Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Holidays 2010

Christmas is over for another year. I have been so busy and unmotivated that I have not been posting anything. I did make some great goodies this year that everyone loved. I am glad that I decided to go the food gift route this year because we had no money and no time for store-bought gifts.

This year I made Fruit Gelées from Not So Humble Pie. These were my great triumph this year as I had never made anything like it before. They came out perfect! I want to make them again and again because it was so easy and so awesome. I did take some photos with my phone so they are only ok.

By the way, do not do what I did and scatter extra sugar on the bottom of the container. Even though I *know* sugar sucks up moisture (after watching years of Good Eats how could I not know!) I added more to the bottom. Two days later when I was ready to make up my gifts there was a layer of goo at the bottom because the sugar and moisture in the air made a thick syrup. I salvaged as much as I could, not wanting to give my friends sticky candy, and only threw out about a third of what I made.

I am very excited to try making these again. I need to find a good place to buy pectin at a reasonable price because I don't think more than $5 a box is reasonable when I need two for the recipe.

My gifts this year had a yellow theme apparently. Also included in my gift boxes this year were these Lemon Burst Cookies. These cookies were delicious and delightfully fragrant. I do not own any fruit extracts so I made up the difference with extra zest and extra juice. The photo for these came out better than the candy photo.

Unfortunately I over baked one batch of these cookies. Fortunately it didn't make much of a difference in taste, they were just a bit darker. These were a big hit and I recommend anyone who enjoys lemon to make them. Also it is a good idea to chill the dough before rolling in the powdered sugar, it will be less sticky.

You have to have fudge for Christmas. I think it is a rule somewhere. I tried two fudge recipes. One failed and one surpassed my expectations. The first recipe I tried was Chocolate Philadelphia Fudge which sounded great. Why not replace the marshmallow creme with cream cheese, sounds delicious, right?

This did not come out right at all. If you click on the link and check out their photos, it looks like real fudge. Here is a photo of how mine looked.

It came out really light colored and did not set up at all. Furthermore it didn't taste very good which is odd because it is basically chocolate cream cheese frosting. I don't know what I did wrong but even freezing this fudge didn't help. I had to throw it out. If anyone decided to make this, please let me know the result.

My second fudge recipe came on the back of a baking bar that I bought to make the Philly fudge with. I do not remember the company but I think it was Tollhouse or Nestle. Here is the recipe for the fudge, it is very simple.

2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
8 ounces semi sweet chocolate, chopped*
1 teaspoon vanilla.

Combine condensed milk and chocolate in a microwave safe bowl.
Microwave on high for one minute**
Stir and microwave 15 seconds more if needed.
Stir in vanilla a pour into an 8X8 pan lined with foil***
Refrigerate at least 2 hours until firm.

*I used chocolate chips because that is what I had on hand
**Don't worry the chocolate won't burn
***The recipe calls for a loaf pan but I felt that would make really thick fudge so I used a larger pan

Sadly, I have no photos of the yummy fudge but it did come out excellent and is my new favorite recipe. I used it to make, not only regular fudge, but chocolate mint fudge as well by using the dark and mint chips from Nestle. They were very well received.

I hope everyone had a great holiday and great food!


Monday, November 22, 2010

Turkey Day

I hate when people call Thanksgiving "Turkey Day". It isn't all about the turkey, it is about family. I also have this thing where I can't stand it when people give things new names (like turkey day.) Why can't we just call it what it is? Anyway, I already used "Thanksgiving" as a post title so I went with the popular term for Thanksgiving. Random rant over and done with!

Thanksgiving is only THREE days away! I am looking forward to the meal and the baking and cooking and hopefully this holiday will help it feel like the Christmas season in our house. We don't have any Scrooges in my family but no one seems to care and I can't care enough for the whole house! Here's hoping.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New Name?

I'm thinking of renaming by blog. When I started I couldn't think of a name and came up with the one I have now. I don't really like it so I thought I might change it. While at dinner tonight we were both full but still wanted dessert. Brandon said, "There is always room for dessert." I thought that would be a great name for this blog since when I blog about food it is mostly dessert. Does anyone have any thoughts on this new name? Any other ideas? Please help, my current name is lame!

