This blog is mostly going to be my little place to talk about the novel I am writing. Which is why I stole a quote from one of my favorite tv shows, as this novel I am writing, I plan to finish, and at times.. it feels like an impossible thing. Also this is to journal my move to the UK, and starting my own business as an Indie Yarn Dyer

Baking After Midnight

Well that wasn’t so hard…

I realize I haven’t posted in a while.

I’ve been off my game, in depression, lacking my mojo.. whatever you want to call it. I’ll make no other excuse than that, and will promise to hopefully blog more often.

Today I made Chocolate Chip Meringues.

They are yummy

I’ve never made them before. A few weeks ago, Mother of Mine made some, and though they were good (don’t get me wrong, they were VERY good)… they were hollow. Which is not what we were expecting.

I decided then that I was going to attempt to make some Meringues myself and follow some tips I found on the web.

So when Mother of Mine made some Chocolate Bread Pudding the other day, which only needed the egg yolks.. I had 6 egg whites sitting in the fridge waiting to be used. So as to not let them go to waste, today I set out to do what I had decided on doing a while ago.

I used up every gram of sugar in the house (as most recipes call for only 2 egg whites, I used 6.. so I had to effectively triple whatever recipe I was using)

They were not hollow, but they didn’t rise very much. Next attempt, I will change the bake time/heat ratio and perhaps try the cream of tartar that I left out this time. But these are very good, and could easily be used to make yummy sandwich type cookies.

And not hollow. VERY yummy.

Now, I did not follow any one set of instructions…  The measurements I used are in parenthesis, but if you don’t want to make that many, use the first number.

Preheat oven to 175 F

2 egg whites (6) (Make sure they are room temperature)

1/2 cup sugar (1 1/2 cup)

1/4 teaspoon salt (3/4 tsp)

1 teaspoon vanilla (3 tsp)

1/2 cup chocolate chips (1 1/2 cups)

1/2 cup toasted nuts (walnuts or pecans) – optional

Beat egg whites until foamy. Add salt and vanilla. Beat gently until stiff peaks form. Carefully fold in chocolate chips. Pipe or scoop out onto parchment lined baking sheet. (I used a 1 Tablespoon measuring spoon as my scoop and gave each meringue 2 scoops because I wanted to make sure I’d get them ALL in the oven at the same time.)

Bake for 3 hours. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN.

I’m serious, under no circumstances should you open that oven.

After the 3 hours are up, DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN. Simply turn off the oven and reset the timer for an hour.

They need to sit untouched in the oven after baking for at least an hour. But you can leave them longer if so desired. What I would do, is bake these right before you go to bed. Then you won’t be tempted to not let them sit that last hour.


Baking After Midnight competition

And now to blog about it…

Literary adventures in baking!

Hey everyone, we’ve got a fantastic competition for you. As some of you are aware, James and I devour books as well as having a love of baking. And after the success of the last of the last competition (and me being on a diet, thus needing to live vicariously through you all… ) we decided to do another one.

This one is going to be literary themed. That’s right.  Baked goods based off of books.

We are allowing items inspired by movies as well, as long as the movie was based off of a book.

The competition is running from June 1st, through till June 30th (I’m going to say PST that way people to the West of me don’t get ticked off about loosing an hour).  At which point we will randomly draw a winner from the submissions.  The more items you bake, the more entries you have.

If you blog about it, you get an entry. (Make sure you link the blog to us otherwise we won’t know)

If you tweet about it, you get an entry. (Again, make sure you post that you tweeted, with a link to the tweet. Otherwise we will not know.)

If you get a friend to join the group, you get an entry. (Make sure that we know that the person joined because of you!)

You must tell us what inspired your entry. Come on people, get creative.  Will you be making bubbly pies in honor of Pern?  Scones fit for Sherlock? Lembas bread? Golden Snitch truffles?

