Weekly Links: February 9

doctor who valentine

This is one of the Valentines created by Kyle Reardon for backers of my Geeky Sprinkles Kickstarter campaign! You can see them all here

I’m sitting at home, looking at snow outside my window, and holding a hot cup of tea. It’s pretty much the dream environment for a blogger. As I get started on posts and recipes for the week, I wanted to take a quick peek at some of my favorite links from this past week.

Van Gogh Infinity Scarf: Her Universe has done it again and has me desperately wanting another piece of their clothing. This time it’s a Doctor Who/Van Gogh infinity scarf that would go with pretty much any outfit. How cute is it?

Cupcake Syrup: Speaking of things I want to buy, have you heard of Cupcake syrup? It makes coffee a thing that I actually want to drink. I keep brainstorming what other things I could make taste like a cupcake! The options are endless. ENDLESS.

Free Goodies from OneUpMakeup: OneUpMakeup, the geeky makeup channel I do with a group of lovely girls, is hosting a contest for a grab bag of tons of awesome makeup! Check it out!

Geeky Sprinkles: My Kickstarter is over 75% funded with 9 days to go. It’s close, but it needs an extra push to get it there. Can you help spread the word?

Healthy Gaming Snacks: Pistachios

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the Pistachio Health Institute.

Pistachios

I’ve been trying to find nice, healthy alternatives to my friends’ typical gaming snacks over the past year or so. Cupcakes and chips are great, but if we’re going to be mindlessly munching on something, it might as well be healthy, right? So I was thrilled when the Pistachio Institute (did you know there was a Pistachio Institute?) wanted me to do a post on pistachios. Not only are they one of my favorite foods, but they’re fantastic snacks! Why are they so awesome, you ask?

  • You get more nut for your buck. You get 49 pistachio kernels per ounce, compared to 23 almonds, 14 walnut halves and 18 cashews.
  • Pistachios are good source of fiber, providing 12 percent of the daily value per 30 gram serving.
  • You’re doing an activity while eating! Unshelling pistachios slows down the amount of food you’re eating while working out those very important finger muscles.
  • Pistachios are delicious and can be worked into a variety of foods. I’ve had a delicious pistachio-encrusted chicken before, and I LOVE making pistachio cupcakes. (If you add something healthy into a cupcake, it makes the cupcake healthy. Right?)

Looking for more excuse to eat pistachios? Check out the infographic below, then enter the “Shine like the Stars” sweepstakes that the Pistachio Institute is running on their Facebook Page. You can win some sweet exercise gear from Valerie Waters (the trainer features in the infographic) as well as bags of pistachios and $100 VISA gift card (you know, to buy more pistachios.) Want other ideas for healthy gaming food? Check out my Pinterest Board!

12109779306_c0d79679db_hWhat are your favorite gaming foods? Anything you’d like to see me profile in the future?

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the Pistachio Health Institute.

pistachio-health-institute

Tracking Pixel

Blue Moon Cupcakes

Blue Moon 1

Another day, another cupcake. Am I right? It’s sure felt like that lately. Between birthdays and all of the hullabaloo (wow, what am I, 70?) surrounding the Seahawks these past couple weeks, I’ve been making a lot of cupcakes! For the big game, I made two different types: Beast Mode cupcakes with a fantastic recipe from Trophy Cupcakes, and Blue Moon Cupcakes.

Blue Moon 2

I thought beer and the Super Bowl went nicely together, and since our city has been celebrating “Blue Fridays” to show their spirit for the Seahawks, it seemed fitting to make a “Blue” cake. I started with a basic recipe from Brittany, Herself and altered it to make what you see here.

Blue Moon Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • Box of yellow cake mix
  • Oil (amount requested on the back of the cake mix box)
  • Eggs (amount requested on the back of the cake mix box)
  • 1 bottle of Blue Moon
  • 1 tsp orange extract

Directions:

Preheat the oven per the cake box instructions. Line 24 cupcake cups with wrappers.

