Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The suckiest place on earth

I'm at a conference at the Disneyland Hotel. My purse was stolen today (I think by a hotel employee) and I am very bummed. I feel totally violated.

I spent 6 hours filing police reports, closing accounts, crying, and getting hubs to drive spare keys to me. I'm sure I'll be dealing with this for a long time to come. Ugh.

This sucks, big time.

I need a stiff drink, ASAP.

PS Thank goodness for friends and family who are very helpful. And thankfully, the only thing lost is time and stuff.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

I can't wait for Monday!

Nope, I haven't lost my mind and I'm not on drugs (unless you count the ibuprofen I've been popping since I tweaked my back yesterday).

On Monday, two of my coworkers and I are going here. I cannot wait! We have to get up super early to get there but it will be so worth it. We are going to dance, laugh, dance, and have a freaking blast!!

I'll post an update on Monday night or Tuesday sometime.


Hey! Remember me? It's me, Rach, your pall that's supposed to be blogging. Yeah, I've been busy with school but I'm in the home stretch and can't wait to get back to you with all the yummy stuff I've been cooking/baking up and a few awesome knitting projects I've got going on.

Stay tuned! I'm going to try to work in a couple of updates this weekend. Love ya!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

TWD-carrot cake

Between this last course of my BA and our weekend trip to Davis, I had no time this week for cake. I'm back in next week for sure!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Lunch Bunch

Hubs is a teacher. A while ago he told me about a student that came in late to the class that directly follows lunch. The kid said he was sorry and that lunch bunch ran late. Hubs replied “if you are going to be late, at least bring me something to eat!” So the next week, hubs was invited to be a special guest of the lunch bunch. Since then, he’s missed only a few Thursdays.

The group is mostly middle school boys with varying abilities and they have come to enjoy having hubs visit, cook and eat lunch with them. Since hubs tells me about lunch bunch each week, I get to hear about the food they eat (from Ramen to cinnamon rolls) and the questions the kids ask. They ask him about me sometimes so I said I wanted to go and meet them. Hubs asked at school and I got the go ahead to come visit, as long as I brought some cookies for dessert. No prob!

Today was my visit to lunch bunch. When I got there, the boys all stared at me with their eyes wide open. Hubs announced me and they just stared. I was introduced to the teachers and helpers and everyone got busy serving up this week’s menu: baked potatoes! It seems that whoever picks the item for next week comes in before lunch to help the teachers prepare the food. This week’s helper did a fab job of washing the potatoes, wrapping them in foil and putting them in the convection oven. Man, they were yummy!

We had toppings galore! There were normal potato fixin’s - butter, sour cream, chives, shredded cheese, as we well chili, broccoli and melted cheese, even pepperoni! I have to say it was a pretty dang good potato! We also drank juice boxes and munched on the store bought cookies I brought (no home baked goods allowed).
The kids were pretty quiet. They didn’t say much to me but that was OK. They probably thought I was like a unicorn, something that existed only in different world. They never imagined that hubs has a real life with a real wife. Thank god none of them asked about our sex life. (This happened to another teacher I know!)

Maybe I’ll get to go to Lunch Bunch again sometime. That would awesome. Maybe they’d let me help the kids cook. I would LOVE that!

I think it is awesome that hubs school offers lunch bunch. I think it’s even more awesome that he goes so often. I could see the admiration in those boys’ eyes as he chatted with them. I am so proud of my hubs. Man, he’s the best ever. Seriously.

No pics. I didn't think I should take pics of other people's kids!

Mince or press?

What's the difference between minced and pressed garlic?

I usually just press. Am I missing out on awesome garlic goodness?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Wife's Bill of Rights?

During my obligatory Internet surfing, I found this. I think it's a pretty good start for a wife's bill of rights, but I've got some additions.

Here goes:

  1. We have the right to 85% of all closet space. We have more stuff because we like to look cute AND we know you like it when we look cute. Besides, if you kept your drawers organized, you'd have more room. Just saying...

  2. We have the right to ask to fish for compliments. Sometimes we just need an ego stroke. So if we ask if our outfit is cute, say, "Yes, you look amazing!" I'm sure you can relate, you big strong hero sex god, you.

    (Side note: Do not lie and say we look cute when there is something noticeably wrong; e.g. quad boob, food in teeth, or if our pants are so tight they could split at any moment.)

  3. We have the right to watch mindless television. You know how you need a mind break and easy entertainment? (Hello, does anyone understand watching baseball, golf, or poker on TV?!) That's how we feel about America's Next Top Model. Yes, it's dumb. Yes, we've seen this one. Yes, we do want a beer, thanks for asking.

