Monday, August 28, 2017

Sour Orange Pie

Are you a fan of key lime pie? Sad that you can only get it during certain times of the year from your favorite restaurants? Well let me tell you about this other pie that, to me, is maybe even better than key lime.

It's a little something called... Sour Orange Pie. Oh yeah.

Sour Orange Pie by

I admit I didn't know what to expect when making this pie. Would it be really sour? Too sweet? No, it turned out juuuuust right. I guess I shouldn't be surprised when the people behind Cook's Illustrated are the ones with the recipe. Always trust Cook's Illustrated. Because this pie? Is amazing.

Sour Orange Pie by

You don't even really need that whipped cream on top if I'm being honest. With key lime pie, the whipped cream can cut through some of the sourness of the pie itself, but in this sour orange version, the filling is just sweet enough that you don't really need that extra sweetness on top to cut the sour. It's just as great on its own. But having the orange zest in the whipped cream does give it a little extra somethin' somethin' too, so that's not to say it isn't nice to have it on there. Just don't think you can't have the pie if you don't like/want/can't have whipped cream!

Sour Orange Pie by

Seriously, go make it! It's not only really delicious, but also dang easy. Tangy, sweet, crunchy crust with a delightfully creamy center. So much yum!

Sour Orange Pie

If you love Key Lime Pie, then give Sour Orange Pie a try. It's the orange version of it, and possibly even more delicious!

  • 5 ounces animal crackers
  • 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Filling:
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 6 Tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest, plus 6 Tablespoons juice (2 lemons)
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • Pinch salt
  • Whipped Cream:
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream, chilled
  • 2 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest

  1. For the Crust: Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350F. Process crackers, sugar and salt in food processor until finely ground, about 30 seconds. Add in melted butter and pulse 8 times until combined. Transfer crumbs to 9-inch pie plate.
  2. Using bottom of dry measuring cup, press crumbs firmly into bottom and up the sides of pie plate. Bake crust until fragrant and beginning to brown, 12-14 minutes. Let cool completely, about 30 minutes.
  3. For the Filling: Whisk all ingredients in bowl until fully combined. Pour filling into pie crust.
  4. Bake pie until center jiggles slightly when shaken, 15-17 minutes. Let cool completely. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours. Or cover with greased plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  5. For the Whipped Cream: Whisk cream, sugar, and orange zest in a medium bowl until stiff peaks form, 2-4 minutes. Slice chilled pie and serve with whipped cream.

Recipe thanks to Cook's Country February/March 2017 Magazine

Sour Orange Pie by

Friday, July 28, 2017

Homemade Deodorant

When you become a teenager, one of the first things that is foisted upon you is the ubiquitous deodorant and/or antiperspirant. You know, because your hormones are going into overdrive and that equals lots of smelly sweat. Right? I have to wonder, now, whether that sweat was really so smelly after all.

About a year ago, I started hearing about how the aluminum products in deodorant were, in fact, quite bad for you. Of course, this may or may not actually be true as everything seems to contradict itself on the internet, but let me share with you my experience with switching to a natural deodorant. Did it work?

Homemade Deodorant that works.

First of all, I tried switching to this deodorant called Native, boasting natural ingredients and amazing results. My results? Stinky. Very stinky. I did read that it might take up to a month for your body to get rid of all of the toxins that had been going in thanks to the regular deodorant, so I let it go for a while. But Native itself didn't go on easily, would often clump up, and even by the end of the day wouldn't really be working anymore. I mean, you can give it a try, but honestly? I wouldn't recommend it.

Homemade Deodorant that works.

Then I started trying to find a homemade recipe to try. Eventually I found one, though I can't seem to find the actual website I found it at now, there are multiple different ones that feature the particular concoction I ended up using, which is basically just a mix of coconut oil, baking soda, and cornstarch. You can also add essential oils, but it's entirely unnecessary.

And what happened? In just a day or so, I stopped smelling. Really.

After some time had passed, and I still didn't smell, or honestly even sweat that much, my boyfriend decided to give it a try himself. For the first month and a half or so, he was not into it. He was stinky and wasn't sure it was going to work for him. But, I assured him to just give it that initial time and see if the stink went away.

It went away.

Homemade Deodorant that works.

