Bubblegum Sugar Cookies

So my baby brother is taking a road-trip this week to visit his girlfriend in Eureka, California, and then flies down to see his best friend in Santa Monica.

He is managing to visit both poles of California in the span of a week.

He’s my hero.

Anyway, a few days ago I asked him to make a list of things he needs for his trip, like toothpaste, razors, mouthwash, etc., so I could run to the store and grab them for him. To which he replied, “I’m going today to get those.”

I was heartbroken. I love shopping for miniature toiletries. Don’t you?

They’re just so petite and adorable. I literally squeal with delight over the miniature toothbrushes and teensy bottles of hairspray.

Let’s face it: if the mini shampoo and lotion bottles at hotels weren’t so irresistibly cute, we wouldn’t snatch them, now would we?

Plus, miniature bottles of things are just different and intriguing. I am SO willing to brush my teeth if I can do so from a teeny little tube. Eeek!

They’re cute, like mini people.

Wait–do little people like being called ‘mini’? Doubtful.

If I were little, I’d like to be called ‘mini.’ Can you imagine a mini me? Priceless!

(BTW, if I am offending anyone, it is not intentional. I’m just being ignorant, mesmerized by tiny bottles of shave cream, obviously demented. Don’t mind me.)

So anyway, my brother was neglecting my right to buy mini toiletries for him. I wanted to come home and make a little basket of little mini things and present it to him like a little mini gift and he’d be like “OMG, Hayley, you’re so sweet!! Look how cute these little shampoo bottles are! You’re the most thoughtful sister EVER!!” and we’d giggle over the micro-bottle of mouthwash together.

But no. He shut the door and started playing French music and I was left to my own devices which usually results in very weird things. Liiiiiike Bubblegum Sugar Cookies. Yum!

It shouldn’t be a shocker that I was SOSTOKEDINEARLYCRIED when I found the Duncan Hines Frosting Creations flavor mix in Bubblegum. I mean, helloooooo. I’ve waited YEARS for this. I can officially die in a bubblegum-related coma if I wanted to and I will, dammit.

NO ONE loves bubblegum like I do. Not a freakin’ soul. I live it and breathe it, baby. And now I eat it in cookie-form!

These cookies are ridiculously easy, bro. Hop on this bubblegum bandwagon with me and let’s sail in the pink sunset. You bring the Dubble Bubble, I’ll bring the cookies. Sweeeet deal!

Bubblegum Sugar Cookies

1 box sugar cookie mix (I used Krusteax), plus ingredients on back of box
1 Tbsp oil
2 pkts Duncan Hines Frosting Creations Bubblegum frosting mix
1/4 cup butter, softened
Splash vanilla extract
3 tsp milk
About 3 cups powdered sugar
Rainbow sugar sprinkles

1. Preheat your oven according to package directions. Line 2 baking sheets with silicon baking mats, or spray lightly with cooking spray and blot excess spray with a paper towel. Set pans aside.
2. In a large bowl, stir together the sugar cookie mix, the ingredients on the back of box, ONE packet of the bubblegum mix and the Tablespoon of oil together until a soft dough forms. Scoop Tablespoonful-sized balls of dough and place them about 2″ apart on the greased cookie sheets.
3. Bake for approx. 10-12 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking time to ensure even cooking, or until golden brown and centers are set. Cool approx. 5 minutes on the pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool entirely.
4. For the frosting, beat the butter and the splash of vanilla until creamy. Gradually add the powdered sugar, about a cup at a time, until a soft yet spreadable frosting is achieved. Add the milk if frosting becomes too pasty or thick. Lastly, beat in the remaining bubblegum flavor packet until combined.
5. Pipe or frost cooled cupcakes with the bubblegum frosting, topping with copious amounts of rainbow sugar sprinkles. Store leftovers airtight 1-2 days.

It’s amazing how much flavor is packed in such a petite cookie! They are soft and chewy like sugar cookies but have the exact flavor of juicy, sweet bubblegum. I’m in heaven! And I’m renting out a space on top of this beautiful pillow of frosting. OMG.

Pretty please (with extra sprinkles!) make these. They’re to die for. Swearsies!

Have a great weekend!!

xo, Hayley

 

The HUGE Easter Roundup

Hi Peeps!!

Do you know you’re the sweetest Peeps I’ve ever seen (and NOT eaten–did you know I have NEVER eaten a Peep? And only recently, had never had a Cadbury creme egg? BTW, I also live in a dark hole under a rock)?

I know it’s early, but next week, Spring Break will dominate my life and everyone else’s around me. School’s out, kids are EVERYWHERE *sigh* and while I don’t have kids and am not surrounded by them (thankfully) I can understand that moms everywhere are too busy to think about Easter by the time it rolls around next Sunday.

So my Easter Roundup will come an extra week early because, well, in the blogging world, we’re already focusing on Thanksgiving and Easter is soooo last December, y’all. And also, you’ll have plenty of time to make these super sweet Easter treats next weekend!

This Easter Egg Bark would be perfect to stuff in mini treat bags in your kids’ Easter baskets, if you ask me. Plus, it’s chock-full of nutritious ingredients like chocolate, sprinkles, M&M’s, Reese’s eggs and loads of sugar for a healthy holiday on a perpetual sugar-high.

For the bakeaphobes (because let’s face it, the oven will be full with ham and scalloped potatoes), may I suggest these No-Bake Birds-Nest Cookies? And rest assured, no birds nor nests were used in the making of these RIDICULOUSLY EASY cookies… however, I can’t guarantee birds don’t lay jelly bean eggs because in a perfect world, they would.

