May 31, 2012

Foodie Penpals Reveal

The Lean Green Bean
This month, I participated in the Foodie Penpals program. This is a program started by Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean. Basically what happens is when you sign up, you are assigned a person to send a food package to. This may be another food blogger, or just your garden variety foodie. You send them a package, and someone else sends you a package, so it's this great big circle of foodie love! For more information, or to sign up, visit Lindsay's site. I'm already registered for June. ^_^
This month, my foodie penpal was Danielle from 100 Percent List. When Danielle asked if I had any requests, I asked her for some local specialties. In New Jersey, we have the best tomatoes and corn you ever did taste, but nothing really unique to the region. I'm always fascinated by regional specialties and cuisines. Boy, did Danielle deliver. Everything she sent me was grown or made just a few miles from her house!
The first thing that rolled out of the package were these, and I got pretty excited. I believe my exact words were, "Dude, she sent me legit produce!" The mandarins came from a town a few miles away from her, but the lemons came from her backyard! And they were the biggest, most fragrant lemons I've ever seen in my mind life (mind was a typo, but a pretty funny one). I was walking around the house holding one and just sniffing at it.

Yeah, I know I'm weird.

 I tried to hold the lemon up to Jake's head to show you that it was bigger than his head, but Jake decided the lemon smelled so good that he was going to nibble at it. I also realize that Jake's head isn't really a fair comparison, since you don't know that he's actually a very large cat.
Next were strawberry champagne sauce (!!) and olive oil that apparently came from olives that used to grow on her property. Now, an Italian girl can always find use for olive oil and I love the pretty bottle and label! Actually, I love the bottle and label on the both of them, and I'm totes planning a super classy dessert using that strawberry sauce. If I don't drink it straight from the bottle.
Unfortunately, we did have one casualty. Someone sat on the box or something and the honey got smushed. The jar was all shattered, and I couldn't save it. Since I'm not the hugest honey fan, if I had to lose something, I would have chosen the honey. Still, habanero honey sounded pretty darn good, and my brother is mourning its loss fiercely. So thanks again to Danielle for this wonderful package! And make sure to check her out at 100 Percent List. Also, blame her for the fact that I walk around sniffing lemons.

I sent my package to a fellow Jersey foodie named Meagan. She doesn't write a blog, and declined to do a guest post, but she wrote me a very sweet thank you note saying that she was enjoying everything I sent. If you want to see more foodie penpal reveals, check out the link-up party.

In other news: tomorrow is June first, and you know what that means...
It's time for Camp! (Don't you just love the book tent? *squee*) So anything you say to me in the month of June should include something along the lines of "Just keep writing."

Also, this Sunday, June 3rd, will be my first Sunday S'mores post. It'll be a s'mores treat I made up when I was a kid, and there'll be a link-up party. I'll be really sad if no one comes to the party. :'(

Don't forget, my giveaway is only open until 10:00pm EST on June 4th, so get those entries in now!

And lastly, if there's anyone willing to do a guest post during June, I'd be enternally grateful. My baking times are going to be more limited than I had anticipated. Send me an e-mail if you are.

May 28, 2012

Six Month Blogiversary and Giveaway!!! {Updated}

The Giveaway is now closed

See below for the winner

Do you guys know what today is? Yes it's Memorial Day, but do you know what else it is?

...Okay, so you read the title of the post. I knew I shouldn't have named it that.

That's right, today is the six-month blogiversary of Treats & Trinkets! On November 28th, when I was in my happy little land of NaNo-denial that I only had 2 days left to write a whole buttload of words, I posted my very first post. It had a picture of me and a picture of Viola and I had some delusions of grandeur about being a blogger and it was all so very exciting. I posted my very first recipe- Banana Cookies- a week later because I then realized that I only had two days left in November, and I was in my NaNoWriMo coma the first few days of December.

