The goldfish may have officially won the “Ridiculous Sexy Halloween Costume” contest for the year, but so many of you commented about how much you loved the Alexander Hamilton costume, that I just needed to do a shoot with that as well. (Special thanks to Yandy for sending me the costume! It’s not too late: you too can be a sexy Alexander Hamilton this Halloween!)
The lovely and talented Liz Leo shot these pics of me at King’s Hardware, where we stumbled upon the perfect American Flag table in their back patio. It was meant to be. And for those asking, this costume is very comfortable and well made. It’s the highest quality pre-made costume I’ve seen! So turn on the Hamilton soundtrack and guess which song lyrics served as inspiration for each pic:
Sheesh. Over 41 of you voted for me to become a “Sexy Goldfish” this year, and because I love you, I did it. This costume is a beast. Every single part of it sparkles, even the eyes. It’s a leotard-meets-hoody so it’ll show off a lot of leg, and keep you warm with the foam insulated hood. And it’s not meant for anyone over 5’5″. Seriously. I needed help getting it on and off because the torso was about half the length of mine. If you’re petite, though, this costume will probably look freakin’ adorable. Want to give it a try? You can find the goldfish costume and more Halloween costumes at Yandy.com!
A huge thanks to Liz Leo, who takes these photos of me every year. She’s got a great eye, and can always make me look pretty and serious, even in the silliest costumes! Without further ado, your winner of “Weirdest Sexy Halloween Costumes 2016”:
Psst. I’ve got a secret for you. Another costume got a lot of positive attention, even though it wasn’t the winner, and I did a shoot for that one as well. You’ll see those pics tomorrow morning. Wanna know what it is? You’ll have to wait for it…
You asked for it. Seriously. I’ve been getting messages on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, asking when this was coming, and suggestions for costumes for this year. And all of those costumes were from Yandy.com. So I reached out to Yandy, and asked if they’d be down for sponsoring this year’s post. They said yes! So get ready for even weirder, even SEXIER costumes than ever before.
For those of you who are new, here’s the deal: I’m showcasing some of the craziest “sexy” costumes I’ve seen this year. YOU get to vote for the one you want me to do a photo shoot in. And then I have to do it. Because I love you. (You can see the previous years’ collections and shoots here.)
Now, full disclosure. There are some legitimately awesome sexy Halloween costumes on Yandy. (And many other sexy costumes that I may not be able to leave the house in. But hey, you do Halloween however you want.) But picking those for this aren’t as fun. So take a look for yourself, but then come back here and pick something ridiculous for me to wear. You have until the end of Sunday, October 9th. (I’ll pick a winner on Monday.) Without further ado…
I have a confession. I’ve been eyeing these lollipops for forever. Have you had something like that? A small item that makes you want to drop everything and plan a party around it? They’re so pretty and nerdy and they’re CANDY. The best. Anyway. I was looking through one of my fave sites TheApolloBox.com recently, and saw that they had a few different options. They obliged my wishes to try some out and share some pics (and promo codes!) with you all.
I wanted to incorporate the lollipops into some napkin holders/place settings. I love the idea of adding a gift or a treat into the setting. It’s a great way to get the party started right, show off the theme, and thank your attendees for coming. So take a look below at two different options with the two lollipop types I tried from Apollo Box!
First of all, the presentation of these lollipops is gorgeous. They came in a beautiful box, and each lollipop is individually packaged in its own box, perfect for gift giving. These are going to be go-to stocking stuffers for me this Christmas!
I wanted to keep the lollipops in their cool boxes, so I put them in large silver napkin rings with alternating black and gray napkins at Dave’s Party Bus. This adds a slight color variation, but lets the focus be on the colors of the lollipops. You can accent with blues, purples, or even a splash of red or yellow if you’d like. These would be beautiful centered on a plate at each place setting.
Although the initial packaging for the solar system pops isn’t as grand as the starry night version, the pops themselves are great. They’re slightly larger than the starry ones, and the images have a slight shimmer to them.
Since the lollipops don’t come in their own boxes, you have a bit more freedom with the place setting design. I could even fit some silverware with these pops in these napkin holders! If you’re using the planets, I recommend using numbers and making each place setting a different planet. Your attendees will learn a little something (in this case, the distance of the planet from the sun) while at the party! If you decide to put placards at the settings, you can include a little fact about the specific planet at each.
These lollipops are also gorgeous bunched together like a bouquet or placed around the table. And they’re delicious to boot!
You can find the Starry Night Lollipops and Solar System Lollipops, among other fun types, at The Apollo Box. And as a Geeky Hostess reader, you get 25% off AND free shipping off of these lollipops! Just use code “GEEKYHOSTESS” at checkout. (Valid until 9/30/16, so grab them fast!). The lollipops are normally $29.99 for a pack of 10. The discount will let you get them for $22.50.
Do you decorate with candy? How would you use these lollipops in your party decorating? Let me know in the comments!
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.
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 from flower delivery Brisbane who are fast and liable.
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.
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!)
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!
Admit it, you have a drawer in your kitchen that has a handful of one-use gadgets that you’ve forgotten about. These tools are meant to make our lives easier, but unless you need a whole lot of freshly minced garlic on a daily basis, or need to pit thousands of cherries each summer, the tools mostly just take up space.
