Chewie Wookiee Cookies from Diamonds for Desserts

(Image Credit: Diamonds for Dessert)

(Image Credit: Diamonds for Dessert)

I was a Star Wars kid. I loved the original trilogy and saw every single one of the prequel movies in theaters. If I had to pretend to be a princess – not my favorite game – I was Princess Leia. Now, with Star Wars: The Force Awakens primed to hit theaters soon, it’s once again time to celebrate all things Star Wars, which is where Diamonds for Desserts’s recipe for Chewie Wookiee Cookies comes into play.

These cookies get their name from our favorite Wookiee, Chewbacca, because they’re designed to look like him – or at least a super cute illustration of him by Philip Tseng. But there’s another reason that Diamonds for Desserts dubbed these cookies “chewie.” The cookie dough used is a Diamonds for Desserts classic, and it makes thick and chewy chocolate chip cookies.

After you have your chewy chocolate chip cookies, it’s time to make them look like Chewie! What I really like about the Diamonds for Desserts recipe is that the Chewie decorations aren’t icing: they’re more chocolate, of both the semisweet and white varieties.

The full recipe at Diamonds for Desserts makes the decorating look easy, but I suspect if you’re not used to doing that kind of thing, it might make you as angry as Anakin Skywalker. But don’t turn to the dark side yet! Remember the cookies don’t have to be perfect the first time. You can always make them again, which means more cookies. And that can only be a good thing.

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The Best Hot Chocolate Recipes for Fall

The Best Hot Chocolate Recipes for FallScarves, boots and hot chocolate. That’s what fall is made of. If you’re like me and live in a place that doesn’t always recognize the gloriousness of autumn, sometimes you have to make it happen yourself.

And what better way to make it happen than with a delicious cup of cocoa? I mean, yes, I drink coffee and tea and chais and lattes and all that jazz, but one thing that always feels like home: hot chocolate. With that, here’s one of my favorite simple recipes:

  • 1 Cup of Milk
  • ¼ Cup of Chocolate Syrup
  • ¼ Teaspoon of Cinnamon
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Whipped Cream

Stir together chocolate syrup and milk in microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 3-4 minutes, until hot. Add in cinnamon. Top with whipped cream and chocolate chips (go crazy with it!).

 

And if you’re feeling adventurous, give these recipes a try as well:

Vanilla Hot Chocolate via The Cooking Spot

Banana Hot Chocolate via We Are Not Martha

Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate via One Sweet Mess

Gingerbread Hot Cocoa via The Hopeless Housewife

Peppermint White Hot Chocolate via The Tasty Kitchen

Magic Cocoa via Real Simple

An Open Letter to Thanksgiving

Dear Thanksgiving,

Let me start off by saying it’s been quite some time since we’ve last reunited. Hard to believe a year has passed us already. Now, I’m not trying to butter you up or anything like that, but I admit you’re my favorite holiday throughout the season. Take that any way you’d like but I’m telling you the truth; however is something I want to get off my chest.

Must turkey be part of our diets all Thanksgiving weekend long? Think about it for a second. From Thursday to Sunday (depending on the amount of leftovers you have) we’re basically finding ways to get rid of turkey. The turkey is almost like that aunt who has overstayed her welcome. Seriously, though, when will you get the memo?

Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that turkey is the main dish for your holiday, but after a while it loses its flavor. As my mother loves to say each year, “Thanksgiving keeps the family fed for days,” which I must agree with. You’re in our thoughts when we’re making soups, sandwiches and snacks all in the name of your leftovers.

I remember an instance where a friend asked me to come over for dinner once. Never being one to turn down a free meal, I agreed to stop by.  As I was hanging out on the couch my friend came by with a silver tray full of snacks. Salivating with anticipation, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on them. As she placed the tray in front of me I quickly looked at her with a look of disdain. I come to find out that the snacks were turkey kabobs on a stick. Keep in mind this was the beginning of DECEMBER!!! Thanksgiving, you were long gone by then. I almost had the right mind to walk out of her house and never look back!

Look, don’t take this too hard; I just needed to vent. Take some notes as to what your other counterparts are doing, like Christmas or Halloween. We get hyped for these holidays, but once they’re over THEY’RE OVER! They don’t linger around and overstay their welcome. Anyway, keep doing you, Thanksgiving. I look forward to being with my family and enjoying some football while grubbing on your turkey goodness.

