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4th of July Candy at its Finest – Gummy Army Men!

Image courtesy of AlbaneseCandy.com

Image courtesy of AlbaneseCandy.com

We are just days away from celebrating one of the most important holidays in our country’s rich history. It takes a lot of courage, determination, and passion to break away and claim your independence, whether you’re making a new life for yourself, or forming a new country! So this Independence Day, let’s remember all those brave men and women who came before us, paving the way for the freedoms we get to enjoy every day. And let’s also take time to raise a toast to all the men and women we personally know who take risks every day in the pursuit of happiness! Oh, and let’s find some sweet deals on 4th of July candy as well, shall we?

When it comes to choosing 4th of July candy, just about anything red, white and blue will do. But I like to also include something specifically aimed at honoring our military, and one of the best candies I know that does just that is Gummy Army Men. Here are a few places you can round up some troops of your own, in a bulk 5 pound bag…

Gummy Army Men at BlairCandy.com – $12.50
Gummy Army Men at CandyWarehouse.com – $19.50
Gummy Army Men at SweetServices.com – $13.25
Gummy Army Men at SweetFactory.com – $17.00

I Know What Love Tastes Like. And Yes – There’s Peanut Butter. Of Course.

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup OreosOh look, a picture of a super cute puppy – double tap! Awww, a kitten who thinks she’s a big cat – double tap! What do we have here? Well, that garden is looking beautiful. Tap, tap! And so goes my casual scrolling through my Instagram feed, smiling here and there at adorable things, flowers, sunrises, sunsets, friends’ children, impulse purchases, amusing screenshots, and more.  Perhaps it’s because I’ve spent way too much time on Facebook, and was never a huge fan of Twitter, but as of late my favorite social sites have been Instagram and Pinterest. As a very visual person, that makes sense. Plus, they both have tons of kitties and doggies, so that helps!

A few nights ago I was relaxing in my favorite chair, taking a peek at Instagram and seeing the usual suspects. I follow quite a few accounts dedicated to posting dog pictures, so my feed offers a reliable dose of ‘awww!’ And, the dogs were there. The dogs, kitties, sunrises, and so forth. And as much as I appreciated all of these, it was something else entirely that made me gasp and sit up straight in my chair. This wasn’t a smiling child on a swing set. This wasn’t a picture of a fresh manicure. This wasn’t a selfie, or an inspirational quote with a rainbow behind it, or an image of a hand with a ring captioned ‘I said yes!’ This was something different. This was something cookies. This was something Oreos and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. This was something truly spectacular.

The caption on this image of cookies was a spin on Brand New lyrics for ‘Okay, I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don’t.’ And I only know that because I read the caption to my niece and she told me! The caption read, “I’m heaven sent. Don’t you dare forget. I am all you’ve ever wanted, what all the other cookies promised.” And that was all I needed. Before the dog knew what happened, my shoes were on, my wallet was in my hand, and I was on my way to the grocery store with a single mission in mind. I was going to see if those cookies were being honest. I’ve been sold empty promises before, and there was $4 standing between me and the truth. I didn’t wait until I got home. I barely waited until I was back in the car. And I have to tell you… when I took that first bite of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Oreos, time stood still for a minute. The only things on this earth were me and that cookie, and it was all I ever hoped it could be.

I’ve shared these cookies with some friends and coworkers, and the opinions are a mixed bag. Some people heard angels sing like I did, others aren’t quite as impressed. How about you – have you tried them yet? Let us know what you think in the comments! In the meantime, I’ll be buying enough to make the cashier think I’m hosting a weekly cookie party. (Which I am, and I’m the only one invited!)

DIY Ice Cream Sandwiches!

DIY Ice Cream Sandwiches

Image courtesy of TecheBlog.com

The majority of the year, I am not what would be considered an ‘ice cream person.’ Don’t get me wrong – I like ice cream! But I don’t buy it every time I go to the store, keep it on-hand at all times, or count it as my favorite dessert. I’m more of a cupcakes and candy kinda gal for the most part. However, when I do have an ice cream craving, nothing else but the real deal will quench it. I don’t want a Frosty from Wendy’s, I don’t want a milkshake, and I don’t want frozen yogurt. I want ICE CREAM. And if it’s sandwiched between two chocolate chip cookies, even better!

