Thursday, February 27, 2014

Chips Ahoy Ice Cream Creations Root Beer Float Cookies and Imps

The other day I was in Walmart, minding my own business, casually strolling from the cheese to the breakfast cereal when out of nowhere confetti starting falling from the ceiling and invisible imps started playing kazoos and I was reeled toward the cardboard stand in the middle of the aisle screaming "ICE CREAM COOKIES!"

Clearly, my inner fat kid could not pass up the opportunity to test this amazing cookie phenomenon and I carefully selected a package of Root Beer Float cookies and placed them in my cart where they proceeded to stare at me enticingly the entire time I was at the store.

When I finally got home and took the time to photograph these for you (because that's how devoted I am--you should feel honored) I tore into the package like a Christmas present and greedily took my first bite.

It didn't taste like a root beer float.

First of all, the picture on the package kind of led me to believe there was a creamy center to these cookies. There isn't. I really shouldn't have expected this as the package doesn't actually describe the cookie, it just says "Soft Cookies, Naturally and Artificially Flavored." It doesn't say "root beer cookies with a creamy vanilla center and white chocolate chips." Perhaps my inner fat kid should learn to read things before eating them.

So after I got over the initial letdown, I ate another one, slower, and analyzed it. This was thinner than a usual Chips Ahoy cookie, but was quite soft and chewy (probably because those two words are on the package), and it didn't have that repulsive chemical aftertaste regular Chips Ahoy cookies have developed. All in all, that doesn't make for a terrible cookie experience, but it still doesn't taste like a root beer float.

Really, it tastes like sucking on a cheap root beer barrel for a second and then eating the world's chewiest graham cracker. In retrospect it occurs to me that the kazoo-playing imps were probably just a marketing ploy.

If you run into these in your grocery store, try one of the other flavors and let me know what you think. My prediction is that the Mocha Chunk ones will be the best (because, really, if you like coffee, you can't go wrong with coffee and chocolate), the Mint Chocolate Chip ones will be too chocolatey but otherwise okay, and the Dulce de Leche ones will be sickeningly sweet. Go eat these and tell me if I'm right!

(Also, could someone please tell me the difference between dulce de leche and caramel sauce? I'm pretty sure the only real difference is in price.)

Monday, February 24, 2014

10 Most Useful Things in My Kitchen

To be totally honest with you guys, the most useful thing in my kitchen is actually my refrigerator, but I had some difficulty convincing it to sit pretty while I took its picture so today's list is really the 10 Most Cooperative Things in My Kitchen in No Particular Order. (I may have had to rufie the measuring glass to get him to do what I wanted, but I won't say anything about that if you won't.)

1. Flour and Sugar Tubs

If you have been scooping your flour straight out of the paper bag, you are a caveman who needs to get some manners or be eaten by a dinosaur already. Join civilization and buy some big bins for your baking necessities. These ones are put out by Rubbermaid (translation: they are freaking awesome and will last until the end of time) and cost about $10 at Walmart. The big ones hold an entire 5lb bag of flour or sugar and the smaller one is perfect for bags of brown sugar or powdered sugar.

2. Mini Bowls

I lurve mini bowls. Mini bowls deliver some of the most tasty foods known to man. Tasty foods like ice cream and chocolate chips and buttermilk. They are also excellent for melting butter and mixing fake eggs. The best part? They're dirt cheap. I bought a four pack of the green ones on clearance at Target and the glass ones were fifty cents each at the dollar store. Score!

3. Food Scale

I bought my food scale a couple of years ago when I went on a diet. Its usefulness has since earned it a permanent home on the countertop, right next to the stove, and it is used almost every day. It has measured everything from dry pasta to ground beef to mail and even after a few years is no worse for wear. I got mine at Target for $5 and it stacks inside itself to be a very small store-able package.

4. Paring Knife

Arguably the most useful of the knives. You can use it for peeling potatoes, slicing onions, and--my favorite--cutting the cheese. If I could only have one knife, this would be the one. Except not this one. I'd choose the badass Cutco one that was feeling a little camera shy.

5. Measuring Glass

This sucker is awesome. It measures in teaspoons, tablespoons, ounces, and milliliters. It lives next to my liquor bottles because I don't trust myself to count out shots when inebriated.

