Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January in Review

I love when bloggers do monthly wrap ups, so I figured I'd give it a go. I can't believe January is already come and gone...it's crazy. Can you believe it?

The Recipes

Main Dishes

I started a new feature to share cookbooks. I only got around to sharing one cookbook this month. Stop by every other Saturday to see more. This month, it was Our Best Bites cookbook that I raved about.

I also shared my "resolutions" for 2012. I want to reshare them and update on if I'm keeping to my word or not :)

  • Drink more water I have gone from 0 oz. to 16 oz. I'm hoping in February to get to at least 24 oz.
  • Eat more fruit Unfortunately, I've been failing hardcore on this one :(
  • Exercise 5x a week And this one too :(
  • Get on a schedule I have gotten so much more done in January because I've learned how to manage my time more.
  • Read more I read 8 books in January! That's more than I've read in a month in a very very long time!
  • Open Fantastical for sponsors I have it opened. I'm taking sponsors for March, if you are interested, please email me!
  • I want to talk more about each blog when I post a recipe. Easy peasy! I love doing this.
  • Cookbook Reviews Although I've only posted one, I've been making 3 to 4 recipes out of a different cookbook each week :)

And if you missed them, you can find Sunday Social, Oh, How Pinteresting Weds., and Twisted Thursdays by scrolling all the way down and finding the little label cloud. Click on whichever you want to see :) Some great recipes were shared this month.

Marbled Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudge

While I was making peanut butter fudge (the recipe), my 4 year old asked if he could have some. I had to break his little heart and tell him it was peanut butter and he couldn't have it. Out of guilt, I jumped on my computer and tried to find a chocolate chip cookie dough recipe I could make with ingredients I had on hand. This was the only one I found that I could make. I ended up being able to experiment with a DIY Sweetened Condensed Milk recipe as well :)

(Printable Version)
Recipe from Baking And Boys!

What you need:
  • 3 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk (I used a DIY recipe: here)
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Cookie Dough:
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 6 tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 7 oz. sweetened condensed milk (half a can)
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Start with the cookie dough by beating together butter and brown sugar until they are well combined.
Add vanilla, beat until combined. Then add flour and salt, beat until just combined. 
Beat in the condensed milk. Stir in chocolate chips.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
After it's chilled, roll pieces of cookie dough into tsp. size balls. Place on waxed paper.

Line a 9-inch square dish with foil and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
Melt chocolate chips, salt, vanilla, and sweetened condensed milk in a medium saucepan. Stir until smooth.

Spread half of the fudge in the bottom of the pan. 
Add cookie dough pieces on the bottom layer of fudge. Swirl around the cookie dough and fudge with a butter knife. Then top with the rest of the fudge and smooth out.

Chill for a couple hours. Remove from foil and slice into pieces.

    Linked up at...
    Lovely Yellow RibbonsTempt my Tummy Tuesdays

    Sunday, January 29, 2012

    Menu Plan Monday #29

    Omelet Italiano, Chicken Strips with Baked Oven Fries, Vegetable Fried Rice with Bacon

    Praline Meltaway Biscuits, Chicken & Broccoli Pasta, Meaty Quesadillas

    Cereal, Sandwiches with pretzels, Sleazy Chicken with salad and peas

    Eggs with toast, Hot dogs with yogurt and pretzels, Crazy Cooking Challenge recipe with broccoli

    Raspberry & Cream Cheese Braided Loaf, Grilled cheese and yogurt, Beer Braised Chicken

    Cereal/Poptarts, Leftovers, Leftovers

    Otis Spunkmeyer Blueberry Muffin copycat, Pepperoni Grilled Cheese, Spicy Chicken and Pepper Jack Pizza

    Girl Scout Samoa Cookies copycat

    Saturday, January 28, 2012

    **Sunday Social - #48**

    Some news worth sharing: my blog is now open for sponsors. If anyone is interested, please check out the sponsor me tab :)

    {Fantastical Favorites this week}
    Click the picture to take you to the recipe!


