Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Can Cake

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  I’m no baker.  Seriously, if you’re searching for some beautiful work of culinary art, look away now.  However, I’ve got to say that these turned out pretty awesome, aesthetically, for the amount of amateur ability that was put into them.  They taste even better.
 
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Can Cake
 
These cakes are the size of tin cans, which makes them really special and fun to serve.  How’d I get them to be that size?  Drum roll, please… I made them in tin cans!  Really.
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Chinese-Style Barbecue Country Ribs (Slow-Cooker Recipe)

(Part of the Chinese New Year Theme Thursday Series)

 
It’s finally here;  The day we’ve been waiting all week for.  In just a few hours, we will be freed from our daily grind and plunged into the short-but-sweet world of free time.  Yes, it’s Friday.
 
Chinese-Style Barbecue Country Ribs
 
It’s Friday, and I’m posting an extension of the “Theme Thursday” series, I know.  Hopefully this extra recipe will make your weekend all that much better (and tastier), so you can forgive me on posting out-of-schedule.
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Spicy, Crispy, Orange Beef

(Part of the Chinese New Year Theme Thursday Series)

 
Here in New Jersey, we’re feeling the frigid cold in our bones from the coldest weather we’ve had in several years.  Aside from cups of Adult Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate and endless amounts of soup, there is one more thing I like to whip up in the kitchen to keep me feeling toasty: Spicy, Crispy, Orange Beef.
 
Spicy, Crispy, Orange Beef
 
“Orange Beef?” you say.  Yes, Orange Beef.  The spice and citrus in this dish make it perfect for awakening the senses on an otherwise dreary day, and who doesn’t love to eat Chinese food when it’s cold outside and you’ve got no place to be?
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Pork Potstickers with Spicy Dipping Sauce

(Part of the Chinese New Year Theme Thursday Series)

 
My Grandma Sandy is Chinese, and I have grown up lucky enough to eat authentic Chinese food on many occasions.  My family requests that we get a batch of her creations all the time… maybe too often.  The most beloved of her treats are the Steamed Pork Dumplings, and we eat them on every major holiday.  Even on Thanksgiving, an empty plate that was once stacked high with steamed pork dumplings is always removed from the table by the time the turkey is served.
 
Pork Potstickers
 
A few years ago, my Grandma Sandy taught me how to make her steamed pork dumplings, and I made them every chance I got.  I was proud of myself, because they were almost as good as my grandma’s.  However, after making them for years, I would drive myself crazy wondering why they were only almost as good.  I did everything exactly the same.  I used the same ingredients.  Why weren’t they ever just as good?
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Asian Sesame Ginger Chicken Wonton Cups

(Part of the Chinese New Year Theme Thursday Series)

About a year has passed since I made these Asian Sesame Ginger Chicken Wonton Cups for the first time. In fact, it may have been exactly one year ago that I was scrambling to get things together for the millionth potluck dinner I was attending for my sorority.  I had no idea what to make, as I really had just become interested in cooking. (It’s so strange now to say that.)  I had made Wontons a day or two earlier for the Chinese New Year, and I had a bunch of leftover wrappers, so I decided to try out a new concept I had heard about– making wonton cups using a muffin tin.  It was such an out-there idea, and I was really excited to try it.  That was a year ago.  Now it seems like everyone knows about– and has recipes using– wonton cups.

Asian Sesame Ginger Wonton Cups

At that point in time, I also had just started my last semester as a full-time college student;  my last semester living with my long-time roommate, Jackie,  in New Brunswick;  I had just started casually dating my now-boyfriend, James;  I didn’t have a job;  I didn’t have a plan;  I had no idea what my life would be like in one year’s time.
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