Showing posts with label peanut butter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label peanut butter. Show all posts

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Peanut Butter Fudge

I love making candy, but I really hate making fudge. Traditional, stove-top fudge that is. The quick and easy fudge that you make with marshmallow fluff and chocolate is no problem. That stuff I can whip up with no problems. Starting with sugar and corn syrup is a little trickier. I either wind up with a sticky mess or a dry and crumbly block of sugar.

By making my way through the CIA candy cookbook, I am hoping that I will hone my fudge making skills.  There are eight fudge recipes in the book (I made one years ago) and I think my results are getting better with each attempt.

While this peanut butter fudge was not my favorite, in terms of flavor, the texture came out really well. Like all other candy recipes that I make, I couldn't eat more than a single piece. This stuff is really sweet! If you aren't a fan of molasses, you might want to find another peanut butter fudge recipe. The flavor is mild, but definitely noticeable.

To keep myself from eating it all and avoid having to spend my entire weekend at the gym, I sent the rest of the fudge to work with the boyfriend. It took his coworkers about three days to finish the batch. Share the wealth (and the calories) most people will be happy to help out!

One Year Ago: Homemade Marshmallow Peeps
Two Years Ago: Portuguese Sweet Bread
Three Years Ago: Momofuku Confetti Cookies
Four Years Ago: Homemade Buffalo Sauce
Five Years Ago: Balsamic BBQ Chicken

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Candy Challenge 2016 - Gianduja Molds

This past weekend I enjoyed the massive East Coast snowstorm from the safety of my kitchen. While I am no stranger to snow, having grown up in Buffalo, NY, absolutely nothing was open and there was no where to go. The majority of shops and restaurants closed in advance of the storm and didn't open until late on Sunday. I decided it was the perfect time to make some chocolates and prepare for Valentine's Day!

I am not a huge fan of making molded candies. They are just too much work in my opinion. I would rather make a truffle or marshmallow, something a little more rustic looking. I always make a giant mess when I make molded candies, this batch was no different. My kitchen counter was covered in chocolate.

While the process was a pain in the butt, the final product was totally worth it. These candies are really good! If you are a chocolate and peanut butter fan, then you should give these candies a try.

Time to mark up one candy on my 2016 challenge list!

One Year Ago: Gingered Chicken Stir Fry
Two Years Ago: Bacony Chicken
Three Years Ago: Fudgy Waffles
Four Years Ago: Soft Pretzels
Five Years Ago: Chocolate & Peanut butter Mousse Entremet

Sunday, November 1, 2015

J@H - Brownie Donuts with Peanut Butter Glaze

I have been looking forward to making my own donuts all year. Yes, I realize that I could have made donuts at any time, but it's been a crazy year and I haven't made breakfast once this year. I really need to make myself some French Toast this weekend.

A few years ago, I made a classic fried donut. This time I decided to go with a healthier cooking option and baked them. Rather than going completely healthy, I packed these with chocolate and covered them in peanut butter.

These donuts are dense and chocolatey, I can't responsibly tell you to eat these for breakfast.  I would suggest that you should make these and have them for dessert under a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.

I think that I need to make another batch of donuts. Something that is a little lighter and more breakfast appropriate. Maybe something packed with oranges or bananas?

Who am I kidding? These are delicious and probably just as good for you as having Pop Tarts for breakfast! The peanut butter frosting is the perfect topping to these dense brownie donuts. Get yourself a whole bunch of chocolate and butter and make these donuts! Then bring them to work and make all your coworkers happy (and fat).

One Year Ago: Loaded Potato Soup
Two Years Ago: Halloween Mallomars
Three Years Ago: Butternut Squash Cake
Four Years Ago: Pumpkin Raisin Muffins
Five Years Ago: Pear Cake with Pine Nuts

Monday, October 12, 2015

OXO Good Cookie - No-Bake Cookies

Today I am partnering with Oxo and this blog post is dedicated to Cookies for Kids Cancer. In my professional life I work in oncology research and see the impact that cancer has on not only the patient, but all the people in their circle. The organization Cookies for Kids Cancer raises funds for research to develop new, improved treatments for pediatric cancer. As a researcher, I could spend this entire post talking about the genetic drivers of pediatric cancer, but instead we are going to discuss how cookies can help.

