Category Archives: Food I Prepared

My 30th birthday (over a month ago)

birthday

My birthday was really amazing this year. I wasn’t feeling so happy with things around that time, but the day was so perfect and I felt so loved that it lifted my spirits immensely. I couldn’t have imagined a better day.

my birthday, henley

My plans were in the afternoon, leaving my morning free. It just so happened that Henley was playing at a park in Irvine with Alex and Darnell that morning, so things worked out perfectly. I met them at the park and had a great time. Henley was so excited to see me and is absolutely adorable. I played with him for a while, and when Darnell said I had to leave, he threw a little bit of a fit. He also wished me a happy birthday and even sang. <3

my birthday

In the afternoon, I headed to gem’s where gem, Anela, Edward, Antonio, and Kaleigh celebrated with me. And by celebrate, I mostly mean eat!

I think a collage tells the food story better than individual photographs. Let’s go clockwise. On the top-left is a strawberry shortcake mochi. Yep, that’s a piece of strawberry shortcake wrapped inside mochi. Delicious! Everything in the top-right was brought by Anela as well. Two kinds of cookies and two different kinds of pastries! Below that one is mango-jalapeño salsa I made and some pastries Antonio and Kaleigh brought from Porto’s that were delicious. Below that one is fondue! gem was the mastermind there, but she enlisted the help of some others too. We ate it with a variety of things, but I’m using a slice of apple in the photo. The bottom-right is a bacon-wrapped hot dog. The bottom-left corner shows three big desserts. gem bought the two pies – cherry and apple, and Antonio and Kaleigh brought the great tres leches cake. Lastly, the photo above that was taken before we realized the grill wasn’t working. I moved the hot dogs into the oven.

my 30th birthday

Look how beautiful that dessert plate is! gem even supplied some homemade ice cream. How many calories is on this plate alone? I don’t want to know.

smm

After eating, we played some games. gem had been raving about Spyfall, so we tried that. It’s a party game in which everybody gets a card with a location listed (such as “Sesame Street” or “Pink Paradise Stripper Bar,” both locations used when we played) except one player gets one that just says “spy.” Players take turns asking each other questions related to the location, forcing the spy to have to try to answer without actually knowing the location. It was a lot of fun! We also all made a level together in Super Mario Maker – Peter’s 30th Birthday Bash. I wrote about it on Polygons and Pixels, and you can find it by using ID BBD9-0000-01E1-1F90.

It was great to kick off my 30’s with close friends and a ton of desserts – my favorite things. Really, I’m just glad to be surrounded by so many loving, wonderful people. Thanks for making me feel special and being so special yourselves!

Ending 2015 with the Ska Luau VI and a NYE party

Following tradition, I ended 2015 by attending the Ska Luau on the 30th and going to a New Year’s Eve party at the Carters’ on the 31st. It was a lot of fun!

Ska  Luau VI

gem and I were looking good at the Ska Luau. I need to work on evening my tan.

Ska  Luau VI

The two of us were rocking our Suburban Legends shirts! The Luau featured the Magnolia Polynesian Dance Troupe, Karate in the Garage, Hooray for Our Side, Suburban Legends, and Starpool. What a sweet line up!

Ska  Luau VI

We ran into our friend Bryan who’s the trumpet player for Skapeche Mode and Failed to Victory. All the bands performed amazing sets. I’d never heard Karate in the Garage, so that was a treat. I’d only seen Hooray for Our Side once, and they gave a great performance. Suburban Legends and Starpool are two of my favorite bands, and they somehow always exceed expectations. I didn’t take many photos of Suburban Legends. There choreography is so awesome that still photos wouldn’t do them justice. However, I have some videos of them playing and dancing in the playlist at the top of this post.

Ska  Luau VI

Starpool came out in a bang of confetti!

Ska  Luau VI

Throw my hands up and shout! I love when they perform this. You can see T-bone Willy Wonka and an Oompa Loompa on stage too. My ears were ringing all day the next day.

New Year's Eve Party

I brought a lot of food to the New Year’s Eve party – brownies, lemon bars, and biscuit pizzas.

New Year's Eve PartyI told Henley that I had a gift for him in the car, and he was pretty excited. He was so adorable asking if it was time to open it yet. He needed some help getting it unwrapped! New Year's Eve Party

He seemed pretty happy with his new Buzz Lightyear! As it turns out, he had really wanted one too. While I was undoing the ties to get Buzz out of the package, Henley repeatedly gave me hugs. He’s so cute.

We suggested he open gem’s gift while I got Buzz out of the box. gem gave him a jacket that looks like a polar bear, complete with bear ears of course. He’s wearing it in that photo, although he didn’t want the hood.

