Archives for May 2012

Circus Animal Cookie Rice Krispy Treats

Alright, let me preface this by saying I made these with Dollar Store animal cookies because at the moment, I couldn’t afford a $4 bag of real animal cookies and only had $4 to spend on one bag of fake animal cookies, a portable mini fan, some walnuts and a nail polish from the dollar store. Because that’s how poor college students do business.

Honestly, I should have buttloads of money seeing as I still live at home and virtually pay for nothing “necessary” except gas, and should be saving my money wisely for an apartment or a new car or something “worthwhile.”

But um, what’s worthwhile to me now has nothing to do with apartments or new cars. It has to do with peplum skirts, $140 pterodactyl dresses, and expensive table settings from Anthropologie… ones I would obviously save for when I do save enough for my apartment since I do not trust my family with my novelty vintage-esque dishes.

My mom frowns every time I walk through the door with bags of merchandise, but truth be told, I deal with a very serious issue at hand that most people don’t know about.

I don’t tell very many people because it’s embarrassing, uncontrollable and dangerous at times, and only my close family and Jessie knows my deep, dark secret.

My money is constantly on fire.

Yeah, like it burns holes in my wallet all.the.time.

And the only cure for this problem is to buy dresses with prehistoric creatures on them because that’s what makes my fire money happy.

If I didn’t extinguish my hard-earned money, I’d probably have a lot of burning money on my hands. I’d have piles of scorching hot, flammable cash in my ice cream cone piggy bank and always-under-$100 bank account.

And my reasoning is that it’s far better to spend burning money on peplum skirts and rustic tableware because what burglar would want those things?! Last time I checked, burglars wore all black and ski masks; sometimes nylons with asymmetrical eyeholes cut out. They aren’t exactly the fashion-forward type who’d be like “dude, check out what I just scored! A silk crepe dress with DINOSAURS ON IT. I really feel like my stealing career has led up to this very moment of pride.

Um, no. Burglars are attracted to the burning piles of money like moths to a flame… or uh, burglars to money.

So Mom, I’m sorry, but I have to justify my purchases because they’re necessary to my well-being and overall level of safety. So that’s why I only had four dollars to my name and didn’t want to spend it on one single bag of cookies but rather four awesome things from the dollar store. Because I like shopping.

But in my defense (and in the fake-animal cookie defense), these krispy treats were still really good. They’d obviously be better with real circus animal cookies that rich people with piles of burning moolah can afford, but for the poorer folk, this will do the trick.

These Circus Animal Cookie Rice Krispy Treats are chewy, crunchy and sweet, and have a sugar-cookie flavor thanks to a special ingredient. You’ll want to make them now and feed me the batch since I’m poor and starving, but at least I’m well dressed.

Circus Animal Cookie Rice Krispy Treats

1/4 cup butter
1 small bag miniature marshmallows
6 cups Rice Krispies cereal
1/4 cup dry sugar cookie mix
2 cups Circus Animal Cookies, roughly chopped
Rainbow sprinkles

1. In a large pot, melt your butter over medium heat. Immediately stir in the marshmallows and stir until melted completely. Whisk the dry sugar cookie mix into the marshmallow mixture to combine.
2. Pour the cereal into the marshmallow mixture and gently toss to combine. At the last second, stir in the chopped cookies to thoroughly combine.
3. Press the mixture evenly into a greased 13×9 inch baking pan and sprinkle the top liberally with rainbow sprinkles. Allow the pan to set at room temperature for about a half hour, or in the fridge 15 minutes, before cutting into squares to serve.
4. Store leftovers in an airtight container or ziploc for approx. 3 days.

The sugar cookie mix gives the marshmallow mixture an extra sweet depth of flavor, and everyone loved the unexpected crunch from the surprise chunks of circus animal cookies! Even if they were the dollar store brand but WHO’S COUNTING, MAN. That’s the question.

Have a wonderful day!!

xo, Hayley

May be linked to: Crazy Sweet TuesdaysTrick or Treat TuesdaysSweet Treats Thursdays

Circus Animal Cookie Pie

So… being a parent.

Many of you are, some of you aren’t. I am not, unless you can’t a three-legged dog who pees on everything, barks his head off and probably eats poop… which I’m guessing you don’t.

I have never really had that desire to have kids. Some people I know have it–they’re practically created to be mothers and fathers and are like, the ideal parent for a child. And they say they want four and the picket fence and yada yada… that’s great. I encourage GOOD people to procreate. People with passion and patience. People with kindness and love.

People who aren’t… me.

And when I tell people this, they get all weird on me, like:

“You don’t know what you want right now. You’ll want them.” Uh, frankly, I do know what I want right now and it isn’t a poopy diaper and a minivan full of soccer gear. Sorry, but if it’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s people who assume I will want this later and I’m too immature or naive to what I want now. I don’t make HUGE life decisions for you–or assume you’ll want to in the near future–so don’t do it for me.

“But you’re SOOOO meant to be a mom! You’d be such a great/fun/cool mom.” If under the guidelines of “meant to be a mom” you consider spending an exorbitant amount of money on frou-frou Betsey Johnson dresses with pterodactyls on them, having a no-tolerance barf policy and refusing to give up Midori cocktails and  shlep around a diaper bag and a baby bjorn… which sadly, does not qualify under the “good mom” but under the “selfish, awful mom.”

“But you’re only saying that because you want to be selfish NOW. Once you’re pregnant, things change. Your priority becomes your child and you won’t feel selfish anymore.” If I could magically have a baby that looks exactly like all the good characteristics of my husband and I without going through pregnancy, I’d consider a child. But there’s something about morning sickness, outie belly buttons and forgoing my cute pterodactyl dress for NINE MONTHS that makes me say no thanks.

