This past week, I spent some time in beautiful Victoria B.C. to handle media relations for Desert Bus for Hope. Desert Bus is a live-streamed charity event that raises money for Child’s Play Charity. In this, its 9th year, it raised $677,914 which brought its lifetime total to Child’s Play to over $3.1 million.
In addition to getting some fantastic press coverage from folks like Polygon, Wired, and The Smithsonian, I got my very own official driving shift! On Monday night, I “drove the bus” for 8 hours. During that run, I tried sprinkles on a lot of food, had some great call-ins, held a bake-off, auctioned off a bunch of great stuff, and sat prisoner while experiments were done on squeaky ducks. Here are some pics and videos of some of my favorite moments of both my driving shift and Desert Bus as a whole.
I decided to do a series of challenges themed to my “Will Sprinkles Make it Better” video series on Instagram. This was the video for Habanero Jelly. It was spicy.
Tally made a smaller version of her famous “creepy doll” that had the noisemaker from a squeaky duck doll in it. It was terrifying, and it wanted to be my friend.
The results of the bake-off on my shift were freaking amazing. The winner, Betsy, not only decorated the tops of her cupcakes to look like the Desert Bus logo, but the actual cake is colored and layered to be the logo! AHHH! So cool! And as amazing as that is, it was still incredibly difficult to pick one winner. You can see all of the entries here!
Skeletor stopped by to visit during my driving shift. (Photo by Andrew Ferguson!)
The Doubleclicks called in and we danced while they performed “Cats at Parties.”
While the bus has stopped driving for the year, you can still donate at desertbus.org, or you can go straight to Child’s Play Charity and donate there. Did you tune in this past week? What were your fave moments?
Yeah yeah, so the stores have skipped straight to Christmas, but we still have a delicious holiday coming up in one week, and it should not be forgotten. If you’re invited to a Thanksgiving feast, don’t show up empty-handed. Grab one of these fun gifts that will insure you’ll be first in line for the turkey and stuffing!
Thanksgiving vs Christmas Album
Molly Lewis and friends recorded this fun album live last year, and it’s chock-full of wonderful songs to get you in the Thanksgiving spirit. Bring the album as a gift, or have it on as the background music at your own festivities. ($20-30 at mollylewis.bandcamp.com.)
Gingerbread Turkey Kit
Oh, Trader Joes. In addition to having more pumpkin-flavored things than possibly anywhere else, you can purchase one of these adorable gingerbread TURKEYS to make while waiting for Thanksgiving dinner to be ready. I’m so there. ($7.99 in Trader Joes stores.)
Pumpkin Pie Hat
You want to make sure you’re well dressed for Thanksgiving, right? You wouldn’t want to show up in normal clothes and embarrass yourself, right? Bring this hat. Hours of entertainment, guaranteed. ($8.82 on Amazon.com.)
Gobble Gobble Mad Libs
Keep everyone entertained with these Thanksgiving-themed Mad Libs. I bet you didn’t know those existed, did you? ($2.49 at Amazon.com.)
Pumpkin Pie Flavored Fortune Cookies
If you’re on dessert duty but want something a bit different than your normal pie, get these pumpkin-pie-flavored fortune cookies! (Also great for those Asian-fusion Thanksgiving meals.) Plus, you get to create your own custom fortunes! ($0.74 each at FancyFortuneCookies.com.)
Thanksgiving Day Dinner Cat Food
Don’t forget the pets! Bring a can of Thanksgiving cat food and win the approval of the furry friends in the home. They’re sometimes easier to please. ($23.48 for 24 cans at Amazon.com.)
Don’t have time to grab any of these unique items? Grab a nice bouquet of flowers in harvest colors, make a batch of my pumpkin bread, or pick up a bottle of wine.
What are your Thanksgiving plans this year? Any go-to gifts you always bring?
I had the pleasure of exploring the 3 Howls Distillery in SODO a couple weeks back and trying some of their delicious spirits. (I’m a huge fan of their banana, blood orange, and rosemary vodkas!) Their spirits are made by geeks–the distillers have backgrounds in science and tech, and use those in their practice. For instance, they use vapor infusions for their spirits! You know that we love geeks here, and they love us as well. So much, in fact, that they wanted to make a geeky cocktail just for us!
They took the idea of a Hemingway Daiquiri and used a bit of science know-how to turn it into a beautifully layered cocktail. I like to think of it as Hemingway’s Ghost: The middle layer floats among the other two clear layers, based on the weight of each layer. It’s the perfect cocktail for Halloween, and the layering “trick” helps make this “treat” perfect. Grab yourself a couple quick supplies and make yourself some Hemingway’s Ghosts for your Halloween party!
