Bewitching Butterbeer

Apparently this was a thing -before- many of us were enchanted by an English mother’s stories about a boy wizard destined for greatness, but I had never heard of it .

Butterbeer is a delicious thing that I literally just whipped up and tried in my kitchen.

Would. Make. Again.

The Lineup: Butter Sweetened Condensed Milk Cream Soda Caramel Topping

The Lineup

What You Will Need:

  • 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup butterscotch ice cream topping
  • 2 tbsp butter (room temp)
  • cream soda (room temp)

STEP 1
Heat sweetened condensed milk, butterscotch topping, and butter in a sauce pan. Stir until butter is melted.

Stir until butter is melted, but don't burn it!

Stir until butter is melted, but don’t burn it!

STEP 2
Pour mixture into a pint glass (or divide between two smaller glasses/mugs… the fancier the better.)

If I had a fancier glass, I'd have used it. Promise.

If I had a fancier glass, I’d have used it. Promise.

STEP 3
Fill glass (slowly) the rest of the way with the room temperature cream soda. If you like your drinks hotter, you can heat the cream soda on the stove or in the microwave until it is your desired temperature

The tasty, finished product.

The tasty, finished product.

Optionally (for grown-ups), add a shot of Buttershots, spiced rum, bourbon, or any other of your favourite adult treats that you think might be tasty with butterscotch and cream soda.

Try it out, and let me know what you think! As always, thanks for reading, and if you like what you see, feel free to comment/share/like/subscribe!

-Molly

What the French, Toast?

Obligatory mention of how long it has been since I posted. Moving on!

Hello, loyal and long-neglected readers! Thanks for coming back to… well, to read.

My friends are awesome, and as such I like to take super good care of them when they come over to visit. Bassvocals graced us with his lanky presence for the weekend, and so I got up early and threw together some breakfast for he and Shiny Roommate, and I decided on French toast.

French toast is a really easy throw-together breakfast as long as you have some simple ingredients.

However, the BEST French toast you have ever made in your entire LIFE takes a couple extras.  The below makes at least eight pieces… Let us examine.

What You Will Need:

  • 1 stove
  • 1 frying pan
  • 1 microwave
  • 1 large mixing bowl
  • 1 soup-sized microwave-safe bowl
  • 1 spatula
  • 1 fork
  • 1 stick butter
  • some brown sugar
  • some cinnamon
  • some vanilla
  • 6 eggs
  • 8 pieces of bread (I used sliced Italian bread, but that’s because it was 10 loaves for $10, and how can you resist that?)

Step 1: The secret to frying anything is making sure you fry it in a delicious fat. As such, melt your stick of butter in your microwave safe bowl.

Step 2: Once your butter is melted, mix in some brown sugar— just enough so that it all dissolves all the way, I think I used like 1/8 cup, maybe a little more. Add cinnamon as well, maybe two tablespoons.

Step 3: Take up your mighty fork and beat your 6 eggs in your large mixing bowl. Add some cinnamon, enough that you have a cinnamon swirl in your eggy mixture when you stir it all up. Add a splash of vanilla, and make sure it’s all mixed up nicely.

Step 4: Add two tablespoons of your butter mixture to your frying pan and turn the heat on medium.

Step 5: Dip a slice of your bread into your eggy mixture, making sure that both sides are coated. I usually run my fingers over it a few times to make sure that there isn’t too much egg left on it, or else it gets a weird consistency.

Eggy Bread!

This is what your bread will probably look like when you dip it in the eggy stuff.

Step 6: Place your eggy bread carefully into your frying pan. If there is room for another slice, repeat steps 5 and 6. If there is still room because you’re using like a mondo skillet or something, continue adding as many slices as will fit without touching, but no more than you can monitor. If you need to, add more of your sugary butter mixture.

 

This is the uncooked side of the bread. Woo!

This is the uncooked side of the bread. Woo!

Step 7: Once the eggy mixture starts bubbling on the top of your bread slice(s), count to 30 and then use your spatula to flip the bread slice over. Monitor and make sure that the bread cooks thoroughly, but doesn’t burn. Once it’s no longer floppy and soggy, you are in the clear, so just cook each slice until it is as crispy as you want it.

