Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas Time is Here

The usual lineup. Grandma KooKoo's Swedish Sugar Cookies on the left. Gingerbread People, Coconut Thumbprints, Chocolate Chip, Pecan Tassies and Kiefels on the right. It looks like someone swiped a Chocolate Chip Cookie before I could snap the picture.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pumpkin Ghost

This was my birthday cake this year.  The inside is pumpkin and the exterior is cream cheese frosting.  I've used this cake pan before, but this is the first time the decoration actually fit the shape.

My littlest nephew was supposed to help me decorate it, but he backed out at the frosting stage. He shed some tears when he realized the cake got decorated without him, but I made it up to him. No, I did not take the 2 chocolate espresso beans and fun size Twizzler off the cake and let him redecorate it! But, I did let him put faces on the mini-cupcakes (not pictured) that were pumpkin chocolate chip (inspired by Charm City Cakes list of flavors.)  He might still be mad at me.

Friday, October 12, 2012

2012 Fall Television Schedule

Since last fall I've gotten another TiVo with a dual tuner so I didn't color-code my schedule since everything will be recorded! (or watched live!) Something new to the list are the shows I watch every weekday.  Here's what I'm watching this fall.

Plan your own lineup here:

7:30 PM
Jeopardy! (CBS) 

11:00 PM
The Daily Show (Comedy)

7:30 PM 
Adventure Time (Cartoon)

8:00 PM
How I Met Your Mother (CBS)
Bones (FOX)

9:00 PM
2 Broke Girls (CBS)

9:30 PM
Mike & Molly (CBS)

10:00 PM
Revolution (NBC)
Hawaii Five-O (CBS)

9:00 PM
New Girl (FOX)

9:30 PM

The Mindy Project (FOX)

10:00 PM
Chopped (Food)
Covert Affairs (USA)

8:00 PM

Arrow (CW)

9:00 PM
Modern Family (ABC)

10:00 PM
Nashville (ABC)

South Park (Comedy)
The Soup (E!)

8:00 PM
Last Resort (ABC)

30 Rock (NBC)
Beauty and the Beast (CW)

9:00 PM
Person of Interest (CBS)
The Office (NBC)
Burn Notice (USA)

10:00 PM
Elementary (CBS)


9:00 PM
Grimm (NBC)

Degrassi (Teen Nick)

10:00 PM
Blue Bloods (CBS)

10:00 AM
Green Lantern (Cartoon)

10:30 AM
Young Justice (Cartoon)

8:00 PM
Once Upon A Time (ABC)

9:00 PM
Masterpiece (PBS)

The Next Iron Chef (Food)

10:00 PM
Iron Chef America (Food)

I'll be adding Community, Cougar Town, Psych and maybe some more shows later.  I think there are like 5 show I don't watch.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Boston Creme Pie Cupcakes

These were desserts for a Labor Day barbecue  I've never made a Boston Creme Pie, but I was inspired to make these when I was flipping though the "Our Favorite Cupcakes" slideshow on Martha Stewart's website.

The whole gang! 

Artsy picture, courtesy of Quinn.

I'd recommend watching the video before making these cupcakes since the recipe isn't quite as specific as it could be. For instance, the cupcake recipe should be made with the whisk attachment of the mixer.  Also, the main recipe links to a recipe for the vanilla cream filling, but doesn't specify that you need 3 cups of filling (a double batch) for 2 dozen cupcakes.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Pure Cupcakes

Based on Sweet Revenge's Pure Cupcakes. I didn't use the parchment method, although it is a fun twist on the basic boring liners.

Heavily frosted

Split open to show texture, but photographed poorly so that all detail is obscured.

The crumb on the cupcakes was heavy, yet light. The taste was eggy and very vanilla-y! The gals who helped eat them are big custard fans so they approved of this variation on a yellow cake. I've discovered that frosting like this buttercream that uses a little shortening has a better consistency than butter alone. I've taken to adding a tablespoon or two to my other recipes as a result.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Peach Hand Pies

I wanted a portable dessert for a couple of Cleveland Orchestra concerts at Blossom Music Center.  These little pies were the perfect solution!  

