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chocolate oatmeal cookies
No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies. Photo courtesy of delish.com

Who said kids can’t bake?

One of my fondest memories as a kid was a day spent making polvoron (Filipino milk candy) with two childhood friends. We had the Starlight Express soundtrack playing in the background (who knows why) and my grandma watched as three 10-year-olds made a mess of her kitchen. Then we walked door-to-door and sold them to the neighbors. This was under the scorching heat of summer in Manila, mind you. We made no money, but it was a great day.

Here’s a list of quick and simple dessert recipes you might want to try making with your kids (or making yourselves). They require microwave, freezer, or stove tops–no ovens. They’re so easy,even kids can make ’em!

1. Microwave Chocolate Crisp Bars

Think Rice Krispie treats smothered with chocolate, inside and out. YUM. Click here for the step-by-step process.

In minutes: 5

2. Chocolate Oatmeal Cookie

In minutes: 30

This is as simple as it gets. Plus, you probably have most of the ingredients in your cupboard, save for maybe vanilla and cocoa powder (which are must-haves anyway).

3. Frozen Chocolate Mint Squares

In minutes: 15-30

Mint adds a whole new dimension to chocolate. These mint squares might be the perfect way to cool down this summer.

On a side note.. Sunday is Father’s Day! Check out this blogger post on bad, bad, baaaaad Father’s Day cakes.

Happy Weekend!

– Kris Alcantara

Today’s Sugarhigh: Hershey’s Milk Chocolate with Almonds

Score: A- it’s a classic!

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NYC's Buttercup Bake Shop

Finding the best red velvet cupcake in New York City is officially on my bucket list.

Did you know there are 152 bakeries (thank you, Yelp) with red velvet cupcakes in Manhattan alone? This is a serious conquest! Of the 152, I have been to a grand total of… three. I realized this while planning a cupcake crawl for a recent trip to the city, and unfortunately I made it to only one of supposedly three stops.

Here’s my baby list of red velvet haunts in NYC.

1. Magnolia Bakery

While it has a reputation for being overrated, I can’t cross it off my list. The shop is picture-perfect, fancier than most bakeries, and they color cupcakes in pretty pastels. Of course, this was also the store made famous by Sex and the City at the height of its popularity four years ago (which, rumor has it, started the cupcake craze anyway). Red Velvet at $3 a pop is a little pricier than usual but you get honest-to-goodness cake texture–dense and heavy–not like the silly airy ones that you get at the grocery store.

2. Big Booty Co.

So the name might throw you off but I gotta say, this quirky bake shop in Chelsea has been my favorite so far. Why I love it: the frosting on top is soft and creamy, not the stiff and sugary kind that barely tastes of cream cheese (my ultimate red velvet pet peeve). Plus, the cake is (dangerously) light and moist, which almost always has me reaching for a second one.

3. Buttercup Bake Shop

This quaint little shop on 2nd avenue is the most recent addition to my list and I walked out with a box of chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting, vanilla cupcake with chocolate frosting, and two red velvet cupcakes. The verdict: the red velvet was good but not great, a little on the dry side and the frosting was too stiff and sugary for me (see pet peeve above), and not enough cream cheese as I had hoped. However, the vanilla cupcake with chocolate frosting was DELICIOUS!

That’s all I’ve got so far. 3 down, 149 to go.

Stay tuned.

– Kris Alcantara

Today's Sugarhigh: Buttercup Bake Shop's Vanilla Cupcake with Chocolate Frosting
Score: High B+

Working out takes energy away, so we must have energy to perform it. The reason why we can’t work out on an empty stomach is because our body needs to feed off something to produce enough energy for the workout. The 3 types of fuel that can be used for exercise are fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. Not saying, let’s go crazy and eat a bunch of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins, but you need to have some in your diet in order to make progress with your workouts!!!

Fats

Using stored body fat (meaning, fat already on the body) is a great source for long periods of exercise. Usually one gram of fat has at least 9 kcals of energy and is water insoluble. The energy source is greater than proteins and carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates

Since carbohydrates are made of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, they are provide the fastest form of energy, although one gram of it still provides less energy than fat. Carbohydrates come in 3 forms that use simple sugars, that are made up of glucose, fructose, and sucrose. There can also be complex carbohydrates, but start of as simple carbohydrates.

Proteins

Proteins are made by using amino acids and chemical bonds. Consuming the 9 essential amino acids is a must because proteins are made up of different parts from the amino acids. Protein contributes to exercise by either directly by bioenergetics in the muscle cells or indirectly by helping synthesize glycogen to work on circulation.

– Skylaur Morris

Finally, something we all can agree that taste good and is good for you at the same time. Smoothies can become apart of your daily diet either as meals or as a quick healthy snack or dessert.

As we discussed supplements briefly in another blog, mixing them into smoothies is a great way to get all the necessary nutrients the body needs.

Fruit and vegetables are great in smoothie form and is a sure way to make something taste better that you would normally, say yuck too.

