It feels good to be home.

I enjoy a little wine, a yummy dinner, and a movie on my own at home right now much more than a wild night out on the town.

I feel guilty always for not staying in touch and spending more time with the good friend I do have that truly care about me and I truly care about them.

I love the rainy nights.

My mom is my best friend.

I don’t like me sometimes.

I’m going to write and publish my own cookbook someday soon. I’ve always wanted to and it’s something I really love to learn about and share with others.

I love ice cream. Just vanilla will do.

I love feeling at home with friends you’re meant to know and know well.

Cookies are a completely acceptable breakfast.

I want to fall in love. when it’s real you know.

I want to travel.

My life is long, and this is only the beginning.

Best wishes to all who are reading.

Things I know about me:

  • I like room temperatures to be about 71 which I know is warm for most people
  • Baking is something I love that is relaxing and gratifying
  • I’m a morning person
  • I love beer, wine, and coffee
  • Biking makes me feel free
  • I’m a mess
  • I’m so not above bathroom humor
  • Time and laughter can cure all
  • Family is important; more than most other things

 

If I had a soundtrack to life this is the beginning of who would be on it in no particular order:

  • Hootie and the Blowfish
  • Alabama
  • Black Water – Doobie Brothers
  • Reckless Kelly
  • Fishin’ in the Dark – Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
  • Oakridge Boys
  • Goo Goo Dolls
  • Matchbox 20
  • Savage Garden
  • Lady Gaga
  • Rihanna
  • Journey
  • Tootsie Roll – 69 Boys
  • Credence Clearwater Revival

 

If I could have any job in the whole world it would be to travel around tasting, critiquing and describing different foods across the world and learning how to make them all. I would try all kinds and look for things that were unexpectedly delicious.

and I would have a side bakery/cafe/bar on my own as well.

and write my own cookbook; that one I’m actually going to do though.

 

  • Toasted Marshmallow is the best flavor of jelly bean in the whole world.
  • I like vanilla over chocolate
  • berry and citrus do not belong in my chocolate. period.
  • my drunken late night craving is always oatmeal or cereal

 

That’s all for now.

G’night.

Red Velvet Cake with Fresh Berries and Cream Cheese Frosting

When you make a cake this big for the first time there are several questions that go through your mine that no one seems to know the answer to. For example where do you get a recipe for something like that? can you just scale a normal recipe up a bunch and call it good? will there be enough? will it cook in the center? is a turntable really worth it? what the hell are cake strips? baking cores? do I need one? two? wait, what do I need? Well here are answers to some of my big questions:

1. Yes you can just scale a normal recipe up. I ended up making two 14 inch, four 10 inch, and four 6 inch cakes and it took 10 batches for one double layer 9 inch cake. You’ll need to lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees and increase the baking time for the larger cakes and for all sizes keep an eye on them as they bake. The best thing to do is to watch them carefully and do one trial cake (normal size) to know how the recipe and your oven work. Some additional tips:

  • Grease and flour the pans WELL
  • Be patient removing them from the pans. patient and gentle.
  • ALL cakes can and should be baked, cooled and frozen at least two days in advance. You will need more time than you think no matter what.

2. Baking cores and cake strips didn’t seem to do anything for me but create more work and spend more money. Skip them. Your cake will probably dome up in the middle or fall, if you check it too often causing the oven temp to drop. Knowing that, you will trim and frost your cake after it’s frozen so doming/sinking doesn’t really matter.

3. Cream cheese frosting does not set. Do not use it for a crumb coat.

4. Sift your powdered sugar and beat it in in portions, not all at once; all at once will leave you with lumps in your frosting which is not very pretty.

5. Fresh berries bleed into frosting. Toss them in a berry glaze before decorating the cake with them and you’ll be fine.

