Crêpes Galore!

I have made so many crêpes this past week that I’m honestly surprised I’m not sick of them yet! Since getting my handy-dandy crêpe skillet at Aldi, I’ve made cheese and fruit crêpes four different ways – with strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries – I’ve made nutella and fruit crêpes with both bananas and strawberries, and I’ve made chicken florentine crêpes. I have fallen in love with crêpes.

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I found an easy, fool-hardy recipe for crêpes that is so insane in its simplicity that I wonder why it took me so long to attempt them. To be honest, I was a little intimidated by crêpes because I always thought they were some crazy-hard food to master making, but the opposite is true. While you can mess it up, if you know how to cook at all, you should be able to do a fairly decent job on your first try. Really! If you’ve been scared of crêpes, don’t be.

So, this recipe is made in your blender and you’ll need a good few hours to let it rest, but that’s it. I like to mix my crêpe batter up before bed and then leave it in the fridge until morning.

Ingredients:
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup water
6 Tbsp melted butter
2 cups flour
Room temperature butter to coat skillet

Directions:
Place all ingredients in your blender and pulse, scraping the sides of your blender pitcher as necessary to remove residual flour. Let rest at least 4 hours or overnight, the longer the better.

When you’re ready to make your crêpes, heat a good unscratched non-stick skillet or crêpe skillet over medium-high heat and brush with a little butter using a silicone spatula. Pick your skillet up and tilt it. Pour your batter into the middle of the skillet slowly, tilting it around until a light layer has coated the entire bottom surface.

When the sides of your crepe start pulling away from the edge of the skillet and the top surface of the crêpe has turned from glossy to matte, it’s time to flip it. Work your silicone spatula under your crêpe gently until you have it half-way under the crêpe. Flip. Let the crêpe cook on this side for only 10-15 seconds and then slide it off onto a plate.

Repeat until you’ve used all your crêpe batter. This should make around 10 crêpes. If you have a non-stick skillet, you shouldn’t need anymore butter, but if you are using a stainless steel skillet, you’ll want to add a little more butter between crêpes.

Fill your crêpes with whatever filling you’d like and enjoy!

If you have leftover crêpes, you can slip parchment paper between them and then place them in a gallon freezer bag and freeze or refrigerate them. To reheat, simply pop them in the microwave for a few seconds. For a refrigerated crêpe, I only needed 15 seconds in my 900 watt microwave to get it steamy-hot again.

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I’m in Love With… Aldi!

When I found out we were getting an Aldi store locally, I have to tell you that I was very excited about it. I kept checking for grand opening dates. I must have done this about two dozen times over the past six months. I knew where it was located and I had seen the construction going on, so I was ecstatic when they finally announced their grand opening. I didn’t bother going the first day, because I get really bitchy in crowded stores, but I went the next morning and was there when the store opened. I haven’t been anywhere else since.

The prices at Aldi are insanely good, and the food rivals anything you’d buy at Albertson’s or Vons. Why pay out the nose for the same food, when you can get it way cheaper at Aldi? Food prices in SoCal are high enough as it is, and sometimes I think the prices at the chain grocery stores is borderline price gouging. Why the hell does a jar of spaghetti sauce cost upwards of $5? And why does a bottle of coffee creamer cost almost $5 at Albertson’s when Target sells the exact same brand and flavors for $3 and change? It’s practically highway robbery.

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Not only are the prices very nice at Aldi, but they also sell items I either have a very difficult time finding elsewhere or that I have never seen in a store before. I picked up a beautiful crepe skillet yesterday for $7.99 at our local Aldi. I have my eye on their two-burner skillet for $12.99, as well. I’ve been wanting one of those for a long time, too. As far as food, the only other place I have found pizzelles is at Costco, and they only had the vanilla flavor there. Aldi had both the vanilla pizzelles and the anise ones, and they didn’t cost me a fortune. My husband is crazy about anise pizzelles and biscotti. I don’t think that’s a very popular flavor in the States, but it’s fairly common in Europe.

