Sunday, July 31, 2011

SlutWalk Photos, Part 3... finally.

Too distracted to write an actual post, so I shall distract you with a final round of photos from last month's SlutWalk.  Because, well... why not?

You should all be looking forward to many ice cream recipes this summer, as the The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook has tons of delicious ice cream recipes, and I also just bought David Lebovitz' The Perfect Scoop, which includes such amazing titles as Guinness-Milk Chocolate Ice Cream and Margarita Granitas.  (I was on a quest for popsicle molds, and failed utterly... or did I?)

But, until then... photos!  These are mainly from the impromptu after party that took place at a bar in the Grove that was offering $1 drinks, with your first drink free.  Needless to say, I was tipsy before it was really a proper hour to be tipsy.

I feel so... overdressed.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Food Truck Friday!

Well, I've returned home briefly to await the repairman.  Our air conditioning went out last night, and both we and the puppies are wilting.  At least I got to go to my overly air-conditioned office.

But now I'm back, and thinking back to Friday, when we purposefully went out in the St. Louis heat, with the puppies, to the Food Truck Friday event at Tower Grove Park.

Food Truck Friday is through the St Louis Food Truck Association, and I happened to hear about it at work on Friday.  After explaining to Alec what a food truck is (apparently in Cleveland they're called "roach coaches."  Ew.), we harnassed up the puppies and headed out.

Of course, now I really want a food truck.  More than before.

It was hard to decide what I wanted, but I finally settled on going to the Mangia truck and getting the Arancini.  Hamburger, pulled chicken and mozzarella surrounded by rice, breaded and deep-fried.  
So glad I picked this.

Yeah.  It was amazing.
What I really, really wanted was to go back to the Cake Stop truck and get a French Toast and Bacon cupcake.  But by the time I got through the Mangia line, they were sold out.  Sadness.

This was a wonderful event, with a ton of people and their dogs.  Next time, we'll remember to bring lawn chairs.  Also, hopefully, next time it will be cooler.  But I'm definitely going back, wherever they set up camp next!  Alec wasn't the happiest with his selection, but he definitely loved mine.

This is just more proof that St. Louis has an amazing food selection.  There were so many different types of food available, from falafels to pizza to dessert to Italian to Mexican.  Something for everyone, you might say.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hot Chocolate, anyone?

It's hot out.  Really, really hot.  So hot that pole class last night was cancelled by unanimous vote because the studio was ridiculously hot.  The heat index has been over 100 degrees for the past week, I'm carrying on a love affair with each and every fan, and the puppies practically need a half-hour lie-down every time they go outside.

Oh, yes.  Puppies.  We are now foster parents to Madrid.  We picked her out on Tuesday from Stray Rescue so that they can continue to take in more stray dogs.  She's a complete sweetheart (though a little odd, just like Tolstoy).  We're working on finding a good home for her, so you should certainly consider adopting!  Or fostering.  They have so many dogs that need homes, both temporary and forever.

That would be Tolstoy, panting at her.

So sweet!

But, back to the fact that it is July in St. Louis.  So why, oh why, would I even think about making hot chocolate?

 Well, 1) because Alec specifically requested it.  And 2) because it's really, really delicious.  In fact, you should probably go make some.  And then lay in front of a fan.  It'll be worth it.

Hot Chocolate
(claims to serve 4, but we happen to really like hot chocolate...)

"After Harry's been spirited away in Mr. Weasley's Ford Anglia to the Burrow, he enjoys the rest of summer vacation with Ron.  On the last night before the start of term, he digs into a fabulous dinner prepared by fabulous cook Mrs. Weasley, finishing off with dessert and hot chocolate (see Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 5)."

1/2 c. water
1/4 c. granulated sugar
2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp instant coffee
2 oz. chopped bittersweet chocolate
2 c. whole milk
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Whipped cream, optional, for serving
Unsweetened cocoa powder, optional, for serving

Combine the water, sugar, cocoa powder, and coffee in a small saucepan and cook over medium-high, whisking continually, until hot and bubbling.  

Remove from heat and whisk in the chopped chocolate until the mixture is smooth.

Return to the heat and add milk, stirring until heated through.  Do not let boil.  You do not want to scald the milk, just to warm it.

Turn off the heat, stir in the vanilla.

