pinterest made me do it

Pinterest Made Me Do It-The Tomato Slice Hack

heirloom sprouts

I haven’t posted one of these in a good long while.

The idea is that instead of trying to sprout and grow individual seeds you cut up a tomato and plant that.

I…never actually read the original post. So some of what I did I seem to have done wrong, and some of what I did, I did on the advice of wiser Facebook friends.

There doesn’t seem to be much more to the pin/viral post other than chop up a tomato, plant it in a pot, wait for a plant. Here’s what I was told by word of mouth: the tomato should be an heirloom tomato in order for it to have a chance to actually grow tomatoes, and that the tomato should be sliced thin.

So two things here:

  1. I actually have access to heirloom tomatoes. While I wanted a black one I ended up with a plum/Roma type. It was the smallest, I didn’t want to spend a ton of money on this, and I’ve heard since then that blacks are really finicky to grow. The fact that I have steady access to heirlooms seems surprising to people. I’m working off the assumption it was actually an heirloom,it was in the heirloom bin.
  2. I found out about the ‘thin’ thing after the fact. I didn’t slice it thin. About as thin as you would for a hamburger, I ended up with 4 slices.

I’m not sure what happened to my fancy planting photo but it’s boring. I will say this though since I don’t know if it’s actually relevant here. I drowned the pot two or three times before I realized that the pot wasn’t draining properly and I transplanted it to the pot it’s in now. The soaking wet potting soil may be a factor here, I don’t know.

Perhaps this is me being unfair but the other thing I noticed is that it took a good while for them to sprout. I was actually about to dump the pot and use it for herbs when I dug up one of the slices and found it full of sprouts. Now that it’s going, though, I’ve gotten a ton of sprouts and the entry photo is the first thinning.

*Again, I’m working off the assumption the tomato was an heirloom. Since I can’t verify that, I’m considering the post a success-the pin was about planting tomatoes and getting them to grow. They grew. I didn’t plant with the end goal of a huge crop of tomatoes.

**I’m practicing what I call Meh gardening. I planted them. I put them in the sun, the neighbors seem to tolerate where they’re at. They get watered if it’s really dry (that’s the bottle in the photo), otherwise I let them get watered when it rains. I haven’t fed them, I haven’t done anything other than pick obvious dandelion seeds out of the pot. If they grow awesome if not oh well. I’m taking the stance that nature doesn’t mess with plants and neither will I. If I feel like feeding them once they get bigger I will if not, okay too.

Baking the Bacon

bacon-31754_1280

I guess that this is an entry in the Pinterest series? I’ve seen this suggestion everywhere, so I guess it works.

I hate cooking bacon. I hate how long it takes, how much it spits, and how I have to sit around and babysit it. I don’t mind greasy bacon, so when I found suggestions to just bake your bacon on a lined cookie sheet, I thought I would try it.

A lot of the original posts talked about using tin foil on a cookie sheet. I lined a deep lipped 13×9 baking pan with tin foil leaving the edges sort of poking up. I split up my bacon into chunks and put it into an oven preheated to 375. I checked and flipped it at the 10 minute mark, noticed that it wasn’t crisping at all, and upped the temperature to 400.

I ended up being happy with it at the 30 minute mark, checking on it every ten minutes. My oven didn’t start smoking, so I’m assuming that the pan caught most of the splatters.

The bacon wasn’t nearly as crispy, but I was satisfied with the outcome.

So shorthand:

Preheat oven to 375.

Put bacon into a 13×9 pan lined with foil, leaving the edges tented up to help catch the splatters.

Bake, checking and flipping the bacon every 10 minutes to make sure it doesn’t scorch. Stay close to your oven and check more frequently if it seems to be smoking-don’t leave completely unintended in case of grease fires, same as any other bacon cooking method.

Increase temperature to no more than 400 if it doesn’t seem to want to brown and crisp.

Remove from oven, and drain same as stove top bacon.

Edible Glitter

edibleglitterThere are a ton of edible glitter tutorials on Pinterest right now. But do they work? Can you actually make shiny, colored sugar to use in your kitchen using only an oven and some food dye? Luckily, I have tons of food dye because of my yarn dyeing hobby, and the tutorials claim that you can have glitter in less than 10 minutes.

Pinterest’s directions, from several pins:

1. Add 1/4 tea to 1/2 tablespoon liquid food color to 1/4 cup sugar

2. Spread thinly onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper

3. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes

My directions:

1. Add 15 drops of liquid food color (red) to 1/2 cup of white sugar-liquid food coloring is really concentrated. I don’t think you need as much as what Pinterest says that you do.

Also, I don’t think I would mix by hand again. Even with trying to be careful, I had white sugar at the bottom of the bowl when I dumped it onto the pan. I think I would mix it like I mix brown sugar next time.

glitter2

2. I did line the pan with parchment paper, and used a pan with a lip. I spread out the sugar as thinly as I could and still stay on the paper. I don’t know why my camera turned everything blue, but you get the idea.

glitter1

3. Comments on the posts I read (I think this is one of the keys of avoiding Pinterest fails, read the comments and make the changes appropriately) said that 350 for 10 minutes is way too hot and way too long. So I preheated my oven to 300 and baked for 7 minutes.

glitter

Was this a Pinterest fail?

Not exactly. I don’t think so anyway.

