Archive | May 2014

Now for the Peeps Week finale… Rocky Road Peeps Fudge

PEEPS-FUDGE

I mentioned the other day that sometimes I approach recipes using the wing it technique.  This project, another late night special that had to be ridiculously simple, was no different.  Remember, I am having fun with Peeps, not auditioning for a show on the Food Network. Using the verybestbaking.com Super Easy Rocky Road fudge recipe, I substituted Marshmallow Peeps for the mini marshmallows and ended up with this awesome Rocky Road Peeps Fudge.

 

Here is the recipe that delivered this super easy creamy fudgy awesomeness.

2 cups of semi sweet morsels

1-14 oz can of Sweetened Condensed Milk

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

3 cups Chopped Marshmallow Peeps

1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts.

 
All you have to do is put the morsels and condensed milk in a large microwaveable bowl. Yes, I used the microwave–judge if you will. Microwave on high for a minute and stir the mixture until the chips are melted. Then add the vanilla, chopped Peeps and chopped nuts and stir. Truth be told, I felt a little guilt when I was chopping the Peeps, which I find confusing because how is that different from sinking your teeth into them?

The mixing part was not exactly smooth, because the fudge mixture was so jam packed with fixins that it looked like I had completely fouled up the fudge. What started out looking like a bowl full of Peeps and nuts that someone accidentally added a little fudge to, ended up looking like fudge after all. The original recipe suggests a 9×13 pan, but I used an 8×8 glass pan lined with parchment. I poured the mixture in and smoothed it as much as it permitted with a spatula. I placed a second piece of parchment on top and smoothed the top of the fudge by pressing down with my hand.

I left the fudge in the refrigerator overnight and this morning, it tasted great. It was probably a huge parenting misstep to slice it up and let my kids taste it at 8:30 this morning while I was photographing it. Because I am not sure that the nearly three year old brain understands that fudge after breakfast is a one time thing. I guess I will work that struggle out when it presents itself.

Happy end of Peeps Week 2014, we made it. I must confess that I have at least 10 unopened packages of Peeps left. Any suggestions?

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Peep Week continues with a Chocolate Peep Shake Recipe…sort of…

yummy-2What do you get when you combine 5 marshmallow Peeps, a couple scoops of chocolate ice cream and a generous splash of milk?  You get a yummy Chocolate Peep Shake–it is a wonderful marriage of chocolatey goodness and creamy peepness. Hey, it is Peep Week, I’m allowed to make up Peep words too!

Adapted from a few recipes I found online, this shake is super simple because at 10:15 pm complicated is absolutely off limits. Consider yourself warned that I made this milkshake the same way I make my meatballs, by sight and taste. It is not easy to pass on a recipe, but the meatballs are great!

First, put 5 marshmallow Peeps on a cookie sheet and place them under your oven broiler for 1-2 minutes until they are toasted. I actually burned the tips of the blue Peeps I chose, but they worked well anyway. Let them cool for about 10 minutes.

Put the Peeps into the blender, followed by a 2-3 scoops of chocolate ice cream. Add a splash of milk and blend for a minute or so until it is mixed together and a creamy texture. Pour the mixture into your favorite glass, top with a Peep and enjoy!

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PS. As you might be imagining, Peep Week is dwindling faster than my huge stack of Peeps…

Here’s the Peep Scoop!

ROLLING-STONEAs I was doing my Peep Week research, I learned that I have so much to learn.  Last year, I thought that I uncovered the mother load when I discovered that an entire store dedicated to Peeps exists. This year, I parked at the computer again, confident that there were Peep developments over the year. I was right, I found out some cool new things about Peeps of which I had no idea.

The first Peep thing I learned this year was that Yankee Candles created a 2014 limited edition Peeps Marshmallow Chicks scented candle. Okay, sure, they also made a chocolate bunny and a bunny cake candle as well, but am I the only person who doesn’t even know what a bunny cake is??? Apparently the Marshmallow Chicks Candle was popular, because I was on the phone with the Yankee Candle store a solid two weeks before Easter and they were already sold out. Next year, I’m there!

Second, I don’t remember seeing Peeps Minis last year. According to the product description, they are Peeps for all year round. Peep Minis are bite sized, come in a package of 24 in 4 different flavors Chocolate Creme, Vanilla Creme and Strawberry Creme and Sour Watermelon. Chocolate creme, without a doubt, Vanilla Creme, slightly less enthusiastic, but enthusiastic nonetheless. Strawberry Creme, well if they’re Peeps, I’d give them a try.  But Sour Watermelon…I fear they may have jumped the Peep Shark on that one.   I won’t rush to judgment though, I will do some information gathering over the next year and report back!