To cover all your vitamins and minerals, Here are some recipes from http://www.flowercarole.com to help create some blended healthy treats:

Banana and Mango Delish Smoothie
(serves 1)

Ingredients
2 bananas (ready to be eaten)
1 large bowen mango (any mango will do but bowens are tasty)
1/2 cup of full fat milk (2% milk is full milk is too much)

Method
Blend all ingredients together until the mixture is smooth.

Crazy Carrot Smoothie Recipe
(serves 2-3)

(courtesy of google images)

Ingredients
3/4 medium sized cup of carrot juice
3/4 medium sized cup of orange juice (or Apple Juice)
3 scoops of vanilla ice-cream (or vanilla frozen yogurt for healthier choice)
6 ice cubes

Method
Pour the carrot juice and orange juice into blender and mix gently until well combined. Add the ice cream and mix until thoroughly blended. Add the ice cubes and process until smooth.

Sweet and Healthy Smoothie

Ingredients
1 kiwi fruit peeled
1/2 banana
approx 15 red grapes
3 pineapple rings

Method
To make this free smoothie recipe, peel and dice the kiwi fruit and dice the pineapple rings. Blend together the kiwi, grapes and banana for 45 seconds then add the pineapple chunks and blend for a further minute or so.

– Skylaur Morris
(Recipes provided by http://www.flowercarole.com; images courtesy of google images)

Lavender Honey Cheesecake

Lavender Honey Cheesecake is the dessert of romance. Photo Credit: Washingtonpost.com 

I’m eating enjoying a slice as I write this.

My friend Kate decided she was going to make Lavender Honey Cheesecake after seeing the recipe online on Washington Post.. and she has made me very happy.

Full disclosure: I’m a cheesecake nut. But let me tell you with unbiased praise that this dessert tastes every bit as delicious as it looks. She tells me that culinary lavender and blueberries lend the cheesecake this gorgeous purple hue. The lavender also adds more bite; a hint of bitterness mixed with honey, and decidedly moist and creamy cheesecake filling that makes each flavor sing.

On top of that, it leaves you with an intriguing lavender aftertaste that just tastes pretty. This cheesecake, I dare say, is pure poetry.

Who knew edible flowers had a place in dessert-making? There’s a ton of them out there! Check out this blogger’s Flower Power Round-up and learn how to make Rose and Watermelon Jam, Lavender Shortbread, and White Chocolate and Orange Flower Mousse.

Shoutout to the wonderful weekend-baker, Kate Sheehy, who, on her first try, made me fall in love.

– Kris Alcantara

 

Today's Sugarhigh: Tim Horton's Sour Cream Tim Bits (donut holes)
Score: A- (full post to come soon!)

 

m&m men
The men of Mars want to give you some. For free. Photo Credit: startlivingfrugal.com

I give you three of the best words in the English language.

1. Free

2. Chocolate

3. Fridays

Since May 8, Mars has been giving away 250,000 coupons of free chocolate every Friday.  Think downloadable coupons for free 3 Musketeers, Dove, M&Ms, Snickers, Twix, and Milky Way, in exchange for filling out an online form (name, address, and email). So far, no Oprah Hooplas have been reported but the “overwhelming response” on its first week prompted the chocolate company to double its free coupons the next Friday.

Mars Real Chocolate Relief Act is the company’s way of offering chocolate-covered respite to the millions of Americans affected by the recession. Note that the coupons redeem full-size packages and not one measly chocolate bar. Isn’t that sweet?

Click here for Free Chocolate Fridays. The campaign runs until the end of September. Stock up!

Who says chocolate isn’t the answer to everything?

– Kris Alcantara

Today's Sugarhigh: Dark Chocolate Raisinets
Score: B+

 

 "If you've got melted chocolate in your hands, you're eating it too slowly."
 - Unknown

 

Snacklish
Snickers Speak for Forget About It. Photo Credit: askamillenial.blogspot.com

Mondays call for an extra shot of chocolate, don’t you think?

So while you’re drinking your nth cup of coffee, twiddling your thumbs at your desk and pretending to be busy, here’s something fun and totally useless to keep you amused for, say, a solid five minutes–depending on how creative you want to be. 

The Snickers ad campaign went all out with its own Snickers lingo called “Snacklish” that lets you translate a random word, name, or phrase, to something more chocolatey. The Snacklish generator on www.snacklish.com turns the mundane, like “cellphone” into its sweet counterpart “caramellphone,” and “university” to “chewniversity.” Wait, it gets better. 

Type in proper names like “Obama” and you get “Chompmander In Chief,” and “Brad Pitt” becomes “Brad Pittisfaction.” (okay, that made me laugh out loud.)

“Jesus” translates to “Holier than Chow.”

I tried “Hersheys” and it told me to “Chews Wisely.” You gotta hand it to them–people at Mars have thought this through!

But don’t get too creative because the game is censored–words like “penis” and “vagina” generate “Chews Again,” which tell you to type in a new word. You can type “dick” though, and it translates to “richowed.” Disclaimer: Obviously I had to try everything to come up with a great post.

So, try your hand at it post your Snacklish here!

Read the NY Times Article on the Snacklish campaign here. 

