Sassy Dots

Monday, July 24, 2017

Sweet Sweet Balls

Rice balls... What did you think I was talking about? Sheesh!

I don't know why I've been sitting on this recipe for so long. But let me tell you it is really delicious and a twist on your every day arancini (aka rice balls).

A few years back an arancini restaurant opened up near us.  We were all about the balls covered in marinara, ooey gooey with cheese.  But they were pretty pricey. You all know what that means. Figure out how to make them myself.

After making the traditional savory variety, I thought why not make a sweet version. Rice pudding surrounding a molten centre, a side of ice cream.... Mmmmm

Nutella was all the rage at the time, so of course we had to make a Nutella filled arancini. Then apple pie seemed like a natural choice rolled in cinnamon and sugar after frying.  They came out looking like timbits (for our American friend, timbits are donut holes).  After exploding balls I figured out that Nutella works better when it's frozen, and it makes it a lot easier to handle as well.

Cinnamon sugar apple pie filled arancini

This weekend my eldest declared out of the blue that we should make s'mores rice balls!  Who am I to stifle such creativity. 

The directions are pretty simple.  First you make your rice pudding, spread it in a pan to chill in the fridge.  You will also need egg wash graham crumbs and some plain bread crumbs.  I complained when my husband bought plain bread crumbs instead of the italian seasoned... but they came in handy on this occasion.

Place about 2 tbs of the cooled rice pudding in your hand and make a ball.  With your thumb press in a hole and spread the rice pudding out so you have more of a bowl shape in your palm like so.

The finished product should be about the size of a tangerine.

Now fill your rice pudding with whatever filling you'd like.  For s'mores I used 4 chocolate chips, 3 marshmallows and another 3-4 chocolate chips on top.  Now's the tricky part.  Try to close the sides back in to a ball around your filling.  You might find it easier to grab a bit more pudding to flatten out and add on top.  Roll in to a ball.  Roll in graham crumbs to coat, then coat in egg wash, then roll in a mixture of half and half bread crumbs and graham crumbs.  I found the graham crumbs alone did not give them a crispy outer layer. Fry the rice balls in oil at about 325 degrees until they are a golden brown.

 Cherry Cheese Cake Arancini
 S'mores Arancini

Other filling options:
Nutella- place 1 rounded teaspoon on parchment paper and freeze before stuffing
Apple pie filling - you can freeze this as well, I didn't.  Roll in cinnamon sugar mixture immediately after frying
S'mores - mini marshmallow and chocolate chips
Cherry cheese cake- mix cream cheese with powdered sugar to your desired sweetness. Stuff with 1/2 tsp of cream cheese and 1/2 teaspoon of cheery pie filling
Blueberry crumble- Add some rolled oats in with the breadcrumbs and stuff with blueberry pie filling
Caramel- Stuff with a caramel square
PB&J- Haven't tried this one yet, but it's next on our list. 1/2 tsp peanut butter & 1/2 tsp favorite jam or jelly

Rice Pudding
Use your favorite recipe, but decrease the liquid by about 1/2 cup so your rice pudding has a thicker consistency like risotto.
2.5 cups of milk (or non dairy substitute like coconut milk, almond milk)
3/4 cup arborio rice
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
Spices *optional
1/2 tsp cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom

In a heavy saucepan over medium high heat combine ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook uncovered and stirring frequently for approximately 25 mins.  Remove from heat, place on a cookie sheet or baking pan and refrigerate until cool and thickened.

Really me,
Sweet Balls in my mouth (seriously get your minds out of the gutter!)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Pimp My Wagon

It's been a while, but I haven't had all that much to blog about... or anything that I didn't already find on the internet.  Until now! DIY wagon canopy.

My sister in law and I are taking the kids to an amusement park tomorrow.  I know that the kids will inevitably get tired and now that they're 4 and 6 I can't carry them.  So I thought I would get a wagon to take with us.  Since the park is already pretty pricey, the day is going to cost us around $150, there is no way I was going to be buying snacks and lunch there.  Which means we have to pack our own lunch and snacks.  I don't know about you, but I really hate carrying a knapsack, or bags.  I had to find a solution.

This is the wagon I got off of Kijiji for $20.  It was a steal!! I saw other similar wagons posted for $35-$50, so even if we only use the wagon for one day, I know I can get my money back at least.

But what I really wanted was a wagon with a canopy to give the kids some shade if it gets hot.  Anything that could possibly make the kids more comfortable (read less whiny) during a day trip, is worth more than the price of admission in my books.  So I searched through Pinterest to find a DIY canopy project.  Guess what?  They're weren't any!! Pinterest failed me!

Challenge accepted!

I was walking around Dollarama with my husband, racking my brain trying to figure out what I could use for the frame of my canopy.  Hubby was less than helpful, albeit supportive.  So this is what you'll need...

2 Hoola Hoops
Fabric (maybe you have some left overs from a project like I did in which case, great.  If not 3/4 of a yard should do for most wagons)
2 small knapsacks

First, find the joint in the hoola hoops and pull it apart. There are usually 2 staples, you can take those out first or just use brute force like I did. You'll have two ends like this, if you can get that black piece out, great, if not, make sure that's the end you cut off in the next step.

