Thursday, January 29, 2009

Daring Bakers Numero Dos

This month's challenge is brought to us by Karen of Bake My Day and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf. They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux.

So let me start off by saying that I was really excited for this challenge!! We had to make Tuiles. These are crispy, thin cookies that you bend into really cool shapes while they’re still warm. These ladies managed to make beautiful butterfly cookies, but mine, didn’t work out that way. Not even close haha But they were VERY delicious and highly addictive… as most baked goodies are.

I made these before my RAW escapade so I definitely indulged on these ones. I used this recipe, but I replaced the butter with Earth Balance and eggs with flax meal.

65 grams / ¼ cup / 2.3 ounces softened butter (not melted but soft)
60 grams / ½ cup / 2.1 ounces sifted confectioner’s sugar
1 sachet vanilla sugar (7 grams or substitute with a dash of vanilla extract)
2 large egg whites (slightly whisked with a fork)
65 grams / 1/2 cup / 2.3 ounces sifted all purpose flour
1 table spoon cocoa powder/or food coloring of choice
Butter/spray to grease baking sheet

Oven: 180C / 350F

Using a hand whisk or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle (low speed) and cream butter, sugar and vanilla to a paste. Keep stirring while you gradually add the egg whites. Continue to add the flour in small batches and stir to achieve a homogeneous and smooth batter/paste. Be careful to not overmix.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up. (This batter will keep in the fridge for up to a week, take it out 30 minutes before you plan to use it). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease with either spray and chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. This will help spread the batter more easily if using a stencil/cardboard template such as the butterfly. Press the stencil on the bakingsheet and use an off sided spatula to spread batter. Leave some room in between your shapes. Mix a small part of the batter with the cocoa and a few drops of warm water until evenly colored. Use this colored batter in a paper piping bag and proceed to pipe decorations on the wings and body of the butterfly. Bake butterflies in a preheated oven (350F) for about 5-10 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown. Immediately release from bakingsheet and proceed to shape/bend the cookies in the desired shape. These cookies have to be shaped when still warm, you might want to bake a small amount at a time or maybe put them in the oven to warm them up again. (Haven’t tried that). Or: place a bakingsheet toward the front of the warm oven, leaving the door half open. The warmth will keep the cookies malleable.

If you don’t want to do stencil shapes, you might want to transfer the batter into a piping bag fitted with a small plain tip. Pipe the desired shapes and bake. Shape immediately after baking using for instance a rolling pin, a broom handle, cups, cones….
Before they went in the oven, they looked beautiful!! I made tons of different shapes and let my imagine run wild. I tie-dyed some of them for a psychedelic feel and put sprinkles on them so they’d be sparkly.

When I opened the oven, I wanted to cry!! They spread out everywhere!! I think it might have been because my baking sheets weren’t cold and they recommended refrigerating them before baking. I couldn’t get mine to fit in the fridge, so I just skipped that step. Probably not the best idea since none of my cookies remained in their shape!!
I was still able to shape some of them while they were still warm, but I ate a lot because I was angry haha They were really good and I just couldn’t help myself!! You know how that is, I’m sure. I want to try this again someday with really cold baking sheets.

The next part of the challenge was pairing the cookies with a fruit puree. I made a berry soup out of raspberries, cranberries, blueberries, pure maple syrup (more like pure sex), and coconut water. It was really tasty with the cookies, but I was too lazy to put it in a fancy bowl. I don’t do that kind of stuff when I’m hungry haha

But hey, all in all, they tasted awesome so I’m not gonna complain. After all, which is more important: taste or presentation??

And last but not least, who watched Top Chef?!?! How good was it??? I about died when Stefan said he was in love with Andrea. I laughed even harder when she creamed his ass in the challenge and got all the points. He’s such a cocky hornball, but I still love him. I wouldn’t say he’s my favorite because I honestly love everyone this season! They are all so likeable although Stefan’s probably the least likeable. Haha He’s just really flirty/seductive/has a hot accent and you know how I love guys with accents ; ) I do really like Jeff, though, and I'm sad he went home. He reminds me of the sexy, British doctor on House. So I guess today is like an ode to the sexy Top Chef contestants!!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

I didn't die, I promise

Hi guys!!! How are you today??? I've been so out of it lately- well, out of the blogging world and social world, but in the Twilight world. I know you guys would rather stuff broccoli in your ears before hearing about that, so I'll shut up now haha

Well, no I lied, haha I've been "post-it" noting all of my favorite quotes in the series, and so far, this one just makes me weak in the freakin knees!!

