Sunday, January 30, 2011

Gearin' up for a Snowstorm = Down-Home Comfort Food

This weekend has been a whirlwind of activity! Including a lot of fun activities! (Minus the dishes. Haha.)






But before I tell you about my weekend, let me tell you about our delicious dinner tonight! The Midwest is preparing itself for a huuuuuuuge snowstorm later this week. Of course, today it was mid-30s and sunny, one of the nicest days we've had in several weeks. But I'm sure the terror of the storm is to come. I'm secretly hoping for a snow day or two.


Anyways, whenever I think of horrible no-good very bad weather, I think of comfort food. One of my ultimate comfort foods from my childhood is chicken pot pie. My mom and I would have these for dinner a lot when my dad was out of town on business. I remember she would scoop out half the pot pie and then give me the half that had the little container. That was the best part! It came in its own pan. (Nowadays, though, I couldn't imagine sharing a pot pie! I want the goods all to myself. I guess I was much smaller then... a 7-year old doesn't really eat as much as a 22-year old. Did I just disclose my age? Uh oh.)


So I set out to make a homemade pot pie. Something I've never done before. I mean, the Schwann man does it pretty well, so why try to fix sumthin' that ain't broke? (Gosh, I sound like some of my students.)


Sorry for the horrible lighting. I just wish it were daylight all the time so I could get decent pics!
I followed this recipe over at Annie's Eats, pretty much exactly. Because I didn't really change anything, I don't feel comfortable posting her recipe here, so go check it out! She's got some gorgeous pics, too.


However, I did cut the recipe in half, and I did not make my own pie crust. My man, the Pillsbury Doughboy, helped me out in that area. (I know, what is the world coming to?)


The filling is made by sauteeing onion, garlic, potato, mushrooms, and red pepper in some butter, and then adding shredded chicken and peas. Oh, and the homemade-cream-of-chicken soup-sauce. (Please note that I did have to add quite a bit of milk to thin down the sauce to the consistency I prefer, if you try the recipe. It just depends on how thick you like your filling.)





The verdict? Super-delicious! My Business Man and I gobbled these right up, and even have some leftovers for another dinner this week. My favorite bites were the bites of mushroom, which ironically were my Business Man's least favorite bites. (He hates the fungi.) We did both wish there was a crust on the bottom, too, but in reality it is a lot healthier without that bottom crust. 


Of course, I couldn't make a type of pie without making some cinnamon-sugar pie crust snacks with the leftover dough. My mom always did this when I was little. So so good!


Flaky, buttery, cinnamon-sugary... mmm, mmm good.


Anyways, back to my weekend. (For those that are interested.)


We spent Saturday afternoon helping some friends move and then devouring pizza with said friends. Yum. (Yes, that was three days in a row for pizza, if you were counting.)


Later that night, we discovered a precious gem in the Bean Town, the Dollar Movies! On the other side of town, you can go see a new(-ish) movie for only $2! Yes, it's called the Dollar Movies, and yes it costs $2. Don't ask me who came up with that logic. But it's brilliant! The other theater in town (right across the street from where we live) costs $8.50 a ticket! So if we can exercise some patience with the  new flicks, we can see four movies for the price of one at the normal theater.


One more exciting thing that happened Saturday night is that one of my BFF's from college got engaged yesterday! I am so, so happy and excited for Jen and her fiance! She is so special to me, and I am ecstatic to help her plan the big day. 



Jen is on the left. Did I mention she is a twin? You can meet Michelle in this post. [Side note: Can I have my tan back? Pleeeeeeease?]


Now on to Sunday. It's been a pretty chill day... the usual Sunday school, Church, Sunday nap. A few hours of school work. A nice dinner shared with my Business Man. Now we are settling in with a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie.


Can't believe the weekend's about over already! Hope y'all have a great week!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Best Friday Ever

Yesterday I was privileged with the opportunity to play 'hooky' from school. Okay, not really, but I attended a Track & Field Coaching Clinic down in Columbus. I was technically "working," just not in the classroom.


It was an overnight trip, so my Business Man decided to "work from his computer" on Friday and come with me. We left late Thursday afternoon, and of course just as we were leaving it started to snow. So the trip took a little longer than usual. Pretty typical, when it comes to traveling for us. 