Sincerely,

Randy

My Week Without Dr Pepper

Dr Pepper, DP, a pepper, the devil’s syrup, whatever you want to call it, I’m addicted to that beautiful brown fizzy liquid. And, really, there’s no way to rationalize how much of it I drink… The average American drinks about 44.7 gallons of soda per year, which is roughly about 15.5 ounces of the stuff per day. In all my glory, I drink a little more than double that average – sitting pretty at a nice 36 ounces of my beloved Dr Pepper throughout each day. Occasionally I’ve wondered if I’d be able to stop my soda intake and substitute it all for water. And I’m really not too sure. So what better way to find out than to torture myself for a week and actually do it? Here’s my log of my week without Dr Pepper (or any soda for that matter).

THE RULES:

  1. Cannot drink ANY Dr Pepper for a week. No exceptions.
  2. Must drink at least 36 fluid oz. of water each day.
  3. Cannot drink coffee or energy drinks. Cannot eat energy bars. No substitutions of caffeine.
  4. Must update my journey for my lovely readers often.

 

Friday, October 16, 2015.

5:18 p.m.

So far, I’ve felt pretty in control of my choice. I got water at lunch after literally having my cup under the Dr Pepper spout, but I decided I was better than that – old habits die hard.  Interestingly, I am already developing a headache, truly not sure if this is because I am stressed about work or because I am without my coping mechanism for the world. My little fizzy companion. I’ll keep an update on my headache and whether or not it strengthens.

I’m also kind of ridiculously tired. I got 8 hours of sleep last night, which is the equivalent to winning the lottery for a college student. I don’t know what’s wrong. Maybe it’s the lack of caffeine…? Oh no. I hope not.

I’ll check in after my next meal. And after I drink some more WATER.

 

7:32 p.m.

I came up to the soda machine and my mouth literally got ready for the sweetness it knew it was going to have. Then I filled my cup with water and I think a little part of me died inside. Worst of all, my friend got Dr Pepper. Yes, I would classify this as cruel and unusual punishment. It looked SO RIPE.

In case you were wondering, soda is ripe when it’s really sweet – oftentimes this occurs when the syrup in the machine is new. Usually it’s darker and fizzier. To give you a reference point, soda would be classified as unripe when all that comes out of the spout is seltzer water. And if you’ve ever experienced this, you know pain.

I have stayed strong thus far and have drank my 36 fluid oz. of water today. I’ve honestly drank more water today than I probably have in weeks. I’m so gross. But I’m going to get less gross each day!

The headache has gotten a little better, I don’t think it’s due to soda withdrawal. At least not yet…  But while it may not be my brain that’s begging for it, my tongue is in complete crave-mode.

I’m also still so very tired, but I must go on.

Will report on the morrow or if a serious craving comes along.

 

October 17, 2015

1:17 p.m.

The night went along pretty well as there were no serious cravings. Although, I did get a snack from a little eatery on my campus and I had to tear my eyes away from the soda case. It was weird to eat a buffalo chicken sandwich without my trusty doctor. But, I did it!

I worked this morning (I work at a café) and there is a soda case there as well. My eyes stole glances at the bottles in there. But, alas, I only sipped water. No fizz.

To be honest, this only drinking water thing continues to get harder. The more of it I drink, the harder it is to go down! It’s beginning to get kind of old. Having water used to be so nuanced to me. It’s weird that it’s normal now…. But, I’m sticking with it! Hoping that once I get over the hump, water will begin to go down like, well, water.

 

October 18, 2015

11:37 a.m.

Let me be the first to admit that last night was very difficult.

I was out getting pizza with some friends and what do you drink with pizza? Soda, obviously. But, no, I was being strong. I am doing this. Then, everyone orders soda and I’m last to order. It’s so hard to stay strong, the menu is looking at me with all the options and, if I wasn’t sweating, it felt like it. The waitress had gone over the drink choices just prior too. I was salivating at the thought of getting some Dr Pepper in me.

She asked, “And what could I get for you?”

Dr Pepper, Dr Pepper, Dr Pepper…. “Water.”

I had done it! I was still Dr Pepper free. BUT AT WHAT COST! Was I happy?

Eh. I mean, I’m happy I made the better and healthier choice. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t ridiculously envious of everyone else though. But, I’m getting through. I’m doing it.

I’ll continue to strive to keep my life watered down, in the best way possible.

 

11:41 p.m.

There were root beer floats in my dining hall today. If that’s not torture, I don’t know what is.

