fruity pebble marshmallow treats

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We all have those foods we eat when we need comfort and just don't give a crap about our figure.  My list of those foods is quite long, including white cheddar mac and cheese, Poptarts of any flavor, guacamole, and, you guessed it, Fruity Pebbles.  It has been my favorite cereal since I understood the concept of cereal and that's a love affair no fading metabolism can extinguish.

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We all know and love marshmallow treats (also known as Rice Krispy Treats when you're using that cereal).  They are easy and gooey and amazing.  What could be better?  Not much.  I took generic brand rice puffs, and mixed them with fruit pebbles and this was the result.  Guys, I'm not kidding, these things are the bomb.com.

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INGREDIENTS
time: it takes about 30 minutes from start to finish
serving: one 9x13 pan of krispies
1/4 cup butter
1 bag of mini marshmallows (about 4 cups)
2 cups of puffed rice cereal
3 cups of Fruity Pebbles

DIRECTIONS
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.  One the butter is melted add the marshmallows and stir constantly until smooth and melted.  It takes about 3-4 minutes.

Mix together your cereals in a large bowl, pour the melted mixture over the cereal and mix until totally combined.  Stir gently so you don't break all the cereal.

Grease a 9x13 inch pan and dump the mixture into the pan.  Press flat and even all the way into the corners of the pan.  Let the pan rest in the freezer for 10-12 minutes and you're done!

I also added a colored glaze on top to make it more festive.  That was 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar, 2  1/2 tbsp milk, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 tbsp melted butter.  I added blue dye, but you can use whatever color you want!

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Forgot to make something for a party?  You can throw these together in almost no time.  These are a hit 100% of the time.  It's science.

LP

Monday, July 14, 2014

Mericuh

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Happy almost Fourth of July!  Fireworks are downright dangerous here in Colorado, but we'll be cooking out, wearing shorts, and lovin' on good old America all day tomorrow.  If you're supposed to be going to a BBQ and bringing something I really suggest this.  It is not all that difficult, but it looks like it is.  You'll be the hero of the party.

I made this cake because someone challenged me to cake off the other day, with this Food52 recipe.  It wasn't difficult, but you have to follow the directions very closely.  As a side note, I used my own frosting recipe instead of the one posted by Food52, because I know it's a crowd pleaser.  Why fix it if it ain't broke, ya know?  So here is my frosting recipe:

INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, divided
1 stick salted butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS
Place a metal mixing bowl (not a stand mixer bowl, unless you have two), plus your mixer whisk attachment in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Remove from freezer and add 1 1/4 cups heavy cream. Beat on high until a stiff whipped cream forms, about a minute.

Set whipped cream in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the frosting.

In the bowl of your mixer, beat butter, vanilla, and 1/4 cup heavy cream until smooth and combined. Reduce the speed to medium low and add the powdered sugar in small parts until completely mixed. Increase mixer speed to high and beat until light and fluffy.

Remove whipped cream from fridge and using a rubber spatula, gently fold the buttercream into the whipped cream until it's fully combined and there are no streaks.

Tip: Before cutting this cake, chill it in the freezer for about 15 minutes.  That way when you slice it, you'll have a pretty good chance of getting a pretty piece!

I hope you all have fun tomorrow and don't forget to think a little about our awesome country.  Then eat hot dogs.

LP

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Elbow Grease Cookbook

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This cake. Magic converged around this cake. The flowers bloomed in my yard, the frosting came out perfect and cake was soft and sweet. Unfortunately, this particular cake is reserved for my cookbook Elbow Grease.  The book came to a screeching halt when I decided to plan a wedding in under 6 months, but I'm back into the swing of things.

The entire idea behind Elbow Grease is that anyone can bake anything they want, with a little effort and some good instructions.  I know it's hard to believe since I have a blog about it, but I'm not particularly gifted at baking.  It really is just about that little extra effort.

I'll keep updating you lovely people on the progress of the book and I of course will still be posting recipes here for you to enjoy.  I've got an amazing cake on deck for July 4th!  After all, America is awesome and it deserves an awesome cake.

Ta, pretties.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

basic white sandwich bread

sandwich bread!
Is there anything better than a delicious sandwich?  The answer is no, if you were still thinking about it.  We've been trying to do and make more things at home since our budget is way more limited lately, and making a couple of loaves of bread a week seemed like a good place to start.

