March 31, 2017

Baltimore: (Re)Generation Who 3 and Fort McHenry

This month Dave and I went to Baltimore for a weekend with some friends to attend a Doctor Who convention, (Re)Generation Who. We went last year with this same group, and we had just as much fun this year. My friend Josh blogged about this year's trip much better than I did here.

I didn’t end up seeing too many panels. This year had more of a focus on new Who than classic Who, and the classic show is more my thing. I did attend two panels with Sylvester McCoy, and he is always entertaining. A friend of mine even asked him a question. Another friend lurked in the hallways and elevators dressed as a weeping angel. Her costume is amazing, and she scared quite a few people, I think.

Another friend hosted his own panel. Very exciting! It went incredibly well. I blogged about him here, but the short version is that a Doctor Who audio drama he wrote was produced by Big Finish, and his panel was about that.

A few of us took a break from the con on Saturday and took the Charm City Circulator, a free city bus, to Fort McHenry. I made a giant popsicle stick Fort McHenry when I was in fifth grade, so I was very excited to see it in person.

It’s also run by the National Park Service, so you know what that means…at least one stamp for my National Parks Passport! Woooo!

It was a great weekend. I’m lucky to have such fantastic people as friends.

March 16, 2017

Philadelphia Flower Show 2017: Holland

My mom and I took our annual trip to the Philadelphia Flower Show last weekend. The theme was Holland, so I expected a lot of tulips.

And I got them! It was tulip heaven.

My mom is a member of the horticultural society, so we got to go to the members' preview before it opened to the public. Wow, what a difference in the crowds! It was a much better experience. Sometimes the Philly Flower Show can get crushingly crowded. The members' preview was fantastic. We weren't getting bumped into, we could see everything, and there was space to move around.

The show this year was spectacular. It is one of my favorites of all the years. The design of the exhibits was really well done. It's like they stepped it up a notch this year.

There were tulips everywhere and windmills and bicycles.

I've never seen dark blue tulips. Of course, there were other types of flowers besides tulips, too.

But the tulips were the best. There were a lot of daffodils, which I didn't know were big in Holland. Overall, a tremendous flower show. I highly recommend going this year!

March 13, 2017

Burnt sugar bundt cake with caramel frosting

This past weekend I made burnt sugar bundt cake with caramel frosting from Baked Explorations.

It was delicious!! However, I didn't follow the recipe exactly because I had a caramel disaster when I was making the burnt sugar part. Cooking the sugar went okay, and then when I added the cream and it clumped up I was worried, but it eventually melted into a nice caramel. Then it was time to add the coconut milk. It turned into a giant hard blob of caramel.

I had store-bought caramel in the fridge from the last time I tried to make caramel for something from this cookbook and had to run out and get it when I had another caramel disaster. So I just combined that with the coconut milk and lemon juice and soldiered on.

The cookbook offered a substitution of vanilla extract for the rum in the frosting, and that's what I did. The cake was really, really good. Everyone loved it. I'll definitely make this again.

March 4, 2017

Ziti with broccoli rabe and turkey sausage

I've been wanting to try more new recipes lately, so I went with this pasta dish from Lidia's Favorite Recipes, by Lidia Bastianich.

It was easy and so tasty! Okay, so that's supposed to be sweet Italian sausage, but I substituted sweet Italian turkey sausage instead. Still yummy! Broccoli rabe is always good, of course. It also called for garlic, red pepper flakes, and parmigiano reggiano, which all combined to add a nice flavor.

I can't wait to try more recipes from this book!
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