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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!

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Sundays with Joy/Chocolate Peanut Butter Ball Cookies

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ball Cookie

Well, this one is super late (five weeks!), but also I am going to skip last week’s Sundays with Joy (Seaweed Parmesan Popcorn) because I need to order a seasoning for it so I am just going to wait till I have other things to order from Amazon.  It actually may be sooner rather than later as the holidays approach so look for that to appear in a future post.  If anyone is thinking, “Ewww seaweed!  Why don’t you just skip it?” (cause maybe I was) it’s because all the really really good recipes in this cookbook start with me thinking “Really, Joy?  Are ya sure?”  I mean Orange Gingerbread Squares with Cream Cheese Frosting or Grapefruit Soufflé Pudding anyone?  So even though I’m a little wary of this seaweed popcorn, I’m still totally gonna do it.

Now, this particular recipe had me perplexed as well.  It was not the flavors.  It’s peanut butter and chocolate, a no brainer!  My issue was the “ball” part…on a cookie.  I just didn’t get it.  It didn’t really matter.  I made them anyway.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ball Cookies

Then as my family was trying to eat them it finally struck me what bugged me about them.  The ball makes it kinda hard to eat.  So since I was already late posting about my cookies, I decided to take the time and make them again.  Especially since the flavor combo was a big hit in this house, I wanted to see if I could go about making these cookies more practical to eat.  So I took the balls…and FLATTENED them, simple as that.  I also added a bit of melted chocolate just to make them a teeny bit prettier but they really don’t need it.  If you’d like the recipe be sure to pick up the Joy the Baker Cookbook: 100 Simple and Comforting Recipes.

My GeekyLink for this week is all about the extention of the wizarding world that will be coming soon.  As a young wife with no kids, reading Harry Potter in real time, waiting and waiting years for new books, of course I bought Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them  I wasn’t sure at the time how “real” they were (you know how some book and move tie-ins are barely legit).  Years later when it was revealed that J.K. Rowling herself wrote it and Quidditch Through the Ages I felt vindicated having bought them.  They were just bits of the world but it is a world I love and am eager to get back to, even 60 years before The Boy Who Lived or not.  With two kids yet to read Harry Potter and one that already loves it, I couldn’t be more thrilled.  But I’m also back to waiting…

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ball Cookie1

Sundays with Joy/Texas Sheet Cake

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Texas Sheet Cake via NerdyBakerGrrr, I can’t bring myself to write this post.  It’s not the sheet cake, don’t worry.  It’s just that after two very hectic weeks, I am in the middle of what I consider only our second week of summer vacation and I am just trying to hang on to it.  Sure, camping was vacation but anything you have to prep and clean that much for takes some of the fun out of it.  I’ve been having fun these last two weeks alternately doing nothing and then deep cleaning corners of my house that have desperately been needing it.  I also decided three weeks ago that the most fun and rewarding thing for me to do over the summer (besides catch up on some sewing, which has been going well but there is still more) is to reorganize my craft closet.  I spent way too much time looking for stuff in there over recital and it is hampering my ability to catch up on projects.  I think that putting some blog props away in there would be a good idea too.  The two shelves that the stuff currently occupies is getting awfully cramped.

Texas Sheet Cake pouring

Pouring…

I also now realize what a crippling thing procrastination is.  I will put off lots of other things if I have a more pressing deadline.  But if I push back on a deadline it’s hard for me at that point to reprioritize and move on from there.  It just makes me push everything back and nothing gets done.   Procrastination was fine for papers in high school and even college but running a household?  Not so much.  And even though this is my blog and I’ve been “late” before, being two weeks behind for Sundays with Joy was just not something I wanted to do.  So I had to get it done.  Plus, we have ice cream coming up this week!  I bought a small ice cream maker for this summer so even though I may have to churn in batches at least I won’t be hand cranking a child’s toy like last year.

So in an effort to look forward, here is my cake from last week.  Can you believe I’d never made a Texas Sheet Cake before?  What the heck was I waiting for?  Super easy to whip up.  If you have just one hour’s notice before company comes you can have a from scratch cake baked, frosted, and cooling for them when they arrive.  It is no diet cake mind you.  There are reasons it is such a crowd pleaser.  My only issue was that the sheet pan I used was crooked and I didn’t realize it till after the cake was baked.  I had some very thin pieces but most of it was perfect.  If you’d like the recipe please buy Joy the Baker Cookbook: 100 Simple and Comforting Recipes.

