I really don't like to take breaks from my band, actually. And it wasn't a real break. We still practiced and we've been working on a new song. But it's been sloooow. I knew we'd all be stressed to the max if we tried to juggle family gatherings, weddings and birthdays (which all seemed to fall right around Christmas) with recording.
So it is over, but band life has started a-new!
Now, to recap my New Years celebration:
I opted for a small gathering because I just couldn't deal with the pain of planning a huge menu, spending lots of money and inviting people that probably already had other plans. So I kept it to close friends, a couple of which couldn't make it, of course. But it didn't stop me from having a good time.
We ate yummy snacks, a hearty dinner, a sweet dessert while all the while Kate and Mike mixed up some drinky drinks. I don't know if I should say fortunately or UNfortunately when I say I didn't even get drunk. I had plans to because I rarely ever drink and I thought this would be a great yearly opportunity, but I was too darn tired! But the food and the company made everything worth while.
Again, I made my pizza recipe from Vegan Italiano and it came out divine. Of course, I didn't think to squeeze the tomatoes until my cousin told me to after the fact, so the middle was a little soggy again in some parts, but I AM making progress because most of the pizza was sturdy and able to be held just fine without dribbling onto the dish.
I really like to lay the goods on thick! I basted the dough with olive oil, spread on some organic, salt-free tom sauce, threw on some fresh tomatoes, zucchini, asparagus, onions, white mushrooms, vegan mozzarella (great stuff) fresh basil, oregano, pepper and a dash of salt.
The mozzarella didn't completely melt as the package promised it would at 500, so I am going to broil it next time. I figure if that doesn't work, nothing will.
Everyone thought the crust was the best part (I agree, it did bake very well). My cousin said it was the best pizza she's ever had. I think that's a little crazy to say, but she wouldn't lie about such things. She is very honest (she dissed a pie crust of mine once before) so I know she meant it. Then again, she was pretty tipsy at the time! It was very good, though, and I look forward to trying new toppings. All suggestions are welcome!
For dessert, cupcakes! And I finally got to use my much anticipated cupcake tower.
I can't think of any item on earth less ridiculous, but I LOVE it! I think it works for weddings, formal parties and birthdays if you don't want to make a cake. Other than that, it's pretty much unnecessary. But you know what? I don't care! I love it!
It really makes your cupcakes look more professional, even tastier, as it is quite the regal display. If you happen to have some extra cash burning a hole in your pocket, I recommend getting one of these and throwing a party just so you can use it.
I made the yummy chocolate cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World again, this time adding 1/2 tsp of peppermint extract. For some reason, New Years makes me think of mint. Maybe the confetti looks glitzy, which in turn looks sparkley, which in turn makes me think of mint. I don't know. But I made some butter cream frosting from the book as well and using my tips, piped a bunch out on top. I discovered that homemade frosting is very smoothe and needs to put in the fridge before throwing it in a pastry bag. Otherwise (like part of Kate and Robyn's wedding cake) the shapes will not be shapes at all, but liquidy blobs. So throwing the frosting in the fridge for ten minutes hardens it just enough to get the shapes from your tips.
To finish it off, I used some India Tree blue sugar crystals for sprinkling. The color blue also reminds me of New Years. I'm not sure where that association comes from.
Everyone crashed at my house and I was very happy about that because Kate and Robyn brought breakfast! They made jelly donut muffins- which I've been meaning to try forever- using a scrumptious blueberry filling.
Look at it oozing! :)
I saved the best for last:
Octopus coffee cake!
No, there's no squid in it, silly! But it IS shaped like an octopus. How awesome is that!? I love these girls. They never cease to please and amuse.
I took it at different angles because I couldn't believe how awesome it looked. I've got to get me a cake pan like this!
(Look at the eyes!)
The taste was just as awesome as the visual. It was a brown-sugary coffee cake. Not usually liking coffee cake, I actually enjoyed this one immensely. It had walnuts in it (as you can see in the eyes) and walnuts happen to be my favourite nut. A cup of chocolate soy milk went splendidly with it.
So I know I promised a couple of you that I would post my hot cocoa recipe, but I foolishly left the recipe at home. I remember most of it, but I don't want to screw things up. So I'll write myself a note to get it online for ya, next entry.
Now, I have a question for all of you. To your best knowledge, do raw mushrooms spread toxins in your stomach and eat away your stomach acid? I wouldn't think so because I never get stomach aches when I eat them, but a certain someone told me this and I'm having a hard time believing it. Or wanting to believe it, really. :-/
Anyway, I hope all of you had a very Happy New Year and may you be blessed with success, prosperity, good health and most importantly- happiness!