Candy

Halloween Remix

So, much as Alfred did twelve  months ago, Sandy threw a kink in the works this year in terms of Trick-o-Treating.  Because of power outages and general destruction, annual Let’s-Mooch-Free-Candy-Off-The-Neighbors celebrations were postponed in many towns in the Northeast – one such being my parents’. 

In Mom and Dad’s small hamlet in Northwest CT, the town mandated that Trick-o-Treating occur on the Saturday after Halloween.  Well, this caused a bit of a stressful situation for mi madre as she and Dad had already planned to be away that evening.  She called me in a bit of a panic: “Would you and The Man come and hand out candy to the Trick-o-Treaters on Saturday…you know, so no one eggs our house or anything?”

I LOVE Halloween.  I LOVE Trick-o-Treating.  I LOVE handing out candy to those celebrating this fantastic tradition.  As such, my response was a no-brainer:

“Um, well, yeah!  Totes McGoats, mamacita!”  **I don’t call my Mom “mamacita”…like ever…don’t know where that came from, but it just sounded right in this instance, no?**

So, on said Saturday, The Man and I packed up ingredients for dinner, made a quick pit stop at the liquor store,  and headed over to my parents’ for some Trick-o-Treating fun!

Yeah, we got 13 Trick-o-Treaters.  13.

Needless to say there was a lot of left-over candy…which The Man and I took as “payment” for our good deed.  🙂

Well, I found out the next morning that The Man had alterior motives for taking that gallon-size baggie of snack-size Snickers.  His plan?

“I think it’d be good if you made some cookies with those.  Ya know, to use them up…”

Riiiiiiight  🙂

But, baker that I am, I was thinking along the same lines.  And these, my friends, are the result:

Double Chocolate Coco-Loco Snickers Candy Cookies

MMM…

1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/4 cup coconut flour

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/8 cup light brown sugar

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 egg

1 tablespoon seltzer water

8 snack size Snickers, roughly chopped

Whisk flours, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda together in a small bowl.  In a larger bowl, beat sugars and butter together until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg.  Add flour mixture to sugar mixture and stir until well combined.  Gently stir in the seltzer.  Stir in Snickers pieces.  Roll into balls (I used a 2 tablespoon-sized scoop) and bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees.

Alright, you all know I’m avoiding sugar AND many of you know that chocolate and coconut are not my most favorite things in the world BUT a baker must taste-test her creations before she serves them to other people.  Right?

Wow, these are pretty darn good. 

That bite was all me. Doubters, believe it.

Hot outta the oven, they are crisp on the outside and gooey on the inside.  When they’ve cooled off, the crispness disappears and leaves behind a pillow-y softness that just melts in your mouth.  Good thing the flavors in these cookies are not my thing cause I might have had to eat the whole batch.

Ooo baby, baby. Ooo baby, baby…

Sugar Abstinent Baker tested.  The Man approved.

Well?  What are you waiting for?  Go wrastle up that left-over Halloween candy of yours and get to work.  🙂

What’s your favorite way to use up left-over Halloween candy?

How many Trick-o-Treaters did you get this year?

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Categories: Candy, Cookies | 4 Comments

Goodbye Sweet Friend

I’m doin’ it.  I’m saying farewell to a constant companion.  A companion that has provided succor in times of need but that I know deep down is not good for me.  Of what companion do I speak?

Sugar.

Yes, my dears, I’m giving up sugar.  I’m bidding adieu to sweet, saccharine splendor.  Saying sayonara to delectable, comestible confections.  Kickin’ candy to the curb.

At least this is my plan.  How successful I will be remains to be seen, but I have high hopes.  According to WIAW, this is the time to “fall” into good habits – no better time than the present – so here I go.

