Saturday, December 29, 2007

Late Breakfast

I'm starting to realize that I have to go back to work again in a few days, and school a few days after that. Before the whirlwind of school and work begins, there are so many things I wanted to get done. I think it's safe to say that some of those things are not going to happen just yet, such as the Librarian Embroidery Kit I've been working on. Instead, I have sewed a new set of curtains for my bedroom (pictures to be posted soon), baked pies, played a show with Brian, and today I have spent the entire day cleaning my kitchen and bathroom. I'm still working on cleaning the rest of my place, but I think the rest should be fairly easy in comparison to those two. It's so hard to stop and clean when I'm hardly ever home during the work/school year. My bones are arching quite a bit, and I just realized it's after 5pm! Never too late for toast and jam!
Toast and Jam
I love getting homemade food presents for Christmas. The jams featured on my slices of toast are presents I got this holiday. They are apricot and pomegranate and oh so, so, so good. Makes me want to make my own jam!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Meat Pie

What's with all the pies, right? I have to admit, I recently watched the movie, Waitress, which really got me into baking pies. This is my pie-ish attempt at an Empanada, but it's not really an Empanada, and more of a meat pie.
Meat Pie
Pate Brisee with steak and lamb, marinated with paprika, baked at 350 for about 40 minutes. Next time, I think I will add onions, Empanada style, and also use a different dough. The Pate Brisee tasted a bit to crumbly and I think I was going for something fluffy.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Blueberry Pie

It all started with some flour, salt, butter, and water.
The Ingredients for the Pie Crust
A little mix here and there, and we got pie crust crumbles.
Pie Crust Dough
A little push and shove from my hands, and we got a ball of pie crust.
Pie Crust Dough
A few fresh blueberries standing by.
The Blueberries before
A little squishy with my hands, then adding sugar, lemon, cornstarch, and some flour. Putting it all together, we get this lovely mess over here.
The Blueberries after
Combine the crust and the squishy mess, and we get this.
In the pie
Cut out a few stars and add them on top.
Stars on the Pie
A little oven time and we have ourselves a fresh Blueberry pie!
After the Oven
With the extra dough, I was able to make a little Blueberry Galette!
Blueberry Galette
Blueberry Galette
Blueberry Galette

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Apple Pie

Merry Belated Christmas! I know I promised these pie pictures days ago, but I got really caught up in the holidays and lots and lots of baking! For my first pie, I think I did pretty well. I started with a few varieties of apples including: Jonagold, Granny Smith, Jazz, and Honeycrisp.
Apples for Pie
I was pretty proud of the crust. It was my first time making my own crust! I used Martha Stewart's recipe for Pate Brisee. It was a lot simpler to make than I thought it would be!
Apple Pie
It was a nice golden brown after the oven.
Apple Pie
I used star cookie cutters to make vents in the crust.
Apple Pie
I ended up with some extra crust dough and apple filling, so I made a little apple galette.
Apple pie
Apple Pie
After I made these pies, I made a few more, which include one more apple pie, a blueberry pie and a blueberry galette! I will post pictures of the blueberry pie/galette tomorrow. I am glad to say my 5 desserts in 5 days is over, but since I am on a little vacation from work and school, I think I might keep it going. Next on my list is Creme Brulee.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Chocolate Wafer Sandwich Cookies With Peppermint Filling

I have been steadily following my plan to make 5 different cookie types in 5 days. These Chocolate-Peppermint Sandwich cookies are from last night (day 2 of 5), and well, they've got me re-thinking the whole cookie plan.
Holiday Cookie #2
Don't get me wrong, I'm still going to make 5 items, but not all cookies. I thought the recipe for these Chocolate Wafer cookies was a quick simple one, but it ended up taking a good 4.5-5 hours, through the whole process, and well.. I wasn't impressed with the taste much either. I like them, they were good, but not 5 hours good. If I'm going to spend 5 hours on a cookie, I want it to taste like it took 5 hours to make, you know?
Holiday Cookie #2
The recipe for the wafers is from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook. I also used her recipe for Vanilla cream filling, except I substituted vanilla extract with mint extract and added crushed candy canes and a about a quarter cup more butter.
As far as the rest of my 5 day 5 holiday treat plans go, today is day 3, and I am in the midst of baking my first apple pie, from scratch. Since I have the next 10 or so days off from work and school, I decided to try to bake things that have been on my to-do list for a while now. Pictures of the pie will be posted tomorrow!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Deli # 6

