Thursday Link Rodeo

Forget a roundup – this here is a link rodeo! It’s a collection of cool/exciting/delicious food news, recipes, and more that we’ve encountered recently. Yeehaw. Or something. 

Hosted by Egg Nog.

Image from

Image from

1. How to Make Your Own Egg Nog, from Epicurious.
2. A Dozen Ways to Upgrade Your Egg Nog, from Serious Eats
3. Egg Nog Panettone Bread Pudding, from Food Network.
4. Egg Nog Doughnut Muffins, from The Kitchn.
5. Egg Nog Pound Cake, from Southern Living.

A Crutch to Lean On

Right now I’m going through the horror that is finals, which is stressful enough on its own, but for me is the finale of a particularly difficult semester.

frustrated animated GIF

I’ve needed to fall back on a few stress relievers, soothers, or just plain ol’ distractions so I don’t just decide to never leave my bed ever again.

drawn by

Some of you may be going through the same hell, or just feeling the general stress that comes with this time of year, and I wanted to share with you a few ways I’ve kept myself going.



Snacking has shown to help keep you not only awake while studying, but has also proved to keep me from murdering everything in a 10 mile radius.

My go to de-stresser treats include:

  (trust me, this combo is good)

aaaand, anything you can melt cheese on/in. Such as quesadillas, grilled cheese, mac and cheese, bread, another piece of cheese…  You get the idea.


While studying or while needing to take a break from studying, I indulge in a lot of Netflix and YouTube.

Re-watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Netflix (without Fox’s terrible attempt at revamping) has been wonderful way to just chill out.

buffy animated GIF

If you’ve already watched Buffy and its amazing spin-off series Angel, then good job but I suggest it’s time you watch it again.

If you’ve never watched it before, then I think it’s high time that you do. Here’s a short list of reasons why you should, if the fact that it’s my awesome cat’s namesake isn’t enough of one.


Buffy says “Hey”.














December also happens to be The Yogscast’s holiday charity live stream month where they stream video games, and other stuff for hours and hours every day just so I can be entertained on a moments notice.

I guess that’s not their main reason and are instead doing it to raise money for charities like Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), Special Effect, End Polio Now, Oxfam, and Fuana and Flora; but I sure feel benefited.

I mean, with gems like this, the stress just melts away. For whole minutes at a time!



Dragon Age: Inquisition came out the end of November, and I’ve had to be very careful about rationing my play time, but when I do play, it’s so immersive that I’m completely able to forget about Calculus, Chemistry, and student loans.

Another delight has been my discovery that Telltale Game’s  critically acclaimed Walking Dead Seasons 1 & 2, and The Wolf Among Us are now available for free for Andriod tablet. I only barely started playing last night, but they will definitely help distract me the next couple of weeks as I anxiously wait for final course grades to come in.



Quick Egg Nog Pie


In what’s becoming an annual tradition, Brie and I hosted a Holiday Movie Night at our house this past Saturday. It’s serves as excellent motivation to finish putting up our weird and eclectic collection of Christmas decorations and really helps lock in the feeling that Santa is due in town really, really soon (don’t forget to finish up your holiday shopping!).

We started with a nice selection of goodies and several holiday shorts/cartoons (about 40 minutes worth). Then came the feature holiday movie: Die Hard! (Don’t tell anyone, but it was my first time seeing it…)

We kind of went all out last year, but I wanted something a little lower key this time around. And yes, I’m saying there are tasty things even easier than the Easy-Peasy-Rum Cake. And this egg nog pie is definitely easy.

The worst part, really, is letting it sit long enough in the fridge to set. Make sure you wait to put the pretty whipped topping on until it’s nearly ready to serve. Otherwise this happens:


Give it a spin, why don’t ya?

Quick Egg Nog Pie
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4-6 servings
  • 2 cups egg nog
  • 1 cup heavy cream for a really rich texture or regular milk for something lighter
  • 1 box cook & serve vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 pre-baked pie shell
  • 1 can aerosol whipped topping
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  1. Whisk together the egg nog, cream, and vanilla pudding mix in a medium pot over medium heat (you can add a Tablespoon of rum if you want to kick it up a notch!).
  2. Continue whisking until thickened and bubbly.
  3. Pour into pre-baked pie shell.
  4. Refrigerate until firm (about 3 hours).
  5. Decorate with whipped topping and nutmeg.



Thursday Link Rodeo

Forget a roundup – this here is a link rodeo! It’s a collection of cool/exciting/delicious food news, recipes, and more that we’ve encountered recently. Yeehaw. Or something. 

This link rodeo has been sponsored by gingerbread. :)


1. Know Your Sweets (A History of Gingerbread), from Serious Eats.
2. Dark Molasses Gingerbread Cake, from The Kitchn.
3. Gingerbread Snowflakes, from Epicurious.
4. Gingerbread Cheesecake Bites, from A Few Shortcuts.
5. Gingerbread Cupcakes, from Qwerty!

Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup


Apparently it’s soup weather here in the Bay Area, seeing as Brie just posted this delish beef stew recipe on Monday. It rained a ton last week (everything is so lovely and green!) and even more rain is predicted for Thursday/Friday. So – hearty soups, comfort food, and hot chocolate are in the forecast in this Qwerty household for the next few weeks at least.

