Categories
Uncategorized

Psssst. You Know Thanksgiving’s Coming Right? Cool. Just Checking. We’re Cool.

This is a mac and cheese waffle, which you didn't know you needed until this moment. #postthanksgivingsnacks
This is a mac and cheese waffle, which you didn’t know you needed until this moment. #postthanksgivingsnacks

Happy Friday the 13th, ya’ll! Anyone else pretending this is your lucky day to avoid it being your totally unlucky day? Um… no? Ok. Moving on then.

YOU GUYS I AM MASSIVELY EXCITED.

Why? You’re asking me why? YOU KNOW WHY! (Jimmy’s been hiding from me lately. He definitely knows why.)

So, because I am nuts and also because Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away, I am insanely busy. Weirdly, for once, I am busy. It’s like all the cool/weird/random things decided to just wait until the end if the year to happen, and I am in the eye of the damned storm. It’s mostly event-related and cookie-related, and I am not complaining because the more time I spend at events and enveloped inappropriately in cookies, the less time I spend crying and whining. Woot!

So, with that said, while I am off recipe-testing sweets for this Thanksgiving– and yes, I will absolutely update you all with new sweets next week– I am leaving you with some of my favorite Turkey day recipes from years past. Enjoy, and I will see you next week, likely full of tears and butter! ❤


Categories
Uncategorized

These Are The Material Goods You’ve Been Looking For.

It's the Rockefeller tree, ya'll! Granted, it has yet to be lit and also this picture is from around this time last year but... holiday spirit?
It’s the Rockefeller tree, ya’ll! Granted, it has yet to be lit and also this picture is from around this time last year but… holiday spirit?

Ok, so, full disclosure: this is a post in which I recommend products to you. I get a teeny commission if you decide to buy anything from any of the links provided, but keep two things in mind: I love you guys and I ain’t no sellout (I also ain’t no snitch, but I said two things so…). There is nothing on the below list that I haven’t purchased/wouldn’t purchase if I weren’t so darned broke and living in a tiny apartment. Most of the reason I’m doing this is I keep getting all of these crazy promotional emails for nutty sales that I want to share with ya’ll. Especially with the holidays coming up, I think now might be a good time to share some of my favorite things with you guys. Read on, friends!

First off, Sur La Table is having a BOSS Thanksgiving flash sale (link below), for those of you celebrating the holiday. If you’re brave and awesome and brave, there is a Waring Pro deep-fryer that is on super discount at almost 50% off, today only. Get on it, and then please save me a hunk of fried meat. Will love you eternally. 

Flash Sale! Today Only! Save Up To 60% On Popular Thanksgiving Products at SurLaTable.com!

Also at Sur La Table are these gorgeous Le Creuset mixing bowls, which I am inappropriately in love with and have just purchased myself because they’re on sale. My favorite thing about these bowls are the handles and spout, because you cannot know how disgustingly clumsy I am. I will take all of the help you will give, and then ask for more. There is also this fabulous autumnal-colored cast-iron dutch oven, also on super sale, that will absolutely last you forever. 

Now, for all of your cookbook needs, and specifically all of your cupcake-related cookbook needs, I’d like to present Robicelli’s: A Love Story, a book that combines saucy language with glorious sweet creations. This book is my best friend. No, but really though, we tell each other everything, me and this book. We’re, like, inseparable, me and this book. Guys I know, it’s weird. But the cookbook just gets me, you know?

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Created by the married couple who owns Robicelli’s Bakery in Brooklyn, this book will soon be my one real connection to one of my favorite sweet spots. That’s correct, friends, Robicelli’s is closing, and I am handling the news like the champ I am.

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Yup, total champ. Many of you know Robicelli’s because of the monster success of Nutellasagna, a crazy dessert that deserves every bit of hype it has received, and then some. Get over to the store and try some before it closes at the end of the year, or order a hunk of the stuff, plus pretty much everything else, online. If you do swing by the store, be on the lookout for me, creepily weeping just outside, by the window. 

And lastly, there is a certain popular film franchise that has been discussed quite a bit around these parts recently…likely because the force is being awakened in less than a month and some of us have been told to control ourselves despite the fact that we physically just cannot. If you’re looking for holiday presents for the Star Wars nerd baker in your life (there are more of us than you’d like to believe, sorry to tell you) look no further.