6. Turntables are SO worth the $15. Get one.

7. Plan, plan, plan.

Alright, here’s what I did:

I went with the Red Velvet recipe from BonAppetit: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/2003/06/red_velvet_cake_with_raspberries_and_blueberries

Red Velvet Cake with Raspberries and Blueberries

Ingredients

CAKE
FROSTING

Preparation

FOR CAKE:
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Sift sifted flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into medium bowl. Whisk buttermilk, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla in small bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until well blended. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Beat in dry ingredients in 4 additions alternately with buttermilk mixture in 3 additions.
  • Divide batter between prepared pans.
  • Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 27 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto racks; cool completely.
FOR FROSTING:
  • Beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until smooth.
  • Beat in vanilla. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
  • Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on platter.
  • Spread 1 cup frosting over top of cake. Arrange 1 basket raspberries and 1/2 basket blueberries atop frosting, pressing lightly to adhere. Top with second cake layer, flat side down. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Arrange remaining berries decoratively over top of cake. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.)

I followed the recipe exactly and did a trial cake a week before in the kitchen I would use for the actual cake to make sure the yummy factor was satisfactory and familiarize myself with the oven and kitchen. Doing a trial cake also lets you know how the cake stands up to refrigeration storage when cooked in advance.

Now as far as assembly goes I was always confused about “dowels” and what they looked like, how they were used/sized, and where to put them. Just so you know, each cake needs a cardboard round on the base and will rest on top of the dowels in the cake below. Dowel are hollow and cut with a serrated knife; plastic worked well for me. One piece of cake will be “sacrificed” but if you are like me your cake meant for 150 will easily be twice what is needed for 150. Wilton has some sizing charts (http://www.wilton.com/cakes/making-cakes/baking-wedding-cake-2-inch-pans.cfm) which are pretty accurate since cake comes after drinks and a meal and people usually aren’t all that hungry at that point.

Here are some photos of my adventure.

My Creations

But wait! There’s more!

You might be wondering what all those balls are that spell out “ED” and have candles stuck in them. Those are what a wonderful food blogger named Bakerella invented called cake balls. The recipe is here but it’s pretty much cooked cake crumbled up and mixed with frosting to form a dough/clay which you can sculpt, mold, shape or simply devour because it’s ridiculously rich and moist and delicious and oh so yummy! Here’s the original link: http://www.bakerella.com/red-velvet-cake-balls/

i feel blue.

: (

I know I have wonderful things in my life and wonderful people and just an incredible family who loves and cares for me so much. My job is really great, I enjoy what I do and the people I work with. I know I really have no reason to feel this way but all I want to do is wallow.

I want it to rain.

I want to be moapy.

I want to wear my sweat pants all the time and hide inside never regretting or feeling guilty for wasting my adventurous 20’s or another sunny day doing nothing.

I feel blue.

My little heart got broke. and I want it to be full again. I’m afraid that everything else will just be… unsatisfying. like it has been.

The sad part is really I’m only disappointed in myself. I’m kind of bored with me. Is that possible? to be bored with yourself? I mean you’d think that it would be possible but certainly easily fixable, right? I just don’t know.

I don’t know what I like. I need more hobbies maybe? Things I enjoy? What are they. I feel like I’ve spent my life up until now focusing on school. church. then more school. then food. and now… now I have a degree and a job and I don’t go to church.

This is not the time to write this because summer is coming and it’s probably full of opportunities for fun and excitement. Things I should be excited about. but I’m not. I miss him.

What is this validation I seem to need from others to confirm that my life is actually enjoyable and worth living? how come my own pleasure is not enough?

Validation.

huh.

I wish I wasn’t me for a little while.

I wish somebody needed me.

1. If you ever doubt the quality of your Banana Bread, or any quick-bread recipe for that matter, simply do two things

  • Add chocolate chips
  • Add sour cream or substitute it for something “better” for you.

2. Banana Bread does not need eggs to be good. See recipe keeping lesson 1 in mind.

Egg-free banana bread

2 cups AP flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups roughly mashed banana
1-2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and line a loaf tin.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon into a bowl. If you are using sugar, stir in the sugar at this point.

