Experimentation Bars

I have a confession to make…I’ve never made rice crispie squares. I have another confession to make…I don’t think I ever will. I made something close today, but I would classify it as a failed attempt. We lack storage in our new kitchen so I’m trying to use up the odds and ends lying around. We’ve had half a bag of marshmallows for longer than I’d care to admit (I think their age contributed to my failure). We also have the world’s largest box of holiday rice crispies (please don’t judge). I’ve come to learn that just because it’s dirt cheap doesn’t mean I need to buy it. Anyways, I decided to combine these two things with some peanut butter and a little coconut oil (in lieu of butter). The marshmallows were impossible to work with. In the end I ended up kneading rice crispies into the hard dough then mashing it into the pan. Seriously frustrating. Strangely, after some chocolate ganache and some fridge time, they seem alright. Not a recipe, err, random creation, I would repeat, but edible.

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Slowly Greening

Since we moved in I’ve been trying to make some small changes to reduce the environmental impact of our house. Obviously, since we now live in a much bigger space, we will have a bigger impact. The first thing I did was install a new shower head and tape aerator on the kitchen sink, as well as foam over the pipes from the water heater, these things were all provided in a kit from our electricity company. The next small thing was to turn the water heater down one notch (there aren’t actually numbers so I can’t tell you what temperature it’s at, but it’s not notch below the bolded one). Yesterday I googled our programmable thermostat to figure out how the heck to use it and now it is set at 65 during the day and 62 at night (can’t seem to get it to work in Celsius). Since I leave for work at different times every day I will manually turn it down before I leave. Another thing is that we are on time of use billing for our electricity. That means that during the winter electricity costs almost double during peak times (7 AM to 7 PM on weekdays), in the summer it switches to peak time being after 7. We’ve been doing our best to do laundry and run the dish washer after 7. This doesn’t really save electricity, though it does take pressure off the grid and save us money.

Hopefully as we move along there will be bigger changes to report, but for now we are doing what we can.

Moving Update

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Phew…so busy. Well, we’re all moved in and it was very exhausting! Luckily my mom was here to help with all the cleaning. We’re still unpacking a few things and there are a couple of things that are still missing in action (one of the hazards of having other people help unpack I guess). There is a lot that needs to be done, but most of it can be done gradually over time. I will post some pictures later once I get things cleaned up a little more.

Popcorn

We had a movie night at my brother’s the other day and I decided to use it as an opportunity to taste test some more wedding dessert ideas. There were two different types of candied popcorns that I had pinned and I wanted to see which would be better.
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The first recipe I tried is the weird purple one. Here is the recipe. Definitely check it out because her’s look so much cuter than mine. It’s so simple. All I did was pop the corn in the microwave (I used the paper bag method, since my mom’s air popper wasn’t worker). I spread the popcorn out on a cookie sheet then I took those flat chocolate disks and melted them in the microwave. Lastly, I drizzled the chocolate over the popcorn and stirred it around with two wooden spoons. Once the chocolate had dried a little I put it in a bowl. This recipe is great because it’s easy, tastes amazing and the popcorn hardens without sticking together too much. Things that I’d do differently next time is to not mix two colours of chocolates (I used red and baby blue, then when it came out a horrible burgundy I added some blue food colouring, the results were slightly better). I think using white and adding sprinkles like the link showed would be best. Also, take the time to pick out of unpopped kernels, because they will stick to the popcorn and the potential for breaking teeth is large.

As for the second recipe (the yellowish tinged one), I didn’t like it as much. I think it would be good for making popcorn balls, but for eating like this, it was just too sticky and it never really hardened, plus it was much more labour intensive. Here is the recipe in case you want to check it out anyways. We may have done something wrong to make it not harden, but even so, I would prefer the chocolate one.

As for the wedding, our desserts table plan is shaping up nicely! And it is definitely fun trying all of these cute recipes!

Sugar Cookies

I’ve started trying wedding recipes. We want to have a dessert table with a bunch of different colourful treats on it. My mom and I started with this recipe. It’s kind of a strange recipe (sour cream in cookies…), but it turned out very well. The only things we would change is to lower the cooking temperature considerably, probably 350 or 375. Make sure not to roll them too thin, I think about half of ours were too thin so they aren’t as soft as I’d like. They don’t spread at all so keep that in mind when rolling. We cut the recipe into a third, because it was absolutely huge and we still got at least 2 and a half-dozen. I have pictures, but I forgot my camera cord so I will add them in on Thursday when we are back!

Packing

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As I’ve mentioned we are moving soon, a week from Saturday to be exact. Before that we are going away for a little while (sadly, not somewhere warm). So this week I’ve been packing. I hate packing for trips, but I actually don’t mind packing to move. I think it’s nice to go through everything, get rid of some stuff and fit the rest nicely into boxes. The cats, on the other hand are oscillating between being overjoyed with jumping in boxes and glaring at me for taking out suitcases (they know suitcases mean travel, which they hate).
We will be getting back Wednesday, going to the lawyer’s to sign the papers and then getting the keys Friday. It’s very exciting!

War Time Advice

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I think this poster says it all.

It’s amazing how advice given during wartime to help a country feed itself when all spare money and supplies were going to ‘the boys’ can be so pertinent today.

You can look anywhere and see warnings about the ‘food crisis’ we are about to enter. I don’t want to get political or push my opinions, I just want to make note of how different our culture has become. Rather than governments encouraging people to grow their own food, buy less meat, consume less, and be thrifty we are spending billions to create new crops that yield more with less effort.

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I think now is as good a time as ever to start looking for ways to be more self-sufficient. No matter how small you start, something is always better than nothing.

Spicy Thai Noddles

I found this recipe the other day on Pinterest and I thought it looked interesting. Actually, I thought it looked so good that I made it a couple of days after finding it rather than letting it sit and collect dust on my Recipes to Try board like usual.
I did change it quite a bit and have issue with the measurements, but the essence of the dish remained the same.
First off, I cooked some soba noodles. I drained them and then poured the sesame oil into the pan, I didn’t put as much as the recipe called for because that seemed like waaaay too much. I probably used a quarter of a cup. I added the chili flakes (a little more than a tbsp). I cooked this for a bit then strained out the chilis. I added some soy sauce and honey (again not nearly as much as the recipe called for). I put my noodles back in the pan and then added some vegetables. I put broccoli, snap peas and zucchini. I cooked this for a little while than added the sauce. Even though I reduced the measurements I still had way too much sauce so I cooked it all for about 10 minutes to reduce the sauce. I added shredded carrots, green onions and chopped peanuts as a garnish.
Whether it is because I reduced it, didn’t have enough noodles or am just a wimp I don’t know, but it was spicy! If you make this be very aware of how much chili flakes you use. I’ve never used this ingredient before so I didn’t know what to expect. Now I know!
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It was still really tasty and flavourful. I really like that it was different from anything I've made before. I also think that the recipe can be adapted really easily by substituting the sesame oil in the sauce. I have plans for this recipe!