I had the kids sit in the wagon to see how much head room they needed.  In this model of wagon you can see the top beige piece is about 6 inches so make sure to include that space when you're measuring.  Use a hacksaw or a good kitchen knife to cut the hoola hoop, and then cut the other one the same length.

Drill two pilot holes on each end of the wagon.  Once you have the pilot holes, you can move to your biggest drill bit.  My biggest drill bit still wasn't big enough, so you may have to circle the drill to widen the holes.  Do this very slowly.  You want the holes to be a tight fit so that your frame doesn't move around a lot. (The blue dots are where you're going to drill your holes.)

Insert your hoola hoops and push them all the way down.  It should be a bit tough to get them in.

Tada! Now for the cover.  Starting at one end, pin your fabric around the hoola hoop leaving just a little space around the hoop. Leave about a foot from the wagon up each side of the hoola hoop. Repeat this on the other side.  You want the fabric to be tight, but not so tight that it pulls the two ends together.  Once both ends are pinned, cut off your excess.  Remove one end of each hoola hoop from the holes in the wagon and slide your canopy off.  Sew each end leaving the sleeve you created.  Slip the canopy back on the hoola hoops, and fit the ends back in the holes.

The next part is optional.  You can leave the canopy the way it is, it will work for shade.  Or you can go the extra step and make a support brace across the top to help push both ends apart.  To do this, push each end apart pulling the canopy taunt.  Measure and cut another piece of your left over hoola hoop to fit in the space.  You will have to bend it (use your hair dryer) so that it is as straight as you can get it.  Use some left over fabric pieces to create a pocket on each end to hold your support piece. Sew 3 sides.

There you have your wagon and canopy.  But remember I said I hate to carry bags... I know I could just put the bags in the wagon, but my girls are big and I would be worried about people taking them while we're on rides or not looking.  Ya ya, I'm paranoid.  On this model of wagon there is a small space between the beige piece and the wagon itself.  With a small knapsack, unthread the strap and push the end of the shoulder strap through the space from the inside of the wagon.  Rethread the other end of the strap and tighten as needed.

Now you have extra storage space for snacks or a change of clothes etc.  Plus free hands!!  And nobody is going to run off with your bag! Bonus bonus bonus!   You now have your pimped out wagon complete with canopy and extra storage!

Really me,
Frugal genius wagon canopy creator

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Long Time

It has been a long....long time.  The only reason I even thought about the blog was because I wanted to make the LaRocca Caramel Crunch cake, and when I googled for the recipe, I was actually shocked to find my blog on the first page of my google search.  Awesome!  Then I got to reading some of my old posts.  Some made me smile, some made me cringe, and some made me want to start writing again if for nothing else than to document our life.  To have something for the girls to read later in life. Or to laugh at as the case will likely be... and maybe to use as embarrassment when they become teens.  No, I would never do that *wink*.

To bring everything up to speed, the girls "Demi" and "Jordyn" are growing like weeds.

They are developing an attitude all their own.

They are little people now! How the heck did that happen?

As for me, I am still crafting, maybe not as much as before.  I am still ranting, maybe more than before.  I am still learning, and growing and trying to figure out a balance. There are challenges ever day.  Dealing with their different personalities. Starting with a very quiet Demi, to a very loud in your face Jordyn, it is like changing tactics at every turn. 

So once again for the.... well, at least a few times, I'm coming back to blogging!

Still me

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Elusive Silence

Back in the day, when I was young, unsure of myself, and couldn't be alone with my own thoughts that would run rampant in my head if left unchecked, I couldn't be caught dead without background noise. The TV was a constant in my life. I turned it on as soon as I woke, and fell asleep to it set on the sleep timer.

Now, well now there are children. There are distractions galore! There is shrieking from two little girls.
There is dog barking.

Phone ringing.

Baby crying.

Little girl pleading.

Husband asking.

Dog licking. (disgusting!)

Boss calling.

Customer whining.

Little girl whining.

Temper tantrums.

Cell phone texting.

Cute baby babbling.

Cartoons, and cartoons and cartoons.

and so.many.more noises.

I cannot get a single uniform thought out. I've already been stopped twice while writing this one wee little post.

And then my husband decides to play this

Who can concentrate with that song going on!!

What I wouldn't give for some silence! A full thought to come to fruition!


Until then, I'll just dance. Fa Fa L'Americano da da da da da.

Really me,
thought challenged (see I couldn't even come up with a clever tag line!)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Look out Pickle Barrel Cajun Seafood Pasta to die for

I've been a little neglect this week with my meal plan. I can tell you that we did stick to our plan with a little shuffling. Unfortunately we had to put our beloved dog down this week so I can admit that I wasn't up to doing much of anything including eating or cooking.

Here's the meal plan for the past week.

Monday- Cajun Seafood Pasta
Tuesday- Sloppy Joe with coleslaw
Wednesday- Fantastic Chicken with rice and peas
Thursday- Chimichangas
Friday- Pulled pork

Monday we were invited to dinner at my dad's so we pulled the cajun seafood pasta. Wednesday was a bad day, I can't even remember what we had. Fantastic Chicken was pushed to Thursday.

