Saturday, April 27, 2013

Pintrest and Movie Night - Candy Corn Drink

What is a movie and snacks without a good drink to wash it all down?  For our drink we chose this candy corn drink featured on Better Homes and Gardens.

When we were reading the directions, we figured out that you were supposed to stir it all up before serving it.  We both thought that was pretty lame, since it will only look like candy corn until it is stirred.  Instead, we decided to pour it into separate glasses while we were making it, so each person could experience the candy corn look and mix it up themselves.

The recipe itself is pretty easy and straight forward.  Just to make sure to start it a few hours ahead of time, because the gelatin mixture needs time to thicken.  For this one we just mixed the gelatin mixture together, poured it in our glasses, and let it set in the fridge while we did other things.

Later, we started to hand whip the cream (you could easily use a denser store bought whipped cream for this one, such as cool whip), and then we remembered that she had a mixer.  It is a lifesaver, I do not miss the days in culinary school where they forced us to hand whip our cream all the time.

It was then time for the moment of truth: would the layers stay separated, or was it doomed to mix together?  

(break for suspense)

Amazingly, it actually worked.  We poured it over the back of a spoon and the layers didn't mix together at all!  By that point, I was already impressed.

They tasted pretty good too.  A little sweet for my tastes, I would have preferred it with a little less whipped cream.  Everyone else enjoyed them too.  It had a nice citric flavor, which is a little odd for a fall drink, but the cuteness more than makes up for that.  Another cool thing about it; after you mix it all up, if you let it sit for a while it almost sort of separated into layers again!

Here is the recipe, if you decide to try it.

1 four serving size packet of lemon gelation
1 cup of boiling water
2 cups of mango nectar
3 1/2 cups orange soda (chilled)
1 cup whipped cream (or make your own with 1 cup whipping cream and 2 tablespoons of honey)
1/2 cup candy corn for decoration (optional)

1. Mix gelatin and boiling water in a large bowl until it is all dissolved
2. Stir in mango nectar
3. Pour mixture into a 2 quart pitcher, or divide evenly into separate glasses.
4. Chill about two hours (you want it to be thick, but not a solid like gello)
5. Pour orange soda over the gelatin layer, try pouring it over the back of a large spoon to keep the layers separated a bit better.
6. Top with piped whipped cream and candy corn

Directions for whipped cream:
1. Combine whipping cream and honey in a large bowl.
2. Beat by hand or with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form (when you dip a spoon in and pull it out a peak like a mountain should be seen and not flop over too easy)  Be careful not to over mix.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Pintrest and Movie Night - Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

I am so sorry!  I meant to post this the day after I posted about the bloomin' gooey cheese bread, but life happened.  Here is the sweet continuation of our Pintrest and movie night!

We decided to go with cheesecake stuffed strawberries.
How can someone go wrong with strawberries and cheesecake?  Especially little strawberries stuffed with cheesecake?  Look how adorable they are!

The directions on this one are a little deceptive.  It claims it only takes a few minutes to put together, however prepping the strawberries is a little time consuming.  I was doing that while my friend was making the filling.  It was a little hard hollowing these little sweet suckers out.  I was not as fortunate to have many that were already hollowed out as the person did who wrote the original recipe.  The knife I was using really liked slipping and cutting through the strawberry.  Never the less, they eventually got finished  my friend filling them as I cut, we swapped jobs at the end with similar problems.

They also did not like standing straight up in our pan.  We finally finished filling and balancing to find out we had a good amount of leftover filling.  Really, there was enough for another half a pound or more.  We cut up some extra strawberries and still had more!  We ended up giving the extra to my boyfriend for quality control.

We crushed up two graham crackers in a sandwich bag (it only really needs one) and sprinkled it on top, which is a lot faster than dipping.  We were getting pressed for time at this point.

This is what we ended up with.
They were still pretty darn cute.  Know what?  They were also pretty delicious too.  They also hold up well in the fridge overnight.  My mother came over and snagged some of the leftovers the next day.

