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Dine In: Crazy Candy Pie

Crazy Candy PieLuke was sitting next to me yesterday morning while I was scrolling through Pinterest on my laptop.

“WE NEED THAT!” he yelled, pointing at the candy confection on the screen.

I followed the link. It was a pie, full of bits of candy bars! Essentially, it’s like a blondie in a pie crust with candy. What more do you need to know?

“We should probably have that tonight, you know, to celebrate school starting on Monday,” he said.

That’s solid reasoning if I ever heard it.

This pie came together quickly and simply. It’s bright and colorful, and it was delicious.

“That sure was a special dessert” was Luke’s final comment on the subject.

I agree, Luke. I agree.

Crazy Candy Pie

1 frozen pie crust, thawed
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup flour
1 cup candy bars (I used M&M’s, mini Twix, mini Rolos and mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups)
extra candy for the top of the pie

Preheat oven to 350° F. If using a frozen pie crust, make sure crust is defrosted.
Using an electric mixer, cream sugar and butter until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until combined. Stir in baking powder, salt and flour. Mix well.

If you’re not using “mini” candies, chop your candy into bite-sized chunks.

Add candy to batter using a slow speed of the mixer or stirring it by hand.

Press batter into pie crust. It will be too thick to pour and somewhat sticky, so you might want to spray your spatula with nonstick cooking spray before you attempt this maneuver. Sprinkle remaining candy on top for decoration.

Bake for about 24 to 30 minutes, or until the crust is browned and the top of the pie is golden. It may still be a little jiggly in the center. Cool completely. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream, if desired.

Nutritional Information (calculated with 1 cup of M&M’s): Calories Per Serving: 409, Calories from Fat: 159, Fat: 18 g, Trans Fat: 0.1 g (8 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 40 mg, Sodium: 248 mg, Potassium: 206 mg, Carbohydrates: 58 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 36 g, Protein: 4 g.

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Posted in: Cooking, Dine In, Kids

Family Matters: Doggie Ice Cream

Doggie Ice CreamMy pup, Astro, loves a good bowl of ice cream.

He discovered it when his person, Paul, brought him some Frosty Paws ice cream for dogs on one hot, early summer day. I can’t tell you how many cold, tasty “treats” Astro has had since.

He loves his person, and he loves his ice cream.

(Oh, the mischievous part of me was hoping that one day the boys would mistake the Frosty Paws for one of their ice cream treats…Yes, it’s safe for human consumption, but that would have made me laugh. Hard.)

Anyway, I decided to see how difficult it would be to make homemade doggie ice cream for Astro.

It’s so simple that I couldn’t NOT try it!

Basically, you combine yogurt with some dog-safe ingredients, freeze and voila! Homemade doggie ice cream.

This is Astro’s favorite.


1 ripe banana
1 cup peanut butter
2 cups natural plain yogurt
2 Tbs honey

Mash the banana and stir it into the yogurt, mixing well. Microwave the peanut butter for 30 seconds or until it’s easier to stir. Add the peanut butter to the banana-yogurt mixture, then stir in the honey and mix until well-combined. Pour the mixture into ice cube trays and freeze overnight. When your pooch needs a treat, pop out a cube and let him enjoy!

Shop the Sale: Buffalo-Style Pork Chops

Buffalo-Style Pork ChopsNeed I mention my well-documented love of all things buffalo? Probably not. You know this by now.

However, I’ve never tried it on pork chops.

The hot sauce is a bold complement to juicy pork chops, as pork can stand up well to the tang of the sauce. When you mix it with butter, you almost think you’re eating a hot wing with less mess, of course.

When I actually made this recipe, I used bleu cheese crumbles in addition to the provolone cheese to make it feel more like buffalo chicken. I just sprinkled them on top of the provolone and completed the directions as written. It didn’t disappoint. Now, one of my kids likes bleu cheese; it’s too stinky for the other’s taste. Either way, it’s an optional way to jazz up this dish.

One of the things I love about cooking these chops in a cast iron skillet is that the butter/hot sauce combo caramelizes on the chop, creating more of a crust than a sauce.

Boneless pork chops are on sale this week at Brookshire’s, so take a chance and spice up your pork with this recipe.

Buffalo-Style Pork Chops

2 Tbs butter
3 Tbs Frank’s Hot Sauce
4 (1/2 to 3/4-inch thick) boneless pork chops (about 10 oz each)
4 thin slices provolone cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

Season each pork chop with salt and pepper. Set aside to rest.

