Roasted Porg

Yes, yes, I know we all had the same reaction to those new creatures in Star Wars: The Last Jedi: They looked positively delicious! Chewie had the right idea when he decided to roast one up. Porgs are abundant on Ahch-To, have plump little bodies, and I have a sneaky suspicion they taste just like chicken when crisped to a golden brown. Give it a try yourself with this recipe. It’s a bit fancier than roasting over open flame, and would make the perfect main course for any early-April feast. (Star Wars-themed Easter dinner, anyone?)

Roasted Porg
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 porg (Can't find one? Substitute a small chicken, around 3 lbs)
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 TBS salt
  • 3 TBS olive oil, separated
  • 2 TBS honey
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Fully pluck and butcher the porg (unless it comes pre-butchered), and remove the giblets. Pat dry.
  3. Salt the porg fully on the outside and inside. Place half of a lemon inside the cavity.
  4. Place in a roasting dish with a rack. (Don't have one? Cover a baking dish with aluminum foil and place the porg in there.)
  5. Cover the porg with 1 TBS olive oil.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes. While baking, mix together 2 TBS olive oil, 2 TBS honey, and 1 TBS fresh-squeeze lemon juice from the remaining half lemon.
  7. Remove the porg from the oven and brush the porg with the honey sauce.
  8. Bake for another 30 minutes, or until the porg reaches an internal temperature of 165 and juices run clear when cut into it. (Not cooked all the way? Keep testing after 10 minute increments.)
  9. Remove the porg from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes.
  10. Serve with potatoes, a fresh salad, and a hearty glass of thala-siren milk.

Dave & Busters-inspired Brookie Sundae Tower Recipe

Dave and Busters recently opened up a location in Washington, and this opening allowed me to finally attend something I had heard about for years. While I had heard about the games and fun environment, no one ever told me about their outrageous food and drink menu. Seriously: it’s bonkers. They have adult snow cones, a mac and cheese and pulled pork SANDWICH, and something called the “Caveman Combo” that involves ribs and sliders. I’ve heard they have some salads and other healthy items there as well, but let’s be honest, I didn’t come to Dave and Busters to be healthy.

After sampling the most ridiculous items we could find, I couldn’t resist tasting a bit of dessert. My eyes immediately drifted towards the Brookie Sundae Tower. Chocolate chip cookies combined with brownies. Ice cream in between. Stacked in a tower. Drizzled with caramel AND hot fudge. I’m drooling just thinking about it. This item quickly became the favorite thing we had that night. And I realized I could remake it at home.

So, if you’re feeling adventurous and would prefer the call of your couch over the call of some awesome video games and glowing drinks (who are you?), then check out the recipe below to make your very own Brookie Sundae Tower.

 

Brookie Sundae Tower
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Ingredients
  • 1 box brownie mix (plus ingredients listed on the box)
  • 1 packet of refrigerated break-apart cookie dough
  • caramel sauce
  • chocolate sauce
  • vanilla ice cream
  • whipped cream
  • maraschino cherry
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray, and then coat with flour and dump out the excess. Set the tin aside.
  3. Mix the brownie mix together as described on the box.
  4. Fill each muffin cup ½ full with brownie mix. Then, flatten a square of cookie dough slightly and place one in each muffin cup.
  5. Bake for around 20 minutes or until a toothpick in the middle comes out clean.
  6. Cool.
  7. Prep the serving plate by drizzling chocolate sauce and caramel sauce in a pretty pattern.
  8. Place a brookie in the center of the plate, and then place a scoop of ice cream on top of that. Drizzle some chocolate sauce on top of the ice cream. Top that ice cream with another brookie and another scoop of ice cream, followed by another drizzle of chocolate sauce. If the tower won't stay upright on its own, Place a wooden skewer all the way through the center.
  9. Top the sundae with whipped cream and a maraschino cherry!

 

Do you have a Dave and Buster’s near you? If you want to check out the ridiculous menu for yourself, visit my Instagram. I’m giving away $50 in “D&B Dollars”!

Thank you to Dave and Busters for providing me with the sampling opportunity and additional dollars to give away. 

 

Cuphead Inspired Cake

It’s September 29th, and that means it’s CUPHEAD DAY! Cuphead is a highly anticipated game that is HAND. DRAWN. in the style of 1930’s cartoons. It’s weird, it’s a little creepy, and it’s supposed to be super hard. I can’t wait to try it out. (Check out the trailer below!)

