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Me. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about who I am, and who I am not. And if I’m ok with who I am. And who I want to be. And who I’m terrified of becoming.

A good friend of mine makes documents to state what he believes in and how it changes over the years. So I figured it was fitting to make a similar post at the end of my frosh year, of just who I’ve become over the last year. My “self” and my understanding of myself have changed a lot recently, and I thought it’d be a good idea to make a solid statement of who I am.

I’m smart. Not crazy super genius, not extraordinarily so, but I am smart. And I enjoy using my brain, whether in school or in discussing the intricacies of life philosophies. Although I can appear as a bit of a ditz, I am smart, and I value my intelligence.

I’m good looking. Not outstandingly so and I have flaws, but I clean up nicely when I want to. I’m not ashamed of how I look and I like the skin I’m in, and probably a bit more vain than I should be. I may say I don’t think I look good, but sometimes when I look in the mirror, I think I look really good and am confused as to why others don’t see it. But I don’t admit that to anyone.

I’m artsy. Not an artist, but there’s a part of me that heaves a sigh of ecstacy when my hands are dirty from smudging the graphite shadows when recreating a favorite photo of a treasured memory, crafting hand selected words into a stream of poetic expression, or watching someone’s long slender fingers dance deftly across the ivory and black keys of an old grand piano.

I’m logical. Not as much as I’d like to be sometimes, when emotions get the best of me, but when it comes down to it logical decisions are the only ones I trust and feel good about when all is said and done. I love logic and the web of reason it weaves around a crafty argument, how it gives us tools to comprehend the incomprehensible.

I’m scared of emotions. I’m scared of the intensity, the irrationality, and the fact that they have more influence over my actions then I’d like to admit. The way I sometimes twist logic to prove that what I’m feeling is justified terrifies me. Sometimes I abuse them- I try to make myself feel by poking my “bruises” because on some level I believe that “sad is happy for deep people.” But I know emotions are good and necessary and I need to figure out how comprehend and be at peace with them.

I’m passionate. It takes me a bit, but when I fall in love, I fall hard and hold nothing back, causing me to do some things that I regret. And it takes me a while, too long, to get back up and dust myself off. But I do.

I’m people oriented. I always put friendships before anything else in my life, no matter what deadline is looming or what work I’m ignoring. I need people to a fault; I’ve lost the ability to be alone because I need people too much. It’s hard for me to spend time by myself and feel ok about it, not getting depressed. No matter how bad I’m feeling, people will make me better.

I’m obsessive. I find something I like and then love it to death. Over the years, I’ve obsessed over Phantom of the Opera, muffins, Wicked, House, purple, the number 23, Relient K, online graphic t-shirts, and Doctor Who. To an obnoxious degree. Once I find something I like, I latch on and bleed it dry.

I’m scared of change. I used to think I thrived on change and prided myself on this, but now I realize that that was only because I didn’t like where I was. This realization disappoints me. When I like the people I have and the place I’m at, I hate change, I’m scared of losing what I have. I’m rubbish at goodbyes- if I know I’m likely to never see someone again I bawl like a baby.

I’m terrified of being forgotten. My biggest fear is that I don’t make an impact on people and that their lives would be no different without me and that they would never miss me. I’m scared that people don’t know me, that no one wants to really “know” me, that when I’m out of sight, I’m out of mind. That people don’t really want me. That one day I’ll wake up and realize that I don’t have any lasting friends. That I need everyone else more than they need me.

I’m intense. In my close friendships, to trust someone I need one on one time with them. In a relationship, I need almost constant communication, to feel “connected” to my significant other, which can manifest itself as neediness sometimes. If I don’t get one on one time, I don’t feel like they’re really my friend. I expect too much of people. I expect too much of their time.

I’m impulsive. When I see something I like, I go for it. Hence why I’m in Canada. I’m always up for an impromptu adventure. I sometimes do things I shouldn’t. I sometimes buy too many things I don’t need.