 

When you flip your bread, it should look something like this. Don't worry if it's darker-- sometimes the cinnamon settles and makes it look all burnified.

When you flip your bread, it should look something like this. Don’t worry if it’s darker– sometimes the cinnamon settles and makes it look all burnified.

Step 8: Take  slice(s) out of pan when finished and repeat steps 5-7 until you run out of bread slices (or eggy mixture). Serve warm if possible.

 

Voila. Dig in, and don't forget to tell us how yours turned out!

Voila. Dig in, and don’t forget to tell us how yours turned out!

Pro tip: If you serve the rest of your sugary butter mixture on the French toast instead of syrup, you may exact a marriage proposal from whomever eats it.

I served mine with fruit salad and sausage links.

Thanks for reading, and as always please remember to comment/like/share/subscribe! Also make sure to try these things out and come back to let us know how they turned out for you.

-Molly

Cauliflower Mashies

Hey y’all! Long time no post, I know. But it is because I have been doing research!

[read: I have been failing all over the place so that I have something interesting to write about for -you-!]

We’re gonna start with the more basic stuff and get into the more awesome stuff down the line, but let’s just say my skills have begun to grow beyond mere cooking and baking (though those are getting pretty good too!) and have entered the realm of… other stuff.

Cauliflower mashies! These babies taste fresh and light, and while they don’t quite mirror their brother the mashed potato in every way, they’re a darn good replacement, especially for those looking for some lighter fare now that it’s getting warmer outside.

These go great with brats and burgers, steak, certain tofu dishes, chicken… basically anything. They’re an awesome, versatile side and they’re super easy to make.

Also don’t rag on my food-tography. I was yelled at for not having any pictures of the stuff I make (because honestly I just always forget) so… enjoy it, or scorn it in silence!

You Will Need:

  • 1 stove
  • 1 large pot with lid
  • 1 colander that fits inside the aforementioned pot
  • 1 fork
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • water

Step 1: Fill the bottom of the pot with water and balance the colander on the mouth of the pot. The bowl of the colander should go inside the pot, but the water in the pot should not be high enough to get into the holes of the colander. You’re going to be steaming your cauliflower!

Image
Like so!

Step 2: Chop up your head of cauliflower. Discard the leaves, but otherwise it doesn’t really need to be pretty or cut a certain way, just as long as the pieces are large enough not to fall through the holes of your colander.

Step 3: Turn the burner under the pot on high and place your cauliflower choppings into the colander. Balance the lid over top of the colander.
Image
Liiike so!

Step 4: Let your cauliflower bits steam until your fork can stab through them with very little resistance.

Step 5: Once your cauliflower is steamed properly, empty your pot of its water, shake the water from your cauliflower (over a sink preferably), and put your cauliflower bits directly into the pot.

Step 6: (Do this carefully if you have a teflon-coated pot as you don’t want to scratch it) Take up your mighty fork like the trident of Poseidon and mash the cauliflower. Add butter and pepper to taste, or whatever you do to fancy up your mashed potatoes.

Image

Step 7: Smash that mash and come back to tell us how it turned out!

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Thanks for reading, guys! As always, like, comment, share, subscribe! Keep your eyes open for more from Molly Stewart Living, coming soon.

-Molly

Carrot Fries

Holy delicious, Batman. We have stumbled upon the cheapest, tastiest, fastest snack or side dish you have ever put in your face.

Carrot fries.

Let’s get right down to it, shall we?

What You Will Need

  • 1 oven
  • Carrots (the long kind, not baby carrots — I used like 6 or 7)
  • A carrot peeler or some other method of getting the yuck off of the outside of your carrots
  • A knife
  • A cookie sheet
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Step 1:  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Step 2: Wash and peel your carrots. If you do not know how to peel carrots, look here.

Step 3: Cut each carrot in half horizontally (so you have two slightly less long pieces of carrot), then length-wise until you have four to six (depending on the width of your carrot) thinnish carrot slivers. Arrange these so they’re scattered and somewhat flat on your cookie sheet.

Step 4: Drizzle carroty bits with olive oil, then add some salt and pepper and shake ’em around until all of your slivers are nice and coated. Pop them into the oven.

