Sweet Potatoes in the Copper Crisper

My grandmother surprised me with a Copper Crisper, so I had to give it a try right away. My husband keeps getting sweet potatoes with the intention of cutting them up and making little tater tot type things for his lunch, and then doesn’t follow through with it, so I figured this would be the perfect thing to use for that.

I chopped up three sweet potatoes into cubes, and in hindsight that was too many to fit on the pan but I went through with it anyway!

I didn’t want all the sugar and sweetness so I just tossed the potatoes in a little olive oil and sea salt and then put them in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, as per the directions. I was very skeptical that 20 minutes was going to be enough, and I was right, so I put them back in for 20 more. And then a little longer.

I took them out and mix them in the butter like the recipe said, but I probably would’ve been better off skipping that part. They were OK, but not as crunchy as I’d hoped. I realize this was probably my fault for overloading the pan, although I did go in and move them around every time I added more time so that they could all cook.

Here’s the recipe if you are interested in trying it yourself!

I do plan on giving it another try but with less sweet potatoes next time and no butter! I have started using the Copper Crisper for other things like breaded fish and chicken and it actually works pretty good so I’m sure I can get a crisper potato if I adjust the amount.

Anybody else use one of these? Any tips or favorite things to cook in it?

Let’s Get Popping with Malaysian Palm Oil

I use a lot of different oils in my cooking so I was excited about the opportunity from Moms Meet to try a free bottle of Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil and see what it was like. I learned the palm oil has very high smoke point and won’t break down into harmful chemicals when used at higher temperatures so it would be perfect to replace some of my other cooking oils. It’s also packed with potent phytonutrients like carotene and tocotrienols (an ultra-potent form of vitamin E) not found in other oils.

The suggested recipe was for popcorn and I admit I was skeptical about making it in a pot! I guess I thought you needed some kind of special air popper, old school tin foil bubble or microwave package to make it, but nope! All you need is a pot, oil and kernels.

I used a 6 qt. pot, 3 tbsp. of palm oil and just under 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels. The recipe called for 1/2 cup and an 8 qt. pot, so I adjusted for my smaller pot. I poured the 3 tbsp. in the pot, added three kernels, covered it with the lid and turned the heat to medium-high.

malaysian palm oil

It felt like it took forever to hear those three little pops, but really it was probably less than five minutes. After that I remove the pot from the heat and scooped the popped pieces out with a spoon. I then poured in the kernels and gave them a good shake to distribute the oil and heat evenly and ensure that everything pops at the same time. It’s an important step because otherwise it will pop unevenly and you will end up with burnt popcorn and leftover kernels.

I then put the pot back on the heat with a lid slightly askew so steam could escape. When it started popping, a few kernels escaped too!

The popping started pretty quickly and I had to adjust the lid a couple times because it kept slipping down. After a couple minutes I peeked in and there was a beautiful golden pile of popcorn. The palm oil is a rich red color from the same carotenoids found in carrots, oranges, squash and apricots and is loaded with provitamin A. The red color of the oil gives the popcorn a golden hue that makes it look like it’s right out of the movie theater.

I poured it into the bowl and found that almost every single kernel had popped and this was possibly the most perfect bowl of popcorn I had ever made. I didn’t even feel like I needed to add butter and just tossed it with a little bit of sea salt and it was delicious!

Popcorn made with palm oil

I’m really looking forward to trying the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil in other recipes like pan frying and stir fry, and making popcorn like this again! If you’d like to learn more about palm oil and its many benefits, check out www.PalmOilHealth.org .

Watch out Betty Crocker!

My son surprised me by asking to bake cupcakes this week. He usually has no interest in helping out in the kitchen so I immediately dropped everything and got to baking! In full disclosure, I was doing yardwork and it was hot and any excuse to take a break sounded like an amazing idea.

Trying to do anything with a toddler is an exercise in patience, mostly me trying to teach him to have some and let the muffins actually cook. But we both had fun, the kitchen didn’t get splattered by batter (at least not too much) and I got to share a great new experience with my son. I loved how excited he was when I popped the beaters out the mixer and told him he could lick it! Probably right now someone’s going “ewwww raw eggs, he might get sick….” but whatever, I loved doing that as a kid!

The cupcakes were delicious and I was happy to get to use some leftover Miss Jones frosting from the sampling party I did last month.

