Monthly Archives: April 2012

Where’s my Pinterest button? DELETED

After waiting and waiting on the Pinterest Waiting List, I’ve decided that I will no longer offer the Pin It button. I’ve looked on Pinterest and have decided that I don’t have an interest in it for myself. I originally wanted to be a member in order to thank those who pinned something I’ve said or done, and appreciated that someone liked something enough to share it on another social media site. No more. Heck, even Julia Roberts as the Evil Queen in Mirror, Mirror has her own pin page!

Note that Pinterest marketing plan is now more geared toward creating as much frenzy as possible with a waiting list by having you go on to any website and to your friends to BEG for an invite. Why? Look at the websites when you search “pinterest waiting list”, the article tells you it’s worth it to wait, then a sob story that it is an explosion for that sites server, etc., um sure, and then advices you to have your friends invite you instead. I’d have believed that within the first couple of months…it’s been 2 years since it launched, but 6+ months excusing itself “we can’t let you in because you’ll overload our serve” all of them say the same thing in comments…”I want to pin! Please invite me at XXXX@blahblah.com”

It is currently #3 in social networking place (Facebook is #1,Twitter #2). Get real. It’s a ploy to say we don’t have things set up to handle the load. I’m not a bandwagon person so unfortunately Pinterest no longer has a seat. It is my belief that you won’t be allowed to be a member UNLESS you are invited by another Pinterest user.

What to do with Leftover Peeps

An evil ending to a sweet Easter. Got them off the clearance carts at the grocery store. My #1 use for Peeps after Easter is s’mores (not an original idea, obviously). My children are in awe of me while older children are either terrified or think I’m the coolest adult present.

So, first I broke the head off of a $0.25 chocolate bunny…

I broke the package open of the purple bunny peeps and stuck the two onto a fork over open flame…

Once I’d melted their faces and set them on fire a bit, I blew them off and ended it by putting them into the iron maiden (graham crackers and my teeth).

As Baby says, “Ta Da!”

Cable Car Chocolate Brownies

Photo1298 (2)The picture you see contains this recipe as originally printed on the sides of the metal canister. The final product I made is adapted using the recipe from 25 years ago by San Francisco based Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory, aptly titled “Cable Car Chocolate Brownies”. Although they post the equally delicious Empress Chocolate Cake, I couldn’t locate this brownie version among the others.

These turned out very different than what I remember and I attribute that directly to having made some adaptions that I hope replicate for you! I normally use Ghirardelli cocoa powder for brownies even buying their 4 pk. Triple Chocolate brownie mix from Sam’s Club. Unfortunately, Big Boy made a mess and I needed a cheap replacement at the time and what was on sale was Hersey’s. Tonight I dug out this recipe for brownies because it’s simple for me and quick. This recipe at times seems to be hard to find, but you can also find it slightly different here.

Ghirardelli’s Cable Car Chocolate Brownies

2 eggs

¾ C sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

½ C melted butter or margarine

¾ C Ghirardelli Ground Chocolate* (SHOULD BE NOTED AS “SWEET”!)

2/3 C unsifted flour

¼ tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. salt

½ C chopped walnuts*

Using a spoon, stir eggs with sugar and vanilla; add butter. Sift Ground Chocolate with flour, baking powder, salt. Stir into egg mixture; add nuts. Spread into greased 8 or 9-inch square pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-30 minutes. For extra chewy brownies, use 8-inch pan and less baking time. For cake-like brownies, use 0-inch pan and longer baking. Cut into squares.

 Now the original recipe is great, but this is what I did:

  • I had no idea when I used Hersey’s UNSWEETENED Cocoa that it would give the brownies such a deep, sultry coffee like taste. Next time I’ll try it with both types of cocoa to try for a better balance of chocolate and coffee richness.
  • I also omitted the walnuts (I know, shocking since I have several pounds) but used the last of my chocolate chips that probably amounted to less than 1/4 cup.
  • Add in what you like – both the original version of the recipe and my adaptions result in a very thick mix, you could add up to 3 tablespoons of milk or equivalent “rich” substitute to thin it out slightly.
  • I have a convection setting on my Frigidaire oven (considered a commercial setting for residential use) so I used it. When I’m not paying attention using convection at the typical temperature called for in a recipe is a burnt disaster. Remember when using the convection setting, use the temperature at 325 degrees F. I let the brownies bake for 25 minutes, letting them cook themselves at rest outside the oven.

Photo1297 (2)

Who Knew? Blogger oops

Apparently in 2008 I was a busy girl. After having my first child I tried to set up my own blog but without any success, not even a first post, I forgot about it. Such a dork! So I posted there to let people know I’m on WordPress. But if you do see someone who looks vaguely familiar it probably is me logged in on Blogger.

http://wyomingstorygirl.blogspot.com/

Just in case you didn’t know, I’ve been Wyomingstorygirl since about 2001. Years before I even moved to Wyoming. About 20 years ago Story, Wyoming, was a beautiful area to live and buy cheap at like 15,000.00. 2005 to present you can add a couple more zeros as in 1,500,000.00 for a piece of property. Boy, I missed my real estate calling at 15 years of age.

Walnut Streusel Topped Blueberry Muffins for Breakfast

Walnut Streusel Topped Blueberry Muffins for Breakfast

Click for the recipe

Walnut Streusel Topped Blueberry Muffins

Walnut Streusel Topped Blueberry Muffins – adapted from Betty Crocker Cookbook (1950 edition)

This is from the “Sweeter Popular Muffins” recipe – the original recipe calls for 1/2 cup of milk but I found that the muffins are too dense for my taste so I always double the milk.

