Thursday, December 27, 2012

New Workout

After months of just sitting on my butt, I decided it was time to get moving again. But did
I want to do the same old stuff again? P90X and/or Insanity? P90X was going to hurt for the first week (at least) and Insanity is just too much cardio for a lazy girl. I decided to try something new. I looked over the Beachbody comparison chart and decided to try Chalene's Turbo Jam. I have read about her other videos on other blogs and thought I'd check it out.

Turbo Jam is a dance & kickboxing combo. The first video introduces you to the 11 main moves. They are moves I have seen in P90X's Kenpo and variations of moves I have seen elsewhere. Simple, right? Ha. I have ZERO coordination so when I did the Burn video (another simple intro-style video), I could barely keep up. My arms were doing everything but the jabs and hooks. And when I moved on to the 20 minute workout video, it was just as bad.

But despite that, I am actually enjoying it. I just keep moving. I punch. I kick. I shake. It goes quickly so sometimes by the time I catch on to the sequence of moves, they are on to the next sequence. It may not be perfect but I know that I am burning some calories and it is better than being sedentary 24/7. Chalene seems to think that the music is awesome. It's not. Since you need to hear Chalene, the music can only be so loud. But despite that, there's nothing that amazing about, "The roof! The roof! The roof is on fire!" I tend to turn my TV way up so that the everything is really blasting so that I can really get into it.

Today I will be trying the Ab Jam workout for the first time. Let's hope it's a fun one!

By the way, I'm also doing a 12 days of fitness challenge with Fitnessista. It's pretty simple. Yesterday was the first day and the challenge was to hold plank for 1 minute. I am so glad that I still have some strength from P90X and Insanity. Holding plank for a minute wasn't that bad. Today it's plank plus 2 pushups. I'll do that before I start Ab Jam.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sweet Potato & Candied Peel Sourdough Biscotti

I discovered Sourdough Surprises a few months ago and considering that I only bake with a sourdough starter and am always seeking inspiration, I thought that I would have already made something for their monthly challenge. The problem was that each month they chose something that I had already made and wasn't up to making again or I just wasn't up to it.

I was so happy when I saw sourdough biscotti for December's challenge. Generally, I don't like making cookies but biscotti is easy so I happily made them a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, I was too busy eating the biscotti to get great pictures. Oops!

But I definitely want to link up so here it is.



In the background is a crumb cake that was pretty amazing. It's a sweet potato & carrot with a layer of cranberry jelly. It sounds weird but it was good.



They are a bit flatter than I wanted them to be. But that doesn't bother me.

I adapted this Ginger-Pecan Sourdough Biscotti recipe that I saw on Wild Yeast.  It's occurring to me now that I don't remember how much sweet potato I added (this is why I could never be a food blogger). I think it was about 1/3 of a cup and I just used up all the mixed peel that I had left over from Easter Buns.

Go check out the other biscottis this month.



Sunday, December 16, 2012

I am Adam Lanza's Mother

I saw this piece on Gawker today. It's poignant and heart-rending read. Check out the comments too, if you can.

Also worth reading are the 1700 and counting comments on her blog post here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

It's my birthday and I will cry if I want to

I had big plans for my birthday cake. I saw the' Seven Sins Chocolate Cake and knew it was the one. But this became eight sins for me. 

1. Red wine chocolate cake
2, 3, 4. Dark chocolate pastry cream; milk chocolate mocha pastry cream, white chocolate dulce de leche pastry cream.
5. Milk chocolate & Biscoff frosting.
6. Dark chocolate wannabe-but-really-isn't-because-I-used-the-wrong-recipe-and-it's-too-runny ganache.
7. Filled Ghirardelli dark chocolate squares (raspberry & caramel)
8. All the bad words I cursed when this fell apart last night and 5 minutes ago

So many many things went wrong. Soo sooo soooo many. My kitchen was too warm last night and my layers decided to run from each other. Currently, it's being held together by skewers and I am afraid to cut it. If this were for someone else, I would actually refrost the sides and then pour a thicker ganache to make it look better. But I am over it. 

This picture is taken of the top for a very good reason. The sides are not pretty. Additionally, when I changed positions to get a picture of the sides, all the squares and rosettes slid off. 

Update: After more time in the freezer, I sliced it and snapped a pic before the pastry creams started oozing.


Saturday, December 8, 2012

On Donating Blood and Fainting

I grew up around blood. Hmm. That's an odd sentence. My mother is a medical technologist and I went to work with her several times over the years. At four years old, I had my own special chair in the lab. I'd sit there and wait for her to finish work and then we'd head home. I saw lots of blood. Sometimes people would come by the house and my mother would draw their blood there and I'd watch. At 16, I worked for a summer in a medical lab - more blood (and other samples which I'd rather not think about).

I know too well about blood shortages. It's always crazy when there's an emergency case at the hospital and there aren't enough cross-matched units of blood. So when I learned that I was O negative and that meant I was a universal donor, I was eager to donate. However, I was always below the weight limit. When I was finally at the limit, I had visited restricted countries and couldn't donate.

Six months after my surgery, I begged and pleaded with a mobile blood bank to take my blood. I emailed my surgeon from the steps of the blood mobile and then I literally shoved the reply that said it was OK for me to donate in her face. She was still hesitant and added several notes to my files. Since then, I've tried to donate about 3 times per year.

So when the mobile bank worker approached me on Wednesday, I knew that I was going to say yes even though I really shouldn't have. You see, the days before that I hadn't been drinking enough water and felt dehydrated. If I'm not drinking enough water, it takes an eternity for any blood to come out of me.

I also hadn't had any breakfast that day. This is kinda typical for me but not the best idea. My mother has cautioned me against donating blood when I haven't eaten but I haven't had any issues. I did tell the phlebotomist that I needed to drink something before donating though.

As expected, it took a lifetime. I watched him use the little pliers to try to force more blood into the bag. And another phlebotomist fiddled with my needle. I should not have watched any of this. I grew up around blood. But I simply cannot look at my own blood. That's asking for trouble.

After donating, I felt fine. I spoke with the phlebotmist for a bit. I grabbed a sandwich and some cookies and headed down the hall. And then things started to go black. I'm a stubborn fool so instead of turning back, I kept going. I made it to a water fountain, took some sips but that did nothing. I was there hunched over, ready to pass out when the recruiter saw me and ran over to me. He got to me right when everything went black.

I was only out for a few seconds. And he took me back inside and they put ice packs on me until I started shivering and then made me drink and eat some more. For the rest of Wednesday, I felt like crap. I needed to help a friend proctor an exam and I simply did not have the strength to do it.

Normally I am pretty good at staying hydrated but have been slacking off for the last week or so. I have certainly learned my lesson. Saving a life with my blood donation is great but I need to take care of my body first.

Monday, December 3, 2012

I don't want children.

I don't know when I decided that I didn't want children. Each time I am asked why I don't, I don't give a complete answer. This is partly because the person asking is usually trying to convince me that I should/will want children.

