Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Holidays

December is my favorite month. Ok, just wanted to get that out there.

Tonight we had a girls night with some old friends. By old friends I mean that we all went to junior high together. We have all had this crazy bond over being cheerleaders. Yes, junior high cheerleading. It was 2 years filled with drama and growing up as a pre-teen girl in the crazy cheerleading world. But every time we see each other, there are always laughs and great memories (followed by remembered cheers and dances, embarrassing). Well, Steph, our sweet pregnant friend, decided she would make dinner and have us over to her gorgeous house. So I wanted to bake. Well, my lovely bff, Becca, decided she wanted tiramisu when she called to inquire about what I was making. I was excited to bake because 1. I love to bake (duh) 2. I got to try a new recipe (fail) and 3. I got one of these from my unreal, ridic boyfriend…

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So let’s just side note for a second. I’ve wanted one of these f o r e v e r. And I have zero idea which conversation he got that from. But he listened and delivered. Love it. Love him. Lucky. :)

So here’s the tiramisu recipe that I got from All Recipes.com.

Ingredients
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/8 cups mascarpone cheese
  • 24 ladyfingers
  • 1 1/2 cups brewed coffee
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
Directions

In a medium bowl, beat yolks with sugar and vanilla until smooth and light yellow.

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Fold mascarpone into yolk mixture. Set aside.

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Dip ladyfingers briefly in coffee and arrange 12 of them in the bottom of an 8x8 inch dish (I saw this as I was reading it while making it, so I had to think quick since I don’t own an 8x8. I made the poor decision of doing a bowl dish).

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Spread half the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers. Repeat with remaining cookies and mascarpone.

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Cover and chill 1 hour. Sprinkle with cocoa just before serving.

Ok so clearly this looks like a fail. It tasted like Tiramisu, but let’s just say I heard sausage and pudding jokes all night long. I don’t think I’ll ever make tiramisu again. It did taste like it, just didn’t look like it at all. I threw it out tonight after we all tried it, along with my baking pride. I really get bummed when new recipes don’t got as planned. Especially when….

My sugar cookies turned out looking like they were on steroids. Oh, and it didn’t help that I put egg yolks instead of egg whites on them to keep the sprinkles to stick. I forgot which one it was. So they tasted more like scones. Wamp wamp.

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But I did try some really good wine *that I ended up buying for the white elephant that we did.

It’s cute… and oh-so-sweet. Just how I like it…

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And let’s just say, we did a ton of laughing, dancing, cheering, eating, and drinking. Good night. Couldn’t ask for a better time. :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful.

I just can’t be more ecstatic that the holidays are here. I can’t handle the love, cheery feelings, rushed shopping, baking, smiles, and of course the Christmas decorations. Thanksgiving is the kick-off to all the eating of starches (I’m a vegetarian, so I have an excuse to overfill on mashed potatoes and stuffing). :) If it wasn’t for Nate really wanting to make sure we don’t skip over Thanksgiving, I would already have a Christmas-decorated apartment. I can’t wait for tomorrow, Christmas will look like it threw up in my apartment (hopefully).

This year I decided not to bake since we usually have a million pies. So of course, I offered to make some HOMEMADE macaroni and cheese. Nate, Lisa, and I had a grand time at the grocery store last night trying to pick out the ingredients. And it came out W O N D E R F U L.

Ingredients:

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Macaroni shell noodles (I didn’t put a specific quantity because it depends on how many people you’re feeding.

2lb Velveeta cheese

1 stick of butter

Cheddar sprinkle cheese

Dash of milk

First, you boil the water. Then pour in the noodles when the water is boiling. Boil for 8 minutes. You don’t want to boil any longer because they’ll finish processing through the process.

Drain with a *tiny* bit of water left in the pot.

Pour in the dash of milk, stick of butter, and one half of block of cheese. Stir relentlessly, while the heat is on medium. I put a couple of dashes of Ms. Dash seasoning (no pun intended, ha. )

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I always have time to pay attention to my presh dog whose so curious when I’m in the kitchen. He’s a turkey :)

When the cheese starts to melt, put more in. And then some more. (I wouldn’t use the whole block, it might be a little much.

