Thursday, May 26, 2011

Holy Chip

Dear Jiminy Chips,

While I appreciate the deliciousness of your amazingly thin and funky flavored chips, I refuse to pay the exorbitant amount you charge for what is ultimately 19 slices of potato.  The size of the bag is highly deceiving and I was truly tricked when I discovered it to be only a 1/4 filled.  I mean, come on, $4.99?  For a bag that isn't going to survive the trip home from the store?  Are you outta your damn minds?

I am outraged!  I am discouraged and now I am hungry!  I implore you to rectify this situation before I lose both my mind and all the $$ in my pocketbook. 

Thank you for your time,


It is my anger towards "Big Potato" that has driven me to a manic state of homemade 'tato chip creation.  That, or I really wanted to deep fry something anything and was looking for a more convincing reason than its... Thursday.  Either way, I won because look at the potato chip bounty that resulted. 

This whole process was extremely easy to do (mainly because I had a very handy gentleman offer to dig the deep fryer out of the garage for me and slice most of the potatoes) and was significantly cheaper then store bought chips. 

WARNING:  All the chips that you are about to see cost a total of $1.56. 

I followed this easy recipe but would like to add some additional notes and findings.  
  • Our potatoes were soaked in both water and vinegar. 
  • While the larger slices were preferred with the Idaho potato (hereafter known as 'the regular potatoes'), the smaller slices were preferred with the sweet potato. 
  • We discovered that the dryer the chips are, the better. They crisped up nice and didn't stick together. We left them laying out, ucovered all night and that seemed to do the trick.
You can slice the potatoes by hand if you’ve got some time to kill but I would recommend getting one of these little ditties.  

(Don’t be alarmed at the prices in the link... we found this one at the Korean grocery store by our house for $20 and it works great. Those should just give you an idea.) It saves so much time and all of the slices come out in perfect little ovals!!

Once I pull the deep fryer out and load it up with the oil, I deep fry until my little heart is content because I don’t want to clean it up. So, if I figure, if I keep deep frying things, I’ll never have to actually wash anything. This resulted in me having potato chips for dinner one night (ahh I love being an adult – take that mom!) and coming up with some deliciously flavored chips and awesome dips. My chip guinea pig (aka: the idea man) sampled all the flavors/dip and ranked them in order of preference below.

Have you ever eaten a potato chip that made you forget you even had other food on your plate, because they were too delicious to stop eating? No? Well whip up these sweet and sour delights and you will have that very experience. Who needs a sandwich and pickle when you have chips like these staring right at you!

Wisconsin has given us things we love (Germans, cheese, beer) and things we hate (a stupid football team that wears a dumb green color, Brett Favre, angry teachers). Let me tell you though, when you put the best Wisconsin exports on a chip, you are teleported to holy cheese head heaven. Makes me forget the Packers even exist.

This creation was perfected by Sullivan’s Steakhouse and when paired with a martini, it will ease any stress-anxiety-bitterness you may have. Guaranteed or your money back. Well, I won’t actually send you money but you get the idea.

If you are dealing with a less than agreeable woman, then serve her one of these chocolate delights. A little sweet, a little salty… she’ll return to her pleasant disposition in no time.

The cleaning of the fryer and straining of the oil was less than ideal but now I have put on a solid 10 pounds due to the chip frenzy and my hands and luxuriously moisturized.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Beer Garita Senor

With summer quickly approaching (I use the word ‘quickly’ loosely because it is the middle of May and I wore my down-coat and scarf last weekend, however, this is Chicago and we could be in a hot box
tomorrow), I've spent my afternoons day dreamin' of the perfect cocktail to enjoy outside, in a hammock, on a boat...etc, etc.  While any cocktail will be enjoyable, I've come to the conclusion that the "perfect" summer thirst quencher needs to fulfill a certain criteria.  It needs to be:

1. Deliciously refreshing - One day in the near future it will be 91 degrees outside with 80% humidity.  A gentle breeze will be a faint memory as you try to remember a day when the wind caused the rain to come in sideways.  Oh, and there won’t be a single cloud in the sky.

