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Category Archives: Holidays

Mother’s Day, I Just Cant

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It is 10 years ago today since my mother has been gone. I still remember it like it was yesterday. The day before was a Saturday and I had gone to my nephew’s soccer game with my little girl.

Day Before

Taken at my nephew’s soccer game the day before my mother died.

Later that afternoon, I would be taking overnight care of my mother with my aunt and her best friend. My sister and I were taking turns along with other family members since my mother had been on hospice for a week or so. Actually we had taken turns over the last month but the bed downstairs and oxygen tank just helped to make things easier for all of us. We had known for awhile that she would not get any better and logically we all know everyone goes but knowing your parent’s death is imminent is freakin strange, devastating but not quite yet. I had begun to have anxiety about the upcoming Mother’s Day (which came exactly a week after she passed) because what do you get your dying mother for Mother’s Day? Flowers, that will immediately wilt and remind her that she is? Candy that she won’t eat? A keepsake, for who at this point? Time with me she had as well as my care and love for her forever and always and I never had to make a purchase. I was guiltily relieved.

The night was long. She didn’t sleep soundly. The next day, while I was still there my godmother came to see her. When my sister and I switched later that day, her godmother came. She was there when she passed. I always thought those visits helped my mom to let go. She had picked these beautiful women long ago to help us along our way and they were still there and willing to do so and while I have them and plenty of other (thankfully) willing, able, loving, active fantastical surrogates, all of which deserve to be honored as such, Mother’s Day just really makes me want to shut down. When I think of what I want to do for Mother’s Day, all I see is me in bed in a hoodie with the hood on and closed in the fetal position crying either watching movies or listening to music she loved. It would make me feel horrible and yet horribly close to her. But I live in the world and as such, it cannot be…not forever anyway. I thought I could avoid Mother’s Day forever but the avoidance only lasted for as long as my grandmother would celebrate without me (and honestly how long I figured my mother would allow me to not celebrate with her, is that weird?). It got worse as my kids got older and wanted to celebrate with/for me. I still avoid celebrating as much as I can while trying to remember how wonderful the women in my family are and how much they deserve when I can’t.

Lately, I’ve been also been thinking about how long a decade is. If I didn’t have my mother from 0-10 years old, how different would I be? Good lord, if she was gone from 10-20? Well, rounding up, I’ve been without her from 30-40 and I know for a fact that I am a lesser person for her not being here. She wasn’t perfect but she was MY MOM. As a mom, I understand that we are the air for our kids, gravity. The essential of all essentials…and mine is gone.

Life goes on, I get it. My momma raised a smart girl. We muddle through. We do our best even as our hearts ache.

She'll be 13 this month. The best thing my husband ever did for me was plan her 3rd birthday party.

Mom, with the only kid of mine she knew.  She’ll be 13 later this month. The best thing my husband ever did for me was plan her 3rd birthday party.

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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.

WonderCon, Easter, and Birthdays (My Spring Break)

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Only a portion of the entire haul, we are missing a couple of Creeper pins, another Minecraft pickave pin, and a Naan Cat pin, and Rainbow Dash figure and all the other stuff my nephews got.

Only a portion of the entire haul, we are missing a couple of Creeper pins, another Minecraft pickave pin, a Nyan Cat pin, a Wii U Bag, a Rainbow Dash thingy and all the stuff my nephews got.

For any of you that didn’t know, the nerd/geek community apparently really SUCKS at planning things. Otherwise WonderCon would not have been the weekend of Easter and TableTop Day would not have been the day before Easter. Luckily for me, WonderCon started on a Friday and I was able to participate and still do the mom/family stuff the rest of the weekend. If it wasn’t Easter weekend, I would have totally ditched my little ones and run to this place that was hosting TableTop Day games that was super close to my aunt’s bar & grill. I could have eaten a nice lunch and then gone and played board games. It would’ve been a great day. It still was, we did some fun family stuff and I was able get home early and bake for Sunday. O well, maybe next year…

Wondercon2

 

Onto WonderCon

 

A Harley Quinn, some Wreck-It-Ralphers, Guardians, and a hot Wolverine.

