Wednesday, April 29, 2009

{TWD} Chocolate Creme Pie

I am sorry folkie polkies! I am once again behind on my TWD. I had every intention of making this pie this week and it is one that I really want to try! I finished my faculty certification course for teaching at University of Phoenix on Monday so hopefully things won't be quite so crazy and I will get back on track. Check out Kim of Scrumptious Photography for the recipe and check out TWD blogroll to see how a multitude of other bakers did!

Edit: I have the crust and the filling made. I am going to put it together tomorrow morning to take in to work.

Next week: Tierramisu Cake

Monday, April 27, 2009

Letterboxing at Deerwood Arboretum

Letterboxing is fun. Click here for details on what to do. My kids love it. This was in Brentwood at Deerwood Arboretum.

The boxes in this set were Winnie the Pooh themed. In honor of that I wore my Pooh Bear socks.
Much fun was had by all.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Dying Easter Eggs

I am so behind on posting. I have a bunch of posts hanging out in the edit folder and I just haven't had time to actually write anything. So, a few photos from egg dying fun! :)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Mobile Blogging

what a day! it has been crazy so far. now i am just testing out mobile blogging. we'll see how it goes!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

{TWD} 15 Min Magic: Chocolate Amaretti Torte

From the Joy of Baking:
Amaretti, pronounced "am-ah-REHT-tee", is the Italian name for macaroons, which means little bitter things. Crisp and crunchy on the outside and soft inside, these small, domed shaped cookies originated in Venice Italy during the Renaissance period. Amaretti cookies are made from either ground almonds or almond paste, along with sugar
and egg whites and can be flavored with chocolate or liqueurs. I was not sure where to buy these cookies so I cheked out the questions and suggestions on the TWD site. Someone mentioned World Market had them. My hubby happened to be in the vicinity of one that day so I sent him to get them. They were $2.48 for a 7 oz package. I thought they were delicious!

When you take these cookies and grind them up in your food processor with some almonds you can turn them into this delicious Chocolate Amaretti Torte.

This weeks Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was chosen by Holly from Phe/MOM/enon. You can check out her blog for the recipe or better yet pick up Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan.
This torte was a winner. Remember when my husband willingly let me out of the house with the Banana Cream Pie? This wasn't going any where. I asked him if I should take it with me to work. The look on his face was an incredulous "NO".

The recipe said the cake may dome and crack. Dome and crack it did. I let it cool for 15 minutes before removing it from the pan. Now you are supposed to invert the cake and let it cool to room temperature......
Because it was so thin, when I tried to flip it over it cracked. Any suggestions on how to flip over a cake without it cracking to pieces? Since the one piece fell out anyway we all tried it. Everyone really like the plain ol cake.
This is the first glaze I have made that actually ran off the sides of the cake. I was a little surprised and then realized why I should have had a drip pan underneath the baking rack. The broken edge didn't help keep the chocolate on either. That was ok. It gave me more to taste to make sure it was ok for everyone else to eat!

After refrigerating for 30 minutes I made the almond whipped cream. I pulled out my handy dandy Pampered Chef Easy Accent Decorator and piped the whipped cream onto the torte. I realize I am using torte and cake interchangeably. It was cakey but the title is torte so that is why I think I keep doing that.

Hubby loved this recipe. He wouldn't let me take it to work. I really liked it as well but it is really rich. For a girl who thinks chocolate is a food group, that is saying something. My daughter really liked the cake but she requested it without whipped cream and without extra cookies. She bit one in half earlier in the day and handed it back to me. She is a little bit funny about different flavors. My little guy liked the cake when he tasted it earlier in the day but didn't want any when we had it for dessert. I am guessing that was due to eating almost an entire chocolate bunny when he was only supposed to eat the ears.....
Overall, a quick and easy, delicious dessert!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Hello cuteness! Easter Cake Pops

OK! Here is my second attempt at Bakerella cake pops. I decided these would be easier than the Hello Kitty Pops I made a couple of months ago.
When you actually read the directions instead of just trying to do them from memory they actually turn out OK.

Things I did differently this time:
-refrigerated the cake balls over night
-dipped the end of the lollipop sticks in the melted candy before putting them in the cake ball
-used a tall glass for dipping instead of a shallow bowl.

Things to do before the next time:
-buy an expensive camera and a lightbox
-or put in super duper windows for natural light and take pictures when it is actually light outside
-or paint my dining room bright white instead of dark yellow

Munchkin found out that I was making them for Little Mans class and really wanted some for hers as well. Lucky for her this made 40 pops. Only two of which were sacrificed to the melted candy gods. The kids got to share one and I ate one.
They are still not as purty as Bakerellas but they are getting there. At least I feel a little more confident in my cake pop endeavors than I did before.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

80's Bunco

Once a month I get together with a bunch of girls to play Bunco. Bunco is a dice game where you roll to 21. If you roll 3 of the number you are rolling for (say 3 5's when rolling for 5's) you get a big Bunco.
It is a little confusing at first but once you have been through a couple of rounds it is easy to catch on to.
What could be more fun than simply playing Bunco? Themed Bunco of course! When it was at my house it was costume party as it was Halloween time. This months Bunco was 80's bunco. I am not one of those people that toss everything they have that is out of style or I have no use for anymore. Why? Because everything comes back around. Why should I go out and spend money on new 80's clothes when I have my originals?Thank goodness bangs are back. Obviously not big like this but they worked for that night. My sweet daughter took this next photo of me. Here I should make mention that most people that use my camera cannot get it to focus. So, my children may just think that I was out of focus all of their childhood. Yes, I still have my original crimper.

