Saturday, November 30, 2013

Perfect Simple Chocolate Covered Pretzels

 The super secret tip to doing this easily is the foil boat. C'mon, I'll show you.

I like Rold Gold pretzel rods as I find they tend to have the least amount of broken rods in each bag. Use whole rods, not broken ones as they look nicer.

Buy any color Wilton chocolate discs you like. They even come in flavors now like peppermint, if you dig that. Follow the directions on the melts! Never ever put them in the fridge or you may as well throw them in the garbage as they will not melt right afterward.

Make space in your fridge for 2 cookie sheets laid flat (on top of other things is fine as long as you can lay them flat).

Prep your kitchen with 2 baking sheets covered in foil, an open bag of pretzel rods, a paper towel for your hands and for drips, a butter knife, and some sprinkles (if you choose) poured into a little container. Baking is not like cooking; you have to be right on top of things. You can't answer the phone or wander off.

Make a little foil boat not quite as long as the chocolate-dipped area of your pretzel. This is the key to success!

Set your microwave to half-power and put it on for like 3 minutes. Stay right there. Pop in a ramekin of melts, about half the bag. After 30 seconds, stir well. Redo this every 20 seconds until they melt nicely.

Pour/scrape melted chocolate into your foil boat, concentrating on the opening, not the back. You're going to lay the pretzel in, but also drag it through, so better on this end than the other.

Dip and twist, dragging toward the open end of your boat. Coat well, no pretzel showing through. Set immediately on the foil covered cookie sheets you laid out. I put the naked-pretzel pieces out and alternate left-right. (This is something I learned AFTER taking the photos above, but is shown in the last photo.) This helps when you're moving them to a storage container and maximizes space.

Coat with sprinkles, if you like. If you're fancy, use an icing bag to heat more in an opposing color and zig-zag that color across - don't worry, this isn't a neat craft, messy is fine.

Microwave the rest of your melts, popping one finished sheet into the fridge. Dip the remaining pretzels. Put those in the fridge and you should be out of chocolate. You should have a few pretzels left over.

After 15-20 minutes, take the trays out of the fridge and move your pretzels to a large Tupperware. I lay them flat and they seem to not break or flake apart that way. 

Pro tip: for Halloween, use brown chocolate and chocolate sprinkles (jimmies) and add a slivered almond to the end for Werewolf Fingers.
These are the ones I brought to a Holiday Party in 2012 - Christmas and Hanukkah colors.

 These are the ones we left at home that were made from the leftover colors swirled together.

These are the "icicles" I invented in 2013.

Did you try it? Show me! :)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Snowman Cookies

Pinterest fail. 

I tried to make these for a party last year and documented my progress. I thought I had it nailed but...not so much.

This is what they were supposed to look like:

Here is the original pin and the directions. If you are brave, please share your photo! See also this website for Epic Pinterest Fails like mine.'s how they turned out:

 So far, so good!

Ruined only 1 set of mashmallows by overnuking them. That smells terrible, BTW.

 Still looking good. It's the icing phase that kills it...

 Oh, gods, what holy hell is this?
I'll just make them all look terrified! They're melting after all.
 Kill me, just kill me.
 WTF is this supposed to be? Are those giant mustaches or arms?
I give up.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Moved In

We're all moved in but far from unpacked. The garage is full to the 4' mark with boxes of stuff I thought we "needed" but don't. It's been interesting to see what we thought we really liked and haven't even missed. We're going to be continuing to purge items for awhile, I think. It's also curbing our spending by realizing "eh, I don't need that and I don't even really want it." Good stuff, living small, simple.

So here's the house tour, even though it's a little bit messy and there's still tons to do:

From the front door: living room. Love this sofa table made of zebra wood and ...maple? I forget. The white accent wall, we're still undecided as to what we want to do with it.
Living room. Still need to put up a cord-cover under the tv, but we want to replace the entertainment stand, just not sure with what yet. Also, need some kind of shelving for DVDs and video games, but we disagree on what to get just yet. And yes, we need to hang all our art.
Living room. This couch is so cozy!
Future reading nook needs chairs. We found chairs we like but they're a bit out of budget right now. Still trying to find a way to have 2 catboxes without it looking like we have 2 catboxes. There's not a lot of extra space.
Future reading nook and kitchen. This is the cat dining area and there's all 3 cats. El has adjusted well to being an indoor cat. He has a lot less bad habits than we thought he would. He likes to go on the tables, but doesn't scratch the furniture and barely meows, which is different from when he was outside when he meowed so loudly! They don't play together yet, but have experimented a few times at it. Pullo gets afraid when giant El jumps on him and he gets flattened.
Kitchen. Yes, the dishes need to be done. Dave still has to put up shelves on the right side of the pass-through. We also have to cut the left side of the door frame because our fridge is apparently slightly over-sized and the fridge door rubs against the door frame. Ah, home ownership...
Dining room. We had a full table this weekend and I thought it was quite comfortable space-wise.
Dining room with pantry and bar. We're still in the "I don't know if this works here or if we should move it...somewhere" phase of trying things out in the house.
Office, my side.
Office, Dave's side. We haven't gotten around to straightening up the bookshelves yet. And there's still more books in the garage.
Office, left wall. We bought this TV with points we'd accrued from putting home remodeling stuff on the Best Buy card. We got this awesome thing called ChromeCast that plugs into the TV's USB port and we can take anything on our computers and show it on the TV. We use it all the time! "Check out this YouTube video. On screen." (Yes, like Star Trek) Dave had taken over the closet with his miniatures, his pew-stuff.
Bathroom. It doesn't lend itself to a landscape picture or you'd have lots of hallway in the shot. This is still my favorite room because everything is new in it and it's got my stamp all over it. The only drawback is there is tons of light in the late morning, which is bad if you are taking a shower because it's blindingly bright in there and there's nothing blocking the window. The little stones on the shower floor feel so nice after being on your feet all day!
Bedroom. Yes, it's a mess. We got a new blanket and it's super soft so the cats jump up and are instantly paralyzed and have to paw it and not walk to your call. We have to replace the blinds in here, and 1 set in the office, but it's expensive and a project and we simply haven't gotten to it yet.
Bedroom, left side. I hate that there's not room for symmetry in here like we had at the townhouse, but there's just walking room past the foot of the bed so the dresser had to go to one side and the closet it at the other side. Yes, those are boxes I still have to unpack. Dave's been good about unpacking all his stuff and I have been...less good. But I've done more unpacking of the house's stuff, so it all washes out.