Sweet Potato in Disguise

I needed to buy sweet potato on two separate occasions this week.  Weird, I know.  I think I can go months and months without ever needing a sweet potato, but here I was at Galen’s for the second time in seven days, grabbing one.  I still haven’t used the last one I bought, but it was spoken for at home for a puree I was making tonight, so I needed a second.

When I got home from visiting Galen, I put the ECF to work peeling the first one, for the puree.  It wasn’t a minute before he hollered out, “hey, what did you buy?”  What do you mean, what did I buy – I bought a sweet potato, duh.  No, no you couldn’t have, it’s white.  White?  I swear I grabbed it from the bin clearly indicated with the sign that said “Sweet Potatoes”.  And, to be fair, it looked like a sweet potato.

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Am I right?

But it’s white?  So, I suggested I would google it.  The ECF was all over that with: “Oh, right, are you going to google looks like a sweet potato but it’s white?  Yeah, I guess I am, smart guy.  Well, joke was on him, because I started to type in, “looks like a swee—” and google actually suggested “Looks like a sweet potato but is white”.  I guess I’m not the only person with potato problems. And speaking of potato problems, checkout the inappropriately sized knife the ECF was using to chop.

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Well we learned something.

Sweet potatoes come in a  variety of colours.

Wikipedia tells us that:

The plant is a herbaceous perennial vine, bearing alternate heart-shaped or palmately lobed leaves and medium-sizedsympetalous flowers. The edible tuberous root is long and tapered, with a smooth skin whose color ranges between yellow, orange, red, brown, purple, and beige. Its flesh ranges from beige through white, red, pink, violet, yellow, orange, and purple. Sweet potato varieties with white or pale yellow flesh are less sweet and moist than those with red, pink or orange flesh.[5]

Take that, ECF.

While I was checking out sweet potato facts, I made note that sweet potatoes are basically full of good stuff – they are nutritionally a really great vegetable.  So we used it – and it worked great in the puree we were making (it has a milder flavour than it’s orange version).  I can’t wait to spiralize it into some noodles for the boys this week.  Wait til I tell you about that!

Oh We Are So Sneaky

I’ve blogged before about the Sneaky Chef.  It’s a system we follow here at Casa Tickled Pink because PICKY EATERS.  That’s why.

Well, we had all of our puree ingredients ready to go after the animals were in bed this weekend, and we realized that we had no containers.  The key to sneaky puree is to have little containers ready to go for, you know, the purees to hide in, until you need them.  Well, there’s nowhere to snag little puree vessels in the middle of the night so the ECF came up with a great idea (ok, I didn’t think it was great at first, but keep reading, there’s still time for me to come around) – what if we used the ice cube trays?

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Let me take a step back here.  We recently underwent some major renovations here at CTP, including building the super-kitchen.  One of the coolest things about the super-kitchen is the super-fridge (which in and of itself is a post for another time) and the super-freezer don’t need no stinkin’ ice cube trays.  I have a super-duper ice cube maker thingee now.  So I dug out the old ice-cube trays that were marked for goodwill, and we up-cycled them.

Check out what happened next.

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uhhh, never mind the stovetop (we can blame the ECF for that)…

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But, wait for it…!

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Look at those veg-sicles!  So now, when we need to veg it up – I just need to pop a couple cubes into the recipe.  Green cubes, by the way, hide really nicely in tomato sauce.  If you’re wondering what’s in there, I’ve got spinach, broccoli, zucchini, and peas (and a little bit of unflavoured protein powder).  White (which we make with cauliflower and zucchini and I re-use some of the water I cooked the green’s broccoli in) goes well in (believe it or not) yogurt, sour cream, salad dressing, anything with cheese, like pizza or lasagna.  Orange (sweet potato and carrot) is good in just about everything – tomato soup, chef boyardee anything, kraft dinner…

I know I know, I’m a jerk.  But they’re healthier for it.  😉

xo

Bianca Amor I Amor You

Two words:

Liquidation SuperCentre

I was on my way home from the Bulk Barns today (spice project, will tell you about it another time) and happened upon something doing at the old Cabela’s location.  The sign now reads: “Bianca Amor’s Liquidation SuperCentre”.  Ummm, yeah!  Pulling in, I didn’t know what to expect.  I have to admit, I was heading home because it was stinking hot out, and I had to go to the bathroom, and I was hungry.  So had I known what was beyond Bianca’s front doors, I would have been more prepared.  With limited time and bladder patience, I walked into what can only be described as WALL TO WALL DEALS, PEOPLE.

