Monday, July 30, 2012

First Guest Blog!!! Yeah Ms. Z-The Good, the Kinda Bad, and the Ugly

So we are officially moved into our new rental house. By moved in of course I mean all of our stuff is strewn about the house, boxes open, and all of our earthly possessions are in nonsensical locations. However, we have turned in the keys to our apartment so at least that is taken care of. Because of the move I have been unable to make any of my many pincreations for the last few days. Never fear because I have great friends I had a volunteer blogger who recreated some pins while she was on vacation in Cali the last few weeks. These are her words and pictures (with only a tiny bit of editing from me.) Enjoy!

Here's one of my pinterest attempts from this summer, and it's perfect for summer. I saw a pin about waffle ice cream sandwiches ( ) which led me to this blog of how to make cake in a waffle iron - also saw a pin for cookies made in the waffle iron. We tried this one the night after the waffle iron cakes. Here's the blog that I totally ignored but saw the photo from it -

So first the good (and easy)
Just mix a cake mix the way it says on the box and heat up the waffle iron. Spray the waffle iron right before you pour (we used Crisco butter flavor spray). The chocolate flavored waffle cakes were yummy! And without turning on the big ol' hot oven! These were very yummy and super easy!

Now - the ugly (and sorta bad):
We had pre-made cookie dough from Papa Murphy's and heated up the waffle iron. We sprayed it & scooped them on the waffle iron.
 Closed the lid & waited 2 minutes. 
More time was needed.

This is how the first two came out; broken & sad, but okay tasting. It was really hard to get these out - they just fell apart.
Here's how the last two turned out.  They came out a little easier but were a little well done. I prefer regular cookies to this. Maybe for dunking these would be perfect. Also, maybe a different dough would do better. And finally, maybe if I had read the pinterest instead of just assuming it would cook similarly to the cake waffle.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Challenge 28- Banana Bread Cake- A Pin with a Twist

I started this whole blog with an awesome banana bread recipe and I stand by it being the hands down best banana bread recipe. This recipe however is not exactly banana bread and not exactly cake, and is an adaption of a pin but unique in its own right.

The first thing you need to remember is that my family and I are moving on Thursday, which means 90% of our possessions (including my cookware and spices) are packed in boxes. I also haven't been grocery shopping in 2 weeks since I knew everything in the cabinets and fridge would need to be moved, and the less there was the better. I did however have 4 very brown bananas that were just crying to be made into something before they got too mushy and unusable. However my vanilla, cinnamon, flour, etc. had all been pack away. I remembered seeing a banana bread like recipe on Pinterest that involved yellow cake mix and I knew I had that so we were go for launch. We hit a snag in the having 3 eggs part of the recipe, but being the smart baker I am I knew I could replace eggs with applesauce in cake and bread recipes so we were still good to go. The original recipe called for chocolate chips (which surprise I didn't have) but it also said you could use nuts, and I just happened to have some sugar glazed pecans lying around (see
Preheat the oven to 350 and the mix one box of yellow cake mix, two snack containers of applesauce (or 2-3 eggs if you have them) a cup of sugar glazed pecans (or chocolate chips, or walnuts, or whatever you think will taste good), and 3-4 ripe bananas into the Kitchen Aid (or using a hand mixer). I mixed it on medium speed for about 2 minutes until the batter was wet and I didn't see any dry powder.
My loaf pan was packed away so I used my glass 9X13 casserole dish and spayed it with some butter spray (guess where my PAM is) to help keep it from sticking to the pan. I put it in for 35 minutes on the top rack for 35 minutes. Around 25 minutes I noticed the top was browning a lot but the inside wasn't done yet so I moved it to the bottom rack for the last 10 minutes.  (If you use a loaf pan you'll probably need to add more time in the oven, just check it every 5 minutes once its been in for 30 minutes to see if you toothpick or chopstick comes out clean).
I let it cool about 30 minutes before I cut it, but it was still pretty warm. The butter spray did a pretty good job keeping it from sticking too badly. I put some Cool Whip on top and it was very good light frosting for this cake.
It definitely had the flavor of banana bread but with the fluffiness of cake. It wasn't as dense like banana bread usually is, which was a nice change of pace. The pecans added some flavor but weren't over the top. I think this would have been excellent with the chocolate chips and with or without the pecans. I also ate a small piece with no Cool Whip and it was still very good. This would be great with coffee, and I think really good around Thanksgiving/Christmas. I will make this again when I have banana bread ready bananas but I'm missing some of my regular banana bread ingredients, or I'm just feeling lazy. Sometimes necessity is the mother of invention and not having the right ingredients can make for a pretty tasty treat.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Challenge 27- Crockpot Chicken Enchiladas