New Year's Eve Party

Dev’s dog, Happy, is totally a lap dog.

New Year's Eve Party

Here’s me and Dev! He’s one of my oldet friends. We met in 8th grade.

New Year's Eve Party

I guess Mike likes my brownies! Actually, he was wondering why Dev scooped them out of the pan with a spoon.

New Year's Eve Party

gem made cheesecake ice cream as gifts and left them in a freezer. I realized that Gracie and Jon forgot to take one, so we began discussing the ice cream. Somehow we realized we could heat up my homemade brownies and serve them with gem’s homemade cheesecake ice cream.

New Year's Eve Party

Super success! A picture doesn’t really do it justice, but trust me that it was delicious.

And that was my New Year’s Eve! Thanks to Alex, Darnell, Henley, gem, Devin, Lorena, Gracie, Jon, Mike, Dev, and a couple people who I didn’t really know (sorry, I forgot names after a day already) for a fantastic end to 2015!

Thanks to 2015 and everyone who made it great

Crow on the lake

This was quite the year filled with many fun activities. It seems like a nice time for some reflection. I went to Michigan, which was beautiful, with Duncan. I’d never been that far north or east.

Niagara Falls

On that same trip, I left the country for the first time to visit Niagara Falls.

Lee's Palace

I also visited Toronto! It was an awesome city.

Holland Tayloe Gedney as Elsa

I went to San Diego Comic-Con again. Here I’m dressed as an Aquabat with Holland Tayloe Gedney’s Elsa.

The Aquabats!

It was also my first year cosplaying – not counting the Aquabats costume I’ve worn to SDCC previously for concerts. This is Professor Monty Corndog from the Aquabats (with the Aquabats)!

Snapchat magic by gem

And let’s not forget Fix-It Felix, Jr.

Bay Area friends

I visited friends in the Bay Area when I went to San Francisco for a conference.

SoCal Paddle Yoga

I did a lot of yoga, including paddle yoga. I started practicing yoga in the summer of 2014 and continued in 2014. Starting in June, I did yoga daily, never missing a day. I took over 130 yoga classes in 2015. My wrist is still healing but is feeling much better. I think the glucosamine sulfate (thanks to the pianist from Intergalactic Nemesis for the suggestion) and vertical mouse is helping quite a bit. I also hurt my knee, so for the past few months I’ve only been doing restorative or yin yoga. Honestly, I can see the good in this. I’ve learned to appreciate yin and restorative so much more, which helps give me a deeper understanding to my practice and myself.

dancing

Speaking of hurting my knee, I’ve also been dancing a lot more. I took 40-something dance classes this year. While I tried a lot of different areas, I like Balboa, Argentine tango, and Lindy Hop the most. I’m glad I have fun friends who like to go dancing.

Ooey Gooey Berry PieI baked an ooey gooey berry pie for Anela to celebrate the fact that she passed the bar. I also got to attend her bar admission ceremony and law school graduation. Folly at Dapper Day

gem and I went to the Dapper Day expo at Downtown Disney and to Folly, the afterparty.

gem on stage with Suburban Legends!gem and I were extras during the filming of The Big Day, and gem got this great photo of her with Suburban Legends. Free Comic Book Day and ImprovCity's Comic Book Day show!

I saw so much talent in my friends. This is Free Comic Book Day show at ImprovCity with my friend Alex Bower front and center. Besides some regular shows, I saw him in Scary Pants (which he wrote), Millennial Falcon at Second City, and HIStory/HERstory.

UntitledSpeaking of talented friends named Alex, I saw Alex Foster clowning around and got pulled on stage for more participation (just like the last clown show I saw before this one). Little Jimmy the Robot of the Aquabats

I painted a little Jimmy the Robot.

Adventure Time mug painted at Color Me Mine! Idea by reddit user /u/Just-Another-Teenage in a post by /u/Corrupt_CoreI also painted this Adventure Time mug. Adventure Time mug painted at Color Me Mine! Idea by reddit user /u/Just-Another-Teenage in a post by /u/Corrupt_Core

You have to see both sides.

That’s not to mention the cool Christmas gifts and cards I made this year. I haven’t given them all to their recipients yet, so I don’t want to show anything.

IMG_3833gem took me to a sushi class where we prepared sushi rolls! She’s the best 🙂Coup de Comedy 2015

We also saw Kindred Throats, an amazing musical comedy duo. She liked them so much, she baked them cookies. Twice.

Anela's graduation

I attended Anela’s law school graduation from Chapman.

bar admission ceremony

…and her CA Bar admission ceremony.

Kurios

gem and I saw Cirque du Soleil’s KURIOS! Amazing!

