November 24, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Dalek Pizza

Warning: If you haven't watched the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special, there will be spoilers.
Weeee, the 50th anniversary special was so cool!!! Although I will never not be mad that Christopher Eccleston didn't agree to be in it. I mean, David Tennant does a great wounded Doctor, but there was definitely a step missing between John Hurt and David Tennant. The Doctor, hardened by his loss. I think that would have been a truly beautiful moment. Plus, I would have loved to see him sass Matt. I think that Nine and Ten would have totally ganged up on Eleven. But Matt and David were brilliant together, and I wish this was something they could do more often.

Although I thought how they worked Billie Piper into the storyline was very deft and unexpected. I thought it was very well done, and I totally believe the Moment was actually Rose. If you think back to Bad Wolf, Rose controlled all of time and space for a single moment and she did that to save the Doctor. Well, there's an awful lot someone can do when they control all of time and space, and of course she would do what she could to help the Doctor. Every Doctor. So I don't think that the Moment chose Rose's form, I think that the Bad Wolf is the Moment. And there were no Moffat-sized plotholes, which made me happy. *cough* Angels Take Manhattan *cough.* It actually helped explain some of what happened in The End of Time, so yay!

My one problem: the vortex manipulator. Captain Jack still had it in Miracle Day. They could have had Jack pass it along to Kate or Clara with a grin and a wink, and then John Barrowman would have been a part of the special. No plothole, happy John Barrowman, happy fangirls.

And, okay, but I think that Clara should have had less of a role in it. Because she's such a new companion, and the only one really to be a part of it (Rose wasn't really Rose, you know?), it was almost not fair to past companions. And it's not like there were a lot of them they could conceivably work into the episode. It just feels like they forget about the previous companions a lot, and it should have been all or none, you know? But that's just a personal gripe; otherwise I loved it.
To celebrate, I put together a full Whovian menu. Bowtie pasta salad, fish fingers and custard, last minute jammie dodgers (aka, leftover sugar cookie dough I had in the fridge and blackberry jam), and the star of the show, dalek pizza. Buffalo chicken dalek pizza, to be exact. It was a huge hit, and super easy to make. I had some leftover pasta sauce, so I mixed it with some buffalo sauce. Then I made some shredded chicken and tossed it in more buffalo sauce. Then I assembled it to look like a dalek.
Just roll out the dough in a vaguely dalek-y shape (think hydrant) and use a sharp knife to clean up the edges. Sauce it, add the chicken, some red onions, and the mozzarella cheese. Then add the details. I used green peppers, golden tomatoes, diced celery, and cheddar cheese. Then use the dough you trimmed off to make the lights and eye stalk. Then just pop it in the oven, 450 degrees for about 15 minutes. That's it, kiddies: simple, easy, and effective.
This is the second one I made, since there was enough dough for 2. I think this one actually came out a little better, since I knew what I was doing.

There wasn't a scrap of this pizza left by the time we sat down to watch the special. Cookies were leftover, the salad, and the fish fingers, but this was gobbled up in no time. The spicy buffalo tomato sauce really makes it. I used extra mild buffalo sauce, so I got to play with the spice, adding some smoky chipotle to just get that extra, deeper layer of flavor. Then I added a little bit of cilantro, because I like it and it works really well with those spicier flavors. In short, it's some good pizza. You will want to EXTERMINATE it with your mouth.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza
Yield: 4-6 servings

6 tbsp prepared tomato sauce
2 tbsp. buffalo sauce
1/2 tbsp. chipotle hot sauce (optional)
1/2 tsp. cilantro paste
Pizza dough
Shredded chicken, tossed with more buffalo sauce (I used this method)
About 1/2 a small red onion, sliced thin
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Optional: bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, diced celery, cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Mix together the tomato sauce, buffalo sauce, hot sauce, and cilantro paste. Roll out the pizza dough on a pizza stone or cookie sheet (I didn't have to grease it, but you may want to), to your desired thickness. Spread your desired amount of sauce on top, then sprinkle with the shredded buffalo chicken and red onion. Top with the mozzarella cheese and any other desired toppings. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the edges start to turn golden brown, and the cheese is bubbly. Serve hot.

Recipe by Kim

November 22, 2013

Stuff and Things 11/22/13

What I'm Writing
It's kind of been a crappy week. But that's okay because THE DOCTOR WHO 50TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL IS TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Makes up for everything. AND the docudrama about the start of the series is on BBC tonight. My brother asked if I was gonna watch it. Psh, yeah.

