13 04 2010

Okay I think I have found a more permanent home for my future projects and ramblings.

Please come visit The Cheerful Novice


Ah my bready foe

29 03 2010

Sourdough Alligator

As Adora and I traipsed through San Francisco we wandered from the cable car down through Fisherman’s Wharf, home to the famousĀ  Boudin Bakery. Alligator shaped sourdough bread has to be the pinnacle of baked treats and it was worth the walk to bring this beast back into captivity.

(Adora made me an adorable crochet alligator friend that survived the party a lot better than my sourdough buddy)

Chomp chomp!

19 02 2010

I’ve been bookmarking royal icing cookie decorating tips for weeks now, but I kept putting it off. I was nervous. I could never make such beautiful cookies as other people. Then I saw this alligator cutter at Fancy Flours and you better believe it was go time!

I used this sugar cookie recipe since I’m fond of almond. It rolled out easily between parchment paper and baked without much added expansion or puffiness. This cookie cutter is highly detailed, so the chopstick in the picture above was instrumental in getting the shape out in one piece.

I used Martha Stewart’s royal icing recipe and it worked like a dream. A few practice lines and I was all set. This was actually fun and not the intense pain I thought it would be!

After waiting an hour I used the flooding technique of adding a tiny amount of water to the icing to help fill in the outline. I used a #2 tip on the outline, but switched to a squeeze tube for the fill. The toothpick is definitely necessary not only to fill in corners, but to pop air bubbles and get the smoothest finish possible.

After another hour I added a few details in black and white. You can see on Kermit the Alligator that the the flood icing didn’t have enough water and ended up being bumpy, Stripey above him is a little better and finally the mix was right for Two-eyes.

I’m still far from matching the likes of the many gorgeous iced cookies out there, but I’m thrilled with initial results and excited to do this again!

Oh yeah and there were fish…

Day 3

3 02 2010

Day 3 into my “new life” looks mostly like a lot of boxes piled up in the dining room and TLC re-runs.

However the Ikea furniture is almost all built! Victory!

Kitchen Lust

29 01 2010

The dream

Fine fine, out of work with no incoming money doesn’t make buying a $300 stand mixer a great idea, but, but, but… With the move I haven’t been able to bake in awhile and the urge is fierce. Yes I can do with a hand mixer, but a boysenberry Kitchen Aid makes me swoon. Like pass out on a fainting couch because Colin Firth just proposed to me swoon.

We all need a bit of pure sexy in our kitchens.

Things I don’t understand about guys #547

29 01 2010

My boyfriend and I were packing up his place last week. We had a limited amount of time and everything was still a mess. In the middle of all this he pulls out a gigantic box of tangled cables for tvs, game systems, computers, and who knows what! He would hand them to me after de-tangling to be carefully rolled and taped.

Me: Shouldn’t we just pack things and worry about cable organization later?

R: It’s better to be organized before moving! Oooo this is a nice cable! This is a $50 cable!

Me: You have cables for products that don’t even exist any more!

R: <talking to himself> Oh! I forgot I had this one!

The next day I’m joking around with my friends about R’s cable obsession when the guys chime in with their support.

“Oh yeah I have TWO boxes of miscellaneous cables at home.”

The guys are actually trying to out cable each other!

“Hmmm I’ll have to check our your boyfriend’s cables! Sounds like he has a nice collection!”

Yesterday a box from Amazon arrived and R grabbed at it excitedly. I’m not even kidding, it was a new cable.

Image: dan /

Elementary School as weight loss solution

28 01 2010

Recess at Takada Elementary

While I was teaching elementary school in Japan with little effort on my part I dropped about 50lbs over 2 years. Was it the amazing fish and rice diet? No way! Japanese food is rife with delicious fatty fried things. Was it not having a car? That helped, but it wasn’t the big factor. No the greatest thing for losing weight was the children. I literally ran part of my ass off and budded collar bones due to dodge ball, tag, and dancing around a classroom in order to keep the attention of 28 fidgety 3rd graders.

There are a lot of reasons why I gained back most of that weight (cry more! sob) since returning to the US, but I think the biggest killer has been my desk job. I spend almost 8 hours a day crunching spreadsheets into bite sized bits. I’m looking forward to getting back into the classroom and working off excess energy and pounds. While I spend the next few months unemployed and working on my credentials my plan is to live like I was teaching. Running, jumping, playing, and all around active. Anybody have any mobile quick toddlers they want me to watch?

I’m going to get a Seinfield calendar for activity (exercise? why does that word seem more daunting and evil?). I’ll aim for at least 30 min a day spent living like the hyper elementary school teacher I used to be.