King of Pastry

Monday, February 28, 2011

So I watched this documentary tonight called "The Kings of Pastry".  It's about 16 pastry chefs competing the be awarded the Meilleurs Ouvriers de Franc, The Best Craftsmen in France.  It was intense.  I have seen chefs with the red, white, and blue collars but I never knew what it stands for.  The competition last for 3 days and they do not compete against each other, they compete against themselves.  They have to make certain things in an allotted time.  The sugar sculptures they create are amazing!!!

Here's a clip from the movie:


It's incredible to see what they can create.  I just wish I could be in France right now to eat French pastries.  Yummy!!!  I watched it on Netflix streaming so if you have Netflix check it out.

Great Weekend!!!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sorry for not blogging until now but we had a busy weekend.  This weekend the weather in Atlanta was amazing.  It was in the 70s and not a cloud in the sky.  My favorite season is fall but it seems like fall is very short in Atlanta.  It's either really hot or really cold.  I want to be able to wear boots, sweaters, or long sleeve shirts without a jacket or without sweating.  This weekend I wore my Frye Engineer boots with leggings and a short sleeve shirt.  I was comfortable and happy.  I really hope this weather stays for at least 2 months.

Saturday we all went to Piedmont Park with the dogs.  It was Addison, JT, me, The Godfather, Larry and William.  We also saw Princess Charles and Brent Star there.  We had such a great time walking around in the sunshine.  And the puppies enjoyed running around in the dog park even though I don't think they care for other dogs.  I've realized since our dogs have each other they really are not that excited when other dogs around.  They didn't really play with the other dogs, they just played with each other.  Great, I have ant-social dogs. 

Here are some pics from Piedmont Park:






 









I have such a good looking family, don't I?  I love my men!!!

Sunday we went to LensCrafters to get JT and I new glasses.  He got a pair of Prada glasses that make him look distinguished.  And I got a pair of Tiffany glasses that make me look classy.  :)  They will be ready in a week and I can't wait to pick them up.   Then of course we walked over to Williams-Sonoma to pick up a few things.  I know I'm addicted.  But, JT said he would rather buy me stuff for the kitchen than just waste money on just stuff.  

He bought me a ceramic chef's knife that I love.  It makes cutting so easy.  I swear this is great knife.  I don't want to use any other knife now.


He also got me a chinois strainer and a microplane rasp grater.  While making ice cream I realized I needed a better strainer to get my ice cream really silky.  Also the grater I had grated my lemon and oranges in pieces that weren't so small.  Addison was noticing the zest and not liking it.






We also got a whole lot of spices and some truffle finish sauce for cooking.  I'm going to have a fun week of cooking.  Luckily, next week is my spring break and I do not have any test this week.  So no stress for 2 weeks.  YEA!!!


Oh I sprinkled some of the Potlatch seasoning on some salmon tonight and cooked it. It was amazing.  I use the Herbs de Provence in soups and chicken dishes but what I found is so yummy is sprinkle it on steak, on both sides with salt and pepper.  It gives it this yummy crust on your steak.  This is what I used when I made the steaks Thursday.  Try it you won't be disappointed.  The Truffle and Salt I sprinkle on just about everything.  I make simple potatoes have more dimension.  It's a little pricey but a little goes a long way.  I don't know what I am going to do with the Truffle finishing sauce.  I will keep you updated.  
Well, that was most of my weekend.  Oh yeah, before I go.  Is this that biggest bulldog you have ever seen?


He was at Piedmont Park and I swear he looked about 80 pounds.  He was so cute, but we were wondering what they were feeding him.  I was thinking cats or small dogs.  :)

Bye for now!!!







Family Dinner

Friday, February 25, 2011

So I didn't bake like I said I was going to and I didn't make any cards but I did make an incredible dinner.  I read blogs and go through the Williams-Sonoma recipe finder to find inspiration on what to make for dinner.  Williams-Sonoma had a whole steak house section.  I asked Addison what he wanted for dinner and he said steak would be great, so we made steak.  Their website had about 20 steak recipes to choose from and about 30 sides.  I picked Beef Tenderloin with Bordelaise Sauce, you can find the recipe here. I also had to decide on sides.  I decide to try a brussels sprouts recipe since they are JT's favorite vegetable.  Addison's and mine is asparagus and broccoli and I thought it would be special to make something different.  I made Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Thyme, the recipe is here.  I also decide to make Mac and Cheese for Addison.   I make the best mac n cheese that I usually make for the holidays.  On the Williams-Sonoma they had a Mac n Cheese from Wolfgang Puck.  Since it was Wolfgang puck I decide to try it.  Well it wasn't as good as my holiday Mac n Cheese but it was good.  The Mac N Cheese recipe is here.