Saturday, November 13, 2010


I freaked out a little bit yesterday when I realized Thanksgiving was a mere two weeks away! How did this happen? Somehow it is almost Christmas! I am really looking forward to the holidays this year because last year my dad was sick and in the hospital and our holidays kind of sucked. I told my mom we should go all out this year (at least with the decorations around the house) and she agreed! I am anticipating some fun days of decorating ahead.

For Thanksgiving this year we are most likely celebrating with some of my parents' friends and some of their family. This means that we will be making more food and my mom and I are going to be perfectionists in the kitchen. We are also having some non-traditional foods this year.

We are making a goose instead of a turkey and I am really excited to try goose as I have never had it before. Along with that we may be making some sort of fish as a second main course. We plan to roast vegetables and make traditional stuffing. Since the Cinnamon Pear Bruschetta was such a hit I am making that again for dinner. I knew when I made the Brownie Cheesecake that I wanted to make a pumpkin version for Thanksgiving and I found the exact recipe that I needed. Now that we are having dinner with others I have to get candy melts and decorate the cheesecake, but that is OK by me! For a second dessert I want to make these Apple Tarts. They are from Alton Brown so you know they will be good and easy to make.

I think we are going to end up with way too much food but I also think it is going to be a lot of fun. I only know these friends of my parents' in passing but they sound like good people. You can bet that I am going to be taking photos galore so there will be plenty to see in a few weeks.

On a slightly related note: this upcoming week KOST 103.5 should start their 'Month Long of Christmas Song'. I am of course more than ready to start listening to more Christmas music. Brandon is less than enthused. He knows that whenever we are in the car, whether in our car or in my mom's car, that station will be on and we will be singing along with Bing and Nat and everyone else. I <3 Christmas!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Week of New Things

This past week my parents went on a cruise to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary. This left me and the boys (my husband and my brother) alone and me responsible for dinners. Feeling a little ambitious, I chose a menu comprised entirely of dishes I had never made before (except for pizza but that ended up not working so we had pasta.)

Some of these dishes came out better than others. Here are the dishes and my thoughts on each:

Stuffed Potato Pancakes-Great idea in theory but I must have done something wrong because they weren't that great. Aside from the fact that shredded potato oxidizes really quickly and turns kinda pink and then black after a while, this dish didn't really have any flavor. Also, the potato cakes soaked up all the oil used to fry them so they turned grey. I plan to try this again in the future, maybe asking some questions of the person who posted this dish first. No photos because they were too ugly.

Chocolate Chip Dream Bars-These were amazing! I accidentally over-baked them a little and they were still delicious. These have great flavor because, unlike a standard cookie bar, they have a crust and this crust was basically brown sugar and butter (and of course, my ever-present Pumpkin Pie Spice.) All in all, very delicious and a recipe I will keep and most certainly make again. Here are some photos:

You can see how crispy the top got; do not over-bake!
I actually made these twice within one week, they were so good I had to make them again! The second time I used less chocolate because it was all I had left and I was careful not to over bake them. This resulted in a much chewier texture that was similar to pecan pie filling. I thought this was very interesting and delicious!

Marinated Tofu and Vegetable Stir Fry-I wasn't too impressed with this when I first made it, but after I was done eating I decided it was really good. The vegetables I used were bell peppers (red and yellow), broccoli, bok choy (yum!) and white onion. The only problem I really had with this dish is it needed something to go with it, probably rice. A nice bowl of sticky rice with the stir fry on top would have been awesome. No photos, I forgot. I made this twice as well. When my parents came home I made them dinner for their anniversary and this was part of their dinner. They both enjoyed it.