2. Easy to make - Let's face it, the heat will affect my brain in such a way that the thought of standing around, measuring out liquors I can't pronounce (what is Curacao anyway? no idea) will be too complicated a task. 

3. Reasonably priced - I'll definitely need to make enough to last me a whole three months.   Being on a teacher's schedule, I'm allowed several days throughout the summer where I drink before noon, just because I can.  It’s not alcoholism, it’s celebrating freedom from teenage tyrants.  Don't judge me!!  Anyway...  

My drink of choice this summer is what I am now calling The Beer Garita Senor. 

The recipe is as follows:
·     Premixed Jose Cuervo/Sauza Margarita Mix (around $15 for 1.75ml)
·     Coronitas (7oz Coronas that I found at Binny's - $5.99 a six pack)
·     Ice
·     Salt if desired  

Salt rim (which I didn't do here - sad face) of mini fish bowl (I found these suckers in the candle isle at the dollar store by my house - oh how I heart thee Dollar Tree) and fill with ice. Pour in Margarita Mix (it’s up to your discretion, I'm not here to tell you how much is too much :) but you usually want to aim around a 2:1 ratio of margarita to beer.)  Open Coronita and place it into the fish bowl upside down (flip quickly!) *Sidenotes: Coronita will have to pressurize, so it will empty about half way...just want to make sure there is enough room in the fishbowl - I may have freaked out when I first did this.  Also, the Coronita will literally be sitting in your drink, so I washed off the bottles beforehand.*  And I'm done.  In order to prove that this concoction meets all of the summer time cocktail requirements I: 

1. Drank it - It is probably the most refreshing thing I've ever had in my life… Second to the cups of water I guzzled while attempting to run the Chicago Half Marathon… so on that scale, you can see it’s pretty refreshing.      

2. I may or may not have asked a certain someone to time me while I made them.  It took me exactly 2 mins and 16 second to make three (although, I did not salt the rim).  He was annoyed at having to do this but got over it when I handed him The Beer Garita Senor to make up for it. 

3.  Coronita - $1, Margarita - about $1.50 per serving X 2 servings = $4  Ole!

I'm all about the proof people!! 

Have a happy summer AMIGOS!  If you have the desire to drink one at 11:30 on a Wednesday this July, call me :)      

Monday, May 9, 2011

Happy Mother's a Jar

I saw this idea a couple of months ago and have been putting my desserts in jars every since.  It is such an ingenious idea because not only do the mason jars make for easy transport (I made mini-pies when we went Smelt Fishing) and clean up (just pop 'em in the dishwasher) but they look so flippin' cute I can hardly stand it.

Since my lovely mother's birthday is the same week as mother's day,  I tend to go a little soft on the "Mother's Day" portion of the week and stick to cheap homemade gifts, you know, the kind mother's absolutely love.  Because even though I'm twenty eight, I will still draw her a picture and claim it is a 'present.'  You're welcome mom!  This year, I decided I would bake her something and since I'm on the " a jar" kick, I went with cupcakes.  To begin, I mixed up a batch of box cake mix and divided the batter among the mason jars.  One box filled 5 jars. 

I followed the cooking time suggestions for cupcakes but it took a little longer than it said on the box.  However, I did fill these suckers up pretty high and that resulted in...

Mason jars that overflowith.  Lucky for me and my oven, the batter did not explode everywhere, it merely puffed up.  I would, however, recommend putting them on a tray because watching these things in the oven was a little nerve racking.... it was touch and go there for awhile and I was sweating it out anticipating the burnt cake cleanup...not recommended.  I'm sure if you fill them up a little less then you would easily be able to get six jars made from one box of mix.  In order to create my "frosting grass" for the top, I decided it would be best to simply slice off the cake that extended past the jar so I would have a nice flat surface to work with.

