Wednesday, May 30, 2012

'Nacho' Average Taco Dip

Hi Guys and Gals!

Amanda was in the mood for some tacos, so today I am blogging our Six Layer Taco Dip. It is absolutely yummy and your friends and family will love it. We love it because it's so easy and it's a great way to use up some left overs!! 

This taco dip would be a great alternative to a pasta or potato salad for a summer outing. It is light and flavorful. This recipe makes enough for an 8 by 8 baking dish, we like to dress it up with a nice pie plate.

Here's what you need:
3 teaspoons of taco seasoning
1/2 cup of sour cream
1 brick of cream cheese 
3/4 cup of salsa
1 cup of lettuce, shredded
1 tomato, diced
1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup of sliced olives

* These are rough measurements, you may need more or less depending on your dish and your taste buds. 

In a small bowl, mix together the taco seasoning, cream cheese and sour cream. 

Spread the mixture into the bottom of your serving dish.

Add the layers on top of each other. Here's the order:
Cream cheese mixture

Put the finished dip in the fridge for a few hours to chill. 

Dig in!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

"The Only 'Dough' The Broke Gals Have" Cookie Dough Dip

Hi all! 

Tonight we offer you a really simple cookie dough dip. It is so tasty and takes less than 15 minutes to make. Plus, there is no wait can eat it right away!

Here's what you'll need:

1 cup of flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of vegetable shortening
1/2 cup of white sugar
1/2 cup of dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/3 cup of apple sauce
1 cup of chocolate chips

In a small bowl, mix together the flour and salt. Set that bowl aside and grab another one.

In the second bowl, mix together your shortening, sugars and vanilla. Once the 'wet' ingredients are mixed, add in the applesauce. 

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and mix together. It should be more wet than a normal cookie dough.  Stir in the chocolate chips. That's it! 

I like to bring this dip to a girl's night. I am a big fan of cookie dough dip and white wine. ( I like wine...a lot!) I guess you could bring it to a kids party too, kids like cookies. 

We usually use a combination of chocolate and honey graham crackers, but you can use anything. Animal crackers would be a good alternative. So would pretzels if you like your sweet and salty together. Or you could eat it like Amanda...with a spoon! 

What will you dip into "The Only 'Dough' The Broke Gals Have" Cookie Dough Dip?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Four Ingredient Pumpkin Chocolate Muffins

Let me tell you a little bit about my co-workers, some of them I absolutely love...others not so much. It seems like twice a week we are bringing in food for someone's birthday, or someone's last day, or any other reason they can think of.  One of the "not so much' co-workers is leaving the office (score!) and we are forced to bring in yet another baked good. After a really relaxing long weekend, the last thing I want to do is bake for a co-worker's going away party. So for this event, I am bringing our Four Ingredient Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins. They are always a hit and are oh so easy!

Here's what you'll need:
1 box of chocolate cake mix
1 can of pumpkin (12oz)
1 egg
1 to 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips

I contemplated bringing a dessert that wasn't so delicious to this party for my 'not so much' co-worker, but I am known to be the best baker at work and didn't want to destroy my status!

In a medium size bowl, combine cake mix, egg and the can of pumpkin. Stir until combined and add in the chocolate chips. You can decide on the amount of chips you would like to add...I add a lot. :)

Spoon batter into paper muffin cups or greased muffin tins and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. The muffins should feel firm on top and a knife inserted in the center should come out clean. Depending on how high you fill your muffin tins ( I usually fill them 3/4 full) you should be able to get between 15 and 18 muffins.


Strawberry Feta Spinach Salad


We went to a delicious Memorial Day BBQ this afternoon with some friends from my painting class. The host planned to make her awesome chicken and vegetable kabobs and we were charged with bringing a salad, so we racked our brains for a salad to impress. We didn't want to bring a pasta salad, potato salad, or something that someone else would bring.  We wanted something classy - classy salads have lots of colors and fresh ingredients and homemade dressings. Thus, Strawberry Feta Spinach Salad was born. 

