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The plan was to make these Salted Caramel Stuffed Chocolate Crinkles, because I love a good crinkle and the caramel filling - well.

However, I didn't have any soft caramels. I also didn't have the gumption to walk to the store to pick some up, and I did have sugar, butter and cream and the tenacity to try to make my own after many failed attempts. Seriously, people, caramels shouldn't be so hard to make and yet... I went and bought a candy thermometer years ago for the express purpose and I never managed to make it work. I did this time, and I didn't even use the thermometer, which actually broke a couple of weeks ago when it decided to swan dive onto the floor.

Anyway. I whipped up a batch of soft caramels. They turned out great!
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But then. )
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almost comes together. *le sigh*

Good news: I got my kitchen door installed! Colleague and his delinquent but uber-polite (the kind of polite that comes with many addicts I have encountered) son came over this evening and got it up pretty easily. I think it looks great!

Both sides )

BUT, and it's a pretty big one: the second it was up I noticed two things - a gap at the bottom I don't like aesthetically and that it sways. With no track/runner at the bottom, that makes sense, I guess. I immediately said something about how it wasn't going to keep the cats out at all. The men said, "I'm sure it will." then left.

I shut the door and started getting the cats' dinner ready, with Johnny and Hank inside and Roy (and Abe and Pickle, but they were still cowering in the other room, too upset even to get excited about food) out. It took Roy all of a minute to slide his paw on the inside of the door, pull and let himself in...

Should be fixable. I hope it's fixable! The two inch gap at the bottom should also be fixable I can glue or nail on another piece of wood and paint it. As long as no one examines it, should be fine.

Pickle, on the fridge and unimpressed by unexpected visitors:
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While I'm posting pictures, my neighbors across the street with the pooping dogs are big time holiday decorators. They're the Griswalds. They've put up a Halloween display. It startled me the first time I looked out the window and saw it.

Boogedy boo! )
Actually kind of like how that one came out. No tripod.

I also made cupcakes. It's been a long, long month, work-wise and I'm having troubles again not being irritated with "overworked" coworker who is pulling half of the work I am doing without breaking much of a sweat... I digress. Cupcakes. Vanilla with pear compote and caramel frosting. OMG, the frostinnnnng.

Cupcake )
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I wish I were independently wealthy, because I really, really, really didn't want to go to work this morning. It wasn't so bad once I got there, but you know what apparently hit the fan while I was out. I'm glad I wasn't there for it. It was apparently ugly and grown-ass people were acting like pre-schoolers at full moon time.

Anyway, I used my return to work as an excuse to bake. Behold, blueberry pie baked doughnuts:
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^The look Pickle gives anyone who doesn't think the doughnuts look marvelously tasty.
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Not everything I bake is sweet. :)

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^spinach/broccoli pesto tomato pocket


When your spinach is past its prime, don't pitch it, pesto it! Made a quick pesto with spinach, fresh basil and broccoli, chopped up a tomato, added some pizza seasonings (oregano, basil, marjoram, thyme, garlic, red pepper, etc) and mozz and parm and voila. Pretty danged tasty.

The crust I got out of a kids' cookbook. Makes a healthy portion, could certainly halve it if you're not a healthy eater like me.

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
garlic powder to taste
savory flakes (personal preference)
1 TB olive oil
2 3/4 TB almond milk

Mix all ingredients until they start to form ball/pull away from edge of bowl. Knead ten times, then let sit for fifteen minutes. Roll out, fill and you have a quick and complete meal in one handy little pocket. Provided you use veggies in there, of course. ;)


I took today off from home improvement projects, aside from touching up some paint spots. I am still super tired! Might be the five mile walk I took along the river... Hah.
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I've started my upstairs painting project - soon that baby poo brown will be obliterated from that space (and maybe down in the small hallway too). I did the window upstairs ... and lost track of The Pickle, who of course HAD to hop on the sill when the paint was still gummy. Then she tore off like the naughty thing she is, leaving paw prints in her wake. *sigh*

When I peeled the tape off, some of the wall paint came with it. This is a problem - I don't have matching paint. This is the area I've tried to find the matching remnants down stairs. It's fifty shades of brown, and none of them are right. I fear this means I'll have to repaint the whole freaking upstairs and stairwell. I hate painting!