I recently found out that one of the levels would be dessert-themed, and I thought it would be the perfect excuse to practice my cake skills. The cake incorporates elements found in the level, including the cake-castle, gum drops, jellybeans, pretzels, lollipops, and sprinkles, as well as the various things you have to fight, including a waffle, a cupcake, jawbreakers, and Baronness Von Bon Bon and her sugar cone hat. Take a look at the level and the cake toppings:

(I don’t know how I feel about those eyeball sprinkles. They’re always looking at me funny, no matter what angle I’m at!)

The cake itself is a combination of Funfetti and Strawberry cake mixes, which makes an incredibly sweet and almost Bubblegum-ish flavor. I then added pink gel coloring to a classic buttercream frosting recipe to make the pink frosting. The cake/frosting layers are reminiscent of the layers on the castle!

I love these types of cakes: You don’t need tons of skill to put it together, just a bunch of fun candies and sweet items. I’m still perfecting it all, but loved this opportunity to practice. What fandom should inspire my next cake design? And will you be grabbing a copy of Cuphead? (You can grab it today for Xbox One and Windows 10!)

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

PUBG is one of the hottest games out there right now, and it’s making the phrase “Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner” a serious term that all esports players are vying for. But whether you play or not, a delicious chicken dinner is easily within your reach.

For those not in the know, PUBG, or PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, is a “battle royale” survival shooter game. 100 players are (literally) dropped into a map of an abandoned Russian island and must fight to the death until only one remains. The playable area continues to shrink, forcing you to face the other players. Before it shrinks down you equip yourself with loot and pray you can stay alive while getting a couple kills yourself. The final person remaining gets the elusive “Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner” title.

Inspired by this, I put together a “Russian Chicken” recipe. While I don’t believe anyone in Russia actually eats this, the chicken is made with Russian dressing. The recipe is extremely simple and makes super moist and delicious chicken. (While there are a few different versions of this recipe online, I must thank my friend Makenzie for giving me some tips straight from her family’s “secret” recipe for this. Their version is definitely the best and I feel honored to be able to pass down some of it to you!)

But seriously. You’re going to mix a couple of ingredients together to make a sauce, pour it over the chicken, and let the oven do it’s job while you play a few rounds of PUBG. (You’ve gotta earn that chicken dinner, after all!) I recommend pairing the chicken with some rice (to soak up additional sauce), salad, and a nice energy drink to boost your health. See the recipe below!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner
 
Prep time
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Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 bottle Russian dressing
  • 1 packet French Onion soup mix
  • 1 can cranberry sauce (with whole berries)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place the chicken breasts in a casserole dish.
  3. Mix the dressing, soup mix, and cranberry sauce in a bowl.
  4. Pour the mixture over the chicken breasts.
  5. Cover the casserole dish in foil, and bake for 1 hour.
  6. Serve with rice and salad and enjoy!

 

Deer Lord: The Perfect Dinner Party Game

Thank you Deer Lord! for sponsoring this post. Grab your new edition of Deer Lord! social party game, available through Target retail stores starting July 30.

You know that feeling when you find the perfect party game, and it just makes you exclaim “Dear Lord!”? Well, meet Deer Lord.

Deer Lord is a social party game that encourages you to challenge your friends to “duels” (or silly dares) and “dupe” your friends by behaving bizarrely, but hopefully discreetly enough that they won’t notice. It just recently came to the US, and is now available in Target! (Have you noticed that Target has been rocking their game section lately?) The Target set will include the base game, as well as “Broadway” and “Gangsta” sets that include themed duels and dupes.

While you can easily play this game on its own, I wanted to throw a themed party around the idea of dueling your friends. And where else would you do that than the fanciest dinner party? (Exclaiming “Dear Lord!” whenever you catch your friends doing something out-of-the-ordinary was a ridiculously fancy bonus.) I emailed the following invitation to some of my most charismatic and daring friends:

And I began prepping the dinner party. I decided to go with a white and slate theme to tie into the board game box, and as an excuse to give everyone their own mini cheese plate.

I made name tags with toothpicks and stuck them into the individual cheeses. (I may have also embellished my friends’ names a bit. Because FANCY.) And a simple white table cloth and some candles added to the elegance of the table.

As they arrived, I greeted them at the door with prosciutto wrapped melon (literally the easiest thing to prepare and it looks SO fancy) and an Old Fashioned. They then found their place setting and were able to share their various cheeses with each other, and pair them with the cracker assortment in the middle of the table. At this point, we went over the rules of the game, looked at our cards, and began the challenges. We got so into the game, that it wasn’t until we were nearly finished that I remembered to serve the rest of dinner! (This is really why every great dinner party needs a butler or three.)