Place the cake mix, oil, eggs into a mixer. Look at the instructions on the cake box for water, but instead of water, use Blue Moon. (My recipe called for one cup.) Add the Blue Moon and orange extract to the mixer. Mix thoroughly.

Fill the cupcake wrappers 2/3 full with the cupcake batter.

Bake according to instructions on the back of the box, or until cupcakes are golden and a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean.

Let cupcakes cool on a baking rack while you prepare the frosting.

Blue Moon Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (4 sticks) of unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 4 cups of powdered sugar
  • 3 TBS Blue Moon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp orange extract
  • a pinch of salt

Directions:

Place the butter in a mixer and mix until light, smooth, and fluffy.

Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, mixing in between each cup.

Using a spatula, scrape the sides and the mixer and mix again until butter and sugar are fully mixed.

Add the Blue Moon, vanilla extract, orange extract, and a pinch of salt and slowly mix until incorporated.

Mix at a higher speed for a couple minutes until frosting has an even consistency and appears light and fluffy.

Add more Blue Moon or orange extract to taste, mix thoroughly.

Using a large pastry tip, frost the cooled cupcakes. Top with sprinkles or the decoration of your choice.

(I dyed the frosting a light blue. If you’d like to add color, place a few drops of food coloring in at the same time as the other liquids. Mix thoroughly.)

Enjoy!

 

Weekly Links: January 31

SeahawksCupcakes

These cupcakes were made for the last Seahawks game. I used my “Pirate Rum Cupcakes” recipe and added blue and green food coloring to the cake and frosting. I’m excited to make more for the Super Bowl this Sunday! Go Hawks! 

I’m giving this new type of post a try, where each week I bring you a list of links I’ve found and loved. These are things that have entertained or intrigued me, or are awesome products/people I want to support. It’s similar to the Friday Favorites I’ve done in the past, but focused on links. Let’s do this!

Noob The Loser: A tumblr featuring original comics, my favorite being one about a D&D group. (That’s the one linked to here.) It’s hilarious and will hit close to home for folks who have played D&D before.

Super Knocked Up: A super villain and a super hero get together, and the villain ends up knocked up. (Or… “Super Knocked Up.” Get it?) This cute web series just won an IAWTV award for best supplemental content! Way to go guys!

Whole Foods Meal Plans: After the Super Bowl is over, I’m gonna need to start eating healthy again. And I’m looking forward to trying one of the meal plans that Whole Foods put together. I’m especially loving their “healthy comfort foods” plan.

Cashtronauts: This is a fast-paced, retro arcade-style game for PC/Mac/Linux that’s now available on Kickstarter. It looks like a lot of fun!

SciFiDeals: Get Free and deeply discounted Sci-Fi eBooks sent to your inbox! Pretty sweet!

Geeky Sprinkles: My Kickstarter for Geeky Sprinkles is over 50% funded! If you want to get your hands on some geeky sprinkle shapes, make sure you back the project!

Using Tech to Plan Your Parties

party android

I was recently invited to be a part of the “Intel Tablet Crew” and in the process was given a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 to play with. I’ve had an iPad in the past, but since I’m Android all the way, I was thrilled to start playing around with a tablet that actually plays nice with my phone. It synced in all of the apps I was already using and everything!

In order to get used to the tablet, I’ve been downloading a ton of apps and I’ve been trying to find ways I can use it on a daily basis to make my life easier. So naturally, the first thing I look for is party apps. These apps all make the party planning process easier and makes the party better overall. Check them out!

Party Inspiration: Pinterest

Ok, if you use Pinterest, you probably already use it on your computer or phone. But when you’re looking for party ideas–whether it’s themes, decor, invitation ideas, recipes, anything: Pinterest is the place to go. And it’s SO pretty on a tablet! It takes up the whole screen so it’s just you and Pinterest, forever. (Use with caution, or else you’ll go crazy trying to create the most beautiful mason jar dessert table next to a couch in a field of wild flowers.)

