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Monthly Archives: October 2012

Which Halloween candies do you keep, and which do you trade?

Every child knows what to do after trick-or-treating….make piles of similar candies, and then let the trading begin!

Here’s my list of keepers vs. traders (this is just my personal preferences, no judgement here)

Keepers: 100,000 Grand Bars, Reeses cups, m&m’s, Milky Way, Hershey bars, Twizzlers, Kit Cat, fat Tootsie Rolls, Mounds, Chocolate or Raspberry Tootsie Pops, Heath, Milk Duds, and Junior Mints.

Traders: Nestle and Nestle Crunch, Butterfinger, Smarties, Sweet Tarts, Dum Dums and any lollipops, Snickers(I don’t like peanuts), 3 Musketeers, Peanut m&m’s (see Snickers), Mr. Goodbar, Twix, Jolly Ranchers, thin or small Tootsie Rolls, Dots, Almond Joy.

So, Happy Halloween, and here’s hoping that you get lots of treats!

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Tootsie Rolls (size does matter)

When it comes to Tootsie Rolls, fatter is better.

The thicker the rolls, the chewier the candy. Those midgees (the bottom two) are tiny and tough. The best size in my humble oppinion are the ones that are about 2″ long, the one in the center of the above photo. They are  nice and chewy, and the perfect snack size.

You can find them in those big bags of assorted candy that has Dots, and Tootsie Pops.  They don’t last long in my bank’s candy bowl, and they are one of my favorite Halloween treatsto take from my kids’ candy bags. (Oh admit it, you do it, too…)

Thanks to Candywarehouse.com for the photo.

Should kids go Trick-or-Treating?

The answer is a big YES!

I see that some kill-joys are trying to stomp the fun, and candy out of Halloween. Stickers are replacing Snickers in candy bags, and “Harvest parties” and “trunk-or-treats” are replacing trick-or-treating in neighborhoods. Now, if you live in some gang infested area, I understand the safety issue. But, if you live in any other place in America, grab your flashlight, and for the love of your children, take them out into the neighborhood!

When I was a kid, Halloween was the looongest day. I couldn’t wait for it to get dark so we could set out into the neighborhood and gather candy* with our friends.

Going from house to house in costume, and filling a bucket, or bag with candy is a wonderfully fun thing for a child to do. Ask any adult about Halloween, and they can recall their best/worst costumes and where they went on Halloween night. (I still remember the neighbors who handed out full-sized Hershey Bars.)

Trick-or-Treating is a great tradition for kids, and parents together. It makes neighborhoods come alive, and it builds a sense of community. Let’s keep it going.

So, I’ll have my porch light on, and I’ll give anyone, no matter what age, a handful of yummy chocolate bars. I love Halloween fun!

*Sure, too much sugar is bad for you, and there are too many overweight kids…but let’s be honest here…Halloween candy is not the problem. We ate plenty of candy as kids, and I didn’t know one chubby schoolmate. The problem is too little physical activity, combined with too many calories consumed. End of story.

Thanks to the Saturday Evening Post for the photo.

Sweet Paul’s Sweet Web Site

Oh how I love Sweet Paul magazine! He has a new web site filled with beautiful inspirations. The sites sections; eat, make, kids, pets, love, are made so that you can click on photos, or look in the archive to click on past stories, or projects. It’s so well planned. I could spend a lot of time here, and “pin” just about everything!

Check it out here.

Red Vines or Twizzlers? Pick a side.

Two kinds of chewy psuedo-licorice, two completely different tastes.

I am a Twizzlers kind of gal. I’ll eat Red Vines when camping, or on a car trip, but those are about the only times.

My kids like both. I think they favor Red Vines because they come in that huge tub from Costco.

My husband likes neither.

I prefer strawberry Twizzlers when they get a bit stale so there’s more chew. I really like chocolate Twizzlers, probably because they remind me of the penny candy counter of my youth.

Red Vines seem like I’m eating red air. There isn’t much to them, and what flavor are they? I know that you can use them as a straw, and that’s a plus.

So what do you think? Let me know…I’m curious.

Coconut Banana Bread

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Yum! Banana bread is such a wonderful comfort food. It’s the only food that I can think of that’s made from an overripe fruit. At my previous job, people would bring their black, spotty bananas to me, and I would magically transform them into golden banana bread.

Did you know that you can put those nasty black bananas in the freezer with their skins on? Just let them thaw for about 2 hours, and you can squeeze the banana out. (warning, it’s a little gross) You could peel them and freeze them, too. I’m just a tad lazy.

This recipe is a version using coconut oil instead of vegetable oil, and reducing the sugar. Both tweaks make the bread more healthy, and I think better tasting.

So bring me your tired, your brown, your mushy bananas…

Recipe

3 ripe bananas
3/4 cup white sugar
4 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted so it’s in liquid form
3 Tablespoons buttermilk
1 large egg
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt

Optional: shredded sweetened coconut, you don’t have to use this, but I love coconut!

Directions
1. Place bananas in the bowl of a mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix bananas until they are mashed well.
2. Mix in sugar, coconut oil, and buttermilk until combined. Mix in egg.
3. Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl, then add slowly to the banana mixture. Mix until just combined, don’t overmix. (you can mix in the shredded coconut here in whatever amount you like…i think 1/2 cup is good)
4. Grease a loaf pan, or 3 mini loaf pans. Pour into pan, sprinkle with shredded coconut if desired. Bake at 325 F for 1 hour for loaf pan, or 35 minutes for mini loaf pans. Test with a toothpick, if it comes out clean, it’s ready.
5. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack.

This freezes really well. Wrap cooled bread tightly in plastic wrap, and place in freezer bag.
This recipe can be doubled or tripled. If you use frozen bananas, I recommend using 1 frozen (thawed) and 2 ripe ones, because frozen bananas are pretty moist.

Unique Sweets – I crave this show!

The Cooking Channel’s  “Unique Sweets”  was made just for us! It’s in its 3rd season and it is delicious and inspiring to watch.

Here’s what they say about the show:

Unique Sweets is an insider’s peek into innovative eateries across America that are creating the most unique and exciting desserts today. These sweet spots cover the gamut: restaurants with revolutionary pastry chefs; candy shops inventing eye-popping confections; chocolate boutiques with wild artisanal flavors; and bakeries producing one-of-a-kind pastries, cakes and cookies in the middle of the night. Wherever there are gooey, crunchy, sticky and sweet treats that you won’t find anywhere else, Unique Sweets will take you there.

This week’s episode featured bakeries and ice cream shops in Brooklyn and New York City. I was ready to get on a plane just to taste the donuts at Dough!

Their web site has some of the recipes from the shops, just in case the planes are booked that day. Check out the show, and you’ll be hooked!