Tag Archives: brownies

Feed a Cold, but Not THAT Much…

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Poor neglected blog. But readers, I’ve spared you what would no doubt have been the ramblings of my jam-packed sinuses and you don’t want to hear anything they have to say. Ten days of this and I’m ready to surrender to Western medicine and get some antibiotics from the doc. Aside from feeling like crap, I’ve developed some scary eating habits. Fast food and mostly foods from the four food groups – salt, fat, sugar and chocolate.

Very rarely do I darken the drive-thru of the Golden Arches, but I’ve been there, Wendy’s, Tim Horton, pizza land and a lousy Chinese place in the last week and a half. I don’t do fast food, or at least haven’t for the past three years. Today, I tried the Fish McBites. Scary, but I liked them, especially w/ extra tartar. Someone, please do an intervention…

This is what my grocery list has looked like lately:

  • pretzel thins – Who are we kidding w/ the “thins?”
  • mini ice creams – I rationalize that the individual servings are not as fattening. Maybe not, unless you eat two…
  • salt & vinegar chips – I NEVER bring these missives from Satan into my home. But now that they’re here, I have to eat them. At least these are baked.
  • triple fudge brownie mix – Oh, it doesn’t stop there. I’m obsessing about making a Trader Joe’s Crunchy Cookie Butter frosting for these bad boys. Like I said, please call Dr. Drew.
  • milk-bones – At least I’ve drawn the line and won’t be dipping them in onion dip. 
  • assorted cheeses – Evidently, there’s no limit to the things that taste better w/ melted cheese.

So I’m picking up an OTC drug today at the grocery pharmacy that sometimes has to have a ‘script. Confusing, but I hope it works before I outgrow my clothes, couch and house…

My nurse pal says that craving salt is often an indicator that your electrolytes are out of balance. I guess I’ll have to add Gatorade to my diet.

Now why didn’t I freeze some of these bacon cookies when we made them?

If I had bacon, I'd be making these.

If I had bacon, I’d be making these.

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Burning the Latte

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"Medium" Starbucks Pumpkin Latte

“Medium” Starbucks Pumpkin Latte

After recently paying over $4 for a festive holiday latte at Starbucks, I’ve started making my own at home. Don’t get excited. I didn’t buy one of those insanely expensive new coffee/espresso/latte/single-serve machines. I use leftover coffee, a couple hits of Hershey’s dark chocolate syrup, cinnamon and fat-free creamer. It’s not bad. There’s no foofy foam on top or sprinkles, but it’ll do.

The other morning, I actually burned the latte. I was doing remote cooking in the style of  HWNLI (“He Who No Longer Inhabits” or the “new” Voldemort) and left the pot simmering away while I was distracted by the pup. My gas stove that goes from gentle simmer to fry the hell out of it in under 8 seconds made a boiling, sticky mess all over the burner. Lovely. I drank some of it anyway.

Carbo Load

What is it about this time of year, besides my rampant SAD (seasonal affective disorder – kind of depression “lite”), that makes me put every sugar-laden item in a five-mile radius in my mouth? Brownie bites are no longer satisfactory alone – they must have a scoop or TWO of peppermint ice cream on top!

This would be a good plan if I wanted to be a sumo wrestler. Reminds me of something a psychiatrist with whom I used to work (not as a patient, a colleague) said when I mentioned trying to lose weight. He said, “Maybe you should just revise your goals to become as big as possible.” I worry sometimes that he gave similar advice to his patients.

Fruit

In an attempt to cool it w/ the sweets, I had a clementine orange today. OK, let’s quit pretending that fruit is just as satisfying as a hunk of chocolate. Seriously. I love apples, but this time of year, they need to be baked w/ brown sugar or dipped in something.

To Ham or Not to Ham

Not unlike the masses, I think about buying one of those spiral-sliced, glazed (see brown sugar above) hams this time of year. If I do, I then have to eat 34 ham sandwiches even after splitting leftovers w/ my mother. But it’s often worth it for the bean soup I make w/ the bone. But now these suckers are like $4.99/lb. and of course the smallest you can purchase is 73 lbs. I may have to opt for another meat du jour this year.

Okay, I just proved my own point that most blogs go on and on with the most inane drivel disguised as interesting stuff. But maybe now you too are inspired to chuck the expensive latte habit and burn your own at home?