I want props for that comma, by the way.  It could have been “deals people” which would have been wrong… oh never mind.

They have a little bit of absolutely everything.  Rugs, electronics, housewares, clothing, furniture, junk, good stuff, you name it it was in there.

I didn’t last long, I was overwhelmed (and like I said, I had to get to a bathroom), so I found one thing and got out of there.  I will be back though, for sure.

They seemed to be clearing out quite a bit of Chicago Metallic bakeware and equipment.  I really like Chicago Metallic – they make good stuff.  So I picked up one of these:

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What’s that, you say?  A chocolate dipping station?  The thing about Bianca Amor’s is, and @Cookie_Steph put it so perfectly: Bianca Amor has so many things I didn’t even know I needed.  Like a chocolate dipping station.  Am I right or am I right?  And for the low low blowout price of:

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I mean COME ON!  How could you pass up the deal of the century like that?  Ok, so I googled it when I got home, and they typically retail for about $20 so I didn’t get that good of a deal, BUT, it’s a cool thing to add to my arsenal, and I hate melting chocolate.  It can be such a pain, and temperamental, especially when you just need a little bit for dipping.  It’s a really nice quality tool, actually. Very much like a crock pot, but pink.

So…

I dug around in the pantry for some of that leftover brick chocolate I always seem to have lying around.

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And I popped it in.

What’s my plan for it?  Well I’m glad you asked.  You see, I’ve become addicted to this absolutely horrible invention called “snacking chocolate”.  Seriously, who thinks of this stuff?  Sadists.  These sadists called “Ripple” invented something called “Bark Thins” and you can check out their website if you’re into that sort of thing.  My favourite flavour is the sea salt and pumpkin seed.  WHO THINKS OF THIS STUFF.

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I like it so much, I’m going to try to recreate it for myself (which the ripple people probably won’t like, but they have basically ruined my life with their highly addictive product so too bad for them).  I only have milk chocolate on hand, but I also have sea salt and pumpkin seeds, so… we’re going to freestyle this.

I melted the chocolate.

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I stirred in the pumpkin seeds and spread it out in a layer.

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I sprinkled the whole thing with sea salt.

And voila!

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It was horrible.  Well, not horrible, but really the milk chocolate was not doing the pumpkin seeds any favours.  Or the sea salt, for that matter.  I think the bitterness of the dark chocolate really does something with the sea salt and pumpkin seeds.  You’re welcome Ripple Brands Collective, you’re welcome.   I’ve managed to save you gazillions of sales.  I’m just another pusher in your network of of underground sales people.

I’m off to the Costcos to get me some more of that stuff.

k

I’m Back Baby

Most of you know why I’ve been away, but for those of you that don’t – I took a “leave of absence” from blogging to spend a little more time working on a big project for my family.  We undertook a pretty significant renovation to our house these past few months, and it was a huge part of every day.  In order to make it work, I had to give up a few things I like to do, like baking all the time, like blogging, like…living a normal life.

The biggest change in the house (besides the square footage, and the extra, you know, house part) is the kitchen.  I’ll blog about that more in the next few weeks, I promise, but if you’re with me on the Facebooks, you know how many kitchentastrophes we had.  I planned this kitchen, I wanted it to be all my own, from the layout, to the cupboards, to the appliances.  I went and picked every little thing, right down to the cutting boards.  And then, when it came to execution, well, we ran into a few snaggles, but more about that later, as I said.

What’s bugging me today, and what I wanted to write about, is the creative roadblock I have had since moving back in.  We came home two and a half weeks ago and despite having this gorgeous space that I am ridiculously proud of, I was not inspired to bake.  Anything.  We had been living in a townhouse temporarily during construction, and my excuse during that time was, well, time, and also, I didn’t pack and bring over any of my baking tools.  I thought the break would be good for me.  It wasn’t.  After coming home and cleaning the heck out of this place, I have stood in this kitchen countless times, just looking at it, but never compelled to preheat the oven.

