The Joy in Jolley

Chocolate and Chick-lit

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sushi for beginners

Before I start my new weekly posts there are two things I must admit- 1) I am biased when it comes to candy and tend to choose chewy or sour candy over chocolate 2) My favorite authors are Emily Giffin and Sophie Kinsella and I compare a lot of my books to these, since in my opinion, they are 5 star authors! This past week I finished reading the book, Sushi for Beginners by Marian Keyes. I am typically a pretty quick book reader, especially since my dear husband bought me a kindle, but I had a hard time getting through this book.  This particular novel went from slow to slower in my opinion. It is the story of three women and their journey to find love and happiness in life. It shows one finding love that was always right in front of her, another finding happiness after learning to love and appreciate yourself first, and the last learning a tough lesson when it comes to love and friendship. So the overall storyline was a good one it was just WAY too long and took place in Ireland thus making some of the details harder for me to understand. It barely talks about sushi but it does reference how wonderful American candy is…which I have to agree! I also have to admit that I found some of the characters rather annoying while at the same time really liking a few others that were not in the book enough.

This is a great beach or airport read but other than that I think I would pass on this particular book…I am not giving up on this author though, I have heard she is amazing!

The “chocolate” I tried this week that was new to me and one that I must share with others was: diet soda cupcakes. I know that this sounds absurd…but I promise they are amazing and very low in calories! For those of you familiar with Weight Watchers they are 4 points for one cupcake.  You can do any combination of cake mix and diet soda for different flavors. I chose to do a chocolate cake mix with a diet cherry soda (my husband’s favorite) and the result was YUMMY!! I don’t think I will ever bake a cake/cupcakes the old way again. I added a little whip cream to the top in place of frosting and it was a total success.

See below for recipe courtesy of

Things You'll Need-

  • 1 box traditional cake mix
  • 1 can diet soda
  1. Obtain your cake mix and diet soda. Use a traditional cake mix that requires eggs, oil, etc. on the box - pudding cake mixes, brownie mixes, and angel food mixes generally do not work. Choose a 'light' colored soda for white and yellow cake, and a 'dark' soda for chocolate or devil's food cake.
  2. Combine the box of cake mix with the can of diet soda in a medium mixing bowl. If desired, add sprinkles or miniature chocolate candies to make confetti cake - yum! You can color a light colored cake with a bit of colored sugar or food coloring as well. Mix well to make your cake batter.
  3. You may now follow the baking directions on the box - this will make two layers, or twenty-four cupcakes. Otherwise, use the following baking guidelines: 24 cupcakes: 18-21 minutes at 350 degrees 2 9-inch layers: 28-31 minutes at 350 degrees 2 8-inch layers: 33-36 minutes at 350 degrees 1 13x9 pan: 32-35 minutes at 350 degrees

    Make sure to switch the positions of the pans in the oven, halfway through baking!

  4. Allow to cool in pans for about a half hour before you frost or try to eat your cake. You can enjoy this cake as is - it's far more moist than normal cake. Topping ideas: fat-free whipped topping, strawberry or fruit preserves, honey, marshmallow fluff