Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Cheesecake on Wednesday!

This proves that I made Baking Week 4's assignment (sort of, I accidentally did the wrong recipe) and I'm posting on time! This is a first and likely a last post that will be up on time :)

BAKE 52 Week 4: Cheesecake.
I did the lemon cheesecake. It turns out I was supposed to do the light cheesecake.
So this actually turned out fabulous. The whole time (all 32 hours) I was grumbling that this would probably not even be as good as Coscos and so I was going to all this work for nothing, who ever hear of a cheesecake that had to be baked, who ever saw such a weird looking cheese cake etc. However, after tasting it, I take it all back! I LOVE cheesecake and this was awesome! (I did not make the lemon curd on the top-too scared of the eggs. I just used some out of a jar, my fav type).
Isn't it lovely? :)

It was time consuming-mostly just spent hours in the fridge, but, it was not difficult. It actually came together fairly quickly. I was a little worried about using one package of the 1/3 less fat cream cheese (accidentally did not get enough of the real stuff) but it turned out to be no problem, it blended well with the other two boxes and the heavy cream I guess :) One of my fav features was the super fine lemon sugar. You just food process sugar and lemon zest-it was delish and I think I will try to find an occasion to use it (no idea what for, but I loved it!). In this case, it was just mixed into the cake. To see the recipe for the low fat version see this week's host at
 To see the rest of the girls in the bake club, check out this linky thing at the bottom of the post (no idea how to do this so if it does not work, I'll get it figured out tomorrow).

So, thank you to all of my faithful followers for your fabulous comments, I will try to think of a way to reward you. Perhaps I'll have another giveaway! (only this time I'll actually put it up on my blog rather than give it straight to the winner). I will attempt to refrain from soliciting comments for at least two weeks!

To clear up a little confusion-E was actually not too far off the mark on the Dominos thing. A recent (enough) press release stated that they do hope to deliver to astronauts in orbit. (I suppose there is now no reason for me not to go to Space.) I have eaten pizza for the past 4 meals to show my support (though it was Papa Johns so I'm not sure if that counts).

I have been to the gym four times since last Wednesday! That means that in this one week, I have been to the gym more times than the entire year of 2011! Fairly incredible! Yesterday I went to a spinning class, my dad, an avid cyclist, would be so proud (all up to the point where I actually got on the bike). The teacher kept yelling things like "are you in the aerobic zone"? and I would yell "YES!" and then he would say "Or are you in the anaerobic zone, when a cheetah is chasing you"? and I was like "YES, I PRETTY MUCH FEEL LIKE A CHEETAH IS CHASING ME"! and he would say "You should not be in the anaerobic zone, some of our new friends here today look like they are in the anaerobic zone". and I was like "WHAT DO YOU DO IF YOU WENT ANAEROBIC JUST WALKING UP THE STAIRS TO GET HERE"? and sadly, I was quite serious. Still, I have to be impressed with my 4 days of diligence. Maybe something good will come of it. O keeps telling me I look like such a thin mint. Truth be told, I am the same size I was last week. I think my gym rat illusion is like a placebo for his brain.
O is still trying to recover from the Newt G thing. Just yesterday he told me he was going to fly to Florida to help Mitt out. I was like, "come again"? However, I could not say anything, as I am hardly Miss Self Restraint. Just the other day I spontaneously had to buy a new pair of black stretch pants when my black jeans (the only pair of pants I bothered to bring on my trip to Vegas) split at the seams (for the second time, it was demoralizing). However, that probably counts as therapy. And I'm fairly certain my self-esteem (which has gone up exponentially since I have been running around in those stretch pants) was worth the sale price.

Speaking of packing-next time I may bring two pairs of pants. All my fam was like "why did you only bring one pair of pants"? "What did you plan to do if something happened to this pair?" Yes, it happens so regularly that I just plan on my pants busting at the seams. The things they imply. Really, it all goes back to this time when we met Merv in Vegas and she had the teeniest bag in the world. We were all just astounded and impressed. How could a person possibly survive like 24 hours without a boat load of stuff?!? Ever since then, I have envied Merv's ease of packing. She is a true minimalist. (L has since revealed that she was merely the only one in the fam without a rolling bag, which has since been rectified, and had to carry a small duffel out and about.)
That following summer I went to Europe with J. I had the smallest backpack they make, it was actually a backpack for a monkey (apparently the man at REI who did the fitting took me very seriously when I said I was going to pack around my stuff for a month). I could only fit 10 pairs of rolled up unmentionables, 5 t-shirts, a pot of eyeshadow, mascara, and my toothbrush. I did not even take a makeup brush. (Which was a mistake, let me tell you. After all, how often do you take photos on a Tuesday at home? Well guess how many photos I took in ten minutes at the Leaning Tower of Pisa?) Still, I had learned to survive on quite a little.
The next year Merv, EP and I all went to NYC with the dance company. The three of us still like to reminisce on the reactions we got, particularly when they saw EP with a bag the size of a lunch box on wheels.