The sugar did come out shinier than when it went in. I don’t think I can call it ‘glitter’ though. It’s an easy trick to make dry colored sugar though, which would be nice for cupcakes or other decorated deserts.

I would definitely recommend using a mixer to color the sugar; you’ll have to mix for a fairly long time otherwise to get it consistently colored by hand.

Use a lot less coloring than what they’re telling you or use more sugar. Liquid food dye is potent; it’s more concentrated than koolaide and 2 packages of koolaide can dye up to 7 oz of fiber depending on color. Definitely pull back on the food dye for the darker colors like purple.

I can see why the comments recommend using a cooler oven but I almost think I pulled it too soon. So I think I would recommend using a cooler oven for the recommended length of time.

Have you tried this project? Did you get it to work as described?

Food-Dessert/Sweet

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Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

bread

Have I ever mentioned my dislike of silicone bakeware? I’ve never had anything come out a normal shape it. My baked goods always come out oddly shaped and I have to put something under the pan to keep it from flopping around. And my edges come out dark. Guess what will be reshot later?

One of the first things I remember making when I learned to cook in grad school was banana bread. I was snowed in over Christmas day, and I was going out of my head with boredom. I found some overripe bananas and made banana bread muffins.

Banana bread is still one of the foods that I go for when I want to make something comforting. We normally get through an entire bunch of bananas before they turn, but occasionally I’ll have a couple hanging around after overestimating how many we’ll need for the week.

I found this recipe from Lovely Little Kitchen on Pinterest that uses yogurt in place of some of the butter in the recipe. I like using yogurt in baked goods, and I had some in the fridge for smoothies.

Original Found Here

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

1 stick butter, softened

1 1/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 bananas, overripe

4 tablespoons plain yogurt

1 1/2 cup unbleached flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream butter, sugar, and eggs. Add vanilla and bananas.

Add the rest of ingredients except for chocolate. Mix well.

Fold in chocolate chips.

Place into a lined bread pan and bake for 60 minutes, or until a tooth pick comes out clean.

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Empty Your Jars-Plummy Chicken

From food-meat

Plum jam was an experiment for me. I used my blackstrap strawberry recipe, just swapping out the berries for whole, unpeeled plums. I thought I could use the jam as a plum sauce stand in.

From food-meat

What I ended up doing was modding (very slightly, I added a lot more sriracha and no extra garlic) this recipe. I’m going to need to can more plum jam.

From food-meat

-Splash of black or balsamic vinegar

-Sriracha, to taste (that means a lot of it for me, probably not so much for me)

-Splash soy sauce (optional)

-1/4 pint jar of plum jam

-Chicken breast

Finely slice chicken breast. In a bowl combine all of the sauce ingredients. Sauté chicken breast until almost cooked through, then add the sauce to the pan and let reduce down. Alternatively you can cook down the sauce in a separate pot and toss with cooked chicken.

Serve over rice.

Want to try it with strawberry? Strawberry sriracha chicken

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Hot Cocoa

hotcocoaa

There’s procrastination. And then there’s whatever it is that I do.

I was supposed to run this project last winter, when I started seeing homemade cocoa all over Pinterest. I love the idea of being able to make a thing whenever I want it instead of being dependent on whenever the store’s open (ignore the fact that Wegman’s is open 24 hours a day. Do you want to go to the grocery store at midnight for cocoa powder in the middle of lake effect snow?).

It wasn’t that it got pushed back because of other projects. It wasn’t even that I just never got around to it. Oh no, it was…lamer than that.

I kept refusing to buy powdered milk. Seriously, it took me a solid year to get around to buying powdered milk. The price tag on that stuff? Really. However, now that I have it, I’m not sure why I waited so long-and Mid keeps asking for me to make more cocoa.

Swap out the chocolate chips for different flavors to put your own spin on your cocoa. It would be cute in little jars with bows for gifts.

Original recipe here

3 cups powdered milk

2 cups powdered sugar

1 1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (or peppermint chips, or peanut butter/chocolate chips…)

1/4 tea salt

Mix all in a large bowl. Store in a large jar; my batch was just slightly large than would fit in a quart jar. Mix into hot milk or water.

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Pinterest Made Me Do It-Mint Chocolate Syrup

Sometimes you just don’t want to spend cash on chocolate syrup, or you forgot to pick some up, or you just want some in the middle of the night. Sometimes you want to avoid the fillers in most brands of chocolate syrup, or you want a flavor you can’t get readily. Luckily, making it is a fairly fast and quite simple project.

Swap out the mint for another extract to customize the flavor, or leave it out entirely. You could use raw sugar if you wanted but I would stick with some form of granulated sugar. I’m afraid honey or another liquid sweetener would have too strong a taste and overwhelm your syrup.

Modded very slightly from this recipe from Is This My Real Life?.

1 1/2 cup water

1 1/2 cup sugar

1 cup baking cocoa

salt (couple shakes)

1 tsp vanilla

2 tsp mint extract, or to taste

In a saucepan over medium heat, add cocoa, sugar, salt, and water. Bring to a light simmer and pull from heat. Mix in the extracts and store in the fridge. This batch gave me about 3 cups, but output will depend on how far down you simmer your syrup. Simmer longer for a thicker syrup but be careful-if you simmer too long you’ll end up with the beginnings of hard candy. Also, don’t bring to a boil for the same reason.

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