I was starting to sense a theme when later in the week he asked to make cookies. We ran into a problem when he wanted the star cookies just like on the box. I’m starting to hate pictures on boxes and the high expectations that follow! I had no rolling pin and no cookies cutters so I improvised with a glass. Guess what I learned in a very loud screaming freak out way? Circles are NOT stars. Also squares and any other shape I may have had on hand do not equal stars. So I took that dough and squashed and pinched and made that kid some stars! The results were as supurb as expected:

star cookie fail by geekmama.com

So what do you guys enjoy making with your kids? I hope your results were as spectacular as mine. (haha) They may not be pretty but at least they taste good!

Ready to Cook from Publix – Harissa Chicken

Last night I made Harissa Chicken, a fancy but easy meal from Publix’s ready-to-cook section, and added a spiced green bean dish on the side. Total cook time was about 30 minutes and everything was delicious!

harissa chicken ready to cook meal

On the menu: Harissa Chicken over Rice with Bhindi Masala Green Beans and Onions

I started by laying out all my ingredients. The meal clearly says it comes with asparagus, but on closer inspection, I noticed Publix seems to have forgotten to add that. Funny thing was, I was actually going to leave that out because I don’t like asparagus. However, if it is in the photo and the first ingredient listed on the package, I do still expect to see it in the box!

harissa chicken from publix
Hey Publix! See? No asparagus!

Next I chopped half a Vidalia onion in small slices  and prepped the green beans, oil and spices for the Bhindi Masala dish from Arora Creations.

indian green beans and onions

Easy Cooking Instructions: 

First pan fry chicken and cut into small pieces. Then add them to the sauce and let them simmer on low.

Next mix together zucchini and squash mix, rice, dried apricots and 1/2 tbsp of butter. Microwave 3 min.

While that’s microwaving, put 1/2 cup olive oil in a big pan with the green beans and cook them for 4 min on medium heat before adding the spice packet. Then cook them for 5 more minutes so they get good and flavored with the spices. Remove beans with tongs so you leave the spiced oil in the pan.

Next add the onions and sauté until soft. When the onions are ready, add the green beans back to pan and fold into onions. Give them a couple minutes to meld flavors.

Now take the rice mix out of microwave and top with chicken and sauce.

Add green beans on the side and sprinkle everything with the sliced almonds.

And done! Yum!

I have really liked all the meals I’ve gotten from the Publix Ready-to-Cook section. Have you guys tried any? Let me know! I’m curious if the chicken and dumplings slow cooker one is any good.

The Time I Unintentionally Made Poop Emoji Cupcakes

I’ve been doing little sampling parties lately, and each time I try to have fun with a new theme or activity. When I got the chance to sample and share Miss Jones Baking Co. organic cake mix and frosting through MomsMeet.com, I got some crazy idea to try doing fancy frosting. I thought it would be fun to engage everyone with the product by letting them try out decorative frosting tips.

toddler and frosting
Nice display Mom…I’m about to ram it with my cars OK?

Am I a baker? No. Do I even know how to use a frosting bag? No. Did I go ahead and order a fancy 32 piece cake decorating set off Amazon? You bet I did!

I also went all out with a giant pan for 48 mini muffins. One box of mix says it will make 48 muffins, but I actually had a little extra! And I made sure I filled each tin at least halfway. The instructions say they may not rise as much as some brands since they leave out all the artificial ingredients, but mine puffed up nicely.

wonder-bakerThe icing instructions say to heat it for 5-10 seconds first for regular spreading. I needed it a little smoother to squirt out of the bag, so with the vanilla I heated it for ten seconds, then ten more and it was perfect. As I was trying to figure out how to get into the bag, my friend Bridget had a brilliant suggestion to put the bag over a cup. Apparently, she’s seen this done before!

frosting-coverMy vanilla icing attempts looked pretty decent as long as you take into account I’m making it up as I go along. Bolstered by this instant success, I popped the chocolate in the microwave for a straight 20 seconds.

And that’s when things got weird.

Heating it for 20 seconds was too much and it got really melted and just oozed out of the bag. We tried popping it in the freezer to harden it up a bit but every attempt looked like a little turd on top on a muffin. And then someone shouted “it looks like a poop emoji!” And that’s when I realized I’d stumbled upon some Pinterest level poop if I just stuck a couple eyes on each one.

poop emoji cupcake

Everyone enjoyed the muffins and getting up close and personal with the frosting experience. I stashed the few cupcakes that were left in the fridge and the next morning the chocolate icing had hardened up and was like a big Hershey kiss on top! Delicious! As a side note – you do not need to refrigerate any leftover frosting because it is dairy-free.

icing-cupcakes

I don’t think I have a future in cake decorating, but I did feel like I learned enough to take on some Pinterest board cupcakes.

*As usual, any link to Amazon is an affiliate link!*