DIY Gifts of Tea

Image by Rebecca Angel

After water, tea is the most popular drink in the world. Here in America, the number of tea enthusiasts is growing every year. Chances are there is someone on your gift list this holiday season that geeks out about tea. So here are some ideas to make them squeal like a tea kettle in delight.

A Whole Buncha Bags: This is a good one if you are planning on giving out a tea present to several people. Buy lots of different kinds of tea that come individually wrapped. Then give each tea person on your list an assortment. The fun of this present is presentation: inside a pretty teapot, clothes-pinned on a wreath, tucked in a knitted cozy, or nestled in an elegant box. You can expand by including a tea mug, jar of honey, spoon, and a book like the classic: The Book of Tea.

Weekly Tea Gram: Who doesn’t love getting real mail? And so sweet if you have someone who lives far away. Each week, mail this person a different kind of tea. Tea bags are so light and thin, you won’t need more than the normal postage stamp. Make it a seasonal gift lasting three months, buy a 12 pack of pretty greeting cards, and put it on your calendar so you don’t forget to do the mailing!

Personal Tea Blend: For teaists on your list, nothing but loose-leaf will do. Go to your local tea shop, or if you are not lucky enough to have a teashop, buy some online. Your grocery store should have the rest of the recipe items in the spices section. Put some thought into your tea person and what they might like. Put the blend in a Mason jar decorated with ribbon and label with their name as the blend, along with a teaspoon and tea brewing bags. Here are some examples. They make about 20 cups of tea.

Thea’s On Holiday:
2 ounces black tea
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 Tablespoons dried orange peel

Ayla’s Healthy Zen:
1.5 oz green tea
1/4 cup dried berries
.5 oz raspberry leaf
.5 oz nettle

Emma’s Treat
2 oz Rooibos tea
2 teaspoons of vanilla
2 Tablespoons cacao nibs
2 Tablespoons coconut flakes (unsweetened)
After mixing these together, be sure to let it air dry before packaging.

Peter’s Night Cap
2 oz chamomile flowers
2 Tablespoons cinnamon pieces
1 Tablespoon ginger
.5 oz anise hyssop (or dried licorice pieces—not candy)

Tea-infused Salts. These go for about $20/lb in the store, but are really easy and inexpensive to make yourself! The recipe is 1/2 the amount of flavoring to the salt. Again, packaging makes all the difference in a gift. Small glass bottles are the best for this one so you can see the pretty colors. The salts can be used as a finishing touch for soups, stews, grilling, or just some scrambled eggs. Any salt will do, but coarse salt looks nicest. Make all three for a colorful presentation:

Matcha Green Tea for a green color and light flavor
Lapsang Souchong for a dark color and smokey flavor (Russian Caravan works great too)
Rooibos Chai for a red color and spicy flavor.

Be sure to make extra of everything so you can enjoy the tea yourself!

Eat Like a Geek: Bonfire Night

In the United Kingdom, November 5th is known as Bonfire Night. Across the country, bonfires are lit and firework displays held to commemorate the foiling of the Gunpowder Plot way back in 1605.

There are many different foods associated with Bonfire Night although few of them could be called healthy. Among them are toffee apples, treacle toffee, and baked potatoes cooked within the fire itself, but perhaps the most classic Bonfire Night food is parkin.

Continue reading Eat Like a Geek: Bonfire Night

French Toast Taquitos? Yes, Please!

Image: Oh Bite It!

Thanksgiving is over, but that doesn’t mean all the holiday cooking is done. It’s not all about sitting down at a table with the family for a giant feast, either. Christmas morning is always a big deal in our house with quite a spread, and this year I’m thinking that spread will include these French Toast Taquitos.

The recipe comes to us from Just Bite It! who knows how to make your mouth water. You start off by cooking some sausage links and then rolling them in pieces of flattened bread with the crusts cut off, because crusts are icky. The whole thing then gets dunked in the traditional egg and milk mixture before it’s all fried up until golden and delicious.

You can sprinkle this with cinnamon or powdered sugar or go nuts and use both. I plan to go nuts. There will also be real maple syrup, not that fake stuff because no one wants imitation maple product on their breakfast. Oh, yes, these most definitely are happening in my house on Christmas morning.

You can see the full recipe over at Just Bite It! and have everyone smiling the next time you make breakfast for the family.