For dinner, we had salad in Parmesan cups, steak and broccolini, and some small cakes from Trader Joe’s gussied up with some caramel and chocolate syrups. My goal was to do the least amount of work and still have a wonderful meal. The item I was most proud of was the Parmesan cup salad. All of my guests were impressed with the cups, and they were so easy to make. You just put 2 TBS of shredded Parmesan in a circle on top of a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet, and place it in an oven heated to 350 degrees for 5 minutes. As soon as you remove it, carefully place the melted circle into the cavity of a muffin pan, forming a circular bowl. Let it cool, and voila! I was able to make these a couple hours in advance and put the salads together in minutes once we were ready.

But back to the game. Duels included things like “Who can do the most amount of push-ups,” “who can gargle the longest,” “who can come up with the best one-liner,” and “who can tell the most exciting story.” Dupes included “take a phone call,” “touch another player,” “ask another player about their family,” and “give a standing ovation.” My friend Liz took a phone call from her dad, and I “duped” her by asking how he was doing. Little did I know that she was also “duping” me by faking the phone call! This game gets into Inception-level layers of deceit.

If you’re interested in seeing more of the game in action, check out this video from Lark and Clam below:

What are your thoughts on party games? Will you be picking up Deer Lord? And do you think you’d be able to dupe all of your friends?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Night Owl Mug Cake

We’ve all had those nights: the ones where you’re up in the wee hours, working feverishly on a new creative project. It’s pitch black outside, quiet inside, and the glow of your computer is lighting up the room. I’m normally a morning person, but a few times a year, I get a hankering to pull an all-nighter–usually when coding a website or working on a writing project. And no matter how excited I am when I get started, there’s usually a point in the middle when my mind is still racing, but my eyes start to droop and my stomach starts to rumble. I need a pick me up.

So I created the Night Owl Mug Cake, a quick a delicious treat you can make when the craving for something sweet, warm, and caffeinated grabs you. It’s the perfect excuse to step away from your project for a couple minutes, and can be made any time with items you most likely have in your pantry already.

I was inspired to create this by Gourmesso coffee. They reached out to me, wondering if I wanted to try some of their capsules for my Nespresso machine. (They’re delicious and cost 30% less than your average Nespresso branded capsules!) I love that you can use the machine to create one espresso shot in no time. It works perfectly for the single serving mug cake and makes prep/clean up super easy. But be warned, this means this mug cake is caffeinated! I use one of the capsules meant for the short/espresso function, and for this cake I used one that has a caffeine level of “7.” Use whatever caffeine level you feel you need, and if you don’t have a Nespresso, you’re welcome to substitute espresso/coffee however you normally make it.

Ready for a cozy and caffeinated treat to keep you going late into the night? Let’s get started.

Night Owl Mug Cake
 
Prep time
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A caffeinated chocolate mug cake to get you through those all-nighters!
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 3 TBS Flour
  • 2 TBS Cocoa Powder
  • 3 TBS Sugar
  • ¼ tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 TBS Espresso
  • 1 TBS Milk
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 TBS Oil
  • ½ tsp Vanilla
  • Whipped Cream (optional)
  • Sprinkles (optional)
Instructions
  1. Place all dry ingredients into a mug. Mix together.
  2. Add all wet ingredients into a mug. Whisk with a fork until everything is well mixed.
  3. Microwave for 90 seconds.
  4. Top with whipped cream and sprinkles, and enjoy!

Isn’t that easy? Make sure you enjoy it while it’s nice and warm!

Working on an all-nighter with a group? Make a batch of my Epic Win Cupcakes in advance for a caffeinated kick. Looking for something a bit more healthy? My “Healthy Gaming Snacks” Pinterest Board has a bunch of great ideas!

Sheriff Moss’s “Usual” from Alys

the-usual

My lovely friend Kiri Callaghan recently re-released Alys, the first book in the Steampunk Fantasy series the Terra Mirum Chronicles, under a new publisher, Doce Blant.  And I wanted to celebrate the best way I know how: by making food.

First of all, a description of Alys from the publisher:

Following her best friend’s suicide, Alyson Carroll descends into the realm of Dreams and Nightmares. In her quest to find home, she discovers that Charlie might not truly be gone after all, but when she meets Oswin, the prince of Terra Mirum, she must face her own fears and raise an army against The Nightmare Queen, or surrender as the world of dreams is consumed by terror and darkness forever.

It’s a take on Alice in Wonderland with a hint of Midsummer Night’s Dream. Sounds fantastic, right?

