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Monday, January 28, 2013

chocolate covered pomegranate seeds

Last year, sometime around February or March -ya know, right after pomegranate season- I decided it was absolutely necessary that I make chocolate covered pomegranate seeds. Of course by that point I couldn't find one in a store to save my life. I cried on the inside and filed the idea away for the next season.

I decided I was going to be very obsessive methodical about the process, and that each seed needed to be individually coated with chocolate. This would ensure a proper fruit to chocolate ratio, which is essential. To achieve this, I melted down my favorite chocolate - Hershey's obviously - tossed in a handful of seeds, and went for it.


I found that the best way to go about it was to pull over a seed with a fork, coating it in chocolate, and then drag it up the side of the bowl. The excess chocolate drips through the fork so you can just drop it onto a wax paper lined baking sheet.

Now. As you can imagine, this was an immensely tedious process. Worth it? Absolutely. The cold chocolate shell with a pop of pom juice inside.. I die. However I got about halfway through the seeds when my attention span crapped out. But not before I got tons of sweet loot..

After that, I pulled out the chocolate bar molds I bought over the summer with every intention of making my own chocolate bar concoctions. I figured pomegranate chocolate bars would be a good way to start.

I still have one and a half of those sitting in the freezer right now. The individual ones were gone in a day. I kid you not. And there was an entire baking sheet full. You have been warned.

Not that this really needs a recipe, but here it is all in one place.

Chocolate Covered Pomegranate Seeds
1 pomegranate, deseeded
12 ounces (give or take) of your favorite chocolate

Deseed the pomegranate. See this post for a pretty easy method. Pour the chocolate chips or chunks into a bowl and microwave, checking and stirring every 10 seconds or so. Pour in a handful of pomegranate seeds. Using a fork, drag them up the side of the bowl, one at a time. Place each covered seed on a wax paper lined baking sheet. Refrigerate until chocolate is set.

For the bars, coat the bottom of a mold in melted chocolate. Sprinkle a layer of pomegranate seeds and then finish filling the mold with more chocolate. Refrigerate until chocolate is set. Wrap it up all cutesy in torn parchment and baker's twine and give it to someone! Maybe for Valentine's Day. I'd be pretty stoked to get that. Just sayin.

Now seriously, go brave the cold and get yourself some pomegranates before they're all gone!

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

chicken lettuce wraps

Over the holidays, Charlie and I had lunch with his parents at P.F. Chang's. This was the first time I had ever been there and I absolutely fell in love with the chicken lettuce wraps. This must be a shared sentiment for a lot of folks on the internet, because finding a good copycat recipe was not hard.

It makes for a nice light lunch, which is how we had it yesterday. Besides a bit of brown sugar, it's got all good stuff in it too. I might even try to cut the sugar a little next time (and there will be a next time) because I'm more of a savory/salty kinda gal anyway. I chose to steam the chicken to make it even lighter, instead of cooking it in oil like the recipe suggested.

I know it's a tired old resolution, but we're trying to eat better and be more active in 2013 and beyond. My clothes have definitely gotten a bit snug over this past year and my energy is in the crapper. I'm anemic and awful at taking my iron supplements but I think it's more than just that. I think the food I've been putting in my body plus my lack of exercise have rendered me sluggish. But I've been getting better at taking my iron and my lady vitamins with calcium and whatnot, and I'm dusting off the ol' juicer. It's time to make some better choices. I'm also going to get back into my yoga dvds in between the Zumba class I hope to start taking!

Long story short, you should make these because they are freakin amazing. And with just Charlie and I eating these for lunch, there was a ton leftover for later lunches. Can't get much better in my book. ;)

Hope you're 2013 is starting off well!

P.F. Chang's Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Adapted from Lali on 

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts 
8oz diced water chestnuts 
2/3 cup diced mushrooms
3 tbsp chopped onions
1 tsp minced garlic
4-5 leaves iceberg lettuce
pack of rice noodles (or halve it if you don't want a lot leftover) 

Stir Fry Sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp rice wine vinegar

Special Sauce
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp sesame oil
*1 tbsp hot mustard
*2 tsp water
*1-2 tsp garlic and red chile paste

*Mix these items together and add to the sauce for some heat, if you're into that sort of thing. I left them out. :)    

Mix up the special sauce first. Dissolve the brown sugar in the water (it helps if you heat the water) and then add soy sauce, ketchup, rice wine vinegar, lemon juice, and sesame oil. If you want some heat, mix the hot mustard, the water, garlic, and red chile paste together. Set both aside in the fridge and add desired amount of heat to the sauce when ready to serve.

Mix the soy sauce, brown sugar, and rice wine vinegar to make the stir fry sauce. Cook your chicken however you like. I steamed it to keep it a little lighter. Set the chicken aside to cool. Dice up the water chestnuts, mushrooms, and onions. Shred the chicken into small pieces when it's cool enough to handle. Add vegetables, chicken, and garlic to a pan with a little oil or non stick spray. Pour in the stir fry sauce and saute until everything is heated and the mushrooms and onions are soft. Add rice noodles to a pot of boiling water and cook for three minutes. Strain and rinse in cold water to reduce clumping. I also tossed them with a tiny bit of olive oil to keep them from sticking together. 