Me and Anela at the Bellydance IDOL presents Om Kalthoum Tribute Show

I saw Anela dance a number of times, including the really fun Bellydance IDOL presents Om Kalthoum Tribute Show.

watson adventures

I helped solve a mystery at the Watson Adventures.

Blacklight Run

I ran (jogged/walked) a Blacklight Run with these two fun people.

Snow photo shoot with gem and Anela

I even got to see snow for the first time.

Heck, the year even started with my friends getting engaged.

I did so many other cool things too such as…

  • Reading all surviving plays by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides that I hadn’t read previously.
  • Having agents draft social media responses for me at work
  • Participating in a behavioral study
  • Becoming friends with Bryan Lackey, awesome ska trumpet player
  • Wakeboarding
  • Watching my brother perform in the Spectacles Improv Engine’s Student Showcase
  • Seeing a meteor shower
  • Attending a sand sculpture festival
  • Jogging/walking a Blacklight Run
  • Running the Walking Dead Experience
  • Seeing bands such as the Aquabats, the Interrupters, Starpool, Suburban Legends, LA Swing Barons, Imagine Dragons, Metric, Halsey, the LA Philharmonic, and Scott Bradlee and the Postmodern Jukebox
  • Vacationing with my roommates and friends in Vegas
  • Swing dancing in Downtown Disney
  • Visiting the OC Fair and OC Night Market
  • Watching Rocky Horror Picture Show
  • Lots of blogging (see my earlier post)

And I’m sure I’m forgetting to mention a thousand things. Thanks to everybody who helped make 2015 such an amazing year.

Blacklight Run and Ooey Gooey Berry Pie

Blacklight Run

This weekend I went to a Blacklight Run with gem and Anela! It was totally fun; we got covered in paint, glow powder, glow sticks, and good vibes! This is what we looked like at the end of the night.

Blacklight Run

We jogged a bit, but mostly we walked and talked while enjoying the party. Periodically there were stations where staff members would throw more glow powder on participants. Blacklight Run Of course, you can also grab handfuls of the powder and throw it yourself!

Blacklight Run

I got fairly covered.

Blacklight Run

At the end of the run was a big, glowing party with a DJ and tons of glow powder and glow sticks!

Blacklight Run

It was fun!

Blacklight Run

This guy was pretty sweet.

Blacklight Run

Anela looks like a neon flower child. I love this.

Blacklight Run

I think you have a little something on your face.

Blacklight Run

Watch out, gem!

I have no idea who these two women are. Nope.

Blacklight Run

Despite not being super close the party, the cars still got covered in glow powder.

Blacklight Run

These were taken the next day in the light.

Ooey Gooey Berry Pie

When we were done with the Blacklight Run afterparty, we headed to my place to watch a movie and eat. I dropped gem off at her place to shower and then picked up tacos from Del Taco. The guy at the drive through said something like “what the…?” when we pulled up. We were still pretty glowy. We took the tacos back to my house, and once we all showered and gem was with us again, we popped a pizza in the oven too. gem brought two homemade ice creams, a cookie from New York, and a tasty new kind mashed potato creation. Anela’s bar results came out this weekend, so I had baked her a pie – either to eat in celebration or in which to drown her sorrows. Luckily it was the former, because she passed on her first try! Ooey Gooey Berry Pie

She said she preferred “ooey gooey berry” pies, so that’s what I tried to bake.

Ooey Gooey Berry Pie

Here’s Anela with her celebratory pie. It turned out delicious, and everyone enjoyed it. Hooray! Congratulations, Anela!

It was an awesome night with full bellies and happy memories. Thanks to gem and Anela for making it so epic!

Sushi class

IMG_3833

Sushi is awesome. That’s obvious. But it’s also really fun to make! gem took me to a sushi class recently where we learned about sushi and how to prepare it. The class took place right in the restaurant, and we were the only two there. Behind the sushi chef, there were other diners enjoying their sushi. It was pretty cool. The chef explained that in the US, the main differences between one’s sushi versus another’s is the sushi rice, prepared with vinegar, sugar, and salt. He added that in Japan, the fish is normally seasoned so that you might prefer one establishment’s fish over another. I’m sure I can’t do the lesson justice, but he talked about all sorts of interesting things.

IMG_3843

We prepared three rolls. Shown at the top is my California roll and shrimp tempura roll. The second picture is my tiger roll – a California roll topped with shrimp and avocado.

IMG_3848

Here’s gem’s California and shrimp tempura rolls. Her presentation was cute than mine!

IMG_3853

She did not enjoy taking this photo. It was too cold. But it was super fun too!

Chilled raspberry soup

Chilled raspberry soup

After reading about my friend Jessica’s vacation and food adventures, I learned that raspberry soup existed! I was intrigued, and I made it last night. It was super tasty!

