Archive for January, 2009

25
Jan
09

november – a recap

If you read my last post, you’ll know that I am WAY behind and am still trying to catch up.  I’m quite proud of myself for getting started on this so soon after my last post.  This is my recap of November.  I need to get started on December ASAP –  H made a Kung Fu Panda cake last week and he’s itching for me to post it.

November was a great baking month – mostly because I made a bunch of pies for Thanksgiving.  I love pumpkin pie and I’m pretty sure I would have been able to eat a whole pumpkin pie by myself in my younger days.  Actually, I’m sure I could eat a whole one now if it wasn’t for the fact that now I know how many calories are in one slice.  I know, it’s not all the time but if you add up all the different pies I did eat it’d probably add up to one pie.

I’m bummed that I often don’t get pictures of my final products.  I’m usually in such a hurry at the end that I either forget or don’t have time to take a picture at the end – you’ll see a few examples below.  Another problem may be my lighting situation since I usually bake at night and my pictures don’t turn out that great.  H made me a light box a few weeks ago so I guess I don’t have that excuse anymore.

Wedding Cake

I made my first practice wedding cake.  It turned out ok.  It was a white cake filled with layers of apricot jam, raspberry jam, and whipped cream.  I also covered it in whip cream so it wouldn’t be too sweet.

cake layerscake layers
filling
filling

Peanut Butter Bars

I’ve had this recipe for peanut butter bars for years.  I got it from my grandpa and still have it on the same napkin I wrote it down on.

peanut butter bars
peanut butter bars

Baby Shower Cookies

One of my friends had a baby shower so I decided to try to make these again after my last failed attempt at baby shower cookies.  These turned out good and they were a hit at the shower.  I love the pink and brown combination – they were the same colors H and I used for our wedding.  We had made some Thank You cards which we never got around to sending, but I’m hoping to use them if and when we ever have a baby girl.  I can’t see those cards go to waste after all the time we spent on them.

baby shower cookies
baby shower cookies

Pie Crust Prep

I was hoping to avoid being stressed out the day before Thanksgiving so I made all of my crust in advance and just froze them.  It looks like it takes a ton of fat to make a good pie crust, but not to worry – I got 8 pie crusts from all that fat.

how much butter and shortening do you need for pie crust?!
how much butter and shortening do you need for pie crust?!

Pumpkin Pie Bars

I made some pumpkin pie bars to take to work right before Thanksgiving.  I was craving pumpkin pie but didn’t want to actually make a pumpkin pie because I knew that I, and probably most, would be eating pumpkin pie later that week.  I tried a recipe from Libby’s that was just as satisfying.

oat crust
oat crust
pumpkin filling
pumpkin filling

Pie Mania

I made 7 pies for Thanksgiving – 1 pumpkin cheesecake, 4 pumpkin pies, 1 pecan pie, and 1 apple pie.  Even though I had tried to prep as much as I could beforehand, I still stayed up until 3am the night (er, morning) before Thanksgiving.  I tried Cooks Illustrated’s Pumpkie Pie and LOVED it.  The flavor had more depth and the texture was richer and silkier.  Too bad I didn’t realize that it took way longer than the recipe on the back of Libby’s canned pumpkin. That’s part of the reason why it took me so long.  By the time I started my cheesecake it was almost 10pm.  Add the time it took to bake, plus the 2 hours it needed to stay in the oven with the door cracked open and I had almost pulled an all nighter.  Other than being absolutely exhausted the next day, I had fun.  H even stayed up with me and we watched The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants II while we waited for the cheesecake.

cheesecake crust
cheesecake crust
cheesecake mise en place
cheesecake mise en place

My brother prepped these apples using the nifty apple peeler one of my co-workers gave me.  She had seen it on clearance at Bed, Bath, and Beyond and thought of me – it was right after I had made the apple pie and apple slab pies in October.

apple pie filling
apple pie filling
(almost) all the pies
all worth it
cooks illustrated pumpkin pie
cooks illustrated pumpkin pie

