OREO COOKIE DAY

LET IT SNOWWe only have a few more days of winter, at least according to the calendar.  Mother Nature may have other plans, as we here in Kansas know all too well.  In any case, today is Oreo Cookie Day!  How will you enjoy these sweet treats?  A favorite, of course, is a big glass of milk for dunking – or how about a large cup of coffee for dunking?  That sounds good!  🙂

Not to put a damper on the day, but a friend on facebook mentioned that Nabisco is moving to Mexico and it made me so sad.  I really hope our economy turns around to the point where they bring Nabisco and many other companies back to America, don’t you?

Through the years Nabisco has come up with SEVEN varieties of Oreo cookies:

  • Oreo Chocolate
  • Oreo Fudge Cremes
  • Oreo Chocolate Birthday Cake Flavor Cremes
  • Oreo Double Stuf Chocolate
  • Oreo Lemon Cremes
  • Oreo Double Stuf Golden
  • Oreo Double Stuf Heads or Tails

There’s a perfect Oreo for every mood you find yourself in – and let’s face it, variety really IS the spice of life!

How about adding a few Oreos to your favorite brownie mix?

OREO BROWNIE TREATS (makes 24 brownies)

Ingredients:

1 pkg. (19-21 oz) brownie mix (for a 9×13 pan)

15 Oreo Chocolate Cookies, coarsely chopped

Instructions:

Stir chopped cookies into batter.  Prepare pan and pour batter in pan.  Bake as directed on package.

Note:  When baking in a glass baking dish instead of a metal pan, always reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees.

Per Brownie:

170 calories

8 g fat

2.5 g saturated fat

20 mg cholesterol

125 mg sodium

25 g carbohydrates

1 g fiber

16 g sugar

2 g protein

To lower the carbohydrates and sugar content, I use Pillsbury Sugar Free brownie mix – but it takes two boxes to make 9×13 size.  Adding Oreo pieces does add a bit of sugar and carbohydrate back into the brownie, but it’s not enough per brownie to matter.  🙂  Now, if you sit and eat the whole 9×13 pan of brownies – remember you’re adding 15 cookies!  Then you have to count them!  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NATIONAL HEAVENLY HASH DAY

TL 2-2 NATIONAL HEAVENLY HASH DAYYes, it’s called HEAVENLY, but if you have diabetes like me, this little treat packs a sugar PUNCH and should be eaten with extreme caution!  Even if you substituted Splenda for sugar, that would do very little to lessen the intensity of the sweetness.2-2 SWEET

Heavenly Hash Bars

Makes approximately 12 squares or 16 clusters; can be doubled

1 cup sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
16 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
2 cups roasted, salted almonds, kept whole
2 cups miniature marshmallows

Line an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper with enough excess hanging over the sides of the pan to use as “handles”; spray paper with cooking spray.

Combine the sugar, evaporated milk, and corn syrup in a medium-sized, heavy saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking often, and continue boiling the mixture until it reaches 218°F to 220°F on an instant read thermometer, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let cool for 2 minutes. Fold in chocolate and vanilla and stir until melted. Let cool for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, then fold in the nuts and marshmallows.

Transfer the chocolate mixture to the prepared baking dish and spread evenly with a silicone spatula. Refrigerate the candy until firm, at least two hours. Using the parchment paper handles, remove the candy from the baking dish and cut into squares. (It helps to use a knife dipped in hot water.)

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Pull 5 to 10 minutes prior to serving.

Recipe Notes:

To make clusters instead of bars: using a spring-form ice cream scoop, drop round clusters onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a Silpat. Refrigerate until hardened, at least 1 hour. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator; pull out 30 minutes before serving.

If you indulge, ENJOY!  🙂

PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORD

TL 12-1 PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORDThe most happy people are the most thankful ones…  so today, let’s give thanks to God for all our blessings.  Yes, I know we just did that at Thanksgiving – but guess what?  We’re going to do it again – and again – and again every day until the Lord comes back to earth to snatch us away!

