Monday, March 21, 2016

{Easy Pina-Colada Fluff}

I've tried to reconcile with the fact that, coming from a large family, not everyone is always going to like everything...and that is O.K.

This is one of those recipes! My mom, one sister and I love coconut, but we are among precious few in our house! So therefore, we got to eat the majority of this salad, and we were totally fine with that!

It's so fast and easy to throw together, and it was just such a yummy, refreshing salad! Not too sweet, but just right! It will definitely be awesome during the summer, but it's great any other time of year as well!!

I hope you try it out!

1 (3.4 oz.) package Instant pudding mix, see note
1 (20 oz.) can crushed pineapple, do not drain
2 cups mini-marshmallows
1 cup sweetened coconut, shredded or flaked
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 (8 oz.) container Cool Whip

In a large bowl, mix together pudding mix and pineapple.
Stir in marshmallows, coconut and pecans.
Add Cool Whip, and gently mix until well combined.
Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

-You can use so many different kinds of pudding here - Coconut Cream, Vanilla, French Vanilla, Banana Cream, White Chocolate or Cheesecake. Some of them may add a tiny bit of a yellow tint to the finished dish, but any of them would taste fantastic in this recipe!

Monday, March 14, 2016

{A Few of My Favorite Things...Part 4}

And welcome back to Part 4 and the final post in my series on a few of my favorite kitchen items!

Click HERE for Part 1,
HERE for Part 2,
HERE for Part 3!

This week is all about Miscellaneous, random stuff, that I love!

Silicone Baking Mitts:

Getting things out of the oven scares me to death. I don't know why. I have never been burned (well, I mean, severely anyways!), but for some reason, it just scares me!
However, I feel a little safer with these! They can handle super high heat, they grip things really, really well, they wipe off easy, they are even dishwasher safe!
Plus, if you accidentally drop them into your oven, they will not catch on fire or even melt for a while, unlike their competitors - the old fashioned cloth type. 
Don't ask. Just trust.
Anyways, I think these came from Sam's Club. 

Hand Mixer:

For reasons that I do not even know, we never had a hand mixer when I was growing up and learning to cook. I don't know why, we just didn't.
But in the last few years, we have broken down and finally splurged!
I love this thing for making little things - icing/frosting's, dips, some types of cake batters....just small amounts and thin things. Never cookie dough or anything heavy and stiff like that.
If you are mixing something with powder sugar, or flour that tends to "POOF" everywhere as soon as you turn the mixer on, place a towel over top your mixer and bowl. Turn the mixer on low, and beat gently for a few minutes until the powder substance is at least lightly incorporated. This helps prevent you and your kitchen from completely looking like the white thing on that movie Big Hero Six.
This particular hand-mixer was purchased at Walmart, but like everything else, they can be found just about anywhere. 

Microwave Plate Cover:

A clean kitchen is a big deal to me. And the inside of the microwave is just as important as any other area. Honestly, it's one of my weird-kitchen-quirks: don't walk on my floor while I'm mopping, clean the inside of the microwave. Thank you.
This thing is a life saver!! You just set it over your food while you're heating it up. Any splatter big or small (because they simply are going to happen), will happen all over this thing, instead of all over your microwave. And this thing is WAY easier to wash off, or stick in the dishwasher, than either trying to stand on your head or climb mount Everest to get all the way inside your microwave, and use every muscle in your arm to scrub all the nooks and cranny's clean.
This one came from Walmart.

Mini Food Processor:

Aww, isn't this thing just the cutest? I love mini-anything's!!
We have a regular size food processor and I do use it a lot. But this one is really nice for chopping small quantities of things like nuts, celery and onions, etc.
This one came from Walmart, but we also had one once that came from the Aldi grocery store...they sometimes have some awesome kitchen stuff in there for amazing prices!

Kitchen Scale:

I always sort of wanted one of these, but wasn't really sure if I would use it or not. My mom found this one at Aldi's grocery store for like $5, so if I hated it and never used it, it wasn't a huge deal.
Turns out I love it!!!! I use it all the time.
Again, a little OCD sometimes, so when a recipe calls for 3 pounds of potatoes? Yep! I totally weigh that out!
It's super easy to use and it's just awesome!!

Kitchen Cleaners:

Bar Keeper's Friend Squeeze Bottle:
This is the cleaner I use for the stainless steel pans I talked about in Part 2.
You just squirt some of this on those pans and they wipe right out. It's awesome! And randomly, it smells pretty good too!
We get it from Walmart.

Bar Keeper's Friend Shaker:
This is by far my favorite cleaner for our flat-top stove. It works way better than all the other "specialty" things I have tried. It's just a powder that you shake on, gently scrub off with a non-abrasive sponge or cloth, and then wipe clean.

Awesome Orange Spray:
This is an all-purpose, multi-surface, de-greaser spray. I use it on the table and counter tops. It smells great and makes cleaning up a breeze.
You can get variations of this cleaner most anywhere, but we actually get ours from Dollar Tree.