So this was pinned off of a friend of mine and it looked delicious. However when I clicked on the image the recipe was actually for a baked chicken enchilada recipe with no mention of the crockpot what so ever (I have again been deceived by a Pinterest description, will I never learn). I decided that I could take the recipe and make it crockpot friendly (or at least try). This is the original recipe (from

1 pound boneless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon Seasoning for Tacos
Salt, to taste
1/2 cup enchilada sauce
4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
3 green onions, chopped
Sprinkle the chicken on both sides with taco seasoning; grill or sauté. Cut the chicken into cubes and place in a greased 8x8" baking dish; season with salt to taste. Add the enchilada sauce and toss to coat the chicken. Sprinkle the cheese over the chicken and bake at 350º for 10-20 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Scatter the green onions over the top.

I had everything except the green onions, which I figured were good but not essential to the recipe (my husband however disagreed).
In my version I put a crockpot liner in the crock pot (I learned my lesson from the glazed pecan mess I had to clean up last week) and added in about 1/2 cup of chicken stock and then 4 frozen chicken breasts (they were small). I sprinkled about half a pouch of taco seasoning on the chicken, about 1/2 cup of chopped red onion, then added the can of mild enchilada sauce. I cooked this in the crockpot on high for 3 hours.

After 3 hours the chicken was cooked but not so cooked that it was falling apart. I preheated the oven to 350 and placed (very carefully, the chicken was still pretty tender) the four breasts in a 8x8 casserole dish.
I spooned on about half of the sauce mix from the pot on top of the chicken and added 1 cup of shredded Fiesta blend cheese (you could add more or less depending on your love of cheese). I put foil over the top of the casserole dish (very important step) and into the oven for 20 minutes. I made a bag of boil a bag white rice to go with the chicken instead of using tortillas. After 20 minutes in the oven it came out looking like this:
These cheese melted well and really tasted great with the sauce. The chicken was still tender but was still able to be cut into instead of shredding apart like most crockpot chicken.
This recipe was really good and transitioned well into a crockpot (ok not completely crockpot) recipe. I probably could have melted the cheese in the crockpot but sometimes that is hit or miss with the flavor so I decided to use the oven. The sauce was tasty and the chicken moist but it wasn't anything remarkable. I might try this one again and cook the chicken longer in the crockpot so I can shred it and make this with shredded chicken instead. The recipe has a lot of potential and can be spiced up and added to fairly easily. The husband was a bit remiss that I didn't have green onions and next time I'll be sure to make this when I have them at my disposal. Calorie wise this is fairly low calorie and could go with black or pinto beans if you wanted to go higher protein lower carb version. All in all a great dinner recipe that takes only a few ingredients and not a whole lot of effort.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Challenge 26- Spaghetti Impaled Hot Dogs (these probably need a better name huh?)

This pin was one of those dreaded picture only pins but I figured it was a pretty simple concept and I probably couldn't do too much to screw it up.
Two simple ingredients, spaghetti noodles and hot dogs. I love these Heartland Hidden Vegetable noodles since I can't get my child anywhere near vegetables and they do taste better than whole grain spaghetti noodles. Hebrew National are also my favorite hot dog brand and these are incredibly low in calorie for a beef hot dog. You slice the hot dogs and impale them with a few spaghetti noodles while they are both still uncooked.