 You will need:

For the salad: 
1 bag of baby spinach
1 pint of strawberries, quartered
1 cup of pistachios, chopped
1/2 cup of feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 of a red onion, chopped

For the dressing:
2/3 cup good olive oil
1/3 cup white vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
A dash of salt and pepper

For starters, get a large bowl with enough room for all of the ingredients plus space to toss them together. Add in the spinach, strawberries, feta cheese, onion, and pistachios. 

In a smaller bowl, whisk all of the ingredients together and taste. I like the dressing a little on the sweet side, Amanda likes a more tart dressing. If the dressing isn't to your liking add more honey, salt, or pepper. 

Pour the dressing over the salad immediately before serving. 

This is the perfect salad to make your next BBQ a classy affair! 

What are your favorite salads to take to a BBQ?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Top 10 Romantic Comedies for an Enjoyable Long Weekend (Or, Why We Love Julia Roberts)

Although rom-coms aren't exactly in line with all that Memorial Day represents and stands for, long weekends provide good opportunities to settle in and watch some sappy chick flicks. Shelle and I have recently been testing the limits of our frugality, and we've had to get pretty creative in feeding our movie addiction. We love a good $5 bin at Walmart, garage sales are a must, and it really doesn't get better than borrowing movies from the public library. Shelle even has a coworker with a movie collection to rival the higher-ups at IMDB, which we plan on taking full advantage of this summer. Even with cheap (and free!) access to a variety of films, we often find ourselves returning to some old stand-bys that have been in our collections for years. May we present our list of the Top Ten Romantic Comedies for an Enjoyable Long Weekend:

Shelle says: Why is Pretty Woman the best movie ever? Because it just is! It’s an unlikely pair. You think it’s going to be about sex, but it isn’t. Sex ends up being the last thing in the movie that anybody ever cares about. I think my favorite scene is when she’s got the old school walkman and she’s in the bathtub singing at the top of her lungs and he’s just sitting in the bathroom laughing at her. If you haven’t seen it, go out and get it now. It’s worth the money (we’ll teach you how to save and make up for it later.) I think part of the reason I love this movie so much is because my Grandma does. We used to live next door to each other and for a while she was my best friend. I would come home form school and she would bake cookie bars (which were NASTY, she’d put raisins and cinnamon and what ever shit she had laying around in them and they were always overdone and crispy) and we would watch Pretty Woman together. Richard Gere is one of Grandma’s great loves, and she’s definitely passed that attraction on to me.

Amanda says: Hookers, people. She’s a prostitute. PROSTITUTE. I love Julia Roberts as much as the next girl, but this number one choice was hotly contested. (As always, Shelle got her way and I settled for #2.) My little brother got the DVD for Shelle for Christmas, and I was promptly forced to watch it. I don’t believe I stayed awake through the whole thing, but the parts I did see made me feel super skeevy and uncomfortable. Hookers, folks. Hookers. Great. Now we’re probably going to get some weird ads popping up on this thing.

Amanda says: Now this is the Julia Roberts I know and love. It’s charming and adorable and there’s Hugh Grant’s accent and nobody’s paying for sex! Hugh Grant’s character’s book store is the kind of place that I’d like to go someday, the friends at the dinner parties are the kinds I’d like to have someday, and basically, if I could pick up and move to Notting Hill, I totally would. There’s a fine line between protecting yourself and doing what you need to do to get what you want, and I think Julia Roberts portrays this beautifully. These characters certainly aren’t perfect and they make a whole lot of mistakes along the way, but the real romance (and comedy, really) comes as they slowly learn to move forward and past their mistakes.

Shelle says: The only thing I remember about Notting Hill is the creepy roommate. How good can the movie really be if there’s a creepy roommate with no job who’s always in his underwear?

Shelle says: I think the only thing comedic is when Charlotte poops her pants. It’s an amazing movie and I loved every minute of it. I loved the fashion, I loved the story of the friendship, I thought that it was great to kind of see them be there for each other when times got tough. But who doesn’t love a little Mr. Big?