Step 5: Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until your carrot fries are crispy-but-not-burnt. Check on them every few minutes, they cook very fast and are easy to burn.

Step 6: Remove your delicious carrot fries from the oven, salt and pepper a bit more to taste, and enjoy the frick out of them.

So good.

Share/comment/like/subscribe, and thank you SO MUCH for reading!

Molly

Mayo and Catch-Up

Hello folks! Did you miss me?

I fell off the face of the planet there for a bit– between my shiny new roommate, finals (I just completed my first semester of college) and PenguiCon this last weekend, I haven’t had much time or extra energy to devote to recipe-sharing.

I also haven’t had a whole lot of time or energy for cooking in general, and I’ve been eating like crap as a result, and feeling even worse.
To combat this, shiny roommate and I have been having Random Plank Moments, where one of us says “plank” or something and we both hit the floor and… well, plank for thirty seconds.

This is what planking looks like. And no, that is certainly not me.

I recommend trying it if you haven’t, but be warned that if you are as out of shape as I am, thirty seconds feels like a lot longer and you have to talk yourself into breathing fairly immediately.

Anyway! That is not why you are here. You are here to learn how to make your own mayo.

It’s cheap, it’s fairly easy (if you’re patient), and it’s way better for you than the stuff that comes in the bottle/jar.
High fructose corn syrup, while delicious, is the devil.

You can also make it taste exactly how you want! Try out different herbs and spices and see what tastes best– just make sure that whatever you add, you add it SLOWLY and taste test as you go after mixing EXTREMELY well.

What You Will Need

  • 1 whisk (sorry guys, a fork won’t cut it this time)
  • 1 medium-sized bowl
  • 1 egg yolk (just the yolk, use the whites for something else or ditch ’em)
  • olive oil
  • lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • any other herbs and spices you want to add

Step 1: Put the egg yolk into your bowl and whisk it around until it’s nice and broken up.

Step 2: Carefully pour olive oil into a cap or something else from which you can really control its pour speed.

Step 3: Drizzle (and I mean drizzle, this should be the most painfully slow pouring of anything you’ve ever done)  olive oil into the bowl while whisking. It should mix nicely with the egg yolk, and make sure it all gets mixed in as quickly as it’s poured.

Step 4: Repeat steps 2 and 3 several times, pausing every once in a while to give the contents of your bowl a good whisk. You will know when you can stop adding olive oil when the stuff in your bowl balls up around your whisk and is nice and thick. You know, like mayo.

Step 5: Once your mayo is the correct consistency, stop adding olive oil and slowly add lemon juice to taste. Make it as tangy as you like.

Step 6: Add salt, pepper, and/or any other herbs and spices you’d like to try, to taste.

And you’re good! We made this tonight and while we’d make a few changes (less salt, more lemon juice next time) it went over fairly well.

IF YOU DO NOT POUR THE OLIVE OIL SLOWLY ENOUGH, YOUR MAYO WILL SUCK. Seriously. It won’t mix right, it will separate, and you’ll be noshing on some filmy, gritty grossness instead of delicious homemade condiments.

Give it a try, let us know how it went, remember to share/comment/like/subscribe, and have an awesome day! Thank you, as always, for reading!

Molly

Pseudo-Jambalaya!

I haven’t written in a while due to my shiny new roommate moving in and all of the preparation and cleaning that goes with transplanting and unwrapping a shiny new roommate. But I am back now, with a recipe I cooked up on accident, again just kind of throwing some things I found in the fridge into a pan and hoping for the best.

This is…kind of jambalaya. There’s no seafood in it (stuff’s expensive!) but it’s still super tasty. You can make it as hot as you like… but I like it hot, so here’s what I did.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

For the sauce:
1 sauce pan (any reasonably-sized pan with high sides will do)
1 can opener
1 long spoon
1 can tomato sauce (we’re not talking Prego, we’re talking the $.49 cans you find in the canned food aisle)
1 can tomato paste (get whatever kind you like, I got Italian because that’s the first one I saw)
Garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, basil, crushed red pepper flakes, black pepper, and anything else you might want to experiment with… these are your tastebuds!

