Unicorn Bites

This post is dedicated to Gary R. Danielson. You see, today he turns 60! He is the best father a gal could ask for and I love him so, so, so much. Happy Birthday Gary!

I like unicorns.

Kind of alot. Oh, and thank you to 14Four for making me the sorcerer of Firefox.

Today is the day where I’ll share with you the top-secret recipe I have been plotting. Please bear in mind, this recipe is not for the weak n’weary. This is balls-to-the-wall, bat-sh*t cookie craziness. Before you go assuming that nothing could be worthy of such a valiant culinary effort, know this: people will love you more after you make this recipe. It’s that simple.

Here’s what I suggest: Make these on your next day off. Print off the recipe, grab yourself a cappuccino and head to the grocery store. $30 and 7 hours later you’ll be glad you did. Not only does this recipe take a little time, but also some pre-planning. Living in a place like Jackson Hole, Wyoming means that I’m devoid of certain amenities like a cake supply shop or Target. I was forced to take to the internets to procure such ingredients as edible glitter, which costs$6.78 for 5 grams. BFD – these puppies are worth it. Plus, every gal needs a little edible glitter in her life.

I should also note that this recipe is by no means a creation of my own mind. While I hate to admit it, there are other unicorn fans out there who are darn clever – click here to see this idea in it’s original form. You’ll note the author is quite funny, which furthered my determination to successfully re-create these majestic little gems in my own kitch. I mean, she calls them “unicorn poops” for heaven’s sake. You gotta love her.

I followed her recipe on instructables very closely, but obviously modified it just slightly to fit my needs.

  UNICORN BITES

Step One: Make the dough

Here is where you can introduce any basic sugar cookie recipe you like. I used the one from the instructables site, but ended up not loving the taste so I would suggest another sugar cookie dough that you’ve made before.

Step Two: Dye the dough

Now that you have your dough completed, you’ll need to separate it out into 6 equal portions for red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. I used a half cup measure for each color and it came out just about perfect for 6 portions. Place the dough into 6 different cups or bowls and using regular food coloring, dye your doughs to your desired shades.

I noticed that I needed way more food coloring for the red and blue shades. Make sure you mix the colors into your doughs thoroughly. Try and enlist a friend to help with this step as your hand will get super tired if doing this sans a hand mixer.  I went for nice, bold shades of each color to achieve maximum unicorn-ness.

Once the doughs are dyed, place them in plastic bags and refrigerate the doughs for at least one hour.

Step Three: Molding the dough

Once the doughs have been refrigerated it’s time to make the cookies! I literally achieved the shape of my cookies using the tried and true, trial and error method. What I found to be the easiest was to grab a small amount of dough (like a walnut sized piece) and roll it in between your palms to create a little snake shape, about 4 inches long. On a floured surface, roll out little snakes like this in each color in rainbow order and stack them next to eachother like this.

Once you have all the colors laid out nicely, roll them all together into one rainbow rope.

Now, take the rope and twist it like your twisting a tootsie roll wrapper.

At this point, I set the rope down onto the cookie sheet and formed it into almost a butt shape, as seen here.

You can really get creative and form your rope into any shape you like. The gal from the instructables site formed hers into more poopy looking shapes. So pick your poison.

Step Four: Baking and Decorating

This Would Be: Disney Princess Glitter Gel 4-Pack, CK Edible Glitter, Betty Crocker Flowers and Betty Crocker Pearl Cupcake Gems

After you have successfully molded all your dough into wonderful cookies, place them on the cookie sheet and bake them per the instructions you followed for your dough. They may take a little longer to bake if you made them a little thicker like I did. Watch them closely because we don’t want our beautiful rainbows to turn brown. After you remove them from the oven, immediately grab your shiny balls and push them into the dough. I used a toothpick to help aid me with this step.

Once the cookies have cooled, it’s time to add our first layer of sparkle. Take the sparkle gel and spread it all over the cookie, I used my finger because I’m classy.

