Baked Mozzarella sticks

You know what is better than mozzarella sticks during the stress of finals week? Absolutely nothing! Nothings take away the fear of potentially failing better then breaded and fried cheese. But since I don’t have the time to fry anything and refuse to shell out money, I went in search of an alternative.  That’s how I came upon this project.

Here is the original project link: http://www.skinnytaste.com/2012/02/skinny-baked-mozzarella-sticks.html

Materials needed for this project are:

12  string cheese sticks (I used Sargento)
1 large egg, beaten
2 tbsp flour
5 tbsp Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
5 tbsp panko crumbs
2 tsp parmesan cheese
1 tbsp dried parsley

I started this project by cutting the cheese sticks in half and placing them in the freezer. This step is extremely important and I will explain why later.

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Then I mixed the panko, breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese on a plate. After that I placed the flour in one bowl and scrambled the end in another. I set all the ingredients up in an assembly line fashion and was ready to go.

After taking the fairly frozen cheese sticks out of the freezer, I placed them in the flour first

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I moved them into the egg wash then into the bread crumb mix

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I placed them on a baking try with tin foil. Once they were all breaded my tray looked like this.

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I decided to do them in small batches of twelve because I wanted to do a test run. Doing these projects This was good decision because the first batch came out like this.

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I follow the original instructions and only cooked them for five minutes on each side. This is where I realized my potential mistake and the importance of  the cheese being frozen. If the cheese isn’t cold enough it will melt before the breading can brown.

So I put  my remaining cheese sticks in the freezer for another two hours till they were hard as rocks. I did the breading  process again and placed them in the oven. I watched them like a hawk, doing five minutes on each side. The result of my work was this

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A slightly browner version of the test run sticks….

So even though melted puddles of cheese with breading are delicious, they are not mozzarella sticks.  Im not sure how the original project got perfect results but it definitely wasnt with the given instructions.

Baked mozzarella sticks fail the DIY test

  I have learned two things from this project. The first one is that test runs are a great idea even if they don’t help. The second thing is that foods are best left to people with deep friers.

The Infamous Eggvocado

The eggvadaod is actually the pinterest project that inspired this blog. It was the first DIY food project I tried and it was the first one I miserably failed…and continued to fail at multiple times after the first one. I am not alone. If you look up eggs baked in avocados you will see a few beautiful (most likely fake) eggvocados. But the majority of what you will find is sad sad eggvocado failures.

But today I have hope! After many days of research I feel that I can finally conqueore the

Eggvocado

Here are a few of the recipes I looked at:

http://food.squidoo.com/how-to-cook-eggvocado-eggs-baked-inside-avocados

http://notyouraveragecollegefood.com/2013/06/18/the-eggvocado/

 

The materials needed for this project are:

2 eggs

A ripe avocado (make sure its not to soft)

olive oil

salt, pepper and garlic powder

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I preheat my oven to 425. I started by cutting the avocado in half and removing the pit. An easy way to do this is to take your knife and whack the pit with it. Once the knife is logged in the pit give it a little twist and it should pop right out.

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Once the pit was out I scooped out a little extra avocado to make a bigger home for the egg.

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I season the avocado with salt pepper, garlic  then drizzled it with a little olive oil.

Now comes the difficult process of adding the egg. For the first avocado half I just cracked the egg and put it in. This is what happened

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A good potion of the egg ended up in the pan instead of in the avocado. So for the second half I decided to change tactics. I cracked the other egg into a bowl and transferred the yolk into the avocado with a spoon. The results were a little better

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The yolk fit but there was no room left for any egg white, so the one on the right is all yolk. Nothing is ever perfect with the eggvocado. After the eggs were in I put the eggvocados in the pan for 15 minutes and here is what I got

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The one on the right is fully cooked but the one of the left is pretty much raw.

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So I took the right one out and put the left on back in the oven. It was a another ten minute before that one was finally done.

The finished product looked like this. No where near as pretty as its advertised.

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When my housemate and I put them up to the taste test it was…pretty good?

The eggs were fairly over cooked, slightly to the point of rubber. But it did blend well with the avocado and was tasty when slathered with salsa.