So for the next Vegas trip I showed up to the airport with just a largish purse and everyone was like, where's your luggage? Watching their puzzled looks was better than I imagined. It was one of the most hilarious things I have done. This year I really wanted to top that. I planned to hop off the plane and everyone would be like "where's your stuff"? and I would say "Oh, you mean you did not see these two thongs I have tucked in my back pocket? Oh, you must mean my toothbrush! Don't worry, I've learned from O. I'll just get one at the front desk." It would be amazing. However, as I had way to many snacks, I had to take a real size bag in the end. Still, I wanted to bag to look all flat and cool so I did not take pack anything besides Saltines, Wheat Thins, Swedish Fish, Butterfingers, Honey O's (a whole box), fruit snacks, Rips-an innovation in licorice, and gum, along with a few toiletries and two shirts. There was just no way I was sticking in a pair of pants to plump up my bag! After this last experience, I am about as puzzled as everyone generally is. I no longer understand the light packing thing. In the future, I'll probably not take two pairs of pants because that still seems rather extreme, but I'll at least add another couple of string cheeses and maybe a salad kit.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My Failed Baking Week 3

I don't appear to have any readers so I'm not sure why I bother, but, here goes,
Baking Week 3:

Boston Cream Cupcakes-check back later this week, I'm still catching up on this recipe.
check out this blog to see some fantastic pics and the recipe!
(this week's host was actually the girl who organized the baking club and she has all sorts of great recipes on her blog. You'll have to go all the way back to Wednesday Jan 18 to see the cupcakes post)

So last week was a bit busy...
Sunday: Drove to Las Vegas with O
Monday: Shopped wildly, lunch at my fav spot-Nordstroms Cafe
Tuesday: continued to shop wildly and had lunch again at Nordstoms Cafe followed by reading Mrs. Mike in the ladies lounge
 (I suppose shopped indecisively would be a better description. I was completely paralyzed by decision making! Normally, I just buy whatever my mom advises so the whole trip was me trying to take photos on my wretched phone, send them to my mom, describe them when all the photos came out black, etc. Also, lunch at my fav place was not quite as fun without any of my fav people. Day 2 was better bc I at least brought a book!) (And all of you should read Mrs. Mike. I loved it!)
Tuesday pm: Drove home from Vegas, stopping off at a wings restaurant. I tried my first chicken wing (I only dared to sample the boneless variety. It was not bad.)
Wednesday: exhausted by my late night and early morning. Lugged my lazy self to the gym to start my New Year's resolution of working out for 1 hour 6 days a week (turns out that was a tad bit ambitious...) Went to Zumba, looked like a loon with flailing limbs, panting from exertion after about 5 min. Thought about leaving early but was too embarrassed to do so (good thing I was not just doing a video at home or I would have quit straight away). All in all, very impressed with myself at the end of the class, and thrilled O had been in the pool and not walking by the window to observe my not so coordinated efforts. Actually, after our hour of working out, we both had to sit in the chairs at the front for a bit to recoup before we could head home. People probably thought we had just run a marathon or something.
Thursday: I planned to make my Boston Cream Cupcakes. However after dropping off the red car to have the heat fixed (after 2 years of extremely cold driving conditions), I got all involved in civic duty and such and called the police on some vandals. I blame this on the fact that L was ranting all the way home about politics and Newt G. I of course would proceed to follow the teen hoodlums around the neighborhoods, yelling out the window, telling them where I lived etc bc I have absolutely no brain whatsoever. After hearing from the police that the boys would be responsible for fixing the vinyl fence slat they punched in, I was forced to spend the rest of the day lying flat on the couch for fear that if I was up and about, the juvenile delinquents would spy me through my kitchen window. In my still exhausted from the weekend state, this meant I was sort of in and out of all reality and bizarre dreamland. Finally, I headed over to the gym. Not to workout, but to be in a public place, safely surrounded by people. My complete paranoia carried over into my dreams that night, leaving my completely exhausted Friday morning.
Friday: tired but no longer scared of the high school hoodlum who may or may not be out for retribution. Came home from work and went on a cleaning spree to get ready for O's Czech guest. Finished up my night at Applebees-have not been there in ages but I still love the Oriental Chicken Salad!
Saturday: O's bday party!!
Of course, I am never ready for a party on time! However, we had a great time at the 'Where in the World party' where we samples several ethnic dishes including Svikova from the Czech Republic and watched slide shows from all of my siblings families showing where in the world they have been over the past little while.
After the party I had to support O after hearing about Newt G's victory.
He looked a little off.

