Black pepper green beans

What a title! I tell ya, sometimes I just blow myself away with these posts… Where DOES this genius come from!?

Neither Gamer Man nor I truly like green bean casserole. Sure, we’ll eat it if it’s the only way we can get a green bean, but if we had our way those little green noms would be covered in butter and pepper.

*gasp*
Dreams really do come true!
These beans originated when GM and I were first dating and I tried to get him to eat veggies.
They are now a staple in our house.
You will love them too.

 

Black pepper green beans:

1lb frozen or fresh green beans
1/2 Tbsp butter spread
black pepper to taste

 

Trim and cut green beans into bite-size pieces.
Pop them in a frying pan with your butter spread and saute for 5-7 minutes.
Add pepper to taste.
Super simple, super delicious.
Give’em a try!
 
GamerGirl

One berry to rule them all!

I love cranberries. Almost unnaturally, but that’s beside the point.

I grew up in a household which served cranberry sauce from a can. As a child I was usually in charge of mashing the cylinder down with a spoon to make it look more natural (whaddayamean cranberries aren’t can shaped!?). It wasn’t until this year when I experimented with canning jam did I discover you could make your own cranberry sauce!
Wonderful, glorious cranberry sauce…
I took one bite of this stuff and was shocked to my very core. This is cranberry sauce? NO WAY.

Yes way.

Promise me you’ll make this at least once, ditch the can, and profess your love for me and all things cranberry.
Do it. Do it now.

Cranberry Sauce:
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup water
2 cups frozen cranberries
1 tsp. pulp-free orange juice (optional)
In a medium sauce pan, bring water and sugar to a boil.
Add cranberries and return the entire mixture to a boil again.
Reduce to low heat and monitor for 5 minutes.
This is where you’d stir in your orange juice, or desired citrus.
Like so.
Let it meld for another 5 minutes on low, and go make yourself a cocktail.
Like so.
Once most of your cranberries have burst, pour the sauce into your favorite ramekin, cover with plastic wrap, and let cool in the fridge.
If you don’t like your cranberry sauce chilly, be sure to remove it from the fridge about 30 minutes before serving.
And feel free to experiment with this! If you like your sauce more tangy, increase the cranberry-to-sugar ratio. Sweeter? Increase the sugar. Sans, more, or different citrus? Well… you know what to do :)

 

GamerGirl

THXGVNG RECAP

This Thanksgiving was far-and-away a success. In fact, I’ll be bold and say it was the BEST Thanksgiving ever :)
 
This week I’ll be posting the recipes I used to create my first feast. Understandably you all are moving on to holiday recipes, but if you ever get a hankering for black pepper beans or want to try your hand at home-made cranberry sauce, I’ll have you covered!
To the dishes!
 

 

Enjoy!

 

GamerGirl

Aaaaaand…. GO!

You’ll be pleased to know, though, that I have started playing WoW again! HOORAY!!! With Cata on the horizon, I gave in to the tugging on my heartstrings and am exercising my RetPally & FrostFire Mage :D Gamer Man also started playing again, so not only do I get to hang with him in the real world, but in cyberland too. So many happy things happening these days *sigh*

 

Speaking of happy things… This year, my lovely honey and I will be cooking our own Thanksgiving feast.
You’ve no idea how much joy writing that sentence gives me :)
Since we’re both such picky eaters, this is finally our chance to have the traditional meal our way! Which means the following:

A turkey breast because we only eat white meat
No stuffing, despite it my recipe not having giblets (which GM pronounces like a la Barry Gibb… hehehe!)
Pepper beans in place of green bean casserole since it’s healthier and MAJORLY yummer
Home made cranberry sauce for me
Home made gravy
White rolls since they’re… well you just have to have rolls!
No candied yams or other sweet potato nonsense
Lots and lots of heavenly mashed potatoes
Home made pie crust for my amazing pumpkin pie!

I’ll be posting recipes over the weekend and documenting our super-awesome Turkey Day.
Have a great one!

 

GamerGirl

Hostess with the Mostess!