That said, the window looks 400 times better now that it's not baby poo brown. Tomorrow I'll work on the two closets. I'm also hoping to redo the stairs. It's all brown. I want the risers to be lighter, keeping the dark on top. I know how to spend my vacation time!

Oh, and have a cupcake:
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Not the prettiest girl at the dance, but tasty. Lightly cinnamon vegan cupcake with vegan peach curd filling, with whipped cream cheese frosting. OMMMMMMMNOMNOM.

One more pic )


And speaking of pickles, when I was in the city I stopped at Trader Joe's to stock up on treats (I like TJ's but even when I was near one, I didn't typically rely on them for the produce part of my groceries - I HATE their overpackaging, and the prices are not that phenomenal. I digress.). I saw a bag of pickle-flavored popcorn. I quite like dill pickle potato chips, so I figured I would give it a shot.

Holy badness, Batman. Not good at all. I'm not one to toss food out, but I'm afraid the pickle popcorn is a definite no for me. Blech.
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I felt the need for a little something sweet. I had a nectarine on hand, but you could use a peach if you prefer your fruit fuzzy. It's not a texture I enjoy, personally. This cake comes together very quickly and makes two six inch cakes.

Recipe )

These would be soooo good still warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
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You know those two-bite brownies you can get, the ones sometimes with a giant star of frosting on top? That's pretty much what these are, only maybe slightly healthier.

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But that is not what I intended to make. What I intended to make was a homemade Little Debbie Fudge Round - my favorite guilty pleasure from the Debster. Alas, whatever I did to the recipe, it didn't work out for me. It was probably the whole wheat flour or subbing out half the sugar and half the butter or the lack of corn syrup (I am NOT buying a bottle of that stuff for one recipe). When life hands you a messed up cookie, turn it into something else.

Recipe )

Mmmmm. Actually, I don't know that for sure. As always, I've kind of sweetened myself out on the frosting mess. I didn't use a piping bag because these were so small, I just filled a tip and squished it out with my thumb (my washed and clean thumb). At the end of it all, I had to get the frosting off somehow, right?
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Onion rings!

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Actually, I had these last night for dinner. Today I'm baking bread, though I had to scrape the bottom of the flour barrel to do it. I always run out of the staples. Bad baker.

Who knew baked onion rings could be delicious and crunchy? Well, now that I know, I will probably obsessively make these once a week, with a side of black bean burger.

They're pretty simple, but take time. Soak the onion rings in buttermilk for at least four hours, dredge in egg whites, then a mix of panko, whole wheat flour and/or cornmeal (<--I never have this) and spices. Then bake at 425F for 30 minutes or so, flipping halfway through. Voila!

Dinner

Yes, the Miss Piggy glass was chosen intentionally. ;)
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It's been a shamefully long time since I've done a Sunday bake! Actually, I have baked, but I haven't posted about it. Not sure why, but I'm here to remedy that today. How do you feel about doughnuts? I, myself, am a doughnut gal rather than a donut gal (c'mon, really, those three little letters aren't that hard to type and doughnut is a perfect descriptor while donut is far, far too close to "do not" for my liking...).

I had a hankering for a chocolate dipped old fashioned doughnut. While these are baked and so you don't get that same delicious greasiness and crunch, I like to think that I'm not completely blowing a day by starting it out with a pastry instead of a sensible breakfast of an egg white omelet with quinoa and kale and chia seeds or whatever is trendy right now.

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Oh boy, yum. I made a perfect dozen, which means I can't even nibble one to make sure they pass the taste test without giving myself away to my lucky, lucky coworkers.

The best thing about these is they are super duper easy to make. They come together with hardly any effort and bake fast. It probably took me as long to dip them as it did to bake them.

Recipe )
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Finding the right sheets for the pillowtop upstairs with a four inch memory foam topper is proving to be an exercise in frustration. Either the sheets are too small or they're too big. Too small and they're liable to come up at the corners. Too big and they're loosey goosey and am I the only one who can't stand it when the bottom sheet isn't nice and tucked tightly?

I have such problems, don't I? Hah.


Also, have had a fierce craving for German chocolate cake today. The grocery store used to have them (horribly overpriced and not great anyway). Not today, so I made a mini chocolate cake and whipped up the frosting - sans pecans, which I did not have on hand. The problem with this is that I'm very aware of all the bad stuff that is in this cake, because I put it there. Pictures may follow after it's assembled, because I cannot resist a photo of baked goods.