Since I'm catching up on Private Practice, I am inundated with baby stories. A character just found out that her unborn baby does not have a brain (anencephalic)*. No brain! How scary is that? I think there is a baby in trouble every few episodes. Each time I see one of these cases, a little voice says, "See, that's why you're not having one." I dare anyone to tell me how rare any of these disorders are and that my child probably wouldn't experience this. I will then throw at you my rare illness - trigeminal neuralgia - that was caused by the rare brain tumor. Point is, I know stats. I don't expect to end up with rare disorders nor expect my child to, but it happens. And that freaks my crazy brain out.

When I was about 16, I worked in a medical lab and just for fun, checked my blood type. I was O negative. I went home that day and read all my mother's medical journals about being Rh negative. I remember reading about the fact that babies born to women who are Rh negative may have some difficulties. Even though my mother explained that risks were minimal (women receive medication during pregnancy), that stuck with me. I remember adding it to my mental list.

I do love babies. I love hearing about babies. I follow several baby/mommy blogs. And funnily enough, I find food and fitness blogs and several months in, the blogger announces her pregnancy and I am suddenly following another baby blog. But even after reading all these stories (I'm a sucker for birth stories), I still don't feel the need to have one. And that's what it comes down to for me. At no point in my life have I ever desired children. I have happily babysat infants, toddlers and little children. I see the joy parents experience when they hold their children, when they watch them take their first steps or watch in amazement at a new sight. I want to feel joy but not from children.

I hate having to justify this. I hate feeling like I have to submit a dissertation on this in order to be taken seriously. When someone declares that s/he wants children, no one asks for justifications. S/he doesn't need to argue his/her case unless of course, one has compelling reasons why this person is unfit. But apparently my wishes are "abnormal" so I need to justify.

Sometimes to end a discussion, I will often say that I don't want children now and that could possibly change. And that's true. I could wake up one day and hear that biological clock that I've heard of. For now, it's silent and I am OK with that.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

I'm Addicted to TV Part II

So last time I rambled on and on about the TV shows that I watch Sunday through Tuesday. I have some down time and I am trying to calm myself about things going on in my life right now so I thought I'd do some more rambling.

I forgot to add Emily Owens MD. I first saw this show on Swagbucks; if you watched the pilot, you would earn swagbucks. It is essentially a Grey's Anatomy rip-off. Surgical interns just starting their residency. Relationship drama. Emily Owens is a very different character from Meredith Grey. I don't know if her quirks and the personalities of the other characters will be enough to keep the show afloat. Oh would you look at that, I went to Wikipedia to get the link for the show and realised it was cancelled 3 days ago.

Criminal Minds - I love crime dramas and I absolutely love Criminal Minds. Criminal Minds follows profilers in the FBI and I think there is an even more special place in my heart because each time I talk to students about legal psychology, they assume that it involves profiling. It doesn't, for the record. That's legal psych's cousin, forensic psychology. I could go on and on about the merits of profiling but that would take quite a while. The cases each week are beyond bizarre and makes you wonder which of these are ripped from headlines.

Grey's Anatomy - What can I say about Grey's Anatomy that has not already been said? I had stopped watching after the first season but I caught up again. Is the 8th season the final season? I think we have reached the peak.

Scandal - I succumbed to peer pressure on this one. My Twitter feed is always filled with Scandal tweets on a Thursday night. If you can't beat them, join them. I like it so far. The first season moved quickly and the second season is answering questions that I had. So now I am all caught up and immersed in the world of politics and fixers.

Last Resort - Meh. I loved the first episode of this show. I lost interest around episode 4. I am sorta interested again but the fact that I completely forgot to watch it this past week should tell me something. I can't even explain the premise to someone. It is kinda set on a US submarine and an island that the officers of the sub are living on while they figure out what's going on back home. Does someone want to kill them? Why?

Beauty and the Beast -  This is a new show on the CW. It's a crime drama where the detective is the Beauty in this dyad. The Beast is a former soldier who was experimented upon so that he could be a better soldier. The experiments worked a little too well  This show is perfect when I'm cooking or doing dishes. It's not too complicated.

I think that's all I'm watching. Oh, I always watch The Amazing Race. LOVE it. It's my dream to be a contestant on this show. However, I am absolutely petrified of my flaws that would be highlighted on this show. Kudos to couples who go on TAR and survive that show.

Monday, November 26, 2012

SSOC: I'm annoyed by...

Another night of being unable to fall asleep so I thought I'd tackle the Sunday Stream of Consciousness prompt from Jana's Thinking Place.

I'm annoyed by:

  • my inability to fall asleep some nights. 
  • people who make grand assumptions without knowing the facts or by simply ignoring what is presented before them. 
  • men who do not take no for an answer.
  • people who think breastfeeding in public is a crime against humanity. 
  • my inability to form meaningful relationship.s 
  • my inability to talk to the people around me about the life altering things going on in my life right now. 
  • Violet Turner on Private Practice - why is she sleeping with every guy. 
  • Addison Forbes Montgomery on Private Practice - who has slept with more men Addison or Violet? I think Addison. Addison makes some decisions that drive me nuts. (Currently watching a Private Practice marathon - see my last entry.)
  • myself. I annoy me. A LOT. 
  • by the fact that there must be several real things annoying me but I can't seem to think of them.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I'm addicted to TV

It's 4 am and I can't fall asleep. My anxiety is at an all time high and I just don't feel like forcing myself. I have lots of sleeping pills but they're usually useless so I don't bother to take them unless I'm desperate. I just finished watching last Sunday's episode of Homeland and thought I'd ramble on here about what I'm watching this fall.

I am addicted to TV. I used to spend several hours watching TV and thought I had kicked the habit when I got rid of my cable subscription. It turns out that I should have also gotten rid of my internet subscription too.  No cable? No problem - I just watch everything online. This season I am following so many shows that I have actually created a Springpad notebook to keep track of them. Yes, I have issues.

Here's a quick summary of what I'm currently watching.

The Walking Dead - I actually started season 1 of this show a week ago and spent my entire week catching up so that I am now on track. That means I watched 25 episodes in a week. If I was in the kitchen, the laptop was with me. Folding laundry? Eating? I lived and breathed The Walking Dead last week. It consumed my entire Saturday. Insomnia creeping in? Oh not to worry, I have The Walking Dead. It's exactly what it sounds like - a show about zombies and obviously, I am hooked.

Dexter - I love, love, love Dexter. My friends and I actually schedule a Google Plus Hangout to watch Dexter each week. We can't miss our favourite serial killer. Things started off a bit slow this season but it's finally picking up.

666 Park Avenue - This is a new one. I like it so far. It's about a haunted (?) apartment building. It's a bit more than haunted though. It seems that the owner of the building may be the devil himself.

Homeland - Homeland is best watched in bulk. Waiting one week for the next episode will drive you crazy. The protagonist, Carrie, will make you scream at the screen every single week. I love that while watching tonight, I could feel my anxiety building but  I wasn't sure if it was just because I was already high-strung. While reading a review, I realised that many others felt the same way. It's a great show about the CIA - just prepare to be frustrated as you simply cannot predict what the writers will do next.

Parenthood - This show is in its fourth season and apparently the writers have been on a mission to make me cry in every single episode this season. I didn't cry last week though -take that writers! They have dealt with some great issues this season. I really love the family dynamic here.

