Ok, you all know how much I love board games, and you know that I’m a sucker for subscription boxes, right? Well, Board Game Bento combines both of these loves. Each box includes $80+ worth of games, expansions, and accessories, and they arrive in the mail each month. It’s like a regular built-in game night delivered right to your door! And they’ve got something special happening for the May box…
May’s theme is “What’s Cooking.” This means it includes food/cooking-themed games and accessories, and they’ve asked me to write some recipes based on the games to be included in the box! No spoilers, but you’re gonna LOVE the box, and the recipes are all perfect game night snacks/treats. Want to check it out for yourself? You can save $10 off your order with code “HOSTESS”! You only have until May 2nd to sign up for the “What’s Cooking” box, so hustle on over! Check it out at www.boardgamebento.com.
Are you a Board Game Bento subscriber? And what’s your fave food-themed board game?
A few weeks ago, in honor of the Season 6 premiere of The Walking Dead, I received a review copy of The Art of Eating Through the Zombie Apocalypse. Now, I originally thought this would be a series of zombie-themed recipes, but what I didn’t expect is that this book would be full of practical advice. You may not realistically expect to be caught in a Zombie Apocalypse in the near future, but it got awfully windy and stormy in Seattle this past week, and many of my friends and neighbors ended up without power. Luckily, since I was reading this book, I knew to start making something delicious with my perishables, just in case the fridge/freezer didn’t make it through the night. I made Apocalypse Nownies, one of the first recipes and one of my many favorite puns in the book. These brownies were so great, I got permission to reprint the recipe here! Check it out at the end of the post.
In addition to these fun and delicious recipes, this book is full of amazing tips and tricks for any survival situation. You have recipes and guides for using up ingredients in your pantry, foraging and hunting through your neighborhood, gardening, pickling, and even repurposing MREs into slightly-more-gourmet fare. You’re taught how to find and filter water, and how you can prepare a variety of heat sources to cook your recipes. It’s incredibly practical and informative, set in an entertaining, zombie filled premise. But I’m guaranteed this book will save lives, or at least save you a bit of discomfort. Get it, read it, and then keep it in your emergency kit/bug-out bag. (Don’t have one of those yet? This book will show you how to put one together.)
Ok, enough talk about disasters and survivals. Let’s make some brownies!
Recipe from The Art of Eating Through the Zombie Apocalypse by Lauren Wilson
- 1/2 c. all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 8 oz. chocolate (unsweetened baking preferable, or whatever you have on hand)
- 6 tbsp. butter, plus extra for greasing the pan
- 1 1/4 c. white sugar
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp. espresso powder (optional, but recommended)
- 1/8 tsp. salt (omit if using salted butter)
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 c. chopped walnuts (optional, but recommended)
- Start a cooking fire, either well in advance to generate sufficient embers for 350 degree baking, or with the Hibachi Grill. Grease and flour a baking vessel.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the flour and baking powder until well-combined. Set aside for now.
- Set a medium pot, half-filled with water, over the cooking fire to use as a double boiler. Add the chocolate and butter to a second mixing bowl and rest it on the pot, stirring occasionally until completely melted and smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat, add the sugar, vanilla, espresso powder, and salt (if needed). Mix until well incorporated and let cool for about 2 minutes.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking until the batter is shiny and smooth after each addition. Add the flour mixture and whisk again, more gently this time, until the mixture is smooth and shiny. The batter should be fairly thick. Add the walnuts and mix until just combined.
- Transfer the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth out to edges if needed. Bake for about 20 minutes in a 7-by 11-inch metal baking pan. Check the brownies after about 15 minutes to avoid overbaking–they are ready when the sides are firm and the center has just set (a knife or toothpick in the center comes out relatively clean). Rotate the pan periodically to ensure even cooking, especially if using an Oven Hack.
- Consume ravenously after letting the cooked brownies cool for 10-15 minutes.
Find this recipe and more in The Art of Eating Through the Zombie Apocalypse!
Who run the world? Girls. And this year, the Girl Scouts are making it even easier for girls to learn awesome entrepreneurship and sales skills while making it even easier for us to get our cookie fix. Girl Scouts have personalized online stores where friends and relatives can purchase cookies and have them shipped to their door. Dangerous, right? With this new addition to Girl Scout Cookie season, I thought it would be only appropriate to make “millionaire bars” for the annual Girl Scout Cookie Recipe contest.
These bars are gooey, sticky, rich, and delicious. Seriously. You’ve got a Trefoil shortbread layer, dulce de luce, chocolate, and then Samoas chopped up on top. YUM.
Girl Scout Millionaire Bars
- 1 box of Trefoils
- 7 TBS butter, melted
- 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
- 6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 additional TBS butter
- 1 box of Samoas
- Pulse the Trefoils in a blender or food processor until they’re even crumbs.
- Mix the melted butter and Trefoil crumbs together in a bowl until everything is wet.
- Press the mixture into the bottom of an 8″x8″ baking pan. Refrigerate until firm.
- Pour the sweetened condensed milk into a double boiler (a small saucepan on top of a larger saucepan full of simmering water). Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 60-90 minutes until it’s thick and caramel-colored. Pour on top of the shortbread mixture. Refrigerate until cold.
