Food & Party Snacks  &  Desserts

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    Do you know how much sugar is too much sugar? I had no effin' idea -- until now. According to the World Health Organization, only 5 percent of our calories should come from sugar. That's added sugar, by the way. Even broccoli has natural sugars, after all. WHO director of nutrition Francesco Branca admits that 10 percent is probably more realistic for most of us. But just out of curiosity, I wanted to figure out what 5 percent of your total calories per day would look like.

    Let's say you consume around 2000 calories a day. That would mean you could eat 100 calories in sugar. 100 calories of sweet, sweet indulgence. How many M&Ms is that, exactly? Well, our nutritional labels don't tell us that, yet. But you can estimate based on 4 calories per 1 gram of sugar.

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    Now, in horrifying but ultimately not that important news, certain restaurants are talking about stopping the sale of guacamole! Whyfor this injustice? Why have they, if you'll forgive me, stopped seeing green? Because, due to inclement weather conditions, avocados are being battered into near oblivion.

    They are still around, of course, but their prices this season have been insane due to the extreme shortage of the fatty fruit. It sounds like the situation is only going to get worse. This year's shortage isn't just a one-off; scientists are saying that in the next 10 years, the changing climate is going to cause a real crisis where avocados are involved. So what are guacamole lovers like you and me supposed to do?

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    I love my slow cooker. Even as I type this, it's bubbling away at home, preparing what will hopefully be a scrumptious meal for me post-work. But it can be used for so much more than scrumptious sauces and the gradual softening of the bones of your enemies. Once you've entered the world of slow-cooked desserts, you'll never look back -- trust me on this one.

    This apple pie recipe as written for the slow cooker stands out from the crowd. Since apples are aromatics, they are a perfect fit for your slow cooker, where the low and slow heat will allow the gentle aroma of the cooking apples to fill your home. Who needs scented candles when you've got something that not only smells like heaven, but is also edible? It's a win-win-win.

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    During winter break last week, my son asked if we could make dirt. I thought he was talking about composting, but no -- he meant a chocolate dessert created by YouTube vlogger CutiePieMarzia. It's a chocolate cup filled with pudding and strawberries topped with crushed cookies and gummy worms to look like soil.

    I love the idea -- spring seems a long, long way off. It's going to be forever before we actually start gardening, so this fun dessert lets you pretend in a delicious way. Here's a recipe and steps for making chocolate "dirt" dessert cups.

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    There is always more room in the ice cream aisle for more flavors -- just like there is always more room for ice cream even if it's just a spoonful. But who are we kidding? Sometimes there is room for the whole pint. Which is exactly why I think Ben & Jerry's need to stop pretending that this new ice cream style allows you to save some for later.

    Yes, I said NEW! New ice cream time is here! In not one, not two, not even three, but FOUR new combinations of deliciousness. And it's designed so we get all we need in one bite.

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    Cookie dough is magical. Come on, admit that you still lick the batter after making chocolate chip cookies even though you know you're not supposed to ingest anything made with raw eggs! The belly ache is so worth it at times. Well, fear not. This incredible cookie dough dip recipe isn't just safe -- it's actually deceptively healthy. That's right! It's made without sugar, if you can believe it, as well as nut butter and oats. Cookie dough with health benefits -- who would have thought it was possible?!

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    While chocolate chip cookies are good when they are slightly over-baked, with crispy edges and chewy centers, the only thing that rivals this, is when they are ooey, gooey, and under-cooked ever-so-slightly. Falls-apart-in-your-hands, under-cooked. Not, you-will-probably-die-from-salmonella, under-cooked -- just so we're clear. 

    This recipe for Chocolate Chip Butter Cake is great because it's supposed to be a chewy, messy, oozing delight. It's all the fun of licking the bowl spoon of the mixing bowl with less of the aforementioned risk of death or serious illness. This recipe is good enough to whip out for the family as wintry, spur of the minute dessert treat. Heck, it's good enough for you to lock yourself away in the bathroom with it and be all, "screw my family" and then eat the whole thing yourself. 

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    Apple pie is great, but if you're looking for a slightly different all-American dessert that has a bit of bite and kick to it, you can't beat Key Lime Pie. There's something cool and refreshing about this delicious dessert, which is unbelievably simple to make and consists of so few ingredients, you won't even feel like you're baking. This is a treat for cooks who don't want to slave over a hot oven, but can appreciate a fluffy, creamy, tangy, and sweet treat that takes just 20 minutes to whip up.

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    Think of all the cookie varieties in the world. There has to be a different cookie for every kind of personality, don't you think? I sure do! What looks to you like a baked confection of flour, butter, sugar, and egg is actually an entire little universe every bit as complex as each one of us. Okay, that's a slight exaggeration. But don't you think your favorite cookie says something about you? Choose wisely -- which one is your favorite?

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    Great news for those of you trying to feed your kids more "real" food and fewer artificial additives. Kraft Singles won't have artificial preservatives anymore. The company will no longer add sorbic acid to individually wrapped, full-fat "American" and "White American" slices. Instead, they'll use natural mold inhibitor natamycin. Grilled cheese fans, rejoice!

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