You'll see that this recipe has rendered duck fat in it.  I try to avoid meat altogether, but we had leftover schmaltz (duck fat) from Thanksgiving that was otherwise just going to sit in the fridge.  If you don't like the idea of duck fat, or have nowhere to buy it, you can use butter or standard lard.  Even shortening if that's your jam!

basic white bread

INGREDIENTS
2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
3 tablespoons white sugar
2 1/2 cups warm water
3 tablespoons duck fat, lard, or butter, softened
1 tablespoon salt
6 1/2 cups bread flour

DIRECTIONS
makes 2 loaves, either in a 9x5 bread pan, or free form, as seen in my pictures

In a large bowl, with a dough hook attachment, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Stir in duck fat, salt and two cups of the flour. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.  The longer the better!

Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp dish rag and let rise in your microwave until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

Deflate the dough (I like to punch it right in the middle, just cause it's satisfying to punch things sometimes) and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces with a knife and leave them in their half circle shape, unless you're putting them in a greased 9x5 to bake. If you're making free form loaves, place the loaves on a baking sheet and cover the loaves with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes.

Bake at 375 degrees F for about 30-35 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.

Important: Wait until the bread is 100% cool before cutting to get really clean slices!

basic white bread

So go make your own bread, it is so satisfying.

LP

Thursday, June 19, 2014

peanut butter cups and father's day

peanut butter cups!

My Dad's favorite candy in the world is a good peanut butter cup so it was pretty obvious what I had to make in celebration of Father's Day today.  But before I delve into the recipe, I'd like to tell you a little about the man.

My Dad always has a joke on hand (they've admittedly gotten more inappropriate as my brother and I have grown up), he can change the mood of room within a minute of stepping into it, and he's honestly one of the smartest guys I know.  We get on each others' nerves because we're so similar, but for the same reason, I don't think I've ever been afraid to tell him something.   I know that I'll never endure any judgement from him and that's worth all of the annoying arguments in the world.  Just barely, but still worth it.

I rib him a bit because I know he can take it, but it would be an understatement to say that he's been the most important man in my world for 27 years.  He's happily passing the title on to Ben, though.  I think he is ready to retire.  (It's tiring, believe you me)

Now onto to this 4 ingredient recipe.  Yup 4 ingredients.  And no bake time.  It's so easy, it's almost cheating.

INGREDIENTS
24 mini cupcake liners (I used these silicone ones, but paper will work too.)
12 ounce package of milk chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS
Put the chocolate chips in a glass bowl and microwave them on half power for 2 minutes.  This should melt them completely.  To be sure, stir with a spoon and make sure the chocolate is smooth.  After it's completely melted, let it sit for a minute or so.

Take your liners or silicone baking cups and spoon about half a tablespoon into it.  Spread the chocolate up the sides of the cup, coating the entire liner.  Place in a mini cupcake pan and when all of them are coated, place in the freezer for 10 minutes until completely hardened.

While your chocolate hardens, in a medium bowl mix together the peanut butter, confectioners sugar, and salt until thoroughly combined.

Once the chocolate has hardened, place about half a table spoon of the peanut butter mixture in the middle of each cup.  Then take a spoonful of the remaining melted chocolate and spread it on top of the peanut butter, as smoothly as you can.  Then put the cups back in the pan into the freezer and let them harden for about 10-15 minutes.  Then give them to your Dad.

homemade peanut butter cups ftw

Sunday, June 15, 2014

photo evidence that we're disgustingly happy

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So, lately I've been so happy that it's pretty gross.  I don't even know where keep it all so it spills over onto various social media platforms.  A little while after we got engaged my dear friend Heather Grey took our engagement photos.  She totes hit it out of the park.

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I recommend Heather a million times over.  Check out her work here.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Almond Cake

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If you follow me on Twitter, you'll know that wedding planning doesn't really come naturally to me.  There is, however, one thing about it that does: cake.  Everyone tells me I'm nuts to try to make my own cake, but damnit, I'm determined.  I'm trying out a few different cakes and even though I just started, this may be the winner.  Not only was this cake insanely easy to make, but it also rose perfectly.   (I get a kick out of stuff like that..seriously turn the oven light on and watch it)

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from Style Me Pretty
2 1/2 cups all-purpose sifted flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tbsp + 1 tsp double acting baking powder
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 whole eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp almond flavoring

Preheat oven to 325° F. Prepare pans by using baking spray.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine flour, salt, sugar, & baking powder with a hand whisk. Add remaining ingredients and mix with the mixer on low speed. Increase speed to medium once most of the dry ingredients are moistened and mix for 2 minutes until well blended.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at 325° F until the center of each cake is done. You can test by inserting a toothpick in the center- when it comes out clean, the cake is done. Bake for 25-30 minutes for the 9” pan.

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Even if you're not making a wedding cake, this would make an excellent dessert for a Summer party, especially with a big pile of berries on top.

Heart you, pretties.


Sunday, May 11, 2014