Monday, January 23, 2012

My instant gratification is taking 0.5 seconds too long to get here.

Waiting.  Not always a fan of it.  To give you some examples of how little of a fan I can be of waiting at times take example 1:
I was cooking dinner with my friend Amy on Thursday.  We were cooking this bomb cauliflower pizza crust (for clarification purposes, it is not bomb as in an explosive but bomb as in amazing, really good, you probably should make this in your near future) and while reading through the directions, it asked me to rice the cauliflower and then microwave it for 8 minutes. (For further clarification, I am not a microwave chef, this was one step in the recipe and I didn't want to waiver because it was my first attempt at the recipe.)  I reread the directions, thinking, wait, 8 MINUTES?! I put it in the microwave because I am a rule follower to the core but was tempted to take it out of the microwave every 17 seconds, thinking to myself, they couldn't really mean 8 minutes, right? 

If this has not succeeded in convincing you in my dislike of waiting, take example 2:
I was hungry yesterday.  You know, it happens.  I looked in my pantry and quickly selected a packet of oatmeal to eat.  (So I know you are probably expecting that my next sentence will be adding water and under-microwaving my oatmeal because I couldn't wait for it to cook thoroughly, but its worse, just wait.)  I opened up the package, grabbed a spoon and dug in.  Please people, oatmeal takes too long.  That's 2 minutes of my precious time.

So naturally, some recipes I avoid creating as a result of my dislike of this art known as waiting. Bread is usually on the list except we needed to have mini hot dog buns that were 1.5 inches in length, which are not sold at any supermarket in the 303.

This sweet ball of dough was rising for 3 hours to double.  3. Hours.  Good thing I am a multitasker and I check about 23 things off of my to-do list in those 3 hours.

Then you take that ball of dough, mold it into mini hot dog buns and let it rise for another hour.  Are you counting?  That's 4 hours so far.  Waiting.  Mucho.  Remember how I talked about that spiritual six pack I am working on last time? On top of the actual one I am working on courtesy of Jillian Michaels.  Yeah these mini hot dog buns are definitely an exercise of that.  I am slowly becoming a pro-waiter.

And it was worth it.  See? Ain't that a cute little bun?  All 1.5 inches of fluffiness?  You know you want some... I pulled them out of the oven and immediately quoted Despicable Me's "It's so fluffy, I'm gonna die!" They were adorable. Tres chic.   Yeah, I even learned a French phrase to encapsulate exactly how cool they were (and am now crossing my fingers hoping some French speaker doesn't rat me out if I used it incorrectly).
So, I guess sometimes the wait was worth it.  It resulted in the cutest dinner I have eaten in my life.  (And yes I am aware that is not the usual adjective that accompanies a dinner, but it was just that, cute.)  Waiting, while not preferred, can bring something more worthwhile than anticipated.  I'm not going to lie, I haven't gotten that much closer to enjoying waiting and would rather not be waiting as I currently am but such is life.  But until I get that spiritual six pack, I guess I've got some more "life crunches" coming my way  (sorry, lame wording but it had to happen and you are the sucker who chose to reach my blog so deal with it).  You can't even microwave a life-lesson for 8 minutes although I sure wish I could on every day that ends in y, and especially in the last approximately 4.42 days. I am grateful, however, that in my lack of patience I can rest in a Strength much stronger than mine, and I think I'll accept that.

"Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD." Psalm 27:14

Love y'all!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Death by chocolate is preferable.

So, for most people, January is New Year's resolution time, but for the gym rats of the world, January seems to have the opposite effect (at least for this gym rat).  So I have used these few weeks to indulge in as many terrible things as possible, most including chocolate.  Example 1: Triple Chocolate Mousse. To quote myself, "Heaven, if heaven were 3 layers of chocolate."  And yes I just quoted myself and yes that could be categorized as conceited but the reality is is that I said that on Facebook already and then if you stalk me on both Facebook and my blog, you would notice the awkward repeat of the statement and to avoid that, I chose to sound conceited instead.  Now you know.


Three layers of decadence.  More than three hours of waiting to eat this.  It was brutal.  Why do all of the good desserts have to set for hours?   

Someone was tired of waiting.  I would have been doing this too, except I am not a small child and it changes from adorable to pathetic.  She asked me while waiting about how I made it.  I started listing all of the ingredients, but then I wanted to cry because there is no way that this is in the least bit good for you.  But, I did wait all week to eat dessert just for this and it was worth everything I denied myself all week long. I get to indulge a little.

One of the desserts I denied? Dark chocolate cupcakes with Cadbury Caramel Eggs baked inside with caramel frosting on top.  Oh. Yes. Batter shots are usually overrated, but um chocolate obviously makes things better, even batter shots, so here you go: batter shot. Bam.