Aren't you excited for Camp NaNoWriMo starting June 1st? XD

I've had such a fun time in the six months since. I've won awards, become a part of the wonderful food blogger community, and I've even become a judge! I joined Twitter and Pinterest and Foodbuzz and am never looking back. I learned that I am apparently funny, and that I can apply my tried and true method of never planning anything to baking, too. Peanut Butter & Co. even tweeted me to say that my Dark Chocolate Dreams cupcakes looked great! That's what I call success.

When I realized that my six month blogiversary was coming up, I knew I wanted to do something to celebrate. I would love to buy each and every one of you a present, but I'm not a bazillionare (yet, that is. I haven't heard back from Bruce Wayne after my proposal). So I decided to host a giveaway; this way at least one of you gets a present.
First of all, we have these totally cute ice cream pop molds...
...Totally cool silicone brain ice molds (hahaha, get it? Cool? I crack myself up)...
 ...These cute mini bundt pans...
...Strawberry Lemonade drink mix (I mostly liked it because of the mini whisk)...
... And this super awesome jeweled pad. I kind of have an obsession with notebooks, so it was either I buy it for you or I buy it for me, but it was totally getting bought.
So how can you enter to win this fabulous six month blogiversary extravaganza Treats & Trinkets prize fun pack? It's easy-peasy: {This giveaway is now closed}

Leave a comment on this post answering one of the following two questions:

If you were going to write a book, what would it be about?
What is your favorite summertime treat?

Additional Entries:
That's a total of FOUR possible entries! Remember to leave me a SEPARATE comment for each entry. (If you already follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest, let me know in separate comments).

This giveaway is open to US residents ONLY and will run from 6:00pm EST (GMT -5) on Monday, May 28, 2012 until 10:00pm EST on Monday, June 4th, 2012. The winner will be chosen randomly via RANDOM.ORG on Tuesday, June 5th, 2012.

Please note that all comments are moderated, and it may take some time for your comments to appear.

Thank you for six fun months, and good luck. Just so you know, I'm hoping you win. Yeah, you, the one that's reading this. You're my favorite. ^_~

Now for the winner:

Out of 21 comments, two were ineligible, leaving 19 total entries. The winning entry was chosen randomly.
And the second entry was:

Congratulations! I'll be contacting you shortly for your shipping information.

May 27, 2012

Cherry Limeade and Lemon Lime Ice Pops

You know what summer always means to me? Popsicle parties. It's a tradition that my friends and I started after one barbeque where we ended up eating more popsicles than veggie burgers. Then when I hosted the next one, I bought Dora the Explorer popsicles and they had the super cheesy jokes on the sticks. We had such fun eating the popsicles and reading the jokes that we went through the entire box. So now we just have popsicle parties. We'll make appetizers, and buy chips and dip, but the emphasis is on the popsicles themselves.

...Yeah, we're healthy like that.
These don't have cheesy jokes on the sticks, which I'll admit is half the fun. But if you go the plastic cup and wooden stick route, then you can write some on yourself with a food-safe marker. Here are some examples:

What do you call a lazy bison?
A buffaloafer

Why did the melons have a large wedding?
Because they canteloupe

What do you call a trunk of bison?
A buffaload

I don't know why, but they love buffalo jokes. I love cheesy jokes, so if you have another, let me know.
These popsicles are not cheesy. They are citrusy. And cherry...y. I've been in a cherry limeade mood, so I made cherry limeade and froze it. My father thinks these are too tart, but I like tart. You might want to add some extra sugar if you don't like tart.
I only had enough cherry juice to make three cherry limeade pops, so I made some lemon lime ones with my leftover ingredients. Again with the tart, but that can be fixed with some added sugar. I actually used Sprite Zero- because that's what we have in my house- so these are sugar free (well, free of refined sugars anyway; lemons and limes have natural sugars). You can always use your favorite sugar free sweetener to sweeten further. Because of the tart.

