Monday, September 26, 2011

Doughnut & Butter Pudding

Another recipe to continue my tradition of trying new things in the kitchen.

The following recipe is slightly altered from the one found here.  A new friend of mine, Sam, suggested that I use it for the doughnuts I had left over after game night.

Prep Time: 15 minutes 

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes


  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Butter or margarine
  • 8-10 doughnuts
  • 4 cups milk
  • 4 eggs
Preparation: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Add cinnamon to sugar in cup and mix well. Set aside.

Slice each doughnut in half and scrape off frosting (glaze is fine to leave) or remove filling.  Generously spread one side of each piece of doughnut with butter or margarine. Arrange doughnut slices in pan, slightly overlapping, with butter-side up. As you add the doughnuts, sprinkle with sugar,  and cinnamon.

Put milk in small bowl, add eggs, and using whisk or fork, mix to blend well. Pour milk mixture over doughnuts in baking pan. Set aside for about 15 minutes for doughnuts to absorb liquid.

Bake in oven for about 30 minutes, or until top is golden brown.

Serve the pudding while still warm in individual dessert bowls. It is eaten plain or with cream poured over it.

Yield: 8 to 12 servings

I must say that it is delicious!  Thanks Sam!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Life Snap Shot in Character Sheet Form

*cue reality I've been trying to avoid*

I decided to take a look at one aspect of my life I've been ignoring lately.  My weight.  I pretty much took the - no strenuous exercise for a month (post getting my appendix out) and extended it to apply for 9 almost 10 months.  So hear I am.  25 lbs heavier than I started the year out at and 5 lbs less than the weight I topped the scale at back in 2008.  I could try and claim that surgery is what threw me off, and sure, it did.  But then I chose not to get back on.  I had a few streaks of good behavior health-wise intermixed with a whole lot of lazy in the exercise category and too much over-indulgence in the food category.  I've undone two years of weight loss in ten months.  That's not acceptable.  2008 was the first year I ended lighter than I started.  2009 was the second.  2010 was the third.  2011 is supposed to be the fourth.  I don't want my steak to end.  This means I have to kick my butt in gear.  No more couch sitting for me.

My darling Kaylee has been helping me in this endeavor.  My dear cat thinks that she is a dog.  She likes to go for walks (in harness and leech).  In fact, she likes it so much, that if you forget to take her, she will sit by the door and meow until you remember.  [She also plays fetch...]  So we've gone for daily walks the last few days and she is getting braver in her exploration.  The dogs out walking don't seem to phase her, even when they bark up a storm - just the cars (which I'd rather that fear not be overcome - things that can squish you are good to fear).

I also got a morning workout in. 6 miles on the bike in 30 minutes and then 2 sets of 15 reps on each part of the weight gym thing (I really should find out what that thing is called) - with the exception of the hanging crunchy spot - I only did 5 reps of that - really need to work on that one.

Then I went back to the gym after work.  It was the season premiere of Biggest Loser.  Thus, my butt was moving in the gym for the two hour duration of the show.  The only way I can catch the show as it airs is by being in the gym.  It serves as great motivation for me and ensures that I keep moving for 2 hours straight.  It will be my one regular long workout each week (the others being more like 30-60 minutes at a time).  So I spent the two hours between the elliptical and bike and clocked another 20.6 miles.

For a total of 2 hrs 45 minutes in the gym & 26.6 miles. :)

I'm still trying to find a way to track my progress that makes it entertaining for me.  And I think that I have found one.  I am part of a gaming group that meets every Friday to do Table Top Role Playing Games.  I love it and have so much fun building my characters and leveling them up.  So it got me thinking.  What if I took one of the character sheets and made a character of myself?  I can level up as I earn experience in various things.  Sounds like fun, right?  I thought so.  So here is my character sheet [I used an Amber character sheet as my base].  So a -25 stat means it is the best of the best.  Think Olympic athletes or geniuses inventing amazing things.  Will say -30 is your couch potato.  So I'll put my endurance at a -29: I've got a bit more endurance than your average couch potato - I've got 2 half-marathons walking under my belt, but I'm not yet up to minor athlete endurance - I still get winded if you make me run for more than a block - *note the walking bit.  For Psyc I'd put myself around a -25.  Strength... hmmm... I can lift some weights, but I'm probably still a bit under average.  So I'll say -28 for that one.  My mathematical brain wants to put me at a -27 for warfare.  I'll start out with no stuff.  As for my pooled points, I'll figure out where to put those later.