A Harley Quinn, some Wreck-It-Ralphers, Guardians, and a Wolverine.

Last year, the first year it moved to Anaheim, I totally regretted not going even though it was pouring torrential rain that weekend. After we parked and walked as far as we did to get into the venue, I don’t regret it as much. Because of Easter, I wasn’t even sure I was going to go. Just so much going on, lack of money, blah, blah, blah. But I had already mentioned it to my nephews, my niece got to go Gallifrey One, my husband has been on this “its just money/life’s too short” kick, and two days before Easter I am NOT baking and am out of town for the entire day. I had a blast.

I helped Captain America zip up in the ladies room.  Her back "shield" is a purse.  That little Iron man was PERFECT.

I helped Captain America zip up in the ladies room. Her back “shield” is a purse. That little Iron man was PERFECT.

The programming was a bit light because well, it wasn’t a Saturday, but we still made it to a Geek and Sundry panel. We tried to get into a Regular Show panel but apparently that was the same room they were going to preview the season premiere of Doctor Who and so was longest line EVER and we couldn’t get in. I was bummed for the kids because they really wanted to see that one. So even though there wasn’t much programming for our group, who doesn’t LOVE the convention floor? Super crowded at times but mostly fine, we navigated most of it really well. I was able to hold the kids off on buying stuff till we actually saw most things and then we went back and bought. They all bought posters (our group bought Modern Warfare III, Adventure Time, and Regular Show) and some pins. I had been bugging Angela about a poster since Gallifrey One. She didn’t get why till we got home from Gally and I pointed out her many years old High School Musical 3 poster behind her door. Since then she had been on the lookout for a new poster. I bought pins and a Walking Dead trade paperback for my sister/me. I spent the bulk of my money on bows, seriously. Ponies, Hunger Games, and Adventure Time hairbows for my girls. One vendor, who didn’t sell online, had some great deals so I just HAD to get them.

Felicia Day, John Saxon, Noel Gugliemi, my nephew and Lou Ferigno,

Felicia Day, John Saxon, Noel Gugliemi, my nephew and Lou Ferrigno,

There was NO Fringe love AT ALL. I was SO bummed. The lady who we bought our pins from said she might help me out with that but I haven’t contacted her yet. I mean, for a series with so many iconic images and phrases (the glyphs, Red Vines, a white tulip, the RedVerse Fringe division logo, a frickin Fedora for goodness sake!) there was nothing. And it JUST ended! Did I mention that she made zipper pulls and bracelets as well from her pins? Yeah, I also bought my Sarah a My Little Pony bracelet for her birthday and zipper pulls for Sarah and Robert as well. A Fringe bracelet and zipper pull for momma sounds just dandy.

The kids and some stormtroopers and Angela inside a Tardis tent.

The kids and some stormtroopers and Angela inside a Tardis tent.

The kids loved looking at the cosplay until Angela realized that she had a Hermione costume she could/should have worn. Then she was just bummed. We got some free Wii U bags for trying games, lanyards and pins from the Geek and Sundry panel, and a paper ship from Oblivion (oh yeah, the full size ship was there too) and I think that is about it for the free. Not bad for showing up, walking around, and having a good time.

The coolest WORKING tardis console EVER!  I should have taken video.

The coolest WORKING tardis console EVER! I should have taken video.

Easter and Birthdays…

I would make this a whole separate post but I didn’t take any pictures of my Easter goodies. A whole post about goodies without pictures is just mean so I’ll just have to tell you what I made. For our Saturday celebration, I just made some Joy the Baker Cookbook’s Simple Vanilla Cupcakes and Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. I love those cookies. I added some festive M&Ms and that was it, Easter cookies.