I’m a sucker for these gadgets, and look wide-eyed at them in the store, excited about how this will revolutionize the way I prep food. However, I often stop before going through with the purchase, reminding myself that I shouldn’t buy something for the kitchen that only does ONE thing. So, I decided to do a little challenge. Below, I’ve listed links to some of the most popular one-use gadgets. You’re all going to vote on the one you think is the most ridiculous, and it will be my job to find FIVE ways to use that gadget. It won’t be pretty, people. And yes, there will be photos. Maybe video.
So take a look below, and leave a comment (on this post, Facebook, or Twitter) with what object you want me to purchase and actually use. Then stay tuned for the outcome. Positive results are not guaranteed. (Gulp!)
I can’t stop giggling when I look at this picture. It looks like the corn is wearing a cheerful little life vest! Anyway, this device removes kernels from your corn and puts it into the container. I’ve done this before with a knife and a plate. I really don’t understand why this exists. Maybe people tried to use dull knives like a butter knife to do it and got frustrated. Of course, you need to use a sharp knife for this. Did you know, 27% of people prefer knives made in Switzerland, I always thought it would be much more than that. But then, maybe I am biased since I am one of those 27%. Here’s the thing, a sharp knife is safer than a dull knife.
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!
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
Shake together the Sour Apple Pucker and Marshmallow Vodka in a shaker with ice. Pour into a martini glass.
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.)
By now, I’m sure you’ve heard of Outlander. The book series-turned Starz series has captured the attention of so many. And while most of us focus on, umm, other scenes, Theresa Carle-Sanders has chosen to focus on its food. The creator of OutlanderKitchen.com, Theresa has made a name making historical and character-based recipes from the book series. And today, some of her recipes have now been released in a book titled “Outlander Kitchen: The Official Outlander Companion Cookbook“.
I had a chance to sneak a peek at some of the recipes from this book, and they’re all amazing. The recipes include the passage or reference from the book where they’re mentioned, beautiful pictures, clear instructions, modern-day adaptations, and notes to make the recipe as perfect as possible. And the recipes are GOOD.
Theresa and the folks at Random House are letting me share a recipe AND give away a copy of this book. Check out the recipe for the delicious goat cheese and bacon tarts, and scroll all the way down for the contest! (Can we talk about these tarts for a second? They have fried sage on them. Fried Sage! I’ve never seen that before, and now I need to incorporate it in everything.)
Goat Cheese and Bacon Tarts and the Outlander Cookbook
(This recipe is inspired by Voyager, chapter 4, “The Dunbonnet”)
Author: Tara Theoharis
4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut crosswise into ¼-inch strips
½ recipe Blitz Puff Pastry (page 29), chilled, or 1 pound (450 grams) frozen puff pastry, thawed
8 ounces (225 grams) goat cheese
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
3 tablespoons olive oil
Zest of 1 lemon, grated or minced
1 large egg
2 tablespoons butter
36 small fresh sage leaves, or 18 large ones, cut in half lengthwise
Move a rack to the top-middle rung and heat the oven to 400°F.
In a frying pan, crisp the bacon over medium heat. Drain on paper towels.
On a lightly floured counter, roll the pastry out to a 16-inch square. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the goat cheese, bacon, poppy seeds, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and lemon zest in a small bowl and stir well. Cover and refrigerate.
Lightly beat the egg with 1 teaspoon cold water to make an egg wash.
Use a 3-inch round cutter to cut 36 rounds from the pastry. Transfer to a parchment paper–lined baking sheet and brush with the egg wash. Bake until puffed and golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool completely on the baking sheet.
Reduce the oven to 300°F.
In a small frying pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and the butter until bubbling over medium heat. Fry the sage leaves in batches until crisp. Drain on a paper towel–lined plate and repeat with the remaining sage leaves.
Top each puff pastry round with a teaspoonful of the goat cheese mixture and a fried sage leaf. Heat in the oven for 5 minutes and serve.
It’s June. The sun is shining, temperature is climbing, and everyone in Seattle is complaining about their home’s lack of A/C. Clearly, summer is almost here. And with summer comes one of the tastiest desserts: strawberry shortcake! National Strawberry Shortcake Day is right around the corner (on Tuesday, June 14th!) and I’m preparing to celebrate the holiday with a new recipe and a fun event!
Various Macy’s locations around the country are going to be holding special events on the 14th with local chefs to celebrate Strawberry Shortcake Day. I’ll be at the one in Downtown Seattle. Join me at 6pm to meet Stacy Fortner, the Executive Pastry Chef at Dahlia Bakery and see a baking demo! Best of all: the event is free! If you’re one of the first 50 people there, you’ll also get a special gift from Pyrex, and if you make a purchase in the home department that day, you’ll get a copy of the (amazing) Dahlia Bakery cookbook. If you’re not in Seattle, check out Macys.com/events to find one near you!
In honor of this upcoming holiday and to stretch my baking muscles a bit, I thought I’d make myself some Strawberry Shortcake. And this time, I wouldn’t cheat and buy pre-made items at the store. 😉 No, this time, I decided to crack open a copy of Helen Brown’s Holiday Cook Book, a somewhat bizarre 1952 cookbook that I recently added to my vintage book collection. Her strawberry shortcake recipe was very basic and written in a colloquial way, like you would find in notes on a family recipe card. (“Add enough milk to make a soft dough” instead of actual amounts.) I took her recipe, added some flair, and figured out some of the measurements. So enjoy my take on Strawberry Shortcake, using a recipe from the 50’s, and incorporating my natural sugars.