For the last 5 years or so, I’ve been making Thanksgiving dinner for my immediate family on the Friday after Thanksgiving.  It all started the year we barely had any “traditional” Thanksgiving food at both of the get togethers we go to.  I have a pretty big family so on Thanksgiving there is always 2 parties to attend.  For lunch, we all visit my mom’s extended family and for dinner we visit my dad’s extended family.  I remember one year there was mostly filipino food and my sister, brother, and I were bummed that there hadn’t been any mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, or any of the usual things we looked forward to eating on Thanksgiving.  Ever since then I’ve been re-doing Thankgiving dinner for us the next day.  This year H and I made turkey,  gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, smashed sweet potatoes, stuffing, and of course pumpkin pie.  (I won’t forget to mention that my brother and sister helped prep!)  I decided to make the Libby’s pumpkin pie for our Friday Thanksgiving because it would take less time.

libby’s pumpkin pie
libby's pumpkin pie
21
Jan
09

i haven’t forgotten…

I meant to update months ago with photos of H’s german chocolate birthday cupcakes.  Then we couldn’t find the photos, which were taken when our old camera started dying.  I was bummed and  didn’t really have any desire to post anything.  Then I got sucked into the Twilight saga.  Well, if you’re a fan you probably know what that means.  Life outside of  Forks and Edward Cullen ceased – even baking! (H and I are still listening to the audio books during our commute to work, but we’re almost through with those too :() Before I knew it Thanksgiving was around the corner.  I felt so busy even though I probably did most of my baking and cooking on the day before Thanksgiving.  All of a sudden December was here and I was partially living in my kitchen baking tons of cookies, shopping, wrapping, and running around.  *Sigh* And now January is almost over and I wonder where all the time went.  I know, excuses, excuses. I actually think about posting pretty often – it’s sitting down and doing it that I have trouble keeping up with.  Maybe I should make a resolution to update at least once a month… 🙂  I’ve finally accepted the fact that I probably won’t be able to catch up all in one post this time.  Here’s October for now:

(I’m having issues with photos and text right now.  Don’t know what happened – it was perfectly fine before my last save – augh!)

Apples Galore

One of my co-workers has organic apple trees and gave me a grocery bag full of granny smiths.  I was able to make an apple pie and an apple slab pie.  I loved the apple slab.  It reminded H and I of those 50 cent hand pies you get at the grocery store because of the icing – these were WAY better though!

apple pie

pile of apples

apple pieApple Pie

huge crust for the apple slabhuge crust for the apple slab
the apple slab the apple slab

a closer looka closer look

Cinnamon Rolls

I got hooked on no-knead dough and made cinnamon rolls and sticky buns a few times (for some reason I don’t have any photos of the sticky buns  – they were stick-to-your-teeth delicious).

naked cinnamon rollsnaked cinnamon rolls
all dressed upall dressed up

Chocolate!

I was excited when I found out that Ghirardelli’s bittersweet chocolate was a Cooks Illustrated favorite.  I really like Scharffen Berger, but it’s easier for me to find Ghirardelli where I live.  When I found out there was a Ghirardelli Outlet in San Leandro I just had to check it out. H and I stopped by one weekend after visiting my parents and I stocked up – it was SO much cheaper than buying it at the grocery store.

chocolate shopping spreechocolate shopping spree
pure chocolatepure chocolate

Biscuits

I had a craving for a McDonalds bacon, egg,  and cheese biscuit one morning so I was going to try to make my own.  I found a recipe for simple drop biscuits in my America’s Test Ktichen baking book (one of my favorites).  They were super easy to make – buttery and delicious.  Maybe a little too buttery, but I still enjoyed them.  Unfortunately, the bacon, egg, and cheese part went out the window.

simple drop biscuitssimple drop biscuits

Sprinkles

H and I visited Sprinkles in Palo Alto. I was really excited because I had never been to a Sprinkles.  From all the ones we tried, I think I liked the red velvet the most, except that I could sort of taste the red coloring.

coconut, dark chocolate, red velvet, chocolate marshmallowcoconut, dark chocolate, red velvet, chocolate marshmallow

Vat of Vanilla

I received a COOKS catalogue in the mail one day with a free shipping code.  I poured through the catalogue trying to find a good deal.  They had this jug of vanilla that was way cheaper per ounce than the little 4 oz. bottles I had been buying.

almost a jug of vanillaalmost a jug of vanilla

*Sigh* It’s nice to be somewhat caught up.  I’ll be back soon for the rest 🙂