Crab and Cream Cheese Stuffed Wontons-This is possibly my favorite dish this week! This recipe is very easy although extremely time consuming, an assembly line would have been nice. The original recipe called for imitation lobster but I though crab would be good since I had eaten Crab Ragoon (basically the same thing only fried) before. I also left out the green onion because I don't like it. The original recipe called for 1/2 a teaspoon of sriracha in the filling, you can see in the original step-by-step photos that her cream cheese is still white. I added at least 1 whole teaspoon, if not more and my cream cheese was pink! We like spicy food though so it was good. We ate this for lunch because we were running out of days on our own and I really wanted to make it. Supposedly this should have made about 32 wontons but I ended up using the whole package of wrappers (42!) and still had filling left! I could have easily served my whole family this dish (with some rice and veggies) and my parents would have enjoyed it. Photos:

Serve with some soy and sriracha sauce. Mmmmm.

Roasted Chicken and Vegetables-Yours truly has never roasted a chicken before. I know that sounds ridiculous since roast chicken is incredibly easy and very popular but somehow I have always ended up using my slow cooker instead. This week I was determined to roast a chicken like everyone else has. It came out very tasty! For my veggies I used leftover bok choy, leftover red and yellow bell peppers, new potatoes and zucchini. For my spices I chopped some rosemary and thyme, added some salt, black pepper, white pepper and garlic powder. After sprinkling the veggies with the spices I added the remainder to some soft butter and spread it over the chicken. The result was super crispy skin and slightly too oily veggies, but the chicken was very tender. The bok choy was my favorite veggie. Hooray for first tries!

To go along with the tofu stir fry I made for my parents I also made these Pork and Ginger Pot Stickers. I changed the recipe a bit. I did not want cabbage and other veggies inside so I made them with ground pork and ground beef. I did not have any sesame oil on hand and omitted the bouillon. They were superb! The recipe says to cook them for seven minutes but I found they did not need that long. I would say four minutes was plenty of time, all of the meat was thoroughly cooked by then. I had a bit of the filling left over and I cooked it up and added it to the left over stir fry for lunch the next day. It was yummy! Again, no photos but they looked pretty much the same as the other ones. I am now not afraid of making won tons and can't wait to make more!

Please check out these links and consider making some of them for your dinner.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Weekend of Horrors October 2010

This past weekend, Brandon and I and a friend of ours attended part 2 of Creation Entertainment's Weekend of Horrors. We had a great time, going to panels and meeting some of our favorite celebrities. The convention itself was quite small and while that meant there were less vendors, it also meant that it was easier to meet with the actors who attended and almost all of the seats in a panel were good ones.

One of the first things I did was pay $1.00 for this awesome pin:

That is Bub from George Romero's Day of the Dead. "Day" is my favorite of the living dead films and the character of Bub is possibly the best in the movie.

After the pin purchase and a short trip to a nearby hotel to check in, we returned to the con and I spotted Joe Pilato at his table. Joe was also in Day of the Dead as Captain Rhodes and has the best lines in the whole movie. While I was talking with him, Brandon took a photo of his table (just to check the camera, but I like the photo)

Those are all images of him from the movie. And Joe's alcoholic beverage.

As we were standing at his table this guy comes up and starts talking with Joe. It turns out he is Zebediah De Soto, a new director directing a new Night of the Living Dead movie. And Joe Pilato is playing the part of Harry Cooper. Good idea since Cooper spent most of the original movie yelling at Ben. Pilato is good at yelling. Anyway, when I asked to have my picture taken, Zebediah offered to shoot it for me. We took one with all three of us and then one with just Joe and I:

Look at my awesome Zombie shirt and my Bub pin!

Joe was so nice. He signed our DVD for free (see photo above), took a photo for free and only charged me $10 for a signed 8X10 photo (they were supposed to be $20.) Here is my awesome signed photo:

This shot is right at the end when Rhodes gets attacked by the horde of zombies that overrun the compound.

Here is a close-up of the quote:

By the way, that says, "Sit down woman or I'll have you shot!" NOT something about snot.

Friday concluded with a panel Brandon was very much looking forward to, Joe Bob Briggs. JBB was the host of such shows as Mostervision and Joe Bob's Drive-in Theater. These are not shows that are terribly interesting to me as they mostly consist of movies of lesser quality, but listening to him speak was quite interesting. I did not get any shots during the panel because I was unsure if photography was allowed but on Saturday Brandon talked with Briggs and got a photo with him at his table.

