Friday, November 30, 2012
I did it! NaBloPoMo success--30 posts in 30 days. I'm still trying to decide if I want to continue the daily posting into December, but it's really nice to know that I can manage it if I put my mind to it. My goal is to avoid getting hung up on being perfect, and just write more often than I did before this month.
I was tempted to wait on posting about the Gingerbread Cupcakes until I could get a better picture. But that would have taken a while, since I would have been tempted to make more cupcakes first. Since I wanted to take most of them to work but keep a few for us, I increased the recipe by half so I got 18 regular-sized cupcakes. The only ingredient that was a little tricky was the egg. I cracked an egg into a small bowl and beat it to combine the yolk and white. Then I measured out about 25 grams of it to add to the batter along with the other whole egg. It worked out pretty well. Other than that, the recipe was pretty straightforward to follow. My cupcakes took 20 minutes to bake. For the frosting, I only used 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, since I was using high-oil Vietnamese cinnamon. I only ended up adding a couple teaspoons of milk to the frosting, since I wanted it pretty thick for piping. One thing to note is that I didn't have to increase the ingredients for the frosting. The original amounts yielded more than enough frosting for 18 cupcakes.
The verdict? These were definitely a hit at work--and a nice change from chocolate. The cupcakes were quite tasty on their own--nice and spicy--and the frosting was very good, too. The cinnamon kept it from tasting overly sweet. Both the cupcakes and frosting are going on the make-again list.
Thursday, November 29, 2012
G managed to be sick on days that she had off from school anyway. B, on the other hand, missed school on Monday and Tuesday. As a result, we've been paying for it yesterday and today. She's had a bunch of math classwork and homework to catch up on, as well as a test that she ended up bringing home today. Figure in the facts that she still isn't feeling well and that she's a drama queen at the best of times, and you end up with me spending the better part of four hours (over two days) dealing with her as she's been sitting at the kitchen table complaining.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
..or at least the cookies. =) I had a meeting down in Austin today, and got out early enough to run a couple of errands before I had to head home. Stop number one was at World Market, since I was just about out of Andes Peppermint Crunch bits after baking cookies last night. Central Market had them the past couple years, but I haven't seen them there this year, even though there are plenty of other holiday items out. So I did some searching online to see where I might get them, and was successful in purchasing several bags this afternoon.
My other stop was at my awesome local baking supply shop, Make it Sweet. I was reading the December issue of Bon Appetit over the weekend, and there's a great cookie article in there from the wonderful Dorie Greenspan. The recipe for Speculoos Buttons is high on my list of holiday recipes to try, and I was inspired to search out some interested sugars to use for decorating. It's hard to tell from my picture, but I found pearlized sparkling sugar in assorted colors--it looks really neat. The great thing is that Make it Sweet has all sorts of sprinkles, etc. available in bulk, so I was able to try out several without spending a lot of money.
Monday, November 26, 2012
I love the smell of bread baking. It always puts me in a good mood. There's just something so satisfying about making my own bread. This recipe is a favorite of mine, in part because it's made all by hand--no mixer involved. It was a good choice for a lazy afternoon while I was home with a sick kiddo. I usually prefer rolls for sandwiches, but sometimes a hearty white sandwich bread is just want you need or want. I had a variation on a grilled cheese sandwich for dinner, and it was delicious. If you'd like to try this Simple Milk Loaf for yourself, my friend Nancy has the recipe on her bread blog.
Sunday, November 25, 2012
My girls were quite interested in these holiday marshmallows. We had to have hot chocolate this morning to go with them. I'm glad that they had something to boost their spirits, because it's been a germ-filled weekend around here. G was sick (fever and icky cough) Friday and Saturday. She seemed a lot better today, but was still coughing. B complained of various aches and pains off and on for a couple of days, but I put it down to her usual drama about everything. Then she got up from rest time this afternoon with a temp of almost 102º. *sigh* Here's hoping that whatever virus is making the rounds decides to skip the adult members of the household. *fingers crossed*
(And for those who might be wondering, these marshmallows aren't flavored like some of the other special edition ones; they taste like the white ones.)