Pour immediately into serving sizes of your choice (the bigger the better, in my opinion).  You can top with whipped cream and a sprinkling of cocoa powder, but I never get around to it...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

SlutWalk Photos, Part 2

More pictures!  There will probably be one more set after this.  Also, the RFT has a ton of great pictures.  And I may possibly be seen in several of them!

Favorite sign of the march.

Organizer of SlutWalk St. Louis, Brenna Peters!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

SlutWalk Photos, Part 1

SlutWalk was, first of all, amazing.  I'm so glad I went, despite being very pouty and annoyed that morning over my oven that was refusing to work.  I almost wanted to stay home, but then remembered that I'd blogged about how I was going.  So... I got up, put on my Rosie the Riveter ("Yes we can say no!") outfit, and headed over.

It was such a great experience.  Men, women, cross-dressers.  People wearing pasties and not much else, people wearing normal everyday clothes, people covered from head to toe.  Right before we were getting started, our police escort left.  But we marched down Manchester anyway, albeit sticking to the sidewalks.

It wasn't a big ordeal.  I doubt if there was any coverage on it besides from the RFT, but it was something.  A start.  And besides, it was certainly a fun way to spend a Saturday morning with friends.

So here's a first set of my pictures from the day.  More will come soon.
Katrinia Dohl, protector of SlutWalk

Not even sure if they were there for SlutWalk or not, but... their shirts were awesome.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Warm and Hearty Mulligatawny Soup and Irish Soda Bread

Here is it!  (Finally!) The first of my Harry Potter meals, which I have now been eating since... last weekend?

But I've been a busy Bonnie.  Between work and play and cooking, there's hardly any time for blogging.  But now I'm drying off from this morning's SlutWalk and I can't do any cooking, as my oven is apparently on strike, so... here I sit, Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook open in front of me, ready to share.

And so, up first?  A delicious soup!

I very much enjoyed this soup.  The chicken was perfectly tender, the broth was delicious, and just... yes.  I would make it again (and remember to add the rice in.)

Warm and Hearty Mulligatawny Soup
from the Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook
(Serves 6)

"The last day of Aunt Marge's visit, Aunt Petunia serves soup, which Harry manages to get through uneventfully before finally losing it and blowing up Aunt Marge (see Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 2)."

2 tbs vegetable oil
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, rinsed and patted dry
1 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, sliced
2 celery ribs, finely chopped (I sliced mine, as I prefer to be able to see my veggies)
6 c. water
1 tart apple (I used a Granny Smith), peeled, cored, and diced
1 tbs curry
1 tbs salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 c. cooked long grain white rice (I... well, forgot this.  Whoops)
Shredded sweetened coconut, optional, for serving

Heat the oil in a large soup pot.  On high heat, sear the chicken on both sides until golden and crispy (approx 4 minutes).  Remove the chicken and set aside.

Reserve about 2 tbs fat.  Add onions, carrots, and celery, stirring over medium until the onions have softened (approx 4 minutes).  Add the water, apple, and spices.

Add the chicken back in.  Bring everything to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 40 minutes, until the chicken is deliciously tender.  Take the chicken back out of the soup, get rid of the skin and the bones, and cut the chicken up in to bite-sized pieces.  Return it to the pot.  Let it simmer until heated through.

At this point, you can use a wide spoon to skim the fat off the surface.  Then stir in the rice, unless you're me. Then you can forget the rice completely, and eat the soup without it.  If you want, sprinkle a small handful of coconut over each serving.

And, of course, nothing goes better than soup than some bread.  I tried out the Irish Soda Bread from the book, and, honestly... it wasn't my favorite.  I have another recipe that I've made several times that is just absolutely wonderful, and this just didn't quite compare.  It looks yummy, though!

Irish Soda Bread
adapted slightly from the Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook
(Makes 1 loaf)

"Mrs. Weasley always seems prepared when it comes to food.  Harry can burst in on her in the middle of the night and she'll still be able to serve him a nice meal.  Fresh bread is part of it when Dumbledore brings Harry to the Burrow after taking him to Professor Slughorn's (see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 5)."