Immediately after spreading the sparkle gel, press on the flower sprikles or any other sprinkles or jimmies you have on hand.

After the sprinkles are adhered, it’s Tinkerbell time! Take the edible glitter, pinch a tiny amount and sprinkle delicately across the surface of each cookie. Dot a little on your cheekbones while you’re at it.

And now, the majesty is completed. Spread the joy, share the sparkle, shine the light of the unicorn on someone’s day!

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Pumpkin Dumpster and a Partidge in a Pear Tree

Happy Holidays All!!!!

Let’s start this off appropriately.

"Merry Christmas, merry christmas and happy holidays!"

I LOVE that Christmas song by N’Sync, it has remained a fave since high school!

Yes, that is a genuYne Christmas tree sweater. Not to be confused with a Looney Tunes lettermans jacket…which will eternally remain on my Christmas list.

So who else is PUMPED about the Biebs coming out with a Christmas Album? Ah hells yes.

I am SO pumped.

The Danielson celebrated Thanksgiving in Issaquah with the rest of  my awesome, crazy family and I was sad to miss it. AND they get to spend Black Friday shopping in Seattle which is even more sad. Here in Jackson it’s slim pickins, unless your in the market for a new saddle…or backcountry ski setup (don’t worry Bryan already has his).

Since my fam is in Seattle, they instructed me to send them ideas for gifts. Especially since homegirl’s birthday is on CHRISTMAS EFFING EVE. Over the years, I have tried to whip my family into shape: demanding no birthday presents be wrapped in Chistmas wrapping paper. Ensuring there is NO fancy dessert or ahem, tirimasu. Ensuring there IS a Desserts by Kelly cake, preferably red velvet. Commanding attention and adoration at all times.

As I sat down to compile my short reasonably sized list, I enlisted the help of the internets. I found many sites that will help you neatly organize your list, provide links and price points to items AND customize your list by changing the theme. I chose the “candy” theme for obvious reasons. I’ve provided a link to the work-in-progress Christmas list here in case anyone is feeling generous this year ;).

My wishlist

Yesterday was Thanksgiving, duh. B and I celebrated privately, much like Michael Scott celebrates Groundhogs Day. Twas magical. Kicked off by working out solo in the bank gym while watching the inevitable decline of Kimmy K and her scrunched-up face soon-to-be EX the Hump-Dog. I love E!

We then ventured out on the Elk Refuge for a nice, 4 mile walk. It was a beautiful day!

Then we stopped to get vodka mixers. When we got home, it was nothing but pure Thanksgiving goodness. We ate Chex Mix, watched Home Alone and Elf and drank wine and cocktails.

We decided on making the following T-Giving faves:

  • Turkey – Just the breast. Less jibbly bits, innards and overall jarnickles.
  • Stuffiing – Outta the bird ok? I’ll take my stuffing, hold the sickening turkey tummy lining thank you.
  • Mashed Potatoes – LADEN with salt.
  • Green Salad – Just to mix things up a bit.
  • Rolls – Carbs, meet my bagel.

(For those of you who don’t know what a bagel is, make a circle with your thumb and middle finger and press it directly into your tummy, using your belly button as the bagel hole. Mine resembles a plain bagel right now. During the summer when I’m really tan, it’s more of a pumpernickel).

We also enjoyed a favorite Danielson family recipe known quite simply as, Pumpkin Dumpster. Not sure how this dessert procured it’s splendid little name, nor do I care. Here’s how to re-create the majesty:

  • 1 large can pumpkin
  • 1 13oz can evap milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

Blend the above ingrediants except the cake mix and pour into a 9 x 13 pan. Cover with 1 box yellow cake mix (dry) Top with chopped puts (optional). Pour 1 1/2 cubes melted margarine over the top. Bake 50 mins at 350.