It wouldn’t be Easter without the quintessential bunny rabbit that breaks and enters, lays eggs around your house and poses with your kids for pictures at the mall (I’m sorry I made the bunny sound like a creepy man/home intruder). Anyway, these Oreo Bunny Pops are happy, sweet bunnies your kids won’t be scared of. And they’re fun to decorate!

My Pink Lemonade Fudge is sweet, tart and refreshing, especially after a heavy meal. Wrap this up in cute cellophane bags and give them to your neighbors for an extra-special treat.

OMG, dude. Why haven’t you made THESE yet?! They’re AMAZING. And I made flowers out of Sixlets. ‘Nuff said.

April showers = bring May flowers… but they also bring rainbows. Or maybe those are unicorns… Either way, make some Pastel Rainbow Cupcakes for your family and they’ll be SUPER impressed. Tell them you got the recipe from a unicorn. After a couple of these, they’ll probably believe you.

Last but certainly not least, are my new favorite bars EVER. Seriously, why haven’t you made these yet?! You do value our friendship, don’t you? DON’T YOU?! Make them now. You’re missing out and neglecting your tastebuds if you don’t.

I was kinda hoping you wouldn’t notice the blatant lack of anything carrot cake. I know, Easter and carrots and bunnies and yada yada but my family and I seriously despise carrot cake. Like, if carrot cake was stranded on the side of a creepy road we wouldn’t even stop to look at it. I know, we’re evil, awful people. But because other people love the stuff (and I know you exist but need a couple Pastel Rainbow Cupcakes to truly believe it) I found some seriously tasty-looking carrot cake recipes from other talented bloggers that deserve your undivided, vegetable-loving attention.

Carrot Cake Ice Cream by Kitchen Meets Girl
Carrot Cake Pie from Crazy For Crust
Carrot Cake Muffin Tops with Cream Cheese Frosting from Shugary Sweets
Carrot Cake Donuts from BruCrew Life
Carrot Cake Truffles from Cookbook Queen
Carrot Cake Cheesecake from Beantown Baker

Okay, apologies, but I have to stop there. Those are all converting me to possibly loving carrot cake and that would be sacrilege in my house.

And if carrot cake ain’t yo thang (I fully understand) and you’re tired of me (seriously, WTF), here are some other fun, awesome treats from other blogs!

Limoncello Sugar Cookies from Bake It With Booze
Oreo Coconut Gooey Cake Bars from BruCrew Life
Chocolate Covered PEEPS Easter Crispy Treats from Love From The Oven
Deep-Fried Cadbury Eggs from Something Swanky
Baby Chicks from Crazy For Crust
Cookie Sticks from Cookies and Cups
Easter Egg Basket Cupcakes from Six Sisters

Isn’t it weird that if you think about all these recipes I’ve listed, there’s probably THOUSANDS of calories accumulated from each one? But they’re ALL worth it, of course. So are the mint jeans and the Betsey Johnson dress I bought this week. And perhaps THESE shoes that I want for some reason.

I love justifying indulgences. It’s my favorite!

Anywho, here’s a few extra odds & ends before we part:

1. Were you totally bummed about Real Housewives of Orange County not having a new episode this week? Um, WTF ladies. I know you’re not doing anything this week which is a perfect cause for filming so where’s my juicy drama and Alexis new-nose unveiling? Also, I was kind of teased with this whole mud-wrestling bit and I really was disappointed to come home from school Wednesday, turn on my DVR and find NOTHING NEW. *Sigh* April 3rd, where are you when I need you?!

2. It’s spring break, beyotch! I’m TOTALLY.STOKED. Honestly, school has been grinding my gears SO.HARD lately. Midterms, essays, rational expressions and radicals, and Charles Dickens… too much for my little brain to handle at once. I’m like a goldfish. Anywho, I have two days off for my spring break so I plan on using them wisely, including but not limited to: baking, sleeping, lounging in yoga pants all day, walking my dog, photo adventures with Jessie, taking special trips downtown just for a piece of pizza, ridiculous amounts of drinking and neglecting every last bit of homework. Yay!

3. Okay, so mint jeans, as mentioned above. I’m obsessed–is anyone else? I’m an adult and technically should be looking for blazers and pencil skirts and conservative tops but I couldn’t care less about looking professional right now. Bring on the leopard print silk Betsey dress I scored for $50 and the outfits that make me look like a walking Easter egg. Colored jeans are totally amazing right now & I’m looooooving them with stripes!

3a. Also, my new favorite color combo: bubblegum pink and navy. GORGE!! I challenge ALL OF YOU, readers of The Domestic Rebel, to wear something pink & navy this week. DO IT. It’s like the visual fashion equivalent of a million dollars. It’s perfect.

4. I ran out of Midori this week which makes me sound like an alcoholic. This is kind of lame since it’s spring break (see #2) and I planned on turning my blood type to “Midori Sour.” Thanks, Ashley.

5. Why am I still ranting? It’s spring break!!

Have a fabulous weekend!! Tomorrow I have a superfreakingfantastical post, so please return bright & early! :)

xo, Hayley

Brownie Pie

I’m sure I don’t have to justify anything to you guys (you always have my back, and for that I am forever thankful) but sometimes, you just need some freakin’ chocolate.

Does ‘Hell on Earth’ get mail delivered to your workplace? Need some chocolate.

Are school midterms, essays, exams and homework making you feel like you’re drowning in wide-ruled binder paper? Getting high off the smell of highlighters? Need some chocolate.

Does the thought of driving behind this crypt-keeper-old lady in the rain on a one-lane road at 20mph AT BEST on your way home from a busy day make you slightly homicidal? Need some chocolate.