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R2-D2 COMES APART TO BECOME MEASURING CUPS. ❤ ❤ ❤ !!! 

So, that’s that for now. I’ll pop in from time to time with more recommendations, especially since we’re close to the holidays and I am hella ridiculous with finding deals. If you’ve got a specific question or just wanna be all “what’s up, Sad Shibow, let’s be homies,” comment below! 

Categories
Boozy Desserts Easy Baking Fancy Pantsy No-Bake Recipes Puddings

Wobbly And Delicate. No, Not My Psyche: It’s A Panna Cotta Post!

You know how they always say that television is super healthy for your soul? They say that. Someone does. Well who cares who “someone” is? Readers, meet Television, my new BFFL.

And what, you might ask, am I watching? Well, given that I am uncool and often at least a year behind all of you hippy dippies, I’m on series one of The Great British Bake-Off, which is easily now my all-time favorite cooking-based competition show. Everyone on this show is so damned nice, and I’m amazed/worried over how emotionally attached I’ve become to every single contestant. Perhaps this says more about my current emotional state than it does about the quality of the show, but NO MATTER! You all need to be as obsessed as I am. This is the kind of show that could make a cold old soul like this one melt like buttah. I mean, there’s a freaking seventeen year old who is owning the season so far, and I’m too busy rooting for her to jealously question my own life choices. The show’s got HEART, people!

How was everyone’s Halloween? We ended up, at the very last minute, deciding to go to a friend’s party, which made me realize just how old I’m getting. I pretty much threw a tantrum at the thought of leaving the apartment after 8pm. Ten years ago I wouldn’t have even let the house until close to midnight, and these days I’m griping to my boyfriend about going to a party. That someone was kind enough to invite us to join. I’m a terrible human. 

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Yup, that’s correct, I pulled out the old three-minute Princess Leia costume and Jimmy decided to be… Luke Skywalker. And then, to prove to all the other guests that he was Luke, I present to you the above. Disturbing on all of the levels, yes. I never promised you a rose garden.

What can I promise you? Panna Cotta! Panna cotta is a sometimes annoying but mostly easy, quick dessert that, when done correctly, can impress your friends/best friends/television. I decided to add booze to mine, because what else would you expect from me? 

Rum Stracciatella Panna Cotta (makes 3 to 4 servings)

lightly inspired by

1 cup of half and half

1 cup of heavy cream

1/4 cup of sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla

1 packet of powdered gelatin (about 2 1/2 teaspoons)

3 tablespoons of water

2 to 3 tablespoons of dark rum, optional

handful of chocolate chips

Place water in a medium-sized bowl, then sprinkle gelatin evenly over water and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes.

 

In a medium saucepan, heat heavy cream, half and half and sugar until sugar is dissolved– it needs to be hot, but do not let the mixture come to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and rum. Set aside.

Lightly oil ramekins, tumblers, tea cups, or whatever other heatproof container you’d like to use to serve these. I used all three because I wanted to figure out which would be prettiest, and also I used the tumbler because I was afraid my panna cotta wouldn’t unmold. This is a trust circle guys. It’s important to be honest. 

Stir a handful of chocolate chips into your hot cream mixture and stir lightly just until the chocolate melts and leaves a lovely spotty, ribbony pattern. Pour this mixture over your gelatin, and stir until the gelatin completely dissolves. And I mean completely. The first time I made this I didn’t realize my gelatin hadn’t completely dissolved and I was left with a delicious but messy custardy thing that fell apart as soon as I tried to unmold. I was PISSED. Once it’s completely dissolved, pour into your receptacles, and chill for 2 to 4 hours, until set.

See? They're pretty in tumblers!
See? They’re pretty in tumblers!

Now you can totally leave these in your ramekins/tumblers if you’d like, but if you’re looking to unmold them, run a very thin knife around the edge of your panna cotta, place a plate on top and invert.

Thoughts?
Thoughts?

No matter how you decide to eat these… oh em gee, ya’ll. It’s a wonder. Believe it or not, the rum does not overpower these and instead gives them a nice caramel-like finish. These are also pretty quick to prepare and make quite a nice treat for your party guests/self. I just had one for breakfast. Ok, no I didn’t. I had two. I had two for breakfast. Like I said, circle of trust. 

 

Categories
Chocolate Cheer Holiday desserts Strange and Yummy

Woooooo Social anxiety is scaaaaary! It's a Halloween cupcake post.

