Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Alexandra called today to wish me a Happy National Candy Corn Day. My goodness, I almost forgot! So I hope everyone's enjoying the last of the corn, be it regular or Indian, and getting excited for tomorrow's big fun.
Monday, October 29, 2007
Candy cigars. We can’t think of a better way to get rid of all those leftover “It’s a Boy!” and “It’s a Girl!” bubblegum and chocolate cigars.
Teething biscuits. Wrap them up in cellophane and you’ve got biscotti for kids.
Travel packs of baby wipes. Hey, they may say that M&Ms melt in your mouth, not in your hands, but smart moms know otherwise.
Baby food. Tell your little Sponge Bobs and Captain Jack Sparrows that it’s actually special Halloween pudding.
Spare change. Dig deep into your diaper bag or junior’s piggy bank and rid yourself of all those pennies. Bonus for you: a lighter bag!
Sunday, October 28, 2007
"Halloween is almost here! My second favorite holiday of all. I could wax poetic for pages on why the 31st of October is so much fun for me, but I never delude myself: for kids, Halloween is all about the candy. With great amusement, I came across an interesting article that delved into the hierarchy of leftover Halloween candy. It delineated a "tier system"-- a kind of Dante's-Inferno-meets-Candyland.
(Here he quotes from "The World's Fair", a science blog. They list the top tier as: Milky Way, Snickers, all M&Ms, Reese's, Junior Mints, Kit Kat, Twix and Milk Chocolate Hershey Bars.)
I know, I know, there's lots of room for debate, but you can save that for Thursday. Right now, I'm more concerned about Wednesday, specifically the number of trick-or-treaters who will visit the rectory on Halloween night. Last year we broke into triple digits! Let's do that again! On my part, I promise to hand out only candy from the top two tiers (and regular size, too--- not those little snack things).
So bring on the lions and tigers and bears and other creative creepy crawlers... Halloween is upon us! Let there be candy!
Thursday, October 25, 2007
My plans are to take Henri to "Trick or Treat on Safety Street," the local brouhaha in my parents' town, during the day. That's when every little kid for miles around gather at the gazebo and proceed to trick-or-treat at the local stores. I'm not anticipating much. With the prospect of hundreds of kids, I'm sure the treat du jour is Tootsie Roll midgees and Dum Dums. And then there's the whole question of how I'm going to persuade Henri to keep the candy in his bag and then later fork it all over to me. Then, of course, it will be onto the church to check out what Father John will be doling out this year.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
2) Salty snacks (chips, pretzels, etc.)
4) Baked goods (cookies, granola bars, etc.)
I talked about this in-depth last year with my Halloween Hierarchy. Maybe this year I'll do an official poll whenever I run into kids of trick-or-treating age. What's your favorite Halloween goodie?
(As an aside, the magazine also has an article on what to do with leftover Halloween candy. Let me just tell you-- there's nothing more aggravating to a writer than to see an idea that she had a LONG time ago written up in a magazine by someone else. Freelance writing is such a crap-shoot; if you pitch your piece to the wrong magazine, it may never see the light of day. Let this serve as a lesson to me. )
Next, we have a picture of my Wombat Day present from Sue, MKAFFGGF. Note the empty Kit Kat wrapper. This was a British "Fine Dark" Kit Kat. Now I've had the U.S. dark Kit Kats before and really liked them, but this, THIS! Holy cow. Sue made a bold proclamation: "Dark Kit Kats are my new favorite candy bar." Frankly, I may have to agree with her. The other goodies (which I haven't tried yet) are: Moro (milk chocolate with caramel and biscuit); Twirl (milk chocolate fingers); and Dairy Milk Turkish. Oh, and be sure to check out the comments under the Wombat Day entry. An official Wombat left me a message!
One last thing. I think an intervention needs to take place. I've gone off on a Jujy Fruits bender. I can't stop eating the damn things. I love them! I think the red are my favorite, followed by black, and then the orange, green and yellow are tied for third place. I'm not buying any more once this package is gone.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
I wish I could say these were my idea, but they're not. They're from Not Martha.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Wombat Day is typically celebrated with lots of chocolate and Wine Gums. For those unfortunate individuals who live in areas where Wine Gums are difficult to obtain, ju-jubes can be substituted. Often a chocolate cake in the shape of a wombat is the centerpiece of an evening party in which wombat songs are sung, and wombat stories and folk tales are told. In some areas, the secret wombat dance is also performed. Afterwards, the wombat cake is divided among the guests, and large quantities of Wine Gums are consumed. Sparklers and fireworks usually end the celebration.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Friday, October 19, 2007
this girl was also one to hold grudges.