Or does spending a buttload of money on mint-colored jeans because you think they’re kinda trendy and cute and personally, you are delighted by the idea of your legs looking like Easter eggs make you kinda nauseous (at worst; at best, spring-y)? Need some chocolate–but not too much, the jeans are tiiight as it is. Too much chocolate is the culprit, ironically. And Cotton Candy Bars. Dammit.

Realizing you need to start a bikini diet tomorrow so your boyfriend/husband/friends can think they’re somehow related to a Victoria’s Secret model? Need more chocolate.

You catch my drift. It’s a chocolate day, people. Get ovah it and your bikini diets and NEVER mention the word ‘stairmaster’ on this blog EVER. Get out your fudgiest, gooiest brownie mix and bake these before I get all snappy.

And throw some extra marshmallows, Whoppers and icing on there. Climb in your comfiest these-have-never-been-to-yoga-yoga-pants, turn on the juiciest Real Housewives episode and crack a beer or a glass of pinot. Today is all our fat day.

You’re welcome!

Brownie Pie

1 box fudge brownie mix, plus ingredients on back of box
1 9″ prepared chocolate cookie pie crust
2 pkts Duncan Hines Frosting Creations Chocolate Marshmallow flavor
1 can vanilla icing (can substitute chocolate–hello, cravings)
Miniature marshmallows
Whoppers

1. Preheat oven according to your brownie mix’s directions and prepare the brownie mix according to said directions. Stir in one packet of the Chocolate Marshmallow flavor mix into the batter.
2. Pour about 3/4s batter into the prepared cookie pie crust (save the remaining batter for smaller brownies or what-have-you). Place the pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any drippings, then bake the pie for approx. 30-35 mins or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs or mostly clean. Cool completely.
3. Stir the remaining chocolate marshmallow packet into the can of icing and combine. Pipe the frosting onto the cooled brownie pie (I used an open star tip) in clockwise circles… or spread it on, if you’re so inclined. Top each little star with a miniature marshmallow, then a Whopper, alternating candies and mallows for a cool pattern if you’re feeling particularly fancy.
4. Consume pie immediately and destroy the evidence. Should there be leftovers, cover them tightly and store in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before eating. This will keep about 1 day.

Chocolate. Whoppers. Marshmallows. IN A BROWNIE IN A PIE.

I’m sooooo your best friend.

And FYI, none of my yoga pants have been to a yoga class. I just like buying them because when I wear them to Walmart to grocery shop, I look fit and toned and serious like I’m a sexy babe yoga instructor when I really just wear them because I can clean my house in them easily and because they don’t restrict my eating abilities like jeans do.

Yup. You and me are BFFs.

Have a great day!!

xo, Hayley

Homemade PopTarts

After I became a food blogger, I decided I would try to be nice to people.

Of course, the world is composed of morons, so they ruin my plan to be nice to people.

However, since there are some quality folks out there who deserve my niceness, I would spare them my wrath and be as sweet as possible. I hope that, in turn, people return the favor. Nice people rock!

Have you ever had your drink purchased for you by the person in front of you at Starbucks? Me either, but I hear the exist–and they sound swell!

My parents told me they used to pay the tolls for the car behind them… but that was back when tolls were fifty cents and not six dollars. But still!

One of the qualities I find most nice is when you can relate to someone, even if for something minor. I inherited my “customer service” gene from my mom–aka, the ability to chat with anyone about anything which works particularly well in making small-talk at work–and it applies in everyday life as well.

It’s easy to strike up nice, friendly conversation with people if you can find a common link, like say, waiting in line during Black Friday and comparing your “must-buy” lists. Or telling a stranger in the Forever 21 dressing room that the top she’s trying on looks really good & you thought about picking it up yourself (even if it wasn’t really true–it’s still good to be nice to make her feel good).

And that’s my second point: people with no customer service genes whatsoever.

Case in point: people who can’t be nice and are incapable of being nice even for the little people, like myself.

There’s a girl in one of my classes that thinks she’s hot stuff. She parades in the class wearing her designer garb and professes that she’s dating someone famous but neglects to give a name. (Does anyone smell the overwhelming stench of BOLOGNA?)

Anywho, today, to be nice and friendly and chatty, I whipped out an assignment our class had been working on and the local sitters around me were talking about it. As they compared answers and “were we supposed to do these problems…?/how did you do number 25?” I decided to pipe in, being that I’m nice and customer service-y and all.

“Well, our teacher said we weren’t supposed to do those problems since we haven’t learned the material yet. I don’t even know how to begin to solve those. They look so crazy confusing and hard! What’s even going on?!” I said to lighten the mood and show them that they weren’t the only ones confused. You know, the common link.

To which the Juicy Couture snot–hereby called Juicy Snot–replied in the snottiest, most condescending voice EVER, “Actually, those are really easy. It was in the homework… if you did it, that is.”

To which another brown-noser and fellow Juicy Snot lover replied brattily, “Yeah, it was actually really easy. I didn’t have any problems with those.”

To which another dude (who presumably likes Juicy Snot) added, dude-brattily-like, “yeah, those weren’t too bad. I didn’t have trouble.”

To which I sat there, stunned to silence, thinking that I swore I came to school today but apparently I had walked into a gigantic, classroom-shaped toilet bowl with a bunch of steaming craps floating around me.

What happened to being nice? What happened to common decency? Or the little white lies that, personally, are a lot nicer to pretend with than the evil, ugly, and unnecessary truth that made me feel bad.

Even if you took five seconds to do over 50+ problems that took me over two hours and you spent the rest of your day talking to your pretend famous boyfriend, you could have at least spared my feelings in saying, “yeah, they were a little tough” or something.

I mean, seriously. I was trying to make small-talk and be friendly.