Covert Affairs - Honestly, Covert Affairs isn't the best drama out there. I watched a random episode once, liked what I saw and then went back and watched the previous seasons. (Yes, watching all previous episodes is something  I do a lot which is why I try to avoid watching new (as in, new to me but have been on for a while) shows. I have ZERO self control so it's easier to just not start.) I think I keep watching now just so that I can talk about it with a friend of mine.

NCIS & NCIS LA - I am getting a bit bored with these two shows. They're solid dramas but I am just not feeling it anymore. I still watch them though. Both are available on the TV.com app on my phone so if I'm unable to sleep, it's pretty easy to watch an episode or two until I feel sleepy without having to turn on my laptop. In fact, I think I may do that now. Although, I'm caught up on both shows so I may play some other random show like CSI:NY, CSI or Undercover Boss.

This list takes us to Tuesday. I'm going to try to fall asleep and maybe later today or tomorrow, I'll write about the shows that are on on Wednesday and Thursday nights..

Friday, November 2, 2012

My First Commercial Yeast Bread



I have baked a lot of sourdough loaves over the last year and a half but I have never made a loaf of bread with commercial yeast. I had two packets of yeast left from making guava and cream cheese rolls for the Willow Bird Baking Challenge and wondered what I'd make with them. I thought it would be donuts until on Sunday my friend sent me a panicked message asking for help with her No Knead Bread. Yes, that famous New York Times No Knead Bread. She said it was watery but she followed all the instructions.

There are several reasons why her dough could have been watery. Maybe she accidentally added too little flour or too much water. I have found that different brands of flours absorb water differently too. Humidity could also play a role. Too many variables to diagnose. I decided that since I had some commercial yeast, I'd try this famous loaf.

It's hard for me to go back to baking bread using volume measurements since I am so used to weighing my ingredients but I decided to stop being picky. I made two changes. The original recipe called for 1 5/8 cup of water and I ditched that additional 1/8 cup. When stirring together, I could see that my dough could have used those additional two tablespoons and it would not have made a difference. I also replaced 1/4 cup of the water with beer.

I mixed it up and it definitely was not watery -sticky but not watery. In fact, I have made loaves with a higher hydration. She said she added more flour but after the bulk ferment, it went back to watery. I waited 18 hours but mine did not get watery. It smelled wonderful though. Love that beer smell.

I just took it out the oven and  I can hear it crackling behind me as it cools down. I can't wait to slice it. It's a beautiful loaf. I think I'm in love!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Heavy

Tonight I wanted to post an update on the Willow Bird Baking Challenges. We made braids, stuffed cookies and cupcakes and I never got around to posting pics of what I made a link to what others made. Tonight as I prepped the final challenge, I made a mental note to get this post done.

But then, I got word that a friend was brutally murdered. I am in shock. I am angry. I am in pain.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Sick

I feel sick today so I'm taking a 2 hour break and making a kitchen bucket list. What? You thought I was going to the doctor? 
What's on your bucket list? Kitchen or otherwise?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sunday Stream of Consciousness: No Prompt

There's no prompt for today's stream of consciousness so I get to write what's on my mind for the next 5 minutes.

Today I was working on cookies for the 3rd Willow Bird Baking Challenge. Have you read about that yet? Pretend that I added a hyperlink here but just go to my previous post (and most likely the next) to read more. Working on these challenges has taught me ..no..reminded me of something about myself. I am EXTREMELY indecisive. I simply cannot make up my mind and when I do make a choice, I immediately regret it. Sometimes, I have to ask friends to make the choice for me before I drive myself crazy. I literally spent almost every moment since the Google Hangout ended at about 8:10 on Friday night until ..well just about now deciding what to make. I made an instant decision 2 minutes after the Hangout and was proud of myself. And then it changed, evolved. Now I'm not doing anything close to what I had first decided. That makes me kinda sad. The first idea was a great one.

But these are just cookies. They're not really life decisions. But my behaviour mirrors how I make other decisions in my life. Should I make a call? Go for a walk? I simply cannot make up my mind. I know a lot of it..well, all of it, is related to my anxiety disorder. It may be time to go back to therapy. I think I have forgotten all the tools that I picked up. Having an anxiety disorder can be....oops...there goes the timer.

Want to join in on Sunday Stream of Consciousness? Visit Jana's Thinking Place for more info.




Sunday, October 7, 2012

Stream of Consciousness Sunday: Comfy Cozy


Today’s (totally optional) prompt: What makes you feel cozy and safe?



A blanket wrapped tightly around me? A hug from a special person? This is a hard one for me. Maybe it's food. Do I find comfort and safety in food? Maybe I feel that way in the kitchen. It's weird to think that what makes me feel cozy and safe does not immediately come to mind. Perhaps it's the difference in meaning of the to words to me. I may feel cozy all wrapped up in my blanket on a chilly night. But I may not necessarily feel safe. A warm bowl of may favourite soup or meal may evoke feelings of comfort and coziness too but they don't make me feel safe. 

What makes you feel cozy and safe? Perhaps, you'll do better than me. My 5 minutes have ended. Yours begin now.

Visit Jana's Thinking Place for more about SOC Sunday.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Willow Bird Baking Challenge #1: Guava & White Chocolate Cream Cheese Rolls and Plantain & Bacon Rolls.


I mentioned before that I absolutely love Willow Bird Baking. I read a lot of food blogs and bookmark a lot of recipes. However, I never get around to making most of them. However, from the day I found Julie's blog, it has been hard to resist the urge to make every recipe she posts. So of course when she issued a challenge, I was all over it. You can learn more about the challenge here:

Over the next few weeks, Julie will issue a challenge to us. The first was given on September 28. She asked us to do a twist on cinnamon rolls. Now, while I was jumping out of my seat and happy to run to the kitchen to start baking, I was also scared. Cinnamon rolls are just always messy for me. My dough is too sticky. There's too much filling oozing. I can't slice the rolls neatly. It goes on and on. I wasn't going to let that stop me though. 

I decided to do two types - a guava and white chocolate cream cheese and plantain and bacon. It was hard to wait for the plantains to ripen enough for this. I couldn't wait anymore and just went ahead.  

I used the dough that Julie provided. As expected, it was extremely sticky. I think I needed to increase the flour amount just a bit to compensate for my humid climate. I used my baking mat to help me roll them. I had a lot of trouble slicing the plantain rolls that I made first. I decided to chill the guava rolls before slicing and that made it a lot easier. 

Guava & White Chocolate Cream Cheese Rolls


I used half of the Julie's dough for each set of rolls. I rolled out the first half to about 10" x 10". I didn't measure. I then spread about 4 ounces of softened Philadelphia Indulgence White Chocolate Cream Cheese over the dough. 
I did two letter folds and then rolled the dough out to approximately 12" x 16". I brushed the dough with about a tablespoon of melted butter. You could use more if you like, but I don't like dealing with butter oozing out of the rolls. I actually prefer to spread softened butter over the dough instead of melted butter. 
I then put thin strips of guava paste all over the dough. You can find guava paste in Latin markets. 
This is the one I used: 
It's just a block of lots and lots of sugar and guava. It's pretty pliable though and tastes oh so good. I sliced it as thinly as I could and placed it on my dough. You could also slightly soften it in the microwave and mix in some spices. Or you could simply sprinkle the spices over the thin slices. However, I love the taste as is so I left it alone. 

