Churro Bugle Mix

A few days ago, Jessie asked me if we wanted to go to his friend’s show at a local restaurant. I said sure, thinking we’d just stand around and drink and leave after an hour or so of loud music.

Hi, I’m Hayley and I’m 90 years old.

When we got there, after a particularly delicious Midori Sour at the bar, we found a table in the front row since we know the lead singer and all, and the band proceeded to play.

They’re a cover band called Madhouse that plays contemporary hits and classics, and they’re pretty darn good.

Anywho, they were encouraging people to dance in the space by the stage and only two lone, brave couples took them up on the offer, swaying fearlessly to Black Eyed Peas and Pat Benatar covers.

I was rooting them on since they were clearly parents able to swing a sitter for a Saturday night and wanted to live large and have fun. Plus, the moves weren’t half bad, except, spoiler alert: EVERY male (besides one I will mention in a moment) has the SAME dance move–the subtle sway and foot shift, complete with a stifled air-guitar plucking motion by their belt loops.

Seriously.

Anywho, as the night developed my eyes became transfixed on a fresh divorcee whom I dubbed “Blondie” for her choppy, blonde locks, teensy khaki shorts and sky-high shoes. And model body. Obviously.*
*in Rocklin, a suburb of Sacramento, plastic surgery and hot moms rule supreme. The skinnier the body, blingier the jeans, higher the heels and faker the boobs, the better.

Blondie had a little lost puppy, Blue Boy (for his blue shirt), constantly at her beck and call. And puppy wanted a belly rub bad (if you know what I mean) and would NOT.LET.UP.

He was grinding, gyrating, and gesticulating allllll over her tiny shorts. It quickly turned from mesmerizing Barbie to Barbie and special edition lapdog Ken, who looked freshly released from a prison or the military and ready to snag himself a single mama for the night.

But Blondie was smart; she knew how to fend off horndogs like Blue Boy. She kept him on a short leash, then would extend it to drive him crazy. When she chatted with her cougar friends, he patiently waited by her side as she brushed him off with her effervescence and glass of Pinot. Then, like raging bullet she reappeared on the dance floor, freshly hydrated and continued her undulating with Blue Boy.

However, during all of this, Blondie had a friend called Tube Top Third Wheel, or TTTW for short. TTTW was the female version of Desperado Blue Boy and was constantly weaseling her way into a Blondie/Blue Boy sandwich, to which Blue Boy had the balls to push her out of the way. Persistent–also TTTW’s middle name, TTTW would fight her way back into the dance machine sandwich: she’d sought her prey, and now it was feeding time.

While this love-triangle was unfolding to classics like “Summer of 69″ and “I Love Rock ‘n Roll”, another stunning little number entered the dance floor. Wearing a cut-off denim jeans-turned skirt number with an asymmetrical lace hem, a nude colored tank, copious dollar store mardi-gras-style bead necklaces and yak boots, she looked the vision of a tranquilized camel, ready to partay.

Hard to ignore Blondie, now shaking her butt like she was at one point paid to do so, Pirate Camel wanted a desperate dude grinding on her goodies, so she did what every Pirate Camel does: danced like she’s never danced before. Actually, she danced… but it looked more like a sad cry for help like when a fish is caught in one of those soda thingies and it just kind of wriggles helplessly for awhile, slowly losing consciousness as the weight of the world crashes all around it. Or something.

Pirate Camel quickly became upstaged by Python, a gypsy-looking chick with a python dress and a penchant for dancing like a two-dollar you-know. She kept licking her lips awkwardly and doing weird squats on the dance floor to impress her not-so-impressed boyfriend in the audience, probably simultaneously judging her and staring at Blondie.

But wait! Just when we thought this couldn’t get any better (and as I was well on my way to my third Midori Sour of the night), Pirate Camel returned and restored all our hopes and dreams with her wonderful dance moves–and with a partner, Led Zeppelin. Strutting in with long, luscious blonde curly locks, Led Zeppelin’s hair was a true contender for Best Hair Award of the night. Reminiscent of powdered wigs worn by government officials and judges back in London during the 1700s, it was flowing and magical as he swayed his hips to his Pirate Camel’s beat. I was expecting a unicorn to fly from underneath his hairline, expelling glitter and fairy dust while they danced to Disco Inferno, but I wasn’t drunk enough yet.

And don’t even get me started on the girl who looked like Adam Sandler, trying to be funny by pretend-humping dancing couples while her other half, a baseball-cap-wearing, whiskey-sour drinking brunette pulled the same stunts and caught the attention of Blondie, who was happy to pawn off her unwanted animal to someone new.

I should mention that after my White Gummy Bear, Blondie did the unthinkable and flaunted her singleness by dancing with an impostor Blue Boy, one who weighed a good hundred pounds heavier than Blue Boy, while Blue Boy JEALOUSLY lurked on the sidelines, clearly distraught over his blown-shot with the ever-irresistible Blondie.

So why not seek revenge with the lesser-hot-TTTW?

And from there on out, it was GAME ON for TTTW and Blue Boy. They decided they did not want me leaving the restaurant and forgetting them for the rest of my life. Ooohhhh no. They decided tonight was special and it was time to break out the best moves to upstage that booty-vibrating beyotch, Blondie.

Cue extremely awkward, outrageous dancing from the new fave couple, looking very much like a train wreck filled with unexplained family problems on both sides of this awful gruesome twosome story. If I thought Blue Boy’s moves were good before, I was totally wrong.

And that’s when Blue Boy climbed this woman like a jungle gym, swinging her left and right, picking her up, dipping her awkwardly, and ferociously eating her face and neck while they basically dry-humped on the dance floor to “Party Rock Anthem.”

It was enough to make myself stop drinking so I could purposely remember this amazing memory for the rest of eternity.

Meanwhile, while all this was going on, I peed no less than fifty times and during my several visits to the ladies’ room, found something I need to bring to everyone’s attention: Under Stall Still Foot.

Under Stall Still Foot, or USSF for short, is when you’re sitting in the bathroom stall and notice the woman’s feet in the stall next to you and they’re completely still. And in a brief moment of panic, you wonder if maybe she’s been murdered or something since she’s being exponentially creepy and NOT MOVING AT ALL and you totally played out a fake scene of yourself being viciously attacked in a bathroom stall since everyone’s busy ogling Blondie during “Don’t Stop Believin'” and it could be plausible and no one would know.

So, ever the creep myself, I sat and watched this woman’s feet for the longest time, hoping she’d move or flinch or something so I wouldn’t have to bust open the door and save her or something. I was hoping she wouldn’t be all gross like I’m assuming Elvis looked when they found him, but I guess I’ll get what I can take if I have to save a life, right?! Right?!

