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Gallifrey One 2014 – Day Two

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Cut to Saturday morning where Doctor Whooves Equestria Girl was up at 6am only to go back to sleep till about 9am.  It didn’t matter, I had her costume to finish.  We didn’t get out of our room till about noon and really some of the best small panels are Saturday morning so I was kinda bummed but her costume turned out pretty fabulous.  I’ll save the details of that for when I get to finishing my post about her Halloween costume.  (I know, I know)  Both costumes are Equestria Girl cosplays, just different characters.  Doctor Whooves got ears and a tail though at the preteen’s request.

On the upper right, the "real" Dr. Whooves got to meet his Equestria Girl counterpart.

On the upper right, the “real” Dr. Whooves got to meet his Equestria Girl counterpart.

We also paid attention to the details and Frakker Lacquered it up on both days.

Rose & Stone Cold on upper right for Friday, Type 40 & Don't Diss the Sonic on Saturday, Doctor Whooves wore

Rose & Stone Cold on upper right for Friday, Type 40 & Don’t Diss the Sonic on Saturday, Doctor Whooves wore Shining World & Thwack! (from the Exclusive comics collection) topped with Tick Tock.

Again cosplay watching didn’t disappoint.

from Time of the Doctor who was played by Oona O'Neil who was from Fringe!!!!)

A really great Tasha Lem from The Time of the Doctor (who was played by Orla Brady who played Elizabeth Bishop from Fringe!!!!), a clockwork droid and a Madame de Pompadour (there were three or so but this one was my fave), and a Master and a Tardis and a young man that believes bow ties are cool, good stuff.

Some different panel goodness.

Doctor Panel Pics

Classic companions and awesome stand out guest stars, cool stuff.

Lastly, our haul.

This includes stuff for others too, its not just mine I swear.

This includes stuff for others too, its not just mine I swear.

Sorry this was so late, enjoy!

Valentines at Gallifrey One 2014

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So this was my third Gally, and unfortunately for me, probably my worst.  I wasn’t as prepared as I usually am.  I went in thinking I was an old pro and that I could wing it.  That was SO not the case.  Probably the best thing was that I spent less money this year than last and that was me really budgeting for parking, food, and finally taking advantage of the hospitality suite.  Seriously, if you have kids or teenagers that are begging you for food, you don’t need to shell out tons of money, you can make them wait for a meal and tell them to go downstairs and get some snacks and water.  Oh if I’d only done that last year when I had two young people with me!  Since I’m a local I also had the advantage of bringing a small cooler with us to our hotel with more snacks, sandwiches, water, and such.

Valentines 2014What preoccupied me this year was Valentine’s Day.  Last year the con was a few days after and this year it was during but I have two kids that needed me to bring stuff to their schools (brownie roll-out cookies) on Thursday and I wanted to bake my husband his favorite cake before I left.  You know, the Valentine’s Cake that I also made him for his birthday, not the least complicated of cakes and not one that keeps well (whipped cream & strawberries).  So you can imagine my dismay that he hadn’t even had a bite of it till after we got home.  I was really bummed because instead of making his cake Thursday I could have finished my daughter’s cosplay of Doctor Whooves which I didn’t finish till Saturday morning in our hotel room.  It’s okay, he brought my niece over and she, my kid and I finished half of it before it went all bad.  The hubs did get a slice but just one.

Yeah, totally Lilly Potter on the right. She was in an episode of Doctor Who.  She was pretty awesome and her handler totally appreciated the cosplay I made for my daughter.

Yeah, totally Lilly Potter on the right. She was in an episode of Doctor Who. She was pretty awesome and her handler totally appreciated the cosplay I made for my daughter.

Friday we took our pictures.  That was another reason I had some spending money left over.  This year I prepurchased our pictures and that made a big difference.  I never got my email from Froggy’s Photos so I did have to stand in the messed up line on Friday with my receipt to get my photo cards but I didn’t mind.  It was the one hiccup in an otherwise superbly run con and swiftly dealt with.  Mostly we just walked around on Friday trying to find our stickers for our program books.  These yearly program book games are where my kid excels and its definitely something we like to do together at the con.  We took our pictures with Arthur Darvill and Paul McGann which was one of the highlights for us.  We also got Arthur Darvill’s autograph on Friday where the only things we asked were what is favorite Once song was to sing and what was his favorite football club.  His answers were “Gold” and Aston Villa respectively,  just in case you were wondering.

The best Stormageddon cosplay, my Chris Hardwick/Chloe Dykstra walk by (all I could say was "Chris Hardwick" and wave hi), and a Turn Left cosplay I loved.

The best Stormageddon cosplay, my Chris Hardwick/Chloe Dykstra walk by (all I could say was “Chris Hardwick” and wave hi, he said hi back but I still feel all dorky about it), and a Turn Left cosplay I loved.