Pumpkin Dumpster Whirring Away

Today it is puking outside and tomorrow is opening day at the Village (or Teton Village). Highlights for tonight include tightening up my bindings so my skis don’t go shooting off every which way like they did on the pass. Also leftovers, which I have to admit I’m excited for.

Ok, I’m off to paint my nails gold!

Grab Bag

Happy Monday skittle-heads!

This post is titled “grab bag” since it will feature a myriad of different topics and recent events. However, it also happens to be one of my grandmother’s favorite things, the grab bag.

This post is dedicated to my beloved Grandma Dorothy who turned 92 yesterday.

Notice her hat

In other news, I have discovered a new baking mix which I adore. Enter, No Pudge Brownie Mix.

Bryan and I Netflixed “Chocolat” and I decided that we needed brownies to commemorate the movie and this mix did not disappoint. I tried to get a picture of the ingredient list to wow you all with how healthy this stuff is, but my GD point and shoot belongs on the failblog.

To accompany our brownie-licious dessert, Bryan concocted his mouth-watering bruschetta for dinner. He made a few modifications this time, using ingredients we had on hand, such as…

Adding Pesto.

And using shallot.

The result?

Heavenly. Crunchy. Flavorful. Great texture. Do I belong on the Food Network, or what?!

We also opened 1 2 bottles of wine…

Which led to some…ahem, shenanigans on my part. Don’t ask.

We also attended Jake and Nacole’s beautiful wedding last weekend.

CUPCAKES!!

Delicious food.

Crab cakes, Salmon and 2 rolls

And of course, wine.

Shenanigans made another appearance post-wedding again. What is up with our shenanigans these days?

Lastly, but certainly not least was the chicken fry. This annual event is put on by the Wilson Fire Dept.to raise funds. They fry chicken in garbage cans.

Oh yes, they do.

Firemen at their best

Since Bryan and Jeremy were climbin the Petzl Ridge of the Grand Teton, I tagged along with Matt and Holly but sadly, did not eat any chicken because the line was cray-cray long. Instead, I partook in the baked goods section and procured myself a peanut butter and jelly bar with a Diet Coke. Sassy.

Holly and I really scamped it up and had a great time.

While other people stock-piled their chicken. Exhibit A:

Maybe because we don’t have a KFC? Maybe because of it’s crispy, salty exterior. Or maybe, they were fixin to make an epic meal, like this:

Fun with Bug Bites

Cripes it’s Friday!

What a random week  we’ve had. There are so many stories to tell that are completely mediocre, where do I begin?!

According to Miss Andrews, circa The Sound of Music, I suppose I shall start at the beginning, a very good place to start.

I should preface this with a question: Anyone out there working F&B ever feel like all the days just kindof blur together?

A normal 9-5 means putting in yer 40 hours and meticulously counting down the minutes on Friday until you can go home, change into your “after-work” clothes (ala Mr. Rodgers) and start downing gimlets while watching SATC and curling your hair MaryKate and Ashley style. Or was this just me?

Now, Saturday feels like Thursday and 11 am can feel like 6 pm.

What am I getting at? Oh yes. My point is that while I promise to start at the beginning, I’m a little unsure as to what that is. So in no certain order here are some awesome stories from this week.

I worked the afternoon shift at Elevated Grounds Coffeehouse and got off around 6:30 pm. I hadn’t worked out so I texted Bryan and asked him if he wanted to do a hike after work. One of the many perks of living in Jackson Hole is that there are a plethora of short, amazing hikes literally right outside our door. We decided to conquer Snow King for it’s increasing steepness and breathtaking views.

Top of Snow King

About half way up, Bryan paused. I looked over expecting him to say “Oh my gosh, there’s Harrison Ford!”. Instead he slapped the back of his leg, killing a mosquito and leaving a small streak of blood down his leg. Insert RFAN. Random fact about Natalie:

I HATE BUGS.