Alter Ego

When I’m not writing this blog about trips to Trader Joe’s and wine selections, I actually write for a living. I know, I know. That’s hard to believe, but I often pay my bills w/ writing income. In the interest of cross-promoting (like cross-dressing, but w/ less flair and mascara), here’s an article I wrote that was just re-posted on the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop blog. Thanks to author Tim Bete for his assist. Check it out and then stay and read about other humor writers who don’t have side jobs…

“Ahoy Matey: Pirate Parenting Eases Stress of Moving”

Is Peanut Brittle a Vegetable?

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I got an unexpected check this week (from what I assumed was a deadbeat client) which facilitated a long overdue TJ’s trip for staples like dark chocolate peanut butter salty caramel truffles. I also went to the reg. grocery store and stocked up. It’s amazing how much your menu-planning becomes more creative when you have actual food.

Holiday Food

I used to look forward to making holiday food like peanut brittle, lemon pound cake w/ lemon glaze, cheese balls, etc. Not really up for it this year, but I did find some raw peanuts from last year. Evidently, I wasn’t up to it then either. Still w/i the use-by date, I think I’ll make some.

My grandmother taught me how to make peanut brittle the old-fashioned way – cooking on the stove and spreading it out on a marble slab to cool. I make it in the microwave. I know how to make other candy-type things like caramels, but it’s a tricky process. You can end up w/ mortar if you don’t watch that thermometer. So, microwave it is.

Shopping Spree

Here’s the Trader Joe’s bounty:

  • case of wine – haven’t been able to afford that in a while. It makes sense because essentially you get a free bottle w/ the 10% discount. BTW, try a Gruner Veltliner if you can find one. Don’t worry if people scoff at your pronunciation.
  • gorgonzola – the real Italian version
  • smoked salmon – I swear I could live on it
  • sea salt pita chips
  • fig butter – for that apple pizza I’ve talked about
  • garlic hummus
  • spinach and kale dip – better than it sounds and low-fat
  • rosemary and raisin crackers – ditto
  • other stuff I can’t remember

At the reg. grocery I bought:

  • 2 lbs. of frozen E-Z peel shrimp – like the salmon, I could live on this.
  • brownie bites
  • green beans – I steamed them for me and the pup. Maybe eventually we’ll just eat the same diet. No comments, I’m kidding, people.
  • booze – I’m not a booze drinker, but I wanted a coffee liqueur for the occasional after-dinner drink and rum for a hot-buttered rum recipe I love. (see above holiday “food”)
  • other veggies and fruit
  • almond milk – it’s better than soy and I had a coupon
  • other boring stuff I can’t remember

Design-a-Tote

Hey, if anyone is interested (and why wouldn’t you be? I’m an artist, too!), I’ll design you a SPGL tote like the one below. Just send me your nutty grocery list (leave a comment and we’ll go from there) and I’ll design a tote for you. How fun is that? Well, you probably have more fun than I do, so it’s relative. This isn’t about trying to monetize my blog, I just like to tote cp (240x240)make the totes and they’re really affordable.

I Need a Wobbly Food Dispenser

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Because my pup inhales her food and then amazes me w/ loud belching, I bought her one of those treat/food dispensers that has a small hole and is weighted so it wobbles on the floor. This makes feeding time more challenging and lasts longer, so she eats slower. It’s also hysterical to watch. If I had means to make a video of her, I’d share it. She’s smart, so it didn’t take her long to figure it out and now it’s a game.

Human Food Dispenser

Watching her work for the food and realizing I must be subconsciously training to be a sumo wrestler if my recent eating habits are an indicator, I think I need one of these devices. If I had to roll something around on the floor in order to get my truffle brownie w/ peppermint ice cream on top, at least I’d get a bit of exercise. It wouldn’t be pretty and certainly not entertaining to watch, but I might be less likely to give in to a craving.

Wal-Mart Shopping List

I’m not a fan of Wal-Mart. Don’t get all righteous on me, I’m not a shopping snob (I go to Goodwill sometimes.). I don’t like their labor practices (sexist, racist, ageist, etc.), but damn, they have some good prices. Best for pet toys, drug store stuff and their food is good.

While visiting the Mother Unit this week, we ran in for a few things. I don’t know what she bought because I was distracted by the elaborate plan she laid out for us to meet up after shopping. We didn’t synchronize our watches, but there was way too much discussion.

Here’s what I bought:

  • two lemons
  • loaf of wheat bread
  • Milk-Bones (small multi-flavors version)
  • nightlight bulbs (my only concession to holiday decorating is those little electric lamps you put in the window. I do that in memory of special folks and beloved pets.)
  • gum

Still money challenged, that was it. But it kept me from having to go out amongst them in any other retail environment for a while.

