I used to wonder where I got such a passion for food from. It consumes my daily thoughts, and when I am upset, food is the source of comfort I go straight to. But lately, I’ve realized it’s obvious where my obsession stems from: Mother Cookie. Like mother, like daughter, right?
You see, last week was a stressful one here in the Smart Cookie household. When Mother Cookie was having a particularly rough day, she slouched over to me and asked,
“Can I have some of your Almond Joy Poke Cake, or were you saving it for something?”
I looked up and replied,
“Have as much as you want.”
“I’m going to stick my whole freakin’ face in it,” she declared and trotted off.
That’s my mom!
Mother Cookie knows the healing powers of food, and after a hard day, she wasn’t afraid to embrace a big old pan of my Almond Joy Poke Cake. Considering that cake has “joy” in its name, it should come as no surprise that it has unparalleled mood-lifting powers in every heavenly bite.
It’s that time again! We’re heading to the grocery store to check out the latest products, and I’ll give you the scoop on if they’re any good or not. From summery Oreos to Tiramisu Gelato, there are a ton of tantalizing options in every aisle. What should you be stocking your cart with?
Smart Cookie Shopping will get you prepared for your next trip the grocery store, and maybe even a little excited about it.
To the grocery store we go!1) Pop-Tarts Oatmeal Delights in Maple Brown Sugar – available at most grocery stores in the cereal aisle. I’ve always had a soft spot for Pop-Tarts but I rarely eat them because of their startling nutrition facts. Luckily, the fact that I needed to try this new kind in order to give you the scoop on it gave me an excuse to eat some. If you need something a little less sweet than a traditional Pop-Tart to start your day, than this is it. The filling was delicious. However, I didn’t like that it had almost no frosting, and I can’t imagine what about it was supposed to resemble oatmeal. There was not an oat to be seen.
I would argue that most people who dislike Brussels sprouts just haven’t had them prepared the right way. Me, I could eat them prepared any way, but I understand how you could easily be turned off by plain, whole boiled sprouts. Developing a love for Brussels sprouts is like any other relationship; you’ve got to ease yourself into it. I’m not going to plop a pile of steamed sprouts on your plate and expect you to be enchanted. Instead, I’m going to introduce you to sprouts the right way: by making them with love and loading them with flavor.
And to those of you already deeply infatuated with Brussels sprouts, sit back and enjoy the deliciousness.
My Hot Pan-Fried Brussels Sprouts with Eggs and Bacon will make a Brussels sprout believer out of you. This is a quick and simple recipe, an easy way to get one stellar meal on the table. I whipped this up for Mother Cookie to eat for dinner one night, and she raved. One forkful and you’ll understand why.
I don’t know why that crispy layer of breading makes such a difference, but it really does. For example, mozzarella cheese is awesome, but mozzarella cheese breaded and fried is amazing. And for further proof, just check out toasted ravioli or onion rings. Breading + frying = guaranteed deliciousness; it’s simple math, my friends. Certainly you learned that formula in middle school.
The only problem with most breaded delicacies is that they’re are all horrible for you. Yes, they taste like crunchtastic heaven, but they have unholy amounts of fat and calories. It’s really quite tragic.
Well, friends, it’s not all bad, because I have a delectable breaded snack that rivals any mozzarella stick or onion ring out there, but it’s about a hundred times better for you: Oven-Baked Avocado Bites.
One word to describe this week: hectic. It’s the end of the semester, the most dreaded, anxiety-riddled time of every college kid’s life when there’s so much work that you just don’t do anything because success is impossible. There’s no sleep, no food, and no showers. Lucky for you, you don’t have to look at or smell me.
On top of that, my family is preparing for a move to New Jersey that is happening literally the day after my last final. I feel like I’m being pulled in a million different directions; College is tugging on my right arm, New Jersey is tugging on my left arm, this Blog has my left leg, and Personal Health and Hygiene have my right one. Do you see how this is a problem? At some point, something has got to give.
On a happier note, let’s talk about food, the greatest solace I know. This was an excellent week for comfort foods. From grilled cheese to adorable penguin-shaped cookies, we covered all the heart-warming, soul-feeding essentials.