Which leads me to believe that, no, we probably should not be using those brand name deodorants, or even the natural ones like Native or even Toms, which I've heard doesn't work particularly well either. The other day, I didn't even put any of this homemade stuff on, and I didn't smell at all. If your body takes a whole month or longer to get rid of the toxins built up by the other deodorant, it can't be that great, you know?

Also, I've read that how the stuff in deodorant reacts to your sweat is what causes those nasty yellow pit stains in white shirts. I can tell you, my boyfriend's white undershirts do have some yellowness to them, but we haven't tried a new shirt since the switch yet, so I can't report on the outcome, but you know what? I bet it wouldn't turn yellow.

Homemade Deodorant that works.

Below please find the recipe for homemade deodorant. I will tell you this one thing about it, this particular kind doesn't really roll on. I store it in a small jar and take a dab with my finger and rub it in a few minutes after taking a shower. If you shave your armpits and don't give it a few minutes, it may sting, so just be aware. Also, if you have an adverse reaction to baking soda (aka you get a rash), then you can change up the amount you use, cutting it down.

Homemade Deodorant

Natural deodorant that works.

  • 6 Tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch, or arrowroot
  • essential oils, optional

  1. Mix baking soda and cornstarch together in a bowl.
  2. Mix in the coconut oil until well mixed. I melted the coconut oil first so that it wouldn't get any clumps in it. It will harden up later.
  3. Add a couple drops of oils if desired.
  4. Store in a small glass jar.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you've been following my blog for long, you may think that this recipe sounds familiar. Well, that's because it is! I made this some years ago (OMG over 5 years ago! How does time fly?). I decided to give it a post update, because I can tell you that this is my favorite easy recipe for chocolate chip cookies. While the Jacques Torres ones might be better, technically, they are also more complicated. These cookies are decidedly uncomplicated. No need for refrigeration or anything!

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies by

I've made these cookies a great number of times throughout the years, and it was kind of sad to me that I never actually took some nice photos of them! Seriously, the old post is pretty sad when it comes to the photos. It was before I had access to a nice camera, so I was using one of those old digital point and shoots that doesn't let you get very close or choose where you want to focus. Yeah. Not great! But the recipe itself IS great! So here we are.

Notice how in the below picture that goop of chocolate in the middle looks like a heart? That was purely coincidence! These are made with love! Ha, sorry.

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies by

This time around I decided to try putting in some fancy chocolate discs along with some semi-sweet chips. I did about half and half of both, and while they're good, I would suggest either chopping up the discs in half, or to make larger cookies than the typical size. I did a couple sizes, and the discs worked better in the larger cookies. That said, you absolutely don't need to use fancy chocolate, you can just as well use all regular semi-sweet chocolate chips and they'll be just as tasty. Also, if you really like your cookies chock full of chocolate, you may want to add in another 1/4 cup of chocolate chips. Personally, I prefer less, so this 1 cup is the perfect amount.

All of that being said, lately at my office we sometimes get lunch from this one place, and they bring in a plate of cookies, and my god I think they are my favorite chocolate chip cookies EVER. They're huge, have lots of chocolate throughout, in small bits and large bits, soft with just a tiny bit of hardness to the edges, and almost a slightly caramel-ness to them. I would tell you to go get them, but they only are available with the catering options, not just on the dessert menu, so I really have no idea if they make them themselves or not! So frustrating, because I'd looove to buy more of these. Anyway, enough babbling about chocolate chip cookies. Go make these if you enjoy a quick and easy and very soft chocolate chip cookie.

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies by

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies by

Perfectly soft cookies great for a weeknight treat - no refrigeration needed.

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In your mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until fluffy. Add in egg and vanilla and blend until well mixed.
  3. Mix in flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. Place tablespoon-sized drops of dough on your cookie sheet (or use a cookie scooper like me, it's much easier) about an inch and a half apart and bake for 8-10 minutes until barely golden brown around the edges. These will not get brown, so don't overcook them.
  5. Let cool on the sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. For me this made about 2 dozen.
Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies by

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Buttermilk Pancakes

I've made my share of pancakes for the blog here. Well, I say share as if I've made a ton, when really I should say I've made a few. The banana pancakes have to be one of my favorites, but this one is right up there as well. You know what I don't like in a pancake? Flatness. These pancakes have none of that! They're nice and tall and fluffy and oh so good.