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Pour into a dish and sprinkle a half bag of cheddar sprinkle cheese. Put in the broiler for 3 mins. And the finished result is kind of really amazing. :)

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I know this is a making and baking blog, but I have some shout-outs to make…

I’m thankful for…

  • My AWESOME family who I couldn’t live without.
  • My great boyfriend whose one of the best people I’ve ever met who makes me smile everyday. (sappy:)
  • My ridiculous friends who are these great people I’m privileged to have as cheery additions in my life.
  • My precious brown dog who I’m pretty sure God made for me.
  • My health
  • My career that couldn’t be more suited for me.
  • And of course, the hobbies that keep me sane.

There are a lot of stresses in this life. Thank God for holidays that make us step back soak all the blessings in. I feel so overwhelmed with gratitude. God Bless! Now go and make some mac and cheese! :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Homecoming and Football Season…

Oh how I truly love the fall and holiday season. The warm fuzzy feeling that comes with warm weather and sweaters really does it for me every year. And I cannot even talk about Thanksgiving and Christmas time without smiling and getting giddy. I’m currently listening to the Pandora Peaceful Holiday music station with my pumpkin spice candle burning and my new Anthropologie Catalogue sitting close by, I could not feel more relaxed.

With that said, the other part of fall I love is the football. I got a much-needed break from football last season, and I’ve fallen back into my love of the sport and season. Not to mention, dating a football coach has fully immersed me back into watching it consistently (by consistently, I mean at least 2 high school football games a week not counting tv games). Being a high school teacher and volleyball coach (and former athlete!), I really love the high school athletics sports scene. There’s just something about high school sports that gets me every time. And football season just brings feelings of nostalgia and the innocence of high school that I simply love.

To make fall even more wonderful, there is Homecoming. Again, I love mum/garter day and love when students show me pictures of their gorgeous dresses at the dance. The spirit days are a blast and there’s a buzz around the school that encompasses what high school culture is all about.

Out of the 4 years I’ve taught, this is the first one where I dressed up for some of the spirit days. The kids got into it and a theater student helped me with ideas. This is me dressed up for “Old Folk’s Day”. Let’s just say the kids didn’t recognize me. :) I’m on the left with my fellow speech teacher buddies….

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This is me and my friendy dressed up for “Greek Day”. We were Greek Goddess’s. I had the students refer to me with the mythological name of Marthia all day. Ha.

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*Slight subject Change* Back to Homecoming…

So last year I did two of the volleyball players’ hair for the Homecoming dance. I am a girly girl to the core so I truly enjoy making others feel pretty by curling and primping. This year I had one of my favorite Varsity players ask for me to do her hair and make-up. Of course I said yes! I just love her and her family. Good people. :)

I was a little nervous on the make-up since I usually do hair, but she liked it so I took a sigh of relief! She looked great (which isn’t hard when you’re 16 and gorgeous!) It was too much fun and I hope I have girls when I have kids. Here is the final project…

So I curled, and then we did some strategic pin backs… her hair is perfect to work with because it’s so great. Girls dream of hair like this. :)

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Thanks to Tay for letting me come over and play!…

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Here’s to the holidays and fall season!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Dump Cake… mmmm.

It’s been way too long since my last post. I’m happy to report that I’ll be around my blog more in the coming weeks because season is almost over. I can’t wait for the projects to come.

So I’ll start with a reunion teaser and talk about dump cake. I got this (easy) recipe from my sister and I just loved it! Nate’s mom had surgery on Friday (and doing great, yay). I offered to make some dinner and dessert and bring it over tonight. So I was going to make cheesecake sopapillas, and changed my mind because I make those all the time. I’m not feeling good today so I needed something easy so I could nap before doing it. Dump cake is so easy and so so good. Although, this cake can be a hit or miss depending what you put in it because some people don’t like certain fruits or cake batter (I am not one of those people. I think cake batter is my middle name sometimes).