Show Me: “Patrick Chewing” on the Snickers Commercial

Havisfaction Anut Chowsome Mouthday.” (“Have an awesome Monday.”)

– Snickris Caramalcantara (Kris Alcantara)
 

Sugarhigh: Trail Mix Dark Chocolate with Raisins Granola Bar
Score: A- (love it.)
 
"All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt." 
- Charles M. Schulz

post secret
Chocolate Confessions on postsecret.com. Photo credit: http://www.starling-fitness.com/

There was an interesting post on phrasebase.com on how to say “chocolate” in different languages. For those of you with big travel plans this summer, here’s a quick guide for you:

Albania – çokollatë

Croatia – čokolada

Czech Republic – cokolada

Denmark – chokolade 

Estonia – šokolaad

Finland – suklaa

France – chocolat

Germany – Schokolade

Greece – sokolata

Hawaii – Kokoleka

Hungary – csokolade

Indonesia – koklat

India – seemaippantai (tamil)

Iceland – súkkulaði

Ireland – seacláid

Israel – shoqolad

Italy – cioccolata (things made from chocolate), cioccolato (chocolate used to make sweets)

Japan – shokora

Latvia – ŠOKOLĀDE

Lithuania – Šokoladas

Malaysia – koklat

Malta – Cikkulata

Norway – sjokolade

Philippines – tsokolate

Portugal – chocolate

Poland – czekolada

Romania – ciocolată

Russia – sokolad

Saudi Arabia -“shokola-a-tah”  شوكلاتة

Scotland –  seocolaid

Sicily – Ciccolatti

Spain – chocolate

Sweden – choklad

Turkey – çikolata

Care to share more?

– Kris Alcantara

Today's Sugarhigh: Lavender Honey Cheesecake
Score: A! recipe and post coming soon.

"Researchers have discovered that chocolate produced some of the same reactions in the brain
as marijuana. The researchers also discovered other similarities between the two,
but can't remember what they are."
- Matt Lauer on NBC's Today Show

daniel craig on a stick.

Bite me! Daniel Craig is cool as a popsicle. Photo Credit: seriouseats.com

If you think Daniel Craig is yummy, here’s your chance to lick his abs. Literally.

Del Monte’s limited-edition “license to chill” ice pops featuring the 41-year-old Bond actor’s anatomical masterpiece was the result of a survey conducted among 1,000 British women who were asked to vote  on which celebrity they would like to see on a stick. Apparently, Craig beat fellow British stars Hugh Grant and Jude law for most delicious body.

Good news: the smoothie popsicle is a measly 100 calories. Bad news: it’s solely available in London.

Daniel Craig comes in three delicious flavors: blueberry, pomegranate, cranberry. Up for grabs for UK’s National Ice Cream week from June 1- 7, 2009 . Run. Er, fly.

People are funny. My favorite reactions to the Daniel Craig popsicle:

  • “The name is Bondsicle. Grape Bondsicle.” – movieline.com
  • “The position of that stick makes me uncomfortable.” – user comment on digg.com
  • “Oh my God. I want it so bad.” – user comment on bestweekever.com
  • Make a Jessica Alba one!” – user comment on ew.com

The end.

– Kris Alcantara

Today's Sugarhigh: Birthday chocolate cake from Wegman's!
Score: B+
 

 

"Life is like chocolate.. Sometimes you gotta deal with nuts." - Unknown

This recipe is for serious chocolate emergencies.

Like when you’re having a particularly loooong day and you need something to cheer you up fast. Or when you’re having a great day and you want to celebrate. Or when you just had a crappy, crappy lunch and you need to wash away that foul taste in your mouth with something sweet, stat.  OR, if you’re anything like me and you don’t need a reason or occassion to eat chocolate (which just means I generally have a chocolate crisis everyday). Whatever constitutes a chocolate emergency for you, here’s a super easy homemade cake recipe that will fix your craving in five minutes flat. Meet the microwave-able chocolate mug cake.

Today I found this great recipe from Grizzly Groundswell and I was completely sold. Why it’s so awesome:

1. You don’t need an oven, mixer, or any other cooking equipment to make it except for a microwave. As an oven-less person, this makes me so happy.

2.   It’s served in a mug so it’s individually-sized and perfect for quick-fixes.

3.  Once you get all the ingredients in the mug, it takes three minutes to bake in the microwave. Three minutes! You can make this cake between commercial breaks.  

Seriously, a five-year-old can do this. Check it out:

1.
chocolate mug cake step one.

2.

chocolate mug cake step two.

3. Add a scoop of ice cream and ta-dah! Not bad for something that came out of the microwave.

chocolate mug cake

Photo Credit: grizzlygroundswell.com

Thanks to Attila the Honey (awesome name by the way) for sharing.  She also provides a low-fat Splenda version in the recipe that you might want to consider.

On a side note…

June’s here! I found an astrological guide to chocolate-eating on iVillage and as a Gemini, this was spot on for me.

See if it’s true for you!

 – Kris Alcantara 

Today's Sugarhigh: Starbucks' low-fat banana bread with chocolate chips.
(thanks Anuya!)
Score: B