Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

I've hung up my dress-for-success clothes, and pulled my domestic "genes" out of storage.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Baked Apple Compote


Ms Toody Goo Shoes: Baked Apple Compote - Delicious over pancakes, vanilla ice cream or mixed into oatmeal.

Are you a creature of habit when it comes to eating breakfast?

When I was working, I was on auto-pilot, and ate the same thing every day...
there was no time to think about what to eat.

Now that I'm not rushing off to catch a train, 
well, I'm still pretty much eating the same thing every morning, actually,
although I do seem to have seasonal eating habits.

Once fall starts, and through the winter, oatmeal is my breakfast of choice.
I usually sweeten it with a spoonful of pumpkin butter,
some sunflower seeds, flax meal and a few craisins.

I wouldn't have deviated from this pattern, 

but this recipe for baked apples caught my eye.

Ms Toody Goo Shoes: Baked Apple Compote - Delicious over pancakes, vanilla ice cream or mixed into oatmeal.

It's been in my recipe binder for years, 
but for one reason or another, I never made it. 
Until yesterday.

Oh, my, my, MY!
Can I tell you how good this is? 
I can...and I will...
It's SO GOOD!
Yumcious!
Delish!
Mouth-watering!

You get the idea.
I liked it a lot.

I ate it three times yesterday...
 with yogurt and granola, on a waffle, and right out of the pan.
Good thing I didn't have any vanilla ice cream, or I would have had that, too.
This morning, I mixed the apples into my oatmeal, and I was swooning! 

Ms Toody Goo Shoes: Baked Apple Compote - Delicious over pancakes, vanilla ice cream or mixed into oatmeal.

I clipped the recipe from Cooking Light magazine, years ago.
The directions say to mix all of the ingredients together, 
 and cook in the microwave for 20 minutes.

Usually, I'm all for taking the easy way out, but somehow, microwaving apples, seemed... well, unbefitting of such an fragrant fruit.
Half the enjoyment of baking apples is taking pleasure in the aroma,
and I didn't want to deprive myself of that.  
I mean, the name of the recipe is Baked Apples, for goodness sake.

And so, because I had the time, I baked my baked apples.  

The recipe calls for six apples. That seemed like a lot, even for me.
I cut the recipe in half, but used four apples instead of three, 
since I wanted it to be more apple-y than cranberry-y.
 I omitted the walnuts, since Mr. Goo Shoes doesn't like nuts in his foods 
(not that I've shared any with him, yet, heh-heh).

Unless you want to make a shisl full (*Yiddish for huge bowl), 
you may want to make half of the full recipe, below.

Ms Toody Goo Shoes: Baked Apple Compote - Delicious over pancakes, vanilla ice cream or mixed into oatmeal.
 
Baked Apple Compote
(recipe from Cooking Light magazine)

2 cups dried cranberries
1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup water
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
6 apples - about 6 pounds (Gala, Rome, Ida Red or McIntosh)

Combine all ingredients in a large oven-proof dish. Bake at 350°F for approximately 50-60 minutes, or until apples are soft. Stir occasionally. 

Alternate method: Place ingredients in microwave safe dish. Microwave on HIGH for 20 minutes, or until apples are soft, stirring occasionally.

Yield: 6 cups


I think I'll make another batch on Sunday morning, and serve it over pancakes.
Wanna come over for breakfast?

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Friday, October 24, 2014

12 Favorite Fall Foods From Trader Joe's

12 Favorite Fall Foods From Trader Joe's  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes  #TraderJoes

Are you one of those Trader Joe's fanatics?
You know, the ones that Huffington Post wrote about...
Or the ones in the video at the bottom of this post?

 "Fanatic" is a pretty strong word,
so I'll not apply that moniker to myself, but I will say that I am a...
 HUGE FAN. 

(Let me say right here that I am not being compensated in any way 
by Trader Joe's...I just really love their products).

I'm not kidding, if I had to choose three material things I could not live without, 
I'd say my cell phone, my down comforter...and Trader Joe's.

OK, maybe that does qualify me as a fanatic. 

Apparently there are a lot of us out there. 
I know, because some of them are my former co-workers. 

When I was still working at a television network, we had a monthly meeting 
to talk about which programs we should air in prime-time.
This was pretty important stuff...as our decisions were critical in attracting 
millions of TV viewers to tune in.

This vital strategy session was called the...
"Prime Time Calendar/What I Found at Trader Joe's" meeting.

 I'm serious.

