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.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010


I know it's not technically fall until September 21st but if you looked out my window you would feel as I do.

This summer has been oppressive, at least in my mind. This probably has more to do with the fact that I had been living 5 minutes from the ocean for 4 years and got used to the temperature there, and less to do with how hot this summer actually was.

Yesterday I awoke to a sky that was blissfully overcast and an outside temp much lower than it was the previous day. Today was much the same and my brain immediately went into "fall" mode. Instead of thinking of berries and peaches, I now want apples and pears and pumpkin pie. I am thinking of getting my long-sleeved shirts out of my closet.

Part of my love for fall is the fact that it means that Christmas seems to be right around the corner, but I also love fall baking. Here are some things I am looking forward to this fall:

Changing my clocks back an hour
Using this Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe to make a Thanksgiving version of this
Making a pear version of this
Possibly whipping up a batch of Ginger Cookies or Pumpkin Fudge
Getting together with my family for Thanksgiving
Going to my friend Doug's family's pumpkin patch
A better chance of getting a job as retailers start hiring for the holiday season
Applying to UC Santa Cruz
The Premier of "The Walking Dead" on AMC (on Halloween!)
Lovely, cooler weather

What are YOU looking forward to this fall?