Melt the butter in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Whisk the Frank’s Hot Sauce in the melted butter and cook until it bubbles. Toss pork chops into the bubbling butter mixture, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove from heat; place a slice of provolone cheese on top of each chop. Place a lid or a baking sheet over the cast iron skillet until cheese is melty. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 531, Calories from Fat: 192, Fat: 21 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (11 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 237 mg, Sodium: 539 mg, Potassium: 1225 mg, Carbohydrates: 1 g, Protein: 78 g.

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Healthy Living: Greek Chicken Pita

Greek Chicken PitaFueled by the introduction of two new restaurants in my city recently (one Greek and one Mediterranean), I’ve been cooking with lots of fresh flavors this summer.

Lots of cucumbers, fresh tomatoes, basil from my garden, lemon, red onion and meals that are more “small bites” instead of heavy feasts.

It reminds me of my visits to the Amalfi Coast of Italy. The air is clean, the water is clear, the views are stunning and the food is some of the best in the world, in my opinion. Breakfast one morning was figs drizzled in local honey with whole-grain bread, freshly baked of course, and a selection of local cheeses. Then, lunch was a platter of olives, cured meats, cheeses, grapes and crostini. But dinner! Oh my! Dinner was a roasted chicken, fresh tomatoes and cucumbers with just-picked oregano leaves, a block of feta cheese topped with slivered onions and drizzled with olive oil and lemons picked from the trees in the grove next to the hotel. It was sublime.

This dish reminds me of that meal, and even better, you can pack it for lunch.

Greek Chicken Pita

1 (6 1/2-inch) whole-wheat pita, cut in half to make pockets
3 oz cooked chicken breast, boneless, skinless and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 medium tomato, chopped
1/4 cup cucumbers, chopped
1 Tbs red onions, chopped
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup romaine lettuce, shredded
2 Tbs crumbled feta cheese (about 1/2 oz)

Combine chicken, tomatoes, cucumbers and onions in a large bowl. Whisk olive oil and lemon juice to combine. Add oregano and stir. Fold into chicken mixture and gently add cheese. Stuff into pita halves with romaine lettuce. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 245, Calories from Fat: 99, Fat: 11 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (2 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 43 mg, Sodium: 302 mg, Potassium: 269 mg, Carbohydrates: 20 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 2 g, Protein: 18 g.

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Product Talk: Special K with Red Berries

Special K with Red BerriesSchool has started and that means making sure my kids are getting a nutritious breakfast in the mornings. They’ve never been cereal types…until now, that is.

This year, I introduced them to one of MY favorite cereals, Special K with Red Berries.

They love how the red berries, dehydrated strawberries, plump up when they add milk, but they mostly love the taste!

Special K with Red Berries is a great source of fiber. It’s made with whole-grains including rice and wheat, and does not contain high-fructose corn syrup. At 110 calories per serving, it does not have any fat, and provides a lot of the vitamins and minerals kids need to get going every morning.

Dine In: Steak and Cheese-Stuffed Pretzel Bites

Steak and Cheese-Stuffed Pretzel BitesSchool started this week, and that calls for a celebration, you know, before the weeks wear you out so much that you can only muster delivery pizza on Friday nights.

My boys LOVE this recipe, and I have to admit that I’m a pretty big fan as well. This is a great recipe for kids to help with, as they can roll pretzel balls to their heart’s content. You can swap out the filling ingredients. We’ve tried ham and Swiss with chopped pickles, roast beef with provolone, pepperoni and mozzarella, and scrambled eggs with ham and cheese. Did I mention we like this recipe?

The secret to the pretzel texture of the dough, crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside, is the boil-then-bake approach. Don’t skip this step, although it is a bit more labor-intensive. The result is well worth it.

Serve with a salad, and these back-to-school bites make a great meal.

Steak and Cheese-Stuffed Pretzel Bites

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 Tbs sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
1 pkg active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
4 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
vegetable oil, for bowl
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 1/2 to 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1 1/2 to 2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1 1/2 cups rare roast beef, coarsely chopped
1 large egg yolk, beaten with 1 Tbs water

In the large bowl of your electric mixer, mix warm water, sugar and salt. Sprinkle the yeast on top of the water, no need to mix. Let sit for about 5 minutes or until the mixture becomes foamy.

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Family Matters: Mother’s Day Out

Mother's Day OutAt this age, your little one might be ready for a Mother’s Day Out situation. Lots of kids LOVE to socialize with others their age, while others are a little more hesitant to be left alone.