Not many people are as lucky as me to absolutely love their co-workers. Most people can’t stand the people they work with; or at most, they tolerate them. I, however, found a sort of family at my job. But when new interns came in during the fall, I was concerned we wouldn’t get along, and my comfortableness at the office would be ruined. Turns out, I would up making two great friends, and it’s almost ridiculous how well we get along.
Perhaps the greatest moment of our relationship was when we discovered we all have a love for penguins. Picture this epic scene: one of us divulges that she adores penguin, then another chimes in, and the third agrees, resulting in a resounding, synonymous squeal of glee. That’s a true bond right there. And when one of my penguin pal’s birthday rolled around, it wasn’t hard for me to figure out that I needed to bake her something penguin-related. These Double Chocolate Penguin Cookies fit the bill.
Year after year, I am unable to see my sister on her birthday because it just happens to fall around the same time as finals (I swear, college has it out for me). Naturally, this upsets Sister Cookie as well, but I think that’s more because I’m not there to bake her anything than because she misses me. Well, lucky for her this year, I was able to be there in spirit by having Mother Cookie deliver a birthday cake to her when she went to visit this week.
My sister, being the indecisive creature that she is, had a painful time deciding what kind of cake she wanted. After a good amount of brainstorming that felt much like pulling teeth, I had a mouthwatering idea: Chunky Monkey Poke Cake.
Sister Cookie was right on board.
Like all Chunky Monkey-flavored treats, this cake showcases a trio of perfectly paired flavors: peanut butter, chocolate, and banana. What triple threat could be more tantalizing than that?
You know that classic little grilled cheese sandwich your mom used to make you as a kid, the one with thin slices of white bread and American cheese?
This ain’t it.
My Guacamole Double Grilled Cheese is a sandwich of epic proportions, and it is going to rock your silly childhood sandwich’s world. Step aside, petty children, and let the expert take it from here. I’m the Smart Cookie Cook, and my grilled cheeses are always a force to be reckoned with.
We’ve got buttery slices of thick, tangy sourdough cradling an endless river of molten, oozing sharp cheddar and spicy pepper jack cheeses. That alone makes for a good grilled cheese, but we’re amping this baby up to monster level with a layer of creamy, rich homemade guacamole sandwiched within all the cheesy goodness for the ultimate flavor impact.
I have a vivid memory of trying guacamole as a kid and feeling completely indifferent to it. I wouldn’t say I was as utterly repulsed by it like I am by cream cheese, but I had no desire to try it again. Life went on, avocado-less.
For whatever reason, I wound up giving avocados another go about a year ago, fell in love, and a lust for guacamole naturally followed in suit. Nowadays, I can’t imagine how I ever didn’t love guacamole. It’s just so creamy and addicting.
It’s funny how our tastes change so drastically over time. I used to have such a limited palate, my tastes mainly for French fries, Cheese Wiz, and Hot Pockets. I wouldn’t touch 2/3 of that stuff with a 10-foot pole now (French fries are still a staple in in my diet). I guess, like with many other aspects of our being, our palates mature over time. And I’m glad they do, because it allows us the opportunity to experience and enjoy new foods; it’s like a second chance. Do you have any foods that you used to dislike but your taste buds evolved to love?
Well folks, we made it through another week, and we’re just about to cross the threshold into May. Can you believe it? I like to call it Manic May because it’s the end of the semester, I have finals, and everyone I know decided to be born at once, so I have a million birthdays to celebrate AND Mother’s Day to prepare for. Deep breaths; we can do this.
Nothing is better for stress reduction than food. Thank goodness I know a thing or two about that. This week, we indulged, we ate healthy, and we celebrate spring with a recipe round-up.
Which recipe are you drooling over? It’s kind of hard to pick between those Double Milky Way Cake Bars and the 4-Cheese Sun-Dried Tomato Mac. And if photos aren’t mouth-watering enough, join me for my latest video to see just how that indulgent mac & cheese is made.
Now, I apologize for being so cryptic in last week’s Weekender, but I promise I will elaborate soon. Bear with me for just a little bit longer, okay? In the meantime, enjoy some adorable pictures of Mr. Poe & Mina:
There, don’t you feel better now?
So what’s in the line-up for next week? Be on the lookout for a BEHEMOTH of a grilled cheese, along with the world’s cutest cookies, and of course, a brand new video.
How is everyone liking the new look? I’ve sorted out the majority of the kinks, and I think things are looking great.