I’m travel hungry. I love new places, new people, new experiences, new cultures, new food. I soak it up like sunlight. I like to dream of places I’ll go and things that I’ll do, and I’ll never be content staying in one place without traveling a decent amount to explore this gorgeous world of ours. But I couldn’t travel alone, I’d need a friend to share it with, which is unfortunately limiting. There’s almost nothing I love more than a good road trip with some amazing friends.

I’m spiritually confused. I believe in God, and I’ve always been Christian. I’m a preacher’s kid at heart. The thought of losing my faith in God always terrified me. But now, I can see it. I can see it happen and being ok. I can see the beauty in not claiming I have a unique truth and putting up walls between myself and those who are don’t have it, in putting my efforts into just loving everyone, in seeing this rock and each other as all we have, which makes it even more important to help those less fortunate because there is no God, in the crazy chance of this planet existing, in not getting caught up in rules and morality and trying to figure out life using an ancient book that everyone interprets differently. I’m not saying I don’t believe in God anymore, but I can see how not believing in God could actually lead to a good place. I’m disenchanted with Christianity and find myself rolling my eyes at religious sentiments at times. And that terrifies me. Because I want God, I need God, I love God. But at the same time… do I? I hate being on the fence, not really knowing, I’m not atheist but I’m not wholly Christian at the same time. I’m nothing. And it’s awful.

I’m not sure about faith. About the fact that faith requires belief in spite and in the absence of reason. That it prides people who can maintain beliefs even when they’re challenged. I want to be logical, I want to make sense, I want to believe something because it’s reasonable and true, not because I want it to be true and so I obstinately refuse to consider alternatives. I want to believe something responsibly- if something I believe makes claims about other people and their ways of life, I better have good proof of it being true. So if faith in God requires faith in absence of fact, I’m not sure if I can do it.

I’m a fan of winter. I love the cold, the ice, the snow. Today it snowed in mid April and I couldn’t stop smiling. Walking outside was like living in a snow globe, and it’s wonderful. Cold wakes me up and makes me feel alive. It’s invigorating and painful and wonderful and I can never get enough winter. My love of snow is so great that I honestly consider this winter the first time I was ever “satisfied” by winter in a really deep way. It’s hard to explain, but it makes me deeply and thoroughly happy.

I’m addicted to lying. I pride myself in it. I consider myself a good liar, even though I’m not as good as I’d like to think. My good friends can see right through me. But I mask emotions and tell convenient lies without a second thought, like a reflex. Lies that make everything go smoother, that could be true but aren’t. And sometimes I’m so good at lying that I’m not sure if I’m lying to myself or not. Sometimes it gets so bad that I doubt everything I believe about myself. But I can’t afford to doubt that.

I’m cheerful. Generally. I do get down from time to time, but I’m generally a happy person. I almost always have a smile on my face, and when I get really excited my voice goes up a few octaves. I have a zest for life that I can barely contain, and that I think shows through. Sometimes, I’m just so happy about life that I can’t contain my smile, no matter how hard I try.

I’m a words person. My love language is a combination of quality time and words of affirmation. If someone’s doing badly, I try to compose some sort of encouraging message, reminding them of who they are and what I see in them that I love. My first tool in my arsenal is words. And words mean so much to me. Words that mean a lot to me that I have in print somewhere, I pour over time and time again long after the person who said them has ceased to mean them. I hold onto words to remind me of a time that passed, when I was loved.

I’m captivated by songs. Songs that have special meaning to me, that hold pockets of time in their lyrics. Certain songs will always mean certain events, people, or times to me, and when I listen to them I’m transported back in time. Music helps me when I don’t know how to help myself.

I’m an ideas person. I love to dream and brainstorm and think and imagine possibilities. I love to dream bigger than I know how to achieve, to think of possibilities and extract a sense of hope and joy from the expectation. But I’m not a planner, and I can’t make them happen. I’m working on it, but right now, I’m still woefully inadequate when it comes to making my dreams a reality. It saddens me.

I’m not a dominant person. I’ve noticed a pattern in my friendships- I tend to attach to people who are more popular and dominant than I am. That way I can just hang on for the ride and go along with what they want to do. It’s not being a doormat or passive, I’m just comfortable with sitting back and letting what happens happen, and I’m ok with that. I’m ok with being less dominant and pretty much being the sidekick.