Recipes: BigOven

This recipe site has a special “Party Time” category with a lot of fun party food ideas. In addition, you can create and store your own recipes (even scan them in), see friends’ recipes, write private notes on recipes so you can remember your changes, create a grocery list, create menus, and more. One non-party thing I love: You can put in three ingredients you have at home already and it will show you recipes that use those.

Drinks: Mixology

Mixology is a drink recipe app (and even does a cool party trick where you can shake the tablet for a random drink), but my favorite thing about it is the “Liquor Cabinet.” Check off the types of liquor you have, and it will show you the drinks you can make. I recommend checking off the liquor you’ll have available at the party before it begins, and then leave the tablet on the bar open to the page of available recipes. People can mix what they want using the items you’ve chosen to have!

Music: Pandora and Party Mixer

Pandora is my go-to music player. Whether I’m at work, exercising, or hosting a party, it’s up on my computer, phone, or tablet. I love that I can tell it an artist or find an existing mood playlist that will suit the mood of the party. (I even use it for game nights to fit the mood of the board game!) If you own a lot of music of your own and want to get a bit more creative, get Party Mixer. It allows you to play DJ for the night–fading between two songs, changing tempo and pitch to make them work for mashups. All you need is your tablet!

Party Game: 4 Player Reactor

4 Player Reactor is a great game to bring out when you’re hanging out with a group of friends wanting to kill a bit of time, or people have been drinking. The game just encourage people to touch the tablet (or phone) quickly. There are a variety of mini games that test timing, geography knowledge, math, and more. You can get the 2 Player Reactor for free, but the more friends involved, the better!

What are your favorite apps for your tablet? Anything I missed? (I’d love to hear about other fun party games made for tablets!)

I’m In a Super Bowl Video! (Kind of)

I’m not normally a sportist. I enjoy basketball (but Seattle no longer has a team. It’s still a sore subject.), but never really “got” football. Two weeks ago, I was invited over to watch the Seahawks vs. 49ers game. I went because everyone else in Seattle was watching the game AND it gave me an excuse to make cupcakes. The game was AMAZING. And now, for the first time ever, I’m excited about the Super Bowl. So excited, that when Cinesaurus asked if I could be in their opening shot for their video, I said “Yes” immediately.

The video is crazy. And bizarre. And fun. Go Hawks.

Anybots: Send Robots in Your Place

Anybots

Do you have a wedding, important conference, or other big event coming up, but you just don’t feel like going? (Hey, we’ve all had those days where the siren song of sweatpants and Netflix marathons drags us away from the outside world.) Get a robot to go in your stead.

Anybots has created a “Virtual Presence System” that consists of an “avatar” attending an event on your behalf, while you’re back at home, viewing the festivities through the bot’s eyes. You can communicate with others at the event, see everything going on, and even dance if the mood strikes you! If you’re in the San Francisco area, Anybots can even send out an escort for the avatar to make sure they don’t miss anything.

Anybots are available to rent for $325 for a day or purchase for $9,700.

Would you rent a robot to attend an event on your behalf? Would you rent one for an event you’re planning? How would you incorporate a robot in your festivities?

Find out more at anybots.com.

Hat Tip: New York Times

3D Printed Nails

3D Nails

When polish, nail wraps, and heaven-forbid, acrylics, won’t do, turn to something a bit more extreme: Your 3D printer.

The Laser Girls, a shop on Shapeways, has started selling 3D printed nails, and they’re cool. The ones above are a common design: the spiky, pixelated look comes in a variety of colors and is sure to make you look bad-ass. At $35, they’re around the price of a nice manicure. The nails need to be applied with nail glue or heavy duty adhesive and can only stay on for a short period of time (they recommend 3-5 days or less), but can be reused if you take good care of them. I can see this being a great item to put on for a special event or convention.

