Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Crumble Canyon Cake

When I was little, my mom always made the best cakes. but even the best cake-maker occasionally has one that just isn't up to their usual standards. When this happened to my mom, she would deliberately crumble the top layer of cake, put on a glaze and some sprinkles, and call it a "crumble mountain cake". It was still delicious and I always thought the crumble mountain cakes were a lot of fun.

Today I made a cake via a new recipe using doctored cake mix (to make it less fluffy and a bit more substantial). The cake baked well, but domed a lot in the middle (I need some cake weights!) I made a white cake and put in some raspberry filling and then dark chocolate frosting... and the cake crrracked. I'm just saying the cake shares topographical features with the grand canyon (Or as Ethan said, "it's like watching the san-andreas fault spread in miniature!") so the cake was extremely ugly, but I think the recipe was spot-on. The texture is awesome and it doesn't taste like a mix (but it is pretty much as easy to make as a mix is.)

So I'll be making it again, but next time with some cake weights. I will get a level cake one day!

Other stuff: I may have mentioned before that during my recovery from surgery I taught myself how to crochet using the internet. It's really soothing to do the rhythmic motion and to watch something grow under my hands; so far I've made some dish cloths, one accidentally trapezoidal lap afghan, and this:

It's the first substantial thing I've made without super-obvious flaws (they are there, just not super-obvious. And it is a rectangle rather than a trapezoid, which in itself is a big victory for me). I mailed it to my cousin, who is expecting his second baby in just a few months.

And no, I don't just spend all my time baking and crocheting and doing other old lady stuff... I do young lady stuff too (although going out on a Tuesday makes for a really early-feeling Wednesday morning). I'm just past the point where I feel the need to document every night that I go out and have a few drinks with friends. But I will say that sitting on a patio on a warm evening with a cold beer and good company is a hard thing to beat.

Monday, July 13, 2009

cooking adventures

Last week I went through one of the big rites of passage of adulthood: I prepared and cooked a whole turkey. It had been in the freezer since thanksgiving and we were running low on edibles, so I figured I would give the turkey a try.
Things I learned:
1. There is not just one bag inside the turkey containing giblets, as I previously thought. There are two bags; they take the turkey neck and put it in a bag in the abdomen, and they take the turkey giblets and put them in a bag in the neck. I'm not sure why they reverse the locations of these object anatomically, but I do know that it was a close call with the bag inside the neck almost being cooked with the turkey.
2. I found a recipe that called for cleaning the bird, then pouring boiling water over the turkey in a clean sink to scald the skin and retain moisture. It looked cool but I think I messed up the other parts of cooking the turkey such as...
3. using a meat thermometer is important. I had never used one before, but it was really not at all complicated and I'm not sure why I was previously intimidated by it. I didn't use mine till the very end and my turkey ended up dry.
4. After handling a raw turkey for several hours and then smelling it cook, I didn't even really want to eat it anymore. But we had eleven pounds so I ate some anyways.
5. If there's no cranberry sauce, raspberry jam will do.
6. Turkey makes good tacos and sandwiches.

It was fine and not that hard, but I'm glad that my first attempt was not under any pressure from having other people eat it besides me, Ethan, and Reagan. On the other hand, we have a silly amount of meat left which will go to waste.

The other night we had some strawberries on their last leg and we were both craving something sweet so I made strawberry cupcakes with strawberry cream cheese frosting. For frosting I used the recipe linked, but around 2/3 cream cheese and 1/3 butter.
They were super delicious and I convinced myself successfully that since they had strawberries and cream cheese, they were fair game for breakfast and healthy for snacking.

I made them two days ago and there is currently one left. Yeah, they're good.

Here's a picture of me and Ethan at a recent friend's wedding we attended.

We're getting ready for our own marriage so soon! I'm super excited.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


yesterday I took my step 2, and it was no fun. It is supposed to be a 9 hour test but I whittled it down to 6 because I have the ability to read very fast, but I absolutely don't have the ability to sit down and test for nine hours. I really don't have the ability to test for more than five hours, I think, but i had to so I did. Afterwards I went to the bar next door and met Ethan and we drank a pitcher in celebration! I did like this test site (Bedford) better than the Dallas location because of the proximity to two bar-and-grills, both of which are open in the early afternoon, and either of which is acceptable for having a much-needed drink after taking a freaking ridiculously long test that wipes you out and tires your mind. We also had some queso which may actually have been made of plastic, but which was delicious nonetheless. After the low-quality queso we went out for high(ish) quality sushi at Oishii. As always, we ordered way too much. But their mackerel sushi is excellent, as is their eel roll or sushi. The Spicy Tuna roll was also very good. The yellowfin roll I wasn't too crazy about (but we of course ate it all anyways). When we got home it was around 6:00 and I passed out on the couch like an old lady.

We also started marriage counseling last week, which was nice. We had to do an online quiz before our first session, and the pastor thought that we'd done it together because our answers on a lot of things were fairly similar. We didn't take that quiz together, but we DID meet originally through the internet, so really we already had proved our online quiz compatibility once and it's not crazy that we'd be similar again. We did discover that I have a huge amount of stress (I got a B+ on the scale of 1-100!) but I pretty much already knew that I'm a frazzled girl. But I think it's a good thing for us to do, as we're asked questions that we might not otherwise ask one another, and give us tools to make our marriage go more smoothly. We have homework and we have to go back a few more times so we can see our progress over the weeks as we maybe put changes into effect. We're getting married in slightly less than 3 months! Still kind of crazy to think about.