I used about 4 noodles and 2 hot dog slices per section, I had a few broken noodles but it wasn't difficult to do (and definitely something you could have kids help with). I started heating the water while I was making the hot dog spaghetti structures. Once the water is boiling throw them in and cook them until the noodles are cooked to your preferred texture (These took about 10 minutes for me).
Once the noodles are cooked, drain like regular pasta and put back in the pot. I sprayed these with butter spray for the toddler but they could be good with pasta sauce (or they could be awful I'm not really sure).
They were cool looking and adventurous kids might like this cool mix of two of their favorite foods. My child however is not adventurous when it comes to food and was not a huge fan. She ate the noodles but not the hot dogs. These were OK taste wise but pretty bland for adult pallets. The hot dogs were a bit dry but that may be because they were a low fat hot dog to begin with. I might try this one more time with the fattier Ballpark like franks and see if they are any better. But with the amount of work it takes to slice and impale the hot dogs I might just be more willing to boil some noodles and nuke the kid a hot dog. I was great to try once and would be fun to make if you have a kid who wants to help make dinner with you. Other than that they aren't really worth it unless your kid really loves them.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

My 25th Pinniversary- A Win and a Fail

So the people voted (all 10 of them) and it was a tie. I would have to try making both the sugar glazed pecans in the crockpot and tcutting glass with string, nail polish remover and fire. First up were the pecans.

The idea behind this is to make those yummy candied pecans you can get a fairs and such in your own crockpot. The recipe comes from and is linked from


  • 16 ounces pecans or walnut halves
  • 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger


Turn slow cooker to HIGH about 15 minutes in advance. In hot slow cooker, stir together the nuts and butter. Add the powdered sugar, stirring to blend and coat evenly. Cover and cook on HIGH for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to LOW and remove lid; cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 2 to 3 hours, or until the nuts are coated with a crisp glaze.
Transfer the nuts to a bowl.
In another small bowl, combine the spices; sift over the nuts, stirring to coat evenly.
Let cool before serving.

I broke my cardinal rule of crockpot cooking and forgot to put in a crockpot liner. I was too eager to get going and I didn't notice until I already had the butter and pecans in the pot (and that pot is still soaking in the sink, so that's my punishment). The beginning is pretty easy, turn the crockpot on high for 15 minutes, then throw in melted butter and pecans and stir that around, add powdered sugar and stir that around. After the initial 15 minutes on high you just need to go back every 20-30 minutes and stir it up (while it's on low). The smell in the house was incredible and that alone was almost (almost) worth the cost of the pecans (which are crazy expensive by the way). At the end of 3 hours the pecans looked like this.
Some of the pecans had a nice sugar glaze but the butter was still melty at the bottom and a lot of them were more buttery (not that that's a bad thing) than crunchy. I poured these into a Pyrex bowl to get ready to be seasoned.
This is what was left behind, not the worst crockpot mess I have dealt with but still, so take this as a warning! I mixed the spices in a separate bowl, sprinkled them in and stirred it around. I let them cool for at least 2 hours and they were still very oily from the butter. Taste wise they are great, the spices aren't over powering but they do give it great flavor. That being said, they still don't hold a candle to the ones you buy at the fair. These are good but those are better, but these are a great substitute and would probably great during the Thanksgiving/Christmas holidays (and easier than a pecan pie to boot).

So obviously you know the win, now here is the fail (which I was super bummed about) the glass cutting. I pinned this a few weeks ago and was excited at the prospect of trying it (and kicking myself for not knowing how to do this in college when I had way more glass bottles at my disposal). The instructions were found at I was very careful (and so should you if you attempt to recreate this) and followed all of her instructions.
She used a Jameson bottle, I had an empty Woodchuck Cider bottle. I bought butcher twine at the grocery store (100% pure cotton), and used regular nail polish remover. The idea is to measure the twine to wrap around the bottle, dip the twine in the acetone, tie it around the bottle, clean up any residual acetone (and for god sakes wash your hands), and light the mother up (I also had a sink full of cold water, she had a bucket).

The problem was that the string would not stay on fire. If the lighter was next to it it would burn (but only where the flame was) but as soon as you unclicked the lighter it stopped burning. We tried two different times, making sure the twine soaked in the acetone for a good 3 minutes and still it was nothing like what the other blogger got to happen.

