chocolate dipped pretzels

Can you believe that we're already saying good-bye to September and hello to October? Time seems to move faster in the fall. I thought it'd be fun to usher in the month with some chocolate dipped pretzels.

The Chatty Student (his mom often yells from the other room, "... Stop telling your teacher about the day and start playing!") brings sprinkled, chocolate-covered pretzels every Christmas. They've become his handmade tradition that I always look forward to receiving, hiding (who says I need to share?) and sneak-eating.


chili topped baked potato

Inspiration comes in many forms. An incredible picture. A few poignant words. An impeccably dressed person.

For The Kids, it was the Food Network magazine's insert, 50 Stuffed Potatoes. The cover photo of the pamphlet garnered an immediate "Let's Make THIS!" reaction. The photo of the overstuffed potato, brimming with chili, sour cream and grated cheese made us drool.

I baked the potatoes and they topped to their hearts' content.

There are a few time-saving techniques you can use. Instead of baking the potato in the oven, you can microwave the potato. Using a fork, poke holes a few times to allow steam to escape. For four potatoes, start with 8 minutes, and then check for doneness. Canned chili and grated, packaged cheese also help. Do what suits your time constraint and preference. Then dig in and enjoy!


summer {iheartfaces}

I interrupt the usual baking and cooking to participate in a fun photo challenge sponsored by i heart faces

The Nephew made an appearance on this blog last year with some potato latkes. He spends a month with us every summer (well, two so far), which means we get in some quality pool time. He is a bit ambivalent about water, but doesn't mind playing, as long as his head doesn't get soaked. You can see the look of consternation in his face; his expressive eyebrows ~ like tildes ~ make me smile.


apple crisp

"Life starts all over again
when it gets crisp in the fall."

Jordan Baker, The Great Gatsby

Happy First Day of Fall! I absolutely LOVE this season: brisk air and cool evenings, pumpkin patches and apple picking, crunchy, crinkling leaves, changing colors.  I agree wholeheartedly with Ms. Baker. Fall bring renewal and refreshment.


s'mores cupcakes

Toasted marshmallow, chocolate, graham cracker ~ an amazing combination forever associated with campfires, summertime and fun. The Daughter and I present it to you in cupcake form!

We baked it for her 13th birthday. I cannot believe she's a teenager, and indeed, the years fly by. She has grown to be a wonderful little lady and sous chef; I love having a baking buddy in the kitchen. Now, if only I could convince her that washing dishes is just as fun as creating the mess...


peanut butter and jelly cupcakes {msc}

I know a girl who would eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every school day, day in, day out. I wish My Kids were that easy. Said girl would love this baking club assignment, though I wonder if she'd want one after her sandwich lunch. Maybe for breakfast?


monkey bubble bread

Our first encounter with Monkey Bread was 10 years ago, in Ocean City. There's a cute kiosk dedicated to this baked delight. If you've never had the pleasure of encountering one, imagine this: yeasty, puffy balls of dough, enrobed in caramelized, sticky, buttery, cinnamon sugar. It's a finger-lickin', tongue-ticklin' treat, most suitable for a gathering of sugarholics. This snack is meant to be eaten fresh out of the oven or definitely day-of, if it lasts that long.


ocean city, new jersey

Our annual pilgrimage down to the Jersey Shore (south of Snooki's haunts) was delayed by Hurricane Irene this year, but when we finally got down to Ocean City, the air was crisp, sky was clear and the water, a bit murky. No worries, as The Kids aren't huge beach fans —don't ask— and are more interested in the variety of amusements and boardwalk fare.

The offerings are innumerable. These are a few of our favorites.

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