The cupcake tops turned out to be a major blessing in disguise because a delicious cupcake sandwich (two tops connected with frosting in the middle) holds over certain people who become extremely disgruntled when they find out that they can't eat one of the cupcake jars... now!

While these little darlings were in the oven, I prepped my accessories.

I mixed up a batch of green frosting (meaning I put food coloring into a tub of Aldi brand frosting) and altered the stems of the flowers.  I cut the stems off about 1/16 of an inch from the base and stuck a toothpick up the middle.  It worked out perfectly and now there is no gross stem sitting in your cupcake.

After everything was assembled, I made little Mother's Day tags for the front and tied them on with some string.

Volia - Happy Mother's Day.  The best part about this little gift (mom, please stop reading now) is that the whole thing was practically free.  I had everything to make these in my cabinets and the flowers were sitting on my living room table.  However, if you do have to pick some of the items up, it will all be under $5 (Aldi cake mix and frosting comes out to $2...AMAZING and the flowers can be any kind you want). 

Love you MOM!!

I am planning on making more things in mason jars and am looking for an opportunity to make individual pot pies.  We will see how long this little trend will last but I thinking it will be awhile because I absolutely love it.  As long as people keep returning my jars, I'll keep filling them!!  

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Redneck Wedding Bingo

Best Way to Spend a Friday Night
Bingo isn’t for the old ladies anymore!!  Grab your best cutoff t-shirt and your camo colored troll dolls and come on down for some Redneck Wedding Bingo.  What is Redneck Wedding Bingo you say?  Why, it’s the best damn reality show on tee-vee combined with church approved (don’t act like your dad wasn’t the crowd-favorite-Bingo-caller at your parish growing up) form of gambling.  Do you like mud wrestling, wedding vows, pick-up trucks and duct tape on wedding dresses??  Are you bored with just sitting there, WATCHING trashy reality TV?  Do you want to turn reality TV into a cut-throat competition right in your own living room?  Then you’re in luck my friends because Redneck Wedding Bingo is HERE!!! 

I fell in love with this show awhile back and realized that way too many people are missing out on its awesomeness.    I mean, the stereotypes are so real you just sit there in dumbfounded awe.  The game itself is so simple.  All you have to do is...

1.  Print off the game cards that I have provided for you HERE!!  There are 20 cards in all and they are all different.  Some squares may lend itself to some “interpretation” but that’s for you to discern. 
2.  Find episodes of My Big Redneck Wedding, which is easier then you think.  Just click here and you will find a TV schedule, plus full episodes you can watch online.  You can also do what I do, get a little TiVo happy and record a bunch of episodes so you can play more than one game at one time.  CMT does like to run marathons so check your local listings!!    
3. You can also add the “Drinking Game” component to it (well, let’s be honest, you can add the “Drinking Game” component to just about anything) and take a swig every time you get a square.  One time, I added a “Beer Grab Bag” which was literally a giant metal tub mixed with 6-packs of Schlitz, Natural Ice, Busch Light, Old Milwaukee, Budweiser, Old Style and Hamms.  WARNING: When you purchase all of the aforementioned beers, all at the same time, at your local liquor store, you will probably get a couple of questionable looks and be recognized by the sales girl from there on out.  The brews were then mixed up and hidden under the ice, so you had to reach in and wish for the best.  Big money, no whammy!!  Or you can classy it up a bit, like I did the next time I played Redneck Bingo and have some dirty martinis with some delicious blue cheese olives...WARNING: Amend drinking game to "sip martini if you win" not "sip martini for every square you get," especially if you play five or six games and especially if you play two cards per round...just some friendly advice... not speaking from experience...
I hope you enjoy this game as much as I do!!  Now go grab your Keystone, put on your coveralls and let’s play some bingo y’all.  
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