Monday, September 29, 2008

Hello Kitty Cakes

My lovely friend Maegan surprised me with a Hello Kitty cake mold last week!
Hello Kitty cake mold
Isn't it wonderful? I want to bake everything in it! Cakes, breads, jello molds, and anything else that would take on a kitty face! Luckily, it was a co-worker's birthday today, so I got busy late last night with a coconut cake!
Naked Hello Kitty Cake
I started with a basic white cake, with a little coconut extract. Then I soaked the cake in a mixture of coconut cream and sweetened condensed milk.
Hello Kitty cake in progress
While the cake soaked, I prepared a light coconut frosting.
Hello Kitty cake in progress (the frosting)
Frosting the cake was a bit tough, because I covered kitty's features. Luckily, my mobile phone's screen is a picture of Hello Kitty herself, so I had a quick reference point.
Hello Kitty cake in progress
It only got harder when I added the shredded coconut.
Hello Kitty cake in progress
As soon as I added the bow and nose, I saw kitty coming together.
Hello Kitty cake in progress
I did have a little trouble with the black rope licorice. It wasn't exactly moving the way I wanted them to and with the frosting covering the whisker place-markers, I may have made a little more whisker than necessary.
Hello Kitty Cake
I think I did better with cake number two (I made an extra cake for Maegan to thank her for the pan). Though, because I couldn't get the licorice to make little oval eyes, I made little sleepy eyes.
Hello Kitty Cake
I think I might skip the licorice idea next time, and just go for some black frosting instead! The cake tasted wonderful, though, it was really hard to cut into such a cute face!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Shrimp Scampi, Or Eat Butter!

I love keeping some frozen shrimp handy. It's easy to thaw and tastes good in so many varieties. Ever since my post about stir-fry, I've been making so much of it and experimenting with shrimp and a variety of vegetables including mushrooms, cabbage, onions, and few other things. I love Chinese food, but I let my mind wander into Italian cuisine this week and created this little recipe for Shrimp Scampi.
Shrimp Scampi
Something crazy that I love to do is use low-fat substitutes for absolutely everything I eat, bake, drink, and prepare. Always. Considering I run about 10-15 miles a week, I think I can allow myself to splurge on the real thing for a change. For some reason, I feel so guilty doing it! As much as I wanted to use real, creamy, tasty butter... I went for the calorie free substitute known as I Can't Believe It's Not Butter (spray). One of these days I'll go for the real thing, but I think I have to ease my brain into the concept of it slowly. Maybe start with bits of butter mixed with my no-cal stuff, until I graduate to the real thing. Breaking habits is hard! Anyway, the pasta was fabulous! Who needs real butter!?! Not me...

Shrimp Scampi A La I Can't Believe It's Not Butter
-1 serving of Whole Wheat Pasta
-As many shrimp as you like
- I few tablespoons of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter (or real butter!)
-Garlic Salt (or the real thing, if you feel like getting fancy)
-White wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
-Parmesan Cheese

Boil the pasta until ready. In a separate pan mix the faux-butter with the garlic. Add in the shrimp, some pepper, and the wine (I didn't really measure how much wine, but it's really to taste). Cook the shrimp until pink. Drain the pasta, then mix with the garlic/wine mixture. Drizzle on some parmesan cheese and let it melt in with the hot pasta. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Construction Paper Mural

Since my last post, I've been up to a lot. I think a list might sum it up best. Since my last post, I have:

-Ran approximately 28 miles
-Started interning at a public library
-Prepared and given my first ever children's story time at this library
-Started interning in a paper conservation lab
-Started and finished season 4 of The Office
-Finished season 1 of Square Pegs
-Eaten lots of vegetables
-Caught my car on fire on the freeway (yes!)
-Purchased a screen-printing kit
-Purchased a fancy Danish modern chair that I have no room in my apartment for.
-Ordered new Moo cards

Well, you get the idea. I've been distracted by a lot. Though, my public library internship has given me lots to be crafty about! I have been given the task of transforming 2 big blank boards into a permanent display of something fun and colorful for the children of the library to enjoy during their story time hour! That's a big task! The boards were originally covered with some dirty old dark paper. I immediately got rid of that and started with my blank slate.
My blank canvas
I thought it might be fun to make a "children of the library" type scene, with kids playing outside in a park. I started slowly with the sky.
Day 1
The library stressed they wanted color, so I gave them color alright.
Day 3
After three shifts, I finally got the background done. I also made lots of progress on the children, but I'm still creating their outfits!
Day 1-3
I have about 3 or four days left, about 12 outfits to create and a whole other board to finish. It's going to be tough, but I'll keep the blog updated with my progress.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry

Another crazy little weekend for me. Today, I felt like having an "Annette Day". Not a glamorous day, but a nice relaxing day. I slept in late, went running, did some grocery shopping, and made some stir-fry, while watching a movie.
Baby Bok Choy
I love vegetables. And one of my favorites is Baby Bok Choy. It reminds me of a trip I took to Hong Kong when I was a 19 years old.. it was the first time I ever had, or remember having, Bok Choy! How was I deprived of this tasty leafy green for 19 years of my life? Well, the trip to Hong Kong was amazing, and one of the many things that trip taught me was Baby Bok Choy. It also taught me about Lychee, which is another post, all together.
Chicken getting marinated
I marinated the chicken in some sesame oil, oyster sauce, soy sauce, and garlic and onion powder. I mixed it in the bag and let it hang out in the refrigerator until I got all my vegetables chopped up and started on my rice.
celery and baby corn
I love baby corn, they're so adorable. After getting all the veggies ready, I stir fried the chicken for a few minutes, then set aside. I stir fried all of the vegetables (except the Bok Choy) for a few minutes, then re-added the chicken and then the Bok Choy at the end.
Stir Fry
The reason I did the Bok Choy last was because it cooks so quickly. Next time, I think I will keep the snow peas until the end too.
Stir Fry and Steamed Rice
All in all, it was pretty good. Actually, the best stir fry I have ever made! It almost tasted as good as the yummy take-out place down my street, except I think I used less oil and fat then they do. A slight compromise in taste, but really just as good!
Stir Fry and Steamed Rice
Now to end this "Annette Day," I think I'll go hang out with some friends!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Laborious Labor Day Weekend

It's been one long week. Did everyone have a nice Labor Day Weekend? I mostly remember all the wonderful sleeping I did, but somehow within my slumber, I got an incredible amount done. On the crafty side of things, I finished the embroidery on the quilt tag for my quilting group.I apologize for the smudged image, I thought it might be best to blur the names of the other quilt group members, just in case they don't want their names lurking on the Internet.
Just finished embroidering the quilt tag...
Another craft related announcement that just arrived in my email box is that I am going to be part of Felt Club this year! I couldn't be more excited! I have lots of plans for new crafts relating to the things that are inspiring me the most these days: libraries, bicycles, and music.
Other great things to note of this weekend include running the Nike human race, and actually running the entire time! This is a big one for me. I'm a super slow runner, so I thought it would take me about an hour and 45 minutes to finish, but I somehow did 6.2 miles in an hour and 23 minutes! Considering that I'm only 5'2" and run slow as molasses, this is a pretty big accomplishment. The past few months of training has also damaged my right knee somewhat severely, so I'm just glad I made it through in one piece! Other exciting Labor Day weekend accomplishments include finishing my last paper of the summer, and for the first time since I started graduate school, I did a little recreational reading!