But then her pinky toe flinched and I decided she was safe and then went back to judging people.

The moral of the story? Alcohol ROCKS. It makes people at sports bars totally uninhibited. The perfect breeding ground for awkward parent dancing and sexy cougars and their young, salivating cubs to make for long-lasting, creepy memories.

The only thing I wish was different? That I had some of this incredible Churro Bugle Mix with me to munch on. Like popcorn and a movie, except sugar and spice crack and a train wreck. What could be better?!

So, just to clarify: Churro Bugle Mix is an addictively delicious and extremely dangerous mix consisting of Bugles chips and Dulce de Leche Cheerios, a cinnamon-roll-flavored white chocolate binding, and lots of brown sugar and cinnamon. Or, like I accurately described it: sugar and spice crack.

This crack is most definitely not whack. I highly suggest you try it…but bring it to a sports bar and people watch. It definitely makes a good companion.

Churro Bugle Mix

6 cups Bugles chips
2 cups Dulce de Leche Cheerios
1/2 pkg white chocolate bark
1 pkt Duncan Hines Cinnamon Roll Flavor Creations
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon

1. Line a flat surface with wax paper. Then, in a large bowl, prepare the chocolate bark according to package directions until smooth and melted. Stir in the cinnamon roll Flavor Creations to blend. Meanwhile, in a smaller bowl, combine the sugars and cinnamon and set aside.
2. Add the Bugles and Cheerios to the chocolate mixture and gently toss to coat the chip mixture completely.
3. Spread the coated chip mixture evenly onto the wax-paper-lined work space. Liberally sprinkle with the brown sugar cinnamon mixture until coated completely.
4. Allow the Bugle mix to sit for approx. 20 minutes before breaking into pieces and eating. Can be stored airtight up to 3 days.

This mix is easy, fun and SO amazing. The chips and cereal don’t lose their crunchy texture, and the coating is so perfect–totally like a Churro. I know you’ll love it!

Oh, and if you’re wondering what happened to any of my aforementioned cast of characters, I suppose we’ll never know… though I can assume TTTW woke up the next morning wondering what happened and asking Blue Boy if he wanted to go shoe shopping, to which he probably promptly left; Blondie probably hit up Nordstrom the next day, weaseling a discount on designer jeans from a dapper fellow caught in her web; Python probably went home and continued to look ever-so-disgusting; and Pirate Camel… well, her and Led Zeppelin probably flew away in a magical chariot back to the Land of Amazing to the tune of “Misty Mountain Hop.”

The End.

xo, Hayley

 

Vanilla Bean Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have an arch-nemesis.

Two, actually.

And you’ll never guess who or what they are.

… Suspenseful enough? Okay, I’ll spare you the grueling details and lack of sleep since you’re dying to know (you were dying to know, right?!)

Baked potatoes and chocolate chip cookies.

Yup, two food items I absolutely LOATHE. Not loathe eating, but loathe MAKING.

Forrealzies.

Chocolate chip cookies and baked potatoes HATE me. I swear, they’re totally out to get me. And I don’t even know what I’ve done to them to receive such awful treatment.

I mean, I love baked potatoes, especially when loaded with tons of green onions and butter. And chocolate chip cookies? We go way back, obvi! So rich and buttery and such a classic. Who doesn’t love them?

But they don’t love me, because every time I make either item, it fails miserably. Like, I have better luck becoming a Real Housewife than baking a perfect potato.

Seriously.

I’ve tried everything: par-boiling, then baking, baking for a long time at a series of different temperatures, microwaving, slitting, piercing, slathering… EVERYTHING. And every time? Hard-as-rocks potatoes with skin that isn’t crispy… it just… is.

And I’m tempted, at this point, to beat the potatoes to death because I’m so annoyed that baking them at 400 for 30 minutes did NOTHING but unfortunately, “beating them to death” doesn’t work so well when they’re still raw, super dense, and could be considered a deadly weapon if thrown at a steady speed.

On an off note, how sh*tty would it be to die by a baked potato?

And then there are chocolate chip cookies. Cookies act all sweet and innocent and stuff, loved by all the parents and the kids and the boyfriend, but they have a seriously evil side.

Like the fact that they’re totally sluts and love spreading it in the oven. I’ll pull out my baking sheets and they’re all spread out like pancakes, thin as paper; those slutty cookies.

Or how they never quite have that crinkly cookie top. You know, how chocolate chip cookies usually have that valley-like, high and low, uneven top? I see those bumps as “mountains of butter and sugar and chocolate”, but my cookies like to make me angry and turn out hideous and flat and not mountainous. Just fugly.

And the butter to cookie to chocolate chip ratio. If there’s too many chocolate chips, it’s no bueno in my book. I like lots of cookie, slight chips–but I know everyone’s different. However, no matter what, I like that allover, deep butter flavor–it makes them so tender and gooey and perfect. And I’ve never mastered it.

Basically, my family is convinced I am an incompetent cookie baker. And let’s face it, I am. My sugar cookies NEVER look close to Bridget’s, and I can’t even make a decent chocolate chip cookie that doesn’t look like a rejected pancake.

But then I found it. The One.

Golden, buttery crust, studded with the right amount of milk chocolate chips and teensy flecks of vanilla bean. Aka, FLAVOR. It’s amazing, spectacular, and like, the best evah. And I can definitely say that since I have had the worst ever. Like, my whole life. Best of all: no chilling! Because lol, who seriously chills dough? *impatience much?*

Thank god I can easily be won over and forget the past.

Vanilla Bean Chocolate Chip Cookies *adapted from Kelsey at Apple A Day’s recipe 

3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease two cookie sheets with cooking spray and blot excess spray with a towel; or, line sheets with silipat liners. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, soda, cornstarch and salt, and set aside. Meanwhile, in a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugars until creamy, about a minute. Beat in the egg and vanilla bean paste to combine.
3. Gradually add flour mixture to the butter mixture, beating well after each addition. Once dough has come together, stir the chocolate chips in by hand with a wooden spoon.
4. Portion dough into heaping Tablespoonfuls onto the cookie sheets, about 2″ apart. Bake for approx. 8-10 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through cooktime to ensure even baking. Do not overbake (they will remain fairly light in color). Allow to cool a couple minutes on the baking sheets before transferring cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
5. Store leftovers airtight for up to 3-4 days.

If you can, use vanilla bean paste here. It really elevates the flavor of these cookies from yum to FORREALTHESEARETHEYUMMIESTCOOKIESI’VEEVERHAD.

Swear it.

Alright, baked potatoes. Meet your maker, you dirty beyotches.

xo, Hayley

 

The Cinco de Mayo/Mannie Birthday/Friday Roundup

Hola, pinquitos!