Now we are fans of Mythbusters and in true Mythbusters fashion we couldn't let this go as a total failure. So I soaked more twine in isopropyl alcohol for over 20 minutes, used a thinner bottle (had to sacrifice a Bud Light Platinum, beer gods forgive me), and Joe got out the torch. Here are the results:
The twine still wouldn't stay on fire and Joe had to turn the bottle slowly in circles to catch all of the twine on fire. It was good and charred when he dunked it in the water and it cracked and broke, but there was no way I could sand that down to presentable (it had small cracks you can see on the back side). Now I am disappointed that it didn't work and I'm not sure what to blame but I don't think my husband and I are quite done trying to work this one out. Thanks for being a part of my first 25 (I guess 26) pin experiements and here's to many more.
And the winner is......Karbear!
She was the first to comment and her number came up here. Thank all so much for supporting my blog and me! I was hoping for a larger turnout of people, but I am excited that those around me have been so supportive of me efforts and I really appreciate it.

Now the challenge is I have a tie for my winning pin. The DIY nail polish had 1 vote, the Tomato Basil Soup had 1 vote, the Pecans had 4, and the cutting the bottle had 4. I tried to get a tie-breaking vote at the last minute but alas is was not meant to be.

So the only fair way to solve this problem is to not solve it and do both. Or I could try to cook the pecans in the bottle while I'm attempting to cut it (on second thought that's probably a bad idea). I am off to the store to pick up my needed supplies for both assignments (I am going to wait until my husband gets home to attempt the bottle one, I need someone who can work a fire extinguisher). My posts should be up later this evening so check back later.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Contest for my 25th Pinniversary

Sorry I am a bit late in posting this but I was trying to get a logo made for my blog (it's not great but I needed something until I could create something more professional). So I had the idea about a week ago to have a giveaway to celebrate making it to 25 unique pin creation attempts. I honestly didn't know if I would stick to it this long but I have had such good feedback from friends and my posts have been seen by people all over the world (Yeah Blogger Audience tracker) I knew I had to stick with it. I also have been following other bloggers and wondered how they got so many followers, and I know a few of them do giveaways from time to time to drive up viewership and comment posting so I thought I could jump on the band wagon.

So my give away is a $25 iTunes gift card, guaranteed to be active and shipped to the winner within 2 business days so here is how you win:
1. Join my website as a follower. There is a link on the right hand side to become a member, it's super easy to do and you'll get updates when I add new content.
2. I'm going to post 5 different options below for what I should do for my 25th pin recreation, you have to leave a comment at the bottom of this post with your vote for which project you think I should do.
3. I will put the number of comments in a random number generator and the person whose comment number was chosenwill win the card. (i.e. Your comment was #38 out of 75 and the #38 comes out of the number generator you would be the winner). You have to be a follower so I can contact you if you win. If this goes well I'm sure I will do more.
4. When you receive your gift card if you could take a picture of yourself holding it, I will absolutely put it up on the blog!

So here are the five finalists for my 25th Pinniversary:

Neiman Marcus Brownies

Sugar Glazed Pecans in the Crockpot

Tomato Basil Soup in the Crockpot

DIY Nail Polish

Cutting glass bottles with string (and fire)

Now all you have to do is follow my blog and comment on which pin you want to see me try and recreate. Voting starts now 7/16/12 at 11:00am CST and goes through 7/18/12 at 11:00am CST. I will post the winner of the gift card and the winning pin then and have the final pin results up later that evening. Good luck and thanks for playing along!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Challenge 24- Recycling Old Crayons (Got to love being eco-friendly)

I have been wanting to try this pin for a long time and have been saving (or some might say hoarding) all of the crayons the kiddo has been getting from the restaurants we eat at for a while. She actually got one of these recycled crayons in a very nice Valentine she got at daycare. I was shopping the Dollar Spot at Target before the 4th and saw a silicon ice tray with star shapes and thought it would be great for this pin.