After that, I rolled up my dough starting with the long side. I placed it in the freezer for about 15 minutes so that it would be easier to slice. I sliced it into 12 rolls and proofed and baked per Julie's instructions. 
You can see from the picture that I didn't add a lot of icing to it. I mixed just a tiny bit of powdered sugar with Irish Cream coffee creamer (yup!) and sprinkled a bit on. The rolls are pretty sweet. You really don't need the additional sugar. I did it for aesthetics and to see if I was good at using the tines of a fork to put icing on. 

Plantain & Bacon Rolls

For the plantain and bacon rolls, I first cooked 12 slices bacon for just a couple minutes and left it to cool. I didn't want crisp bacon.

 I sliced my plantains and added them to a pot with just a little water to help them soften. They were still not as ripe as I'd have liked. I added a little sugar and spices and then mashed them up. I made sure the liquid had evaporated and left it to cool. It was then the same thing as the other rolls. First I spread the plantain all over my rolled out dough (12" x 16")and then I lay the 12 strips of bacon perpendicular to the long side. I carefully rolled it up and then sliced, proofed and baked. 

I wanted to put something on top of these rolls but I didn't want it to be a sweet icing. I'll have to think about it over the next couple of days.

These are so good that I don't want to share. I had plans to send them to friends but now they're mine - all mine! I put most of them in the freezer and I will be eating them for days!

Here's Julie's post showcasing all the other delicious rolls her readers came up with.

I'm submitting this to Yeast Spotting.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

White Whole Wheat at Work

I can't believe that after rambling on and on about (white whole wheat) flour and subsequently baking two loaves of bread with the Gold Medal flour that I forgot to take a picture of either loaf. I guess I was too busy stuffing my face with them. I did get a blurry pic of these slices right before I slathered them with whatever I was feeling that day and devoured them too.



Gold Medal's flour definitely felt different from Wheat Montana's. The dough was similar to when I added wheat bran to my other doughs. I think the flavour was the same though. 

I made pizza and a baguette today. Half the pizza was a taco pizza a la Pioneer Woman and the other half was pepperoni. The pizza isn't very photogenic though so I don't think I'll upload a pic. I didn't drain my black beans well and a few tried to go say hi to the pepperoni. I forgot to add pizza sauce to the pepperoni side and instead used a garlic sauce on top of the cheese so it looks a bit plain but really, it's filled with yumminess. I was too hungry/impatient to try to pose the pizza for a great picture. Ooh. Maybe I'll just crop out the pepperoni side of the pic.



So there we have it - black beans, chicken, different cheeses, and tomatoes. Lettuce was added right before I put a slice in my mouth. The hydration is really really really high since I was making a baguette which is usually 75% hydration. Since this is whole wheat which absorbs more liquid, I upped the hydration to 80% and then I felt adventurous and just added some more water. Crazy, sticky dough.

My starter wasn't very bubbly because I messed up timing so I really wasn't expecting much from this baguette. I just pulled it out of the oven a minute ago. Here it is fresh from the oven:


When it cools, I'll slice it but I'm not expecting the crumb to be very open. I'm surprised there was even oven spring. Handling the high hydration dough wasn't too scary so I think I will definitely try baguettes again. 


Stream of Consciousness Sunday: Dropped Into My Life

I was reading Law Momma's blog and her post this morning inspired me to write. She's following a prompt given by Jana's Thinking Place. For five minutes, write about someone who was dropped into your life for a reason.

I've mentioned Michael before in this context but he's the one I feel moved to write about again. Somewhere in my old posts, you will find that I had a brain tumor - benign - and eventually had surgery. Booking that surgery was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do and I literally threw up after I made the call to the scheduler. The evening after I made that call, I got a message from Michael. We met years before but lost contact. We hung out that night and somehow it came out about my upcoming surgery. I had always been reluctant to talk to new people about my brain tumor. I definitely did not go on dates during that time. When exactly do you tell your date that you have a brain tumor and there may be no good night kiss because it might hurt and I will scream in pain and then curl up into a ball and cry? Or that you may only be able to talk for a short amount of time before you may scream in pain and then curl up into a ball and cry?

But I found myself talking to Michael about it. He asked the usual questions and for the 4 weeks leading up to my surgery, he literally and figuratively held my hand. He was insistent that I have as much fun as possible those 4 weeks. We were spontaneous. 3 some mornings would find us driving around South Beach looking for the best place to hang out. Some nights we'd just walk the beach.

The night before surgery, he came over, gave me a hug and while I sat there wondering if I should cry or not, he shushed me. There's no need to cry. I have already made up my mind about surgery. I  know the risks. I just have to do it.

He texted to make sure my mother had groceries before and after surgery. He heard my mother was craving cheesecake and brought her a huge slice.

Now don't get me wrong, I had lots of friends supporting me during this time. But Michael's actions just really touched me. I had been feeling like a burden to everyone around me who had been dealing with the effects of my tumor for 2 years prior. I didn't want to talk to them about it that much anymore. I didn't want them to see me crying when the pain hit and my Tegretol just wasn't working. I didn't want to tell them again that it was 6:30 and like clockwork at about that time everyday, I feel asleep.

Oops, my 5 minutes is up. But yeah, Michael came back into my life at a point when I needed a shoulder to lean on if necessary and someone to distract me from it all when I wanted that too.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Flour Musings

I'm going through a phase where I'm baking a lot. I bake a loaf of bread at least 1 to 2 times per month, sometimes 4 times. When I first started baking sourdough bread, I used only all purpose flour. When a recipe called for whole wheat, I'd simply add more all purpose. I read a lot about people making dense loaves - bricks - with whole wheat. I was not interested. But more and more, the push to eat a little bit healthier made me reconsider my "no whole wheat flour stance". I found a flour mix in the supermarket - Ultragrain All Purpose flour - that contained 30% whole wheat flour. I grabbed it up on sale (and with coupons) one day and loved the results that I got. I don't know if it was my improved skill or the flour but I made some great loaves. (See round braided loaf of this post: Things I've Made Lately)

It was through reading about Ultragrain flour that I learned about white whole wheat flour. Essentially, this is flour made from a white wheat instead of the traditional red wheat. It's milder and of course a lighter colour. I took the plunge a couple months ago and bought a bag of Prairie Gold white whole wheat on Walmart.com. My breads have been interesting. They have not risen as much as I'd like which may be a problem with my yeast and not with the flour. Whole wheat is going to take very active yeast to get a good rise. However, they are really flavourful.. You definitely get more of a white bread than whole wheat taste. It's like white bread with an oomph.

