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


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?

Categories: Candy, Cookies | 4 Comments

Easy Pleasy

I love to entertain.  All forms of entertaining – cocktail parties, snack-y and drink-y get-togethers, dinner parties, the ol’ song and dance…

Let me entertain you…

I love it all.  I love it even more when I save myself some time and effort and make things easy.

Um…alright…given the above picture, I understand how you might misinterpret the above statement.  Keep it clean people.  I was talking about recipes, easy recipes.  Recipes that are a cinch to prep and execute and leave me more time to entertain my guests.  And I’ve got two of ’em to share with you right now cause it’s time for another addition of…

What I Ate Wednesday Easy Dinner Party!

This past Saturday night The Man and I had his sister and her boyfriend over for dinner.  This was the first time I met Sister and BF so I was a tad bit nervous…to say the least.  Not only did I have to wow them with my sparkling personality (and hope that they accepted my innate nuttiness), I also had to razzle dazzle them with my culinary prowess.

Easy recipes were most defintely called for.

For dinner I fell back on a tried and true salmon dish that has served me quite well over the years.  The original idea came from a family that I used to nanny for and it’s such an easy dinner to throw together that I almost feel “recipe” is too strong a word – it’s more of a “recip-ease.”  Yes, I just now invented that word.  OOO, I like it.  I shall add it to my lexicon.

Maple-Orange Salmon


Orange Juice

Maple Syrup

Notice there are no measurements listed.  This is why: you use however much salmon you need given the number of people you’re cooking for (1/2 lb. per person is the standard).  You place the salmon in an appropriately sized baking dish and then you glug on the orange juice and maple syrup.  Just eye-ball it.  You want enough in there that the salmon is taking a nice little bath but you don’t want to drown the poor fish.  I usually do equal amounts of orange juice and maple syrup but you should adjust according to your taste.  I’ve used various different brands over the years but this time I used this juice…

I do not enjoy pulp.

…and this syrup.

A purchase from The Big E.

After you douse the fish, pop it back in the fridge and let it marinate for about 20 minutes to a half hour – you don’t want to let it go too much longer than that cause the orange juice will start to “cook” the fish (a la ceviche) and make it too dry/tough.  Then you just wing that pan into the oven (at 350-ish degrees) and bake it according to how big/how much fish ya got.  Et voila.  Easy.  Delicious.

The Man and I paired the salmon with a garden salad and Israeli couscous (mixed with sauteed red onions, baked-sauteed sugar pumpkin, and bouquet garni) and dinner was done.  I think they liked it.  Also, I forgot to take pictures.  Now it is gone.  Ah, well, moving on…

Dessert was a bit more of a challenge for a couple of reasons.  Not only is BF on a low-carb diet but I also wanted to try to accomodate my no-sugar thang.  I did a quick google search for low-carb, low-sugar dessert recipes and came up with this which I further tweaked to come up with this:

Low-Guilt Peanut Butter Cookies (I know, not a creative title but the best I could come up with at the mome…)

1 cup peanut butter, such as…

Don’t worry, this is the non-recalled one.

1/2 cup Truvia (or 1 cup Splenda or regular granulated sugar)

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

Trader Joe’s Organic Maple Sugar for rolling

Just mix the peanut butter, Truvia, egg, and vanilla together (seems unlikely but it will form a dough).  Roll into balls.  Roll those balls in some maple sugar.  Place on a cookie sheet and press balls down with a fork (to make a cross-hatch pattern).  Then bake those babies at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.  Et voila…again.  Easy.  Delicious.

Alas, I didn’t have a photo shoot for these cookies, either.  I was distracted that night, folks.  But I do have this somewhat fuzzy photo with the cookies lurking behind various beverages:

The remainder of the cookies on that plate were gone by the end of the night.

All in all, a successful evening.  Good company (I hope they thought the same of me) and good, easy food.  Sometimes simpler is better.  🙂

Yes, that is my beer. I drank beer. I like Blue Moon. Can you believe it? Who am I?

What did you eat Wednesday?

Categories: Cookies, Nut Butter, Trader Joe's, What I Ate Wednesday | 10 Comments

Bittersweet Birthday

Happy Birthday to Me…Cha Cha Cha…Happy Birthday to Me…Cha Cha Cha…Happy Birthday Dear Me-ee…Cha Cha Cha…Happy Birthday to Me…

Yup, it’s my birthday today.  Above is my niece’s version of The Happy Birthday Song – the “Cha-Cha-Cha”s add a little something, don’t they?  Well, the second half of her rendition is decidedly less festive…

Are ya 1? No, certainly not.  Are ya 2? No.  Are ya 3?  No.  Are ya 4?  That would be a negative.  Are ya 5? Nope.  Are ya 6?  Uh, uh.  Are ya 7? Nope.  Are ya 8? No.  Are ya 9?  No, again.  …I will refrain from boring you with what has obviously become a trend here…  Are ya 29?  No.  Are ya 30?  Uh, uh.  Are ya 31?


Over the past five years or so, my birthday and I have had a sort of love/hate relationship.  I’m a fan of my birthday because presents are awesome…

I squealed like a tween when I opened these.

…as is time spent with family…

We are one dork-tastic family, aren’t we? That’s me in the stroller.

…and friends.

Dirty 30 with my besties. 🙂

The thing about birthdays, though, is that with every one of them you get, well, older.  This is all fine and dandy until you reach age 25 or so.  After that milestone birthday, all the fun is over – you can vote, you can drink, you can rent a car…what else is there?

I guess you can tell that I was one of those who suffered a Quarter Life Crisis.  Yup, when I hit 25 I started to think “Who am I?  What am I doing?  Where am I in my life?  What’s this all about?!?!”  While I’ve dealt with some answers to those questions and feel more secure in who I am, I still have an issue with the whole aging process.  Now, though, my problems with getting older have more to do with this ol’ body of mine getting older.  FYI to all you young ‘uns out there: when you hit 30 your metabolism goes to pot, you start noticing icky things called wrinkles, and it takes you about 5 days to recover from one night of imbibing.  Yeah, it sorta sucks.

However, I have found that I’ve so far approached this birthday with a bit more of a positive attitude – hard to tell considering the above pity party, huh?  I’ve been making a conscious effort to focus on what my body can do rather than how it looks.  I can do multiple reps with those 8 lb. weights pictured above and I can run more and better miles than I could when I was 21.  Actually, ya know what?  At 31, I’m probably in the best shape I ever have been and I don’t look half bad either.  Sure I might have a few laugh lines around those 31-year-old eyes of mine but I wouldn’t trade any one of the laughs that got them there :).  The more I think about it, the more my response to The Happy Birthday Song changes:

Are ya 31?

You bet your socks I am!  And proud of it!

So, I’m gonna go enjoy one of these delightful cookies (which are not at all healthy, by the way, but it’s okay cause it’s my birthday) and give my OLD self a giant HAPPY BIRTHDAY hug :).

Bittersweet Birthday Cookies

I prefer cake, but these are like cake in cookie form.

1 1/8 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup butter

3/8 cup brown sugar

1/8 cup sugar

1 (1 oz.) box Jell-O Sugar Free Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips

healthy shakity-shake of rainbow sprinkles

Whisk together flour and baking soda and set aside.  Cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Beat in pudding mix and then egg and vanilla.  Stir in flour mixture and then chips and sprinkles.  Scoop into balls and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.


Do you like birthdays – yours specifically?

Are you a cake or a cookie person?

Categories: Aging, Birthdays, Cookies, Sweet Tooth | 6 Comments

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