The OXO Good Cookies program is partnering up with bloggers this month to raise awareness about pediatric cancers. For each blog post, OXO donates $100 to Cookies for Kids Cancer! In addition to this, OXO has brought out a special line of bakeware to help support the cause. Look for OXO products with the Cookies for Kids Cancer logo. For each item purchased, they will donate $0.25 to the cause. Specifically, you can get this adorable cookie spatula! For this recipe I used their non-stick half sheet pan, medium cookie scoop and cookie spatula.

I was happy to join the cause this month and create a blog post about cookies. There was only one problem - my oven. Since we bought our house last year, the oven has been acting up. Specifically, the controller board for the oven has been randomly shutting off. This first happened just before Thanksgiving last year. We were able to fiddle with it and it would turn back on, until last month it finally died. What to do? Make no-bake cookies!

These cookies take about five minutes to make, especially with use of the cookie dough scoop. There are just three steps - 1. Bring sugar syrup to a boil  2. Stir in oats and flavors 3. Scoop out cookies.

Seriously, it's that easy. Once that's done you just need to walk away for 30 minutes! These are the easiest cookies to make, especially when you have no oven!

Be sure to get involved in aiding research for pediatric cancer. You can either buy OXO products, donate directly to the fund or even host a cookie sway of your own! Every cent helps with research in the field and those cents add up to improved survival for the patients.

One Year Ago: Rigatoni with Pepperoni, mozzarella & arugula
Two Years Ago: Dulce de Leche cookies
Three Years Ago: Apple Pie Ice Cream Topping
Four Years Ago: Caramel Brownies
Five Years Ago: Thin Mint Ice Cream

Disclaimer - OXO provided me with a set of bakeware to use in this blog post.

  • Cookies for Kids' Cancer is a recognized 501c(3) public charity duly incorporated under the laws of the state of New Jersey. Your donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowable by law. 100% of proceeds raised by Cookies for Kids' Cancer fund pediatric cancer research.
  • OXO will be donating $100 to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer for each blog post dedicated to this campaign in October (up to our $100,000 commitment*.)
  • *In 2015, OXO will donate up to $100,000 to Cookies for Kids' Cancer through product proceeds, bake sale matches and other fundraising efforts

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

J@H - Snickers Bars

Sorry for my lack of posting lately. My kitchen is currently sitting in my living room.

Over the past year, the boyfriend and I have been updating, renovating and decorating our first house. We have been putting off renovating the kitchen because it is the biggest job in the house. We pulled up the old flooring (three layers of tile, Peel & stick tile and linoleum) on Saturday. Re-tiling of the kitchen has taken up the past few days with grout planned for the weekend. We still have to choose a paint color, paint and then install a backsplash. We'll probably be out of the kitchen for another week or so.

Luckily, I had time to put the finishing touches on these bad boys before pulling the appliances out of the kitchen. I've been looking forward to recreating this classic candy in my kitchen. It took a few tries to get the layers right, but the final product is so fantastic!

Rather than coating the entire candy in chocolate, I went with the simpler option and built the candy bar in layers in a 8x8-inch pan. First went in a layer of chocolate. Next I made and pressed in the peanut butter nougat. After setting overnight, I made three different batches of caramel before finally making one that I was happy with. I stirred in the peanuts and poured it over the top. Once the caramel set up, I added the final layer of chocolate.

Do these bars taste exactly like a Snickers Bar? No. But they do taste delicious. They are also a labor of love. There are several other Snickers Bars recipes out there on the internet that are easier to put together. If you want to make everything from scratch and avoid ingredients like marshmallow fluff and store-bought caramels, give this a try!