Actually, allow me to clarify. I could care less about bugs, but what I hate is what they leave behind. Bug bites. I consider myself a gal with a healthy amount of self-control, but when I get a bug bite, I scratch the bejesus out of it. I’m sorry I just do.

Here is a shot of my leg when I was traveling around Panama with friends and I got EATEN ALIVE by sand fleas.

So we proceeded to the top of Snow King, despite the air being thick with flying blood suckers and as we made our way down, I surveyed the damage. Three. Two on my arm, one on my leg. And yes, I have scratched them. I have scratched, have had troubles sleeping and am just irritated with these pesky little pumps.

Arm Bug Bites

Leg Bug Bite

I am happy to report that I  got my hands on some Cortizone 10 and the stuff seems to do the trick for a while anyway.

The Chipped Purple HAS to Go

But enough with gross bug bites. On to better things with less inflammation. Some inflammation, just…less.

I made delicious caprese sandwiches this week.

Ingredients

Finished Prod

And we had a house party with Holly, Matt and Jess. More mojitos. Twas a good time.

We got a handle this time...

Matt and Holly Shenanigans

B Doing a Yidda Jig

Jess the Yogi

I Made Krispie Treats

That’s all I got.

BTW, I also hate the word “inflammation“.

June is Bustin Out All Over!

All over the meadows and the hills!

Yes, I was in a musical review of Carousel at Spokane Falls Community College. “June is Busting Out All Over”  depicts the amazing month of June and all the wonder it has to offer. Birds chirping, green meadows, flowers a’bloomin. However, this is not the case for poor Jackson Hole. This is the weather I have to look forward to next week:

Poopy, to say the least.

In order to overcome the scattered and isolated t-storms (such ugly words) you must either follow these rules or hike up yer skinny jeans, throw on the galoshes and say “bring it on June!”. This weekend was no exception.

Technically, my “weekend” began on Thursday since I’ve undergone a couple career changes and will now be full time at Elevated Grounds Coffee House. So freakin awesome, right?! What did I do to celebrate? Made cupcakes of course!! I was gifted this amazing mix a while back and decided to give it a try:

Sprinkles Cupcakes Mix

Not without my favorite apron of course:

For the mix, all you do is add eggs, milk, salt and vinegar. The kit also gives you a super easy recipe for cream cheese buttercream frosting and the signature Sprinkles adornments. The frosting contained cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, salt and vanilla. Here’s a shot of the naked cupcake:

Next, I put all the frosting into a Ziploc bag, snipped one corner and piped the frosting on. I’m such a pro ;-).

I’m Trying the Natural Light Thing!

I served these cupcakes with chicken souvlaki pitas and tzatziki. They were BOMB.

Homeade tzatsiki

We also enjoyed this bottle of  wine given to me by Stacey and Zack, the lovely owners of Elevated Grounds. Notice the blend? SO fitting right?!


Friday:
I didn’t have to work and it was raining which meant doing hoards of laundry while watching The Price is Right. I was the epitome of a housewife, even though I am not married and consider dogs to be babies. I basked in my cliche.

After the laundry was folded, the floors were mopped and the vodka was gone, I decided it was time for exercise. So I threw on my stretchy pants and…watched a Lifetime Movie. Those things are pure danger. After “Deadly Whispers” (totes amazing) I hiked up High School Butte while listening to the Sweeney Todd Soundtrack and Justin Bieber. I was a hot + sweaty mess  of a girl.

Then, Bry  informed me that we had our first kick-ball game of the season. It’s true, B and I joined a kickball team for the summer. After you stop laughing, know this: people in The Hole, take their kickball UBER serious. Despite the fact that most participants are holding a PBR in a “Frankie Say Relax” beer coozy, folks can get seriously verklemped over this so-called P.E game.