Chilled raspberry soup

I might fiddle with the ratio of ingredients in the future, but I was pretty pleased. It’s raspberries, yogurt, sugar, and a little bit of wine. Pretty simple. A lot of people seem to strain out the raspberry seeds, but I like them, so I left them in the soup. It was a nice dessert soup!

Pan-frying Pizza Rolls with Totino’s x MBMBaM

My favorite podcast, My Brother, My Brother, and Me, recently had a entire episode sponsored by Totino’s. That’s hilarious all by itself, but the episode was pretty great. One fan wrote to the show discussing how he prefers to pan-fry his Pizza Rolls.

“A few years ago I brought home Pizza Rolls to discover my roommate had broken the toaster oven. At the time, we didn’t have a microwave, and I didn’t want to wait for the oven to preheat. My solution was to grab a frying pan and some extra virgin olive oil and fry my Totino’s Pizza Rolls! They came out great, and now that’s the only way I prepare my Pizza Rolls. I cannot think of another podcast more suited for this anecdote.”

I’d be crazy not to try it, right? Last Friday was Pizza Day as The Aquabats would say, so it was the perfect day to try it out. Thanks to gem and Anela for helping make the video and eat delicious Pizza Rolls with me!

And the results? gem and I both preferred pan-fried Pizza Rolls. I thought they were awesome! We were in agreement that baked were next and microwaved were the worst (but still totally worth eating). Anela preferred baked over pan-fried but agreed that they were both better than microwaved. Well, two out of three isn’t bad. Thank you, Totino’s, McElroy brothers, and mystery writer to the show!

Recent cooking adventures: Mango-jalapeño salsa, Greek potato, fried pork, and biscuit pizza

Mango-jalapeño salsa and tilapia

I haven’t posted much about my recent cooking, so this’ll be as quick look at a few things. First up, mango-jalapeño salsa! This was pretty simple with mango, jalapeño, cilantro, red onion, lime juice, and some seasoning. Here it’s served on tilapia on a bed of mixed greens, but it goes great with chicken too as well as chips!

Greek potato

For lack of a better term, I was just calling this a Greek potato. Not much to this really – just a Hasselback potato with feta and honey, but it’s totally delicious.

Marinated pork collar butt

Farm Direct had some cheap, delicious marinated pork collar butt, so I bought it a few times because it was easy to use with other things.

Marinated pork collar butt

With onions, bell pepper, and some eggs, it was perfect.

Marinated pork collar butt

I should go buy more actually.

Biscuit pizza

I’m probably too old to share something so dumb, but I liked these anyways. These pizzas were made with Pillsbury Grands! biscuits. At first I used a whole biscuit per pizza, but I revised them to use half a biscuit per pizza. Less calories, less carbs, more tastiness.

Biscuit pizza

I’m glad Anela shared the video with me from BuzzFeed Food!

Assorted veggies

Bonus veggies!

Egg muffins

Egg muffins! Egg, cheese, spinach, tomato, bacon, green onion, onion, turkey sausage, bacon, and seasoning.

Today I realized three things. One, I wanted to eat eggs. Two, I wanted to eat vegetables. Three, I wanted this snack to be easy to grab when I was in sudden need of food.

Egg muffins! Egg, cheese, spinach, tomato, bacon, green onion, onion, turkey sausage, bacon, and seasoning.

First, I had to get everything I needed – eggs (not shown), cheese, spinach, tomato, bacon, green onion, sweet onion, and sausage.

Egg muffins! Egg, cheese, spinach, tomato, bacon, green onion, onion, turkey sausage, bacon, and seasoning.

I used 12 eggs.

Egg muffins! Egg, cheese, spinach, tomato, bacon, green onion, onion, turkey sausage, bacon, and seasoning.

Whisk, whisk, whisk.

(You have to read that in a kind of whistly voice.

Egg muffins! Egg, cheese, spinach, tomato, bacon, green onion, onion, turkey sausage, bacon, and seasoning.

Then the veggies get chopped and everything gets thrown together!

I like tomato, but I thought it was too much tomato with the possibility of causing the outcome to be too wet. I only used about a third of the tomato. I also ended up using only half the sweet onion showed. I did use the turkey sausage, all the green onion, and all three slices of thick cut bacon. I added a handful of spinach and half a cup of the reduced fat mild cheddar.

Egg muffins! Egg, cheese, spinach, tomato, bacon, green onion, onion, turkey sausage, bacon, and seasoning.

This is where I got worried that the muffin tin was too full.

Egg muffins! Egg, cheese, spinach, tomato, bacon, green onion, onion, turkey sausage, bacon, and seasoning.

After 27 minutes at 375 degrees, it was time to pull them out with my bear paw oven mitt.