I took the rest of the cookies over for Sunday. I made the same shortbread cookies I made last year and I brought over some Apple Fritter Cake for brunch.

The week after Easter was our big party for Justin and Sarah. I remade Joy’s Simple Vanilla Cupcakes with the Best Chocolate Buttercream (what Sarah wanted) and even though Justin said he didn’t want anything, I knew exactly what to make him. And yep, he finished what was left over the next few days.

SpringBreak

See, I told you I could do the ganache right.

Oh yeah, Geekylink? There are only days left to preregister for Equestria LA. I don’t know if I’m going. I hope since its Mother’s Day weekend my husband wouldn’t mind us maybe going to our THIRD convention this year?! I am not really a My Little Pony fan myself but my girls are huge ones. I’m just not sure we can make it that weekend (Mother’s Day weekend? Again with the bad planning?). We’ll see…

Late to the New Year’s Party (Top 5 Recipes of 2012)

In between the Christmas aftermath and my son’s birthday four days later and New Year’s Eve two days after that, you can imagine the last week being VERY busy.  We were going to do a smallish Chuck E Cheese thing for my son with cake at the house after and then that turned into not doing anything and then that evolved to a big party at our home.  Whatever.  I have three kids worth of Christmas presents to put away and a house to finish organizing today.  Luckily I have stayed away from my computer and I do have most of the stuff done but today is the last day and I am organizing the garage and making the comprehensive grocery store list for food prep and cupcake making tomorrow.

While I may not have been writing anything I have certainly been reading a few blogs here and there.  I am late with my Sundays with Joy for last week.  I have baked Mommom’s Chocolate Bourbon Spiked Banana Bread and it is FANTASTIC!  I can’t get my son to stop eating it.  I just haven’t had the time to take pictures or the time I have is after the son has gone down.  This Sunday is our last week off for our holiday schedule and I shouldn’t have much of a problem getting it to you by then.  I also missed posting on New Year’s when everyone posts their tops for the year.  That was something I really wanted to do.

I do have a disclaimer though.  These are the top posts FROM 2012.  My top post for the year was actually from 2011, back when my pictures were yucky.  Let’s keep it interesting and go backwards shall we…?

5. Cream Cheese Wontons

Cream Cheese Wontons-NerdyBaker

Now I am not a fan of remaking things that I have made for my previous Oscar “parties” but this one was SUCH a hit with my friends, I may not have a choice.  Also, if you are a fan of Pick Up Stix Cream Cheese Wontons I have cracked the code people!  I have cracked the code!!!

4. Nutella Banana Cream Pie

Nutella Banana Cream Pie-NerdyBaker

Do I really have to go into it?

3. Apple Cinnamon Cream Cheese Wontons

Apple Cream Cheese Wontons-NerdyBaker

This was my attempt at making a sweet version of the Cream Cheese Wontons, and it worked so well it beat out the savory one in views.  Don’t forget the caramel dipping sauce!  Is it bad that next time I make them, I want to fry them?

2. Chocolate Cake with Strawberries and Chocolate Whipped Cream Frosting

Chocolate Cake Chocolate Whipped Cream Frosting-NerdyBaker.wordpress.com

This came with just wanting to make a cake one day.  The family called for a short notice get together so I changed the whipped cream to chocolate whipped cream and I couldn’t have been happier.  I would LOVE to make this again just to get prettier pictures of it…and then EAT ALL THE CAKE!

1. Tea, Earl Grey, Cupcakes with Lemon Scented Whipped Cream

Earl Grey Cupcakes-NerdyBaker.wordpress.com

Proving that the Wheatons win at everything, my #1 post for this year is something I made for Anne Wheaton and other humans that like to order their tea with the line “Tea, Earl Grey, hot” made famous by my FAVORITE (deal with it, Justin!) Captain Picard during the show run of Star Trek: TNG.  Along with the batter from Joy’s Avocado Pound Cake this batter (although I know I shouldn’t encourage it) wins the award for most likely to disappear before baking.