HI! Have we all calmed down from that Star Wars trailer yet guys? No? I know. It’s ok. This is a safe place.

Speaking of safe places, I got some cool feedback on my last post in which I explained a little bit of the Sad in Sad Shibow. That’s heartening: I learned about things like anxiety clubs (brings me anxiety just to think about, but I learned!) and got some very sweet support from some old friends, one of whom I’m hoping to work with on an exciting project soon! Stay tuned…

Are you intrigued? Curious? Slightly spooked by my constant sads and disturbing obsession with The Force? Well, now’s the perfect time to join the fun then, because All Hallow’s Eve is creeping up on us. What are your thoughts on Halloween? Halloween’s like New Year’s Eve for some people, and I admit that in the past I have been “some people.” There is crazy dumb pressure to have a rad time, especially in the age of The Facebook: A Place For Friends/People You Meet On Buses (maybe that’s just me?) and Instagram: A Place To Make Your New Pics Look Ancient But In That Hip[stery] Way. I’m trying not to let too much of that get to me this year, mostly because my last Halloween was all kinds of lame (the heavens rained down upon my homemade “We Can Do It!” headband sign thing and smeared all of the ink and my makeup until I looked like Zombie Rosie the Riveter. I’m sure I could have made it work if I were not freezing and cranky). This year, I’m going to pay more attention to the inside of the plastic Jack-o-lantern we have filled to its brim with Halloween candy (despite the fact that we have never, ever had a trick or treater anywhere near our doorstep. JUST IN CASE, guys!!). No-pressure holidays are the best kinds of holidays. Also holidays where your head is buried in candy like an ostrich in the Sahara are the best kinds of holidays. But before you ask, yes, yes I do have a homemade Princess Leia costume at the ready in case plans do arise and I also decide to arise for these plans. No, it is not the one from the scene where she’s chained to Jabba the Hutt. #feminism

That year Jimmy and I, dressed up as, respectively, the movie The Grey and a flapper. Total couples' costume win, I know. 
That year Jimmy and I, dressed up as, respectively, the movie The Grey and a flapper. Total couples’ costume win, I know. 

I also often think about some of the heartbreaking costumes of yesteryear. The time when I was in preschool and my dad threw one of my poofy dresses at me, applied lipstick to my cheeks to mimic blush, and took me around our ‘hood to collect candy as a “princess,” (bless his heart, I still love everything about this story and will die on this hill telling it). The time I dressed up as the Pink Panther because it was the last costume at Walgreens. Or when I was the Pink Power Ranger (yeah, I recognize the pattern, I guess I was really into Pepto Bismol-colored characters from popular culture for a while there) and tripped over a Snickers bar and almost down some subway stairs as a ten year old. The Snickers bar was full-size, btw, which pains me now–what a waste! And, my favorite, the time I tried to be a Queen by using a wrap skirt as a cape because I was too cheap to buy one. Shockingly, this did not work. Someone asked if I was “dressed like a hurricane,” to which I now realize I should have simply answered, “yes, and thank you for noticing.” 

What about you guys? Best/worst costumes of all time? Talk to me folks. In return, you’ll get candy-stuffed cupcakes. No tricks here, only treats.

Halloween Skull Cupcakes (makes 10 cupcakes)

For the cupcakes

1/2 cup plus one tablespoon of butter, softened

1/2 cup of sugar

2 eggs

1 cup of all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tablespoons of milk

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

10 fun-sized chocolates of your choice

For the topping

1 8-oz block of cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup of powdered sugar

Chocolate-covered raisins

Mini marshmallows

Oreos, separated

Mini peanut butter cups

Preheat your oven to 350°F and line a muffin tin with liners. Place a fun-size chocolate in the middle of each cup. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar using a hand mixer on high. When light and creamy, beat in eggs, one at a time. In a smaller bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder and baking powder until mixed, then add into wet mixture. Stir in milk until batter forms, then divide evenly between cups, over chocolates. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the cupcakes have risen and the tops have set. 

That's a Mounds bar sticking out. Mmmmm.
That’s a Mounds bar sticking out. Mmmmm.

Let cool completely. While cooling, make your cream cheese icing. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together cream cheese and sugar using a hand mixer on high until smooth. Spread on cupcakes, then get to decorating.