Amanda says: For once in my life, I completely agree with Shelle! This movie is one of my all-time favorites, and probably would have fallen higher on the list if it were more the romantic aspects of it that appealed to me (or if Julia Roberts was in it, obviously). I wasn’t familiar with the series before I watched the movie the first time, but I was quickly drawn in and hooked on these characters. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t tear up a little when Carrie and Big see each other on the street outside the library at the wedding-that-wasn’t, or on New Year’s Eve when Carrie and Miranda share Chinese food and watch the ball drop. Love this movie.

Shelle says: This movie’s amazing. I love how it starts out with that little wedding scene, and how when I first saw the movie I was singing it into a hairbrush. It’s predictable – you know exactly what’s going to happen, probably because it’s a Julia Roberts rom-com – but it doesn’t matter, you can see the passion between Julia Roberts’ character and that guy’s character (he’s clearly not as important). Plus, it helps that I hate Cameron Diaz and the fact that she’s left at the alter makes it so much better.

Amanda says: I know I like this movie, but I can’t honestly remember the details. I know there’s a convertible, and an elevator scene, but honestly, I’m pretty sure half of my memories of this movie are confused with Runaway Bride. What I do know is that my father does a wonderful impression of those bridesmaids in the beginning scene. His “Wishin’ and Hopin’” puts theirs to shame.

Shelle says: Well, I’ve never seen this movie, but everyone raves about it. So while we are enjoying our relaxing long weekend, I think I’ll watch it.

Amanda says: It’s true, Sleepless in Seattle made the list at my urging (and because Shelle probably thinks it’ll sound classy). It’s probably one of the more romantic comedies on our list, at least in my opinion, and I think that’s saying something given that the two main characters don’t even officially meet each other until the last minutes of the movie. The concept makes up for any shortcomings, however, and you really can’t go wrong with Tom Hanks (oddly enough, however, I’ve never been impressed with a movie that features both Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts). The close-but-not-quite meetings, the Empire State Building, and the call-in radio show provide almost more romance than I can handle, and they just don’t make them like that anymore. Do they even still have call-in radio shows? I’m not sure that a movie based on the missed connections on Craig’s List would have quite the same effect – I don’t picture too many people lining up for the premiere of “Behind You In Line at Walmart, Chobani Yogurt Lady.”

Shelle says: I thought the movie was really well written, I enjoyed that there was sort of four story lines that came together at the end in a way that I didn’t expect. I thought it was really interesting to see how each of the men’s characters kind of learned from each other. Steve Carrell got his swagger back, Ryan Gosling turned out to be a good guy. Overall, it was a good movie. Made me feel old. Not old, classy. It’s a good movie to watch while you have a glass bottle of wine.

Amanda says: I, too, appreciated the interconnectedness of the story lines throughout this movie, and especially enjoyed that they weren’t all apparent from the get-go but were slowly revealed to the characters at the same time they were revealed to us. This is probably one of the better movies I’ve seen in awhile, and I believe it truly fits the list as a romantic (yet still appropriately cynical) comedy. The ending is just ambiguous enough to keep you thinking, but still reaffirmed my belief in true love and soul mates. That’s the mark of a good rom-com, if you ask me.

Shelle says: I like the movie because it’s never the girl with the “wobbly bits” who gets to choose between two hot men. She smokes too much, she drinks too much, she can’t do her makeup to save her life, but she still gets two men to choose between. What the hell? Maybe I really don’t like this movie.

Amanda says: Again, this is another one of those movies to which I don’t have any particular attachment. (I realize I helped make this list and should probably know and like all of the movies on it, but you don’t know Shelle. Very persuasive.) I know that it’s somehow related to Pride and Prejudice, which made me really excited to watch it initially, but I didn’t really get the connection. Hugh Grant still has the accent though, which is always good. And Shelle once made me watch the Youtube scene where Bridget wears that large underwear as a way to explain her hysterical laughter after an unfortunate moment in which she failed to knock.