Though, after all the trouble I had with the caramel layer, I might go with the easy way out next time!

One Year Ago: Hazelnut Cream Cheese Brownies
Two Years Ago: Peach Melba Linzer Bars
Three Years Ago: Gorgonzola & Leek Risotto
Four Years Ago: Orange Cinnamon Bread
Five Years Ago: Spanish Chicken with Mustard-Green Onion Sauce

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Buffalo Summer

It's summertime! I'm just a few hours away from boarding a plane and flying home for a visit! I tend to go home to see my parents twice a year, Christmas and summer. That way I get to see both of the Buffalo seasons, winter and July. 

Well, that's how the old joke goes. I'm more in the camp that Buffalo has four distinct, yet unequal seasons. 

Fall starts rolling in immediately after Labor day. In mid-September, the leaves start to turn and the sweaters and jeans quickly reappear. I think it's Fall that WNYers live for. I always loved Fall because it meant going back to school. But then again, I'm a nerd and totally loved school. Feel free to make fun of me.

Yes, winter is long and snowy, but you'll rarely hear a local complain about it. "What is winter without snow?", they will tell you. I remember several Christmas eves, driving through blinding snow to get to my grams house. 

Spring is rainy and cool and it tends to last from early May until mid June. It gives you plenty of time to plant your gardens and clean up from the winter mess. 

Summer pops it's head in around early July and brings sticky, hot weather. We didn't have air conditioning in my childhood home. I was only ever upset about it for one or two weeks a year. You don't get 100 degree days in Buffalo, but humidity will make you wish you had a cold drink in your hand all day. 

One easy way to tell that it was summer in my childhood home? Check the freezer for ice cream. If it was summer, there was a solid shelf of Perry's ice cream. If it wasn't summer, there was probably just half a shelf. My dad seriously loves Perry's ice cream. (Remember, I took him to the Perry's ice cream factory last year? It was his birthday present, he loved it.)

You might remember that I'm lucky enough to be a Perry's Inside Taster! This means that once or twice a year, then send me ice cream! This is super important these days, because my Wegmans in New Jersey have stopped carrying the brand! (Worse day ever) This summer, I received a large box of dry ice and three containers of Perry's. Three containers of ice cream that were all destined for something different. 

First, the French Roast Coffee. I never saw this ice cream. The package arrived and I put the containers in the fridge. I left for a conference. When I came home, the ice cream was no longer in the fridge. The boyfriend may or may not have eaten the entire container of ice cream himself. He wouldn't fess up.

Next, Otto's Cupcake. I saw this ice cream a few months back, during Sweet 16 basketball time. It's chocolate ice cream, with pieces of chocolate cake and orange frosting swirled in. Let me be clear though, the frosting swirl is orange in color, not orange in flavor. My dad and I both had some and discussed this point for a good five minutes. We were both expecting orange flavor because we didn't read the box before we ate it. This ice cream was tasty.

Finally, All Natural Dark Chocolate. This ice cream made its way into those ice cream sandwiches you see above. I was inspired by these brownie ice cream sandwiches from Smitten Kitchen. 

I knew that I still had a container of chocolate Perry's in the freezer and thought nothing would pair better with the ice cream, than peanut butter. I whipped up a batch of my favorite peanut butter bars, divided the batter in two and sandwiched almost the entire container of ice cream between the two slabs of peanut butter bar. The boyfriend thinks my ice cream to cookie ratio is off. He's just crazy, these ice cream sandwiches are amazing.  Give them a try! Or come over, I have a whole pan of them to share!