But the really worst part? My reaction to all of this wasn’t witty or cutting or anything cool. It was: “Oh, well I was drinking and sitting on my ass all weekend, so I didn’t bother doing the homework yet” which subsequently made me seem like an obese alcoholic but had the original intention of sounding like I was a cool party-girl who didn’t spend hours doing homework like those squares.

Nope. Fatass drunk.

Which isn’t true, by the way. I spent the weekend working and eating pizza. So partially true. Only one drink was involved, but nothing to deem me “cool party-girl” or “cool lazy-girl.” Just a small-talkin’ freakshow who, at times, is guilty of coming up with some AWFUL comebacks.

Happens to the best of us, I suppose.

So I came home and drank my sorrows away, pretending to be all hot and called Jessie and begged him to pretend to be famous. Just kidding, I made Homemade PopTarts. They’re like brain food.

Oh, and did I mention they’re easy? I’m talking use-what-you-have-on-hand easy. For myself, I made Butterscotch BiscoffChocolate Peanut Butter, and Classic Strawberry. But really, use any spreads/jams/fillings you have on hand. Canned icing also works beautifully as a wonderful drizzle.

Really, they’re no brainers. I swear! A’s for everyone!!

Homemade PopTarts

1 pkg (2 rolls) prepared pie dough
Assorted ingredients–jams, jellies, spreads–you name it
About 1/4 cup canned vanilla icing
Assorted sprinkles

1. For the basic set-up, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set aside.
2. On a clean work surface, gently roll out one package of the pie dough and slightly stretch it out. Cut off the rounded ends so it makes a large square. From that, cut three even vertical strips, then cut those in half for a total of SIX rectangular sheets of dough. They should be about (roughly) two inches long and about an inch across–but obviously, math isn’t my strongest suit. Repeat with the other package of dough. You should now have 12 rectangular sheets of dough.
3. Place six squares several inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Spread with desired fillings, leaving a small border around the edges. Top the filled dough sheets with a second, equal-sized piece of dough and gently press the edges together to seal using your finger. To be fancy, crimp the edges with a lightly floured fork. Poke a couple holes in the top with your fork, too.
4. Bake for approx. 10-12 minutes, checking every so often, until lightly golden. Do not overbake. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
5. Microwave the canned frosting for about 10-15 seconds or until almost melted. Drizzle on the tops of the PopTarts and top with sprinkles, if you like. Allow icing to set somewhat before eating. Best served the same day but can keep an additional day if stored airtight at room temperature.

For Butterscotch Biscoff:

Biscoff spread or Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter
Butterscotch chips

1. Spread dough with a small teaspoon of Biscoff spread, then top with a small pinch of butterscotch chips. Continue as directed.

For Chocolate Peanut Butter:

Creamy peanut butter
Milk chocolate chips
(I used chocolate icing)

1. Spread dough with a small teaspoon of creamy peanut butter, then top with a small pinch of chocolate chips. Continue as directed.

For Classic Strawberry:

Seedless strawberry jam
White chocolate chips or yogurt chips, optional

1. Spread dough with a small teaspoon of slightly-softened strawberry jam. Top with white chocolate chips or yogurt chips if desired. Continue as directed.

As you can see, I sampled the Biscoff treat…

But strawberry was my winner. Pretty darn similar to the real deal, and so cute! And if you’re wondering, yes, they’re very good warmed and buttered, how did you know?!

The best part here is the versatility, methinks. Sub any flavor jam (blueberry’s next in my book), curd (hello, lemon) or spread (Nutella, anyone?) and top with virtually anything. I mean, hell, you could make Snickers PopTarts if you wanted to. Just use whatever’s in your pantry or whatever your family finds most appealing.

And go compliment someone today. It makes them feel nice.

Have a great Wednesday!!

xo, Hayley

(April Fool’s!) Pie Fries

I am not an April Fool’s fan.

I never liked pranks or jokes or things of that nature. I prefer my laughs to come from crass humor, overt sarcasm, or at someone else’s expense.

I never liked Punk’d (mostly because Ashton Kutcher is a D-bag, but that’s another story for another time).

I never thought the idea of duct-tape mummifying someone or covering all their belongings in foil or Jello. I don’t like thinking I may wake up with marker on my face. And any gags involving fake barf, poop, or the like disgust me.

Basically, I’m boring. But I can tell a funny Helen Keller joke if provoked.

Last year, Jessie and I had a rough March. We unfortunately witnessed a pretty fatal car accident and happened to be the first on scene. After dealing with a depressing month of confusion, questions and after-shock stress, I decided to treat us to a fun day at Six Flags on April 2.

I bought the tickets, scheduled the day with snacks and mix CDs, and told him about the trip a week in advance. He was stoked, I was stoked–hellooooo, rollercoasters!

The day before (April 1st) I was at work minding my own business when I got a phone call from Jessie. Figuring it was his usual checking-in-to-say-hi call I took it happily and proceeded to tell him about my day and how I couldn’t wait for tomorrow.

That’s when he said he thought we should talk.

And maybe things were moving too fast.

And perhaps, tomorrow wasn’t a good idea and therefore, we should have some space. To think.

Basically, he was telling me we were over and tough sh*t but I had two non-refundable tickets on my hands for tomorrow only.

I didn’t even know how to react. My first instinct was “don’t cry!” because I have this genetic disability where I cry over the dumbest things at the drop of a hat. I’m a CRYBABY, okay? And I was at work, surrounded by children eating cupcakes, and it really didn’t seem appropriate to sob and beg for mercy on the phone so I lamely said “okay.”

And he was quiet for a few moments as I mentally recapped our (then) 3 month relationship and how did this even happen?! when he started laughing.

LAUGHING.