I loved the white whole wheat enough to order another bag on Walmart.com. This time I went for the Gold Medal brand. By the way, you can find white whole wheat in stores. I have seen it in at least one store near me and it's rare that they have "unique" items around here. I just wanted to use my Walmart gift cards from Swagbucks and since the Walmart store near me doesn't have the white whole wheat, it was just easier to order it online. Back to GM. While the Prairie Gold from Wheat Montana was a creamy beige coloured flour, the Gold Medal is whitish with brown flecks. I wonder how much difference that will make. I am assuming that there is a difference in the milling process. But specific to my purposes, I wonder if those flecks will make it harder for me to develop gluten.

I used a bit of the GM flour to make laxoox this morning which was delicious! And I just fed my starter half white whole wheat and half all purpose flour. We'll see how my starter reacts. I've seen a lot of people mention baking their favourite desserts using white whole wheat so I think I may try a chocolate lava cake or dark chocolate cupcakes with it. I'm sure it will be delicious since the flour doesn't have a strong flavour. Adding Bob's 10 Grain flour to desserts is a challenge. A muffin can handle that flavour but a cupcake couldn't. That reminds me, I want to make some chocolate chip muffins. I think I will mix those up for the oven at the same time that I am making this week's bread. I wanted to use a low carb recipe that I found but I think I will deviate a lot. I want to use my remaining oats for slow cooker granola. And I don't have apple sauce. Hmm. I also don't have eggs. Ha. OK, the muffins will be delayed.

Wow..this went from flour to a what I want to cook soon post. Ha. The ramblings of my brain.

Until next time...

Disclaimer: The Swagbucks link is a referral link. If you use that link to sign up for Swagbucks, I will earn swagbucks too. Not sure what swagbucks is? Leave a comment. I'd be happy to explain.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Whole lotta chocolate!

My friend had a birthday on Saturday and I thought I'd use that opportunity to try to decorate a cake. I got myself some Wilton tips and a bag. I was going to do the very popular rose cake but opted for petal instead. My frosting ended up not being thick enough but I kept on piping and chilling and piping. It's not the best but I'm proud of it.


See those droopy petals? Very soft petals! You don't want to see the back. Haha


I love this banner. But look at that sad look "rose". Soft frosting sucketh.


Dark chocolatey goodness. The five of us demolished this cake.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I love being read to

Earlier this year, a friend gave me an audiobook that he enjoyed and thought I'd like to listen to it. It was Vince Flynn's American Assassin. I loved American Assassin but you know what I loved even more? Being read to! I now completely understand why children ask for another story at bedtime. There is simply nothing better. I can listen to the audiobooks on my long walks and not feel like I was wasting time reading a novel when I should be busy working. It was simply perfection. Listening to these audiobooks reminded me that I used to have Superman LPs when I was a little girl. I loved setting up the record player with Superman and listening to it over and over.

Since that first novel, I think I have listened to over 10 novels so far. Most of them were Vince Flynn novels and I loved all of them. There were three James Pattersons thrown in but two of those were a disappointment. I may need to write an official review of one of those books. It was definitely one of the worst books I've read/listened to in a while.

I still love curling up with a book (still no e-reader yet) but I think I will always keep an audiobook on hand. I walk a lot (sometimes up to 8 miles) so it's great to have something to distract me from walking. There's no extra gadget needed since I save the books to my phone's SD card. I just need some good earbuds and then I'm good to go.

Do you listen to audiobooks? Do you love them too?

Disclaimer: The included link is an Amazon Affiliates link.


Monday, August 20, 2012

What I'm Watching: Bunheads

A few months ago when I was catching up on Secret Life of the American Teenager (don't judge; I judge myself), I saw an ad for a new show called Bunheads. The first thing that struck me was that the series was created by Amy Sherman-Palladino. Sherman-Palladino created one of my most favourite series - Gilmore Girls - so I was understandably excited. As the promo continued, I noticed that the Bunheads star looked uncannily like Lauren Graham. (Let me just say, I am VERY bad with faces. I could see someone right now and five minutes later be unable to recognise him. It's even worse with actors and actresses. I use context clues to help me recognise people so if you're out of the context, I'm clueless.)

Could it be Lauren Graham? I love her. I loved her as Lorelai in Gilmore Girls but I also love her in her current show - Parenthood. If she was in Bunheads, it meant she wouldn't be in Parenthood. I had mixed feelings about this. Lauren Graham in another Sherman-Palladino creation would be great but Lauren's character is a central one in Parenthood. But then I saw a new angle of the promo. No, that wasn't Lauren Graham. She was just someone who looked like her. I swear I had that debate every time the promo came on and it came on every time there was a break in the Secret Life episodes I was watching.

Two weeks ago, my friend, who loved Gilmore Girls as much as I did, mentioned Bunheads to me and I decided to watch. Oh my confusion. There were just too many Gilmore Girls similarities. The central character (whose name I suddenly can't remember) still looked like Lauren Graham at some angles but she sounded nothing like her. For the first episode, it just felt like I was watching someone try to be a Gilmore Girl. The witty dialogue that I loved in Gilmore Girls was here too but just not delivered as effortlessly.

By episode 2, there was too much GG deja vu.
Small town just like GG? Check.
Quirky small town characters? Check
Kelly Bishop from GG? Check.
Rose Abdoo from GG? Check
Sean Gunn from GG? Check

I am having a difficult time liking Bunheads because I keep wanting to compare it to Gilmore Girls. I just can't help it. Everywhere I turn, there's a Gilmore Girls reminder. Unfortunately, the delivery is just not as good as Gilmore Girls so it's failing in my eyes.  I'm still watching, hoping that I will eventually start judging it on its own merits. And also hoping that it will improve and become an ABC Family powerhouse.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Back to Basics

I drafted this at the beginning of August. since then I fell off the wagon once more. I blame it on the Olympics. Once Track & Field started on August 3, I spent all my time watching the Olympics and never once exercised. Maybe that will change today. 

July was not the month for exercise. Every day something happened (most days laziness) and I wouldn't exercise. I decided last week to get myself back in the habit and was greeted by knee pain. I am way too young for knee pain. I had a long talk with myself (what? you don't talk to yourself?) and decided Insanity was just not for me. I wasn't achieving my goals and I felt that I had lost some of the muscle that I had gained during the time I did P90X. The knee pain was the last straw.

I am not completely cutting out Insanity and so have started a P90X and Insanity hybrid. It's 4 days of P90X and 2 days of Insanity. I may try P90X's Plyometrics one of those Insanity days since I have never done it before. If my knees don't like it then I will do the less intense P90X Cardio until my knees feel better. It's funny that one of those days of P90X is the dreaded yoga and I am actually looking forward to it. I miss that flexibility. So that's 3 days of strength training, 2 days of cardio and 1 of yoga.

BRING IT!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Caramelized Onion & Thyme Sourdough Kringel

Just a quick pic of a bread I made in the wee hours this morning instead of working on a report.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Honest Toddler

I can't wait until Friday to share this. Last night I was Twitter-surfing and came across the Twitter account of Honest Toddler. I laughed. A LOT. And then I moved on to the blog. Love it! I am quickly making my way through the posts and cracking up over every one. I would have tried to read every tweet too but I had to go out..

