Archive | January, 2012

eggs IN toast.

31 Jan

I woke up this morning, feeling kind of….grumpy.  All I’ve done lately is school, school, school.  Aside from baking. But things just seem very, boring?  Yeah, I’d say that’s the right word.  Boring.  Maybe even repetitive.

So, I thought I’d change it up a little bit.  I’m not morning food person.  Actually, that could almost be deemed a lie.  I love pancakes and waffles and bowls of delicious fruit, even oatmeal.  Not bland oatmeal, oatmeal with maple syrup and brown sugar, or apple cinnamon.  Mmm.  However, when it comes to eggs and cereal.  I gag.  I don’t know why, but eggs, especially eggs, make me want to throw up.  I don’t mind so much if they’re covered in stuff to the point that I can’t taste that gross eggy taste, but if they’re not.  Gross.

You’re probably thinking “Okay?  I swear I see eggs in the picture….”.  Well, you do.  I was reading a blog last night, in bed, when I ended up coming across a woman around my age saying she used to hate eggs, but she decided to give them another shot.  In my mind I was thinking, “Oh my!  How bold of her!!!” (no sarcasm!!).  It made me realize that I haven’t had eggs in years.  And if she could do it, so could I!

Yeah, …no.  I made myself eggs and toast.  Eggs IN toast.  I made them all pretty, cut out stars in each and even topped them off with salt, pepper and feta.  They looked good and I was excited!

Big mistake.  Gag gag gag.  I’m not an egg person.  I cannot do it.  I can’t venture out of my comfort zone, which I thought I could do.  I like trying different things, different foods, different drinks.  Eggs are just not my thing.

If you have any suggestions on how I could POSSIBLY become an egg enthusiast, let me know.  Otherwise…

Forever an egg hater,
-D

PS
I did finish one whole piece of egg in toast.  Just to let you know:).

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Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

30 Jan
Last night I said that I’d post the recipe for the red velvet cupcakes I made.  Let me just tell you, they’re to die for.  Mind you, anything with cream cheese icing is to die for, you don’t have to agree, but I guarantee, most of you do.
I’ll keep this short and sweet.

The Recipe…

The batter
3 1/2 cups           flour (not self-rising)
3/4 cup               unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups           sugar
3                         large eggs (at room temperature)
6+ tablespoons    red food colouring
3-6 tablespoons   unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons   vanilla extract (a wee bit more if you’re not using the pure stuff)
1 1/2 teaspoons   salt
1 1/2 cups            buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons    cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons    baking soda
Preheat oven to 350° degrees.
In a small bowl, sift the flour and put it aside.
In a large bowl, on medium speed,, cream the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy – this should take approximately five minutes.  Next, add the eggs, one by one, beating thoroughly after each addition.
In a small bowl, add together the cocoa, red food colouring, and vanilla.  Mix well!  Then add this to the batter and mix well, again!
Next, measure the buttermilk and stir the salt into it.  Add this to the batter, then add the flour.  Do this three times, alternating buttermilk with flour.  Mix thoroughly:).
Now, in a small bowl again, stir together the baking soda and cider vinegar, add to the batter – MIX WELL.
Add the paper liners to the cupcake pan, add the batter to the paper liners.  Almost done.
Last step, bake for twenty+ minutes, mine were perfect at exactly twenty…but each oven is different.
Now for the icing.  I made a pretty generic cream cheese icing, which honestly made the cupcakes THAT much better.
The cream cheese icing
250g (1 package)          cream cheese
8 tablespoons                butter
4 cups                           confectioner’s sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons             vanilla extract (again, add a little more if you’re using imitation)
Throw all the ingredients into a bowl, actually that’s a lie, if you don’t want a big puff of sugar all over add the sugar in slowly.  Mix on medium to high until the icing is lump free.  Done!

There ya have it.  Fairly simple hey?  My pictures didn’t turn out all that great, they look more chocolaty than they do red velvety.  But I swear, they were red velvet cupcakes ;).
-D

Rubber Ducky, you’re the one….

30 Jan
…I don’t have a fascination with rubber duckies, I’m not crazy about them, I don’t use them, nor are they my “very best friend”.  That fella up there, the rubber ducky, is Mila’s new toy.  I found out a while ago that she loves chewing on them.  So I decided to buy her a nice big one, that would keep her occupied for hours and not give her gas.  Boy, does she have awful gas.  It’s terrible.
The reason behind the rubber ducky was to keep her busy and distracted with something that didn’t make a THUMP! every, single time she dropped it.  Nothing hurts my head more than her bones hitting the ground from over two feet up, while I’m doing homework.  So, this seemed like the reasonable answer.  She does have other toys, but when it comes to ones that will solidly keep her busy, well, she ran out.
If you’re a pet owner, actually an owner of a very rambunctious breed of dog, get them a rubber ducky.  I swear by it (:.
Did I get my six question, six plus part accounting homework done today?  I did.  So there ya have it.
Stay tuned for my awesome red velvet cupcakes – tomorrow.
-D.

Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes

28 Jan
After working on homework ALL day yesterday, I decided to give myself a little break.  I wanted to relax, have a glass (or two) of red wine and bake.  And that’s exactly what I did.  A girl friend and I got together last night and decided on what kind of cupcakes we wanted to bake.  Well, I’ll be honest, I decided what kind of cupcakes we should bake.  I wanted chocolate, I wanted strawberry filling and I wanted cupcakes.  Fairly straight forward, I think.As always, I found a recipe I was interested in and tweaked it.  My mum had a bunch of Martha Stewart recipes she had printed off, so I found one that interested me, called the “Hi-Hat”.  I really think the name grabbed my attention more than the cupcakes, haha.

Anyhow..Here’s what these bad boys turned out like

The recipe …

For The Batter
1 ounce        semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces      strawberry pie filling
1 cup           all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp         baking powder
1/2 tsp         baking soda
1/4 tsp         salt
1/2 cup        unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups    sugar
2                  large eggs
1 tsp            vanilla extract
1/2 cup        sour cream
For The Frosting
1/3 cup        soft butter
3 cups          confectioners sugar
1 1/2 tsp       vanilla extract
2+ tbsp         milk
For the Chocolate Dip
8-12 ounces  semi-sweet chocolate
3 tbsp           canola or vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 350° degrees – rack in centre.  Start by melting the chocolate, if you don’t know how to do this, aside from microwaving it (which I personally don’t recommend), it’s quite simple.  Place the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl, and set it over a medium saucepan of simmering water, stir.  Set aside to cool slightly.
While the chocolate is cooling, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
Grab another medium bowl and cream butter and sugar, on medium speed – you want it to be light and fluffy :).  Next, on low, mix in the melted chocolate.  Once fully mixed, add the strawberries, increase speed back to medium and add eggs, one at time.  Then the vanilla.  Mix thoroughly and then add the sour cream and 1/2 a cup of water.
Once that is mixed through and through, yep, add the flour.  Bit by bit if you don’t want to get poofed! in the face!
Voila!  The batter is done!
Now, add the batter to paper liners, which undoubtedly should already be in the cupcake pan.  Most cupcake recipes say to only add x amount of batter to each liner, however, it’s completely up to you.  I found that these are a denser cupcake so I added a little more to my liners, I’d say approximately 2/3s.
Bake for 20 to 30 minutes.
Once done, let cool.
I ended up piping the leftover pie filling (jelly portion) into my cupcakes, very easy to do, go in from the side with a long tip.
As for the icing.  Mix all ingredients, till a smooth and thick consistency is achieved.
Pipe icing onto cupcakes, or spoon, again, entirely up to you!  Let cool in fridge while melting the chocolate…..
Now for the last step, like with the chocolate portion of the batter, you want to melt this as well.  Once melted, DIP the top of the cupcake.  Again, super super easy to do:).
I know this recipe wasn’t as straight forward as the couple others I’ve posted, but after another grueling day of homework, my brain and writing skills are at a barely functioning degree.
Good luck & hope you enjoyed
-D.

Mason Jars

27 Jan
I can’t go a day without coffee.  Ever.  When I do, come 6 o’clock, I go through major withdrawals.  My withdrawals don’t consist of a million symptoms, just one.  A headache.  No, actually, THE headache.  This headache is so awful that I can’t leave the house, let alone walk from point a to point b in the house.  I’m paralyzed.  Sad, isn’t it?
My coffee addiction today was satisfied.  Just as the coffee maker beeped at me to let me know “hey, hellooo, I’m ready”, I realized that I didn’t have a clean mug – and the dishwasher was running.  I looked at where all of our mugs and glasses are, nothing, nada.  I was in absolutely no mood to burn my hand whilst using a water glass.  No, sirry!  Then it dawned on me, “that mason jar is the same size as my regular coffee cup AND it won’t burn me”.  Sheer happiness.  I know you’re probably thinking, “why didn’t she just grab a dirty mug and wash it???”.  Well, ya see, I was just beyond lazy.  Worst case scenario, I would have definitely cleaned one up.
The mason jar coffee cup, indeed, was a success.  I got my daily dose and was drinking out of glass wear that I am seriously drawn to.  I’ve got bunches of mason jars in my room.  They hold my pens, pencils, paint brushes as well as some of my paints.  They’re even in my bathroom, keeping my cotton puffs and q-tips nice and clean.
My next DIY project, which I stumbled on to via Pinterest (as usual), will consist of a mason jar; sand, dirt, rocks, or all; and a candle.  A mason jar lantern, brilliant isn’t it?!  Here’s the link, Make it Do by Calli.  She’s got some pretty great “make it do” projects.  This by far being my favourite.  Cannot wait to try them out!
Oh, also, I do plan to use this INSIDE and outside.  I’ll probably make a couple just as candle holders :).
Homework beckons once again.
-D.
PS
As I was on the Flipboard app on my iPhone, I came across the cuppow!  Oh the endless possibilities for mason jars ;)