4 c. all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp salt
3 tbs sugar
1/2 stick (4 tbs) butter
1 large egg, beaten (or two eggs, separated, if you follow my lead as described below)
1 1/2 c. buttermilk *

*A tip on buttermilk: Don't have it?  No problem.  For every cup of buttermilk needed, you can substitute 3/4 cup milk and 1 tbs vinegar or lemon juice (I always use vinegar).  Leave out on the counter 15 minutes until curdled, or stick it in the microwave for about 20 seconds.

Preheat the oven to 425 F and grease and flour a 9 inch round baking dish.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, and sugar.  Rub in the butter with your fingers until it is completely mixed in.  Stir in the egg and buttermilk with a wooden spoon until a dough begins to form.  

Turn onto a floured surface and knead briefly to bring it all together.  Form the dough into a round and dust with a bit of flour.  Place the dough in the prepared pan and use a sharp knife to score an "x" in the top.

This is not in the recipe, but I then beat another egg and brushed it over the bread to add more color and crispiness.

Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 F and bake another 40 minutes until the bottom of the bread is a dark golden brown.

Cool completely on a wire rack.  Unless you're me.  Then you'll wait 5 minutes, break off a piece, and start eating.  Patience with food has never been my strong suit.

Friday, July 15, 2011


SlutWalk is coming to St. Louis tomorrow.

I, for one, am going to be involved.  Not because I've been called a slut (at least, not to my face).  I am participating because the idea that a victim of rape or assault can at fault is ridiculous to me.  The way a person is dressed, or their reputation, or their attitude, does not take away their right to their own body.  A girl wearing a short skirt is not "asking for it."  Also?  Victims of rape and assault are not just girls dressed like "sluts."  They are children.  They are elderly.  They are men.  They are everyday people who were not even in a so-called compromising position.  They did not deserve to be assaulted.  None of them.

Of course, the St. Louis burlesque scene is going to be involved.  Because, well, these are boys and girls who take their clothes off in front of an audience and flaunt their sexuality freely.  What sluts, right?


Many of us will be marching tomorrow morning in the SlutWalk itself.  But there will also be a burlesque/polesque show tomorrow night at the Fox Hole.  I won't be performing, but I'll be picking up all the clothes strewn about the stage and cleaning the pole.

And you know what?  I won't be wearing a lot.

But you know what that DOESN'T mean?  It doesn't mean I'm "asking for it."  Because I'm not.  And it doesn't mean I'm a slut.  Neither does the fact that I pole dance and enjoy it a hell of a lot.

Come out.  Join us.  Wear what you want, whether it's a miniskirt or jeans.  Go to the workshops, or the march, or the burlesque show.  Participate, or just watch.

But this is important.  Don't ever blame the victim.

SlutWalk St. Louis

SlutWalk St. Louis Pole Dancing and Burlesque Showcase

SlutWalk St. Louis Workshops and Presenters

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Further Fame?

My dear friend Melinda has re-launched her blog at And the winner is, and she's featured both myself and the Ms. Lumberlicious campaign!  (I'm blushing, really I am!)

Her blog is delightful mix of, as she says, "whatever topic crosses my path," and I'm honored to be a part of it!  Melinda is a girl after my own heart, with a love of baking, pole dance, fashion, and so much more.  This is a well-written, thought out blog that you should definitely consider following.  You never know what you'll find there!  Check it out!

In other news, the first of the Harry Potter recipes and pictures should be up tomorrow, as I'm far too full of delicious chicken and wine to do so now.

Well... maybe just ONE picture...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Introducing Project: Harry Potter

I'm a girl who loves a theme.  This probably explains why I love dressing in vintage 40s style.  But really?  I love themes for everything.  Nearly all my birthday parties (and by all, I mean dating back from the very first) have had a theme.  Recent themes have included a Big Lebowski bowling party where I made cookies that looked like this:

Last year, I had a 40s-themed birthday swing dance party at Casa Loma Ballroom.  All my friends went shopping for vintage clothes and showed up for a night of live music, dancing, and drinks!

Photo courtesy of Matthew Prather Photography
Also, some of my favorite burlesque shows of late have been the delightfully-themed Randy Dandies shows, which tend to make the nerdy incredibly sexy.  From superheroes to adult spin-offs of Choose Your Own Adventure and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego, the Randy Dandies are constantly creative and hilariously sexy.

I also (surprise?) love themes in the kitchen.  Which brings me to this week's project:

Harry Potter.