Anyway, you know how I said writing a sequel is like writing fanfiction? Well, it's put me in the mood to write fanfiction. So here's a little drabble for you (I'm not good at first-person, sorry)
“Hullo,” the tall skinny man said. He leaned against the counter, all long limbs and crooked smiles.
“Good afternoon.” I plastered on my blandly polite receptionist’s smile and turned towards him. “Who are you here to see?”
“Well, that depends.” He had a pleasant British accent. He leaned forward, a mischievous twinkle in his eye. “Would you believe me if I told you something unbelievable?”
I leaned forward as well, drawn in by his manner. “That would be, by definition, something I couldn’t believe.” But I smiled, I couldn’t help myself. “Still, I doubt it’s quite as unbelievable as you think.” I had a hearty respect for the unbelievable these days. They had a habit of happening. A 200-hundred year tropical storm making landfall in New Jersey? 2 years ago, I would have said that was unbelievable. Bounty hunters showing up at work? People who work for a pharmaceutical company and don’t know who Marie Curie is? A guy taking a piss in the parking lot? All unbelievable, and they all happened.
“Oh, let’s not do this, Kim.” He raised a hand to ruffle his already wild hair. “You know precisely who I am and what I’m about to tell you.”
I didn’t ask how he knew my name: the nameplate on my desk solved that mystery. “And how would I know that?”
“Because you’re writing this.”
I pulled my hands away from the keyboard. “Hey, stop breaking the fourth wall,” I scolded my computer screen. “This is supposed to be classic author self-insertion where you tell me you’re the Doctor, and I don’t believe you until you show me the TARDIS, and I get to gasp and say ‘it’s bigger on the inside,’ and then we go on an adventure which is wonderful until it’s not and I get to learn the hard lesson that being a hero isn’t always glamorous. Now behave.”
But when I immersed myself in the story once more, he was less than penitent. “I think we’re beyond that, don’t you? Or do you really think you wouldn’t know me when you saw me?”
I pursed my lips. This was one of the reasons people thought authors were insane. Characters who won’t do what they’re told. “I wouldn’t believe it,” I said, “but I’d want to.”
He grinned his signature million-watt grin. “As I said, something unbelievable. Now that we’ve skipped over all those bits where you insist you’ve gone crazy,” he held out his hand, “won’t you come with me?”
I sighed. I should have known better than to expect the Doctor to listen. “You say that like I have a choice in the matter,” I told him seriously, “as if I could ignore that hand. But I’m a fangirl. I could no more say no to you than I could fly.”
“We can go somewhere that you can fly.”
I had to bite back a smile. “I don’t really want to fly,” I said, but I took his hand. “Unless it’s in the TARDIS.” His hand was warm and strong, his skin rough against my own.
He tugged me out from behind the desk. “Well then, allons-y, Kim! Times to go, planets to see.”
“Just one question first.” I could hear the phone ringing in the background as I followed him out, but I ignored it. For once, I ignored it, and I couldn’t fight back the smile on my face. “Is there a kitchen? You never said, and you know I can’t go long without baking something.”
He looked back over his shoulder at me. “Oh, just you wait,” he said with a grin.

Books- Beyond this point, there be spoilers

November 20, 2013

Doctor Who Round Up ~ 50 Recipes & Crafts for the 50th Anniversary

Freezer Paper Stencil Tutorial DIY TARDIS Dress DIY TARDIS Top Hat Crispy Caramel Filled Chocolate TARDIS and Daleks The Accidental Banana Daiquiri Ice Pop Dalek Cupcake Tutorial Bananas Are Good Frozen Nutella-Covered Bananas TARDIS Self-Destruct Buttons AKA Jammie Dodgers K-9's Italian Hot Dog Bad Wolf Cupcakes Captain Jack Harkness Brownies Bowties Are Cool Blueberry Goat Cheese Pasta Salad Fish Fingers and Custard Always Take a Banana to a Party Strawberry Banana Muffins Image Map

Aaaaah, the Day of the Doctor is almost here! Can you believe it? 50 years ago this Saturday, this mad, wonderful show first aired, starring William Hartnell as the titular Doctor. Do you have your viewing party planned? Are you having a viewing party? Can I come?

I would love to be the sort of person to have epic dinner parties with multiple courses and a dessert table, but I'm not. So instead, I've decided to help you throw your own viewing/dinner party, using my Doctor Who inspired recipes and crafts, and some others I've collected on the interwebz. Fantastic! Allons-y! Geronimo!

