Saturday, November 29, 2008

Hair Choices

Thanks to your help, I decided on this dress for the holiday party (actually, 2 holiday parties) I am going to in a couple of weeks. It looks pretty good on me and I have a black cover up thingy to go over it. I'm satisfied with the way I look in it. I bought earrings and I think I have black strappy sandals to wear too...But I have to figure out how to wear my hair.

My sister helped me on Thanksgiving and thinks I should wear it like this:

The curls would hopefully be a little more curly and the poofy top wouldn't be lopsided or have the crease it does below.
I don't want to wear my hair down because I do that at work everyday and I do blow dry and curl my hair, so it would look the same. I hardly ever wear it up and wouldn't know what to do if it was all up...so this was the suggestion. What do you think? Should I wear it up like this or just curl it a little more than usual and keep it down?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The 2nd Ugliest Cake I've Ever Made...

Otherwise known as, "Dad's Birthday Cake". . .



I ran out of frosting so I couldn't pipe borders and decoration which made the cake seem kind of lame. As I was going through my kit I noticed the clown heads and balloons left over from a cake I made a long time ago-and I had blue and green decorators frosting too...so I decided to make him a little clown.

Ugly. But not plain. But...not a guitar cake either! Oh well... tastes freakin' awesome...chocolate cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting. Yum.

Randomivity

Sleeping in a sauna is harder than you'd think. Especially when you're a scaredy cat like me and can't sleep with the window open.

It's easy to trip over wires. When you live alone this can be scary.

HOBOphobic is funny and I'm glad that I have a friend who laughs too hard over it too.

I'm having a cocktail party in a few weeks-in place of supper club. SO I get to be the hostess without having to pay for it all. :)

There is such a thing as too many hot dogs.

I need some healing hands on this here body.

Charlie Brown holiday specials make me smile.

I have a fairly new reader who's bookmarked a page of this blog-it was a very personal post and it bothered me that they chose that post to bookmark, so I took it down and saved it to draft. I know this is petty but it felt like someone was picking a scab every time I see it in stats. They still use the bookmark.

I'm going to miss the Thanksgiving Day parade b/c I'll be driving to CT. :(

I'm actually not looking forward to this extra long weekend. Weekends tend to be lonely and boring for me, especially when I'm broke. So...this will be an extra long, boring, lonely weekend. Hopefully the weather won't be too bad and I can go for walks.

I know I sit in the special seat and I'm secretly hoping it is true. What that means...I don't know.

Have I mentioned that it's fun to work with a cute boy? Well, it is.

I get to leave work at 3pm today. I'll be baking a chocolate cake for my dad whose birthday was yesterday.

It is time.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

You "Get" Nothing...

...but the satisfaction of knowing you've helped someone. :) Which really, is everything isn't it?

Remember my friend Danielle? The one I went to the hockey game with last week? Well, she needs a little help. She's creating a Family Feud type game for her youth group and needs 100 people to answer the survey! She only has 23 so far, so if you have 5 minutes (even less, really) and please click HERE to help her out.

Thank you kindly! :)

Toosdae ?'s

It's a dark rainy day here in Boston today and I, my friends, had the WORST nights sleep ever. The only thing that could have been worse is if I didn't sleep at all. Since there's a distinct possibility that I may fall asleep at work today, take a few minutes to answer this weeks questions-your answers may save my job. :)

1. When we're little, we're often taught to not talk to strangers. When was the first time you didn't follow that rule without thinking you'd get in trouble for it?

2. Did you live in a neighborhood that had an ice cream truck? If so, were you allowed to buy frozen treats?

3. Did you get sung to before bed? If so, what did they sing?

1. Honestly-it wasn't really until high school that I really felt okay with talking to complete strangers without worrying about being abducted!

2. Sadly, no. I lived back off the road in a wooded area, and even in the small neighborhoods my friends didn't have them either. Maybe it was just my snobby town. I can tell you though, when I had my house (the one I sold last year) I DID have an ice cream truck and it made me happy to hear it everyday in the summer.

3. My mom did sing to me sometimes when I was little. She's sing Lullaby and Rock a Bye Baby mostly, but also oddly enough, Miss American Pie. :)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Manic Monday: Harvest

I have to admit that last night I was racking my brain about what the heck I'd write for today's Manic Monday. The word is "Harvest" and being that I don't really...well...harvest anything, I didn't know what I was going to do. This morning however, I remembered something:

We used to have a blackberry tree in the field near my house.

