Monday, October 31, 2011

The Costume Conundrum: The Reveal!

Cooking Corner: Cake Pops


Have you ever heard of Cake Pops?

Well then you must have been living under the internet rock for quite some time. (Well either that or you're not a food blogger nerd like me). They've been sweeping the nation, especially since Bakerella published a book: Cake Pops: Tips, Tricks, and Recipes for Over 40 Irresistable Mini Treats

I will admit, I have had my highs and lows with cake pops. My first attempts, I blindly trusted the ratios on her website and ended up with mushy, saccharine sweet blobs of goo that, yes, tasted fantastic (it's cake and frosting, how could it not?) but didn't hold up well to being put on sticks.

My second attempt was a similar failure. I got a texture that was work-with-able but my dipping techniques were sub-par and I ended up with crummy candy coating.

But my third attempt, oh my third attempt was wonderful. I watched the video that she filmed for Amazon to promote the book and I got it. It clicked. I went to work and made a whole bouquet of cake pops that I then gave to my research professor as a thank you for the help she has given me this past summer.

And now, because we all know my obsession with pumpkin, it is time.

Pumpkin Cake Pops. Pumpkin cupcakes. Cinnamon cream cheese frosting. Mush it together, dip it in candy, draw on a face and voila. you've got yummy Jack-O-Lantern treats that should probably be scared of you because their fate rests in your mouth.

The recipe appears in the Fall issue of Betty Crocker's baking magazine, the ones you see at supermarket checkouts. Bakerella posted on her blog about how excited she was to see her recipe on the cover, and then I had to go out and buy a copy.

(That's Bakerella's picture, no mine, my camera is not nearly that good)

So, in the interest of not being sued by Betty Crocker, I have not posted the recipe, but if you have a pumpkin cupcake recipe, and you know how to make Cake Pops, you are pretty much set. So let's get onto the good part: the pictures!

So, dear readers: Have you ever tried cake pops? Heard of them? Think they sound disgusting? Want to go try them right this second? Tell me in the comments!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Costume Conundrum: Part 3

As I sat, confused and loathsome about the decision I had to make, I began to ponder the years of Halloweens past...thinking about the great (and awful) costumes that had come before....


My first ever Halloween costume was a ladybug. I was just past being a year old, and my mom sewed me a little red pillow with black dots on it, that I wore like a backpack over a black onesie. I crawled around and looked damned cute. My little sister had a similar butterfly costume for her first halloween.

The years between have been lost in memory but I have been many things and many people. I've been an alien, a witch, a pumpkin, a spider queen, Tinkerbelle, a white-sheet ghost with red tennies, and in the more recent years I bought a Princess Leia costume, and last year I decided to revive the ladybug. Red skirt, heels, red top, headband with antennae and a foam set of wings that I whacked people with all night. It was awesome.

So, as I considered the decision I had to make, I reminisced about the costumes that had come before, and thought that I had a lot to live up to...

So what did I pick? Find out in the last installment of the Costume Conundrum!

So, what were some of your favorite Halloween costumes you had as a kid? Tell me in the comments, and pictures are always welcome!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Gettin up on my soapbox...

Yes, yes, I know I've already used this as a soapbox for non-Halloween related things, but this one is especially close to my heart. While we count down the rest of October, I hope you'll bear with me (this is the last one...)

October is Vegetarian Awareness month, and as a vegetarian for 8 years now, this is obviously a cause I hold near and dear to me.

Now, I won't bore you with my reasons for being vegetarian, but I do hope that you take the time to learn a little bit more about vegetarianism today. Learn about the health benefits, if anything, and consider going vegetarian for a day, a week, or a month. It doesn't matter what your personal reasons are for it, but you can do your part to save the planet, save a life, or save a few calories.

If you do go vegetarian for a day, you can enter to win $1000 dollars by submitting your pledge card here: World Vegetarian Day Website.

So tell me, would you consider going vegetarian for a day? Why or why not (keep it civil guys, I respect your love of meat, particularly the rising popularity of bacon, but if we're going to have a discussion we need to be civil. If you aren't I will delete your comment and block you from this blog. I have no tolerance for intolerance). If you are vegetarian, why?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Costume Conundrum: Part 2

When we last left off, Dorothy's ruby red slippers weren't quite the right fit...

My brain turned to other options. Being a brunette, I cycled through all my favorite female brunettes. Maybe I could be Velma? Orange turtleneck, red miniskirt, and I'm basically set. I've already got the dopey glases, and I've got my lines down ("Jinkies!").

Oh but what about matching the sweater to the socks and the skirt to the shoes? What about the classic little bob, my hair is too long, I'm not cutting it and I don't want to wear a wig. What about, what about, what about.

So that idea got placed on the backburner for a little while.

Then comes ComiCon 2010 in July. I see her everywhere and start to wonder whether I can pull it off. Wonder Woman. How bitchin would I be as Wonder Woman? I'd probably opt for a skirt rather than the spandex swimsuit version, but I can be a strong Amazonian warrior woman, with the right hair and the right accessories.

But then...well...I can't really make the costume. The stretchy, shiny spandex doesn't work well with my limited sewing skills and well, I don't really want to BUY a costume...$35 for the CHEAP costume that looks about as expensive as a McDonald's happy meal toy...or a heck of a lot more for a really nice suit. I am a broke college student. Not happening.

Staying in the vein of being broke, what about something easy, Where's Waldo? I think yeah, people would get a kick seeing me in a crowd, and all I need is the hat and the shirt, that's easy right? But oh, ew, horizontal stripes...

What about a jellyfish? Martha Stewart has a great tutorial. Get a clear umbrella and long strips of bubble wrap, maybe a blacklight...but hm...that's not really a costume it's just something you carry around...

What to do?! Find out next...

Question: Did you go through a process before settling on your final costume? Tell me about it in the comments!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


I don't know about you, but I love me some swag. String me a line of some pennant flags anywhere and everywhere, and why not do it at Halloween too? It's the perfect decoration to add a little festivity and go as cute or spooky as you want, and it packs up flat for easy storage that isn't bulky.

Here's what I'm thinking of this year, Michaels Craft store has some great ideas on their website for things like this BOO garland:

And something a little more accessible to post in the front entry way, a simple orange and black Happy Halloween
I'll let you know if I end up making my own!

Do you have a favorite Halloween decoration or easy craft? Tell me in the comments!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Cooking Corner: Pumpkin!

Oh dear. The first cold day of the year (well, cold for California) gets my wheels a-turnin. It's cold. It must be fall. And when it's fall that means...

It's pumpkin season!

I wait all year for pumpkin season. Pumpkin and all the things that come with it define this season for me. The warm spiciness of nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, with the smooth richness of my favorite

Sometimes, I will admit, I cannot wait for September. I have made pumpkin pancakes in April, I will not deny this. I have concocted pumpkin ice cream in July. I have no shame.

So, for my first cooking corner, I would like to share with you a recipe that was featured on a favorite blog of mine, Baking Bites. They do a roundup about once a week of the best recipes that are circulating then. One fateful week, I was stopped dead in my tracks when I ran across this beauty:

Pumpkin Cinnamon Streusal Buns.

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. Warm and gooey? Spicy and rich? Streusal?!? How could I say no.

And you know what the best part is? It's...(low fat). Don't tell anybody. 

I'll leave the recipe to her, she deserves all the credit for this masterpiece.

What's your favorite fall treat? Tell me in the comments!