Sunday-forgot to go back to the store after the party and so still could not make the Boston Cream Cupcakes.
Monday-I can at least say I have started the cheesecake-which takes hours and hours so it better be better than Cosco's! (I'll actually be posting about this on Wednesday, for the first time ever, I'll be on time!)

and a side story: this happened months ago but I just remembered it and have been laughing for an hour :)
I told E that a Domino's is opening on the moon. E thinks about it for a minute and then says (and I am not lying) "will they deliver"?

Plans for the first Dominos on the moon. They hope to keep costs down by using local moon rock to make the concrete.
FYI: Staff will be required to live on the premises.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Bran Muffins and why I am so late

Week two of the baking club has come around!

Of course, I am late again, two days late this time. I actually made the muffins on Sunday afternoon, but then ate them all before I got any photos. So I had to make a second batch Wednesday night.
Before I could do that, I attended O's Global Business Management course certificate awards program (along with the strangest cheese platter I have ever beheld). I zipped home, made my muffins and got them in the oven before getting sidetracked reading Finnikin of the Rock, which was beyond fabulous! As with every fantasy book, there was that one extremely bizarre element, but that did not keep it from being one of my favorite books ever and I will def be naming a future inhabitant of my home Finn. Anyways, after spending 30 minutes enraptured by fictitious characters, I went to get my photos, but by this time O was busy with Wednesday Night Rapping and could not be troubled to get his phone camera out. As it was his birthday eve, I felt obliged to sit in for his mini-concert, yes, even sitting through "Halo" twice (so he could do all of the parts, complete with actions such as holding his broken heart with one hand while directing traffic to stop with the other). I informed O I would not be listening to his rendition of Jay-Z's baby's song again until next year. (I think I might do a post with pics of their baby's magnificent carriage (literal) bed though.) So, of course I did not get my post up. Thursday was O's bday, I'll get pics of that up soon (as soon as we locate the presents...), and here it is Friday, with me ready to post!

The recipe for the week: Bran Muffins

Bran muffins are my favorite breakfast food ever!!!

I like this recipe quite a bit, it is second only to Tina B.'s recipe (which due to my rather limited viewership I hardly deem it necessary to include here). (However, if you do want the recipe, let me know and I'll put it up.) All in all, this is the first recipe I have made from America's test kitchen that comes in second place. That being said, if you have not had Tina's, these are great.

The recipe from America's test kitchen was great the day they were made, however, the muffins were a little dry and stale by day three. (Not that many were left by day three, I ate half the pan on day one)
I did not have plain yogurt so I substituted vanilla yogurt with no dire consequences.
I actually only had 1 cup of yogurt and had to use 3/4 cup of the only other dairy product in my fridge (half and half, no wonder they were to die for :).

So here is the end product, I would definitely recommend them!

For the recipe, check out this blog:

BTW: angel has no rhyme and, influenced by the movement at Lake Superior to banish the overused words    <3   (which I kept looking at and thinking what does that mean? (Other than the obvious, less than 3) Finally, I have determined it to be a sideways heart), man-cave, and pet-parent, I have succeeded in the exceedingly difficult task of not using these terms once during this post.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Baking clubs and forays into quiche

I'm now in a baking club! (that is, I was as of yesterday. They may have fired me when I did not complete first challenge on time)

Once a week I will bake a recipe selected by the host of the week, take photos, taste it, and write up a review on my blog with a link the that host who will have the full recipe on her blog. This is all supposed to happen every Wednesday. Obviously, it is Thursday.

This is the cookbook we are using. I LOVE this book! It comes from my favorite cooking show of all time and, not to give too much away, this has my favorite pizza recipe ever and I'm going to choose it for my week!

