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Catherine Trillo
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Now I just need to convince the boy to sacrifice a few of good [LEGO] men...
We just found out #LEGO hands are the perfect size for cables!! Minds blown.

2Spinout sugru-ed this LEGO plate to his desk "Since I discovered this by accident it’s my way of organizing things. It’s not just that #sugru loves LEGO – LEGO loves sugru too. Sounds like a never ending love story!"

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So my evil plan this week was to take the 2 liter bottle of 7-up we got on sale last week and cook non-beverage recipes.

I started with a 7-up Pound Cake...
...which came out pretty good. I halved the lemon extract with the hopes of not having it overpower the soda. But, in the end, while good (as you can probably tell by the picture of Piper pigging out on the cake)...I think it would have been even better with more fake lemon flavor.

So things seemed to be on track until I foolishly turned my back on the soda AND my husband, who decided to add a mixer to his bourbon. Yes, my non-drink recipe plans were foiled.

However, I soon saw this as an opportunity for me to work through my OCD issues and continue on with my plans. So, if things go well (and even if they don't) I plan to be back to tell you about my 7-up buttercream (because I turn everything into frosting) and 7-up Apricot* Upside Down Cake.

*Interesting, when I misspell "apricot", Firefox (I guess) suggests both the correct spelling and "DiCaprio".

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I saw this link on Pinterest so I took these really done scallions in my fridge and plopped them into a glass of water. Low 'n behold, one week later I've got 4" shoots. And to think I would have just thrown those onions out.

So today I'm chopping a green onion and thinking that I need to remember to save the roots. Then I start to wonder if the onion can feel my knife -- slicing and dicing. Maybe I should do one quick chop to sever the greens from the roots. You know, to lessen its misery. :o\

Then as I inhale and taken in the onion odor, I begin to wonder if it's releasing the pungent smell as a defense mechanism. You know, to stop me from hacking at it.

There I standing looking at the onion, eyes watering from the smell and ears hearing...what is that? Could it be the faint cries of the onion?

In the end, the roots made it into the glass of water. And the greens? Well a girl's gotta eat.

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IT'S ALIVE! Yes, in case you were wondering. I took the fudge failure and make something wonderful, which is good because I'm not sure where I would have gone after this.

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So, have things really been that uneventful for me in the kitchen? Well actually, I think I've been less adventurous. But have no fear. There's nothing like a holiday to change that real quick.

Yes, I'm talking about Valentines Day and this year we were NOT going to do the same old store bought classroom valentines. No sir-ee! I didn't spend the last couple of months on Pinterest for nothing. (Okay, maybe I would have. It's soooo addicting!)

So the boy's valentines were pretty uneventful. I labeled the juice for this classroom party "Love Potion #9", which he found totally humiliating. [Perfect!] And aside from not initially realizing the googly eyes were self-adhesive (the slick backing paper made it tough for the glued eyes to remain stuck), the valentine monster bookmarks also were a success. Who doesn't love a valentine that says "Valentine, Mark my words, you are a great friend.", "Valentine, You are a novel friend.", or [my favorite] "Valentine, You make my tale spin."?

For the girl, though...I should have stuck to paper crafts. However, I envisioned strawberry fudge -- Strawberry Quick in flavor, without resorting to the pink stuff. So I started with my Cookie 'n Cream Fudge recipe ( and just replaced the Oreos with strawberries...right? What could go wrong?

I even had leftover stewed berries from that morning's Valentines themed breakfast ( But after I incorporated the berries, the fudge still didn't have enough of a strawberry flavor. So <gulp> I added strawberry jelly. I know it sounds bad but isn't jelly just fruit and sugar?

Well, when all was said and done, the fudge never got a strong strawberry flavor and...even worse, it didn't seem to set. I'm guessing this is due to the pectin in the jelly or maybe there's something about strawberries since I couldn't find any recipes for strawberry fudge using the white chocolate/condensed milk method.

<sigh> Well now I have an oozy block of super sweet fudge and can't decide if I should chuck it [total waste, right?], spread it on toast and eat it [well, that can't be healthy], or evolve it into something else. Obviously the Frankenstein in me won't be satisfied until I can proudly shout, "It's Alive!" But what can I do to it? You'll have to stay tuned as this will require more thought. In the meantime, feel free to let me know if you have any suggestions.
Valentine's Day 2012
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I've signed it. How about you?

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Pfeffernüsse Redux
So this weekend I've returned to the Pfeffernüsse (and yes, finally threw out last week's batch, which never got soft). This time I turned to Martha (Stewart, of course) to deliver a solution -- which, of course, came out perfectly.