We arrived at the Hilton, where the conference was located. Now, my school is pretty awesome, and paid the cost of the hotel room for me. All I had to do was check-in, fill out a tax exemption form, and I'd be good to go.


However, when we went to check in, they couldn't find my name in the system. Anywhere. And they couldn't find the names of the other coaches from my school that should be there either. Hmmmm... and I started to wonder, "Maybe this isn't the same hotel we are staying at?"


Now, I knew we weren't staying at the Hilton, obviously. And there's like a billion other hotels nearby. And I didn't have my other coaches' phone numbers. Great. Maybe we could just camp out in the car.


So, we began the trek all the way back through the hotel to the car, when I ran into one of my fellow coaches. And I said a quiet prayer of thanks to the Lord for letting us cross paths at that very moment. He informed me that we were actually staying at the Courtyard, about 2 blocks down the road. I guess I should start opening my ears a little better in conversation, ehh?


So, we finally made it to the Courtyard, and got ourselves checked in. By this time it was past 8 o'clock. And we still needed to get dinner. So much for making it to any coaching sessions that night. Hmmph. 


Our room looked like this. I took this picture from the hotel's website.
However, we did dine at one of my absolute favorite restaurants, the Cheesecake Factory! I just love this place... I've never had something bad here. Everything from the super-delish brown bread when you sit down, to the extensive list of entrees and appetizers, to the oh-so-tempting dessert case. 

I had the BBQ chicken pizza, with gouda cheese. Gosh, it was so good. And of course a slice of cheesecake to go. I went with the Chocolate Cake Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake. I took a picture of it (as I ate it in bed, haha...) but my camera battery charger has mysteriously gone awol. So this picture will have to suffice.





My Business Man and I were supposed to "share" it, but he didn't even want any once we got back to the hotel! The man does not know what he is missing.


Anyways, one of the best parts about this trip was that my first session on Friday morning was not even until 11am! That meant sleeping in, running, and going out for breakfast. 


After a lazy morning with my Business Man, spent at Panera Bread, I headed to the conference. I learned all about making coaching "fun", and the art and science of distance running. I really enjoyed the conference, and just being around other running-minded people, since I don't get a lot of that in the Bean Town. I wouldn't say that I learned a ton about distance running, because the presentations mostly followed the training plans that I followed in college. It felt good to know what they were talking about though!


After the conference was over about 4pm, I met up with my Business Man again. Who was supposedly "working" all day, but texted me about 1:30 saying he was in a movie. Haha.


We hit up a few shops, and then grabbed an early dinner at another one of my favs, California Pizza Kitchen! (Yes, I did have pizza two nights in a row. I might have even had BBQ Chicken Pizza two nights in a row. And yes, I loved it.  If I had to choose any foods to eat for the rest of my life, my two picks would be pizza and ice cream.)


Of course, we also had to make a pitstop at Trader Joe's to stock up on some of our favorites, and try a few new things. I got some dark chocolate peanut butter cups that are so delectable. They are hiding on the top shelf of the cabinet. Because you know, if you have to get a chair out to reach them, you will eat less. Yea right.


We finally made our way back to the Bean Town late last night, and are getting ourselves situated this morning. We enjoyed some blackberry pancakes, and now I'm gearing up for a run. Then we're off to help some friends move this afternoon! Busy day.


I'm hoping to get cooking some more this week, so check back for a Chicken Pot Pie recipe! Perfect food for the winter doldrums...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Confessions, edition #1

This week has been crazy! Here's a few ramblings that have been running through my mind...


1. As much as I love to cook, I haven't cooked dinner once this week. Monday night we had a deli-roasted chicken. Tuesday night was cereal. Tonight my amazing Business Man had a gourmet meal waiting for me when I got home from the gym at 7pm. 


Salad, cheese tortellini, and garlic bread! Love my Business Man!

Enjoying the carb-licious-ness...


2. I got home from the gym so late because I decided to do my long run today. On the treadmill. I watched an episode of Friends, two episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond, and another half-episode of Friends. I don't think I've watched that many sitcoms on TV consecutively since I was in college, and my roommate Tal-Tal and I would watch entire DVD's of Friends episodes. In one sitting. Of course while eating buffalo popcorn chicken or DQ blizzards.