Point pool: 70

Name:  Natalie      Gender: Female      Age: 27   Height: 5'9"     Weight: 271 lbs.
Hair: Brown          Eyes:  Greenish-Brown          Skin:  Pale       Body type:  Couch Potato hiding curves

Endurance: -29
Psyc: -25
Strength: -28
Warfare (Strategy & Tactics): -27
Stuff: 0

Self description:
Hmmm... unique and highly contagious laugh, optimistic, quirky, geek, loves life, crafty, creative, friendly, outgoing, sometimes klutzy (probably more often than I think), wife, sister, aunt, loud, and odd.

Your shadow:
Earth [Note:  I am not making a fat joke.  Shadows in this RPG don't refer to the ones you cast.  They refer to the place you live. :p]

Bevan - my darling husband
Kaylee - my dear cat

My monkey sticker-ed laptop that connects me to the world wide web.


Well hidden?

So that's my starting sheet.  I'll have to think up a point system for leveling up.  I think I'll have some fun with this.  240s here I come!  This might be fun to write up like an adventure too... creative writing plot bunny - captured. :)

*skips off to bed, exhausted*

Monday, September 19, 2011

Talk Like a Pirate Day

Arrr.  I always enjoy this holiday.  May be due to my college mascot being a pirate.  Nay, more due to love fer all things pirate.  Yar har fiddle dee dee...

Arr.  This next song made me laugh.  Though girrrrls could make a fierce pirate.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Rolling A D6 - Board Game Review Blog

Hubby has started a board game review blog:

If you enjoy board games and are on the look out for new games to add to your collection, you should follow him.  We have a pretty extensive game collection that will take him a while to work through and we are always adding more games (so if you have game recommendations - let me know!).

His first review is of one of our recently acquired games - The Red Dragon Inn (we picked up the third set at a convention this summer and he got me the second for my birthday, purchasing the first set is in the future - It's nice that the game doesn't require buying the sets in order.)

Some of our games (so that you have an idea what he may eventually review):
City of Thieves
Smallworld Underground
The Settlers of Catan
The Starfarers of Catan
Catan Cities and Knights
Munchkin (the original or any of the themed - ex. Star Munckin, Munckin Fu, Super Munchkin, Munckin Bites, Munchkin Zombies, etc... - I'm a bit of a Munchkin freak!)
Munchkin Quest
Risk (or any of the Risk themed/variations that we have)
Life (or Pirates Life)
etc... (I'd list more, but I should be getting ready for work now).

So check out his new blog and leave him a message. :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dinning room table... or gaming platform?

This is what happens when I am home alone and have cookies to bake...

The recipe I used for this one was fine until I added the food dye.  Then it took on a consistency more like frosting.  I left it in the fridge for a few days and that helped (although it meant I didn't get to make them for my party - but my friend Nathaniel made me a yummy cake and my friend Nora made me peanut butter brownies, so there were plenty of sweets to be had).  The cookie cutters were a gift from my Sis-in-law, Bethaney, for my birthday (you can acquire a set from the wonderful store).

Play Again?

Next time I will try to get Pinky a little pinker.  I will give them eyes.  And I will remember to make the ghosts they turn into when he eats the power button.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Reasons Why I Love Being A Geek

 These are just a few reasons I love being a geek!

Reason #4 - You meet some of the most fascinating people who share some of your interests and become terrific friends.

Reason #13 - Some fandoms are so large that no matter where you go (from moving to a new city to traveling around the world) you can find and connect with other fans.  This made my first move from home much easier because I was immediately able to connect into the Star Wars community where I moved and make new friends right away.

Reason #1 - It becomes a lot easier to find excuses to wear costumes.

Reason #1138 - Pictures with other friends and fans in costume make for some of the best memories.

Reason #6 - Hearing a child yell out, "Mommy!  Mommy!  Look!  An alien!" as you run through an airport to get to your connecting flight with Lekku on your head is priceless.

Reason #23 - The look on children's faces when they see you in costume is priceless.

Reason #3 - Geeky trivia challenges while waiting in line for a gaming console/midnight movie opening/con event make for great laughs and fun chances to spout off random geeky knowledge.

Reason #pi - It means you have friends to celebrate and appreciate the wonderful celebration that should occur at 1:59 and 26 seconds every March 14th.

Reason #42 - Having friends who understand why you walk around with a towel on May 25th.

Reason #100 - Conventions.

Reason #88 - Lightsaber battles in the park.

Reason #89 - Having your first married fight be a lightsaber duel at your wedding reception...