Of course, I have known for quite sometime how bad refined sugar is for overall health but this hasn’t stopped me from satisfying my insatiable sweet tooth on a daily basis.  To be fair, because I live a relatively healthy lifestyle, I don’t have to worry that my sugar consumption is gonna end up killing me tomorrow but I could probably benefit from a reduction.  Therefore, I will focus on cutting out the overt culprits – candy, frosting, maybe even the occasional pint of Arctic Zero – but not stress too much about hidden sources – salad dressing/condiments, yogurt…ahem…wine. 

So, goodbye, Gummies.

Okay, I can do this…

Cheerio, Caramels.

Gah! This is hard…

May we one day meet again, Marshmallows.

What the h*ll am I thinking?!?!?!?!

I can’t promise that I won’t fall off the wagon – that I won’t heed the siren song of sweet temptation every once in a while – but this post marks an end to my daily 11:00am raid of the candy dish.  Instead, I will reach for these…

Okay, I admit, these do have added sugar but I think this qualifies as one of those “hidden sources”…no?

…and these…

I’d eat these even if I wasn’t using them as a candy substitute.

…and bask in the antioxidants and fiber that they provide.  Candy cannot compete.  But, man, it sure does taste good…  Deep breaths…  I will stay strong.  🙂

Have you ever tried to give up a food you crave?

What did you eat Wednesday?

Categories: Candy, Sweet Tooth, What I Ate Wednesday | 5 Comments

I’m a Consume-ah…

…but I don’t have a tume-ah!

I must have a subconscious “thing” for Arnie…this is the second time I’ve referenced him…hmm…

It’s time for another What I Ate Wednesday, folks!

In snapping photos for this week’s edition, I realized that I was takin’ pictures of lots of products.  Rather than pretending that I cook every single night from unprocessed, fresh ingredients, I decided to just “go with it” and introduce you all to the pre-packaged products that I love.  Don’t you worry, I still ate plenty of fruit and veg but those can be the subject of another post because today’s topic is WIAW: Shameless Product Placement!

My morning coffee usually comes from a bag of pre-ground Starbucks Sumatra or DDs French Vanilla or something cheap and flavored from Ocean State Job Lot or a mix of the above.  Lately, though, I’ve been relishing this blend from Trader Joe’s:

Fall has fallen…into my kitchen.

Deliciously spicy and aromatic, it’s a great way to start a crisp fall morning and goes very well with my current nut butter of choice from Target:

The prominently featured expiration date sorta screws up the photogenic quality of the tub…ah, well.

My daily snack attacks are usually satisfied by one of these from Whole Foods:

Top-notch snack stash.

I’ve already posted about my love of Primal Jerky and Biena Roasted Chick Peas but they bear re-mentioning cause they are that good. 

I’ve been trying to be better about my sugar consumption lately and I have cut back quite a bit but there is no resisting an individually wrapped Halloween Peep:

He has no idea he’s this close to losing that pretty little head of his.

When lunchtime hits, I reach for my go-to yogurt.  I’ve been wanting to try Dannon Light & Fit Greek Yogurt since reading about it on Caitlin’s blog but I wasn’t able to find it until last week.  My local grocery store finally wised up and started carrying it:

When I was little I used to call strawberries “strawbalooboos.”

I really enjoy this but don’t forget that I’m a sweet-a-holic.  It tastes just like the regular Dannon Light & Fit, just a little bit thicker.  If you’re going into one of these thinking that you’re about to enjoy a deliciously tangy greek yogurt, walk away cause it’ll probably be too sweet for you.

My daily dinner salad is traditionally accompanied by some form of protein.  Sometimes it’s an egg (hard-boiled, scrambled, poached –  I’m not picky), sometimes chicken or turkey, sometimes beans.  Last night, however, protein came in the form of these

Sorry for the glare but look at how the shiny spot is placed directly above the “Mo”…it’s almost like a little sun shining on the logo. Appropriate – though unintentional – no?

…and this:

Have you ever actually seen a laughing cow…like, for reals? Are cows even capable of laughing?