Step 1: Empty tomato sauce and tomato paste into a sauce pan and turn the heat on low. Stir occasionally, eventually these will blend and thicken properly, just perform step 2 while you wait for this.

Step 2: Shake in a BUNCH of garlic and onion powder, and however much of the other herbs you selected. Stir them in well, then just stir occasionally on low heat. Put a lid over it when not stirring once it is the consistency you like. This will prevent you from cooking out too much moisture AND save your pretty stovetop from tomato splatter when the sauce gets too excited.

That’s it. Literally. Taste it every once in a while once the herbs have had a chance to cook into the sauce and add more if you like, to taste.

For the rest:
1 skillet
1 spatula
1 knife
olive oil
1 pack sausages (I like Johnsonville Smoked New Orleans spicy sausages)
1 onion
1 each red and green bell pepper (I really like these if you couldn’t tell)
Rice, cooked (I usually cook up 1/2 cup to 1 cup of dry rice)

Step 1: Drizzle olive oil into the bottom of your skillet and turn the heat on medium.

Step 2: Use your knife to cut your sausages into slices, thickness depending on how big you want your sausage bites (mine are usually about 3-4 quarters (the coin) thick) and toss them in the pan. Drizzle more olive oil on top.

Step 3: While you let your sausage bits warm up, slice up your veggies. I usually do bell peppers first as they take a bit longer to soften up, then the onion. If you would like to learn how to chop veggies, check out this post. Throw these in the pan, drizzle in more olive oil if necessary. Push things around with your spatula.

Step 4: Once things are cooked and your veggies are tender (but not too squishy), toss in your rice and pour the sauce you made above on top.

Step 5: Turn your heat down low and this all simmer and cook together for maybe 10-15 minutes with a lid on it, stirring occasionally. The longer it sits together, the tastier it becomes. Serve hot when ready.

This is fairly quick and painless to make in the grand scheme of things. Does reheat well (as long as you don’t let someone else reheat it. Someone else who subsequently decides to pour in WATER and let it cook until everything is bland mush. True story.)

Enjoy! Remember to like/comment/subscribe/share ❤

-Molly

Sage Advice from Matt the Pirate

I met my dear friend Matt in New Orleans (I promise not all of my stories happen there… just maybe all of the best ones) at a pirate-themed event that was taking place in the French Quarter. I was with the Theatrical Combat Network at the time, performing some stage combat, showing off our costumes and generally playing pirate to the entertainment of onlookers, the Travel Channel, and most importantly ourselves.

Matt walked me safely to my hotel on several inebriated evenings, bought me in the wench auction (all proceeds went to helping restore New Orleans post-Katrina) and gave me a place to stay when my flight home was cancelled. Granted that place was in Texas, but any detour is a short one when the alternative is sleeping in an airport. He also endured my vegetarianism at the time, which allowed me to try many new things, but prevented me from trying other things that were New Orleans staples.

A year or two later, when I was the brokest I’ve ever been, Matt called me up at about 2am and informed me that a flight heading to New Orleans was leaving from Detroit in about 4 hours and that he’d like me to be on it.

My. Hero.

I was no longer veggie, so he immediately ensured that I tried everything I had missed the first time around, and all in all it was one of the best trips I’ve ever been on to date.

Anyway! Matt was kind enough to guest-blog for us on the wonders of the underexplored markets just around the corner. Here’s what he had to say…

So, I’m not really a blogger, so pardon my writing. Miss Molly has been nice enough to allow me a guest spot in her blog, so I’m going to do my best to say something vaguely interesting.

Now that that’s out of the way, I do want to talk about a frequently-neglected source of incredibly good, cheap, fresh food: your local Asian market.

