Halloween Treat Goodness

I’m a sugar fiend, so Halloween ranks high on my list of favorite holidays. While I love a good candy bar and may have eaten a few (dozen) Butterfingers in my day, I also really enjoy some homemade, classic Halloween treats like these popcorn balls from the blog Spoon Fork Bacon:

Bite-Sized Peanut Butter Popcorn Balls
Makes 16-20

Ingredients:
5½-6 cups popped popcorn, lightly salted
1 ½ cups dry roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
¼ cup Reese’s Peanut Butter Chips**
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons honey
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Place the popcorn,, peanuts, and peanut butter chips into a large bowl and set aside.
2. Place the sugar and corn syrup into a saucepan and bring to a boil.
3. Once the mixture has reached 240°F (soft-ball stage) add the honey, peanut butter and vanilla.
4. Stir together until fully combined.
5. Pour the sugar mixture over the popcorn mixture and begin folding together until all of the popcorn mixture has been evenly coated and distributed.
6. Allow the mixture to cool slightly.
7. Once the mixture is cool enough to handle, lightly grease your hands and form golf ball sized popcorn balls.
8. Place the formed balls on a sheet pan lined with parchment and allow to cool completely.
9. Once the popcorn balls have set, 2-4 hours, wrap them in plastic wrap or wax paper before serving.

** I subbed in chocolate chips for the peanut butter chips,cause peanut butter and chocolate belong together. However, I wish I’d added them after the caramel had cooled more, because they melted instead of holding their chip form.

Advertisements

Adventures in London


I spent in five days in London last week, visiting a favorite friend who recently moved there. She was an awesome host – she came up with a master plan for my visit, so that we could see everything I’d requested plus a bunch of extra stuff. Here’s my highlight list:


Shopping in Covent Garden


Touring Highgate Cemetery, where we saw this tombstone


Tea at Kensington Palace (future London home of Prince William and Princess Kate)

Seeing this West End show:
http://bcove.me/ylgmmw4r

Being the last people in a tapas restaurant (take that, Spaniards! We can outlast you).

London, I love you.

Just call me E.Tad

One week ago, a coworker asked if I was free to do a favor for her friend. The favor? Her friend needed a last minute wedding coordinator.

My entire knowledge base for wedding planning at that point came from the J.Lo movie The Wedding Planner (get it? J.Lo. E.Tad. I am that lame). So I pictured getting to swoop around telling people what to do while I look calm, cool, collected, and completely in control. Also multiple men would fall in love with me while I swooped. Naturally I said yes.

While I don’t know how calm, cool, and collected I looked, I did get to do lots of bossing people around. I also got to light approximately 100 votive candles, fluff the bride’s train, and lurk creepily in the background at one of the most important days in two people’s lives. And I was super fortunate with the bride and groom –  two of the nicest people I have ever met. They just wanted everyone to have a good time, and they wanted to be able to enjoy spending the day with their families and friends. They were so nice to work with, and they didn’t mind at all when I couldn’t get their centerpieces to work (I failed at creating their pumpkin and floating candle tablescapes. Pumpkins float, y’all. They will not stay submerged.)

It was honestly one of the most fun days ever. Even if I didn’t end up with Matthew McConaughey and Justin Chambers proposing to me at a courthouse. At least I got to take this GIANT flower arrangement home.

Truckeroo

On Friday, I experienced a magical event known as Truckeroo.

Food trucks are a big thing at the moment in DC (and elsewhere too – anyone have favorites where they are?). If food trucks haven’t rolled into your town yet, they’re, well, trucks that sell delicious food. So maybe that didn’t need an explanation.

Anyway, there are TONS in DC right now, and they have every kind of food imaginable. There are cupcake trucks, taco trucks, mac & cheese trucks, popsicle trucks… Most of the time, they drive around the city, stopping in different locations every day. But on one special day each month, dozens of trucks gather in one place. And that is Truckeroo.

One of my coworkers mentioned the event, which turned into a mass staff field trip. We wandered around for a solid 20 minutes just checking out the available options, and agonizing over what to eat. I ended up with a pulled pork sandwich from PORC (delicious), followed by the single greatest dessert I’ve ever had: a Sinwich from the Sinplicity Sinmobile.