Plus, I think we’re looking at the wrong thing here. Pressuring someone who by no means WANTS to have a child into having a child is whack. I’m readily admitting to you that I’m selfish–maybe just for now, maybe for forever. I don’t want to be the embarrassed lady with the hollering infant in the store that causes everyone to stare–I want to pity her, then walk away and go about my normal life cussing my arse off and not worrying about young ears picking up on all the wrong words.

And helllooooo, I’m like admitting to being an unfit hypothetical parent and yet people still make excuses for me and tell me I should have a kid.

That’s kind of like someone saying “I make it my personal mission to kill every living plant in my house with severe neglect and a general laziness when it comes to my houseplant’s general welfare” and then you hand them a small pot of seedlings. Surrrriously?

Plus, in most ways, I’m still a kid. I mean, for crying out loud, I spend money frivolously, I want an ice cream cone tattoo and I still admit to reading my sister’s Seventeen subscription when it comes in the mail if only for the beauty articles. I’m not ready to give that up–or a possible future trip to Paris, or a clean house, or my wardrobe budget for onesies… and that’s okay.

Hell, if we’re being honest, I already have a kid–it’s me. And I am terribly high maintenance and probably have scared myself from having a miniature me. So I’ll just stick with taking care of Lil Hayley by buying me crazy jewelry and feeding me Circus Animal Cookie Pie because kids and kids at heart just can’t resist this stuff.

As you know, it’s Circus Animal Cookie week and I had to think outside the box–this pie is the perfect kooky concoction of everyone’s favorite pink & white cookies combined with creamy white chocolate and vanilla pudding. I promise you’ll love it!!

Circus Animal Cookie Pie

1 small box white chocolate instant pudding mix
1 small box vanilla instant pudding mix
2 cups cold milk
1 tub Cool Whip, thawed
About 1 cup Circus Animal Cookies, roughly chopped
1 9″ Nilla pie crust (do not discard the lid)

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the white chocolate pudding, vanilla pudding and the cold milk together, just to combine. Quickly add in half of the Cool Whip, gently folding it into the pudding to combine.
2. Working gently yet quickly, fold in the chopped cookies. Spread the mixture into the bottom of the pie shell. Cover the pie loosely with the lid that accompanies the shell and refrigerate for approx. 3 hours.
3. Spread the remaining Cool Whip topping evenly over the pie filling and return the pie to the refrigerator to set for an additional hour. Once ready to serve, cut into slices and store leftovers covered for approx. 1-2 days.

This pie is sweet, creamy and has a pleasant surprise of the cookie chunks when you bite into it. I garnished mine with additional cookies because who wouldn’t? Pie is such a unique twist to feature this cookies, and hopefully you’ll think so, too.

Have a wonderful day!!

xo, Hayley

May be linked to: Crazy Sweet TuesdaysTrick or Treat TuesdaysSweet Treats Thursdays

Circus Animal Cookie Truffles

Let’s talk proximity.

I like it. Lots of it. Especially when it deals with people I don’t know. ‘Strangers’, if you will.

See, I was not raised in a “love everyone, everyone’s your friend” household where I could openly trust anyone and everything was dandy and people held hands and sang happy songs and there was no wrong in the world.

I was raised by the most suspicious mother EVER and we couldn’t even ride our bikes in groups around the block without her worrying. We learned to have a discernible eye for suspicious people and behavior, mostly because our mom openly judged others and encouraged us to do the same.

Her motto was that it was better to hurt someone’s feelings than to be too comfortable and then be sorry you were. Sounds good to me.

Because of my upbringing, I generally trust no one. Don’t read into that as being impolite; I talk up a storm to strangers who probably would rather I kicked their child in the face than yap their ear off about whatever conversation I seem to think is entertaining at the moment.

I just don’t trust them.

And because of that, I’m always working out scenarios in my head of being wronged by a stranger somewhere and having to fight for my life because of their criminal-stranger shenanigans.

Like, take for instance, a few days ago I went to the local grocery store to find cotton candy. News flash: there seems to be an apparent shortage of the fluffy stuff EVERYWHERE because I can’t find it anywhere. Seriously, who the hell started liking cotton candy all of a sudden that NO store carries it?! But I digress.

While on my hunt for spun sugar in a bag, I stumbled down a random aisle just to browse the contents when I noticed this short man with hunting gear on admiring the Goldfish crackers. Harmless enough, I suppose. I quickly grew bored of staring at Triscuit boxes and moved along to the next aisle, saying it had “New Age Drinks” down it which caused me to ponder what the eff a “new age” drink was.

As I searched for answers into the modern world of drinks, I suddenly spotted The Most Dangerous Game was on my aisle… again. He looked at me a bit too longer than someone wearing full on human-hunting gear should, so I smiled meekly and continued walking, no longer caring about futuristic drinks or whatever.

I ended up on the greeting card aisle, what with Father’s Day coming up, I figured since Mission: Cotton Candy had been officially aborted, I’d search for a tacky greeting card since I enjoy getting my dad weird cards. In my life I’ve probably only seen men on the greeting card aisle on Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day, so I figured it’d be desolate of any male specie.

Not so fast: Human Hunter was back and out for blood–my blood. Why a man wearing hunting garb would need to search for a greeting card, I do not know, but I bolted the eff out of there, abandoning those tacky cards in my wake, and decided to leave the store. Obviously, I didn’t find cotton candy; instead, I only found myself running for my life in a grocery store from a man who was probably going to skin me alive and use my flesh to make a couch or something.

As I was leaving, who do you think also decided to leave at the same time? Creepy Camo Man. At that point, I began running in a zig-zag pattern as to confuse him about which direction I was truly headed, and started screaming “Don’t hunt me! You don’t want my blood! It tastes bad; mosquitoes don’t even like it!”*
*this statement is grossly false because I am like the dining hall for most blood-sucking insects, but I didn’t want Hunting Dude to know so I made up a lie to spare my life. 