Friday, December 20, 2013

PB&J Baked French Toast

Welcome to the last day of WITK's pre-holiday festivities!  Hopefully you've finished all of your shopping, decorating and menu planning.  This weekend should be all about relaxing, wearing something comfy and watching movies.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Cooke Week - Peanut Butter Sandwiches

I can't have a cookie week without including peanut butter and chocolate. It is one of my most favorite flavor combinations ever. When my mom and I made cookies for Christmas, I would inevitably pick at least two or three PB&C recipes for us to make. Then I would promptly eat all of them. I can't make peanut butter blossoms because I will wind up downing the entire batch.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Peanut Butter-Banana Bread

I thought that nothing could be better than my original banana bread.  Until I made it into coconut French toast.  Then I thought that was the most amazing version of the bread, until I made this loaf.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Peanut Butter and Banana Cupcakes

It's been four days since BF and I hiked in and out of the Grand Canyon and my calves are still killing me!  I guess that's what happens when you hike a progressively steeper seven miles.  I'm hoping that our crazy hike will help with training us for our upcoming Spartan race.

To help recuperate some of the calories I burned on our hike, I made some cupcakes.  Then proceeded to eat a whole bunch of them.  Okay, three.  Then I sent them to work with BF.  I knew I couldn't be left alone with the remaining nine cupcakes.  The combination of banana and peanut butter chips in these cupcakes reminded me of my favorite breakfast (waffle sandwich!).  You could actually leave off the frosting and have these for breakfast.  Because a cupcake without frosting is a muffin, right?  Totally healthy.

But really, after climbing out of the Grand Canyon I feel like I deserved a few unhealthy treats.  And so do you!  Make yourself some cupcakes, or "healthy" muffins.

Thursday, March 7, 2013


Several years ago, I ate almost an entire pan of scotcheroos at a Super Bowl party.  And I didn't even feel guilty about it, because they were delicious.  Luckily this was before the start of WITK.  I wasn't obligated to recreate them in my kitchen and share them with you.

Little did I know that scotcheroos were a fairly common dessert treat and that you could find on the Rice Krispy website.  It was only recently that I learned the name of the bars that I devoured in between watching SB commercials and gabbing with my girlfriends.  It was at that same time that I picked up a jar of Biscoff spread from Fairway, fate seemed to have forced my hand to make these - Biscofferoos.

I thought I was being all creative, as all we bloggers think we are, until I checked the internet.  Apparently I was almost brilliant, except one person beat me to it!  So close.

Were these just as addicting as the original scotcheroos?  You bet your cutest pair of shoes they were!  I ate so many of these.  An unhealthy amount of them.  Then I brought them to work and fed them to my unsuspecting coworkers.  Mostly just one guy.  He ate 90% of them.  I ate the rest.

Side Note: Thankfully I made these before I began my marathon training, because I would have found myself sitting on the couch eating them and not lacing up my sneakers to hit the treadmill.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Peanut Butter Taffy

Happy Orthoversary to me! Oh, you've never heard of an Orthoversary? It's quite simple. Today is the one year anniversary of getting my braces on! (Actually it was this weekend, but I was busy playing in the snow). It has been one full year with my fancy ceramic braces, metals wires and rubber bands.

When I first had the braces put on, I was very nervous. So many of my friends had ortho as teens and they all had varying horror stories of how terrible their time in braces had been. There was the initial attaching, the tightening and the monthly adjustments. This all sounded terrible.

Fast forward one year. Let me tell you, this has not been a bad experience. Granted, most of my major tooth adjustments took place in the first few months. The past few months have shown minor changes in my bite and the way my teeth align. I hardly notice the brackets anymore and have learned to speak and smile with them. I can't imagine what it will be like when I no longer have them on!

At my last orthodontist appointment, I was told I was making excellent progress and should have them off by the end of summer! So while I haven't really had any problems with the braces, I'm looking forward to them being gone. Why? I miss popcorn! Biting into an apple! Chewy caramels! I haven't had a piece of gum for a year!

