Monthly Archives: October 2012

Chocolate Bark & Caramel Popcorn Bars

Happy Halloween! WooooOOOO (spooky ghost sound)…
 
I don’t usually make “Kid Friendly” food. Mostly because I don’t have any (kids, that is). And to be perfectly honest, I really enjoy booze. Not that I’m a lush or anything, but every once and a while I like a drink…
That being said, I figured it was time to branch out a little bit. One of the things that make both these recipes so “kid friendly” (besides the fact there’s no booze in them) is that they’re both really easy to make. As long as you’re careful with all the warm melted stuff! The other thing I like about these is the giftability (haha, not a word!) for teachers or friends…
 
The Chocolate Bark was inspired by A Farmgirl’s Dabbles Octoberbark & Sugar Loco’s Buggy Bark. If you haven’t heard of either of them… Go now, you can alway come back to me later. 😉 MY favorite thing about the Bark (besides how yummy it is) is how customizable it is. Hubs and I basically went down the candy aisle and randomly picked Butterfinger’s & Rolo’s. The chocolate base can be changed to whatever you want (more semi sweet for a darker chocolate, or something like that). Another small difference would be to crush the Oreo’s fine, then sprinkle them on last, to make it look like “dirt” instead of bark. Speaking of those Oreo’s my grocery store didn’t have the Halloween ones! Bummer. CLICK FOR MY VERSION!
 
The Caramel Popcorn Bar recipe was inspired by Part Time Housewife’s version. I changed just a few things… like the Crunch N Munch. I really love caramel, and I really wanted to put caramel popcorn in this recipe. Sadly, my grocery store didn’t have any caramel popcorn besides the Crunch N Munch. They also didn’t have White Chocolate Reese’s Cups. Another grocery store let down. I just used the regular mini ones. Look at my version here!!
 
I really wanted to get this post up before today, but Hurricane/ SuperStorm Sandy messed with my (already crappy) internet service. Lucky for us, that was all she did here. In PA Philly and the suburbs got the worst of it. The East Coast got slammed, and NYC & the Jersey Shore have a long recovery ahead of them. Keep them in your thoughts.
 
Have a safe and happy Halloween!
-Hey Waitress!!
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a missed homecoming, three baked goods, and a lost job…

Too many words to capitalize the title. Sorry for the terrible grammar.
 
Originally this post wasn’t going to exist…
 
My husband and I were supposed to be heading back to our college homecoming festivities, which is also the reason I didn’t have a post last week (I didn’t want to bake a ton of stuff then have to lug it halfway done the Eastern Seaboard). To make a long story short, my husband got in an accident in his work truck on Wednesday (the day before we planned on leaving). Luckly he was ok (just really sore), but he didn’t want to drive 7 hours to party for a weekend. He was also worried that he may get fired, even though we got told that an accident like this wasn’t a fireable offence.
Turns out it was a fireable offence. We just found that out today. So… kind of worried, now that neither of us has a job. He insists it won’t be for long, but I’m saying my prayers and keeping my fingers crossed. We’ve been through worse, and we’ll get through this.
If I had known he was going to get fired today, I wouldn’t have sent him to work with Homemade Pumpkin Spice Muffins, Stuffed Cookie Dough Truffles, AND Amaretto Brownie Bites. Or the baked pumpkin seeds. Yah, I bake when I’m trying to keep my mind off things… and I was pretty sad we didn’t get to see our friends this weekend. Not to mention the FABULOUS dresses & shoes I planned on wearing. SIGH.
 
So.. the keep the distraction going… I give to you A weekend full of baking!
 
Pumpkin Spice Muffins
I don’t particularly like pumpkin flavored things… but these muffins are pretty yummy. Honestly, I only made them because I don’t like being wasteful (and I carved my Halloween pumpkins this weekend). Angie from BigBearsWife (who is a culinary goddess, you should bow to her genius), sent me her recipe. I didn’t change much, but I did seem to have a few problems. Firstly, I don’t own a food processor so I attempted to “puree” the pumpkin myself… Bad idea. I had a lot of the stringy parts left over, and they got stuck on my mixer blade. Although it did keep the stringy parts out of the batter, so I guess I shouldn’t complain. Secondly: I ended up with 1.5 doz regular sized muffins, and 6 large muffins, her recipe said it would only make 6! I guess she used bigger muffin tins than me. 😉 The third issue I had was (is?) how much these stick to the paper liners… they’re very moist (not a bad thing), but it makes them fall apart when I try to peel the liner off. However, they still get a “thumbs up” from me, and I can’t wait to find out how Husband’s work folks like them. And a little side note- Bake the pumpkin seeds tossed in a smidge of oil and sprinkled with salt at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
Not to toot my horn or anything, but I also carved & gutted those pumpkins MYSELF! Toot!Toot!
Click here for my version!
 