As I mentioned below, I made cake pops this Halloween! I’d stumbled upon Bakerella’s website a week or so ago and absolutely fell in love with the idea of cake on a stick. I mean, HELLO… cake-on-a-stick. GENIUS!

Since this was my first time dealing with these little guys, I used a recipe provided by my culinary hero, Martha Stewart. It’s chocolate. It’s delicious . It’s here. I believe you can use any cake mix, but I suggest this one as it’s Gamer Girl & Man tested :)

Now, here’s what I did:


Make sure the cake is completely cooled before you crumble it. I suggest working in batches here… Even if you half the recipe above, your crumbled cake is not going to fit in a large Pyrex mixing bowl.
Half your half batch and crumble it in the largest mixing bowl you have (you want to make sure you have enough room to get your hands in the bowl as well without tossing crumbs everywhere).
Add a cup of frosting to the bowl and mix well. Lose the spoon and spatula and get your hands in there to make sure it’s evenly distributed.
Once you can’t see any more white frosting, whip out your 1/8C ice cream scoop and start measuring away!
Roll each measured cake chunk into a ball and place on a half sheet pan (cookie sheet, baking pan, whatever you have).
Put in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Stick each with a lollipop stick (see tip 3 below).
Back in the freezer for 20 minutes they go!
In your double-boiler, melt Wilton candy bits (or a bag of white chocolate bits). Make sure to add food color at this point if you’re doing something other than white.
Dip the pops in the coating as told in tip 7.
Stab the sticks into some hard styofoam and wait for them to dry before decorating with faces, sprinkles, or a drizzle of contrasting frosting/coating.

TIPS & TRICKS FOR SUCCESSFUL CAKE POPS!


1. Martha’s recipe makes WAY over 50 pops. I know because I halved it and still came out with 33 good sized goodies.
2. Make sure you have plenty of freezer/fridge space. I had to employ Gamer Man into emptying the bottom half of our freezer since I underestimated the capacity of the top shelf. You need to make sure you have enough room for a sheet pan, as well as about 4 inches of clearance for the sticks. Freeze them for at least half an hour. AT LEAST. They defrost fine, I promise!
3. Stick each cake ball with a lollipop stick, remove it, put some melted white chocolate on the stick and stick it back in the ball. This immensely help with the dipping process where the balls can fall off the stick if you’re not careful or the coating of your choice starts to set. Speaking of coating…
4. Make sure you have plenty of coating. I bough one bag of the Wilton’s candy chips and it wasn’t enough. I was left with 4 which didn’t get the white chocolate treatment. BTW, melting marshmallows to use for coating does not, I repeat, NOT work. Jus’sayin.
5. Heat your coating well! When it starts to set, bits of chocolate cake will be pulled off the cake pop and wind up in your bowl. Not a good thing when you’re working with white chocolate bits. I used the microwave method, but next time I’ll whip out my trusty dbl-blr and keep steady heat on the things rather than running back and forth to the hot box.
6. When dipping, use a bowl which will allow you to completely insert the cake ball and a small portion of the stick into the covering. This again helps with cake crumbs being pulled off by twirling the pop around the bowl trying to get enough coating on it.
7. Dipping technique is important! Again with the crumbies (it really ticked me off, what can I say), you want to insert the entire ball into the coating in one fell movement, then back out again a second later. One second later – that’s all you need! Then as you pull the pop out, twirl and tap the stick against the rim of the bowl to knock off excess coating (read: tap-twirl-tap-twirl…). Any bump on top of the pop where the excess came off should smooth out when you stick the stick into some styrofoam to dry.
8. Don’t use a blender in place of a food processor. It doesn’t work the same, so if you don’t have a FP, use your hands to crumble the cake. I begrudgingly did this and I think it actually produced a lighter cake pop because there was more air between crumb and frosting.
9. And speaking of frosting, don’t be stingy! I used 2 cups of cream cheese frosting for half the recipe above because with one cup of frosting it felt too dry. 2 cups for half the sheet cake is DEFINITELY the way to go.
10. Also, use a good strong frosting as your combiner. Cream cheese frosting works AMAZINGLY WELL. 1 pkg of Philly and half a stick of butter (soften and whipped until combined), add an entire box of powdered sugar (8oz) and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Mix everything together and voila!