Today is a very special, very LARGE Friday Roundup. If a little is good, a lot is better… right? I heard that on a reality show somewhere. I’m assuming it was RHOC in regards to plastic surgery or something but whatever.

So, as you know (and should!), Cinco de Mayo is like, a week away. I’m STOKED. I seriously love any holiday where stuffing my face isn’t expected, it’s required. Hello, Thanksgiving and Christmas, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Valentine’s Day (where expensive eating and copious amounts of chocolate are consumed), birthday(s), Easter, St. Patty’s Day, Halloween, and any other holiday worth EATING.

You know the saying “eat to live or live to eat”? Yeah, let’s just say I’m tipping the “live to eat” scales like A LOT.

But seeing as next Saturday you’re basically required to eat Mexican food (like that’d be a problem), I decided to round up some yummy dessert-related recipes in regards to Mexican traditions. Or no Mexican traditions at all, just my biased opinion that these treats are good and somewhat Mexican-inspired, if nothing else, and you should make them anyway.

First up: Classic Margarita Cupcakes. But for these lime-y cakes, I added some candy tacos on top. They’re SO cute. You have to make them. Let me reiterate: CANDY. TACOS.

Or if margs aren’t your cup of tea (who are you and why are we friends?) try these crowd-pleasing Churro Cupcakes. Sweet and cinnamon-y, they’re reminiscent of Cinnamon Toast Crunch (hence the topping) but taste like a churro. Mmmm

If you’re a sane human being, you’ll make these bars because you know what’s right for you. And also, don’t be shocked if my boyfriend shows up on your doorstep; he NEVER shuts up about these. EVER.

These are still one of the BEST cookies I think I’ve made. Seriously. You really need to experience the best chocolate/cinnamon combo ever.

The jury’s still out if pina coladas are truly “Mexican”, but anyway, if you haven’t made these sweet pineapple & coconut cupcakes… I don’t want to know you.

Since I go psycho for the cookie-version (above), I thought making a cupcake version would be the healthy, logical thing to do. So I did. And I was right. That’s a given, though.

Last but not least, if you like fruit, booze and cupcakes, I’d like to introduce you to your new BFF. While these are totally sober cupcakes (only inspired by margs themselves), feel free to get a little wild and throw some tequila in the batter or frosting. I won’t tell.

Oh, and I wouldn’t be a good friend if I didn’t share my favorite-ever homemade pico de gallo recipe with you, now would I?

Quick & Easy Pico de Gallo

2 medium or 3 smaller tomatoes, chopped in a large dice
1/2 white onion, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1/2 bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped
Juice of one lime
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Sprinkling of black pepper

1. In a large bowl, combine the chopped tomatoes, diced onion, diced jalapeno and chopped cilantro. Squeeze the lime juice over the veggies and sprinkle in the sugar, salt and pepper.
2. Stir the mixture to combine, cover and allow to sit for about an hour to meld the flavors. Store airtight in the fridge up to 2 days. Tastes amazing with chips, stirred into guac, on top of fish tacos or enchiladas… it’s seriously so good.

Alright, amigos… time to set down the sombreros for a second and talk about my favorite thing in the world:

Mannie’s birthday was Wednesday! My sweet babe turned six years old and I got a little emotional. I mean, who wants their sweet child growing up so fast? Especially when, in dog years, your child is older than you by like twenty years. WTF.

Anyway, I wanted to make his birthday special, so he got eggs and cottage cheese in the morning for breakfast (his favorite), an extra-long walk, cookies, and a doggy massage/long belly rub while watching Cats 101, his favorite show.

But Mannie’s a smart boy–he knows what’s up. He knows his mom works in the kitchen a lot, producing sweet-smelling treats only the humans can enjoy. And I didn’t want my Jenkins feeling left out, so I whipped up some SUPER easy pupcakes for him and our Lab, Oreo.

Here’s my picture of me tormenting my dogs with a blurry cupcake. And as you can see, Mannie’s usual, intense stare.

Of course, that didn’t last too long. He kept jumping up and jumping + holding food + taking pictures resulted in this:

Him literally jumping up, snatching the pupcake from my hand while I took the blurry evidence.

He’s too smart, I tell you. But he knew what he wanted and took it. Just like his mother.

These dog pupcakes are super simple to make. I made Mannie a cake last year, so this year, I wanted to do cupcakes. The flavors are pretty versatile in this cake, so use what you have on hand (just make sure you avoid raisins, chocolate, onions & garlic, and the like, as they’re lethal) and make your poochie proud!

Carrot & Pumpkin Pupcakes *inspired by this recipe 

1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup pumpkin baby food or peanut butter
1 egg
1/3 cup honey
1 cup shredded or chopped carrots (I chopped mine for more texture, but shredded them would make it kinda like carrot cake)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with about 8 liners and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder and set aside. In a large bowl, mix together the oil, baby food, egg, and honey until blended. Gradually add the flour mixture, about 1/2 cup at a time, until combined. Stir in the carrots.
3. Portion evenly among the muffin tins, about 2/3 full, and bake for approx. 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely.
**Note: I didn’t frost mine, but you could use remaining baby food to frost, or consider using a low-fat cream cheese that’s been softened. Just do not add any sugar, salt, extracts or anything to it–just plain cream cheese. Garnish with beef jerky or dog kibble as sprinkles if desired!**

Obviously Mannie loved his pupcakes, and Oreo did, too!

Salt and peppery, she is! And a lover of all things food, garbage and sleeping, too.

Since this recipe makes 8, I saved four for our two dogs and passed the other four around to the neighborhood dogs, including Dorothy’s fluffball, Ginger, who excitedly lunged at me when I delivered her cupcake. See? I’m convinced baking blog dogs KNOW what we do and are excited when they get something from the food room, too!

Anywho, this concludes my outrageously long Friday Roundup. I am exhausted from a long week and stoked to have a weekend of sunshine and no homework! Or, at least, the first part.

Have a great Friday!

xo, Hayley

Peach-Mango Margarita Cupcakes

A few weekends ago, my mom, dad, sister and I went out for a Happy Hour at a local restaurant.

Even though it was a pasta joint, I wanted a margarita, so I got a “Blue Patron”–a marg with blue curacao and Patron.

Yummy, right?!

For some reason, the brighter the color of alcoholic drinks, the BETTER they taste. Neon green, fishbowl blue, hot pink… am I right?! Like when kids want to pick bright red or blue suckers… cocktails, suckers… some things never change.

Anywho, I ordered my marg and was a sip in which my mom asked if she could try it. She said she didn’t like margaritas, but that was only because she had the stuff that tastes like Slurpees and I insisted this was far better (um, cause it is).