Sweet or Savory, it doesn’t matter. But it must be baked.  ( After all, this is Baking after Midnight. So no Lucky charms in a cereal bowl claiming it was inspired by Flitwick’s class in Harry Potter. Now, you could use lucky charms to decorate cupcakes that way if you desire… if you want… Sorry, on a Potter kick at the moment.)

We have prizes for 2 winners. – Do you guys want to know what the prizes are? Or do you want to be surprised?

And just because I’m feeling generous… we might even do a “most awesome litabaked item” (yes, I just made that term up.) This is your chance to dazzle us. Make something fabulous. Or make something mundane. But either way, get your baking on. 🙂

Yeah… I’m a big old geek.


In which many things are planned

Look, new yarn! This one was dyed for some friends, as part of their baby blanket. I’m quite excited about this one as it is so subtle and beautiful and just glows.

It is part of my Neil Gaiman “Death and Dreams” series, and it is called Stardust.

I haven’t written anything on the novels in weeks.

I’ve been stressed, sick, and overwhelmed.

Even just last week, I started a dental emergency. Anyone who’s been a long time reader of mine knows that I’ve had problems with my teeth for years. Well, I’m finally getting things sorted out. Not in the way I want of course. This is more of an emergency situation.

Last Wednesday, I started having severe pain.  Then I woke up on Thursday and my face was swollen.

I did what I could do to help the swelling go down, but on Friday it was again swollen and I had been up all night in pain.  I hadn’t experienced that pain in many years, not since I had been living in Boulder and I had my wisdom teeth extracted and they hadn’t given me my syringe and I needed it.

Well, on Friday I managed to get an appointment at Peak Vista. Which I must say is an awesome place. I didn’t have an appointment, but they squeezed me in. And if I had gone to the emergency dentist I would have paid 300$. Well at Peak Vista, I paid a total of 29$, and that was including the prescription for antibiotics to get the swelling down. Yeah I had to sit around waiting a while, but that was fine. It wasn’t like I was going to be doing much that day anyway.

Due to the swelling they weren’t able to try extracting the tooth, which actually is fine. They couldn’t have given me more than just a local anesthetic shot, which from past experience… would have been bad. The last time I had a tooth extracted, a baby tooth mind you that they just used a shot.. it took 4 shots and I still felt every single tug and it hurt like a bitch.

So I’ve been referred to an oral surgeon. Which is most likely who I needed anyway since there isn’t much tooth for them to grab onto, and they have to remove the post that was left over from the root canal.

The tooth that has been giving me fits, was one that I wanted to have extracted years ago.  But I was naive and I let the dentist convince me to just get a root canal done.  Well, that was my mistake. I should have gone with my plan, my own gut instinct. My plan was to just get them pulled, and wear my retainers to keep my teeth from shifting, and then get implants some day. Good plan right? Well, the crown immediately broke on the tooth, and then I was generally in too much pain to wear my retainers, which means my teeth have shifted. Not much, but its noticeable to me. And means I’m most likely going to have to get braces again. I am going to start wearing my retainers again anyway, as theoretically the pain I was having that prevented me from wearing them will be gone. Now it’ll just be a matter of seeing if my teeth that have shifted slightly, will shift back in to place. (I’d be happy with that)

The hubs2be knows what plan we need to have for my teeth, and that I would rather have my teeth fixed than a sparkly necklace.

My cheek as of today is back to normal. Yay.

Now back to writing.

Yesterday I wrote over 2300 words. I am quite excited about this since I hadn’t written in weeks. Unfortunately it was all on The Q2-Files, and not Aether Horizons like it should have been, but you write when inspiration hits.

I’ve also figured out a lot of the direction that I want to take the Q2-Files in. So that makes me happy as well.  My first set of readers who have gotten the few measly pages, love it. Which makes me believe I have a real hit on my hands.

Oh, and the Minion and I are planning great things for Baking After Midnight; there will be a contest soon. We are just working out the details right now. OMG, the month is almost over. We really need to get cracking on getting those details sorted so that ya’all know about it.