Not a meeting went by that we didn't spend the first twenty minutes discussing 
new products we discovered at Trader Joe's.
Finally, we'd get down to real business, deep into strategic discussions 
about network competition and Nielsen ratings, when someone would say,
"OMG, have you tried the Sea Salt and Turbinado Sugar Dark Chocolate Almonds? 
They're a-MAZ-ing!" 

Now, instead of sharing my Trader Joe faves with them, 
I get to share them with you.  :)
Hopefully you are not in the middle of something really important, like brain surgery, while you're reading this, 
because I'd hate for you to stop in the middle of an operation to write me an  
"omg, you've got to try the Speculoo's Cookie Butter!" comment. 

So, what was my methodology for coming up with my 12 favorite fall foods? 
The notion of such a collection was not pre-meditated.
It was truly an "aha" moment, while I was waiting to check out at Trader Joe's.
 As I looked down at my bounty of seasonal items, I saw the rough draft of a blog post sitting right there in the bottom of my shopping cart. 

Many of these seasonal specialties have been on my best-loved list for years;
a few are new this season (at least to me), and have become instant favorites. 

Here is my list, in no particular order.

1. PITA CRISPS WITH CRANBERRIES AND PUMPKIN SEEDS
OK, maybe this is in some kind of particular order, and maybe this is my favorite thing on the list. And maybe I ate an entire bag on the way home from Trader Joe's. Whatever. They're a little salty, a little sweet; a lot of crunch. Note to self: Try with goat cheese (and put them in the trunk next time).

12 Favorite Fall Foods From Trader Joe's  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

2. PUMPKIN BREAD AND MUFFIN MIX
I don't often do mixes, but this is one of my exceptions. It's a bread, it's a muffin...
I bet it can even masquerade as a baked donut. I like to mix in chocolate chips, but I'm dreaming of my next batch, swirled with Nutella (like my Banana-tella bread). 

12 Favorite Fall Foods From Trader Joe's  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

3.ORGANIC PUMPKIN PUREE
Sure, you can get canned pumpkin anywhere. Not only is this organic, it's cheaper than other brands I've seen (as are many of TJ's products). Oh, and it's got a yumcious recipe for pumpkin pie on the back. 

12 Favorite Fall Foods From Trader Joe's  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

4. PUMPKIN CRANBERRY CRISPS
I bought these little sweet-and-savories last year to serve with cheese (delish with #12!). They were such a hit, that I am now required to buy extra boxes for friends who don't live near TJ's. Hey Siri, what are Trader Joe's expansion plans?

12 Favorite Fall Foods From Trader Joe's  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

5. HONEYCRISP APPLE CIDER
It's juice, whole juice, and nothing but the juice. No preservatives, like another brand I tried. Honeycrisps are my favorite apples, so when I saw this, I HAD to try it. I even taste-compared this to a "fresh" Honeycrisp cider. Do you think I would have listed it as a favorite if the other brand won? (TJ's is less watery, btw). 

12 Favorite Fall Foods From Trader Joe's  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

6. PUMPKIN BUTTER
I can't believe it's not butter! Not even close...no dairy, no fat, no cholesterol...
just a pumpkin spread with yummy spices in it. I hoard it so I can enjoy year-round. 
How do I love thee, pumpkin butter? Mostly, in my oatmeal, and in plain yogurt. Or...spread on an english muffin (British muffin, if it's from TJ's), topped with cottage cheese sprinkled with cinnamon, and broiled in the toaster oven a few minutes. I just drooled on my keyboard thinking about it. 

12 Favorite Fall Foods From Trader Joe's  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

7. ORGANIC PUMPKIN FROSTED TOASTER PASTRIES
I bought these for Junior Goo Shoes as a treat, since they are healthier than other toaster pastries (that would never pass my label-reading test). Although the directions say you can microwave them, we both agreed that they taste much 
better toasted. And two taste better than one. In My Humble Opinion.


12 Favorite Fall Foods From Trader Joe's  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

8. TURKEY CHILI WITH BEANS
I'm not a meat-out-of-a-can kinda girl, but this is really good! I don't even know what made me first buy this, but now I always keep a can or two on hand for emergencies (Oh - now I remember - I bought this when our power was out, because it was something that could be heated on my gas stove). It's great for filling taco shells, btw. Hide the cans, and no one will know the difference. I won't tell.