Ten Hour Slow Cooking: Pork and Three Bean Chili


It took me a long time to accept it, but the fact is that as a household, we just don’t have the time available to us that we would if I were a stay-at-home-mom. My husband and I both have full time jobs, and we have two children under four. This presents some challenges, and of course being the GeekMom that I am, these challenges are something that I attack with order, lists, and technology.

One of the life- and time-savers in my repertoire is my slow cooker. It may seem like an obvious option for the working mom, but I have found that most recipes out there do not rise to the challenge. The four hour recipe is most common, but as I leave the house at 7 a.m. and return close to 5 p.m., it is the ten hour recipe I need. I can switch the cooker on as I leave in the morning, turn it off as I walk in, and waste no time cooking that should be spent with my sons. I have no desire to get a timed slow cooker and let the raw food sit at room temperature for six hours before it starts to cook. Likewise I have no desire to spend thirty minutes at night or in the morning, pre-cooking food for the slow cooker, or to come home and spend twenty minutes adding ingredients for a burst of “high” cooking. Continue reading Ten Hour Slow Cooking: Pork and Three Bean Chili

Eat Like a Geek: Peppermint Toads


My daughter recently had a Harry Potter themed birthday party. The festivities of the day are for another article, but part of the Honeydukes gift bags were homemade Peppermint Toads.

My husband and I are foodies. Why do something food related halfway when you can do it right? This includes candy recipes that call for those Wilton flavored discs that are used as candy coating. Why make candy if you are going to use those? Continue reading Eat Like a Geek: Peppermint Toads

Throwing a Wonder Woman Baby Shower

Wonder Woman Diaper Cake / Photo: Kelly Knox

Last year I helped with hosting a much less traditional baby shower for my friend, who happens to be a geek like me. If you’re new to the whole baby shower thing, or you’re looking for ideas for your nerdy gal pals, here are a few how-tos for throwing a baby shower with a Wonder Woman theme.

Choosing the Theme for a Baby Shower

Continue reading Throwing a Wonder Woman Baby Shower

Dining with The Doctor: A Cookbook for Whovians

Image used with permission from Chris-Rachael Oseland

This year promises all sorts of Doctor Who goodness, what with the anticipation of the 50th anniversary episode in November. And about a month ago I started thinking about throwing a Doctor Who party for friends and family in an effort to celebrate all things, well, Whovian. In pondering food options, all I could think of were banana daiquiris, fish fingers and custard. Unfortunately, those three items don’t really make a dinner party particularly interesting. When searching, however, I came across Chris-Rachael Oseland’s recently published Dining With The Doctor: The Unauthorized Whovian Cookbook.It sounded like just the thing.

Chris-Rachael Oseland Image from

Chris-Rachael Oseland is a geek and tech writer by day for The Austin Post, and a geek culinary blogger by night. Oseland, author at Kitchen Overlord, was reintroduced to Doctor Who during the David Tennant years by her best friend, Anne, who insisted that she go back and watch from the beginning of the reboot. Being a freelance writer, and having independently published a book of steampunk cocktails SteamDrunks, she used Amazon’s CreateSpace to publish this second fan-focused cookbook. Independent publishing seemed to be the best route for this particular cookbook, as it allowed the book to be published within a year–in time for the 50th anniversary celebration instead of multiple years of back and forth with a publishing company. Oseland’s books are printed on demand, she receives a higher percentage per book from CreateSpace, there is less worry of running out of stock or being able to afford a first run. She recommends it as a great service for independent authors.

Dining with The Doctor: The Unofficial Whovian Cookbook might be one of the most entertaining cookbooks a Whovian could imagine. The book is set up as a recipe per episode, recapping important plot points and relating the dish to each episode either by featured food, featured alien, or some other obvious method. Let me warn you that unless you are at least remotely interested in Doctor Who, this isn’t the cookbook for you. There are no earth-shattering recipes in search of a James Beard award, the photography is all done in-home, and while I might tweak some ingredients in the recipes(Q-tips as food garnish?) the book is so much fun that I rarely noticed the downsides. Oseland has taken a lot of time to minimize the number of major allergens (peanuts and shellfish) in her recipes while still providing a large variety of choices for vegetarian, vegan and low carb diets.