I’m curious. I love hearing about different people, about what they think, about how the world works. I want to know about all different religions, cultures, schools of thought, languages, everything. I wish I could learn it all.

I’m responsible. And I get off on being responsible, I thrive on being dependable. Nothing makes me happier than knowing that people need and depend on me and that I deliver. When I’ve been asked in interviews “why do you want this job,” the real answer is because I want to be responsible, I want the opportunity to make people need and trust me, not the answer I actually give.

I’m open. I used to think that I didn’t share my secrets with anyone unless I knew I could trust them, unless I knew them for a long time and trusted them completely, and I was proud of this trait. Recently, I’ve realized that’s just not true. I’ll tell my life story to anyone that listens. Anyone. I don’t need to trust someone completely to tell them my weaknesses, how I work, and the things I regret, all I need is for them to want to listen. And I’ll tell them. And, I’m ok with that.

I’m foolish. Sometimes I do things that I know I shouldn’t, that I have every reason not to do, and do them anyway against all better judgement. And regret it later. I don’t learn from my mistakes very well.

I’m assertive. I’m not one to wait patiently until the guy asks me out, or mess around with ambiguity. I’ll cut right to the chase, ask the hard questions, and deal with the consequences, because I can’t deal with what ifs. I can’t deal with doubts. If there’s the slightest chance, I have to try it. And I make a fool out of myself sometimes. But I don’t regret it.

I’m a hopeless romantic. I sit around and think about the day when I’ll have a guy of my own, finally, that I have no reserves about dating. That day when I an love someone without a little part of me going “Em, you know better.” What I wouldn’t give to fully let myself go and feel and love, with no reservations. I watch romantic comedies and wish a nice guy would try to woo me. I evaluate most males I meet as potential dating candidates way more than I should. I want to get married so I never have to worry about being alone again because I’ll have someone who wants to spend the rest of their life with me. And I won’t be scared of losing them.

I’m a here and now person. I don’t usually miss people. I love my family, but I don’t get home sick, nor do I feel like I need to see them. When I don’t see people, we don’t talk. I have never kept in long distance communication with anyone except my parents because I committed to talking to them about once a week. So when I don’t see people, I lose them, whether by my fault or theirs.

I’m judgmental. I usually make snap first impression judgments about people. And I stick by them. Until I find out that they’re utterly and completely wrong. But I still make judgments nonetheless. I judge people especially by their voice- if I don’t like someone’s voice, I judge their whole character by it.

I’m good at judging time. I’m good at balancing school time and relationships, and knowing how long I can procrastinate while still having the perfect amount of time to do the work I need to. I can usually estimate with accuracy how long something will take or how long it will take to get somewhere.

I’m trusting. Even when I shouldn’t be. I believe promises that are sincere yet I know can’t be kept, because I want them to be true. I want to believe in always. But I don’t. I don’t think that anyone can ever make an always promise because people change and things change and ideas and emotions change. You can commit to a lifestyle, a decision, a process that may end up in always, but you can’t say with 100% certainty “I will always ____.” I don’t believe in always. But I’ll still trust people’s always promises, even when I know they’re not true. I trust that maybe this time, it’s different. And I’m waiting to be proved wrong.

So there it is. That’s a snapshot of me. I’m smart, good looking, logical, scared of emotions, passionate, people oriented, obsessive, scared of change, terrified of being forgotten, intense, impulsive, travel hungry, spiritually confused, not sure about faith, a fan of winter, addicted to lying, cheerful, a words person, captivated by songs, an ideas person, not dominant, curious, responsible, open, foolish, assertive, a hopeless romantic, a here and now person, judgmental, good at judging time, and trusting. I’m sure I’ll add to this post as I think of different things I should have added, but that’s me.

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Alright, it’s kinda lonely over here on wordpress. All my friends are on tumblr. So, unfortunately, I’m moving blog locations so that I can be more social. Not that anyone reads this anyway, but in case I do actually have a follower or two, go to tropicalpengawin.tumblr.com to continue reading my musings. It’s been a good run, ladies and gents. But now I’m moving on!