12 Favorite Fall Foods From Trader Joe's  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

9. CRANBERRY MAPLE NUT GLUTEN FREE GRANOLA
Good enough to eat out of the bag, it's also a great topping for yogurts. 
And it's glutton-free, so I won't pig out on it. Ohhhh...gluten-free. My bad. That's good, too.

12 Favorite Fall Foods From Trader Joe's  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
 
10. GREEK NONFAT PUMPKIN YOGURT
I have to admit, I don't usually buy TJ's yogurt. But this pumpkin number called out to me when I was walking by. It's so rich and creamy, that I double-checked the label to make sure it was nonfat. Mixed with mini-chocolate chips, it's a "reduced-guilt" dessert (to borrow a phrase from TJ).  

12 Favorite Fall Foods From Trader Joe's  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

11. PUMPKIN BAR BAKING MIX
It's a pumpkin blondie (is that an oxymoron?) I baked, I tasted, I ate half the pan.  OK, I really didn't, but I wanted to. It literally took two minutes to mix these up, and another 25 minutes to bake. Almost-instant baking gratification. The fact that I was on the elliptical while these were in the oven cancels out the calories.

12 Favorite Fall Foods From Trader Joe's  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

12. TOSCANO CHEESE WITH CINNAMON
I promised myself I wouldn't give in to temptation to buy this. But curiosity got the better of me. Crusted with cinnamon? Oh, yes...YES! It's a hard cheese (a little softer and creamier than parmesan), and the cinnamon gives it a nutty taste. Drizzled with honey? Swoon-worthy! All hope of ever resisting this again is over. It's probably my favorite 'favorite' of all. I know, I'm rambling, but I'm in love.

 12 Favorite Fall Foods From Trader Joe's  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes


Soon the shelves will be stocked with holiday specialties.
  What are some of your favorite seasonal products from TJ?
Did somebody say Minty Marshmallows?
Word.  

 
PS - Want a good laugh about those Trader Joe's fanatics?  Watch this video.

Those Crazy Trader Joe's Fans!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Candy Corn Cookie Cake

CANDY CORN COOKIE CAKE- Just 3 ingredients to make this eye-catching Halloween treat!  #CandyCorn #CookieCake #Halloween

Do you "do it up" for Halloween...
as in decorate your house, dress up your pets, put on a costume,
 or host a Halloween party?
I don't do that much, really. 

My Halloween decor is pretty minimal, I haven't dressed up my dog or myself in several years, and I can't remember the last Halloween party I went to.

But I do love handing out candy to the trick-or-treaters.
We get a lot of traffic in our neighborhood, 
because of the "Candy Man" who lives around the corner.
 Last year, we went through 260 bags in under two hours.
I'm thinking that because Halloween falls on a Friday this year, 
we could possibly get 300-400 kids.
Heaven help me if I'm wrong, and I'm left with all that candy. 

CANDY CORN COOKIE CAKE- Just 3 ingredients to make this eye-catching Halloween treat!  #CandyCorn #CookieCake #Halloween

What I do enjoy is baking Halloween treats for Junior Goo Shoes, and his friends. 
I guess I'd rather decorate baked goods than my house, lol, 
although I did make some pretty "fancy" Halloween  candy centerpieces ;)

When I was searching for Halloween baking ideas,
a Candy Corn Cookie Cake caught my eye.
Eye candy, literally!
It was a good excuse to use the new cookie cake pan I just bought,
plus, I could use up some of that candy corn I bought for the centerpieces!

CANDY CORN COOKIE CAKE- Just 3 ingredients to make this eye-catching Halloween treat!  #CandyCorn #CookieCake #Halloween

The best part is, it's super-easy, and uses only three ingredients. 

The directions on the pan call for 18 oz. of refrigerated cookie dough.
I could only find 16 oz. packages, so I had to open a second package to have enough, which was kind of annoying
(I used Trader Joe's Chunky Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough).

I broke the dough into pieces, and scattered them around the pan.
Then, I pressed them together to form a circle, but not all the way to the edge, as the dough spreads when baked.

CANDY CORN COOKIE CAKE- Just 3 ingredients to make this eye-catching Halloween treat!  #CandyCorn #CookieCake #Halloween

Here's one thing I learned the hard way...
the instructions say to cool the cookie in the pan on a rack for five minutes, 
and then turn it over to release and cool completely.

Uh, no. That didn't work.
The cookie was still too hot, and crumbled into pieces.
Oops.
Do-over. 

The second time, I let the cookie cool completely in the pan,
and it came out like a dream.