Reason #90 - Having friends awesome enough to bring their lightsabers and act as an honor guard arch as you leave your wedding.

Reason #24 - Getting to learn a wide variety of crafting/sewing skills from your multi-talented geeky friends.

Reason #36 - Having your laugh and sneeze compared to sound effects from movies.  My laugh sounds like a Veractyl call and my sneezes like blaster bolts...

Reason #37 - Having your laugh made the official sound effect of the group.

Reason #5 - It's fun!

Reason #63 - Because finding friends who love your geeky side is the best.

Reason #2187 - Having a friend where her hair in the Princess Leia ceremonial hairdo for your wedding.

Reason #31 - Apparently dancing the Macarena to the Imperial March while wearing a Twi'lek costume is highly entertaining for the audience (not to mention - a ton of fun :p).

Reason #72 - Finding your spouse through an online message board for your hobby (Star Wars - because someone dared him to talk to the next girl to post is a fun "how we met" story to tell.

Reason #91 - All my wedding ceremony songs were from Star Wars - except one.  It was from The Legend of Zelda.

Reason #7 - Creating a list of geeky things you've done on a pizza box while waiting in line in the freezing cold in Madison, WI for launch day of the Wii console to arrive...

Reason #95 - Being asked if you are a Knight that says Ni so often while in Castle Crashers gear that you incorporate a little Monty Python into your Masquerade skit.

Reason #103 - Competing in Masquerade with friends.  I fire bend at 13:26, but you should watch the whole thing.  Brother Silence (Cheeser) does a fabulous job!  And my hubby dons the completed Org. XIII cloak  and the key that he has spent much time on.  Plus, there were many  other wonderful costumes!

Video by Nathan Smith

Reason #9999 - This list will constantly grow. :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

FIAWOL - Speak Out With Your Geek Out

FIAWOL - "Fandom is a way of life."  This pretty much sums me up.  I'm a geek.  I'm proud of it.  Sometimes other people don't like that about me, but overall, I've found that most people don't mind.  They enjoy glimpses into my crazy geeky life as long as I'm not forcing them to join me.  So don't be afraid to share your hobbies - you might be surprised by who else shares them too.
Speak Out With Your Geek Out

The following questions were provided by the organizers of Speak Out With Your Geek Out.  Here are my answers:

 1. What words of reassurance do you want to share with people who feel embarrassed about their hobbies?

If you are having fun with your hobby - it shouldn't bother you if someone else doesn't understand.

2. Why are you proud to identify yourself as a geek? Can you do this in a way that doesn't condescend or sound elitist?

I'm proud to identify myself as a geek, because geeks have a lot of fun.  We really aren't that different from anyone else with a passion for something.  Take your die hard sports fan for example.  They deck a room (or their whole house) out in team colors and team items.  They host team themed gatherings (otherwise known as a Game is on).  Many will dress in their favorite team colors and a proud few will even deck themselves out in face paint.  Some also immerse themselves in virtual games with the players they love (ex. Fantasy Football).  I'd propose that they are similar to fans of other genres.  I will use one of my main fandoms, Star Wars, as a comparison.  My husband and I have personally decked out much of our house with Star Wars themed items - from my Star Wars apron and cookie cutters to the coffee table my husband is currently constructing to hold our LEGO Star Wars Ultimate Collector's Millennium Falcon.  We've hosted Star Wars RPG nights and helped organize social gatherings for the Spokantina (the local Star Wars Fan Force that I helped found).  My husband and I, not only wear the geeky Star Wars t-shirts, but we costume.  In this fandom, he has a Jedi costume and I have a Sith Twi'lek and am working on a "ride-able" Tauntaun.  As far as virtual games go, we've both played many Star Wars themed video games and have also participated in online Role Playing campaigns (one of which ran for several years - I <3 my Jedi Outcasts family!).  So, personally, I'd place myself, as a Star Wars fan, on the same level as a die hard Sports fan.  Being a geek doesn't make you better than others - it just means you are getting a lot of enjoyment out of life that others who decide to hide their hobbies might me missing.

3. True confessions: If you have engaged in nerd rage or edition wars, what would you say to someone who said they weren't going to try your hobby because you were too negative?

I've never engaged in edition wars - other than siding with the Han shot first (though I'd argue "Han shot." period).  Mainly, I find these wars humorous (especially anit-Jar-Jar rants, but then, I secretly like Jar-Jar for the humor he brings - he's a bit on the silly side, like me).  I enjoy all my fandoms.  My fandoms include the ever "feuding" Star Wars and Star Trek (there is no reason you can't enjoy both), Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Avatar - The Last Airbender, The Legend of Zelda, Mario, and Pirates of the Caribbean.  I may geek out about some more than others, but I don't tend to rant about any of them.  If someone informed me I was too negative about one of my fandoms, I would ask them which one and why.  If it turned out that I truly was rather negative about it, it would probably be time to drop that fandom for me.

