Category Archives: Sugar

Candy, Candy Canes, Candy Corns, and Syrup

Happy Tuesday! I’m over here trying to figure out where December went. I feel like I was just stuffing my word hole with mashed potatoes and turkey, and now it’s already time to start stuffing it with toffee and fudge.

And yes, my holiday excitement is 90% about food. My neighbor brought us over a tray of Christmas goodies on Saturday, and I was like, “Oh, I’ll just try one of each item and send the rest to work with Dave.” And then I bit into a Reese’s-stuffed peanut butter cookie and turned into Joey Tribbiani.


I’m guessing I consumed about a week’s worth of sugar over the weekend, and I am not even exaggerating. You know how some bloggers are all, “I ate cookies for breakfast, tee hee” because they crumbled up a chocolate chip cookie Quest bar on top of their gluten free overnight oats? This is not that. I ate a snickerdoodle cookie with a side of fudge for breakfast today. But I followed it up with a multivitamin and fish oil pills (and the fudge had walnuts in it), so I’m pretty sure that cancels it out.

Not helping the situation is the fact that I haven’t been working out as much as I like to. I’m still getting used to my longer commute, and even though I leave the office at the end of the day all pumped for my workout, by the time I get home I’m all

Homer gif

However, when I do buck up the energy to exercise, I’ve been loving the HIIT routines on FitnessBlender. They’re pretty tough (especially if you choose level 4 or 5), but you can get a killer workout in just 30 minutes. Two of my current faves are the Active/Static Bodyweight Bootcamp and the Butt/Abs Tabata. Doing these types of workouts just three times a week has somehow kept me from growing out of my pants over the last month, which is actually pretty impressive considering the amount of candy and seasonal beer/cider that I’ve crammed down my gullet.

Etna Brewery Taphouse

Via Instagram Again, I’m not exaggerating. But in my defense, a new taphouse just opened in town and I have to do my part to support the local economy.

Anyway. Tomorrow I head down to my parents’ house, where I’ll get to see my sister and adorable nephews and have fun enjoying all of our family Christmas traditions. I’m excited, but it will also be a bit bittersweet, as this will be the last Christmas in my childhood home. My parents are moving to Hawaii early next year, and my emotions have been ranging from slightly sad to YESSS FREE PLACE TO STAY IN HAWAII. Speaking of which, now’s the time to buy stock in Hawaiian Tropics, you guys – it’s going to take truckloads of tanning lotion to keep my pasty Irish skin from blinding the good people of Honolulu.

And on that note, it’s time to wrap this up. The chocolate chip cookies in the kitchen aren’t going to eat themselves.

High Five for Friday

Our forecast shows highs in the 70s for this weekend and I just saw the obnoxious guy across the street with a giant “Jane Fonda: Traitor Bitch” sticker on his truck get a parking ticket, so it’s already shaping up to be a pretty good Friday. Here are five highs from the last week:

1. My crazy pants!

Crazy PantsI kind of forgot I had these, and rediscovered them yesterday when I was digging around trying to locate my missing denim jacket. I get a lot of “Wow, those are …. interesting” comments when I wear these around town, which might sting a little more if the unofficial uniform of our town wasn’t dirty overalls and boots caked in cow shit.

2. The strawberry shortcake I made for Dave’s birthday came out pretty great:


I used this recipe, and to make the vanilla sugar I just added one teaspoon of vanilla per cup of sugar and blended it really well with a wire whisk. It may not be authentic, but it was easier than flying to Europe, which Google told me was the only place you can find vanilla sugar in stores.

3. I finally joined the rest of the world and started using Spotify. I love it so much, even though it makes me do the white man’s overbite at my desk all day.

I’ve been listening to Birdy’s cover of Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love” over and over for the last couple of days, and I can’t get over how great it is.

4. We’re taking a little trip to a casino in Southern Oregon for Dave’s birthday this weekend, and I have a really good feeling that I’m going to win millions even though I limit myself to $40 and only play the quarter machines.

5. Milky Way Midnights!


Dark chocolate. Caramel. Vanilla nougat. Adult onset diabetes.

I LOVE these candy bars, and Dave bought me a couple earlier this week because he is the best ever and also because I’ve been a stressed-out, whiny wreck lately and he is probably hoping the caramel/nougat combo will glue my jaws shut. I brought one to work today for an after-lunch snack, only I totally want to eat it right now. It’s acceptable to slam-nom a candy bar before 10 a.m., right? Don’t answer that; I’m doing it anyway.