3. Speaking of DQ, the Dairy Queen's (yes, there's more than one) in the Bean Town closed "for the season" on Nov. 18. This means I have gone approximately 10 weeks and 6 days without a blizzard. For a girl who is accustomed to devouring a blizzard treat once a week, I am in a state of deprival. I am afraid that once the DQ opens again and the new Coldstone opens this spring, I will be in big trouble.


This is brownie batter. My favorite is french silk pie made with chocolate ice cream. The internet has no pictures of that. One of the Dairy Queen's in the Bean Town does not serve chocolate ice cream. Is that not the weirdest thing? We don't go to that one anymore, ever since that first time. Bad decision on their part, not to serve chocolate ice cream.
4. My pre-run snack today was a bottle of Diet Mountain Dew and a cake pop. Sugar makes you run fast, right?


5. I have been a cake pop making machine. Who needs real food when you can eat cake pops?


6. I love teaching and all, but am so excited because Friday I get to miss school to go to a track & field coaching clinic in Columbus. It doesn't help that the clinic is at Easton Town Center, home to many of my favorite places. (Trader Joe's, Cheesecake Factory, The Limited, Anthropologie, and the list goes on...) 


7. I have run out of things to "confess" except that I can guarantee I will be in bed before 9pm tonight. That gives me 47 minutes to eat the last 3 cake pops. I think I can handle that task. Then we will be out and I will have to make more. Oh, darn!



Friday, January 21, 2011

It's football time... so time to eat some Buffalo Chicken Dip!

As you probably already know, I really get into football. I am a huge fanatic, screaming at the television, dressing myself in jerseys to support my team. I love nothing more than an intense, exciting football game.


Ok, that was a complete lie. I don't even know what teams are good and what teams are bad. I do know that the Bears are from Chicago and the Packers are from Green Bay, but that's about it. 



However, I do love football game-watching food! I used to absolutely hate spicy or hot things, but in the past few years, I have developed quite taste for buffalo chicken. I think it was the introduction to the buffalo popcorn chicken that was served in my college's student union. Gosh, that stuff was good, with the buffalo flavor already baked (fried?) right in, so you didn't have to get all messy. 


[Side note: There was this 'restaurant' in a town down near Greenville (where I went to college) that served free hot wings on Tuesday nights, as long as you bought a drink. Of course, they intended for you to buy an alcoholic beverage, but my girlfriends and I would go and buy a $1.00 can of pop and load up a plate of hot wings. It was the best thing ever!]


Anyways, since I've begun to like buffalo-flavored things, I've tried a few variations on the basic chicken wing. I've made Buffalo Chicken Pizza (the bomb!), and Buffalo Wing Snack Mix. I've had my eye on these Buffalo Chicken Won-tons, but that will have to wait for another day.

But the absolute best buffalo chicken recipe I've come across, (besides buffalo wings themselves) is Buffalo Chicken Dip. And now I will share it with you!




It is cheesy, has a little kick, and is just oh-so-delicious! The perfect food to munch on while watching football. (I would assume...)


I usually serve it with tortilla chips and celery. Ya know, because hot wings always come with celery. And, if you serve it with a vegetable, it cancels all the fat and calories out. Right?




Sara Anderson

Buffalo Chicken Dip


  • 8-oz. package cream cheese
  • 8-oz. monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups cooked & shredded chicken
  • 16-oz. bottle ranch dressing
  • ½ to 1 cup hot wing sauce

Method

In medium-sized saucepan, heat the cream cheese with the ranch dressing over medium-low heat until blended. Stir in the monterey jack cheese. Stir in hot sauce, to taste. Stir mixture until blended and melted. Stir in shredded chicken. Serve immediately, or put in crock pot on low.

Tastes best with tortilla chips and celery sticks. :-)

Notes

*To lighten up this recipe, you can use 1/3-less fat cream cheese and "light" ranch dressing. I can't even taste the difference.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

An Unexpected Snow Day leads to Cake Pops!

So yesterday was the best day ever. Well, the best day of this year so far. Haha.

Love is in the air!

I woke up at 5:45am to go to the gym and run before school. I used to do this all the time, but haven't in a month or two because I don't like to get up that early all that much. I checked for a school delay before I left, because that's what I do first thing everyday when I wake up. (Hopeful, much?) Alas, no delay was called yet, so I went off to the gym.

While driving, it was very icy. So icy in fact, that I ran a red light because I couldn't stop! Thank goodness it was 5:45am and not a lot of cars were out. 