Brandon also bought from Briggs a DVD on which he does a commentary track. The movie is Samurai Cop a parody of the horror classic Maniac Cop, both starring Robert Z'Dar:

Saturday I was very excited because the first panel of the day was on AMC's The Walking Dead TV show. Included in the panel were Norman Reedus of Boondock Saints fame, who plays a newly created character on Walking Dead, and the person I was most looking forward to all weekend, Greg Nicotero! Greg is the 'N' in KNB Effects the Academy Award winning effects group that has done such movies as Drag me to Hell, Mirrors and The Mist. Before creating his own effects studio with Howard Berger and Robert Kurtzman, Nicotero got his start working on George Romero's living dead films. In fact, the first film Greg worked on was Day of the Dead under the supervision of effects master Tom Savini.

I was so excited to hear that KNB was doing the effects for The Walking Dead. Who better to bring Robert Krikman's zombies to life (heh) than the man who started his career working for the man who made zombies what they are today? The only other person I would want to work on this is Savini himself but he doesn't do much effects work these days.

Anyway the panel was pretty good and the questions that followed weren't too silly or stupid. I don't really remember much of what was talked about other than the fact that someone asked Greg if he had kids and, if so, if said children dominated all the others when it came time for costume day. I thought that was a hilarious question with an even better answer: Yes! Greg said he had recently made his son a Godzilla costume and that it was just awesome. He also said that his daughter has the best zombie walk. How precious! He asked her to come to the panel but she declined because she was afraid of being in front of all the people.

I got some decent photos during the panel (I found out that it was OK to take photos, just no recording.)

The background lights kept changing and that coupled with the bad lighting overall made for really red and orange photos.

Norman Reedus (left) and Greg Nicotero (right) and some guy's head (in front.)

Also present was Joe Giles.

Don't be worried if he doesn't look familiar to you, I didn't know who he was either. He works for KNB and they did all of the zombie test make-up on him. Director, Frank Darabont, liked him so much he is in the show! You may have seen him as this zombie:

Now that I know that is Joe, I can totally see his face under the make-up.

After the panel Nicotero got a little swamped with fans wanting autographs and photos. He was very nice about it even though it was obvious he wanted to leave. Brandon and I had him sign our Day of the Dead DVD and our Land of the Dead DVD. Here is a shot of the autographs:

We didn't want to pester him so we didn't ask for a photo. Yet. A little while later we noticed that he was still in the main hall, talking and signing. I begged Brandon to take a photo of me with him but he kept saying we shouldn't bother him, it was clear he was trying to leave. Finally he gave in and we walked over to him. I apologized for bothering him and he was very nice about saying that that was the reason he was here. I got a pretty good photo:

Be jealous of my awesome Walking Dead shirt! Thanks Aaron!

We did some more shopping (well, Colin did most of the shopping. He ended up buying like 30 DVDs) and had some lunch before making it back to the convention hall for the costume contest. I actually did want to see the contest but the ulterior motive was to get as good seats as I could for the Bruce Campbell panel immediately following. It seemed others had the same idea so my seats weren't as good as they had been in the morning but they weren't too bad. At least I was on the end (easier to take good photos.) Here are my photos from the costume contest:

A pretty good zombie costume.

A zombie Nazi from the movie Dead Snow, which was a surprisingly good movie.

This was the winning costume and I must say, it is quite good.

Here is a full length shot of the winner.

For those of you living under a rock for the last 25 or so years, Bruce Campbell is a horror icon, starring in The Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2, Army of Darkness, Man with the Screaming Brain, Bubba Hotep and My Name is Bruce. Most recently he has been in the hit TV show, Burn Notice. The Evil Dead was Campbell's first feature length film and is considered a cult classic.

Bruce was hilarious in the panel, playing the nice guy pretending to be a dick. He seems to genuinely love what he does and he graciously answered (most) of the audience's questions. (If they were silly questions he went to the next person so as not to waste our time.) After his panel was the autograph signing which, unfortunately you had to pay in advance for, and I wish we had. He was very nice to everyone who came up and talked with them rather than just signing and sending them on their way. Here are some shots from the panel:

The man himself!