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It must be very difficult to be parents of a teen today – they want so much technology – and that’s so expensive!  It’s a challenge to teach them to not look at what their friend has and want one too.  How can that be done?  Well, I think a lot of people are going into debt trying to make sure their teen has the best of everything.

A CHRISTMAS RAINBOWBe thankful for a Christmas rainbow…  what a gift from God above!

Teach teens the value of money – and the importance of being grateful for the stuff you already have.  Technology changes daily!  The newest thing comes out about 5 minutes after the used-to-be new thing gets opened.  Teaching teens how to be contented with what they have is an excellent strategy.  Let them know how many hours they’d have to work at McDonald’s to earn the new toy they want.  That’s a reality check right there!

Lord, thank You for this newly blessed day that not only gives me a shot at being a better me, but a future and a hope.  – Pauline Seaport

The happiest people are the most thankful people.  I might add that if we are thankful to the Creator of all – it’s that much more meaningful.  I’m thankful to God for all He’s done in my life – not just for the stuff I have.

Sometimes you have to stop dwelling on the ones who have done you wrong and start being thankful for the ones who do you right! – Nishan Panwar

Thankfulness for small things can bring a chuckle to me sometimes.  I have a habit of putting my pen in my mouth before I type.  Today, I got finished writing and was ready to type – I popped my pen in my mouth and noticed that it smelled like CHOCOLATE.  I’m not joking – my pen smelled like chocolate!  Call me crazy, but I was thankful for that!  If we live in a perpetual attitude of gratitude – it makes all the difference in my life.  I think God laughed along with me!  🙂

 

 

PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORD

TL 12-1 PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORD

God gave His very BEST to us and for us…  this truly is the season of giving…  how many ways can we give this year?  Does it take a large budget to give?  No – not a large budget – just a creative mind and an intent of heart that bends toward giving.

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We just enjoyed a lovely celebration of Advent at church and are feeling the true meaning of Christmas – and the Spirit that comes with it.  I have an idea…  since today is Monday and a bit of an anti-climax of sorts, to put it mildly…  why not take snacks to work without being asked???

One of the perks of being part of the workforce is the Monday morning you walk in and there are homemade goodies setting on the conference room table for anyone to indulge in.  Oh yeah – it’s like a big score to begin the week!

COOKIES AND CAROLS

You don’t have to spend hours making these goodies either – and you don’t have to hire a professional baker or pay a high price at the bakery.  There are tons of quick and easy recipes that turn out great every time and will be sure to please your co-workers.  Whether you sing Christmas Carols as you serve them…  well, that’s up to you!  😉

Here’s one of my favorites:

ALMOND-CHOCOLATE-CHERRY COOKIES

Makes 24 cookies

11 g. carbohydrates per cookies / 81 calories / 6 g. sugar

INGREDIENTS:

6 Tbs. butter, softened

3/4 c. Splenda

1 egg

1 egg yolk

1 tsp. vanilla

1 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, melted & cooled slightly

1 1/3 c. flour

1/2 c. dried cherries

1/3 c. sliced almonds

1 recipe Chocolate-Almond Glaze

DIRECTIONS:

  1.  In a medium bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, about 2 minutes or until smooth.  Add Splenda, beating until creamy.  Beat in egg, egg yolk and vanilla until combined.  Stir in melted chocolate.  Stir in flour.  Fold in dried cherries and almonds.  Cover and chill dough for one hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper; set aside.  Shape dough into one inch balls.  Place balls about one inch apart on prepared cookie sheets.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until centers are set.  Transfer cookies to wire racks; cool completely.
  3. Drizzle Chocolate-Almond Glaze over cooled cookies.  Let stand until glaze is set.  To store, layer cookies between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container.  Cover.  Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

CHOCOLATE-ALMOND GLAZE

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate

1 1/2 tsp. butter

1/2 c. powdered sugar

1 Tbs. fat-free milk

Dash almond extract

DIRECTIONS:

In small saucepan, combine chocolate and butter.  Heat and stir over low heat until melted and smooth.  Remove from heat.  Stir in powdered sugar, milk and almond extract until smooth.