Anyways, I completed my run (4x800m intervals! woooo!), and was stretching a bit before I left, when the owner of the gym came over to ask if I had a delay. (He knows I teach.) Of course, I didn't think we did, but decided to check the TV anyway. Woot woot! A delay was called. So I decided to add on a couple extra miles, since I had the time. 

I got home, luxuriously ate my oatmeal in front of the TV watching the Today Show, when it was announced school was cancelled! Completely random unexpected ice day! And I had woken up at 5:45am... haha. Figures. At least my workout was complete, and I had all day to do whatever I want.

I spent the morning watching TV, and made a shopping trip to Meijer, which was completely dead and wonderful. Usually when I go it is Saturday and a madhouse.

I also met up for lunch with some new friends (including this lovely lady) which was fun to do on a weekday! 

After lunch and a trip to Hobby Lobby, my mission for the afternoon was to tackle one of the cake pop projects in my Bakerella book "Cake Pops." (I got it for Christmas.) Recently, I made the ice cream cake pops, and today I decided to tackle some heart-shaped Valentine cake pops.

I had a Funfetti cake mix in my cabinet already, so I decided to use that as the base. (BTW... has anyone ever had Funfetti cookies? So easy... 1 cake mix, 1/3 cup oil, 2 eggs. Bake 10 minutes at 350*F. The quickest and easiest cookies ever. And super tasty, too.)

So I mixed the crumbled Funfetti cake with some pink vanilla frosting. Which I picked up at Meijer, in the Valentine's section. Where I also found the cutest argyle Valentine socks. Which might have found their way into the cart. Shhhh... don't tell my Business Man.


I formed the cake balls, and let them chill for a bit.



Then, I took each cake ball, and using a small heart-shaped cookie cutter, shaped it into a heart. Then, I chilled them a bit more. (It's best when working with cake pops if they're always cold, especially when dipping them.)



I melted my candy melts, starting with pink. I also used white and dark chocolate.



And got to dipping! To dip the pops, you dip the tip of the stick in the chocolate, then stick it in the pop. Then completely cover the pop in candy coating in one swoop. Let it drip off and stick in a piece of styrofoam to set up. See Bakerella's site for more info!



I decorated some with sprinkles, and drizzled the others with a different color candy coating!


I took these to school today (for the teachers) and they were a hit! One teacher even said he'd pay up to $1.50 for one... hmmm... does the Bean Town need a Cake Pop business? (Ya know, in all my free time.)

Almost too cute to eat... Nahh... totally delicious!

Inside view. And yes I most certainly finished this guy off. Along with a few others. Had to taste all the colors!


In a nutshell, these were totally fun to make. And only took about 3.5 hours total, versus the 6.5 hours the ice cream pops took. 

Next on the horizon is Snowman Cake Pops! Who knows... maybe we'll have another snow day tomorrow?? 

Question: Have you ever had cake pops? What flavor combination would you like to try?

I have tried white cake with vanilla frosting, chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, and now Funfetti with vanilla frosting. The Funfetti is my favorite by far... especially with the dark chocolate candy coating. I would like to try red velvet or strawberry cake next.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

1st Day of 2nd Semester and Chef Giotto

Well, today was the first day of 2nd semester. I'm liking it already.


I have my planning period first thing; whereas last semester it was at the end of the day. This means I can arrive at school at 8am instead of 7:15am! I always have a few last minute things to do in the morning, so by not having a class first thing, I can do those during my planning. I have less time to get stuff done in the afternoon, but I'm never very productive in the afternoon anyway. Win-win situation!


I'm teaching two sections of Algebra 2, which is my most favorite class to teach ever, and one section of Calculus. We will be moving very slowly through Calculus, as I'm a little wary of what it will bring. I would rather teach them a few things and have them really understand it, than cram as much as possible in with no retention. (It's not for college credit; they will still have to take Calc. in college. So it's like Calc. that you take before you take the real Calculus. Confused yet?)


After school, we had our monthly new teacher meeting, so I didn't get to the gym until after 5pm, and didn't get home until after 6pm. This means I needed something super speedy and super scrumptious for dinner!


In comes my friend Trader Joe! (One of my favorite grocery stores!) My Business Man and I stopped in Indy this weekend. We picked up a new-to-us item, Lobster Ravioli. With some Organic Vodka sauce. 