Boo!



It’s actually not as much work as I make it sound, but I don’t want y’all to go through what I did (or put your hubbies through grumbles and profanity like I did with GM) or discourage you from making one of the yummiest treats ever!

 

GamerGirl



Halloween Recap!

Halloween is FINALLY over… HOORAY! Not that I didn’t have a fun holiday. In fact it was quite the opposite!

 

I made my costume by hand (and won a costume contest!).
I made witch hat cookies.
I made ghosty cake pops.
I made chil-EEK! rellenos and monster margaritas.
I made ghost luminaries.
I started playing Fable 3.

 

That was my weekend in a nutshell :) It was fab! This year Gamer Man and I went to our friends J&J’s Halloween party. Last year was my first time attending, so I had no idea there was a costume contest!!! Being the uber competitive gal I am, I immediately set my sights on winning. Once we decided to be Paul Bunyan and Babe the blue ox, I could almost taste that Best Buy gift card (mmm… plastic-ey). I found this missy and decided to copy her costume with some slight alterations: smaller horns, no cow nose, and knee highs rather than thigh highs (GM’s idea, not mine). And it turned out like this!!!

 

Starred for privacy ;)
If you want to duplicate you’ll need…
Ears – Blue and pink felt. The stiffer precut squares are best
A headband to hot glue the ears and horns to once assembled
Hair – A blue wig
A cowbell attached to a ribbon or rope, fashioned into a necklace
Clothing – 100% cotton shirt and long underwear, dyed with Rit’s Midnight Blue; cut the pants into shorts and turn the ankle bit upside down to make leg warmers!
Blue stockings (got mine at Target!)
Hooves – Half a yard of tan felt, cut to wrap around a pair of heels; remainder is cut to wrap around hands
Velcro! To fasten your hooves together ;)

 

Feel free to message me for a tutorial – I’m good at them… it’s what I do for a living! Anywho, I won the contest and the card tasted just as I’d imagined :) Okay, I’m done gloating (FOR NOW!) and will move on to nom noms!

 

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Friday my mother’s 3rd graders had a Fall Festival party so I made these which turned out like this:

 

 

Still working on my piping skills lol.
 

The kids loved them. Win #2!
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My cousin and her broodlings were supposed to stop by last night for special treats, so I had to come up with some serious treat pwnage. Enter cake cops! I’ll post more on them later, but here’s how they turned out:

 

 

Since no kids were around to eat them, I had to make GM and his brother (and his brother’s friends, and my parents) eat them. I’m anti-chocolate (allergic, not against!) so I can’t give my take, but EVERY PERSON WHO ATE ONE RAVED ABOUT IT. Two of them said it tasted like a Hostess cupcake, the rest made yummy noises. Win #3!
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Chil-EEK! rellenos and monster margaritas are a standard at our place, so no real new stuff there. Except for the discovery that you can add food color to margaritas! I made them purple because I reckon all tasty monsters are purple :) No pics because we at them so fast. Future post, people… future post. Oh, and win #4 since GM’s little bro said they were “bomb”!
 

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Win #5 is thanks to Amanda who inspired me to make these:

 

 

I was strapped for time when making the faces (Halloween AM!) so I whipped out my craft sponges and went the easy route. They turned out cute and lots of people ogled them on the way up the driveway.

 

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And last but not least, I started Fable 3 this weekend. I’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting for a chance to pounce on our XBox, so when GM went to decorate the front of the house, I grabbed that controller SO FAST! F3 is definitely worth the wait and WAY cooler than F2. I’m playing the princess, but like all good fairy tales I had to be rescued by GM once because I can’t get the hang of roll-shoot-roll ;) I’m also taking the evil route… except I don’t have many followers because of it, but I’m sure I can fix that soon enough. Just have to pry the controller away from the boys again lol.
Hope you all had a great Halloween!!!
 
GamerGirl