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 cup soft shortening

1 egg

1 cup milk

1 cup blueberries (frozen, canned or fresh) – put an extra 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 tablespoon of flour aside.

Nut-Crunch Topping

Mix together 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup broken nuts (walnuts or pecans are excellent!), and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon. Make sure to break up any lumps.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix together with blending fork or pastry blender. Then stir JUST UNTIL ingredients are blended. Roll your blueberries into the sugar and flour you set aside. Carefully fold your blueberries into the rest of your mixture. Then should help keep your blueberries from bleeding purple juice into your muffins. Fill greased muffin cups 2/3 full. Sprinkle the Nut-Crunch Topping over the muffins.

Bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Makes about 12 muffins.

Photo1288 (3)

I use frozen blueberries I get at one of the club stores and have a lot of broken blueberries, and I never know when I’m going to get a tart one I like to add some sugar onto them.

Fisherman Trap

I’m getting a first hand look at the fisherman’s obsession. This week I’ve had the pleasure of going to Trapper’s Route, Black Beach, and Alcova Lake, in the Casper, Wyoming, region. I found this website for Casper angling. I’ve also been reading a book by Chad Hanson called Swimming with Trout which has helped my husband share fishing with me.

Friday night I asked my husband if he wanted to go fishing on Trapper’s Route Saturday. His eyes widened, “sure. Yes.” I told him I wanted to get some pictures and things because people might not know about this area and would want to try it out with their families too.

IMAG0580

Figures that enough people are coming out to the area to warrant fences. It was the first sign new developments were afoot. In early Spring the Game and Fish Department renovated Trapper’s Route with signage, restroom facilities, tables and fire rings. This is great for the fisherman with families!

I’m not sure if they held a contest for names or what, but they came up with Whitetail, Golden Currant, Chalk Bluffs, and Buffaloberry for the fishing/camping areas.

IMAG0584

Although Husband has fished in several of these spots as a fly fisherman we went beyond Buffaloberry and took a path made by tire tracks. From where we were on the road you can’t see the North Platte River for at least another 10 minutes.

IMAG0585

From the limited shoreline we set up chairs and wormed up. Is that the right phrase?

IMAG0590

Husband went into the river in waders for some fly fishing. Most of the time the kids and I were catching seaweed but we munch some lunch.

Catch one.

15 minutes later, catch two.

Another 10 or so minutes, catch three. Husband said it was the best fishing trip he’s ever had – fastest he’s ever caught in such a short time. Of course, I reminded him that Baby & I were his good luck charms.

IMAG0592IMAG0595

At one point I wanted to fish further down in this spot but it wasn’t safe to have both kids there as it drops into a deep hole. Lots of fish.

So many fish I saw 2 dance right out of the water, laughing at me….

IMAG0596

Husband laughed at me, “yep. They do that.” But he’d already confirmed to himself that there was a drop off hole full of fish. He watched the kids while I tried my hand unsuccessfully. Husband took pity and helped us cast and wait for our fish to come on line. Big Boy reeled in his first trout and I got to reel in and release a itty bitty one.

Husband says his legacy is to catch and release

so that he doesn’t catch all of the fish leaving none for others.

Knock Off Almost Waldorf Salad

I wanted to make it but ran out of time! As long as you have the ingredients the “amount” you put in is up to you. It’s a great item to take on a picnic or BBQ. For the small amount that fed my two kids and us I used 1/4 cup mayo and probably what amounted to 1/4 cup of yogurt.

Photo1263

Mayonnaise

Flavored Yogurt (I used what was left in an open container of strawberry yogurt)

Grapes

whole Walnuts (or Pecans, even)

Apples, sliced & cut into bite sized pieces

Mandarin oranges

Celery, sliced

Cranberries

I didn’t think of it too late but I would have added some of my frozen blueberries.

What would you like to add?

Copycat Cookie Recipe: Walnut-Chocolate Chip

IMAG0577Gotta love the Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chip cookie recipe (at least my Husband does) but I have a wondering eye. I like my cookies to be more fluffy as a “cookie” and chewy. I don’t like flat cookies (chips that are higher than the cookie part), greasy or salty.

The other night I was begging, whining and asking for some chocolate so my husband dropped the bag of chocolate chips in my lap. I rolled my eyes and went looking for my old standby from “Mrs. Fields” first cookie book. I checked the book out from the library so many years ago and never looked back. Can’t remember what page it’s on but it’s her (the one she gave for public release!) Blue-Ribbon Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. I actually like it better than the one from the store, which I found to be too salty

The key secret to her cookies are baking at the specified low temperature. It is the low temp and longer baking time that gets the cookie to the right consistency. You can chill the dough too which allows time to enhance the flavors.

Here is the recipe word for word, I encourage you to go to her website to snap some other suggestions for cookies too:

“Blue-Ribbon Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a medium bowl combine flour, soda, and salt. Mix well with wire whisk. Set aside. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, blend sugars at medium speed. Add butter and mix to form a grainy paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add eggs and vanilla extract, and mix at medium speed until just blended. Do not overmix. Add the flour mixture and chocolate chips, and blend at low speed until just mixed. (Again, do not overmix.)

IMAG0573

Drop the dough by rounded tablespoons onto an un-greased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake low and slow for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer cookies immediately to a baking rack or cool surface.”

I filled an entire cookie sheet of the recipe and added 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts to the remainder of the dough. I was craving some walnuts too, I guess. Mmm…don’t you love seeing morsels?

IMAG0575 (2)

What do you think? My Mom’s favorite mix-in are potato chips, not walnuts or chocolate (or even white chocolate) chips! I’ll post that recipe soon because it’s too good not to share.

 Link your fav chocolate chip cookie recipe in a comment.

%d bloggers like this: