Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Pin Win Birthday!

This could have so easily ended up as a Fail but it didn't!!

Hubby's birthday is the day after mine, so Monday this year, and he was all bummed that his birthday was going to be lame.

I have extra personal and vacation days, so I concocted a plan.

I secretly took the day off to bake a cake and cook him a nice meal. I picked some recipes from pinterest and even found a "from scratch" recipe for Funfetti (his favorite). (An all pinterest recipe meal could've easily been a fail, but I had read over the recipes ahead of time and felt certain that they would turn out at least okay.)

The pinterest board of recipes I used: Smashed Red Potatoes, Crusted Parmesan Zucchini, Confetti Cake and Balsamic Roast Beef.

I got up when I normally do to head to work after he does, started the crock pot and baked the cake. The first cake was burnt (my gas stove's fault, not the recipe's), so I cut the edges off and dumped in a bowl to maybe make cake pops later. The second turned out okay.

As I was washing the mixer to start the buttercream frosting, the water made a nasty gurgly noise and just up and quit! I run outside and lo, and behold, the water authority people are racing down our street to the bridge construction site. Seems the crew hit a pipe. I was without water until after dinner.

Fortunately, my friend was headed over right then so we picked up some spring water jugs and then she iced the cake for me while I worked on the dishes using a 2.5 gallon jug, and started the potatoes. (Meat and potatoes, my man.)

She left before hubby got home to a nicely set table and delicious aromas. I even timed it so that he could just zone out on the couch for a little while dinner was finishing up. I had a very happy hubby.

The recipes all worked out quite well! The roast was perfectly flavorful and tender. The zucchini and potatoes were cooked through perfectly. The cake was a little too dense for my taste, but still pleased all.

Sorry for the blurry cell pic. We were both quite hungry and in too much of a hurry to take a non-shaky photo.

Oh, and the cake:

He was ecstatic. This is a reference to one of his favorite shows, a British comedy called the IT Crowd about two IT geeks who work under a clueless manager.

Here's the clip:

Thursday, January 31, 2013

PinTesting- Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken

I've come up with all sorts of excuses for not blogging. Firstly, I don't feel the need to blog about every little knitting pattern I do. That's mostly just show and tell because somebody else did the work of figuring it out. Secondly, a lot of what I was working on were Christmas gifts and couldn't be shared until the recipients received them.

In the meanwhile, I have been busy! And one of the things that has grabbed my attention is Pinterest. Yes, that's right. I don't know what took me so long. Long before Pinterest, I kept a Google notebook (when it still existed) of DIY blogs and articles to try someday. This does just that but in a beautiful, visual way that really works for me. And while it is totally unoriginal with such awesome blogs out there as Pinstrosity, I thought a good way to keep up with blogging would be to recount my attempts at actually doing some of those Pins.

So, first up, we have Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken from Easy-Cookbook-Recipes. I'm always a little dubious of crock pot recipes. Experience tells me that just because you slow-cook something, doesn't mean it will come out tender. Often, I ended up with dried, tough meat with not a lot of flavor. Besides which, the photo doesn't really look like whole chicken breasts were just placed in a crock pot. It looks like the chicken was cut and pan fried in the sauce instead. But, this recipe included a good amount of Apple Cider Vinegar, which I figured would really help with making the meat nice and juicy.

And boy, was I right!

Now, when I got home from work, the tenderness of the chicken did appear questionable as the outer skin looked hard and dry. So, I did what any sensible cook would do and poked a chicken breast with a knife. After the initial cut (a little tough), it melted right through.

And here is where I differed from the original recipe. Rather than waste a pan on boiling the sauce, I broke apart the chicken right in the crock pot, mixed it up a little and set the crock pot on high for about thirty minutes. I did add some cornstarch and water, but didn't really find a noticeable difference in the consistency, nor did I care to. We like our sauce runny so we can mix it well with our starch.

I served it atop Uncle Ben's "Asian Style" rice with some extra frozen peas thrown in. I consider this the best tasting and simplest attempt at Asian food I've come across yet. It may not be true Teriyaki, but it's a lot better than Iron Chef's bottled sauce and I'm really pleased.

The husband said, and I quote, "I would definitely eat this again!" That, my friends, is a winner.