Later, after narrowly escaping my impending death, I drove to Dollar Tree hoping my fave store would stockpile cotton candy, but was disappointed to find they ran out. As I wondered what kick-started this new cotton candy rage, somehow, a bag of walnuts, a miniature hand fan and some funnel cake mix ended up in my basket and I was forced to check out.

While waiting for my turn at the register and wondering why the woman in front of me had shoved her teeny feet into even teenier shoes, thus resulting in her baby toe dangling mercilessly out of the edge of her wedge shoe, and pondering whether or not that hurt because clearly, her baby toe was millimeters from being detached, a woman walked up behind me and proceeded to stand THISCLOSE to my purse.

I shifted obviously, hoping she’d understand that she was practically climbing into my bag, and kind of shot her a glance, but she stood there, unaccepting of my desperate passive-aggressive glance and shifty movements, and instead, inched closer because she felt it was necessary.

And I was like, “helllooooo, you’re a woman. Women are touchy about their bags… obviously since things like CASH and LIPGLOSS are in there. Now why don’t you back the hell off my bag because I don’t trust you and I will cut you if you come near me again, lady.”

I didn’t actually say that, but I thought it. And the whole time kept hoping she wouldn’t try to reach in and snatch my favorite cocoa butter lotion or something because then I’d have to cut her and would probably be banned from that dollar store…. and we all know that’d be tragic.

So basically, I like my space. And I don’t like being followed by men in hunting gear. Crazzyyyyy, right?

After my crazy day of nearly dying, I wanted to make some truffles to make me feel better. Consider them my medicine against crazy people or something. And since they’re made with Circus Animal Cookies, that makes them even more magical. Cookies are the coolest.

Circus Animal Cookie Truffles

About 3 cups Circus Animal cookies
1/2 can cream cheese frosting
1 pkg white chocolate almond bark
Rainbow nonpareils
Pink food coloring

1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set aside. Meanwhile, in a food processor, grind the cookies (about a cup at a time–work in batches) until finely ground, coarse crumbs. Pour all the ground cookies into a large bowl.
2. Once cookies are ground, spoon in the half can of cream cheese icing. Using your clean hands or a spoon, mix together the crumbs and frosting until thoroughly combined.
3. Begin portioning the crumb mixture into inch-sized balls (I used a small cookie dough scoop) and place the balls onto the foil-lined baking sheet. Repeat until all the mixture is used up.
4. Freeze the truffles for about 3 hours or until completely frozen and solid. While they’re freezing, prepare your white chocolate according to package directions until smooth and melted. Pour half that mixture into a separate bowl, and using your pink coloring, tint one of the bowls a pretty pink shade.
5. Dip half the batch of truffles into the white chocolate, and the other half into the pink chocolate. I used a fork to coat all sides of the truffles, then allowed the excess to drip off the bottom before gently placing each dipped truffle back onto the foil-lined sheet. While still wet, sprinkle the truffle tops with the rainbow nonpareils.
6. Allow all the truffles to harden and set, about 20 minutes in the fridge. Store leftover truffles airtight for about 2-3 days at room temperature, or a week in the freezer–just allow them to come to room temperature before eating them that way.

At first, I didn’t know how the truffle would come about since animal cookies are coated in fudge… but they were great! They have a good texture, a little crunch from the sprinkles, and who can resist a bowl of pink and white cuties like these? Love!

Stay tuned tomorrow for another awesome Circus Animal Cookie recipe–and have a great day!

xo, Hayley

May be linked to: Crazy Sweet Tuesdays, Trick or Treat Tuesdays, Sweet Treats Thursdays

Circus Animal Cookie Ice Cream

Growing up, both of my parents worked, which meant my siblings and I spent a lot of our time with our grandma. She watched us while they worked, and would release us when my mom or dad got home.

And I use the world ‘release’ because usually, we were hopped up on sugar or McDonald’s and in retrospect, were probably jumpy as hell and reminiscent of perhaps a crack addict, wanting to tear things apart and be energetic brats.

I remember many distinct things while under my grandma’s care. First, we ate out constantly. This wasn’t a bad thing as long as McDonald’s continued to offer cool Happy Meal toys, and it was a win-win since my grandma only ever cooked hot bologna, cheese and mayo sandwiches which sounds about as appetizing as doing crack.

Have you ever had hot mayo? Or hot bologna? Unless you’re feeling like life needs to taste a little more disgusting (and by a little, I mean A LOT), I would suggest erring on the side of caution and skipping that sando altogether and avoid the curiosity of ever knowing what hot mayo tastes like.

Anywho, our stomach was regularly filled with Happy Meals and/or Carl’s Jr. chicken stars, and of course, a meal cannot be complete without dessert. We skipped the milkshakes and cones and instead, always indulged in Mother’s brand Circus Animal Cookies. You know, the pink and white slightly-misshapen circus animals coated in chocolate fudge and rainbow nonpareils?

Dude, and I really mean we indulged.

See, my grandma was always good about watching us of course, but it usually meant plopping us in front of the TV to watch Powerpuff Girls or Scooby Doo. And when it came to “portion sizes”, it was based on “eat until you’re full” rather than a modest bowl or handful of something.

So fudgesicles, chips, candy, cookies… all free reign, buffet-style. Now that I think about it, I’m surprised I did not weigh eight-hundred pounds a la Violet from Willy Wonka or go comatose from sugar, but I suppose running around and playing that awful game “Orphanage” burned off enough calories to undo the hideous amount of calories I inhaled on a given day.

One of my fondest memories consisted of eating these very cookies, simply because non-pareils sprinkles have always always been my die-hard favorite. I have been known to eat them by the bottle–plain, of course–because I just love the sprinkly taste and crunch. Nevermind that my mouth is purple for hours but no one really questions it which is both weird and cool at the same time.