As you can see, we got creative. Mine, on the left, had mini marshmallow teeth, chocolate chip nose holes (technical term), chocolate raisin eyes, and peanut butter cup hats with Oreo brims. Jimmy’s had marshmallow eyeballs, chocolate chip irises, and Oreo mouths with crooked chocolate chunk teeth.

So, thoughts? I enjoyed these, though I will warn you that the cake portion tastes more like a muffin, so it’s not terribly rich. I kind of think that’s perfect, though, given that these were stuffed with either Snickers Peanut Butter squares or Mounds bars, so very chocolatey. They’re also SUPER cute and would be perfect for any Halloween party.

But oh, back to the “pressure” part, because as adamant as I am about pressure-free Halloween, I felt sort of sorry for myself over how messy these turned out, and had a bit of a pity party [inside the plastic jack-o-lantern full of candy] before Jimmy made me pull myself together. Baking’s hard guys. Sometimes I don’t know what’s harder: sharing all of my personal nonsense with you, or sharing all of the desserts I’ve made, both pretty and pretty darned messy. But I’m trying to realize that messy = real, and I will take real. 

So, from my real– and really kooky looking– brood of cupcakes to you, HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!! Maybe swing by for some handfuls of candy and a cupcake (or three). I’ll be here 🙂

Categories
Classic Favorites Fancy Pantsy Strange and Yummy

The Force Is Strong With This Post. So Are The Sads. So Are The Pop Tarts.

HOLY BLEEPITY BLEEP BLEEP THE FORCE IS NIGH THE FORCE IS NIGH THE FORCE THE FORCE THE FORCE GAHHHHHHH.

How badass does this trailer look? I can’t stop watching it. Even my boyfriend, who actually saw Episodes 5 and 6 in theatres as a wee little lad, and is super psyched to experience the latest installment, is somewhat worried about me. As well he should be: see that BB8 in the sidebar under “Things I <3,” guys? I OWN IT. I know, I cannot believe it either. I purchased it during my “retail therapy is a legitimate form of therapy, stop judging me Jimmy” phase.  Do I love it? Unconditionally. Unhealthily. Completely. Did it do its job in curing me of the sads? Is this blog still called what it’s called?

Early birthday present from me, to me. #wortheverypenny #nosleeptilBB #BB8

A photo posted by @shibow on Sep 9, 2015 at 4:56pm PDT

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And speaking of that, I’m going to warn you: this post is about to get kind of heavy, and kind of very long. But there are pop tarts at the end of it so it will all be worth it. In case you’re impatient or low blood-sugary, you can totally scroll past all of this. For those of you who’ve stuck around, I kind of feel like it’s time to talk heavy. We’ve known each other a while, right? We’re past the weirdness over who pays for what, if we’re Facebook official… hell, I used your toothbrush yesterday! Real talk about the sads, in a list format:

1. Originally I wanted to post this during Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs from October 4th to the 10th, but a. I was too scared and b. it [Freudian] slipped my mind. But, I have a close family member with a mental illness and have seen all of the misunderstanding, confusion, pain and stigma that comes along with it. We need to talk, guys. 

2. I am ashamed to say I was too scared to write this because I’ve already faced some… I guess interrogation is the correct word, regarding the title and theme of this blog. I’m certainly open to talk about the stigma surrounding depression, but I’ve been caught off guard by the many–and I do mean many— people who have, especially recently, tried to “cure” me of it. And it’s not something that can be cured, unfortunately. If it were, I’d be shakin’ my rump-aa to Beastie Boys tunes on an unhealthy loop instead of dealing with this ish. And while I know that there are many, many people out there who struggle with it every second of every day, I am fortunate not to be one of them. But when it hits, it hits. This essay by the amazing Sarah Silverman does a much better job of explaining all this than I ever could. 

3. On that note, we need to stop asking the question “What could you possibly have to be sad about?” My rational brain knows how bad some people have it, and it pretty much hates my irrational brain for being super selfish and thinking only of my own sadness (thus compounding the sadness, vicious cycle and all that). But, with that said, and believe it or not, I’m sort of obsessively private. When I started this blog, my original plan was to be the Batman of the internets, never revealing my true identity, forever in the shadows, with a killer fancy ride to roll through the mean streets of Queens. But, I was also hell-bent on using the name Sad Shibow, which is very unique to me, and blah blah blah people in my real life know I write this and then ask me that question in the first sentence, and then I have to answer it, but since I’m private I mostly squirm and bite my lip and hold back the ugly cries. 