Stuffed Cookie Dough Truffles
I’m a cookie dough fanatic. Seriously, I would eat raw cookie dough by the pound if I wasn’t so paranoid about getting sick… Then along came this very eggless cookie dough recipe (that I also used for my Cookie Dough Stuffed Cupcakes. The recipe & inspiration for these came from Angie (AGAIN, culinary goddess)! I forgot to take enough pictures this weekend so I suggest you check out her blog! I modified the recipe a little bit. I stuffed mine with MilkyWays and 3 Musketeers, instead of plain truffles! I planned on using “bite size” candies, but since Halloween is coming up I got a few bags of “fun sized”, and cut them in half. I kept them in the freezer so they wouldn’t lose shape while I was rolling them into the dough. The dough is pretty sticky, I found myself constantly dampening my finger & palms so it wouldn’t stick! Then there was trial & error with the dough temperature & dipping. Originally I kept my dough in the fridge overnight, when I attempted to dip the first one in the melted chocolate it didn’t keep its shape… the dough got too soft. I fixed that by putting the rest in the freezer for a few hours. I also attempted to cover the whole ball in chocolate at one time, but it got too messy. Then I thought maybe I could just pipe it on… but it firmed up too fast. Finally it dawned on me… just dip one side, let it harden, and then dip the other! DUH! Store these in the fridge to keep the dough from getting too soft!
Click here for my recipe!
 
Amaretto Brownie Bites
I picked brownies this week because I wanted to do something easy… then I decided to make it harder on myself and bake these in the cupcake tins! What was I thinking?! But honestly it wasn’t that bad… Just make sure they are COMPLETELY cool before you attempt to take them out of the muffin tins, or else they’ll probably fall apart. Just like a few of mine did before I realized what I was doing wrong! Oops. If I make them again I’ll (most likely) use only ½ a cup of walnuts… there’s just so darn many! There was just enough frosting to lightly frost all the brownies, and they don’t really need a whole lot of it anyways…
RECIPE HERE!!
 
 
Phew… I’m done baking (until Sunday, at least).
Now it’s time to continue my rereading of Robert Jordan (and Brandon Sanderson’s) Wheel of Time series! Have I mentioned how much I LOVE these books? Because… I could write about how much I love them, but I think I’ll save that for another post.
 
Happy Baking,
-Hey Waitress! 
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Running

I’m currently jobless (still, since we moved to PA over a year ago), and it kinda sucks. I get bored, and antsy. And then  I eat a lot. So to continue eating like a FattyMcFattyPants I started working out (running, light lifting, yoga, cardio) when we moved here…
 
I started out on the treadmill, just kind of “winging it”. You know, going with the flow. I was on that thing 6 days a week, plus getting on the elliptical for 3 of those days. Eventually I got my mileage and speed up to pretty good numbers. Then it happened. One day in the beginning of February, I went for my run, finished, and that night, my chest started to hurt.  I felt like there was a small elephant sitting on me. It was so uncomfortable, almost painful, like my heart was going to beat right out of my too-tight chest. I went to the urgent care, and the Doc told me it was “inflammation of the chest wall, probably caused by trauma”. And then proceeded to ask me in a variety of way if my husband beat me. For the record: the answer was no. Anyways… they suggested less caffeine (for my heart), less (or none) cigarettes, and to take some time off to heal. Oh, I forgot to mention, at this point I was drinking 2 (16oz) cups of coffee in the morning and at least one 16oz bottle of coke a day, and smoking about half a pack of menthol (light) Camels. Ooops. So, I quit drinking caffeine (except for a cup of half-caff), cut back my smokes to 4 a day, and took a month off.
gradually after that month off I starting working out again, mostly on the stationary bike, then the elliptical. Eventually I started running again, but only one day a week. I soon realized that I missed running. The mindlessness of pushing my body as hard as I could go, it gave me time to clear my head and NOT think, unless I wanted too.
 
So the first point of this post was to say that this summer I realized I needed goals. I didn’t want to push my body (too far) past what it could do. BUT I needed something to be proud of. Somehow my warped mind came to the conclusion that I want to run a half marathon by the time I reach 30. That’s about 3 years away. EEEK! I just dated myself, I guess I’m not just a “20 something” anymore. In order to run a half marathon, I figured I’d need to start running outside. And get serious about it. To work myself up to getting outside in( public, where people could see my jiggly rump, and gasping) I needed to start small. Like running 5k. Inside. Then outside. Then a 10K. I intend on running a 10K race, then starting to “train” for a half marathon!
 