I’m lucky enough to live in a community where we have a massive Korean supermarket, but even for those of you not in an area with a big immigrant/east Asian community, I guarantee there is at least one grocery store catering to that demographic within easy distance, if you’re in a city of any size. (Try looking for an H-Mart near you)

“But it smells like fish in there!” you say. Yes, it does, because they’re actually cleaning fish at that counter in the back in front of you. Nothing is frozen, and the prices are probably going to be around 2/3 or 3/4 of what you’d pay for fish at the regular grocery store. Red meat can go either way on price, but fish specifically is a staple for the people they’re catering to, so you’d be silly not to take advantage. Beyond fish/meat, the other big draw for me is produce. Really fresh, seasonal produce is what drives most of these places, and again, at a significantly lower price that you’re going to pay for lower-quality produce in the generic grocery stores in your neighborhood. Bigger variety, too; take it as a chance to try some new things, and you may be surprised at what all you find that you like. The other items you can find at your local Asian grocery are about what you’d expect; a variety of fresh and dried noodles (also great ramen that isn’t maruchan/ichiban, though Molly tells me we’re trying to avoid that), a massive range of both fresh and dry spices, and a surprising amount of American name-brand items at significant markdown over your normal local grocer. The short version is, consider giving a different shopping venue a shot. You might be surprised at what unexpected good things you stumble across, and how much money you could save on items you planned to buy anyway.

Thank you so much for your sagely advice, Matt! I look forward to checking out and posting up some recipes from things I’ve found once I wander to the nearest Asian market.

Guys, while you’re hanging out, check out Matt’s Etsy, on which I was given the honour of writing several item descriptions.

Thank you for reading! Remember to like/comment/subscribe/share and if you have anything you would like to contribute, let me know!

-Molly

Nice and Easy – Spicy Tuna and Rice

Like me, many folks don’t have a ton of time to dedicate to making filling, somewhat nutritious meals. I work full time, I go to school full time, I try to maintain somewhat of a social life, and in the midst of it all it’s very hard to avoid drive-thrus and other junk food on my way to and from places.

I’m also on a budget!

This meal isn’t going to make you any skinnier, but it will fill you right up and is quick and easy to make. It has lots of protein, and can have veggies if you choose to add those.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

  • minute rice (however much you want)
  • a can of tuna (I usually get the stuff in water, the stuff in oil is guh-ross)
  • mayo or Miracle Whip
  • Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce (you can find this like anywhere these days, look where the other condiments are– it’s a necessity)

Step 1: Make your rice. Follow the instructions on the back of the box, or basically throw some rice and twice as much water into a pot and put a lid on (2:1 ratio water:rice… so 1 cup of rice gets 2 cups of water.)

Step 2: Open your tuna, drain it, throw it in a bowl, squeeze in a bunch of mayo/Miracle Whip (more than you think you need), then dribble in some Sriracha. Mix. If you’ve never had Sriracha before, just do a few drips and mix it all up, then try it. Add more to taste, but do so very carefully because this stuff gets super hot super fast.

Step 3: Spoon some rice into a bowl. Spoon some tuna-stuff on top. Mix it up if you desire, or don’t. Enjoy.

Other things you can mix in:

  • Steamed (or more likely, microwaved frozen) broccoli
  • Stir fry veggies
  • Anything else you think might taste delicious in your super easy and fast concoction.

And that’s it! Super simple post today, but I hope it finds you well, and I hope you find it delicious 🙂

Keep an eye out tomorrow for another awesome guest blog! Thanks so much for reading and remember to like/comment/subscribe/share!

-Molly

Love and Cavities – Chocolate Chip Cookie Surprise Cake

One of my best friends is having a birthday today (happy birthday to you, Bassvocals!) and the Epic Friday crew celebrated over the weekend.

At some point earlier this month, I asked him a random question about cake and he flipped out. He gave me his best exasperated face and said with a sigh in his mildly-irritated [read: normal] voice, “Don’t make me a cake.”

I wasn’t going to. But now I wanted to, and I remembered that his birthday was coming up.
I also remembered that he liked chocolate chip cookies.

As we all know, cookies are not cake. And so, I was able to bake him something AWESOME (and diabetes-inducing) for his birthday while still obeying his annoyed command to not make him a cake.

Everyone wins, and now I have something else to write about in my blog.

HOW DO I MAKE THIS EPIC CAKE, you may be asking yourself. Well, it’s flipping easy, and delicious. It also doesn’t require an electric mixer, because those are for rich people.