Overall the eggvocado gets a DIY fail. While it can be done, it never comes out like the instructions say it should and it is trouble from the minute you crack the eggs.

 

Bread bunnies

You know whats better than playing with your food. Making your food into incredibly cute animals! Most people reserve adorable food crafts for kids but young adults in college get a kick out of them too.

 

Here is the most detailed instructions I could find, I got them off of Pinterest:

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Looks so easy! But I am not making bread from scratch because who has time for that.

So the only materials I needed for this project was scissors and uncooked dinner rolls.

Follow the instructions for whatever brand of dinner rolls you buy. Mine has to be thawed and proofed before I could us them.

Once that was over they looked like this

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Once they were pliable rolls I took the scissors and cut them at the tops to make the ears

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And they strated to kind of look like bunnies

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When they all had ears I began working on the eyes. The instructions say you can use a grain of pepper to give them eyes. I tried this and found it extremely difficult and time consuming.

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So I improvised and started using a tooth pick. Much easier

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Once that was done I had a whole tray things that looked like this

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Not quite bunnies but I figured the oven would change that. Whatever they looked like they were pretty cute.

Before I popped them in the oven I gave each one a quick butter bath.

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Warning: If you are someone who is a sucker for cute things (like me) don’t spend too much time looking at or bathing the bunnies. Because you will get attached! By the time I was finished bathing them they all had names….

But I put them in the oven anyway. I followed the cooking instructions for my rolls and 15 minutes later I had these things

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The oven did not make them into bunnies.

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They look more like cats or some strange pokemon. Either way they are still pretty cute.

I declare them catinnes! (cat+bunny).

So overall I will give this project a pass/fail. Because while it did yield adorable and delicious results it did not make bread bunnies.

I’m not sure how I would improve this project because it seems like there might be some steps missing. I would definitely be will to give it another try.

Despite being a newly discovered creature the catinnes were quite popular with my housemates. The whole tray of them didn’t make it through the night.

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Life Tip: Coconut oil

Recently I have been recommending one thing thing to everyone for everything and I felt it was necessary to put on this blog. This is a DIY in itself

My first ever life tip is: use coconut oil

It is literally good for EVERYTHING!

It is a edible super healthy oil that is extracted from the kernel or meat of a mature coconut.

Magic in a bottle

Magic in a bottle

It is a great oil with lots of health benefits. It can heal dry or damaged skin, helps hair retain moisture and can even be used to make homemade soap.

Here are a few of the things it can be used for:

hair oil and conditioner

on skin as a moisturizer

on nails (its supposed to make them strong)

As a cooking oil or in food (its a super healthy cooking oil)

On any cuts, burns or scars

I even use it for oil pulling!

So there is my first life tip. Coconut oil good for everything

Universe Nail Art

As a kid when I thought about future fashions inspired by space I always thought of silver suits and rocket shoes. But instead in 2014 people are rocking nebulas and galaxy as fashion statements. While I am disappointed I don’t have rocket shoes yet, I have to say galaxy patterns do look pretty cool. You no longer need a telescope to marvel at the beauty of a galaxy, just check out your local forever 21. Just about anything can be found in a galaxy pattern from leggings to headphones.

Here is the original project: http://snapguide.com/guides/make-galaxy-nails/

So it should come as no surprise that nail art has picked up on the trend.

The materials needed for this project are:

base coat polish, a black polish, a purple polish and sparkly silver polish, a makeup sponge and lots of paper towels. Brand of nail polish really shouldn’t matter, Project that require brand specific materials automatically fail the DIY test.

So you want to start out by putting on a clear base coat.

After that your going to apply a black layer of nail polish and let it dry.

The next step is where it starts to get tricky. Your going to make a small sepreate puddles of blue and purple nail polish and lightly dab the make up sponge in it. Your then supposed to take the sponge and dab it on the black nail to make a nebula like pattern. Here is what I got

Not quit a universe but I still had hope. After this I added the sparkly layer and hoped it would make things better.

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It did not…

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I sort of see a galaxy but its kind of like looking through a really bad telescope.