Sleep. It’s my favorite past time. Honestly, if I’m sitting in my room, thinking “I’m bored, what should I do?” A nap is usually my answer. It’s just the best feeling, waking up, especially after a really long nap and you don’t know what time it is and you don’t care because you are half asleep and feel amazing. Groggy and still sleepy, you snuggle back under your covers and slowly drift deeply into unconsciousness.

But the best part about sleep is when you’re not quite asleep. You’re not unconscious, but you’re not awake either. You’re lying there in a semi-conscious haze of contentment.

This. This is when sleep-think happens.

Sleep think is an interesting phenomenon. You see, when you’re lying there, half asleep, you still think. And your mind wanders. It ponders the tough questions of life, the things that weigh heavy on your mind, those problems that you can’t solve when you’re normally awake.

Your mind not only ponders these deep thoughts, but it has brilliant revelations. It makes connections you never thought possible. It solves problems like world hunger, what you’re going to do in life, what makes the world spin, all those deep theological questions seem crystal clear as you lie in bed, hovering an inch away from pure black unconsciousness. The world seems right and everything seems as though it’s going to work out.

And then, you fall back to reality. You slowly become aware of your surroundings and the real world surfaces around you, but that feeling still lingers, that feeling like you just had a genius moment, an important revelation, that you have to share with the world.

But as soon as you try to think of it, it’s gone. You can’t even remember what it was that you were thinking about, let alone your moment of brilliant epiphany. You desperately rack through your thoughts, going through every possible scenario, because you know your thoughts were direly important, you know your life would be improved by their content, but yet those elusive thoughts sit smugly outside your grasp, only to be found when you drift back into that strange land of enhanced cognitive function.

And that, my friends, is the madness of sleep-think.


This came from a conversation with my friends that I just HAD to illustrate. It involves me being a hooker on a sketchy street while wearing a snuggie and crocs. How much more sexy can you get? Exactly. You can’t get much sexier than that.



What makes me feel like an artist? Is it seeing my mental images coming to life on a blank page? Is it tracing the lines of a persons facial features with my eyes, as if I’m drawing them in my mind? Is it knowing exactly what colours I need to mix together to create my desired shade? Is it smelling fresh paint as I open the cap and try not to gag? Is it feeling the moist, yet hard clay moulding to my touch and shaping into a new creation?

Sure, I guess all of those things are well and good artisticy things. But what makes me feel the most like an artist is having dirty hands. When I have dirty hands, I feel like I did something. Like I was so into my art that it overflowed off of the page and onto my deft fingers. Whether it’s graphite rubbing off onto my hand while I use my finger to smear lines into subtle shadow, pastels leaving a dusty, pale, chalky trail where ever they touched, dust vibrant splashes of  paint jumping off of the canvas to colour my pale hands, or clay coating my fingers in a crackly, thin grey layer, having dirty hands makes me feel good inside.

Sometimes I’ll intentionally try not to keep my hands clean for just that reason, “accidentally” setting my hand in some wet paint or blending a particularly dark spot with my finger. But, because I’m a generally messy person, I usually don’t have to go out of my way to be messy. Once my hands are dirty, I’ll half-heartedly wash them, but not too too well, so that some residual artistic expression remains on my palm, part of me hoping that someone will see it and ask me what I was working on.

Messy hands, to me, are the badge of an artist. If you don’t get messy, you’re not doing art. Maybe that’s just me, and my interpretation, but if I’m doing art right, I do not stay clean for long. Now, I’m not really an artist, and only sporadically sketch a pencil drawing now and again, but when I do decide to stretch my dormant artistic side and wake it up, it’s an amazing feeling, and I remember why I loved doing art ever since I was a little girl. Time ceases to exist, and it’s simply me and my work, existing, shaping each other, as I quietly sing to myself and attempt to spill my messy, colourful emotions onto the blank white wilderness before me.


Best. Weekend. Ever.

That is how I would describe my trip to Quebec. No question. It’s like everything that I imagined Canada convened into one weekend of snow, fun, and laughter.

