My First Purim!

Hey Peeps!

OMG it’s been so long. I’ve been working, and finally bought a brand new phone and laptop to blog again! I also got this new gadget to hold my phone to give awesome video of entries during the week. I’m so excited!

Today, is Purim. As you guys know, I’m Jewish. Newly Jewish(thanks Ancestry.com, and family members who gave information to help out!), but I’m studying and learning daily. With that said, their are a lot of holy holidays, and this one is one of my favorites. Not to go into too much detail, it involves celebrating, eating, and dress up. I really like makes the baskets you give out, which leads into the post today!

Last year, I didn’t have to funds to participate in the festivities, and was bummed a little, but this year it’s on like Donkey Kong! I began to research where I could get supplies, and I needed, and the infamous Hamantaschen cookies.

These cookies are really cool, and the story behind them are interesting. I knew from last year I wanted to give a basket to Hyperdiva’s friend. She gave her one last year, so I decided to give a big one for her and her sister. Since then, my new client, Sassy Lady, is also Jewish. Since she’s a feisty 92 year old lady, I made her a slightly different basket, but one she should enjoy. A part of me is a little nervous giving them out, but I think everyone will enjoy them!


As I mentioned, I made Hamantaschen cookies from scratch. Its an essential part to the Purim gifts. They were so tasty last year, and I’m not gonna lie, I was a little intimidated, but I wanted to try, and want to embrace my roots as much as I do with my African roots.

Of course google let me know what to do. I hope one day my blog is as helpful as toriavey.com. Not only did I find hamantaschen cookie recipe, but I found two ways to make it, and five different recipes for the fillings. I kept it simple on the fillings.

Strawberry and Peach Apricot.

The dough was dairy free, which was great since dairy doesn’t fair well in our family. The only issue I had was the flour/water ratio. It’s something you have to play around with to get it just right to roll out. After that, the fun begins!

As you fold the cookies into the shape of triangles, you get a groove going and it goes by really quick. I baked two batches, twelve of each flavor. The crew liked them, so I’ll be baking more after I come back from going out to work. It’s been fun trying to learn more about my heritage and the foods that come with it.

Here’s a picture of Sassy Lady’s basket completed. It’s a surprise for her, so I hope she likes it. Hyperdiva has ran over in the darkness and delivered the basket to her friends. It’s a covert operation. You can’t be seen delivering the baskets or boxes you choose. Their mom text me saying ‘oh no, their dad is on their way to deliver her box’.


Hilarious.

To those who celebrate Purim, Happy Purim! For everyone else back east, stay safe through the blizzards. Out this way or anywhere, if you go out, stay safe, and tip your service people(including rideshares, like me! LOL). Have an awesome Saturday Night!

~CSM~

 

Halloween Party: Girl Scout Style

Being a Girl Scout Leader has challenged me in so many ways. Not really a bad thing. Actually a good thing. These girls keep me excited for Fridays, and on my toes.

This Friday was no different! For those who don’t know, Halloween is also Founder’s Day. Juilette Gordon Low was born on Halloween, so every year, depending on what level you are in Girl Scout, we celebrate her birthday in different ways. Since it fell on a Monday, we celebrated it on the Friday w had a meeting.

I have a multi age group (5-12) so this posed an interesting dilemma. It got my creative juices going on how do we celebrate both. Well oddly enough, the girls voted on “make up/special effects” for their ‘make your own badge’.

Now, you have to add on the diet restrictions in our troop too. I have two girls who are vegetarian, and four who are Jewish. Them having this party got you guys a blog!

 

We move to my zombie punch. Recreating my punch bowl from last year, I wanted to do have to same effect, but jazz up the punch. Problem: gummy worms are made from gelatin. Regular gelatin isn’t vegetarian or kosher. I racked my brain, and even posted on the facebook page about it. Then I see this at the store…..

Say Whaaaaa?????

A gelatin free dessert! I was having a “aaaaahhhhh” moment. You know the ones you see in cartoons with the light bulb. I never knew that was possible. I bought 4. 2 for the party, and 2 for my house!

The wheels were turning for sure. Of course I trolled the hell out of pinterest. I can’t take credit for everything! One idea that stuck with me was the snacks. Each snack I selected was made into monster body parts.

Jack o Lantern Quesadillas

These were easy to make. I called my coleader, and her friend over to help me prep. That hardest part was the cutting the shapes, which says a lot. Add cheese, broil for 8 minutes, and tada!

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Witches warts, Pumpkin Poo, Monster Scabs, and Spider Eggs

Peeps! This was the easiest part! Cups were filled with grapes(spider eggs), chocolate chips with cinnamon toast crunch(witch’s warts with monster scabs) and cheese puffs(pumpkin poo). 16 each, pre-made the night before.

