These chocolate spiders are my favorite fun dessert to make for Halloween and they are so easy! You melt a bag of chips, pour in a can of crunchy chow mein noodles, shape into blobs on wax paper, pop on eyeballs, refrigerate. To be honest, we never called them ”spiders,” nor did I bother trying to shape legs. I just made blobs and we called them ”creatures.” I started out by using mini M&M for eyes and later discovered the cinnamon red hot option. You can get fancy and mix in melted white choccy too. How do they taste? Well, to me, pretty nauseating after a couple bites, but that is not the point. They look cool and kids dig ’em!
Of course, I am always up a batch of pumpkin bars or yummy frosted cupcakes to decorate with festive sprinkles and such. In fact, I used a pic of me holding Halloween cupcakes for the cover of my first book (I have since changed it to a bonfire).
For a while now, I’ve pretended not to notice that Trader Joe’s has been deliberately and wantonly tempting me to buy their luscious-looking pink and yellow lemonade cupcakes sneakily displayed in the dessert section, where naturally I would have to see them. And you know what they say about temptation: the easiest way to get rid of it is just to give in to it already, and so today I did that.
They’re very pretty, no frills cupcakes. No sprinkles or doodads adorn these treats. Just cake and frosting, fin.
The cake is surprisingly dense ~ this is not light and fluffy party cake, my peeps. It has a heavy texture, almost muffin-like, but not oily. And it is highly flavored, very citrussy. Definitely not overly sweet. Serious cake noms happening here. The frosting is lemon cream cheese, a perfect complement.
Very tasty overall, though heavy. The nutritional info says one cupcake has 320 calories, which is considerably less than a Sprinkle’s lemon, but it feels just as satisfying. I’m kinda over the gourmet cupcake, tbh, which is why you don’t see me yapping about them much anymore. This isn’t because I’ve hopped onto the next trend (idk what the next trend even is), but because I got a bit bored chasing after cupcakes, not that I’d turn one down if it magically appeared in front of me, and also… heartburn, bleh.
But it was fun to have one of these lemonades. OK FINE I HAD TWO. Geez.
The last time I saw you, We had strawberries and wine. Golden hours slipped by As lazy summer days Acquiesced to autumn’s chill. The earthy ripe sweetness Grew sour on my tongue While I tried to hold onto Each fleeting moment, Knowing it would be the last one.
Stan was starving. It had been half a day since he’d passed a rest stop, and he had long since run out of his stash of trail mix. Plus, his VW bug was now dangerously low on gas. As he daydreamed of a sumptuousbowl of lovely fettuccine noodles drenched with Alfredo sauce and topped with fresh seafood, he saw a sign for “Gas & Eats.”
That would have to suffice. Stan exited the dark, desert highway and proceeded along the bumpy unpaved road until he came to a commonself-service gas station with a diner behind it. After filling his tank, Stan moseyed over to the restaurant, noting with pleasure the scent of garlic and onions starting to dominatethe air. Mmm!
“Welcome to the Friendship Café!” a beautiful brunette greeted him as he walked through the door. An equally beautiful redhead stood by her side. “I’m Maori and this is Shayla. We love to make new friends for dinner.”
“Me too,” Stan said. “I’m Stan, and I’m starving. What’s on the menu!”
“You!” Shayla giggled. “Just take off your clothes in the back room, put on the light robe, and we’ll be all set to begin.”
“Wow, this is friendly!” Stan went in the back to disrobe. What a fun place he’d found. Dinner and a threesome, woohoo!
Maori and Shayla sharpened their knives in the kitchen as the water began to boil under the large pot. Stan looked so good, and the girls were very very hungry.
I picked up two cupcakes from SusieCakes in Newport Beach last week, but then ~life happened~ and I didn’t try them until a couple days later. So, this review is not going to be complete and I may have to return and try other flavors in the name of fairness. Oh, woe is me.
First, parking at SusieCakes was a big pain in the butt. I passed the place the first time because buildings in SoCal are notoriously unnumbered and had to make a U-turn (I hate U-turns ~ remember my U-turn ticket and subsequent traffic school experience? Gah!), which I did in a motel lot, going in the wrong direction, almost crashed into some crazy chick going in the right direction (what is UP with people following arrows like automatons?)… and finally found SusieCakes mashed into the corner of a strip mall off Westcliff that had an extremely cramped parking lot filled with fancy cars and ginormous SUVs.