When the ice cream craving comes knockin’, as it is known to do much more often during the summer months, I usually opt for chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream or the Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwiches I hinted at above. However, today as I was poking around Pinterest, I discovered something so simple that I’m a little shocked I never thought of it before – I could be making my own cookie ice cream sandwiches! And let me tell you, there is countless inspiration on the internet for how to do just that. And it’s all so easy that it just makes me want to scream. For ice cream, that is.

Pick a Size, Any Size!

The flexibility of size is what has me most excited. Trying to cut back a bit on sweets, or just want a little something after dinner? Make miniature cookie ice cream sandwiches! Or perhaps it’s not little you’re after at all, and you want a giant ice cream sandwich that eats like a meal? I think you know what to do here – bake up some giant cookies and add some ice cream between two of them. Push them together, and voila!

Tricks and Tips

If you want your ice cream sandwiches to be delicious and attractive, I came across multiple sites offering the same tip on getting the ice cream center neat and even. Holding a pint of ice cream (whatever flavor you wish!) steady with one hand, carefully cut right through the carton with a sharp knife (see image for details). Once you’ve created all your ice cream slices, sandwich them between two cookies and peel away the carton.

Wait… There’s More!

Want to make them even more tempting? Roll the exposed ice cream sides in your favorite candy or topping! Think chocolate chips, chopped nuts, coconut flakes, crushed candy bars, dried fruit – whatever sounds good to you. Your ice cream sandwich options are limited at the grocery store, but when you DIY your ICS you can get creative!

Want some more flavor inspiration? Check out 19 Amazing Ice Cream Sandwich Hacks Geeks Would Love!

Wrangle Up a Good Price on Nerds Ropes!

Nerds Rope

Image courtesy of TemptationCandy.com

Looking at everything from the packaging to the candy itself, I can pretty clearly see that Nerds Ropes were not designed to target a more…shall we say…’mature’ audience. Nerds Ropes are kid candy at its colorful best – literally a candy-on-top-of-candy-concoction, because two candies are so much better than one. And you know what? I really don’t care if I’m not their target market. I understand that most people my age probably aren’t downing Rope and Rope. But I looooove them. I may even love them more than Nerds themselves, and I love Nerds plenty!

Like so many favorites before them, my feelings toward the Nerds Rope fell into the immediate infatuation category. One day I’d never had them before, and the next I was eating more than my dentist would want to know about. In time, I learned that just maybe a 2 Ropes a day habit wasn’t healthy. But I think it’s safe to say that a month never goes by without at least Rope. What can I say – I’m caught up in them! I even opt for the ‘kid pack’ at the local movie theater because it comes with the perfect amount of popcorn, a small drink and a pack of candy. That pack of candy was Sour Patch Kids for many years, and while I like those a lot as well, I am able to resist them. Well, the candy portion has been replaced with a Nerds Rope, so even if I arrive at the theater immediately after dinner, you know I’m ordering a kids pack. I have to. I really can’t not.

If you love Nerds Ropes as well, or just want to see what all the fuss is about, here are some shops online where you can pick up a box of 24…

Nerds Ropes at TheOnlineCandyShop.com – $18.72

Nerds Ropes at CandyWarehouse.com – $30.00

Nerds Ropes at BlairCandy.com – $20.95

Nerds Ropes at TheWholesaleCandyShop.com – $18.15

Nerds Ropes at TemptationCandy.com – $23.00

Nerds Ropes at EconomyCandy.com – $19.20

Retro Candy Wrappers Provide a Taste of the Past

There are certain vintage candy wrappers whose image is forever cemented in my mind. In fact, some of these are so concretely stored that even though I’ve seen several incarnations since, none look quite as ‘right’ as the packaging they were in when I first discovered them, or loved them most. There are also many candy wrappers that I’ve never seen myself in person, with them having pre-dated my birth, or perhaps having simply escaped the forefront of my memory, replaced by more something more recent.