Egg muffins! Egg, cheese, spinach, tomato, bacon, green onion, onion, turkey sausage, bacon, and seasoning.

Awww, look how cute the little guy is.

Egg muffins! Egg, cheese, spinach, tomato, bacon, green onion, onion, turkey sausage, bacon, and seasoning.

It was super delicious! Each one is about 254.4 calories with 20.3 grams of fat, 1.9 grams of carbs, and 17.6 grams of protein.

Mayweather-Pacquiao potluck

Untitled

I went to a potluck for the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight this weekend. I’m disappointed that Pacquiao didn’t win but not surprised. The food was really tasty though!

I made jalapeño poppers and bacon-wrapped dates yet somehow didn’t take a single picture of them. My parents had pasta salad, hummus, pita, chips, salsa, cookies, and candies. Mark and Elena brought ribs. Duncan baked snickerdoodles while Collin brought garlic chicken bites. I was cooking at the same time as Collin and got to try them repeatedly during the cooking process. Tasty!

Untitled

gem brought pork buns, two flavors of homemade ice cream, and homemade guacamole. The buns had egg in them too and were delicious!

17150895567_35e6c33f72_z

She also brought balut! Non-Filipinos always seem so scared of this, but it was tasty! I read about how different cultures season it differently, so I’m pretty curious to try it again with some variations.

Untitled

Pete also decided he didn’t want his Ghostbusters sign anymore, so it came home with me! It lives in the living room now.

This was originally used during the chili cook-off. Joseph made a chili with ghost chilies, so Pete the sign for us to use. Since then, it’s been sitting outside at his house. Pretty sweet!

It was a really fun potluck, and I got leftovers too! Even Sumo and Angel got to eat some delicious ribs. Yay!

Hello, 2015

Last year was a pretty fun year. I was pulled on stage during a clown show, went stand-up paddleboarding, and went wakeboarding. I attended Katie and Matt’s wedding. I started doing yoga this summer and have stuck with it consistently. I switched to a bodyweight workout routine and have been doing that regularly. San Diego Comic-Con was a lot of fun, and for the first time, the roles were reversed; people asked me for pictures. (I was in my Aquabats costume.)

I attended a ton of concerts, including but not limited to Reel Big Fish, The Maxies, The Originalites, The Aquabats, Koo Koo Kangaroo, GOGO13, Half Past Two, Sugar Stems, The Interrupters, The Holophonics, The Skatalites, Suburban Legends, Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, Los SuperSpies, and so many more. I watched a bunch of improv, mostly at ImprovCity and Spectacles. I attended some Risk! Live. I went to a Teenage Mutant Pizza Party and the Scott Pilgrim Picture Show with CinemAttack! There was Dapper Day, Walking with Dinosaurs, a Civil War reenactment, The Great Gatsby party, the OC Fair, and LA Kiss. There was some Yadi Presents burlesque, a performance of Wizard of Oz, Chicago, Big River – The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Man of La Mancha, and other performances. Lots of fun stuff.

Edit: Oh, man, how can I forget the Tall Ships Festival or being a guest on the Twisted Nether Blogcast?!

Work continues to go well. I cleaned out my closet. And yes, that’s worth mentioning. I attended Henley’s first birthday party and gave him a big smile with his present. I finished off Mists of Pandaria and started Warlords of Draenor. Sorry, but a little video games had to leak into this too. I got my backlog (my list of games, books, movies, etc.) that were purchased but never finished down to 340, which is pretty good. When I started counting in April, I had 471 items that needed to be beat/watched/read. I got rear-ended while driving for the first time. That’s not really much of an accomplishment, but I handled it at least. It was my 10-year high school reunion a few months back, and that was a lot of fun. I also cooked a bunch – stuffed bell peppers, pizzas, calzones, salads, salami wraps, pork chops, steaks, a cake, lemon bars, brownies, and more delicious things. I, a straight man, went out for a drink with a man I met on a dating site. I got stung by way too many bees.

It was a cool year.

2015 started with a party with close friends. Just a minute or two into the year I got to witness a friend propose to his girlfriend.

We’re off to a good start.

Fun day for Labor Day

Labor Day 2014!

Homies help homies. Always.

Okay, I’ll get to that in a minute. This Labor Day I hung out with gem and Anela. We met at gem’s house and went to the Starplex Cinemas in Woodbridge for Maleficent. It was a fun movie with a different spin on Sleeping Beauty. I also really like to see the backstory of villains; it’s interesting to see how they became bad.

Because Anela forgot her swimwear and gem wanted exchange something at the Outlets at Orange, we headed that way to take care of those things. That’s where gem and I saw this sweet Adventure Time billboard and had to take a photo!

Labor Day 2014!