See?  Crooked.

See? Crooked.

My Geekylink for this week is aliens!  Well, no, not really but anytime anything like this happens I get all goosebumpy.  Also, if you have any alphabet learners out there, you might wanna check out my latest iGameMom review that posted just the other day.  Also, my friend Alyssa has embarked on the most awesome business adventure.  So if you are into some of the stuff that I talk about in this section and you like nail polish, I’d advise you to check out Frakker Lacquer!

TexasSheetCake via NerdyBaker

Valentine’s Cake (Chocolate Cake with Whipped Cream, Strawberries, and Chocolate Ganache)

Valentines Cake

O yeah, I am just putting it out there.  Make this cake for your Valentine.  Today or any day of the year.  They will thank you.  My husband’s second piece yesterday was all the thanks I needed.

Valentines Cake1

Chocolate cake.  You saw a wonderful chocolate cake up on this blog yesterday.  Here is a completely different one but with some of the same components and it makes for a completely different cake.  There are a couple of things that, no matter what the recipe, must be in my chocolate cake.

1. Buttermilk (I discovered this little gem in my Cake Doctor days)

2. Coffee or espresso powder (just DO it)

This particular recipe had both and it also had cake flour!  It just kept getting better and better…

First layer of strawberry filling...

First layer of strawberry filling…

So, I broke down and made it for my aunt’s birthday a few weeks ago and paired it with Joy’s Best Chocolate Buttercream Frosting.  My aunt was in heaven!  And I was impressed that with how light and perfect this cake was, it held up to travel, a sturdy frosting, and a baker who forgot to use wax paper in her cake pans when she was greasing. (OK, it did kinda fall apart upon cutting because of that last part but it made it there and tasted wonderful.)

I knew I would be making this cake again.  But in what capacity?  Hmm…

The only other cake that I ever dreamt about and just had to get up the next day and make it was this one.  So I took my inspiration from there.  I switched the chocolate whipped cream for vanilla.  Since I was going to use less strawberries on the cake I made sure to cram a few extra into the filling.  The chocolate ganache is just a bonus.

My GeekyLink today is iGameMom.  She writes reviews and recommendations for educational children’s apps.  I love this site and have been following it for a long time and have found many an app through her.  My 9 year old even won a science experiment kit from the site.  Well, guess what?  I am going to begin reviewing apps for her as a guest blogger!  I think this is gonna be pretty cool.

Valentines Cake2

Now go make some cake!

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Cherry Cornmeal Cake with Chocolate Glaze

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This recipe is from the lovely ladies of Fleur-De-Licious.  A med student/law student high school friends combo that takes turns with the blog posts.  They are awesome and make me wonder what the heck I was doing with my time in college.  (Studying daddy, I swear!)

Pitting cherries without a cherry pitter is a pain in the butt, FYI.  However, totally worth it.

These ladies made their cake with a bourbon glaze but I have three kids that are gonna want a bite.  I could’ve gone for a powdered sugar glaze but I wanted some chocolate with my cherries!  I gave my neighbor some of this cake last week along with his loaf of zucchini herb bread.  He stopped me the next day and gave this cake rave reviews from him and his wife.

Fleur-De-Licious‘ cake was a bit thicker and their cherries didn’t all fall to the bottom.  I must’ve messed up on my flour a bit but that is OK because the chocolate glaze covers my flaws.

I didn’t change the recipe enough to post it here.  I only upped the salt and vanilla to 1 teaspoon each.  However, the changes they made to the original recipe that this is based off of are phenomenal.  Brown butter and brown sugar?  Genius!  I did whip up my own glaze, however, but feel free to use your favorite.

One bite…

My GeekyLinks are all Doctor Who related.  Some old and one new as we are gearing up for the new season that is supposed to come our way soon (August? September? not sure yet).  Also, just to make me feel a bit better about not going to Comic-Con.  You know what, I was busy that last resale day but I wasn’t sure which day to get tickets for anyway.  I was thinking maybe Sunday but didn’t get any and so of course the Doctor Who panel and the Fringe panel are on Sunday and I am not going.  *hrmph*  Anyways, a few months ago Scientists invent real “Doctor Who sonic screwdriver”, someone actually put a monetary value on the TARDIS, and (spoilers) new pictures of an upcoming episode.