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Zombie Punch

Now, we had a malfunction, because what party doesn’t? It was ok, we made it work. I made the hand out of the jello and froze it. The punch itself was green juice and lemon lime soda. I had another bowl house the dry ice. It give the spooky illusion of a witches brew. The girls loved it!

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Price is Right: Halloween Edition

We got this foam board to decorate. Cups were filled with candy, expect for four. Each one of those had $5 gc to jamba juice. If you remember the wall punch game from price as right, people won money from the wall after punching in the tissue paper. Same concept, but everyone won at least candy. Hot gluing the cups to the board, we filled the cups with candy and topped them with tissue paper. Once done, it formed a pumpkin. The girls loved the game!

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As we set up for the party, the most expensive things were the supplies for the make up craft. Now I know why the entertainment industry is rich! As for the food, you can get everything from the dollar store, walmart, and things around your home.

Another Halloween in the books! I apologize for this post being so late, I’ve been so busy, but things are winding down a bit, so enjoy the post coming in!

~CSM~

Harvest Stuffed Roast

It’s that time of the year!

Where you get the urge to cook, and eat until your heart is content!

Of course, around January, you decide ‘OMG, I need to get fit!’, but right now, we are eating!

For those who know me, I can wonder in grocery stores, and bookstores for hours. They give me motivation. As I wander, it’s the same formula “I wonder what x, y, and z tastes like? Will my crew like it? Will I be giving it to momhulk and her brood at her house?”

True thoughts to myself, but it never fails, 9 times out of 10, it’s a winner. Last Saturday was no different. I was out and about(which I shouldn’t have been, but that’s another story), I decided to venture into Sprouts. It’s like Trader Joe’s, but more expensive. Not as bad as whole foods, but not somewhere I frequent too often.

I made my way around the store, and got to the meat counter. I still needed dinner. Then I saw it. Harvest stuffed pork tenderloin. I hoped for a pork alternative, so it would be a food review, but no avail. Of course, you know what that meant……

CHALLENGE!

First, I thought, “crockpot?” No. I have been wearing mine out lately. No worries. Oven cooking it is! Then the most important part of this process, “what will I substitute for the pork?”

It took me a minute on that, because I don’t like repeating main dishes too often. That’s when it hit me…….Roast. Snapples! It was like a runaway train after that…..

My Harvest Stuffed Beef Roast

1 Boneless Beef Roast, trimmed of fat

1.5 cups dried cranberries

1 cup dried apricots

1 cup chopped walnuts

2 cups cran-apple juice

.5 cups brown sugar

garlic pepper

butcher’s twine

  1. Rinse off the roast, and pat dry. Make a cut in the middle. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl, mix cranberries, walnuts, half of the brown sugar, and apricots. Put into the pocket of the roast.
  3. Proceed to tie the roast closed with the twine.
  4. Spray non stick spray into a baking dish. Place roast into dish. Then pore juice over roast. Season with reminder of sugar, and garlic pepper. If you have more cranberries or apricots, pour over roast.
  5. Bake at 350 for 45 mins to 1 hour, basting every 20 minutes.

It was a hit peeps! I made it with boiled sweet potatoes. This shall be a keeper for my winter dishes. Though I was a little on edge with the sweetness, it played well with the entire dish.

Let me know what you think! Try it out, and leave it in the comments!

~CSM~

 

 

School Birthdays: Go Big or Go Home.

Hyperdiva’s Birthday in on Sunday. Her dad is taking her to disneyland for her gift from him.

It’s been tight around here with graduation looming, and making sure everything is paid for. It wasn’t going to stop me. Each child always got a big presence from me their last couple years of elementary school. The last time they will have parties, and be kids before hormones and craziness of confusement kicks in.

I asked her what she wanted. Of course ear piercing was her top choice, but again money. She then asked for a cupcake treat at school. I didn’t know if it was allowed because of new rules, but apparently, it was.

No problem. 25 cupcakes right?

Oh no. 56 kids, and two teachers since they have started switching classes. At first I thought of buying the cupcakes, but after calling for prices, I said um no.

Of course, if I made them, I could make them my way……oh yeah. Your girl was all over this! Question was what would 56 10-11 year old like? Banana Split Cupcakes! I mean who doesn’t like banana split cupcakes?!

I began my craziness Wednesday night. These cupcakes were due Friday Afternoon. Of course my direct deposit didnt show up until Friday, no worries. I was crunched for time, but that’s nothing new.

Normally, in my cake form, I made the cake portion to taste like bananas. Literally banana cake, but I didn’t feel like doing chocolate drizzle on each and every cupcake.