For my GeekyLinks today, we will keep with the Wheaton theme.  This was tweeted by Ryan Wheaton the other day and I thought it was pretty cool, a Back to the Future/Doctor Who mash-up.  The next is about how Wil Wheaton’s Web show brings people togetherTableTop, his You Tube show on the Geek and Sundry channel.  I rewatched the Ticket to Ride episode with my 9 year old the other day (yay for You Tube on the Wii!) and when THAT PART happens (if you’ve seen it, you know what I mean) the kid was in stitches!  Plus it was a game she loves on my iPod touch and that we play together when we can.  I still have yet to buy it in non digital form.

Sundays with Joy/The Perfect Cup of Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate

It was a sad, angry, and confusing last week.

The natural urge to spend time with my kids had just multiplied tenfold.  So on Saturday, after taking my daughter to her Christmas recital and party (while I got to sneak in some quality time with her brother and sister) it was time for me to put my money where my mouth was and spend some quality time with all my kids, doing something I promised them that we would do this season.  I promised we would take the wagon and walk to the big Christmas light displays in our neighborhood.  We had the BEST time.  Ok, fine walking there and walking through everything was magical, truly.  The walk back was all tired and cranky kids.  My nine year old wanted to skate there so her ankles were killing her and my youngest was bugging his sister in the wagon and kept standing up in it too.  What was nice was not worrying about driving somewhere and having to park your car or drive through a congested neighborhood trying to take everything in.

Hot Chocolate4

I decided that we would take cookies and this hot chocolate.  Of course, me being me, I still procrastinated and didn’t get to making the hot chocolate till after 6pm.  I decided to sacrifice my pictures and just pack up and go.  My girls are notorious for not liking hot chocolate.  I know it is just because they have never waited for it to be at the right temperature but it is hard to convince a kid to do that after they have just burned their tongue.  What was nice was that on our walk, once I thought the hot chocolate was just right, I gave it to my oldest.  I had never seen her smile after drinking hot chocolate before then ever.  I think I have a convert!

Christmas light watching supplies...

Christmas light watching supplies…

The cookies I was just lucky enough to have on hand.  I had made Joy’s Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies on Friday for my husband and mostly to keep me occupied on that particular day.  The sugar cookies I had made on Saturday morning as part of a gift for my daughter’s “Big Sister” at dance.  Whenever we got to a section of the neighborhood with a buttload of lights, I’d stop and hand out a cookie to each kid (and me).   Luckily only two sections have lots so I went prepared with 9 (I threw in an extra chocolate chip for good measure).  The hot chocolate I kept mostly for myself with a few sips for the eldest.  Yup the hot chocolate sure was Perfect.  It gave me the opportunity to have a wonderful holiday night with my kids, the likes of which I absolutely needed and hopefully that they appreciated.  If you’d like the recipe, you’ll have to pick up the Joy the Baker Cookbook (the recipe for the Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies is in there too!).

My GeekyLink for today is NASA Johnson Style a Gangnam Style Parody.  Teaches you a bit about the Johnson Space Center and a little bit about space all in one catchy tune!  Right up my nine year olds alley.

Hot Chocolate1

This mug isn’t pretty but it has my name on it and it was given to me by my mom when I was younger than my oldest is now. I love it!