This is where I descend in to nerd-dom.  While I may not have started reading the books from the very first release, I caught on quick.  I've laughed, I've cried (and cried.  And cried.), I've gone to midnight releases, I've dressed in costume, I've written fanfic (Yes, yes, yes.  Fanfic.), and I've clung steadfastly to my belief that Snape wasn't evil, just a delightful bastard.

And now the last movie is about to be released, and I can't believe how long this has been going on.  (The last book came out the summer we got married, four years ago.  We both went to the release and stayed up til 3 at my parents' house reading.  I continued to read through the night, and we finished together the next day.  And then took a very long nap.)  I admit it, I get a little choked up when I look back at pictures from the first movie and see how tiny they all were.

So, to commemorate this nerdy event in my life, I hereby state my intention to spend this week cooking and baking as many of the delicious recipes in the Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook as possible.  (And maybe some butterbeer, which is not in the cookbook.)

This book?  It's amazing.  I haven't made a single bad thing from it.  (Plus, it shares my new obsession with making my own ice cream.)

So, be on the lookout!  Because I've already begun!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Lumberlicious? Me?

According to Beyers Lumber and Hardware, I'm Ms. Lumberlicious for the month of July!  Beyers is an amazing local St. Louis lumber and hardware store that you should check out for almost any home or garden project.  For the past year, they have been doing a Ms. Lumberlicious campaign, using a different local girl every month to advertise a monthly special.  I got to cool off with a garden hose (July's special- a 50 foot hose for 11.99!) during my shoot; believe me, I was grateful!

It was a great time, minus the heat, and I look forward to the rest of the pictures that will show up over the course of the month!

Check out the rest of the pictures on the Beyers Lumber Facebook page!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Note on Improvisation

Didn't I just say that my two worlds often combine?  Tonight has been no exception.

I am a strict recipe girl.  I fully admit it.  I have never been one to just throw something together and see what happens.  It comes from being a natural baker, but it applies to my life outside the kitchen as well.  I plan things.  My pole performances are strictly choreographed, line by line.  I don't freestyle.  I don't improve, in or out of the kitchen.  I can adlib to fix a flub, but then I'm right back on track.

But lately, that's been changing.  At least, in the kitchen.  I suppose I've been seriously cooking for long enough now that I'm actually gaining some confidence.  I've started tweaking, adding to, and changing recipes depending on what I'm in the mood for.  I wanted a cream sauce for some gnocchi last week, so... I changed the recipe.  I substituted.  It turned out amazingly.  Tonight, I wanted meatloaf.  I found a basic recipe, glanced at it, and then... made meatloaf.  I added what I wanted, put it in the oven, and hoped for the best.

I had serious doubts.

But, you know what?  It was delicious.  (Tastes a lot like my mom's recipe, but what else do you expect from watching her make meatloaf for over half my life.)  I experimented, I went with my gut, I went from memory, and it worked.  It's not always going to work, I realize, but it's good to know that I can make something good without going line by line through a recipe.

And, since things in my life always seem to go together, pole class tonight was no different.  Michelle, that minx, made us freestyle to two songs of her choice.  (Her choice, note.  Not ours.  Even more out of my control.)  As soon as she mentioned freedancing, my heart dropped.  I hate being the center of attention unless I know exactly what I'm doing.  I hate looking like I don't know what I'm doing, and I hate the potential for messing up and, as I consider it, looking stupid.  I'm the kind of actor who wants a strict director with a very specific vision.  Improving with an audience?  No thanks.

But, again, I was pleasantly surprised.  (I bet no one else was.  After all, don't we all have more confidence in each other than in ourselves?)  I didn't look like an idiot (at least, I don't think I did), I didn't fall, I didn't stop, and I believe I managed to keep a smile on my face the whole time.  I listened to the music, went with my gut, and, when all else failed, fell back on the old standby tricks until I could think of something else.

Life imitates art.  Or, perhaps, food.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

An Introduction, and a Cupcake (Or Dozen)


Have a look around.  I'm just starting things off here, but here are the basics: my name is Bonnie, I bake, I cook, I wear vintage clothes, and I do acrobatic pole dance.

