The trials and tribulations of a scatter-brained kitchen junkie.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Week 9 (Cooking) - Coffee Rub Pork Tenderloin

Week 9's challenge was coffee. I've had this recipe from budget bytes kicking around for a while and though I'd give it a go. Unfortunately I was not a fan of this flavor at all and most of the cut of meat has been scrapped to the dog. I don't know if I made a wrong turn somewhere, or if coffee and pork just don't work for me, but this one was a bust. I'm documenting this occasion for posterity's sake but I see no need to share the step-by-step on a failed recipe.

The Rub looked tasty

The finished product however was very meh.

Suggestions? Thoughts?
Leave a comment or email me at

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Week 8 (Cooking) - Slow Cooker Chicken Sloppy Joes

Week 8's challenge was slow cooking which elated me because I am all about slow cooking. Being a full time employee, part time student, full time crazy dog owner... I love my slow cooker. I love tossing things together in the morning and not having to worry about it again until the evening. I love that the house smells like delicious food all day. I love not feeling rushed to throw together an evening meal.

The original plan for the week was for turkey sloppy joes, but when the grocery store was out of ground turkey I went for the next best thing. What a happy surprise this turned out to be.

After slow cooking for 8 hours this slightly healthier sloppy joe mix was indistinguishable to me from traditional beef slop. Hoorah for healthy options!

Chicken Sloppy Joes

  • 2 lbs ground chicken
  • 1 onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 red/orange pepper
  • 1 can (10 3/4 oz) reduced sodium tomato soup
  • 1/4 c yellow mustard
  • 2 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 c ketchup
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Hamburger buns, rolls, etc. to serve

  1. In a large skillet combine the ground chicken, onion, and peppers; cook over medium-high heat until chicken is cooked thoroughly and no longer pink. Using a heat safe spatula, break up any large chunks of chicken as you go.

  2. Transfer chicken mixture to slow cooker; add all other ingredients, and stir to combine.

    It isn't pretty to start with, but it sure is tasty in the end.

  3. Cook on low setting 6-8 hours.

  4. Portion onto hamburger buns or hoagie rolls and serve with your favorite sides. I made sweet potato fries. Mmm mmm mmm.

Delicious and hearty, this simple slow cooked meal was a big hit. This one is a keeper!

Week 8 (Baking) - Raspberry White Chocolate Blossoms

Week 8 of the baking challenge was candy decorations which was a bit of a stumper for me -  not because candy is hard to add to baking because you can pretty much stick candy on the top of any cookie, cupcake, etc., and make it pretty - the challenge for me was, what could I do that was at least somewhat practical and also new or unique. Also I wanted a recipe that would use up some of the ridiculous amount of Valentine's day candy I had in the house from binge shopping the post holiday sales.

I decided to work on a recipe to utilize the raspberry white chocolate kisses we'd purchased but were just too sweet to chow on like other candies. I thought I'd do a play on traditional peanut butter blossoms and make raspberry sugar cookie blossoms instead. Unfortunately, these did not turn out as I had hoped, the problem wasn't the flavor - the taste was interesting and, dare I say, yummy - but the cookies spread out and were flaaaaat so the inserted kiss in the middle wasn't so cute.

The cookies were a basic sugar cookie with a raspberry twist, rolled in a mixture of pink sprinkles and sugar. The flavor and color were perfect, but the presentation was less than stellar. Perhaps I will give these another shot in the future but for now we'll have to let flavor win out over aesthetics.

Raspberry White Chocolate Blossoms
Recipe adapted from hershey' candy cane blossoms

  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 packet raspberry crystal lite
  • 1/4 c butter, softened
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp milk 
  • 1/8 tsp/pinch baking soda
  • 1 cup flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • Extra granulated sugar for rolling
  • Pink sprinkles for rolling (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°
  2. Beat the butter, sugar, egg yolk, crystal lite, and vanilla on medium speed until well blended.
  3. Stir together the flour, salt, baking soda.
  4. Add the flour mixture and stir until completely combined.

  5. Add the milk and stir again until fully incorporated.
  6. In a small cup/bowl, stir together a small amount of granulated sugar and sprinkles.
  7. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and roll in the sugar/sprinkle mix.
  8. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

  9. Repeat with remaining dough, allowing plenty of room between cookies.

Recipes yields approximately 12 cookies.