Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Recipe Testing

One of my biggest dreams is to someday open my own bakery and to get so good at one thing that Bobby Flay shows up and challenges me to a "Throw-down." At the rate he loses every season, I figure I've got it made in the New York shade!

I started entering my baked goods in our local County Fair more than ten years ago. I've gotten first place in many categories (2nd, 3rd & Honorable Mention too), including, cookies, cakes, cupcakes, candy confections (English toffee, peanut brittle), quick breads, and even one Best of Show for my chocolate cake (always a favorite of my Dad's). This means I beat out everyone in that category, including the entry awarded First Place.

Truth be told, I'm a sucker for the winning ribbons. They don't all have to be first place ribbons and I collect them like some collect Beenie Babies, the more the merrier - and I have lots to be merry about. I keep them in a special box and take them out for inspiration every once in a while and also to show them off.

This year I'm trying some new things: ginger cookies, Buckeyes, lemon bundt cake, banana nut bread, chocolate cupcakes (Best of Show 2008), and my first place winner from 2009: chocolate chip cookies (I'm tweaking the recipe this year). I'm also making a never been done item called Cake Pops. I was inspired by a baking blog called Bakerella and mine will be gingerbread cake balls enrobed in creamy white icing, eaten like a lollipop. Kinda like a round petite four on a stick. I wasn't sure if it qualified as cake or a dipped confection so went ahead and entered it as "Any Other, please specify" except I didn't specify.

Anywho, the Santa Cruz County Fair is September 14-19 and I have to have my entries in by Saturday, September 11th for judging on the 12th. We always go the first night so I won't know how many ribbons I've won until then.

So that's what I've been up to lately.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Oh Say Can You See!

Our neighborhood party starts at 3pm and I wanted to wish you all a Happy 4th of July! The weather here on the coast is cool and breezy so Mr. itsme has the fire pit all ready to light for the weenies (family) coming from Silicon Valley. There are John Phillips Sousa songs on satellite radio and we have fireworks and S'mores when it gets dark. All that's missing is a fly-over by the Blue Angels!

We're BBQing chicken, roasting corn; neighbors are bringing green salad, watermelon, garlic bread and roast asparagus. I made Cake pops (another post) for dessert. My sister in Las Vegas texted and said it's 98 degs and she's making homemade vanilla ice cream for their neighborhood party (my sister is the cake decorator) by the pool.

Life is good. This is what it's all about. So God bless America and all that jazz, Cha-cha-cha.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Is This Color Better?

UPDATE: I think I'll keep the blue for a while. Beige, brown, whatever is so boring!

Beige rather than the pink? I'll admit, it's easier on the old eyeballs. Gotta keep my 'followers' happy.

Spent a wonderful day at my house baking with three co-workers (it's rare that one is lucky enough to have co-workers you like enough to become friends). We had an excellent lunch in the backyard; watched some birds, listened to the fountain, and had a few laughs. This is what life is about.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Changes beginning July 2, 2010

TAAA-DAAAA, wadda ya think? Too pink?

Growing up I hated the color pink. Always associated it with June Cleaver-types and being "girlie," and I was NEVER a girlie-girl. If my Mom had let me, I would have slept in my cowboy hat & boots (yes, red ones, thank you for asking) when I was 6; however, she drew the line at wearing my toy cap gun and holster to bed. Seems the older I get, the more the color grows on me. I'm not talking Pepto Bismol pink, more a dusty rose. The color of the lower half of my diningroom, below the white chair rail. Yeah, so I'll try this out for a while. Change is good.

Guess I'm reacting to all the changes going on around me at work and home these days. At work -and I've always made it a policy not to talk about work- I've had to say goodbye to a few co-workers due to layoffs and/or reassignments. One person in my dept actually went "out the door" and a few others are still on campus, just in different locations. So, I've shed a few private tears in the ladies room in the last few days. Our Union has been fairly successful bargaining to mitigate more layoffs, but it's still hard when people who are like family, leave.

On the homefront, solar attic fans are being installed today. At the end of the month we're starting a guest bathroom remodel and putting in a new sliding glass door in the aforementioned half dusty rose pink diningroom. Wednesday, we ordered the new bathroom vanity, mirror and toilet (already have the new shower stall and picked out the new flooring). We've been through this before but I already can't wait til it's over!

Well, happy Friday!

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Changes beginning July, 1, 2010

To name a few:

1) The Commonwealth of Virginia is set to increase the speed limit to 70 mph for certain sections of its highways on July 1st, 2010

2) The Governor of Florida created an Amnesty Program that runs from July 1, 2010 to September 30, 2010 so that eligible taxpayers may satisfy their state tax liabilities and avoid criminal prosecution and penalties

3) Lebron James signs with the Miami Heat!!!

4) “Ace of Cakes” (Food Network Season 9) opens with the 100th episode of the series

5) Bridge tolls, including the Golden Gate Bridge, go up all over the SF Bay Area (CA) today. Metro fares in LA also go up today

6) Poker laws change in Florida today

7) Changes in Russian customs legislation goes into effect today to reflect the new reality of the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan

8) Montana begins regulating Massage Therapists today and if ever a group needed regulating it’s them

9) Free WiFi at all U.S. Starbucks stores starting today

10) IUP (Indiana University of Pennsylvania) shuts down it’s old Central Webserver (aka “blue & yellow” server) because it’s no longer needed. R.I.P.

11) Starting today, overdraft fees require consumer consent...there goes my free checking!!!

How would you guys know any of this stuff if it weren't for me???????