Saturday, November 24, 2012
I have a fridge full of Thanksgiving leftovers, yet this was my lunch. That's because eating the meal once is about all I'm up for. I just don't like turkey that much. So my husband gets the leftover dinner items to eat for lunch, and I eat the leftover pie for breakfast. =) I had to work today, and since I don't have that many employees working on Saturdays, it's often hard for me to sit down to eat lunch. This actually worked out quite well for grazing. I had cinnamon sugar pecans, dried cranberries, sesame bagel chips, and some slices of a nice cheddar. (Not pictured--miniature Hershey bar.) Mmm, a grown-up lunchable.
Friday, November 23, 2012
My favorite part of Thanksgiving? That would be eating leftover pie for breakfast the next day. I did that this morning. This piece is actually my dessert. Yes, pie twice in one day. That's why I only make pie a couple times a year. Since my husband isn't that big a pie person, I get to eat most of it. I can't afford to do that too often. =)
I was talking with someone the other day about baking, and she asked my what my specialty is. I thought about it for a minute, and told her that I don't really have one. That's true in the sense that I like to make lots of different baked goods, and I'm good at a lot of them. But if I had to pick a favorite, it would be pastry--anything that ends up buttery and flaky. I'm actually getting pretty good at making my own puff pastry and croissant dough. Fortunately, my other favorite is yeast bread, and most of the ones I make are lean enough to offset all the butter. I'll have to put some of those on the baking agenda for this weekend, I think. But for now, I'm going to go finish my dessert.
Thursday, November 22, 2012
Happy Thanksgiving! No new recipes for me today, just slight variations on some old ones. For me, the best thing about food at Thanksgiving is the pie. I don't make it all that often, because I'll want to eat it all, and I know how many calories there are in all-butter pie crust. =) Okay, I'll want to eat it all if it's the right kind of pie. The pie you see above, which is Caramel Pumpkin Pie, is not for me. I don't actually like pumpkin pie. But my husband loves it, so I make it for him. You can read about my previous experiences with this Dorie recipe here. What I did differently was to make mini pies this year. I bought a couple of really cute 7" pie plates at Crate and Barrel a couple years ago, and I'm pretty sure this is the first time I've used them.
I also made apple pie, since that's my favorite. You can read some of my ramblings about apple pie here. I started off making my usual recipe, which isn't really one recipe, but pieces from several recipes, all put together. The crust is an all-butter one that originally belonged to a freeform fruit tart from Cook's Illustrated. The filling comes from my Betty Crocker cookbook. And I do a crumb topping--my current favorite is the one from this Epicurios recipe. My only change this time around was to rub the seeds from a vanilla bean (I got a whole bunch at Costco recently) into the sugar that I used in the filling. The result was quite tasty.
The best part of my day was early this morning, though, when I found out that Gillian made me this:
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Monday, November 19, 2012
One of the other places Gillian and I went yesterday was Crate and Barrel. They're still focused on Thanksgiving (which is good), but the other holiday stuff is starting to creep in. We found these cute mugs, and couldn't pass them up. We're amassing quite the collection of C&B seasonal mugs.
Sunday, November 18, 2012
All work/baking and no play makes Di a dull girl. So this weekend, we had some fun. =) B&G have been bugging me to go to the movies, so that's what we did yesterday morning. Wreck-It Ralph was quite entertaining. And I managed to get a good candid picture of my girls afterwards, which is rare. Gillian and I also had a fun day today. We went out to run a few errands, and were gone for over three hours. A lot of that was because we stopped into Williams-Sonoma shortly after they opened, and stumbled upon a demonstration on baking pies. Gillian was pretty impressed that we already knew how to do the stuff being presented. She was also happy to sample the end products. I think I'll have a helper when it comes to making dessert for Thanksgiving.
Saturday, November 17, 2012
Today's muffins were inspired by using up stuff in my fridge. I had a bunch of cream that needed to be used in something. What does that have to do with muffins? Well, with the help of a bit of buttermilk and a bunch of time, I turned the cream into creme fraiche. Of course, once I had that on hand, I had to find some recipes to use it. Eat Your Books to the rescue! When I searched for creme fraiche and muffins, one of the first recipes to come up was Chocolate Chunk Muffins from The Essence of Chocolate by John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg. As much as I love chocolate, I don't pull that book off the shelf often enough.