I also scooped up some delicious leftover watermelon salsa that I made for a party last weekend…

Watermelon, black beans, onion, jalapenos, etc. = YUM.

…with these perfect salsa scoopers:

Salty, crispy, and addictive.

I capped off the evening with my customary cinnamon-sprinkled cottage cheese – Hood is the best, by far: 

This stuff blows the competition outta the whey.

Even better when served in the mini-pint glass from Brew Fest:

I told you all I was gonna use it for this…didn’t believe me, huh?

That’s it, dear readers – the product wh*re’s version of What I Ate Wednesday. 🙂

What are your “go-to” pre-packaged foods?

What did you eat Wednesday?

Categories: Candy, Cottage Cheese, Nut Butter, protein, Sweet Tooth, Trader Joe's, What I Ate Wednesday, Whole Foods | 12 Comments

I’ve got a secret…

I am super dupes excited, you guys! 

I bet you can’t guess why…

It’s not because today is another edition of What I Ate Wednesday

…though that is reason enough for excitement, in and of itself.

It’s not because when I was a house guest this past weekend I discovered some of the most glorious peanut butter ever lurking in the back of one of my host’s kitchen cabinets.

Yum-tastic peanut butter + cutie patooter plate + mini spatula = Happy Michelle.

Though this was particularly pleasing because when you are a house guest you can’t always rely on your host having exactly what you enjoy most in the world just hanging out in the back of one of their cabinets.

It’s not because when getting my fix of refined sugar for the day…

I’m loving this retro-fied Instagram treatment…along with the equally retro-fied design of the Stop & Shop marshmallow bag.

…I noticed this on the back of the bag:

Hmmm…

Not like this is something I’ve ever had cause to be concerned about.

Um. Hello. I didn’t hear you coming. Yeah. Want one?

It’s not because I enjoyed the same exact lunch that I’ve had every single work day for the past three years…

I don’t think I could ever be vegan cause dairy products are sorta like God’s gift…to me.

…though there is comfort in consistency.

And it’s not because I just discovered how delicious cottage cheese is when doused in cinnamon and eaten straight from the carton.

I know I’m late to the “Cinnamon on Cottage Cheese” Party. I like to think I’m fashionably late. Just look at that spoon for evidence – that spoon is fashionable.

No, dear readers, none of the items listed above is why I am so flippin’ excited.  Rather, I am elated over what I made for dinner last night.  In fact, I was so darn impressed with my skillz that I literally gave myself a little pat on the back after tasting my creation.  I even interrupted a text-versation I was having with a friend of mine – while simultaneously creating my masterpiece – to text-claim “O.M.G.  I am good!  This stuff is awesome!”

I bet you’re all waiting out there in cyberspace, glued to your desktops with bated breath, on tenterhooks for the revelation of my succulent stroke of culinary genius!

Well…this is where the secret mentioned in the title of this post comes in.  Call me an evil genius…

You get a prize if you know who this is.

…because I am going to make you all wait until tomorrow to find out what’s got me so pepped up.  However, I am not entirely insensitive, I will give you one hint as to the gloriousness that is coming your way:

Little ball of sunshine.

So, tune in tomorrow, ladies and gents.  Same time, same place.  Your taste buds will rejoice.  🙂

Categories: Candy, Cottage Cheese, Nut Butter, Sweet Tooth, What I Ate Wednesday | 6 Comments

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Truer words were never spoken, my dear readers.

I’ve spent the last couple of days feelin’ annoyingly shi**y.  Not in a funk but just ick-tastic enough that it’s put a damper on things.  If you read yesterday’s post, you’ll know that I’ve also not been able to squeeze in much physical activity during the past few days either.  Whelp, therein lies the source of the shi*…

Things started to turn around yesterday afternoon when I killed the Static Five-Minute Plank Challenge.  Feelin’ pretty impressed with myself, I then went for a run and that was all it took – the blues were gone, the slight sniffle that had been developing over the course of the day disappeared, and I slept better than I have in the last three nights.