You might not have gotten this yet, if you don't follow me on twitter or facebook- or haven't been paying any attention- but June is Camp NaNoWriMo. It's just like regular NaNoWriMo, but in the summer. In honor of camp, I've decided to start something new. Sundays in June I'll be doing Sunday S'mores. Each Sunday, I'll be doing a s'mores-inspired recipes and hosting a link-up party. I might continue it all summer if it doesn't make me too crazy. There's a second session of camp in August. So get your best s'mores recipes ready.

Tomorrow's also a special day here at Treats & Trinkets HQ. Yes, it's Memorial Day, but I have another special surprise that has nothing to do with Memorial Day.

Cherry Limeade Ice Pops {Printable Version}
Yield: 3 6oz. pops
2/3 cup lemon lime soda
1/3 cup maraschino cherry juice
¼ cup fresh lime juice
Pinch sugar (optional)
12 maraschino cherries, stems removed and quartered

In a large measuring cup or a container, mix together the soda, cherry juice, lime juice, and sugar if
using. Pour into ice pop molds or plastic cups with popsicle sticks, alternating with the maraschino
cherries. Leave at least ½ inch from the tops of the containers. Freeze for a minimum of 6 hours.

*To make the cherries “float”: add a few pieces and some of the liquid to each mold. Freeze for about 10 minutes. Repeat until full. Freeze fully before serving.
Recipe by Kim

Lemon Lime Soda Pops {Printable Version}
Yield: 3 6oz. pops
1 cup lemon lime soda

¼ cup sugar (or sugar-free sweetener)
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup lime juice

In a large measuring cup or a container, mix together the soda, sugar, lemon juice, and lime juice. Pour into ice pop molds or plastic cups with popsicle sticks, being careful to leave at least ½ inch from the tops of the
containers. Freeze for a minimum of 6 hours.

Recipe by Kim

May 20, 2012

Dark Chocolate Dreams Cupcakes

You guys! My friend had a baby. A teeny-tiny, itty-bitty, little baby. And you know the best part? It's a little girl. As much as I adore my cousins' kids, they are all boys. I'll see such cute cupcake stuff in the baby stores, and it will be pink or purple or ruffly or have polka dots, and I'll be all, "Grr, why do I not have any little girls to buy this stuff for?" And now I do.

Anyway, the baby shower was yesterday. I know what you're thinking: "Didn't she just say her friend had the baby? Aren't baby showers meant for before the baby comes?" Well, my little M&M decided she had to be contrary, just like her Auntie Kimmy (that would be me, in case you were wondering). First of all she went, "haha, I've already been in here a month longer than you thought I was," so her due date was a lot earlier than originally anticipated. Then she decided she wanted to be here in time for mother's day, so she came out 2 weeks early.
You can't really tell, but she's wearing a cupcake onesie. XD
So spent the day chilling with M&M and her mommy yesterday. And since this is a friend that I've known forever- and when I say forever, that is not a metaphor or hyperbole. We've known each other since preschool, which was 20 years ago. And we're only twenty-mumblemumble years old- we needed to celebrate. So I made cupcakes. And since I'm a crazy person, I made two kinds of cupcakes. I was not asked to make cupcakes, this is something I decided to do on my lonesome. Because I'm the crazy cupcake lady.
My friend asked for homemade Funfetti cupcakes, so I made my birthday cake cupcakes and added some rainbow sprinkles to the batter, and colored the frosting purple. But that was not enough work for me. I had to make more. Chocolate and peanut butter have been a combination we've both always loved, so I was going to make my peanut butter cupcakes and fill them with chocolate. But then I remembered, I had a jar of Dark Chocolate Dreams from Peanut Butter & Co. in the pantry. I tweaked the recipe a bit, used the Dark Chocolate Dreams in place of the peanut butter, and added some mini M&Ms to the batter (she's my M&M; I had to), frosted them with my very favorite chocolate buttercream from Hershey's Homemade, and topped them with some leftover Valentine's Day M&Ms I had in the pantry. And it was good.
I have to admit, they do look more like Valentine's Day cupcakes than baby shower cupcakes, but I'm okay with that. Because to make them look more baby shower-y, I would have had to use a pastel-colored frosting. Which wouldn't be chocolate. Which would be bad. The other cupcakes were pastels. These were made of Dark Chocolate Dreams.