Step one is to remove all of the paper from the crayons, I started the hard way and tried peeling it by hand. After a few crayons (and I a lot of crayon wax stuck under my thumbnails) I started channeling my engineer husband and got out an Exacto knife and sliced the paper off (very carefully, I could have very easily slice my fingers so watch out). I threw the crayons into a large Ziploc bag when I was finished.
I didn't use any brown or black in my bag because I wanted them to be colorful and not just dull and dark. Also as you can see there were a few thicker ones along with some smaller ones and they came from all different brands. Next the toddler and I took out some frustration out on the bag with the back of a large cooking spoon (I wanted her to help and I thought a hammer might put holes in the bag) to crush up the crayons into small and easy to melt pieces. At this point I pre-heated the oven to 250F.
We then filled the star mold with crayon pieces, trying to mix colors and fill them up fairly full. Some one the piece were still pretty big and it didn't take much to fill up all 10 stars.
I put the mold on a cookie sheet in case there happened to be any spillage. In the oven they went and the timer was set for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes they were melted nicely and I took them out to cool. As you can tell the mold melted a bit as well (that's what you get for a dollar from Target). The key to keep them from breaking is letting them cool completely, then pulling around the edges of each shape, and the popping them up by pressing on the bottom.

I had two break but that was from my impatient testing to see if they were ready, and the still worked as crayons they just didn't look as nice. These are fun and easy to do and I still have a pretty full bag of crayon bits and pieces so I know I'll do this again. I will however search for molds that are more oven friendly.

Check my post tomorrow for the special instructions to win a 25 dollar iTunes giftcard for my 25th Pinniversary. You have to check back tomorrow July 16th after 10am CST for instructions.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Challenge 23- DIY Bleach Decal Shirts- The possibilities are endless

I bought the supplies for this pin weeks ago and finally decided to give it a try after I finished a bunch of housework this afternoon. The pin comes from which is a great blog that quite a few of my pins have come from. The only place I differed was using contact paper instead of freezer paper to make the decals.

Supplies needed: Cotton t-shirts in any color except white (I got mine at Dollar Tree but I had to hunt awhile for the right sizes), Bleach, Spray bottle with the ability to mist, clear contact paper, a semi large piece of cardboard (I used a flattened cereal box), and an image to trace (Thank goodness for Google Image Search)

We are a super hero family so I knew when I did this I was going to have to do super hero logo's. I found a black shirt in the husband's size and a blue on that would fit the toddler (it was still a bit big) so I chose the Red Lantern symbol for the husband (FYI bleaching black fabric makes it turn a reddish orange shade) and Wonder Woman for the kiddo. I searched for the images through Google, put the pictures in Power Point so I could size them and then I printed them. Because the contact paper is clear you can put the image underneath it and trace.

The Wonder Woman logo was pretty easy to trace and cut out with scissors, however the Red Lantern symbol was a bit more intricate and involved an Exacto knife to get the decal finished.
Peeling the back off of the contact paper took a bit of practice (and having decent thumbnails didn't hurt either). I laid the shirts out flat and did my best to center the decals. I feel like a did pretty good with Wonder Woman but my Red Lantern ended up a tiny bit right of center.
The blog suggested putting a flatten cereal box inside the shirt to keep the bleach from soaking through the back of the shirt. I took the shirts into my bathroom to use the tub as my spraying area (I figured kill two birds, bleach the shirts and disinfect my tub). I mixed the bleach/water mix (70% Bleach, 30% water) in my spray bottle and went to town. (Turn on the bathroom intake fan if you are doing this inside, Rookie mistake #1)
The second the bleach hit the black shirt it started changing color. I went a little overboard with the spraying and ended up spraying most of the shirt (Rookie mistake #2).
I hung that one up to dry and started working on the second shirt. I tried to be a little less liberal with the spray and I think it came out better looking. However, it did take more bleach on the blue shirt to see the change.
After they dry completely (took about hour and a half), they need to be washed (after you take off the decal) in an empty load to get all of the excess bleach off of the fabric. Then run them through the dryer. These are the finished products.

I think these are super cute and easy to do (once you get the hang of spraying). I'm still trying to figure out what decal to do for me (I'm totally up for suggestions). Pin #24 is up tomorrow and I have a special surprise for my 25th Pinniversary.