Would you wear 3D printed nails? Or is simple polish your limit? What else are you hoping to see from 3D printers in the future?

Fragments: Really Cool Jewelry for Your Valentine

Valentine’s Day is upon us, and with it brings tons of jewelry store ads. “Get your love this heart-shaped pendant she’ll wear once.” “If you buy this pretty pink item, you get a TEDDY BEAR for free!” The jewelry all starts to sound and look the same, and most likely won’t even be right for the giftee.

So instead of the foofy things, get your Valentine something awesome. If you’re looking to spend a bit of cash on a piece of really nice jewelry, I recommend you check out Fragments. Their jewelry is gorgeous while also being badass, just like your Valentine! Here are some of my faves, along with cheesy suggestions for how you can tie it into Valentine’s Day. You’re welcome:

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 11.32.29 PM

Octagon Dagger Pendant

This pendant says “I know you like sparkly things, and I also like it when you stay alive. Take some protection.” Seriously. This thing looks like it could do some damage. $90.

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 11.35.16 PM

Silvery Cubist Earrings

These earrings are a more subtle and funky way to show off a bit of bling. Plus, what better way to ask someone to be your Companion (Cube)?$115.

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 11.36.22 PM

Forget Me Knot Ring

A sweet name and a fierce product. Great for folks that wouldn’t be caught dead with something girly! $350.

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 11.38.13 PM

Skull Chain Ring

A punk way of saying “Till Death Do Us Part.” $560.

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 11.39.18 PM

Shark Bite Earrings

Whether you’re more of a “Shark Week” or a “Sharknado” kinda girl, share your love with these gold and diamond earrings. $1,390.

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 11.41.25 PM

Star Duo Necklace

Tell your Valentine that you love them “From  here to the stars and back” with this gorgeous necklace that they don’t need a special occasion to wear. $1,650.

Which is your fave piece? Are you hoping for jewelry for Valentine’s Day?

This has been a sponsored post for Fragments. All words and opinions are mine, and I would totally and happily wear any of these pieces if they were given to me (cough, cough).

Mountain Dew Pound Cake

PoundCake

I recently discovered that there’s a pound cake recipe (that may be fairly common in the South?) that uses 7Up as one of its main ingredients. As soon as I read it, I knew what I had to do. I got out my Mountain Dew and got to work.

This pound cake was the perfect thing to make on a gray winter day in Seattle. It’s warm, dense, sweet, and slightly citrusy, and when I close my eyes I can almost-maybe picture summer.

This was one of the first pound cakes I’ve ever made, and I see more in my future. I didn’t trust my ability to get it out in a beautiful fashion, so I kept it in the loaf pan. You can use loaf pans or bundt cake pans with this recipe, and if you did a better job than I, you may even be able to get it out and plate it all nice!

I think this’ll be the perfect game night treat. The taste is familiar, the cake is easy to eat, and it’s a step up from just Mountain Dew. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Mountain Dew Pound Cake

Ingredients:

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 TBS lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp orange extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 7 oz. Mountain Dew

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease one bundt cake pan or two loaf pans with oil. CORRECTION: Use butter and flour! The people in the comments are much smarter than me! Look at us, we’re learning together!

2. Cream butter until fluffy. Mix in sugar and beat until combined.

3. Add in eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Add in lemon juice, vanilla, and orange extract. Mix.

4. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, and salt.

5. Alternate adding small amounts of the flour and Mountain Dew into the wet mixture, mixing slightly to combine in between each. When all ingredients are added, mix to combine (without overmixing).

6. Place batter in the bundt pans or divided between the two loaf pants and bake for around one hour (or until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean).

7. Let the pans cool and either remove the cake, or slice right from the pan.

There you have it! A delicious, Mountain Dew-y pound cake.

Do you have experience with pound cake? Any favorite recipes? Teach me!