Saturday, March 26, 2011

Cupcakes: Class number three

So today we learned how to make shells, rosette swirls, pompom flowers, leaves and shaggy mums. The only problem is she doesn't seem to leave us enough time to do a very good job decorating what we brought. It's always rush, rush, rush. So here are my shaggy mum cupcakes that I rushed through. They are still better than anything I could have done before. and down below you can see one of the pom pom flowers. It really is a lot of fun. I have one more class. Then I need to think about when I can take another one. I think I would like to practice a little while first.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Oatmeal, how do I love thee

I find it interesting that even now my food tastes can change. There are several things I like now, that I didn't like as a child. Raw onions, canteloupe, zucchini, etc. I have always liked oatmeal. For some reason, in the last couple of months, I have fallen in love with oatmeal. I don't know why. I can't eat it when I am being strict on my diet. And I covet it when I can't. And now, I seem to have found all kinds of fancy ways to eat it. Here is a list of some of them:
1. Brown suar, raisins and cinnamon
2. dried apricots
3. Carrot cake (grated carrots, coconut, raisins and cinnamon)
4. Pumpkin Pie (pumpkin puree, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg)
6. Chocolate (put in a packet of instant cocoa)
7. Peanut butter and jelly ( one of my favorites!)
8. maple syrup
9. blueberry syrup and blueberries
10. apples and cinnamon
11. Peaches
12. Granola
And seriously, I really like it the more rustic type of oats the better. I like the steel cut Irish oats from Trader Joe's. The hospital cafeteria makes great oatmeal in the mornings. It's definately not the quick cooking kind. And oatmeal is a whole grain and high in fiber, so it's good to add to your diet.
Do hoe fo you like your oatmeal? And is there a food you like now that you didn't used to?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Gelatin flower class project

So I took a class today on making gelatin flowers to decorate cakes and food. A little fussy, but from what I hear, way easier and more durable than other techniques. I can tell you that it is amazing that someone like myself, who is  beginner, can still produce something decent. Of course, then I had to go and buy the products. More supplies. It is fun to learn all this stuff. Too bad I can't just stay at home and play with all this stuff. I have 4 twelve hour shifts in a row starting tonight. I won't be doing too much else for the next little while.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Minnie Mouse Hat

Ok, so maybe I still have a couple of hat patterns I want to try.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Same hat, different color

I'm about over these hats now. Ready to move on to something else. Just have one or two more that I promised.

Goldfish practice cake

Ok, still working on it. I'll get better. I am going to give this one to the neighbors behind me. I went over one day in my pajamas to complain about them playing REALLY LOUD music in the afternoon when I was trying to sleep. They used to play it REALLY LOUD every day. The girl was really rather rude to me. But the key is, that it hasn't happened anymore and I am really grateful for that. It's hard enough trying to sleep during the day when I am working. So we'll see what she thinks when I show up at her door with this cake.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Cake Class number two

So this cake could have been a lot better, but I had to hurry. But I am already learning. I had the frosting too thick last night. This one was  a lot easier to frost. Learned the basics of transferring a pattern, dots, elongated dots and zig zags. Just didn't have time to get them all done right! Next time.

Friday, March 11, 2011

First attempt at cake decorating

One of the girls at work requested a german chocolate cake for her birthday. So I attempted to make one with a few of the techniques I learned from my first class. It's far from perfect, but still is better as far as being decorated goes than anything I have attempted before. I hope it tastes good!
I have my second class tomorrow. We will see if I do any better then. Practice makes perfect!