Last night, I relaxed. I cleaned my apartment, watched bad tv and ate a tuna sandwich from Marv's Deli, in Valley Village.
Tuna Sanwich
I pass by this cute little mom & pop deli at least twice a day on my way to work, it's about 3 blocks down the street, but I've never gone in. Recently, they ranked # 6 in La Magazine's Top 10 Delis, so I had to give it a try. The atmosphere and people were so sweet, exactly what you want from a mom & pop shop. I asked them what they recommend and the lady behind the counter (Marv's wife?) suggested the tuna. I was in the mood for tuna, so I went for it. I was a little surprised that it cost a little over $8 for a tuna sandwich (with no cheese, even), but it makes me wonder if they just started doing that because of the LA Magazine review, or if it's always been that way? Either way, it's LA and I guess what one should expect to pay for a sandwich these days, anywhere you go. It was a good sandwich, but maybe a little bland. It had no tomatoes, no cheese, just tuna salad and a hint of mustard. I have to admit, I've had a lot better. Something is telling me to give them another chance. There were tons of roast beef/pastrami pictures on the wall, maybe that's their strength? I think next time, I'll go for a meaty sandwich. They were the sweetest people, and sometimes, that all it takes for me to make a second trip. I'm a sucker for good service.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Quick And Easy Christmas Cards

Two days ago I said I needed Christmas cards, but I probably didn't have time to make them. Well, I was wrong. These cards took no time to make!
Christmas Cards
I used 2 different types of fabric, a greenish one and a brownish one. I cut the green one into a triangle shaped tree and the brownish one into a little square tree stump. Using red thread and my machine, I sewed the trees together on the cards.
Christmas Cards
People seemed to really enjoy them too!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Peppermint Bark

My first cookie variation is here, except it's more of a candy than a cookie. I used Martha's recipe for peppermint bark. First, I crushed the Starlight Mints.
Next I melted the white chocolate.
White Chocolate
I didn't have a double broiler, so I put a pot over some boiling water, and that worked just fine.
White Chocolate
Next, I put in rice crispies and laid it on a cookie sheet. I sprinkled the crushed mints on top and pushed them inside using wax paper.
Peppermint Bark
Place them in the refrigerator and 20-30 minutes later, they are ready to be crushed into pieces. I arranged them in little red cellaphane with baker's ribbon.
Peppermint Bark
Peppermint Bark
It was a fun recipe, but I'm afraid I didn't think it was minty enough for my taste. Next time, I might add some peppermint extract to the chocolate. It's a good recipe for those who prefer a subtle peppermint taste.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Seven Days Left!

Christmas Tree and Presents
While I finished all of my Christmas shopping, I did forget about a few small details. I didn't get Christmas cards yet, and while I would prefer to make them myself, I'm not sure I'll have enough time (but I might try tonight)! On top of that, I keep wanting to bake holiday cookies, but my kitchen is not fully stocked with chocolate chips and sprinkles just yet. Ideally, I would like to bake 5 varieties of cookies this year. One for work, one for cookie-swap holiday party, and three for three different family gatherings. So far, I know what I'm making for one of the parties (which will be posted probably on Saturday), but I think I'll take a stroll to the supermarket for the other 4 cookie varieties.