Baking muffins also gave me a chance to try out something new that I bought recently. I've eyed the tulip-shaped cupcake papers in the KAF catalog on more than one occasion, but couldn't decide if I wanted to get them. Then recently, my local grocery store started carrying these from PaperChef. As I've mentioned before, I have a habit of saving things instead of using them, and I'm trying to do better. =)
The verdict? The muffins are quite rich, definitely not something for every day. But they are quite tasty, and Brianna & Gillian certainly approved. The best thing, though, may have been the tulip papers. I really like the fact that they're taller, which makes them perfect for batters that might spread. It drives me crazy when muffin or cupcake tops run into each other and stick to the top of the pan. The papers neatly prevent that issue.
If you'd like to give these muffins a try, you can find the recipe in The Essence of Chocolate, or here online.
Friday, November 16, 2012
This was my latest order from KAF. No flour this time, since I'm still pretty well-stocked. I can buy AP, bread, www and unbleached cake flour blend in my local grocery store for quite reasonable prices. Durum flour is the one I order most often, but I just opened a new bag, and I have cake flour, high gluten flour and pastry flour that I've barely touched. So I'm good there. I love the boiled cider, so I try to keep a bottle in reserve. As for the vanilla, I really like King Arthur's relatively new house blend a lot. I have to admit, the fact that it's a big bottle makes me use it more liberally than I might otherwise. =) Again, this new bottle is for my reserve. I don't want to run out of a lot of things, but vanilla is very high on the list! As for the sprinkles and cupcake papers, look, it's more evidence of my love of snowflake items. =) I bought some snowflake papers from KAF last year, which were great. These are a slightly different design, but still very pretty. I couldn't pass up the sprinkles, either. I'm sure B&G will enjoy helping me use them to decorate cookies and top cupcakes.
Note--I just happen to like KAF products; they have not compensated me in any way.
Thursday, November 15, 2012
I actually managed to plan ahead for something! Today is National Bundt Day, and I actually baked my cake three days early. If I'd really had my act together, I would have written the post early, too, instead of sitting here trying to finish it when I'm tired and cranky. Luckily I still have a piece of cake left, so my day will end on a good note, as long as I get to it before my husband does. =)
I first became aware of National Bundt Day thanks to my blogging friend Mary, the Food Librarian. For the past several years, she baked 30 bundts in the 30 days leading up to National Bundt Day. You can read all about it here. She didn't have time to do it this year, but she did bake a bundt for today. In fact, I was quite amused to discover that she made the same cake that I did, the Vanilla Bean Malt Cake from Baked Elements.
The recipe makes a small bundt cake, baked in a 6-cup pan. I haven't used my small pan very much since I got it a few months ago, so I was happy to get it off the shelf. Besides the vanilla bean and malted milk powder alluded to in the recipe title, dark brown sugar and buttermilk contribute to the flavor of the cake. The cake batter is pretty easy to mix up; it uses the creaming method. I deviated from the recipe just a little--in the technique, not the ingredients. The recipe says to scrape the vanilla seeds out of the pod and mix them with a bit of bourbon. Instead, I rubbed the vanilla seeds into the sugars before creaming the butter with them. I added the bourbon before mixing in the eggs. Other than that, I followed the directions, and my cake took 40 minutes to bake. Once the cake was cool, it got topped with a simple glaze made from powdered sugar, vanilla and a bit of milk.
The verdict? Wow. This cake is really good. Like many cakes of this sort, it improves with age. It's probably good that it's a small cake, because I would have eaten way too much of it if it had been bigger. As the recipe notes indicate, you don't really taste the malt in it, but it gives the cake a bit of "something" that makes it really appealing. I will definitely be making this one again.
If you'd like to try the cake for yourself, I encourage you to get your hands on a copy of Baked Elements. Don't forget to check your library if you want to preview it before deciding whether to buy it. =)
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
One of my recent Costco acquisitions was a copy of Bouchon Bakery. It's quite the impressive tome. In fact, it's heavy enough that I haven't wanted to carry it around a lot, so I haven't read as much of it as I would like to yet. I did read enough to realize that one aspect of the book was going to make me very happy. One of the sections in the front of the book is titled "Throw Out Your Measuring Cups--and other notes on using this book." I'm a firm believer that using a scale in the kitchen is essential. I love the fact that the ingredient measurements are first given in grams. This book has reminded me that I really need to get a scale specifically for measuring small amounts (fractions of grams), so I can throw out my measuring spoons, too. =) Time to put that on the Christmas list.