Also because I had this thought that the white ones tasted better than the pink probably because the sugar had taken over the logical part of my brain and tricked me into taking cookie sides which is both pointless and proof that sugar does awful things to children’s brains.

One time, my brother and I got ahold of a brand-new bag of animal cookies and we annihilated that bag so hard. I only ate about half of the percentage of white cookies, but he ate the entire percentage of pink cookies since he had the pink cookie preference. Everything was fine and good, the gang of meddling kids solved the carnival crime, and we were on our way to the one o’clock episode when suddenly, I heard blaaaaaaachhhhhsfdjhdfd and looked down to see a big, pink puddle of had-been animal cookies.

It was PINK. I volleyed between a mixture of thinking “his barf is pink; that’s awesome!!” and “omg, that’s barf; gross”. Anyways, after that my grandma became a bit more “strict” with the cookies but not really at all.

And still, many years later, I hold the believe that the white cookies are better to be true. But really, I love all colored cookies–especially these ones–and decided I’d declare this week Circus Animal Cookie Week!! Yup, allllll week I’ll have brand spankin’ new recipes featuring these pink and white cookies and trust me, you’ll want to come back every day since some of these recipes are too dang good to miss.

But to kick off this circus fun-filled week, I made some yummy ice cream filled with chunks of cookies. And with only 5 ingredients, you’ll want to make this now!

Circus Animal Cookie Ice Cream

1 small tub Cool Whip, thawed
1 small can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup sugar cookie mix (the dry mix)
About 2 cups Circus Animal Cookies, roughly chopped
Rainbow nonpareils sprinkles

1. Spoon out the Cool Whip into a freezer-safe bowl with a lid.
2. In a medium bowl, pour out the milk and whisk in the dry sugar cookie mix to combine. Pour the milk mixture into the Cool Whip, and using a rubber spatula, gently fold the milk into the Cool Whip.
3. Once most of the milk has been folded in, fold in the cookies to combine. Sprinkle the mixture copiously with rainbow sprinkles and top with the airtight lid.
4. Freeze the mixture for about 6 hours or until firm. Store leftovers sealed airtight in the freezer for about 2 weeks.

Let’s review: 1) don’t eat too many pink cookies, or your barf will be pink (or eat all the white ones; they have anti-barf powers); 2) sugar cookie ice cream with chunks of circus animal cookies and sprinkles makes for the best ice cream–ever; 3) with only 5 ingredients, how are you not making this yet?!

Stay tuned for tomorrow where I’ll stuff these cookies into another unexpected dessert–you do want to come back for this one.

Have a wonderful Monday!!

xo, Hayley

May be linked to: Crazy Sweet TuesdaysTrick or Treat TuesdaysSweet Treats Thursdays

Oatmeal Cinnamon Roll Breakfast Cookies

I love breakfast just as much as the next guy.

But sometimes, I have trouble figuring out what to eat.

See, I’m totally a morning person and can be up and running and ready to go within a good five to ten minutes upon waking. It’s staying up late that I cannot handle. I am programmed to be a grandma and fall asleep at seven. Things just happen that way, people.

On Sunday mornings, my mom usually makes breakfast for everyone. I’m not sure why since my mom hates cooking, but she does and it’s nice to walk out to the smell of sizzling bacon, bacon-fat-fried hash browns and buttery scrambled eggs. Not surprisingly, I don’t turn it down!

But all the other six days of the week, I’m stuck.

I usually go through monthly ruts where I’ll fall positively disgusted with a breakfast consisting of a dry pizza bagel EVERY.MORNING that I’ll start turning all murdery because I want something new and exciting.

Soon, the “new and exciting” ham and cheese scramble will grow old and I’ll look to whole grain Eggos with peanut butter and syrup.

I was doing the PB & syrup waffles for awhile until I realized my jeans were becoming a tad too tight and I was getting a little bit too spread-happy with that peanut butter. It’s a shame something so good has so many calories, but I already knew the world was cruel when people gave Snooki $10,000 an episode for that god-awful show, and when I started reading Mockingjay and immediately wanted to fall asleep.

Some things are just so damn saddening.

I used to have this friend who had like, a Better Homes and Gardens style kitchen with a cake stand complete with actual slices of homemade chocolate cake inside of it.

If we’re being honest, my cake stands house dust and disuse, so there are virtually no traces of anything edible or attractive in or on them.

And one morning I went to her house and she had like, a bazillion options in her ginormous kitchen of breakfast foods. Spinach and sundried tomatoes to accompany an egg-white omelet; thick, Texas toast for French toast; fresh fruit to make those opulent fruit bowls you get on vacation; and scones.

Call me crazy (it wouldn’t be the first or the millionth time) but I’ve never had a scone. Ever! I looked at that semi-triangular mound of … scone-like ingredients… and wondered how many other houses regularly stash scones at the ready for breakfast? I mean, if we’re lucky we have a spare, slightly stale English muffin somewhere at the back of our pantry. Definitely no scones in sight, I’ll tell you that.

So I snuck myself one of the lemon poppyseed scones because you only live once and I’ve only ever stolen a McDonald’s Play Place ball from the ballpit and my mom made me return it, so I figured I better escalate my game and forge a new habit, so I figured stealing scones would be easy and virtually painless (and very delicious), so I took one.

It was dense yet light, with tons of layers of lemon zest and crunchy poppyseeds. In other words, it was really good–but I have yet to make one or get one since then. Perhaps it was the thrill of getting caught scone-handed that frightened me from eating them for awhile. But it’s since been over a year since that fateful day, and I had scones on the mind.

While flipping through my awesome Hungry Girl 300 Under 300 cookbook, I found a recipe for “Coffee Cake Scones” that boast less than 300 calories apiece. But since I didn’t have all the ingredients on hand but I did have this unshakable scone-making itch, I decided to make them anyway and improvise as best I could.