This cupcake looks so innocent and sweet until you bit into that caloric filled Cadbury egg. Yeah, I am not helping out with America's obesity rate on this blog. Oops.

I even passed up my javalicious chocolate fix all week long so I could eat my Triple Chocolate Mousse.  It was real hard.  The espresso beans where taunting me from on top of the fridge every time I walked by.  Sometimes, in situations like these when I have junk food around the house (which isn't often) I like to eat it all at once so it won't tempt me any more, but that isn't a great life decision and 16-cookies-in-one-sitting incidents happen, sooooo I resisted.  You can give me a high five next time you see me for this one.

Chocolate.  Reason number 543 that I know God loves me.  Chocolate has been chasing me around all week as I have been faithfully doing my daily Six Week 6-pack.  Do not worry about the progress of my six pack though, Jillian Michaels is telling my midsection whats up.  I seriously think it might happen.  Its kind of freaky.  Okay, a lot freaky.  (My nickname as a baby was Buddha-belly to give you a hint as to my relationship to a 6 pack previously.)

Progress.  Sweet beautiful progress.  What I love is that the soreness is paying off.  It isn't happening overnight, and it will probably take 7 1/2 weeks instead of 6 but it has proven worthwhile.  One thing that I have learned is that usually the things that build the most strength and character take a while and never just fall into your lap.  You just have to keep pushing through, one more crunch, one more plank, one more jack knife, one more mountain climber.  I have been going through a lot of character building lately, and the "just one more" has been a quality mantra.  While character building is not always fun, maybe I'll get a six-pack personality out of all of it at the end, so I think I'm gonna just keep truckin' along on this one and when in doubt? Chocolate.  And God. Mostly God with some chocolate sprinkled on top.

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” 1 Corinthians 9:24

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Lost my marbles. I think I baked them in my cheesecake.

The aftermath of Christmas cookie season being over is this great void in my life in bakinglandia.  Christmas is about the only time where you can give platefuls of cookies to the masses, so I have been on the hunt for new excuses to bake.  Not to worry however (as I am sure you were ever so worried reading these last few lines and wondering how I was coping during this terribly difficult season), days after the end of cookie season, I was asked to bake in March at a banquet.  Let me tell you, when my boss said "bake whatever you want, the sky is the limit," I could hear the angels singing.  Along with the request came the suggestion that the dessert could co-function as the centerpiece.  Heaven.  Desserts can be art and now its time to be Picasso.  I refuse for the record to create sugar sculptures that compromise taste.  No fondant.  Finding the perfect recipe is going to be a challenge, because it is high altitude mass product-ed elegance but at least I am not on Sweet Genius  and having to make a decadent dessert inspired by toe fungus and including anchovies.  This is gonna be fun! Here is product number 1: Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake. Ain't she purdy?

To be honest, I knew even before baking this recipe that it wasn't going to work for the banquet but I had to try.  I like to marble things. 

This new baking project is definitely taking me to my happy place, which is probably good because I am simultaneously going crazy.  Exciting adventures are about to ensue, but not before loads of papers and forms are filled and filed.  I have started, as a result of this craziness, to write down all of my thoughts, lists, reminders and freak outs in a cutesy black leather monogrammed journal I got today. (Hey, if you are going to record your freak outs, might as well put them in a journal that is so formal it tricks people into thinking you have it together, right?  Annnnd, since it is monogrammed, if I get forgetful, at least I can always remember my first initial.) 

To de-stress, I also have taken to Jillian Micheal's 6-week Six Pack workout video.  I just started week 4 and my abs certainly are getting a busting and then some.  It has been most excellent, and also a welcome respite from the overly packed gyms from everyone who has decided to partake in New Year's Resolutions this year and that football is more suitable for the gym than the Food Network.  Yup, me an Jillian Micheals are gonna be best buds for a while.  She's got 3 more weeks to show my core whats up and then I figure the gym will be back to it's previously empty state at 10 pm.  Just how I like it. 

Alright y'all, this post has now cut into one of my six hours of sleep I planned to get tonight, and I've got to get dreaming of all those sugar plums and such for my banquet in March.  To come are many hopefully delightful, decadent and delicious treats as I explore the aesthetics of the pastry world.  Its going to be B-E-A-uuuuutiful or so I hope. 

Sweet dreams!

P.S. I am feeling a little delirious and pun-y at the moment.  I was going to tell you I would keep you "posted" on my adventures in the final paragraph (because a blog entry is called a post) but I avoided it because then it turned into one of those if you have to explain the joke it is no longer funny kind of things but then I couldn't not include it because I had typed-deleted-typed-deleted one too many times and it needed to happen.  Thought you should know.  Now you do.  P.S. rocks for reasons such as these.