Alright, I guess that’s all for now. Cheers!


Because I could…

I could say it’s a result of the stress I’ve been under the past couple of weeks.

I could say it’s because I have been marginally good when it’s come to my sweet intake the past few days.

I could say it’s because I won’t have anything like this for a while again.

But the truth is… I did it because I could.

 

So I had myself a bowl of Cookies and Cream Ice Cream (Blue Bell since it just came to Colorado Springs, and Mim had never had it. Being of Texas myself, I have of course had it) topped with a chocolate chip cookie.

I made chocolate chip cookies today for this weekend. I like to feed people who are helping me out, and I’d rather myself have homemade cookies than store bought ones.

I couldn’t find my usual recipe from Martha. So I am trying one of her other ones. I think this is the same recipe I used while I was in England… I thought that they were my usual recipe but I guess not.

When I was in England I blamed the difference on the butter/chocolate chips.  I am not fond of the chocolate chips I had in England (Milk chocolate. BLEGH! Give me Semi Sweet or Dark!) and the future Mother In Law does not keep butter in the house. (She runs Cardio wards in hospitals. I personally would rather have the real butter and take care of my heart in other aspects.)

My French Grandmother would roll in her grave if she knew I had used fake butter to bake with. But that is another time.

Today I used real butter, and had proper chips. The recipe I used is still different than I’m used to, but it is quite yummy in deed. Nice and cakey. Almost too cakey.

Today I also made myself some hummus. Made it for the first time. Used a mortar and pestle even. I did use a blender, but  as my blender is a tiny thing I decided to help it out by premashing the garbanzo beans.

I think the hummus was a success. It was nummy.

Next up will be to make different flavors, and also to make Edamame Hummus.

Pictured above is also some English Muffin bread that my mum made. It is always a yummy success.

For dinner Mim made crustless Quiche and I must say that I much prefer crustless Quiche to regular Quiche. I’ve never been fond of most pie crusts, and Quiche was not an exception.  I think from now on I’ll be making this version as I am fond of Quiche, but always am disappointed with the crust.

 

I’ll post the recipes up but today you are just going to get the cookies.

 

And the next time you most likely hear from me will be after Denver’s first ever Anomaly Con. I am quite excited. It’ll be my first time selling anything from The Asylum in a public setting. I will also be harking my scribblings. Yup, as an author. (Well, it’s my artists table that I’m paying for … so it’s not quite being there officially as an author.. but hey, my Asylum.. my rules!) Yup, Aether Horizons will be at the Con. I’m quite excited. It will make me feel all official like.

 

Martha’s Cakey Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (about 12 ounces) semisweet and/or milk chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter with both sugars; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; add the salt, vanilla, and eggs. Beat until well mixed, about 1 minute. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  2. Drop heaping tablespoon-size balls of dough about 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  3. Bake until cookies are golden around the edges and set in the center, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool on baking sheet 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

 


Happy Birthday Sis!

Look at what I did the past two days….

Today is Mim’s 30th Birthday. Which mean I’m shortly behind her. (2 years, 5 months to be exact)

I decided to make her a whimsical cake since it’s her 30th. She doesn’t care or freak that she’s now 30 like some women. I don’t know how I’ll react when it’s my turn.

This is a 3 layer chocolate and white marbled cake with The Most Amazing Triple Chocolate Frosting. (Can I coin that name?)

The recipes I used, are here:

For the chocolate cake I used: “The Best Chocolate Cake by I Am Baker”

For the yellow cake I used: “The Best Yellow Cake by Smitten Kitchen”

I have to admit I’m not happy with the Chocolate cake. It tasted good, don’t get me wrong.. But it was very liquidy. Which did not work for my goal. I was afraid of adding more flour to thicken it up. (It was just about perfect until I added the coffee at the end. That made it far too liquidy) You can see in the photo the difference between the two batters. The chocolate one is fine if you are not trying to make a chessboard checker cake like I was. (I also got chocolate cake batter ALL over me)

 

Thats a lot of cake batter. O.O

3 cake pans ready to go in the oven. You can see the idea happening here. Sadly though the chocolate bled into the other sections due to its much more liquid consistency.