Second, SusieCakes is impossibly pretty, chock-full of adorable desserts and sweet little tables at which to sit and nom. I wanted ALL THE THINGS, but luckily I was forced to focus on cupcakes (for science!), else I’d be standing there all day unable to decide. I chose lemon and mocha, again resisting my faves in order to test new flavors.
How cute is this cupcake (above)? Unfortunately, by the time I tried it, the cake was stale, so I can’t give a fair assessment. There was lemon filling, which was tangy and not overwhelming (I dislike filling that takes up a high percentage of the interior). The frosting was still delicious after three days! It had that lovely buttercream snap and was perfectly sweet and citrusy.
Same deal here with the mocha cake ~ stale after three days, which of course is not SusieCakes’ fault. Again, there was tasty mocha filling in the right quantity. I adored the frosting! While I’m not a chocoholic, a coffee/choccy combo floats my boat. To me, that’s much more interesting than chocolate alone. And the slight crust with the still-soft inside was perfect. How I heart buttercream! I dare whipped frosting to stand up to that test, hah.
Despite the first world problems I had in traveling to and parking at SusieCakes in Newport Beach, I think I should return and try more cupcakes ($3.00 each).
When it comes to dining out, does superb quality of food make up for subpar service, or does stellar service make up for lackluster food?
Nothing makes up for subpar service, in my opinion. For example, one of my Meetup groups keeps ending up at restaurants that can’t seem to handle a large party. Either they forget entrees entirely, or they bring the wrong thing, or they’re simply inattentive. It’s really annoying and makes me not want to go anymore. The actual food, if it ever shows up, is pretty tasty, but still, it’s a buzzkill. I don’t “punish” the server by leaving a bad tip, or no tip, since I suspect the fault is with management. But even so, I am inclined not to return, despite the nice conversation. I guess I’m just not that lonely.
Stellar service doesn’t make up for bad food, but I’ll make a confession: I am not a foodie. Ordinary food is fine with me, as long as it’s prepared properly and served in a reasonable amount of time. I am not a gourmet and prefer pizza or a sandwich to anything fancy or complicated. It goes without saying that if a server forgets the utensils or napkins or a beverage, I’m gonna get super irritated. And before anyone starts about Covid bla bla or minimum wage… that’s not my problem. If they can’t manage to bring me a freaking house salad (what I ordered last week at this stupid place in Huntington Beach), then forget it. I am not going to spend more money there.
Look at that pizza! It’s making me hungry. I find pizza places don’t screw up much, but sadly a lot of people don’t eat it for one reason or another. Oh well.
This coulda been a Monday Peeve… but that’s OK. Now I have an idea for next week’s.
I haven’t done one of these #5things posts since my refresh, but I can’t resist listing some fall faves, not to mention having an excuse to use this fun image in homage to the first line of “Hotel California.” Thanks, Dr. Tanya, for the prompt.
1. While I adore the summer sun and warmth, I am much more productive when there’s less daylight. Why? I dunno. I’ve already started working on another half-finished book that’s been languishing on Google Drive. This makes me happy!
2. Pumpkin everything. Bring it on, haters! Er, not the oatmeal… that was disgusting. But pumpkin spiced coffee, cookies, cupcakes, and pie? Hell yeah!
I zipped down to Sprinkles in Corona Del Mar this weekend.
I’ve been so good, working out and eating healthy, but sometimes you just have to give in to temptation. As one of my favorite philosophers says…
The Lord above made [cupcakes] for temptation–but With a little bit of luck, With a little bit of luck, When temptation comes you’ll give right in! –Alfred Doolittle, My Fair Lady
The bacon-maple was delicious (note the cute little pink piggy on top!), but honestly a tad disappointing. I would have vastly preferred if bacon had not been baked into the cupcake itself. The vanilla cake was delish as usual, and maybe would have been OK with tiny pieces of bacon mixed in, but not these giant hunks. The maple frosting was excellent and its super-sweetness very nicely complemented with salty bacon bits, but overall? I’m glad I tried it, but I wouldn’t want it again.
Moving on to the triple cinnamon… this was possibly the best cupcake I’ve had from Sprinkles. As my fans know, the coconut and strawberry are way up there as faves, but this C3 was incredibly nom. There was nothing about it that strayed from total perfection. Spiced buttermilk cake = 10. Cinnamon cream cheese frosting = 10. And the special touch of cinnamon dust = 10. Simply heavenly.