In a jug, whisk the sour cream, milk, oil and banana. Stir into flour mixture and mix until combined. Spoon into the prepared tin, smooth the top with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle with additional sugar.

Bake for about 40 – 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Stand for 10 minutes before turning it out on a wire rack to cool.

I would have taken a picture but it was gone too fast.

3. Always buy bananas at Costco. Why? I’ll tell you: they are cheapest. As one person you probably won’t get through them all while they’re in prime eating condition well preparing you to make bread. And you know you want an excuse to go sample all the goodies on the weekends so you might as well pretend like you came for bananas and not the free food.

4. If you ever feel bored with your banana bread recipe, there’s always room for booze. Choose your weapons wisely and don’t be stingy.

Now go forth and may you and your banana bread prosper.

I made World Peace Cookies.

They look like this.

World Peace Cookies

They taste like buttery. Chocolatey. RICH. Yummy-ness which demands a cup of bitter black coffee to 1. allow the acidity to scorn the butter fat off your tongue, 2. try, oh-so-desperately, to balance the intense richness each bite delivers even just a little so you can once again enjoy one more splendidly seductive bite.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

Preparation

  • Sift flour, cocoa, and baking soda into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth but not fluffy. Add both sugars, vanilla, and sea salt; beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add flour mixture; beat just until blended (mixture may be crumbly). Add chopped chocolate; mix just to distribute (if dough doesn’t come together, knead lightly in bowl to form ball). Divide dough in half. Place each half on sheet of plastic wrap. Form each into 1 1/2-inch-diameter log. Wrap each in plastic; chill until firm, about 3 hours. DO AHEAD Can be made 3 days ahead. Keep chilled.
  • Preheat oven to 325°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using thin sharp knife, cut logs crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. Space 1 inch apart on prepared sheets. Bake 1 sheet at a time until cookies appear dry (cookies will not be firm or golden at edges), 11 to 12 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

Nutrition and more info at http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/2010/09/world_peace_cookies#ixzz1FVtBJtcx

So it’s been a while. Technically it is Valentine’s Day but it really just has been like any other day so that’s how I’m going to treat it.

Some thoughts though:

I think Greek Life in college is a very good thing. It teaches you social skills on an entirely new level that are stuffed with flexibility, fun, deep friendship, and a variety of incredible and diverse social experiences. I wish I had rushed although I’m not sure I could survive life with seventy women or that of fraternity men either. I like all the social aspects and comradery of it though. Having said that I think it leaves it’s participants lacking in one major life lesson: they don’t know what it’s like to be alone. Now I don’t know that I’ve necessarily learned how to do this, but I do know what it feels like. I was alone for a lot of college I feel just because I didn’t establish that many deep friendships while I was there and the ones I had before then grew weak from the distance. I learned what loneliness feels like and tasted depression. I wish I hadn’t experienced this but it’s pushed me to change how I approach relationships now; I have a genuine fear of being by myself and do what I can to avoid it. I think people who’ve been through the Greek system don’t know this fear because they’ve constantly been surrounded by people and only cherish the few moments they get to themselves; I however avoid them like the plague.

I enjoy doing certain things on my own: running, baking, reading. But I want to know that eventually someone is coming back to check on me and maybe even wants to know how I am. Maybe I’m not afraid of being alone, I’m just afraid of no one caring.

What I love:
to bake
to watch men eat
feeling like i’m flying when i run
HOT showers
dancing
country music
my mom
laughing
beer
coffee
mornings

not necessarily in that order.

Things I want to make:

http://naturallyella.com/2010/07/19/homemade-vanilla-extract/
http://www.sprinklebakes.com/2011/02/heritage-red-velvet-cake.html#more
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/peanut-butter-caramel-swirled-brownies-recipe/index.html
Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes
Cinnamon Swirl Bread (maybe)

http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2009/05/strawberry-shortcakecake/

http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2008/12/friday-night-dinner-pasta-alla-vodka/

Questions:
Is it ridiculous to
1) order brownies online from Vermont?
2) expect them to be fresh when they get to me in Alaska?

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