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A Baby Shower…

So I am finally giving you a glimpse into all the stuff I got into two weeks ago.  Back before most of my kids were born, I was way more into crafting than baking.  Mostly because it is way easier to craft at night.  If I cook or bake at night for the blog my pictures turn out terrible.  However, it still is a good time if I have baked goods to take somewhere.  I still craft from time to time but mostly it is the odd barrette for one of my girls.  I used to take plain boxes and use wallpaper borders to decorate them and make little toy boxes, cut out shapes and decorate all over.  It would have worked better if I had Mod Podged them all but…no one complained (they were just for close family) and they still held toys so…  Then I started  painting them which for overall effect, worked out way better.  I think it ends up being just a bit more time consuming though because you want to paint a few coats for bright colors but you need to wait for colors to dry in between coats.  I mostly like painting because it is fun.  I feel like a first grader painting a school project.  I do it with an adult eye but mostly it is just fun.  Then I stopped.  I didn’t make one for one of my baby cousins or my son.  Things just got too busy for a few years.

Sugar cookies on top, chocolate chip on the bottom.

So I was doing all the desserts for my cousin’s baby shower and I decided that I was going to make a toy box for her too…and a diaper cake…the week before the shower that I had to do all the desserts for.  Luckily for me the desserts were not too elaborate.  She wanted the pie that I had made for my Grandmother’s birthday in November.  She decided on Oreo cupcakes (sorry, no pictures) for everyone else and I decided I would make some cookies.  I used the New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe which is my favorite for an event.  It requires that you make the dough ahead of time and so that helps if you have lots of things to do.  I used the Pioneer Woman’s recipe for Angel Cookies too.  See, simple, a chocolate chip and a sugar cookie, some cupcakes and a pie.  Everything worked out really well and timed just right.  Except for one thing.  The caramel that went in the pie.  I tried that at least three times till I was almost out of sugar and for my last attempt typed “foolproof caramel” into my search bar then Alton Brown came to the rescue.  I don’t think I will ever use another caramel sauce recipe again.  Again as with my first attempt in November, the pie fell apart upon serving (this time I am SURE it was the heat) but was still AMAZING!  That pastry cream is just the best ever!  She took about a quarter of the pie home and so did I.  It didn’t make it another whole night in my house.

No pictures with the lovely pastry cream, sorry.

I love the way the toy box came out and so did my cousin and I could tell by her reaction when she opened it and that is always a good feeling.  The only thing I didn’t like was the lettering.  I wish I could have gotten wooden lettering and put those on but outlining the letters helped hide some of the flaws.  The painted animals I ordered from Hobby Lobby but they do have them at Michael’s (just not my Michael’s and they didn’t know when they would get more).  I had to pay extra for shipping but it is my own fault for starting a project last minute.  The lion on the diaper cake was from JoAnne’s Fabric. The diaper cake was way easy.  I used to roll them separately but found a way to make a spiral diaper cake on Pinterest.  It took NO time at all.  I would’ve decorated it more but by then I was out of money.  I still like how it turned out.

So not only do I bake but sometimes I get the urge to craft.  A great thing to do while crafting late at night is to catch up on some TV. My GeekyLink for this week is a Robot Chicken DC Comics Special coming up on September 9th.  Robot Chicken always cracks me up!  And of course let us not forget the premiere of Series 7 Doctor Who Asylem of the Daleks Saturday September 1st!  Also, don’t for get to check out the Nerdist Channel’s All Star Celebrity Bowling featuring the cast of Doctor Who, premiering on Friday August 31, and while you’re there check out all their other programming for Doctor Who premiere weekend.

Nutella Banana Cream Pie and My Secret Shame

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My husband’s schedule changed this week and it seems to work out that I can bake ALL Sunday afternoon!  Not that I can’t when he is home but he is usually sleeping during the day and our room is right above the kitchen and our room can get unbearably hot if I have the oven on all day.  So even during the summer when it gets unbearably hot in the entire house, I can send the kids outside and bake till I am blue in the face.  That is what happened this past Sunday, however, all I had the ENTIRE afternoon were baking fails.  I couldn’t get this one recipe I was adapting to work and I made it twice and then something else failed later on.  Ugh, first Sunday baking day wasted.  However, an epiphany struck just before I fell asleep but after the husband came home.  I actually got to spend a bit of time with him before bed without little voices yelling at us or each other.

I hate folding, laundry or otherwise. I don't have the patience. In this case, though, totally worth it.

Anyways, I had written my epiphany down and got straight to it on Monday morning.  It was actually pretty simple.  I only had to bake the pie crust (and if you want to buy a ready made crust instead, I won’t tell) plus I was looking for a graham cracker one that wouldn’t just break apart once I cut it and now I’ve got one.  I just adapted a peanut butter cream pie recipe using Nutella and added a very special ingredient…my FAVORITE thing to go with Nutella (as evidenced by my Nutella Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Banana Bread) …bananas!  Then I topped it with more Nutella, whipped cream, hazelnuts and more bananas.  Other than layering the Nutella cream and bananas a second time or maybe adding some hazelnuts inside, (I REALLY liked the hazelnuts on top, it really made that flavor pop.  I wasn’t sure about adding them.) I wouldn’t change a thing.

Before pouring on the filling...