FYI: I will give a briefing about the recipe but, as I was not crazy about this one, it will be brief :)  Next Wednesday is bran muffins, my favorite thing in the breakfast world, and I'm sure I will wax on and on about that one.

Yesterday's recipe was Quiche. There were several ways to vary the basic cheese quiche. I chose a pepper jack/jalapeno variety that I hoped would burn my taste buds off so I would not be able to taste the quiche-y part. It needed more jalapenos.

Things have been a little crazy over the holidays and with shopping, reading, watching movies, playing games, sleeping until noon, lollying in the bath for 3 hours every night, and eating treats, I could hardly be expected to find time to bake a quiche. As you can imagine, Wednesday rolled around and I was completely unprepared to move back to Orem, start classes and work, bake a quiche, and blog about it all in one day!!

Fortunately, I have seen Semi Homemade with Sandra Lee. To simplify my life, I bought a pie crust from the store. Fortunately, L has not yet acquired so many friends in her new complex that she does not have time to hang with me. L came over and put the crust in the mini muffin tins.  Unfortunately, the recipe does not use the instructions for baking refrigerator pie crust and mine burned. Though not wanting to appear ungrateful for my assistent, I also must add that unfortunately, L's rolling out of approx half the mini pie crusts left something to be desired, as there was no place to pour my filling in the resulting biscuits.

The filling was easy, it took three minutes. I only used about 2 Tbsp however, and had to pour most down the drain.

I baked that quiche to death, then let it sit for 10 minutes.

And now, it was time for a taste..........not too bad!

So by this time, it was only 7:00. I thought, how fantastic, I will post about this tonight, no problem. I go to get out my camera to take a photo. Of course, it was dead. I undo the masking tape that was holding it together to take out the battery and attempt to charge it. All the while, I'm texting O on my stone age phone to see when he will be home to take a photo with his smart phone. Every 5 minutes I would take the battery out of the charger and tape in back into the camera, all to no avail. I only needed one picture, I needed very little power for that! I began to think a) maybe the battery was truly dead, b) maybe my tape arrangement was not a good one, and c) perhaps I needed a new camera. Really, anyone looking through the window would have thought they were watching a period piece.

As an aside (and one that I have been working up to this whole post) I am not completely out of this tech world. I got an ipad from O for Christmas! (I opened it and he said "now, you are cooler than me".) It just dawned on me, as I typed that in, that I should have just taken the photo with the ipad! Next week, I'll do that.

Anyhow, O eventually came home at 10 to take photos of my tiny egg cups. However by that time, I was moved to rant on and on about some random topic while vacuuming my carpet and blasting the Ting Tings. When I glanced up and saw it was 11:00, I raced to get ready for bed (I have a fear of early a.m.s and I had class at 8!!). I collapsed in bed to hear that O had not only forgotten to bring his toothbrush back from my parents, but he had also forgotten his package of Costco toothbrushes I got him for Christmas! Of course this led to me screaming that I hate him for keeping me up. I'm sure you can picture O delicately stepping to the door, confidently stating that he would just look for a toothbrush in the front room. Magically, there were toothbrushes in the front room :) Following that whole episode, I had to go on and on about how I did not truly blame him for keeping me up (which was an absurd accusation). O was most gracious in accepting my apology and assuring me that he was not concerned about it. Of course during the course of my apology I noticed Winston Churchill's top hat reflected in O's eye and I knew that he was really just placating me so I would go to sleep and he could get back to Winny. In the end, I did not get my blog post done and I did not get to bed until after midnight! I was happy to be back in my king bed though. I must say, when I stand straight I seem a manageable enough size but when I lie flat, my limbs flap around quite a bit

So, in summary:
I am extremely picky about quiche. Raw eggs give me a terrible fright and whenever I bake an eggy dish I get a little nervous watching the jelloid form jiggle in the oven. When I heard we were doing quiche I thought, perhaps I'll be sick this week. But, I really wanted to be a full participating member so I got myself in gear.

I was worried that it would be hard, quiche seems gourmet. It was very easy, took little time at all (but perhaps it will take a little more time if you do the crust correctly). The only hard part was judging when it was done. I doubled my cooking time to avoid salmonella, that may have been a tad on the extreme side.

Overall: It was the best quiche I have ever eaten. There is a 1 in 10^8 chance that I will make this again. (I used scientific notation so that not everyone will know just how badly I have offended the recipe.)

If you want to see the full recipe (and if you like quiche I wholeheartedly endorse this one) check out this blog:

Until later