Amanda says: I liked this movie, I think. I watched it once, and I remember thinking, “I’ll have to watch that again and try to make some sense out of it,” but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. Like Crazy Stupid Love, I enjoyed how the stories melded together and pretty soon everything was interrelated. That being said, some of the story lines were much better than others (the Taylor Swift/high school kids comes quickly to mind as one of the ‘others’), but hey, Julia Roberts. I think by now you know that equals major bonus points in our book.

Shelle says: I thought this was a great chick flick. I mean, I cannot stand Ashton Kutcher and I think the movie would have been better without him but I liked that there were a bunch of different story lines, I never got sick of the annoying girl wanting her best friend, or the man who sleeps around because we didn’t spend a ton of time with any one person. It’s sort of like family, they are amazing if you spend twenty minutes with them, but when you start adding up the hours…that’s when the trouble happens!

Shelle says: This move was okay, if I were making this list myself, it probably wouln’t have made the cut. But it is all about compromise and Amanda loves it. The one thing this movie has going for it is Patrick Dempsey. As you get to know me, you will start to see that I am utterly obsessed with Grey’s Anatomy. So basically, if PDemp thought it was worthy to star in, it can’t be too bad. It’s a cheesy love story, and that’s about it.

Amanda says: Ah, Patrick Dempsey. My aunt met him once, you know. But regardless of his dreaminess, this is a quality movie. All the classic Disney feel with a touch of modern-day snark, it seamlessly combines the two and makes for a truly enjoyable movie watching experience. As much as I love Idina Menzel (and I do – I once dreamed she was my mother, actually, which was both weird and awesome), you can’t help but root for Amy Adams’ and Patrick Dempsey’s characters to get it together and, well, get together.

Amanda says: I need to tell you something about Meryl Streep. She’s my soul mate. I may have dreamed Idina Menzel was my mother, but just the other night I dreamed that I was Meryl Streep (for the record, Shelle was Diane Lane and we were at an Oscar party together (it was held in our old high school)). Despite my undying love for the incomparable Ms. Streep, however, I didn’t love the movie. It made our top ten list, clearly, and it had its moments, but overall it left me feeling kind of uncomfortable. Sort of like Pretty Woman (hookers, people, hookers), the whole theme of sleeping around and whatnot just made me feel a little icky.

Shelle says: Maybe this makes me weird, but the older person sex didn’t bother me. I mean it isn’t like they showed anything. I thought it was a really cute story between Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin’s characters. I bet it happens more often that we think that a divorced couple rekindles their love. I also enjoyed all of the baked goods from Jane’s (Meryl’s character) bakery. I do have to say, I feel a little bad for Steve Martin’s character. Meryl is such a heart breaker…

What are your favorite romantic comedies?  Any plans to watch movies this weekend?  Pretty Woman or Notting Hill?  Sound off in the comments below!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Easy as (Peanut Butter Cup) Pie

My mother's nuts.  Seriously.  I think even she would agree.  Although she's mellowed in recent years, she was especially crazy back in the day, and was somehow convinced I'd manage to burn the house down should I get near a kitchen appliance of any sort.  I think I was fifteen before I was allowed to make my own toast.

I loved to cook even without kitchen privileges though, and it really only helped to make me more creative.  Thanks, Mom!  This easy peanut butter cup pie was a favorite of mine back when I was eight or nine, and it still hasn't lost it's appeal.  It only takes a few ingredients, doesn't require baking (although we sometimes make our own graham cracker crust now, it works just as well with a pre-made crust from the grocery store), and is just perfect for a hot (almost) summer's day.

Read on for directions to heaven in pie form.

Here's what you'll need:

Graham Cracker Crust
about 10 chocolate graham crackers, crushed
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 to 1/3 cup butter, melted

Peanut Butter Filling
8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 cup whipped topping
about 1/2 cup peanut butter cups, chopped

We chose to make our own graham cracker crust (it's slightly cheaper and we are two broke gals), and why use regular graham crackers if chocolate's an option?  We put about 10 crackers in a sealed Ziploc and mashed them up with a rolling pin until they were basically just crumbs, and then dumped the crumbs into a mixing bowl.