 

Here they are all baked up. So sad, you can see how they didn’t stay defined. It was the chocolate’s fault. I could already tell that they weren’t going to checkerboard at this point.

 

Frosting the first layer.

 

Put on the second layer. Did the same for the next layer.

Crumb coated all three layers together. See, it’s messy. It’s not perfect. It’s fine that way. This just means I won’t get crumbs in the frosting.

I decided I wanted crumbs in my frosting. So I mashed up a whole bunch of Oreos. Kept mashing till the frosting in the Oreos mixed into the crumbs and became a part of it.

Sprinkled the crumbs all over the cake. Decorated with M&Ms.

I learned a lot doing this cake.

1) If making a checkerboard cake, the batters MUST be consistent. As you can see in the first photo, my cake came out marbled instead of checker board because the chocolate drooled into the other sections.

2) I am NEVER putting cookie crumbs on the sides of a round cake again. That was a bitch and a half and I nearly lost the entire cake. I ended up doing it by doing exactly what I told James he shouldn’t do. I took my frosting blade (which since my offset spatula is tucked away in a moving box with my piping tips, I was just using a regular butter knife) and dipped it in the crumbs then frosted the sides of the cake more.

3) Put M&Ms on the cake before putting the crumbs. That way they stick and you don’t have to cement them on with more frosting like I did.

4)I should have leveled the layers. I didn’t care enough to do it. This cake was for fun. Not to showcase my baking prowess.

5) If you haven’t had sugar in nearly 2 months, making a cake (ie: licking the spatula, beaters, fingers etc) and eating a slice of the cake will introduce so much sugar into your system that you feel like you are going to go into a diabetic coma. Yeah… I haven’t gotten much done today due to that. Ugh, even my sweat smells like sugar to me now!

Now onto THE BEST TRIPLE CHOCOLATE FROSTING… by ME!

I needed to improvise as I ran out of baking chocolate!! Oh noes!! I’ve had this container of baking cocoa for years, and I’ve finally run out.

I’m also going to let you in on a secret. In my freezer is coffee. It’s not my mothers. It’s mine. I’ve carried it for years, needing only a pinch at a time. Whether I’m making Klah (yes, I’ve made this drink many times. Used to drink it at work on a regular basis. I’m a dork.) or something like this frosting.

 

The Best Triple Chocolate Frosting EVAR! by Erin Gallagher

Adapted drastically from Smitten Kitchen

3.5 oz Trader Joe’s 70% Dark Chocolate Wedges (Came in our Christmas basket from Merlin and Jennifer!!)

.2 oz Unsweetened Baking Cocoa (I used powder, but you can do the equivalent in the brick form if you want. But make sure you do the math, I’m not going to do it for you. Or don’t do the math if you want it just that much more dark with the bitter chocolate)

2.3 oz Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate

3 sticks Unsalted Butter (so 1 1/2 cups)

3 teaspoons instant coffee made up in 1/4 cup boiling water. (Or 1/4 cup Fresh brewed coffee)

Splash of Vanilla

Confectioner’s Sugar until you reach desired consistency.

Melt the Chocolate Wedges. Mix everything. Lick the beaters when you are done. You know you want to. I won’t judge.

 

So the original recipe called for 6 oz dark baking chocolate. Like I said, I ran out of my cocoa powder, hence this adaption. It also called for like 4 cups or so sugar. I didn’t bother measuring mine. I never do. I just add till it feels right, and most importantly tastes right.  I also apparently didn’t even remember the milk at all. It didn’t deter from it.