CANDY CORN COOKIE CAKE- Just 3 ingredients to make this eye-catching Halloween treat!  #CandyCorn #CookieCake #Halloween

After the cookie cooled, I spread it with a thin coating of chocolate icing, 
so the candy corn had something to adhere to.
 I arranged the candy corn in a pinwheel design.

CANDY CORN COOKIE CAKE- Just 3 ingredients to make this eye-catching Halloween treat!  #CandyCorn #CookieCake #Halloween

It's purdy, isn't it?

It will surely stand out in a crowd of desserts, don't you think?

CANDY CORN COOKIE CAKE- Just 3 ingredients to make this eye-catching Halloween treat!  #CandyCorn #CookieCake #Halloween

 Now, here's the thing...it's REALLY sweet.
So, although I cut a large wedge for the purpose of these photos,
I recommend cutting it into 16 pieces, because otherwise, you may have kids bouncing around from sugar rushes for three days straight. 

CANDY CORN COOKIE CAKE- Just 3 ingredients to make this eye-catching Halloween treat!  #CandyCorn #CookieCake #Halloween

CANDY CORN COOKIE CAKE
Recipe adapted from With Sprinkles On Top
Yield: 16 pieces

18 oz. refrigerated cookie dough
1 16 oz. can of frosting (there will be some left over)
1 bag candy corn (you will need approximately 60 pieces)

Generously grease a cookie cake pan

Cut cookie dough into chunks, and scatter around the pan.

Flatten pieces and press together to form a circle, but not all the way to the edge of the pan. Leave about 1/2" - 3/4", since dough will spread as it bakes. 

Bake cookie according to package directions (mine took about 15 minutes at 350F). 

Cool cookie completely in pan; then invert and release from pan, using a butter knife to loosen the sides and bottom, if necessary.

Spread a thin coat of frosting on the top side of the cookie.

Arrange candy corn in pinwheel pattern, starting in the center. 

CANDY CORN COOKIE CAKE- Just 3 ingredients to make this eye-catching Halloween treat!  #CandyCorn #CookieCake #Halloween

Remember, a little goes a long way, so slice the cookie into 16 pieces.

Enjoy! 
 
CANDY CORN COOKIE CAKE- Just 3 ingredients to make this eye-catching Halloween treat!  #CandyCorn #CookieCake #Halloween

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Halloween Candy Centerpieces

 Simple Halloween centerpieces using candy corn and candles #Halloween #CandyCorn #Centerpieces

When it comes to candy, what do you find more irresistible... 
chocolates or sugary confections?

I am a sucker for all things sugary and chewy...
you know what I mean...the kind of stuff that gets stuck to your teeth.
I do draw the line at Skittles, however. Feh.

Simple Halloween centerpieces using candy corn and candles #Halloween #CandyCorn #Centerpieces

Now, don't get me wrong. I LOVE chocolates!
Remember what I did when I bought a box of Belgian chocolates for Mr. Goo Shoes?

Simple Halloween centerpieces using candy corn and candles #Halloween #CandyCorn #Centerpieces

Some sugary treats don't interest me in the least.  
You can keep your Sweet Tarts, Jolly Ranchers, Smarties, Jawbreakers and Lollypops.
I could have a swimming pool full of those, and never feel tempted to dive in.

But when it comes to Jelly Beans, Gummy things, Salt Water Taffy, Twizzlers and Candy Corn...
let's just say it's not beneath me to exhibit some pretty clandestine behavior, such as in hiding candy from the rest of the family, or eating it when no one is looking. 
You might recall me telling you how my sister caught me red-handed buying a huge bag of jellybeans that I intended to share with...uh, no one.

Simple Halloween centerpieces using candy corn and candles #Halloween #CandyCorn #Centerpieces

It's no surprise, then, that candy came to mind when I was thinking about decorating ideas for Halloween.

You know by now that I am all about doing things the laziest easiest way possible,
so I simply filled bowls and vases with candy, added candles (the battery-operated kind), and used them to decorate my buffet. 

Simple Halloween centerpieces using candy corn and candles #Halloween #CandyCorn #Centerpieces

The best part is, you can eat your centerpieces when you are through with them :)

Or, you can sneak a few pieces whenever you walk by...
not that I did that...of course not.

I think the buffet looks pretty "sweet"...guess I'll have to plan a Halloween party. 

Simple Halloween centerpieces using candy corn and candles #Halloween #CandyCorn #Centerpieces

 Or, I could just eat all the candy, and call it a day.



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