I followed the filling recipe as written.  In hindsight, I would have peeled the peaches and cut them smaller to release more juice.  I made home-made pie crust but since I was out of AP flour I used self-rising flour, which made the crust a little biscuity.  Different, but delicious!

iPhone photo
I got the peaches from the farmer's market that morning, and they were ripe but not very soft. The vendor said they would be fine for baking but, ideally, I would have waited a day or two.  I'll have to plan better next time.  I'm glad I made these since Ohio peaches have been wonderful this year!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Bug Party

My littlest nephew's 4th birthday had a bug theme. It gave me a chance to wear my sparkly spider t-shirt, ladybug ankle bracelet, and scorpion necklace and ring. It also gave my sisters and me a chance to make fun creepy crawly desserts.

The frosting was dyed light green, which is a little hard to see in the pictures.

Beautiful butterfly cookies (Grandma Kookoo's Swedish Sugar Cookies.) 
The birthday boy's brother helped decorate these.

Oh, it's a caterpillar! How clever! So cute!

Thursday, August 30, 2012


I'm not turning this into a political blog, but this Daily Show piece that is narrated (and sung a little) by Leonard Nimoy is too good not to share.  I completely cracked up around the 2:30 mark.

Monday, July 23, 2012


 A Question of Lust. 

Today is Martin Gore's birthday and when I heard that, all I could think of was this song. It is my favorite Depeche Mode song where he sings lead. 

I don't know if his Wikipedia entry is accurate, but it's a fascinating read.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Almond Poppy Seed Bread

This is a test post to see if my webcam can capture good pictures of baked goods.

You can see the poppy seeds in there, right? The remainder of the batter was used to make a dozen muffins.

I couldn't find a recipe that I liked in my cookbooks or online so I added poppy seeds and almond extract to a plain/basic muffin recipe.  I'd post it, but I think there are better recipes to be had. What I thought was interesting and odd was that so many recipes called for sour cream.  Maybe next time I'll try this one.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Signpost Up Ahead

Taken from the Toodle 2.0 Convertible somewhere along I-71.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


These glasses were bedazzled by yours truly!  I can't remember the exact details, but I promised one of the guys in my movie-going group that I would bejewel some glasses for our next 3D movie.  I had to make good on my word when the group made plans to see a movie in XD! Real D 3D.

I wanted to make his manly so I used red and complementary colors.  I decided to make myself a pair using shades of purple and green since I had the glue and jewels out anyway.  We were definitely the most stylish people in the theater.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Black and White

These cupcakes were dessert for Memorial Day.  Both are Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Cupcakes.  The one on the left has Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Frosting, and the one on the right has a simple vanilla buttercream frosting (6 T butter, 3 cups powdered sugar, 1 t vanilla, milk to thin it out.)

The cupcake paper on the right is supposed to look like a flower.  I like these type of "fun" liners, but their size tends to be a little bigger than a standard cupcake tin. I made some in my jumbo tin and some in the regular one, which worked well enough.

I make these chocolate/chocolate cupcakes a lot since they are easy and delicious so I was just going to make chocolate/white cupcakes. But, I made two frostings since at least one person in my family prefers chocolate/chocolate to chocolate/white.   

Monday, April 30, 2012

Bunny Cake

Back when I was a kid, we made this cake a lot.  At least it seems like we did.  I don't know if we actually did.  But every year when Easter rolls around and I don't make it, my tia asks me why; like it's a tradition that I'm not upholding.