I can’t really describe the awesomeness, so I’m just going to make a list of awesome things that we did. Yea.

1. Freaked out because we thought our car was going to break down, due to a combination of a check engine light, the automatic shut off over reacting when pumping gas, and the smell of gasoline as we drove down the highway, which prompted us to pull over and sniff until the smell dispelled and we deduced that it wasn’t actually our car.

2. Got utterly lost coming out of Montreal because the highways are just confusing, and ended up taking a crazy detour through small town Quebec and fueling beside snow mobiles while getting directions in French from the gas station worker.

3. Drove past moose crossing signs.

4. Were rudely dealt with by a subway worker 20 minutes before he closed and told that he was having a bad day and needed to go afterwards and would stop in the middle of a sub when it reached 11 o’clock, and laughed about the encounter for the rest of the night.

5. Stayed with an extremely welcoming couple who opened their home and made amazing Quebec food.

6. Ate my first beaver tail and ballroom danced while waiting for a ridiculously long zipline line which we ended up

ditching.

7. Cheered on sled dogs as they ran down the roads of Old Quebec.

8. Marveled at the beauty of the frozen St. Laurence river in the winter time.

9. Slid down snow covered steps.

10. Saw houses that had tunnels protruding from their doors in attempts to prepare for a possibility of getting ridiculous amounts of snow and bars made of ice along the side of the street.

11. Watched amazing snow sculptures being sculpted by cool people.

12. Went inside an awesome castle hotel that is way more expensive than I’d ever be able to pay for.

13. Got a picture with Bonhomme’s royal snowyness himself.

14. Ate maple taffy, Putin, Crepes, and bagette with a delicious chese, peach, and almond topping, and drank, (well, really, gagged down in my case, apparently I’m not used to the taste of alcohol) a glass of wine with friends. So good.

15. Wandered around the streets of old Quebec and stopped in random little art galleries around the town.

16. Snowtubed down a ridiculously large hill in a raft full of 10 people overlooking the carnival itself.

17. Got ticketed by Quebec police for parking and not paying for a meter- oops!

18. Played bonanza for the first time and didn’t do too horrible. Though I’m not a fan of beans.

19. Walked around Quebec all day wearing snow pants and snow boots and bundled up with a scarf, hat, and Canadian mittens.

20.Did aerobics in French with a man on the stage of Bonhomme’s ice palace.

21. Answered a question put to me in French with “si.” (aka Spanish.)

22. Discussed philosophical topics while driving for hours upon hours in a car.

Overall, it was just a good feeling weekend. It felt good. Something’s good when, in the pit of your stomach, you just have this indescribably happy feeling; you look out upon the St. Laurence river, take in the snowy, icy spots of the river combined with the rocky cliffs and the quaint old buildings and just feel content. Like this is how the world should be, snow and laughter and love and cold and ice and beauty and people. Staring at a painting of a little house painted in the middle of a snowy field with a blue mountain in the distance and wanting nothing more than to go buy that house and live there for the rest of my days, reading novels curled up by a fire after a day of cross country skiing or tobogganing or taking a snow shoed stroll through the woods. That feeling that everything you’re experiencing is everything you ever wanted, dreamed of, and hoped for. That’s what this weekend was for me.That’s what it made me feel. And I realize this may seem a bit overdramatic and romanticized and silly. But, deep down, that’s what I felt. And it was wonderful. No matter how small or silly it seems, it was no less awesome. Simply. Awesome


I am applying to be a frosh (freshman) leader for Frosh week 2011 at Grebel! Woot!

We had to make a creative video showing off our creativity.

What to do…

Doctor Horrible Parody?

OF COURSE!

Enjoy!


This is the height of my baking accomplishments. This is my greatest accomplishment. This scone recipe is freaking amazing. I got the basic scone recipe from Cafe Ferando- http://cafefernando.com/strawberry-scones/ and the idea for the orange glaze and flavouring from http://bakingbites.com/2008/04/strawberry-sunrise-scones/– when I made the strawberry sunrise scones, they didn’t turn out well at all- I didn’t mix the yogurt in well or something, it was soggy and gross. But the flavour was good. I also got the idea to grate the butter in from a cooking video online- the colder the butter, the flakier the pastry will be. So, if you grate in frozen butter, it remains quite cold but is shredded into little pieces which can be incorporated into the dough. As far as I can tell, it works like a charm! So here they are, my wonderful scones.