She took one teensy sip and her face puckered into some form of disgust. She continued about how she didn’t like margaritas. I continued drinking mine and realizing more and more I like margaritas A LOT.

So I began thinking: with Cinco de Mayo and summer approaching (let’s face it: they’re both excellent excuses to drink), I needed to do something unexpected and different. Something fruity and fun. Something margarita… but with a twist.

Enter Peach-Mango Margarita Cupcakes. They’re sweet, tart, a wholllllee lotta fruity and super awesome. Technically, there’s no booze in it (I save that for Jacqueline and Ellen) but they are dressed up real cute and have that margarita essence.

(Do margaritas have an ‘essence’? Or have I been drinking too many margaritas?) That is the question.

Peach-Mango Margarita Cupcakes

1 box white cake mix
1 & 1/4 cup peach mango fruit juice concentrate*, thawed
1/2 cup oil
3 egg whites
3 pkts Peach Mango Kool-Aid
Zest of one lime
Juice of one lime (about 2-3 Tbsp)
Peach-Mango Frosting (recipe & ingredients follow)
White sugar, additional lime zest, and drained pineapple tidbits–juice reserved

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin tins with 24 paper liners and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, beat together the cake mix, concentrate, oil, egg whites and one packet of the peach-mango Kool-Aid until blended and smooth. Stir in the lime zest and juice until blended.
3. Portion the batter evenly among the muffin cups, about 2/3 full, and bake for approx. 14-16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely.

Peach-Mango Cream Cheese Frosting

1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
Splash vanilla extract
About 2 Tbsp reserved pineapple juice
Remaining 2 pkts peach-mango Kool-Aid
About 5 cups powdered sugar

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and pineapple juice until creamy and smooth, about a minute. Gradually add powdered sugar, about a cup at a time, until frosting is light and fluffy. Beat in the two packets of Kool-Aid until combined.
2. Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle with white sugar (to resemble salt), additional lime zest and garnish with a drained pineapple tidbit.
3. Store any leftovers airtight in the fridge for up to 2 days.
**Note: if you can’t find peach-mango fruit concentrate, substitute with an orange-peach or mango-pineapple concentrate. Just stick with similar flavors and you’ll be good.**

These are so fruity and yummy! The lime really brings out the “essence” and the flavors are SO good. Not shockingly, my mom didn’t have them at the mention of the flavor ‘margarita’… but that’s okay, since there were 23 more for me :)

Have a great day! I have a HUUUUGE Friday Roundup for you tomorrow!

xo, Hayley

Samoas Cookie Cups

Let’s talk “weird” compliments for a sec.

I’m positive you’ve probably gotten one, and probably given one, too.

Often, they’re accidentally given (I’m assuming) because no one PLANS to be a bitch when they wake up, do they? (Don’t answer that honestly).

But sometimes, on the occasion you abandoned your nice panties in favor of some angry, bitchy underoos, there are times when these weird compliments are decidedly calculated and planned out.

Consider them the thong underwear of compliments. You know what you’re getting into when you say it, despite any discomfort, pain or the like. You are aware of the repercussions (and let’s be honest, there are some) yet you don’t care. You’re thongin’ it today and telling people rude stuff all sandwiched crazy-like.

For instance, the usual “You look tired today” weird compliment.

Usually, I *think* people mean it to be innocent–almost like they’re reaching out to you in a caring way like, “you look tired” which means you “ARE tired” which secretly means “I can relate to your tiredness because I, too, am tired or I was and know the feeling of having to do something when you’re tired.” Instead, it comes out kind of like this: “You look tired” with a secret, off-beat meaning of “you REALLY look tired. In the five seconds after I said that I noticed all of ten crusties in your eyes, a small trail of dried drool off your lower lip and you basically look like you got zero sleep last night on a bed of nails.”

Right?!

Or there’s what I used to get when I had my crazy-dyed hair: “Your hair is awfully bright!” Usually from older folk or conservative peeps, I let it roll off my shoulders even though its secret meaning was more than likely: “Girl, you look like a blind four-year-old took paint in the middle of the night, molested your hair with rainbows and made you look inappropriate and improper in public. Also, where are your parents, you should be wearing a nun costume and not green hair.”

Since I ditched the colorful hair, I still wear the (outlandish) clothes. Anything Betsey Johnson is game in my book, and if I can throw in funky jewelry, sky-high platforms and my dresses twirl, even better.

Yet, in our community, Abercrombie, Gilly Hicks and Juicy Couture reign supreme. If you can spend the same amount of money on a single pair of jeans as you could an entire wardrobe for you, your husband and kids at H&M, then you’re golden ’round these parts. The shorter the shorts, flippier the flops and more orange you can be, even better.

Soooo here’s me, pale as a ghost, wearing lace tights and American Flag platform boots with necklaces janglin’ around my neck–the antithesis of the average girl on campus. And instead of just sneering and walking away, some feel the need to do the weird compliment.

“Well that’s an interesting outfit.” Or: “you certainly have an eclectic taste in clothes!”

Read: “why can’t you just throw on this sweatshirt from PINK and some ass-shorts from Abercrombie and be normal and orange like the rest of us? God, you look like a psychotic character from Alice in Wonderland and I may or may not be moderately frightened by your differences in appearance. Also, you look weird.”

While most of the time, my gut instinct is to react equally bitterly back to them: “awh, thanks SO kindly for telling me I look like crap. I’m so glad you felt the need to point out the bags under my eyes and the fact that I got about three hours of sleep last night. I figured since you brought it up I’d let you know, too, that you also look like you could use about seventy cups of coffee and probably a face lift. Have a great day!” but instead, I usually just smile, say “yep!” and walk away.

It’s the nice thing to do when people act weird.

I only wish people were nice to me when I acted weird, because that’d mean people would be nice to me 24/7. And perhaps they’d bake me these Samoas Cookie Cups because nice people bake weird people these cups. Fact.

What is a Samoas Cookie Cup? Well, I’m assuming since we’re friends you also have a love affair with Samoas cookies. And if I know anything about all you guys, is that you love peanut butter cups. Sooo I kinda took the idea of a PB cup but threw in a cookie and some toasted coconut and caramel because that’s what good friends do for one another. You scratch my back, I scratch yours. Or the cookie cups will. Well, unless you don’t like food on your back in which case can we stop talking about this; something has turned awkward.

I’ll shut up now.