So one day, while she was happily blogging along about her favorite subject, candy, she received a press release from a magazine that, under normal circumstances, she would've written about. But this was no ordinary magazine. You see, years ago, when the magazine first launched, our heroine sent them an idea for an article. The editor responded to her, saying (very snottily): "We're very research-oriented and we expect our writers to do some hard-core reporting, so thanks, but no thanks."
Fine. Our very polite girl went on her merry way and sold said story to another, more sophisticated magazine. But she never, ever forgot the editor's snippy words. And so, years later, when the snotty magazine wanted to play nicey-nice and get their information published, our girl ignored it. Tit for tat. Quid pro quo.
And so, dear readers, I shall not be sharing this candy information with you, but I assure you, you can live without it.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
When I graduated from college, I had no clue what I wanted to do. Again, that fame was just lurking in the background. When I got my first job as an assistant editor at a travel magazine, I started to get a taste of the good life. I was treated well on press junkets and it was always fun to see my name in print, even if it was as the writer and not as the subject. I moved onto other jobs and my byline seemed to satisfy my narcissistic needs. But then it hit: the Big 3-0.
I'm not ashamed to admit it: I freaked when I was 29 1/2 and realized that soon I would be entering the adult zone and what had I done with my life? Not much.
"Try everything once," my mother always said. Finally, in the last few weeks of 20-somethingness, I began to take her advice. I did semi-adventurous things like get a tattoo, go parasailing, fly in an open cockpit bi-plane and eat a scorpion. I was well on my way to living the glamourous life. And then it happened: I turned 30 and suddenly the hunger to be famous disappeared. Poof! I felt like a burden had been lifted. I could go on my merry way living in the suburbs, shopping at Marshall's and going to bed at 9 p.m.
Now, fast-forward seven years, and I've finally had my chance at the silver screen. I was contacted (along with other bloggers, doctors, authors and such) by a film crew making a pilot for an upcoming Food Network show on-- you guessed it-- candy! A very nice woman named Jenn asked if I'd be interested in participating. Uh, YEAH!
So I headed to the city yesterday with June as my moral support. I'm a writer, not a talker, so there was the brief underlying fear that I might actually pass out or something equally as bad. I took a few drops of Bach's Rescue Remedy, we hit a bar beforehand and had a drink and then ... it was lights, camera, action!
They made me feel quite comfortable and of course, it's great to be able to talk about candy. I sat in a seat under the hot lights and the producer sat across from me asking questions. It was a lot like therapy, actually; he asked questions ("Would you say blahblahblah?" or "How do you feel about thisthatandtheotherthing?") and I would answer and he would nod, sometimes smile or laugh, sometimes take notes. No big deal.
Apparently now they'll be moving onto the editing stage and hopefully, if all goes well, the show will run in January, I'll be in it (cross your fingers!) and I'll have had my fifteen minutes. You know I'll keep you posted.
(P.S. Everyone I told this to asked the same thing: "What did you wear?" My first instinct was to just be myself-- a T-shirt and jeans-- but the day before I panicked and went out and tried on every damn shirt in the entire metro area. It was horribly disappointing. I couldn't find anything and I was pressed for time, so I finally grabbed two sweaters on my way out of the last store and bought them. One was a rust-colored cashmere ("too conservative," said Mr. Goodbar) and the other was so hideously perky that I loved it in a strange way. It had a thick pink stripe on one side, and a thick orange stripe on the other side. In the end, it turned out to be a bizarrely hot day, so I wore a burgundy short-sleeve job with an interesting neckline. The suave Euro guy who hooked my mike up said, "You have a fancy shirt." I told him I brought a plain black shirt if he thought that would be better, but he said that no, this was perfect. So today I returned the two sweaters and bought a pair of earrings instead.)
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Yesterday I learned something so shocking, so earth-shattering that I had to take 24 hours to digest the information before passing it along to you. Prepare yourself, this is a big one.
The subject is gummi bears. Those little colorful German candies that come in red, orange, yellow, clear and green. As I've mentioned before, my favorite ones are the green and clear. I've always known the clear were pineapple, just like the clearish-yellow Life Savers. Yum! But the green ... I never knew what flavor they were. They certainly weren't lime or even green apple. They were different, but I just figured they weren't a specific taste, just a generic gummi-bear-only flavor. And then I found out the truth. Hold onto your hats, ladies and gentlemen, because here it comes: Green Gummi Bears are Strawberry Flavored!
What the heck? Green for strawberry? What's that about? And furthermore, I usually don't like strawberry. I'm still in shock. I know you are too.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
"Hello," I said, rather aggressively and grumpily.
"Snicker snack!" said Mr. Goodbar. "The vorpal blade went snicker snack! The Jabberwocky is about candy!"