Moral of the story: I had a bit of one… BUT! The root beer we have has no caffeine and it was not Dr Pepper! Still, I am ashamed.

Hopefully, to make up for it, I am trying to drink the correct amount of water for myself to be a well-functioning human being – about 72ish fluid oz. I’m not quite hitting the target yet, but I’m getting close. Maybe water-drinkers will know: does there ever come a point where I don’t have to go to the bathroom constantly? Or is that just going to be part of my life now?

I have realized that I feel more awake more quickly, which I’m thinking might be due to my water intake. If that’s the case, I definitely want to keep drinking a higher amount of water. I really am feeling much better with my energy level and ability to focus. I’m super interested to test my awareness in class this upcoming week to see if I notice any change in there too.

This little stint of three days of furthered water drinking has definitely opened my eyes. And my urethra, apparently.

Please don’t condemn me for my moment of weakness! Ice cream AND soda? If you could’ve said no, you are a far greater person than I.

Will report tomorrow!

 

October 19, 2015

4:33 p.m.

Drinking water has gotten much easier in just the last day. Also, the bathroom visits haven’t been as regular. Not sure if this is just coincidental or if this means my body is getting more accustomed to the amount of water I’m drinking. Either way, I’m glad I’m not living in the bathroom as much.

The craving for Dr Pepper is definitely getting stronger, especially as people find out I’m quitting it cold turkey. They literally gasp. It’s kind of sad to think that’s how dependent it seems for me! The Dr Pepper still stares at me whenever it’s near me. I wonder when that will stop…

I’m super interested if it’ll taste better or worse than what I remember once I sip on it again. I hear horror stories from people who quit soda and then have it again and can barely stomach it. I couldn’t imagine feeling disgusted by my old friend. But who knows, it could happen.

I’m really impressed with myself for staying as strong as I have and for drinking as much water as I do now. Surprisingly, I’m not as desperate for soda as I thought I’d be at this point. And that’s a good thing. It shows that if you’re having trouble drinking too much soda and not enough water, you could definitely turn it around with just some willpower!

 

October 20, 2015

10:01 p.m.

As you could probably tell from my late log time, I’ve been having a pretty busy Tuesday. And I am so, so tired. It’s taking every ounce of me to not submit to the Dr or to grab a coffee! I’ve got a midterm to study for tonight and am stressing about other work, but I’m going to keep my promise to myself. No Dr Pepper. No caffeine.

Oh, how I want some though.

I have definitely not drunk enough water today either. Probably only 24 fluid oz. At this point, my body has gotten pretty accustomed to around 48. I’ve actually been drinking more liquid in general now that I’m not drinking Dr Pepper, which is interesting. Not something I would’ve expected. Anyway, it’s definitely noticeable. I am thirsty! Which, who knows, maybe I wouldn’t have even noticed had I been drinking soda still.

Water has become, at this point, something that I think about regularly: when will I get my next cup? I’m starting to want it in a way. Similar to how I always want Dr Pepper. Maybe this is just me trying so hard to drink more of it, or muscle memory, but either way it’s on my mind! I suppose that’s a good thing.

Wish me luck studying… without caffeine… I think a single tear just rolled down my cheek.

 

October 21, 2015

2:23 p.m.

 

I’ve been drinking a lot more water today – definitely coming back with some authority since yesterday’s lame showing. 60 fluid oz. so far! If this was a sequel from yesterday, it’d be called: “Water: Back with a Vengeance.” That was lame. Midterms have got me going crazy.

Every time I drink water I am more awake which is really interesting. Soda never really had this effect on me, it seems that soda only ever gave me a slow energy – a kind of energy that kept my eyes open, but didn’t exactly make me want to move around all that much.

And even more interestingly, I haven’t even been craving soda. It’s kind of sad to me, like we broke up and now I’m totally over him!

 

4:43 p.m.

Check me out, 72 fluid oz.!

 

9:11 p.m.

84 fluid oz.

This could quite possibly be the most water I’ve ever drunk in a day. It’s starting to go down a lot more easily and my frequent bathroom trips are diminishing. The craving for Dr Pepper is going away too. Still, when I go up to the drink machine, I think about it a bit. But I’m no longer salivating when I get up there. I feel good about myself!

 

11:49 p.m.

109 fluid oz. of water! I’ve hit triple digits!!

 

October 22th 2015

4:12 p.m.

The craving is back. And with brutality.