All this only confirmed what I already suspected.  I’m addicted to running, guys and gals.  Just a couple of days sans run and I start to feel withdrawal symptoms.  I’ve been good about fitting in other kinds of exercise when I’m too busy to run and I’ve been really good about cross-training and building my upper body strength…

Those shoulders are coming along nicely, no?

…but nothing quite does it for me like a good ol’ run.  Exhaustion, sweat, endorphins, serenity.  Yup, running is the only drug I need – well except for the occasional glass (or two, or three…who am I kidding, sometimes I need the whole bottle) of wine.

I may be addicted, but it’s a healthy addiction and if it keeps me sane then fair enough, right? 

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

I can also apply this adage to the foods that I eat.  I’ve stuck to pretty much the same basic diet for the past eight years or so.  What can I say, people?  I’m a creature of habit.  Far from being boring, this routine cuisine has served me quite well – it’s nutritious enough to keep me energized and healthy while also offering enough “wiggle room” and indulgences to keep me happy.  Again, I must say…

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

So, my darlings, this week’s edition of What I Ate Wednesday shall be renamed What I Eat Always.

Mornings always start out with coffee.  Must.  Have.  Coffee.  Just one cup, mind you – and no caffeine after 10:00am – but I’ve gotta have that one cup.  Oh, and if you’ve ever lived with me, you know that you probably shouldn’t talk to me before I’ve had that cup.  Fair warning…

Say hello to my little friend.

Breakfast typically starts with fruit – an orange, a peach, some grapes, a pear – I’m not picky.

Little friend #2.

There’s only one fruit that has not ever made an appearance in my breakfast – or any other part of my diet, for that matter: an avocado.  Ew.  They taste like how sweat smells.  And the texture?  **gag**  Don’t even get me started.

Anywho, breakfast continues with an english muffin or toast – there’s usually a variety of spreads involved, one of which is always a nut butter of some kind – …

Sometimes the nut butter doesn’t make it to the muffin…

…and a handful of vitamins.

Cocktail includes: multi, fish oil, B-complex, MSM, calcium, and a pro-biotic.

I haven’t hidden the fact that I have a sweet tooth – mid-morning usually involves some sort of candy.

I go for the classics.

Lunch is a relatively staid affair – not very exciting but it does the trick.

You know what they say about an apple a day?

Throughout the day there are many refillings of this…

Green is my favorite color.

…because we all know how important it is to stay hydrated.

On days I’m not enjoying a glass of vino, dinner is preceded and/or accompanied by a glass of seltzer mixed with one of these…

I told you I had a sweet tooth…

…and drunk out of this…

Ahhh…

Quick sidenote: The glass is from Nashoba Valley Winery – good wine, worth a visit.

Dinner is usually centered around a HUGE salad.

Big Bowl of Friends.

This one included iceberg, romaine, cherry tomatoes, celery, red onions, some olives, a crumbled up Morning Star Farms Garden Veggie Patty, and a generous dusting of nutritional yeast.

I keep my nooch in a tiny little tupperware – you know my love of tupperware.

With a random gathering of crackers on the side…

Yes, those are animal crackers – a lion and a bear, maybe? No, I am not five-years-old.

…and a cup o’ pudding or cottage cheese concoction – two slightly melt-y Pumped Up Strawberry Cheesecake Bites and a spoonful or two of Friendship Whipped Cottage Cheese – for dessert…

Doesn’t look like much but it tastes delightful. In other news: cute spoon, huh?

…dinner is complete…except for the mango that’ll come into play when I realize I want just a little something extra to tide me over till morning.  🙂

The lovely cashier at my local grocery store – who sees me nearly every week – once told me that I have a mango fetish. She is correct.

And that about does it.  A day in the life of Michelle’s belly.  🙂

Do you have a “standard” diet?