My third item is something that may or may not be new for the season, but it well worth mentioning–and like everything else I write about here,  it comes with a story. My dear relative who was in charge of getting the Peeps for Easter was discussing the bounty that he had brought with him that day.  We’ll call him Uncle Ron to protect his identity.  As I unpacked the bag with the wide assortment of peeps in several different colors, we chatted.  Uncle Ron casually mentioned that as he was shopping for Peeps, he saw Chocolate Mousse Peeps.

I continued emptying the bag, as we talked, expecting to see this unique flavor of Peeps inside.  But they weren’t there.  Uncle Ron didn’t get them.  He saw Chocolate Mousse Peeps on a store shelf, and he chose regular orange colored Peeps instead.  Really?  I was stunned.

He was so casual about it.  But, at the time, it was like hearing someone say, “yesterday I saw Bigfoot and I had my camera out, but I didn’t take a picture.”  Clearly not every branch of my family tree is as wacky about Peeps. And honestly, this may not be a bad thing.  Perspective, Jill, get a little perspective would ya?

Finally, it’s fortunate that Peep Week happened in May, because this one came after Easter. A Peeps Movie is in the works, yes you heard me, a MOVIE about Marshmallow Peeps!  How and why did I not know about this? Have I been living under a rock? I try to make sure I hit CNN.com on a daily basis, and this is certainly a headline grabber isn’t it? I am not sure how this breaking news escaped me, but it’s true–it was even written about in Rolling Stone. Could we see a Peep on the Cover of Rolling Stone? Because that’s when you’ve really made it, right? When you’re…on the Cover of the Rolling Stone…
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That day, my word was more important than my wallet…

One day in early April, I was preparing for a conference where I would show my babygiftsandgoodies.com merchandise.  A totally new experience for me, I needed to assemble shelves and other items to display my cuddly treasures.  As with any of my weekday adventures, my children were in tow. 

Riding in the stroller like a pair of champs, I dragged my kids through store after store.  Overall, they were pretty patient as I wrapped it up in our final stop.  As we navigated the aisles, my daughter mentioned Peeps.  I felt an immediate sense of pride in my daughter.  It was the pride a parent feels when his or her children carry on a tradition, and I smiled immediately for my brainwashing success.  My children know what Peeps are!

I had not seen exactly what my daughter was talking about, so I asked the kind of basic questions that you would ask a toddler and arrived at the obvious conclusion that she wanted the box of Peeps.  It seemed like a no brainer.  “Of course you can have the Peeps,” I said.  “If you can show me where they are before we leave, I will get you the Peeps.”

 We continued on our way, gathering what I needed.  As I finished my shopping, I wanted to honor my word, and buy the Peeps that I had promised.   I pushed the stroller through the aisles, asking my daughter where she had seen them.  Eventually we arrived in an area with candy, and I saw the unexpected.  It was a giant box of Peeps with a rainbow assortment of the fluffy marshmallow chicks—six colors in total.  It was a sixteen dollar box of Peeps—I had no idea such a thing existed.  But, I decided that a promise was a promise.

big-box-of-peeps-v2

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Peep Week 2014–My Peeps Runneth Over

A few weeks ago, the day before Easter to be precise, I made the decision to postpone Peep Week.  Life was kicking up in full force and it was not possible to be in it and write about it at the same time.  It wasn’t a difficult decision.  I announced it on my blog, it was public, and it was done.  And I let it go… for less than 24 hours.  Because, as I did my  Easter grocery shopping, I realized that several stores had sold out of Peeps, and I had not stocked up for the Peep Week projects that I had yet to discover.  How was I going to try new  and exciting Peep recipes and have Peep Week without any Peeps?  What if I found a really great recipe that required 4 boxes of Peeps, and I only had three?

 I panicked.  At two separate stores, I bought about at least 4 packages of Peeps.  Looking back, it was a blur.  I took what was available, even buying a package of purple bunnies–just in case. 

 And on Easter, when there is usually an annual dispute at day’s end over who will take home the remainder of the candy, I announced that I would take all of the Peeps.  I was not thinking clearly.  I was acting like an irrational Peep version of a doomsday prepper.  In my head, my fear of “not enough” was looming large.  To help sustain my silly worry, the Peeps that I had accumulated ended up in three different spaces, so they didn’t look like very much.  It wasn’t until I took them out of the bags and put them in one place that I saw what I had done.

Peeps anyone?

peep-stack

 It must be said that despite what probably looks like an excessive obsession as I yammer on about the glory of Peeps, my average seasonal Peep consumption is about 6-8 Peeps total.  Feel free to do the math and tell me how long I’ll be up to my ears in Peeps.