STRAWBERRY SCONE RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 cup strawberries (I usually use them frozen, but I’m not sure it makes a difference)
  • 6 tablespoons frozen, unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream with 2 tsp orange zest
  • 2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten

For finishing:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 T orange juice

Method

  1. Position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 400 F (205 C). Line a heavy baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the strawberries, tossing until evenly distributed and coated with flour (this allows the fruit to be evenly distributed among each wedge). Grate the frozen butter in with a cheese grater
  2. In a small bowl, stir the cream, orange zest, and egg yolks just to blend. Add this all at once to the flour mixture. Stir with a fork to begin combining the wet and dry ingredients and then use your hands to gently knead the mixture together until all the dry ingredients are absorbed into the dough and it can be gathered into a moist, shaggy ball.
  3. Do not overknead: This dough is sticky but benefits from minimal handling. Set the rough ball in the center of the prepared baking sheet and pat it gently into a round about 1 inch thick and 7 inches in diameter. Don’t be tempted to make the round any flatter.
  4. With a sharp knife or pastry scraper, cut the round into eight wedges, but don’t separate.
  5. Bake until the scones are deep golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of a wedge comes out clean, 18 to 22 minutes. Cut the scones apart and slide the parchment onto a rack and let cool for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Mix the glaze (sugar and orange juice)- drizzle over warm scones!
  7. Best served fresh, these scones will keep for up to a month, wrapped well and frozen. Thaw at room temperature and then warm in a 325 F oven.

Enjoy your delicious scones!


Well, I’m considering turning this into a quasi- baking type blog. Intermixed with personal ranting and stories, of course. So here are photos and links to recipes of some of my latest conquests in the kitchen. I’ll make individual posts for the ones that I have to type out the recipes for, otherwise I’ll just include links. Enjoy!

Strawberry Cream Roll
I believe this fairly impressive! Creamy delicous strawberry on the inside, spongy cake on the outside. Topped with strawberries, tastes amazing! And really not as hard to make as you might think.
Recipe: http://dessertfirst.typepad.com/dessert_first/2010/08/strawberry-cream-roll.html

Peach Tart

I decided to forgo the maple syrup and almonds, and it was delicious! And looks pretty dang awesome, if I do say so myself. So colorful!
http://cafefernando.com/peach-tart-with-almonds-and-maple-syrup/

Mango, Papaya, and Chocolate cake
http://cafefernando.com/passion-fruit-mango-and-chocolate-cake/
So i couldn’t find passion fruit, which is what this is supposed to contain, so i used papaya in passion fruit juice. Still tasted pretty awesome! Doesn’t look as nice as Cafe Fernando’s version, obviously, but pretty good for a novice. Most complex thing i have ever made! Took me all day to make all the parts.

Mango Mousse Tart
http://dessertfirst.typepad.com/dessert_first/2006/08/mangos_and_maca.html
I love mango! this was pretty delicious, and very easy. Very light and fluffy; it would probably taste a million times better with fresh mango in a tropical country, but halifax is what I have…

Apple Cinnamon Muffins-
they don’t look too hot, but they taste amazing! Got the recipe out of one of my mom’s murder mystery food books- they have names like “death by chocolate” and are extremely weird. But apparently they have good recipes!  https://tropicalpengawin.wordpress.com/2010/12/29/to-die-for-glazed-apple-streusel-muffins/

Hershey Kiss Cookies

Peanut butter and chocolate- a classic combo. These cookies are simple and elegant. A classic for every Christmas! https://tropicalpengawin.wordpress.com/2010/12/29/hershey-kiss-cookies/

Sugar Cookies with Icing

I’m always the only one who actually enjoys decorating these. My mother just ridicules me- “You’re just going to eat them! Just slap the icing on!” But I still like to make them semi pretty. Though, as I’ve gotten older, they get more and more abstract…

Red and Green M&M cookies!