Starters, Mains, and Sides 
Cookies and Bars 
Cakes and Cupcakes 
Other Sweets 

November 19, 2013

Homemade Red Velvet Cake Mix

I know, I know, it's kind of early to be doing a Christmassy themed post. But I have my reasons, and they're good ones too. Most importantly is that if you make your gifts like I do, now is the time to start.

Also, I was invited to be a part of a Christmas Round Up over at Cake Whiz, and I wanted to do something super awesome. I mean, have you seen Abeer's cakes? Hello gorgeousness! And I've pinned a bunch of her decorating tips since we all know that's my weakness. I certainly didn't want to provide anything substandard, you know?

When I got to thinking about and researching Christmas treats, I was seeing a lot of red velvet recipes, made with cake mix. I also saw a lot of gifts from the kitchen. Cookie mixes, drink mixes, scone mixes. Cake mixes.
Me and my homemade mix obsession decided that I was going to mixify red velvet cake.
But apparently, mixifying red velvet cake is not a thing that people normally do, because I couldn't find a recipe for a mix online. And my Old Reliable cookbook didn't have a recipe for me to adapt. *GASP*

Red velvet cake isn't a thing I usually make. The epic amounts of food coloring in it have made me a bit wary of trying, (most call for 2 oz. That's 4 tablespoons. A quarter cup of food coloring) so I didn't have a reliable base recipe. I found this Waldorf-Astoria Red Velvet Cake recipe online that had consistently good reviews and nothing out of the ordinary in terms of ingredients, so I baked it up, unmixified, to test it.

(Instead of two oz. of food coloring, I used 2 tbsp of LorAnn's Red Velvet Bakery Emulsion and 2 tbsp vegetable oil. As you can see, the color did not suffer at all, and the emulsion gave it a slightly fruity undertone)
That mouse is my favorite ornament since I was little
It was good, moist and tender. I usually prefer a little more cocoa flavor, so I'd probably increase that if I ever make it again. I whipped up some cream cheese frosting, which refused to stiffen, so I crumbed a couple of the cupcakes to edge it in. And then I added holly sprinkles, since it kind of looks like a wreath.

And then I mixified it.
Pretty common in terms of mix ingredients: flour, sugar, shortening, buttermilk powder. I added food coloring powder, which can be found in candy making and cake decorating specialty shops, like my favorite place in the world, Candyland Crafts. I think Wilton also makes some, so you might be able to find it in Michaels or JoAnn's. Or you can order it online.

The only thing I had trouble substituting was the vinegar. I ended up using cream of tartar, since it's acidic as well. The internet was little help in that regard, but it told me that I could substitute vinegar for cream of tartar in meringues so I figure the opposite should work in a cake mix, right?

Red Velvet Cake Mix
Yield: Approx. 5 cups dry mix

2¼ cups cake flour
1½ cups sugar
4 tbsp. dry buttermilk powder
2 heaping tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp. red food coloring powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. salt
½ cup butter-flavored shortening

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all ingredients except the shortening. Using a pastry cutter (or pulse in a food processor) cut in the shortening until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place up to 3 months. (To extend the shelf life, store in the refrigerator or freezer)

To bake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Combine the mix with 2 eggs, 1 cup water, ¼ cup vegetable oil, and 1 tsp. vanilla extract. Line 2 muffin tins with paper liners, and fill about ⅔ of the way (about 2 tbsp.) with batter. Bake 15-20 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes our clean. Cool completely on wire racks. Makes 24 cupcakes

Tip: If you can't find food coloring powder, replace 2 (or more) tablespoons of the vegetable oil with regular red food coloring

Based on the Waldorf-Astoria Red Velvet Cake, found via

November 17, 2013

Butternut Squash Cupcakes- Squashin' Winter #SundaySupper

With Browned Butter Frosting

 You know what I haven't been making enough of? Cupcakes. I mean, cupcakes are what got me into baking in the first place. They're my first foodie love. When I first started this blog, I figured it would be all cupcakes all the time. But that has not been true. There has been a surprising dearth of cupcake recipes. The occasional cupcake, some of the time.

Well no more! I'm traveling back to my baking roots with this week's #SundaySupper, hosted by Heather of girlichef. The theme this week is winter squash. So of course I made cupcakes.

Don't question it. Just smile and nod.
I actually love butternut squash. Which is weird for me, because while I have a giant sweet tooth, I very much dislike sweet with my savory. I don't like pumpkin. I don't like sweet potatoes. I don't like cooked carrots. But I love butternut squash.

The squash has a nice, subtly sweet flavor that actually lends itself well to these spiced cupcakes. It's not immediately noticeable like with sweet potato or pumpkin, but it's definitely there as a sort of flavor undertone, adding a layer of complexity. Plus the squash keeps the cupcakes nice and moist (if a little on the dense side).
And since butternut squash and browned butter are basically best friends, I frosted these with the maple browned butter frosting from my maple cornmeal cupcakes, I just reduced the maple extract and added a pinch of salt (I've been on a kick lately where I add a little salt to my frostings. It just helps develop the flavor and cuts the sweetness a little.)

If you've never had browned butter frosting, then you have been deprived and that should be rectified immediately. Like right now. At this very moment. March on over to your stove and start cooking that butter. This blog will still be here when you're done; but it's more important that you don't go another minute without mixing browned butter and powdered sugar and then spooning it straight into your mouth.

Butternut Squash Cupcakes
Yield: 24 cupcakes

2 cups flour
2½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. ginger
¼ tsp. ground cloves
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1½ cups cooked and mashed butternut squash
¾ cup milk

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium mixing bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, spices, and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a separate bowl with electric beaters, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy. Add the eggs and the vanilla, beating well after each addition. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk. Beat until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Line a muffin tin with paper liners. Fill about ⅔ of the way (about 2 tbsp.) with batter. Bake 15-20 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes our clean. Cool completely on wire racks.

Recipe by Kim

Browned Butter Frosting

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
3 cups powdered sugar
 cup whipping cream
¼ tsp. maple flavoring (or vanilla)
Pinch salt

In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Continue to heat, whisking constantly, until the butter turns a light, golden brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Add the sugar, salt, and maple flavoring to the bowl of a stand mixer and mix together on the lowest speed. Slowly stream in the browned butter and continue to mix until the mixture looks like small peas. Add in the whipping cream, gradually increase the mixer speed to high, and whip until fluffy.

Recipe by Kim
Get ready to get your squash on:

Breakfasts and Breads
Appetizers, Starters, and Condiments
Soups, Sandwiches, and Salads
Main Dishes
Side Dishes
Wine Pairing Recommendations for Squashin' Winter #SundaySupper from Enofylz Wine Blog

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET.  Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

November 15, 2013

Stuff and Things 11/15/13

What I'm Writing
So I've been getting stuck with this plot a lot. And bored. But I've been keeping my word count up by jumping around a bit (and writing side stories; I'm a rebel). It's been surprisingly easy to keep up, although I do have the week two doldrums, and I have hit the wall of suck. I've just been writing around that. Usually by writing a side story. :D

Edit: Okay, I got behind this week, but I've made up worse. Just means I need a serious writeordie session this weekend

Anyway, here's an excerpt from my NaNo novel, the working title is Winter's Gift. A lot of name dropping here, but the only important one is Becca, who was the child hero of my first NaNo Novel. She helped end a war that had lasted centuries (against the Cold One, aka the Snow Man) and save the world from an eternal winter. Now she's adjusting to normal life again, starting college and the like. I had a throw-away line in the last novel about how she had never known her father. When I decided to sequelize it, I wanted that to come up again as a major plot point. And here's the result. (Please excuse the NaNo-brain-mush-induced typos)

Becca stared at the man in front of her, trying to feel some sense of familiarity. If he was who he said he was, then Becca should recognize him immediately, shouldn’t she? She should know him instinctively. If he was telling the truth, then they would be connected with a bond so strong that she shouldn’t even have to try and feel it; it should be so profound that it would make itself known to her.

But Becca continued to stare at the man in front of her and she continued to feel nothing.
“Hello Rebecca,” he said.
“Becca,” she corrected him, automatically. It was reflex; she didn’t even have to think about it. She was too busy searching his face for something that she recognized, even if it was from the mirror.
“Right, of course.” The man smiled as if the expression was one he didn’t have much practice with. His lips were crooked, he showed too much teeth, and he didn’t smile with anything more than his mouth. He twisted his hands together, and it occurred to Becca that he might be nervous. “You look just like your mom did when she was your age.”
“You mean when you knocked her up?” The words and the cool tone of voice shocked Becca, almost as much as it shocked him. For a second she wasn’t sure that she had spoken. She thought maybe someone else had come in to say those deliberately hurtful words. They weren’t the sort of words that came out of her mouth.
But apparently, they were.
The crooked, nervous smile faded from the man’s lips, and Becca found she much preferred him that way. “I guess I deserved that.”
“I guess you do.” Becca wished Chet were here with her. Or Ned or even Jenny. Maybe with an audience, she’d be able to keep these harsh words behind her teeth. Chet, at least, would scold her for being so unkind. “Look, I don’t know you. I don’t even know your name, but I’m supposed to, what, hug you and kiss you and call you daddy just because you didn’t have the sense to use a condom twenty years ago? You’re nobody. Just another guy that couldn’t keep it in his pants, and I’ve had enough of those lately.” Becca stood, abruptly. It was like this man she didn’t recognize was making her disappear, changing her until she didn’t recognize herself. She needed to leave before she disappeared completely.
“Becca, wait.” She did. She wasn’t sure why she did, but she looked at the strange man expectantly, tapping her foot. “I know you've been there. The place beyond this one. The outer realm.”
Becca’s foot stopped tapping.
“I’ve been there too,” he said. Half of Becca wanted him to be lying, the other half desperately wanted it to be true. “That’s where I’ve been this whole time. I was lost there, and I wasn’t able to find my way back until the war ended.”
Becca shook her head. Even if that was the truth, the war ended five years ago. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she said, and the lie was bitter on her tongue.
“Of course you do. Becca,” he stood, and made as though he wanted to reach out for her, but she stepped out of his reach, “it took me time to find someone that could open a way through the veil, time to track down your mom, time to convince her to let me see you, all the while re-establishing myself in the world that I never thought I’d see again. But I did come, and I hoped that would count for something at least.”
“How--?” Becca couldn’t finish the question. There were too many clamoring to be asked inside her head, each more important than the last.
“How did I manage to get myself stuck in the world existing beyond human knowledge?” he finished for her, with a self-deprecating grin that looked much more natural than the last one. “The Cliff Notes version? The war was so powerful that there were times when it damaged the veil between worlds, causing them to bleed into each other.” He said it so off-handedly, but Becca felt herself still at the word ‘bleed.’ “The last one happened centuries ago, but the effects aren’t so easily erased.”
That answered nothing, and Becca was suddenly uneasy at the mention of the bleed, but there was another question she needed him to answer first. “What makes you think I was there?”
“How could I not?” There was incredulity in his voice. “Becca, you’re an honest- to- goodness goddamn legend there. And when I left to track you and your mom down, and I realized that it was you who defeated the Cold One--”
“I didn’t defeat him.” People were always saying that to her, but it was so wrong. She’d gotten lucky. She’d weakened the Snow Man at a crucial moment. Esrom and the First had gotten there just in time to take advantage, but not in time to save Rosie’s life. Becca was no hero. “Esrom defeated him. I was just… I was just there.”
“The way I hear it, you were more than just there, you were integral.” The man’s voice was gentle, and at that very moment, it reminded her a little of Bem’s. “But I’d love to hear the real story, if you’d like to tell me.”
And a part of Becca really did. After five years of lying to every new person she met, it would be a relief to tell the truth, and to someone who would actually understand it. Still, she shook her head. “I still don’t know you. I don’t even know your name.”
“Daniel. My name is Daniel Miller.” He held his hand out to her. “It’s very nice to finally meet you, Becca.”
Becca hesitated only a moment before shaking his hand.
Divergent book 3 Allegiant cover high-res

November 13, 2013

Homemade Spice Cake Mix

This spice cake recipe is a favorite among my family, (even Needy McSnuggles loves this recipe. When I'm eating a piece, he'll get as close to my face as possible and stare at me until I crumble off a little for him) and it's totally season appropriate. So thanks to my weirdo backwards insomnia, I had some time on my hands one morning and decided to mixify it. That way the next time I want it, I can whip it up easy-peasy. Also, because I'm slightly obsessed with homemade mixes, and it would make a great gift.

This time of the year, there are so many short cuts out there using boxed spice cake mix for things like pumpkin bread or spice cookies. I guarantee you, this recipe tastes so much better than boxed. You can have your shortcuts and eat it too. Or something like that.
I did use powdered milk in the recipe because POWDER ALL THE THINGS I had it on hand, but you can totally skip it. Just use milk instead of water when mixing up the cake.

(Slightly relevant) Side Note: my brother asked me the other day what spices were in allspice. I just kind of blinked at him and said, "umm, allspice." I sometimes forget that foodie knowledge does not equal common knowledge.

Secondary Side Note: Sorry if I seem a bit absent lately. 20k words into NaNoWriMo, I don't have many other to spare.

Spice Cake Mix
Yield: Approx. 4½ cups dry mix

2 cups cake flour
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup powdered milk (optional)
2½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. allspice
½ tsp. ground cloves
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ cup butter flavored shortening

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all ingredients except the shortening. Using a pastry cutter (or pulse in a food processor) cut in the shortening until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place up to 6 months.

To bake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour, or line with parchment paper, two 8- or 9-inch round cake tins. To the mix add 2 eggs, ¾ cup water (or milk, if you didn't use the powdered), and 1 tsp. vanilla. Mix well. Divide the batter equally between the two cake tins and bake 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on wire racks.

Based on the Spice Cake recipe from The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook

November 10, 2013

Peanut Butter Banana Cookie Pie

With an Oreo Cookie Crust

Okay, I'm gonna call this a "cookie pie" because that's what it was supposed to be when I put it in the oven, but I'm not entirely sure that's what it ended up being.

I'm also not entirely sure what it ended up being, other than delicious.
See, I was in the mood for peanut butter cookie pie. Well, at least I thought I was, having never actually made cookie pie before. And then I spotted two old bananas that needed to be used, and I threw those in.

I didn't quite get the batter to cookie dough consistency, which might explain things. I was worried that it would make it too dense and dry. It was more like a very thick cake batter, but this pie isn't cake-like either. It's like some sort of mad scientist cross between cookie and cake, in pie form

This is the problem when you don't listen to recipes. You end up taking things out of the oven that you want to share with the world but have no idea what to call it.
I also threw in some chocolate and peanut butter chips, but they kind of disappeared. The pie ate them. Om nom nom. (I was up late last night trying to get my word count in. Can you tell? Nah)

But whatever this is, this cookie/cake/pie hybrid that feasts on chocolate chips, it's peanut buttery banana goodness, and you should go and make it. Like, right now. For breakfast. Because it's that good.

Peanut Butter Banana Cookie Pie
Yield: 8 servings

For the crust:
15 chocolate sandwich cookies (Oreos), crushed to a fine crumb
6 tbsp. melted butter

For the pie:
¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
1 egg
2 ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
⅔ cup creamy peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1¼ cups flour
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup peanut butter and chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 365°F. Mix together the cookie crumbs and melted butter, and press into a regular 9-inch pie plate, allowing it to come up the sides. Bake 8-10 minutes until firm, and allow to cool completely.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large mixing bowl with electric beaters, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy. Add the egg and beat well. Add the mashed banana, peanut butter, and vanilla extract, and continue to beat until smooth. Slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix until well incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Spread the batter evenly into the prepared crust. Bake 30-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean, and the edges are a golden brown. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before cutting.

Tip: If you don't mind a softer crust, you can skip the pre-baking.

Recipe by Kim

November 8, 2013

Stuff and Things 11/8/13

What I'm Writing
I don't have an excerpt from my current NaNo novel that I like well enough as a stand-alone scene to share (although I'm on track, even as I write this a bit ahead), so I'm taking an excerpt from my 2011 novel, Transfer, instead. It was inspired by the song "Transfer" by Five For Fighting (good song. Google it). It's set in the early 1960's, and I had given it the rather grandiose tagline of, "The story of life after love at first sight." Mainstream fiction with romantic leanings.

And let me tell you something: I hated this novel. I mean, you always get to that point, but this one was special. I despised it. Writing it was like pulling teeth. I mean, there wasn't even a talking squirrel (writing a squirrel is surprisingly fun. I recommend it). I couldn't even open the file until a few months ago, and when I did... it was actually kind of good. I hate myself a little for liking it, because it tried to kill me. But this is the one I've seriously been trying to edit and polish up(during non-NaNo months), because it's pretty commercial (although I did manage to fit in some reincarnation themes. Because I'm me).

Anyway, this is one of my two favorite scenes (the second is at the end and kind of spoils the whole thing). It's towards the beginning. The two main characters (David and Delilah: I had a thing for D names that year) have been snowed in for 3 days at a tiny train station in the middle of nowhere. To be honest, it's a hook-up scene, but it's not dirty. It's obviously not meant for small children, but it's not explicit.

