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Doorstep Meals Saved This Tired Mom

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. 

Blog, Recipes

Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls

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.

Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls
 
Author:
Ingredients
DOUGH
  • 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
FILLING
  • ⅓ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1½ TBS cinnamon
  • 2 tsp pumpkin spice
FROSTING
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ⅛ tsp salt
Instructions
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Take the dough out and roll it into a 14x16 inch rectangle on a floured surface. Spread the butter all over the surface.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. While waiting, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  9. Remove the plastic wrap and bake the cinnamon rolls for 20-25 minutes or until slightly golden brown.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.

 

Blog, Recipes

“Mummy” Breakfast Sausages

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.

"Mummy" Breakfast Sausages
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 puff pastry sheet
  • flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 package of breakfast sausages (10-14 to a pack)
  • Ketchup or mustard
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Roll out the puff pastry sheet on a floured surface until it's about half its original thickness.
  3. Using a pizza cutter or a knife, cut the pastry sheet into ¼ inch strips.
  4. Beat the egg with a tsp of water to make an egg wash.
  5. 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".
  6. Place the wrapped sausage "mummies" on a lined baking sheet, and brush the rest of the egg wash over the tops.
  7. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the pastry is golden and the sausage is cooked through.
  8. Using a toothpick, dab drops of ketchup or mustard onto the mummies to make eyes, and serve.

 

Blog

Get Cozy with Wax Cabin Candle Co.

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?

Recipes

The Best Salted Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

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.

The Best Salted Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  1. Mix the butter in a mixer until it is light and creamy, then mix in both sugars.
  2. One at a time, add in the eggs and the vanilla, mixing fully in between each addition.
  3. 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.
  4. Stir in the chocolate chunks.
  5. 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!)
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Bake for 8-9 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are light brown.
  9. Cool for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

 

Blog

Level Up Your Baking with Embossed Rolling Pins

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?

Blog, Books, Theater

Hamilton’s Shots from Break an Egg! Cookbook

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?

Recipes, Theater

Totally Shucked from Break an Egg! Cookbook

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.

Totally Shucked from Break an Egg! Cookbook
 
Author:
Serves: 12 oysters
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  1. Preheat your broiler with an oven rack 6 inches from the top.
  2. Clean and shuck the oysters, leaving them in half shells.
  3. Spread rock salt across a baking sheet, and balance the oyster shells on the rock salt.
  4. Mix together the cheese, bread crumbs, parsley, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over each oyster.
  5. Melt the butter in the microwave, and pour a small amount over each oyster.
  6. 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.

 

Recipes, Theater

Laurey’s Prize-Winning Tarts from Break an Egg! Cookbook

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. The first: this delicious strawberry rhubarb tart inspired by Oklahoma!

Want the farmers and the cowmen to fight over your picnic hamper at the annual auction? Better make sure you include a delicious tart. In Oklahoma!, Laurey makes her signature gooseberry tarts, but gooseberries can be difficult to find. However, mix together some strawberries (Oklahoma’s state fruit) and some rhubarb, and you’ll have a delicious treat that fits the same flavor profile. So good a cowman would give up his own saddle for a chance to enjoy them with you!

Check out the recipe below and pre-order your copy of Break an Egg! today!

Laurey's Prize-Winning Tarts from Break an Egg! Cookbook
 
Author:
Serves: 12 tarts
Ingredients
  • Shells:
  • ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • Filling:
  • 2 cups chopped rhubarb
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 cup diced strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • Whipped cream for topping
Instructions
  1. To make the shells: Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl, then cut in the shortening and butter using a pastry blender or your hands. Add the cold water slowly, mixing until a dough forms.
  2. Mold the dough into a flat disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  3. Take the dough out of the fridge and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll out the dough, and then fold it in half and then half again. Roll out and fold the dough once more, then wrap and chill for another 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out the dough to ⅛ inch thick and cut rounds with a 4 inch biscuit cutter. Turn a muffin tin upside down and spray the tin with cooking spray. Wrap each round of dough over the back of each muffin cup to form cup shapes. Place the tin with the dough in the oven (still upside down), and bake for 30 minutes. Remove and let cool for 5 minutes, then lift the shells off the tin and let cool on a wire rack while you make the filling.
  5. To make the filling: In a medium saucepan, mix the rhubarb, sugar, and orange juice, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat till the mixture is just simmering, and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes or until the rhubarb has softened. Add the strawberries, cornstarch, and vanilla, and stir to combine. Cook for another 5 minutes, until strawberries have softened and the mixture has thickened. Let cool.
  6. Fold in the strawberries.
  7. Fill each tart shell with the strawberry rhubarb mixture, and top with whipped cream.

 

Blog, Books, Everything Else, News, Theater

Announcing Break an Egg!: The Broadway Cookbook!

Ten years ago today, I published the first post on The Geeky Hostess. TEN YEARS. At that point, I just wanted an excuse to learn a bit more about cooking and parties, and wanted to showcase a bit more female representation in the geeky fandoms I loved. In that time, I’ve written for some of my favorite people and companies, I created a line of sprinkles, I hosted a variety of events, I spoke on panels and podcasts, and I’ve published two cookbooks. Yes, TWO! Today I get to announce that my second cookbook is available for pre-order!

Announcing Break an Egg: A Broadway Cookbook. This book has 55 recipes based on Broadway musicals and a ton of puns and inside jokes for drama kids and theatre lovers. Check out the book trailer!

 

I’m a huge Broadway musical fan and have been attending shows and performing in my community and school theater troupes since I was a kiddo. I assumed I’d be the only one that would love a themed cookbook this much, and was delighted when my publisher and agent were as excited about the idea as I was! This entire cookbook was a labor of love and resulted in a ton of really fun conversations between my editor and I on which shows we absolutely should include and what recipes/jokes should be used for each. I’m so proud of this book and can’t wait for you to see it in person.

The cookbook isn’t out until September 1st, but you can preorder it now on Amazon. Check back here in the coming week as I showcase two of the recipes from the book. In the meantime, let me know what musicals you hope to see included!

I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate ten years of the Geeky Hostess. Thank you all for going on this ride with me. I can’t wait to see what the future holds!