Oy. Here I was, having a very agitated moment, and he was all excited about one of his favorite poems, "The Jabberwocky" by Lewis Carroll. I wasn't amused at the time, but today's another day. Today the sun is shining and Henri is napping and the Internet is actually working, and I see what he's saying: could it be that Lewis Carroll was an undercover candy lover? I must admit, I always associated the Jub Jub bird with JuJubes. And the Tum Tum tree made me think of lollipops dangling from a tree, like on the intro that fave childhood TV show of the 70's, The Magic Garden. Anyhow, here's the poem in its entirety. See if you agree that it has a candy-like aura about it.
'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"
He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.
And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!
One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.
"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"
He chortled in his joy.
'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
While I was there, I also saw two other items of note: Pop Rocks on a ribbon (I'm guessing it's like a fruit roll-up with Pop Rocks in it) and Mike & Ike and Hot Tamales sprays. I almost bought one of these, but I got scared because I thought they might be really old items. Turns out they're brand new. I've seen candy sprays before. In fact, when I went to the Candy Expo a few years ago, I was accosted by some--ahem-- ladies in bikinis hawking their no-calorie candy sprays. Hmmm. I'm sorry, but I just don't get the appeal. That's just a little too Jetsons for me. Oh, and I did score a box of Christmas ribbon candy that I'll be using for my candy paintings.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
As I mentioned in a previous post, I bought a bag of "Smarties Parties" because they contained not only regular Smarties, but some other fancy types as well. The tropical taste really similar to the regular. So similar, in fact, that I wouldn't be able to tell the difference if you mixed them all together. The X-treme Sour were really good, just what you'd imagine: sour Smarties. The candy money was fun. They're bigger in size and not as chalky. But the real surprise was the Smarties Bubble Gum. I thought they were bubble gum-flavored candy, but no, they're actually gum! And they look just like Smarties! Fun! I really got a kick out of those. I don't know if they sell these individually or just in the mixed packages. I suppose I could check it out at their website, even though it totally creeps me out.
(Editor's note: I did go to the creepy website, and they do sell Smarties Bubble Gum on its own.)
Monday, October 08, 2007
I returned home from a day at the spa (oh, what a life I lead!) (actually, I got a gift certificate last year and I had to use it before it expired) and there was a big, white box on my doorstep with a Halloween plate on top. I lifted the box up and got a whiff. No. It couldn't be, could it? It was! It was THE Chocolate Cake!
Sweet, wonderful June baked me a miniature version of the cake and left it for me. It even has Indian corn on top! How awesome is that? I'm going to go cut a piece in exactly eight minutes.
While I was on the phone with Alexandra, she asked if it was Indian corn or American corn on top. American corn! Hee hee. That led me to ponder out loud why they call it "corn"-- it doesn't look like corn at all. And then all of a sudden, for the first time in my entire life, I realized that it's supposed to be a corn kernel with the pointy end sticking into the cob and the round end being the actual corn. Wow. I never knew.
And speaking of candy corn, the Baron finally reared his head today after a long silence. He had this very poignant story to tell:
Candy Corns are sacred in my house. It is really the only candy that brings a smile to my face. I remember being really young and Mom telling me if you want good luck you have to bite exactly between the two color lines. If you get one color on both sides of the bite, you win great luck for the day. I have tried this for 38 years and not one successful bite. But I will keep trying until my high sugar kicks in and I stroke out.
Isn't that sweet? Although don't believe him: wave some salted licorice fish in front of his face and you're sure to get a grin.
On another note, please stand by as I'm experiencing some technical difficulties. I have LOTS to report, though, including pictures of my birthday candy haul, my most recent paintings and one very, very exciting present.
Friday, October 05, 2007
Everyday Henri picks an item that he will fixate on and hold for several hours whether he's crawling, going for a walk or going with me to do errands. It's rarely a toy of course. When we went to the aquarium, it was a small plastic packet of butter that he stole from the bread basket at lunch. He held onto it past the shark tank, the touch tank and even the kids' play area. He only decided to relinquish it during the seal feeding, when apparently he thought JoJo would like some butter with his raw, frozen fish.
So the other day, I thought nothing when he grabbed my little bottle of Michel Cluizel chocolate nibs. He liked to shake it and hear the rattle. He held onto it in the car and wouldn't let it go when I put him in his stroller. It was only when I was in the shoe store getting dirty looks that I realized how peculiar this looked, because the container is designed to look exactly like a prescription bottle.
"That's not medicine, it's chocolate," I found myself telling complete strangers. Still, I could feel the glare of other moms as I strolled past them and Henri gleefully shook the bottle of Mommy's Little Helper. I know, I know: Bad Mommy!