When we got back to gem’s, we started working on lunch. I made more of my salami roll snacks and made more salad. It was sort of like yesterday’s picnic part 2. While the main course was cooking, the three of us headed to the pool. It was busy with lots of people, but that didn’t make swimming any less fun.

Labor Day 2014!

We came home to take the ribs out of the oven. They were looking pretty delicious.

Labor Day 2014!

No, Anela! Don’t eat all the ribs!

Labor Day 2014!

So very much food. I ate about 3000 calories. Whoops.Labor Day 2014

We look good surrounded by food.

While we ate dinner, we also watched Scott Pilgrim vs the World.

Labor Day 2014!

Sumo and Angel will be in for a treat too. We had a nice pile of bones to bring home to them.

Labor Day 2014!

After dinner we watched an episode of Too Cute about adorable kittens. For dessert, we had pastries and homemade ice cream. It was really good! Anela took the rest of my salami rolls with cream cheese and cucumber, and I left a bunch of the salami rolls with cream cheese and pepperoncinis with gem. I’m happy they like them!

Labor Day was celebrated successfully! Now I just need to eat less the rest of the week.

Civil War reenactment and picnic

Civil War Reenactment

Sunday was the Huntington Beach Historical Society’s 20th annual Civil War Days Living History and Reenactment in Huntington Beach Central Park. I heard about it on Reddit and thought it sounded fun. Luckily, I was right!

After finishing picnic preparations, I picked up gem and Anela and headed to the park. After seeing some tents set up, we saw some troops marching into battle!

Civil War Reenactment

We kept walking toward the loud noises. Where are explosions, that’s where the action is, right?

The loud noises were definitely cannons!

Civil War Reenactment

As the armies got closer, there were more and more casualties. For some reason, people kept dying in the shade. The shade must be deadly. Eventually the reenactment ended, and it was time for us to do something else…Civil War Reenactment

Picnic Time, c’mon grab your friends…

Civil War Reenactment

We had all sorts of delicious foods! I made Caprese salad and three variations of salami snacks – rolled salami with one of two types of cream cheese and either a pepperoncini, pickle, or cucumbers). I also packed Caprisun drinks, two kinds of potato chips, brie, crackers, and some chocolate bread! gem and Anela brought an arugula dip, a chicken dip, celery, hummus, and multiple kinds of pastries. I might be missing something, but there was a lot of food.

Civil War Reenactment

Mmmm, snacks.

Civil War Reenactment

After eating, we just relaxed on the blanket for a while. Mostly we talked and sent each other stickers on Facebook. Also, I apparently can’t say “sticker” because it kept coming out “Snickers.”Civil War Reenactment

Anela said this series of stickers represented me – before the picnic, during the picnic, and after the picnic. Yep, that’s pretty much how I felt.Civil War Reenactment

She also added this bottom sticker to represent gem since gem was playing her ukulele for us!

Civil War Reenactment

When we finally had the energy to get up, we checked out this field hospital. As usual, I’d be content to look without talking, but gem got us into a tent and chatting with some of the performers. It was a lot of fun and pretty informative. There was also quite a bit of music-talk due to the ukulele.Civil War Reenactment

We saw this peep show box, and it was obviously appropriate for me to look if I wanted to act the part, right? When in Rome!

Civil War Reenactment

Matilda the goat was very friendly. And by friendly, I mean willing to let us pet her a little while she continued to munch the grass.

Civil War Reenactment

When gem saw a man with a banjo, it was time to go talk to him. They talked about their instruments for a minute, and then decided to play together a little. gem used her tuner app to get him in tune, and then they played music for us while we all chatted. It was very nice!

Civil War Reenactment

I don’t know a better way to celebrate the end of the Civil War than eating ice cream! We went to Afters, which is somewhere both Anela and gem have mentioned and I’d been wanting to try. I sampled five-or-so flavors before ordering a Milky Bun with Cookie Monster ice cream. The Milky Bun is a donut, either glazed or unglazed, filled with ice cream. I went with the unglazed, but I think I might try glazed next time. All the flavors were super delicious. Obviously I liked Cookie Monster best of the ones I tried, but Milk and Cereal, which includes cereal on top, was a close second. I’ll need to come again!

With our bellies full, we went to the Outlets at Orange for some shopping. There wasn’t really anything I wanted, and nothing jumped out at me, but I had fun shopping with them. Also, a woman working at Forever 21 commented on my Aquabats 20th anniversary tour t-shirt! It was fun chatting with her about them for a minute.

It was a fun and foodful day!