As cookies go, these are the most healthy and tasty ones I’ve had.  I can actually eat a couple of these without causing my blood glucose to raise too high.  So, while everyone else is bringing in goodies that you know you need to stay away from – you can bake these up and know that everyone will enjoy them – and not wreck their health.  Wink!  😉

NATIONAL MILK CHOCOLATE DAY

TL 7 28 NATIONAL MILK CHOCOLATE DAY

Did someone say CHOCOLATE???

We’ve all heard about the benefits of dark chocolate, but sometimes you just have to break the rules and have a little milk chocolate.  Today’s the day, chocoholics!  Dig in!

Milk chocolate is different from other chocolates.  It’s got either dry or condensed milk mixed with the cocoa and is used to make candy bars, hot chocolate and other scrumptious (and sinful) desserts.

Yes, we’ve stuck to our diet pretty closely…  so today, enjoy a little piece of milk chocolate.  Why?  Well, if you need a reason, try this one – it will literally make you happier!  Milk chocolate contains a stimulant called theobromine and a compound called anandamide.

An additional stimulant would be caffeine – in the coffee I’ll drink with my chocolate!

Take a look at this poem from Lucinda Berry Hill.  Just before she sent it to me, she commented that she never wrote funny poems until she met me.  LOL!!!  I said, “You’re welcome!”  I love how God helps us sharpen iron in friendships, don’t you?

7-28 SHARE THE GOODNESS

Of all the destinations on my bucket list, today one is really on my mind – HERSHEY, PA!  Look at these links and tell me this doesn’t add up to a FUN vacation!

http://www.hersheypa.com/

http://www.hersheys.com/chocolateworld/locations/hershey

http://www.visitpa.com/cities/hershey

http://www.hersheystory.org/

http://www.hersheypark.com/

And there’s also a facebook page!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hershey-Pennsylvania/108368462517901

They’re on Twitter…

https://twitter.com/hersheypa

And…  Tanger outlet mall (for the shoppers among us – raising my hand!)

http://www.tangeroutlet.com/hershey

It’s on my bucket list – I really want to visit there one day!  I’ve heard that it smells like chocolate all the time.  Lucinda tells me it’s especially strong after it rains.  Yeah, she gets to live near there…  lucky ducky!

We won’t talk about what Wichita smells like after it rains…  sigh.

Anyway, today, enjoy milk chocolate your favorite way. It doesn’t have to be with a cup of coffee (but I highly recommend it)  😉  Happy Milk Chocolate Day!

HOSTESS CUPCAKE DAY

TL 5-11 HOSTESS CUPCAKE DAY

It’s a silly little memory – some childhood memories are.  My mom used to pack my lunch, which included a bologna sandwich with mustard and lettuce on white bread, some cheese curls or potato chips, apple slices and a Hostess CupCake.  That was the crowning moment – eating that yummy chocolate cupcake.

The Hostess story began in 1919 when the world was introduced to the Hostess CupCake.  Six years later, Continental Baking wanted to add a line of cakes.  Twinkies and the rest were baked and the brand Hostess was created.

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The signature white filling is my favorite part

 

For years we had a Hostess thrift store where my dad picked up all sorts of delicious goodies for lunches or snacks at home.  My favorite has always been this signature treat, with the perfectly swirled white icing on top of the smooth, creamy chocolate.  That, along with the filling in the center, makes this the most iconic and delicious ending to any lunch.

A chocolate Hostess CupCake, showing the chocolate cake and icing, and the signature line of white squiggles
A chocolate Hostess CupCake, showing the chocolate cake and icing, and the signature line of white squiggles

Today, of course, I can’t eat things like that.  Everything that Hostess makes is now just a distant memory.  My mind goes back to elementary school in the lunch room.  I knew my mom loved me when I opened my Bobby Sherman lunch box every day!