Monday, November 12, 2012
Today was nice--I had the day off from work, but the girls had school, so I got some time to myself. The highlight of my morning was being able to watch TV without having anyone complain about what I put on. (Yay for BBC America!) I had lunch out with a couple friends and got to do some (mostly window) shopping as well. The only things I came home with were these candles and holders. As I mentioned before, I love snowflakes. I particularly like these holders because they aren't specific to Christmas, so they can stay out after the holidays. I don't buy a lot of candles, since I'm not fond of a lot of scented stuff. Yes, I'm that person who buys unscented everything (laundry detergent, etc.). The few things I do buy are usually in the citrus family, especially grapefruit and tangerine. These candles aren't citrus-scented, but they are food-related. The white ones are vanilla, and the red one in the middle is cranberry. I actually like that one a lot, and may pick up a couple more. It's too early for a lot of decorations, but I'm getting excited about the holiday season.
Sunday, November 11, 2012
Well, I'm more than ten days in now, and so far the posting every day thing is going pretty well. I'm not entirely happy with all the posts, but none are really bad. And I feel like I'm making progress toward my goal of just getting the words out. Today's post is a bit more extensive than the past few, since I had the time to take some better pictures. I'm playing around with different spots in my house to find some good lighting, and this spot was pretty successful.
As you may be able to tell, today's featured ingredients are nutmeg and rum. One of my favorite blogs is the one written by the folks at King Arthur Flour. The posts are always entertaining and informative, even if the recipe isn't something that I plan to make. But sometimes I read a post, like this one last Monday, and know I have to make the recipe as soon as possible. Nutmeg Bites sounded fabulous, especially once I got to the part about the rum icing.
The great thing about these cookies is that they're really easy to make. No particular mixing order--you pretty much just dump everything in the mixer. It's a straightforward ingredient list, with flour, sugar, butter, egg, salt, vanilla, and a full teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg. Once the dough comes together, you stick it in the fridge for an hour to firm up. I actually left mine longer than that without any problems. I used my #70 disher to scoop the cookies. My bake time was a little longer than the 8-10 minutes stated in the recipe; I let them go until they were clearly starting to brown on the bottoms. While the cookies cooled, I mixed up the icing, which consisted of powdered sugar, a little butter, and some dark rum.
The verdict? Mmm, these are wonderful. I love cookies like these--almost like shortbread, but easier. The rum in the frosting was very strong right after I mixed it up, but mellowed a bit after a day or two. In fact, I think that overall, the cookies were better after a day or two. Nutmeg has become a favorite spice of mine, and I enjoyed the fact that there aren't any other spices in these cookies to distract from the nutmeg flavor.
If you'd like to give these a try for yourself, you can find the recipe here at King Arthur Flour. I will definitely be making these again, and probably putting some in my holiday gifts.
Saturday, November 10, 2012
A couple weeks ago, I was in the mood for apple crisp, and thought I'd try something new. I found this recipe at King Arthur Flour. I love anything with streusel, and this one is quite tasty. I also like the addition of both boiled cider and regular apple cider to the filling. We originally ate the crisp for dessert, but it also makes a great breakfast.
Friday, November 9, 2012
Something a little unexpected happened at work today. This coming Monday will be my 15th anniversary of working for my company. I knew that in the back of my head, but I wasn't expecting anything related to that today. But since we have the day off on Monday, my boss brought it up this morning. I got a nice certificate and a lovely paperweight-ish item to commemorate the occasion. But much better was the gift from the people I work with, pictured above. Do they know me, or what? =) Okay, not well enough to know that I don't really like white chocolate, lol. But the thought is definitely what counts, and it certainly won't go to waste, since everyone else here likes it, and I can find fun ways to use it for decorating stuff. I love the cupcake stencils, mainly because they're something I wouldn't have thought to buy for myself. I think I need to bake some cupcakes this weekend now... Something that my coworkers were surely hoping for. =)
Thursday, November 8, 2012
I don't have a whole lot to write about today. As my husband said when I asked him how he was doing, "It's Thursday." That day when we're all exhausted but it isn't quite Friday yet. And I do mean exhausted. I went upstairs to check on Gillian, because she was taking forever to come downstairs after taking her shower. I found her lying on the bathmat, wrapped up in her hooded monkey towel, sound asleep. I admit, I thought about taking a picture. =) But instead, I manage to rouse her enough to get the towel off and her pajamas on. She pretty much sleepwalked to her room--I'm not sure she was actually awake.