Chocolate loaf cake, calzone, and pizza

Chocolate loaf cake

I spent most of the last two nights baking. I had Amish Friendship Bread, so I decided to make a couple things. Tuesday night I made a chocolate loaf cake. When I had a piece that night, it wasn’t as chocolaty as I expected. However, my piece Wednesday morning had a much richer taste. I think the first piece wasn’t as rich because it was the end piece and had cooked more. I’m pretty happy with it. I also made dough that I left rising for a day.

Making the calzone

Wednesday night my dough was ready. I started with a calzone packed with sauce, cheese, turkey sausage, turkey pepperoni, mushroom, red onion, and red bell pepper.

Calzone

It was kind of huge.

Calzone

While the crust tasted fantastic, I probably should have made it a bit thinner. Also, I might have filled it a bit too much.

Pizza

I also made two pizzas with the same ingredients except I also added jalapeño and pineapple. I didn’t actually try the pizzas yet; the purpose was to have food in the fridge so I wouldn’t have to cook nightly.

When I was all done, I was exhausted and sleepy. I suspect a lot of that had to do with eating most of that calzone. It was so tasty!

Apple cinnamon raisin Amish Friendship Bread

Apple cinnamon raisin Amish Friendship Bread

Recently, gem gave me a starter kit for Amish Friendship Bread. It’s a bag filled with some goop along with instructions that basically boil down to “mash the bag most days, add some stuff on day 6, and add more and bake on day 10.” On day 10, however, you add some ingredients, mix, create four new starter kits, and then finish preparing your bread. In this way, you keep passing it forward.

Beach day and stand-up paddle boarding

She also included a slice of her bread – blueberry bread! It was delicious.

Apple cinnamon raisin Amish Friendship Bread

Here I had everything I needed sitting on the table while I prepared the bread.

Apple cinnamon raisin Amish Friendship Bread

I decided to make apple cinnamon raisin bread. You can see the raisins pretty clearly, and the light colored chunks were diced apple.

Apple cinnamon raisin Amish Friendship Bread

I almost forgot to take a picture before it went in the oven.

Apple cinnamon raisin Amish Friendship Bread

An hour later, I had what certainly looked like bread.

Apple cinnamon raisin Amish Friendship Bread

I was anxious to try some because it was getting late, I was very hungry, and I had more things to do that night.

Apple cinnamon raisin Amish Friendship Bread

Because I was going out of town the next day, I needed to deliver the starter kits to my friends even though it was almost midnight.

I brought a starter to kit and slice of my bread to Anela first. She was nice enough to not mind me disturbing her so late. Next I drove to my mom’s. They were sleeping, so I left it hanging on their door. One kit went back to gem. My last kit I dropped off the next day at lunch at Purple Yoga for Sean, an instructor there!

Apple cinnamon raisin Amish Friendship Bread

Nom, nom nom.

It was super tasty!

Pork chops for dinner

Pork chops

Delicious. Pork chops, potato, and Brussels sprout. The pork chops were super cheap too. I usually stick with beef because I don’t have to worry about undercooking it, but this worked wonderfully.

Baked banana with chocolate peanut butter candies

You can’t forget dessert. I put milk chocolate peanut butter bears (essentially peanut butter cups) in the sliced banana before baking it. I had some Albertsons butter pecan ice cream with it too.

Blueberry brownies

image

Did I ever mention that I baked blueberry brownies a couple weeks ago? Nope, I forgot about them. I always like blueberries with my chocolate yogurt at Yogurtland, so it seemed like a natural progression. They’re ugly, but I swear they were good.

image

I also gave some to gem to ship along with her cookies to some friends for their birthdays. Sharing is caring.

Turtle cake for gem’s birthday

image

gem mentioned to me that she’d like me to bake a cake for her birthday a few weeks ago. I’m not sure if she was expecting me to really do it or not, but I’d been wanting to bake a cake so I went for it. She likes turtle cookies, so I decided to make her a turtle cake, which is chocolate with caramel and pecans. I based it off the recipe Turtle Cake II from AllRecipes.com. I took the recommendations from the comments and used 1/4 cup butter and 2/3 cup evaporated milk instead of 3/4 cup butter and 1/2 cup evaporated milk. I also used a German chocolate cake mix that included pudding rather than one without as specified for the recipe. I don’t really even know the difference, but I couldn’t find one without. However, I actually felt bad about using a mix anyways. It seems like cheating. Oh well.

image

Here’s a shot of the middle layer of caramel, toasted pecans, and caramel. It’s spread atop the first layer of cake. Thanks to my friend, Hal, for recommending I toast the pecans first! It smelled great as they toasted.

image

It looked pretty tasty to me before I even frosted it.

image

Nevertheless, I frosted it and added some caramel decoration to the top.

image

I wrote a birthday message on it, but in retrospect, I chose a bad color.

image

I should have chosen something with a higher contrast against the dark chocolate.

image

I also added a few pecans to the top to give a better indication of what’s in the cake.

image

Of course, it needed some star candles too!