Happy Labor Day to Americans! Happy first Monday of September to everyone else. Tonight is the start of the Jewish New Year ~ Rosh Hashanah ~ and I wish all my readers a sweet one. I wrote a special poem for the occasion and it will post in a couple hours. For now, I’m excited to dive into Melanie’s Share Your World…
1. Do you believe in soul-mates? (my definition of ‘soul mate’ is the IDEAL partner romantically).
I don’t believe in “souls” in the religious sense, or any sense really. But I do believe that some people meet a romantic partner who is absolutely right for them in every way, and for those lucky folks I would say they found their “soul mate.” Sometimes people change in different ways though as they age, and the person who was once a perfect match no longer is. Then what happens? Some put in a colossal effort to stay together, while others drift apart and search for someone new. Can we have multiple “soul mates” in a lifetime? Why not?!
As far as me personally, I used to believe I’d find my soul mate, but that didn’t happen and I’ve learned to be happy on my own. I no longer look for a soul mate, or any kind of mate. I wouldn’t be willing to make the necessary changes to my life to be in a successful romantic relationship now. Would I have been happier if I spent my life with a loving partner who complemented me sexually, intellectually, and emotionally? Probably. But I accept that not everyone gets to have that. I also believe that you can make it work, at least for a while, with someone who is nearly your soul mate, if you’re both willing to put in loads of effort and compromise on stuff. It may or may not last anyway however. After my divorce, I wasn’t willing to put in that much effort again.
2. What are three scents you like?
I love the traditional spiced fall scents of cinnamon, apple, pumpkin, clove, etc. That combo is a natural mood-lifter for me. I also love vanilla and lemon. All foods, lol! Most food smells good while it’s cooking, especially if you’re hungry. I’m not a fan of floral and musky scents ~ even roses, as beautiful as their scent is initially, will make me nauseated if they’re sitting around for a while. I start picking up the traces of a mold smell and can get a headache from it.
3. What are some things that you might be considered too old to do, but that you enjoy?
I enjoy coloring (either on my phone or with crayons/markers/colored pencils) ~ in fact, I may start that up again soon, as it’s so relaxing. I’ve put my paints away because they’re so messy and time-intensive, plus I’m generally not thrilled with the result. I like doing small, fiddly things such as making bead jewelry and playing with Barbie dolls. But generally I won’t do those things unless there’s a child around. Of course, it’s fun to do most anything with my grandkids, even bubbles!
4. What is one food you absolutely refuse to share?
Er, I don’t know. I’ll generally share anything, though in a non-germy way. I don’t like drinking from someone else’s glass or vice versa, but if I can cleanly separate some food from my plate to share, I’m happy to do that. There’s always more food!
5. Please feel free to share something positive!
I had a lovely session in our jacuzzi yesterday, which helped my back a lot.
Something possessed me (you-know-who, obv) to check the Sprinkles site Friday and what did I find but limited edition KEY LIME and HAZELNUT cupcakes soon to be gone forever! Gluttony I mean curiosity won out over sloth and I traipsed on over to the cupcakery.
KEY LIME. I had this one last night. If anyone remembers my famous cupcake chart from my old blog, this would be right up there with Sprinkles coconut, which was at the tippy-top. Yes, it was that good. There’s just something so perfectly wonderful about the tang of citrus when combined with the richness of butterfat. I’m sorry to tell you this so late in the game, on the last possible day for you to get one, too, assuming the shop is even open today at all. But seriously you should try, om nom nom!
VANILLA HAZELNUT. This is code for Nutella, people. Do I have to say more? Luckily these are available until September 11th. Incredibly nom, but I wouldn’t say they’re equal to Sprinkles coconut or key lime. They’re up there though. It’s always a treat to have Sprinkles vanilla cake (never “just” vanilla, but heavenly), and the frosting is exactly as you’d expect, except better.
I was thinking to bring back my cupcake chart to torment y’all with, but I’m just too considerate. Besides when I look at it, I can’t even remember eating some of the things on there (Crumbs?), so perhaps it’s not a great idea anyway.
P.S. I still would not give Sprinkles cupcakes a perfect 10, even though they come closest of any I’ve had. Why? Because of the garnish. It’s too hard and it wrecks the integrity of the last bite of frosting. But even if you don’t eat the center bite last, you’ll have to either crunch on the trademark circle thingie at some point or take it off. I’d make it softer. This should be possible. We put a man on the moon and there’s Scrabble on my phone.