I've been trying to be really good and follow the list of dos and don'ts that I was given all those months ago. I feel like it will help my progress I I follow directions meticulously. Only six to eight months to go and that's when we'll really celebrate!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Why Bother? 2012 - Granola Bars

Yes, the Why Bother challenge has spilled over into the new year!  I'm finally over a long bout of bronchitis and have drained nearly all of the congestion from my head.  Nobody is happier than I am, except maybe the hundred or so people I share my train car with.  No more loud coughing from me!  So many of my friends and family have been battling with some virus, bacterium or other, this season.  And after a month of being sick, I'm happy to count myself among the healthy again.
With the bronchitis I was battling, I had to push of the last few challenges of the Why Bother? challenge.  This January we will complete the challenges with granola bars, crackers and soft cheeses.  I'm excited to finish all of the challenges that you gave me over a year ago, so let's get started with snacks!

Most foodie friends that I know are highly unlikely to venture down the cereal bar aisle in the grocery store.  You bakers out there probably have your own go to recipe for granola bars, perfected after many tries in the kitchen with different grains, nuts and dried fruits. 

I want everyone else out there to have a go at the bar.  Or in this case, the cup!  I love making granola bars at home.  They change every time I make them, depending on what I have in my kitchen.  Sometimes they are heavy on the nuts, sometimes I have an odd assortment of dried fruits.  You should feel free to adapt each granola bar recipe in the same way.

Today I bring you a baked granola bar recipe (Saturday we'll have a no-bake variant) that combines some of my favorite flavors.  Peanut butter, cherry and oats.  It's like a PB&J sandwich!  Don't have any dried cherries in the house?  Substitute the dried fruits for whatever you have lying around!

Granola Bar Muffins
Adapted from Snack Girl

This recipe was given to me (via my mom) from a fitness fanatic.  She loved that these bars are low in calories, high in protein and packs major flavor.  With no added sugar, these bars are great to feed your kiddos or yourself!

1/2 cup peanut butter
2 very ripe bananas, mashed with a fork
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup mixed dried berries (mine included raspberry, cherry, cranberry & blueberry)
1 cup rolled oats
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 F and lightly coat a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray.

Mix peanut butter and mashed bananas with a fork.  Add nuts, dried fruits, oats and vanilla.  Stir until it all comes together.  Scoop 1/4 cup of the mixture into each muffin cup and lightly press into the pan.

Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes on a wire rack.  Remove granola cups from the pan and let cool completely on the rack.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Triple-Peanut and Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm sure I'm not the only one who thinks the following...  This is the best time of year because you have such a great excuse to bake dozens and dozens of cookies.  Seriously!  You bring a batch of cookies to the office in June and people are all "Cookies?  Were you bored this weekend?"  Even holiday-themed cookies through the year (heart cookies in February, pumpkin cookies in October) raise an eyebrow of some people. 

It's in December that I can freely bake to my hearts desire without question from my coworkers.  No, I'm not trying to slowly poison you/make you fat.  It's the holidays!  You're supposed to eat lots of cookies.  Although, I think that if I feed my coworkers lots of cookies, I will eventually look thinner in comparison... 

I was very happy to take part in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap again this year.  It gave me yet another reason to bake cookies... and raise money for charity!  Be sure to head over to Love and Olive Oil or The Little Kitchen and check out the whole group of cookie swappers!

For the cookie swap, I decided to make use my favorite flavor combination - chocolate and peanut butter!  Happy Holidays everyone and I hope you eat lots of cookies!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Why Bother? 2012 - Nut Butters

With only a few Why Bother? challenges remaining, I think I have found my favorite.  Nut Butters!  I don't know why I put this challenge so far into the year.  It may have had something to do with a lack of fresh produce?  I have no idea.  Perhaps I thought I could use said nut butters in the upcoming holiday cookies?  If not, that is exactly what I plan to do with some of these but butters.

When it comes down to it, store bought peanut butter isn't that expensive, isn't seasonal and has a classic flavor that is difficult to reproduce.  There was no way that I would be trying to replicate a jar of JIF or Skippy.  First of all, I don't have the right equipment in my kitchen to make a creamy peanut butter that smooth.  Would I really want to anyways?  Those creamy peanut butters are packed full of sugar and salt.  What I wanted to try and copy was a store bought jar of natural peanut butter.

