Fresh Mint and Cocoa Cream Pops

Fresh Mint and Cocoa Cream Pops sweetdisasters.com

Fudgesicles! I really don't know why these melted so quickly. I really, really don't. It looked cold outside. I like the melty pictures. I just wasn't expecting it. To be fair, I have found homemade cream pops or creamsicles do melt quicker than normal homemade popsicles and definitely faster than the store bought kind. I've made a few like this one and this one. I keep telling myself I'll start making them with coconut milk, but I don't. Always more and more heavy cream. These wouldn't make it home from the grocery store even on a cloudy day. I think that's one of the many charms of homemade food, daintiness.  Fresh ingredients and slow, dainty food. That's how this works. 

Fresh Mint and Cocoa Cream Pops sweetdisasters.com

For this recipe I made a simple syrup, although I have mint extract. One thing I was really, really considering was blending up the fresh mint and putting it straight in to the pops. I love speckled popsicles, but I opted for the simple syrup. This time. As for that white strip on the popsicles, that's a product of the blending. So you blend up your cream until it's slightly whipped then put it into your molds, and the more aerated part will rise to the top. I left a little room and then added in the extra chocolate mix when I added the popsicle sticks. 

Fresh Mint and Cocoa Cream Pops sweetdisasters.com

Here's what you'll need:

  • 1/2 cup fresh mint - packed
  • 1 cup of sugar - I used unrefined sugar 
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 cups of heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder
Fresh Mint and Cocoa Cream Pops sweetdisasters.com

Directions:

  • In a stovetop pan mix mint, sugar, and water. Cook on medium-high until sugar is dissolved and the mint becomes fragrant.
  • Strain the mix through a sieve to get mint leave out completely.
  • In a blender mix up mint syrup, cocoa, and heavy cream.
  • Add the mix to a popsicle mold filling about 85% full.
  • Set in the freezer for an hour and add popsicles sticks while the mix is about half frozen. Top off the molds with any left over mix. 

Orange Pellegrino

Orange Pellegrino sweetdisasters.com

It's that time of year here in California, orange time. I feel kinda bratty talking about it with the huge threat of world's scariest sounding blizzard is rapidly approaching the east coast. I hope you're all safely tucked in your beds and keeping warm. Maybe when the snow thaws you can get some oranges? I don't know. Either way, I hope you're safe and staying healthy and this all turns out to be just another average snow storm. 

Orange Pellegrino sweetdisasters.com

Natural disasters aside, here in California the oranges are practically falling off the trees. Still, too soon? I thought so, but I have to write my blog post. It'll be 76° here tomorrow. I officially have California guilt. It's a new thing I invented. I feel bad about the temperate climate and perpetually complaining about "winter." You won't hear a peep out of me about the cold again. Until it drops below 60° again and then I just can't help myself. I wouldn't survive a New York blizzard. I'd be wandering the streets with a frost bitten nose searching for produce. #darwinaward I really am scared for you guys though. Be safe. 

Orange Pellegrino sweetdisasters.com

If you happen to be in a climate where it's safe to go outside and want to make Orange Pellegrino,

here's what you'll need:

  • 1  - 32 oz bottle of Pellegrino 
  • 3-4 oranges - skins washed
Orange Pellegrino sweetdisasters.com

I used fresh orange juice, but I'm sure you'd be fine using a bottle of orange juice too.

Directions:

  • Juice 1 1/2 - 2 oranges to get 1 cup of orange juice 
  • Mix it in a pitcher with San Pellegrino or whichever mineral water you prefer.
  • Slice the rest of your oranges and add it in to the mix.
  • Serve over ice.
Orange Pellegrino sweetdisasters.com

Still thinking of you, New York. Be safe. If you can't see the sun, maybe you can listen to it here. 

Orange Pellegrino sweetdisasters.com

Big and Fluffy White Chocolate Chip and Macadamia Nut Cookies

Hey there, I've started a silent quest to make every different type of cookie there is. Not like every variety, chocolate chip, walnut, etc. but more like all the textures you know there's thick and chewy, thin and crunchy, dense and soft, you get the drift. These cookies are big and fluffy. They're the cake of cookies. A big bonus with these cookies, they get better as the days go on. So making these ahead of time is totally an option, up to 3 days ahead. Draw back, they have a long cooling time. They stay kinda puffy for at least an hour out of the oven and you have to let them deflate a bit. You're definitely going to want a cooling rack for these. 

You don't have to make your cookies as huge as I made mine, but if you look I put a pretty average amount of dough on the parchment paper. They just came out huge. If giant (or not so giant) fluffy cookies are what you're after, you, my dear have come to the right place. 

Recipe lightly adapted from none other than The New York Times. Pretty fancy, eh? And when I say lightly adapted I mean I changed the flavor of the chocolate chips. :) Just so we're clear. 

Here's what you'll need:

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons of salt - I used sea salt
  • 8 ounces or 2 sticks of butter - room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups of packed brown sugar - The recipe calls for light, I used dark. Use your judgement, I guess. 
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 eggs - room temperature if possible
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 - 11.5 pack of white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup of macadamia nut pieces

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350°
  • In a large bowl mix in dry ingredients, flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder. 
  • In a separate bowl cream white and brown sugar with the butter. Make sure your brown sugar is completely dissolved. If you have a stand up mixed you can mix them in there. I did it by hand. 
  • Add in eggs one at a time, by now it should look more like peanut butter than cookie dough. It'll be very fluffy and not grainy or dense at all. 
  • Add in vanilla.
  • Mix in dry ingredients 1/3 at a time. Mix in and add the next third of you flour mixture, until it's all blended in.
  • Fold in your macadamia nuts and chocolate chips. 
  • This cookie dough is difficult to roll in your hands so it's better to use two spoons. Scoop out a large spoonful of cookie batter and scrape it off with the edge of another spoon. Make sure to put your cookies at least 3" apart. Place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. You can go ahead and line a backup cookie sheet now too.
  • Bake for 14-17 minutes
  • Remove from the oven when golden brown at the edges and use a spatula to transfer to a cooling rack. 

