Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Fitness, Shoes and Cake!

Today was another one of those good/bad days. It had some good...it had some bad.

Got up this morning and made my cake for tonight's class. My stepmom had bought me a "decadent carrot cake" to make this time. It's a boxed cake but it comes with a pouch of carrots and raisins that you add into the cake mix.

After my cake was done I helped my stepmom make hers and I went to jump on the treadmill. One of my challenges from my JM buddy for this week is to do 21 miles of walking/jogging. I was able to get in 4.5 miles yesterday and 4.5 miles today. I only have 5 days to fit in all these miles because I'm leaving on Friday evening.

While I was on the treadmill my newest pair of ShoeDazzle shoes came! They are super cute and the first pair of flats I've ordered from them.

After my workout and shower we got a phone call from the cake decorating instructor letting us know our cake class was canceled because of flash flood and tornado warnings. Needless to say, I was pretty bummed. I am especially disheartened because they've moved the final class to Monday and I'm leaving Friday. The instructor is going to stay after class with me and give me my certificate of completion on Thursday though. I'm a self learner anyway so I'm sure I'll be fine.

My stepmom and I sat around kind of sad for a while. We decided we would go ahead and exchange gifts tonight. We also started talking about the carrot cake I had sitting on the stove. My stepmom mentioned that we should go get some cream cheese frosting and just have the cake tonight and make another one before Thursday's class. Well, I jumped on the computer and looked up a recipe and made home made cream cheese frosting. I also had some leftover spiced nuts from my holiday care packages and we decided to decorate the cake with those.

Here's how it turned out:

I didn't try any of the cake but my dad said it was good.

We did our gift exchange this evening. I gave my dad some Denver Broncos stuff, my stepmom a professional cake decorating book, and my stepbro a Visa giftcard. Lily received a huge dollhouse that is bigger than her and a snowman snow globe that plays music. They gave me a 20 piece set of cake decorating tips, a creme brulee torch, and 8 ramekins. I'm so excited to make an oatmeal creme brulee I found the recipe for a while back. My parental units even thought of Otty and his gift is sitting wrapped over there by the fire place. I know what it is and I'm very excited and jealous about it but I can't post it here because I never know if he'll read this or not.

So here I am now, wide awake. I should be doing some exercises because I have a bunch I need to do. I'm supposed to at least do 8 minutes of lunges (each leg) and 100 donkey kicks today. Let's not talk about all the rest of the stuff. So far I've done 8 minutes of lunges total (4 on each leg) and 75 donkey kicks. I'll knock out the donkey kicks easily but the lunges are another story. I'll get them done. Don't worry.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Wilton Cake Class #2

My cake class on Thursday was really fun but getting there was the problem!

I decided to bake all my xmas gifts this year AND join a cake decorating class at the same time. The class is 4 sessions. The first class is purely instruction. However, the next 3 classes are 'hands on' so we have to bring a pre-frosted cake to those 3 classes. No big deal right? Well this class, instead of being the normal 4 weeks long, is jammed into 2 weeks because of the holidays. That means that when we got home Tuesday night after we bought all our stuff, we needed to have a cake baked and frosted by Thursday's class. Of course we procrastinated until Thursday because I was baking so many xmas goodies. The frosting took a while to make. The cake wasn't baked evenly and I had trouble cutting it. Also, there was a lip around the edge of the cake that made sure I had to cut half of it off to level the top. Blah!

Then there was the frosting. I achieved wonderful consistency for the frosting but I decided to color it blue, which took longer. My pressure isn't that great so I had trouble squeezing the frosting out of the bag for the sides. Then, we had to color tons of icing for the class in different colors. It took me half an hour to get the frosting even slightly red (and a whole 1/2 oz container of coloring). However, for my hard work, everyone in class kept exclaiming how great our red was and some people even had bright pink instead of red. I felt extremely accomplished then.

My stepmom and I, by the time we were done with our cakes and the frosting, ended up snapping at each other because we were so tired and frustrated and only had an hour to shower and get ready before we had to run out the door to make it to class.

We got to class and learned how to pipe icing and do lines and stars and script. We even started practicing our rose bases. We found out when we got there that we were missing a ton of stuff but luckily I'm pretty talkative and some ladies shared their stuff with us. Anyway. Our first project was a rainbow cake. Though you can't really tell that my frosting is blue, here is my sad little first cake that I've ever decorated:

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Cranberry Macadamia Biscotti

I made these cranberry macadamia biscotti that I got from the Joy of Baking website.


2/3 cup (135 grams) granulated white sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cups (245 grams) all-purpose flour

1/2 cup (60 grams) shelled, unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped (I used macadamia nuts, I didn't get the red and green but I prefer macadamia to pistachio)

1/2 cup (75 grams) dried cranberries or cherries (after the first batch I felt that 1/2 cup was not enough and I added a 1/4 cup more)


With electric/hand mixer, beat sugar and eggs on high until pale, thick, and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Be careful not to accidentally turn on the hand mixer when pulling it out of the mix because it tends to splatter the walls. Beat in vanilla extract. In separate bowl whisk together baking powder, salt, and flour. Add to egg mixture. Fold in nuts and cranberries.

Transfer dough onto parchment lined baking sheet and form into a log. Dough is sticky, dampening hands helps. Log should be about 12 inches (30 cm) long and 3 1/2 inches (9 cm) wide.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes. Dough should be firm. Let cool on wire rack for about 10 minutes.

Reduce oven temp to 325 degrees F. Cut into 3/4 inch (2 cm) slices. Place biscotti cut side down on baking sheet and cook for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven, flip over, and cook for another 10 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool and serve!
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