“April Foooooool’s!” he cried on the other end. I was literally speechless. Stunned. I may have mumbled some incoherent blabber in response to my brain being deadened and then reanimated within a span of seconds. And he laughed at me. So I chuckled too but really, I was still shocked.

And that’s kinda when I realized I really hate April Fool’s.

Oh, and btw, Six Flags was awesome. I kissed a dolphin and it made Jessie really jealous (dolphins are slimy kissers but everything can be improved with time) and revenge was served.

The End.

However, I understand some people get a real kick out of shocking, joking and surprising people and I have to cater to my prankster masses. So whether you love April Fool’s, forget it even exists or are neutral on the subject, here’s an easy and fun recipe to whip up for the first.

They’re Pie Fries, and they totally rock!!

Basically, there’s a bunch of really cute April Fool’s “food that isn’t”-type cupcakes on the internet, like fried rice cupcakes or spaghetti & meatballs. Those are way cute but I wanted something easier & different. These only have three ingredients.

So make them and serve them with dinner. Your family may be stunned that they aren’t the local fast food fare, but they will be happy and giddy because they’re fries coated in butter, cinnamon and sugar. And who doesn’t get stoked for that?!

Pie Fries

Prepared pie dough scraps*
About 3 Tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup cinnamon sugar
Softened strawberry jam, optional

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set aside.
2. Cut your pie scraps into long strips, similar to the shape and size of fast food fries. Lay them on a single layer on your prepared sheet and brush with butter. Sprinkle liberally with cinnamon sugar mixture.
3. Bake until golden and crispy (careful not to overbake) for about 10 minutes, checking halfway through baking time (as they could be done sooner). Allow to cool slightly before serving; I like mine served warmed the best but room temp are good, too! Consider serving yours up alongside a small cup or dish of strawberry jam, slightly softened, to resemble ketchup. Sooo yummy!
**Note: stay tuned for tomorrow’s recipe, which will have pie dough scraps left over. But, if you can’t wait (or don’t make tomorrow’s recipe [which would be blasphemy and I will hunt you down]) take one sheet of prepared pie crust and cut it into strips, as directed above. However, you may want to increase your amount of butter and cinnamon sugar if you use an entire dough sheet as opposed to just scraps.**

These taste like the crispy, golden, sugary crust on top of my favorite apple pie, minus all the healthy fruit and stuff. Everyone knows crust is the best part. Duh. They’re way too easy and fun not to make, so whip some up now!

And I’m not kidding about the funny Helen Keller joke, if you want to know…

Have a great Tuesday!

xo, Hayley

Cotton Candy Bars

So a few days ago, I became really embarrassed while on my way to Dorothy‘s house.

Dorothy was giving me some treats in exchange for these very bars, so I decided to walk my dog and my boyfriend over to her abode to pick up some sweets.

While on our mid-afternoon walk, nature called Mannie and like most dogs, he answered with no regard to people, places, things or feelings. ..which brings me to a small sidenote.

You know those people with the squatting dog signs on their lawn “prohibiting” dogs using the bathroom on their yard? No? Well, in our neighborhood, people have taken a liking to stickers, picket signs or fence signs saying my dog is not allowed to poop on their grass.

While I understand this in theory–and while I have been the recipient of people who do not believe in picking up their dog’s, ahem, waste–ultimately, I can’t control when or where my dog uses the bathroom, including your lawn. Thankfully, I have invested in bags which allow me to pick up his waste in the most dignified fashion possible, so I will remove it from your lawn when he is finished.

Back to my story. We were walking and Mannie, well, you know. I did the respectable, neighborly thing and picked it up, but my next move was to find a trash can in a vacant house.

Why vacant? Because there’s nothing more awkward than approaching a house with their windows open or people outside or someone obviously home than to walk up their driveway to use their garbage to throw your dog’s poop away.

The house where he–yeah–had their windows open, so no dice. Fast forward a couple houses with hidden garbages and voila, a garbage can smack dab in the middle of the driveway of a two-story house with no cars. Bingo!

I passed Mannie off to Jessie and dutifully trekked up the driveway in a quick and unsuspecting fashion to toss the contents and did so successfully. Then Jessie made some mean, jokey comment about how “someone totally saw us” and “they’re totally home” while pretending to wave to a window upstairs. I rolled my eyes and we proceeded very briefly on our way when a van sloooooowed down right beside us.

“Can I help you guys? Is everything okay?”

Lo and behold, a woman in a minivan pulled right alongside us, look very bit suspicious at two characters and a three-legged dog.

“Uh, no we’re good. Everything’s fine,” we assured minivan lady.

“Oh, because you were in my driveway, so I wanted to make sure everything was okay since you know, you were there.”

In this brief moment of panic, I contemplated coming clean about the situation but found there was something un-consoling about telling someone you used their garbage to throw your dog’s sh*t away so I decided against that situation and figured staying suspiciously quiet was the better of the two options.

Jessie mumbled something incomprehensible about how we “weren’t there” and “everything is fine” while we both walked away and ignored the woman now pulling into the driveway where my dog’s #2 sat in her garbage.

And the whole time on my way to Dorothy’s, I kept thinking, she’s gonna call the cops. She’s going to report suspicious people lurking on her property. And then what do I say? That I threw my dog’s crap away in her trash? That I am guilty of trespassing and loitering?! That my dog can’t control his bowels? 

I pictured the cops zooming past Dorothy’s house and arresting us, the guilty trio, on behalf of the minivan lady, clearly perturbed by seeing us on her property. And I’d have to call my family and ask them to please pick us up from jail and my mom would say no and remind me that one time she threatened us kids that if we ever called from jail she wouldn’t bail us out and so then I’d be stuck in jail for simply tossing my dog’s poop–contained in a plastic baggy and knotted so it wouldn’t spill out, mind you–into a strange minivan lady’s trash. And then I would be some scary woman’s girlfriend and live the gangster life in jail and get scary tattoos and have the name Bertha.

