Monthly Archives: October 2008

Alone?

I am officially alone. The one person who is my friend; the one person who I thought could be a very good friend, perhaps the best of friends, has left. She did not want to leave. Under her circumstances I would have left and that is that. I am so sad. I am so sad and so upset that the one person I could confide in has left. All the close friends in my life have left. And, when I say “left” I mean moved. I know a friendship can stand the tests of location and distance. But, I will no loner see this person often or as often as I want. I could have seen this person at least three times a week or more. We just had a drink last night.  We were venting to each other.  Who am I going tot o vent to now?  Who will I go to for advice and female companionship?  And, now, I can only see this person if she comes back to Gainesville to visit or if I come down there to visit.

I talked to the SO on the phone for 10 seconds and I wanted to cry.  I just started to cry.  The SO and I had tiff not so long ago and I guess on top of my friend leaving in such dire circumstances has made me more sad and more upset.  I didn’t want to go to work because I knew I she wouldn’t be there and the cause of her departure would be.  The SO tried to make me feel better by saying that I needed to get out more and be more sociable.  I have another friend who I like, but we are on two different pages of life.  She has a career and a great thing going for her.  It would just illuminate itself to me how much of a failure I am.  The SO, as a man, tried to give me advice and tell how I could fix the predicament I was in.  As a woman, I just wanted to vent and cry and not want to think about making a new friend.  It took me a long time to make stride with this friend because of our closely guarded natures.  I felt especially close with her because we were in the same situation.  Graduates from a great college, but no career to show for it.  She is an inspiration to me to be more motivated and to find a real job outside of the restaurant industry.

I will miss her.

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Pumpkin cat

Yes, I dressed up the cat in a little pumpkin costume. She is too cute! She hated every minute of it though. And, the SO thought it was ridiculous, but I thought it was great! She was such a sport for letting me do that to her.

On to other things…Baked things that is. I made chocolate almond biscotti. I was going to do a recipe I found online. I actually started to do it. The first step was to toast the almonds in olive oil. The next step was to melt chocolate. I unwrapped the Ghiradelli chocolate bar, and they had a recipe for biscotti on the back of the wrapper. It took me five to minutes to decided, but ultimately I went with Ghiradelli. And, am I glad I did. They were delicious! They were crunchy and yummy. I didn’t have the instant coffee, so I went without and added an extra half a teaspoon of vanilla extract to make up for it. The SO really enjoyed it. He loves biscotti, so now he has a whole plateful to last him for a while.

Back to when I said that I was going to do something about my itchy feet, I actually did. I made a post in my LJ community asking for help and advice. Someone actually replied back to me. I am so excited. We have exchanged a few emails and I hoping something will happen.

Wish me luck

Edit: I apologize, I forgot to add the recipe to the Chocolate Almond Biscotti.

Chocolate Almond Biscotti

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Lightly grease and flour large baking sheet (I sprayed with Pam).
  3. In a small bowl,stir the eggs,instant coffee and vanilla until well blended; set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  6. Beat in egg mixture.
  7. Gradually add the flour mixture, beating well after addition.
  8. Stir in chocolate and nuts.
  9. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions.
  10. On a lightly floured surface, shape the dough into 2 logs, each 14″ long, 1-1/2″ wide, and 1″ thick.
  11. Place the logs on baking sheet.
  12. Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned.
  13. Set the baking sheet on a wire rack to cool 10 minutes.
  14. Remove the logs to cutting board (I usually just cut them on the cookie sheet). Cut with serrated knife cut diagonally into 1/2 inch thick slices.
  15. Place slices 1/2 inch apart upright (not on sides).
  16. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until slightly dry.
  17. Remove to rack to cool.
  18. I leave mine on cookie, let cool.
  19. Then drizzle with melted chocolate (I melt chocolate in microwave).
  20. The chocolate is just my addition – so good with a cup of coffee.
  21. Store biscotti in air tight container.

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Itchy Feet

I got me some itchy feet.  I mean, I have this feeling of restlessness and and discontent following me around lately.  I don’t know why.  The weather here is perfect and the SO and I are doing very well.  I think what it comes down to is that I need a change of scenery.  My small town life in Gainesville is becoming painfully aware that I do not belong here and need to get out.  I need to stop working in the restaurant industry.  I am tired of being a team player.  I feel like I am always taking one for the team.  Well, when is the team going take one for me?  Never.  I need to stop being so passive aggressive.  I need to be more assertive and motivated to do something with my life.  I took the first step by applying for the teacher certification.  I can only hope I did that part right.