The result? Not so much scone-like, but more like a big, fat, pillowy breakfast cookie. Chewy, soft, and sweet, they made me forget entirely about–what were we talking about?

And the recipe only yields four, I made a double batch and proceeded to eat them all, save for one I gave to my brother. I figured since they’re healthy, they’d be good for me. And I could never turn down a cookie for breakfast. Obviously!

Oatmeal Cinnamon Roll Breakfast Cookies *adapted from Hungry Girl’s 300 Under 300 cookbook and her Coffee Cake Scones recipe

2/3 cup old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup Bisquick baking mix
1/3 cup milk
2/3 cup, plus 2 Tbsp brown sugar
5 Tbsp butter, divided, room temperature
3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp baking powder
Vanilla icing

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and mist lightly with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, baking mix, milk, two tablespoons of brown sugar, 2 tablespoons  of butter, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, about a half teaspoon of nutmeg, and the baking powder. Stir all the ingredients in the bowl until completely mixed.
3. Drop heaping mounds of dough onto the baking sheet, evenly spacing them apart. You should get about four medium-sized mounds with a single batch. Bake for approx. 8 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, in another small bowl, mix together the remaining brown sugar, butter, cinnamon and nutmeg until a soft paste-like consistency forms. Scoop the brown sugar mixture on top of the par-baked cookie mounds, spreading it as evenly as possible.
5.  Return the now covered cookie mounds to the oven for an additional 4 minutes or until golden and firm. Allow to cool slightly before drizzling with icing. Best served warm.

The brown sugary glaze gets super caramelized and almost crunchy when it’s baked on top of the soft and chewy oatmeal cookie. Complete with the icing, it is totally reminiscent of a cinnamon roll, but in a plush cookie form. Brilliant.

I hope you enjoy these–have a great Saturday and weekend!

xo, Hayley

The Friday Roundup

Yippee, it’s Friday!

And this week rocked.

First of all, I was finally super-ultra-mega-forreal finished with school on Sunday after I finished writing a huge final and polishing up a final draft for an essay on Sylvia Plath. Yes, I’m aware I mentioned school was out last Wednesday, but soooome teachers neglected to post the final prompt until Thursday evening. Lamesies. But what’s done is done, I’m OVAH IT and ready to embrace two-day weekends once more!!

Though I have like, PTSD when it comes to school now because while I was happily enjoying my time doing things I wanted to do this week, I also kept having this wretched feeling in the back of my mind like I needed to rush home and finish an assignment or something for class on Monday. It’s only until I packed up all my notes, binders and papers from last semester, sealed ’em up tight in my backpack and tossed them into the abyss of my closet that I finally breathed a sigh of relief and could watch my Real Housewives live on Tuesday night IN PEACE without worrying about waking up early Wednesday for school.


Anywho, despite the new freedom, I still did a lot of stuff and made a lot of stuff. Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?

Now that it’s officially summer, I can officially work on my anti-tan. You know, the one that involves spending as little time outside as possible and maximizes indoor and TV time. And time to eat these bad boys.

It’s no surprise I eat my feelings (dude, if I didn’t, I would probably murder myself and therefore, my awesome powers and this blog would not exist). So to help alleviate an awful salon experience, I stuffed donuts into cupcakes. It worked.

I talked about the cutie patootie poodle I dogsat this week and about their superhuman, sugar-cookie smelling household and my incompetence when it comes to making my house smell like sugar cookies. Again, I ate my feelings.

I talked about the flavor of my cupcake. ‘Nuff said, creeps.

And talked about my experience with narrowly escaping a shark attack. No, I wasn’t at the ocean. I was in the mall and the so-called sharks were hawking hair straighteners. Obvi.

Many of you left sweet comments and words of encouragement on my post after I talked about having my hair completely, utterly and viciously botched. I appreciate all your sweetie comments and thoughts during this particularly rough time.

While I neglected to take a picture of my traumatic hairdo (and in retrospect, I should have but was just so hell-bent on fixing it right away), I did get it fixed over the course of this week. I dyed it back to the color it’s been for months (Ion Color Brilliance in 4IR) and on Wednesday, had a local hairstylist make my hair all pretty and… short!

Bye bye, f’ed up baby bangs and frizzy, SideShow Bob-esque ends. Hello, bob!!

Eeeeeek! I am so so so so so SO thrilled with it. Seriously, after she cut like, the first eighth of that dead weight off, I felt lighter. When she revealed the final product (being blind helps since everything looks like a slow-mo blob as it’s happening so basically, I can’t truly see it until my glasses are on), I almost cried. But good tears! Not “OMG MY HAIR IS ORANGE AND I LOOK LIKE AN EFFING JACK O LANTERN” tears.

So yeah, definitely rocking my new sleek bob.

And also this week, Dorothy stopped by and we took a super duper long walk through our neighborhood and she brought me this:

One of her (AMAZING) Frozen Almond Joy Mini Pies. Seriously, I died and went to AJ heaven. Let me just say how awesome it is to have a fellow, like-minded food blogger neighbor who lives no less than two minutes from your house; and two, that said food blogger neighbor loves Almond Joys as much as you do. The whipped cream on that perty pie? I want to bathe in it, it’s so good. Plus, exercise makes me want to undo all my hard work, so this was perfect to indulge in after a long, arduous walk. Thanks, Dorothy!!

Oh, and heads up! Next week, I’m doing a first-ever Sweets Theme, where all my treats will have one common star ingredient. I’ll give you a hint: they’re pink and white and sprinkled all over. That’s your hint! Now have fun anticipating those recipes starting Monday… :)

Have a wonderful, happy weekend!! See you all tomorrow!!

xo, Hayley

Peanut Butter S’Mores Bars

A few days ago I went to the mall.

I should have said that as “I went to the mall for the third time this week” because if we’re being honest, I go to the mall more frequently than I should for someone who has neither has money or works at or around the mall.