I chatted with Kiri about the perfect meal to eat while reading Alys, and we decided on making a hearty diner meal: something that Susie’s Diner, the place Alys works, would serve up with a big pot of coffee. So I created “the usual” that Sheriff Moss orders on a daily basis (unless he works a double the night before). He has a big appetite, so it’s a LOT of food. (I’d recommend sharing it with a friend.) But on a gray, rainy, Washington day, this breakfast and a copy of Alys is all you need.

The breakfast is not fancy or fussy. You make enough food to fill a plate (or two, or three…) and you serve it with coffee. I tried to include all of the diner staples. While this is Sheriff Morris’s usual, it may not be yours. Feel free to change the recipe up.

His order is the Two Egg Meal (2 eggs, 2 pancakes, hashbrowns, bacon, and toast) and an additional side of sausage. I started cooking the hashbrowns (from a frozen package) while cooking the sausage in a different pan and cooking the pancakes (made easily from a mix) on an electric griddle. Once those are complete, plate what you’ve got, pop the toast in a toaster or on the griddle, and cook the bacon and eggs in separate pans. (I chose to fry the eggs in the pan I made sausage in to add a bit of flavor.) Top the toast and pancakes with butter, and serve with jam, syrup, and tons of black coffee. Sit down and enjoy a good book.

You can get a copy of Alys now here. Let me know what you think of it, and tell me in the comments: what’s your “usual” at your local diner?

An Easy DnD-style Tavern Menu

 

This past weekend, I put together a Tavern-style menu for some back-to-back Dungeons and Dragons campaigns we were running. And while I’ve put together Tavern-style feasts or medieval-themed snacks before, this time I wanted to go all out. I prepared a full Tavern’s menu, with food and drink choices for the players, and acted as the “wench” throughout the run of their campaigns, filling orders whenever there was a good break in the gameplay. (It takes a special person to enjoy making and delivering food instead of playing DnD, but I swear, I had a great time!)

I made the menu using Canva, my ultimate favorite graphic design tool. It allows you to make great images very quickly, even if you have no graphic design skills. I would highly recommend it! See the full menu and descriptions of each item below.

1

Foraged Salad: I got a large box of spring mix and combined spring greens with items that look like it could be foraged from a forest. I added a variety of mushrooms, heirloom tomatoes, and rainbow carrots. It’s a great way to offer a simple green salad and “pretty” it up a bit! I couldn’t find them in time, but I’d also recommend topping the salad with an edible flower or two.

Stuffed Eggs: Stuffed eggs are period appropriate, but they often stuffed them with cinnamon, raisins, and other sweeter spices, and then fried them to make them a bit crispier. I decided to cheat a bit and use a typical “Deviled Eggs” recipe.

Roast Goose: I created a couple of fake options on the menu to fill it out a bit. If anyone asked for the roast goose, I told them it ran away.

Stew: (Pictured below.) Go figure, I had to make stew on the hottest day of the year. Luckily, my slow cooker did all of the work and I didn’t have to turn on the stove. I used a recipe for Garlic Rosemary Beef Stew, and put it inside of sourdough bread boules, found at Trader Joe’s. (Potatoes are not accurate to the time period, but I kept them in because they’re delicious and an inexpensive way to fill out the stew.)

Sandwich: I hope you don’t have any vegetarians attending. This is a meaty menu. The sandwich was a French Dip: I heated up slices of deli roast beef, topped it with some slices of Provolone, and served with a side of Aus Jus. (I used a seasoning packet to make it nice and easy.)

The Fancyman’s/Commoner’s Feast: (Pictured above.) The Fancyman and Commoner Feasts were other joke items, the overall dish would be similar no matter which one the players ordered, but I may have simulated some additional “bites” and crumbs on the plate for the Commoner’s Feast. I picked up an assortment of inexpensive but delicious meats and cheeses, and paired it with some fruit and mixed nuts. I tore chunks of the bread instead of cutting it which added to the authenticity. This item got a huge reaction from the tables both times I served it.

Scones: I made scones a day in advance, so they were all ready to go. When ordered, I reheated one in the microwave for about 20 seconds, split it open, and added some butter and jam.

Tavern Stew

2

 

 Ale: It’s historically accurate that they drank ale instead of water, so it’s the top of the menu. (Although if people asked for water, I did give it.) I just picked up a large variety pack of Ale from Costco.

Wine: The wine doesn’t have to be pricey, unless your friends are snobby about that sort of thing. I picked up $3 Chuck and decided to make a joke of it. You could also pick up an inexpensive wine and create your own label to put over the bottle.

