Tuesday, November 08, 2005

 

Your ordinary home? I think not!




It is that time of year and the holidays are fast approaching. I for one can't wait to decorate pumpkins at halloween and make a gingerbread house in the winter. It is the one holiday related item that I actually enjoy. I also enjoy shopping for complete strangers, but that is for another blog. As Cheryl and Griff have heard, I DESPISE holiday music with the exception of one great song: All I want for Christmas is a Hippopotamus- Again, another blog.

Amongst the greatest of all reality shows is The Apprentice. I love the hustle and bustle of it and watching professionals make near fools of themselves. But when Donald Trump decided to pull Martha Stewart into the mix, I had to see if it was worth the watching. Boy was I completely surprised. Martha was better than the Donald, in my opinion. Not only is she more compassionate, but she never says "You're fired!". That phrase alone leaves me angry because they are in a JOB INTERVIEW, you can't be fired if you were never hired. ARGH. Regardless, it leads me to the gingerbread house of the season.

Approximately a week ago, I was doing my usual chatter with Cheryl while decorating and mentioned that a long time ago I used to enter gingerbread house competitions and how I missed it. The next day, the bakery was invited to participate in the 2005 Gingerbread Village. Ask and you shall receive right? Instantly I was appointed Gingerbread House project manager and I've accepted it with all of my being. Already, I've taken the time to make the Gingerbread house to scale, and make sure that all of the contents of the structure correctly relates to the wall sizes, openings, etc. At this point, I've secured the foundation and have created a cardboard model for all major walls and contents to make sure everything is precisely measured. I have planned to include lighting and to Griff's disappointment, I have been unable to figure out how to have plumbing, but perhaps that will be something to consider for next years project.

If you think I'm taking this project a little too seriously, perhaps you're right, but if you can't obsess about a job well done or even over done, what's left? Besides, I don't want to get the "safe travel" letter from Martha.

Monday, October 31, 2005

 

Happy Halloween

Here are the remainder of the pics that I promised. .. At first the fairy was my favorite, now I'm tied between the bunny and the "jailed" pumpkin.




Saturday, October 29, 2005

 

Gettin' Ready for Halloween




Halloween is approaching fast. The past two days my daughter and I have been decorating like mad women. I had this grand idea that we had to have a pumpkin village this year, and invested in about 8 pumpkins.. All the while forgetting that I’d selected small ones and the difficulty of carving something so small. Regardless I think they came out beautifully.



I love the way all of that juicy pumpkin flesh and seeds just kind of creap out and form this large orange mass, my daughter, however found it less appealing so I was the designated carver, while she took on the design role.





We even invited my neighbor over to help with the last 3 and I think the two girls did a fabulous job. At this point, the smell of pumpkins is giving me quite a large headache and isn’t quite as fabulous as pure cocoa, so I’m just acting as contributing designer while they finish body parts. I’ll be sure to post the finished products on my next blog.

Friday, September 30, 2005

 

I've gotta start somewhere

When I first began working in the food service industry, over 4 years ago, I was working in a cafe and began doing lunch prep work. I've been baking since childhood and was taught how to bake my Granny in the house oven.

I'm not exactly sure why I began baking for that cafe but all of a sudden I was doing a few special cake orders here and there. Nothing elaborate, but something different from the norm. The first cake that I recall making was a chocolate praline cake which turned out pretty good and sold excellently.



Soon after that I decided that it was a good idea to take a Wilton Cake decorating class. I signed up and took the 4 week class. I was amazed at the instructors ability to cram so much into a class where the majority of the people had literally never made a box cake mix, let alone knew the basics of cake assembly and decorations. I did learn a lot, but unfortunately only used some of the techniques when my daughter had her end of the year soccer party.

When I started at the bakery 4 months ago, I had hoped that I'd get to learn more decorationg skills, but had no idea that I had just signed up for decorating boot camp. It was probably a day or two into the training that I began decorating cupcakes and babycakes. My roses weren't bad, but they weren't up to the standard. I spent quite a few tries trying to make roses without using the"nail"- they don't teach you that in the Wilton class...

I've come a long way from where I'd been and I'm progressing pretty well as you can see. I'd love to learn more simple flowers, but for now I'll stick with the roses.