I kind of stopped studying for the GRE because I feel like no one would want me with my grades, so I should gain some life experience before applying.  Ha!  Some life experience I’m getting now.  Seriously, tomorrow I am going to the UF press and just beg and ask for something to do.  I need an excuse to get out of the funk that I am in now.  Sometimes I feel like I bake so I don’t have to worry about what’s going on around me.  I don’t want to deal with not having a real job and my family wondering what I am doing with my life.  I don’t want to deal with the SO giving me the look of “what are you doing with you life?”  I want to be successful, but I feel like I either missed out on the tools that could help or I messed my chances on fixing myself so that it would be easier.  I just wish there was a magical pill where I could just motivate myself to do all the things I want to in my life.

I apologize.  Pity party post now over.

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Gator Football and Streusel Banana Bread Muffins

Hi hi. It’s a Saturday in Gainesville; that means it’s Game Day. The Gators are playing the University of Kentucky. We are killing them. Three blocked kicks! Crazy! I’m kind of sad that I couldn’t go to the game today. I have to work at the restaurant at 5, so I didn’t think I could make it to the game and come home in time. Whenever I go to the game, I always get the blue cotton candy, the lemonade, and sometimes, a pretzel. I just love to eat while watching the game. Can you believe that I started going to Gator games when I started dating the SO? What’s even more unbelievable was that I was a Canes fan before I came to UF. My parents couldn’t afford for me to go. Anyways, enough about Gator football and on to Streusel Banana Bread Muffins.

After I made the Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes, I decided to make muffins since I have the tray for it. The SO said he really likes banana nut muffins. But, I know he really loves Dutch apple pie. So, I found a recipe with both banana and streusel. He said it was as good as the cupcakes. He took a good chunk of the muffins to the tailgate today for “kegs and eggs.” I hope they enjoy it. Muffins are kind of like cupcakes. However, I don’t have to put frosting on them which them a bit easier than cupcakes.

Streusel Banana Bread Muffins (from Salt and Chocolate Girl)

Streusel Banana Bread Muffins
3 eggs
1 cup of vegetable oil
2 cups of sugar
3-4 mashed overly ripe bananas
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
3 cups AP flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of baking soda
Streusel Topping – see recipe below

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 regular size muffin pans with paper liners.
In a large bowl beat eggs until light and frothy. Mix in the oil and sugar. Stir in the bananas and vanilla. Combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Pour the flour mixture into the egg mixture and mix until combined. Fill each liner until it is 3/4 of the way full then top evenly with the Streusel Topping. Bake for 20-25 minutes or they are a little past golden brown. Cool on a rack in the pans for 5 minutes then remove from the pans let it cool completely.

Streusel Topping

7 tablespoons of butter, melted and cooled
1 cup AP flour
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon of cinnamon
¼ teaspoon of baking powder
¼ teaspoon of salt

Mix flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and salt together, add in the cooled butter, stir with a fork until blended. When it starts to form crumbs, squeeze it with your hands to form larger lumps and then break them apart. Let sit for 10 -15 minutes before using.

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Gainesville Politics

I am currently registered as a Democrat. I will most likely vote for Obama. The way I see it is that I am socially a Liberal and Democrat. Financially…is another issue. I don’t have enough money to be worrying about tax breaks, tax cuts, or some other tax something. At least, that’s what I say to people who ask. Michelle Obama stopped here in Gainesville as a part of the “Early Vote for Change” campaign. I unfortunately, had to work. I know, LAME. But, the restaurant is in the heart of downtown Gainesville and Michelle Obama was giving her speech in front the Hippodrome Theatre, which is right next to my work. It was nuts! There were people every where and people were selling stuff to support Obama (or themselves, you never know). I actually bought a couple things too. I just couldn’t resist. I bought a T-shirt and a pin. The SO will complain though. He thought it was a waste of money in the morning when he dropped me off. This is the first souvenir I actually bought during a presidential campaign. It was great seeing the support.

Just in case you don’t know: The University of Florida is an island of blue in a sea of red in Gainesville.. It is naturally assumed that the younger college students would be a bit more liberal. Gainesville is what Sarah Palin would say, “is the best of America,” “real America,” and/or “Pro-America.” Gainesville is a small town; the population being around 200,000 (a good chunk being college students). However, it was uplifting to see not only college students supporting the Obama campaign, but a good amount of old people. I shouldn’t be surprised though. Some of the old people that I meet are liberal like this current blog that I am reading: an 82 y/o woman spouting out the funniest remarks ever and most relevant to the point.

