My Top 15 Favorite Indulgences

I was thinking that it would be fun to share with you some of the things that I love to eat when I want to indulge a bit.

Some not-so-great for you eats, drinks, junk food, and make-me-feel-better foods.
The stuff that makes me, well, me.
The skeletons in my foodie closet.

And in putting together the list below, I have found that my palate really hasn’t evolved much beyond the picture you see above. I was about 8 months old and apparently thought that gnawing on a turkey leg was about as good as it gets. As it turns out, I still savor the seemingly small, unrefined things when it comes to the types of food that make me happy and make me feel cozy.

For good measure (and so there is proof that I don’t currently go around gnawing on turkey legs for every meal), I share with you the most recent picture I have of me eating:

We were on vacation and I was noshing on a southwestern shrimp salad. In a deep-fried tortilla bowl, of course :)  (Pay no attention to the sunburned nose, cheeks and forehead.)

And now for my favorites, in no particular order:

1. Diet Coke from the fountain

Ahh yes, so important that it’s from the fountain – so much better than a can (my first alternative) or a bottle. All of the fuzzy, bubbly carbonation. I have definitely driven through a drive-thru just to order a Diet Coke. For shame.

2. Ice Cream

While I love making my own ice cream, I don’t really discriminate in this area. I’ll just as happily take a trip to the local custard stand, get a sundae at a local eatery, walk over to Marble Slab for rocky road in a chocolate-coated waffle bowl, or pick up my favorite store brand, which is currently Edy’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup – I fell in love with it while I was on vacation. I also fell in love eating it out of a waffle cone. LOVE waffle cones!

3. Dip made from Harry and David’s Onion and Pepper Relish

Last year over the 4th of July weekend my Chief Culinary Consultant and I went to a cookout. His friend trotted out this amazing dip, which the friend’s mom had made. I immediately asked for the recipe and he said it was just cream cheese and a relish from Harry and David. It is truly that easy – combine a jar of Harry and David’s Onion & Pepper Relish with 16 oounces of cream cheese and you have the most amazing dip ever. A little sweet, a little spicy and perfect with any type of chip, even those flat pretzel crisps are awesome. I stock up on jars of the stuff every time we hit the outlets!

4. Soft Pretzels

Speaking of outlet shopping, we have a little ritual when we go to the outlets – we always, always stop at the food court and hit up Auntie Anne’s. Our favorites are an original pretzel or a pretzel dog (hot dog wrapped in pretzel dough) – so good! It also goes without saying that I will also usually want a soft pretzel at any type of sporting event or festival I attend. I’m totally addicted to them. Speaking of, did you see the massive “Victory Knot” pretzel that we had at PNC Park this past weekend?

5. Pepperoni Bread

(I still can’t decide if it’s pepperoni bread or pepperoni rolls?) I loved when my grandma would churn out at least a dozen pepperoni rolls at a time. Nothing terribly fancy – Rhodes frozen bread dough, shredded mozzarella and sliced pepperoni. And yet somehow, I can’t get them to taste just like hers. I still try, and I’ll certainly eat anyone else’s mom’s or grandma’s that I’m offered because, let’s face it, pepperoni bread is just plain awesome. Also, is this a Pittsburgh thing?

6. Five Guys burgers and fries

This is my go-to when I’m craving greasy food that is just plain bad for you. I try not to do it more than once every couple of months, but gosh, sooooo good. I love the little bacon cheeseburger with sauteed mushrooms, mayonnaise, ketchup, onions, lettuce, pickles and tomato. And of course fries. That order usually lasts me 2-3 meals, there’s so much!

7. Blue Moon with an orange wedge

My favorite beer. So good. And definitely potent!

8. Cheesecake.

It’s no secret around here that I absolutely, positively adore cheesecake. I love any type of cheesecake, cheesecake cookies, homemade, The Cheesecake Factory, whatever and whenever. Cheesecake rules.

9. Lindt chocolate truffles

This infatuation started with my Chief Culinary Consultant. On our first date he brought me dark chocolate Lindt truffles after I made mention of how much I love dark chocolate (what a man!), and I was totally smitten (with him and the truffles :)). He has continued to shower me with these truffles for various occasions and I just totally adore them. Clean chocolate flavor, creamy and smooth. I love all of the different varieties! When we were at the Sony Ericsson Open while in Florida and I found out that Lindt was a sponsor, I bee-lined it to their tent for free truffles :)

10. Popcorn.

I love a big bowl of popcorn at the movie theater. It’s all part of the experience for me – popcorn and a nice big Diet Coke (see #1). I also love curling up under a blanket watching a movie at home with some semi-homemade movie theater popcorn (my CCC is an expert at making this). While buttered popcorn is my favorite, I also love different flavors like kettle corn, and homemade cracker jack was just plain awesome! There’s something so cozy about enjoying a big bowl of popcorn.

11. A big bowl of cereal.

Bonus if it’s for dinner. I loooooove cereal. Favorites include Raisin Bran, Special K Fruit & Yogurt, Honey Bunches of Oats, Honey Nut Cheerios and Crispix. I haven’t been buying as much though after really starting to pay closer attention to labels and finding that almost all of them contain high fructose corn syrup. Bummer :(

12. Peanut butter & jelly on toasted pita bread.

We all know that I’m infatuated with peanut butter, and this might seem a little weird, but hear me out. You take half a pita, split it open, toast the halves. They get super thin and crispy. Chunky PB and jelly on top – so totally delicious. It’s sort of my soul food. If I’m sick or just feeling blah, this is what I eat.

13. Pepperoni Pizza

I could eat pepperoni pizza almost every single day. I say almost because there was actually a week back in March where I found myself with pizza and leftovers for about 4 nights, and that weekend I declared myself “pizza-d out”. Certainly shocking and something I never thought was possible but, alas, it was. Aside from that, I pretty much will never, ever turn down pizza. Love.

14. Fish Fry food

I might only eat it once or twice during an entire Lent season, but deep-fried cod sandwiches on a big bun with pickles and tartar sauce? Sublime. And hello, pierogies! LOVE fried potato and cheese pierogies. Something else I only eat once or twice a year, but always puts a smile on my face. Plus it reminds me of being a kid when my mom and dad would volunteer with other parents at our church’s fish fry and us kids from the grade school would run around and play all night. Then everyone would go home stinking like fried fish ;-)

15. Lay’s Natural potato chips – Thick Cut with Sea Salt

I love these potato chips. They’re perfectly salted, the perfect thickness, not too greasy. And they are all the better when they accompany an awesome sandwich made on really great bread, or a charred hot dog fresh off the grill. Yum!

So there you have it – all of my foodie dirty secrets!

What about you? What are some of your favorite treats/snacks/indulgences?