I just really didn’t look at the programming beforehand and raising the subject of walking into a panel that didn’t interest the preteen just elicits the sigh of all sighs and that look of What am I gonna do? mixed with Do I have to go with you?  So mostly we just hung out and looked around.  Which isn’t to say that we didn’t have the best time doing that and there’s so much of that to do there that you’d never be bored, but I missed the differing insights into a show that I love and that I always get with a good panel.  We did hit a few panels in the big room though and I loved every minute of it.  Friday we went to the Travels with the Doctor panel which had bunches of people in it including Arthur and Billie Piper and quite a good one.  It was very nice to see some of my favorite classic Doctor companions and even though I really haven’t watched much classic who, I still have a few favorites.  After that we left to go back to our hotel for a bit to rest and eat.  We had such a good time last year on Friday night and we were hoping to have the same kinda fun this year.  Well, she did.  Once we got back I realized the programming I wanted to go to was probably not for her.  She wasn’t comfortable playing poker even though she could because there was no money involved so we went upstairs to a room we had been eyeing all day, the Hub.  It was quite the game room with board games, card games, puzzle games and greatness.  I just happened to look at the “Extra Programming” for Friday and they were going to start a game of Werewolves of Millers Hollow at 10pm. We both played the first time and she stayed to play a second time.  She had so much fun even though she didn’t get to do much (just a villager both times) but I think playing with Doctor Who fans around her own age helped her loosen up a bit.  I played a smidge of poker during her second game of Werewolf but to no avail.  I didn’t get more than a few tickets to enter into a raffle and made it back upstairs before her second game was over.  We left after that so I could work on her costume and hopefully get some sleep.

Sundays with Joy/Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins

Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins

Okay, so its been awhile.  The thing is, I have totally been keeping up with my Sundays with Joy.  I just haven’t shared it with you.  I’ve also been working on some new stuff.  Not in earnest or anything, not to post, mostly because I really just gotta go at my own pace but things are coming along.  I’m working on a mash up of some favorite cookies, my Zucchini Herb Bread made a mini comeback without herbs and I’ve been contemplating a streusel topping for Joy’s Zucchini Cream Cheese Pound Cake so we’ll see what sticks first.  I did work on some streusel topped pies that I DO have the recipes for, I just gotta get them up.  Also, the “big” catalyst for not posting my Sundays with Joy was just that we were doing Oatmeal Raisin Pancakes that week and I made a big breakfast for the whole family so that I could have a big breakfast in my pictures especially since I overcooked my pancakes a bit that week.  So my husband goes off to work that Sunday and I get ready to take my pics with my “set aside” food for my shoot.  Seriously, I go upstairs to get some props (which I organized nicely during my hiatus) and my daughter (the SUPER picky 6 year old) eats my “prop” sausage!  I took the pictures but I just couldn’t get what I wanted.  I was just, ugh.  So I didn’t post that week and it just continued…

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins

Halloween also didn’t help but I want to do a post on that later.  I gotta show you the best sewing I’ve ever done in my entire life and even though I know it still kinda sucked, my 10 year old thought I was a rock star (for about a minute).

Onto these muffins…

ChocolateChocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins

I’ve enjoyed the Sundays with Joy that I haven’t posted about but seriously this was definitely the one to come back with.  The husband liked it and if it isn’t chocolate chip cookies or plain rice krispie treats, he balks when it comes to complements and could seriously take or leave the sweet stuff I make.  He had a good handful of these over last week along with the picky eater so yeah, this was a good one.  Also if you are wondering how the muffin holds up to a quick warm up in the microwave, all I have to say is that is 15 seconds not wasted.  It is definitely muffiny and NOT cakey, in the best way which had been a concern for me.  Also, Joy says this makes 12 muffins but I got 14 so that was nice.  Don’t forget if you want the recipe to buy Joy’s Cookbook: 100 Simple and Comforting Recipes.

Chocolate ChocolateChocolate Chip Muffins

Oh, and this was the first recipe where I was able to take pictures using my brand new hand me down awesome camera! Yes, unfortunately any back posts will be with crappier pictures than this but new ones will be SO purty. I’m excited.

My GeekyLink for today is all about Doctor Who.  Today brought the ‘Doctor Who’ Mini Episode ‘The Night Of the Doctor’ along with An Adventure in Space and Time trailer.  An exciting morning of squeeing for me around here.  However, in order to plan properly for the 50th you’ll need the Nerdist website’s Full DOCTOR WHO 50th Anniversary Week Schedule on BBC America.  It is SO going to be a major big deal around here.  The day of the 50th (Nov. 23rd) is also the start date of My Little Pony Season 4 and my girls are super excited.  So far the plan is for some sort of an Apple Jack pancake for the morning, apple cider, Tardis Cupcakes for dessert and well…that is it so far but we are still planning.  A little over a week to go so I need to nail it down but mostly we’re gonna have a great day regardless of the food.  OUR SHOWS are on!