Cream Wafer Cookies (Henning’s Cookies)

Cream Wafer

Did you ever have something you ate that haunted you?  Something so mind bendingly delicious that the longing and the aching for it till you get it again are so strong that if you ever think about it, you end up not being able to STOP thinking about it?  I am sure that most of us have a handful of those things.  This is one of mine.  When I worked outside of the home, I worked in food service for the most part, and even an office in food service I found way more enjoyable that just a “regular” office job.  The perks (mostly the food) and lack of boredom (no rest when dealing with the hungry) made up for anything negative you might think of when you think of food service.  For my part, I really just LOVE it.  I left an office job when I was 20 to work at a grinder place for much less money because I was about to go postal in that office.  It’s not for me.  My first job was in a dish room and if I had that job for the rest of my life I don’t think I would complain much.

creamwafer3

Anyhoo, I worked at a couple of colleges that contracted out food service.  One place in particular gave me two recipes that still haunt me.  One was a cake that every year I try to make and ALWAYS fail at.  Although, if not for trying I wouldn’t have come up with this cake.  The other recipe turned out to be these cookies.  I pinned these awhile back in the hopes that they would be what I was looking for.  As I was making them and the first few made it out of the oven, I immediately sent a message to my old boss letting her know that I found them!  Our chef, Henning would make them and then freeze them (which is why I decided to use these for the exchange) and we would package them up and give them out when important people were visiting campus and such.  The first Christmas after we moved away, I was lucky enough to be a recipient.  He would also NEVER divulge the recipe!  Well, he he he, I found them and I am letting everyone know!  I made these for The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2012 and I hope that the people I sent them to (Lizy B, Amy at CakeStar, and Anne at Bakin’ Friends) liked them just as much as I do.

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2012

Now onto the cookies I received…First was from Rachel at Kvell in the Kitchen and her Whiskey Ginger Cookies.  Now I am not the biggest ginger fan (and OK you’d never know it if you read my last post) but the whiskey and raisins whiskey soaked cherries in them made them a winner for me.  And I hope the whiskey baked all out because my son was a huge fan of these as well!

cookieswap1

The second cookie I received was Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies from white & dorky chef.  Again, chocolate chunks aren’t my favorite (I prefer less chocolate chips or chunks actually) but this one just worked.  I LOVE using oatmeal in cookies so this one was a no brainer.  The overall effect of this recipe is a 100% sure crowd pleaser.  This recipe is absolutely going on my “to bake” list of Christmas cookies.

Cookieswap2

The last cookies I got were from Carroll of Vanilla Lemonade.  The best chocolate cookie that I have had in awhile.  There were raisins cherries in these too!   It was a nice little surprise.  Also the chocolate chips/chunks that were in them seemed to be on the dark side which just made this one of the most decadent cookies ever.  I just lucked out with all of these ladies.

Cookieswap3

Because of the fact that I am a known procrastinator, it became priority #1 to get these out before the December 5th deadline so I did get a little crazy stressed about doing it right and on time.  I barely missed the blog requirements last year so I had been looking forward to it this year.  Next time I hope to be a little more prepared and I am really looking forward to participating again.    I had a really great time looking at some new blogs and trying some new cookies.  If you have a blog and would like to join us next year please sign up for Cookie Swap Notifications.  A big thank you to Lindsay, from Love and Olive Oil and Julie from The Little Kitchen for putting this whole thing together and organizing it and making it fun!

A couple of small GeekyLinks for you today.  First off is a little info about Wear Star Wars Day on December 14th.  Now I don’t think I have any Star Wars shirts (shame on me) but any sci-fi shirt will do and I haven’t donated any toys for Christmas yet this year and now I know what kind of present to give.  Also, click on How Many People Are In Space Right Now? to find out exactly that.

Cream Wafer1

Recipe Follows

Thanksgiving and the Least Baking Fails Ever

The only picture of the apple pie.  Also, I can’t crimp so I don’t crimp.

This year I went a little overboard.  All in all I made eight things for Thanksgiving.  Yup, you read that right.  EIGHT.  And I would give myself a good 6 out of 8.  Not bad if I do say so myself.

Every year I make pre meal appetizers.  They are mostly sweet with a savory one slipped in for good measure.  Usually I don’t get to make the main desserts.  It is mostly because my family always has millions of people over and it is easier for the ones that don’t know what to bring to pick up a pie.  Last year I was responsible for rolls and they turned out quite wonderful.  I have made them again since but still never gotten around to blogging about them.