Any additions, ladies?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

TWD - Marshmallows!

When I heard the weather report for the weekend, I was sure I wouldn't be TWD-ing this week. You see, Mother Nature got her months mixed up. She thought this was August, not April and decided we needed a 95 degree weekend.

Now, I love a hot summer day. We really only get a few each year. The rest of the calendar, we are treated to mild weather between 58 and 78 in my lovely town.

Needless to say, I was dang happy when I realized this week's recipe was a no bake. MARSHMALLOWS! However, I was a little freaked out because gelatin is grody and I cannot stand the way it smells. But, I did it. I made the chocolate marshmallows.

A few things I did differently - I used an 8x8 pan and a TON of cornstarch. I also made the chocolate one but mine were more choc chunk since I never could get the chocolate to be 'runny' melted.

They turned out OK but I'm not a huge marshmallow fan, at least when eaten alone. But, my coworkers thought they were good and that I was a genius for making them, which I am, of course. :D

Thanks to Judy for choosing this week's recipe. Now head over to TWD to see what the other baking geniuses created this week.

PS Gelatin stinks to high heaven. Ew.

Makes about 1 pound marshmallows

About 1 cup potato starch (found in the kosher foods section of supermarkets) or cornstarch

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

2 1/4-ounce packets unflavored gelatin

3 large egg whites, at room temperature

3/4 cup cold water

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups plus

1 tablespoon sugar

GETTING READY: Line a rimmed baking sheet -- choose one with a rim that is 1 inch high -- with parchment paper and dust the paper generously with potato starch or cornstarch. Have a candy thermometer at hand.

Put 1/3 cup of the water, 1 1/4 cups of the sugar and the corn syrup in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar is dissolved, continue to cook the syrup -- without stirring -- until it reaches 265 degrees F on the candy thermometer, about 10 minutes.

While the syrup is cooking, work on the gelatin and egg whites. In a microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the remaining cold water (a scant 7 tablespoons) and let it sit for about 5 minutes, until it is spongy, then heat the gelatin in a microwave oven for 20 to 30 seconds to liquefy it. (Alternatively, you can dissolve the gelatin in a saucepan over low heat.)

Working in the clean, dry bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in another large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until firm but still glossy -- don't overbeat them and have them go dull.

As soon as the syrup reaches 265 degrees F, remove the pan from the heat and, with the mixer on medium speed, add the syrup, pouring it between the spinning beater(s) and the sides of the bowl. Add the gelatin and continue to beat for another 3 minutes, so that the syrup and the gelatin are fully incorporated. Beat in the vanilla.

Using a large rubber spatula, scrape the meringue mixture onto the baking sheet, laying it down close to a short end of the sheet. Then spread it into the corners and continue to spread it out, taking care to keep the height of the batter at 1 inch; you won't fill the pan. Lift the excess parchment paper up to meet the edge of the batter, then rest something against the paper so that it stays in place (I use custard cups).

Dust the top of the marshmallows with potato starch or cornstarch and let the marshmallows set in a cool, dry place. They'll need about 3 hours, but they can rest for 12 hours or more.

Once they are cool and set, cut the marshmallows with a pair of scissors or a long thin knife. Whatever you use, you'll have to rinse and dry it frequently. Have a big bowl with the remaining potato starch or cornstarch at hand and cut the marshmallows as you'd like -- into squares, rectangles or even strips (as they're cut in France). As each piece is cut, drop it into the bowl. When you've got 4 or 5 marshmallows in the bowl, reach in with your fingers and turn the marshmallows to coat them with starch, then, one by one, toss the marshmallows from one hand to the other to shake off the excess starch; transfer them to a serving bowl. Cut and coat the rest of the batch.

SERVING: Put the marshmallows out and let everyone nibble as they wish. Sometimes I fill a tall glass vase with the marshmallows and put it in the center of the table -- it never fails to make friends smile. You can also top hot chocolate or cold sundaes with the marshmallows.

STORING: Keep the marshmallows in a cool, dry place; don't cover them closely. Stored in this way, they will keep for about 1 week -- they might develop a little crust on the outside or they might get a little firmer on the inside, but they'll still be very good.

Playing Around

CHOCOLATE MARSHMALLOWS: Melt 3 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate and stir in 2 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder. Reduce the vanilla extract to 1/4 teaspoon, and after the marshmallow batter is mixed, fold in the chocolate mixture with a large rubber spatula.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Tart pics!