You can't read it, but the sauce says "Trader Giotto's." Cute, huh?


It hit the spot! I served it up with some steamed broccoli, with a little parmesan sprinkled over the top. And of course some garlic breadsticks, courtesy of the Doughboy.


Hooo hooo! 


[Side note: Before this meal, I had never eaten lobster in my life. My mom found out she was allergic at the age of 18, while celebrating her high school graduation. She developed tons of hives and couldn't breathe! I've been a little afraid to try it in case the same thing happened. But I'm able to eat shrimp, and my mom can't, so I thought why not. I told my Business Man this; and all the time while we were eating, he kept acting like he was seeing hives all over my face and neck. Tryin' to freak me out. That little booger.]


Anyways it was a delish and nutrish meal, and I don't have much else to say! No exciting baked goods in the Bean Town household tonight, but I can guarantee there will be later this week.

I'll leave you with a picture of my mom's cute little pup, Maggie. This was just after they brought her home. She's much bigger now. Isn't she precious?






Monday, January 17, 2011

Caramel Macchiato Cupcakes and my First Venture into Couponing

Today has been a wonderful day. Thanks to Martin Luther King, Jr., I had no school.


Keep on reading to get to the good stuff...
As a teacher, I fully embrace all those little holidays that schools take off, but most businesses do not. While my Business Man got up and headed to work this morning, I was privileged to stay in our warm, cozy bed and get a late start to my day. It was great to have a catch-up day, because my Business Man and I were gone all weekend at a super-fun weekend in Indianapolis with some of his friends from college. (Woot woot for Merlinpeen!) 


Today was spent getting a lot of chores done, and some fun time in the kitchen as well. I also got my long run for the week in, on a Monday! (That never happens.) It's funny because in college, Monday's were always Long Run Days. But now, in the real world, they tend to fall on Saturday's or Sunday's, based on the sheer fact that those are the only day's with enough free time to run long. I'm trying to keep my long runs up in the double-digits, as I'm pondering a spring marathon... hmmm...


I'll share with you my least favorite and most favorite chores that I accomplished today.


Least Favorite: Cleaning the Bathroom


I'm not gonna lie; it's been a hideously long time since I've cleaned our bathroom. (Obviously, if it's my least favorite chore, it doesn't get done much.) Anyways, to get through the pain as quickly as possible, I always try to clean it right after I'm done running. I don't mind getting down on the nasty bathroom floor and scrubbing nastiness if I'm a sweaty dirty mess from running 10.3 miles. On the treadmill. At the gym where it feels like they keep it 85*F. (Today's instance.) 


Haven't you always wanted to see a picture of our bathroom? At least I didn't take a before picture...
I always save the shower for last. It's the worst. Once I get everything else clean and sparkly, I hop in the shower and get to it. Then, once it's all nice and clean, I get to shower myself. Such a sweet reward for all the hard work, a shower in the just-cleaned shower and lemony-fresh bathroom.


Most Favorite: Grocery Shopping! (Who would have guessed?)


Today I hit up the local supermarket to get us some groceries for the week. We did stop at Trader Joe's yesterday while we were in Indy, but didn't get too much in the way of fresh produce and such. 


Also, I needed to purchase some ingredients that we usually don't have on hand. I received an email today that the Pillsbury Bake-off is now accepting entries for their 2012 contest. Grand prize is one million dollars! Sign me up! The catch is, you have to use certain Pillsbury products in your recipes. I spent a good portion of my morning recipe brain-storming and coming up with ideas that I want to try. So, I had to buy some Pillsbury items to test my recipes out.


I also decided to try using some coupon-ing tactics today in my shopping trip. I have seen people some some huge moolah ($) by using coupons, but I haven't really had much luck. The problem is, the coupons that I find are never for what I'm going to buy. So, why buy something I don't really need to "save" money?


Anyways, after I made my grocery list, I spent a good 30 minutes browsing the inter-webs for some coupons for the stuff on my list. I ended up finding stuff that would work, so I quickly printed and cut them out and made it to the store. Turns out, Ray's is doing a TRIPLE coupon promotion this week, where they triple the value of coupons with a value up to $0.50. (For example a $0.25 coupon would be worth $0.75, and a $0.50 coupon would be worth $1.50.)