So, I had just gotten done with my classes today and I am really tired and literally all I’m thinking about is Dr Pepper. I deserve it. I’ve gotten through another day. I don’t think there’s been a sadder realization I’ve made in a long time than when I realized I could have none.

I brought my cup up to the drink dispenser and I felt the Dr’s stare. It literally felt like I was sinning by not taking the sacred liquid of my veins. I was disrespecting Dr Pepper by getting the arch nemesis water! But still, I stayed strong and let my unneeded and grandiose feelings get humbled as I sat with some friends and drank my water quietly.

I even went back for another cup of it because after the first one, I wanted more.

Water has got this weird hold on me. I really do feel good about myself when I choose it, but it was tough to do this time.

 

11:14 p.m.

I’ve just realized that tomorrow will be the final day of the Doug Patrick Soda Purge of 2015!

Will I drink soda again after Friday?

. . .

Probably.

Will I drink more water at the same time, though?

. . .

Hopefully.

 

October 23, 2015

1:00 p.m.

 

I am struggling. Soda is within my reach. One more day. That’s all I need to do.

This craving came out of nowhere. Three or four days in I was perfectly fine, but now it’s like I just started! Maybe it’s just because I know I’m so close to the end of this…

I shall stay strong. Water, my enemy and my greatest ally. We will get through this!

 

11:57 p.m.

 

I’ve practically done it!

 

October 24, 2015

2:09 p.m.

The purge has been over for a while now and I still have not had any soda! My craving has definitely subsided in strength since yesterday. Looks like everyone just wants what they can’t have! That’s not to say I’m not thinking about it, though. Because I am. Completely. It’s just, now, I feel like I’ve accomplished something. And I worry that the sweet taste of the Dr may not be as fabulous as I remember. That would definitely create some sort of emotional trauma, I’m sure of it.

Water really isn’t too bad after all.

I’ll have to report back later this evening when I have my first sip of Dr Pepper!

 

6:13 p.m.

Oh how I missed my sweet nectar. It’s even better than I remember.

I’m happy that I took a week off from Dr Pepper, but I am oh so glad to be back!

An Open Letter to Pumpkin Spice

(Image Credit: Masson)

(Image Credit: Masson)

Dear Pumpkin Spice,

First, welcome back! It seems like just yesterday we were reuniting at Dunkin’ –  hard to believe it’s been ten months already! Few flavors match your cinnamon and nutmeggy goodness. You’re a classic comfort in the chilly fall. Most of the time, as embarrassed as I am to admit it, my week feels oddly incomplete if I haven’t had my fix in some way. I know, I’m borderline obsessed. But despite my love for you, we need to talk.

At first, your need to enhance things like coffee and cookies and various baked goods was a welcome gesture. Don’t get me started on what you’ve done for the world of hand soaps, sanitizers, and candles. It’s incredible. But Pumpkin Spice, you’ve started to get, well, a little out of control.

I walked into the grocery store the other day and ran into a giant display of pumpkin spice Oreos. OK, maybe not a terrible idea, but Oreos are best as is. Everyone knows this. All these modifications to the classic cookie are decent at best. It was when I turn the aisle and saw pumpkin spice potato chips that I begin to grow concerned.

Really, pumpkin spice on fried slices of potato? It just doesn’t go. I wanted to catch you before you went too far, but I was too late. I’m saddened to say I saw you on the evening news last night, Pumpkin Spice. The reporter announced, and I can’t believe I’m even saying this, that your latest victim was dog treats. Or should I say Pup-kin treats. You, my friend, belong nowhere near dog food and you know it! I fear that you’ve begun to spread yourself too thin and are willing to exploit yourself by whatever means possible. This isn’t you.

I’m concerned about you and wish that you would get back to your roots that worked so well in coffee, cookies, and candles. Follow the example of your cousin, Vanilla Chai. They knew when to stop, enhancing only lattes, ice cream, and the occasional cocktail. You’re fantastic, there’s no doubt about it- but back down and do what you know is right. I love you and want you to be at your best; don’t spread yourself too thin. Less is more, and when done right, you remain special.

