Time to Care About Hearts Again!

Well everyone it’s time to care about hearts again. Isn’t it interesting how we could care less about some things for 355 days of the year and then for 10 we—suddenly—will pay $4.99 for something we will probably only use once?

Time to care about hearts again!

Why do I care about hearts?

Here are a couple items I noticed in recent days while out shopping.

  1. One muffin (?) pan, slightly used…contains a one-time use MAX, now jacked up to special holiday pricing for a limited time only. Surely.
  2. Special cake (?) pans…a special feature this week even. Unfortunately they don’t list the price but I can assure you, it’s more than I would pay for something I would, again, only use once.

So what’s a girl to do for Valentine’s Day when she wants to bake things because she knows it’s time to care about hearts again?

Oh right, I don’t have to do anything. But isn’t it interesting how much attention this random non-event receives commercially?

That said, I still want to do some sort of Valentine’s project, but I don’t want to be over-charged for it. So while I searched and searched for regular-priced used goods at the local thrift and dollar stores, I finally decided to purchase a ton of red candles and wax crayons.

I spent maybe $6 and I’ve already thought of three different projects I can use these items for.

  • I went searching around my junk drawers and found all sorts of interesting and potentially great shapes for my projects
  • And a weird egg-thing I was given for Christmas as a joke. I don’t even know where to put it let alone know what to do with. Maybe now is the time?
  • Oh, and what project would be complete without a random boat and fish cookie cutter?

What fun I say!

And I was feeling pretty good about my resourcefulness and my refusal to buy into the commercialism of holidays (especially since I also remember my mom baking square cookies and cakes and then cutting them into the interesting shapes once they cooled—genius!).

But, of course, in the midst of my self-congratulations I ran across this delicious Valentine-y post. And now all my self-righteousness is out the window. I have to make these cookies.

I even Pinned it. And I don’t do that for just any cookies.

Well everyone it's time to care about hearts again. Isn't it interesting how we could care less about some things for 355 days of the year and then for 10 we—suddenly—will pay $4.99 for something we will probably only use once?

Other Valentine’s Day related craft posts

Project: Drying Parsley

Drying parsley is a great way to preserve garden-grown parsley when you have too much. And as far as I can tell, there’s no “best” way to do it—you just have to get it dried out.

Drying Parsley

Drying Parsley

Although I am a first-time gardener and failed at most of the crops I attempted, I did have success with parsley. But now I have a different problem: too much parsley.

It was a bit overwhelming to be honest. I had a lot and I didn’t know what to do with it. I did consider transplanting it from my garden plot into a pot on my balcony but it’s just so full already with chives, mint, and tomato plants. Like, full. So I decided to dry it.

Online I looked up a few recipes and how-to achieve dried parsley. What I learned was there is no one right way to do it. So I took advice from the web page I I trusted the most and tried it out.

Update: The dried parsley recipe I used no longer exists but this one from One Good Thing is close.

For all of the recipes using the oven the drying instructions follow three basic steps.

  1. Wash parsley and pat dry
  2. Cut off stems
  3. Put on baking tray and put in oven at lowest possible temperature for 30 minutes or until leaves crumble into tiny bits

Dried parsley sounds easy peasy!

Project Drying Parsley

Here’s how dried parsley went for me

In hindsight, I realize I needed to keep the oven door propped open a tiny bit to allow the moisture from the herbs to release. I had been cooking tater tots at a low temperature prior to this dried parsley attempt so “cooling” wasn’t a long process. That said it made virtually zero impact on the damp parsley. OK so I didn’t quite pat dry it enough. Should I also mention I skipped the cutting the stems part because it seemed like too much work?

Anyway, so I ended up turning the oven on to the lowest setting and spread the parsley out quite thin on cookie sheets. It worked but it took two hours at least. Ages.

I am happy with the dried parsley, but for the past couple weeks while I’ve crushed it up I’ve been picking the stems out of the mess.

So there we go. Just another PSA to follow the instructions.

Super Triple Chocolaty Thing With Peanut Butter

So Robyn had been talking about and wanting to make some tasty Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding Cake for her last post this month, but I went and had company over for dinner and she ran out of time to make it. So me being the great husband that I am and general all round good guy decided I would attempt it while she finished doing real work that makes money. I call it a super triple chocolaty thing with peanut butter.

Super Triple Chocolaty Thing With Peanut Butter

Super Triple Chocolaty Thing With Peanut Butter

By Jered

Weapons:

  • Standard wooden spoon: +1 to stirring, also has a +3 fear effect to children punishment
  • Plastic measuring cups: no additional stats
  • Stainless Steel measuring cups: +2 to measuring skill
  • Stainless Steel measuring spoons: gives “Accurate Measuring” skill
  • Medium Pyrex bowl: +2 defense rating, allows “Mixing”
  • Small Pyrex bowl: +1 defense rating, allows “Mixing”
  • iPad +1000 to recipes, requires tech skill of 8 to use

So here are some pictures of the endeavor. Ingredients!