I’m not going to say “Happy Holidays” because I wouldn’t mean it. But if I like you, I’ll wish you some down-time and less exposure to the dysfunctional family crap than usual.

If I get a check this week, I’m buying a case of wine and will report in later.

Cheers….

Just Running in for Some Coffee and Torilla Chips…

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You may remember I’m a coffee snob (“Am I in the Chemex Cult Now?”). I’ve succumbed to the belief that I must buy coffee that was roasted w/i the last 24 hours. Anything less is blasphemous to my elaborate coffee-making set-up. So after getting my hair cut yesterday, I planned to go to Whole Foods. I don’t know if they are a national chain of grocery stores, but I’m lucky enough to have one a short 35 miles away. I was in the ‘hood after all.

Coffee Choices

I still pretend that I am doing the healthier thing by mixing decaf and reg. – less caffeine and all. But in the higher echelon of coffee snobbery, the types I buy aren’t just cranked out in a reg. and decaf version. So I mix it up. Yesterday I bought Bel Canto reg. and a Mexican decaf something. (I always mean to write the name on the bags, but forget.)

Tortilla Chips from God

One day, my friend Rhonda brought these over from Whole Foods (WF). I thought, okay, tortilla chips, that’s cool. She said to try one. I did and it changed my view of the lowly tortilla chip. These are homemade in-store and totally amazing – not greasy, not too salty. Next to TJ’s Cookie Butter, these are like meth.

Having completed my short list of  the two items, I intended to leave because this store is pricey. Mainly because I gravitate toward the World of Cheese That’s the Cost Per Pound of a Bentley. I resisted cheese world but took a detour to Wine World. Here’s what else I bought:

  • 3 bottles of wine – These were affordable. The most expensive was $7.99
  • Brownie bites – My rationale is that they are “two-bite” treats with fewer calories and fat. Right.
  • Smoked salmon salad – This is right up there w/ CB and the chips. I wasn’t going to cave, but the guy told me they had just smoked the salmon yesterday and he was making a fresh batch. OK, I’m in.
  • Beer – When it’s 90+ out and I’ve tried to die by working in my yard, I need a cold beer when I’m done. I bought Brooklyn Summer Ale on sale. I don’t usually like summer ales because they’re often Belgians/wheat, which I don’t like, but this looked good.
  • Arugula – I’m growing some, but I don’t want to deplete the crop.
  • Organic lemonade – It was $1.50.
  • Strawberries – I don’t usually spring for organic fruit, but these were $2.50.
  • Some other stuff I don’t remember.

Total was $68.00 which should not be a surprise. I go in there w/ the best intentions of grabbing just one or two items, but I’m weak.

Cookie Butter is the New Crack

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Before I launch into my riff on this mind-altering substance, I must give a shout out to fellow grocery shopper Steve Barber. Steve’s post, “Why Men Shouldn’t Shop at Foodland” on the fab website An Army of Ermas gave my self-esteem a much-needed boost. He’s as clueless when grocery shopping as I am. Thanks for sharing your First Step with us (Admitting you’re powerless…for those of you non-12-Steppers).

Cookie Butter Madness

I found this magical substance at Trader Joe’ recently. It was on an end cap (yes, I used to work retail) w/ a Nutella-like product. I asked a clerk her opinion about both. Her eyes practically rolled back in her head as she chanted, “OMG, get the cookie butter!!! It’s amazing!!” With that recommendation, who wouldn’t want to give it a try?

I did and I’m attesting that this is like meth for the moderately upscale crowd that shops at TJ’s. When my excellent pal Sarah was over, I told her she had to taste it. She seemed mildly interested until she tried it and now I have hooked my first junkie. Amazing baker that she is, she was inspired to create something w/ CB as the star.

Brownies – No, I mean BROWNIES

Checking in w/ her grandmother who taught her to bake, Sarah liked the idea of making a cake frosting. Kind of like a peanut butter type, except w/ CB. Of course she made her signature brownies to host this amazing topping. Okay, it was brownie nirvana! The frosting was light and creamy, but rich on top of the dense fudginess. I would have mainlined them if I could.

CB Experiments

Here are some things I’ve tried w/ cookie butter:

  • Spread on a whole wheat bagel w/ sliced strawberries on top
  • Spread on a slightly nuked molasses crinkle cookie
  • On a spoon or finger straight from the jar

So go get some. Actually, you should get a case before they decide it’s an illegal substance.