Enjoy!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Tony Horton vs Shaun T

I'm halfway through Insanity so it's about time I actually wrote down this post that has been in my head since Day 1 of Insanity. When I first started Insanity, I felt like I was cheating on Tony Horton (P90X instructor). I had spent 90 days with him. How could I now jump ship? But it really wasn't jumping ship, I needed something different so that I could keep exercising and not just go back to my sedentary life. I was at the point where I was saying Tony's corny jokes before he said them.

The first day of Insanity was the Fit Test and I honestly felt like I was going to die. I was gasping for air throughout. Cardio is not my thing and Insanity is INTENSIVE cardio. P90X has cardio but not this much. I must note that I did not do the Plyometrics workout in P90X as I was doing the Lean Routine. Plyometrics includes a lot of the jumping around that Insanity has. I quickly learned to pace myself in Insanity and now the workouts are a lot easier to get through.

So what's the difference between P90X and Insanity?


  • P90X's premise is muscle confusion and it works every muscle in your body over the course of the week with a variety of exercises. At the end of my first week, parts of my body that I did not know could hurt were hurting. Insanity is interval training. Other interval training videos that I have seen have you work hard for a short amount of time (e.g. 30 seconds) and then rest for a longer period (e.g. 1 minute). Insanity does the opposite - you work hard for 3 minutes and then rest for 30 seconds. I can't say I am a fan of this. I am getting better at it but sometimes 30 seconds is simply not enough time to recover and from what I have read, you should have recovered before you move on. How do you know that you've recovered? I am not sure. Shaun T never really explains. In fact, he doesn't mention "recovery" until probably day 3 or so.
  • P90X gives you a full body workout. Insanity does not. Your legs will be exercised as there is a lot of jumping and running in Insanity. But honestly, my legs felt like they got a better workout when I did the P90X's Legs & Back video. Your arms will also get a good workout in Insanity as most of the videos include lots of push-ups. Shaun T loves push-ups and he does many different types. I am not a fan but I try to do them since I would just be standing around through a lot of some of the videos. I am still not good at them though. There is also a video dedicated to abs and I must say it is pretty good. The first time I did it, I definitely felt the burn. I am still skeptical that people really develop a lot of muscles from Insanity but maybe I will see how in the second month. I think you will develop more endurance.
  • I find that Tony Horton is a better instructor than Shaun T. Sometimes Shaun T is just a little too busy doing the moves himself to instruct. He isn't a bad instructor. I am just so used to Tony Horton who provides a lot of details. There are some videos that Shaun T does better in that others. One could argue that some of his moves don't require detailed instructions but it would make me feel better. Shaun T will scream, "Don't compromise form!" and I usually want to scream back, "But I don't fully understand what is good form! I want Tony!"
  • If you choose to do Insanity,.expect to sweat A LOT. You are either running, jumping, doing pushups then jumping or bending down then jumping. You are soaking wet after the warmup. Yes, you will sweat in P90X but not that much.
  • Now let's talk about that warmup. I think Insanity's warmups are too intense to be warmups. I learned after the first video to go a lot slower so I wouldn't feel like collapsing at the end. You will hear Shaun T screaming "Push! Push!" or "Go faster!" but tell him to shut up and go at your own pace. You don't want to injure yourself or burnout before you finish the warmup. I am currently having a weird leg pain that I am worried it may be an injury. I am monitoring it and taking it easy. And speaking of pace, there is nobody in Insanity to follow to modify exercises but don't worry if you can't do as much as they are doing. In fact, if you look into the crowd, there is always someone collapsing. All P90X videos that I have done have a wonderful warmup that I love and there are people modifying the exercises so that you can work your way up. I guess the modification in Insanity would be to do fewer reps. 
  • I don't think there is enough stretching in Insanity. I almost miss Yoga X. Sometimes you just need to stretch and really take care of your body. I don't think Shaun T got the memo. Admittedly, I have not done his "recovery week". Maybe there is more stretching in recovery week. I think I will have to insert some yoga into some of my Insanity days. I liked the flexibility that I was developing with P90X. I don't want to lose that.
  • P90X is looooooooooooooong. I think this is the main complaint. You have to dedicate an hour each day or an hour and a half on Yoga days to P90X. If you are not highly motivated, it can be a chore to get through. I know that I struggled some days. But you know what? The X in P90X stands for extreme. This is not supposed to be a simple workout. Insanity, so far, has been shorter - about 40 minutes or so. I am told that the videos are longer in the second month. I guess I will find out next week. I am not sure how I will handle jumping around for an hour. However, I did the Plyometrics Circuit video today and almost felt like I didn't exercise at all. I guess I can handle a longer video.P90X is a 90 day workot while Insanity is 60 days. People talk about the fact that Insanity is shorter in that sense. Honestly, it isn't that big of a deal. If you want to just keep exercising on a regular basis, it shouldn't matter if you're on a 30, 60 or 90 day program. What would matter is if 90 days is too long to be doing the same things. For me, it was. But  I don't get that exercise high and get bored very easily.
  • P90X requires equipment - weights or resistance bands (I used bands) - while Insanity does not. That's a pro for most persons. You need a yoga mat and a heart rate monitor for both. I am ashamed to say that I do not have a heart rate monitor. You probably should NEVER do Insanity without a heart rate monitor. Yeah, you will see that some persons (including Shaun T) are not wearing one but you really, really should. That would be how you check recovery actually.
That's all I can think of for now. Maybe at the end of next week, I will write another rambling post about my Insanity experience. It's 3 am and I should go to bed. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Updates

1. I finished P90X yesterday. I will admit that I skipped a few days but I am so glad it is over. I never got the endorphins from exercising and near the end, it started to feel like a chore. I am glad that I did stick it out with yoga but I have no interest in doing yoga ever again. 
2. I started Insanity today. I still don't have my firm abs and I needed a change. Insanity is definitely a change. I wanted to throw up at the end of the fit test. I will talk more about that tomorrow if I survive Day 2. 
3. I've been baking a lot. I made focaccia, ciabatta, and chocolate sheet cake most recently. I could post about those I guess but I have to be in the mood. 
4. That's all for now.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Just in case

If you ever get home one evening and see thousands of bees in your house, grab a bottle, fill it with water and add a few drops of dishwashing liquid then SPRAY!*

Now if you'll excuse me, I have dead bees to clean up.

* Do not attempt if you're allergic to bees. Be extremely careful.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday Favourites - May 18, 2012

It's been quite the week for me. Yesterday I almost set the house on fire. Luckily, I didn't but my toaster oven  paid the price. RIP my friend. You were the most used appliance in my kitchen. Funtastic!

Here are my favourites this week:



This was shared on Google Plus by Daniel W Stout. I think every time I visit Google + there's a post about Einstein or a similar person.

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How common is your birthday?
Source Daily Viz

My December birthday isn't very common according to this chart. I know 5 others born on that day though so it seems "common" to me. 
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Ever wondered what you really talk about online? Intel's  What About Me? creates an infographic of your digital life. Here's a part of my infographic.


Apparently I talk about food a lot. Shocking!