The bane of my existence on “baking day”.

Anyways, this year for some wonderful reason, I got to do the desserts!  I made apple pie, pumpkin pie, and cheesecake (for my Aunt’s birthday) for the big “end of the meal” desserts.  This was the first time using Joy the Baker’s recipe for apple pie and I liked it immensely.  If you make the crust the day before, it is really not that much work.  Also, macerating the apples allows you to put it aside and do other things.  It is a very friendly recipe for Thanksgiving day baking.  I usually make a Dutch apple with a pressed in crust.  I also used Joy’s crust for the pumpkin pie.  The recipe I use for the pumpkin pie I have used for a good 3 or 4 years now.  I fall in love with it more and more every year.  The same goes for the cheesecake.  This year was probably my best cheesecake in awhile.  I need to branch out more, though, with cheesecake flavors but my Aunt likes a big plain cheesecake.  She will go for the berry topping that goes with it, though.

The recipe I use makes about one and 2/3 of a pumpkin pie so I always have one for me! Also, the only semblance of a picture of the cheesecake is the pan on the upper left that at that point only has the crust in it.

With all that fruit and cheese, something was missing.  I could see my sister in the corner whining about not liking anything.  Chocolate was in order.  Now, while I would love to find the best chocolate cream pie recipe out there, time was of the essence as was ability.  I have tried it before and failed (multiple times) so I thought I would go simpler.  Nutella brownies and cheesecake brownie bites to the rescue!  The Nutella brownies were OK but I think I over baked them.  I made them mini sized and there was advice in the comments on the time to bake if making minis but I still think it was a bit too long.  They looked beautiful though, especially with the chopped hazelnuts on top.  The cheesecake brownie bites, however, came out better than anticipated and I made minis and about half a dozen cupcake sized brownies (which I put on the main dessert table) and all came out beautifully.

Just before going in the oven. Sadly no pictures of the finished ones and no pictures of the chocolate cheesecake brownies.

Onto the bread!  First off, two days before Thanksgiving I made my crusts and another batch of Vegan Pumpkin Pecan Bread.  That turned out to be a great decision because I now have a whole extra loaf in my freezer!  My aunt couldn’t believe it was vegan.  I also made a variation of my Ham and Cheese Pull Apart Party Bread.  I basically cut them like you would a cinnamon roll and baked it in two 8 inch cake pans.  Simple, easy, and yummy.  My biggest baking fail came from my sourdough.  First off, I just gotta say, this year’s starter is a VERY happy starter.  Happy starters make me happy, SERIOUSLY.  When I start mixing ingredients into the sponge and it is still bubbling at me saying hi with every turn of the spatula, I am one happy baker.  Anyways, it was late.  The sourdough was the last thing I made and it wasn’t going to be served on Thanksgiving but rather given to family that wanted some.  I may have shut off the alarm on my phone instead of snoozing it.  Also, the last thing my husband said to me was to make sure the oven was off (and it WAS, when he left and then I turned it back on).  So the sourdough was baked a good 30 minutes or so longer than it should have been.  There were no alarms or smoke, nothing happened (luckily) except I over baked it.  I still gave them away but I don’t know if anybody ate them.  I wouldn’t blame them if they didn’t.  It still would’ve made great toast.

Pull Apart Party Bread

Today I don’t really have a GeekyLink just a little story.  Today I went to our local comic book store to look for something specific for a Christmas gift*.  I wrote down all the information I needed so I could get what I wanted or get it ordered if they didn’t have it.  My husband wanted to come with me.  He took our son so I could talk to the sales guy.  I asked the guy questions.  I answered some questions.  I didn’t get what I wanted because it turns out it is exclusive to Midtown Comics and I’d have to order it from them.  When we left, my husband asked me ” So you know all the lingo?”  but what I heard was, “How much of a nerd ARE you?”

*I can’t say what it is before Christmas, duh!

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