cal or anything, but that is where all the traffic to her blog is coming from.  Misinformation provided on Pinterest.  

The recipe clearly states that SUGAR is an ingredient.  There are no qualms about it.  Somebody, somewhere in the vast time and space of the interweb decided "Hey, I'm going to call this sugar free and low cal and put in on my pinterest pin board!"  This isn't the only pin I have seen this happen with, it is merely the most recent example I have seen.  This recipe looks fantastic for what it is, not because it is sugar free, but because it is full of peanutty chocolatey deliciousness!!

Moral of the story: read your pins, check the sources, and if good ol' Honest Abe has taught us anything, don't lie.  Don't trick yourself into thinking something is healthy just because the internet says it is.  Use your common sense.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Simplicity Sweet Pea Tote Pattern 2396

I love sewing.  Most of the time.  I hate it when I can't make sense of a pattern!

 This Simplicity pattern was awful.  (I was sewing A/B)  Normally I find it fairly straight-forward to follow Simplicity's patterns, but not this time.  If you are a beginner starting out sewing, a tote is an ambitious endeavor to say the least, but if you were a beginner using this pattern you would be clueless.  I have been sewing since my mom taught me how as a young girl (not with much regularity until recently, but enough to not forget what I'm doing) and I was lost reading the instructions.  They were all over the place and seemed incredibly out of order to me.  I'm sure whoever wrote the directions thought it made sense to them, but they clearly forgot some words here and there.  I originally cut out my pieces for this bag before Christmas.  I sat and stared and stared at the instructions and finally thew my hands up in the air and walked away.  Sometimes it is best to do that before you destroy whatever project you are working on.  Well January came and it got COLD! We are talking minus catch your death out there! (an average of -30 Celsius with a windchill that makes it more like -45 Celsius!)  So sitting in the house in the cold, I decided it was time to dig out the old sewing machine again.  I looked at my pieces all cut out laying on my desk.  Then I took one look at the instructions and thew them in the garbage!  (The instructions, not the pieces)  Then I decided I was going to wing it!  Boy am I ever glad it turned out! hahaha.  I have now made two of these bags and the second one went together much faster than the first!  Including the time I spent cutting the pieces and attaching the fusible interfacing, the first bag took about 3 1/2 hours.  The second bag took just over 2.  I could see myself making more of these! Christmas gifts for all next year!!

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Loaf

If you are anything like me, you pretty much only bake banana loaf when you have brown spotty bananas to use up!  Well, this time I didn't really want plain ol' banana loaf.  I felt like having something a little bit different, so I created a new recipe for Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Loaf!  I hope you enjoy it as much as we have been!
Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Loaf

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Loaf

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Loaf

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Loaf

2/3 c. unsalted butter - softened
2 eggs
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. skim milk
2/3 c. PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter (I got mine on
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 c. quick oats
2 c. all purpose flour
3 mashed bananas

Combine butter, eggs, sugar, milk and powdered peanut butter.  Mix very well as the powdered peanut butter tends to stay lumpy for a long time.  Combine dry ingredients and add to wet mixture.  Mix well.  Add the pre-mashed bananas. (I have noticed that if you just gently fold in the bananas without beating thoroughly, the loaf rises much nicer)  Bake for 45-50 minutes at 325°.  Cool a few minutes before removing from pan, then place on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes before slicing. (unless you are impatient like me and want to eat it warm fresh out of the oven!)

Bon Apetit!

*note: I sprinkled oats on top of the loaf before baking, but that was really just so it was aesthetically pleasing.  :)

Friday, 4 January 2013

DIY Glitter-ific Heels!

I am a sucker for glitter.  I love it! I just wish it wasn't like the herpes of the craft world.  Enter Mod Podge!   I have been seeing posts all over Pinterest for different DIY glitter heels tutorials, so I figured it was about time I try it.  I must warn you now, once you attempt it, you will want to glitterify everything!!

Start with a basic pair of heels (I got these babies at Value Village for $3.99)

I bought a big bottle of Martha Stewart glitter (because that is the only brand and size I found the color I had in mind) and a small bottle of a metallic acrylic paint in a matching color.  I started by painting the parts that I didn't want glittered in the metallic paint.  (I don't know about you, but I didn't want gritty glitter under my toesies!)  I also painted around any edges I thought would be hard to get glitter on (like the toe opening).

I really liked the idea of keeping the sole black as well as the little bow on the top, so I masked it all off with green painter's tape.

Then came the fun part!! Mod Podge and Glitter!!!  Spread a generous coat of mod podge on a small area. (If you work on too large of an area at one time, it will dry before you get glitter on it) Over some sort of container for containing your mess, sprinkle a whack of glitter over the mod podge then shake off the excess. ( don't want this in your nostrils. Trust me.) I started with just a heel on one to make sure this was going to go well before I committed further.  I liked it, so I continued.

Wait about half an hour, then slather on a generous (but not drippy) coating of Mod Podge over top of everything you just put glitter on.  This will seal it in.  I used a Matte finish Mod Podge, just because that is what I had on hand, but I imagine you could use others.

Very important last step before you walk away for the night:
Take all the tape off about half an hour after your final coat of Mod Podge or else you will glue that stuff on there right along with the glitter!! I have forgotten on other projects (thankfully not this one) and very much regretted it later on!

Finally, enjoy your finished product!!  I will note though, that the shoes are a lot stiffer now and while these fit perfectly before I glittered them, they fit pretty tightly now since there isn't as much give to them.  My SIL might be getting a late Christmas gift... haha!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Easy (but look hard) Christmas cupcakes

I was lazy this year.  We had so much going on leading up to Christmas this year, the last thing I wanted to do was come up with a desert for supper.  Enter Betty Crocker Cherry Chip cupcakes!  I wanted to decorate them pretty, but like I said, I was lazy.  I started by whipping up a batch of fluffy white icing.  I then grabbed a random icing tip from my box, plugged it into a pastry bag, then painted a stripe of Kelly green Wilton gel coloring up one side of the inside of the bag, and a stripe of no-taste Red Wilton gel up the other.  Then I filled it with my plain white icing and just piped a spiral on each cupcake.  Adorable, no?