Since I tend to take sports a little more lightly than most, it was easy for me to laugh and distribute high-5’s despite our pathetic 15-3 loss. The good news? I got on base, ran to third, wore cute pink sparkly knee socks and totally intimidated the other team like this:

Saturday:

Bryan had to work which meant another deliciously housewivey day. I kicked it off by doing sit ups while watching House Hunters  in my jammies and socks. Does anyone else do this? I love the show but do tire of comments such as “This room would be great for entertaining” and “I was really hoping for granite counter-tops with an island”. Come on people! Old and funky is making a comeback. Along with coolots and stirrup pants (I promise).

After the rained cleared up a bit, I completed a 4 mile run along flat creek at an embarrassingly slow pace. But I’m trying not to focus on that :-). Again, I returned home a sweaty beast:

I ran in my fairly new Nike Lunar Lites.

These babies are great. I also wear custom orthotics since I have (and I quote from my P.T) “ridiculously flat feet” and they help enormously as well. Another cool aspect of this shoe is that it has the slot in the sole for the Nike+ chip.

From Nike:

How it Works

Simply place the Nike+ Sensor under the sockliner of your left Nike+ ready shoe and start running to sync it with your Nike+ SportWatch GPS, iPhone 3GS ® or other Nike+ tracking device. The sensor measures your pace, distance, time elapsed and calories burned. This information is transmitted wirelessly to your device for real-time feedback while you train.

I have the wristband and I love it.You can also create an account at Nike+ and see all your runs, challenge others and achieve goals by running more miles or faster paces. While the Nike+ may not be as accurate or as fancy as the popular Garmin, it is a huge motivator for anyone out there like me, who isn’t a “natural” runner and doesn’t want to spend $350 on the Garmin.

Wristband and Chip

After my epic run,  I cooled off and waited for B to get off work.

Ice water + lemonade. Ignore the skis in the background.

After B got off, we ran some errands and then made the clutch decision to concoct mojitos. YUM.

Enjoyed on the Porch

A few were consumed:

Must re-paint nails

After 2 3 mojitos, a couple of Bryan’s friends arrived so I went inside, pounded a red velvet and watched “Bad Santa” on TV until I fell asleep with my mouth open. I hope they didn’t see me…

Sunday:

This morning we awoke to more rain so we promptly hit up the Red Box and got two movies (True Grit and Love and Other Drugs). We returned home and Bryan got to work making huevos rancheros. Seriously, best I’ve ever had.

Then we went down to the gym where I completed 20 minutes on the elliptical and a 20 minute interval workout on the dreadmill while watching “Hungry Girl” on the cooking channel.

I’m off to paint my nails teal.

So until next time – eat cupcakes, drink rum and have an awesome day!

Canlis Salad + Crab Cakes

“Would you rather saw off your own arm pinched in a boulder, or eat some crazy salad?”

“Um…eat the salad?”

“Oh good, I thought you were gonna say saw your arm off.

HEY!

As of late, B and I’s latest obsesh is creating scenarios such as these, while speaking in the voice of Harry Carey (Will Ferrell’s version, anyway). This phrase was uttered by Bryan and was very reflective of the weekend’s happenings.

Around the dinner table, my family will often play a little game called High/Low. Where you go around the table and say the high and low point of your day.

Here’s mine for the weekend:

High: Dinner at Osteria with the Elevated Grounds coffee crew. Campari, wine, chocolate cake shots consumed.

The Crew

Low: Laying on the bathroom floor next to the toilet after Osteria (maja food baby + shots = bad idea). I had a towel under me though so it’s coo.

High: Hanging out with Matt + Holly and watching the Hangover. “Next week’s no good for me. The Jonas Brothers are in town.” Bahahaha. Here is Matt and Holly at dinner (nobody saw, I promise.)

Yes, Things Got Rowdy

Low: Unsuccessfully trying to break into the hot tub at  Hotel Terra with our Albertson’s cards using the drunk-logic that maybe “they were just swipe-activated”. We got in though, thanks to a friendly couple.

Blurry, But you Get It

High: Watching “127 Hours”. Holy balls. Gory and magnificent.