I finished the CouchTo5K treadmill version in the middle of September! Then I relaxed a little bit, and worked on my pace/speed until the first week of October, when I started to outdoor version (3 runs a week, for 9 weeks)! I bought myself a new pair of sneaks, and a Nike+ GPS watch. Speaking of Nike+, I seem to be having accuracy issues when I use it on the treadmill (which I still run on 2x a week), and I’m not sure why… But it does match (pretty close, down to the 0.01 range) of the MapMyFitness app on my phone…
 
The other point to this post was the following mini rant:
“running” outside is much diff than running on a treadmill. Between the wind, uneven sidewalks, and acorns… It’s hard. Not to mention I actually need to pay attention (for fear of getting, umm, lost), and my near inability to “run thru” shin splints. Flailing around all elbows and ankles, and jiggling in all the wrong places, panting and gasping for breath like I just RAN (not “ran”) a marathon… all to end up with shin splints and a runny nose.
rant over. the good news is I “ran” 3.32miles in 35:42minutes, which makes my average pace 10:44min/mi. Not too shabby for week 3.
 
I have a love/ hate relationship with running, can’t you tell?
 
Now that I got all that off my chest I need to choose which body part needs an ice pack to most…
-Hey Waitress!!
 
PS. More sweat now equals less jiggle later. (words to live by)
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Book Quotes

I feel like I’ve been away from the blog for too long. Sadly, its due to a lack of interesting things to say. I (re)started writing because, generally, I find myself pretty amusing. Not so much lately. It’s kind of depressing me to be honest. I’ve got 5 or 6 good drafts going, but I can’t seem to want to finish them. It’s kind of tragic. So, in an effort to motivate myself to start writing (about things other than my weekly baking adventures), I’m posting my favorite highlights from my Kindle. Some may be funny, some may be sad, but in general every quote “says” something to me. Thats the great thing about books… they can speak right to your soul. I also put in the Kindle location.

“The one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world , the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog. A man’s dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground… He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer; he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounter with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince. When all other friends desert, he remains… he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens. -Sen G. Vest, 1870” from Watchers, Dean Koontz. Loc 8604-14

“Tis not the concern of a day, a year, or an age; prosperity are virtually involved in the contest, and will be more or less affected, even to the end of time, by the proceedings now. Now is the seed-time of continental union, faith, and honor.”  from Common Sense, Thomas Paine. Loc 258-60

“In serving dumb creatures, you are ennobling the human race.” from Beautiful Joe, Marshall Saunders. Loc2650-51

“‘Your man Jesus seems to me a bit of a son of a bitch when it comes to women, was he ever married?’… ‘No, but his girlfriend was a whore.'” from The Dark Tower V, Stephen King. Loc 9126-29

“Vas’y plus fort, mon petite cochon d’amour!”… “Do it harder, my little love pig!” from Bloodsucking Fiends, Christopher Moore. Loc 481-82

“Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.” from The Name of the Wind: Kingkiller Chronicle: Day One, Patrick Rothfuss. Loc 12535-36

“We love what we love. Reason does not enter into it. In many ways unwise love is the truest love. Anyone can love a thing because. That’s as easy as putting a penny in your pocket. But to love something despite. To know the flaws and love them too. That is rare and pure and perfect.” from The Wise Man’s Fear: Kingkiller Chronicle: Day Two, Patrick Rothfuss. Loc 1162-65

“It’s the questions we can’t answer that teach us the most. They teach us how to think. If you give a man an answer, all he gains is a little fact. But give him a question and he’ll look for his own answers.” from The Wise Man’s Fear: Kingkiller Chronicle: Day Two, Patrick Rothfuss. Loc 11209-10

“It’s my New England sarcasm coming out in full force. Folks that don’t come from that region have a difficult time truly understanding what is being said to them. Many will find it an abrasive form of communication. It is, without a doubt, an acquired mode of information dissemination.” from Zombie Fallout, Mark Tufo. Loc 3596-98

“In their selfishness & greed, they see free people as their oppressors. They wish to have a leader who will cut the taller plants so the sun will reach them. They think no plant should be allowed to grow taller than the shortest, and in that way give light to all. They would rather be provided a guiding light, regardless of the fuel, than light a candle themselves.” from Wizard’s First Rule, Terry Goodkind. Loc 3177-79

“Lazy people don’t think for themselves; they only think about themselves.” from Blood of the Fold (Sword of Truth #3), Terry Goodkind. Loc 1493-94

“Mind what people do, not only what they say, for deeds will betray a lie.” from Soul of the Fire (Sword of Truth #5), Terry Goodkind. Loc 5429

