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Hi! It’s me. I haven’t written on here in forever and ever and ever. I can regale you with excuse after excuse but really I just needed a blogging break. A nice big, long hiatus was just what the WordPress doctor ordered.

So what’s new? I just finished grad school, CK and I finally bought some curtains like the pseudo grown-ups we are, and we eat a lot of Paleo/Primal meals (just like everyone else in the universe these days). We’re not crazy strict about it but Monday-Friday we try our best to avoid grains, sugar, and the White Mochas at Starbucks.

We’ve been doing this for almost a year and a half now (hence my lack of new cookie, cake, and tasty loaves of bread posts). Recently though I’ve hit my limit on finding things I want to eat. Meal planning for the week has become this super stressful and dreaded task. It’s at the point where I might scream if I have to make one more meatball recipe or eat another plate of spaghetti squash noodles. Even Pinterest isn’t helping. I feel like I keep seeing the same recipes over and over again and I’m seriously tapped out in the creative food thinking department.

In addition to my complete disinterest in making a grocery list I’ve developed a huge aversion to going to the grocery store. I feel like it’s such a waste of precious weekend time and while I used to have groceries delivered from other services fairly often we now mostly shop at Whole Foods and they don’t deliver — or they didn’t.

I feel like I just hit the jackpot. There’s a newish local service called PlateJoy that I decided to try. So instead of CK listening to me complain about project managing all of our food for the week I just logged onto their website, picked out a bunch of meals, the recipes were emailed, and a super nice lady delivered all of the food to me 24-hours later. I can’t even begin to express how happy I am not to have to go to the grocery store.

Some of the highlights so far include the fact that you can choose where your groceries are sourced from (yay, I didn’t have to go to Whole Foods and play chicken with SUVs in the parking lot). They also have a pretty big range of special diet meals and categories like gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian etc…You can also opt to receive breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. I just did lunches and dinners this time though. The cost for 5 days of meals was substantially less than what I normally spend when I shop. I’m also kind of stoked about the fact that I’m making food (for instance steaks) that are the proper portion size because I am so bad at that. Here’s their FAQ if you want more details.

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Anyway, I just whipped up one of the meals I received which was a super tasty tuna salad recipe with spinach, scallions, walnuts, and cranberries — so far, so good!

Right now Platejoy serves Boston and some of the burbs as well as all of the Bay Area. At the end of the week I’ll leave a comment on this post letting you know how it all shook out. Currently a la Annie “I think I’m gonna like it here.”

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I almost forgot! They also included a bouquet of tulips in my bags as a welcome gift. It’s like they know me?!

PS: This isn’t a paid ad or a shill. I’m just trying to get back into the swing of blogging and this is the most interesting food related thing I’ve come across in quite some time.

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Note: This toffee recipe recreation was originally published on Eat Boutique. If there’s one thing I’ve gleaned from paging through Liz Gutman and Jen King’s high calorie cookbook it’s that candy making is supposed to be fun. Bright colors, smiley faces and quirky images abound in The Liddabit Sweets Candy Cookbook. My favorite image, a little turtle that declares, “nom!” appropriately graces the header of the edible turtles section. It would seem that he wholeheartedly approves of the pecan feet of his inanimate brethren and namesakes. What’s not to love?

While sass and science are both given equal playing time, the candy cookbook is not entirely fun and games, it’s a real candy education. What I really enjoyed about this book is that it’s actually set-up to resemble the visually appealing textbooks of our childhood. That means it includes an extremely thorough introduction that covers everything from tools to dipping and even troubleshooting the oh-so intimidating act of tempering temperamental chocolate. Also, I’m pretty sure I want to frame the sugar stages images that grace page 52. I’ve never seen soft ball, firm ball, and hard ball actually represented in such an approachable manner before.

Each individual recipe carefully crafted from the imagination of this Brooklyn-based duo alerts you immediately to any special equipment you will need to gather via a pretty pink callout box. More complicated actions such as assembling cherry cordials and making molded truffles are visually explained in step-by-step images. Any nerves you may harbor about trying a new recipe are quickly put to rest thanks to Liz and Jen’s upbeat attitude and instructions.