Unfortunately, a couple of my coupons were $1.00 coupons, so they couldn't be tripled. And, some of them that were $0.50 had instructions not to double or triple. Bummer. And, a couple of the products that I had coupons for (lunchmeat and organic salad mix) weren't carried by Ray's.


Overall, I ended up saving $4.00, which is not much, but at least it's something! Not too bad for my first try. I got a good deal on some Yoplait yogurt, Pillsbury cookie dough, and Nestle chocolate chips. 


I'm excited to get more into it perhaps, and see how much I can really save.


Goodness, I never realized how long one could ramble on about coupons. Geez. 


[Side note: On a run in college, we once spent 3 miles of our run discussing cheese. Types of cheese, what to do with leftover cheese, shredded vs. sliced. Can I say we got bored easily. I guess once I get talking about something, I could talk forever.]


Anyways, now for the reason most of you are here: the cupcakes! I absolutely love cupcakes. As evidenced by the 501 cupcakes that I baked the day before my wedding with my bridesmaids. Five different flavors; it was wonderful.


I don't even think I've blogged about cupcakes before, which is very unusual. I made these Caramel Macchiato Cupcakes a few weeks ago while we were home for Christmas. My parents have a big Open House each year, and we make a TON of food for everyone who comes to snack on. 






When I first found this recipe on this blog, I didn't try it because of my love for caramel macchiato's. No, I don't even like the drink that much. (Give me a pumpkin spice latte or cinnamon dulce latte any day!)


But, macchiato is a really fun word to say, and the pictures of these were just too pretty to pass up! So I had to try them. 


This cupcake is heavier than most of my cupcakes, but it's very moist, and infused with a slight coffee flavor. It's topped with fresh whipped cream, which is a nice contrast to the denser cake. It's then garnished with a homemade caramel drizzle! Just like when you order a caramel macchiato at the coffee shop. So cute!


Caramel Macchiato Cupcakes (adapted from My Buttery Fingers)
Makes about 18 cupcakes.

For the cake:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup strongly brewed coffee, room temperature
1/4 cup milk
2-3 tbsp. Kahlua
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 rounded tsp. instant coffee
1/2 cup mini-chocolate chips


For the whipped cream:
8-oz. heavy whipping cream
3 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. Kahlua


For the caramel drizzle:
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp. butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream


To make the cupcakes, preheat oven to 350*F. Line cupcake tin with paper liners. Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt in small bowl and set aside. Combine coffee, milk, and Kahlua in a cup and set aside. Cream butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in eggs one at at me. Reduce speed to low and beat in flour mixture alternately with liquid mixture, finishing with the flour mixture. Blend in the instant coffee.


Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 full with batter. Sprinkle on mini-chocolate chips. Bake 15-18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean, and cupcakes bounce back when lightly pressed with finger. Remove from pans to wire rack to cool completely before frosting.


To make the caramel drizzle, warm the cream in a small bowl in the microwave. Set aside. Spread sugar evenly across the bottom of a heavy-bottomed saucepan and put over medium-high flame. Try not to touch the sugar but watch carefully as it melts. As soon as it is browning, start to stir. When it has all browned lightly, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the butter. Beware, it will bubble!


Bring it back to the heat and stir for a few seconds until smooth. Remove from the heat again and add the warmed cream. It will bubble again, so be careful. Stir rapidly until smooth. Set aside and cool to lukewarm.


To make the whipped cream, whip the cream with the sugar until soft peaks form. (I always just let it go in my stand mixer... less work for me!) Add in vanilla and Kahlua and whip until medium peaks form.


To assemble, first of all, make sure cupcakes are completely cool! Or else the whipped cream will slide all around. Transfer the whipped cream to a gallon-size ziploc bag, and snip a hole in the corner of it. Pipe in a swirling motion onto each cupcake. Drizzle the caramel sauce over the cupcakes with a spoon. And enjoy! Make sure to store leftovers in the refrigerator, as the whipped cream will get droopy.




That's all for now! I'm back to school tomorrow, and it's the first day of 2nd semester! Oh yeah. I'm teaching Algebra 2 again, but I'm also teaching Calculus... the first few weeks should be fine, but I might be needed some online tutoring with how to teach calc as we get further into the semester. Oy...


Have a great week everyone!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Lazy Friday Night...

After a super-long week, I was so ready to crash last night! It's like all-of-a-sudden, after two weeks off, I completely forgot what it's like to work five 8+ hour days in a row. I guess it didn't help that the last week before Christmas break was littered with 2-hour weather delays.