Here is the recipe

1 pound large strawberries
8 ounce block cream cheese – softened
3 – 4 tablespoons powdered sugar (depends on how sweet you want the filling)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or use almond, lemon, etc.  I think lemon would have worked really well in this one )
Graham cracker crumbs (or crush your own)

1.Wash the strawberries and cut off the tops with a paring knife, make sure the inside of the strawberry is hollow, if not make it so with the paring knife.
2. In a mixing bowl, beat the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and cream cheese until well mixed and creamy.
3. Put filling in a piping bag (or a sandwich bag and snip a corner)
4. Pipe filling into strawberries
5. Dip finished strawberries in graham crackers, or sprinkle them on top
6. Enjoy them

Also, these would be awesome with a little drizzled chocolate!  Try it and let me know how it is!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Pintrest and Movie Night - Bloomin' Gooey Cheese Bread

I am so happy I had my first Pintrest night with a friend.  It was so much fun, and a great bonding experience.  Then again, I always enjoy cooking with friends.  We made a special board on Pintrest for our movie night and each added a few things to it.  We ended up choosing and cooking four things from our board (well we chose five, but four out of five is still pretty awesome).  My friend also has this awesome huge kitchen that has so much work space!  It was a nice change from my cluttered little kitchen.  

For the movie snacks we decided to go with a savory item, a sweet item, and two drinks.  I am going to separate the recipes into multiple posts so they are easier for you to find later and read if you want to try them out.  I don't have my normal detailed pictures of the process, because I completely forgot to take any.  I know, I know, what kind of blogger am I?  Hopefully you will forgive me.  Luckily my friend came to the rescue and is allowing me to use her photos of the end results.  

Our savory item was Bloomin' Gooey Cheese Bread.  
We couldn't actually find a recipe on this one, just a picture.  It looked simple enough though, and we are both good cooks so we made it work.

We scored our loaf bread (we couldn't find "regular" white loaf bread, so we went with a garlic one) almost all the way through, cut the block of cheese and onions, and started inserting slices of cheese.  This part was actually harder than it seems.  We found out rather quickly that it gets hard to put cheese slices in about a third of the way through the process.  My boyfriend saw this as a challenge though and was able to put in all the slices, well, at least the ones that he didn't sneak away from us and eat while we were prepping.  

Then we melted the butter with about a teaspoon of pepper and the cut green onions mixed in.  This mixture looked liked we were making a different kind of butter for a different kind of snack.  The kind that stoners make out of weeds, if you know what I mean.  We poured this mixture over the bread and then preheated the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit (about 175 Celsius to my international readers).  We baked it for about fifteen minutes and pulled it out, fingers crossed.

Tada! So it doesn't look as pretty as the pin picture, things rarely do.  It was still really good and really cheesy.  It was easy to pull apart and eat and everyone seemed to like it.  My boyfriend went straight up crazy over it.  Between three of us we almost had it gone after one movie.  It is also rather inexpensive to make, so I suggest to try it.  The garlic bread was a good call, it added another great flavor to the food.  It is hard to go wrong with garlic.  It makes a good appetizer or finger food.

Here is the recipe we came up with:

1 unsliced loaf of bread (I really suggest you try a bread with garlic baked in, it was a good idea)
16 oz monterey jack cheese (or cheese of your choosing, so long as it melts well) 
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1/3 cup (about) chopped green onion
1 teaspoon pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C)
2. Score bread almost all the way through until, you want the top of each "pull" to look like a one inch square and place on a baking sheet (make sure it is a ridged one so butter doesn't spill)
3. Cut the cheese into thin slices and then cut the slices in half
4. Have fun stuffing those bad boy slices into the bread.  Don't give up, I believe in you!
5. Place the butter and and pepper into a bowl or mug and microwave until melted
6. Mix chopped green onions into the butter mix
7. Pour butter mix even over the top of the bread.  Try to do it slowly so more soaks in
8. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted
9. Enjoy them, they will go fast