Comfort Foods and Indulgences

brownie-chever-3Brownies are the perfect picnic food. I wanted chocolate, I wanted a brownie, but I wanted something a little different. I thought a cream cheese brownie would be great but didn’t have cream cheese. However, what I did have was some goat cheese. I thought, what the heck…I am going to experiment.

I used the brownie base for David Lebovitz’s (Ready for Dessert) cheesecake brownies, but swapped the cream cheese for goat cheese and added a touch more sugar (to compensate for the tartness in the goat cheese).

I also omitted the chocolate chips from the actual brownie base and instead took a skinny bar of Valrhona and did a rough chop. After swirling in the cheese mixture, I dotted the top of the brownies with the chocolate chunks.

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GAMEDAY-DESSERTS-largeIn terms of sports-watching food, desserts are often neglected. And this just isn't right -- you have to balance out the nachos and wings with something sweet.

Granted, desserts aren't exactly the most fan-friendly food. Wielding a spoon while booing and cheering is a potentially dangerous (and definitely frustrating) endeavor. Which is why we've compiled a list of the best handheld desserts we could find. Classic cookies, rice krispies, blondies and brownies are all included.

Whether you're a fan of butterscotch, chocolate or peanut butter, we've got you covered. Check out our 35 dessert recipes that are perfect for football season.

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cookie.s.yard .choc.chip .sm Levi woke up a few mornings ago and the first thing he said to me was, “I really want you to make chocolate chip cookies”. I asked him what kind, what did he want in them, did he want them cakey or chewy? He looked at me as if I was speaking a foreign language. And then he looked at me and said, “just a plain and simple chocolate chip cookie – and mom, fill up the cookie jar with them!”.

I think he is tired of the hoopla surrounding my baking endeavors. He wants the basic. And after thinking about it for a bit, I understand how we all crave just the basics from time to time. I enjoy(and miss) a lazy Sunday morning, under the covers with a good book, I am happy on the couch, sharing an episode of Friday Night Lights with Eli (our obsession), a walk with the family to the neigborhood bagel shop, or simply building a puzzle with Levi, a.k.a “the puzzle king”.

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potatochipcookies.jpgAt an "early 60's tacky tiki" theme party this weekend, it occured to me how sometimes the most retro recipes can also be very of-the-moment. At this particular party there were modern takes on all sorts of things. In each case very high quality ingredients were used and, you know the saying, "quality in, quality out." There was a cucumber gelatin mold salad, only the cucumbers were fresh from the farm, agar-agar was used to gel it and fresh dill and citrus flavors punctuated the dish. It was so good I took some home!

Another dish that hasn't been popular in a while was the cheese ball, though at this party there were three of them. When made with the best cheeses, fresh roasted red peppers and rolled in nuts, it was positively delicious. The dish I had the hardest keeping my paws out of was nothing more than a premium "seven layer dip". Seven layer dip is made from refried beans, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, cheese, olives and green onions or some similar combination. But imagine a version where each layer was made from scratch or with the best products available. It was a far cry from the versions I've had that were made mostly from mundane canned ingredients.

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potato.tatertot.tower_.jpgWhen I heard that my friend, Brigid was making “50″s junk food” I immediately went to a recipe I have been coveting for some time now; Homemade Tater Tots. I have read and re-read Saveur’s 100 issue and there are so many recipes that I want to try, modify, and taste.  But it is these little golden nuggets of fried “potatoes” that I keep coming back to.  Yes, these Tater Tots are indeed fried.  And fried food is one of my guilty pleasures.

This is not a dish that I would regularly put on my dinner table, but it is a great treat and perfect for a crowd.  This is also a dish that could be done in advance.  All of us busy people, juggling everything from kids, work, volunteer committments, plus the perils of everyday life – having something pre-prepared and in the freezer is truly a wonderful thing.

There is simply nothing better than a homemade Tater Tot.  I made mine with organic potatoes and whole wheat flour.  With that said, could this be considered a healthy treat???

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