Here is what I did:

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

For the cookie layers:

  • 1 large bowl
  • 2-4 cake pans of the same size
  • 1 can non-stick cooking spray (I use Pam Baking spray)
  • 1 oven
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter (2 sticks melted and cooled to room temperature, 1 stick off to the side)
  • 2 eggs (lightly beaten–just put them in a small bowl and whisk a fork around in there a few times)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated (regular) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • a dash of salt (this means shake the shaker over the bowl a few times)
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1-2 packages of chocolate chips (depending on your preference, use as much or as little chocolate as you like)

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350

Step 2: Combine melted butter (2 sticks), eggs, vanilla, and sugars (brown and white) and stir with large spoon until it’s all blended nicely.

Step 3: Add in the baking soda and the salt, stir until it’s all mixed in.

Step 4: GRADUALLY add the flour (add some flour, stir it in, add more flour, stir it in, and so on.) Eventually it will get too hard for you to stir with a spoon, so wash your hands, clean off the spoon, and dig in with your fingers. Gush the dough around until there is no flour visible on the edge of the bowl or in the dough. Then make sure it all packs into a neat ball. If the dough is too gritty and won’t pack together, add 2 tbsp more butter. If it’s too greasy and drippy and doesn’t feel right, add a teeny bit more flour until it feels right.

Step 5: Now squish in your chocolate chips! Make sure they’re as evenly mixed as possible.

Step 5: Spray the heck out of your cake pans with the non-stick cooking spray.

Step 6: Separate your dough into four balls. Flatten each ball into the bottom of a separate cake pan (you will have to do multiple batches if you do not have four cake pans) and stick ’em in the oven.

Step 7: Set your timer for 15 minutes– check on your cookies after 10 to make sure they aren’t browning too fast. If they are, put some tinfoil over the top of the pan.

Step 8: Take the cookies out when they’re done and let them cool for 5-10 minutes, then flip them onto a cool cookie sheet to cool off. Layers must be completely cool before the cake is assembled. Be very careful not to flip them out too soon or they will crack/crumble and your life will be ruined.

For the frosting:

8oz marscarpone cheese
4 cups cold heavy whipping cream
3 tbsp sugar
a dash of whiskey (if you like)

Step 1: Combine everything into a bowl.

Step 2: Pick up your whisk and start beating the heck out of it. Beat and beat and beat. Your arm is going to get tired but just keep whisking that cream.

Step 3: If you are rich, when you get bored of that, plug in your handmixer and turn it on high, then mix the contents of your bowl until stiff peaks form. Stick it in the fridge until it’s needed (I’m told 3 hours is the max you should do this.)


Bringing it all together:

Make sure your cookie layers are completely cool. Place the bottom layer face-down on the plate on which you would like to serve your cookie cake (trust me, you’re not going to want to trans-plate this beast when you’re done with it.) Slather on a thick layer of the creamy frosting stuff you just made, and gently place the second layer on top of that, face-down. Slather more cream. Place third layer face-down. Slather more cream. Place fourth layer face-down. Now frost the entirety of the outside of the cake.

I sprinkled chocolate chips over the top of my cake as well. I recommend doing this as soon as you finish frosting the cake, as the cream kind of sets and solidifies a bit and it will be harder to make them stick after a fashion.

Place your beauteous masterpiece in the fridge overnight. The cream is going to soften the layers just enough to make them easy to cut through, like a cake. The frosting isn’t really heavy or all that sweet, which will counteract the oversugaryness of the cookie layers. Sort of.

Your cake’s recipient will NEVER KNOW WHAT HIT THEM. Is it a cake? Is it a cookie? Has their entire life been a lie?

This is the end result of my beautiful Surprise Cookie Cake

This is the end result of the beautiful Surprise Cookie Cake

Things I Would Do Differently Next Time:

I didn’t frost the whole cake when I initially made it. I just put the frosting between layers and then frosted the outside the next morning. We basically needed a hacksaw to cut through the damn thing, making for a hilarious twenty minutes of serving it up without destroying it. Bassvocals tells me that the cookies were much softer the next day after hanging out in the fridge another night.

Next time, I would probably only do two or three layers. The cake was absolutely delicious, but even one piece of cake was a bit much for us.

Thank you so much for reading! Let me know how this turns out for you if you give it a try. Don’t forget to like/comment/subscribe/share!

-Molly