Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Peanut Butter Cups… Kind of

Did I just make buckeyes?  I think I did.  I set out fully intending to make peanut butter cups, but in my effort to avoid the little paper cups, I ended up with a different candy!  The recipe is from One Good Thing by Jillee, who got it from RadMegan.  The only ingredient I changed is the chocolate.  Instead of using a bag of chocolate chips I bought bulk bar chocolate.

You will need

2 Tbsp organic butter ($3.79 per 32 Tbsp, $3.79/32Tbsp = $.12 x 2Tbsp = $.24)

14 Tbsp homemade peanut butter ($1.53 per cup, $1.53/16Tbsp = $.09 x 14Tbsp = $1.34)

¾ cup powdered sugar ($1.56 per 2lb, $1.56/7.5cups = $.21 x .75cup = $.16)

About 1 lb quality chocolate ($4.99 per lb, $4.99 x .9lb = $4.49)

Delicious peanut butter filling
I know you want to eat one.

Melt the butter in a large bowl in the microwave.  Stir in the peanut butter, then the sugar.  Refrigerate.  Once it’s firmed up a little, scoop up teaspoonfuls (I happen to have a scoop for this, but you can also roll spoonfuls into balls) onto a plate and put it in the freezer.  While it’s freezing, melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pot of simmering water.  Dip the peanut butter balls into the chocolate with a fork, scraping excess chocolate on the side of the bowl.  Lay the dipped ball on parchment paper, silicone mat, or flattened plastic bag.  Freeze until firm and peel off the mat.

Note about working with chocolate- even though you are melting the chocolate over water, DO NOT LET IT GET WET!  The chocolate will seize and you'll have to toss it.

Combination dip/spoon on the chocolate, then scrape the excess off on the bowl edge.
Where is my silicone mat?  This worked surprisingly well in its absence.

Try It

$6.23 for 1.03lb, or $6.05 per lb

Buy It

Martin’s has bulk mini Reese’s for $4.49 per lb


They are crazy good.  I have a lot of chocolate left over, so I might re-dip them for a little extra chocolate kick.  Unfortunately they are a little pricey compared to the pre-made ones, so even though they were pretty easy, especially since I made them little at a time throughout the day, I think I will just Buy It.  It was worth a shot, anyway! 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Cream Cheese and Brownie Double Fail

Just want to say - 2013 has not been my year so far.  Though it's had its moments, it's mostly been a year of sick kids, a severed pinky tip for Elizabeth, an unusually wild Spencer, bad weather, and general blah-ness.  Thanks for hanging in there with me, people!  Maybe when the warm weather finally gets here for good it’ll clear out the cobwebs a little and I can get some great projects going!  

I was actually pretty excited to try out a homemade cream cheese recipe.  There’s a reason that I haven’t tried to make bagels yet.  I have the good fortune to live near the best bagel shop I’ve ever been to: Bodo’sBagels.  They’re soft inside, chewy outside, a little crunchy on the bottom…  They’re better than real New York bagels.  I’m serious. We got a bunch over the weekend as we do periodically and shoved them in the freezer after tearing into a few.  So I thought cream cheese would be perfect, and the recipe didn’t look too difficult…

I’m not even going to break it down for you, it was such a fail.  The sad part was I know what I did wrong, and if I had time to go back to the store and get all the curdled nastiness off everything in time to write this, I would have.  I just forgot that you can’t use ultra pasteurized milk to make cheese.  Eesh.

At least Spencer had fun!
So I thought I’d make a brownie in a mug, a great replacement for those simultaneously genius and ridiculous (and wasteful!) WarmDelight things, and a perfect little treat for a rainy Wednesday.  I’ve made it before, but last time it came out pretty dry, so this time I went on Pinterest  to look at the wide array of recipes.  I went for this one because it was touted as not being dry and spongy.  I must have missed something, because instead it came out rock hard and inedible!  Eesh again.  Since I still have the first recipe, I’ll break than one down instead.  It’s pretty good.  I originally found it though my friend Em’s family blog. 


You will need

¼ cup organic flour ($4.99 per 5 lb, $4.99/80 oz = $.06 x 1.375oz = $.08)

¼ cup sugar ($2.99 per 5 lb, $2.99/80oz = $.04 x 1.875oz = $.08)

2 Tbsp cocoa ($3.00 for 8 oz, $3.00 x 2.8125 cups = $1.07/16Tbsp = $.07 x 2Tbsp = $.13)

1/8 tsp salt ($.47 per 26oz, $.47/30.69tsp = $.02 x .125tsp = less than $.01)

1/8 tsp baking soda ($.31 per lb, $.31/31.5Tbsp = $.01/3tsp = $.003 x 1/8 tsp = less than $.01)

1 organic egg ($3.99 per 12, $3.99/12eggs = $.33)

3 Tbsp organic milk ($5.99 per gallon, $5.99/128fl.oz = $.05 x 1.5fl.oz = $.07)

3 Tbsp vegetable oil ($2.79 per 32fl.oz, $2.79/32fl.oz = $.09 x 1.5fl.oz = $.13)
These are easier to make in a small bowl than an actual mug. 