6. Brita Pitcher

I live in the country. Except that I live in this suburb outside of a suburb outside of a suburb of the Metro Area surrounded by country. Drive fifteen minutes in any direction and you're in the boonies, but somehow, instead of nice fresh country water that might have a little cow urine in it from time to time, the water that comes out of my taps is actually toxic waste masquerading as H2O. Not kidding. Some days you turn on the sink and smell chlorine, and other days you fill up a glass of water and it turns cloudy white. So a Brita is kind of essential. My roommate and I have two--one in the fridge for drinking and one on the counter for cooking. I highly recommend Brita, but when you go shopping, stay the hell away from the Oceania model. It will pee on your counter, no matter how much electroshock therapy you try.

7. Iced Tea Pitcher

Also made by Rubbermaid, also freaking awesome, also will last until the end of time, and also red. You might not think you need one, but trust me, you need one. Not only is it an excellent iced tea storage facility, but it comes in handy when watering plants or washing your hair when your shower head decides to fall off and hit you in the head and spray a solid jet of water straight into your face. This even has this super-snazzy ice/fruit/random clump strainer thing in the lid. I got mine at Walmart for $5.

8. Strainer

I don't care who you are, I don't care where you live, and I don't care what you're doing. If you don't have one of these, you need to go out and buy one right now. No, seriously, right now. You should not be reading this, you should be buying a strainer, okay? This beautiful device is God's gift to kitchens. It can be used for straining spaghetti, draining things that come in scary can juice, and sifting flour. Did you buy one yet? No? Go! Now!

9. Spaghetti Jar

There is a slight chance I may have a mild addiction to spaghetti. Maybe. As such, I find it necessary to keep my spaghetti on display where I can access it easily should the urge strike to make a delicious bowl of happiness. This particular jar is an airtight Click Clack  canister from the Container Store. It's much more glamorous (and less likely to catch on fire) than keeping a cardboard box of pasta next to the stove.

10. Scissors

If you don't have scissors in your kitchen you must not have found your kitchen yet. Every kitchen needs scissors. If you keep scissors in your kitchen I guarantee you will use them about a million times a day. If you're an elitist buttmunch about kitchen scissors, feel free to buy these. Otherwise, go to the dollar store and buy a pair of crappy scissors you won't be mad about replacing when somebody uses them to cut through the zipties they put around the coffee table legs "for fun."

That's it for my Top 10 List of the Most Useful Things in My Kitchen. What are the most useful things in your kitchen? Tell me in the comments!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Sour Patch Kids Gum is Real and it Exists!

Do you know what's better than a fresh bag of Sour Patch Kids?

I'll give you a hint:

It's not this gum.

When I saw this Sour Patch Kids gum in the checkout line at Target last week, I thought for sure unicorns had delivered the magical substance straight to the Stride factory from Neverland.


Not even at all.

To be honest, this gum isn't terrible. It's fruity. It's tart. It has a decent flavor longevity. It just isn't Sour Patch Kids. Like, at all.

As far as I know this only comes in two flavors: Lime and Redberry.

(What is a redberry anyway? Is it like a blend of all the berries? Is it racist against blueberries? What about blackberries? What about gooseberries?)

Anyways, if you're so inclined to introduce a new fruity gum into your life, give this a whirl. Otherwise, go buy some Sour Patch Kids.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

How to Celebrate Valentine's Day When You're Single and Alone

Don't be that desperate chick who sends herself flowers on Valentine's Day so nobody thinks she's desperate. (Unless your self is into that, in which case do what makes your self happy.) Send some chocolates instead and follow these instructions for a lovely Valentine's Day alone.

Start by preparing yourself a fine Italian meal for one.

While your lasagna is in the oven, have some wine.

Don't forget the veggies.

When the food is ready, light a few candles and have a nice romantic dinner by yourself.

Indulge in a fine Italian dessert. Enjoy knowing you don't have to fight over the last bite.

After dinner, stretch out on the couch and watch a movie. Choose a classic romance like The 40 Year-Old Virgin or Zach and Miri Make a Porno. (Netflix. You're welcome.)

Before bed, relax in a warm bath. Catch up on some reading.

In the true spirit of Valentine's Day, be sure to make yourself a morning-after breakfast tomorrow.