Juuuust sayin’.

This time, I was on a mission for sparkly lotion and that’s about it, but I left with said sparkly lotion, new shorts, two new bras, a body mist, and a bunch of clearance stuff from Sur La Table.

Funny how things work out like that. I swear I only wanted one thing…

Anyway, the mall by my house is truly gorge. It’s big, bright, spacious and designed really modern and sleek. I love it and have nothing but glowing things to say about it. But the one thing I despise? Those kiosk people. They are truly the bottom-feeding salespeople of the retail world.

Now hear me out: I sound like I speak definitively, but I’m only saying most of them are like that. Some are cool–you tell them “no thanks” and they’ll give up. Sadly, they’ll probably lose their jobs within five seconds, but hey, at least they’ll realize they don’t have shark blood in them and find something better.

However, I’m convinced to work at one of those skin care kiosks that sell body mud or the station with electronic cigarettes or the one with the hair straighteners, you must be part-shark, part-European. Shark because they literally stalk their prey as you walk by, honing in on all your vulnerabilities before you even realize they’ve sought you out in the crowd. And because even after you brush them off and their miracle $25 flat-iron, they’re still jabbering at you long after you’ve disappeared into a crowd of strollers and mall walkers.

And part European because, uh, have you ever listened to them? I mean really listened. They all have some Madonna-esque, hella fake “European” accent.

I mean, I have to wear shirts to work that say our company name on them… but I can’t imagine being hired somewhere and my manager telling me one of my job requirements was to fake some awful accent. As if that makes buying some cheap clay mask any more pleasurable or something.

The kiosks are only on the bottom floor of the mall, so usually, I’ll use the top floor as my highway to get to my destinations and avoid the bottom center strip as much as possible. But I was there in the early morning, and I figured that most sharks have to sleep even if they have those weird double eyelids so maybe I could get out of there unscathed.


Apparently, these bitches were out for blood because they smelled my money a mile away. I briskly walked as close to the store fronts as possible, trying desperately to avoid being in their line of sight. But like, they totally walk up to you and reach out to touch you and follow you so unless you can invent some invisibility cloak or something, you’re stuck dealing with some faux-European chick with tawdry extensions trying to sell you a flat-iron when your hair is so obviously pin-straight.

And they would not let up.

The dozen yards I had to walk to get to a clearing seemed like forever since I was attacked by gold-buyers, E-cigarette smokers, body jewelry gypsies and the like.

Most of my jewelry comes from Forever 21 and judging by the fact that I spent no less than $10 on it, I doubt it’s real gold. Second, I don’t smoke so having an E-cigarette sounds about as useful as having a brain tumor, and third, I don’t even have piercings in my body and am not about to pierce my belly button any time soon because frankly, belly button rings FREAK ME OUT and I’m so petrified when I see girls with their rings dangling by the waistlines of their jeans. What if it gets stuck? What if it RIPS?! OMG.


Anyway, I finally escaped and after a little shell-shock from the initial, brutal attacks I was restored to normal mental well-being and safety and found myself buying more stuff at other stores, clearly unaffected by my kiosk assault earlier.

It’s amazing how much shopping can repair one’s mood.

Or, you know, Peanut Butter S’mores Bars.

Now normally I’m not a huge fan of s’mores… there’s usually too much chocolate for my taste (ugh, I know I’m despicable) but something about adding peanut butter instantly made s’mores my new super fave. I mean, sweet, salty, gooey, melty, crunchy… what’s not to love about that flavor/texture combo from heaven?!

You should totes make some.

Peanut Butter S’mores Bars 

1 box yellow cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
About 8 Reese’s PB cups, roughly chopped
1 small bag miniature marshmallows
2 squares melting chocolate

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13×9 inch baking pan with foil, extending the sides over the edge of the pan. Lightly grease the foil and set the pan aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, eggs, and oil and stir until a soft yet stiff dough forms. Stir in the peanut butter with a rubber spatula until blended.
3. Spread he batter evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake for approx. 12 minutes or until just about set. Sprinkle the top of the crust with the chopped candy, then with the marshmallows and return the pan to the oven to finish baking, about 3-4 more minutes or until the marshmallows are lightly browned and toasty.
4. Cool the bars completely before melting the chocolate and drizzling it on top of the marshmallows. Allow the chocolate to set, then carefully lift the foil out of the pan, cut into squares, and serve. Store leftovers airtight for about 3 days.

For having a semi-love/hate relationship with marshmallows (I know, I know!!) I loved the crunchy toastiness of their tops once they’ve been browned a bit in the oven. So good with the creamy, melty peanut butteriness of the candy and crust.

I hope you love ’em!! Happy Thursday!

xo, Hayley

Monster Magic Cookie Dough Pie

Let’s talk creepy old men, shall we?

Dude, I don’t even understand how they function.

What possesses someone to ask a young, bright-eyed girl with a cutie cupcake tattoo “what flavor is your cupcake?” with gross, wiggly eyebrows whilst licking your lips?

(Yes, someone asked me that)

It’s like, I’m sorry you’re basically a morbidly obese version of Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite except living vicariously through your somewhat-attractive-looking son who is probably some popular football star at the local high school and brings home gaggles of girls who you probably corner in the kitchen while they’re getting a water and ask them weird questions to make them squirm.

But you’re like, pushing fifty now and while I don’t see that as old per se, I do see it as too old to be fishing for validation from a twenty-one year old girl with a cupcake tattoo or the local cheerleading squad.

Most* girls don’t like older, creepy men who were assaulting cologne and weigh five hundred pounds. I say most because there are those select few with a multitude of issues who seek out only the creepiest of men. For those, see most porn stars, everyone starring on Jerry Springer or Maury, and perhaps more than half of the Playboy centerfolds.

