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Down in Flames

… well thank God – not literally.

So, my friend’s birthday is tomorrow and I decided that I would make her a cake. However, she is Romanian so when asked what her favorite cake is, her response was ‘Dobos Torte.’ I had never heard of it but I figured, ‘Heck, I can make that!’ Turns out this cake is a multi-layer project. But I still figured I could do it but it was going to involve some intense planning. Yesterday morning started off by being in the grocery store before 8 so I could grab what I needed before heading to school at 8. I did manage to leave school by 5 in the afternoon which was key. The recipe said that the cake would take 1.5 hours which I completely did not believe and it turns out, I was right.

I got home, threw my dinner together and started to go to town on this cake. The recipe called for 9 egg whites and let me tell you, those eggs did not want to split nicely but I eventually got all of them into the bowl and whipped them up. And just to let you know, when you beat 9 egg whites, there is a drastic change in volume. But I got everything together and then it was time to cook off the first layer. I started to put it in the spring form pan and thought ‘Wow, these are going to be realllllly thin layers!’ and then realized I was using a 10” spring form pan rather than a 9”. Thankfully, I corrected that mistake before I put it in the oven.

So the first layer is in and I decided to do my dishes so I could stay on top of them. So there I am, washing away, and I realize something is burning. Well, this is just 10 kinds of not good. I go into the oven to see that the new spring pan had a piece of paper attached to the bottom of it which was trying to burn. I took that out, and that layer came out awesome. I put the next one in and then looked at the batter carefully. I was supposed to get 6 layers out of the batter – I ended up with four. God only knows where the other two went. But those all cooked off nicely.

Then, I was feeling ambitious so I decided to make the chocolate butter cream and the caramel even though I had back up plans for both if they didn’t work (with me, back up plans are key). But at one point there was powered sugar and cocoa powered all over the place and all over me. And then I added too much milk to the butter cream so I had to add more powered sugar and cocoa until it even back out. In short, typical Colleen.

So I was two-thirds of the way done and I had to make caramel to go over the top. I am scared to death of making caramel because if that jumps out of the pan, that is serious. So I am making the caramel and talking to it trying to convince it to behave. It cooked down like it was supposed to and then I drizzled it over the top, put the extra in the sink, put water in the pan and then realized what a stupid thing that was to do. The caramel started to inflate in the pan causing me to be completely scared of my sink. But I eventually got it all worked out. And then you were supposed to let everything chill for 6 hours – ummm, nope! So I put it together last night and this is the result:

 

Ultimate test is later today when we eat it. Making cakes is tricky – there is no way to taste test before giving it to someone.

Now my plans involve this:

And I’m super excited about it!

Cheers =)

 

Terrible Twos!

Happy Birthday, little Blog!

It’s simply incredible to think we have made it yet another year! And think about all the crazy adventures we have had – I graduated, went to France, started grad school, knitted a thneed and about a zillion other projects. And it’s always so nice to know that you are here to help me share that with others. Even when it is hard for me to get to you because of how busy life gets, you remain constant. You simply are the best.

 

So a happy birthday to you, little Blog and here’s to more years to come! =)

Cheers =)

Apple Picking!

I swear, at one point in my life, being at school meant it was easier to blog more often but apparently that has changed. There has been an influx in school work, TA stuff, and general busy-ness resulting in late nights at school and weird dinner times. Unfortunately, that means I don’t get to blog as much as I would like.

But I am taking breaks every now and again! Last Saturday we went apple picking!

I am highly impressed we got this trip together. Plans here tend to start being formed on Friday for Friday night but we actually had this planned out a week in advance. We left Saturday morning with two cars and I was driving the lead car of our caravan. At one point, my GPS told me to make a U-turn and I wasn’t ready and I was in the wrong lane so there was general hilarity as we figured the car behind us probably thought we were nuts =) But we made it there and it was a perfect day for apple picking. We walked through the orchard, picked apples, ate apples, and juggled apples. We juggled apples for a while and when we stopped, there were little kids who were starting to imitate the 21+ year-olds who were juggling (I’m sure their parents were thrilled).

 

 

So I had acquired eight pounds of apples and I needed to do something with them! So I made applesauce!

I took these apples:

 

I cut them up and peeled them (no apple peeler = serious oversight). Then I threw them into this crock pot:

 

Then I proceeded to wave my hands at it and in six hours, after enjoying the applesauce fumes the entire time, I had the wonderfulness that is applesauce!

 

Saying that you made applesauce makes you sound like a rockstar but in reality, it was super cinchy.

And I have been crocheting and I wanted to show it but it’s at home and I’m out so next time I will show you what I have been up to =)

Cheers =)

 

Crafty Time

O my goodness, it has been so long since I updated the blog! Things have been super busy here with school and work. My time includes time spent in class, in my office, doing homework in my office, office hours, and TAing for my calc sessions. But thankfully, I have been doing some stuff to break up all the work.

A few weekends ago, we went to the Natural History Museums and saw dinosaurs!

 

And from there we headed to the National Galleria which had a display on video game art which was super exciting =)

 

The best part of this day was when we left the National History Museum and five seconds later, it started to pour like you wouldn’t believe! We ran through DC in the pouring rain, soaking wet, and we all had such a fun time doing it =)

The day capped off with this lovely sight

 

And tonight, I decided I wanted to be crafty at 9:30 which is highly unfortunate because I really couldn’t but there is what is waiting for me.

A Muppet tie blanket waiting to be put together:

 

And I remembered I had yarn bonbons!