And that's all folks!!! 
I hope you enjoyed this serious on a some of my favorite kitchen gadgets!!!

Monday, March 7, 2016

{A Few of My Favorite Things...Part 3}

Welcome to Part 3 of my series on a few of my favorite kitchen items!

Click HERE for Part 1
HERE for Part 2!

This week is all about utensils. And fair warning, I have a weakness for utensils!
I don't know what it is, but I just love them! 


I would have to say that a whisk is a kitchen necessity.
At least one. Preferably more like 2 or 3! And all different sizes!
I use them for everything. 
Blending dry ingredients, eggs, sauces, pudding...big things, little things, all things!!!
These can be found anywhere kitchen items are found.

Misc. tools:

A basting bulb, a meat thermometer, the Rachel Ray Scraper.

I like this basting bulb, because the top comes off, making it easier to keep clean. I use this for basting, obviously, but also for sucking different liquids out of pans. For instance, when I make THIS recipe for baked chicken, sometimes there is too much broth in the pan. So I use this to suction that all out really fast.
This one came from Walmart.

The meat thermometer I use for meat and bread. It's digital, and has a cover for the stick, which keeps it safe and clean. It just saves a lot of time, rather than cutting into each individual chicken breast to see if it's thoroughly cooked or not. As well as steaks, Hamburgers, and other things. We use it for things on the grill, things in the oven, things on the stove.
This one came from Walmart.

This Rachel Ray Scraper is awesome! You can literally do so many things with it. I use it for scraping things from a cutting board to a pan or dish. You can even roughly chop some things with it. It's not super sharp (not for celery or onions), so it's not going to cut your hands.
I had wanted one for a long time, and my aunt gave me this one. They are all over the place though. I know Walmart has them, and I'm sure they are in lots of other stores as well.

Knife Set:

I love a good knife set. And this one is IT!
I do a lot of chopping and cutting, and a good knife can make or break that situation!
To be honest, I don't even know what all of the knives in this set are for, but I do use the majority of them. Especially the largest one, and the smallest ones. As well as the scissors and the sharpener.
This set came from Sam's Club.


-Silicone "flipper." I don't know what these are technically called, we just always called them flippers! Because you do use them to flip things, you know! Pancakes, eggs, hamburgers, all sorts of things! Serving lasagna and casseroles....just anything! This one is the best!
And it's from Walmart, of course!

-Wooden spoons. Can be used in any type of pan, and won't scratch it. They are sturdy, and therefore can handle thicker and heavy batters than some other plastic spoons.
Plus, did you know that if you put a wooden spoon over top a pan of boiling potatoes, it won't boil over? True fact.
Tons of sizes, tons of styles, and you can get them pretty much anywhere.

-Off-set Spatula. Mostly, these are intended for cake decorating, and therefore usually found in that section of a kitchen store. They do work really well for spreading out frosting and icing. But they work amazing for spreading out THIS pizza crust, or brownie batter, cake batter, ice cream for THIS dessert, anything that needs to be spread.
This is the smaller one, and they also make a larger one.

-Silicone Pastry Brush. With this being a silicone brush, you can put it on the dishwasher after you use it, and it cleans so much better.
I use it to brush melted butter or beaten eggs over pastry dough, for brushing BBQ sauce on chicken, even for squishing into shortening, and brushing over the waffle iron (instead of cooking spray).
This one is from a kitchen specialty store.

Cookie and Ice Cream Scoops:

Though they are sold with the false illusion that cookies and ice cream will be the only things these are used for, I'm here to tell you that is the farthest thing from the truth!
Ice cream and cookie dough, yes, of course! But what about muffins, melons, drop biscuits (to keep them all uniform in size), mini-meatloaves, to portion meat for hamburgers, etc.
I'm a little OCD when it comes to dividing things equally. For instance, when I make Lasagna, I have to divide all the sauce evenly between 3 bowls (because I make it with 3 layers), and all the ricotta mixture evenly between 3 bowls. And I use the large scoop to do that. So that every bowl is perfectly evenly.
Yeah, I have problems, but I'm just saying it makes it easy to do that sort of thing with these scoops!
The small one was purchased at a kitchen specialty store, and the large one is from Walmart.


Ahhh, spatulas. I know I say this about most all of these items, but really, spatulas are my favorite kitchen item! When I say I use them for That means that I can't think of one day, or one dish, where at least one spatula will not be used!
And it's because they are silicone. The spoon and the handle are not two separate pieces, therefore they don't break as easily. They are easier to clean. They can be used for things that are ice cold, they can be used in a boiling pan of whatever!
And do you see all of these? And all the different sizes?
I use all of them.
These came from a variety of places - kitchen specialty stores, Walmart, gifts. And I'm sure they can be found in numerous other stores/websites as well. Just look for silicone spatulas.


And that's it for Part 3.
I hope you join me next week for Part Four!!!!