I’m also so thrilled to announce that I’m full time freelancing again. After a short stint with a great group of people at Jelly Belly Candy Company, I am back working from home (it’s a good thing). This means more time and emotional energy to make food and publish recipes for you lovely folks. Also – puppy snuggles. :)

I missed her like mad while I was away. I mean, just look at this face.


I call that picture, “our lady of noms.”

Anyhoo, I finally had it in me to do some recipe exploring AND real cooking, so allow me to present to you this slow cooker chicken noodle soup.


It’s thick and lovely, subtle and comforting.

Here’s how you make it…

Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 6-8 servings
  • Large yellow onion, chopped
  • Frozen bag of mixed veggies
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 Tablespoons dried parsley
  • A few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 5 lb. whole chicken
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • ⅓ cup corn starch
  • 3 cups cooked egg noodles
  1. Prep your crockpot with a liner and fill it with 8 cups of water.
  2. Add in the chopped onion, bag of mixed veggies, chopped celery, and bay leaf.
  3. Mix your salt, pepper, garlic powder and parsley flakes in a small bowl.
  4. Now prepare to spend some quality time with the chicken - pat it dry, rub it all over with oil, then pat the mixed spices all over it.
  5. Place a sprig of thyme on top of the chicken, and place the rest inside the chest cavity.
  6. Lay that chicken down on the bed of veggies and water, set your crockpot to high, and cook for 5½-6 hours.
  7. Carefully pull the chicken out and place on a large pan. Allow to cool enough to pick off the chicken meat (separate it from cartilage, skin, and bone), and put the shredded meat back into the crockpot.
  8. In a medium bowl, whisk together ⅓ cup corn starch and 1½ cups of broth grabbed from the crockpot until thickened. Pour back into the crock pot.
  9. Add in the egg noodles and stir.
  10. Now salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy!





Slow Cooker Beef and Winter Vegetable Stew

Slow Cooker Beef and Winter Vegetable Stew

I’ve been craving a really good stew for several weeks now, and it finally got chilly enough that I just couldn’t hold out any more.

The end of the Fall semester  has had me pretty stressed and busy, but being able to throw everything into the crock pot  was so quick and easy, and incredibly wonderful once it was ready that evening.

beef stew resized1

My desire with this recipe was to make something super meaty with a nice supporting background of veggies. I definitely succeeded.

This stew was so delicious, and warm, and comforting, and amazing, and was a big hit with all.

Slow Cooker Beef and Winter Vegetable Stew
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 8 servings
  • 3 pounds cubed stew meat
  • ¾ cup flour
  • 1½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 sweet potato, cubed
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 1 parsnip, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 bay leafs
  • 5 cups beef stock
  1. Place meat, flour, salt, and pepper in the bottom of a 6 quart crock pot, and stir to coat the meat with the flour.
  2. Add in the remaining ingredients.
  3. Set crock pot on high for 6 hours, or low for 9-10 hours.
  4. Serve warm, and eat or freeze leftovers within 5 days.


I made such a large batch that I though we would have plenty of leftovers, but it’s already gone!

I highly recommend making this stew in the next few months; it will really warm you up

Thursday Link Rodeo

Forget a roundup – this here is a link rodeo! It’s a collection of cool/exciting/delicious food news, recipes, and more that we’ve encountered recently. Yeehaw. Or something. 

Image from My Baking Addiction. So pretty!

Image from My Baking Addiction. So pretty!

1. Gingerbread With Salted Caramel Sauce (pictured above). Holy wow. From My Baking Addiction.
2. DIY Chocolate Bark for Holiday Gifts. From Yahoo Food.
3. 7 Great Beers for the Christmas Beer Hater. From Serious Eats.
4. Puerto Rican Coconut Egg Nog. From Epicurious.
5. 10 Budget-Friendly Kitchen-Centric Holiday Gifts. From The Kitchn.

Iced Oatmeal Cookies

Iced Oatmeal Cookies

I don’t have much to say about these cookies, except that they are delicious. They will definitely cure the craving for that sweet cinnamon-y chewy oatmeal goodness. Way better than those hard crunchy oatmeal cookies from the store.  They would be great at a holiday cookie exchange. This recipe comes from Mother Thyme.




Iced Oatmeal Cookies
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup butter (softened)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar (sifted)
  • 3 Tablespoons milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray baking sheets with cooking spray or use a silicone baking mat
  2. Place oats in a food processor and pulse for about 10 seconds until coarse. (To have these cookies turn out flat, you don't want to over grind the oats. Just a couple quick pulses in the foodprocessor to break them up a bit. If the oats are finely ground, the cookies won't spread)
  3. Mix oats with flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg
  4. Cream butter and sugars
  5. Add in eggs one at a time then vanilla extract
  6. Gradually add in flour mixture until combined
  7. Roll dough into 2 tablespoon size balls and place on baking sheet spacing about 2 inches apart
  8. Bake for 10­-12 minutes, until the bottoms begin to brown
  9. Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely
  10. When the cookies are completely cooled mix together the powdered sugar and milk for the glaze
  11. Quickly dip the tops of the cookies in the glaze, let the excess drain off and place back on wire rack to let the glaze set up all the way
  12. Store in an air tight container


They also make really good ice cream sandwiches! Freeze the cookies and add your favorite ice cream, like a home made it’s it’s. Dip them in chocolate for an even more authentic it’s it’s.






Nom Nom Nom

Happy Thanksgiving to our US readers. Wishing you lots of love and joy today!