Before I begin, I would like to note that I am just as surprised that I cook as I am that I pole dance.  Just a few years ago, I did neither and didn't intend to.  I could cook a mean macaroni and cheese with hot dogs, but that was the extent of my culinary exploits.  And I hadn't hung upside down from a metal pole since grade school monkey bars.  But now that both are in my life, I feel that it is a much better life indeed.

Why, yes, I did match the cupcake liner to my outfit.

Burlesque and cooking aren't really so different.  Both are colorful, both can be sweet or spicy, both are helped along by a nice presentation and good music.

And, when done well, both should make your mouth water.

St. Louis is the perfect place to be inspired, both by food and burlesque.  There are so many little restaurants, and so many amazing burlesque acts that keep showing up.  I'm not entirely certain this is pure coincidence, because if there's one thing I've learned about burlesque girls and boys, it's that they love good food.

So, good food is, of course, where we will begin.

First up, we have one of my new favorites, based on one of my favorite cookies.  This is the snickerdoodle cupcake, and I think I mainly love it for its sweetly simple presentation.  And for the cinnamon.  They are featured in a pin-up shoot I did with the wonderful Rebecca Lenk (see first picture, above), which is also why I picked them to be my first post.

My husband thinks they're more muffin-like because they "don't have enough frosting," but I think they are perfectly sweet without sending you running for a glass of milk.  These tend to disappear whenever friends are around, so make sure you grab one or two before you serve them.

Now, onto the recipe!

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes
adapted from Martha Stewart Cupcakes, which is due back at the library, and which I must go out and buy my own copy.
(Makes 28 cupcakes)

3 cups all-purpose flour*
1 tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 heaping tbs ground cinnamon, plus 1/2 tsp for dusting
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 c. sugar, plus 2 tbs for dusting
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups milk
Seven Minute Frosting (recipe follows)

*Martha calls for using half all-purpose flour and half cake flour, but I've always just stuck with the all-purpose and everything's worked out fine for me.

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and heaping tbs. cinnamon.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, scraping down the sides with a spatula as needed.  Add eggs one at a time, incorporating each before adding another.

Beat in vanilla.  Reduce speed to low.  Add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two addition of milk, incorporating each addition before adding more.

Fill lined muffin cups 3/4 full.  Bake for approximately 20 minutes (I always find that they're done a bit sooner, so keep an eye on them), rotating tins halfway through.  A toothpick should be able to come out clean from the middle if they are done.  Let cool fully on wire racks before removing cupcakes.

Seven Minute Frosting**
3/4 c. plus 1 tbs sugar
1/3 c. water
1 tbs light corn syrup
3 large egg whites, room temperature

*This is half of what the original recipe calls for, but that makes 8 cups of frosting, which you certainly won't need for these cupcakes.  And since this frosting doesn't keep... why bother?

Combine 3/4 c. sugar, water, and corn syrup in a small saucepan.  Clip a candy thermometer to the side.  Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Continue boiling, without stirring, until the syrup reaches 230 degrees F.

While the syrup is boiling, whisk egg whites in a mixer on medium-high until they form soft peaks.  (A good way to test for soft peaks is to dip a spoon into the egg whites and pull it out, holding the spoon straight up.  If the egg whites hold a peak that droops slightly, you're perfect.  If they don't hold a peak, keep on beating, doing the spoon test periodically.)  Add the remaining sugar and beat to combine.

As soon as the syrup is hot enough, remove from heat.  With the mixer on medium-low, pour the syrup into the egg whites in a slow, smooth stream.  Raise the speed to medium-high and whisk until the frosting is completely cool and stiff peaks form. (Testing for stiff peaks?  Again, dip in your spoon and hold it up straight.  If the peak can stand upright without drooping, you have stiff peaks.  If not, keep going!) This should take about 7 minutes, hence the name.

Immediately pipe onto cooled cupcakes.  Martha recommends using a Wilton #1A tip, but any large, round tip should do.  I even used a non-round tip the last time, and liked the effect.  You want to form a large dome of frosting, topped by a perfect little peak.

Combine remaining cinnamon and sugar.  Dust on to the tops of the cupcakes with a sieve (I used my fingers).

These are best eaten shortly after frosting, while the frosting is still moist and creamy.  Since it's a slightly meringue-ish frosting, it gets dried out after a day or two.  But I still haven't had complaints.  Keep in an air-tight container, if there are any left!