A preview of Wood for Sheep: The Unauthorized Settlers Cookbook Image from with permission

The cookbook retails for $20 in paperback on Amazonor $5.99 for the electronic Kindle version. While I was provided a review copy of this book, I would have easily bought this for myself without prompting.

Oseland has a busy year ahead with two new cookbooks planned for release. In May, before the gaming season erupts at GenCon, she is releasing Wood for Sheep: The Unauthorized Settlers Cookbook, featuring tasty menus designed to resemble the famous game board and sure to please any Catan fan. This fall she plans to release the unofficial cookbook to the Walking Dead series, promising deliciously gory treats for the die hard fan.

Her blog Kitchen Overlord, also features an illustrated series of geeky recipes called Edible Art. Working closely with artist Tom Gordon, she takes favorite fan foods and inspires visually delicious versions of the original recipes. She has so far featured dishes from Firefly, Once Upon a Time, Lost, and other massively popular sci-fi shows.

Oseland promises to continue her Doctor Who recipes, and expects to publish a second episode based cookbook for the reboots 10th anniversary in 2015.


Eat Like a Geek: Pumpkin Bread

Image by Drilnoth, public domain; via Wikimedia Commons

It seems like the majority of the US experienced something lovely this week: the first hints of fall. And those dropping temperatures and scents of drying leaves have sent many of us to the pantry searching for the one flavor that defines the season: pumpkin!

I’ll admit, though, I don’t typically like pumpkin… unless it’s in pumpkin bread. And while many of the dishes so common during the fall and holiday season are full of sugar and other unsavory ingredients, this is one you can feel absolutely fine about serving to everyone in your family. It’s jam packed with healthful ingredients and so delicious no one will know it’s good for them.

This week’s installment of Eat Like a Geek includes a pumpkin bread recipe from our own Ariane, as well as my own variation on the theme. First, I’ll let Ariane take it away with the basic recipe:

Pumpkin Bread


  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice

Continue reading Eat Like a Geek: Pumpkin Bread

Eat Like a Geek: The Moscow Mule


Okay, so technically this is “drink like a geek”–and, right off the bat, let’s make it clear this is not a recipe for the kiddos (though you can certainly omit the alcohol, and you’d be good to go). In our house, we’re always looking for geeky adult beverages. I prefer things bourbon- and whiskey-based, but my husband Michael discovered this delicious concoction that’s quite good, and uses vodka. Its name? The Moscow Mule.

The drink itself dates back to 1941, when it was invented by “Jack” Morgan, who was President of Cock ‘n’ Bull Products (you can’t make this stuff up) and, not surprisingly, a producer of ginger beer. He and two others (including Rudolph Kunett, president of the Pierre Smirnoff, Heublein’s vodka division), in his words as quoted in the New York Herald Tribune, were “quaffing a slug, nibbling an hors d’oeuvre and shoving toward inventive genius.” The drink was a sensation, and was particularly popular among Hollywood stars and Hollywood would-be stars.

Continue reading Eat Like a Geek: The Moscow Mule

Eat Like a Geek: Hundred Years' Pork

Image: Romance of Alexander, Bruges, 1338-44 (The Bodleian Library, Oxford, MS 264 fol 170v) – public domain, via Wikipedia

We love food, cooking, and all the science and history behind it here at GeekMom. Many of us have so many unusual and fun recipes that we’ve developed through the years, we thought it’d be a good (and helpful) idea if we started sharing a weekly recipe with our readers. Some of these recipes come straight from our own test kitchens (like my recipe today), others are stand-bys that we’ve been given, inherited, or found. Either way, we hope they’re a fun way to put a little geek in your culinary arsenal.

Today we bring you a recipe for my Hundred Years’ Pork with a complimentary history lesson, to boot!

Hundred Years’ Pork

A pork roast in and of itself isn’t particularly special. But this roast is named as such due to the seasonings: English mustard and French herbes de provence. In this case, they two warring cuisines are actually in harmony. As meals go, it really couldn’t get much easier, and the results were a mighty success in this house (both with my predominantly French background and my husband’s predominately English).

1 4lb boneless pork loin
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
5 tbsp English mustard (like Coleman’s)
3 tbsp herbes de provence
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 500. Bring pork loin to room temperature (about 1 hour on the counter — it makes for quicker and more even cooking). In a Dutch oven or large oven-safe skillet, melt the butter and oil together at medium-high. Sear all sides of the pork in the oil. Remove vessel from heat. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and herbs evenly over the roast (use tongs, as it’s hot!). Spread mustard over the herbs, evenly over the roast.