Then this weekend happened.

In a bizarre series of events, pretty much every single person related to me left town.  Literally, every person who has ever been an emergency contact of mine is outside the province.  The house was all mine.  Obviously there were house-y things to do (we’ll be doing those for a while, don’t even get me started on the state of our yard or basement) but I also had the time to really think about what I should bake, and think about getting back to the blog.

I just needed some inspiration.

Inspiration comes in the strangest forms sometime.  Every once and a while a co-worker will request something and I’ll go on the ultimate research hunt to find just the right recipe.  Sometimes I’ll find a product in a store and think, “I can totally make this myself”.  The odd time I will be inspired by a magazine or TV article, and the most often of all, I get my inspiration from others blog posts.

This was kind of different (but not really).

I was in my favourite kitchen shop, d.a. Neils, with no particular shopping agenda.  I just happened to be nearby and thought, I’ll take a peek and see what they have.  I even commented to the salesperson that I was without family that day and just enjoying my day (and I was!).  When I saw it.

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Inspired.

I wanted to make these cookies RIGHT NOW.  And I wanted them to be pink (please tell me you get it).  I had everything I needed at home, so I bought it and headed there.  Creative block disintegrated!  My next challenge was finding a roll out cookie recipe that would work for me.  All of my roll out cookies require chilling, but I wanted to roll with my new-found inspiration (see what I did there), and I wanted to do it RIGHT NOW.  A little research brought me to a blog that I’ve never visited before: In Katrina’s Kitchen.  Katrina has what she is touting as the “Best Sugar Cookie Recipe” and it requires no chilling.  Wonderful.  Even if it’s the worst sugar cookie recipe (spoiler alert: it wasn’t, it is a great recipe), I was in.

I am giving this recipe a win.  The only thing I would have done differently, honestly, is popped the cookies in the fridge after cutting them out, and before baking.  They didn’t come out very bubbly, but I think this would result in a flatter, easier to decorate cookie in the end.

But enough criticism, honestly, I will absolutely make these guys again.  So simple, and extremely tasty.

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That was last night.  This morning, I whipped up some 7-minute icing, and got to work frosting them.  I considered turning them into an imperial cookie, but changed my mind.  These are stand-alone good, they don’t need jam.

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Please, I’m begging you, tell me you get it.  You get it, right?

It’s a house key.  It’s pink.  Anyone?

k

 

Happy Valentine’s Day

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We like to use acronyms here at Tickled Pink, but there’s one thing that just shouldn’t be acronized (?), and that is Valentine’s Day (you know what I mean).

Very much like the purple penguin-tastrophe I blogged about here, last night the Blond texted me (yes, that happens), to ask if we could make cookies for his class in lieu of handing out Valentines.  Of course we can.  And we did.  With limited time I converted my favourite go-to Imperial Cookie recipe which did not require overnight refrigeration (or eggs, which I also did not have) prior to rolling out and baking, and we made 22 beautiful heart shaped cookies.

Have you seen this red thing before?  I picked it up at Williams-Sonoma a few years ago and I always forget about it.

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It has a little grid, and comes with letters, like this:

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I forgot I had these and decided to dust them off for these heart-shaped cookies.  The problem is the Imperial Cookie base I was making doesn’t lend itself to the lettering.  So they got a little puffy:

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But good enough for grade 5 and I’m happy to report that the Blond made nearly everything himself. He’s a talented little baker.

The cookies he made turned out pretty good too:

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That’s one lucky class today.  I’m also pretty lucky – since we’re on the topic of acronyms: the ECBF has nicely transitioned to the ECF. . .

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

xo

DOUGHNUT WEEK: Top Secret Finale

Warning: the images you are about to see here may be graphic in nature and may be unsuitable for some readers.

I don’t even know where to start with this post.  For a long time I’ve been wanting to blog about the cronut phenomenon.  Unless you’ve been living in a  cave, you know about these delicious inventions that are taking over the baking world, a cross between a croissant and a donut and a little bit of a big deal, with their own black market and knock offs everywhere.