In other news, I took cake to work today for one of my employees, since it was her last day with us. She loves yellow cake with chocolate frosting. Since that's a favorite of mine as well, I was happy to make it for her. I actually tried two new recipes for this one. The cake is the Golden Vanilla Cake from King Arthur Flour. I made the full recipe and ended up with two 8" rounds and half a dozen cupcakes. For the frosting I wanted something that wouldn't overpower the cake. I went with the Foolproof Chocolate Frosting from Cook's Illustrated. It uses milk chocolate, which seemed like a good match for the vanilla cake, and also cocoa powder, so it's still really chocolatey. (I was actually a little short on milk chocolate, so I made up the difference with a bit of bittersweet.) The final combination of cake and frosting was really good, and well-received by everyone at work. I'll be making this one again. =)
Forgot to add--the stars are edible glitter, which you can find here.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
It's the 6th of November, and I've already done more blog posts than any other month since May. By now, those of you familiar with NaBloPoMo have probably figured out that that's my goal for this month. I figure that if I can manage to get some sort of post up every day for a month, then I'll get back on track with fairly regular posting after that. I get too hung up sometimes on having a post just right. I worry too much that my pictures aren't very good. I'm just not a recipe writer (for the most part, anyway), so that slows me down when I can't easily link to an already published recipe. But I'm trying to let all of that go and just find something to write about every day, no matter how simple or silly.
Today's is definitely on the silly side. A few weeks ago, I pulled my sourdough starter, Ernie, out of the back of the fridge where he'd been languishing for...probably 8 or 9 months. It took a couple days of feeding, but he did wake up, and I've been baking bread more often since then. Most of the time I cheat a little, and spike the final dough with a bit of instant yeast in addition to the yeast present in the starter. Apparently Ernie is pretty active, based on the picture above, and I can probably cut back a little on the instant yeast boost. =)
Monday, November 5, 2012
I love to make ice cream, but I do buy it occasionally. Sometimes my girls wear me down, and I buy some because I don't feel like (or have the time for) making it. That happened this weekend. But while B&G were debating over what flavor to get, I had a chance to look for myself. Haagen-Dazs had some limited edition flavors on the shelf that caught my eye. I seriously considered the Salted Caramel Truffle, until I realized it was in a vanilla base. If it had been chocolate ice cream, I probably would have stopped looking there. But instead, a container (I almost said pint, but unfortunately these are a bit shy of that mark) of Spiced Caramel Biscuit jumped in my cart. I've thought about putting crumbled Biscoff cookies into homemade ice cream, but haven't been able to decide what base to use. I like the combination of cookies with caramel ice cream, though the Haagen-Dazs caramel is definitely sweet, not salty. Overall, I do like the flavor quite a bit. Plus I think I'm now inspired to fire up the ice cream maker this weekend and make my own version.
Sunday, November 4, 2012
It's been a weird day. The time changing aways seems to do that. I had lots of stuff that I wanted to accomplish this weekend, and having an extra hour should have helped with that. Unfortunately, it's been a rather disjointed couple of days, with just enough stuff to do away from the house to really throw things out of whack, thanks to the timing of everything.
I actually slept later than I expected to--7am by the new time on the clock. Gillian was up before me, and looking for breakfast pretty much as soon as I walked down the stairs. She's still making up for not eating much for a couple of days, and quickly polished off some yogurt while we figured out what I should bake for breakfast. We settled on pumpkin muffins, though I admit I was a little worried about making something pumpkin for breakfast after Gillian's experience with the scones on Friday. But she was enthusiastic about the idea, since I pretty much always put chocolate chips in them. And they stayed down, so it was a better day. =)
I'm trying to get better about using the ingredients in my pantry, rather than just squirreling things away. I've started to accumulate a pretty good collection of cupcake papers, for instance. I love the high quality grease-proof ones, because you can peel them off without losing a bunch of the cake in the process. And I've found that they come in lots of pretty colors and patterns. I get some from my local baking supply shop, and quite a few from King Arthur. Since I don't make that many cupcakes right now, they're starting to pile up, so I've been reminding myself to use them for muffins, too. The ones pictured above seemed perfect for some autumn muffins. You can find the muffin recipe here ( showing off some more of my collection of cupcake papers). It's bedtime here, since I have to get an early start tomorrow, but hopefully it'll feel easier thanks to the change back to standard time.