He was singing :)

This was the only panel that was completely packed (at least that I went to, maybe the Boondock Saints panel was too but what is an action movie doing at a horror con?) and I was happy for the small venue because, as I said before, none of the seats were terrible. It was also nice because unlike Comic-Con there weren't thousands of people milling around being rude and all of the celebrities were there because they believe in what they do, not because of the money.

After Bruce's panel we did some more shopping and talking and I finally went to Ken Foree's table to ask about the price of a large Dawn of the Dead poster. It was only $20! I used the last of our spending money (and some of Colin's) to purchase this poster and have him sign it. Ken is one of the leads in Dawn of the Dead and says the movie's tagline, "When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the Earth." At Comic-Con a few years ago Brandon and I went to Ken's signing and Brandon got a nice photo with him and now I wanted one. Unfortunately, Brandon was not paying enough attention to the lens and the photo is completely out of focus. First I will show you the poster, then maybe I will show the out of focus photo. Maybe.

Please excuse the clothes, I needed something to keep it from rolling up.

I guess I will show the blurry photo. I am so disappointed. Here:

:( My chance for a picture and it's out of focus. Oh well.

We also stopped at Fred Williamson's table so he could sign Brandon's copy of From Dusk Till Dawn, Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino's amazing vampire movie. (Interesting trivia: Tarantino was paid by Robert Kurtzman, formerly of KNB, to write the screenplay for Dusk Till Dawn based on a short story he had written.) If you have not seen this movie, see it. Brandon and Fred Williamson:

He makes Brandon look so pale! (He is!)

Some other movies that were purchased over the weekend: a copy of Submersion of Japan (the link is to "Tidal Wave" an apparently crappy American re-edit of the film.) a film I have never heard of but Brandon had been looking for for a long time, and an 18 DVD set from Charles Band, called the Archive Collection. Some photos:

The top.

The side, signed and numbered.

That was the end of the weekend for us, we decided not to go on Sunday because there really wasn't anything to see (although we did want to go to the auction) and we had run out of money. Overall we had a great time and I can't wait to go again next year, John Carpenter is going to be there! Brandon is very excited. On an only slightly related note, here is a Halloween decoration in front of someone's house between the con and our hotel:

It kind of looks like the creatures from Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal**.

I know this post has been long but I hope you have enjoyed the photos and stories!

P.S. Yes, I love zombies. Yes, running zombies are stupid. Yes, I would freak if I ever got to meet George Romero, he is the reason I love horror movies (and zombies!) No, 28 Days later is NOT a zombie movie, you have to be dead to be a zombie.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Cinnamon Pear Bruschetta

Some time ago, while browsing Tasty Kitchen, I came across this recipe for a pear bruschetta. It sounded delicious and I knew I had to make it.

I told my mom about the recipe and she was excited too so she agreed to buy the ingredients. I have never cooked or baked with mascarpone so I was looking forward to that.

This recipe is fairly easy and turned out a product I would be happy to serve to guests. I hope to make it again for Thanksgiving this year. I did have some difficulty getting the results I thought I should. In the directions for the recipe it says to allow the pears to slowly caramelize. Now I don't know if my pears were too ripe and therefore there was too much liquid and this did not allow for caramelization or what, but it didn't matter how long I cooked the pears, they just got softer and no caramelizing was in sight.

Next time I will buy my pears the day I want to make this and maybe use a different pear, we will see. I hope some of you will make this, it is so delicious and looks really pretty. I adjusted the recipe slightly with the bread  and spices and really liked the flavor I came away with.