Universe nail art fails the DIY test.

My recommendations to fix this project would be to use something smaller and more textured than a make up sponge. I feel like this would give you more control over the pattern.

Egg in Kale Cups

I fell for this project the minute I saw it.  I was particularly excited to find this project a week before finals, a time when I desperately need veggies and protein but end up eating Doritos.

Here is the orginal recipe: http://onehungrymama.com/2012/06/baked-egg-and-kale-cups-make-ahead-brunch-recipe-easy-lunch-brunch-snack-recipe/

The ingredients you will need are:

4 large leaves of Kale

4 eggs

salt, pepper and garlic

olive oil

A muffin pan and cupcake wrappers

Egg in Kale cups

The first thing you want to do is preheat your oven to 375. DO THIS FIrst! I forgot to preheat the oven first and had to wait around for it ugh. Once the oven is preheating gather your ingredients.

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Put the olive oil,  salt and garlic in a bowl with the kale and give it massage.

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If you use large leaves of kale try to keep them intact during this process. I choose to use broken up bag kale (because it was on sale) but I wouldn’t recommend this for reasons I’ll explain in a bit.

You want to message your kale until it is soft and pliable. It should look something like this.

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Once this is done prep your muffin tin for the kale by placing the cupcake wrapper in it. You wont need to oil them since the kale is already oiled up.

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Next you will start building the kale cups. This part was a little hard for me because I deviated from the recipe a bit and decided to use broken up bagged kale.

DO NOT DO THIS! Fitting the kale into the cup would have been much easier if I had used large kale leaves. Instead I had to build my cups from tiny pieces of kale and it took forever!

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If you really want to use bag kale be prepared to layer. First I had to make the bottom of the kale cups and press it into shape with a cup. After that I had to carefully place the kale around the edges of the wrapper and use the cup to shape it again.

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This was extremely annoying…If I had just used large kale leaves I could have just pressed it into the wrapper and I would have been done. Save yourself the trouble and buy whole kale. Anyway you should end up with kale cups that look like this.

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Crack an egg into each of these cups then add whatever seasonings you like. I put salt, pepper and parmesan cheese on mine.

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Pop them in the oven for 15-25 minutes. This is depending on how you like your eggs. (I like mine fully cooked so I did 25 minutes)

What comes out of the oven looks like this.

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This is how they look unwrapped

Serve these guys hot with whatever sides you like. I put mine with buttered toast.

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I have to say I was surprised how well these came out. Food DIY project have a notoriously higher fail rate. So egg in kale cups get a big DIY pass from me.

DIY T-shirt scarf

As I have mentioned before I really enjoy DIYs repurposing old t-shirts. So when I found a t-shirt  to scarf DIY I was excited but quite sceptical. I went this fairly sure it wouldn’t work.

Here are the original instructions: http://www.instructables.com/id/No-Sew-T-shirt-Infinity-Scarf-Tutorial-1/

The materials you will need are:

scissors

old T-shirts (You can use one. But the more you use the bigger your scarf will be.)

An old t-shirt. The bigger the shirt the larger the scarf will be(the original instructions recommend extra large but I just used two large stretch out t-shirts) I also used two colors of t-shirts to make the scarf more interesting.

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So you start by cutting the hem off the T-shirt.

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Then proceed to cut most of the shirt into strips. I used the hem to loosely measure out the strips that are supposed to be about an inch wide. (doesn’t really matter if they aren’t exact)

You should end up with this

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You can use the leftover shirt top but I’ll save that for another post

Once all the strips are cut take five at a time in your hand and pull them at both ends. The strips should begin to curl as you pull them.

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After stretching this is what your strips should look like.

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After this your going to take the left over t-shirt top and the sleeve off of it.

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You will then use this sleeve strip to wrap around the large t-shirt strips to bind them together.

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After wrapping tie a knot in the binding strip. I cut off the leftover wrapping strip and tucked it under the wrapping to make it look seamless.

This should be your final product.

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I was pretty shocked at how well this scarf came out! At a quick glance you might even think it was store bought. So the T-shirt scarf passes the DIY pass.