I know that while I like that Jessie’s older, and wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to dating an even older guy, I don’t much have a liking for someone who assaults me with their eyeballs as they order a hot pastrami on rye.

Or one who is basically the Fat Bastard Big Bad Wolf and I am the wee little red riding hood, just trying to earn a living at a small little food establishment and not looking for weirdos to ask me to spit in his sandwich or ask me what flavor my cupcake is which I am fully aware is not an innocent question but some big, fat, gross double entendre that I know he wanted me to fall into.

And in retrospect, seeing as no matter what I do in the range of ‘normal’ makes him leer and be gross toward me, I should have responded with something equally gross and disturbing. Most would have said “wouldn’t you like to know?” or “what flavor do you think it is?” or fallen to the trap and responded dumbly “vanilla” or laughed awkwardly like I did.

But what if I had looked him dead in the eye and deadpanned, “the blood of sacrificial goats.” Or “poison.” Or “the poop from the upset stomach of a baby fed nothing but cruciferous vegetables.”

I think if this man heard I eat cupcakes that taste like goat’s blood, he’d probably back off and never look me in the eye again. Which would be a good thing since eye contact with about 98% of people freaks me out.

So next time… I’ll figure out a way to let him know my little guilty pleasure. Then world will spread like wildfire and I’ll forever be left alone by creepy guys… until I meet that one who also takes a liking to cauliflower baby poop. And I don’t even want to think about that hurtle.

Anywho, if I had magic powers I’d eradicate all the creeps from the world, but unfortunately I lack the magic powers gene. I do, however, have monster magic… and by that, I mean Monster Magic Cookie Dough Pie.

Like if monster cookies and magic cookie bars had a baby and it was pie.

I wish I could have a pie baby. But then I’d eat it and be wanted for murder in addition to the murder of sacrificial goats. Ugh, life can get soo complicated sometimes.

Monster Magic Cookie Dough Pie

1 9″ graham cracker pie crust
1 tube refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough, at room temperature
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 cup miniature M&M’s
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup shredded coconut

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place the pie crust on top of a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.
2. Cut the tube of cookie dough into large chunks and place them in the pie crust. Drop dollops of the peanut butter on top of the cookie dough pieces.
3. Sprinkle the top of the peanut butter/cookie dough mixture with the butterscotch chips choco chips, M&M’s and coconut.
4. Bake the pie for approx. 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out mostly clean and the center is mostly set (read: not too jiggly). Allow the pie to cool completely before cutting into slices.
5. Store leftover pie covered with foil at room temperature for about 1-2 days.

I didn’t take slice pictures since we took this pie to dinner with friends … but rest assured, it’s a bomb of buttery, chocolatey, sugary goodliness. Monstrously magical. You’re welcome!!

Have a great day! Today my hair gets fixed–yay! Happy I will no longer look like a brunette Sideshow Bob–cause to celebrate with some pie, methinks.

xo, Hayley

Inside-Out Oreo Peanut Butter Cups

So right now, I’m dog-sitting a neighbor’s cutie pie poodle mix while they’re out of town.

Just so you know, they live in a Better Homes and Gardens house. It has accent vases, a suspicious yet pleasant lack of dust, and a perpetual sugar-cookie smell.

Since I’m hanging out with his pooch, sometimes I have pretend day-dreams that it is my house and I handpicked all of the artwork from small dealers and bought my hand-painted plates from a lavish vacation in Italy.

Plus, it’s hard not to want to imagine living in a place where dog hair, dust and weird fart smells are virtually non-existent… especially when I walk in my door and am greeted by not only my two real-life dogs, but the small cluster of miniature fur bunnies that have collected from their stray hairs. Or the trail of ants now currently residing in my pantry. Or all those pantry contents spread out on my kitchen table, rendering it virtually useless and cluttered and messy and gross and OH MY GOD WHY CAN’T MY HOUSE SMELL LIKE SUGAR COOKIES?!

Do you ever notice other people’s house smells? So weird. My best friend’s house always smells like warm vanilla. And Jessie’s house smells like food has been cooking away all day, even though his room smells like boy.

But I walk into my house and smell… nothing. I desperately spritz Febreeze and light candles and even bought those fancy wall smelly plug-ins but no matter what, it still smells like… nothing.

Suspicious? I think so.

Maybe I’m not meant to live a life of clean houses and luxuriously sweet smells. Maybe I’m bound for a life of sordid things, like living with 57 cats and year-old nachos bell grande strewn about the place. I’m not meant for a home that constantly smells like baked goods or perfectly polished wood furnishings.


I guess I became a little depressed at this revelation and made some Inside-Out Oreo Peanut Butter Cups because if I can’t have exotic home furnishings and fur-free floors, at least I can have some highly addictive, super awesome candies.

I’ll just throw them in a fancy bowl and consider myself living luxuriously.

Inside-Out Oreo Peanut Butter Cups

1 pkg white chocolate bark
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
24 Oreo cookies

1. Line two muffin tins with 24 paper liners and set them aside. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, microwave the chocolate according to package directions, stirring until melted and smooth.
2. Stir the peanut butter into the white chocolate mixture to combine. Pour about 1 Tablespoon of the peanut butter mixture into the bottom and lightly up along the sides of each paper liner.
3. Place an Oreo cookie snugly on the bottom of each lined cup. Top the cookie with another Tablespoon of PB mixture, covering the entire cookie and allowing the excess PB mixture to drip over the sides of the cookie to “seal” the cup.
4. Place the cups in the freezer for about 30 minutes to harden, then bring them to room temperature before eating. Store any leftovers airtight for up to 3 days on the counter, or about a week in the freezer.

The Oreo cookie inside is a fun twist on the classic peanut butter cup, and the balance of chocolate and peanut butter is perfect… they should make Reese’s like this all the time!

Have a great Tuesday!

xo, Hayley

Donut Rightside Up Cupcakes

I think I can speak for every woman when I say that our hair is super important to us.