It turned out delicious. More importantly, gem liked it too. Success!

Sandwich, sandwich

Sandwich

You see that?

Sandwich

That’s a delicious sandwich.

Sandwich

Also known as dinner.

Chicken breast. Sharp cheddar. Lettuce. Tomato. Avocado. Spicy mustard. Wheat bread.

image

I even came up with a theme song for it. It goes like this. “Sandwich, sandwich,” sung to the tune of the song about Angel. You know, the one that goes like this – “Angel, Angel.” She’s a good dog.

Lemon bars!

Lemon bars

I wanted a more lemony dessert this weekend, so I baked lemon bars! I wasn’t sure they were going to have a strong enough lemon taste, but they turned out really good. Maybe they were too good, because I ate three today. Previously I made the recipe called “Best Brownies” from Allrecipes.com, so I went with “The Best Lemon Bars” from Allrecipes.com this time. I’d have to make a lot more to know for sure that they’re the best, but they were definitely delicious.

“Best Brownies” from Allrecipes.com

Brownies

I meant to post about this but never got around to it. My friend kept talking about brownies a couple weeks ago, so it made me want brownies. I decided to use a recipe called “Best Brownies” from Allrecipes.com.

Brownies

Most surprising to me was how few ingredients I needed. I guess it helped that I had baked the John Dies at the End Vegan Chocolate Soy Sauce Cupcakes back in October and already had a bunch of the ingredients.

Brownies

I particularly liked the hint of honey flavor in them. It’s too bad I don’t have any desserts right now. Now I feel like something lemony.

Stir fry!

Stir fry

I made stir fry tonight that was pretty tasty! It had one drumstick’s worth of chicken, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, onion, mushrooms, carrots, baby corn, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, pineapple, and Hoisin sauce. There should be enough leftover food to make more tomorrow, too!

John Dies at the End Vegan Chocolate Soy Sauce Cupcakes

John Dies at the End Vegan Chocolate Soy Sauce Cupcakes

Before I do anything else, maybe I should explain the title of this post. John Dies at the End is a great comedic horror novel written by David Wong, a pseudonym for Jason Pargin. It got more attention when it became a movie, although the general public probably isn’t aware of it. You should be though, because it’s really fun. (And really, the novel is so much better. Go read it!)

On October 14, the John Dies at the End Facebook page linked to this recipe for Vegan Chocolate Soy Sauce Cupcakes inspired by the book/movie. In the novel, there’s a street drug that’s called Soy Sauce because it’s black like soy sauce. It kills most people who come into contact with it, but it also gives some “lucky” individuals the ability to see things that most can only see out of the corners of their eyes – shadow men, monsters, etc.

The recipe does actually use a bit of soy sauce, but I suspect the tiny amount was really just an excuse to tie the cupcakes to John Dies at the End. That’s okay with me.

John Dies at the End Vegan Chocolate Soy Sauce Cupcakes

Sorry for the terrible iPhone photography. I’d never really baked besides ruining some pies with a friend back in high school, so I decided to take a try at it. There’s chocolate on top of the cupcake, but you can’t really see it under the delicious raspberry sauce. They turned out really well. They weren’t necessarily amazing, but I was very happy with them, and they were fun to make.

John Dies at the End Vegan Chocolate Soy Sauce Cupcakes

This also reminded me that the sequel, This Book is Full of Spiders: Seriously Dude, Don’t Touch It, was released slightly over a year ago. Why had I never read it if I loved the original so much? I don’t know, so I bought it and read it. I prefer the first, but the second was great as well. I hope we see a film adaptation of this as well as more novels in the future.

Carnitas zucchini boats

Carnitas and bell pepper stuffed zucchini

This could have been better looking I suppose, but it was tasty. My parents keep growing huge zucchinis, and I’m more than happy to take some off their hands. Tonight I cut a wedge out of the zucchini, baked them for a while, stuffed them with carnitas, roasted bell peppers, and cheddar cheese, and then baked them a little longer. I had beans and cheese on the side, and I topped one of the zucchini boats with chipotle salsa in that photo. The carnitas was pre-cooked, and the salsa and roasted bell peppers both came from jars, but it was still very tasty.

Low-carb pizzas

low-carb pizza

I had to prove that I could make dinner myself. I wanted to make low-carb pizzas so I used slices of eggplant for most of the “crusts.” I used a portobello mushroom for one of the crusts. Toppings included chicken, turkey pepperoni, jalapeño, mushroom, and red bell pepper. Some had homemade pizza sauce that my roommates made, some had alfredo sauce, and some had both. They were super tasty.

Low-carb Pizzas