Monday, December 26, 2011

Warrior Dash

A few weeks ago, Bestie and I ran a 5K but not an ordinary 5K. We ran in a Warrior Dash. What the heck is a Warrior Dash you ask? Imagine what would happen if some fraternity and military guys decided to make a 5K run. There's lots of mud...

barb wire, beer, obstacles...

and people dressed up in crazy costumes.

As you can imagine, cleaning up after all the dirty fun is quite a challenge as well. Water trucks hose you down for a makeshift warrior wash.

We happily donated our shoes to be cleaned and passed on to someone in need.

Maybe it's not exactly good clean fun but we did have a blast in the muddy mayhem of Warrior Dash.

Thanks Bestie.  I can't wait to do it again!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Bunch Of Bananas

 Look at what I found at the grocery store, a big huge bag of...
bananas! (for $.99)
I'm the kind of person that sees a big, huge bag of bananas as a personal challenge. What can I do with all of these bananas?

and Banana Nut Ice Cream are a few 
of my favorite banana recipes.

 What banana recipes do you love?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Cinnamon Vanilla Almonds

I first made these these almonds as a last minute hostess gift. Problem was I couldn't stop eating them, so I ended up making several more batches, perfecting the recipe... and scarfing down sampling a whole lot more.

What you need:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1/8 cup imitation vanilla flavor (not vanilla extract)
  • 3 cups raw almonds
  • salt to taste
What you do:
In a skillet combine the first four ingredients.

Add the almonds and stir constantly over medium heat.

Keep stiring until the sugary liquid has crystalized onto the almonds. They are done when there is no liquid left in the pan.
Turn out almonds onto wax or parchment paper to cool. Sprinkle almonds with salt immediately.
Trust me, you must let them cool at least a few seconds before the sampling starts. These guys are hot, hot, hot!
 Bet you can't eat just one!
Tip Junkie handmade projects

Monday, December 12, 2011

Cranberry Vodka

I seem to be on an alcohol making kick this season. First Irish cream, now cranberry infused vodka... I'm thinking jalapeno tequila is next.

 What you need:
  • 1 bag fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 split vanilla bean
  • vodka
What you do:
Mix first three ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat, stir well. Continue to stir simmering mixture until the berries burst, about 5 minutes.

Divide half of the berry mixture between two large mason jars (800 ml.).

Pour enough vodka in the jars to cover the cranberries. Allow the jars to hangout/party/mingle in your fridge for 1 week.

Strain out the cranberries and store cranberry vodka in the refrigerator. Save the cranberry mash to garnish drinks... or just eat it (but beware it's completely saturated with alcohol).

Here's a great recipe for madras using cranberry vodka.
  • 1 1/2 ounces cranberry vodka
  • 1/2 ounce cranberry juice
  • 1 ounce orange juice
  • 1 cherry
Fill a glass with ice. Add ingredients and stir. Garnish with a few cranberries or cherries.
Tip Junkie handmade projects

Monday, December 5, 2011

Irish Cream

A few years ago I started making Irish Cream for the holidays. My dad and Mr.Perfect love the stuff! And by love I mean they drink it straight from the bottle when I'm not looking.
What you need:
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 oz.)
  • 1  2/3 cups Irish whiskey
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
  • 3 tablespoons chocolate syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
What you do:
Pour all ingredients in your blender. Blend until the mixture is well combined (about 20 seconds). 

Store in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator. Give a little shake before serving.

The Irish cream should keep for about 2 weeks in your refrigerator... although mine is usually all gone in a few days.
  I'm thinking Santa would love this with his cookies.
Tip Junkie handmade projects

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cranberry Sauce

I usually make some kind of cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving. This year I happened to pick up some lovely blackberries when I got my cranberries and thought they'd go perfectly together. I've been using my Thanksgiving cranberry sauce on everything from pancakes to yogurt.

What you need:
1 cup juice (I used a berry blend)
1 cup white sugar
1 package fresh cranberries (12 oz.)
1 apple, cored and diced
1 pear, cored and diced
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots or other dried fruit
1 cup blackberries
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

What to do:
Boil juice and sugar until the sugar dissolves.

Reduce the heat to a simmer and stir in remaining ingredients.

Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The cranberries will burst. Remove from heat, and let cool to room temperature.
How sweet it is!
Tip Junkie handmade projects

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Stuffing

When it comes to Thanksgiving food I am all about the stuffing... bread stuffing... not cornbread stuffing or dressing or whatever you call that fake stuffing stuff. I always bring stuffing to Thanksgiving at the In-Laws and they call my stuffing Yankee dressing. But you know what? They love it or at least they say they do.
What you need:
  • 1 pound sliced bread, toasted and cubed (about 10 cups)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • ½ cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage (1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme (1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup pecans toasted and chopped
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup chicken stock
What you do:
Melt butter in a large pan.

Add onion and celery to the butter. Cook vegetables until tender, stirring often.

Remove vegetables from heat and stir in parsley, sage, thyme, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
 I love fresh herbs in my stuffing!

Add the bread cubes and mix well.

Mix in the pecans and dried cranberries.

Stir in chicken stock, a little at a time, until the stuffing is lightly moist.

Do a little taste check to make sure the seasoning suits your fancy. (but don't eat it all, your family wants some too)

Turn into a shallow buttered baking dish.

Bake in a 350 degree oven until the top has a crust and the stuffing is heated through, about 30-40 minutes.

Trouble almost loves stuffing as much as me. See, he turns into a caveman and has to use his hands to eat it.