What foods are staples in your culinary repertoire?

Do you have a particular form of exercise that you just can’t do without?

Categories: Candy, Cottage Cheese, Nut Butter, Runner's High, Running, Salad, Sweet Tooth, What I Ate Wednesday | 7 Comments

Sugar Rush

News flash, readers: I have a sweet tooth.  I adore candy.  The super sugary, rot-your-teeth kind of candy.  Jelly Belly’s, Swedish Fish, Mike and Ike’s, Sour Patch Kids (even though I think I’m slightly allergic – I get all hot in the face when I eat them), and marshmallows…OH, GOSH…marshmallows!  And that’s only scratching the surface, people.  I won’t even bother getting into things like fresh fudge and buttercream frosting.  One look at candy and my Healthy Living Attitude gets on a plane with my Willpower and flies off to Timbuktu.

Real place.

Ya gotta live a little, right?  Everything in moderation, hmm?

Given this weakness of mine, you can all imagine how wicked excited I was when I discovered that The PEZ Factory is located in Orange, CT – a mere 45 minute drive away!  A visit was definitely in order.

PEZ was invented  in the 1920s in Vienna, Austria.  How the factory moved to Orange is beyond me, but who am I to question a good thing?  My niece, K, who is similarly enamored with candy (though she has a decidedly more refined palate than yours truly, preferring 70% dark chocolate to penny candy) happened to be in town this past weekend so we, along with my mom (who shall heretofore be referred to as Grandma) and dad (Grandpa, who also loves candy – it runs in the family) hopped in the car and headed towards this scion of almighty sugar.

The Visitor Center just opened in 2011 and is pretty impressive in terms of construction. 

Motorcycle courtesy of Orange County Choppers.

After paying admission (a reasonable $5 for adults, $4 for children) and getting a nifty PEZ badge…

I dressed appropriately – the badge matched my outfit.

…you’re admitted into a land of sugar and sunshine.

Love the colors of the rainbow. However, we did not taste the rainbow, because PEZ are not Skittles.

The Visitor’s Center is basically just one big room but it does contain enough “stuff” to keep ya busy for a while.  There’s a whole wall of “PEZ Through the Ages” and loads of PEZ memorabilia.  I particularly enjoyed the vintage PEZ posters…

Hmmm…

…even though some of them were a little, shall we say, suggestive…

Don’t quite know how I feel about this…

The Center also has a viewing window where you can see the production floor.  A little more sterile than Willy Wonka…

These are not Oompa Loompas.

…but exciting nonetheless.  Especially when you catch a glimpse of the huge vats of candy.

Can I just shove my face in one of those?

K had a great time designing her own PEZ dispenser…

Michelangelo at work.

…while I got physical with some larger-than-life PEZ…

Grandma chopped off my head.

…and Grandpa took advantage of the bulk PEZ section.

A 70-year-old candy freak’s heaven.

With each admission you get a $2 credit towards anything you buy in the store that day so we didn’t have to pay a dime (or $8) for K’s personalized PEZ dispenser or Grandpa’s bucket-o-PEZ.  Free stuff is always fun :).

We all headed upstairs to the lounge area after we had our fill of PEZ fun.  We watched some PEZ related clips (Seinfeld, The Today Show, E.T. – PEZ has had its fair share of exposure) and dug into Grandpa’s bucket…

Chocolate, Cola, Lemon, Strawberry Vanilla, Orange…

…except for Grandma who opted for coffee and peanut butter crackers instead.

Walking to the beat of a different drummer.

A good time was had by all and I recommend the PEZ Visitor’s Center to anyone lookin’ to indulge their sweet tooth or just kill some time on a rainy afternoon.

We’re walking on sunshine…in the form of PEZ.

 

Do you have a sweet tooth?  If so, what’s your favorite candy?

Have you ever been to any treat production facilities?

Categories: Candy, Sweet Tooth | 8 Comments

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