Cook for 15 minutes at 500, then drop the heat to 275. Cook until internal temperature reaches 145 (for less done) or 160 (for well). Typically about an hour total cooking time, but depends on size of roast and oven.

Let rest for 15 minutes, and slice in 1/2″ segments. Serve warm with green beans or, haricots verts!

Image: Andrei nacu, via Wikipedia – public domain

Tasty Tidbits

The Hundred Years’ War lasted, in fact, a bit more than a hundred years (1337 to 1453). The root of the problem started centuries before, you know, during that little scuffle in 1066. If you’ve heard anything about this war, it probably has to do with the fact that Joan of Arc had something to do with the final French victory (though that battle was by no means the end of English/French conflict). Not to mention that during the war, the borders of France and England shifted so frequently it’ll make your head spin to try and keep up (see graphic, above, for a helpful visual aid). Most of my French ancestry comes from Brittany and Normandy, highly contested territory, so I always find the territorial issues particularly fascinating (does that technically make me part English?).

Another historical tidbit? The Hundred Years’ War is also known for the advances it ushered in in the way of military warfare. Yes, that magnificent longbow came of age during the continued strife, changing forever the way wars were fought. Everything from tactics to armor shifted dramatically as a result. Not to mention, they had a bit of a Plague problem during the war.

And that’s not to say that this ended the conflict. As we know, England and France have something of a spotted history, and some historians even argue that there was a Second Hundred Years’ War. (See, even then, people loved sequels.)

These Aren’t Your Grandma’s Sweet Potatoes

Image via Flickr user Dave Lifson

The first Thanksgiving we celebrated in California involved being away from family for the first time. It was 1996 and we had been married two years. For the previous holidays we were able to make the trip home, spend time with our families, and enjoy mom’s cooking. That fall in the Golden State, I decided that this Thanksgiving I would make the turkey, dressing, and all the fixings and we would have our friends over. I look at that meal now and just laugh. I was not a great cook then, but I did make one recipe that has become a staple for us. I was never a huge fan of the pureed sweet potatoes with the marshmallows on top that is a standard in our part of the country, so I went in another direction and found a sweet potato recipe that was very different. So if you are looking for a different, geeky, unusual way to served the orange tuber, look no further. Give these a try and you won’t be disappointed.

Sweet Potato and Smoked Cheddar Gratin
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, peeled and sliced thinly
2 to 2 ½ pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly
½ pound smoked cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Ground nutmeg to taste
1½ cups apple cider

Preheat the oven to 375º F. Brush 1 tablespoon of the oil over the bottom and sides of a 13×9-inch glass baking dish. Set aside. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until quite soft, about 15 min.. Remove from heat. To make the gratin, alternate layers of the onion, sweet potatoes and cheese. Sprinkle each layer with some salt, pepper and nutmeg. Be sure the top layer will be cheese, but set the final layer of cheese aside, to add later. Pour the cider over the whole gratin. Bake covered until the potatoes feel nearly tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, ½ to 1 hour. Then, uncover and bake for another ½ hour. During the final 15 min. of baking, add the last layer of cheese and bake until cheese is melted. Serve hot.
Makes 8 to 10 servings.

My shortcuts and tips:

  • I use frozen onions to save time. You can use dehydrated onion too if you rehydrate them but watch closely as they tend to burn quickly in the olive oil.
  • Use your food processor to slice the sweet potatoes and grate the cheese. Put the cheese into your freezer for about 10-15 minutes to help with the grating. Otherwise it is too soft.
  • The smoked cheddar cheese is usually with the specialty cheese in the deli area (at least in my grocery store).

Make Inside-Out Caramel Apples

I don’t have time for messy, fussy, homemade caramel apples. And purchased ones are simply not very fresh and so ridiculously big that they’re hard to chomp. That doesn’t mean I don’t hanker for the perfect flavor combination of apple and caramel.

So last night I came up with inside-out caramel apples. It’s so simple that I’m sure others have thought of it long before me.