But basically, none of this happened, I got home safely with Dorothy’s treats and she got mine, and Jessie and I went on to eat pot roast and do absolutely nothing. Phew!! Convicts on the run, we are. We live a gangsta life.

So I’m betting you’re wondering what caused me to put my life on the line to deliver treats to my BFF Dorothy? They are Cotton Candy Bars and me oh my, they’re wonderful. Incredibly sweet, but really good. And easy to boot!

Basically, this is your line-up:

What’s that cotton candy packet!?, you ask? It’s a new Frosting Creations mix from Duncan Hines. Like Kool-Aid, but for your frosting. They have a BUNCH of flavors–all delicious–but cotton candy was screaming my name; the siren song of sweets.

No more funny business, though. If I go to jail soon, I need to tell you this recipe as my last words. Well, before I start talking gangster and cornrow-braid my hair.

Cotton Candy Bars

1 box Funfetti cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
2 pkts Duncan Hines Cotton Candy Recipe Creations Flavor Mix
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 can Duncan Hines Frosting Starter kit (sold next to the flavor mixes)
Sprinkles

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 13×9 inch baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, eggs, oil and ONE packet of the cotton candy mix with a rubber spatula until blended and combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
3. Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared pan and bake for approx. 14-16 minutes or until edges are lightly golden and center is set. Allow to cool completely before frosting (center will set up a little more once removed from oven; just don’t overbake these!)
4. Stir the remaining flavor packet into the can of icing (or prepare your own vanilla buttercream, if you wish). Spread the icing evenly onto the cooled bars and top liberally with sprinkles. Pop in the fridge to set the icing for about an hour before cutting into squares. Store airtight for approx. 1-2 days.

Yum!

If you’re jonesing for a real sugary, intoxicatingly sweet treat, this is it. The bars have a great texture, thanks to the white chocolate chips, and I am loving the possibilities with this flavor mix! Supah easy for badasses on the run.

Have a great Monday!

xo, Hayley

May be linked to:  Trick or Treat TuesdaysCrazy Sweet TuesdaysCast Party Wednesday,Dwell On FridayMrs. Fox’s Sweet PartySweet Treats ThursdaysTuesday Talent ShowSweet Tooth FridaySweets for a SaturdayStrut Your Stuff Saturday 

Easter Pretzel Daisy Bites

Besides my blog, I have a day-job working in food.

I don’t know if you know this, but food people judge you.

Not by what you eat (unless you eat gross things, like hot salami sandwiches or put things like strawberries, caramel sauce, coconut, and gummy bears on your mango and chocolate yogurt–ick) but rather, how you treat us.

I may not have a PhD after my name and I may not be curing diseases or saving lives or doing profound things, but I am feeding you and for that, you should be nice to me.

Have you seen the movie Waiting? I rest my case.

Not that I’m doing gross things to people’s food–I’d get fired and then how would I support my Betsey Johnson habit? That’d be silly. Instead, I wish evil upon those who treat me poorly. And we all know the cupcake girl has scary voodoo powers.

I cannot believe people actually have the audacity to do the things they do. Walking into a shop that clearly says CLOSED and demanding service? Talking to waitstaff like we’re mentally challenged? Complaining about EVERY.LITTLE.THING or feeling entitled to EVERY.SINGLE.THING? Yeah, not on my watch.

The worst part is they know I am helpless to their rudeness. I can’t talk back, I can’t do foul things to their food and I can’t smack them (btw, do you ever get the overwhelming urge to smack someone? No? Well, uh, nevermind then….)

I just sit there, take their crap, and wish secret juujuu evil on them while I dress their salads and take their order while laughing maniacally. They never suspect me! It’s brilliant, and it helps me sleep at night.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, I’ve worked retail, too. And do you realize how LONG and TEDIOUS it takes to fold all those shirts stacked nicely on that shelf? And do you know our JOB relies on folding those shirts to absolute precision? So when some idiot comes through and yanks a Large from the bottom, carelessly destroying all the intricate folds above it, I nearly have an aneurysm and turn homicidal.

I frequently have day dreams where I’m a vigilante, running rampant through the streets and dishing out justice where it desperately needs serving. I’d wear a sparkly pink cape, have lightning-fast speed and do the world many favors with my common sense and evil voodoo powers; why do you ask?

When I’m not solving crime or cursing people under my breath, I would make adorable treats that make me smile–a girl can only handle so much frustration before she flips, goes batty and needs sugar and salt-STAT!!–in an adorable form.

Enter: Easter Pretzel Daisy Bites. They’re cute, easily poppable, and a cinch to make. Plus, they make me smile real big, and that’s all that matters after a long day of people enunciating “provolone” like I was born all of .4574 seconds ago.

BTW, this idea is all over Pinterest–just google “Pretzel Bites”–so I’m not taking ownership by any means. Just had some Sixlets on hand, a bag of Kisses in my freezer, and the urge to make flowers from candy. Is that so much to ask?

Easter Pretzel Daisy Bites

1 bag “butter snaps” (the grid pretzels)
1 bag Hershey Kisses, unwrapped (AKA, another tedious process but worth it; promise)
Reese’s PB eggs
Sixlet candies

1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. Line a large, rimmed baking pan with foil and line up a bunch of intact pretzels in a single layer.
2. Top each pretzel with one Kiss candy. Once all pretzels are topped, place the pan in the oven for no longer than 3 minutes, checking every minute or so, until the chocolates are soft and shiny–NOT melted. Remove immediately from the oven and allow to stand five minutes.
3. Working quickly, make flowers on the soft chocolate pretzel bites using the Sixlet candies. I sorted my candies by color so it was easier to make colored flowers, but you could alternate colored petals, do all one color, or whatever floats your boat. For some, I also topped them with Reese’s PB eggs for a festive Easter touch; feel free to use M&M’s, Whopper eggs, or any other Easter candy you have on hand.
4. Allow these to harden for approx. 1 hour. Store airtight for 2-3 days.