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I’ve fallen in love with the brioche that Aldi sells. I bought a loaf of their plain brioche to make French toast with for breakfast yesterday morning. I’ll be honest. I think I wasted perfectly good brioche. We couldn’t tell the difference between the brioche French toast and my normal French toast made with regular sandwich bread. Brioche has a beautiful fluffy consistency and a sweet, buttery flavor, and I think my egg batter overpowered all of it. However, my husband didn’t mind taking care of the rest of the loaf I hadn’t used.

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I’ve read reviews online regarding the new Aldi’s that are opening in the SoCal area. A lot of people don’t seem to understand the concept of the store. It kind of floors me that people would pitch a bitch fit over putting a quarter into the cart, when you get your quarter back when you put it away. I haven’t lost a quarter yet, and frankly, I really like the idea. I don’t have to worry about finding carts resting against my vehicle when I’m finished shopping or having to get out to move carts out of spaces just to park. If you put a quarter into your cart, you’re going to put it back so you can get your quarter back. I wish more grocery stores would take up this idea.

I also don’t understand the obsession my fellow Americans seem to have with name brand foods. Maybe this is because I was raised eating generic almost-everything. To be honest, I don’t think I can name a single food my mother refused to buy the generic of, in favor of the brand name. I do have a few, though. I won’t buy cheap box mac and cheese. I’ll spend more to either get Annie’s or the Kraft creamy version. I also won’t buy generic chips. I grew up eating Sam’s Choice knock-off Doritos and Cheetos, and I can’t stand the nasty flavors they have. But, that’s pretty much the extent of it. So, when people complain that Aldi has almost no name brand products, I can’t understand why they’d WANT to pay more just for the name, when the food is the same. This is especially true of Aldi’s breakfast cereal. They are literally General Mills cereals sold under the Aldi store label. There is absolutely zero difference between the cereal in a General Mills box and the cereal in an Aldi box. None.

So, if you find an Aldi near you, you should really take the time to at least go in and browse. You may be most shocked by their egg prices. In fact, they just may have to call paramedics because their price for eggs has given you such a shock!

The Queen B is BAAAAACK!

I think my personal life has finally calmed down enough that I can focus on posting here regularly, again. I’ve thought about my blog often, but life has been super-freakin-hectic for the past few months.

The California Presidential Primaries are coming up in a little over a month, and I’m SO excited to finally get to vote for someone I truly believe in, rather than just picking someone based on them being the lesser of two evils. I’m checking my mail everyday, waiting for my mail-in ballot to come. I cannot wait to fill in the bubble for Bernie Sanders! I am stoked to get to vote for such a revolutionary figure! His platform is everything I’ve been wanting in a presidential candidate for years.

We got an Aldi store near us FINALLY! I am loving it. We found this amazing pastry tucked away on the bottom shelf in the bread aisle, near the ciabattas and baguettes. It’s like eating a chunk of heaven! If you have an Aldi near you, I recommend picking up one of these. 13086686_10153458919271135_7230289607223294228_o

The weather has been beautiful and mild here. I’m enjoying our cool spring. I love this time of year because my windows are wide open day and night and my apartment stays comfortable and cool. We’ve had enough rain that I think our summer will be much easier on our firefighters, or at least that is my hope.

I Feel Like I Swallowed a Grenade!

Yesterday, I did something extremely stupid! On the scale of 1-10 of most stupid food-related antics I’ve ever pulled, this is right up there at a 10! Looking back, I can’t believe how completely moronic I was, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. I paid for it the rest of the day.

I sat down to catch up on the “I Am Cait” show on E! If you’re even a little interested in Caitlyn Jenner or transgender rights, I highly recommend this. It’s honestly nothing like the brain-melting dumbness that is “Keeping Up With the Kardashians”. It’s on a whole other, completely real level. Anyway, I was watching the latest episode that came out this past Sunday, and at the end she’s eating this “very sour” pickle. That got me craving pickles, so I raided the almost-empty pickle jar in our fridge and shared them with my child.

