Friday Favorites (aka my sweet tooth is showing)

Happy, happy Friday!!!

I’ve been a busy, busy bee during this short week! Between work and working out, I’ve had little time for school work so you know what my weekend is going to look like! I should probably take a day off work so I can get ahead on the school work so I’m at the front rather than the back of the week. *sigh*

Hopefully, my schedule will sort itself out once the new box opens. I need to spend less time in my car – I need that time for getting As!  I haven’t heard officially yet but I know they were planning on next week! EEEPP!

I’m also hoping to squeeze in a dinner and a movie date this weekend with my sailor. I’d really like to see “Into the Woods.”  I ❤ Anna Kendrick! Anyone seen it yet?

So, let’s chat about my favorites this week.  I apparently have a major sweet tooth.

Found this little gem at a cute little store we’ve driven past and thought about checking out but never did. Perhaps that was a good thing because I believe I am now addicted to this stuff.

My name is Jennifer (hi, Jennifer) and I’m an addict. I once ate an entire jar of chocolate peanut brittle in one sitting. And I thought long and hard about driving to get more afterwards.

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OMG, have you TRIED this cashew milk yet?!?!?!  It kinda has a sweet taste to it – it’s very different from almond milk – and I’ve been LOVING it in my protein smoothies! I also recreated the Overnight Quinoa Oatmeal using the cashew milk (instead of almond) and adding honey and almond butter (I subtracted the brown sugar). Holy. YUM.

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I don’t even remember where I found this coffee but it is so good! The caramel and sea salt flavors are so subtle that all you can taste when you drink is really. good. coffee.

I’m usually a light roast girl – medium roast can sometimes upset my poor sensitive tummy – and I don’t often care for flavored coffee (creamer? yes. coffee? not so much.) but this stuff is pretty smooth and light. I’ve heard/read somewhere that you can actually taste the difference between regular coffee beans (ie. Folgers, etc) and organic (usually more expensive and harder to find) coffee. I believe them!

Speaking of coffee, has anyone tried the Bulletproof stuff? I’m intrigued. It’s really expensive though!

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Sometimes, I enjoy having a cup of tea in the evening. I have coffee (usually only 1 cup) in the morning, I drink water all day, and then, in the evening, I’m in the mood for something different. And because drinking wine every night probably isn’t the best decision I could make, tea wins! 😉

I recently picked up these two new flavors (new to me, that is) of tea from Celestial Seasonings. I love their Sleepytime Series and their Tension Tamer (that one has catnip in it. for reals.).

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hm. I think I’m being stalked.

I wasn’t too sure how much I was going to like the mint flavor (I’m funny about mint – I like it in gum and with chocolate but I wasn’t sure about drinking it) but I’m all about the flavor of vanilla so I figured the Roibos would be an excellent choice! I had a coupon for .75 (or something like that) off 2 so that’s why I grabbed both. And, I’m happy to report that they are both excellent!

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yes, this picture is a little blurry. i cannot explain it.

I’ve recently learned chatting on Facebook (hey, have you liked my page yet?!) that I am an inexperienced tea drinker. I need to change that. STAT.  I need to try Yogi tea and something about dragon pearls. I don’t know. I’m intrigued though. Where do I find such teas?

Have a great weekend! 🙂

– jennifer

Chocolate-Oatmeal Carmelitas

I’m a cookbook junkie. There, I said it. That’s the first step towards recovery, right? But, I think I may be too far gone to rehabilitate. We are having a gift and book fair at work right now and, generally, where there are books, there are cookbooks and this book fair did not disappoint. Yes, I browsed and yes, I purchased. 2 of them! I wanted more!! It’s promising that I limited myself to only 2, right? I could have bought them ALL! Anyway, the good news is I have new recipes to try and that means YOU’LL get new recipes to try. One of the cookbooks is a crock pot cookbook and you know how much I love convenience, especially on a weekday. OMG, I am so excited about these new recipes!!! (insert vision of Kermit wildly swinging his arms around to describe how EXCITED I am!!!)

But, this post is not about cookbooks. It’s about a bake sale. No really, we’re having a bake sale at work tomorrow – I know! So many exciting things happening at my place of employment!! – and the proceeds benefit the American Heart Association. It’s our final bake sale before the Heart Walk on Saturday. So, even though I had a tough workout at class tonight and I’ve been up a loooooong time already, you know I had to contribute – especially once I found a recipe for Chocolate-Oatmeal Carmelitas, courtesy of Food and Wine magazine. (did I mention I’m also a cooking magazine junkie? *sigh* I have a problem.) The ABSOLUTE BEST part about this recipe is the fact that it has to sit overnight before cutting the carmelitas into bars. That means, once the pan comes out of the oven, I’m going to bed! Anyway, that’s not important – well, to me it is but we’re not talking about me. We’re talking about chocolate chips, oatmeal, pecans, caramel all combined into one fabulous dessert concoction. Oh, did I mention the butter? Yes. Butter. Lots of it. The whole thing is decadence in a 9×13 pan. Yes, I know I tout healthy eating. No, these cannot be lumped into the “healthy treat” category. So what? Sometimes, a girl just wants a chewy oatmeal bar jam packed with gooey caramel, chocolate chips, and pecans. So sue me. You know you want one too. 🙂

Chocolate-Oatmeal Carmelitas
makes 24 bars

3 cups plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 sticks (1 pound) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
2 1/4 cups light brown sugar
one 16-ounce jar dulce de leche (1 1/2 cups); see Note
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped pecans

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan. In a large bowl, whisk 3 cups of the flour with the baking soda and salt. Add the butter, oats and brown sugar and mix until combined. In a small bowl, mix the dulce de leche with the remaining 3 tablespoons of flour.

2. Pat half of the oat mixture into the baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Scatter half of the chocolate chips and pecans over the crust. Dollop half of the dulce de leche mixture on top. Crumble the remaining oat mixture evenly into the pan. Cover with the remaining chocolate chips, pecans and dulce de leche. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until the edges are set. Let stand uncovered at room temperature overnight. Cut the carmelitas into bars and serve.

NOTE: Dulce de leche, the Latin caramel sauce, is available at most supermarkets and specialty food shops.

MAKE AHEAD: Once cooled, the carmelitas can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month.