Biscoff Pretzel Rice Krispie Treats

Biscoff Pretzel Rice Krispie Treats2

Even though I’m really late for two Sundays with Joy (I already made one twice and changed it a bit), I decided to bring you the recipe that I made last week first.  It’s THAT good.  Once I began putting these together though, the whining began…

The hubs complaining about why I don’t ever make plain rice krispie treats.  It has happened before and I’m sure it will happen again.  He knew not to complain too much but I still got a grumble.  Other krispie treats I’ve made didn’t make him change his mind but these he had to admit were “pretty good.”  High praise indeed.

Biscoff Pretzel Rice Krispie Treats1 via NerdyBaker.wordpress.com

I however, am a sucker for sweet and salty and that is exactly the combo that these deliver.  Beware, if you are a sucker like me, you might eat most of the pan before you remember school has started and you can send them with your 10 year old to share.  They were a big hit at middle school.  Even my Sarah, who is still so picky she won’t eat half the sweets I make, ate a few mini squares with delight.

My GeekyLink for today is once again Frakker Lacquer.  I’m gonna tell you a secret.  I’ve been a nail biter as long as I can remember.  Cut to now, just two months after they launched and I am 6 out of 8 shades in and I love it.  I really friggin don’t like makeup (nail polish included, except for the fact that it helps me not look old).  I always thought of it as a waste of time and something I’d just rather not do.  Frakker Lacquer helps me see the fun in it.  36 years in, I’d NEVER seen makeup as fun until now.  The shades mean something to me so they are fun for me to wear.  I love that if people see my nail polish, they’ll see purple but I see the color of Mace Windu’s light saber and it makes me smile.  Coming soon is the Classic Comics Collection exclusively at Pittsburgh Comicon September 27th to 29th AND a Winter is Coming Collection in early October AND a Doctor Who inspired collection coming up after that as well.  Also, it is simply a really great polish that is fairly resistant to chips.  I have three kids, bake and clean lots and can go over a week without a single chip.  I love this stuff and now I have nails enough to at least scratch my husband the next time he whines about plain rice krispie treats.

Biscoff Pretzel Rice Krispie Treats

Recipe Follows

Sundays with Joy/Peach Cobbler Muffins

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Nectarine CobblerMuffins via NerdyBaker.wordpress.comSo even though we were supposed to make Peach Cobbler Muffins and I titled my post as such, I totally used nectarines.  I was actually planning on mixing peaches and nectarines and only bought nectarines because I knew I had peaches at home but then I got home and found that I actually only had nectarines.  Whatever…

Nectarine Cobbler Muffins via NerdyBaker.wordpress.com

Even Joy’s title for these is a little deceiving.  She actually forgets to mention that these are brown butter Peach Cobbler Muffins.  Are you drooling yet?  Yes, they are just as good as they sound.  I seriously had to set aside the three in my pictures or there were not going to be any left to take pictures.  They were so good I sent some to my dad for his birthday along with some Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies.  As always, if you’d like a copy of the recipe please buy the Joy the Baker Cookbook: 100 Simple and Comforting Recipes.

My GeekyLink for this week is Ten Geeked Up KitchenAid Mixers from geekmom.com.  My favorite of course, is the Tardis design.  I found this article awhile back but figured it would fit in well today with all the Twelfth Doctor news (which I must say I am mostly pleased with).  It was always going to be an adjustment but I now I can start to see my way through it.  (Yes, I am still talking about Doctor Who)

NectarineCobbler Muffins

Sundays with Joy/Peanut Butter and Jam Milkshake

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PeanutButterJamMilkshake via NerdyBaker.wordpress

I know, I know a week or so late.  But hello?  Does anyone remember that I just got finished with a big themed birthday party?  Plus, I posted twice last week.  When was the last time that happened?  So yeah, even though last week’s Sundays with Joy was a very simple milkshake I really didn’t have the time to get it done.  That being said, this week’s recipe coming up is done.  Been done.  Many times over.  It will be made over and over again.  But you’ll have to wait for that.

This will also be made over and over again.  You look at this and think, “Ugh milkshake, so much mess.  It is two flavors!  It’s gonna take too long.”  Well, you’d be totally wrong.  This took a maximum of 10 minutes and I didn’t use my blender at all.  Joy tells you to but I have an aversion to mine so I just used my wand immersion blender and finished this recipe lickety split.  That is the best part.  It seems like an extra special treat that is super fun and requires special effort.  It IS an extra special treat but doesn’t require much more effort than a plain vanilla or chocolate milkshake (I also use my immersion blender for those).  If you have a peanut butter and jelly connoisseur, which if you have a husband and a few kids you probably have one or two, you’ll have a very happy milkshake drinker.