 

For the love of dog

26 Jan

My humble moment for the day was not getting through hours of homework, making a delicious dinner or even going out for coffee with a friend.  My humble moment for the day was taking that goofy looking girl you see above for a nice little walk.  As if cuddles weren’t enough, just her looking up at me like that, waiting for me to throw her weird two legged, faceless squeak toy for her is enough.  I mean, just look at her!
Walking Mila has been one of the best things for me, at first it used to be short .5km walks, however, the more she grows the longer the walks get.  Not because she can handle long walks now but because if I don’t walk her for more than 2.5km she just doesn’t get the necessary exercise a dog her size needs.  Although, I’m not saying that that walk is all she gets.  Being a dog owner, one must establish routines.  Right?  I didn’t really realize this at first – aside from the routine feeding times – but even the walks count.
Mila is an incredibly energetic dog.  It’s in her breed to be.  They are hyper and need TONS of running around, daily.  Like I said, the walks won’t cut it.
During one of our daily walks I decided to take random routes and better acquaint us to the neighbourhood.  I’ve lived here for 5+ years but didn’t really know what was around us until getting Mila.  Anyways..back to the topic.  I discovered a little dog park in one of the neighbouring areas.  How awesome is that?  Prior to this the only off-leash dog park I knew of was one that was driving distance away.  Not very routine or walk friendly.  So discovering this park was like a dream come true.  I honestly couldn’t tell you who was more excited, me or her.
So we walked through the gate, I told her to sit, took off her leash and she began her inspection.  She sniffed every inch of that park.  Then she ran, in circles, over and over and over again.  I felt silly because I had nothing to throw for her, I hadn’t prepared to let her off leash and hadn’t prepared to throw her anything.  Like her, I explored.  I found a stick and she fell in love with it.
Awesome, eh??
Owning a dog means a routine, this is ours.  Walk for x amount of kilometres, go to the off-leash area, walk home.  Solid routine.  She comes home panting and collapses.  Happy puppy, happy pet owner.
-D.
PS
I think that areas like this are vital to have in suburban districts.  I am noticing more and more that people are venturing out and getting dogs but I’m also noticing that there are just not enough dog friendly areas.  Dogs aren’t meant to be couped up day-in, day-out.  They love to run, play and explore.  They’re curious.  Even the little ones!
PPS
A great way to keep track of the amount of walking you and your walking partner(s) do is to use an app!  Or if you’re a little more old school, use a pedometre.  I use an app, considering my phone is my life.  I wish I were joking.  Here’s a screenshot of the app after today’s walk.  It’s called “Walkmeter”, if you want more info on it, read Afternoon walk.

The morning after

26 Jan
It’s out!  It’s out!  What you may ask?  Well, if you’re just tuning in, I suppose I should explain my excitement.  The sock bun is out.  I woke up this morning, after an incredibly rested sleep, brushed my teeth, put my face on and decided “Okay, it’s time, now or never!” and removed my hair that was in the sock bun (kind of reminded me of a donut, really pretty and vintage ;)).

My verdict?  It’s absolutely awesome.  If you’re like me, and hate the tedious task of actually using flat-irons and curling irons then this is the method for you.  I will say this though, I should have been a little more tidy with some of the pieces I tucked into the bun, there are a couple of pieces that look like I just got electrocuted.  Majority of my hair is gorgeous, big and small curls, definitely a natural look.
Although it’s said to be an overnight method, I really don’t see why it can’t be an all day method.  By this I mean that if you know you’ve got plans later on…. Wake up, shower, blow dry your hair just so it’s damp enough (NOT SOAKING) and just put your hair up in the bun.  I mean sure it looks a little silly, totally old school and like something old women would stile there hair like but in all honest, it’s not like walking out with curlers in your hair, hehe. Besides, no one can see the sock!
So there ya have it, the sock bun worked it’s magic and my hair is pretty and wavy and curly.  I’m pretty impressed and happy.  Homework beckons.
-D.