I find it very hard to believe that America would support a person who would make ignorant comments such as the Pro-America comment and wear a scarf with a donkey on it. I mean…DUH.

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First visual adventure

I made Guinness cupcakes yesterday. This is the first time I took pictures of anything I baked. Very exciting. I want my blog to be something like the Cathy on the Noble Pig. She is an extremely witty writer and she comes up with great recipes. And, I really enjoy reading her posts on wine. My palate is not yet mature enough to beyond my likings of German Riesling. I do relish the Willamette Valley Vineyards 2007 Riesling. It was yummy and off dry. I appreciate sweeter tasting wine. However, my absolute favorite wine/Riesling is Hahn 2007 Riesling Piesporter Michelsberg. I couldn’t find an adequate site for it. If I am drinking with friends, they tend to go for the Pinot Grigio. It’s fine, but sometimes it’s lacking something. I just haven’t figured out what it is though. The one Pinot Grigio I did buy and enjoy was Mommy’s Time out 2007 Pinot Grigio. Sorry, the site isn’t that informative. But, for some reason, it has whatever the other Pinot Grigios were lacking.

My palate hasn’t advanced to red wines yet. I’m waiting. The SO loves the red though. I try every bottle he drinks even though I still haven’t found one that I liked. The SO likes Pinot Noirs, Merlots, Malbecs, and combination red wines. He drinks Red Truck 2006 California Red Wine a lot. He likes to try new stuff, but that bottle is the only one he has bought more than once. I always pick by the label; at least you can look at something interesting as you’re drink.

I apologize though. I was supposed to go on and describe my baking adventure with the Guinness cupcakes, not wines and my maturing palate; perhaps I will next time. I have a confession though. I don’t like Guinness. I don’t like any beer for that matter. I made these cupcakes because it seems like everyone I know really enjoy Guinness. It was the second time I made them. The first time came out great, but the frosting was not what I wanted. I made a regular cream cheese frosting, but I wanted to make a Guinness tasting frosting. So, I made the frosting I wanted to make in the second batch. The frosting made the cupcakes more complex and had more depth than a regular cupcake. And, the Guinness frosting, I was told, reminded the eater of the foam on top of Guinness. All in all, the cupcakes were a success! Also, I normally don’t make cupcakes. I feel like cookies are the more preferred vehicle of my baked goods. You can make more for more people and it’s easily accessible and portable. And, I am all about convenience.

Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes (adapted from Airy Fairy)

Cupcake
1 cup Guinness
1 stick + 1 Tb unsalted butter
¾ cup cocoa
2 cups dark brown sugar
¾ cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 Tb vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 ½ tsp baking soda

*Frosting
8 oz cream cheese
1 ¼ cups icing sugar
1/3 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tray.

Combine the Guinness and the butter (chopped into 1 inch chunks) in a double boiler and heat to melt the butter. Remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa and sugar.

In a bowl, combine sour cream, eggs and vanilla, then add to stout mixture.

Sift together flour and baking soda and fold into batter.

Pour into cupcake cases and bake for 25 mins or until toothpick comes out clean. Let stand 10 mins and then remove from tray and cool on a wire rack.

In a mixer, whisk together ingredients for icing and spread over cooled cupcakes.

I dusted some cupcakes with cocoa powder for garnish and some fanciness.

*Note: Instead of the milk, I just used Guinness instead. Without it is fine, but the SO and others say that the Guinness frosting adds to the flavor and cuts down the sweetness. Other recipes call for Bailey’s liquor to make it an Irish Car Bomb. I think I am going to try that next time.

Pictures

My first documented baking journey! I am so excited. I think I will be making caramels soon. Another first! I have never made any type of candy and the SO finally got me a candy thermometer! Super ecstatic!

I am also sorry if my cupcake pictures look weird.  I am still trying to learn how to photograph food.  It’s completely different than people, animals, and scenery.  If you have any tips, please share!

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Same stuff, different day

It has been awhile since I have written in my blog.  Nothing is different in my life.  I work at a restaurant hoping my luck will change.  I did, however, apply for my teacher’s certification a couple weeks ago.  I still haven’t received a response yet.  The only thing I am worried about is that I was supposed to take a test before I apply.  But, no where on the site did say that I had to.  So, I’m crossing my fingers.

I am going to try to blog my baking more.  I made Guinness cupcakes the other day.  The SO loved it.  I am going to make muffins soon.  Hopefully, I will be posting the pictures and my adventure in the oven soon.

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