Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sweet-n-Salty Chocolate Pretzels

Aaaah sweet and salty. An unlikely combination that, when done right, is a complex and delicious balance of flavor, reminiscent of snack time and theater fare. And one of my favorite movie time concessions are chocolate covered pretzles. Oh man I go crazy for these. So this week I bring my very easy chocolate covered pretzels that will surely leave your wallet and your stomach happier than anything you could buy at the concession stand. No complicated melting required! Just a microwave.
That's right, I said microwave.
Sacred yet? Well you shouldn't be. You don't have to slave over a melting pot of chocolate to create delicious treats that I promise will deliver. So...lights, camera, kitchen!

Non Edibles:

You'll need a microwave safe(!!!) bowl, spoon, wax paper, and a cookie sheet.


1 bag of chocolate chips (I prefer semi sweet, but they do offer dark and milk varieties)
1 bag of pretzels
2 tbs of coco powder
2 tbs of Crisco


First you'll add the chocolate chips into your bowl along with the Crisco (some evoo will work in a pinch) and toss in the microwave for about 45 seconds or until melted. It won't take long!
Once all the chocolate is sufficiently melted, add your coco powder. This is preferred though I always have Ovaltine in the pantry (the Hubby's favourite drink!) and works just as well. Do NOT add the powder beforehand. It WILL burn. I learned this the hard way.
Now that that's mixed, you can start covering your pretzels. There's many ways to do this; none are right, and all are messy. You can fold a few in the chocolate at at time with your spoon, dip one by one, spoon the chocolate, however. Just have fun! Place the generously coated pretzels on a wax paper covered cookie sheet and place in the fridge (or freezer) until nice and hard. You can finish with a drizzle of white icing if your feeling advanced. Just be sure the chocolate is cold when you add it, and that you return the pretzels to the cold so the icing sets.

And that's it! Sneak in your purse when you see your next flick and enjoy!!

Note: I have to give credit for this to my dear Lindsay Jacobs. First time I made (a similar version of) these was with her showing me how.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Fruity Tooty Berry Smoothie

Back to food this week! Well, smoothies actually. What better way to cool down in summer, and give yourself a fruity energy boost. I even include an alcoholic version for the grownups in the kitchen.
Per my usual, this isn't real precise, and you can make it your own by adding more or less of a certain component. So rev your blenders folks, its smoothie time!

Non edibles:
All you'll need is a spoon, your blender, and a cup to serve in.

1 cupish of wild strawberry sorbet
1 handful of frozen mixed berries
1 banana
2 cups of your favorite fruit juice (for the adult version, I used most of a bottle of blueberry lemonade Smirnoff Ice)

Simple, simply combine and blend! You can add more juice or Smirnoff if you like your smoothies on the thinner side, more sorbet if you like them creamer, or more fruit for more body. You can also choose to highlight a certain berry if you want. It's up to you. This is just close to what I normally whip up. Another note: your welcome to use fresh rather than frozen berries. However, I prefer frozen simply because it provides the chill factor and I don't need to use ice.

Now sit back, sip away, and enjoy! And as always, happy blending!

(Confession: The picture isn't exactly what is described. Usually the smoothie will turn out a bit more purple. I forgot I didn't have any mixed berries, but I needed a picture...)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Herbal Alchemy: Luscious Lavender

Something different today! Oh my! I want to do an "Herbal Alchemy" post once a month or so. After all, you can't be a kitchen witch without having some herbal knowledge right? I will tackle different blends for soaps, bathsalts, lotions, ect. We will also discuss the health and spiritual benifits of the various herbs used. For our first venture in the land of herbal goodness, a relaxing bathsalt with some of my favorite herbs.
Herbs can come in many forms and we will discus these as needed. Of course, there are fresh, dried, powdered, and so on, but for today, we will need essential oils. Personally, oils are my favourite form of herb to work with so far. But be warned, they can be expensive. However they will last quite a while, and some can be found in the spice isle of your grocer. And really, if you enjoy working with them, oils are a great investment; for instance, homemade bath and body goodies are wonderful gifts and a great way to save on Holiday shopping. Who doesn't like that idea, right?
Now, without further delay, my Luscious Lavender Relaxing Bathsalt.


You'll need a mixing bowl, a smaller bowl to mix your oils, an eyedropper is optional, and a spoon.


Epsom salt
Sea salt
Baking powder
Lavender essential oil
Vanilla oil or extract (make sure it's genuine!)
Chamomile oil
Vitamin E oil
Food coloring (optional)


In the big mixing bowl combine your Epsom salt and sea salt at a 2:1 ratio and add just a pinch or two of the baking powder (just to help keep it dry and usable and retains the smells).
Now you'll want to get your oil mixture right before adding it to your salt. Lets discuss these one by one.
5 parts Lavender: This is great for cleansing body and mind, relaxing, and dreams. It has a wonderful, unique earthly floral smell.
2 parts Vanilla: This is great for comfort and bringing back good memories and thoughts of home and is also a good moisturizer I've found. We all know what vanilla smells like.
1 part chamomile: Chamomile is great in tea and has long been used to induce sleep and has a long range of other health benefits. It has also has a floral earthy smell.
1 part Vitamin E oil: No smell here. Vitamin E is just great for skin. Sometimes it can be sticky though, so be careful.
When you mix these, be sure if your using a universal dropper that its thoroughly washed after each oil. You don't want to contaminate your oils with the smell of another oil. Typically, you can find bottles of oils that allow you to dispense individual drops slowly without the need for separate equipment. Smell constantly, and don't be afraid to tinker with the ratios to your liking.
If your making a big batch you may need a carrier oil like evoo or jabooba oil to put the essential oil mixture in. I typically don't do this for salts though.
Now that your oils are mixed, you can add it to the salts, mixing thoroughly. Once satisfied, you can add color if you want, or leave it white. Just allow to dry and store in a cool place in an air tight container or divide into little bags.
Bathe and enjoy!!!

I hope you learn to love herbs like I do. Once you get familiar with them, they offer such a wide variety of uses, you will use them everywhere.