Recipe for Buttermilk Pancakes by

It's funny, though, because typically I am more of a waffles person that a pancakes person. Technically I supposed waffles are easier to make then pancakes, because you just stick them in a waffle iron and kind of leave them to do their thing, but for some reason pancakes seem easier. What is that about? I suppose it might have to do with the hassle of actually getting the waffle maker out, and then having to clean it afterward, even though it's nonstick so it's not that hard to clean. Am I the only one who thinks this way??

Recipe for Buttermilk Pancakes by

Nevertheless, if you were to offer me these pancakes, I'd say yes please! The touch of vanilla in there gives them some oomph without being too overpowering, and I also like that this recipe doesn't make a crap ton of pancakes. That said, if you're feeding a family, you should probably double the recipe. As it stands, it's good for a couple of adults and maybe some small children, depending on the level of pancake love going on.

Recipe for Buttermilk Pancakes by

These are a great morning weekend recipe, so if you're looking for something easy and yummy for a Sunday brunch, definitely give them a try!

Recipe for Buttermilk Pancakes by

Buttermilk Pancakes by

Delightful tall and fluffy buttermilk pancakes.

  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for pan
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plus 2-4 Tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  1. Heat oven to 225F and place a large baking sheet inside.
  2. Melt your butter halfway in a large bowl, then whisk in the sugar. Make sure it's lukewarm and not hot, then add in your egg and vanilla and whisk again. Then add in your buttermilk and whisk some more. Whisk in your salt and baking soda until fully combined, then wipe down the sides of the bowl and stir in your flour until it just disappears.
  3. Heat up your griddle or frying pan over medium, plop on some more butter, then dollop your pancake batter. I used a cookie scoop and made little baby pancakes. Once bubbles form on the top, flip that baby.
  4. Reduce your heat to medium-low, and cook the other side. Once golden brown on this side, remove to the oven. If you see some uncooked bits on the sides, that's fine, they'll cook in the oven the rest of the way.
  5. Repeat for the rest of the pancakes.

Recipe via Smitten Kitchen

Recipe for Buttermilk Pancakes by

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Supernatural 12x22 "Who We Are" and 12x23 "All Along the Watchtower"

Well, here we are at the end of season twelve. My goodness, can you believe it's been twelve years? That just seems nuts to me. Does anyone have any bets as to just how long this show will keep going? If they could quit recycling the same stories over and over, it wouldn't be so bad, but that seems to be what happens. A lot.

Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester and Elizabeth Blackmore as Toni Bevell in Supernatural 12x22 "Who We Are" But let's get on to what happened in this particular finale. It's not really a two hour finale, but rather the two final episodes smushed together on the same night, as the stories aren't really related. Honestly, it would've been more interesting to me if they had actually combined the BMOL storyline with the whole Lucifer baby thing, but...nope. Basically you get two finales, one for the BMOL, and one for the whole angel/demon of it all.

So, let's start with the BMOL, since that's how it goes chronologically anyway. As you may recall, Ketch left the boys and Toni stuck in the bunker with seemingly no way out. They work on trying to find a spell to do it, then try some blunt force, and ultimately come up with the grenade launcher that Dean's wanted to use for years now. It works a charm, though he gets a pretty gnarly leg injury. They need to find Mary, and also warn the other hunters out there, and wouldn't you know it? Mary just happens to be visiting one of our favorite hunters, Jody.

Luckily, Jody is no slouch, so she and Alex managed to capture Mary before she could kill anyone. They want Toni to reverse the brainwashing on Mama Winchester, but she claims it can't be done. Nonetheless, while Sam and the other hunters go off to raid and kill all of the BMOL at their home base, Dean has Toni hook him up to Mary with some kind of brainwave thingy, and he has a chat with her in her unconscious, which happens to be when he was a young boy and Sam a wee babe. He gets through to her just in time, because Ketch shows up and starts beating him around. Of course you know Mary is going to get the last laugh here, which she does. She finally gives Ketch what he deserves - a bullet to the noggin.

Meanwhile, Sam and the others perform their raid pretty easily, and despite Hess trying to talk her way out of them killing her, claiming they need their help since Lucifer is back, nope. Jody gives her one to the noggin as well.

So, the Winchesters are reunited once more. But will they remain so in the next hour?