The dinner took 2 hours to cook.  The funny thing is JT called and said he had an emergency response so he was going to be home really late (he got home at 12:30 AM).  Luckily I called Michael to invite him over for dinner so I didn't make this elaborate dinner for just Addison and I.  The dinner turned out spectacular.  Addison didn't like the brussels sprouts but he never liked brussels sprouts.  The steak turned out perfect and the mac n cheese was ok.  It's not the mac n cheese's fault, the holiday mac n cheese is very hard to beat.

Here some pics of the dinner:

5 oz of bacon for the brussels sprouts.  BACON!!!

Michael chopping the brussels sprouts.

Mac N Cheese in the oven.

Michael the wine is for the steak sauce!!!

Michael doesn't listen, he had two glasses. 

Brussels Sprouts ready to be cooked.  They look like little cabbages.

Oh Steak.  Yummy juicy steak.  It's almost done!

 Brussels done.  It's time to eat.

YUM!!

DINNER TIME!!!
Well, after dinner we were so full so we decide to watch the tv show, "Nikkita".  After TV Addison brought out the UNO cards.  Addison won the first game. The second game took us 1 1/2 hours to complete.  Michael finally won, but I started thinking we were playing wrong.  That has to be the longest UNO game in history.  Well, time to watch a movie and then bedtime.  Talk to you later.

What a week!!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

So I had th most stressful week with school.   I had a test and a lab and they were both terrible.  My audio lab was Wednesday night and we couldn't get our circuit to work right.  We took it apart twice and still nothing.  We finally got it but we left the lab at 11:00, everyone left by 9:30.  So after all the frustration I had to come home and study for my test I had today.   I finished reading last night and reviewed this morning.  Well, the test was horrible, it will be the first test I probably failed.  This class is Data Communications and I just don't like it.  I love Math, so classes that have math make more sense to me.  This is just definitions and understanding.  Well, I guess I am not understanding.  So I'm praying I at least got a C so I don't have to drop this class.  I am only one class away from graduating if I have to drop I will be two classes away (I guess that's not that bad).  The problem is I need this class to graduate so if I don't get it now how am I going to get it later.

The great thing is I am done with this week and I don't have anything due Monday.  So I will have a nice 4 day weekend of relaxation and things I want to do.  I think I am going to focus on taking pictures and making cards.  I haven't been able to enjoy my weekends because of studying.  I haven't really taken any outdoor shots so I plan to spend at least one day at the park.  I also forgot my new cake stand when I brought the girls cake over to their house, so this gives me a reason to make another cake.  :)  I am thinking chocolate cake with raspberry jam and chocolate cream cheese frosting.  Oh and raspberry ice cream on the side.  The raspberry ice cream I made was Addison's and JT's is their favorite.  Wow just thinking about baking is making me forget about that horrible test and my horrible week.

Well, let's start now.  This is what I see in my house right now.

 
The Bad One

The Demanding One

The Good One

The leave me alone I'm busy playing One

 The Amazing, I can't believe Addison's room is clean and bed made, One.

All my babies make me so happy.  They definitely beat that stupid mean test.  Luna's waiting to chew up that horrible test and that's what I will let her do when I get it back.  :)  Well, I going to go work on some cards.  I might post tonight to show everything I have done or I might take a nap and get nothing done.  :)  We will just have to wait and see.  

Oh I also noticed that no one comments.  And I wonder why?  No one has told me about the things they love.  Is commenting difficult?  How can I make it easier?

Happy Valentine's Day AGAIN!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

So since Addison was sick last Monday for Valentine's Day and I have had noting but test, I have finally sent out the rest of our Valentine's cards today.   Only the people that live in Georgia are receiving late Valentine's.  I think it's funny everyone else in the U.S. received theirs on Valentine's Day, usually it's the other way around.  They were almost completed so JT and Addison helped finish them up last night.  I couldn't just let them sit there and go to waste and I know I would not use them for next year.  I know next year I would want to create a whole new and different card.  So they are a week late but its the thought that counts.  Right?

Here's the card.  Better late than never.

I also planned to bake all these wonderful whoopie pies for Addison's class and teachers.  And make his class little red favor boxes with hershey kisses in them.  Well, Addison got sick last week and then went to Jekyll Island.  This week Addison is on winter break (I never had winter break).  So if I still decide to do all of this, it will be 2 weeks late.  I guess I'll just have to wait and see what happens this weekend.  

Ok enough about Valentine's Day until next Monday.  :)  I have noticed I was getting a lot of page views last week and only half from last week this week.  Am I not that interesting anymore?  I think if I don't blog everyday or every other day people loose interest.  So I was thinking I need a theme for each day.  Like every Wednesday mention things I love.  I'll try it out and see if it takes off. And would love for everyone to comment and tell me things they love too.  So here it goes......