Rather than post the pics to the actual tart post which funks up the spacing and all that jazz, requiring tons of annoying-ness (thanks Blogspot!) I've decided to post my TWD tart recipe pics in a new post.

The first piece of lemon! A creamy dream.

The fluted shell (the bottom does not come out).

The lemon zest and sugar. It smelled so summery!

Blood oranges. Mine were practically grapefruit. Not the orangey taste I thought it would be.

Pressing the oranges to get juice. Notice how dark it is!

Whisking, whisking, whisking, whisking, whisking, and more whisking. I'm using a metal bowl next time.

Blood orange tart=pink? It was too sweet and just not orangey. Hubs coworkers liked it but they didn't have the lemon to compare.

The finished lemon tart. The edges aren't fluted as I used a springform pan.

OMG! The lemon was so good.

Feeling hot, hot, hot!

It is 92 degrees in Carlsbad. This has to be a record!

Friday, April 11, 2008


Twenty-two days from today, I will have completed all the requirements for my BA.

I am so freaking happy! It will be here so soon!!!

What will I do with all my free time, you ask? Bake, bake, blog, cook, blog, knit, blog. Oh, and exercise. Then, blog.

Can you guess?

I’ve got something on my mind.

I just bought this and this and have been addicted to this site for the last few weeks.

I’ve got the fever!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

TWD - Lemon & Orange Tarts!

UPDATE: You can see the pics here.

I'm a day late posting this week as I wasn't feeling well. But, I'm back to 100% and ready to share my results!

Every week, I think I can't possibly get more excited about a chosen recipe, but then I do! This week's treat, The most extraordinary french lemon cream tart was chosen by Mary of
Starting from Scratch. Because there are some strong aversions to lemon among the group ::gasp::, this week we were given a choice and could make the Fresh Orange Cream Tart instead.

Well, being that I love all things citrus and my blog is orange-ified, I decided to make both tarts!

The orange tart was just OK to me but I used blood oranges for the first time and don't think I knew what I was getting. I'd make this again but probably use clementines or some other type of tangerine.

The lemon tart, on the other hand, was soooo yummy. I did not take it to work. I did not share it, except with by BFF and her fiance.

The crust was amazing but a little hard for my taste. When I make this again (and I plan to ASAP) I'll cut a minute off the time and see if that softens it up a bit. Or I could use a bit less and have a little bit thinner crust.

I did have some trouble getting the creams up to 180 degrees but I hadn't read the tips and used a glass bowl rather than a metal which added to the delay in heating time.

The other trouble I was using my blender. This has nothing to do with the recipe but rather my ignorance in blender use. I couldn't get it to work so I started twist the blender which separated the glass from the base and spilled lemon cream everywhere. Lucky I moved over a bowl asap and salvaged 90% of the luscious lemon cream.

Head on over to
Tuesday's with Dorie and see what how my buddies fared this week!

Pics will come later. Hubs and I got a new camera over the weekend and I have to figure out how to access the pics.

TWD- Coming soon!

Stay Tuned!

Monday, April 7, 2008

A muffin pan in time

Over Easter weekend, I had the opportunity to do a little baking at hubs Grandparents house. While preparing to bake, I realized that I needed a muffin pan. Grandma told me where to look and apologized for her pan being "so old." Old? My ears perked up. I reached into the cabinet and pulled out the most gorgeously aged muffin pan. Now, hubs Grandma is a perfect grandma age and this muffin pan belonged to her mother! I nearly squealed when she told me that.

So, for the next 90 minutes, I mixed and baked, frosted and filled my treats and thought about all the tasty baked goods that had been made with love in that muffin pan. As a little boy, did my hubs eat warm muffins baked up especially for him? Did Grandma use that pan to bake celebration cupcakes for MIL's 5th birthday party? Did Grandma's mom make her favorite treats when she had a bad day? That very muffin pan probably contributed to decades of breakfasts, dinners, parties, and celebrations. I couldn't help but think about how this seemingly random act connected me to all the people who'd been there before me; people who have touched the lives of those I love. It's amazing to think about what they ate and how it was made and how it has connected us to each other.

Another amazing thing was how Hubs, Grandma, Auntie, and MIL came into the kitchen and helped me. It really reminded me why I love to bake and cook. Food is a blessing. Building memories by creating it is even more of a blessing.

I wish I had taken a picture of this pan. Next time we go up to OC, I will. Man, I love the family I married into! I am a lucky girl.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Calling all grown up teenage readers!

If you read the Babysitters' Club Books, you absolutely MUST read my newest favorite blog: What Claudia Wore. It's simply hilarious!

Enjoy and see you at the next meeting. Don't forget the junk food!