Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Did you miss me?

As one of my New Year's resolutions for 2014, I vowed that I would write a blog post once a week. As we can now see, that did not happen. Well, sort of. Because I wrote a LOT of blog posts in the last few months. I just didn't write them for here. The Raising Chaos tour just ended, and what a tour it was! I set out to have the biggest blog tour ever, and I may well have succeeded. I scheduled 48 stops with 44 bloggers, and I think 41 ended up participating for a total of 45 stops. You can see the full list here, but I'd like to offer some of my highlighted guest posts that I wrote instead of blogging here:

1. I gave THe GaL iN THe BLue MaSK my best writing advice. She also reviewed both Oracle and Chaos and loved them, so check out her blog. (Side note: I have typed her blog name like 3 times, and only now did I realize that it's the vowels that are lowercase. Apparently my pattern recognition skills are decreasing.)

2. I told Big Al's Books & Pals about the Earthbound Angels Easter egg. Well, actually, it's an all-my-books Easter egg, but I don't have any of the others published yet. Or most of them written.

3. On Fourth Wall Friday on Cabin Goddess, I described what would happen if I wandered into Carrie's diner sometime between Oracle and Chaos.

Those are some of the more notable stops, but they are all worth checking out, especially the reviews. There was not a remotely bad review in the bunch! (Though some people didn't like Siren. Surprisingly enough, she doesn't really care.

So what else have I been doing these last few weeks? Well, I've been gaming more, and locally, which is cool. Meeting new people, and all that. And I've been reading, but the only books I liked well enough to blog about are ones I owe reviews of to Net Galley, so they'll be getting their own special posts later this week.

You might also be wondering about the giant cake I am sharing pictures of. This is the cake I made myself for my birthday. I made it nearly a month ago, but the memory of its awesomeness lives on sufficiently that I felt the need to blog about it. You may ask why I made my own birthday cake. This is fair. Well, you see, I found this recipe for Midnight Binge Cake on Bakerita, and I HAD to have it. I mean, it's a cookie on the bottom, followed by a layer of chocolate cake, then a layer of cookie dough, then more chocolate cake, and another cookie. In between all those layers is chocolate frosting, and on top is milk chocolate marshmallow frosting. Who doesn't need that? But I couldn't very well make it for someone else at work's birthday, because that would be way too extreme. And I don't go anywhere else where there are enough people. So I made it for myself.

Now, let me tell you, making this cake was an exciting adventure. I made the cookies first, and they weren't so bad, though it took me awhile to locate the turbinado sugar in my grocery store. (Okay, yes, so it was with the sugar, but it was in a box and to the side and... Whatever. I found it eventually.) The cookie was difficult to cut through, but it was amazingly good. The chocolate cake was a bit labor intensive, with all its different bowls and makeshift double boilers, but it was well worth it. I will definitely make this chocolate cake again, labor and all. The real challenge was the chocolate frosting in between the layers. I had to heat up two separate mixtures, and then combine then with cream. Then I had to put the whole thing over an ice bath until it started to thicken, stirring continuously. The recipe said this would take 1-2 minutes, but it took me 30. One coworker commented that this frosting was her favorite part, but I don't know that I'll go to that effort again. As for the marshmallow frosting on top... Well, it says to use a stand mixer for a reason. Just about the time I got the frosting sufficiently mixed, my hand mixer started to smoke. This was a little sad, but also an excellent excuse to buy a Kitchenaid stand mixer. With which I am having some issues. But I shall sort them out soon.

I don't know how much baking I'll be doing in the future, because my doctor has put me on a low sodium diet. I KNOW! I won't list for you all the things I can no longer eat. (Or can only eat on occasion. Most of which I should probably only eat on occasion anyway.) But I'm trying to figure out some low sodium baking alternatives. If I get some low sodium baking soda, I'm going to try a low salt version of my chocolate chip cookies tomorrow. We'll see how that goes.