    {Around the Web Favorites this week}
    The photos below are the property of the owner of the blog that has been linked to! I do not own any rights to these photos at all. I just wish to share the deliciousness with you! All recipes have been Stumbled and Pinned :)

    Queso Fundido ~ Annie's Eats

    Heart Munch ~ Crazy For Crust

    Source: crazyforcrust.com via Sarah on Pinterest

    "Fancy" Ham & Cheese Sliders ~ Colie's Kitchen

    Source: colieskitchen.com via Sarah on Pinterest

    Homemade Snickers Bars ~ How Sweet It Is

    Source: howsweeteats.com via Sarah on Pinterest

    Grasshopper Milkshake ~ That's What We Said

    Source: thatswhatwesaid.net via Sarah on Pinterest

    Italian Wedding Soup ~ Tracey's Culinary Adventures

    Source: traceysculinaryadventures.blogspot.com via Sarah on Pinterest

    Toasted Marshmallow S'more Bars ~ Finding Joy in My Kitchen

    Source: joyinmykitchen.blogspot.com via Sarah on Pinterest

    Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread Cookies ~ Oh My! Sugar High

    Source: ohmysugarhigh.com via Sarah on Pinterest

    Double Chip Peanut Butter Cookies ~ Sweet Pea's Kitchen

    Source: sweetpeaskitchen.com via Sarah on Pinterest

    Pumpkin Butter Pinwheels ~ MOMS CRAZY COOKING

    Source: momscrazycooking.blogspot.com via Sarah on Pinterest

    Stromboli ~ The Spiffy Cookie

    Source: thespiffycookie.com via Sarah on Pinterest

    Cream Cheese Coffee Cake ~ The Pastry Chef's Baking

    Source: pastrychefbaking.blogspot.com via Sarah on Pinterest

    Paula Deen's Magic Bars ~ Chef in Training

    Source: chef-in-training.com via Sarah on Pinterest

    Labor Cake ~ Sing For Your Supper

    Source: singforyoursupperblog.com via Sarah on Pinterest

    Mini Puffed Oven Pancakes ~ Our Best Bites

    Source: ourbestbites.com via Sarah on Pinterest

    Super Bowl Goodies

    There is a button to grab on the right if I shared one of your recipes :)
    This post is linked up at...

    Fantastical Feature: Our Best Bites cookbook

    Today is the start of a new Fantastical Feature meme. I feel like I may do a lot of things (Sunday Social, Pinteresting Weds., Twisted Thursday), but I do want to start featuring some cookbooks as well. I figure this will also keep cooking fun for me and not make it solely a job.

    I have a bookshelf of cookbooks and don't plan on stopping the pile any time soon. I wanted to start with one of my favorite cookbooks: Our Best Bites.


    It comes from Sara & Kate of Our Best Bites. It's one of my favorites because I can flip through the pages and find that with each page there is something I want to try more than the last page. All of the recipes look good and I can't wait to cook all of them. What follows is what we tried:

    Puffed Up French Toast on p.64
    This French toast was great - you use Texas toast and fry them up basically. They were fluffy and light! Plus you dip them in cinnamon sugar :)

    Chili-Lime Fauxtisserie Chicken on p.111
    My husband particularly enjoyed this one. He loves whole chicken and limes, right along with lemons, are one of his favorite things to use on main dish food. There are a few variations of the Fauxtisserie chicken - this is the first variation we tried and it was great!

    Carmelized Bacon Green Beans on p.188
    These green beans had a bit of an Asian flare to them, using soy sauce. I thought they were phenomenal! My husband was pleasantly surprised by them. He said he wasn't too sure by just looking at them, but upon tasting them, they are definitely his new favorite side dish! I loved that Sara & Kate included directions for frozen green beans, as our produce isn't really in tip-top shape right now.

    Italian Meatballs on p.163
    In the future, I plan on making a double batch and freezing these beauts. I am not a huge fan of sausage. In fact, I pretty much will refuse to eat it. However, when I make recipes for the first time, I try to stick to what it calls for and the directions. I loved these meatballs. They were incredible! I made them to use in the Italian Meatball Soup.

    Italian Meatball Soup on p.105
    This is, by far, our new favorite soup and new favorite recipe. It was simple to make and it made quite a bit, so much so, that we froze it and will be popping it into the crockpot for another night! The meatballs were amazing, the spinach was such a nice touch to this soup, and it was perfect for a cold night in New York. Out of all the recipes tried from the Our Best Bites cookbook, this one is #1 on my list. I'm sure my husband and kids would agree as well.

    This cookbook definitely deserves 5 utensils! It's a must-buy!