The cake is made from 2 8-inch round cakes.  One is left intact and the other forms the ears and bow tie.  The cake is Special Birthday (yellow) cake and the frosting is whipped cream.  The face is sprinkled with coconut, but the ears and tie are left plain.  My nephew and tia helped me decorate with silver dragees, jellybeans and a candy carrot.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Promises, Promises

I have a trial subscription to SiriusXM, which I use to listen to very few of the hundreds of stations available. My dial is mostly tuned to 1st Wave, which is their "classic alternative" station. About 1 in 3 songs that I hear on this station are already on my iPod, but occasionally they'll play a song that I almost forgot existed like this great tune:

Weren't the 80's the best time ever?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Oscar Sunday

Here are my choices for the big show tonight. I have $2 riding on these picks! Predictions in BOLD. Once again pressed for time so no witty comments...


Demian Bichir
George Clooney
Jean DuJardin
Gary Oldman
Brad Pitt


Kenneth Branagh
Jonah Hill
Nick Nolte
Christopher Plummer
Max Von Sydow


Glenn Close
Viola Davis
Rooney Mary
Meryl Streep
Michelle Williams


Berenice Bejo
Jessica Chastain
Melissa McCarthy
Janet McTeer
Octavia Spencer


A Cat in Paris
Chico & Rita
Kung Fu Panda 2
Puss In Boots


The Artist
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Midnight In Paris
War Horse


The Artist
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
The Tree of Life
War Horse


The Artist
Jane Eyre


Michel Hazanavicius
Alexander Payne
Martin Scorsese
Woody Allen
Terrence Malick


Hell and Back Again
If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front
Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory


The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement
God is the Bigger Elvis
Incident in New Baghdad
Saving Face
The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom


The Artist
The Descendants
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo


Bullhead, Belgium
Footnote, Israel
In Darkness, Poland
Monsieur Lazhar, Canada
A Separation, Iran


Albert Nobbs
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
The Iron Lady


The Adventures of Tintin
The Artist
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
War Horse


Man or Muppet, THE MUPPETS
Real in Rio, RIO


The Artist
The Descendants
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
The Help
Midnight in Paris
The Tree of Life
War Horse


The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
La Luna
A Morning Stroll
Wild Life


The Shore
Time Freak
Tuba Atlantic


The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
War Horse


The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
War Horse


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Real Steel
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Transformers: Dark of the Moon


The Descendants
The Ides of March
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy


The Artist
Margin Call
Midnight In Paris
A Separation

Monday, February 20, 2012

Punch Brothers Punch

The Punch Brothers came out with a new album last week. If you aren't familiar with the Punch Brothers, give them a listen below.

"This Is The Song" from Live from the Lower East Side: It's p-Bingo Night! from Punch Brothers on Vimeo.

You might recognize the gorgeous lead singer and mandolin player, Chris Thile, from Nickel Creek or from the recent Goat Rodeo Sessions with Yo Yo Ma. But all of the members of the group are incredible musicians and their albums are like nothing else out there.

There is a tour to support the new album, Who's Feeling Young Now? and I would highly recommend seeing The Punch Brothers live. I saw them on their last tour and was wowed by the music and charmed by their personalities. It was great to hear their own songs played live, but one of the best things about that show was their rendition of The Strokes, Reptillia, which I've posted below.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Decorating Committee

I love love love to bake. I'm not so keen on decorating. I make a million Christmas cookies and try not to decorate any of them. I didn't frost or sprinkle any cut-out cookies this year, but I didn't dodge the decorating bullet completely.

On Christmas Eve night, I was at my grandmother's house and decided to decorate a few of the gingerbread people (and bears) since I was going to give some to my aunt the next morning. She and I talked and watched tv while I decorated and the next thing I knew, all of the cookies were done and it was 3 AM.

The first few were hard, but I got better and more creative as the night wore on. It reminded me of when I would stay up all night writing a paper in college, only instead of typing big words and sharp turns of phrase, I drew fun patterns and hairdos. I have to say, I'm pretty proud of how they look. Maybe piping is my forte.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sticky Toffee Pudding

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is having Sticky Toffee Pudding for dessert. It isn't the conventional cake that you find across the pond, but the linked recipe I use is by Nigella Lawson so you can trust it.

It's served warm with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream.