It’s here! The official cover for the Tomb Raider cookbook has arrived, and it’s featuring Lomo Saltado and some amazing Tomb Raider props. Check out the description from the official Tomb Raider account below:
Each year, I like to come up with a New Year resolution that encourages me to learn more or pursue my hobbies. In previous years I’ve pledged to watch through the AFI Top 100, learn how to cook my favorite takeout meals, and do more photo shoots with friends. This year, I’m pledging to try at least 52 new recipes.
Each week when I make my meal plan, I try to include a new recipe. I have a running list in my to do app of new recipes I find that I want to try, and this is a great way to get through some of them. It gives me an excuse to try new things, keep our meals varied, and to absorb and learn more about how to craft a great recipe. I’ll post links to the recipes I try along with any thoughts and recommended adjustments. Starred recipes are ones I loved and would make again.
Some weeks may have more than one and there may be some weeks that are skipped. At times, I may be developing my own recipes for upcoming books/posts and won’t be able to include them here. But for the most part, I hope to include the recipes I try along with my thoughts. If you have a similar resolution, this may help you find some fun recipes to try!
Keep checking back throughout the year to see new recipes added. And if you have a fave cookbook, food blogger, or recipe you think I should check out, let me know in the comments!
August 6: Eggless Vanilla Cake* and Eggless Vanilla Cupcakes*. I was in charge of making a smash cake and cupcakes for a one-year-old’s birthday, and he’s allergic to eggs. These recipes were simple and turned out delicious! When I tried the batter, I could really taste the apple cider vinegar, but that harshness bakes out nicely. Is it as good as traditional cake? Not quite. But it’s a great substitute!
July 9: Walk-Along Chili* and Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili*. I made some meaty and vegetarian chili dishes to bring camping. I froze them, left them in the cooler, and just reheated them in a pot when we were ready for them. It was delicious and the perfect hearty, warm meal after a chilly day outside. I definitely recommend pre-making food and freezing it for camping–I’ll absolutely do this again!
June 6: 4 Ingredient Banana Pancakes*. I continued the brown banana brigade with these banana pancakes. I used cake flour and added some flax seed, and they were delicious!
June 5: Banana Mini Muffins*. I had some brown bananas and this recipe made the perfect mini muffins that were even toddler approved! I’ll definitely make these again.
May 19: Parmesan Chicken and Kale Saute. Not bad, but I would halve the onion and add a bit more lemon and red pepper flakes.
May 18: Spicy Baked Pasta with Cheddar and Broccoli Rabe. This wanted to be a mac and cheese, but wasn’t quite there. Because of that, the creaminess was mostly lost, and you just tasted a lot of bitter broccoli rabe. Having leeks and chives instead of just onion felt strange, and it needed some more flavor overall. But the oil-covered bread crumbs and cheese made for a nice crusty top. I’ll use that technique again in the future.
May 14: Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce* from the Cravings Cookbook. We grilled the chicken for a bit too long, but the marinade was delicious! Would make again.
May 12: Greek Lemon Chicken and Orzo*. I great fresh, easy, and healthy meal! I made it for dinner and have leftovers ready for lunch. I’ll be adding this to my lineup of meal plan options.
April 4: For Easter I made these adorable bunny rolls, but used a cinnamon roll filling/frosting instead of marmalade. I also made Yumm “Angel Eggs” to go with standard deviled eggs, but I think standard eggs win out.
March: I’ve been creating and testing recipes for the Tomb Raider cookbook. It comes out October 26th and is available for pre-order now!
February 27: Greek Lemon Rice*. This is a great basic rice pilaf recipe! I think it would be a fantastic base for some chicken souvlaki and tzatziki.
February 26: Slow Cooker Chicken and White Bean Stew. Flavor was lacking–you’ll want to add a lot of lemon juice, salt, and pepper at the end. But overall, fine for an easy slow cooker meal.
February 24: Greek Chicken Skillet. It’s good, but I’ve made similar versions I’ve liked a bit better.
January 25: John’s Crispy Roasted Potatoes* from the Cravings Cookbook. It’s a fairly simple roasted potato recipe, but it teaches you to preheat some oil so the potatoes start searing as soon as they touch the pan. Genius! I’ll add a bit more flavor to the potatoes next time, probably my go-to mix of salt, pepper, garlic, oregano, with a sprinkling of feta and lemon juice at the end.
January 20: Mongolian Beef and Broccoli*. A friend passed along his slow cooker beef and broccoli recipe and it was so easy and delicious! I need to slow cook things more often.
January 16: Milk Bar Pie. Another recipe from Monthly’s Creative Baking with Christina Tosi and it’s decadent! One slice was enough to do me in. I’m not normally an egg set pie kinda person, but I can definitely see the appeal.
January 4: Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookies from Milk Bar. I’m taking Monthly’s Creative Baking with Christina Tosi class and it’s amazing. Our first challenge was to make these cookies. They’re delicious, but ended up a bit flat/caramelized/ugly looking. The cornflake crunch*, however, is highly recommended for snacking, topping ice cream, and adding into any cookie recipe.
January 2: Vanilla Chai Mug Cake*. I wanted to make a tea-infused cake for a virtual Bridgerton watch party I had with some friends and this hit the spot! Delicious and moist. My only complaint is that it made a small amount. I’d double or triple the recipe in the future. (May have to play with cooking times a bit in that case.)
January 1: Panda Express Orange Chicken and Express Chow Mein from Damn Delicious. I wanted to try my hand at making some takeout faves, and these were both fine, but not as good as takeout (and made for a very messy kitchen). The orange chicken was a bit too orangey and the sauce was a bit too thin, but I loved the flour/cornstarch mixture for coating the chicken. Will definitely use that again! The Chow Mein was good and will be an easy base recipe to add to in the future. I think I added too many noodles so it wasn’t as flavorful. I’d make more sauce in the future. (I also added in some peas and mushrooms I had on hand and used a bag of coleslaw mix as an easy way to get the shredded cabbage and carrots.)
December 30th (Bonus, but it was so delicious, I want to include it): Beef Stifado*. This is going to become a go-to winter stew. The cinnamon and other spices also makes it feel very Christmassy. I’d love to make this a traditional Christmas Eve dinner! I used frozen pearl onions instead of shallots (it was just easier to find) and just put them in at the end (no browning). Still delicious, and the smaller onions made it easy to get one with a little bit of beef in the same spoonful.
I love cooking. I have a recipe blog, I write cookbooks, I love to entertain. But even I have my limits. And going back to work with a baby that doesn’t like to sleep, all while there’s a global pandemic going on? It’s a lot. So when Doorstep Meals reached out about letting me try their meals, I was all in. And dear readers, I’m so glad I tried them.
Doorstep Meals are individually portioned meals full of protein and veggies and low on calories. You just pop one in the microwave for 2 1/2 minutes and you’re eating a balanced meal that will make you feel like you have a live-in chef. The meals were well-seasoned and some even had a bit of a kick (I love the meals with the spicy “cowboy butter” that melts into the dish!). And the fact I was eating a balanced meal with no preservatives made me feel way better than if I were to eat a bowl of pasta or ramen for the tenth day in a row.
While I still like to plan to make a few meals a week, these quick meals are the perfect addition for the busy breakfasts and lunches between meetings and feeding my baby. It honestly took me longer to decide which one to eat than it took to make some days. You can pick your meals every week, and you can even select from keto or paleo options if that’s your jam. Plus, many of the meal plans come with some cookies that they claim are “healthy.” Look, I’m not gonna say no if you’re encouraging me to have a cookie. The normal size satiated my hunger (which is a hard thing to do), but they make a larger size if you have a huge appetite or plan to share the meal with another person.
If you’re a new parent or super busy at work or going through something existential between the darkness of winter and the ongoing pandemic, take one stressor off your plate and grab a set of Doorstep Meals. You can get an additional free meal with your order by using this link: http://doorstepmeals.com/dsmTaraTheoharis
Doorstep meals sent me an assortment of meals to sample in exchange for this post, but all words and opinions are mine.
I’m a sucker for anything pumpkin spice. Now, don’t get me wrong, I enjoy pumpkin flavoring as well, but it’s the spice that gets me. That perfect mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves just makes me feel warm, cozy, and ready for the holidays. So the first day the weather got dreary, I started making these cinnamon rolls. I add pumpkin and pumpkin spice to the dough, and make a Cinnabon-inspired filling and frosting with a hint of pumpkin spice with the cinnamon. These take a little while to make, but the next cold morning when you can pad downstairs in your slippers and take a forkful of cinnamon roll with your hot tea, you will thank me.
- ¾ cup milk
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2¼ tsp active dry yeast (or one packet)
- ¾ cup pumpkin puree
- ¼ cup melted butter
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 4 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 TBS pumpkin spice
- ½ tsp salt
- ⅓ cup unsalted butter, softened
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 1½ TBS cinnamon
- 2 tsp pumpkin spice
- 8 oz cream cheese
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ⅛ tsp salt
- Microwave the milk for 30 seconds and place in a mixing bowl with a bread hook attachment. Stir in the sugar and sprinkle in the active dry yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes.
- While letting the yeast mixture sit, mix together the pumpkin puree and melted butter in a bowl, then add and mix in the egg. Add this mixture to the mixing bowl.
- Combine the flour, baking powder, pumpkin spice, and salt in a separate bowl and then slowly add it to the mixing bowl until everything is combined. Set the mixer to medium, letting the bread hook knead the dough for 8-10 minutes. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise for 1 hour, or until it's doubled in size.
- Take the dough out and roll it into a 14x16 inch rectangle on a floured surface. Spread the butter all over the surface.
- Mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and pumpkin spice, and then sprinkle evenly all over the surface of the dough. (There will be a lot!) Gently rub/press it in until everything is covered.
- Starting on one of the smaller sides, tightly roll the dough and let it rest with the end seam on the bottom, helping seal it. Using a serrated knife, cut the uneven edges off. Cut the rest of the dough into 12 even rolls.
- Place parchment paper in a 9x13 baking pan, and then place the rolls into the pan (they'll all be close and touching). Cover the pan with plastic wrap, and let rise for 30 minutes.
- While waiting, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Remove the plastic wrap and bake the cinnamon rolls for 20-25 minutes or until slightly golden brown.
- While the rolls are baking, make the frosting. Combine the cream cheese and butter in a mixer and mix on high until light and creamy. Slowly add the powdered sugar in, one cup at a time, until fully mixed. Add the vanilla extract and salt, and mix on high for 5 minutes or until it's a fluffy, whipped consistency.
- When you remove the cinnamon rolls from the oven, frost the tops with about ⅓ of the frosting, allowing it to coat them with a nice melted glaze. Wait 10 minutes and then frost with another ⅓ of the frosting. Keep the final third to when you're serving them, allowing people to add a dollop to the sides of their roll if they're real frosting lovers.
Halloween is finally on a Saturday! While Trick or Treating and large parties won’t (and shouldn’t) be happening in the middle of a pandemic, that won’t stop me from celebrating! I recommend sleeping in then making some of these mummy sausages to go with your batch of pumpkin spice cinnamon rolls, and settling in for a Halloween-themed movie (Hocus Pocus, anyone?). These little mummies are super quick and easy to make and equal parts festive and delicious.
- 1 puff pastry sheet
- 1 egg
- 1 package of breakfast sausages (10-14 to a pack)
- Ketchup or mustard
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Roll out the puff pastry sheet on a floured surface until it's about half its original thickness.
- Using a pizza cutter or a knife, cut the pastry sheet into ¼ inch strips.
- Beat the egg with a tsp of water to make an egg wash.
- Dip each pastry sheet in the egg wash, and then wrap them around the breakfast sausages to look like a mummy's wrappings. Leave a small space near one end of the sausage for the "eyes".
- Place the wrapped sausage "mummies" on a lined baking sheet, and brush the rest of the egg wash over the tops.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the pastry is golden and the sausage is cooked through.
- Using a toothpick, dab drops of ketchup or mustard onto the mummies to make eyes, and serve.
As soon as the rain starts to fall and the leaves start to change color, I get all of my cozy candles out of the closet. I’m a sucker for anything vanilla, cinnamon, pumpkin, or pine, and always have a candle burning throughout Fall and Winter. And, like many people, if I’m having a crummy day, I find a bit of peace going to a store and smelling all of the candles, finding the perfect one to add to my collection. The pandemic has squashed the idea of getting to roam around a store and put anything close to my nose, so I did the next best thing: I called up a friend on Zoom and we went “virtual candle shopping” at Wax Cabin Candle Co. And thank goodness, because I found some of my new favorite candles.
Wax Cabin Candle Co. makes some delicious and strong smelling candles, and they do it all out of New Jersey. The candles are super cute, and even the smaller 4oz. sizes last for a long time. And while I’m not a big fan of gendering candles, their “mandle” line puts their candles in some beautiful glasses that can be repurposed for whiskey or other cocktails once you’re done. If you win the lotto and want to spend all of your money in one place, you can even purchase a giant, 42 lb, 712 oz candle. (I seriously want to see that in person!)
Wax Cabin Candle Co. was nice enough to fund my little “virtual candle shopping spree” and let me pick out a couple candles to try. My faves include Cake & Champagne, a slightly fruity version of a vanilla cake candle (the champagne and a touch of lemon really brightens up the scent) and Pumpkin Horchata, the perfect mix of pumpkin, cinnamon, and a bit of sweetness. These candles will be my go-tos to get me into a fall mood. They’ve also got some delicious sounding cocktail-inspired candles, as well as some fun scents like “Brunch” and “Cozy Cabin”.