I pushed myself to get back at it today after doing not much of anything, and figured the Cajun seafood pasta was as good a recipe as any... that and the whipping cream was going to go bad.

I read the recipe K found on all recipes and I was less than impressed. Even less impressed when I read the reviews. So I decided to go it alone.

2 cups of whipping cream
1/2 cup 2%
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 1/2 tsp cajun seasoning (again I used creole because I just like the taste better)
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup of Kraft Parmesan cheese
1/4 lbs of shrimp peeled and deveined
1 can of crab meat
Spaghettini noodles

1. Place whipping cream in a medium pot on medium heat. Heat until just before boiling. Add salt, pepper, cajun seasoning, and garlic. Allow to simmer for 5 mins. stirring frequently.
2. Turn heat down to low. Add mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Stir frequently for 5 mins.
3. Cook noodles. Place raw shrimp in white sauce. Allow shrimp to cook through until no longer translucent.
4. Drain noodles, return them to their pot. Add crab meat to the sauce allow to heat through 1-2 mins. Pour 2/3 of sauce over noodles, make sure all noodles are evenly coated.
5. Plate noodles, top with the remaining sauce dividing it equally between plates.

With the addition of some julienned zucchini, and carrots, this would be a pretty close contender to Pickle Barrel's Jumbo Shrimp and Lobster Pasta. Of course you could add any seafood you like. Substitute crab for lobster, add some scallops.

We give this meal a 'solid 7.5' says K. It's a tasty dish, quick to make even after a day at work, it is a little pricey, so I would probably drop it to a 7. But overall a keeper!

Really me,
Executive Chef

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sunshine and lollipops


Seems to be a running theme in my life right now. Maybe not even perfection, but reality. Am I being real? Am I giving an impression of my life... the life I wish I had? The life I think I *should* have?

The other day in my news feed I saw a comment from one mother to another. Mother 1 was thanking the Mother 2 for posting a status that showed her family had it's ups and downs like everybody else because Mother 1 was starting to think she was doing something wrong. I'm sure we all know somebody that we think has a perfect life... odds are, they don't.

I know as a mother I like to look like I have everything put together, I'm in control... my hair is done... I'm dressed... the kids are dressed, we make cookies, sing kumbaya around the campfire every night and my sh*t don't stink. But it does. Some days it reeks to high heaven!

I know plenty of women (including myself) who are terrified about living up to this perceived perfection and blissful existence that seems to be 'the way it should be when you're a mom'. This notion that as soon as the baby pops out you'll fall madly in love, house payments will magically be made without a thought, a healthy dinner will shoot out of the tips of your fingers while you blissfully hold a contented child in one hand and a beer for your loving husband in the other, all the while looking as put together as June Cleaver... and if you're doing it any other way, or without a smile on your face, well then, you're just a disgrace to women everywhere!

Let me tell you, it is not so! Right now I am standing at my kitchen counter with Demi's curls hanging annoyingly over my laptop as I try to type. The sloppy Joe mix that I made last night is probably burning on the stove for lack of stirring. Instead of doing the dishes in the sink, I quickly threw them in the dishwasher so that K wouldn't think I did nothing with my day. Jordyn is not so happily sitting (read shrieking) in her high chair because she is overly tired from my very selfish lunch out with the girls today. And this morning I spent the few quiet moments I had when the baby was sleeping to go over my back to work budget and figure out if/how we were going to afford anything else after paying the mortgage and child care.

It took long overdue lunch with a bunch of awesome ladies to get me grounded again. Sitting around laughing about all of our parenting faux pas. Children falling down the stairs/furniture, back talking, sleeping issues, money issues, work issues, intimacy issues etc. etc. etc. We are all the same. These moms I look up to. These moms I aspire to emulate. They're just like me. They have problems. They have good days. They have bad days, and they have all the days in between.

So don't worry about living up to some imaginary expectation of perfection because it doesn't exist. There is no such thing as 'the right' way to parent. The only thing you need to worry about is Love. If you're parenting with love, then you will always be doing the right thing for your family.

Really me,
Not so perfect, for reals

Monday, January 23, 2012

Fajitas and 'Fries Supreme'

Last week went really well as far as the meal plan was concerned. I ended up cooking on Friday after all because Demi's audition went kind of long, and Jordyn was frustrated and had had enough by the end of the drive home, I decided it was best to turn down my parent's dinner invitation and stay home so I could put her to bed.

Here's what you can throw together in 30 mins.

Mmmm 'Fries Supreme'

All it takes is cheddar cheese soup with a splash of hot sauce, some sour cream, and some browned ground beef with some taco seasoning. K added some salsa on top. Delicious.

This is not a particularly healthy meal, but in comparison to eating out, this might save you some calories. We give this meal 6.5 stars. Low marks for lack of nutrition, but it was tasty, fairly quick to make and it hits the spot when you're looking for take out.

Really me,
Taco Bellist