If you compare servings of JIF and a natural peanut butter, you'll be looking at two things with roughly the same number of calories.  Natural peanut butter has a much more pronounceable ingredient list.  Usually these jars contain just peanuts, salt and maybe a little oil.  An ingredient list like that makes for something that can easily be made at home.

One thing, I didn't want to make plain old simple peanut butter.  I wanted fancy peanut butter and that's just what I made.  I present to you, White chocolate peanut butter.  I've been enjoying this spread on top of waffles for breakfast and by the spoonful at any time of the day.

I didn't stop with peanut butter though.  My favorite nut is the walnut.  I'm my fathers child when it comes to the fact.  He requests each and every cookie that my mom makes, contain walnuts.  I'll toss walnuts in my cookies, quick breads, pasta sauces and salads.  My love of walnuts drove me to take a pound of walnuts and feed them to the food processor.  The outcome was simply amazing.  Spiked with a bit of cinnamon, the cinnamon walnut butter I created tastes just like the holidays.  This stuff is destined for a batch of cookies, I can't wait.

What is your favorite nut?  Have you thought of whipping up a batch of your favorite nut butter?  Almonds, pecans, cashews.  These would all make amazing spreads, have a go at it with your food processor!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Pralines

Last week, the days seemed to drag on.  The hours at work seemed endless and Friday took twice as long to get here.  It was just one of those weeks.  A week that required a relaxing weekend at the very end of it.  What did boyfriend and I decide to do in order to wash away the previous five days?  We went tubing.

If you are in the New Jersey/Pennsylvania/New York area this summer, I would recommend you set aside some time  and head to the Delaware River.  Boyfriend and I were a little wary as we got to the River.  Would it be cold?  Is the river deep?  Will I really need this life preserver?  What was the compelling story that the river tube staff member didn't tell me that would make me want to actually wear this life preserver?  I feel a little strange wearing a bikini in the middle of rural New Jersey.

When we stepped in the water, all my fears were set aside.  At this time of the year, the Delaware River is like a bath tub.  It is slow-moving and hip-deep along most of the tube riding route.  Most of all, it is the most relaxing way to spend an afternoon.  Although boyfriend and I apparently can't find the current in a river to save our lives.  We slowly floated along as everyone else in a tube passed us by.

The one fun thing about floating along in the slow current?  You find stuff on the bottom of the river!  Boyfriend and I rescued a fishing weight, a rubber wristband and a set of car keys from the riverbed.  If you're out there and find your long lost keys in the mail one day, that was us!  (and Shop Rite!)

So boyfriend and I started our workweek yesterday refreshed, relaxed and a little sun kissed.  Nothing like floating down a river for a few hours and enjoying a riverside barbecue to melt away the stress from the previous week.  Ahhh, floating away...

Thursday, June 21, 2012

PB&J Mallomars

Welcome to Summer.  I'm very excited for this coming summer because it is my first real summer in eight years!  It's not a summer vacation like we had all those years ago in elementary school, filled with nothing but bike riding and ice cream truck chasing.  Yet, it's also not a graduate school summer vacation, which is actually non-existant.  Summer this year is all mine.  Well, mine and boyfriends.

Last summer was kind of a lost cause in terms of fun and relaxing.  It was also a very exciting time in the Wilde household.  In June I accepted a job offer and a start date only four weeks away.  In those four weeks I had to finish my current project, pack up my studio apartment and move to New Jersey!  According to my posts last year, I spent so much time in the lab that I subsisted on cereal as my main food source.

Not this year!  Boyfriend and I have plans!  A weekend touring our nations history in Washington, DC.  A long Saturday at the New Jersey state fair, eating as much fried food as we can find.  Late nights in New York, trying as many new restaurants as we can.  As well as many nights spent walking around our town and weekends sitting by the pool.  We're going to see blockbuster movies and go for long bike rides around town.  Am I too old to chase the ice cream man down the street?  Because that's what kind of summer this feels like.

