Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Incase you haven't heard...

I got a job. My husband can no longer call me lazy and has to contribute to the house cleaning. Which are two of my favorite reasons to have a job, besides the rush I get when I create and take charge of things (which also mostly happens when working). I don't know what it is, but even if I spend a whole day doing important/task oriented things around the house, I never feel as productive as I do in a work environment. But that's a side rant.

As many of you in 2008 I got my teaching credential and have been doing that since and loving it... But for some reason it seems God had something else in mind for me as of late. Literally, everything possible thing that could go wrong, went wrong in the process of trying to get my credential for the state of NJ. In fact, I still don't have it and probably won't for at least another month. (I applied in March). So, obviously, I can't be a teacher without a credential and noone is going to give me a job, if I can't get one until after school starts. So, around the same time when I started realizing that things were going slightly awry, I made a contact with the church Jake and I had started attending Shore Fellowship. They had a position open for the director of their elementary grades. In the meantime I still hadn't given up on trying to be a teacher and applied at a local private/Christian school where I didn't have to have a credential. In the end both places offered me the job, but the school offered me a job not teaching elementary and by then I already felt God really leading me to the job at the church. I never really had any desire to work at a church before this, but it's been great. The last two weeks I have totally been able to exercise my creative side which is just really fun and something I felt I haven't been able to do in a while (even teaching). So, while I love teaching and do want to go back someday FOR SURE. This is where I am right now, and I'm quite content. Plus it's part-time, so I have good hours and still get to sleep in (for now anyway).

Friday, July 23, 2010

Orange Chocolate Cake Recipe

This is my own mix and match recipe, but I don't tell your friends it's not completely made from scratch.

One box devil's food cake
8 oz sour cream
1 pkg chocolate fudge pudding
1 C. fresh squeezed orange juice ( I usually buy the big bag of clementines or small naval orange and use a lot of them)
3 Tbs. orange zest (or more to taste if orange is not strong enough in batter)
4 eggs
1/2 C. oil
Mix all together in mixer, adding eggs last one at a time. Pour into two 8 in. rounds. Bake 30-40 @ 350 or till done.

Orange buttercream (my rendention from Wilton's)
1/2 C. Crisco
1/2 C. butter (soft)
1 tsp. vanilla
4 C. sifted powdered sugar
1 Tbs. milk
1 Tbs. fresh OJ
2-3 Tbs. orange zest

Marshmallow fondant recipe, I use from here
It's actually very easy, but you have to sift your sugar or you can see beads. And since you have to add colors before sugar, when making multiple colors, I cook marshmallows all together and then once melted move to another bowl with color. You do have to work fast, since you have multiple colors coming from one batch, but it taste way better than regular fondant.
Happy Baking!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Two for Two

So, I have to admit my baking record in New Jersey, has not been great. I have slightly redeemed myself as of late, but a few weeks back I decided to make a blueberry bread pudding I found in my Taste of Home magazine. It has won a reader award for goodness sake. Here it is.... Looks pretty right?

Wrong. It was a disaster. The sauce would not completely SOAK UP for anything. I had to cook it like 30+ minutes extra just to make the sauce gel and then the bread got crunchy. Crunchy bread pudding, doesn't work. Now, I will say, the flavor was amazing, but the texture was all wrong and Jake wouldn't barely touch it. It had like 4 cups of heavy cream and I had to eat most of it, til I just threw it away, because my husband wouldn't.
Then a few days later on the 4th of July, I made these cute little cupcakes you might have seen on FB.

I used a recipe from Martha Stewart, whom I love and rarely fails me. It called for a chocolate cake recipe, that I knew was all wrong. I have baked enough times now in my life, that I know the consistency for how a good cake should be. I have found the bests cakes I have EVER made from scratch, call for almost a cup or more of liquid in some form and usually at least half a cup of oil or something like that as well. I'm not saying, there are not good cake recipes that don't, but as a rule of thumb. Even a box cake, which I hate to admit, but is ALWAYS deliciously moist, calls for a lot of liquid. Well, this recipe had eggs and sour cream and it was like dough. I knew it was wrong, so I added milk. I should have added a lot of milk, but I'm not the greatest at being brave in making my own recipes. Well, the "cupcakes" came out like brownie pucks. Ok, maybe not pucks, but brownies and not very sweet ones at that. Two hours before we were supposed to leave, I threw them in the trash and went to the store and bought a box of red velvet and started over. Jake loved that, let me tell you. :o

But since then, it's been better I made this delicious cherry pie
Thank you grandma's recipe site. This recipe was SO easy!

