Almost as good as doughnuts! (Almost.)

But that’s only because nothing is as good as a doughnut – these Sugar Donut Muffins from Baking Bites are really very, very tasty!

I made the mini-muffin size and it’s very hard to stop eating them – I just keep going back for one more. And then one more.

And one more.

Time for answers!

Janis did a very impressive job sleuthing out the answers to my birthday puzzle – she got 6 of them right along with the theme of the puzzle (all things that happened on my birthday)!

The answers!*

  1. Des Moines was founded September 22, 1851.
  2. This is Samuel Osgood, the first United States Postmaster General, a position which was established September 22, 1789.
  3. This is a picture of the first American-made automobile, made by the Duryea Brothers, which was first displayed on September 22, 1893.
  4. The first issue of National Geographic Magazine was published on September 22, 1888.
  5. Bulgaria gained its independence September 22, 1908.
  6. On September 22, 1896, Queen Victoria became the longest-reigning British monarch.
  7. Wagner’s Das Rheingold, the first in his Ring Cycle, premiered in Munich on September 22, 1869.
  8. An early version of the Emancipation Proclamation was released on September 22, 1862.
  9. The Duke of York’s Cinema opened on September 22, 1910 in Brighton and is now the oldest continually operating cinema in Britain.
  10. I was born September 22, 1980!

*My “research” comes from Wikipedia, so it’s best to take it with a grain of salt. Don’t look at me like that – it was my birthday and if I want to be lazy and use Wikipedia as a reliable resource on my birthday, I can! 😉

In which I am a slacker

So I had planned to have a dinner party for my parents this evening, but by the time I had gone to choir rehearsal, made lunch for them, and gone to the market it was much later than I’d anticipated and I was pretty tired. So we rescheduled for dinner for tomorrow – I should have more time and energy then!

Here’s the lunch I did manage to make, anyway – pizzas. White Pizza With Arugula for my mom and me and Pizza Margherita for my dad (because he thinks he doesn’t like garlic [it’s not true – if you don’t tell him there’s garlic in something, he says it tastes good]).

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s dinner party!

White Pizza With Arugula for my mom and me (because we like garlic!)

Pizza Margherita (garlic-free for Dad)

Pizza Margherita (garlic-free for Dad)

I thought the white pizzas were very tasty – my mom, who usually likes everything, didn’t like the goat cheese, though. Dad gave his stamp of approval to the pizza margherita. The dough was very good and very easy – really do knead it with the dough hook for 10 minutes – it’ll start out quite tough, but after 10 minutes, it was smooth and elastic and lovely and just right.

New TV: Wednesday

ABC are very tricky! They aired the pilots for these two shows on Wednesday and then again tonight which would be perfect timing, but, alas, they’ll actually be airing on Wednesdays, up against Glee.

Modern Family (8:00 CST, ABC)

It’s the return of Al Bundy! Kind of. We’ve got an older man married to a much-younger woman, his gay son and his partner (and their adopted baby), and, I think, his daughter and her husband and three kids. So far it’s pretty clever and actually kind of sweet (without being saccharine).

My rating: I’m intrigued!

Cougar Town (8:30 CST, ABC)

A new sitcom from Bill Lawrence (the creator of Scrubs)? Starring Courteney Cox, Busy Philipps, and Christa Miller? I’m on board! The first episode seemed pretty cute – everyone’s likable and it has a funny (and slightly surreal) sense of humor. Hopefully it’ll keep up the good work!

My rating: My TV schedule’s booked pretty closely, but I’ll make room for this one.

New TV: Friday

Smallville (7:00 CST, The CW)

The thing I’m most excited about this TV season? Smallville is on Fridays now! Which means I can actually watch it as it airs! Trust me, it’s very exciting.

Lots of new developments will be taking place this season – Zod is in da house (I don’t know who Callum Blue is, but everyone was very excited about him joining the cast), rumor has it that Clark and Lois will finally hook up, and Brian Austin Green is on board playing John Corben (aka Metallo, apparently).