- Melt the chocolate chips until smooth. Stir in 1 TBS of butter until fully mixed. Pour on top of the caramel layer.
- Chop 1 box of Samoas coarsely and place the pieces on top of the chocolate layer, covering it completely.
- Let cool in the refrigerator, then cut and enjoy!
Need a cookie fix, but don’t have a Girl Scout you can pre-order through? Use this Cookie Locator to find the nearest cookie sellers to your proximity, starting March 4th!
What’s your fave Girl Scout cookie? And have you made any recipes with them in the past?
The start of 2016 has been a giant stress-monster. Between family emergencies, work stresses, and last-minute moves, I haven’t had a break. The magical fairies over at Emerald® Nuts must have seen what was going on, because after agreeing to partner with them for a blog post, I got a package on my doorstep that was exactly what I needed.
The package encouraged me to use their new fun cashew flavors as an excuse to get out of my rut and do something fun and unexpected.
I mean…when you get loot like this in the mail, you can’t turn down their offer. Right? 😉
So I grabbed the cashews and left my day behind for an hour to go on an adventure. I headed to the Fremont Troll, a fun and hidden tourist-destination that I hadn’t visited for years. I thought ol’ Trolly would want to join me in a midday snack. I approached apprehensively at first, jalapeno and sriracha cashews in hand. I thought the spicier nuts would be good guesses for the troll. Surprisingly, his favorite was the dill pickle flavor! He loved how crisp and tangy they tasted. (They seriously tastes just like dill pickles!)
I’m a fan of the salt and pepper-flavored cashews myself, but I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to my nuts. However, the dill pickle nuts would make a fabulous side to a sandwich and the sriracha cashews (my second fave!) would be amazing on top of a Thai-inspired salad!
After taking some selfies and enjoying the surprise Seattle sunshine, I left the Troll with some of his fave cashews, and tucked a few of the 100 calorie packs in my pocket for later. Reinvigorated, I was ready to power through the rest of my day. And next time I’m feeling cranky, stressed, and tired, I know I just need to take some time out for a quick adventure.
When was the last time you challenged yourself to break out of your rut? What adventures do you go on when you need a change of pace?
Special thanks again to Emerald Nuts for sponsoring this post and encouraging me to get out of my rut. It was greatly needed! And seriously, check out their new cashew flavors. I’m munching on all of them as I write this post and I can’t get enough of them! Want more Emerald Nuts in your life? Check them out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!
One of my favorite things to do on these cold, blustery, winter days is cozy up with a cup of tea. I start my mornings with one and often end my days with one as well. So I’m thrilled to announce the newest line of Geeky Hostess products: loose leaf tea! But this isn’t your ordinary tea. I sourced the tea from Friday Afternoon, an amazing Seattle-based geeky tea company. Friday knows her stuff, and she makes beautiful blends based on popular fandoms. I took her blends and added a bit of Geeky Hostess flair: sprinkles. The sprinkles add just a tiny bit of sweetness and a lot of fun. The final product is a beautiful tin of loose leaf tea perfect for gifting (or keeping for yourself!). Without further ado, let’s take a look at the blends:
An apple a day keeps the doctor a way, but this blend of loose leaf tea just might make him stop by for a visit! This black tea blend is enhanced with police box sprinkles for added sweetness and geekness.
Directions: Brew 1 tsp for one cup of tea or 2 tsp for a pot of tea for three minutes at 212°F
Ingredients: Darjeeling black tea, lime peel, blue cornflower, sprinkles (sugar, rice flour, palm oil, palm kernel oil, corn starch, cellulose gum, carrageenan, confectioner’s glaze, blue 1 lake, blue 2)
After a long day of studying, retire to your house’s common room and relax with a cup of fragrant tea. This rooibos and black tea blend is enhanced with lightning bolt sprinkles for added sweetness and geekness.
Directions: Brew 1 tsp for one cup of tea or 2 tsp for a pot of tea for three minutes at 195°F
Ingredients: Rooibos, Assam black tea, orange peel, marigold, sprinkles (sugar, rice flour, palm oil, palm kernel oil, corn starch, cellulose gum, carrageenan, confectioner’s glaze, yellow 5, yellow 6), bergamot oil, vanilla oil
This shiny loose leaf tea blend will keep you caffeinated for whatever crises come your way. And you know you’ll love the strawberries… This white tea blend is enhanced with steampunk gear sprinkles for added sweetness and geekness.
Directions: Brew 1 tsp for one cup of tea or 2 tsp for a pot of tea for three minutes at 175°F
Ingredients: Pai Mu Tan white tea, strawberry, rose hip, sprinkles (sugar, rice flour, palm oil, palm kernel oil, corn starch, cellulose gum, carrageenan, confectioner’s glaze, yellow 5, yellow 6 lake, red 40 lake, blue 1 lake, yellow 6, red 40, blue 1)
The tea is normally $10 each or $25 for the set, but from now until the end of the year, the tea is only $8 or $20 for the set! Check them all out here.
What tea blend are you most excited for? What fandoms should I include in the future?
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?