Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Adventures in Dessert: The Cookie Dough Pie

After all my Food Network / Top Chef watching, I wanted to take all the culinary skills I had learned while being sick and use them for reals!  That meant finding the right recipes to try my new skills on.
I already know I can execute a damn fine Hot Toddy but can I really elevate my dessert game - especially after this flop?
Okay, it wasn't that big of a flop but people were saying it was too sweet which, to me, sounds like it could've been better.  Am I beating myself up over it a little too much?  Maybe.  But you live, you learn and you move on...to Cookie Dough pies.
That's right - Cookie Dough Pie.  After seeing the recipe in the latest issue of Bust, I wanted to try it.  Why not?!  I designated the old man and me as the dessert bringers for Thanksgiving so it was the perfect time to try it out, right?

Finished Cookie Dough Pie Cookie Dough Pie slice

1. I hardly ever shop with a cart, much less with a freakin' list!
2. The cookie dough portion
3. In the recipe, they say that you'll end up with extra cookie dough and you should bake cookies to garnish your pie with (I garnished with 4 but I packed up the rest with the extra whipped cream I made)
4. The scary egg custard part.  I say "scary" because there's egg tempering involved and you know what?  I accomplished it without scrambled eggs!  Hooray!
5. My favourite thing to make: homemade whipped cream!
6. The various layer stages of the pie
7. The finished pie!
8. A pretty slice of pie

It was a complete success!  At first, I was really critical of the taste and my pie crust substitution - I substituted a "traditional" graham cracker crust since I couldn't find the chocolate wafers - because that's what I do but it turned out all right.  I could really taste the light brown sugar in the cookie dough but I think that's because I knew it was in there and I may or may not have packed the measuring cup a little too full with it but still, it was good and everyone liked it.  Sounds like I'll have to make it again!  I also have my eye on the first recipe on the page o' recipes c/o Bust: the Vegan Pumpkin Pie with Gluten Free Crust.
The old man attempted a vegan pumpkin pie a few years back and let's just say it didn't turn out the way he had hoped but I'm pretty confident that if I try this particular recipe, I might be able to pull it off!  Granted, pie crusts aren't my thing but I'll give it a try.  Maybe this one might turn out magnificent!  Buuut I'm not going to unveil it for Christmas dinner or anything.  I think I'll attempt this between holidays and make sure the recipe is slammin' before I present it to my family.

So...I'd like to express my gratitude to Bust Magazine for having such a kick ass recipe!  Actually, I'd like to express my gratitude to Bust Mag in general because I've been an avid Bust reader since the Girlfriends issue (with Missy Elliot on the cover) in the 90's.  That's how I found out about and fell in love with The Donnas.  That's also how I started to feel more confident about my body and it helped me recognize my rights as a woman.  It was quite possibly the coolest gift my step-sister could've given me as a teenager.  I haven't missed an issue yet and I plan on never missing one.  EVER.  You shouldn't either! Check it out!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I'm thankful for: My family!

Hey everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  I'm thankful that I was over my sinus infection so that I could enjoy time with my family!

Mom Oni Carmen Oni and her new friend
Turkey Salad Green Bean Casserole Cranberry Sauce Desserts Cookie Dough Pie

1. My Mom / 2. Oni / 3. My aunt Carmen / 4. Oni and her new friend / 5. Mom's lovely (and delicious!) turkey / 6. Oni's pretty salad / 7. Mom's vegan Green Bean Casserole / 8. Mom's vegan cranberry sauce / 9. Oni's dessert spread - the aftermath / 10. A slice of my Cookie Dough Pie - recipe here

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sick day photos PLUS a warm winter drink

Some snapshots from my sick days

Guess where I am... Multi-exposure test Flowers Rice milk foams up all crazy-like Percolating Angel

And finally - here's my documented second attempt at making a Hot Toddy. It was Lauren's idea and I had to try it since I remember the one at Trader Vic's being quite amazing. My first attempt was all eye ball guessing measurements since I guess I thought I had been gifted with the power of eye-balling measurements correctly since I had watched Food Network for most of my sick days. Turns out, it was a complete fail and even I couldn't handle the extreme boozy-ness of it. LOLWUT. So, I sucked it up and found some directions via the interwebz and actually measured out my ingredients which yielded a pretty darn good cocktail. I don't think my meds agreed with the booze but it made my chest feel a lot better (and warmer).