Ingredients

  • Yellow Cake Mix (I bought reduced fat)
  • Cherry pie filling (2 cans)
  • 1 stick of butter
  • (In the past I’ve put crushed pineapple in this as well. Unfortunately, Target thinks it’s a game to hide their canned crushed pineapple and I got tired of their cruel ways and left.) :)

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  • Put the cherry filling in the bottom of the pan (I sprayed Pam to play it safe).

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  • “Dump” the yellow cake mix on top of the cherry filling.

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  • Then cut a stick of butter (after softening it lightly) into tiny little pieces.

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  • Put the little chunks on top of the cake batter. And put into the oven for 13 mins. (of course, depending on your oven).

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  • Take out and it should look a little something like this…

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Mmmm. I ove this dessert. It’s quite unconventional and yet, so delicious!

Enjoy.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hello 4th year.

Well, in my last ditch effort  to savor my last day of summer, I got A L O T done. I had one million errands to run and a thousand things to do. And yet, I still fit some baking and making into my schedule, naturally.

Let’s just say this baker’s sweet tooth has been in full effect the last week (insert confession: I had cake for breakfast Saturday. Judge me.) So when I have a reason to “celebrate” (i.e. first day of school), then I bake. So I made cupcakes and Ghiradelli brownies. Mmmm. My apartment smelled like bliss.

Btw, you have to make these brownies. SO good.

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(Obviously, I didn’t purchases the much needed camera yet. Grrr)

So I put some brownies in cellophane/brown take-out box and made it pretty for my mom (who kind of rocks a ton)  and friend, Steph (whose pregnant and needs to feed two people, people.) :)

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And then I went to town making frames. I just bought basic ones, and wrote good quotes on them with paint pens. They’re for my book shelf in my classroom.

Oh, and for my favorite teacher friends, Nicole and Lauren (shout out) :) Theirs are the two on the right. They help keep my sanity in the gym and on the speech hallway. :)

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And then I bought some flowers on sale at Michaels and needed a vase. Found an old jar in my craft area. Paint penned it and filled it with lima beans. I’m super pumped about the added touch to my classroom/desk and the quote to remind me to stay positive (“Smile, life is grand”. And gosh, isn’t it? :) )

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And then I thought about how great my student assistant for my volleyball team is. So while I was out buying crafty stuff, I bought her a tshirt and some paint to make a shirt to wear at a game. I kept it basic.

IMG_2289  There’s a cute back, but the paint is drying. (The letters stand for Junior Varsity Student Assistant). She’s such a huge help, and it’s not the most fun job. But she’s so efficient and I can really count on her. I appreciate her being apart of my team this year. I hope I have a daughter who is like these girls that I’m blessed to coach/teach. (Notice nothing was said about boys, that was intentional :) ha.

And last but not least, I’ve decided to completely re-do my bedroom 2 weeks ago (impulsive is a good quality for something, right? :)  I just feel like your bedroom should be restful and peaceful, and my other decorations just weren’t. They were from local artists who I LOVE, but they were all thrown together for a mini chaos. Not relaxing.

So I bought this cute comforter at Target and have started the creative process of making my bedroom. Here is the pattern and colors. Ahhhhh, soothing. :)

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So I love the empty frame idea for walls. I had black ones hanging and so I spray painted them pink.

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And now I really need to crack into my creative juices and come up with some great stuff to put in and around these. We’ll see… stay tuned.

Whew, what a productive last day of summer. I needed to get creative. It felt good after a very busy summer of grad classes, working, and a new boyfriend (the last part being my favorite part :).

The first day back was great. I’m so blessed to be a teacher, which is what I wanted to do since I was in 4th grade. It can get stressful and the last month of season hasn’t been the smoothest, but in the end, I couldn’t be more luckier to be around teenagers all day. I kind of really love it. Whew.

It’s good to be back to my bloggy. I must warn you, I’m back in season, school, and graduate courses. So posts may be sparse (is anyone following this anyway? :), but I’m here, thinking of my next project….