Serve it up! Top a lettuce leaf with rice noodles, stir fry, special sauce, and fold it up. Nom.


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Thursday, November 1, 2012

eleventh month

 Last signs of fall clinging on after the storm.

Kind of blowing my mind right now that we're already in the second to last month of 2012. I feel like I'm shocked with each month change this year.. I just don't remember time ever passing this quickly. Oh yea, why am I so chatty this week when I was just sweating the notion of posting only twice a week? This is day four of having off for Sandy. Not that I'm complaining about the impromptu break, I just hope everything is okay with our school and the kiddos up there. I live about a half hour away from the school and that area was apparently hit a lot harder than mine. You wouldn't even know anything happened around here, but one neighborhood right across from my school had all of it's massive trees uprooted. Weird, the way storms hit and miss like that.

Anyhoo.. I want to bring back an old tradition I had before I fell off the planet. The one where I make a tiny list of goals and things I'm looking forward to for the new month, to sort of remind me and also make me hold myself accountable for my goals.

This month I'm looking forward to..
+  Ringing in my 25th birthday (this weekend!) with friends, family, and fun (Oh God, I'm feeling old.)
+  Taking on the final leg of my student teaching so I can enjoy December as I ease out of the lead teacher position
+  Cold weather finally arriving. Layers, here I come!

Mini goals of the month..
+  I know I sound like a broken record with this one, but I need to get back into yoga. The only reason I haven't been doing it lately is because of a ridiculous finger injury that has been taking it's sweet time getting gone. It involved a car door, a plastic surgeon, and lots of pain meds. Stupid. There's just way too many "on your hands" poses that I didn't want to drag out the healing any longer than it was taking on its own.
+  Cook more. I repinned a list of 20 crockpot recipes for some hearty cold weather meals and I'm dying to try them.
+  Ace my next three observations.
+  Try to blog at least twice a week like I said two posts ago.

I think that's all the ambition my schedule can handle right now. What are your goals and excitements for the month?

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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

pumpkin spice donuts

Ever since I was little, whenever a big storm was supposed to hit, be it rain or snow, my mom would run to the market to make sure we had enough sugar, flour, and butter while everyone else was stocking up on bread and milk. Baking was our thing during times when the weather was too bad to go outside. To keep the tradition alive, I decided to break in my new donut pans as we waited out Sandy. 

Getting back into blogging has been a little challenging. I had to track down all of my photo gear - none of which I immediately knew the location of. After I located my camera, my tripod, the little attachment piece for the tripod (which I didn't realize was still on the bottom of the camera for about ten minutes), and the battery charger, I got everything all set up to start baking and shooting. And then I turned the camera on only to have it inform me that there was no card. Still have no idea where that ended up. It's nowhere near my card reader so I'm out. So I had to shoot with my little point and shoot. Which is totally good 'nuff, I just got used to all the lovely raw editing options that make night kitchen photos look less crappola. *shrug* I tried. 

This recipe came together really quickly. Even the glazing and sprinkling took no time. I used both regular sized and mini donut pans. I got ten regular sized donuts and twelve minis out of it. A certain boyfriend kept sampling the minis before I even melted the chocolate so I can safely say that these are delicious with or without topping. ;)

I think I'm going to make these for the lunchroom at work one day soon. I think they'd be really well received. :)

Now that I have off a third day for all of this Sandy havoc, maybe I'll try another fall flavor variety later today. Apple cider, perhaps. 

Since these are something you absolutely need in your life, like, now.. check out the recipe after the jump!

Happy happy Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2012

well hello there

Four months it's been? Jeez I almost feel like it's been longer than that. Basically finishing up my master's is consuming my life a little, but I guess that's to be expected. I'll be done in two short months so if I have to sacrifice some personal things I guess that's okay! I do miss this though. I miss reading blogs, writing blogs, twittering.. the computer just tends to be the last place I want to go at the end of the day after a full day of teaching, some lesson planning, and a reflection paper or two for my university supervisor. I've been writing so many papers lately. Holy crap. Where I have been however, is Pinterest. There are SO many amazing teaching resources on there and I've used tons of them already. It's been pretty awesome trying such amazing ideas out and watching them work beautifully.

Anyway, I write to you today because I have today and tomorrow off for good ol' Sandy. I'm pretty caught up on work and it's been bothering me as of late that this blog has gone to the wayside. Fall is my favorite time of year and all I can do is think about the Halloween crafts and baking I did last year, and wish that I had the time to do more this year. Student teaching has been amazing so far and I think I'm falling into a really good rhythm with it. I want to make a resolution to myself to try to start posting again.. maybe two times a week. Even though that's nothing, it sounds scary huge to me. I want to get back into the swing of bloglife though. I miss it! Also, to my sponsors over there, sorry I crapped out big time on that whole thing. I will most likely be getting rid of that section soon because I clearly don't have the time needed to get it all together. It's gotten stressful and I never wanted blogging to feel that way. So it goes. For now.

So here's to hoping I can wiggle my way back in here and find some time for Tenpenny Splendid once again. Till then..

And stay safe if you're on the east coast! Get some hot chocolate, crappy food, a good movie, and hunker down for a few days. :)
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