How to make a Hot Toddy

Here's the recipe I used:
1 oz brandy, whiskey, or rum 
1 Tbsp honey 
1/4 lemon 
1 cup hot water 
1 tea bag 
Super simple!  And non-threatening!  And let me tell you - tea was the key!  I used hot water in my first attempt and it felt like it was missing something.  Lo and behold, it was tea.  

What's your favourite Winter drink - sick or not sick?

PS - Photo #4 looks like soap suds in a coffee mug, right?  Wrong!  It's actually warmed vanilla Rice Dream that has been blended with my immersion blender for my first homemade cappuccino in forever!  I'm not a big milk or soy fan so Rice Dream is perfect for me!  And because it's already flavoured with vanilla, it needs minimal sweetening with coffee.  Try it!

Monday, November 19, 2012

When you're sick, sharing does NOT mean caring PLUS NaNoWriMo progress

Apparently after the Summit, my body wants to go into shut down mode so I've been home sick the last few days with a pretty bad sinus infection.  I'm back to work today for the first time since last Wednesday and let me tell you, I still feel awful.
It's no surprise that it's something I picked up at work since I've been running my body ragged the last month and all the parents I work with have been bringing germs to share with all of us!  Lucky for me, my body didn't go into shut down mode until after the main event, so...there's that.
Either way, it was a great opportunity to get cracking on my NaNoWriMo story for this year.  I'm up to 22,653!  My best and highest word count yet!  Go me!  I don't see me finishing it by the end of the month BUT this will be one story that I don't abandon.  I have a tendency to do that because since I started participating in NaNoWriMo in 2009, I've written a new story every year and every year, I tend to forget about the characters I've created for that year and by the time next year comes around, I have a new set of characters to hang out with.  This year will be different, though.  I can feel it.  The story I'm working on is really quite close to my heart and I'm hoping this will be the first story I will have ever finished.  EVER.
That's right - I've NEVER finished a story.  Sure, I've had writing assignments in school and all that but I never ended them with a solid "The End", it was always a kind of open-ended "The End...?" or maybe an unfinished extra credit script or short story here and there.   Nope, I've never been able to finish even a short story.  Why?  I have no idea but I am determined to finish this one - even though, technically, there's no ending. 
So why this one?  Why now?  One word: Closure.

Is anyone else participating in NaNoWriMo?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Post-Summit Hangover

What a weekend!  Actually, the last few weeks have been pretty hectic and I can honestly say that I am SO glad it's over.  What's over?  Oh, you know, just a *small* 3-day convention that my job holds for owners, managers and instructors from all over the world.  What is it?  Check out my promo video here!
Have I been stressing out about it?  Yes.  Have I lost sleep over it?  Of course.  Am I glad it's all over?  You bet your sweet ass I am.  And to prove it, I took the following three days off to recover.  Was it enough?  No but I am very grateful to have had that time off.  It feels as though last year was really easy and harmonious but I guess that must've been Beginner's Luck since last year was my first time and this year was quite the challenge.  Sophomore Slump?  Perhaps.  Either way, it was still a success.
Here are a few photos from the craziness...

Audio magic! Working on some audio at Michael's new studio Opener test run. My little video babies are ready! I hope everyone likes them! Videos playing Power set up Keep a lookout for the camera crew! Getting ready for Groove tonight The Kick team killin it! Lady Rainicorn

1 and 2: Working on audio edits with Michael for the videos featured in 3 and 4 / 3 and 4: Class opener test run and class opener during class / 5. Set up for Power class / 6. The Testimonial Team gathering testimonials for me / 7. Event In Progress / 8. Kick class / 9. Holy crap - I actually posed for photos at the post-party! / 10.  A visit to Lady Rainicorn at CNN Center (there's a long, hilarious story paired with this but I'll spare you - unless you really want to hear it)

The videos in 1-4 are like my little babies.  I worked really hard on them and I was such a nervous wreck during playback for rehearsal and during class playback because all I ever really want is for people to enjoy the things I've made.  I got lots of compliments on it but as an artist, my work is never really done but these are going in the books as a success!