Classic. Basically chocolate chip cookies with M&M’s in them. Very festive!

https://tropicalpengawin.wordpress.com/2010/12/29/candy-cookies/

Chocolate Mousse
There was a recipe on Cafe Fernando’s blog that involved only chocolate and water. I was intrigued, so I tried it. It was very rich and chocolately, a bit much so for my brother and mother. But I thought it was tasty!
http://cafefernando.com/the-best-chocolate-mousse-of-your-life-under-5-minutes/

Mint Swirl Brownies!
I felt like making something with the mint extract in the cupboard, and I have a party this afternoon. So I made mint swirl brownies! Fairly simple and fun, no crazy accidents to speak of.
http://www.cdkitchen.com/recipes/recs/28/MintSwirlBrownies67184.shtml

Strawberry Mousse Cheesecake

Well, I finally have a chance to bake in a kitchen again! This is my first creation of the summer- very light and fluffy and delicious! Perfect dessert for a sunny summer afternoon. And who doesn’t love strawberries? https://tropicalpengawin.wordpress.com/2011/04/27/strawberry-mousse-cheesecake/

Homemade Pop Tarts

So delicious and flaky and awesome! Thanks again to Mennonite Girls Can Cook. https://tropicalpengawin.wordpress.com/2011/04/28/homemade-pop-tarts/ . Way better than the store bought.

Cinnamon Sugar Pull Apart Bread

This is freaking delicious- like cinnamon buns, but in a loaf! So warm and tasty right out of the oven, and not too hard to make either.  https://tropicalpengawin.wordpress.com/2011/05/23/cinnamon-sugar-pull-apart-bread/

Easy Breezy Peanut Brittle

Recipe from my awesome roomie Heather! Just corn syrup, sugar, peanuts, and butter. Yum! Tasty treat. https://tropicalpengawin.wordpress.com/2011/05/23/easy-peanut-brittle/

Banana Muffins!

Simple, easy way to use up leftover rotten bananas! (Shhh, we won’t tell anyone if you just let your bananas rot as an excuse to try this delicious recipe.) Add nuts or chocolate chips to your taste to make it your own muffin. https://tropicalpengawin.wordpress.com/2011/05/23/banana-muffins/


Does yeast creep anyone else out? It’s these little balls of living organism that you can freeze, and then just pop in some warm water and they wake up and go to town, like the undead or something, making zombie bread. You try to stir it, and the yeast bubbles in protest, mad at you for disturbing it’s nice warm little environment! I’m half afraid the mixture is going to congeal and start to crawl out of the bowl and attack me, like the blob. *shudder*. Come to think of it, they stopped the blob by dropping it in the arctic… Oh my goodness. THE BLOB WAS MADE OF YEAST! Oh I’m never making bread again.

I mention yeast because, tonight, I attempted to make something with yeast. With possibly disastrous results.

Usually my baking is haphazard. But this time seems to be taking the cake (ha! pun). Sometimes I fear that my lack of common sense will really be the end of me…

Cafe Fernando has an amazing blog that I love. I’ve made quite a few things from there, such as Strawberry Sunrise Scones, a Peach Tart, Mango Papaya and Chocolate Cake, 2 different recipes of Chocolate Mousse, and a Chocolate Ganache Tart. This time, a thing called Brioche caught my eye.

You might ask, what is brioche? Is it difficult to make? How the hell do you pronounce it? Apparently it is a type of bread. I have no idea if it’s tasty or not, and I’ve never seen it made before. But I like trying to be ambitious. And this recipe for brioche has you put chocolate in the middle. Mmmmm sounds yummy! And the pictures are amazing. So I decided to try it.

I had most of the ingredients, and decided to blunder my way through attempting this recipe. The recipe said to mix things with a heavy duty mixer. So, I got out my little hand mixer with the whisky appendages, and didn’t stop to think that maybe, just maybe, they are not the same thing. Now enlightened after this experience, I firmly believe that little hand mixers are not capable of mixing bread dough. No.