Speaking of food, no recipes jumped out at me this week. I drooled a lot but there wasn't anything I wanted to make immediately.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Friday Favourite #2

Things I loved this week. And by things, I mean "thing". I only found one thing I really liked this week. It was a slow internet week. 




Chinese Artist Huang Guofu Paints Using Only His Mouth & Feet


Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

Remember that  Hot Fudge Pudding Cake I mentioned here? I just made it! I needed to. It was haunting me. Let's not talk about the fact that I haven't done P90X in days. Let's just focus on this cake.



If I made this again, I'd cook it for less time - mine got a bit dry. It doesn't look dry in the pic above because the bottom (which is now on top) was pretty moist. I'd use less coffee and add bourbon. I wanted to do that this time but I'd already added vanilla to the batter when I got the idea. I should have added bourbon to the coffee mixture but that hit me after I put it into the oven. 
It's still a great chocolate fix and really easy to prepare. In 5 minutes it can be in the oven.It's served here with Graeter's Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream. I still need to write about being a Graeter's Fanbassador. Maybe I'll get that post done tomorrow.

Until then...

Friday, May 4, 2012

Friday Favourites

As I browse the internet each week, I come across several items that catch my eye. Some of them I save in a Springpad notebook, others I share on Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus (OK, I use G+ about 2 times per month but I still share things there) while others I just make a mental note of. I thought it'd be cool to share some of them here each week - Friday Favourites. (I just did a search and found that there are several bloggers doing Friday Favorites. If I can find a blogger that does a link up, I will join in.)

These are a few of my favourite things (this week).

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

Someone on Twitter posted this and well, it doesn't take much for me to click on link that has the word fudge in it. The only reason I haven't made this yet is that I want to finish the Stout Cake with Key Lime Curd first. I have one more slice left. I only feel slightly guilty eating this while P90Xing.  This cake plus some Graeter's Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream? Sounds heavenly.

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Inspiration from my Beachbody coach in our Facebook group this morning.

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 Source: LunchboxAwesome


I saw this blog - LunchboxAwesome - featured on Boing Boing. Heather creates these beautiful bento boxes for her son each day.  I almost want a child just so that I can create amazing bento boxes too (kidding).

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Cake Boss Marathon

I'm currently ODing on Cake Boss. I started at season 1 and I'm now on episode 3 of Season 3. I have lovingly nicknamed it the Real Housewives of Cake. Because oh my goodness they whine and complain a lot. There is always screaming and shouting at someone. Buddy's sisters are ridiculously annoying and Buddy has a nephew whom I'd like to pull aside and teach some manners (oh, and feed some vegetables).

The show can be very scripted. You can see when they have set up various scenes and it just doesn't feel natural at all. There are always playing practical jokes which is fine. I like the tradition of a pie in the face on someone's birthday but the dumping of water and flour gets old. There was one time when it was so obvious that the water/flour dump was a set up. There was no reason for him to position himself right where he would get dumped on. Anyway, they pull all these jokes, wasting ingredients, yet Buddy threw a tirade when someone burned a cake. Why? "It's a recession! You can't be burning cake in a recession!" Well, you probably should not waste flour and other ingredients on practical jokes either. Unless, that's in the budget. They made a large 24 inch cake just to test the flavour. Uhm? How about you make a small test cake?

My friend has been getting an earful of my Cake Boss rants. Why don't I just stop watching? I could, but then I'd need a replacement drug. Plus, I know you all have shows that you watch just to rant about. It's a little more than that for me though. I am really interested in cake decorating and ever so often, I pick up a tip from them. I wish I was writing these down because I think I have forgotten the main things that intrigued me.

One other thing, oh my word, they use a lot of cereal treats!! Do all major cake decorators do this? Sometimes there's more cereal treats than cake. I understand that you can't use cake in some cases but it seems like there's an overkill here. Maybe I'm just naive to the world of making 3D cakes. I rarely see them use dowels in their cake (that part may just not be shown) so I do wonder about the structural integrity of some of their stacked cakes. Maybe there's enough cereal treats to keep things from toppling. I wonder if they tell customers - don't cut here -it's all cereal - cut here for your photo op.
Upfate: Buddy just screamed at Mauro for wanting to send out a crooked stacked cake. The problem? Lack of dowels. I guess they do use dowels...sometimes.
I'm off to watch more Cake Boss.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Oh my legs

On Saturday a friend came over in the middle of Legs & Back. He insisted on watching me exercise. I tried to get him to focus on Star Trek but he'd look up from time to time to coach. Oh the embarrassment when I couldn't do all the reps. Today my legs are killing me and stairs are the enemy.

I was so spent from the workout that I couldn't do the Ab Ripper X that follows Legs & Back. I ended up doing it on Sunday. I wanted to also do my scheduled Kenpo X but I decided to rest instead. I wish I had done X Stretch instead to help my sore muscles. Ah well. Monday will be Kenpo.

I'm halfway through P90X so I really need to locate my tape measure to check my progress.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Rookie Breadmaking Mistake

I accidentally put my dough into my pan with the seam to the side instead of on the bottom so this happened:



It won't affect the flavour but it sure would have been pretty. 



This is a remake of the  Sweet Potato Sourdough. I added Bob's Red Mill's 10 Grain Flour. I hope it's good. Can't wait to slice it.  I guess since this isn't "perfect", I will be remaking this next weekend. Ha. I think I need to go check Yeastspotting for inspiration. I'm hitting a bread baking rut and since it will be warm here soon, I will be less interested in using the oven.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Hook! Uppercut! Side kick!

Today was Day 41 of P90X and Kenpo X day. I love Kenpo X. It's probably the easiest workout and I enjoy learning how to kick and punch properly. I have zero coordination and I am sure this will help me to get better. I'm so glad that I've been trying my hardest to keep up with this. I don't know if I will have great results at the end (I want a 6 pack or the start of one) but I have already lost centimeters from my waist. I don't know how much I've lost because I can't find my tape measure but I can tell.

I got resistance bands this past week so that means that my upper body workouts will be a lot more efficient. I was trying to get a set of bands that had a light band in it - 2 to 4lbs - but it turns out that I could have skipped that. There were one or two exercises in Arms & Shoulders that I used it for but really, I'm just being lazy. I can loop the band and get more resistance though so I'm still happy with it. For the pull-up sections, I combine it with another band. When I've used the bands for a few weeks I think I will do a review. I was scared to get them because everyone on Amazon has a horror story of bands snapping and hitting them. I am nervous each time I use them. Here's to hoping that doesn't happen to me!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Two years!

Today marks two years since I had my successful brain surgery to remove an epidermoid tumour that was wrapped around some nerves. Last year I wrote an emotional piece; this year I decided to bake a cake. The emotions are there but I'm pushing them into a box. I know that later tonight I'll be sobbing just reflecting on what that day means to me. I basically got my life back. No other way to put it.

Here's the cake I made:


It's a stout cake with a key lime curd filling and Italian meringue frosting. I thought the pairing of a stout cake with a citrus curd would be weird but I love it! I wish the stout flavour was stronger but the lightly flavoured cake gets a great boost from the curd. As for the meringue, I love that it's light and not overly sweet. My friend wants me to make her a wedding cake which means I need to start learning how to decorate cakes. I think closer to the date I will practice and/or take a cake decorating class. I have more than a year. She wants a lemon cake with a lemon curd filling. It turns out that curds are easy so my main concern is decorating. I think I will use an Italian meringue buttercream for that. I made that in January and it was good. 