So today, I set out on a Google Images search to see what I could drum up! To say there are plenty of vintage candy wrappers to peruse is an understatement. There…are…many! And below are some of my personal favorites. Do you remember when the wrappers below were still in production? What are some of your favorite candy wrappers of the past and present?

 

Peanut M&Ms

Image courtesy of virals.eu

5th Avenue Candy Bar Wrapper

Image courtesy of candywrapperarchive.com

Lik-m-aid Fun Dip Wrapper

Image courtesy of collectingcandy.com

Vintage Skittles Wrapper

Image courtesy of designisblank.com

80s Nerds Boxes

Image courtesy of Gregg Koenig – flickr.com/photos/25692985@N07/8505320934/

Bottle Caps Candy Wrapper

Image courtesy of Brandon – flickr.com/photos/wafflewhiffer/6524306851/

Chiclets Tiny Size

Image courtesy of Pinterest

The Cutest Turtle Cupcakes I Ever Did See!

Turtle CupcakesI have recently discovered The Galapagos Islands. Now, I haven’t discovered them in the way that I just found out about them, mind you. I have, naturally, heard of them before, and in a very general way I thought they sounded nice. But this week a friend sent me a link to a site that hosts tours of the Islands as she is considering a vacation, and the more I read the more I wanted to go as well!

The beaches are beautiful, the weather is wonderfully warm, the landscape is breathtaking, and the water – oh, the water! But of all the things I’ve read, what interests me the most is the giant tortoises. They just look so cool and interesting, and I want to meet at least one of them before I leave this Earth! In the meantime, I’ll be making do with something sweet. Namely, turtle cupcakes!

I came across these captivatingly cute cupcakes on Pinterest, and traced that recipe on back to Spoonful.com. Here’s what you’ll need to decorate your cupcakes…

  • Miniature Chocolate Chips
  • Frosting
  • Red and Green Gumdrops
  • Sour Peach Gummi Rings
  • Spearmint Leaves
  • Kitchen Skewer or Toothpick

You’ll need to make some cupcakes as well, or you can buy them already made. We won’t tell. ;)

For step-by-step directions on making your turtle cupcakes the best they can be, check out the recipe at Spoonful.com. And once you’ve satisfied your sweet tooth, browse the internet for pictures and information about The Galapagos Islands. Maybe one day we can make the trip together!

My First Caramel Love – Sugar Daddy!

Image courtesy of OldTimeCandy.com

Image courtesy of OldTimeCandy.com

Well, folks. Yours truly is currently experiencing something we all go through at some point, usually more than once. I have a toothache! I don’t even want to tell my friends because their fingers will point to my candy cupboard so quickly the door might fly open. But as we all know, while candy isn’t exactly the best thing for your teeth, with proper brushing and flossing you can keep your choppers chomping just fine. So I really do think this toothache isn’t candy-related, even though some may think I’m in denial! That said, I have cut down on my sweets this week as I get closer to my dental appointment. In fact, I’ve been eating less overall because as anyone who has suffered a toothache understands, it’s pretty much all you can think about. Well, that and all the candy I want that I can’t have until it’s better!

Yes, I am currently in the thick of ‘wanting what I can’t have’ syndrome. Since my tooth hurts and candy is the least practical thing to be craving, I want it VERY MUCH. And not just any candy, oh no! I want the sweetest, stickiest, most un-toothache-friendly candy I can think of. I want a Sugar Daddy! And as soon as my toothache is a distant memory, I’m going to have one. Do you want one, too? Here’s some places to check out…

Smaller Size Sugar Daddy Junior – Boxes of 48

OldTimeCandy.com – $7.99
CandyWarehouse.com – $9.60
Amazon.com – $9.50
BlairCandy.com – $7.95
RoyalCandyCompany.com – $8.48

Which Candy Could You Happily Eat Forever?

Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bar

Image courtesy of Hersheys.com

 

I came across an article today on USA Today titled If I could eat only one candy the rest of my life… Reading on I found it was a question the author had asked of her readers, and they answered with some treats that even yours truly has never heard of! In the mix were some classics, including Skittles, Peanut M&M’s and Cadbury Crème Eggs, but there were also Brach’s Fiesta Eggs, Bleeps, Burton Jammie Dodgers, and more. I’ll definitely be writing down all those that are new to me so I can seek them out sometime!