- 1.5 oz 3 Howls Gold Label Rum
- 1 oz grapefruit Juice
- .25 oz lime juice
- .5 oz Maraschino Liqueur
- Pour Maraschino Liqueur into the bottom of a glass.
- Shake the grapefruit and lime juices in a shaker with ice. Pour the juice mixture on top of a spoon right above the liquid already in the glasss. Let the juice run down the inside of the glass from the spoon.
- For the top layer, pour the rum into the spoon in the same manner as the juice.
- Serve and enjoy! You can enjoy the cocktail as-is to taste the indivual ingredients, or you can gently mix them together after the “ooh”s, “ahh”s, and pictures have stopped.
Have you made a layered drink before? What’s your fave concoction? Let me know in the comments! And special thanks again to 3 Howls for providing the recipe. Check out all of their awesome spirits!
Vincent Price, as you may know, was an actor known for his many roles in horror films. What you may not know, is that he was also a cookbook author with his wife, Mary. Their book, “A Treasury of Great Recipes” has just been re-released as a 50th Anniversary edition, and I can’t wait to add it to my collection. According to the press release,
The cookbook is the first pictorial, gastronomical travelogues published, with recipes and menus from restaurants, hotels and railroads that no one else had been successful in acquiring at the time. Iconic photographers including William Claxton and Eliot Elision helped document these adventures.
In addition to fun, vintage recipes, you can see some great pics of Price, his home, and get other entertaining tips, like how to fold napkins into Lotuses. I’m thrilled to get to show off one of the recipes here on Geeky Hostess, just in time for Halloween. Make yourself some Vincent Price-approved pumpkin seeds!
You can find the book on Amazon.com.
Pepitas a la Curry (Curried Pumpkin Seeds)
As found in “A Treasury of Great Recipes” by Mary & Vincent Price
- 1/4 cup curry powder
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 lime
- 2 cups plain, hulled pumpkin seeds
- In a saucepan mix: 1/4 cup curry powder, 1/4 warm water, 1 clove garlic, finely minced, 1 teaspoon salt, and the juice of 1 lime. When smoothly blended, add: 1 cup water and heat, stirring constantly, until liquid shimmers.
- Add: 2 cups plain, hulled pumpkin seeds and simmer, do not boil, for 5 minutes. Drain. (You can save curry mixture in a screw-top glass jar and use again, adding another cup of water when you do.)
- Preheat oven to very slow (225 degrees F.).
- Spread pumpkin seeds on a cookie sheet, dot with butter and sprinkle with sale. Toast in very slow oven until crisp.
Based on your votes, I’ve been a shark, Boba Fett, and a scantily-clad Kool-Aid man. This year, you all chose to go prehistoric with this dinosaur costume. (Want to see all of the weird “sexy” costume options for this year? Click here!)
I met up with my friend Liz Leo and ventured out to the wilderness over the weekend to get in touch with my inner dinosaur. I was still getting over my cold, but that didn’t stop me from strutting it in all my jumpsuit glory. (A word to the wise: This costume is not meant for tall folks. I’m 5’10” and even though I got the Large, hoping it would be tall enough, it wasn’t. The torso was significantly shorter than mine and the legs stopped well above my ankles. I’d recommend this for anyone 5’7″ or shorter.) Enough disclaimers. Take a look at this clever girl:
(I mean, I HAD to take feather pics, right?)
A special shout out to BuyCostumes.com for helping make all of your weird “sexy” Halloween costume dreams come true. Make sure to check out their selection for Halloween or any upcoming costume party! And let me know in the comments: what are you being for Halloween?
It’s late, you just got back from the ball, your Uber turned into a pumpkin, you’re exhausted and you’re HUNGRY. (Those tiny appetizers don’t fill anyone up.) What’s a girl to do? Make pumpkins into pumpkin bread and help yourself to a hearty slice before bed!
This pumpkin bread is a fairly traditional recipe with the addition of a bit of “fairy dust” in the form of white sanding sugar. It’s the perfect fall treat to keep on hand for cozy breakfasts and hearty snacks! And if you’re like me and can’t get enough of the pumpkin theme, you can make it with this gorgeous pumpkin loaf mold. I saw it during the Sur La Table excursion at IFBC, and I instantly fell in love. I also got this mini pumpkin cocotte and just have to decide what I want to do with it, other than display it! Aren’t they AMAZING?