Marble cupcakes. Genius. Half banana, half chocolate. I have my list of things, off to the store I go!

I’m inside walmart. No marble cakes. Why me????? If you guys ever wanted to see a grown lady have a tantrum in public, you should have been there. It’s 6am on Friday. It’s bad enough I’m doing this the same day, let alone not having the supplies I need.

Again, no worries, thought in two seconds……..french vanilla cake mix, add banana extract. Buy chocolate cake to swirl into other cake. Got it.

Now before I get into the recipe itself, I’m going to give you the cost of the idea.

For 60 cucpcakes: Two boxes french vanilla cake, 1.17/each. One box chocolate fudge cake, 1.28/each. Two jars cherries, 1.78/each. Two whipped cream containers, 1.98/each. 18 pack eggs, 2.98. Cucpcake liners, 1.00. Two pints of strawberries, 2.48/each. Three disposable cake pans, 2.98/each. Altogether it cost under 30 dollars versus my local bakery wanting close to 70 dollars.

After everyone was gone we got the assembly line going and heated my oven to 350. I mixed the french vanilla cake, and added 1.5 teaspoons banana extract in the first mixing bowl. In a smaller mixing bowl, I mixed the chocolate cake mix.

Then I lined my cupcake pans. Its easier to do it this way since you are goiving them to kids, less mess. Taking my 1/2 cup measureing cup, I began to pour in the french vanilla/banana cake mix first. One cup full equals out to two cupcakes. You want to make sure their is enough room to add the chocolate mix too. After pouring the first cake, you take 1 tablespoon of the chocolate cake mix, and pour into each cupcake. You can swirl them if you choose to, but I didn’t. Keep in mind, 10-11 year old aren’t that picky. Cake is cake, swirled or not, as long as it’s good.

Next, rinse off your strawberries. Air dry. Slice the tops of the berry, and the tips of the berry off. Then dice into quarters. Place one quarter into each cupcake. Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clear.

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HUGE STEP! Take out oven and let them cool off. The cooler the better.

I did this three times. I got done early, so that was good, but it was tiresome. Again, rather do it myself then pay a ton of money.

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Once the cucpakes cooled, I began the decorating process. Originally, I was going to get whipped crean cans. Again, walmart disaapointed me and didn’t sell them. Real close to being on cops at this point. Shopping way too early without coffee means no patience.

Again, thought on my feet………buy the tub, transfer to a ziploc bag, cut a hole and squeeze out the cream. Ok crisis avoided.

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I placed these cupcakes in the cake tins(with lids). Then transferred the whipped cream to my freezer bags and cut two holes at the corner. Looked just like it came out the can. Ending it with a stemmed cherry on top.

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I probably wouldn’t have been so tired if I was cleaning inbetween, but I hate a dirty kitchen. Six pans of cupcakes by 2pm. Hyperdiva and her classmates loved it. Her teacher missed out because he had to leave early, so between that and some kids missing school, I had leftovers. I may take him one on Monday. He’s a great teacher.

My madness never ends I tell you, but the happy look on her face was well worth it.

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Banana Split Cupcakes: Yields 60 cupcakes

2 french vanilla box cakes

1 box chocolate fudge cake

3 teaspoons banana extract

9 eggs

2 pints strawberries, rinsed and diced in quarters

2 whipped cream tubs

2 jars of cherries

Mix as directed in bowls. If you choose to double the french vanilla cakes, that’s fine. If not, divide banana extract in half. One for each mix. Pour 1/4 cup banana cake mix, one tablespoon chocolate cake mix, and one quarter strawberry into the cupcake cup.

Bake as directed. Cool, and decorate with freezer bag full of whipped cream. Finish off with cherry. Serve chilled. You can store in refrigerator or freezer.

~CSM~

Bar 101: Mardi Gras!

Hey peeps!

Been a while, but I got people pulling me in every direction. I said to myself “Today is Blog Peeps Day!”

While I’m catching up on TWD, I’m writing blogs I needed to post ages ago. This one was one of many, so let’s jump into it!

I’m not catholic, but the theory of Mardi Gras ‘let the good times roll’ is a great one in my book. Like last year, I posted up the kids celebration we had. This year we slimmed it down, and changed it a little. I’m beginning to see how location reflects food choices and ideas for me.

I decided to take into account the weather and new home to planning this years dinner. The crew didn’t want king cake this year, so I made something for myself.

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This is where Bar 101 came in. As I get ready to pubish the book, and take the next step in sharing reccipes more publicly and in print, I wanted to make something to go into the book for the festivities.

As I researched, I found out their was a king cake vodka(which I shall find a way to try), but unfortunately, wasn’t near me. No problem. Plan B went into full effect!