Low: Watching “The Ring Two”. Don’t judge ok?

High: Pounding out 4.5 miles on the Elk Refuge with the wind in our hair.

Low: Drinking Pedialyte + H2O cocktails all weekend. This stuff WORKS  on monster hangovers guys. Don’t wait for the Mythbusters to come out.

pedialytle

Nectar of the Gods

The biggest high of all?

B and I decided to recreate our ultra-memorable gastronomical experience at Seattle landmark, Canlis. We prepared the world-renowned Canlis salad as well as scratch-made crab cakes.

The View from Canlis

IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT THIS SALAD: Do not take the ingredient notes lightly guys. If you want to enjoy this salad in its purest form, follow this recipe to the T. Get all Iron Chef about it.

The Canlis Salad

(serves 4 to 6)

Salad

  • 1 large head Romaine hearts, cut into 1″ pieces
  • (Wash individual leaves in warm water, drain and dry in colander then chill in refrigerator. Don’t ever, ever toss a Canlis Salad with warm or wet leaves!!)
  • 8 cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup very well done chopped bacon
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh mint*
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced oregano leaves
  • 1/2 cup croutons*
  • kosher salt and fresh ground tellicherry black pepper to taste

Homeade Croutons

VERY Well-Done Bacon and Oregano

Romano and Sliced Green Onion

Chilled, Fresh and Dry

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground tellicherry black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 coddled egg*

Ingredient notes:

Mint – you can’t use too much mint (experiment yourself)

Coddled Egg – Pour boiling water into a cup and put a whole egg (in the shell) into the hot water , let sit for 1 minute. You may substitute with pasteurized egg mixture (found in the dairy section in cartons).

Croutons – We make our own croutons. Butter and Italian seasoning.

Directions:

To make the dressing, put the salt and pepper, lemon juice, oil, and coddled egg in a bowl and whip vigorously, then reserve. To a salad bowl add the prepared Romaine, green onion, cheese, bacon, oregano, and mint. Pour dressing over salad and toss thoroughly. Split the salad on to four chilled plates and arrange croutons, a sprinkle of Romano cheese and halved cherry tomatoes on the salad to finish the presentation.

Utterly Perfect

We loosely followed the crab cake recipe on the back of the can, but modified it so we used some of the ingredients we had on hand.

Crab Cakes

  • 1 16oz. canned claw crab meat
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tbs mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp spicy brown mustard
  • 2 tbs finely chopped green onion
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Vegetable Oil
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tbs Old Bay
  • 1/2 cup Panko

Directions

In medium bowl, combine all ingredients except crabmeat and oil; blend well. Gently fold in crabmeat; avoid breaking lumps of crabmeat. Using an ice-cream scoop, shape cakes into little patties. Add enough oil to cover the bottom of a large skillet. Heat oil over medium-high heat until hot. Gently add the crab cakes; fry each side until deep golden brown (about 4 to 5 minutes per side). Drain on paper towels. Serve immediately.

Crab Cake Perfection

All together now…

Ta Da!

What is the best restaurant meal you’ve ever had?

Bry’s Basic Bruschetta

OK peeps – this one’s a keeper. All you need is one two bottles of wine and “Julie & Julia” on DVD.

2 Roma Tomatos – seeds removed
1/2 Red Onion
10 Leaves of Basil
2 gloves Garlic
salt and pepper to taste
tblsp EVOO
tsp fresh lemon juice

I just put it all in the food processor, but you can chop the tomato, onion and garlic into cubes if you want it to be more aesthetic.

Cut one baguette into long 1 inch pieces, coat a large sauce pan in EVOO and brown the baguette slices on each side. Place toasted baguette pieces on baking pan, spoon tomato, onion, basil, garlic mix onto each piece, top with grated parmesan, broil till cheese melts, place on serving tray and enjoy!

Goes Great with Lemon Drops