Cinderella’s Post-Midnight Pumpkin Bread
- 4 TBS unsalted butter, plus additional for buttering the pan and topping the bread
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
- 2 eggs
- 1 3/4 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp ginger
- 2/3 cups water
- 1 TBS white sanding sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter and flour your loaf pan. Set aside.
- Beat the butter, sugar, and oil in a stand mixer until light and fluffy (about one minute).
- Add the pumpkin puree and mix until combined.
- Add eggs one at a time, mixing until fully combined each time.
- Whisk flour, salt, baking soda, baking spices, and spices in a bowl.
- Slowly add the flour mixture and the water to the wet mixture. Mix on low until just combined.
- Pour batter into a loaf pan. Gently tap the pan on the counter to remove air bubbles.
- Bake for 60-70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove.
- Brush melted butter onto the top of the loaf and sprinkle the sanding sugar on top.
- Slice and enjoy!
One of my best memories of Fall was when my mom would make a big pot of chili and some cornbread for dinner. It became a Halloween tradition: grab a hearty bowl of chili before heading outside to trick or treat. I’ve continued that tradition whenever my friends and I hit up a pumpkin patch or visit a corn maze. Chilly and starving, chili really hits the spot.
Now that it’s October, Fall is fully upon us and my schedule’s filling up quick. Chili is an easy go-to for busy nights when there’s a chill in the air. Whether I’m having some friends over to check out some of the new tv premieres or to watch our fave Halloween-themed movies, or I just want something easy and delicious between errands, it’s there. I recently found out I’m not alone–October is National Chili Month and Progresso wanted me to try out some of their new chilis! (I was psyched to see they had a vegetarian option in addition to their beef/pork and chicken chilis. Something for everyon!) I took them up on their suggestion to class up my normal chili spread, and came up with this quick and delicious chili bar. (I made the little label sticks out of bamboo skewers and images of the chili from the Progresso website printed onto cardstock. Took me two minutes and made it so everyone knows what kind of chili they’re getting!)
Chili bars are a fun and easy way to dress up a pre-made chili and make sure everyone’s getting what they want. Just put out some of the items listed below along with some bowls, utensils, and napkins, and let people grab and go! Keep the chili in a crock pot or buffet warmers if everyone won’t be eating at the same time.
Looking for items to add to your chili bar? Consider:
- bacon bits
- banana peppers
- corn bread
- corn chips
- green onion
- hot sauce
- lime wedges
- red and green peppers
- shredded cheddar cheese
- sour cream
Want to try out some chili for yourself? Progresso’s letting me give away a prize pack with chili and stew, a fancy ladle, and a cooler chair so you’ll be set for gamedays and tailgates! Just visit progresso.com/gameday, and then leave a comment here with your fave recipe. I’ll pick a winner on Thursday, October 8th!
Don’t want to wait to win? Grab yourself a $1 off coupon now!
What’s your favorite way to prep chili? Do you have any Fall food traditions?
It’s that glorious time of the year again. I share some of my favorite weird-yet-sexy costumes, and you vote on which one I must wear in a photo shoot. Why do I do this? Well, I don’t know. But you all seem to love it. Past winners have included The Kool-Aid Man, Boba Fett, and a “Sexy” Shark.
I’ve found a lot of fun options this year, so get ready for a whole bunch of choices. Let me know your faves in the comments below! I’ll tally up the votes on Monday, October 5th and start planning my shoot. And if you feel inspired to wear your own ridiculously sexy costume, you can find all of these at BuyCostumes.com! (Click the pics to see a larger version.)
Fairy Tale Heroines
These ladies will live sexily ever after.
She may be the fairest of them all, but her outfit needed some jazzing up. Now that it’s covered in sequins, woodland creatures, dwarves, and princes won’t be able to resist her!
This is like if Elle Woods and Barbie worked together to create a dream mermaid. That is a compliment.
Man, you thought you felt uncomfortable watching Johnny Depp get all predatory with Red. Wait till you see this sexy costume of a child visiting her grandma!
Fairy Tale Villains
It’s good to be bad.
So she likes furs and fine leather goods. What’s wrong with a woman her treats herself?
Ursula: Sexy sea urchin and mentor to young girls. Stresses the importance of girls’ voices.
The party don’t start till she walks in. I’m loving this sexy shoulder baring version of her traditional costume.
Women Throughout History
Women wore a lot less clothing than you may have thought.
Medusa was a monster, right? And supposed to be hideous? Am I missing something?