Original recipe here

1 loaf Baguette, sliced
1 T. butter
3 whole pears, chopped
1/4 t. salt
1/2 T. cinnamon
1/4 t. ginger
1/4 t. allspice
1/2 c. mascarpone
1 t. honey
1/2 t. sugar
1/4 t. nutmeg
2 T. balsamic vinegar

Heat the oven to 400
Place the baguette rounds on a baking sheet. Bake 5-7 minutes or until toasted and golden brown.
Heat a skillet over medium-low heat.
Add the butter. Add the pears and sprinkle with cinnamon, allspice, ginger and salt.
Allow to caramelize slowly for 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
In a small bowl, combine mascarpone, honey, nutmeg and sugar.
Spread on baguette slices.
Once the pears caramelize, add the balsamic vinegar and cook for 1-2 minutes more.*
Spoon pears over bread.
Serve warm or cold**

* I completely forgot to add the balsamic vinegar when I made this. It still tasted good!
** I recommend serving warm, it's kind of like eating a pear pie :)
By the way, make sure not to add the pears to the baguette while they are really hot, they will melt the mascarpone.

I took some nice photos and instead of showing you only one, I am going to show you all of the good ones!

The cinnamon stick was my mom's idea :)

I love how this looks against the fall tablecloth!

My mom thought it needed some green. It looks pretty good!

As always, thanks for reading!


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Pear Cake

Remember this? I knew I wanted to bake a pear version of this cake and one day while I was out shopping I found a bag of bartlett pears for $0.97! They were smaller than the ones I usually bought but the bag had enough in it to make up for size. So I ate a few and let the rest ripen just for this cake recipe.

As I was gathering all of the ingredients for the cake I noticed that I probably did not have enough white sugar to fulfill the two cups needed. Luckily I did have an even one cup so I used brown sugar for the other cup.

What an amazing difference! This cake was waaaaay better than the peach version and the brown sugar was the only difference. This cake is so tasty and tastes just like fall. Perfect way to start the season.

I posted this recipe on The Pioneer Woman's website, Tasty Kitchen, so I am going to make you go to that site for the actual recipe. I urge you all to make this cake and then serve it warm, perhaps with some vanilla ice cream. But for now you can see some photos of this lovely cake.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


The grade came in for my Christmas paper and I received an 'A'! This brings my GPA up to just over a 3.0 which is what I needed to qualify for the TAG so I can go to UC Santa Cruz next fall.

The above is the only positive thing about this post. Just warning you.

Once my grade had been posted I started to work on the TAG application. I was a little worried it would be complicated, the school offers workshops on this application. The worry was unfounded, the application was easy, although a little time consuming. (I guess this part isn't so bad either. Don't worry, it will get crappy really soon.)

I finish the application and then it comes to the 'Submit' portion where I have to check these boxes before I can actually submit. One such box asks if I have met the minimum requirements of all UC schools at this point. I click on the link and my world shatters.

To transfer, even with the TAG, I need 2 transferable English classes and 1 transferable Math class. What? I have not taken any English or Math classes yet. I saw TWO counselors about this application and they both told me about having to meet the requirements for the TAG. Neither of them mentioned I would also have to meet these requirements. That was the whole reason I wanted to do the TAG, because I had not yet done Math or English.

I talked with someone in the transfer center at school and she said there is pretty much nothing I can do. I can call UCSC and see if they are doing Winter admissions but there is not much hope in that. Budget cuts being what they are, they have only been accepting people in the fall.

So now instead of going to this school next fall, the earliest I can go is next winter (January I guess.) I don't think I can wait another year! This is complete and utter bullshit! I was misinformed and now have wasted more of my time at this stupid community college. I am so done with VCCCD. I want to go to a real school and finally get a degree instead of wasting time and money and earning nothing.

Brandon says that we should move up there as planned and both attend the community college there. That might be a good idea, getting a change of scene. I am so angry at both Ventura and Moorpark college and so depressed that this whole thing is happening. I don't even want to deal with school anymore.

I feel so pathetic and unsuccessful in life. I look at my friends and so many of them have degrees and good jobs and are moving on with their lives. I am 26 and still going to a "two-year" school where I have been for 4 years. I have no job because without a degree and the economy what it is I can't get a job. Or I get some lame retail job but I can't keep it because I am in school so my availability isn't open enough. I have no money because I have no job and life just sucks.

I hope this post has brightened all of your days!