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Weekend in Photos

Photo BoothCake and ChampagneOn Saturday night my friends Joanna and Nick got married, and their wedding was amazing. Mostly because they’re both pretty much the best people ever, but also because it was 50’s themed and was complete with candy cigarettes, a photo booth, and casino games. Also, that cake up there was the tastiest wedding cake I’ve ever had. I spent about 10 minutes scheming a way to sneak some out with me in my purse, but then I saw an unattended piece on a table near me, so I snagged it and then pretended to be all appalled with its rightful owner when he returned from the dance floor to find his delicious cake missing. SORRY, NOT SORRY.

RunIn other news, I’ve decided to try and get back into half marathon shape. Partly to offset that CAKE ALL THE TIME diet you just read about, and partly because I miss actually training instead of just running a few miles randomly when I feel like it.  I have my eye on a few races in April (a 10-miler and half marathon), so that gives me plenty of time to prepare while also being close enough that I can’t keep skipping workouts to watch Netflix in my pajamas.

StewFinally, Dave made Guinness lamb stew last night, and it was SO GOOD. It’s the perfect winter evening meal, if you happen to be in one of the regions of the U.S. actually getting a winter this year. Anyway, he promised he’d guest blog with the recipe, so look for that later this week. In the meantime, I’ll be at work, dreaming about cake.

Make These Now: Lemon Bar Muddy Buddies

Between grocery shopping, Jillian in January-ing, and pipe drama last night, (OK, and a mini American Horror Story marathon), I kind of ran out of time to prepare a post for today. Instead you’re getting a link to a delicious recipe: Lemon Bar Muddy Buddies.

Lemon Bar Muddy Buddies
I made these Saturday night for Dave’s sister’s birthday, and I think I may like them better than the original flavor. The recipe yields eight cups of muddy buddies, and I figure I ate at least five myself. But they’re made from RICE chex, so they’re obviously health food, right? Right.

Chocolate Caramel Stuffed Snickerdoodles

Caramel Stuffed SnickerdoodlesYesterday I drove down to my parents’ house for a baking day with my mom, aunt, and grandma. After looking at every cookie recipe ever posted on the Internet, I decided to make these caramel stuffed snickerdoodles from The Comfort of Cooking. Only I used my grandma Meme’s snickerdoodle recipe instead, because it’s the best ever. It’s actually the same as our family’s sugar cookie recipe, only when we make snickerdoodles we don’t sift the powdered sugar. They’re light and fluffy and soft, which makes me happy since I despise hard, crunchy cookies. Also, they’re easy. But you knew that already, since I wouldn’t have made them if they weren’t.
11.07.13 Caramel Stuffed Snickerdoodle

Meme’s Snickerdoodles
1.5 cups powdered sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 egg
1.5 tsp. vanilla
2.5 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp. cinnamon

For the stuffing:
1 bag Rolos

Cream butter and sugar, then mix in the eggs and vanilla. You’ll have to whisk pretty vigorously, and it should look like this once the eggs and vanilla are mixed in:

11.07.13 DoughBlend in the dry ingredients and pat the dough into a big ball. Cover and refrigerate for an hour or so. Before you take the dough out of the fridge, mix the granulated sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl.

I made my cookies about golfball-sized. I flattened the dough into a disk, pushed the Rolo into the center of the disk, and then wrapped the dough around the candy and rolled it into a ball:

11.07.13 Stuffing CookieRoll the ball in cinnamon and sugar, and place on a Silpat-lined baking sheet.

Bake at 375 for 5-7 minutes. Take them out when the tops are just beginning to crack and they look slightly under-done. Let them continue baking on the sheet for another 5 minutes or so before transferring to a cooling rack.

I’d recommend eating as many as you can while they’re warm out of the oven, but if you get to the point where you have to unbutton your jeans like I did, you can always save them for later and just pop them in the microwave for about 30 seconds to get the caramel and chocolate nice and gooey again.

On a less warm-and-fuzzy note, between last week’s Halloween candy and yesterday’s baking extravaganza, I almost had to lie down to get my pants to zip this morning. For the next few weeks my goal is to spend less time in the kitchen and more time in the gym. If you know me in real life and see me pick up a cookie this week, do me a favor and slap it out of my hand.