But this didn’t occur to me earlier. Foolhardily, I mixed the liquid and flour with the mixer and all is fine. I went to add the egg, and noticed that the recipe said that the egg should be room temperature. I grabbed my eggs out of the freezer and put them in a basin of hot tap water for a bit, thinking that this would warm them up. I think it did, probably. Possibly. I then added the egg. The mixer proceeded to go really slowly and get all jammed up, and just be ridiculously unhelpful in general. I sighed, and then tried to mix it in by hand. Not the best scenario, but doable. Everything seemed ok, until it came to the butter.

Oh butter. Why do you always cause me trouble? Not only was the butter supposed to be at room temperature, but mine was currently residing in the freezer. This is what happens when Emily doesn’t read her recipes ahead of time. So, I proceeded to stick the frozen butter in the water just like the eggs. It has a wrapper on it, right?

So I have these sticks of butter, which are melty on the outside and hard on the inside. And I’m supposed to mix it into the dough… with the mixer. I can’t think of any reasonable way to do this without using the mixer. But the mixer can’t mix this kind of dough. My solution? Add water! So I add water until it becomes this gloopy mess. I then cut the sticks of butter into quarters (it calls for 3 sticks of butter. Holy man that’s a lot) and attempt to mix it in. With the mixer.

The mixer still didn’t quite know how to deal with this crazy thick bread dough. It whined in protest and reluctantly attemptede to integrate the butter, but the butter was kinda frozen still in the middle and the dough was freaking thick. Well, I didn’t know what else to do, so… I just kept doing this. My hands were all gloopy from dealing with yucky butter and I was trying to lift the mixer high enough out of the batter so as not to jam up, but low enough so dough didn’t fling everywhere. It’s pretty tough. I kinda was successful in integrating the butter, until I start to smell smoke. My mixer’s motor was kinda… burning. I was burning out the motor, possibly ruining our mixer. I quickly turned it off- I may have had some baking mishaps in the past, but I was not about to utterly destroy something.

Unfortunately, I still had cold chunks of butter lurking in this muck. Out of options, I stuck my hands in and felt around for the chunks and melted/squished them with my fingers. Bread dough is a gross consistency, and this was more liquidy than it was supposed to be because I added water to make it mixable. Sigh. I kinda succeeded in unchunking the butter, but I still think there could possibly be chunks of butter lurking in the deep. Whatever.

This dough was still not thick enough, however. I knew what consistency bread dough was supposed to be, and this was not it. So… I added flour. And mixed it in. And added more flour. And more flour. And more. An in-determinant amount of flour. Finally it reached a reasonable consistency. Hoping I hadn’t royally screwed this up, I dumped this dough into another bowl to let it rise for a bit. And prayed for this to work.

So, now, I just have to wait for it to rise. And punch it down every so often. And refrigerate it overnight. Tomorrow I will post the results of my dabbling in the dark art of baking. Cross your fingers for me…

UPDATE #1: The dough doesn’t seem to have risen… At all… Soooo… Um… Yeast likes heat, right? I am going to put the dough under my bed, next to the heater. Maybe that will help it? Either that or completely ruin everything. I guess we’ll see…

UPDATE #2: Well… good news is that apparently dough rises when put directly above my heater in my bedroom… bad news is that apparently my heater is so insanely hot that it melted of the plastic around my outlet… um… My bed is directly against the heater… Melting plastic and electronics is probably not the best combination…. One of these days I really will end up killing myself and it’s not going to be pretty. It’s a wonder I still possess all four of my limbs.

The only thing that’s left is to see if the bread bakes well and comes out yummy! I’m in suspense!

UPDATE #3: Well… It turned out fairly well! Not as pretty as the pictures on Cafe Fernando’s blog, but good enough for me. I shoulda put a little more chocolate inside but all things considered… I consider this a success! Yay me! Here are some pictures. And a link if you want to make your own! http://cafefernando.com/chocolate-brioche/

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‎"If I went through life by myself, I'd waste a lot of my time wandering around in the wrong direction"