This makes a very fluffy frosting. I was honestly worried about not having enough because of having 3 layers of the cake, and then needing to coat the outside. I had PLENTY. There is still some in the bowl many hours, and many finger fulls (from all of us) later.

 

Now because of how liquidy the chocolate cake was, I ended up with lots of extra. Apparently I forgot to snap a photo, but I ended up with 2 smaller cake pans worth (I’d say the cake pans are like 5 inches… I think. I don’t know. Mom bought them in England). Seriously. I baked a total of 5 layers of cake yesterday. I kid you not.

The two smaller cakes are wrapped up and in the freezer. No photo for you!

Mim had to go to work on her birthday, but this morning before we had cake, we watched Spaceballs. It’s a bit of a family tradition as I requested it for my birthday as a child. I mentioned a yearning to watch Spaceballs and so she opted for that as she was queen of the remote for today. Then we watched Life on Mars cause thats how we role.

I was supposed to do a photoshoot today, but due to a timing snafu that didn’t happen. Tomorrow instead.

I’ve spent the day activating my new smartphone. I’ve finally said goodbye to Verizon. I wish I had done it sooner because now I’ll have more money for myself each month.

Speaking of my new phone.. this photo was taken with it. Sorry for the poor lighting.. it’s 8pm and I’m not getting up to get my camera, nor turn on more lights in the house. Also I had a puppy sleeping in my lap.

The mark is where I branded myself while baking. I while I was preheating the oven I had forgotten that I had left a cast iron skillet in there, and in that skillet was a long handled metal spatula. So I took those out of course. About 5 minutes later I was reaching across the counter for something way in the back, and I accidentally brushed up against the end of the spatula. Yup… I branded myself. The day before my photoshoot. (So this was yesterday)

Yeah. It hurts. Neosporine to my rescue. I don’t know what I’ll do in England without it. Seriously it’s the top on my “Please send me in a care package” list.

Alright. Time to go make dinner. Tomorrow is the photoshoot, as well as a dye day. I haven’t been able to dye the past couple of days and so I feel like I’ve gotten nothing done. (I’ve gotten other things done, but not physical dyeing)

By the way… it took me all day to do this post. Kept getting distracted by other things.


Severus “Muffincakes” Snape

So for those of you who have been keeping tabs on me, I’ve been on this diet.

I finished the Very Low Calorie portion of my diet 2 days ago.

Yesterday, Valentines Day (which I totally forgot to blog about) was the first day I was able to eat “Real” again. Meaning bump my calories up to 1500 cals a day. (This is from 500 that I’ve been on for the last 40 days)

I tell ya.. I felt like a pig. I was eating healthy, but I still felt quite piggy with how much I had to eat.

I discovered yesterday that I really do in fact like dried apricots. Why I didn’t think I liked them before is beyond me, but yesterday I swear I could have kept eating them all day long.

So not only did I spend a ton of money at the grocery store getting items that I’m able to eat (again I ask, why is fresh fruit and veg so expensive?!?!?!), but I had to start thinking about what to eat for the next 3 weeks.

I tell ya, I’m scared. I’ve got too many choices now. Which means it’s far too easy for me to slip up and gain all the weight I’ve lost back. Which by the way, I lost 25 lbs on this diet. (More than 25lb, but given the natural flux of day to day eating, I’m just rounding it down to 25 as the official number)

This morning I decided to go for it, and try a “Muffin in a Cup” recipe that I found.

And it honestly… is not bad at all. I was leery of it. I’ve never cooked or eaten Flaxseed meal before. I’ve also never attempted to “bake” in a microwave.

Grab your favorite mug. Or it could be your not so favorite mug. But for me, I decided to opt for my Slytherin mug this morning. Perhaps I should have used my Gryffindor mug if only due to the health factor of what I was making, but sometimes it’s good to have the naughty with your good.

Here is the cast of characters:

 

Ignore the big blue butterfly. That is hiding some yarn dyeing materials. Can’t have you knowing my secrets.