Then, a while later, I got a sweet craving, and my go-to fix for a sweet tooth is a PB&J sandwich. I made one up, and happily munched away while watching the latest episode of “Real Housewives of Orange County” (really, my only guilty TV pleasure as far as trash programming is concerned.) When I was through with my sandwich, I decided that only milk would do to wash it down, because you know how peanut butter likes to ball up and sort of sit in your esophagus.

OH HOLY MOTHER OF GOD! That was such a mistake! At first, I felt fine. I was doing great! I didn’t have the munchies and I was content to continue going about my day. And then, a couple of hours later, the consequences hit me like a mountain of bricks right in the gut! I had such bad cramps for a good hour before it finally decided to start actually doing something productive on my visits to the almighty porcelain throne! The agony! It was sheer, unadulterated hell in my colon! I felt like I had swallowed a grenade!

The rest of my day, all evening, was shot. I felt sick like I haven’t felt in a very long time. Thankfully, I had the makings for a meal in our fridge that my husband knew how to make, so he got the honors of fixing dinner for himself and the kiddo, while I worshipped the porcelain throne and nursed my poor, sore belly. I was in so much pain all night! I can definitely say I paid dearly for my food choices yesterday! It definitely was not worth it!

So, whatever you do, don’t ever eat that combination of foods, unless you’re a complete glutton for punishment, because you WILL regret it!

Saturdays are for Relaxation…

It’s too bad I never got that memo! I’ve been doing stuff since I woke up at 7 this morning. It’s probably because I conked out early last night, thanks to a little helping hand from my husband, and two friends known as Diclofenac and Flexeril. I was a hot mess yesterday. I think the entire week of doing all sorts of stuff for hubby’s birthday caught up with me finally, and yesterday was the day of reckoning.

Anyway, this morning I woke up ready to tackle everything, which made my husband grumpy, since I dragged him out of the sheets at 7:30 to help me with it. I did try to pacify him with a nice mocha latte though, and I think that helped make him a little more cheerful! He grumbled quite a bit about how early it was and now that we’re done running around town, he’s snuck off to the bedroom for a nap.

I was perusing his aunt’s blog for recipes again the other day, and found a link to one for Pork Fricassée, so I have that marinating right now in my refrigerator. I’m hoping his aunt pops into Google chat sometime in the next 48 hours, because she made it with polenta, according to her blog, and I have no clue how to properly make polenta the way she shows it. It looks like a bed of mashed potatoes with the Pork Fricassée on top, but all the recipes I find for this polenta I have are telling me to slice it and fry it, and I’m getting rather confused. I think that she may have access to dry polenta in a box, and all I can find is polenta in a tube!

Father’s Day is tomorrow. I’m planning to make something I haven’t made in a while. Growing up, my mom had this quick and super-easy way she’d make chicken that we always loved, but for some reason I rarely make it, even though I’m crazy about it. You just take one or two bottles of cheap Italian dressing (depending on how much chicken you’re making,) squeeze the oil out of them, and then marinate some chicken pieces in that for at least 30 minutes. When you’re ready to cook it, you bake them in a 350° oven. I like to lay them out in the pan or baking dish and pour the Italian dressing over them, and then sprinkle the chicken pieces with garlic powder before baking. We always serve this with baked potatoes, and when the chicken is done cooking, we take the marinade/dressing that baked with it, and thicken it with a little cornstarch and use it as a gravy. It’s delicious! I’m crazy about it! I’ll remember to post a picture tomorrow with it, so you get an idea how fantastic it looks! My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

So Much to do, so Little Time!

Tomorrow is my husband’s birthday. I had to remind him this morning! He said, “Is it Friday yet? I wish it was Friday, already!” I told him that it can’t be Friday yet, and he looked so puzzled and asked me why. I just gave him the biggest WTF look and said, “Because your birthday is tomorrow, Thursday, and you can’t just skip your birthday!”