And you know what else happened while I was snuggling a baby girl yesterday? I got an award! I was nominated for the One Lovely Blog award by Choc Chip Uru from Go Bake Yourself and from CJ at Food Stories. If you've never heard of these two lovely ladies, consider yourself deprived. CJ's blog is like an encyclopedia for food bloggers. She has a calendar of all foodie holidays and she shares food-related news stories, along with posting yummy recipes and gorgeous photos every day. Plus, she has her Food Story Photos every week, which is such a cute and original idea that I adore. Thanks for making me feel like a slacker, CJ. ^_^
As for Choc Chip Uru, not only does she post super yummy recipes, not only are her posts really funny, not only is she a really talented baker and an awesome story-teller, but she's still in high school! You guys, when I was in high school (which wasn't really that long ago- holy smokes, it was that long ago?) I was messing up box mixes. True story. CCU has got a crazy amount of talent, and she is only going to get better.
Now it's time for my favorite part: telling you seven things about myself.
  1. I have a cat named Jake.
  2. I very rarely call Jake "Jake."
  3. I can't wait for Camp NaNoWriMo in June.
  4. I have no plot for my Camp NaNoWriMo novel.
  5. I think writing 50k words in 30 days is fun.
  6. I like mangoes.
  7. I like to tie-dye.
Now onto our 15 nominees:
  1. Kayle from The Cooking Actress
  2. Cravings of a Lunatic
  3. Gourmantine's Blog
  4. Brianne from Cupcakes & Kale Chips
  5. Viviane from Chocolate Chilli Mango
  6. Jen from LoveFoodCookFood
  7. Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch
  8. Warm Vanilla Sugar
  9. Halley from Blunder Construction
  10. Anna from Crunchy Creamy Sweet
  11. Jen from Juanita's Cocina
  12. Maggie from Kitchie Coo
  13. Krista from The Not So Desperate Chef Wife
  14. Yummy Inspirations
  15. Stellina from My Yogurt Addiction
Thanks again to CJ and Choc Chip Uru for this fantabulous award!

Dark Chocolate Dreams Cupcakes {Printable Version}
 Yield: 24 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
1 cup sugar
¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup Dark Chocolate Dreams®(chocolate peanut butter)*
2 eggs
½ tsp. vanilla
1½ cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp. white vinegar
1 cup mini M&Ms® (optional)

For the frosting:
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
2 2/3 cups powdered sugar
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 325°. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter, peanut butter,
and sugar. Beat on medium speed until fluffy. Add in the eggs and vanilla, beating well after each
addition. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add about half of the flour mixture to
the butter mixture and beat on low until just incorporated. Beat in the milk and vinegar, and then beat
in the remaining flour. Mix until fully incorporated. Fold in the M&Ms, if using. Fill a muffin tin about 2/3
of the way with batter. Bake for 20-23 minutes, or until the tops spring back when pressed. Cool

For the frosting: In a small mixing bowl, mix together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. In a
different bowl using electric beaters, beat the butter on low speed. Add the vanilla. Gradually add in the
sugar and cocoa, alternating with the milk. Beat on high speed until smooth.

*Or use creamy peanut butter and replace 1-2 tbsps. of flour with cocoa powder

Cupcake recipe by Kim. Frosting recipe adapted from Hershey’s Homemade

May 14, 2012

Cookie Dough Truffles

Sorry for the radio silence the past few days, you guys. I completely missed Mother's Day. In fact, these were meant to be my Mother's Day post. But I ended up spending Mother's Day weekend with my grandmother in the rehab facility. She had a cold that landed her in the hospital a while back, and that got upgraded to pneumonia which left her really weak, so she went to the rehab facility to get her strength back up. She was supposed to go home on Friday, just in time for Mother's Day, but the doctor said she was just too weak. Suffice it to say, I haven't really been in the mood to be silly or irreverent.
Whenever I go visit her, I bring treats. It's what I do. It's all that I can do. For Mother's Day, I made devil's food cupcakes because that's what she had requested when our plans were much different. But the Saturday before, I made no-bake cookie dough truffles. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
Gram likes these cold and firm, but you can eat them at room temperature if you prefer. They're a simple, decadent alternative to chocolates, for any special occasion. Or any occasion at all.