A day at the Scottsdale Arts Festival

Penny and I had the day off today. We went to the Scottsdale arts festival which runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We had never been to this particular event. Unlike some of the festivals, we had to pay 7$ to get in. But we think it was worth it. It was very nicely organized. This was more fine art. There were paintings, etchings, prints, photography, jewelry, ceramic, glass, fabric art, needlework. Everything was mostly out of our price range, so we enjoyed looking.
They had bands playing in three different areas. The music was very enjoyable. And they had gourmet food trucks! I was very excited to try some of those.
One of the many glass art vendors.
I loved these etchings. I took their website. I'm hoping I might be able to get one later. They were awesome. That's Penny browsing.
I thought this artists paintings were different and interesting. This one is called Rain Made. She is made of rain. It's really neat close up.
Same artist, Autumn Starfall. Leaves that are stars.
Fragile Moment.
Yard art
I got some chicken skewers from Hey Joe! Filipino street food.
Later we got ice cream from Sweet Republic.
These pieces are fun. They are covered in smashed bottle caps.
A beautiful day in a beautiful setting.
Penny got a pulled pork sandwhich and tater tots.
I thought these guys were fun. The one with the chicken head says which came first? around it in scrabble tiles. Inside the chicken is an egg.
I really liked these. I took a lot of photos because I thought I might be able to make something somewhat similiar. They are different "Guardian Angels". This first one is sewing. They have chopsticks for legs.
This is a kitchen one. It has silver ware on it.
This is a house guardian. It has a key plate and castors on the bottom.
I liked these paintings too.
Here is another one.
The city of Scottsdale bought the Love sculpture from Philadelphia.
These were so cool. They were pieces that were just meant to be displayed but they were dresses made out some interesting things. This one is shingles.
Smashed bottle caps.
Bottle caps and tags.
Penny found some earrings she bought and I finally bought this print of the Pop Alphabet. Can you tell what products all the letters are from? I thought it was very fun.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Baby Sock Monkey Hat

So now I have a pattern for a baby sock monkey hat!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

First Cake Decorating Class

So today was the first of my four cake decorating classes. I am so excited! I learned a lot. I learned about how to correctly make the icing that you need to use to decorate. I learned the correct ingredients to put in. You know you can't use Crisco or an zero trans fat shortening in buttercream because it won't be stiff enough. Who knew? And you don't want to use butter because it's colored yellow and will affect the color of your frosting. You also want to use pure cane sugar in frosting as opposed to beet sugar.
I learned that it's better to bake one cake in a 3" by 8" pan instead of the regular cake pans. Then you pop it in the freezer and freeze it. When you are ready to use it, you use a tool that looks like a hack saw to cut it in half and then a cake lifter (huge spatula) to put the layers in seperate places. You use the bottom layer for the top and then it's perfectly flat. When you put a filling in between the layers you first pipe an edge of frosting around the inside edge of the bottom layer so the filling doesn't get out into your frosting on the sides of the cake.
And she showed us how to frost it to make it perfectly smooth and beautiful so you can decorate it later! We learned how to make stars today with a pastry bag and tip and then we could decorate cookies anyway we wanted using the stars. I made St. Patrick's day cookies.
Next week we frost our first cake! I already know more than I ever did and feel like the little bit of knowledge will greatly elevate what I make!

Friday, March 4, 2011

The New Citizen of the United States of America

I haveworked with Lynnora for about 7 or 8 years. She is from British Columbia in Canada and came to the United States several years ago to work as a traveling nurse. She recently decided she wanted to become a US citizen. It was interesting to hear her studying at work sometimes for the oral exam she had to take. The things she was learning were things I had learned in school, but such a long time ago, it was all pretty fuzzy.  The application process cost 800$. A lot of money. And she had to already have her green card,which she did and live in the United States at least 5 years.

So when she got the date to do to the Sandra Day O'Conner Federal Courthouse and be sworn in, I thought it would be fun to go and support her and also interesting to see what they do. The courthouse was designed by Richard Meier, a famous modern architect. This circular room is the court room they use for ceremonial events and is where Lynnora was sworn in.

There were 103 people from 40 countries getting sworn in.

This was the judge in charge of the proceedings.

After they swore them in, we all said the pledge of allegiance, sung the national anthem and then they played "God Bless the USA" and all wove their flags. It made me a little teary. I don't think I have had the chance to say the pledge of allegiance since I was in grade school. How does that happen? Why don't we ever say it?
Here is the new citizen in front of the statue of Sandra Day O'Conner.
I have two short video clips of the actual swearing in. Congratulations Lynnora!
video video

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sock Monkey Hat

This one is for a teenager. I think if I make another one it might be a little better, but I still think it's pretty fun.