We added 1/4 cup of sugar, and a little more than 1/4 cup of melted butter.  I would recommend starting with 1/4 cup (that's half a stick), stirring it in, and then adding a little at a time until it's the right consistency.  You'll want all of the crumbs to be moistened, but it'll still feel pretty crumbly.

We dumped the crumb mixture into a 9-inch pie plate and patted them down on the bottom and up the sides until they formed a firm layer about 1/4 inch think.  I sprayed non-stick cooking spray on my fingers so the crumbs would stick to the plate and not me.

We popped the crust into a 375 degree oven for about ten minutes, and then let it cool completely on a wire rack before filling it.

Oh, yes.  The filling.  This is where it really gets good.  Start with an 8 ounce package of cream cheese.  It should be soft before you begin working with it, and the best way to accomplish this is probably to let it sit out on the counter for a half hour or so before you need it.  If you're like me and don't think ahead, you can get away with softening it in the microwave.  Just put it in a bowl and nuke it for 15 seconds or so at a time until you can easily press your fingers into it, but it's not yet melting into the bowl.

Add 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/3 cup of peanut butter to the bowl with the softened cream cheese.  Feel free to add a little extra peanut butter if you're the type who would appreciate a stronger flavor.  Using a hand mixer, blend the three ingredients until it's an even, creamy consistency.  (If you're eight and your mom is crazy, go at it with a spoon.  It may take awhile, but you'll get there eventually.)

Add about one cup of Cool Whip or the whipped topping of your choice to the mixture and fold it in using a spoon or a spatula.  It may not look like much in the bowl, but it fills the pie crust quite nicely.

Finally, chop up some peanut butter cups and fold them into the mixture as well.  We used about 1/2 cup.  If you'd like to experiment, I bet Reese's Pieces or any other peanut buttery candy would be great here, too.

Pour the mixture into the completely cooled crust and spread it out until it covers the whole crust evenly.  Be careful to work slowly and try not to move the mixture too much so you don't pull up the graham cracker crumbs from the crust.  Garnish the top with more chopped peanut butter cups if you'd like (we do!), and apply additional whipped topping liberally immediately before serving.

Let the pie chill in the fridge for an hour or two before you dig in (I know it's hard, but trust me, it's worth it).  It also freezes well, so you can make it ahead and defrost it when you have the kind of day that just requires peanut butter pie.  I always liked the pie only semi-defrosted so it has sort of an ice cream consistency, and that's especially delicious on a hot day.


Meet Two Broke Gals

We're two broke gals.  Shelle and Amanda.  Or Amanda and Shelle.  Your choice.

Gather 'round for some DIY crafts, delicious recipes, and snarky humor on a budget.

I'm Amanda.  Hello!  You'll be hearing from both of us, so I'll let you know when it's me (although you may be able to tell based on the stellar grammar and witty humor anyway).  I enjoy short walks on cloudy days, peanut butter, and aspire to someday grow up to be June Cleaver.  Shelle claims that I'm not even classy and could never pull off vacuuming in pearls, but I beg to differ.

Shelle, who will make her presence known by typos and colorful fonts, likes napping, Bravo, chocolate, and wears only black 365 days per year.  She worries this makes her sound like a "Goth," but really she just wants people to think she's classy.  Clearly, I must not wear enough black.

Correction: Shelle is reading over my shoulder, and claims that she looks best in black.  Apparently  it has nothing to do with being classy.  Although she still claims I'm not.

Student loans, grocery bills, rent, feeding my yarn addiction, and paying for electricity adds up pretty quick, so we're not kidding about being broke.  Our frequent laments over the state of our finances once prompted my father to mention that we could easily pass for the stars of a CBS sitcom.  Apparently he meant 2 Broke Girls, but I immediately assumed he was referring to Mike & Molly.  I was offended, clearly.

Although our posts about desserts may occasionally prompt you to make that assumption as well, I hope our frugal tips and do-it-yourself ideas will motivate all broke girls and overeaters alike.  Welcome to our blog, and please make yourselves at home (just take your shoes off at the door, we have yet to perfect a cheap recipe for stain remover!).