So on to my Secret Shame which will lead to my GeekyLinks.  It is not your sterotypically “geeky” thing but something that I really Geek Out about!  Something that some of my family knows about me (O my poor kids!) but I have only shared with a few outsiders.  I LOVE and by love I mean LOVE!!! Disco music.  There I said it.  I felt it was safe to admit it now partially after the Saturday Night Fever episode of Glee but as one who really enjoys disco, I would have to say that I was SOOOO BUMMED that the episode only focused on music from that movie.  There is so much more!  My favorite compilation is The Last Days Of Disco: Music From The Motion Picture which is what I was listening to while in labor with my first child almost 9 years ago.  My nurse said to me, “Aren’t you a little young to be listening to that?”  after asking what I was listening to.  I was 25 at the time.

Pie in your face.

So are the younger generations not allowed to listen to the classics anymore?  Yes, classics.  Dance music nowadays is OK (not that I go dancing much) but if I am home and baking (my Disco Pandora station is what I was listening/dancing to while making this pie) or want to have an impromptu dance party with the kiddos…Disco it is (or really most music from the 70s).  Give me Evelyn ‘Champagne’ King, The Jacksons, KC and the Sunshine Band, Sly & The Family Stone, or Chic any day!  It just makes you feel good!  I will now and again listen to music from the late 80s and early 90s but the music I want my kids to know and dig (yes, I used the word dig) is music from my mother’s Motown era, that she sacredly passed on to me, or music from the 70s that I discovered a love for all on my own.  Ok, my mom did have siblings younger than her that may have exposed me to it and maybe one was obsessed with Abba, however, my uncle that is only 10 years older than me certainly exposed me to metal but I am NOT fan of that.  

So pick up an album or buy some songs, get your groove on, and make some pie!

I am also entering this pie into this month’s AlphaBakes Challenge, hosted by Caroline Makes….. and The More Than Occasional Baker.  The letter for April was “b”.  Check out the recipe roundup for April on The More Than Occasional Baker‘s site on May 1st!  And thank you to her for letting me get it in just under the wire!

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Strawberry Yogurt Pie for Pi day!

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Okay so this won’t post until late Pi day (3/14) but I figured I just need to get this up because I had made a pie, it was Pi Day and I needed to post something.  I was debating about wether or not to post this because I didn’t get a picture of the pie after it was cut.  Let’s just call it a brainfart and move on. I am sorry it has been awhile but SO MUCH is coming up!  I need to stop dreading doing things and just do them.  Things get done faster that way.  Things I am not dreading are the ideas I have coming up of things to bake for you.  I LOVE them!  I can’t wait to get started.  I really hope I can bang some stuff out tonight and tomorrow so I won’t be leaving you silent for as long as I did this last week.

I used butter too.

This is my second time making a pie crust and instead of trying to fit all the ingredients into my mini-chopper (I don’t have a food processor!) I decided to kick it old school and work the dough with two forks (I don’t even have a pastry cutter).  It totally worked!  Julie from Willow Bird Baking recommended using lard in the crust and I would have to say she was right.  May I recommend, however, not tasting the dough till it is cooked cause then you could get a crumb of lard in the bit you are tasting and that may make you want to spit it out and completely question what you are doing.  Once it is baked it will be completely awesome.

Are you drooling yet?

So in the interest of more and better future stories and recipes to make, I am going to leave you early with some GeekyLinks and the recipe.  First up is an awesome story about how How Dolphins Say Hello.  It is just the neatest thing ever!  Next up is some Princess Bride awesomeness.  Lastly, is something I REALLY want but will NEVER be able to afford Harry Potter Wizards Collection.


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Strawberry Pie and High School Football

My husband is gone now, like he will be 75% of Fridays from now till mid-December.  He is attending a high school football game, like lots of proud fathers are beginning to this year.

Our son is only 2.

My husband is just going because he wants to go!  He knows who the players are in our area, in our state, and sometimes a few superstars from around the country.  This is not college (which I LOVE watching by the way and he does too, but we have soccer games are coming up on Saturdays) or professional (which I can tolerate but he doesn’t watch too much anymore).  This is high school.  He goes to certain games that he thinks will be good that week.  He learns what kind of offense and defense each team plays.  He hates the schools that move kids in from other areas…

Are you bored yet?

I am in awe of how much he knows and love that he has something he likes to do but I HATE being alone with the kids on Friday nights.  Every other night he is home, only Wednesday and Thursday because of his schedule, I could take him or leave him but on Fridays we all just hang out.  Usually, I am more mellow because I tend not to cook on Fridays.  Now, any time we might want to go out on a Friday night (just us or as a family), it depends on whose playing.  Just sub Red Sox baseball for high school football and I am Drew Barrymore in Fever Pitch.  At least, today, he was able to go with our oldest, usually she has dance and then he goes with his dad (who couldn’t go tonight).  I hope they are having a good time together.  I also hope he realizes that he will only get to go to two more games this month, because we have our anniversary coming up and he promised the kids we would go to the fair.  After that, we probably won’t see him on a Friday night till the week of Thanksgiving.  O well.  

Maybe if I can make this pie every Friday he will stay home?  Or at least some version of it, changing fruit as the seasons do?  This was the first thing that I had made in a long time, where he just shoved it in his mouth till it was gone.  If he doesn’t like something, he will just have a bite or two, say it was “alright” and not finish it.  This was gone in about two minutes.  He liked it.  He even had a great big piece the next night.  There would still be more if my two year old didn’t keep picking at it in the fridge during the day AND having slices for his dessert. Read the rest of this entry

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