Here’s my method. I used the smallest apples I could find, in this case nice crisp Empire apples we picked a week ago. After washing them, I carefully cored each one about three-quarters of the way down (careful to leave the stem end intact) and scraped out any seeds.

caramel stuffed apples, inside out caramel apples,
L. Weldon

I set the number of apples we’d need for a cheery autumn dessert in a oven safe pie dish, added enough water to cover the bottom, and baked them at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. The idea is simply to soften the apples a bit, not make them mushy. While my kids set the table for dinner I unwrapped caramels and carefully stuffed several into each apple. Since the fruit I used was small I only managed to fit two caramels in each opening. Larger apples could easily accommodate twice that number.

caramel stuffed apples, inside out caramel apples,
Image: L. Weldon

I returned the pie dish to the oven and let it bake until the caramels were wonderfully melted, another 10-15 minutes. Too long and the goo will bubble up and exit the apple opening, too little and the caramel won’t be enticingly melted.

Oh my. The caramel flavor permeated the fruit, making each bite delicious. My kids tend to prefer things plain and simple, but these treats beg for customization. If you’d like, add cinnamon or nuts or peanut butter or any other inspiration along with caramel as you fill your apples. And consider eating them with a creamy scoop of ice cream on the side. Yum.

caramel stuffed apples, inside out caramel apples,
Image: L. Weldon


GeekMom Kitchen Alchemy: Subversive Smoothies

healthy, fruit, vegetables, oatmeal

Several months ago my family’s love of fruit smoothies collided with a bowl full of leftover cooked oatmeal. I’m famous for my “kitchen tweaking” and while I was pulling out the fruit and juice to make smoothies, I opted for a little experiment. Why not add oatmeal to the smoothie for a little more substance and staying power? And while I’m at it, why not toss in some vegetables? My kids didn’t flinch. In their minds, it was just like any other smoothie I’d served up: tasty.

Subversive Smoothies

  • 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup sliced raw zucchini or cooked beets
  • 2-1/2 cups frozen mixed fruit
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2-3 cups juice, depending on how thick you like your smoothies (I like pineapple)

Put first four ingredients in a blender along with 2 cups of juice. Start blending, adding juice as necessary for desired thickness. Makes 3 generous servings.


  • I splurged on a VitaMix blender several years ago (and truly, I use it almost daily) but this recipe will work equally well with a regular blender.
  • As evidenced by Laura Grace Weldon’s Lick Your Veggies post, steamed carrots or greens would work, too, though I’ve not yet tried those.

New Thanksgiving Recipe Classics: Cranberry Orange Mustard

The humble cranberry

Don’t get me wrong, I love tradition just as much as the next GeekMom.  But when it comes to Thanksgiving supper, I like to slip in a new recipe to see if I’ve found a new classic.  This is my favorite time of year to cook and bake, because it is the time when my favorite fruit is readily available on produce shelves: cranberries!  Each year I keep my eyes peeled for innovative recipes using this versatile berry, and this year, I’ve found Cranberry Orange Mustard, thanks to Serious Eats.  We’re having a Thanksgiving picnic this year: turkey and dressing burgers, green bean casserole salad, sweet potato fries.  This may be the condiment those burgers need.

Do you have a favorite cranberry recipe (that isn’t a highly guarded family secret, like my cranberry pound cake)?  What other Thanksgiving traditions do you keep, or which have you tweaked in the recent past?

A Treasure Trove Of Recipes from MyRecipes

Image CC by floodllama via Flickr

If you are from the South, the traditional Thanksgiving menu includes sweet potatoes with marshmallows, green bean casserole, rolls, and, of course, the turkey. After moving away from home and my mother’s cooking, I wanted to change things up a bit. For my first Thanksgiving as a new wife, I went hog-wild and attempted to do a maple whiskey glazed turkey. Let’s just say it looked more like charcoal than turkey — but my husband did the best he could to peel away the outer layers and eat what was left. I think my mistake was I set my sights too high that first Thanksgiving. Over the next few years, I went back to basics and didn’t branch out from the familiar.

As I have become more confident in my cooking ability, I am always on the lookout for side-dish recipes that are a little unconventional for our yearly feast. One of my favorite places to search for new recipes is a site called MyRecipes. They have a phenomenal search engine that lets you specify main ingredients, exclude things such as wheat or nuts, select which course or occasion you are looking for and even select from 39 different cuisine types ranging from African to Irish to Native American. You can also specify if you are looking for recipes by convenience, such as kid friendly or freezable, by cooking method, by dietary consideration, or by publication such as Cooking Light. In addition, each recipe is given a review and rating by users so you can’t go wrong.