    Friday, January 27, 2012

    DIY Sweetened Condensed Milk

    I shared a shortcut for ranch dressing mix and have been searching for many more shortcuts since then. Recently Loy posted a shortcut for sweetened condensed milk. It just so happens that I was trying to make fudge and had happened to have run out of sweetened condensed milk during the middle of NY getting a foot of snow dumped on us after it had rained all day and iced over. There was no way I was going to the store and I wanted to make another batch of fudge for my kids who can't eat peanuts/peanut butter yet. So thank you, Loy, for posting this! My kids were quite happy because of it :)

    (Printable Version)
    Recipe from Grandma Loy's Kitchen

    What you need:
    • 4 cups sugar, blended until super fine
    • 1 can evaporated milk
    • 1 cup dry nonfat milk
    • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter

    Combine ingredients in a large saucepan. Mix well.

    Cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and butter is melted.
    Divide into thirds, 1 1/4 to 1 1/3 cups each, into mason jars.
    Refrigerate overnight before using. It keeps up to 2 weeks in the fridge and 6 months in the freezer.

      Linked up at...

      Thursday, January 26, 2012

      Best Ever Peanut Butter Fudge

      This recipe says it's the best ever pb fudge and that is NO lie! The crunchy peanut butter was a great addition to the fudge while it still maintained a perfect creaminess. It was a simple recipe and quick to make.

      ~Twisted Thursday #44~

      Wednesday, January 25, 2012

      Oh, How Pinteresting Weds. #28

      google Pinterest Favorites

      A little tip for everyone to keep in mind:

      Source: minds-in-bloom.com via Sarah on Pinterest

      Easy Fridge Clean up - saran wrap or Press'n'Seal your shelves!

      Source: amandathevirtuouswife.blogspot.com via Sarah on Pinterest

      The cutest cake stand I have seen to date!

      Source: andersonfamilycrew.blogspot.com via Sarah on Pinterest

      Sour Cream Blueberry Muffins - I love baking with sour cream!

      Source: chefnotincluded.blogspot.com via Sarah on Pinterest

      M&M Oatmeal Bars - these look too good!

      Source: thebetterbaker.blogspot.com via Sarah on Pinterest

      Blueberry Vodka Lemonade - I'm a big lemonade lover. 
      And vodka too ;)

      Source: luxefinds.com via Sarah on Pinterest

      Raspberry Lemon Drop - I bet this tastes like raspberry lemonade!

      Source: nuggetmarket.com via Sarah on Pinterest

      Brownies & Cheesecake - two of the best sweets together

      Source: dwellonjoy.blogspot.com via Sarah on Pinterest

      PB Fudgy Muffins - these look phenomenal.

      Source: talkingdollarsandcents.net via Sarah on Pinterest

      PB Cup Chocolate Cupcakes - so cute!

      Source: debbiesweets.blogspot.com via Sarah on Pinterest

      Chicken Suiza Melts - anything with melted cheese has to be good, right?

      Source: siggyspice.blogspot.com via Sarah on Pinterest

      Snowball Fight Cupcakes - I thought these were just too adorable

      Source: hungryhappenings.com via Sarah on Pinterest

      Snickers Cheesecake - *drool* May have to make this for Valentine's Day for my husband (and me too!)

      Source: gimmesomeoven.com via Sarah on Pinterest

      Valentine's Day Trash - and then a little treat for the kids.

      Source: cookingwithk.net via Sarah on Pinterest

      Cinnamon French Toast Bake - this uses the canned cinnamon rolls and it looks incredible!

      Source: whatscookinglove.blogspot.com via Sarah on Pinterest

      Ranch Crockpot Pork Chops - I don't think I have many pork chop recipe for the crockpot..and I can use homemade ranch dressing mix for this one! Score!

      Source: theshadyporch.blogspot.com via Sarah on Pinterest

      Baked Burritos - not fried, that's a keeper for sure.

      Source: thereisnoplacelikehomemade.blogspot.com via Sarah on Pinterest

      BBQ Beef Sliders - maybe a Super Bowl food?

      Source: cookingformykids.com via Sarah on Pinterest

      Brownie Chocolate Chip Cookies - that's right, BROWNIES in chocolate chip cookies!!

      Source: withloveandchevrons.blogspot.com via Sarah on Pinterest

      Mint Filled Brownie Cupcakes - I think I could deal with a little peppermint patty in a brownie cupcake.

      Source: simplegirlathome.blogspot.com via Sarah on Pinterest

      Happy Wednesday!! :)

      If you want an invite, leave me your email address or send me an email (fantasticalsharing AT yahoo DOT com). I'll be glad to send you one!