What’s a sinwich, you ask? It featured a giant macaron, with ice cream and fudge sauce sandwiched in between. As if the sugar isn’t nutritionally sinful enough, all their ice cream treats involve liquor (kahlua soaked brownies, rum ice cream) or caffeine. My sinwich, for example, was made of mocha macarons, espresso crunch ice cream, and fudge sauce. It might have been the happiest Friday of my life.

If you’re ever in DC, check out our food trucks or if you’re lucky, make it to Truckeroo. You can find out more here.

Love where you live?

There are many things I love about Washington D.C. For example:

1. Some of my favorite people in the world live here too.

2. Good food.

3. Beautiful sights.

But I don’t want live here forever. It’s a little weird, but I like moving. It’s a chance to know a new place and new people. It’s fun to experience the different attitudes that go with different parts of the country. Minnesota Nice – seriously, it’s thing. Southern hospitality. Colorado… I don’t know what adjectives to use for Coloradoans. Chill? Adventurous?

Anyway, if and when I decide to move on from D.C., where should I go? Seriously. Do you love where you live? If you had to move, where would you choose to go?

Reality Check

Winter is coming.

Its August.

But in Alaska it’s fall. That’s right.. Leaves be a changin

20110825-084623.jpg

I know that the rest of the country is currently blazing in crazy heat or hunkering down preparing for a hurricane… But up here we’re sitting in the 60s and beginning to feel that crisp air that comes with fall.

So guess what I did? I caved. I busted out the fall/winter work horse…

20110825-084909.jpg

Yup I did it. I brought out the big guns and used my crock pot. And I even went a step further…

20110825-085022.jpg

I made white chicken chili.

Boy do I feel weird about making chili in August… But it was yummy and hit the spot on a rainy, cold “autumn” day.

Give it a try if you’re in the same weather boat as me…. Or save the recipe for when the rest of the country catches up with our lower temps 🙂

1c fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1c chopped onion (1med onion)
2T all-purpose flour
2t chili powder (I used 3)
1t ground cumin (I used 2)
1/2t salt
1/2t hot sauce (I used almost 2-3t, spiced it up!)
1/8t black pepper
1lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3(19oz) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1(15.5oz) can whole-kernel corn, drained
1(4.5oz) can chopped green chiles, drained
2 garlic cloves, minced

Sour cream, cheddar cheese, green onions, and tortilla chips for garnishes if you like.

Combine the ingredients in your slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH for 1 hour. Then reduce to LOW for 4 hours.

Then add your toppings and dig in.

Makes 6 bowls clocking in at a lovely 232 calories, with a fab 22.3G of protein!

Enjoy!!

20110825-090558.jpg

Hello from DC!

Hi sister’s blog friends! I’m Jenn’s sister, Elyse. Since Jenn has treated us to the many exotic sights (moose, hillbilly estate sales, “bunny boots”) and sounds (gunshots, awesome spin mixes) of Alaska, I thought I’d provide a little tour of my current hometown on the opposite coast – Washington, D.C.

D.C. is famous for, you know, being the capital of our country, the seat of our government, etc. etc. But since you’ve probably seen the White House and the monuments in a history book at some point, I’ll skip showing you the obvious D.C. sites, and instead show you two of my favorite local places in the city.

If you ever visit D.C., you MUST eat at Ted’s Bulletin. They play old movies on screens around the restaurant. They make their own Pop-tarts and Twinkies. They have  a.mazing milkshakes (both kid-friendly, and “adult” options available!). I drag every friend, date, and out-of-town guest there, and they all love it!

Just up the block from Ted’s is Eastern Market. Six days a week, they have a farmer’s market, and on weekends, it turns into a GIANT flea market, craft fair, and food fest. You can make a whole meal out of sampling the produce, cheese, pickles, candied nuts, and homemade hummus. Not that I’ve ever done that or anything…

And finally, a story about the first time Jenn visited me in D.C. We don’t have hillbillies, but as she can attest, we do have some interesting vagrants. On this visit, a gentleman at a bus stop kindly informed us that we were far too ugly to sacrifice to God. I didn’t know whether to be pleased (he doesn’t want to kill us!) or really insulted (who are you calling ugly, scary homeless man?!). On that same bus ride, a fellow passenger decided to show Jenn a very special part of his anatomy. It was not a good day to ride the bus.

Because I don’t want my city to get a bad name, I’d like point out that I never had these encounters outside of my sister’s visit. Anyone else ever had a strange encounter when they were out with Jenn? She has a powerful weirdo magnet.