So if you are looking for some unusual recipes or just some traditional ones with a little twist, MyRecipes is the place to go.

And by the way, if anyone has that maple glazed turkey recipe, I might just be ready to try it again, assuming I have a fire extinguisher on hand.

A Recipe for the World’s Most Fabulous Pumpkin Bread

My Grandma Image: Jennifer D.

Yes, that is a pretty big statement, but this bread lives up to the hype. This recipe was passed down to me from my grandmother, who has been gone now for 18 years. My mother and I don’t know where she got it, but she made it every Thanksgiving and my mother continued the tradition until I took it up a few years ago. I often bake this bread in holiday foil pans, tie with a ribbon, and give as Christmas gifts.

And I have never given out the recipe. Until now.

What makes this bread special is that it has two unusual ingredients: coconut cream pudding and dates. I haven’t ever put nuts in it, but if that floats your boat go right ahead. Enjoy!

Grandma Martin’s Pumpkin Bread

Prep Time: Not quick        Yield: 3 standard size loaves

  • 2 ½ C. Sugar
  • 1 ½ C. Cooking Oil
  • 2/3 C. Water
  • 6 Beaten Eggs
  • 2 C. Pumpkin
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • Mix above in large bowl and set aside.
  • 3 ½ C. Flour
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. Allspice
  • ½ tsp. Cloves
  • 2-3- oz. Packages of cook and serve Coconut Cream pudding and pie filling (not instant)
  • 1 8-oz pkg. chopped dates
  • Nuts (if desired)
  • Mix above in a very large bowl. Make well in center and add the pumpkin mixture. Mix well. Pour into 3 greased and floured loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Use toothpick to check for doneness.

Waka Waka Waka: Pumpkin Pac-Man Pancakes for Halloween

Photo: Jennifer Day

One of the things I geek out about is creative cooking, and one of my favorite things to make in the Fall is pumpkin pancakes. Sometimes I add semisweet chocolate chips and sometimes pecans. Every once in awhile I go crazy and make them from scratch. I am always looking for new pancake recipes and even dabbled in making cinnamon apple ones. Grating the apples for that recipe took forever and my knuckles had a few injuries, but they were tasty. (The pancakes, not the knuckles!)

Recently I came across a blog entitled Jim’s Pancakes that combines geeky cooking with one of my favorite things: pancakes! Jim professes to be a dad that makes “cool pancakes” for his daughter, but the man is a pancake artist.

I was inspired by his site to try some pancake creations of my own. I mixed up a batch of pumpkin pancakes and put the batter into a mustard bottle that you can buy anywhere. Mistake number one. The mustard bottle top was too skinny to let the batter out and it kept clogging up. So, I got out my candy bottle that I use to squeeze chocolate out of. The hole in the top is much larger and it worked perfectly. (These are available everywhere, including that giant store that starts with a Wal and ends with frustration at the long checkout line.)

Pumpkin Head Image: Jennifer D.

I started out trying to make a jack o’lantern. I squirted out eyes, nose, and mouth and then filled in the shapes. It turned out okay, but tore in several places when I was trying to take it off the griddle. One of my blobs of batter took on a shape reminiscent of Casper and I was inspired to make a ghost. That ghost turned out so so. I had to make him so small that his eyes and mouth filled in with batter. Since his eyes filled in with batter, I had the idea to use chocolate chips for the eyes which worked pretty well. So I started racking my brain for other Halloween shapes and ended up with a simple moon and another ghost. Then, I got ambitious and tried a Frankenstein. Second mistake. I was too ambitious, but the shape looked familiar. I flipped that shape upside down, added a couple of chocolate chip eyes and voila!

Clyde Image Jennifer D.

Blinky, Inky, Pinky, and Clyde! These ghost shapes were easy to make and looked so cute with the chocolate chip eyes. I quickly made three more ghosts and then did a few pancake batter dots. You could even take it a step further like Jim does and color your pancake batter. Seeing as I was working on borrowed time while my six month old slept, I opted to not color the batter and just surprised my daughter with a little PacMan scene. Being a child of the 80’s, her GeekMom has already introduced her to the amazing world of Pac-Man. My daughter got to gobble up a Pac-Man vignette for her Saturday morning breakfast and we got to spend some quality girl time giggling over pancakes.