Anyways, after school yesterday I had big intentions of going for a nice little run. (To keep up with one of my 2011 resolutions, ya know?) But, somehow my bed lured me in for a nice little nappy. Sometimes, sleep > running. Yes, even for me. 


When I woke up, I was frrrreeeeezing! Like, so cold that my toes were numb. So I had to play a little Just Dance 2 to get my body warmed up. And, ya know, it counts a cardio workout, right?


When my Business Man got home, we just decided to stay in, watch a few movies, and order a pizza. We got pizza from our favorite place, and it was fabulous. And, it was so much cheaper as take-out than eating there. Our pizza last night was $12, and we had leftovers. (It's strange, I don't think they charge tax on take-out here in the Bean Town.) Usually, when we eat there, it's $25+. This might have to happen more often.


We ordered the movie Salt from on-demand TV, and let me say it was great! Usually, I shy away from those types of movies because I have difficulty following the plot-line. And my Business Man doesn't enjoy answering my three million questions throughout the movie. (Is that her boyfriend? What's she carrying? What's that bomb-thing gonna do?) But he took a chance with me last night, and it turned out to be a great movie. It really kept you on edge until the end; you never knew what was coming. And, it was follow-able. For me, that's a definite plus.


Anyways, that was our Friday night. Pretty low-key and simple.


This morning we started taking down our Christmas decorations. Always a sad day in my book. 


One last look at the pretty tree.
While taking down and wrapping up the ornaments, I discovered one of the boxes we were using had been aptly labeled by my Business Man in his prior years. He claims he was about 10 years old when he labeled this box.


Have I ever mentioned his spelling is not quite up to par?

Anyways, after a few hours (i.e. minutes) of un-decorating, I got a little bored, and decided to go for a run. Today was supposed to be my long run of the week, so I was hoping to go somewhere between 8-11 miles. I had high hopes of going outside, but just couldn't get motivated with a temp of 17*F and a 3* wind chill. Oh, how I miss the college days of running where our coach would go drop us off to run back with the wind. Anyways, I mosey-ed on over to the gym and managed to eek out 9.1 miles on the treadmill. Good enough.

I came home to a completely clean and organized apartment! My Business Man even organized our crazy closet that had been the catch-all for every little thing since the wedding. And, he vacuumed. What more could a girl ask for?

Check out that organization... card table, coolers, Christmas decorations.

Lots of empty boxes waiting for presents to be put in them and given away.

Folding chairs and our new vacuum!
However, the kitchen does now look like a box-monster threw up in it. These were all the boxes deemed "unnecessary" by my Business Man. We will be recycling them ASAP. Does anyone need any?


Our big plans for tonight include working the concession stand at my school's basketball game... woot woot! The track team raises money through basketball concessions, and so we are helping out once in awhile. Maybe it will bring me back to my glory days of cheerleading in high school...
Pardon my crazy face. I believe it was very windy that day.

Anyways, that's all for now. I leave you with a fun appetizer that would be perfect for football watching! (Or, ya know, movie-watching or just eating if you're not big football fans.)

This is a corny, cheesy, Mexican-inspired dip that goes great with tortilla chips. It would be a great side dish with some fajitas or tacos, and it's also great on its own. (I've definitely scooped it up by the forkful before...)



Roasted Corn Dip (adapted from Taste of Home)

1 large bag frozen corn
1 large onion, diced
1 4-oz. can green chiles
2 tbsp. butter
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 cup light mayonnaise (regular would work fine, just no Miracle Whip)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp. chili powder
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1 small can sliced olives, drained
2 tbsp. sliced green onions

Heat oven to 425*F. Spread corn on a baking sheet, and roast 20-30 minutes, until it starts getting some color and becomes fragrant. Reduce heat to 400*F.

Once corn is roasted, saute onion and chiles in butter 2-3 minutes until almost tender. Add corn and garlic; saute 1-2 minutes more until completely tender. Remove from heat.

In large bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, and chili powder. Fold in corn mixture and cheese, and spread into greased 2-quart baking dish.

Bake at 400*F for 25-30 minutes until bubbly and golden brown. Sprinkle with olives and green onions. Serve with tortilla chips.

**Note: This can be prepared and put into a crockpot on LOW to keep warm.

Ole!

 
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