Samoas Cookie Cups

1 pkg chocolate almond bark
About 12 Vanilla Wafer cookies
1 pkg caramels, unwrapped
2 Tbsp milk
1 & 1/2 cups shredded coconut, toasted
Sea salt, for sprinkling

1. Line a muffin tin with 12 paper liners and set aside. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, microwave the almond bark according to package directions, stirring until smooth and melted.
2. Take about a Tablespoon of chocolate and spoon it into each muffin cup. Spread it along the sides of the muffin cup, about halfway up, and along the bottom evenly. Drop a cookie in the bottom of each cup. Repeat until all cups are filled and set the remaining chocolate aside for topping.
3. Melt the caramels, milk and a dash of salt in the microwave for about a minute. Stir, then zap for another 30 seconds or so until completely melted and smooth. Stir in the toasted coconut until combined.
4. Place a heaping Tablespoon or two of the caramel coconut mixture on top of each cookie cup. Repeat until all cups are topped with the caramel coconut mixture.
5. Lastly, take the remaining chocolate and spoon it over each filled cookie cup, ensuring the chocolate coats the tops and sides of the cookie cups, covering the mixture completely. Immediately sprinkle the tops of the coated cups with sea salt, if desired.
6. Place the cups in the fridge or freezer for about 30 minutes to harden the chocolate, then bring back to room temperature before eating. These keep for about 3 days when stored airtight at room temperature.

Reese’s PB Cups, watch your back. A new cup is in town and it is buttery, salty, sweet, and absolutely SCRUMPTIOUS. You know you wanna take a stroll down Samoas Cup lane. The Reese’s won’t mind one bit.

Have a wonderful day!

xo, Hayley

Also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! to my amazing Grandpa Tom and to my amazing 6-year old baby boy, Mannie! Two of the sweetest men in my life–have an amazing day!

Mexican Mocha Cupcakes with Kahlua Frosting

So Cinco de Mayo is coming up–next week, yay!

I don’t know about you, but I’m stoked.

Little known secret: I should totally be Mexican. Like, not even kidding you. I live & breathe Mexican food.

But let’s get one thing straight–I live & breathe REAL Mexican food.

Taco Bell dollar menu is not real Mexican food. Nor is Del Tac. Anything that has a drive-thru open until midnight or later is not real Mexican food. And probably not real food.

That’s not to say I dislike the ‘Bell, because it has its time and place and surrrriously, I love their Fresco bean burritos (okay, and I should preface that when I eat said burritos, I like taking a small bite from the tortilla, literally sucking the entire insides out, and then eating the tortilla. Like a Mexican food vampire or something. I also eat all the toppings off my pizza, then the crust, and eat all the sammich innards first, then the bread. I rule at eating, obvi) but it isn’t real Mexican food.

Real Mexican food is the stuff you can order in a Spanish accent and they get it. They know you. You’re ordering CAAAARNEEETAHS and GOOHUACAMOLAY and doing it with a Spanish flair.

And FYI, I am throwing Chipotle into the semi-real Mexican category because Jessie and I have a Chipotle blood-type (thanks to eating there like, twice a week) and I LOVE their guac in my chicken burrito bowls. Plus, the corn salsa is ahhmaaazing. End Chipotle rant.

Anywho, I used to (stupidly) dislike Mexican food, mostly because what we ate consisted of drive-thru and tacos, which my mom SUPERREGULARLY rotated throughout our dinners each week that I became nasty-sick of them. Like, even smelling tortilla shells frying was enough to make me bury my face into a box of Kraft mac n cheese and swear off any Mexican food fo’ lyfe.

But I turned a new leaf and discovered the real deal stuff. We went to a real deal restaurant and I got freshly made tortillas and creamy refried beans and enchiladas that didn’t taste like the ones I had at home. And the sopapillas! OMG. I think sopapillas were my gateway back into the mariachi band.

Plus, despite being the whitest people EVER, my family and I celebrate Mexican holidays like no one’s business. Okay, so we celebrate Dia de los Muertos and Cinco de Mayo because they’re excellent excuses to eat copious amounts of good food and drink margaritas and coronas. Plus, sugar skulls rock and I totally want a tattoo of one.

You know, since I SHOULD be Mexican.

But there was always one thing about Mexican food (besides the whole tripe thing) that irked me, and that was chiles in chocolate.

AHWHATNOW?

I could never fathom the concept of sticking a spicy chipotle into creamy chocolate. Why would you ruin a great thing? It’s almost as miserable sounding as the idea that Heidi and Seal broke up. I mean, I’m sooooo confused.

But after I made THESE cookies that catapulted my taste buds to heaven’s gates, I amended my outlook on spice and chocolate a little bit. Granted, neither the cookies nor these amazing Mexican Mocha Cupcakes with Kahlua Frosting are made with spicy chiles, but they are both sprinkled with a healthy heap of cinnamon, which lends such a warm and spiced flavor to these rich, chocolate cupcakes.

If you’ve never had chocolate with cinnamon, that’s like saying you’ve never had anything but Taco Bell in my book. Just…. no.

Stuff your faces with guac and carnitas, then fill up your bellehs reeealll good-like with these cupcakes. Please? Your tummy and taste buds will thank me when they return to earth.

Mexican Mocha Cupcakes with Kahlua Frosting *inspired by my cookie recipe 

1 box German chocolate cake mix (yeah, we’re mixing cultures)
1 cup strongly brewed black coffee
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup oil
3 eggs
2 heaping teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 small box sugar free/fat free instant chocolate pudding mix
Kahlua Frosting (recipe & ingredients follow)
Chocolate Skulls (info follows)
Gold sprinkles

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin tins with about 18 paper liners and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, beat together the cake mix, coffee, water, oil, eggs and cinnamon until blended. Stir in the dry pudding mix to combine. Portion the batter evenly among the muffin cups and bake for approx. 14-16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely.

Kahlua Frosting

2/3 cup butter, softened
5 Tbsp Kahlua coffee liqueur
Splash of vanilla extract
About 5 cups powdered sugar

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter, Kahlua and vanilla until blended and smooth, about a minute. Gradually add powdered sugar, about a cup at a time, until frosting is light and fluffy.
2. Pipe the frosting onto cooled cupcakes. Garnish with gold sprinkles and chocolate skulls.
**Note: I found my skull mold at Halloweentime by Martha Stewart at Michael’s craft store. Seeing as Halloween is months away, I found a similar product here. You could also try local craft and candy making stores to find similar molds. Or, omit the skulls and use chocolate covered coffee beans, mini chocolate chips, or chocolate sprinkles.**

Here’s what you should have learned today:

1. I should be part Mexican.
2. I justify the above statement because I eat Chipotle regularly and am obsessed with sugar skulls.
3. I think that’s justification enough. Don’t tell me otherwise.
4. Chocolate and cinnamon are BFFs. Accept it!

Have a great day!

xo, Hayley

Banana Cream Pie Minis

So let’s talk boys and their pickup game, mmkay?