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Bobby Sherman had lunch with me every day at school

I know some of you enjoy having a clone recipe.  This is the closest one I’ve seen!

http://www.browneyedbaker.com/homemade-hostess-cupcakes/

As adults, we are more smart about snacking.  The best we can do is choose more healthy ingredients so we can get a little taste of nostalgia.  Sometimes all you need is just a little taste.  Wink!  😉

 

AMERICAN CHOCOLATE WEEK

TL MARCH 15-21 2015 AMERICAN CHOCOLATE WEEK

I used to think my dream job would be that of a chocolate taster for a major candy company!  After I read an article in Reader’s Digest written by Orietta Gianjorio, a chocolate taster for the Mars Chocolate-UC David Chocolate Panel, my bubble was burst forever.  She said they stuck her in a small, dark room with no windows.  Okay, that’s a deal-breaker right there.  She went on to say that she was not allowed to talk, but was seated in front of a computer in order to log in information.

She said the chocolate had a red light shining on it so it would not be recognizable – so she would judge it according to taste, not sight.  And – the worst part of all – she was not allowed to swallow the chocolate – just taste it – and spit it out.  Well, needless to say, I’m no longer interested in that job!

There is apparently a routine to chocolate tasting.  She smells the chocolate and logs its aroma.  She breaks the chocolate and listens to it – also logging in the sound quality.  Then she places a 1″ cube in her mouth for a few seconds, presses it against her palate and lets it melt, recording the four basic tastes – sweet, sour, bitter and salty.

Okay – now it gets weird.  She blows out short puffs of air through her nose.  Certain scent receptors in the back of our heads are stimulated by oxygen (they allow us to smell food even when we chew).  Exhaling sharply can bring out aromas like berry, mushroom, black licorice, tea, citrus, beeswax, toast, cinnamon, and savory spices that are sometimes too subtle for the nose to catch.  She logs those attributes too – along with the texture.

I just think that is really weird – and interesting at the same time.  Now, aren’t you glad you know all that?

March 15-21 is AMERICAN CHOCOLATE WEEK.  It’s a test of self-control for most of us, but if we can overcome the strong urge to eat the entire box of chocolates in one day, we can enjoy the day without guilt or regret (or having to buy a larger size of jeans).

3-15 CHOCOLATE

If I gave you 10 seconds to tell me what your favorite chocolate is, could you do it?  I thought about it, and I’m not sure I could narrow it down!  I do enjoy a good M&M cookie, but I like a box of decadent chocolates once in a while.  There are certain chocolate cakes that can make me weep, they taste so good.

 If you get melted chocolate all over your hands, you’re eating it too slowly.  – Author Unknown

Wouldn’t you suppose that if you were born in the U.K. you would naturally like the chocolate from there, and if you were born in the U.S. you would naturally think it is the best?  In my mind that stands to reason, but what do I know?

Since this is AMERICAN Chocolate Week, we will focus on chocolate from the good ol’ USA.  So what are America’s favorite chocolate products?

10.  ALMOND JOY

9.    HERSHEY’S COOKIES N’ CREME

8.    MILKY WAY

7.     3 MUSKETEERS

6.     TWIX

5.     KIT KAT

4.     HERSHEY’S

3.     REESE’S

2.     M&M’S

1.     SNICKERS

Snickers is Americas favorite chocolate bar!  Is it any surprise with all that caramel and peanuts wrapped up in milk chocolate???  Some of us are weird though (yes, I’m raising my hand) – I like chocolate and caramel and nuts, but I don’t like them together.  I know it’s different and strange, but I don’t do rocky road ice cream or any of the favorites.  I am a plain M&M girl.  Yep – just give me the yummy chocolate with the crunchy candy shell and that is great for me.

Of course, as Lucinda reminded us, chocolate does not have to be in candy form.  It can be cookies or cakes.  Last winter I drank my share of hot chocolate!  The point of this week is to indulge in a little reward because you know we women deserve it!  Wink!  😉