Saturday, November 3, 2012
I've always been picky, mostly about textures. I do try new things, because I do find new things that I enjoy, but more often I stay with what I know I like. If I'm going to spend money (or ingredients) on something, I want to know that there's a pretty good chance that I'm going to enjoy it. Most of the time I'm a pretty good judge of what I'll like. But I probably shouldn't try out new recipes when I'm already in a crabby mood, because I don't listen to that inner voice that warns me when a recipe probably isn't the one for me. Because in the end, I'll just be that much crabbier when it doesn't work out. Case in point, the Cream Cheese Chocolate Snacking Cookies from Baked Elements.
There were several clues in the recipe that I should have paid attention to. There's liquid, in the form of cream. Liquid usually means cakey texture. The Baked authors also call for Dutch-processed cocoa in their recipes, and I'm not really a fan, even of the good stuff (Valrhona). The leavening was a whole bunch of baking soda, which made things even more alkaline. The end result? Cake-like cookies that spread like crazy and had a flavor that I didn't care for. I do like the idea of using cream cheese in the dough, but if I make these again, I'll definitely tinker with the recipe. The good news is that there are lots of other recipes in the book that sound good, so hopefully the next one will turn out better for me.
Friday, November 2, 2012
I'm so glad that it's Friday and that I don't have to work tomorrow. It's been a long week. I wasn't moving that well this morning, so instead of making my tea at home and taking it in my travel mug, I stopped at Starbucks. Anticipating that it would be a crazy day, I went for the big cup. =) The holiday cups are out, and those always seem so cheery.
Figuring everyone at work would also need a pick-me-up to get through the day, I made them some breakfast. I don't think I've brought this group scones before. King Arthur is one of my main sources for scone recipes, and they were featuring pumpkin scones this morning. I had canned pumpkin and cinnamon chips in the pantry, so I was all set. I'm definitely becoming a fan of freezing the scones before baking. The scones end up having a great texture--there were lots of raves at work. (Plus it works out--I can mix and shape the scones, throw them in the freezer, and shower while they chill and the oven preheats.) I had one person comment that she wanted to know what my pantry looks like, that I can whip up something like this on a moment's notice. =)
The only downside to the scones is that the nurse at Gillian's school was rather disturbed this morning. It seems that G picked up a stomach bug, and the nurse isn't used to the results from a student eating something orange for breakfast... So wish me luck for the weekend. I really hope no one else comes down with it and that our plans aren't derailed any more than they already have been. G is already on the mend and asking to eat something besides saltines because she's starving. Keeping my fingers crossed.
Thursday, November 1, 2012
You could look at the picture above and think that since it's the beginning of November, I'm starting to get in the holiday spirit. But I usually refrain from that until after Thanksgiving. After that, all bets are off--the Christmas music and holiday earrings come out. =) No, I use this mug and drink this tea all year long. I love the mug because of its shape and capacity, and I love things with snowflakes. As for the Christmas Morning tea, I first discovered it several years ago when Central Market was carrying some of the Stash holiday teas around Christmas. (The Holiday Chai is another favorite.) I bought a bunch, but eventually ran out. The next year I had a harder time finding it, and eventually decided to just order it online directly from the source. I buy it in loose tea as well, but sometimes the tea bags are handy and quick. I drink a variety of black tea blends from Stash. I just got a new order, and I love it when all the bags and boxes are full and I have lots of choices. =) It disturbs all the southerners that I work with--the ones who mostly drink tea iced and quite sweet--but I pretty much always put milk in my (black) tea, along with a bit of sugar. During the lovely Texas summers I can only drink it early in the morning or just before bed, but we're finally approaching the time of year when I can handle hot tea during the day as well. And yes, I drink black tea--not decaf--before bed. Not much keeps me awake if I'm tired, and there's no shortage of tired around here lately.
(I have no affiliation with Stash, I just happen to like their teas.)