Who needs protective armor when you’ve got a sword and heels?
Ok, honestly, there’s been new research proving that there were a lot of women vikings, and that’s pretty awesome. But I’m guessing actual female vikings wore pants.
Wear this, and you’ll have an excuse to talk about and eat cake all night. Win-win.
Don’t be afraid to get wild this Halloween!
This is the easiest way to pick up a Firefighter without using a lighter.
What the hell is a fever zebra? Is it a zebra one sees in a fever dream? This outfit is terrifying.
Get Chris Pratt over here, asap. I need to be tamed.
Sexy Mario Bros
You’re no longer limited to only dressing as Princess Peach.
No one can resist that mustache.
Pair this with a little yellow dress and Mario will forget all about that princess he was looking for.
Always the Toad, never the Princess, am I right? (Who decided to make this costume?)
Give Mario a ride he’ll never forget.
As Seen on TV
Ruining your childhood classics, but in a sexy way.
Dress up as everyone’s favorite extremely violent and occasionally racist rabbit!
You could wear this out to a Halloween party, but I’m guessing Bert himself would rather stay at home.
This version of the iconic uniform may be a bit difficult to fight in.
Baywatch’s lifeguard uniforms were sexy enough. How did the Halloween costume add MORE clothing? AND an innertube?
These characters are putting the “graphic” in graphic novels.
I didn’t know there was an anime Wonder Woman until I saw this costume. I checked out the show, and holy cow, she’s bad-ass. I’m not even gonna make a joke. She’s that cool.
She likes a guy with a sense of humor. And a criminal record.
You can guarantee that no one will kiss you while you’re in this costume…
You make a mutant look good.
So, dear readers, what will it be? What costume will I be wearing for my annual Halloween shoot? Leave a comment below with your top choice(s)!
Sriracha, man. You all love it SO much. As some of you know, I’m a wimp when it comes to spicy food, so I didn’t get on the Sriracha bandwagon early on. But Cocktail Crate introduced me to their Sriracha Margarita mixer at the Fancy Food Show, and I needed more in my life. Their margarita was crisp and refreshing, with just a subtle bit of heat near the end of the sip. It’s the perfect drink for your next Mexican fiesta or anytime you want to pretend it’s still Summer. 😉 (If you haven’t heard of Cocktail Crate, you’ve gotta check them out. They create 2-ingredient cocktails (their mixers and the liquor of your choice) that taste like craft cocktails you’d spend a lot of money on. In addition to the Sriracha Margarita, I’m a big fan of their Spiced Old Fashioned and Grapefruit Daiquiri mixers. And the company itself for letting me try all of these.)
The Sriracha Margarita and other snack foods at IFBC had me thinking: How many Sriracha flavored items exist? The answer is approximately “a lot.” Here is just a small sample of everything out there!
Movies are gonna be WAY better with this! I bet the popcorn complements the sriracha well.
Want to make your own popcorn (or control the amount of sriracha on it)? Grab this seasoning!
Sriracha beef, but in “walking while you eat” form. Great for camping, hiking, or midday at work!
Ok, I’ve tried this on cauliflower and this stuff is amazing. Even if you’re a spice-wimp like me!
I think of this as the “fancy option” among these snacks. You’ll get a bit of spice with your salt, and the packaging is nice enough to give as a gift. (Bonus: The bottom is magnetic so you can stick it to your fridge!)
Almonds can get a little bland and boring after a while. You will never have that problem with these.
You’re already picturing giving these to your friends for Christmas and pretending they’re peppermint. You deserve coal.
Kettle Chips are already amazing. So this just makes them amazing-er. It’s a word.
Hey, there’s something out there for everyone.
I love the addition of lime to the sriracha for these pretzel crisps. They sound delicious!
Sriracha nut AND fruit mix! Spicy mango and cranberries? I could be down with that.
The ULTIMATE gift for the Sriracha lover. (Plus, there’s a dragon on it. Too cool!)
Are you a Sriracha fan? Have you tried these snacks? Let me know what you thought of them in the comments!
It’s that time of year again. The International Food Bloggers Conference is here, and I swear it’s like Christmas. I was too excited to sleep last night and everything!
Over the next few days, I’ll be meeting fellow food bloggers, chatting with awesome companies, learning about food photography and recipes and writing and more, and sampling some amazing food and wine. It’s all of my favorite things combined.
If you’re attending, look for me–I’ll have samples of my Steampunk Sprinkles for everyone!
For more information on IFBC, visit foodista.com/ifbc. Hope to see you there!