Thursday, October 04, 2007
- The special "automatic machinery" that Cadbury used, "obviates the necessity of its being once touched by the human hand." Wow, what a difference from today when we place such high value on "hand-crafted" chocolates!
- Cadbury Hot Chocolate is "specially rich in flesh-forming and strength sustaining principles." Uh, flesh-forming? Ewww.
- Also, "It is a gentle stimulant, and sustains against hunger and bodily fatigue." Take that, Power Bar!
Here are some other tidbits from the exhibit:
- A Spanish proverb: "Ideas should be clear and chocolate thick." Hear, hear! (Or is it Here! Here! I can never remember.)
- In 1894, big tin vending machines shaped like animals and people were used to allow customers to sample the quality of chocolate from particular shops. The demand for vending machines became so overwhelming that it led to the formation of the Deutsche Automatengesellschaft Stollwerk, or the German vending machine association.
After browsing the rest of the exhibits (including a sheep in formaldehyde, which apparently represents a "glance at the past, a look at the future," or some such drivel ... all I see is a gnarly dead sheep in a glass case, and I was an art major!), we attacked the gift shop. The little old ladies didn't see us coming, I assure you.
Between all the yummy chocolate and really cute kids' stuff, we had a field day. Alexandra bought Wilbur Buds: they're dark and milk chocolate drops, bigger than chocolate chips, squatter than Kisses, and veryyyy yummy.
We brought our purchases outside and sat at a little table. The boys could sense something was up, so they started getting antsy. Alexandra was prepared and had a fruit snack for Ian. I, on the other hand, thought, "Well, these are just chocolate. I'll give Henri one." So I gave him a little teal drop, which he proceeded to get all over his lips. Then Alexandra and I tried some. "They're like Rice Krispies," she said. "Yeah," I agreed. They were good! It wasn't until I got home and actually dissected one that I realized they were chocolate-covered sunflower seeds! Aaaah! Any mom these days knows that giving your kids nuts or seeds before age 2 is equivalent to Britney Spears driving with her baby on her lap or Michael Jackson dangling his baby over the balcony.Bad Mommy! Fortunately, he didn't have any sort of reaction. (Except the "I want more and I want it now!" reaction.)
Anyhow, these are not only lovely but really, really yummy. The almonds are crisp and smoky and I surprisingly liked the sunflower seeds. (I've seen chocolate-covered ones before and thought, who would eat those? Well, I guess the answer would be me!)
I went to The Cocoa Room's website to see if I could find out any more about these little beauties, but the website is strangely uninformative. But I'd definitely recommend them as a gift.
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
THE BEST CHOCOLATE CAKE
1 4 oz. package sweet cooking chocolate
1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup butter, room temp.
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup buttermilk
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2) Melt chocolate in boiling water. Cool. (Editor's note: I always stumble on this step. Are you supposed to actually put the chocolate in the water? Because won't that cause it to seize? So I translate that as "Melt chocolate in a double boiler filled with 1/2 cup water.)
3) Cream butter, add sugar and cream until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating after each addition. Add vanilla and melted chocolate and mix until well blended.
4) Sift flour with soda and salt. Add sifted dry ingredients alternating with buttermilk to butter mix, beating after each addition until batter is smooth.
5) Fold in the stiffly beaten egg whites and pour batter into 3 8- or 9-inch greased layer pans, lined on bottom with wax paper. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool.
6) Frost with Mocha Cream Frosting. (Editor's note: NO substitutes!!)
Mocha Cream Frosting
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
2 egg yolks
1 cup soft butter
1 1/2 squares (ounces) unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 TBSP instant coffee
1) Boil together sugar and water to 240 degrees F.
2) Beat egg yolks until fluffy. Add syrup gradually while beating and continue beating until mixture is cool.
3) Add butter, bit by bit, until it has all been beaten in. Beat in chocolate and coffee.
Please, someone try this recipe and get back to me!
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
The aforementioned June came over last week and not only did she bring lunch, but dessert as well. She reached into her bag and produced a Mr. Goodbar, 3 Musketeers Mint, Limited Edition Tootsie Roll Midgees in vanilla, and white chocolate Reese's. Yum! She e-mailed me after the fact saying that she had made a faux pas; she hadn't read enough of my blog to know that I generally don't like white chocolate. But you know what? Those Reese's were damn good. I mean, really good. It makes me want to give white chocolate another chance.
The Tootsie Rolls tasted like chewy vanilla icing. I've talked about the 3 Musketeers before. Oh well, it can't all be good. And then of course, the Mr. Goodbar. How can you go wrong with peanuts and chocolate?