For some of us, it’s like our identities. We are defined by the curls on our head, the pink in our hair, the bluntness of our bangs. It’s who we are as a person, whether or not that means anything to anyone else, it means something vital to us.

Hair has always reigned supreme for me. From my perfectly coiffed bangs to the bright ass colors in my strands, it’s always been number one over makeup or tattoos or anything else.

And then there are the hair mishaps. The ones that make you think–albeit temporarily–that you’ll forever walk around with brassy blonde strands or an afro instead of a perm. In the moment, it seems like that ugly hair will define you forever… like you may as well join a traveling circus for highly unattractive people and marry the World’s Tallest Man and have hairy babies. After all, you do have the world’s ugliest hair, so what is your worth, anyways?

BTW, this is coming from the girl who spends no less than an hour trying on a variety of outfits before leaving the house… to go to the gas station.

And the same girl who thinks wearing sweatpants in public as big of a sin as passing up a Betsey Johnson party frock on sale and in your size. I mean, it may as well be an abomination.

So you can imagine my delight when I was going to get my hair done a few days ago and my utter and complete DISGUST when I came home with a hair mishap rather than a hairdo.

I’ve had dark cherry hair for months now and wanted to lighten up to a pretty strawberry blonde for summer. Adamant about not being copper (as such colors look trumpet-y & brass against my fair skin tone), I asked my stylist to perk my up strands and make me purrty.

Yet after hearing I would be as brassy as a newly polished penny if we bleached my hair, strawberry blonde was out of the question and I suggested something tamer instead… perhaps slightly lightened tips.

Ladies and gentlemen, I ended up with the ugliest, most abhorring hair imaginable.

Imagine a jack-o-lantern angel–an outcast from a Halloween party circa 1977–and ends deader than the sexy teens at Camp Crystal Lake.

Giiirl, my hair was orange. But not cool orange or citrus orange. Homegirl’s hair was BURNT ORANGE. Like, rusty orange. Like if you painted a trumpet orange, let it sit in the sun for eight years, then set it ablaze and threw it down a hill and watched it be run over by a ten-ton truck full of babies who, upon being ejected (safely, of course) from the vehicle began tugging at it mercilessly, shredding it into a tangled, frizzy mess of absolute f*cked-uppery.

To make matters worse, my sweet, side-swept bangs were then brutally hacked off into some sh*tstorm of a “baby bang”. And I left with this hair and WALKED DOWN THE STREET IN PUBLIC with this hair and was probably the laughing stock of the several restaurants and hundreds of passersby as I cried to my mommy in my phone.

And then proceeded to show up at Sally Beauty ten minutes before close, eyes puffy and red, cheeks splotched like someone splattered my face with pasta sauce, throwing down cash to cover that fugly mass of nasty up.

And by the next morning, I was back to my normal color… albeit with ends that look like the singed tail of a cat and bangs that look like I allowed a blind, mentally-unstable person to cut for fun with safety scissors, no less.

Ugh, and please don’t remind me that I (STUPIDLY) paid her. I know, I know. Never again, people.

The whole experience was positively wretched. I mean, I always had this fantasy about being an actress and one day I’d make it big in Hollywood, but first I’d probably have to do some funky films in order to get noticed or something. One was bound to be some B-grade horror flick in which I was the sexy virgin at some abandoned camp with my dumbass friends and I somehow outsmart the flesh-wearing, chainsaw-ripping, psycho mothereffer who’s hell-bent on avenging his mother’s death and his own Oedipal complex.

Dude. I didn’t even get paid for this craphole movie. Instead, I got a head full of really nasty hair, an experience that costed me money (unfortunately), but a life lesson that you should never, ever have a fantasy about being an actor because A) it will never happen; or B) it will never happen, and not only will your dreams never be fulfilled, but you’ll also shell out money to have the most disgusting hair on the face of the planet.

The end.

Obviously in my state of discontent as I experienced firsthand what it’s like to be hideous, I made something that’d make me feel immensely better about myself. I took a classic dish–pineapple rightside up cake–and made it into cupcakes. Except by ‘pineapple’, I mean ‘donut.’

Yeah, I figured that’d make you smile, too.

BTW, these are truly impeccable and you should make them and celebrate my returning to being pretty again.

Donut Upside Down Cupcakes

1 box yellow cake mix, plus ingredients on the back of box
1 small box sugar free/fat free instant vanilla pudding mix
About 30 glazed donut holes
About 1/3 cup brown sugar
Vanilla Buttercream (recipe & ingredients follow)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin tins with 24 paper liners and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, prepare the cake mix according to package directions. Stir the pudding mix into the batter to combine. Evenly distribute the batter into the muffin tins, about 1/3 full–and top with one glazed donut hole. Set any remaining donut holes aside for now.
3. Bake the cupcakes until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean, about 14 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.

Vanilla Buttercream

2 sticks butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
About 5 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbsp milk
Remaining donut holes, quartered

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and vanilla until creamy. Gradually begin adding powdered sugar, about a cup at a time, until frosting is light and fluffy. If frosting becomes too thick, use a Tablespoon of milk to thin it out some.
2. Pipe or frost buttercream onto cooled cupcakes, piling it nice and high. Top each frosted cupcake with a quartered donut hole; eat remaining leftover donut hole quarters–they’re smaller, so no calories.
3. Store leftovers in the fridge for one day; best served the same day.

So, quick confession: I’m soooo Team Cake and not so much Team Frosting. While these are awesome frosted, I loved them as muffins–especially slightly warmed. The donut hole glaze caramelizes as it bakes so it gets extra sweet and gooey and yummy… seriously fantastic. You must make them!!

And BTW, hair is getting cut and forreal fixed (not by the same person, fyi!) on Wednesday. THANK GOD.

I may need more donuts to celebrate.

xo, Hayley

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