Chocolate cake for two

Oooooh, I am going to have a hard time not eating the whole thing in one sitting! Don't like coconut? MORE FOR ME.
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I would swear on a stack of bibles that there's been a perpetual full moon since May. Is it hectic with the most out-there scenarios everywhere, or did someone's meth lab down in [unnamed Oregon resort town] start pumping the stuff in the air? I was so tired driving home tonight that I was halfway into neighbor's driveway before I realized it wasn't mine. I just want to curl up in bed and I'm sure if I did that, I'd sleep till morning with no problem.

On the plus side, it's pumpkin season! It doesn't feel like it - haven't put a jacket on yet - but...pumpkin! Mmmm.

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Cat approved cream cheese filled pumpkin snickerdoodles )
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Mmmm! The cookies are "healthy" with whole wheat flour and honey instead of sugar - so why not mess that up with cream cheese filling! I did use a "Greek" cream cheese, which is reduced fat.

Also, Pickle juice )
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Mmmmm! I got an afternoon hankering for pie. I'm not usually one for pie - I can't make the crust, and it's not a dessert that keeps well for someone who lives alone and really shouldn't (but probably could) eat a whole pie in a few days. So, a single serving pie!

Recipe )

Et voila! A dessert almost as easy as a crumble.

You know, I see how prettified and staged food bloggers take their photos. I used to be envious, because I have no eye for that. Now, as food bloggers threaten to take over the world, I'm kind of sick of the froo-froo look of those pics. I ain't got the budget to make things look pretty; I just want them to look tasty.
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I originally made these lemon blueberry, but they didn't last long enough for a photo. These I made sure to snag one first!

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Mmmm!, the recipe )

I learned the hard way not to sub honey in for the crust - this crust looks a little soggy, as it was the honey batch. Tasted yummy, but didn't hold together as well as the sugar. And if you want your lime bars greener, you'd have to add food coloring.

These are nice and zingy, and plus - the fresh fruit means they're healthy. Right?
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"Strawberry jalapeno - gross!" you say? I say, "Try it, you might like it." I was right there with you. I know it's not a new combination, but still one I faced with trepidation myself.

We're having a potluck tomorrow. Any reason to overeat, my office will take. Anyway, I was commissioned to make these, given two ingredients and a puppy dog look: strawberry puree and jalapeno lime vodka. Challenge accepted!

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More pics, recipe )

I think the person who wanted these is going to want to run away to Vegas with me.
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It's time to make the doughnuts!

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More pics )

So far my foray into baked doughnuts has made me realize that these are not actually doughnuts at all; they're round cupcakes with a hole in the middle. There has to be a way to get a good cake doughnut texture out of these. Hmmmm. Until I figure it out, bake holey cupcakes I shall.
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This is the kind of cookie I love to eat and hate to make. Buttery, crumbly. Just a bear to roll out as easily and prettily as every blog photo out there would have you believe. I see these expanses of perfectly rectangular, smooth dough and know there must be some kind of trickery involved. When I roll out these kinds of doughs, it's ugly. Messy. The dough breaks, splits and sticks to the rolling pin no matter how much I sugar the counter and the pin.

Fortunately, these were also meant to be dunked in chocolate, so who cares how ugly the getting-there is?

More pics )

I'm not wild about gluten free stuff. I think most things produced in a home kitchen have a sandy consistency, and store bought are filled with all sorts of dubious ingredients. You know what, though? These ain't bad. I'm sure it's that they got dipped in chocolate mint... Anyway, my boss is now gluten free for health reasons, so I am going to try to make things that she can eat at least once in a while. I can't commit to always!

I used this recipe, tweaking it only by using half the butter in favor of coconut oil for the other half and swapping out the regular flour for a gluten free mix I'd gotten ages ago. The edges of the cookies were fluted slightly in raw state. Even mixing in a different fat, they still lost shape when baked.
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Or, if you're me "Carrot Cake for Two When You Know It's Really for One". ;)

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^Jam packed with root vegetables.

Lightened up recipe, more pics )

Oh. Yum. This is a pretty dense cake, given the amount of liquid in the honey, applesauce and carrots. As for me, that's how I like carrot cake. I obviously didn't bake with nuts, as that is not to my taste, but of course one could put chopped walnuts or pecans in the batter. Shoot, you could even put raisins if that is what your heart desires.

Eat your veggies for dessert. ;)

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