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

 

Too much "Whisk"y


I must have been extremely tired today because I was keeping myself completely amused with no help.

I arrived at work a little on the late side because my daughter had her last "no school because gas is too much" day. I began my morning routine of making banana pudding and then wandered over to the sink. There, in the wash side, was the monster of all whisks. It was for the BIG standing mixer. It took up at least half of the sink and for some reason it immediately began tickling my funny bone.

I imagined a card with the whisk brilliantly lit, sitting in a beach chair with a coconut shaped drink topped with an umbrella and a flamingo. The caption on the card reading "Whisk you were here."

It gets worse.

Then a stormy day, lightening and thunder, a torrential downpour; A cloaked man comes running into the bakery, grabs the whisk from the kitchen and runs out the door. Lightening crashes just missing him as I yell "You know that's a big whisk you're taking out there!"

Worse still:
There's the obvious "whisk"y business when making italian buttercream.

Perhaps the worst of them all:
Star light
star bright
first star I see tonight
I whisk I may
I whisk I might
have this whisk
I whisk tonight..

Yes, I think it's my bedtime...

Saturday, September 24, 2005

 

Good Morning!


Saturday mornings...

As far as I can remember, Saturday mornings have always been filled with pancakes, eggs and sausage. When I was a child Granny lived with us and made us breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday, but pancakes were always the Saturday morning routine. Occasionally she'd make donuts, but never on a Saturday.

Unfortunately, Granny didn't live with us forever and she moved back to Kentucky to be closer to her friends that were still living. There ended our Saturday morning routine. Fortunately, I didn't quite remember how to make pancakes from when I was 2 years old. My mother, bless her heart, was a terrible cook and my dad could cook, but not pancakes. Our Saturday breakfast had dwindled down to just sausage and eggs and sometimes bacon. Eventually Saturday morning became another Saturday morning with nothing to fill it like Granny's pancakes. (Yes, I'm being a little over-dramatic but breakfast is important)

You can imagine my surprise when a co-worker suggested making French Toast with Griff's bread. Why hadn't I thought of that? Who knew that I would be making the new "Granny's pancakes". Saturday mornings were back!!! This french toast is so good, you don't need butter, syrup or powdered sugar, but you can add it if you like.

Saturday Morning French Toast:
9- 1 1/2 inch slices of fresh baguette bread (use the freshest you can possibly find, preferably from Back in the Day Bakery, none of that store bought bag stuff, please)
3 eggs
1/2 cup cream (you can substitute milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Whisk eggs, cream and vanilla until blended. Soak bread slices in mixture for approx 3 minutes. Brown on non-stick griddle on both sides. Place slices on parchment lined baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 7-10 minutes, slices should puff slightly in the center.

Serve hot.

** This recipe serves 3 people.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

 

Early Mornings

One would think that after years of getting up at odd hours I would be adjusted to my early schedule. That is definitely not the case. I suppose I could blame it on a lot of things, but actually I just stayed up late last night.

I became way too involved in the CNBC stuff and continued my TV watching with the last show of Rock Star INXS. I was also in the process of finishing a scarf that was going to be a gift but I've decided to keep because it goes very well with my "pretentious" coat.

Anyway, Kayla decides at 5:45 that it's a very good time to wake me up and have me sign papers. She does have to be at the bus stop fairly early, but not early enough to warrant a 5:45 wake up call. I was grumpy at this, but figured, since I'm up, I should be doing my weekly 6 am Yoga workout on the Health Network. I started, and in the beginning, it felt amazing, I needed to really stretch my back and it was doing the trick. That is until I got stuck in one pose-the triangle. I'm not quite sure why I thought I could actually do it, since I had to hoist my legs with great momentum. I didn't think that I'd be stuck suffocating on my chest because my feet were stuck over my head. That exercise was not feeling as good as I thought, I was getting light headed and was only able to whisper "help" because god only knows where my esophagus went to.. It was probably still laying on the floor where the rest of me should have been. Fortunately Kayla came to my rescue and I decided that deep breathing for the remainder of the thirty minutes would be just as therapeutic. I finished the remainder of the morning doing my usual 30 minute rush and was soon out the door.

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