I love Christmas.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Vegetable Soup

It's been really cold in my apartment lately. For the longest time, I had been resisting to turn the heater on, because of that horrible dust-burning smell that comes around every winter, after not touching the heater for a good 8-9 months. I just wasn't ready for that smell. I finally gave in to it and the smell has come and gone, but I'm still interested in alternative methods of keeping warm. Warm blankets, wearing clothes fresh out of the dryer, and a good cup of hot soup.
Vegetable Soup
I basically threw a bunch of veggies into a pot of chicken broth. I don't have a real recipe, but I'll try to list everything I used.
Vegetable Soup

Annette's Veggie Soup
3 cans of chicken broth (though, fresh is always better than cans)
1 tomato, cubed
6 mushrooms (could be more or less, to taste)
1.5 red/yellow potatoes
1/4 cup corn
1/4 cup green beans
1 bay leaf
a pinch of garlic salt (to taste)
a pinch of paprika (to taste)
a pinch of onion powder (to taste)

1. Bring broth to a boil. Add bay leaf.
2. Wash all veggies. Cube potatoes and place them into the boiling broth. Potatoes take the longest to
boil, so cut the rest of the veggies during this time.
3. Add seasonings to boiling broth (garlic salt, paprika, onion powder)
4. Slice mushrooms and place those in next.
5. Cube tomatoes, and place tomatoes, corn, and green beans in next.
6. Allow ingredients to boil, so that all vegetables are cooked. Serve hot.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I'll Do My Crying In The Rain

Crying tears of joy, that is! School is out and I am super excited to craft again! It all started off by trying to make little Christmas ornaments. I was playing with some blue tissue paper, using scalloped scissors and cutting circles.
Tissue Paper
I started playing around, but was getting nowhere. I picked up some pink embroidery thread and thought I'd sew these tissue circles together. My embroidery needle happened to be attached to an empty white piece of fabric, already set up in an embroidery hoop. One thing led to another and I just started sewing.
Tissue Paper embroidery
I'm still not sure where this was going, but I did like the paper/fabric/embroidery thing, so I kept going. The blue paper reminded me of raindrops.
Tissue Paper embroidery
The whole concept is a work in progress, but in the meantime, I'm just going to have fun and enjoy the fact that I have no more papers due for the next few weeks!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas Wrapping

The quarter is officially over and I've been super productive already. First off, I celebrated by giving myself a little manicure/pedicure. Ever since I was in high school, I've always had red nails, but for the length of this quarter, I had given up on nail polish. The upkeep was just too much to handle. After a little pampering, I finished up on some Christmas wrapping.
Gift wrap
I'm pretty in love with the retro santa lady gift wrap that I found this year, it goes pretty well with my Martha Stewart gift wrap too! After the wrapping was done, I started playing around with tissue paper and fabric. Somehow, kind of by accident, I starting whipping up little creations and getting really inspired. Nothing is done yet, but I will post some progress tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I'm Back

I hate to leave my blog behind for so long. Well, tomorrow is the last day of my first quarter in graduate school. It wasn't as stressful as I imagined, but I had a few insane moments in there... well, okay, a lot of insane moments. This morning I somehow sprained my neck and can hardly move, which may be a result of the stress, come to think of it.
Holiday Baking Plans
All I want to do now is sit back and make holiday cookies. December 21 is my last day of work and I will have a nice 10 day vacation before I start my new job and new school quarter. Those 10 days will hopefully be dedicated to cooking, baking, holiday cheer, and crafty goodness. December 21, come quickly!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Only One Week Left

One Week Left
Trust me, I rather be crafting! Papers are due one week from today. Soon, I will be crafting with a vengeance!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Family Pictures Continued

Sorry for the lack of updates. I'm in my last 2 weeks of the school quarter and things are getting a little tough. In addition to that, I'm changing jobs from the Getty Conservation Institute to the Getty Research Institute, so I think my mind has been spinning in circles a bit. I promise that I have been crafty, just not posty. I thought I'd share my wall of family photos (which I may have posted before?) as a follow up to my previous post.
As far as my previous post goes, I've decided to put the albums away for now and possibly invest in a nice scanner to do the job.