If you have the latter, ease your child into the situation by starting out small, leaving them for small increments of time. I remember leaving my younger son in the gym’s childcare so I could try to squeeze in a 30-minute workout. I also remember the loudspeaker at the gym asking me to return to the child care area before I even broke a sweat. However, we went consistently, and each time, he held out a little longer before he would cry for me. Finally (and it probably wasn’t that long in the great scheme of things), he played happily in the child care and actually got excited when I dropped him off.

My older son never had separation anxiety. He just took to new situations with ease, which is kind of funny considering their personalities today (total opposite of their baby years).

If you’re considering leaving your little one in a social situation, visit the facility and make sure it’s clean; the staff is competent, warm and friendly; and YOU are comfortable with the whole package. Then, take baby by for a visit, staying with them the first time. Remember, they will pick up on your cues, so if you are excited, you might help them feel more at ease.

Then, try to leave them alone. They might take to it easily; they might be nervous at first. You have to get a feel for your little one. In most cases, there’s no need to force the situation. If they hate it, try again in a few weeks.

Family Matters: Talk To Your Baby

Talk To Your BabyMy niece and nephew just turned seven months.

The twins are as cute as they can be and at an adorable age. I loved the time between six and 12 months. Babies are responsive and interactive, and you can really see their personalities emerging.

Emma is pure sunshine. She giggles and laughs, and her blue eyes sparkle. Her twin, Patrick, is much more serious. He looks at you with his big, brown eyes like he’s thinking deep thoughts.

Emma is having babbling conversations with her parents and her big brother and sister. They encourage her by babbling back and talking to her in voices with different pitches and volumes.

Patrick loves peek-a-boo. His big sister, Claire, will hold a blanket over her face and spring out from behind it, shrieking “PEEK A BOO.” Patrick will laugh and laugh.

Babies will also start to understand that different tones of voice mean different things and can start learning a stern “no.”

Your job is to facilitate this conversation with baby, no matter what form it takes. Baby loves the sound of your voice and can recognize the voices from family members. Talk, talk, talk.

Family Matters: Sleepy Time

Sleeping BabyThe other day, I was looking at my boys, both now in middle school, and missing the newborn days when they slept in my arms for hours on end.

I also remembered just how much a baby sleeps, although it felt to me like they were never doing that good sleep at nighttime.

A one-month-old baby needs eight hours of sleep at night and another eight hours during the day. At three months, it’s about 10 hours at night and five during the day. At six months, your little one needs 11 hours at night and about three-and-a-half during the day.

To help your baby get the sleep he needs, try to keep his schedule as consistent as possible. Put him to bed and wake him up at about the same time every day. Let him sleep in the same place each night and in the same place for naps each day.

Of course, if your baby is less than a month old, he’ll probably sleep anywhere and everywhere he can.

It’s not a bad thing to hold your baby while he sleeps during the first weeks of his life. You can’t spoil a baby, but you do want him to get accustomed to his own bed as well.

You might notice a newborn baby can sleep through anything, and there’s no reason to change your daytime routine to accommodate his sleep needs. However, this might change as he gets a little older and becomes used to silence (or noise).

Remember to keep baby’s crib clear of blankets or large stuffed toys. Use a sleep sack or other weather-appropriate pajama set.

Establish a bedtime routine and stick to it. The familiar transition will help baby get to sleep more easily and stay asleep!

Shop the Sale: Ribeye Steaks

Ribeye SteaksA few weekends ago, we went to Brookshire’s, and Paul picked out two of the most amazing steaks I’d ever seen in my life.

I don’t even know if ribeyes were on sale that day, like they are this week at Brookshire’s, but it didn’t even matter: we got them anyway.

We got SIX MEALS out of those two steaks. Six. For each of us.

The beauty of a good ribeye is that you don’t need to do a lot to it in order for it to be the most delicious meal you’ve ever eaten.

We simply rub it with David Wade’s Worcestershire Powder, a little Lawry’s Seasoned Salt and some black pepper. Then, we (we, meaning Paul) slap it down on the grill over high heat to get that wonderful sizzle, of course, and turn the heat down a bit, cooking approximately six minutes per side for a medium-rare, 2-inch thick steak.

We had steaks the first night (with baked potatoes, salad and cream peas), steak tacos the second night (with Paul’s homemade hot sauce) and then got several more leftover meals from the meat and grilled onions.

Since they’re on sale this week, you have a ton of delicious and economical choices

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The products mentioned in “Share, the Brookshire’s Blog” are sold by Brookshire Grocery Company, DBA Brookshire’s . Some products may be mentioned as part of a relationship between its manufacturer and Brookshire’s.

Product Talk

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