 

Love,

Sarah

Best and Worst Trick or Treat Candies for the Perfect Candy Haul

(Image Credit: Samantha Grandy)

(Image Credit: Samantha Grandy)

Halloween is by far my favorite holiday. What’s not to like? The whole spooky atmosphere, celebrating all things paranormal, dressing up and of course, most importantly, the treats. Sadly, nearly everyone – except me – considers me too old for trick or treating, so I don’t get as many treats as I used to. But believe me, I still know what I’m taking about when it comes to trick or treat candy. Continue reading

Your First Time: Carving a Pumpkin

(Image Credit: Alliance)

(Image Credit: Alliance)

The first jack-o’-lanterns were supposedly carved in Ireland, except instead of using pumpkins, the carvers used turnips (weird, I know). The spooky lanterns were meant to represent the strange phenomenon of flickering lights over peat bogs, known as will-o’-the wisp. The pumpkin lanterns were meant to represent the faces of spirits and goblins. Nowadays, the tradition of carving pumpkins is widespread and, in America especially, has friendlier symbolism: come trick or treat here; we’ve got candy! Continue reading

An Interview with Celebrity Chef Vikki Krinsky

Chef Vikki Krinsky (Image Credit: Jesse DeYoung)

Chef Vikki Krinsky (Image Credit: Jesse DeYoung)

Vikki Krinsky stars in the new CBS series Recipe Rehab and is personal chef to multi-hyphenate celebrity Seth MacFarlane.  She’s confident, she’s healthy, and she’s living the life she’s always dreamed of- BUT it wasn’t her original game plan. Continue reading

What We’re Loving Right Now: ELEMENT Snacks

(Image Credit: Element Snacks)

(Image Credit: Element Snacks)

I love to snack. Honestly, if I could snack all day and not eat a full meal I think I’d be perfectly content. Of course, my snack options aren’t always healthy. Potato chips, Snickers bars, Girl Scout cookies, french fries… the list goes on. But what if I told you you could snack healthy and still get that sweet fix you so desperately need at that 3:00 p.m. wall? Continue reading

What’s the big deal about Sriracha?

(Image Credit: Paul Narvaez)

(Image Credit: Paul Narvaez)

These days, “sriracha” has become the Kleenex of the hot sauce world. Just like you ask for a Kleenex, not a tissue, when you sneeze, suddenly it’s “Pass the sriracha!” instead of “Pass the hot sauce!” Today, while having lunch with a small group of coworkers, one insisted that we needed to procure an additional bottle of sriracha because one full bottle was apparently not enough for our group of six. Continue reading

Your First Time Wine Tasting

(Image Credit: Boggy)

(Image Credit: Boggy)

If you’re looking for a fun weekend activity and are over the age of 21, wine tasting is definitely an experience you should try! I’m not typically a huge wine drinker, but I love trying new things, so when I was first presented with the opportunity to attend a wine tasting, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. Continue reading

Featured Recipe: Amazing Lemon Cupcakes from Zoom Yummy

(Image Credit: Zoom Yummy)

(Image Credit: Zoom Yummy)

With summer coming to a close, I’ve been searching for one last taste of sunshine and these lemon cupcakes from Zoom Yummy just might do the trick! Continue reading

Chrissy Teigen Shares Her ‘3 Freaky Facts’ and ‘Freaky Teigy’ Cocktail Recipe!

CT

Model Chrissy Teigen partied it up with the widely known alcohol beverage Captain Morgan in Miami to throw, what looked like, a completely fun Sunday RumDay bash. Guests and bartenders at the event were even in on a Teigen’s not-so-secret signature cocktail, the Freaky Teigy! Okay, so we all Teigen as John Legend’s wife, a stunning model or one who does not have a filter on anything! But, check out the video below for “3 Freaky Facts” you may not have known about the star. (I know, we couldn’t believe the Star Wars thing either.) Continue reading

Featured Recipe: Berry Mint Gin Smash by We Are Not Martha

(Image Credit: We Are Not Martha)

(Image Credit: We Are Not Martha)

Summer is here and what better time to try out a new cocktail? Well, We Are Not Martha has just the drink that I can’t wait to try, the Berry Mint Gin Smash. I have to admit, I’m not a big gin drinker – like, at all. I pretty much only stick to wine, the occasional mimosa and margaritas. Every now and then I’ll give a new cocktail a try, but I pretty much stick to the basics.

However, when I came across this recipe back in April, I knew it was the perfect drink to try out this summer. Berries!? Count me in. I love berries, I mean, who doesn’t? And when gin is masked by other flavors like berries and simple syrup, I’m totally on board. This drink will be perfect for a summer BBQ with friends or even an afternoon brunch.

Check out the full recipe over at We Are Not Martha, as well as all of their other amazing recipes and Happy Summer everyone!

Cheers!