David supposed that he should have realized this was going to happen. A man and a woman, snowed in at a little train station, an obvious attraction between them. But he would have liked to think that his self-control would have lasted more than three days. After all, he always prided himself on the fact that no matter how unhappy he was in his marriage, no matter how many temptations he faced, he had never been unfaithful to his wife. He’d seen his fellows and his peers and his co-workers go off with their secretaries and cocktail waitresses and women from bars. He’d watched them go home to their wives with lipstick on their collars, stinking of beer and another woman’s perfume. David had sworn that he would never be that man. He supposed that he could comfort himself with the fact that he didn’t plan on going home to his wife in the near future, if he went back at all.
But now he was here, on one of the two cots they had set up, with a woman that wasn’t his wife. David knew that he should be feeling guilty, but he wasn’t. Because this was their clean, white, snowy world, and nothing could sully it. The outside world couldn’t impinge on their reality. Here, he wasn’t a married man, and she wasn’t the runaway bride that had broken her family’s heart. Here they had no pasts, no baggage, and no complications. Here they were just David and Delilah, just two lost souls that had found each other in the snowy little transfer station in the middle of nowhere.
“Are you all right?” David panted into the crook of her neck. It was damp with her sweat. Her hair clung to it in little ringlets. David couldn’t stop staring at them. “We don’t have to... We could stop...” But David wasn’t sure that he could stop. It had been so long, and there was such a pleasant heat rising in his body, and god when she sighed like that…
“Stop being so damned respectable,” Delilah gasped. “Just love me.”
That was something David had no problem doing.

Thought? If you don't say anything, I'm going to get a complex.

Movies- Beyond this point, there be spoilers

November 6, 2013

Chocolate Orange Scones

You know what's weird? Writing a sequel. It's like writing fanfiction, but of your own work. It's been so long since I wrote the original that it feels like it was written by someone else. I have to stop myself from putting a disclaimer at the beginning of each chapter. All recognizable settings and characters belong to their original author. The story and any original characters are my own. I make no money from the writing of this fic.

Which is all true, if you think about it. The settings and characters do belong to their original author (me), and I actually do not make any money from writing it. Because, you know, it's unpublished and everything.

And it's easy, for all the reasons fanfiction is easy-- I'm already intimately familiar with the characters and the world, and I can assume that anyone reading it would be as well, so I can skip over all of those explain-y bits.

And it's hard for all the reasons that fanfiction is hard-- because the characters and world have already been established, I have to stay within those parameters. If I want to show character development, I have to show it in a way that doesn't seem OOC (out of character). If I want to introduce a new element, I have to make sure that it doesn't break some rule that's already been set.

This is one of the things that people don't tell you, but it's yet another reason that I think writing fanfiction is one of the best ways to learn how to write. I still insist that it's how I learned to write.

(Psst, I added a wordcount widget at the top left of the page, so you can track my progress and yell at me if I get behind. As of Tuesday, I was 900 words ahead. Booya.)
You know what else is weird? Apparently, when I have insomnia, I bake scones. These were no exception. At 4:30 in the morning, I decided I would make chocolate orange scones. And I did. Buttery, crumbly, chocolatey scones, not too sweet, with a hint of orange zest. The whole wheat flour makes them nice and hearty, good for a filling breakfast. This is not a dessert for breakfast scone, at all. But it is a tasty, chocolatey breakfast treat.

Chocolate Orange Scones
Yield: 8 scones

1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
⅔ cup packed dark brown sugar
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
¾ cup cold unsalted butter
4-5 tbsp. milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. orange zest
½ tsp. vanilla extract

For the topping:
1 tbsp. milk
2 tbsp. raw sugar
¼ tsp. orange zest

Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a large mixing bowl, mix the flours, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in the cold butter using a pastry cutter or rubbing it in with your fingertips, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in 4 tbsp. milk, eggs, orange zest, and vanilla with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together. If the dough seems too dry, add the extra tbsp. milk.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently about 10 times. On a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat mat, shape the dough into a flat, 8 inch round. With a sharp knife dipped in flour, cut the round into 8 wedges, but do not separate. Brush the tops with 1 tbsp. milk. Mix together the raw sugar and orange zest, and sprinkle that evenly on top.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, until the edges are set and the middle is slightly soft.  Remove the scones from the cookie sheet and place on a wire cooling rack, carefully separating them. Best served warm.

Recipe by Kim