A couple of weeks ago, I convinced him to get back in touch with his aunt. She has a blog about crafting and cooking/baking, so I’ve been digging through it for recipes he’s told me his grandma used to make. I found the recipe for the Hazelnut Cake he is always raving about, so I’m making that for his birthday (if you follow that link and don’t speak French, you’ll need to plug it into Google Translate.) I’m making the puff pastry crust right now, and when I’m done, I’ll get started on the filling.

His aunt also sent him a birthday card, so I put it in front of his keyboard on his desk for him to find when he gets home. Normally, I just open all the mail in our house, but this is a special birthday card, so I’ll let him open it. Besides, it’s not like I don’t know what’s in it! I’m sure he’ll be excited to get it. I would be.

I also wanted to make the caramels he’s told me so much about, but considering how much time it will take to stir while cooking, I just don’t think I’ll have the time today. I’m trying to multitask, doing dishes, laundry, and making this cake, so I can’t fit time in to make the caramels, too.

On another note, I’ve asked my amazing friend Jay from TeapotsandTesseracts to write a guest post on my blog this next week. I’m looking forward to this, because he’s an amazing writer and conveys thoughts and emotions in a unique and brilliant way. I know you guys will find his post very enlightening. His blog is new, but I’ve known him for a while, and I think having him guest post here is a great way to discuss the topic we’ve decided on and to bring him a little more exposure. Feel free to drop by his blog and show him some love, if you have the chance.

I Can’t Live Without My Olive Oil!

Today’s Daily Prompt was an interesting one, and being a foodie and lover of all things cooking- and baking-related, I feel it’s aptly appropriate for my blog.

I must have olive oil in my kitchen. I use it in almost every single dish I make, and I’ve been known to even use it as a substitute for butter in cakes (honestly, I can’t taste a difference, and olive oil is very good for you, so why not?) I am not lying when I say I go through at least a full-sized bottle every month. I love olive oil! I even occasionally use it on my hair! It’s that good.

I don’t do vegetable oil or canola oil. We rarely ever eat deep-fried foods, so the few times I do make it, I just use olive oil for frying them, too. It’s my go-to, all-purpose oil. I use butter in almost every recipe that calls for it, but when I’m making a box of Rice-a-roni, like the Broccoli au Gratin flavor, I just substitute half the amount of butter for olive oil. It doesn’t actually need butter, olive oil is close at hand, and I don’t have to use as much. It’s a win all the way around.

I’m sure if you asked my husband what one ingredient is a necessary staple in our kitchen, he’d come back with an answer about some sort of pasta or bread. Maybe a cheese. That’s just him! While I tend to agree with him in a way, I still think my olive oil is more important.

By the way, have I done this prompt before? It seems strangely familiar now that I’m sitting here writing about it.

Another ingredient I use a lot in my cooking is cayenne. Well, actually two. I use a lot of cayenne and a lot of paprika. I especially love the smoked paprika I get from Trader Joe’s. It smells delicious and adds a beautiful spicy, smoky flavor to the dishes I add it to. I like sprinkling a little cayenne into pots of food I’m making to give them a hint of that hot, spicy bite. I try not to overpower them with it though, and cayenne is an easy spice to overpower your food with.

I’ve also fallen in love with cardamom. It’s delicious when you add a little into a bowl of hot oatmeal with some cinnamon and allspice. I just do a pinch of it in a bowl of oatmeal, because cardamom is another spice you need very little of. It’s so fragrant that I’ve been known to stand in front of my spice cupboard just sniffing the jar!

Well, Hello Summer!

It’s going to be hot today! It’s been so nice and temperate up until today, so when I checked the weather this morning and saw it was going to be 98°, I was shocked! I really wasn’t expecting that.

I decided to stop by the store for some groceries. Since it’s going to be hot, I have no desire to use my stove or oven, so I grabbed some chicken pieces and a pork roast. I’ll be putting my Crock Pot to work this week! I currently have Hungarian Chicken started in my slow cooker, so we should have an awesome meal this evening without having to heat up the house to do it. Here’s what it looks like right now:

Hungarian Chicken in the Crock Pot

Dinner is all set. Now, I need to tackle some housework before it gets so damn hot I don’t feel like moving a single toe!