I am not a boy, and therefore, do not have “game.” I don’t pick anyone up, with the exception of my boyfriend who knows he’s hot stuff so he just lets it roll of his back like some sort of compliment-shield or something.

Also, even as a girl, I have tried to “pick up” guys, especially in high school when I desperately wanted them to be my boyfriend. But all I would do is walk up to them, say hi, and ask if they wanted to hang out later. If they said no, it was easy. If they said yes, then aces.

But boys–boys NEVER understand subtlety, nor do they understand the art of simplicity, contrary to popular belief. We ladies think that boys are Mr. Simpletons, walking around being simple and exuding effortlessness. Or whatever.

Not. The. Case.

See, when Jessie “picked me up” he didn’t really. And that’s what made me intrigued by him. One, we met on Facebook, so there was already that air of mystery–who is the man behind the profile picture? I want to know!! And second, he didn’t use traditional pickup terms that make most girls cringe and run in the opposite direction, calling the cops on speeddial. Ya hear me?

Like, “is your father an astronomer? ‘Cause I see a constellation in your eyes.” Or, “are you a burglar? ‘Cause you just stole my heart.”

While corny as hell, those lines don’t work. I am neither an astronomer’s daughter nor a burglar, and for the record, I have never been picked up with those. However, I couldn’t spare you guys a funny story and hold back the lines I have received. Behold: The Most Awkward Pick-Up Experience EVER.

EVER.

A few days ago, I was on campus walking to class when a lumberjackish fellow passed me by. He said, “Next time, don’t spit in my sandwich.” Confused, I turned around to see him staring at me and smiling. I said, “I’m sorry?” obviously perturbed that I could have possibly sprayed my saliva in his food somehow–either at work, where I make sandwiches, or at school, perhaps at a table we shared in the cafeteria.

“You work at that sandwich shop, right?” To which I replied, “yes.” To which he said, “I was just joking by the way. You didn’t spit in my sandwich.” To which I thought, “no sh*t I didn’t” but just smiled awkwardly and mumbled, “see ya around.” At this point, I was baffled and quite confused and actually became excited for British Lit class since depressed Victorian poets would get my mind off this weirdo sitch.

So fast forward to two days later, I was at work, washing lettuce and minding my own fancy business when I hear, “I’m looking for HER.” Seeing as I was the only female in the establishment, I turned my head and saw Mr. Plaid Flannel staring back at me. Thinking I’d make a joke out of it, I jokingly told my boss (a natural prankster with a good sense of humor), “spit in his sandwich for me!” and smiled and made a face to show I was joking and reciprocating his lame-ass line from two days prior.

My boss laughed and said, “Will do!” to which Scary Lumberjack quipped very seriously: “No. I want HER to spit in my sandwich.”

*cue extreme awkwardness* Let’s count the things less awkward and disgusting than this: thong shopping with your grandma; having your boyfriend count every cottage-cheesy dimple of cellulite on your thighs; walking in on your sibling doing something gross; when a little kid says something inappropriate, etc. In this moment, this topped those by a hundred-fold.

Because in this moment, not only did I have to be involved in this saliva-swapping shenanigan, but my coworkers, boss, and any other customer standing around now associated lil’ ol’ me with this funky, wood-choppin’, country-bumpkin’ freakshow who just so happened to use the worst pickup line in existence.

Beet red and wishing I could crawl into the furthermost hole of our restaurant, make a small home inside the drywall and live there for all eternity, eating small scraps of meat and day-old Dutch Crunch rolls, he topped off his awkward, loogy sundae with, “So, do you have a cellphone?”

….Um. Yeah, this is kind of awkward because I know it’s 2012 and all and cell phones are all the rage but seriously, I appreciate the thoughtfulness and anticipation of hand-written notes delivered from carrier pigeons. And mine recently died, so I’m afraid you can’t get ahold of me.

SERIOUSLY? DO I HAVE A CELLPHONE? What, am I churning butter over here with wooden shoes on? Of course I have a cellphone. And of course, now would be the time where I couldn’t quip anything remotely sarcastic/witty/funny back because I was so stunned at the stupidity and ridiculousness of this messy situation I’d somehow, unknowingly been thrown into, so instead, my body rebelled, I blushed uncontrollably, and had to muster, “Yeah, but I also have a boyfriend.”

But see, boys are usually tricky creatures. They’ll play you and say, “Oh, I didn’t mean like that. I meant like, as friends. I’m not looking or anything.” (Sure. And nuns read Cosmo and Snooki is a good actress. PLEASE)

But THANKFULLY, country-bumpkin’ didn’t seem advanced in his thinking, perhaps since he spent his brain power churning out his awkward, spitty one-liner and replied, “oh.”

And after I apologized (which I don’t know WHY I did since I’m def. NOT sorry I’m taken by the most amazing boy in the universe thankyouverymuch), he proceeded to ignore me even though I tried to make nice small-talk with him about school and stuff. Then he took his sandwich, left, and I became verbally abused with jokes from my coworkers about my socially-awkward, backwoods new “boyfriend” who has a penchant for girl spit.

Forreal.

And if that weren’t bad enough, a week later I was at Walmart chattin’ it up with my fave cashier (yes I have favorites, don’t you?) when a young lad approached me and proceeded to ask me if I “remembered him” and insisted we’ve seen each other around campus.

Uhhhhh I have nevah seen your face before IN MY LIFE. How the HELL would I remember someone I HAVEN’T SEEN BEFORE.

DUUUUUUUDE. Someone needs to whip some of these men into shape! I’m kinda sick of being hit on by weirdo, creepy dudes who insist I should “remember them” because we go to the same school (yeah, you, me and about TEN THOUSAND OTHER PEOPLE) or dudes who want me to orally poop in their sandwich. Doooon’t think so.

Where’d all the simple men go?! I have a simple treat for them if they promise to get their act together and hit on some girls in a classy (NOT creepy) fashion. Ya dig?

All guys like pie. FACT. And between you and I being hit on all the time and looking sexy as hell, we need simple in our lives, too. FACT. So let’s put two and two together, shall we? <(not a good pickup line)

These are Banana Cream Pie Minis. They are what they claim to be. Miniature bits of pie heaven. And whether or not you’re being bombarded with freakshows or hotties, you should make them for yourself and the man in your life that picked you up… or who will. You’ll both be guaranteed to enjoy. Meow!