Cider: I picked up some bottles of Hard Ginger Cider from Trader Joe’s. It’s extremely gingery, but that made it feel a bit more unique and old-timey.

Mountain Water: Something watery, from a mountain, and it’s a local favorite? That would be Rainier beer. (Although some players pointed out that this could also be Mountain Dew!)

Tea: Pretty self explanatory. I made up a batch of iced tea in advance and had hot tea on standby. This was great for anyone who didn’t want an alcoholic beverage or needed a bit of extra caffeine as the game went on.

Fireball: It’s just Fireball. (Mixes well with the Cider or Elixir of Life, or great on its own.)

Elixir of Life: I wanted a caffeinated beverage on the list, and my friends love Coke Zero, so that’s what this was.

What items would you add to your Tavern menu? (Also, holy cow, read the comments. So much great insight and suggestions for other historically accurate menu items!)

Dipper’s Trail Mix Cookies

 

When I go camping with my friends, I often want to bring some sort of treat, but cupcakes and foofy desserts just don’t seem to be appropriate. So I put together this cookie for the next occasion! This trail mix cookie is yummy, hearty, and easier than carrying a bag of loose trail mix. It’s great for hiking, camping, or anytime you need a quick snack while out and about. The cute little tree sprinkles are a fun bonus, and made me think of Dipper from Gravity Falls! I’m pretty sure he’d approve of these cookies. Plus, they would totally keep you nourished while you’re looking for supernatural activity in your Great Uncle’s town.

The cookies themselves have all of your typical trail mix ingredients: peanuts, raisins, and chocolate chips. But you can play around with those and substitute your favorites! (Next time, I think I’d try walnuts, dried cherries, and chocolate chips.) They’re also full of oats and wheat germ, which provides extra protein and vitamins. That means they’re practically a health food. Right?

Give them a try, and then let me know in the comments what trail mix ingredients you’d put in them!

 

Dipper's Trail Mix Cookies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A hearty trail mix cookie inspired by Gravity Falls.
Author:
Recipe type: Cookie
Serves: 42
Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup wheat germ
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 3 cups quick oats
  • 1 cup peanuts
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup
  • natural tree sprinkles
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring until well mixed. Add the vanilla and mix.
  3. Combine the flour, wheat germ, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda together, and then add to the butter/sugar mixture. Mix until just blended.
  4. Mix in the quick oats, peanuts, raisins, chocolate chips, and sprinkles.
  5. Using a cookie scoop, place the cookies on a parchment paper-covered cookie sheet. Place additional tree sprinkles on top.
  6. Bake for approximately 14 minutes, or until the bottoms begin to brown.
  7. Remove and let sit for 5 minutes, then move to a cooling rack.
  8. Enjoy!

This recipe makes approximately 42 cookies, so make it when you’ve got a crowd to feed! (Or when you want to eat a bunch of cookies for dinner. I don’t judge.)

Ghostbuster Cocktail

 

It’s here! Ghostbusters Day! I’ve been waiting a while for this movie to come out, and I can’t wait to finally see it. I enjoyed the first two Ghosbusters films, love Paul Feig, and love all of the ladies in the new one. Plus, I’m all about supporting films with women playing fun and diverse characters. Am I expecting it to be the best film ever? No way. But the first Ghostbusters weren’t either. I’m expecting a fun romp, something I can laugh at and quote and be swept away with for a couple hours.

In honor of the new movie, I decided to tweak and adapt a “Ghostbuster” cocktail recipe into something truly amazing. So, behold, the new and improved Ghostbuster! It’s got the signature green color, little “ghost” bits in it, and it tastes like a candied apple. YUM! Make a round for you and your friends before you see the new film, and then let me know in the comments what you thought of the movie!

Ghostbuster Cocktail
 
Prep time
Total time
 
A delicious Ghostbuster-inspired cocktail
Author:
Recipe type: cocktail
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1.5 oz Sour Apple Pucker (in honor of the film's setting: The Big Apple!)
  • 1.5 oz Marshmallow Vodka (you know why...)
  • a few drops of Irish Cream
Instructions
  1. Shake together the Sour Apple Pucker and Marshmallow Vodka in a shaker with ice. Pour into a martini glass.
  2. Carefully place a few drops of Irish Cream onto the top of the cocktail. (Be extremely careful and use extremely small drops. I recommend using a dropper or straw to place them in. If you put too much in, or with too much force, it will just fall straight to the bottom.)
  3. Enjoy!