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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Very Valentine's: Pink Sugar Cookie Bars

I think the most memorable Valentine's Day I ever experienced was my junior year of high school.

I was single.  Painfully, miserably, angrily single.  Recently single, heartbroken in that life-shattering way that always hurts but hurts so much more when you're 16 and lacking perspective.

Boy, sounds like a Valentine's Day worth remembering, right?
Well, one of my best friends was also painfully, miserably, angrily recently single.

We held an Anti-Valentine's Day.
We wore black.
We decorated cupcakes with broken hearts.
We baked cookies.
We rented horror movies (I don't even like horror movies, but it seemed like the thing to do...).
We ate Chinese food.
We sent Anti-Valentine's Day E-Cards to our friends.
We (I kid you not) made a web page dedicated to our newly christened holiday.  It miraculously still exists out there in all of it's broken-linked glory.  We were a bit...melodramatic...it would seem.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Big Mac Salad

I used to be a manager at McDonald's, many many years ago.  It was for three years, pre-Air Force, the last couple of years of high school and shortly after.  It was years before I would eat there again, and honestly I rarely go there to this day unless the kids want to visit Playland.  It was...an experience.  I have witnessed people get so angry over believing they had been overcharged by a dime that they felt it necessary to hurl a Super Size Coke at a fellow human being.  I have cleaned grease traps.  I have seen what's lurking in the ball pit (side note: my kids aren't allowed in ball pits...).

Anyway, while I almost never actually eat at McDonald's there are a couple of things that I really crave sometimes- namely Mac Sauce and McChickens.
Don't judge me for loving those hot little cheap chicken sandwiches please.  :-)

For some reason we were not allowed to give people a side of Mac sauce when they asked for it.  The only reason I was ever given was that the health department wouldn't allow it- which is not a response hungry customers really enjoy receiving when they just want some sauce in which to dip their fries.  Here's a silly answer from McD's itself as to why they won't serve it on the side.  Anyway, regardless of the reason, we deprived lots and lots of hungry throngs their favorite dipping sauce for those hot, salty fries.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Super Snacks for the Super Bowl: Sweet Heat Chicken Wings

So a few days ago I found myself inhaling a delicious trio of salsas at a Mexican restaurant as we celebrated a family birthday.  I've got a big thing for salsa.  :-)

 Anyway, my Seahawks were playing.  When we got the restaurant, they were down 31-0 at half time.
I really wasn't holding out much hope for a return from that as we sat down to eat.  But then I realized that I could see a television from across the restaurant.
They'd come back from that!  Lets just say I spent the last 10 minutes or so of lunch totally checked out of the conversation as I anxiously watched the game play out...we lost, but boy did we come back nicely in the second half!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Super Snacks for the Super Bowl: Low Carb Party Bites

One of the most frustrating things about a low-carb diet is the lack of snack foods.

In a world of chips, dips, crackers, candies, sauces, wraps, cakes...there you sit with the broccoli.
Or peanuts.
Or cheese slices.

 Sometimes a girl just wants something fun to snack on while she watches the NFL playoffs.  Oh boy did I never think I'd ever in a million years type that sentence...

Anyway, so I've been on the lookout for low carb snacks.  In my mind, a good low carb snack- or any low carb food, really- needs to be a couple of things.  

1) It has to actually be yummy enough that people who AREN'T low-carbing will want to eat it too
2) It shouldn't call for any weird low-carb ingredients that I don't normally buy

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Simply Scrumptious Sopapilla Cheesecake Bites

Cheesecake.
What's not to love?

 I know I said there was only one cheesecake recipe for me.  Only one deserving of the time and ingredients.  Only one worth the calories.

For the most part...I stand by that.
Not that I'd turn my nose up at a pumpkin cheesecake...or a carrot cake cheesecake...or a blackberry swirled cheesecake...or pretty much any cheesecake to be honest.

Except chocolate.  You can keep your chocolate cheesecake.
Don't judge.

Anyway, while I enjoy (pretty much) all cheesecakes, when it comes time to make one myself my go-to is The Ultimate Amaretto Cheesecake and it had been been a really long time since I'd made any other variety.

Then came New Years.  AKA Our Gluttonous Night of Mexican Eating.
I needed a dessert.  I thought of making flan, but I wasn't really feeling it.
Then I remembered seeing a recipe for sopapilla cheesecake.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Blue Ribbon Coconut Macaroons

I think I can say with some degree of certainty that I'd never had a coconut macaroon before I made a batch of them a couple of weeks ago.

 I've still yet to have a macaron, but that's a story of me being a foodie disappointment for another day.

Nope, today we're talking about macaroons- those heaped piles of coconut that I randomly decided to try my hand at recently.

It wasn't until macarons got so insanely popular and ubiquitous and I began to hear confusion about macarons vs macaroons relatively regularly in conversation (side note: what kinds of conversations am I having that this is even a thing??) that I really gave the coconut macaroon much of a thought at all.

I'd say I'm a fan of coconut in general, in both sweet and savory applications.  What's not to like?  Even the unsweetened variety is delicious and certainly has a place in my kitchen.  I was contemplating what kind of cookies I could make with my daughter over the Christmas break this year when I spied a bag of sweetened coconut in my pantry.  Then I realized I had a can of sweetened condensed milk that had been lurking in the back of my pantry for awhile.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Super Snacks for the Super Bowl: Copycat Chuy's Salsa

I fell in love with pico de gallo in Puerto Vallarta on my high school graduation trip.
It was a memorable experience- I think I topped every single thing I ate that week with pico.
Even a tray of fries by the pool of the hotel.

 I.  Love.  It.

Sure, other salsas have merit.  I'm not going to turn my nose up at them, for sure.  In fact, I'm far more likely to make quick work of polishing off a bowl of salsa than a bowl of queso any day of the week.

But pico de gallo is definitely my favorite- by a long shot.

A few months ago I stumbled across a chain of restaurants called Chuy's (they're everywhere apparently, check them out!).  I instantly fell in love.  If you like spicy you MUST try their Southwestern Enchiladas with blue corn tortillas, green chile sauce, and an egg.
Simply phenomenal.