They even (get this) have their own Wikipedia entry (no joke), where they attribute the creation of the cronut to Dominique Ansel of Dominique Ansel bakery and TIME magazine has named the cronut one of the 25 best inventions of 2013.

I was lucky enough to get to try the Bacchanal Buffet knock-off version, in Las Vegas, called the Bacchronut.  Worth every delicious calorie.

So back to the blog – I’ve been thinking about blogging about the cronut for a while now.  It’s delicious, it should be celebrated – that’s what we do here at Tickled Pink after all, but I just didn’t have enough to say.  A friend at the office gave me a copy of her top secret Cronut recipe, believed to be the “real thing” – and I thought about making them, but I’m not going to lie to you – the recipe was three pages long!  Getting up the energy to deal with a three page recipe these days would be a miracle.  And, furthermore, what’s with a THREE PAGE RECIPE??  This is essentially a donut, right?

Well we’ve been celebrating Doughnut Week all week here at Tickled Pink and the Blond has been helping me with all things doughnutty.  We woke up Saturday morning and the Blond suggested croissants might be nice for breakfast (and you can’t argue with logic like that) so I did what every self-respecting step-monster who is an awesome baker does, and I pulled out the can of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls when KAPOW – it hit me.  WE CAN TOTALLY MAKE CRONUTS OURSELVES.

So we did.

I scurried to the computer to see if I could find some information on deep frying Pillsbury Crescent Rolls and a few tap taps on the keyboard and I got to the bottom of things.  Apparently not two days after the Cronut craze hit New York, Pillsbury themselves came out with a recipe for Salted Caramel Crescent Doughnuts.  Hmmmm.  Well I looked at a few more sites, like this one, and even watched a video courtesy of Huffington Post – and guess what?  I can DO THIS.  Easily.  And so can you (what good is power if you can’t share it with people, am I right?).

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Here’s how we changed it (we had limited time):

You take the dough?  You turn it into two (or three) donut-shaped things:

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You fry them for about a minute on each side (I use my frying pan with an inch and a bit of oil):

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For the filling: I had a container of oreo pudding, and a half a bowl of whipping cream.  I mixed these together.  I sliced the fried cronut in half, and I slathered that on there, then I put the two halves together.    THEN?  Then I drizzled it with plain old frosting.

THIS WAS THE BEST FLIPPIN’ THING I’VE EVER TASTED IN MY LIFE.

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I warned you.

You’re welcome.

DOUGHNUT WEEK: Kicking it Old School (?)

I got a mini doughnut pan a couple years ago, used it one, and then never used it again.  Why?  Because the ECBF told me that baked doughnuts were gross and totally not a real thing.

I see.

Doughnuts come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes (and ingredients, for that matter), but let me explain to you the key differences in what you’re stuffing your mouth and washing down with that cup of coffee, courtesy of a very wonderful website called Serious Eats, who have written a comprehensive guide on the subject of doughnuts.  Serious Eats, however, as well as just about every other source on the internet, defines a doughnut as a confection that is fried – not baked (point, ECBF).

The Blond wanted to make mini doughnuts this weekend.  In keeping with our Doughnut Week theme I thought – yes!  Perfect!  I did not, however, want to stick the 10-year old in front of a vat of boiling splattering oil.  I have my own fear of frying, I’m not going to give him one (we have enough to work with).  So, into the basement I went, in the search for the dusty doughnut pan.

If you decide you’d like to try doughnuts, and you would like to bake, not fry them, you need to remember that not every doughnut recipe translates perfectly from frying to baking.  I had to do a little bit of research but I found a recipe that I thought would be easy enough and would make just a small batch of mini doughnuts for us to try, and you can find it here.  Note: we didn’t do the apple part or the glaze part of the recipe, but will next time we make them, for sure.

Things were going well until I stupidly over-filled the little doughnut cavities in the pan, ending up with more of a mini bundt cake than anything else, but always on top of his game, the Blond suggested we use that to our advantage – and we did exactly that.

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The best part of this whole story is that the ECBF loved them (and didn’t even realize they had been baked until we told him – so, point, KK).

A tie, which as far as I’m concerned, is a win for KK.