Want to check them out yourself? Save 15% off your order with promo code GeekyHostess15. And let me know in the comments what your favorite candle scents are! What little bits of retail therapy have you been partaking in while stuck at home during the pandemic?
Living through a Pandemic can really work up your appetite for cookies, can’t it? And now that Fall has hit Seattle, there’s nothing I want to do more on a chilly, rainy day than turn on the oven and make the whole house smell like cookies. When baking, I’ll often go for a classic chocolate chip, but lately I’ve been craving something a little bit saltier and more sophisticated. So I took the “Alex’s Chocolate Chunk Cookies” recipe from The Minecrafter’s Cookbook and I elevated it a bit–I used dark chocolate chips and salted butter, and topped the cookies with flake salt right before baking. The result is the perfect mix of sweet, salty, and bitter. Just like your personality in 2020.
- 1 cup salted butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2½ cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- ¾ tsp baking soda
- 1.5 cups dark chocolate chips
- Flake salt for garnishing
- Mix the butter in a mixer until it is light and creamy, then mix in both sugars.
- One at a time, add in the eggs and the vanilla, mixing fully in between each addition.
- Mix the flour, salt, and baking soda together in a separate bowl, and then slowly add into the wet mixture until everything is fully mixed.
- Stir in the chocolate chunks.
- Cover the top of the bowl of cookie dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour. (This step may seem optional, but I swear it will make the cookies turn out even better!)
- Fifteen minutes before the cookie dough comes out of the fridge, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cover the cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Using a cookie scoop or a spoon, drop round balls of cookie dough onto the cookie sheets, 2 inches apart from each other. Top each cookie with a small sprinkling of flake salt, lightly pressing into the tops.
- Bake for 8-9 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are light brown.
- Cool for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
You know those days when you want to add some pizzazz to your cookies but don’t want to break out all of your decorating supplies? Just grab one of these embossed rolling pins from Embossed Co. Once your cookie dough is rolled out, roll over it with this and you’ll create beautiful embossed art in seconds.
If you’re like me and have grand ideas for your themed treats but aren’t necessarily talented at decorating, you will LOVE this. I was afraid the rolling pin would be difficult to use or would get dough stuck in it, but it’s extremely simple to use and clean. The pins come in a variety of designs, but I love this one with leaves. You can use it when making crackers or a nice lemon-herb shortbread. It will class up your next tea party, LOTR viewing party, or DnD session. Leaves not your thing? Check out the paw prints for dog treats, snowflakes for holiday cookies, or the flowers or paisley for a patterned pie crust.
Want to give one of these rolling pins a try? You can get 15% off your order at Embossedco.com using code “GEEKYHOSTESS15” until July 24th.
Have you used embossed rolling pins before? What is your favorite thing to make with them?
I’ve waited for it. And finally, the Hamilton movie is coming! The recording of a performance with the OBC (Original Broadway Cast) is coming to Disney+ on Friday. My friends and I will all be watching, and I’ll be enjoying the production with some of the drinks from my upcoming Broadway cookbook.
Hamilton is one of my favorite shows, so I wasn’t able to just make one drink. I had to make multiple “shots” inspired by the main characters. Whether you’re more of an Angelica or a King George, there’s something for you. Take a look:
Which of these drinks makes you say “Awesome, wow”? And will you be watching Hamilton on Friday?
Break an Egg!: A Broadway Cookbook won’t be here until September 1st, but I’ve got a couple sneak peek recipes to hold you over. Today: a broiled oyster recipe and one of my favorite puns of the book: “Totally Shucked” inspired by Spring Awakening!
Yeah, you’re shucked all right. You can kiss your sorry oysters goodbye. A bunch of hungry, hormonal adolescents came over and ate them all, and there’s nothing left for you. That’s the bitch of entertaining.
Next time, double this recipe, and you’ll have plenty of tasty, cheesy broiled oysters on the half shell. Just make sure you clean them properly before shucking. Blah blah blah blah blah.
- 12 fresh oysters
- Rock salt for baking
- ¼ cup shredded Emmentaler cheese
- 1 tablespoon bread crumbs
- 2 teaspoons chopped parsley
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon salted butter
- Preheat your broiler with an oven rack 6 inches from the top.
- Clean and shuck the oysters, leaving them in half shells.
- Spread rock salt across a baking sheet, and balance the oyster shells on the rock salt.
- Mix together the cheese, bread crumbs, parsley, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over each oyster.
- Melt the butter in the microwave, and pour a small amount over each oyster.
- Place the baking sheet on the top oven rack, and broil for 2 minutes or until cheese is melted and bread crumb mixture on top of the oysters is browned.