Then I made a delicious banana bread recipe from Martha, that Jake said was the best banana bread he's ever had. He was also very hungry when he said this. I had been struggling to find a good one, so I'm glad I found a keeper. There's no pic, we ate it too quick.
And the cake that is redeeming me back to my former glory was the cake I entered into the bake off at my church Saturday. The cake that took 3rd place and was delicious in my opinion.

If it looks semi familiar, that's because it was supposed to be a replica of the one I made for Jake's birthday last winter. "My best cake to date" Jake says and the dessert he thought I should enter. Proudly enough, also a cake recipe that I kind of came up with on my own after looking at some similar ones. Chocolate orange cake with orange buttercream and marshmallow fondant. If you want the recipe, just ask. The fondant of course is more for decoration than taste. I think this is actually why I didn't do better in the competition, because I usually take the fondant off when serving or just give people a little. The inside was so moist, I just wish I HAD gotten to eat more instead of everyone at the church.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

You can take the girl out of Texas....

So, I know this is going to sound ridiculous, but it's true. While living in Texas, I never went to the rodeo (that I can remember). I know I went to the Fort Worth stockyards as a child, which might have possibly included the rodeo, but I don't think so. I know I wasn't a very good Texan. :o
However, since moving to New Jersey I have now officially been to a rodeo. Cowtown, NJ hosts the worlds longest running rodeo in America. Who knew?
New Jersey has just been full of surprises.
Take a peak. I know I went all out on my getup, but I felt my inner Texan trying to prove my cowgirl worth...

Some of the Coast Guard friends we went with, Jason there is from GA he's better Southerner than myself.

I was going on wikipedia the whole time trying to figure out how the events worked, none of us really had a clue.

That's all folks, now you run along and do your thang' and check back here later, now you here.....Ya, like I said I'm not a very good Texan. Cheers!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Saying Bye to San Diego

So, I know I'm going back in time here, but I never blogged about leaving San Diego. Perhaps because I didn't want too, perhaps because I was too busy, maybe a little of both.

We were actually ready to leave. I think God purposely made the weather really crap for all of 2010 to help shoo us away. It worked. :) But it was still sad, the last week was filled with saying goodbye to friends like every night of the week.

We had to say goodbye to our small group from church. It was sad cause we really had JUST started building good friendships there, but they sent us off with well wishes.

I know I barely even mentioned it to anyone, but we actually did go to the Happiest Place on Earth 2 days before we left. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera, so Woody looks less than desirable on the iphone, but we had lots of fun!

Jake got an awesome achievement award at work the day before we left. It was the last time with his shop in San Diego, but great to leave on a high!

We had to take one last pic.

After that it was road. This is Emmy in her road bed on top of all our luggage. The cats actually did awesome in the car, by awesome I mean they slept for 5 days :)

This was the first photo I took literally as soon I got out of the car, the sun was setting it was beautiful.
But since then I feel like it's been junk everywhere.

I hate to call my things junk, but seriously this pile sat on the floor for a week, until I moved it to..... another spot on the floor of course. We are actually like 80% settled in, but there are still just piles like this in a few places.

Luckily, this specific pile has now found a home. And really most everything is starting to find a home. I guess that's just what it takes... A few weeks or maybe months or maybe years to call some place home. So, with that said I say...
Goodbye San Diego, XO, it was fun, but I'm on to my next adventure...

Painting. :)

What are you eating this week?

So, I know I have talked about Everyday Food before, but I have to talk about them again, because I love them. However, if I continue to give them free press, I'm going to have to write in and ask for a free subscription. Do you think that would work? Probably not, but it should.
Well, I looked at the food meal plan I made for this week and realized that 4 out of 5 meals came from this magazine. That definitely seemed like a reason to blog, so now I am going to share them with you. Lucky you!

Chicken Tostada Salad
, so simple, but so good. The lime juice and red onions really add

Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Cole Slaw
. The vinegar in the slaw is awesome.

We all know my love with arugula (and shallots). So, this a favorite but on this one we add Italian turkey sausage, a little parmesan and take out the olives. Flavors are amazing!
Pasta with Roasted Veggies and Arugula

Sticky Chicken Wings
. These are so good, but kill your pan, cover with foil.

This is at least the 2nd time to make each of these recipes. I know I had suggested if you buy any magazine, this is the one to buy. But I recently realized they host all recipes on their site. I am not one who prefers to sift through a website to find the pearls, which is why I love the mag, but if you have the time sift away! Happy Eating
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