Banana Cream Pie Minis

1 pkg refrigerated sugar cookie dough, at room temperature
1 small box (sugar free/fat free) banana cream instant pudding
1 & 1/2 cups milk
1/2 container (about 1 cup) Cool Whip, thawed
24 banana slices

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease a miniature muffin tin with cooking spray. Unwrap your cookie dough and pull off about Tablespoon-sized portions of dough. Gently press the dough into each muffin tin. It should just about come to the top of each muffin cavity–don’t overfill them.
2. Bake the cups for about 10 minutes, checking for doneness around the 8-minute mark. When cups are done they should pass the toothpick test and should be light golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool about 5-10 minutes in the pan; then, using the end of a wooden spoon, gently push into the center of each cup, careful not to pierce through the whole cup. You just want to create a well in the center of each cookie cup. Using a butter knife, run the knife tip along the edge of the cavity to release the cookie cups. Allow them to cool completely on a wire-rack.
3. In a large, pourable bowl (like a 4-cup measuring cup or likewise), whisk together the pudding mix and milk for about 30 seconds. Working quickly, pour the pudding mixture (only about a 1/2 tsp-1 tsp each cup) into the center of each cooled cookie cup. You may have leftover pudding; eat it or whatever, I don’t care.
4. Now, top each pudding-filled cup with a dollop of Cool Whip. For this, I used my small cookie dough scoop to perfectly portion the whipped cream on top of each cookie cup. Top the whipped cups with a banana slice.
5. Allow the cups to chill in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. Best served the same day.

Let’s recap: sugar cookie cups. Creamy banana pudding. Fluffy whipped cream. Fresh naners. Yup, this is heavenly and it feels oh so right.

Have a wonderful Monday!

xo, Hayley

The Friday Roundup

Hello, and welcome to the not-so-special edition of this week’s Friday Roundup!

This week started out tense and hectic, and ended surprisingly low-key and kind of boring. But good.

First, Mannie got sick over the weekend. He wouldn’t eat his food and was having troubles uh, expelling it. I almost took him to the 24-hour animal hospital nearby, but decided to wait until Monday morning when I’d save the $50+ emergency fee.

So Monday rolled around and per usual, if it involves sick or hurt dogs I’m a hot mess. Even parking in the parking lot of the animal shelter hurt, much less hearing Mannie had enterocolitis, or an inflamed gastrointestinal tract, and that we had to do x-rays and send out for a blood panel.

An RX for antibiotics, canned dog food and $400 later, we were home and since, Mannie has improved ten-fold. He’s happy, running around and eating–yay!! And best of all, the vet called and said his blood work came out perfect. So now I have a healthy, happy dog yet again–and a $400 credit card bill that wasn’t spent on something like a nice day-trip somewhere fancy or a luxe spa day, but hey, if it fixed my baby, I’ll take it.

Oh and btw, turns out, this was probably caused by him rummaging through the trash. If I knew he preferred trash over actual food, I would have stopped buying food a looooong time ago.

Just kidding.

But then again, I don’t really blame him entirely. I mean, if I had to eat the same kibble twice a day EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE I’d start rummaging through my owner’s garbage, too.

Anywho, I made a bunch of stuff that my dog didn’t get a chance to eat, but I certainly did:

First up, some Lemon Strawberry Petit Fours to make the weekend a classy affair, of course.

Oh, and then I made these Monster Cookie Cups and talked about being a fraidy cat and killing home intruders with magazines and bobby pins.

I discussed my epiphany about maaaaybe being too friendly and chit-chatty with cashiers and ate my sorrows with these muffins.

And naturally, mentioned hairy men in speedos in a post about food. In other news, I am awful about coming up with appetizing subject matter for stories. Sue me. Or make these bars and love me long time.

And before you go blaming me about being a slacker and stuff, you should know that slackers don’t make things like this No-Bake Peanut Butter Cup Pie exclusively for you. And slackers share pie and even if that means one slice with one person, it still counts and still proves I’m not a slacker. Obviously.

In Other Non-Related, Why Should You Care News:

1. I went to TWO happy hours this week. One was the night after Mannie’s vet visit, as a drink was in SERIOUS order; and the second was at the same place a couple nights later with my dad and brother. I had intended on getting a cold beer and some sliders, then coming home to work on an essay. Turns out, their draft taps were broken and I was forced to get the drunkiest drink on the planet: the Crocodile Cooler, which boasted five rums (including Bacardi 151) and all of a militeaspoon of juice. Needless to say, I left feeling food pregnant and did not get any homework done.

2. I don’t know how a five-rum punch is like a crocodile except that, later that night, while tipping the drunky scales (can anyone say “lightweight”?!) I felt really scratchy and wanted to take a shower but felt both too full and too woobly to move so I just kind of sat there.

3. No more rum for Hayley.

4. Did anyone watch this week’s RHOC? Dude, I’m soooo over Alexis. She’s the worst housewife in the history of housewives… and um, that’s saying a lot. I was totally with Heather wondering why Alexis rents if she has so much money and why she wears a fake wedding ring? Isn’t there more logic in planting a fake wedding ring in her HOUSE than on her finger?? Rather than wear the fake in public (where she’s perpetually followed by a camera crew and virtually has zero chance of being mugged in public), why not stash it in her safe to trick burglars? Then again, I am expecting a lot from the girl who cannot even speak sooooo.

5. Also, who put Alexis on TV for this gig or her “news” gig? I think they had a little too many Croc Coolers.

Anywho, that’s enough rambling for today. I hope you all have a wonderful, relaxing weekend! California’s finally getting some sun (albeit with some premature heat–yuck) so I’m hoping to sneak in a bike ride around the ‘hood and spend some time outside with Mannie. What are your plans?

xo, Hayley

No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie

A couple days ago, a classmate and I were chatting about school activities on our college campus and how neither of us have ever been involved in college campus activities or clubs or “days” and the like.

Seriously.

I’ve been in college for four years and I’ve participated in all of one activity… which wasn’t really even participating. It was looking at a powerpoint slide of teachers on campus cross-dressing for a calender to support the LGBTQ club.

In high school, I didn’t really do much in the way of “rah rah school spirit” either. I occasionally dressed up for spirit weeks when I had the accommodating dress-code (except for pajama day: I have a strict rule about NEVER leaving the house in pajamas) and I attended rallies while school was in session because, uh, hello, it cut in the middle of class.

On one finger I could count the football games I’d been to. On the other hand, however, I’d been to every wrestling match, dual and tournament for my entire high school career, thanks to my coach father, and now know everything there is to know about wrestling. And love it, actually.

I considered–briefly–joining clubs, but that involved an increase of time in the classroom and on campus, something of which I was never eager to do. Forgo my lunch in favor of a French club meeting? Err, no thanks. Stay after to discuss common interests will fellow club members? That means I can’t race home immediately at the end of class, so unfortunately, no.

