whipple-scrumptious fudgemallow delight bars

wonka-bars-tx

Photo courtesy of Globe Pequot Press; from Celebrate Every Day: Recipes to Make the Most of Special Moments with Your Family, by me!

You may have noticed a few changes around here . . . you’re so observant and clever. I thought it was high time for a bit of a change. A bit of a make-over for the site. It’s not completely finished yet, but it should be looking more the way I want it in the next few days.

But enough dawdling. I want to get you up to speed on some things! First off, I’m starting a special subscribers only email. This will be different from my RSS feed. Instead of just a lead in and link to my latest articles, it will be an exclusive mail-out with special recipes, insider info to books I’m working on, and monthly giveaways. If you’d like to be on the list, simply sign up here.

And finally . . . I’m gonna be on TV!! (Every time I say that, I hear Mike Wasowski’s voice in my head.)

On Monday, June 10th, at 11:00 Mountain Standard Time, I will be doing a short segment on Studio 5, where I’ll be talking about my new book Celebrate Every Day, and sharing the recipe for my family’s own version of Wonka bars from the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I may even have some time to talk about how we celebrate our favorite books.

I hope you can watch, but if not, I’ll post the recording for everyone right here.

emergency brownies

emergency-brownies-tx

Wow, I may have just broken a record. I have made bake sale week last nearly a full two weeks this year. I just ran out of days faster than I could bake cookies, apparently. Time has been going by so fast lately. In fact, my kids called me from school last Friday, reminding me to come get them because it was early out, and I was late. I never even realized it was Friday until they had called. Anyway, here I am, with one last recipe.

My favorite brownies showed up in 2008. They use an entire bag of chocolate chips, and are the easiest thing in the world to make.

But sometimes, you just don’t have a bag of chocolate chips in the pantry. You may have thought you did, but when you go to find it to make the brownies you have just set your heart on, you may discover it has been nibbled down to about a half a cup’s worth by your sugar-addicted-nine-year-old (not that I would have any personal experience with that).

That is what some would call a chocolate emergency.

salted caramel squares

salted-caramel-squares-tx

Have you tried those salted caramel squares at Starbucks yet? Whenever I get a Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate or a Caramel Apple Cider, I always buy a salted caramel square, too. They’re tiny little pieces of joy. And I love them.

It’s quite often that I want one, but I’m not near a Starbucks. I do live in Utah, after all.

One Sunday afternoon last fall, my next door neighbor gave us a jar of caramel. I knew that was the day I would figure out how to make those caramel squares. Though I’m no stranger to eating homemade caramel out of a jar with a spoon, I restrained myself to use the caramel for the greater good. I remembered a tiny bag of pretzels was still swimming around in one of my kids’ Halloween bags, so I bartered him for it, and got to work.

donna hay

donna-hay-cookbook-tx

Some artists say they keep to themselves, that they try not to look at other artists’ work for fear they will be influenced too heavily by what they see. Though I would love to be able to claim true originality for what I do—my designs, my recipes, my photographs—I can’t. For starters, I spent about a dozen years looking at food photography and beautiful cookbooks before ever deciding I wanted to do anything like it. So even if I threw all my Martha Stewart Living Magazines in the tag sale bin, never to look at them again, I would still have the impression of everything I had ever looked at.

So whether it makes me a hack or not, I look up to other artists, and am inspired by them.

Donna Hay probably influences me more than anyone else, or she’s at least in my top three.