These make excellent gifts to bag up for friends, coworkers, neighbors, classmates or family, especially for the upcoming holiday. The sweet & salty combo is so addictive and the flowers are way cute, though I’m kind of partial to the peanut butter-chocolate-pretzel combo myself.

Have a wonderful weekend, my little daisies!

xo, Hayley

The Friday Roundup

Bonjour, my little chickadees!

Hope you’ve been having a super swell week!

Swell or not, it’s finally Friday. I am continually amazed at how fast days have been going lately. I would have literally killed to have my days go this quickly when I was a kid around Christmastime, or as a moody teen during high school. Now I can barely keep up!

But I did manage to squeeze in a couple of awesome desserts this week because I love you, and my weird Twilight-Zone/Race-Car-Life won’t stop me!

This week, I did NOT go to the dentist (surprise!) but I did make these blondies and told you my revolt-against-the-dentist story.

OMG. Don’t you want to bite their little heads off?! Thank god they’re edible, because sometimes I want to bite the heads off other non-edible cute things and no thanks to laws and frowned-upon things like cannibalism, I can’t. So lame! So I bite these instead.

Oh! Oh! Oh! I proved I was really freakin’ weird.

And yet again, talked about biting the heads off of typically-non-edible things (maybe I do have cannibalistic tendencies?!) but rather than use real bunnies, I used Oreos. Tastier, I’m sure.

Aaaaaand I proved (yet AGAIN) that I’m REALLY INSANE and I’m so sorry I have subjected you to my insanity so late in our friendship. I hope you can get past it and my weird peeves & quirks.

And here are some other things you should know:

1. On Sunday, I had the superfreakingexciting!! pleasure of meeting Dorothy from Crazy For Crust and Ellen & Jacqueline from Bake It With Booze!! We got together for coffee and humongo cinnamon rolls at a local coffee shop and talked for three hours about blogging, life (or lack thereof), and everything in between. And yes, they really are as cool in real life.

2. Also, Dorothy and I are quite literally neighbors. Like, she walks by my house a couple days a week. I’m REALLY happy about this but I’m sure she’ll tire of me very quickly since, if you know Dorothy, she makes things like THIS and THIS and since we’re neighbors, I feel it’s my right to taste-test it. So you know it’s legit. Also, her dog is adorable.

3. I feel like Ned Flanders already.

4. Do any of you watch Real Housewives of OC? (who am I kidding; if we’re friends, of course you watch it). Anywho, whatever that alien-like substance was that came from Alexis, it sure explained a lot. I can only hope removing it will make her more tolerable and/or intelligent. Also, if Jim was my “king” I would overthrow the government. And does anyone else go through phases of simultaneously liking and hating Tamra? I love her mouth ’cause it’s like mine, but sometimes she really makes me question life.

5. On Wednesday, I let my hairy butterfly babies go. There were five of them that flew off into the world and now I am fully experiencing “Empty Nest Syndrome.” Their little habitat is so empty and I can no longer make up an excuse to whip up some sugar water. In case you’re wondering, I was raising butterflies because I bought this awesome kit. I highly recommend it for kids, teachers, and anyone who loves butterflies, science and being awesome.

Also, did you notice the little tongue in the first picture? Just like his mother. I think it would be convenient at times to have a huge tongue. I’ll probably regret saying that at some point in my life but for now I’m saying it out of grief for freeing my babies.

Suck the nectar of life, my children!!

Well, that about does it. I am going to go bother Dorothy to make me food or something.

I hope you have a fantastical weekend!!

xo, Hayley

Lemon Cheesecake Bars

I have a problem with certain food descriptors.

Obviously, being a food blogger, I have to use certain words to get my point across. If I didn’t, you would probably decide for yourself whether the picture was appealing enough to recreate it at home, but isn’t it a lot easier if I just told you how warm and perfect these muffins are, or how I really can’t stop thinking about these because of their soft, moist texture and because baked sea salt and sweet butterscotch is the world’s greatest marriage?

See?

But those aren’t bad. Anything describing something as simply “delicious” or “decadent” or “sweet and salty” or what-have-you is good in my book.

It’s the weird, freaky stuff that gets me a little sour.

Let’s just say, there’s a BBQ joint near my house that gives out free cups with a drink purchase and, on the back, they boast how good their BBQ is. And they use the freaky adjectives that make me irk and squirm and in turn, make me prey to my dad and brother who love saying them in gross, banjo voices to bother me.

I know what you’re thinking: jeez, this girl is over-dramatic. What are these so-called “freaky” words? I think she’s making this up. She is SO weird. I swear, this is the LAST time I’m reading her crap. And what the hell is a banjo voice? She is obviously deranged and on drugs.

But no! I’m not. And I’ll tell you what a banjo voice is.

A banjo voice can best be described as a gross, hick-ish voice that would sound most accurate out of a man with a straw hat, more than 50% of his teeth missing, wearing a tattered red & white checkered shirt, overalls with only one overall-hooked in, and with bare feet, tapping them, while playing a banjo. And his feet would be weird and smell like cheddar, and you know how I feel about that…

Also, if you’re getting really into this like I am, he would walk like Cheddar Alladin. What the eff is “Cheddar Alladin”? Well, that’s when people walk with their feet thrusting out to the sides like Alladin does in the Disney movie. Almost like a duckling, but cheddar-y since Alladin was barefoot.