Thursday, September 23, 2010

So I turned in my Christmas paper today. I won't know for a few days what my grade is but I feel pretty good about my work. Hopefully in the next few days I will have a more interesting post for everyone.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Blogging and Baking

All of the baking I have been doing to keep this blog moving forward (as well as keep me happy) has really made me want to work in the food industry. The problem is, I don't want to work in a restaurant or a bakery or a grocery store.

What I really want to do is to be able to sell baked goods out of my home. Just a small business that I would be able to keep up with by myself.

I don't know if this is ever going to be something that I can achieve but it is a goal of mine.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Christmas Paper

Once again, a school paper is taking over my life. This time, though, it is my fault.

I am doing a directed studies program in Anthropology and chose to write a paper about the ways people view and celebrate Christmas. I wasn't able to finish it in the semester I started so I took an incomplete and thus gave myself another year to finish it.

Unfortunately, I want to go to UC Santa Cruz. While this in itself is not the problem, it is the transfer agreement program (TAG) that I am using to transfer. I need to have a 3.0 GPA to qualify for the TAG and as of last semester my GPA was 2.95. How irritating.

So now, instead of collecting data over the holiday season and having lots of time to finish, I need to finish this paper in the next few days so that it can be graded. Once the paper is graded it will bring my GPA up enough to qualify.

Here is the real problem. I was told I had until October 15 to send my application in and now I find out it is September 30! Two weeks lost. Now I have to scramble to get this somewhat together and decent. Here is what I think I am going to do:

Throw together something so that my teacher has something to grade. Get an OK grade (preferably a 'B'.) Redo the paper at a later date so that it is up to my standards and something worth keeping.

I have a couple of blog post ideas but, until this paper is done you will see none of them. Sorry.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

3-2-1 Birthday Cake

So the 5th was Brandon's birthday. Of course I had to make a cake and our friend, Justin, came out and we went out to lunch at Famous Dave's.  If you have not eaten there and you have a chance to, you really should. It is quite tasty, good Southern BBQ.

I usually use a cake mix (gasp!) and spend most of my time on the decorating but Brandon wanted specific flavors for his cake (yellow cake with chocolate frosting) and didn't care how it looked so I made a cake from scratch using my Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook (mine is the 1993 edition.)

The cake came out yummy and much more dense than the boxed cakes and the frosting (actually an icing) was just as delicious as the last time I made it. I used Wilton's Chocolate Fudge Icing, which would be divine on brownies, and warmed it until it could be poured.

Here is the recipe and following that are some photos:


3 c. flour
2 c. sugar
1 T. Baking Powder (hence the 3-2-1)
1 1/2 c. Milk
1/2 c. Butter, softened
1 1/2 t. Vanilla
2 Eggs

2/3 c. Butter
1 1/3 c. Cocoa
2/3 c. Milk
6 c. Powdered Sugar
2 t. Vanilla***

For the cake:
Set the oven to 375°. Spray or grease 2 9inch cake pans.*
In a bowl, combine flour, sugar and baking powder.
Add milk, butter and vanilla. Beat on low speed until combined. Beat on high for 2 minutes.
Add eggs and beat for 2 more minutes.
Pour into pans. Bake 25-30 minutes** or until done.
Cool for about 10 minutes the remove cake from pans and continue to cool on a wire rack.

For the icing:
Melt the butter over medium heat.
Add the cocoa and heat just until boiling, stirring constantly until smooth.
Pour cocoa/butter mixture into a bowl and cool.
Alternately add powdered sugar and milk and beat to a spreading consistency.
Blend in vanilla.

*I used an angel food cake pan, which turned out looking like a doughnut!
**The baking time was about the same.
***I ran out of vanilla at this point but it still tasted good.

Here it is right out of the pan. Looks a little like a doughnut!

First stage of icing application. Now it really looks like a doughnut!

I added shredded coconut and ground chocolate to the top.

Justin was REALLY excited about the cake (because I told him to!)

Brandon, contemplating that first bite.

The fudge icing is really rich so if you use it, you might want to go easy on the amount. It would also be really tasty on cupcakes or cookies.

The cake was really good and I want to try substituting pineapple juice for the water at a later date. All in all: two great recipes that need to be made by all.