Remember, this isn't sad, this is independence! Savor it! One day you'll look back and remember the good old days before you had to worry about your cats smothering you in your sleep. (Don't have any cats yet? Adopt some!)

Happy Valentine's Day, ladies!

Monday, February 10, 2014

You Can't Make Pink Peppermint Bark Candy for Valentine's Day

This is super-mega complicated. I don't think you can do it.

First of all, there are a lot of very difficult-to-procure ingredients.

You should probably quit now. There is absolutely no way you will be able to find white chocolate chips and Andes Peppermint Crunch baking chips. Not even in the baking aisle at Walmart. Nope. Absolutely cannot find all of these ingredients.

You also won't be able to ghetto-rig a double boiler using common kitchen items.

Even if you managed to get this far, you will probably screw up by putting too much water in your pan and scorching the chocolate. After all, nobody ever told you to only put, like, an inch of water in the pan. Because you don't have that vital piece of information you should forget all about this candy and just go buy some conversation hearts.

No matter how hard you try, you will definitely not be able to liquify 2 cups of white chocolate over low heat. That's some kind of magic, and let's face it, there's nothing special about you.

You also aren't going to be able to stir 1 cup of peppermint chips into the white chocolate.

They won't melt together and turn pink. That would be magic too, and we already established you can't do magic.

Possibly the most impossible step of all would be spreading pink sugaryness over a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper. Even if you used a half-sized cookie sheet this would be impossible.

You probably can't sprinkle another 1/2 cup of peppermint chips over the top of the pink chocolate. That is an outrageously unattainable expectation.

I promise your freezer doesn't want you to make this. It works hard enough already keeping your frozen pizzas cold and will refuse to chill your candy for 30 minutes. Cut it some slack, okay? You wouldn't want your freezer to go on strike, would you?

Even if you followed all of the instructions exactly, it will not look like this.

You will not be able to break it up into itty bitty little pieces.

You can't find 4"x9" clear treat bags.

You will waste precious seconds of your life downloading these bag toppers. You'll waste even more seconds trying to decide if you want to use these bag toppers instead. You're already old enough; you don't have any seconds to spare.

Even if you were able to make this candy against the insurmountable odds, I have zero faith in your ability to fold over the top of the bags and staple them closed. Zero faith.

You also aren't artistically capable enough to staple the bag toppers onto the bags. Who do you think you're kidding?

This recipe definitely doesn't make 40-ish pieces of candy. Definitely doesn't. Don't think it does, because it doesn't.

And that's the story of how you didn't make adorable Valentine's Day candy.

The end.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Valentine's Day Cupcakes

This is what cupcake porn looks like:

Hubba hubba.

These cupcakes are absurdly easy, thanks to the lovely people at Duncan Hines who do the first eighty-three steps of cake making for us.

All we lazy asses have to do to get our Pepto-Bismol Pink cake (and yes, Pepto-Bismol Pink is a real color, just ask Crayola) is add oil and eggs to some pink powder and stick it in the oven. And then frost it. And then sprinkle it. I now realize it would probably have been easier to just buy some Valentine's Day cupcakes while you were at the store buying all the things to make Valentine's Day cupcakes, but that's not as special, okay? Leave me alone.

Once we've mixed up our pink cake batter and the whole kitchen smells like strawberries, we add the sprinkles!

In case you were wondering, yes, these are the girliest sprinkles I could find.

Pour your batter into a cupcake pan lined with cupcake papers. I used half white cupcake papers and half pink polka dot baby shower cupcake papers, which is totally okay, because I'm pretty sure somebody out there will be pregnant on Valentine's Day. (I'm also pretty sure somebody out there will be pregnant the morning after Valentine's Day. Use protection, kids!)

Put your mismatched cupcakes in the oven and take them out when they look like this:

Mmmm, pink.

Wait for your cupcakes to cool and then frost them and then put sprinkles on them and then take lots of food porn pictures on your front porch in your One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish pajama pants while the snow plow guy snow plows your culdesac. (If you're the guy who didn't buy condoms on February 14th and ended up with a bun in the oven this will be great practice for embarrassing your future child in front of all their friends; just add some hair curlers and bad dance moves and you're all set.)

Eat your cupcake and enjoy the overload of estrogen you will receive from ingesting this much pink.

What are your plans for Valentine's Day?