Leslie, the lady that hosted this month pulled out some of her vintage 80's gear:

Now, I was in 9th grade in 1989 so I will admit that I was more 90's big hair than 80's. You can tell the ladies who actually had 80's big hair.

Bunco essentials:

Believe it or not Michelle got her 80's gear at Hot Topic and Claire's Boutique. Like I said it all comes back around...

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

{TWD} Part Duex....Banana Cream Pie

Did you know that if you peel a banana from the bottom you don't get as many of the strings? I had to peel 3 of them for this pie and my son laughed every time I peeled on from the bottom.

Why am I showing you a photo of an egg being separated? Because this recipe called for 6 egg yolks. I actually froze the whites to make an egg white omelet later this week. We'll see how that goes as I have never frozen egg whites before. I wanted to separate them into 3 bags for freezing but got frustrated and all 6 are in 1 bag. You can ignore the box mix behind the egg. I had to whip up a quick cake...after my hello kitty disaster pops I have decided on a second attempt with Easter Chicks. They may or may bot turn out better than the Hello Kitty pops.

The lovely yolks.....
This is the first time I have ever made pastry cream again. Several blogs I read said that it turned gloppy and lumpy. I managed to temper the eggs just right and didn't get lumps. Thank goodness. I would have been very frustrated. There are a few people that made peanut butter crusts. Next time.....I will confess I cheated on the crust. It's Pillsbury. I love those crusts and they are easy. One less pan for me to wash later.

It seemed like there wasn't enough pastry cream to cover all of the bananas but I don't have a pie pan. This one I got from Taste of Home or some magazine when I signed up years ago as a free gift. It has pretty flowers on the bottom. You may have one as well!

Last night when I was making the pastry cream I asked my hubby if he was going to actually try this. As I have said before he does not like cooked fruit and he is not a fan of custardy anything. He said to just to go ahead and take it to work with me today.

My little Munchkin was all ready for school, backpack and everything when I started to whip the cream for the top of the pie. She really wanted to help so I handed off the mixer while I got the vanilla our of the cabinet.
All I have to say is Whipped Cream covers a multitude of sins. Since the pastry cream didn't seem to cover enough I thought I would pipe the whipped cream on. It looked pretty and covered up all the bare spots. Do you think I got a photo before cutting into it? Nope.

I only cut the one little slice for the four of us to share at home. Munchkin is not a fan of custardy stuff, even though she licked the beater after whipping the cream. Once she tasted the pie though she said "Ooh mommy! The pie was creamy and then banana-y and then cinnamony and then all three together!!!" When offered a second bite though she politely refused. I coerced/begged my husband to have a a small bite because I really wanted him to try it (I made him try brussell sprouts last night too). He was really surprised to find that he really liked it. But, he still wanted me to take it with me.
I have a love/hate relationship with bananas. I know how good they are for you. We always have them in our house. But, they hate me. As soon as I eat a banana I have serious heartburn. I suppose it is from the potassium. That teeny piece is all I am eating of this pie. As much as I liked it, and could have eaten more, even now I am suffering the consequence of that tiny piece!

I dug out my handy dandy cake taker and packed the rest up for work. It is 9:45 and it is almost gone already! :) I am glad that I can bring my leftovers in for others to enjoy. One guy said "Your pie is fabulous!!" I got a "What did you put in that? It is sooo gooood!!" Another said "Now that is what I'm talking about!" So, it is a hit. Yeah!
Again if you want the recipe you can purchase the book Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or you can check out Sing for your Supper by Amy.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Take a Minute

to look up. :)

{TWD} Banana Cream Pie

OK...I suck. I have not made this yet for my baking club. I want to but I have been crazy busy this week. I meant to get bananas at the store Saturday but forgot them. From reading about this on the blogroll over at Tuesdays With Dorie, it is a fantastic pie. Check out Sing for your Supper by Amy for the recipe. Hopefully I will have it made and posted in a couple of days!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Dear Smokers....

Well, it is spring and that means car windows rolled down and air vents open. If you would like to choke yourself and your passengers (as long as they are not children who can't defend themselves) on nicotine, tar, and carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, arsenic, DDT and 500 other chemicals you are more than welcome to.

Please keep your windows rolled up and do not let your second hand smoke out to come in my open windows and vents. Those of us that do not smoke are not choosing your second hand smoke and are virtually being held prisoner by those of you that do.

Those of you smoking on elementary school grounds are breaking the law and causing a cloud of second hand smoke for small children to walk through. Thanks a lot. They are not choosing that you are forcing it on them. Please stop smoking on campus.

PS. throwing your cigarette butt out the window is littering. You may think it is just one little butt. Take a look out your window and see the thousands of butts piled up along the roadway. It is an eyesore and a hazard.

Stepping off soapbox now...

One more thing. Here are a couple of links for quitting smoking

Why quit
American Lung Association
Quitters Inc

Thursday, April 02, 2009

800 + Tornadoes

Here is is my 800th post and what is happening? Tornadoes! You may or may not know that the south is getting hammered with storms at the moment. I work up on a hill and spent about 15 minutes in the stairwell with my fellow employees.

When we came out we found this branch on one of the guys cars. A student came in and told us there were 3 trees down on the road leading to the school. The FedEx guy came in and said he had to drive the wrong way on another street leading to the school because of a downed tree. I had
Photo by Alicia Fletcher several people call and tell me the building near ours got hit. It didn't, it was another building with the same name a few miles away. I have probably answered the phone about a hundred times telling students that "Yes, we are still having classes".

There is another line of storms coming that will hopefully not be as bad as this one was.

So, Yea...for 800 posts. And, Boooooo for tornadoes!