July 28, 2011

Crock pot failure

Considering I shared my success with cake pops, it seems only fair to also share my failures in the kitchen as well. Particularly, ones involving my crock pot. Crock pots seem like a great idea in theory. And I'm sure, once I find a recipe that actually works, they are great. Currently though, my crock pot and I aren't exactly friends. It's failed me twice. OK, lets be real, either I failed me or my recipes have failed me. I prefer to blame it on the recipes. Other bad cooking, I can totally blame on myself-but for a crock pot? come on! Tonight, it was a roast, last time it was chicken. Both seemed like a good idea pre-cooking. And in theory, they were a good idea. However, while both were edible, they certainly weren't that appealing and definitely not the kind of dinner where its worth saving the leftovers. The idea that you can stick stuff together in a crock pot, leave it for hours and then have it ready to go is genius. However, something has gone wrong and I'd like to chat with the people who wrote or came up with both the recipes. One was from an iphone app. The other-none other than Betty crocker herself (or her cookbook actually). I really just want to ask them-Did I really manage to screw up so few ingredients? Or do you just have crazy taste buds that actually thought that was good enough to publish for others?? For the first (aka, lemon chicken failure), I'm pretty sure it was the latter suggestion. After I made it, I went back to the app and actually read the comments posted for the recipe (which I learned, I should do BEFORE I make something) and many other posters had a similar reaction that we did. too lemony. too sour. too SOMETHING

Unfortunately for tonight's dinner, I had only Betty crocker to consult and no trustworthy comments to let you know if it actually works or not...though maybe I should have been suspicious when they recommended that you also make horseradish potatoes on page something or other as a side dish. After all, who Really wants to make horseradish potatoes?

I'm not giving up on my crock pot yet, but maybe next time, I will try to stick with something that seems like a more "typical" crock-pot meal, a soup or stew or something.

My little slice of the orange...

You may not have wondered yet, but at some point, you may look at my blog title and url and wonder about it. My little Slice of the Orange. Sure, we've heard of someones slice of a pie or your part of the world...but an orange? Well, if you've read The Secret Garden, it may sound more familiar. I was re-reading the Secret Garden recently and falling in love with the contrary Mary Lennox, Colin and Dickon all over again. Dickon's mother, who is raising 12 kids well, shared a bit of advice that she once gave one of her kids. She told them the world is an orange, and each person gets a little slice of the orange, but not the whole orange-and the sooner they learned that, the better off they would be. Well, aside from my occasional ramblings about trying to take over the world someday, I know quite well I don't get the whole orange. It did seem though an apt title for this blog. I'm really not sure exactly what direction or form this blog will take. In some manner though, it should promise to be a small insight into the little slice of the orange that is mine.

July 24, 2011

Cake Pops!

I've been contemplating starting a blog for a while, one full of random thoughts and fun adventures, or more likely, the less exciting bits of life ;) However, I've never been able to come up with a good starting point (and to be frank, I fear I will start gung-ho and then promptly forget about it and let it die, which, if I'm honest, is still within the realm of possibility).
My recent venture into the world of cake pops seemed like a good and fun place to start! After all, what isn't fun about bits of cake and candy that you can eat off a stick? and there are sprinkles!

I had seen these a while back and considered making them. However, last Thursday, I came across someone online who had made them and was inspired to give it a go! My first thought, was that I should wait until I have a "reason" to make them-a party, or at least a family gathering of some sort. After all, my husband and I didn't really need 30-40 of these lying around. Friday came though, and I was getting antsy. I figured since I was already going to Michael's to get some picture frames (for those who know my house....they are frames to use on those 3 blank white shelves in the living room!), I may as well pick up the various things I needed from Michael's to make the cake pops-for you know, whenever the situation arose that I had a reason to make them. So, I picked up the Styrofoam, candy melts, popsicle sticks, some decorating bags and decorating tips. I already had the cake mix and frosting. There was a lot you have to gather just to start the process.

Then, I woke up Saturday and knew I couldn't wait. I had to seize the day and make my cake pops-who cares if some go uneaten cause it's just me and P? These simply were not going to wait! I read about 3 different recipes online and compiled in my mind what seemed like the best tips of each and went to work. I could tell you my exact process, but at the moment, I don't have the patience to write it out. If you are interested, I can certainly tell you what I did. If you live in the area, feel free to join me in making some and learn that way, since I most certainly will be making more. All in all, it was a fairly simple, though time-consuming process. I actually didn't finish decorating them all until today.

If you happen to want to try them, here are a few tips I have to share that I didn't see elsewhere
1) If you want purple, just buy either the purple candy dye (you have to used oil based food coloring, normal liquid won't work) or buy the purple candy melts to start with. Don't try mixing red and blue. I ended up with a decent color, but it certainly wasn't what I was going for.
2) Use a mug to dip the pops into the candy coating, not a bowl
3) Don't put them to set next to a window that is likely to have sun streaming in on them in a half hour, nothing terrible happened, they just got a little soft and mushy-thankfully I saved them before any real damage was done!

The decorating is a bit funky, but i figure between having never decorated with an icing bag and tip before and my wonderfully UNsteady hands, they turned out much better than they could have.

Of course, this also meant that when I was done decorating, I had extra melted candy in my bag and nothing to do with it! SO of course, I played!
As you can see, I grabbed a cookie sheet and just started practicing, playing around and making the mess I had already made even bigger!

And thus, the end of the cake pops project!