Two bites…

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Sundays with Joy/Chocolate Raspberry Fudge Pops

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I know it is Monday and again I am late with my Sundays with Joy.  It was because of a very busy family filled weekend.  My brother-in-law celebrated his 40th on Saturday.  My brother had come down to celebrate with us and we spent most of Sunday with him as well.  Then my husband and I spent Sunday afternoon buying our very first smartphones and we spent the evening playing around with those.  I figured I could get up early and get this post out less late then it is now but my kitty that had surgery had some issues that we felt we should take care of early this morning.  It turned out to be nothing but better safe than sorry (and less money spent) where our Sally is concerned.

Now onto the Pops!  Can I tell you and would you believe me that these were the best and easiest thing that we have made so far?!  As I started to eat my first (of three over the weekend), I couldn’t get over how good they were.  I was actually able to make them Saturday before the party and left them to freeze.  It took me no time at all.  I fit it in while frosting my brother-in-law’s birthday cupcakes.  I was eating my first after we got home from the party.  All my kid’s loved them too.  My daughter that doesn’t eat fruit will even lick mine until she sees the fruit, then stop.  Also, I used bananas for mine instead of raspberries mostly just because it would’ve meant an extra trip to the store.  My brother had one on Sunday, loved it, but said that he would really like to have tried one with raspberries.  He was also pretty impressed with my signed copy of the cookbook (he is a Joy the Baker Podcast listener) and is thinking of buying his own copy of her cookbook.

I also just used paper cups and (dangerous sharp point!) candy apple sticks (I thought I had popsicle sticks but I am just glad I had something).  I didn’t want to have to go out and buy anything new for the recipe.  Now that I have tried it I want to buy some popsicle molds just so I can make it again and again and again and have it look prettier.  Someone that made it earlier in the week said to use smaller chocolate pieces such as mini chocolate chips so I just ended up flaking it off and chopping it very fine.  Even in an ice cream, I prefer the chocolate flakes to chips.  Just writing this I am craving another…

My GeekyLink for today is the trailer for the new season of Breaking Bad.  It is one of a handful of shows that my husband I watch together and we both really love it.  The season premiere is just under 2 weeks away and we can both barely wait.   In the meantime, AMC is doing a good job of showing old episodes.  Catch up!  You won’t regret it.

Nutty Bar Cookies and Old (in our 30s) Friends

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Finally, here is the cookie I have been working on for about a month now and I really like it.  Aside from oatmeal (which I think helps keep the crispy cereals stay crispy) I also have cornflakes and rice krispies in it.  I LOVE both of them in here but if you only want to go with one of those, go with the rice krispies.

So yep, these were the cookies that were for someone so I guess you are wondering who, right?  They are for my oldes friend, my best man, my oldest daughter’s godfather, my friend Guillermo.  Unfortunately for him, he won’t get any because he lives too far away and with the chocolate drizzled on top, it makes them precarious to send.  So he will need to come visit us to get some.  (hint, hint)

All baked!

He was in the Peace Corps some years ago and I either gave him some Nutty Bars once or twice before he left or I sent him some once he was gone (who remembers? jeez we are getting old).  I really never knew he was a big fan of the whole chocolate/peanut butter combo till after we graduated high school and we had met when we were freshman.  About a month or so after school had started, he walked right into our (my friend Kim and I) third period religion class.  We all still keep in touch. Some years more than others but still…

I know I have given him some Reeses over the years too, but the Nutty Bars have stuck with me because I actually never had them until he introduced me to them.  They are from Little Debbie and we had always been more of a Hostess family.

Melted and ready to drizzle!

I really just kinda wanted to see if I could pull it off or not and even though it took me multiple tries, I am really pleased with the results.  Plus, I know Guillermo will come and get them at some point.  We live pretty close to his family, so whenever he is in town he makes sure to come visit his goddaughter.  He is always here around Christmas, at the very least, and I am usually making Christmas goodies or something for my son’s birthday when he stops by and we have a good catch up over buttercream and wine.  Can you beat that?  I doubt it.

My GeekyLink for this week is Fashion It So.  It goes through all the episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generations and goes through the fashions of each episode.  It is certainly hilarious but also a bit enlightening.  Also, I just finished Season 5 of The Guild and I don’t know how Felicia Day could have topped the first four seasons but she did.  TONS of nerd cameos and yet you still stay tethered to the story of the main six guild members.  Please watch this show!  Only 6 or so hours of your life will put you up to date with this wonderful series.  Streaming on Netflix or on the YouTube Channel geekandsundry (new episode every Tuesday).

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