 

I have a few ideas for projects and definitely will be deciding what to do sometime this week.

Cheers =)

Icing on the iHome

Well, that is the short story anyway. But before we get to why I had icing on my iHome, here is what else I have been up to.

For my TA stuff, I have to design quizzes and I have been outlining papers this weekend.

 

 

Thank God for whiteboards. Otherwise, I would be doing a pretty good job all on my own of killing the trees. Then I completely geeked out when I got this app working

 

With this neat little app, I can leave my computer open in my office at the log in screen, and access my computer on my phone! I was wayyy to excited about it.

So on top of homework and nerd-ing out, I also spent a bit of time in the kitchen.

This is a Greek yogurt, banana, and honey smoothie. It made studying this afternoon considerably better.

 

Then Saturday, I made white chocolate chip and cranberry cookies. It is so nice to have cookies in the apartment =)

 

So today, I was trying to improve on the baking experience on Saturday. On Saturday, I made a spectacular mess. I blame this partially on my lack of counter space. Well, no matter what it is, I tried to be really neat today while making cupcakes. And during the actual cupcake part of it, I was rocking out that kitchen like a beast. They came out beautifully and it was time to make the icing and that is when it went downhill. I don’t have a mixer but I have a powered whisk which I thought would work. As it turns out, it refused to work and cream the butter like it was supposed to. But I thought I would just carry on and added powdered sugar. That made lovely little white clouds and then cup I was mixing in ran away from me because I didn’t have a good enough handle on it and the whisk whisked it away and it was spinning across the counter and there was powered sugar everywhere! And icing was thrown hither and yon! And yes, right onto the iHome. So, I let the icing win. . .

 

A little powered sugar on top of those munchkins suffices just as well =)

Cheers =)

Driving in Maryland – not for the faint of heart. There is the Beltway or 495, and so far, I have driven on it twice since being here. One day, I drove a friend into school, so I had to take 495 to go and get her. And I am not so familiar with it so my GPS is saying that I need to stay left to stay on 495. This means on a four to six lane highway, I am in the leftmost lane. And then, it opens up so there are even more lanes and suddenly there are four lanes that all go left to stay on 495 and my GPS says, ‘O hey! Now take the exit on the right.’ So I have to go from the inside most lane to the outside most lane a lot quicker than I would like. Then today, I was driving on it, and same thing. And then, I need to go to the inside lane and I have my blinker on and the person next to me thinks that they must pass me first. Or they hang out in my blind spot – another fun game. But here is my final conclusion on driving on 495: don’t show fear. You have to be strong. Because the minute hesitation is sensed, you might as well just be a wounded animal on the Serengeti because people are going to come for you. So remember – no fear!

On a knitting note: I really want to finish this project this weekend.

 

Clearly, I need to block it and tuck the ends in. But I also want to sew ‘D’s’ on the ends. Hopefully, I can get that done =)

Cheers =)

You Always Wonder

You know when you live in dorms in college, and people always say, ‘What do you do if the fire alarm goes off and you are in the shower?’ Well, I can give you want I did, apartment style.

So a few days ago, I was in the shower, when the alarm went off. I distinctly remember looking out around the shower curtain and going, ‘Really?!’ So I jump out of the shower, and I’m throwing clothes on while I am still wet, and I’m listening for doors slamming and such and I don’t hear anything. Then the alarm just stops. So I look out my window and the people by the pool aren’t moving and I don’t hear frantic running so I called my friend who is an RA and she told me that since the alarm stopped I didn’t have to go outside. At which point, it was best to hang up and get back in the shower and finish what I had started.

There have been some interesting things I have observed since being in Maryland. To start with, no one uses turn signals. I would greatly appreciate it if they did. Then, things fall off the back of vehicles at an alarming rate. For instance, the other morning, I was waiting at a red light and a fire truck turned and you just see something fall out of the back of it. So the truck stops in the middle of the lane, puts on it’s four ways, someone gets out and puts on a vest, and heads over towards whatever they dropped. And today, I was driving home only to have to go way around a spill from the back of a beer truck. (Yes, it did smell like beer all around.) I also cannot possibly watch the movie Rear Window down here. If you have never seen it, it is a mind messer by Alfred Hitchcock about neighbors in an apartment. That would be a big no right now. And it’s humid here, really humid.

Then I had some food adventures. I made Quinoa Greek Salad for dinner the other night.

 

The recipe is here. But basically, you cook off the quinoa and add a ton of vegetables to it. So I had tomatoes, olives, peppers, and carrots. Then you make the dressing and crumble feta cheese all over it. Quite tasty. And it stays better if you save all the vegetables in little containers so you can make little servings of it when you want it rather than having it all mixed up and needing to eat it right away. (P.S. one cup of uncooked quinoa = a metric ton of cooked quinoa)

I also made frozen yogurt drops.

 

On a suggestion, I took plain Greek yogurt, added honey, put it in a sandwich bag, and cut the end off and made little drops onto a plate. I put cooking spray on the plate first so they wouldn’t freeze to the plate and then I drizzled honey on top of them as well.

Then the next morning, I made one of my favorite breakfasts ever.

From Paris, one of the best dishes I got was eggs over easy, on top of tomatoes, with basil on top. They served it with a baguette but I had my mine with a bagel (that had tomato basil cream cheese, it almost felt like a themed breakfast). What an excellent way to start the day.

Then yesterday, I found out something mind blowing. You ready? I had no idea you could nuke chicken nuggets rather than putting them in the oven! Completely blew my mind and made my day (it takes so little =) )

Cheers =)

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