In a small bowl, mix together all dry ingredients.  Stir in egg, followed by the milk and oil.  Place bowl in microwave for about 2 minutes.  Cook for additional time if needed, but it’s better underdone than overdone!

Try It

$.82 for a single serving.  They say it serves two, but who are we kidding- you’re going to eat the whole thing.

Buy It

Oddly my local grocery store didn’t have them, but Warm Delights are $15.92 for 8 on Amazon, or $1.99 
each for the 3.35oz size.


For a quick chocolate fix, this does hit the spot.  Try it.  Not the rock version, but this one.  And don’t go to the grocery store after supper in the rain, you’ll get distracted and forget important things like ultra pasteurization! 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Sweet Potato Chips

Have you ever had sweet potato chips?  They’re pretty much the best thing ever.  When I was pregnant with Spencer I ate a ton of them made by Route 11. Crazy good!   Fast forward to this morning, when I found myself giving a dry-looking sweet potato sitting on my counter the stink eye.  “What am I going to do with you?”  I saw on Pinterest that you can make potato chips in the microwave, but even though that sounds novel, it also sounded a little gross.  I used a Martha Stewart recipe to point me in the right direction for making them in the oven, and took it from there.

You will need

1 sweet potato ($.87)

2 Tbsp olive oil ($2.99 per lb, .06lb x $2.99 = $.18)

Salt to taste, ½ tsp (est) ($.47 per 26oz, $.47/30.69tsp = $.02 x .5 tsp = $.01)

I've definitely seen fresher sweet potatoes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Slice the sweet potato in ¼” rounds (you can peel it first if you want, I left the skin on).  It’s more important that the slices are even than that they are ¼”.  Toss the slices with 1 Tbsp of the oil.  Spread the other Tbsp of oil evenly onto a baking sheet. Spread the slices onto the sheet in a single layer and bake for about 30 minutes, flipping them half way though, and watching them CLOSELY towards the end!  Remove them from the pan when they come out of the oven to stop the cooking process, and sprinkle them with salt.
A little dark, but still great.

Right towards the end of the baking time Spencer’s preschool carpool pulled up and the chips got a little overcooked, but they were still delicious!

Try It

$1.06 per… I ate them all before I could weigh them.

Buy It

$1.50 per 1.5oz bag


Well, it’s hard to compare since not only did I eat them ALL before I thought to weigh them, but they’re also just really different.  I like that mine don’t involve a plastic bag, and they’re pretty tasty, so I’ll say Try It.  I think I prego burned out on the Route 11 version, anyway. You could also go a cinnamon and brown sugar route seasoning them, I do that to wedges sometimes (in which case you would add the seasonings to the olive oil before tossing).  

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Brown Sugar Oatmeal "Packets"

Spencer loves oatmeal, the sticky glue type that comes in packets that my mom keeps.  I won’t buy them, I think they’re gross.  Thankfully, there seem to be a number of recipes floating around to mimic these.  I first saw the idea on The Simple Dollar, but that wasn’t so much a recipe as a guideline.  I found this one on Allrecipes.  I liked it because it was simple and used old fashioned oats which have a much better texture than instant.  I only made half a batch of the original in case I didn’t like it, and made a few slight changes.

You will need

2 cups organic old-fashioned oats ($1.49 per lb, $1.49/16oz = $.09 x 8oz = $.75)

½ cup wheat germ ($2.79 per 16oz, $2.79/3.5 cups = $.79 x .5cup = $.39)

6 Tbsp packed brown sugar ($1.79 per 32oz, $1.79/4.73cups = $.38 x .375 cup = $.14)

½ tsp cinnamon ($1.97 per 2.37oz, $1.97/2.37oz = $.83 x .03oz = $.02)

This is what I decided powdery looks like, but if it's too coarse you could blend everything again after tasting it.
Put the oats in a food processor, and blend until kind of powdery.  Add the remaining ingredients, and pulse until combined.  Store in an airtight container.

To prepare oatmeal, pour ¼ cup of mixture into a bowl.  Add ¼ cup milk, stir to combine, and microwave 
for 30 seconds. 
It looks terrible, but it was delicious!

Try It

$1.30 for 10 37.5g servings, or $.13/serving ($.35 per 100g)

Buy It

$3.59 for 10 43g packets of Quaker’s Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal, or $.36/packet ($.83 per 100g)


Holy moly that stuff is good!   I was expecting to feel better about Spencer eating it since it’s not pasty and sticky sweet, but since I’m not a big oatmeal person, I didn’t expect to like it myself.  It has texture and flavor.  Definitely Try It!