What are you planning for this summer?  Have your kids got you scheduled to the max already?  Or are you sitting pretty with nothing but empty weekends ahead?

With school out and a long summer ahead, I thought that it was time to share with you my PB&J mallomars.  A fluffy, raspberry marshmallow sits atop a moist peanut butter cookie.  I chose to coat the marshmallow in sprinkles, rather than chocolate, to keep the flavors classic.  Now is the time to get those freshly picked raspberries, so try to get the freshest and most flavorful berries.  These cookies are super moist due to the fact that I went with shortening as my fat.  If you want a crisper cookie, swap out some or all of the shortening for butter!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Peanut Butter Cup Blondies

The thing that I love the most about warm weather vacations? Beach hair. There is no other time in your life that you can exert next to no effort on your own appearance and look absolutely amazing.

The pink cheeks from a day spent exploring. The effortless clothes that say 'I have no where to be.' And the salt-infused hair that tumbles around in the wind. It all says vacation.

Upon returning to the room after a day spent on the sand, I am loath to take a shower and ruin my beach-perfected look. As soon so I step foot into the fresh water my sun-kissed skin turns into a lobster red sunburn. My beachy waves lose all of their fun and I'm left looking like I spent too much time in the sun.

But you can't go on without showering. Not only are you covered from head to toe in ocean salt, sunscreen and whatever beachside drink you inevitably spilled on yourself, but if you are like me you took half of the beach home with you.

The post-beach shower is sadly necessary to remove all those rogue bits of sand that are trying to come home with you. Sure enough you'll be packing plenty of sand in your suitcase, there is no reason to let those tiny grains stowaway on your person. If I spend any time at all in the surf, I will have to spend an equal amount of time scouring myself with a loofah to wash away all the residual sand.

Beachside showers and hoses are no match for the sand, it wants to come home with you. I'll be finding bits of sand all over the apartment and myself for at least the next two weeks. Small memories of vacation or tiny little nuisances? Only time will tell.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Why Bother? 2012 - Potato Chips

Why bother indeed.  I was very excited to give homemade potato chips a try.  I sat on my train ride home, dreaming up delicious flavors of potato chips.  Spicy Buffalo and blue cheese.  Parmesan and garlic.  Thai sweet curry.  Alas, this was all not to be.

This is the first challenge of the year that has me a little stumped.  Perhaps it's that I just need a little more time to figure out how to make these bad boys?  Maybe I need to do a bit more research before peeling any more potatoes?  Or maybe, I realized that I prefer cheese puffs to potato chips.  Unless someone out there has a spare cheese puff making machine (as the cheese puffs are puffed with a special vacuum apparatus), I think I'll continue buying my cheese puffs from the store.

I made a batch of oven chips, destined to be Buffalo and blue cheese.  The chips that were too thin, burnt.  The chips that were a little thicker, never crisped up.  I think that I might need to experiment further.  I was so downtrodden by the baked chip fail that I refused to go on and make any attempt at frying some.  It would have been a sad day if I wasn't also preparing these...

Peanut butter and jelly marshmallows!  More candy for candy month!  Opposed to the epic fail of the potato chips, these little fluffy treats were an absolute knockout.  It's so funny too.  The process of making these two-layer marshmallows was not simple.  It required making two separate (and very different) marshmallow batters, cutting, dusting and attempting not to eat them all.  In total it took three hours to get these sweets from sugar to final product.

Not that this should scare you off!  Even if you don't want to make a double-layered marshmallow, each flavor was amazing on its own.  The concord grape layer was sweet and full of flavor (courtesy of the 100% grape concentrate) and they were a ridiculous purple color.  The peanut butter layer tasted just like a fluffernutter sandwich, sans the bread.  Put them together and we have a completely lunch inappropriate PB&J sandwich (although it tastes just like the lunch original).

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