Samantha Smith as Mary Winchester, Jared Padalecki as Sam Winchester, and Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester in Supernatural 12x23 "All Along the Watchtower"On to the actual finale, where we catch up with Castiel and Kelly, who are off at a cabin somewhere awaiting the birth of the spawn of the devil. She's annoyed with some Ikea furniture, blah blah. He sees some kind of rift in the universe, blah bl... oh wait. That's new. We're not sure what this rift is, but it's not a great world on the other side. Spoiler alert - it's a parallel world, not the future.

The Winchesters aren't sure what to do about Lucifer, particularly after they call up Rowena only to have Luci answer on the other end. However, as we all knew, Crowley didn't really die last we saw him, but stole himself into that rat. He red smokes back into his body, and gets a scene straight out of the season 4 premiere where Dean emerged from beneath the earth. So, yes, Crowley pops into the bunker and offers his help. He'll help them put Lucifer back in the cage, then he'll close up the gates of Hell, and they'll all leave each other in peace. Sounds good enough.

They still need to find Cas and Kelly, but once they notice some odd happenings in the Pacific Northwest, they're on the right track. While Mary hangs out with Kelly in the throes of labor, Cas shows the boys the rift, and what's on the other side. Basically, a world where they were never born, which means they weren't around to stop the angels and demons fighting an endless war against each other. But also means Bobby and Rufus are still alive, as well as the OG Mary Campbell. We only see Bobby, but I admit that was a surprise for me for once.

Lucifer shows up, so it's time for a new plan. Get him stuck over in the other world, and lock him in the cage there, seal the rift, and Bob's your uncle. They succeed in getting him to the other side, and Crowley works on the spell, but it needs one last ingredient - a life. Turns out, he's going to sacrifice himself this time around. And that death I believe much more. It activates the spell, but... Lucifer is still there? I don't get it. Was that just to close the rift? Whatever. It does start to shrink. The boys jump through.

But even though Cas tries to jump through and stop Lucifer from coming back over, he does, and ends up killing Cas in the process. Well well well, if this really is meant to end the whole angel/demon storyline and start things fresh, killing both Crowley and Cas would certainly do it. Lucifer turns to the boys, but Mary steps in with her angel-hurting brass knuckles and starts beating him up. Which is to get him back through the rift, which she does, but she ends up getting pulled along too, and wouldn't you know it? Right when it closes. So Lucifer and Mary are stuck in this other Mad Max dimension. For now anyway.

Meanwhile, Sam runs off to find Kelly dead, and child footprints leading to the bedroom. The kid ain't no baby, but rather is already a child with golden yellow eyes and a rather demonic smile.

Okay then.

Random Thoughts:

- There was a Bitch. Jerk. moment. Haven't had one of those in a while.

- Really? They kill Rowena offscreen? My goodness, the treatment of women this season. That's two more minor recurring female characters and one major recurring female character offed without much fanfare. I know a lot of people don't like Rowena, but if that is really the end of her... I mean. Wow. Wait! I also forgot they showed Toni dead barely for a moment as well, killed by Ketch we assume. So that's four total women killed with little fanfare. Mind you, Ketch got his comeuppance on screen. I know Toni we don't care about as much, but sheesh.

- Is this really the last we'll see of Crowley and Castiel? I'm wondering what the reaction to it all is, as I haven't looked at any of it yet. To be honest, I'm tired of the angel and demon storylines, so I would be perfectly fine with it. I know there is a huge Castiel contingent out there, but what does he really have to do anymore?

- And is it the last of Mary? That seems less likely. I feel like for sure they'll try to find a way to get back to that other world. Maybe they'll swap Mary and the kid or something.

- I mean, is the evil child storyline not similar to the Amara one we already dealt with? Grows up fast, has evil powers, yada yada. Let's hope they make it different. Otherwise, it wasn't that great the first time around.

- I almost thought they weren't going to use Carry On in the recap, but it showed up after all. Was it really necessary for two recaps, though? Just more evidence having the two of them air together was not the original plan.


Sam: Goggles?
Dean: Goggles.

Dean: I always thought we'd go out Butch and Sundance style.
Sam: Blaze of Glory.
Dean: Blaze of Glory.

Dean: Okay beautiful. Yippee ki yay mother--

Sam: Go to Hell.
Lucifer: Good one. Witty. I'll use that in the future.

Castiel: I've read 74 books on child rearing, and there is one thing they all agree on. Everybody poops.

Mary: Kinda always wanted to punch the devil in the face.

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