Wednesday, January 20, 2016

REVIEW: Cinnamon Bun Oreos

A new Oreo flavor has arrived: Cinnamon Bun Oreo!

I hope you realize just how dedicated I am to trying out these new flavors: I braved the pre-snowstorm apocalypse crowd at ShopRite just to pick up a package of these and review them for the blog. 

It turns out, what they should have been stocking up on were these new Oreos. They're pretty good!

I've said sometimes complained that an Oreo with anything other than a chocolate-based cookie is not really, truly an Oreo, and that the rest are just "homage" cookies that liberally borrow the Oreo format while utilizing completely different flavor profiles. But, as I've started reviewing the new flavors, I do find that there are times when a vanilla-flavored cookie is absolutely necessary to achieve the right balance of flavor. This is one of those times.

When it comes to the "Limited edition" flavors from Nabisco, I confess, I've become a little obsessed, to the point where I get multiple tags on Facebook whenever a new one is annoucned. Some of the Limited Edition flavors have been disappointing (Brownie Batter, I'm looking at you), while others have been triumphs (Hello, Toasted Coconut, how I miss you so!).  The Cinnamon Bun ones are definitely in the "winning" category.

The cookie itself is vanilla with just a hint of cinnamon in it--very subtle.  I almost couldn't taste the cinnamon at all in the first cookie I ate, but by the second one, the flavor started to come through.

The true star of this cookie is the cream, though: it's a smoother consistency than the usual Oreo cream, and tastes very much like the creamy icing you find atop a cinnamon roll. There are hints of cinnamon in the cream, too--I just wish the ratio of cream to cookie were a little higher in this one.

Overall, though: DELICIOUS!  These are worth a try if you're a cookie fan and want to explore a new flavor profile.  However, if you're only interested in these because you're a big Cinnamon Bun fan, you really ought to just spring for the real thing: a Pillsbury Cinnamon Roll is 140 calories each, while two Cinnamon Bun Oreos will set you back 150 calories, without that warm, gooey, cakey goodness you've come to know and love from a real cinnamon roll.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Crockpot Cooking With A Dog In the House

When the weather gets chilly,there's nothing quite like cooking up comfort food, low and slow in the crockpot.

Unless, of course, you have a dog.

My day so far:

Scooter:   Mom!  I smell BEEF cooking!!
Me:  I'm making stew for dinner.
Me:  No, it's for later.
Me: No, I'm sorry, it needs to cook for a few more hours.
Me:  Honey, you have to wait. Go lay down!
[4 seconds later]
Scooter:   Mom!  I smell BEEF cooking!!

Repeat for 4-6 hours on High, 8-10 hours on Low.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Words of Wisdom, When You Least Expect Them

I was picking up a couple of things at CVS this morning, and saw this book at the checkout line:

Let's just say, the timing was impeccable. Good advice!

My thoughts on "New York Values"

Oh, geez.  I watched the Republican debate last night, where candidate Ted Cruz doubled-down on his statements eschewing "New York values."  Not only did New Yorker Donald Trump take offense and call the the statements "insulting," but this morning, my Facebook feed is filled with angry rants from fellow New York natives who were offended by what Cruz said.

As someone who was born and raised in Brooklyn, and will proudly wave the "Native New Yorker" banner until the day I die, I have three words for these folks: GET OVER IT.

Newsflash: when Ted Cruz looks into the camera and says, "I want your vote" he isn't talking to YOU, Big Apple residents, because he knows darn well he won't get it.  Last night, Ted Cruz struck me as one of the few candidates who actually understands the reality of his situation:

*    A Republican hasn't won New York since Ronald Reagan did in 1984--that's 32 years of losses in the Empire State.

*    No one has been able to lay a glove on Donald Trump so far, but painting him as a brash New Yorker with values that don't align with Middle America?  Hmm....that just might stick

*    Folks in New York City won't like what Cruz has to say, but I'm willing to bet voters in the South and MidWest were nodding their heads in agreement last night.

*   No matter who wins the GOP nomination, they'll be squaring off against someone with strong ties to New York: either Hillary Clinton, the Senator from New York, or Brooklyn-native Bernie Sanders (or even ole Donald, who hasn't ruled out running as a 3rd-party candidate).  Cruz knows that, as has been the case for the last 32 years, New York is a lost cause this time around, and he might as well start laying the groundwork for the big race in the nationwide election.

Please don't mistake any of this for an endorsement of Ted Cruz--it most certainly isn't. I haven't decided who I'm voting for yet, because there's no one candidate from either side that has convinced me they're the best choice for our country.  But skewering Cruz over his statements on New York values is silly.

Not only am I not offended by his comments, I'm actually impressed. It's a smart strategy, and one that could help him pull ahead of the crowded GOP field.

He's not out to insult you, my fellow New Yorkers, he's out to win an election. And part of those "New York Values" should include having a thick skin. Don't let his comments get under yours. It's just politics.

And yes, I'll be watching the Democratic Presidential Candidates Debate on Sunday, and hoping that someone says something equally as provocative.

Monday, January 11, 2016

R.I.P. David Bowie

When I woke up this morning and saw the news about David Bowie's untimely death from cancer, my very first reaction was, "Oh, wow, I didn't know he was sick!" if I should have been privvy (much less entitled) to knowing anything about his private life, or personal daily struggles.  I've never met David Bowie, it's not like we were friends in real life, and although I was definitely a fan of his music and admired his talent as a performer, it's embarrassing to realize that I felt like I should have been more informed about something so personal.

I'm glad that David Bowie was able to battle his illness privately, out of the prying eyes of the media spotlight. Few celebrities get that choice these days.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Getting Organized with Peter Walsh

I'll admit it: I have a tough time throwing things away, and my house has steadily become over-run with unnecessary clutter.

But, the good news is, a New Year is a great time for a New Start, and so, I'm following along with Peter Walsh's 2016 Challenge #31Days2GetOrganized.  You can follow along and watch his videos on his Facebook page HERE.

Today is Day 2, and the challenge was a simple one: go into your shoe closet and get rid of the ONE pair of shoes that is the most dusty--the pair that you haven't worn in ages--and put it in a donation pile.

If you were so inclined, he said, you could also clean out additional pairs that you no longer wanted or needed.  CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

Between me and my 3 daughters, we have an embarrasing number of shoes in the house: sneakers, flip flops, heels, sandals, snow boots, moccassins, you name it.  Many of them were old and outdated, some were worn to the point of being completely trashed, and others were like-new, never worn and never-will-be-worn.

So, I began sifting through the "collection", and so far, I've got 5 bags of shoes that are headed for the trash, 2 bags headed for the donation bin, and a hall closet that actually looks organized and neat. The back-of-the-door shoe organizer in the mudroom is almost empty now!

One of my daughters is still at work, so her shoes won't get sorted until she gets home. I'm betting that 80% of them will be ditched/donated. Can't wait to hit the recycling center tomorrow!