4. When was the first time you realized you loved your hobby (or vocation)?

Hobbies - hmmm.... my longest running hobby is probably crafting - which can probably be linked back to the first time I held a hammer... I'm pretty sure that was some time before I turned 5.

5. For professionals out there, how did you turn your passion for your hobby into a career?

Ask me this again a few months down the road - when my Mom's and my crafting store has been open for a while.

6. Remember a time when someone put you down for the hobbies/vocation you love so much. Now, imagine sitting down to a table and introducing them to your passions and how they make you happy. How would you do it and what would you pick?

I tend to show them my pictures of the various things I've done involving my fandoms or I tell them stories from conventions or RP nights.  I usually try to start from an interest that I know they have and try to highlight some things our interests share.  If they don't want to hear about it, I don't push the issue.  I'm happy with my hobbies - my happiness does not require outside approval.

7. Is there a hobby or vocation you think you'd be passionate about but haven't had the time/courage/opportunity to learn?

I'd like to learn to belly dance and think that I would have a lot of fun with it.  I've still got a lot of working out to do before I'd feel confident to sign up for a class.


 Also, because I am super excited about it.  I'm featured on today!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Leveling Up - Level 27 - Human - Bard

I turned 27 today.

Last night I celebrated with some friends and family with a BBQ.  Today, I spent the morning with my mom discussing the online business we are starting (selling crafty creations).  My late afternoon was spent at work.  Now hubby and I are ordering pizza and plan on playing a board game after dinner.  This weekend we will have some more friends over to celebrate with a board game night.  It is always wonderful to catch up with friends.

As for birthday wishes, I received well over 100 happy wishes from the various online communities I am a part of.  I even got a birthday greeting from a random stranger as I left work (because work gave me a balloon as part of my gift).

It was a nice day and I am surrounded by wonderful friends and family, on and offline.  So thank you all for making my day a special day.  I look forward to what level 27 has in store for me.  Oh, and because one of my awesome friends made me think about it.  I would allocate my skill points for this level up into Artisan (this would aid in the new joint business endeavor with my mother), Languages (because I want to learn more Japanese), Music (because I'd like to make progress on the violin), Craftsman (due to plans for an awesome Pai Sho table and wanting to finish a chain mail piece), Reflexes (this would be helpful in learning to fence as well as in generally staying on my feet :p), and Stamina (so that all of the above don't kill me).

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Recent Food Endeavors

Fun with food creations.

My recent food endeavors have included:

Using my Star Wars pancake molds for the first time. Probably shouldn't show them to my younger siblings... they might want to play with their food too...

Baking my first Pavlova - a very delicious Aussie/NZ dish (thanks to Mum for the family recipe - I can't share it, so please don't ask for it). There are several Pavlova recipes on the web if you'd like to try it. It's a yummy meringue cake topped in fresh made whip cream (not the stuff you buy in the store) and berries. So delicious!

Baking my first carrot cake (it was from a box). I made a double layer cake. One layer was carrot cake, the other layer was chocolate cake. This is the D20 cake in the pictures. The pans I used were a bit on the small side so I made cupcakes with the extra batter. I then used the cupcakes to shape the D20 for the top of the cake. It was frosted in cream cheese frosting and then I used sprinkles to do the decorating (cutting out printed letters/numbers and placing them on the cake before adding the sprinkles and then peeling them off for sprinkle free words and numbers. This was made for Joe's birthday as he said carrot cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting was his favorite. I couldn't find chocolate cream cheese frosting (and didn't think that all I really needed to do was mix in cocoa) so I layered the cake with the chocolate instead.

And the Discworld birthday cake for Nora which I detail here: Discworld Dessert

As I am typing, I currently have my second Pavlova baking. This time I do not plan on opening the oven door until tomorrow morning. Hopefully it will not fall this time (though last time was still yummy). My Mom is looking forward to the Pavlova as my Mum (Mother-In-Law) got her hooked on it during my parent's last visit to Colorado.

I've decided recently that I'd like to try a new dish each week (doesn't have to just be desserts). My friend even loaned me a Celtic cookbook to look through. But don't worry, this won't turn into a food blog - though I will probably share about my new endeavors.