Some things I’m not thrilled about – Tess Mercer is still around (she’s so super-annoying – I miss Lex. And Lana. And Lex and Lana.) and Chloe seems to have been replaced with a bizarro Chloe. Hopefully she’ll be more herself in upcoming episodes – to be fair, she’s still getting over Jimmy’s death, so maybe as the season progresses, she’ll be back to her normal, awesome self.

My rating: Come Friday nights at 7:00 will I be out painting the town? No! I’ll be on my couch!

Tasty, tasty fall!

I have been feeling in a fall mood lately (yes, I know it’s appropriate), so I decided I wanted to make something. Something with pumpkin. And I knew exactly what that something would be.

I can’t remember now whose food blog I read about it on, but my clicking led me to Gesine Bullock-Prado and Confections of a (Closet) Master Baker. I’m desperate to read her book (she left behind a career as a Hollywood executive to open her own baker in Vermont), but until I can lift my book-buying ban, I will have to stick to reading her blog. And that’s how I knew what that something would be.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies (with maple cream cheese filling).

As you can see, I went a little overboard, both with the size of the pies part of them (I really need a scoop that’s between my normal cookie scoop and my ice cream scoop) and with the filling part (though just for this one, I went down a scoop size for the others), but they are super-yummy (even if I can’t eat an entire one).

And they taste just. Like. Fall.

I also learned a lesson tonight. Arthur likes to sleep on top of one of my kitchen cupboards. The only way for him to get down is to jump onto the counter. Where I had left my pies cooling. Yeah…I had to throw away four of them because they had paw prints in them. That’ll teach me!

New TV: Monday

How I Met Your Mother (7:00 CST, CBS)

I’m with Lily on this one – WOOOOOOOOOOO! Another returning favorite off to a good start. Ted is starting his professor gig where he promises he’ll be meeting the Mother and, more importantly, Barney and Robin are finally together! And super-cute to boot. Can’t wait to see where the season takes us.

My rating: Wouldn’t miss it for the world. In fact, in the showdown between this and House…this wins. (And speaking of House, I know it’s started, but I’m going to have to catch up on the second half of last season before I can start this season, but my mom assures me that it’s off to a good start.)

The Big Bang Theory (8:30 CST, CBS)

The boys are back from the Antarctic and the writers are trying to pretend that there’s chemistry between Penny and Leonard (trust me, there’s not). Sheldon is still adorable (I’m holding out for the writers to realise that Penny and Sheldon have chemistry) and Wolowitz and Koothrappali are as likable as ever. Still not subtle, but still one of my favorites!

p.s. – I have to say that I am not happy about their move to 8:30 – the hour in between is a wasteland of Jenna Elfman’s new sitcom (Accidentally on Purpose) and Two and a Half Men which leaves me with an aimless hour instead of last season’s one-two punch of HIMYM at 7:00 andd TBBT at 7:30. Boo!

My rating: Even the prospect of having to find something to do with an hour or face sitting through Two and a Half Men will not keep me away from The Big Bang Theory. And that says a LOT!

New TV: Thursday

The Office (8:00 CST, NBC)

It’s back! Big things are coming this season: Jim and Pam’s wedding, Jim and Pam’s baby, and…other things, I’m sure. They’re off to a good start with a very funny episode about office gossip which ends up inadvertently revealing Jim and Pam’s pregnancy.

Not much to say since this is a returning classic of NBC’s Thursday comedy lineup.

My rating: You know where I’ll be every Thursday at 8:00!

Just a side note…

…Josh Groban made a guest appearance on Glee tonight (Are you watching this show? Because you totally should be!) Here’s what I want to know, though:

How can Josh Groban be so cute (“Josh Groban loves a blousy alcoholic.”) and yet still be an emissary for Satan?!

It’s just not fair. (Watch Glee! Wednesdays at 8:00 [CST] on Fox! )

New TV: Thursday

Community (8:30 [moves to 7:00 on October 8] CST, NBC)

This is one whose pilot was “airing” on Facebook, I think, and doesn’t actually premiere until this Thursday (the 17th). It stars Joel McHale (from E!’s The Soup – a show I’ve never seen, but I know a lot of people love [and they love him, too]), one girl you’d probably recognize (though I don’t know her name), two girls you don’t (though one of them does look remarkably like Elizabeth Shue), two guys you don’t, and Chevy Chase. Oh, and a British guy that you’d recognize, but, yeah, I don’t know his name.