It’s not like I had extra activities that prevented me from joining other extracurriculars. I had coming home, eating a snack, doing a little homework and TV-watching to do, all of which took up the majority of my evening before bed and the process repeated itself the next day. Sure, having “President of the French Club” or “Editor of the paper” would be great on my resume, but that’s require more time and energy of mine and those stores were already dedicated to crappy TV and pigging out on potato chips.

Plus, homework’s enough as it is! I never understood the parents who forced their children into every freakin’ club, sport and activity there was, as if living vicariously through their child who think they is the superhero of all academia and athletic land. Those kids who had school all day (plus inevitably homework all night), plus clubs at lunch and after school, plus baseball practice Tuesdays and Thursdays, dance on Wednesdays and Fridays and like, church on Saturdays and Sundays… HOW those children are alive and functioning, I do not know. Unless they’re being pumped with some superhuman energy supplement neither I nor the FDA knows about, I am convinced they’re either brainwashed or robots. Or both.

I danced in high school, not for the school, but an outside belly dancing. It was a blast. But between school and dance and the weekend wrestling tourneys, I was dunzo. I should submit my story to I Survived.

I have a friend who does everything. She was super involved in high school, plus went to church and worked out and did a million other things that required her attention 100% of the time. Yes, I am also convinced she is a robot as well. Besides the point, I kind of looked up to the fact that she was the antithesis of lazy and had so much going on ALL the time. She had her priorities in check and always seemed happy being busy and living contentedly off life’s chaos. So I tried it out.

I was taking hard classes full-time AND signed up to be a history tutor twice a week, plus working almost full-time at a yogurt shop, plus had belly dancing and home responsibilities. Within week two of school and tutoring beginning, I was losing my hair and considering a new identity in a faraway land where I’d milk goats and become some freelance, starving artist on the streets dancing and singing and peddling and selling fingerpaint caricatures of people or something.

I would cry every night and stress the hell out and neglect my tutees who once asked what ‘communism’ meant and I stared at them blankly and unresponsive, hoping that if I stayed quiet and still long enough, perhaps one of them would poke me and realize I’d gone into a catatonic shock and I’d never have to tutor history again.

SO MY POINT IS that some people can juggle a million extra tasks at once and live fruitfully by spreading themselves all over the activity boards that I’d be convinced if they became president, they’d also take the jobs of everyone else in Congress. And some people, like moi, cannot fathom having more than one task at one time because even browsing GoJane while talking on the phone proves to be a challenge. So if you’re a busy bee, don’t judge the slower-paced, uninvolved folk like myself. We just have better things to do sometimes, like watch Real Housewives and eat this No-Bake Peanut Butter Cup Pie.

ESPECIALLY eating this pie. Um, hello–it’s stuffed with chopped peanut butter cups. And made with creamy peanut butter filling with a chocolate cookie crust. Yeah, I know, right?! You’d be stupid not to join in and eat some :)

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cup Pie *slightly adapted from Michelle’s No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie from One Ordinary Day 

1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tub (8 oz) Cool Whip, thawed
12 regular-sized Reese’s PB cups, roughly chopped
1 chocolate graham cracker crust

1. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Blend in the peanut butter and the vanilla until smooth & creamy. Gently fold in the Cool Whip to combine. Fold in the chopped peanut butter cups.
2. Spread the mixture into the prepared chocolate crust. Refrigerate for at least four hours (the longer it chills, the more firm it’ll be) or freeze for about 2 hours until firm.
3. Before serving, allow the pie to sit on the counter at room temperature for about 10 minutes or so, to take the chill off for easier cutting. Store this pie covered in the fridge for about 2-3 days.

The creaminess of the cream cheese and peanut butter was SO good and the Cool Whip gave this pie a light & fluffy texture. And who can resist a pie stuffed with peanut butter cups? Not I.

I hope you have a fantastical Thursday!!

xo, Hayley

Pina Colada Bars

I’ve never been anywhere tropical.

Not even remotely tropical.

Beaches in California are just considered “the beach.” If there are palm trees, they’re just seen as trees near the water–not symbols of tropical living or grand escapes or anything.

I mean, palm trees are palm trees, but obviously palm trees in, say, the Bahamas are automatically WAY cooler and more tropical than palm trees on Venice Beach. It’s a fact, people.

I think I’ve adopted everyone’s dream of lying on a white-sand beach overlooking  turquoise waters while drinking a pina colada under a huge floppy hat and being fanned with grape leaves. That is your dream too, right?!

But honestly, there’s some fouls in MY interpretation of my dream. First: are there tons of people on this tropical beach? Because beaches with tons of people are like malls on Black Friday. A normally tranquil, fun activity turns into a tense outing–except rather than seeing a bunch of annoying teenagers and plotting my revenge on banning strollers for life, I’m seeing half-naked, hairy men rubbing sunscreen all over themselves.

Second: do I look good in my bikini? Because I only want to have dreams where I look good in bikinis. I mean, call me crazy buuuut…

Third: I’m not typically a huge fan of pina coladas, but I think I’d make an exception for Ashley’s Midori Colada and these Pina Colada Bars because for having a slight pineapple issue (I know, whatever) these bars were REALLY good. Like creamy pineapple cheesecake filling, buttery crust and sweet coconut topping good.

So if you dream of lounging on white sandy beaches, or just dream of eating the dream of a beach (uhhh, minus the gross men and seagulls), then these bars are for you. Consider them your ticket to mental tropical paradise. You’re welcome!

Pina Colada Bars *adapted from 101 More Things To Do with a Cake Mix by Stephanie Ashcraft

For crust:

1 box yellow cake mix
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg

For Pineapple Cheesecake Filling:

1 pkg (8oz) cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 can (8oz) crushed pineapple, drained
1 & 1/2 cups shredded coconut

For glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp milk

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, combine the cake mix, melted butter and egg with a wooden spoon until combined. Spread the dough evenly in the bottom of the greased pan (I use my greased hands for easier spreading). Set aside while you prepare the filling.
3. In another large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, milk, vanilla and egg together until smooth and creamy. Stir in the well-drained crushed pineapple to combine.
4. Spread the mixture over the crust and bake for approx. 15 minutes. Sprinkle the par-baked bars with coconut and continue to bake for another 10-15 minutes or so until center is set and coconut is lightly golden and toasted (as you can see, I forgot this step and it was just as fine untoasted but can only imagine it’d be AMAZING with toasted!!)
5. Allow bars to cool completely in the pan before preparing the glaze: in a small bowl, combine the glaze ingredients and stir until combined. Drizzle over the bars, then refrigerate the bars for approx. 2 hours before cutting into squares. Store airtight in the fridge for best taste, about 2 days.

These have a fresh, fruity flavor and great texture from the crumby crust, creamy pineapple filling and the chewy coconut. SO very good. I hope you make them and LOVE them!!

xo, Hayley

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