NaBloPoMo November 2013

Halloween Cake Bites

This is the first Halloween I’ve lived in a neighborhood where kids trick-or-treat, and I’m SO EXCITED to spend the night ignoring the doorbell while watching scary movies and binging on fun-size candy bars.

Just kidding, mostly. I have dipped into the candy, as evidenced by this recent conversation with my friend Sarah:

Halloween Candy

Eating candy saves lives. QED.

The neighbor kids will have to forage through the small selection of mini candy bars that managed to escape my clutches, but I wanted to have something extra cool for Dave’s cousins’ kids who will be coming by. Enter:

Halloween Cake Bites

These were intended to be Halloween cake pops, until I spent 20 minutes looking for lollipop sticks in Walmart and had to choose between modifying the recipe and suffering a psychotic break right there in the crafting aisle. So these are cake BITES. Not cake pops.

Halloween Cake Bites

– One boxed cake mix in any flavor (plus whatever you need to make it according to the  directions – usually oil and a couple of eggs)

– One tub of store-bought frosting

– Almond bark or candy melts (for the coating)

– Sprinkles

Prepare the boxed cake mix according to directions (I almost always use no-sugar-added applesauce instead of oil)

Let the cake cool, then crumble it into a large bowl.

Using your hands, mash the frosting in with the cake crumbles until it’s completely mixed together. Form the “dough” into quarter-sized balls, and place on a cookie sheet covered in wax or parchment paper.

Place the balls in the freezer for about 30 minutes (this is so they don’t fall apart when you dip them in coating). You could also place them in the fridge for a few hours/overnight if you want to dip/decorate them later.

About five minutes before the balls are done chilling, heat your bark or candy melts according to the package directions (I’m lazy and did mine in the microwave).

Lay the balls on the tines of a fork and dip into the candy coating until completely covered. Let it drip for a few seconds, and then transfer back to the cookie sheet. Cover with the desired amount of sprinkles while the coating is still wet (I did them row by row as I dipped them).

Halloween Cake Bites

I also plan to make spiked caramel apple cider (I will not be handing this out to kids. Not because it’s wrong, but because I don’t want to run out.) If the recipe is any good, I’ll post it here tomorrow.

What are your Halloween plans? Are you dressing up?

Blackberry Peach Crisp with Mocha Almond Ice Cream

I’m not a huge fruit pie fan. In fact, fruit pie might be the only dessert food I’m able to turn down without feeling sad.

NOTE: These feelings do not apply to Dave’s sister Lissa’s strawberry rhubarb pie, which I could and WOULD eat every day for the rest of my life if she were willing to bake me one every week until I die. Most likely from diabetes.

When my flat of peaches from the grub club all ripened at once this week, I panicked. I knew the only way to use them all up was either to make some sort of fruity dessert or to turn them into jam, and hell if I am going to embark on a culinary journey that involves submerging glass jars in boiling water and plucking them out with tongs. No offense jam, but if I’m going to risk burning all the skin from my arms it’s not going to be for a condiment that will be enjoyed once or twice and then disappear behind a sea of beer bottles and empty takeout containers never to be seen again. Kind of like Lindsay Lohan, only fruit.

I’m sorry, Lindsay. Please don’t rob me.

I decided to go with a fruit crisp, on account of crumb topping being so delicious that I could eat it by the truckload.

Blackberry Peach Crisp

I used this recipe from Joy the Baker, and swapped out raspberries for blackberries since that’s what I had on hand. If, like me, you are not a huge fruity dessert fan, here are some reasons you should make this recipe anyway:

– There is a whole stick of butter in the crumbly topping.
– You do not need any more reasons.

My topping wasn’t getting very crisp even after cooking it 10 minutes longer than the recipe indicated, so I switched the oven to broil for about 2 minutes and that crisped it right up. I  topped each warm serving with a big scoop of mocha almond ice cream because a) dessert is not legitimate unless there’s chocolate involved, and b) Dave introduced me to the fruit/mocha ice cream combination years ago, and it is so good. Trust.

This was so good that I ate a serving for breakfast the next day. Which is totally acceptable because the topping has oats in it, so BASICALLY it was just like having fruit and oatmeal for breakfast.

With a side of ice cream.

This is why I run.

So tell me – what’s your favorite dessert? Are you a chocolate person like me, or do you veer toward the fruity stuff?