Things I love

1.  My Keurig Coffee Machine - it makes delicious coffee and even hot apple cider.  It just depends on what K-cups you buy.  The Godfather bought this for us two Christmases ago and it is still our favorite.  Addison makes apple cider and hot cocoa with it in a flash.  And JT uses everyday for his morning coffee.  

2.  My iPad (of course) - Yes we are an Apple family.  We made the transition from PC to Mac about 4 years ago and have never looked back.  We have everything from iMacs to iPhones to Apple TV.  I love them all but the one thing I love is my iPad.  I do everything with it.  I have all my school textbooks on my iPad so all I bring to class is a notebook, a pen, a calculator, and my iPad.  Addison watches movies, plays games, and reads books on the iPad.  JT tries to use the iPad but we usually don't share with him.  : I surf the web,  shop, read all the blogs I love on my iPad.  I even watch movies while I'm in the tub on my iPad.  :)  And the best thing is I cook and bake with my iPad.  I have all my recipes saved and it's the smallest prettiest cookbook I have ever had.  


3. My new camera, Panasonic GF2 - I had to put my new toy.  It has made me so happy.  I am loving the way all my pictures are coming out.  Ving and I have decided to go to a photography class together and I might join a photography group.  I can tell this is going to be a new hobby that I'm going to love.  I have always loved taking pictures and now this camera has made want to learn how to be a great photographer.  The only problem is a need new models.  I think everyone is getting tired of Addison and dog pictures, but they are my babies.  


4.  My All-Clad Slow Cooker - This is the best slow cooker I have ever used.  I know you ask, "Why?, aren't all slow cookers the same?".  Well, this one is special because it comes with a cast aluminum insert.  You can brown your meat or cook your veggies in this insert on the stovetop!  You don't have to dirty up a skillet, the slow cooker does it all.  It goes from stovetop to slow cooker with ease.  I have made many things with this slow cooker and everything has turned out yummy and easy.  Using a slow cooker is easy to begin with and this makes it so easy there is not excuse not to use it.  


I think that's enough for today.  I noticed all of these items are electronics.  Well, I am a nerd and I am an electronic whore.  My husband jokes that I never want diamonds I want electronics.  But, electronics make our lives so much easier.  And they are so shiny and pretty.  :)  I hope to hear about everyone's things they love.  Addison would like to mention his is the Playstation 3.  :)










Baked Out!

Monday, February 21, 2011

 So this weekend we had Jay's Birthday Saturday night and then Alisha's and Alexis's Birthday Sunday.  So this meant a whole weekend full of baking.

Jay asked for chocolate cupcakes. But, you know me I had to make it special.  Jay is a bigger sci-fi nerd than me.  I actually think he makes me look normal.  :)  So of course we had to throw some Star Wars in the mix.




They are chocolate cupcakes with chocolate cream cheese icing and butter cream icing.  The cupcakes with the choclate icing are the Rebel Alliance and the ones with the white icing are the Galactic Empire. Yes I know I'm cheesy, I thought way to hard on this.  :)

For the girls birthday party I had to bake a Neapolitan cake.  Remember the pictures of the cake a posted a while ago.  Well they totally fell in love with the cake so I had to make it.  This was a harder process.  It is 3 different flavors of cake, chocolate, strawberry and vanilla.  This means 3 different batters.  Also there is not frosting in between each layer it is strawberry jam.  So I had to make homemade strawberry jam also.  I started baking for this cake on Saturday while I was baking Jay's cupcakes.  I baked the Chocolate and Vanilla layer and made the strawberry jam before we had to leave of Jay's party (we were 1 hour late for the party).

The strawberry jam was easy and turned out incredible.  The bad thing is JT and Addison want homemade strawberry jam everyday.  
Homemade Strawberry Jam is addictive!!

Sunday morning all we had to do is bake the strawberry layer, make the icing, and ice the cake.  This took longer than we expected.  We were 2 hours late for the party.  

 Here's the vanilla and chocolate layer getting strawberry jam.

Here's JT cutting and leveling the strawberry layer.

Here are all the layers with jam, ready for the crumb coat.

 Here it is with the crumb coat in the fridge so the crumb coat can get hard.

 And here's it is all iced and decorated.  Isn't it pretty.

Here's Val cutting the cake.

Here's the inside of the Neapolitan cake.

The caked turned out yummy.  It was gone in 10 minutes.  Everyone said it was the best cake they had every had.  I was very happy with the outcome, next time I might make the layers thicker so the color difference can be more dramatic.  We also made cupcakes with the left over batter.


I baked four times last week, so I will not be baking for the rest of this month (I say that now).  I will be working on making cards.  I have gotten some new stuff in the mail and I have yet been able to play with it. 

Well off to class.  Martha Stewart Cochran out!!!  :)