PeanutButterJamMilkshake3 via NerdyBaker.wordpress

I went with peanut butter and the raspberry jam (as Joy instructs) which I really enjoyed as opposed to strawberry because it seems like strawberry might be overpowered by the peanut butter.  The raspberry, which I am just OK with in a PB&J, was spot on in the milkshake.  Not too overpowering but you got the flavor.  It was almost perfect.  My only issue was the amount of milk in the peanut butter part.  Next time I’ll use just a smidge less.  Yum.  If you’d like to try it please buy Joy’s Cookbook 100 Simple and Comforting Recipes.  You won’t regret it.

You know what?  I am in a GeekyLink funk.  All my good shows (The Nerdist, Orphan Black, Doctor Who) have ended their respective seasons and even the crappy shows too (I’ll never tell).  I’m down to Netflix marathons of Doctor Who and Fringe.  Maybe I can do some catching up of Classic Doctor Who!  I guess it’s just as well, with summer almost upon us and all my kids home.  It’s time for family stuff like camping and movies and parks.  I do want to try geocaching with the kids this summer, though.  We’ll see how that goes.

How come condensation just makes some things look so much better?

How come condensation just makes some things look so much better?

My Favorite Party Buttercream

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PartyButtercreamBaseballs

Baseballs for my nephew’s 12th birthday.

I know, it’s been some time since you’ve had anything new from me but this is one that I’ve been working on for awhile now, ever since my Tardis Cupcakes. Since then, I’ve had a few opportunities to make massive amounts of cupcakes and of course since we’re appealing to the masses for parties we go buttercream and since we are trying to do cute decorative things for various party purposes we go vanilla buttercream.
Let me just put this out there, while I really like the idea of a pure butter buttercream the truth is it really only tastes like sugar and butter. The texture can bug me too sometimes.  So, here goes…(dun dun duh!)

Favorite Party Buttercream Soccer Cupcakes via NerdyBaker.wordpress.com

Soccer balls for my husband (coach) and daughter’s end of the spring season party.

I add in a bit of shortening.  It changes the flavor just a bit and the texture too.  It makes the frosting easier to work with.  When added to a traditional recipe for buttercream it adds a little more volume which allows for the little extra you might need when trying to go for that “professional” look without having buttloads left over.  I needed the extra volume for these two particular cupcakes because I was going for a ball effect.  Going for the look without adding too much extra frosting (I really HATE too much frosting and overall prefer a ratio of 1/3 frosting to 2/3 cupcake) requires a cupcake that bakes up into a nice dome.  For the baseballs I made Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes from Glorious Treats and for the soccer balls I made Simple Vanilla Cupcakes from the Joy the Baker Cookbook.  The “perfect” ones call for buttermilk and have a slightly bigger dome when baked.  The “simple” ones call for vanilla bean and so have a more pronounced vanilla flavor and a lovely dome.  Both are awesome recipes that I will be using again.

Joy's Simple Vanilla Cupcakes destined to become soccer balls.

Joy’s Simple Vanilla Cupcakes destined to become soccer balls.

So, here is the long and short of it.  I use some salted butter.  Then I add the shortening.  I ALWAYS switch milk to cream because c’mon, it’s a party.  And then I add even a tad more salt.  Now, here’s the thing.  When you make this frosting and are tasting it as you go, you’ll be like, “Eh, it’s alright, nothing special” but once you stick whatever you frosted in the fridge to wait for party time, they transform.  The flavors really come together as it sits and well, it’s my favorite party vanilla buttercream!  If you are eating cupcakes from me topped with vanilla buttercream it is going to be this one.  This has been a real labor of love for me since it will be a real family recipe, one that will be used for our parties for years to come.  When you come across those recipes, those are the ones you treasure.  I hope it was worth the wait for all of you.

They look like a hit!

They look like a hit!

My Geekylink is just that I hope I get to see Star Trek Into Darkness at some point this weekend.  The Doctor Who‘s season ender is also this weekend.  Those lovely worlds will meld for me on Monday when the new Traveling the Vortex is released because they will be covering the finale and the Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who: Assimilation2 crossover comic books.  I have them but haven’t yet read them.  Thanks to those guys for giving me the kick in the butt to read them before then.  My daughter heard they’d be covering them and she said she wanted to read them too.  I told her no because I want her to watch a few episodes of Star Trek:TNG first and she said OK.  I’ve been waiting almost 10 years to hear that from her.  I’ll be looking for a good Netflix night for us to get started…eek!

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