This was supposed to be a simple cake - no big deal. But the bottom layer spit in two when I tried to remove it from the pan. I almost decided not to bother. I put it back together and did my best. If you look you can see where there's more curd at one spot. That's because there was crater left when a piece of the cake stuck to the pan. Ha. It's a very light cake and I should have been gentle. I put it in the freezer overnight before I filled and frosted. That made it a lot easier to handle. The problem really wasn't the cake it was what I used to grease my pan. I used margarine only and it's a margarine that has a high water content. I'm not sure why I didn't use my Pam for Baking or simply floured the pan too. Laziness? Perhaps. Either way, the cake was just for me and if a friend stopped by so I'm not stressing it. 

Wait a sec, does Italian meringue freeze well? I typically toss cakes I bake into the freezer because there's no one around to eat it and I shouldn't eat cake everyday. Hmm. I guess I'll find out.


Hope you're having a good weekend.


PS - If anyone has any questions about epidermoid tumors or brain surgery, please ask. The epidermoid tumor is rare and so it's hard to find a lot of information about it. I'd be happy to answer any questions anyone may have. My tumor caused me to also have trigeminal neuralgia. I can answer questions about that too.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Breaking my promise - sorta

I said I'd post about the Sweet Potato Sourdough Loaf but I don't think I will anymore. The loaf is fine. The crust is a bit more chewy than I like. The crumb is OK. I am not satisfied with it. It over-proofed just a bit and I tried to make it into boule and it's hard to properly shape a boule (I haven't learned how yet). I think I will remake this next weekend and use a loaf tin instead. I'll post the two crappy cell phone pics that I took at breakfast this morning. I'd be more enthused about this if I had not had such a bad weekend.



I love the the bits of sweet potato that are still visible. I just got an email from Amazon that the 10 grain flour that I ordered will be here on Wednesday. I guess that when I remake this I will add that flour to it.
So see? Technically I haven't broken my promise. I wrote about the loaf.
I don't know how food bloggers do it. Make something, perfect it, write an intriguing post.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Random Ramblings


  1. I am having a very very bad weekend. 
  2. I just made a sweet potato sourdough loaf. Details tomorrow if it looks good. Actually, I will post details regardless. 
  3. I have no appetite but I know that I need to eat. 
  4. P90X is going ...I guess it's going OK. I skipped a few days over the last couple weeks but the fact that I am still trying is a plus. 
  5. I can't find my tape measure so I can't tell whether or not I have lost inches. I think that I have but I want tape measure proof. 
  6. I definitely lost weight but I am slowly getting to the point where I am eating enough to sustain the workouts. I'm thin. I don't want to be malnourished so I need to get my calories up.
  7. What's that? Why am I P90X-ing if I'm thin? Easy - I have more fat on my midsection than I like. I would love to finally have a flat stomach. Additionally, the health benefits from exercising are good. 
  8. My cholesterol tends to be on the high side. I do not actively try to control it. Well, I did give up my daily two bowls of ice cream so I guess that's control. However, my diet is generally low in cholesterol so I know that it's partly genetic.
  9. Awake is no longer interesting.  I am easily distracted and it requires that I pay very close attention. Also, it is frustrating to only know that they tried to kill his family but nothing else. 
  10. The Firm has gotten very interesting! I know that it has received low ratings but I love it. I love that you get a piece of the main story each week. You're not left disappointed at the end that you haven't learned anything. That's the problem with Awake. 
  11. There's a Mike Wallace tribute on 60 Minutes right now. Loved that man.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

100 Foods to Eat before You Die

I saw this on Facebook and thought I'd post it here. I've seen other versions with slightly different foods. But I do like this one. It clearly shows that I need to expand my food horizons.
How many of these have you eaten? How many would you never ever eat?



1. Abalone
2. Absinthe
3. Alligator yummy alligator bites at Cafe Tu Tu Tango
4. Baba Ghanoush 
5. Bagel & Lox
6. Baklava - This is on my to make list.
7. BBQ Ribs
8. Bellini
9. Birds Nest Soup
10.Biscuits & Gravy
11. Black Pudding
12. Black Truffle
13. Borscht
14.Calamari
15. Carp
16. Caviar
17. Cheese Fondue
18. Chicken & Waffles
19. Chicken Tikka Masala
20. Chile Relleno
21. Chitlins - I smelled it.
22. Churros
23. Clam Chowder
24. Cognac
25. Crab Cakes
26. Crickets
27. Currywurst
28. Dandelion Wine
29. Dulce De Leche
30. Durian This is the most disgusting thing I've ever tasted.
31. Eel - I think I did but I'm not sure.
32. Eggs Benedict
33. Fish Tacos
34. Foie Gras
35. Fresh Spring Rolls
36.Fried Catfish<.s>
37. Fried Green Tomatoes
38. Fried Plantain
39. Frito Pie  
40. Frogs' Legs
41. Fugu - I don't want to either. The poison factor isn't appealing
42. Funnel Cake
43. Gazpacho
44. Goat I want some curry goat right now.
45. Goat's Milk
46. Goulash
47. Gumbo
48. Haggis
49. Head Cheese -- HELL NO I WILL NOT
50. Heirloom Tomatoes
51. Honeycomb
52. Hostess Fruit Pie
53. Huevos Rancheros - I've had a burrito with the same ingredients. 
54. Jerk Chicken - Fire up the drum pan!
55. Kangaroo
56. Key Lime Pie
57. Kobe Beef
58. Lassi - I used to drink a lassi everyday. I don't know how I forgot.
59. Lobster
60. Mimosa - My first mimosa was on Air Jamaica.
61. Moon Pie - Another item that I forgot.
62. Morel Mushrooms
63. Nettle Tea
64. Octopus
65. Oxtail Soup - I haven't had the soup but I've had stewed oxtail. I want some  now.
66. Paella
67. Paneer
68. Pastrami on Rye
69. Pavlova
70. Phaal
71. Philly Cheese Steak
72. Pho
73. Pineapple & Cottage Cheese - Why pineapple? I've tried other fruits.
74. Pistachio Ice Cream - YUM!
75. Po' Boy
76. Pocky
77. Polenta
78. Prickly Pear - I should check to see if there are any on the plant in my backyard.
79. Rabbit Stew
80. Raw Oysters
81. Root Beer Float - Root beer tastes like toothpaste.
82. S'mores
83. Sauerkraut
84. Sea Urchin
85. Shark - Another item I forgot. 
86. Snail 
87. Snake
88. Soft Shell Crab
89. Som Tam
90. Spaetzle
91. Spam
92. Squirrel
93. Steak Tartare
94. Sweet Potato Fries
95. Sweetbreads - I've had other organs
96. Tom Yum
97. Umeboshi
98. Venison
99. Wasabi Peas
100. Zucchini Flowers - I've had other edible flowers.