4. I don’t know if I’ve become sadder as I’ve gotten older or if I’ve just become more open about it. If I had to guess, I’d guess the latter. A whole hell of awful situations rained down on me and those around me in my early twenties, and mercifully this time in my life is nowhere near as dark as that was. But as I get older, tough times do seem to hit me harder. Losing a best friend, losing a few friends, being disappointed in where I am professionally, the FOMO, (OH THE FOMO!) and the weight of knowing I’ve disappointed other people I love can all routinely send me into very unattractive bawling fits. It happens. It creeps up on you. Some days I feel like I can handle all of the garbage and more, and sometimes I feel like burrowing into a hole I dug for myself in the shady park behind my building. It’s scary to talk about, but I’m talking about it in the hopes that other people will, too. At the risk of sounding nauseatingly corny, sometimes you send signals out into the universe in the hopes of locating your tribe. Sometimes, instead of “buck up and stop your whining,” you want to hear “I understand, and I can relate. Let’s be friends, despite your weird Resting Bitch Face and affinity for nerd stuff.”

5. Different things get different people out from under that dark cloud. For some people, it’s medication. For others, it’s exercise. For me, it’s writing. And baking. Oh, yes, this is a baking blog isn’t it? This is the part with the Homemade “Pop Tarts.” The ones filled with homemade pumpkin butter.

Homemade Pumpkin Butter-Filled “Pop Tarts” (makes about 20 tarts)

For the pumpkin butter (adapted from Minimalist Baker)

(makes 1 pint of pumpkin butter)

1 15oz can of pumpkin puree 

1/3 cup of sugar

2 tablespoons of maple syrup

1/4 cup of unsweetened apple juice

2 tablespoons of lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon of ginger

Pinch of allspice

For the tart shell

3 cups of all purpose flour

1 teaspoon of sugar

1/2 teaspoon of salt

12 tablespoons of cold butter, cut into small chunks or grated 

1 egg, beaten, mixed with enough cold water to produce 1/2 cup

Now, let’s start with that pumpkin butter, yes? You could go the store-bought route, but this is a crazy easy recipe and you’ll be so damned proud of yourself for going DIY. Place all pumpkin butter ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a rolling, bubbling boil, stirring frequently. 

Bring heat down to a simmer for at least 20 minutes, then pour into a heatproof container. Let cool before refrigerating until ready to use.

Now let’s work on our tart shell. We’re basically using a pie dough. If you’d like, you could halve the above recipe and use the other half of your dough for a kickass pie at a later date. In a large mixing bowl whisk together flour, salt and sugar. Add in the butter, then mix in with a pastry blender or fork. Use your fingers to continue to mix everything together just until it feels like wet sand. Stir in your egg mixture with a fork until a dough begins to come together. 

Turn the dough out onto a flat surface and knead it until it holds together. Divide the dough in equal halves, then wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to one week (dough can also be frozen for up to 6 months, for those emergency pie sitches that I KNOW we all have). 

Working with one half, roll out dough into an 11 x 13 rectangle, then cut into smaller rectangles, about 5″ x 3″ or, you know, Pop-Tart size, and lay on a baking sheet. Spread about a tablespoon of pumpkin butter onto a rectangle. 

Top with another rectangle, and crimp the edges with a fork. Pierce the tops of your tarts with a fork to allow heat to escape, unless you like your tarts exploded and unavailable. Sprinkle a bit of sugar on top of each tart if desired. Cover and freeze for at least 2 hours. 

Preheat your oven to 375°F. When your tarts are fully frozen, send into the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the tops are fully browned. Allow to cool for ten minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to cooling racks to cool completely.

I know what you’re thinking…LOLOLOLOL. It’s the glaze, guys. I won’t even get into it. It was hell on earth– delicious, but messy, messy hell. If I were you, I’d top these with powdered sugar and call it an evening.

BUT if you can also see the giant bite in that picture, you know I could not resist trying these. And damn am I happy I did. If I were you, I’d toast these before munching on them, just like the real deal. Use The Force. Or, um, a toaster. Whatever floats your houseboat. 

Save Up To 65% During The Biggest Cookware Sale EVER at SurLaTable.com! Just In Time For Thanksgiving!

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