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Tofu Lasagna

A year and a half ago, I became a vegetarian (I eat fish/seafood, so technically, a pescitarian) . Besides the twin conversations I’ve had over and over, this is starting to enter the top 5 conversation starters. Anyway, in my constant search for meat substitutions, I ran across this Tofu Lasagna recipe on one of my fave websites, AllRecipes.com.

Soooooo….

The bf’s mom had ACL surgery on Wednesday and I offered to make a meal for a night bc who wants to cook when their knee looks like a swollen marshmellow. My knee surgery was so painful that I really feel bad for others who have to get it and LOVE cooking and baking for other people (and it brightened up the terrible day I had) so it all worked out perfectly. Sidenote: It sure is nerve-racking when I think about how others will like my food (that’s the people-pleaser in me), but I forge ahead anyway. She said no dessert bc she can’t workout (which I wish I was more disciplined with that concept sometimes. Ha:) so I didn’t make any. Since she is a healthy eater and we had a conversation about Tofu, I thought this was a good idea to make for her.

Sadly, I forgot to take pictures until the end. However, I did take a couple. Ugh.

Here’s the great recipe (I changed it a little from the original):

Ingredients

1/2 (12 ounce) package uncooked lasagna noodles

1 (12 ounce) package firm tofu, crumbled

2 eggs

2 tablespoons milk

1 cup spaghetti sauce

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

And I added 1 package of ricotta cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add lasagna and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente (definition- that I had to call my mom for:) -not too hard, not too soft); drain.
  3. In a medium bowl combine tofu, eggs, milk, spaghetti sauce (I dumped the whole jar of sauce because I don’t read when I cook sometimes, 1 cup of mozzarella cheese. Spread a layer in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  4. Layer lasagna noodles with the sauce mixture, ending with sauce. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. (I did 3 layers overall. The bottom and top layer had the mixture and the middle one had the ricotta cheese).
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 35 minutes.

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I love this dang lasagna and can eat the whole pan. Thankfully, she let me leave it at her house. :) We paired it with HEB’s garlic bread from heaven (and straight from calorie hell :), some delish wine, laughter, and good conversation. Can’t beat a great time and a healthy recipe. Life is good.

Teaser for next post: possible new camera :)             

Friday, July 9, 2010

Cupcakes make me smile.

Man, all I want in life is to have a bakery. Ask anyone whose known me since I was little, it’s true. And one thing that I know for sure, cupcakes make me smile. It’s not because I’m a fat kid who loves cake (which I am, proudly), it’s because it’s something about small things that make me want to stick them in my pocket. And cupcakes are no exception. I can’t put my finger on it. Maybe it’s the varieties, the icing, the shape, the cup part of the cake, the top, or the plain daintiness (no, it’s not a word) of the little things. Either way. I love ‘em.

*Insert random subject change*

My stepsister is getting married. My stepmom asked me to hostess the bridal shower. Of course I said yes. A. I love being hostess and being domestic is where my heart is. And B. I’ve known homegirl since I was little and would love to make her shower special :) It’s my first bridal shower, no pressure. Needless to say, it’s another opportunity to bake and how could I pass that up. So I suggested to make the 30 cupcakes needed.

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I am not feeling well this week so when I started, I was dragging. Now that I’m done, I’m truly happy.

The main reason: Wilton’s Color Food Spray. Yes people, edible spray paint… whattttt. Love it!

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Originally, I was going to pink food dye the white frosting. Then I got lost on the cake/baking isle at Michaels Craft Store (which by the way, I’m asking Michael if I can live on this isle) and came across this genius product. I’m hooked!

So I got my icing gun (that also rocks my world) and iced away. To my (major) dismay, the icing started melting immediately so bear with the poor icing job. I think the kitchen got a little overheated from the dang oven. grrr..

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To my second dismay, I left my presh cupcake holder in my sister’s car (who just happens to live 4 hrs away), which explains the attractive cardboard box holder substitute.

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And who doesn’t love a little somethin’ extra in their life for an extra oomph!

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Like I said…

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