During the time, the popular drink is served, the Hurricane. It’s a really tasty drink, and on the scale from 1 being, hey this not too bad, to 10 being, oh snapps, I can remember last night, it’s a 8.5. It is something you need to be either A) at home with trusted people or B) only have one with friends, with least one looking out for you to get home.

If not, you’ll end up putting on the “Oh no, I can’t believe I’m taking an uber to get my car. Where the hell am I?” list. Oh trust me, there’s a list……in due time peeps. Just write this one down first.

Anyhow, I wanted to capture the feel of being in New Orleans, but living in countryside LA, with a side of cake tendancies. I think I found it. After I wrote this, I was stumped on the name for about a week. Yes, a week, but the simple go to name I went to I think was great. It didn’t need to be complicated, or overkill. Straight to the point.

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King Cake Hurricane.

With the berry taste, it was fabulous! I shared this photo to a couple of you, and I’m excited to share the recipe in the book! I only had one, at home, with my meal. I was good the next day, but I definitely recommend eating before or with this drink.

Until next time: Girl Scout Series Begins!

~CSM~

Bar 101: Champagne Coffee Cake!

Happy New Year Everyone!

I hope yours was fun, safe, and good times. Mine was chilled out, and I like it that way. The crew and I just hung out. I had the plan to do midnight gaming with Mr Charming but plans don’t always work out. It’s ok.

Now, I thought about this recipe. As you guys know, I have two things that give me life in the kitchen:

One: mixing things never done before or rarely done.

Two: cooking/baking with liquor/liqueur because of the flavor versus imitation stuff.

Now, I didn’t have company over, but if I did, this cake would be on the brunch menu. I also wanted to find a way to use leftover flat champagne if you had to. I hate throwing liquor away.

Then boom! It came to me.

Why not a coffee cake!?

Everyone can eat it since the alcohol is cooked out of it, and not using a ton of it. Just enough to give the flavor.

I never made a coffee cake, but love them in the morning on sundays with cocoa and a good read. This one is pretty easy, and was made while I was cooking dinner.
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Champagne Coffee Cake

I box of yellow cake mix(doesn’t matter the brand)

1 box (3.4 oz) instant vanilla pudding

1 box (3.4 oz) instant butterscotch pudding

4 eggs

1/2 cup water

1/2 champagne(I used peach but the flavor doesn’t really make a difference, just keep it fruity if you choose to use flavored champagne)

1 cup olive oil

1 cup pressed brown sugar(if out, regular sugar will work)

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

1 cup chopped walnuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl mix cake and pudding mixes. Add eggs, oil, water champagne, and blend well.

In another bowl, stir nuts, cinnamon, and brown sugar.

In a greased baking pan, layer into the pan. Half of the batter, then the nut mix, and then the rest of the batter.

Bake for 20 minutes on 350, then turn down to 325, baking for another 30-45 minutes. Check with a knife in themiddle. If clear, it’s done.
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You can serve it with ice cream or whipped cream. If you want to continue the party, serve with mimosas. We had ours with ice cream. It’s pretty sweet but really good!

Happy New Year Peeps! Cheers!

~CSM

 

 

Holly Day 15:Cheeseburger Lasagna

You ever think about taking two of the easiest dishes and combining them into one?

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When the holidays come around here in casa de common sense, we get real creative around here in ways I can include Hyperdiva in making food. This year for girl scouts, they are really introducing cooking for a badge, so I’m really looking for ways to have them help me.

This is one dish you can include your kids in cooking, get them to eat it, and have enough for leftovers(if they don’t love it too much lol).

Cheeseburger Lasagna

2 Lbs ground chuck, turkey, or beef

1 can tomato sauce

1 bottle ketchup

2 tbsp onion powder

1 large tub cottage cheese

2 eggs

2 cups cheddar cheese

2 tbsp pepper

1 cup colby jack cheese

Oven ready lasagna

Heat oven to 350. Cook meat until browned. Drain fat. Mix in tomato sauce, ketchup, and onion powder. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a mixing bowl, add cottage cheese, eggs, cheddar cheese, and pepper. Mix together well. Set aside.

In a greased baking dish, spoon in a small amount of sauce. Then begin layering the lasagna: Noodles, cheese mixture, meat sauce. Once at the top, cover with cheese(I had left over cheddar to mix with the colby jack to make it extra cheesy).

Bake for 45 minutes. Serve after cooling off with a salad. I garnished the lasagna with sweet relish and ketchup.

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It was a hit, and easy to make. It let HyperDiva and I bond, and I’m pretty sure this recipe with be used at her girl scout meeting for a patch they are required to do.

In any event, enjoy it, and let me know what you think!

~CSM~