Monthly Archives: February 2011

Eat your heart out, Bart Simpson–Homemade Butterfingers

Does making a Bart Simpson/Butterfinger joke make me old?  No, of course not, don’t be silly.  But the fact that the Simpsons as we know them debuted on my seventh birthday in 1989 makes me feel old.  And awesome at the same time.  I never liked Butterfingers as a kid, cowabunga-cred notwithstanding.  Even now, I don’t eat them.  I much prefer my candy bars to either be all chocolate and nuts or contain vast amounts of caramel.  Josh, though, Josh loves Butterfingers.  Josh likes any combination of peanut butter and chocolate but Butterfingers are his go-to candy bar when we’re on the road and we’ve stopped in to a gas station for a pick-me-up.  So when I started experimenting in making homemade versions of popular candy bars last year, this was his request, and it was seconded by my friend Tim.  I sort of slowed down the candy-train a bit over the last few months due to just being busy with other things but now, spring is in the air, Valentine’s Day has come and gone, Easter is around the corner…the allure of melted chocolate is once again knocking on the proverbial door.  Continue reading

Share the Love…and Pass a Plate


I like Valentine’s Day.  I know it’s a somewhat controversial holiday (which ones aren’t, these days?) but I personally appreciate it, for about the same base reason that I like Halloween: you just can’t go wrong with a holiday where a major focus is candy.

The second best part of V-Day is the silly cards you can swap with your friends.  You know, the “I choo-choo-choose you” train-shaped cards like Ralph gave to Lisa on the Simpsons?  Those are awesome and fun.  Any cute little paper card that references a cartoon I grew up watching is a winner. Unless it’s Captain Planet themed.  Then I just feel guilty.

Anyhow, the candy is really what’s important here.  My mom always makes sure we have some sort of Valentine’s treat—cookies or candy hearts or those little sampler boxes of Whitman’s chocolates.  And then come’s the inevitable Forrest Gump reference about life being like a box of chocolates.    Ha.  I wish. If life really was like a box of chocolates, I would be deliriously eating my way through the fabric of space. Om nom nom.

Where was I going with this?  I don’t remember.

The important thing is that whether you’re celebrating the Big V…alentine…with a significant other or friends or that random guy who always sits next to you on the bus no matter how many other seats are available, I’ve got some awesome meals and treats that will make your day delicious. Continue reading

A real sunny delight: Meyer Lemon Curd

Meyer lemon curdI’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: real desserts have chocolate in them.  But sometimes, sometimes it’s nice to have an “after diner snack” that is light and fruity instead.  And I adore fruit for breakfast, snacks…basically any meal of the day.  And fruit is more than welcome to dip itself into some melted chocolate and march itself into my mouth.  By all means, please do.

Having said that though, I do have a soft spot for lemony sweets as well.  Lemon is an amazing flavor when treated right.  Sometimes it can be too sweet, or too harsh and sour.  But sometimes it can be just the right amount of sweet, just the right amount of tart, just the right level of flavor and then it’s amazing.  It’s bright and light and interesting and to be honest, makes me feel like a kid again.  As a kid, my favorite (non-chocolate) dessert sweet snack was lemon meringue pie, a favorite I shared with my dad.  But mostly lemon makes me think of my grandmother.  For two reasons.

One, when I was young–and occasionally still these days–my grandmother would make us lemonade from scratch.  As in, from real lemons.  Not from packets of Kool-Aid like I know some of you think of when you hear the words “make lemonade.”  No, this is the real deal.  She hand-squeezed lemons (a juicer? Pshaw) and strained out the seeds and mixed in just the right amount of sugar, water and ice to make a perfect icy cold tart-with-a-hint-of-sweetness treat, especially great during the hot summer days when my sister and I would come over and catch butterflies in the fields by their house, or to make me feel better after their chickens chased me around the yard.  Continue reading

The Edible Guide to Surviving the Snow

french toast casseroleIf you’re in the midwest, chances are you’ve been hearing about this massive snowstorm of Texas-fair-sized proportion that is currently bearing down upon us.  Depending where you are in the midwest, you’re probably already seeing the terrible side effects of living in a non-tropical climate.  At the very least, you probably at least ran to the store for “supplies,” are flexing your shoveling muscles in preparation for tomorrow and your kids are assuming that the time-honored childhood glory that is the Snow Day is a foregone conclusion.

I’m hoping so myself.  Either way, there’s a good chance that Let It Snow will be more than a quaint Christmas carol tonight, and you should be prepared for that with my Storm Sustenance Checklist.

The Checklist

–Lasagna heating up in the oven as we read/type
–Cookie dough made and chilling in the fridge until baking later
–Plenty of milk
–Plenty of booze
Hot Cocoa
–Netflix subscription paid
–Dogs indoors, asleep on couch, drooling on their toys
–Low-fuss breakfast planned (french toast is a good one–you know the picture has made you hungry)
–Thawed meat roast for slow-cooking all day
–Plenty of booze
–A tub of peanut butter.  Just in case.
–some sort of fruit.  just because it’s a snow day doesn’t mean you can’t be healthy.  bonus: fruit dipped in chocolate.  negative points: fruity pebbles cereal.
–The will to cook the cookie dough before eating it
–A second batch of cookie after your will to not eat the first batch raw fails
–Enough bacon and mashed potatoes to create a sizable fort.
–Peas.  No really.  They’re good.  Give peas a chance.
–Sugar for making snow cream