Let me remind you that I was and still am a huge Little House on the Prairie fan. Whenever I was playing outside by myself, it was always a travel back in time game where I ended up on a farm with a little house of my own. I'd walk to "school" (around the house) with a lunch pail filled with Ma's homemade meals (usually cheese) and let my imagination run wild.

Many times, I'd walk over to our blackberry tree and harvest some berries to go along with my lunch. On rare occasions, I'd try to pick as many berries as I could with the hopes of being able to make a pie. Yes, even back then, I wanted to cook! The most I ever remember harvesting was 2 cereal bowls worth-not nearly enough for a pie. They were delicious though, and those 2 bowls did not go to waste.

When I was building a house in the woods behind my parents, that tree had to be cut down to make room for a driveway. I'm actually pretty sad that it's gone, even though I have a feeling that by now it'd be cut down anyway. And, for the record, I did try to save it, but our contractor told me I couldn't.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

White Chocolate Cake w/ Raspberry Filling

Last week I was asked to make a cake for a coworkers birthday. While at other jobs I've been the "cake person" this job is different. There is a guy at the firm who loves to bake cakes and he does so for everyone he's friends with (most of the people). So...I've been let off the hook. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE making cakes for people. Love it. But it gets very expensive and as I'm sure you can guess, it's time consuming. Especially if you want it to look like this:

As usual, I did not like the cake and everyone else did. I recognized that it was a good cake-but it was WAY too rich for me. Though I'm not a huge follower of all things chocolate, I really don't like white chocolate at all. But, I knew that my friend probably would, and I was right.

This cake is a little bit involved for beginners-so if this is the first from scratch cake you've ever tried, you might want to skip it for now and come back to it. What puts it over the edge is just that you are working with melted chocolate. Cakes using cocoa powder or no chocolate at all are a better bet for a first from scratch cake. It is, however, a great cake and I promise you will get rave reviews. (One of the owners of the firm-who never talks to anyone-had 2 pieces and then sent me a personal note.)

White Chocolate Layer Cake with Raspberry Filling & White Chocolate Buttercream

For the cake:
8 oz. White chocolate, chopped
2 1/4 C. Flour
2 1/4 t. Baking powder
1/4 t. Salt
10 T. Butter, room temperature
1 1/3 C. Sugar
4 Eggs
1 1/2 t. Vanilla Extract
1 1/4 C. Whole milk

Buttercream
1 1/4 # White chocolate, chopped
1 3/4 C. plus 2 T. Butter, room temperature
2 t. Vanilla Extract
2 C. Powdered Sugar, sifted

Seedless Raspberry Jam
Raspberries, for Garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans. Butter two 9-inch parchment paper rounds and place in pans, buttered side up.

2. Stir white chocolate in top of double boiler set over barely simmering water until melted and smooth. Leave white chocolate in pot; turn off heat.

3. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl.

4. Using electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in large bowl until well blended. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.

5. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk in 3 additions, blending well after each addition.

6. Add warm white chocolate and beat just until blended.

*Note* I combined the Milk & the Chocolate in the double boiler and whisked it until it was smooth. Then, instead of adding them in seperately, I just add them in together. It works out just fine.

7. Divide batter equally between pans, smoothing tops with spatula. Bake cakes until tester inserted into centers comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on racks 20 minutes. Run small sharp knife around cake pan sides. Turn cakes out onto cardboard round or tart pan bottom; peel off parchment. Turn cakes right side up onto racks and cool completely.

For buttercream:
1. Stir white chocolate in top of double boiler over barely simmering water until melted and smooth. Remove white chocolate from over water. Let stand until cool but not set, about 20 minutes.

2. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in white chocolate and vanilla, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in powdered sugar. Cover and refrigerate until thick enough to spread, about 45 minutes.

Putting it all together:
1. Using serrated knife, cut each cake layer horizontally in half. Place 1 layer, cut side up, on 9-inch cardboard cake round.

2. Spread 6 tablespoons buttercream over cake. Cover Buttercream with a thin layer of raspberry preserves & top with second cake layer, cut side up. Continue until all layers are done.

3. Frost the outside of the cake. Use a piping bag with a star tip if you can to make a boarder along the top and bottom of the cake. Top cake with fresh raspberries. Chill 1 hour.

Let stand 3 hours at room temperature before serving.