I ended up tackling the Tropical Toffee that boasts a sizable dose of rum, crunchy macadamia nuts, sweet chocolate and a pretty dusting of coconut flakes. This addictive candy is a unique twist on traditional nut brittles, and the coconut gives it a decidedly holiday appropriate appeal. Get it? It’s snowing on my candy! Since the holiday season is kicking off in a big way this week I think that If I were going to pair this treat with a festive tune it would have to be Bing Crosby’s version of Mele Kalikimaka. So I’d suggest queuing up your favorite playlist and offering a pretty wrapped box of this toffee to your favorite holiday hostess with the mostess.

Tropical Toffee
Originally published in The Liddabit Sweets Candy Cookbook

1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the baking sheet
4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup light rum
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups roasted, salted macadamia nuts, roughly chopped or crushed
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup toasted unsweetened coconut flakes

Generously butter the baking sheet and set it aside on a heatproof surface.

Combine the sugar, 1 pound butter, corn syrup, rum, vanilla, and sea salt in a medium-size (4-quart) saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Insert the candy thermometer.

Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring constantly with the spatula, until the mixture reaches 300ºF/150º (hard crack stage), about 10 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat, and add the baking soda and macadamia nuts, stirring vigorously (but carefully) to incorporate.

Pour the mixture out onto the prepared baking sheet, and spread it evenly with the heatproof spatula. When the toffee is firm but still warm sprinkle the chocolate chips on top and spread them into a thin layer. Then dust the chocolate with toasted unsweetened coconut flakes. (Erin’s Note: I ran my coconut through the food processor for 30 seconds or so to create a finer flake). Allow the toffee to cool completely, about 2 hours, then break it into bite-size pieces.

Store the toffee, layered with parchment or wax paper, in an airtight container at room temperate for up to 1 week. It will last for 2 to 3 weeks when stored in the refrigerator; just allow it to come to room temperature before serving (the flavor isn’t as nice when it’s cold).

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Pistachio-Cranberry Christmas Cookies

December 10, 2012
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These are actually my new go-to Christmas cookies. I’ve lost count of how many batches I’ve made. Last year I got obsessed baking everything under the sun with pistachios including this insanely good Pistachio Brittle. Then I found a recipe for pretty green Pistachio Cookies. Super cute, right? Also, insanely delicious. However, the recipe I […]

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Quest Complete: NaBloPoMo 2012

November 30, 2012
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Well I did it. Just barely and there actually were a few cat pictures used as filler but I still officially posted to my blog every single day during the month of November. Mission NaBloPoMo accomplished! Would I ever do this again? No. Never! But I’m glad that I did and I think going forward […]

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Saving for Fancy Christmas Bourbon with Bank Simple

November 29, 2012
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Have you heard about Simple? Simple is a really cool new bank replacement. CK and I officially switched all of our really horrible old banking accounts over to Simple completely in August (after being on the waiting list for a Beta invite since June of 2010) and haven’t regretted it for a moment. We both […]

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9 Quirky Cookie Cutters

November 28, 2012
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Tonight’s post is inspired by my friend Kathy Drake. Kathy and I grew up together and originally bonded over the fact that we both wore the same lavender jacket to our kindergarten class. When we were in high school we also worked together at Dunkin Donuts and slung bagels and coffee like pros. Anyway, tonight she […]

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Peanut Butter Pinwheels

November 27, 2012
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Every so often my friend Maggie will let me create something for her beautiful website, Eat Boutique, and it always completely freaks me out. Have you ever visited?  Every lovely individual who posts over there is incredibly amazing at styling and taking food photos and I’m so not even remotely in their same league, but I […]

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Let the Christmas Pinning Obsession Begin!

November 26, 2012
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Is everyone still pinning obsessed? I know I’m not quite as addicted to Pinterest as I used to be but that doesn’t mean that I still don’t check in almost daily. That’s especially true as major holidays and events begin to loom on the horizon. A good example of this new habit occurred recently was when I found […]

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