First:

Add the Flaxseed

Then, add the “sugar” I’m using Stevia, as it is the only sugar I’m allowed on my diet. (It’s not horrible, but I ended up really not using it at all whilst on this diet)

Add the Baking Powder.

Add the Cinnamon.

Mix that all up. I used a fork. It made sense at the time.

I didn’t photograph this. I’m pretty sure you know how to mix up dry ingredients with a fork.

Next up, I melted the butter and mixed it with the egg. Add that mixture to the mug.

Mix that all up. I still used that fork. Just seemed right. 😉

I decided to add some apple to mine just to go for some gusto.

I used about 52 grams of apple, and that was plenty.

Mix it up again!!!!

Pop that sucker in the microwave for about 1 minute to 1 minute 20 seconds. I personally did it for about 1 minute 40 seconds due to adding the apple.

And yes, I am watching Star Trek: The Original Series. My geekiness knows no bounds.

I ate the rest of my apple along side my muffin, along with a hard boiled egg for breakfast. It still feels so weird to actually eat breakfast…

And again the finished product…

I decided not to pop it out of the mug simply because I was lazy. But, I will admit it wasn’t bad at all. I’ve never really been much of a muffin person, but I can certainly see myself eating this for the next 3 weeks.

I can change it up by doing other fruit, or I can remove the cinnamon and sugar, replacing it with garlic and onion powders, along with a bit of cheese to make a savory muffin.

Recipe after my other muffin cake Snape…

Muffin in a Cup Recipe:

    1/4 Cup Flaxseed meal
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    1 packet stevia
    1 egg
    1 teaspoon melted butter (I found it easier to use my scale, and 1 teaspoon of butter is about 5 grams)

Directions:

Mix all dry. Add egg and butter.
Microwave 1 minute to 1 minute 20 seconds

Add apples, walnuts, raisins, cocoa powder

Remove cinnamon & stevia and replace with Parmesan cheese, garlic powder and onion powder to make a savory muffin.

Number of Servings: 1

Nutritional Info:
  • Servings Per Recipe: 1
  • Calories: 240.0
  • Total Fat: 18.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 223.5 mg
  • Sodium: 795.5 mg
  • Total Carbs: 13.4 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 10.3 g
  • Protein: 12.4 g

 


Berry Batty Pie! – Baking After Midnight

I’m such a bad blogger. I promise when I get back from my pleasure/business trip thats happening next week, I’ll be a better blogger and take care of all you peeps.

First off, let me get some artsy stuff out of the way.

I use Artfire.com for my little Asylum shop. I love it. I’ll never go back to Etsy if I can help it. I’m even about to upgrade to the Artfire Pro account for more features.

Speaking of those features, I am in love with the Facebook Kiosk.

Why am I going on about Artfire right now? Well, it’s for a contest entry, so just bear with me.

Now having just fulfilled the contest entry (sorry, there will be another one next week) lets move on to what you came here for…

PIE!!!

I made some Berry Batty Pie last night.

Blackberries, Strawberries nom nom nom.

I went with a recipe that I’m very familiar with. Let me take you back to my childhood.

There were dragons. There were firelizards. There was this acid rain called “Threads”. Oh yes, I am talking about the world of Pern by Anne McCaffery.

I have owned a copy of the “Dragonlover’s Guide to Pern” for a very long time now.

I’ve made Klah. It’s nummy… which reminds me I need to make another batch of it sometime soon.

But most of all I tend to make some of the fabulous Bubbly Pies.

Normally I make them in the traditional Hand pie form… or in the Gather tart form. But I decided to make a full pie on this one.

It is delicious.

Next time I do need to thicken it up a bit, as I completely forgot how juicy all those berries are.

Why is it a batty pie?

Well, other than the fact that I made it… I used a miniature cookie cutter that I bought either Halloween last year, or Halloween the year before to cut the holes in my crust.

So so so so nummy.