Mine yielded a baker's dozen, but of course you can make them smaller. 

DIY Copper Drip Paint Ottoman Makeover + Fool-Proof Vinyl Paint

DIY Copper Drip Paint Ottoman Makeover + Fool-Proof Vinyl Paint sweetdisasters.com

I read so many different ways to paint vinyl, my personal favorites that I tried were shoe polish and hair dye, both wipe right off by the way, making little to no difference on the color. I had packed this ottoman away a while ago wondering what I would do with it. I mean you see how yellow it is, right? Weeeelll, here's the thing they make vinyl paint and the only place I could find it was in an auto part store. See they make this paint to paint the vinyl seats inside cars. I got mine at AutoZone for about $4 a can. I sincerely hope you read this post before you run around with shoe polish and Rit dye all over you with little to no result for your poor vinyl finish. 

DIY Copper Drip Paint Ottoman Makeover + Fool-Proof Vinyl Paint sweetdisasters.com

You can see where I tested the paint above. I think the big deal about painting vinyl is that paint tends to kinda slide right off, which was bummer after bummer for me because I kept sitting there thinking, "Maybe, when it dries." Wrong, wrong so many times. I think it just kept getting yellower just to spite me. 

DIY Copper Drip Paint Ottoman Makeover + Fool-Proof Vinyl Paint sweetdisasters.com

I was so lucky these legs just screw right off. If you find a piece of furniture with removable legs, do yourself a favor and buy it, because it makes life so much simpler. (ehhm, doorways? enough said) Oh, I almost forgot another benefit to the vinyl paint is you can use normal paint over it. Isn't that great? So, if you're bummed about the limited colors at AutoZone, just pick one close to what you were thinking and use it as a primer and then paint over it. The really cool thing about this paint is that it's pretty seamless. I mean look around the buttons, not drips or smudges, or crusty paint buildup. It looks like its been this color all along. 

DIY Copper Drip Paint Ottoman Makeover + Fool-Proof Vinyl Paint sweetdisasters.com

Here's what you'll need:

  • Vinyl spray paint - I used this brand - The color is medium beige
  • Copper spray paint - I used this one
  • Ottoman or whichever piece of vinyl furniture you're refinishing 
DIY Copper Drip Paint Ottoman Makeover + Fool-Proof Vinyl Paint sweetdisasters.com

Directions:

  • Once you get the right kind of paint the rest is pretty straight forward. Just paint your base color with the vinyl paint. Be mindful of buttons and piping. If your buttons move make sure to paint under them.
  • I did two coats with the vinyl paint and let it dry.
  • Once it's dry and you're ready to do the dipping effect, you're going to want to stand your ottoman up so the paint will drip down. 
  • From here what you'll do is hold the spray can very close, maybe 2-3" away from what you're painting and hold it in place for a few seconds before moving on to the next section.
  • This part is fun because you don't really know how far the paint will travel. You kind of have to just let it do its thing. 
  • As you can see I did the top of this ottoman and one side. So, repeat on the side if you want the same effect.
  • I also spray painted the legs of the ottoman with the vinyl paint in the same color.   

I think Charlie found her new favorite spot. She seriously cracks me up. You guys may have noticed Charlie stars in more blog posts than Russell. That's because Russell seems to magically know when I'm taking pictures of him. Oh well. 

DIY Copper Drip Paint Ottoman Makeover + Fool-Proof Vinyl Paint sweetdisasters.com

Toasted Pecan and Cranberry Wild Rice Pilaf

I've been meaning to post this since Christmas! It's been sitting in my fridge that long. No, of course not. It's just been sitting in my queue, calling my name. I'm sure you know how that goes. Just leave one little thing undone. Maybe it's a security thing. Always knowing it's there. Well, it's not there any more. It's out in the world now to be free. So silly. 

Anyway wild rice, if you haven't had before, is a nice change from brown or white rice. I wouldn't really call it an alternative because it is so much different. So much chewier, and heartier. There's really nothing light and fluffy about wild rice, it's definitely filling and savory. That said, this pilaf with wild rice, pecans, and cranberries can stand alone as a meal all it's own, or serve it as a side with your holiday bird. I'm sure you're super organized and already planning your next holiday in the middle of January. ;)

I modified this recipe pretty heavily from one I found on Epicurious, it's been there since '93. I'm pretty impressed. What was I doing in '93? Probably listening to New Kids on the Block. 

Here's what you'll need:

  • 2 1/2 cups of wild rice - rinced
  • 5 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 cup pecans - coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup of dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon of thyme
  • 1/2 a large white onion - minced
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
rice pilaf 3.jpg

Directions:

  • Pre heat oven to 325°
  • Place chicken broth in a large stovetop pan and bring to a soft boil. Add in wild rice and put a tight fitting lid on to cover and reduce the heat to medium. It cooks in about 40 minutes, stir 2-3 times while cooking. 
  • Melt butter with thyme. 
  • Spread pecans on a baking sheet and coat with butter thyme mixture, bake for 5-7 minutes. Toss them in a bowl while still warm with the dried cranberries. 
  • In a small skillet sauté onions in olive oil. Sauté your onions until they are translucent.
  • Once the rice is done cooking mix all ingredients together and serve warm.