And I really, really liked it (dry humor gets me every time)! It made me laugh outloud and, I think, only 30 Rock does that (though it may be the wine I had with dinner talking – no, I think the show was actually funny).

My rating: I really hope that it stays as good as the pilot! Because I want to keep watching!

New TV: Thursday

The Vampire Diaries (7:00 CST, The CW)

It’s a little Twilight: The Series and it’s fairly standard CW fair, where high school kids have way more complicated problems than most adults do and are willing to talk about their sophisticated problems with equally sophisticated language and love triangles sprout with every ring of the school bell.

But since I’m still searching for a fast-talking, pop-culture-referencing, hyper-literate-characters replacement for Gilmore Girls and this is by Kevin Williamson of Dawson’s Creek fame, I think I’ll give it a try.

My rating: I’ll watch it for a few weeks. We’ll see how it goes.

p.s. – Look at their awesome PSA/advert – they’re gaining points in my book!

New TV: Wednesday

Glee (8:00 CST, Fox)

It’s time for new TV – I thought it would never start!

So technically, I’m very behind on this one – it had an early premiere in March and then again on September 9 – but two of the girls at work said that this was really good and I needed to be watching it. So, being the dutiful friend that I am, I have now watched the first two episodes and…they were right! I don’t usually go in for the whole High School Musical trend, but the actors in this show are really likable and the music is actually really fun – a bit on the cheddary side, but still really fun. It’s funny with a side of high school drama (between the kids as well as between the teachers). Super-fun!

My rating: I’m hooked – and you should be, too!

p.s. – My Fall TV Preview issue of EW FINALLY came, so I’m writing up my new TV schedule as we speak (mostly disappointing, but a few new shows I’m looking forward to, as well as the return of old favorites)!

More yumminess!

I know, there must be something wrong with me – all this savoury food instead of sweets lately! I blame Ezra Pound Cake who’s been posting lots of super-tasty-looking savouries lately, including this recipe for Baked Southwestern Egg Rolls (you’ll see that she says you can increase the amount of cheese to two cups, which I did, but then it won’t be a low-fat recipe – but given the option of more cheese vs. low-fat, I will always, always go for more cheese!).

That picture isn’t entirely representative of what the filling is like – this egg roll just happens to be heavy on the spinach. The flavors are good – just enough spices and spinach + black beans = healthy food!

The recipe makes, like, a billion egg rolls (or, if I’m honest, closer to 20), so I baked off four of them (turns out 2 0r 3 are enough for me at a time) and froze the rest. I’ll try to remember to let you know how unfreezing them goes.

Sunday was U2 day!

…AND THEY WERE AWESOME!!!!!!!111!!!!1!

THEY PLAYED A REALLY GOOD MIX OF SONGS FROM THE NEW ALBUM, OLD SONGS, AND…A SONG FROM ACHTUNG BABY AND ZOOROPA!!!! (Still nothing from Pop, but since I think I’m the only person in the entire world who likes that album, I can’t honestly say I blame them.)

THEIR SET WAS SUPER-COOL AND THEY MADE GOOD USE OF THE WALKWAY – YES, BONO DID RUN AROUND IT…TWICE EVEN! BUT I KNOW YOU KNOW WHO I’M ABOUT TO SHOW YOU A PICTURE OF…

YES, THAT BLURRY SPECK ON THE SCREEN IS THE EDGE! HE’S SO SUPER-AWESOME – HE’S WEARING OUR SHOES AND, WHEN HE WENT TO PLAY THE KEYBOARD ON CITY OF BLINDING LIGHTS, HE PLAYED WITH HIS PICK BETWEEN HIS FINGERS! HOW IS HE SO SUPER-AWESOME?!!!!

/crazy capslock/