Mixing dry powdery stuff together!

But then…Tragedy! I had a casualty of war…

So Robyn got me an apron. Flowers aren’t normally my thing but…

Then I discovered it had pockets and I could put stuff in them.

  • Apron: Armor type: Cloth, +3 body armor, +1 leg armor, grants stain resistance, +2 attractiveness, +2 additional inventory slots

Then mixing liquid stuff with dry stuff and adding other stuff.

Putting it in the slow cooker…why does all the stuff I make in the slow cooker look like a giant poo?

More liquid stuff.

Adding liquid stuff on top of other stuff.

Clean up!

PS I left the dishes in the sink till morning.

So the Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding Cake is supposed to cook for two hours, and it is past my bed time, so Robyn will do an update tomorrow to let you know how it turned out. Unless it is too tasty and I eat it all before she comes home from work.

I decided I would attempt a slow cooker pudding cake. It's supposed to cook for two hours. I call it a super triple chocolaty thing with peanut butter.

Here’s another post my husband wrote

Slow Cooker Chickpea Curry

I was browsing around a website called Savvy Vegetarian and found a nice sounding recipe for slow cooker chickpea curry. Well, the website called it Indian Slow Cooker Recipe, Crockpot Chickpea Curry but I think that’s more about keywords than a cool name. But the actual recipe sounds nice.

Slow Cooker Chickpea Curry

It called for regular ingredients plus chickpeas. And so I wrote down the ingredients I needed and went to the grocery store. And then I saw how much cheaper dried chickpeas are than chickpeas in a can. Dried chickpeas seemed like the obvious choice!

Well I’m here to tell you why you should pay the extra couple bucks. Dried chickpeas, it turns out, take two days to prepare for the actual cooking. Two days!

Don’t get me wrong, the instructions made this clear. I just didn’t read them. Looked at the ingredients only.

When will I learn?

Slow Cooker Chickpea Curry

Anyway, since I was already invested (in the chickpeas) I figured I was committed so I threw the pack into water and let the chickpeas soak for 12 hours. Then I cooked the soaked chickpeas in the slow cooker for eight hours.

It was at this point I figured I was supposed to start the chickpea curry but it was night and I didn’t want chickpea curry for breakfast so I soaked everything in cold water (in the fridge) overnight again. Then in the morning I threw everything into the slow cooker and left for work.

By the way, slow cooker meals are awesome but they take a ton of prep. It’s so much easier to do everything the night before.

When I came home from work the house smelled really good, but everything in the slow cooker was pretty watery. My conclusion is I probably added too much water since I didn’t compensate for the extra soaking overnight. But the slow cooker chickpea curry was still really tasty. Now I just have to figure out how to make curry thicken. Anyone?

I was browsing around a website called Savvy Vegetarian and found a nice sounding recipe for slow cooker chickpea curry. Yes, the recipe sounds very nice.

Other slow cooker posts

Slow Cooker Mediterranean Red Potatoes

Slow Cooker Mediterranean Red Potatoes. This recipe was a giant hit with me, and I didn’t even use olives.

Mediterranean Red Potatoes
Once again, from my borrowed cookbook, Home-Tested Slow Cooker Recipes. I thought this one looked tasty. Also, I haven’t tried any side dishes in my slow cooker yet so I wanted the experience.


I’ve learned there are many different kinds of potatoes and the red ones are kind of all-purpose. They have less starch than other potato varieties and hold their shape while cooking due to their waxy texture. So that’s interesting. I’ve also learned how to tell if a potato is waxy. Because…it’s good to know? Here’s how: feel the skin. If it feels thin and scratches off easily then it’s probably waxy. Don’t you feel informed?

Slow Cooker Mediterranean Red Potatoes

It’s a really simply recipe. The only hitch is you have to have some sort of souffle dish (I used a casserole dish—what’s the dif?) for the potatoes etc. and then you have to cover everything in tinfoil. And then you put the tinfoil present into the slow cooker, pour hot water around the tinfoil and cook for the day.

By the way, the instructions literally told me to make a handle for the souffle dish.

Tear off 3 (18×3-inch) strips of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Cross strips so they resemble wheel spokes. Place souffle dish in center of strips. Pull foil strips up and over dish and place dish in slow cooker.

Yeah. Right.

Didn’t do it and I could still get the dish out of the slow cooker no problem. NO PROBLEM! (The one time not following directions worked out OK…I’ll have to remember this.)

And everything was cooked perfectly and I enjoyed the potatoes thoroughly. The feta is key, I think.

Slow Cooker Mediterranean Red Potatoes. This recipe was a giant hit with me, and I didn't even use olives.

Other slow cooker posts