Actually, so perfectly, the I had enough mental energy to turn a couple into snowmen -- or "Pfeffernüsse-men", which is a play on the plural of "Pfeffernüsse", "Pfeffernüssen". (Sorry, it's now time for me to adjust the tape on my glasses.)

(And I'm back.) My only criticism is that for a spice cookie called "pepper nut", it a bit tame.

That said, I'm going to try it again and maybe find some middle ground between Martha and my original 1960s recipe. If you don't hear from me again, you'll know I've failed to solve the Pfeffernüsse riddle and have gone crazy.

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There's something wonderful about food that's fun to say. Squash. Tabbouleh. Bulgogi. So, it being December, I figured I'd tackle a Christmas fun food -- Pfeffernüsse -- those little powdered sugar dusted, spice cookies. The name translates into "pepper nuts" even though most recipes do not contain pepper or nuts. Once made, the cookies can keep up to 8 weeks and actually improve over time.

So I opened my "Recipes: The Cooking of Germany" -- yes, it's a Time/Life Book on the "Foods of the World" from 1969. What could go wrong?

I should have known I would not get what I see in the stores with an ingredient list that has no powdered sugar. (In the end, though, I did dust the cookies with powdered sugar just so they looked more festive.) Also, my spoon could easily stand in an empty bowl with very little dough to keep it propped up (maybe "glued in place" would be a better phrase).

Yeah, instead of little cookie buttons, they spread flat and became these EXTREMELY crisp (no, I guess I should honestly say "rock hard") cookies. I tried dunking them in coffee but to no avail.

I think the part of the recipe that may have killed me was the boiling of the syrups in a sauce pan. I think I must have cooked it too long or high and hit a hard crack candy state.

Then again, it is called "pepper nut" for a reason...right? And when I look up other vintage pfeffernüsse recipes I see they have syrup boiling process and also lack powdered sugar.

I think I'll have to try this again -- maybe not bringing the syrup to a boil or maybe with a different recipe. In the meantime, I'll have to see if time softens my cookies and make them safer to eat without endangering dental work.

DAY THREE UPDATE: The cookies are still rock hard.
Pfeffernüsse (3 photos)
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Support Small Business Saturday!

Growing up, my sister and I would spend our weekends at our family's hardware store, helping people find their whatchamacallits, thingamajigs, and doohickies. Then we'd stand on a stool (so we could see over the counter) and ring people out on the adding machine that posed as the cash register. There was no concept of ''Black Friday''. For my parents -- and I'm sure for all small businesses, every day is needed to meet financial obligations and put food on their tables.

Today is Small Business Saturday. Instead of standing in line for a cheap camera (that you wouldn't have bought anyway) or pepper spraying people to protect that item did haven't even bought yet, why not take $20 and spend it at your local/non-chain hardware store, book store, or diner. The purchase will be greatly appreciated and will make everyone's holidays brighter.

Hell! Be proud of your purchase and let everyone know what you bought and where you bought it. Let's end the year on a bright note for all small businesses.

And don't forget to bring your own bag. Believe it or not, that merchant WILL appreciate the five cents (for the bag) that you just saved them.

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In case you're wondering about what I did with last week's cookie failure. I actually saved all the cookies to make crust for Crack Pie -- yes, Momofuku's Crack Pie®.

And yes, they've trademarked the name...bastards. But thankfully, you can't trademark a recipe. Copy...yes. Actual

I've had the recipe for a while but it required you to bake cookies for the curst THEN make the pie. And I'm just not that patient. So when last week's cookie disaster happened, I knew exactly what I would do with them. (Waste not. Want not.) Who cares if the original recipe uses oatmeal cookie, not chocolate chip. Right?

HELL YEAH! Believe it or not, it came out delicious! There was still a curious pool of clear liquid after it cooled. (It was tasteless so I'm going to guess it was some sort or oil/fat...I know, appetizing.) But when I went back to following directions and chilled the pie -- well, that liquid solidified (again, I'm guessing it's something like butter fat) and it was less disgusting to eat.

Actually, the pie is so delicious you forget about it after the first bite. It isn't until after you finish the slice when you realize you forgot to investigate the clear liquid thing further NEED to have another slice. After eating said slice you then realize you've -- once again -- forgotten to investigate the clear liquid thing. So you get it -- it's a vicious cycle.

And yes, I have serious problems.

In case you're interested, here's the recipe --
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