Cookie Dough Truffles {Printable Version}
Yield: 70 truffles
1 cup unsalted butter or margarine, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce or 1 small banana, mashed*
2 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. salt
2 – 2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
1½ lbs. chocolate or candy melts, for coating**

In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl with electric beaters, beat the butter and brown
sugar on medium speed until fluffy. Add in the applesauce or banana, vanilla, and salt, and beat until
smooth. Gradually add in the first 2 cups of flour. If necessary, add in the remaining flour, ¼ cup at a
time, until the dough is no longer sticky.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with waxed paper. Roll the dough into small balls using a melon baller and
place on the baking sheet. Freeze for 20-30 minutes or until firm.

Melt the chocolate. Dip each truffle into the chocolate making sure to tap off the excess. Place on a
baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Refrigerate until the chocolate has set. Serve chilled or room

*Mashed banana will add a banana flavor to the truffles, which my family actually prefers.
**I prefer the flavor of milk chocolate to coat the truffles; however candy melts do melt more smoothly and cover more evenly.

Recipe by Kim

This recipe is featured on  Linky Party
Foodie Friends Friday

May 9, 2012

Mini Chocolate-Chip Cherry Scones

Who saw the Avengers? Come on, raise your hands. It was awesome, right? Good, now you can join the ranks of loyal Whedonites. Here's your number, and your welcome packet is the the mail.

... What do you mean, what's a Whedonite? Joss Whedon? Wrote and directed the movie? Formerly a cult icon until he broke all sorts of records with the Avengers opening weekend? Rightful King of the Nerds? That Joss Whedon?

... What do you mean, never heard of him?

*Sigh* I guess it's too much to expect you to convert after one movie. As awesome as that movie may be, and as many records as it broke. Me, I've been a Whedonite since age 10. That was when I first saw Buffy, and I never looked back. I met the bestie because of Joss Whedon. I started writing because of Joss Whedon. I'm a nerd because of Joss Whedon.

May 5, 2012

Southwestern-Style Chicken and Sausage Pies

Contrary to what this blog may have led you to believe, I do cook. Like real food. Actual food. It's just most of the time when I cook, I make it up as I go along. You've heard this song before, right? With cooking, you don't have to be as precise as with baking. You can do a pinch here, a dollop there, season to taste, that sort of thing. That's why I never have recipes for what I cook. I really never call it cooking, I say I made up food. Or, more recently, I just call it "up food." Why "up food," you ask? Well, one day when I made dinner, I had a conversation with my father that went something like this:

Dad: What's for dinner?
Me: I dunno. I made up food.
Dad: What's up food?

Yeah, he was completely serious, too.

So anyway, I had this craving for meat pies in puff pastry the other day. I decided that it should be chicken and sausage, and have onions and tomatoes, and be a little bit spicy. So I stopped at the grocery store, bought the ingredients, and made up food.

May 2, 2012

Frozen Peach Yogurt Cream

Isn't it funny where inspiration can come from? Like that really weird-o dream you had where there was this guy who could make things- anything, really- out of cheese, but they didn't last very long since, you know, cheese, was at war with this Jack Frost type character, actually made a halfway decent plot.


I said halfway.
Or you find these adorable little treat bowl thingies at your favorite discount store that have matching little spoons and immediately have to make ice cream to put in them. Except that there's no milk and you decide to use yogurt and canned peaches and heavy cream, and you can't decide if it's ice cream or frozen yogurt since there is in fact both iced cream and yogurt that has been frozen.