OHMYGOD I just lost all my readers. I am so so so sorry. This is what happens when you give me free speech. Whack jobs like me take advantage of it and start tainting your innocent minds to absolutely, positively THE CRAZIEST STUFF EVER.

I know you just came here for a recipe and I’m sorry I ruined Alladin for you. I’ll just give you the Lemon Cheesecake Bars recipe after my condensed list of weird, gross food words that should never, ever be used. Ever. Because I will think of banjo man and start freaking out.

Please Never Say These Things Around Me

Finger-licking
Toe-tapping
Gut-busting
Lip-smacking
Tongue-wagging
Any body part noun-ing
Moist* if anyone has a better word for moist, let me know. It’s obviously necessary to describe that a cake is moist (because otherwise, I’m implying it’s crumbly and dry) but it kind of reminds me of a sponge with bacteria on it sooooo… I need a new moist-replacement word.

Okay, I promise to never, ever talk again.

Lemon Cheesecake Bars *inspired by this recipe from Quick Cooking

For “shortbread” crust:
1 box yellow cake mix
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg

For lemon cheesecake filling:
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened slightly
1 can (7 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 egg
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Zest of one lemon

Powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease a 13×9 inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, melted butter and egg with a wooden spoon until blended; dough will be thick but on the wetter side. Spread 3/4 of the dough evenly into the bottom of the greased pan and bake for approx. 8 minutes while you prepare your filling.
3. For the filling, beat together the softened cream cheese, milk, egg, lemon juice and lemon zest with an electric mixer for approx. 1 minute or until blended and smooth. Pour the mixture into the par-baked crust. Sprinkle the additional dough on top of the filling mixture.
4. Bake for approx. 18-20 minutes or until the center is set. Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares. Store covered in the fridge for about 1-2 days. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.

Pretty, pretty PLEASE still be my friend even though I am insane? I made you lemon bars and they’re not foot-stomping or tummy-tickling good or anything but they’re creamy and sweet and refreshing and I’m kind of obsessed with the faux-shortbread crust right now & I know you will be, too. ‘Cause we’re friends, and friends know sometimes the other friend can get crazy. Next time I’ll leave the Disney movies out of it, kay?

Forgive me?

Sure you do.

Have a wonderful Thursday!

xo, Hayley

Oreo Bunny Pops

Eeeeeeek!

I have an awesomely outrageous, splendidly easy and SUPERFREAKINGCUTEYOUWANTTOBITEITSHEADOFFADORABLE treat to share with you today!

In lieu of a story about my weird life, I’m just posting the recipe because A) school is consuming me and I can only speak in literary analysis-speak or a random warbling of fake-words that make me sound like Ozzy Osbourne; and B) I am finding that I am living in the Twilight Zone because every hour in my day is equal to seven human hours and I pretty much have three hours to get everything done. I just have yet to find Rod Serling lurking in a corner somewhere with his cigarette.

These are Oreo Bunny Pops and they’re pretty self-explanatory and simple to boot.

You can make them in pop form (as shown) or in little cute bunny head form, like this:

I almost like the head thing better because if you think about it, it’s less violent than rabbit heads on sticks. I mean, who are we? Angry, cakeless French running around with Marie Antoinette’s noggin on a stick? But I digress.

Anyway, since I’m rambling and someone needs to sedate me soon, I’ll give you the recipe so we can both continue this friendship maturely and with dignity.

Just stuff my face with bunny heads, please.

Oreo Bunny Pops

1 pkg golden Oreos
1 pkg white chocolate bark
Pink Mike ‘n Ikes or Good ‘n Plenty candies
Pink Skittles
Tic-Tacs
Assorted sprinkles
Lollypop sticks

1. If you’re making pops, gently pierce the filled center of the Oreos with a lollypop stick, careful not to go through the entire cookie. Allow them to chill for a couple minutes (about 20) in the freezer to better adhere. If you’re going popless, skip this step and proceed to #2.
2. Melt white chocolate bark according to package directions until melted and smooth. Dip Oreo pops or plain Oreos in the melted chocolate, coating completely and evenly, allowing excess to drip off. Place heads and/or pops on a foil-lined baking sheet.
3. While still wet, immediately decorate your bunny faces. I had cool eyeball sprinkles from Halloween which I picked up at Hobby Lobby (but I’ve also seen them at Michael’s craft stores), but for some, I used a simple blue or black sequin sprinkle. For noses, I used pink Skittles (‘S’ side down) or cute heart-shaped quinns from Valentine’s Day. Some bunnies got Tic-Tac teeth while others are scared of your mouth and their impending death and they are keeping their mouths shut. And for ears, lightly dunk the ends of the Mike ‘n Ikes or Good ‘n Plenty candies in chocolate, then gently press them to the tops of the bunny heads to adhere.
4. Repeat until you’re finished decorating, then pop in the freezer for a bit to harden and set, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately!

See?? Cute, simple and fun! I even made a cyclops because ’round these parts we don’t discriminate.

This would be a fun project to decorate bunnies with the kids! Use whatever sprinkles or candies you have on hand to mix up the possibilities.

Have a great Wednesday! I’ll be back blabbing and being a psycho tomorrow, promise.

xo, Hayley

May be linked to:  Trick or Treat TuesdaysCrazy Sweet TuesdaysCast Party Wednesday,Dwell On FridayMrs. Fox’s Sweet PartySweet Treats ThursdaysTuesday Talent ShowSweet Tooth FridaySweets for a SaturdayStrut Your Stuff Saturday 

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