“Like  hounds at a feast, people gather ’round the table of tyranny, eager for the tasty scraps tossed on the floor. Not everyone will wag their tails for a tyrant, but most will, if he first makes them salivate with hate  and gives license to their covetous impulses by making them feel it is only their due. Many would rather take than earn. Tyrants make the envious comfortable with their greed.” from Soul of the Fire, Terry Goodkind. Loc 6233-36

“To truly love someone, you must revel in their existence because they make life all the more wonderful.” from The Pillars of Creation, Terry Goodkind. Loc 10404-5

“Mercy grants value to the life of a killer, while, at the same time, it strips away the value of the life of the innocent victim.” from Naked Empire, Terry Goodkind. Loc 7263-64

“All that could be hoped for was for each generation to be raised to be sensible enough to learn from the past, not to lose sight of the things that mattered, and to understand why they mattered.” from Confessor, Terry Goodkind. Loc 3663-64

“The wind is filled with music. New breezes chase the night. Away we run beneath the sun, whirling, feather light.” from The Heavenly Horse from the Outermost West, Mary Stanton. Loc 2043-45

“My vengeance shall be slow and involve paper cuts, many papercuts.” from Shatter (Children of Man #1),  Elizabeth C. Mock. Loc 3970

“An errand is getting  tank of gas or picking up a carton of milk or something. It is not getting chased by flying purple pyromaniac gorillas hurling incendiary poo.” from Blood Rites (Dresden Files #6), Jim Butcher. Loc 157-58

“I’ve noticed that people get the most irrational whenever family was around- while simultaneously losing their ability to distinguish reason from insanity. I call it familial dementia.” from Blood Rites, Jim Butcher. Loc 1705-7

“When you do something stupid and die, it’s pathetic. when you doe something stupid and survive it, then you get to call it impressive or heroic.” from Dead Beat (Dresden Files), Jim Butcher. Loc 7698-99

“Everyone is down on pain, because they forget something important about it: Pain is for the living. Only the dead don’t feel it.” from White Night (Dresden Files), Jim Butcher. Loc 4599-4600

“Faith is about what you do. It’s about aspiring to be better and nobler and kinder than you are. It’s about making sacrifices for the good of others- even when there’s not going to be anyone telling you what a hero you are.” from Changes (Dresden Files), Jim Butcher. Loc 3467-68

“It was never too late to learn something. The past is unalterable in any event. The future is the only thing we can change. Learning the lessons of the past is the only way to shape the present and the future.” from Ghost Story, Jim Butcher. Loc 4066-67

“There was a time when men believed that ‘the good’ was a concept to be defined by a code of moral values and that no man had the right to seek his good through the violation of the rights of another.” from Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand. Loc 11127-28

“To live, man must hold three things as the supreme and ruling values of his life: Reason- Purpose- Self Esteem. Reason, as his only tool of knowledge. Purpose, as his choice of the happiness which that tool must proceed to achieve. Self-Esteem, as his inviolate certainty that his mind is competent to think and his person is worthy of happiness, which means: is worthy of living.” from Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand. Loc 23342-44

“Words can be like X-rays, if you use them properly– they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.” from Brave New World, Aldous Huxley. Loc 911-12

“…We can’t live our lives by ‘what if’ and ‘if only’. We can only do the best we can to the best of our ability based on what we know. That’s why the truth is so important.” from The First Confessor, Terry Goodkind. Loc 3859-60

“But she was too big to be a thief, too honest to be an assassin, too intelligent to be a wife, and too proud to enter the only other female profession generally available.” from The Light Fantastic, Terry Pratchett. Loc 2247-48

“The truth isn’t easily pinned to a page. In the bathtub of history the truth is harder to hold than the soap, and much more difficult to find…” from Sourcery, Terry Pratchett. Loc 2765-66

“Genuine anger was one of the worlds great creative forces. But you had to learn how to control it. That didn’t mean you let it trickle away. It ment you dammed it, carefully, let it develop a working head, let it drown whole valleys of the mind and then, just when the whole structure was about to collapse, opened a tiny pipeline at the base and let the iron-hard stream of wrath power the turbines of revenge.” from Wyrd Sisters, Terry Pratchett. Loc 4150-53

“When you don’t know what to do, do what’s right and do what’s  in front of you. But not necessarily what’s right in front of you.” from The Black Prism (Lightbringer), Brent Weeks. Loc 1765-66

“Put on some armor. Just remember what’s armor and what’s you, so when it’s time to take it off, you can.” from The Blinding Knife (Lightbringer), Brent Weeks. Loc 2609-10

“Idealists mature badly. If they can’t outgrow their idealism, they become hypocrites or blind.” from The Blinding Knife (Lightbringer), Brent Weeks. Loc 9182

 

The End.

-Hey Waitress!!

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