On second thought, after gathering some pertinent data, it seems like I have more time than I thought…

expiration-date

Maybe I’ll volunteer to bring the Peeps next year!

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The Time is Now…before your Peeps get Stale

 

canstockphoto2527295

A few weeks ago, I posted that I would be moving Peep Week into the future because life got a little in the way of blogging. At the time, it seemed simple. Postpone. Easy, right? It seemed so. I thought I would just put together a Peep Week that’s silliness equaled last year. I’d get started right after Easter. But a week became two weeks. I found myself realizing that if I didn’t get this train out of the station, it would be December and I would be talking about Easter treats. Easter treats that I am certain would be nice and stale after 8 months. And while I know there are factions of Peep Lovers who prefer a stale Peep, I imagine that even a hardcore Peep lover would bristle at a Peep induced dental bill.

All this to say that Peep Week will be next week!

Now, if you read between the lines, you will see that I am talking about much more than Peep Week and when it happens. What I’m really talking about is getting things started even though you may not feel fully prepared. It’s about the notion that sometimes you just have to start the journey—even though you don’t necessarily know its twists and turns or how it will end. Yes, calling Peep Week a journey is definitely a stretch—but isn’t a week’s posts about Peeps a little wacky too? Planning is important, but so is starting and getting into the thick of things.

So, here we go. See you next week!

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Out of your comfort zone? Wear a hardhat.

 

 hard-hat-canstockphoto12529891

So, I think most of you know that I own an online business.  See www.babygiftsandgoodies.com if this is news to you and for the love of all that is sacred and holy, please send me an email because clearly my marketing plan has some major holes in it.

Recently, I was invited to participate in an online panel for  DIY Site Customization hosted by the company that hosts my website.  I was super flattered that they chose me–think Sally Field and her “you like me…you really like me” speech, but with a bunch of snarkiness tossed in there. Before I let myself create a bunch of hurdles, I said yes, and agreed to participate.  This was out of my comfort zone in more ways than I was aware.

For starters, I make no secret of the fact that I am picture averse, let alone a fan of video.  Couple that with the fact that I had never participated in anything using this particular type of technology and I probably should have seen some level of disaster on the horizon.

I got down to business thinking over some of the potential questions I would be asked. I downloaded the necessary App and was ready for the trial run the evening before the live event. The trial was a little bumpy for me, I arrived to the group with my camera positioned in a way that it cut part of my head from the video.  My 90+ year old grandma may have logged in with less distraction.

Remaining optimistic and task focused, I told myself that I could manage these little snafus in the 24 hours between the trial and actual event.  Being outside my comfort zone even gave me the confidence to ask for help. I asked not one, but two people for favors to help me be prepared.  In response, the generous moderator offered to bring me in a few minutes early to help me get settled and make sure I didn’t deliver a repeat performance as a woman incapable of aiming a camera at my own head.

The event went well. It was a knowledgeable and easy going panel of business owners. I would rate my contributions as okay.  Aiming for a happy marriage of not a genius and not a moron, I thought I had attained my goal.  That was until I saw the recording of the event. 

It was painful to watch. At first, I was only able to sit through about 10 seconds of myself. (If you are expecting a link here–think again. I may have the guts or lack of brains to write about my missteps, but that is a giant leap from handing over a link pointing you to them.)

I should add that before the live discussion began I was informed that my internet connection was a little slow and that some of my words were being cut off. The suggested remedy with zero time to properly fix this was to speak at a slower pace. I was very supported by the interviewer and moderator, but there was little they could do.

What followed was me chirping on about the importance of a professional and cohesive website while streaming at a rate that seemed like it was delivered by a dial up modem powered by a middle aged hamster on a wheel. My contributions were reminiscent of an old Kung Fu movie, where the audio and video are so mismatched that they look like they were filmed on two separate days.

It seemed like I was trying to slow my pace, but what resulted could not have been less fluid. Technologically speaking, the other participants were sporting Harleys while I pedaled away on barely a Schwinn.

I bungled it.  It was out there.  And there was nothing I could do about it.

Now you may be asking if there is a lesson or moral to this story…let alone an end to this never ending tale.

Yes, there is a lesson.

First, test, test and test again before you get in front of a group and try something new–unless of course you’re chosen to do the half court shot during half time at a Knicks game.  That would be the only exception.  Second, look for a do-over if you can find one, then pour yourself into it and make it great.   Lastly, and probably most important, if there is nothing you can do to remedy an error–learn from it, let it go and move on!

In the spirit of finding a remedy, I’ve recorded a do-over.  I wouldn’t call it great.   It’s a one-take wonder that I recorded after a long night in the office, but I think it works.  Click my picture below if you’d like to check it out.

And now I’m letting it go!

diy-photo-from-video

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