Naturally, this article got me thinking about some of my own favorites, and left me hoping that I would never have to choose just one. Honestly, I can’t imagine and don’t want to imagine! That said, putting together a list of favorites sounded rather fun, so I did do that. This is by no means a complete list, but many of the candies I buy time and again (and again!) are below. Please share some of your own in the comments –  I’d love to see which candies mean the most to all of you!

A Few Of My Favorite Sweets

5th Avenue Candy Bars
Gummy Peach Rings
Miniature Reese’s Cups
Regular Hershey’s Bars
Original Fruit Skittles
Gummy Strawberry Creams
Grape Tootsie Frooties
Twix
Hot Tamales

It’s Time to Bake an Easter Cake!

Easter Peeps Cake

Image courtesy of Pinterest

Well, folks – we can’t claim that we weren’t given enough time to make something nice. Easter 2014 is 3 weeks later than it was last year, with everyone’s favorite bunny hopping through town April 20th. Could we whip up a quick dessert last year and claim that Easter snuck up on us? Sure! But can we pull that same stunt this year? Not a chance.

This year, it’s time to pull out the big guns. It’s time to set aside all those 10 minute recipes and get down to business baking a real, from scratch, cake. The kind our grandmothers and mothers baked. The kind that don’t come in a box. The kind that every single time we take a bite, we remember why they’re worth the extra time!

We all have our own favorite cake recipes, be they lemon, chocolate, vanilla, or any of a million other varieties. I’m not even going to search for a cake recipe as there are countless options, and you probably have one in mind already, anyway! That said, I did find a decorating idea that I had to share. The effect is charming and fun, and it doesn’t require you to be a master cake decorator to pull it off.

The cake in the photograph is round, but I imagine just about any traditional shape would work. I also love that you can easily adjust the design for smaller or larger cakes simply by creating more or fewer flowers. I couldn’t find an ingredients list, but here’s all that it looks like you’ll need (in addition to supplies for the cake itself, of course!)…

  • Frosting (or the ingredients to make your own)
  • Food Coloring or Colored Icing (for the flower stems and leaves)
  • Marshmallow Peeps
  • Jelly Beans
  • Green Icing (for the grass along the outside)

What do you all think of this Easter cake? Is it something you’ll consider making for Easter dessert? What other recipes do you have in your baking basket? Please share in the comments!

I’m Thinking Spring Candy Thoughts

Albanese Mini Gummy Butterflies

Image courtesy of AlbaneseConfectionery.com

Ya know, we got a few nice days in. The sun was shining, a heavy wool coat was optional, and I didn’t even have to ask myself before I stepped outside whether I should bring gloves. Spring sprung, birds chirped, children even played in the park. It was wonderful! And then winter decided it wasn’t going to leave quite so easily, and we’re back to shivering away the day.

But I’m not going to let it defeat me. I still get my longer days, and spring almost certainly has to warm up eventually, right? Gosh, I hope so! And no matter how completely over this winter I may be, I’ll still take sweater and coat weather over the oppressive ‘How is it even possible to be this hot and humid?’ dog days of summer. If it were around 65 degrees every day, I’d be about as happy a camper as you’ve ever seen hike a trail!

Since I don’t have control over the weather itself, and since spring really has arrived whether it feels like it or not, I am doing the ‘spring thing’ to the fullest. I’m wearing my brightest warm clothes, I’ve started spring cleaning, and I’ve even placed an order or two for some spring candy. What qualifies as spring candy, you might be asking? Among many other things, mini gummy butterflies!

I’m not sure if more than one company makes delicious gummy butterflies, but I do know the kind Albanese creates are super good! With a pretty translucence and a perfectly sweet fruity taste, these are about as springtastic as it gets. And here’s where you can get some of your own…

5 lb. bags of Mini Gummy Butterflies

AlbaneseConfectionery.com – $9.99 (on sale!)
BlairCandy.com – $13.95
RoyalCandyCompany.com – $12.95
SweetFactory.com – $17.00
CandyWarehouse.com – $19.50
Candy.com – $14.95 (on sale!)
GroovyCandies.com – $17.95