"I'll be back so soon you won't have time to miss me. Look after my heart---- I've left it with you." - Edward Cullen, pg 95 of Eclipse

Okay, now that I've gotten my sappy girl crap out of the way, let's talk about RAW. How's my shampoo-less life been going, you ask?? Well, I think it's been about a week or so and my hair is pretty gross haha I'm not even gonna lie about that one. It's very itchy and nasty looking. It's definitely noticeable that shampoo and me have broken up- the umbilical cord has been cut (eww, sorry)- the cat has been let out of the bag. okay i don't know where I'm going with all of these creepy metaphors, but you get it. haha

I've been using a mixture of baking soda and water (on my roots) on some days and then I'll use apple cider vinegar (on the ends) on the other days. That works really well, but I've noticed that you can't abuse it. Once a week would probably be best for that wash because it's very strong. It works really well though- it gives my limp hair some oomph! I tried coconut oil and that was a mistake!! My hair was so sticky. I think for the next few days, I'm just gonna do straight water and see how that goes.

As for food, I did cheat on the RAW foods diet (hopefully not on the vegan diet as well!!), but I couldn't help myself. My sister was in New York this weekend, and I asked her to bring me back one thing- NUTS!!!! Nuts 4 Nuts are my favorite nuts in the world. I don't care who you are or where you're from, nobody makes better nuts than the street vendors of NYC- true dat!! I hope they aren't made with butter- I'd rather not know what their ingredients are because I love them too much!!!

And you know who else likes nuts???

TUBBY!!! I haven't seen him in so long. In case you aren't familiar with this sexy beast, he's my squirrel. He lives in the Bally's parking lot and is at least 15 pounds overweight. But that's why I love his little fat butt. Can't wait til he comes back to see me in the spring!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I think I've lost it!!

Okay. I need help. All I do is think about Robert Pattinson!!! I am so unhealthily obsessed with him. I feel bad for the guy. He has crazy girls throwing themselves at him all the time, and I really don't want to be the same... but it seems that I'm no different. He is the most perfect guy in the world. I realize that I am equating Edward Cullen's personality with Robert's, but in my mind, they are the same person haha But I do LOVE Robert's accent.

I met a girl today at Barnes and Noble while I was picking up New Moon and she said she's reading the Twilight Saga for the 3rd time in a row. Now, that's a little bit creepy, but who am I to judge? I replaced Bella Swan's head with my own. You have to admit that we do look pretty cute together. haha I tend to do that when I have a celebrity crush. My last insane crush was Matt Dillon. He's like 45 now, but I don't care. I was in love with him in 8th grade and cried when I'd see him at an Awards show with somebody.

I think I just need to meet a real guy to take my mind off of Edward. I just haven't found one yet, damnit. I'm not looking for a boyfriend because of school and stuff, but if I find one, I'd give a relationship a try. I'm usually not a relationship person, but I think that's what I need to stop thinking about Robert. I'm going to see my therapist tomorrow so hopefully she can talk some bloody sense into me. hehe

As for food, I've been eating salads like crazy and lots of bananas, which isn't anything weird. That's about it haha I practically live off of fruits, veggies, nuts, and juices. I'm still not giving up hummus though. I just can't. I'm doing 90% RAW mainly because of my love for it. I've also been making a lot of Ani Phyo's meals and I love them. Here's a few pictures of my daily eats-
Zucchini Pasta with Sun-dried Tomato Marinara Sauce- this is honestly the best "pasta" dish I've ever had. It tastes so much like real spaghetti.

Buckwheat Crispies with Vanilla Mylk and an orange and banana- ok, this is just so good. If you haven't tried buckwheat groats, go to Whole Foods and get some. They are like Rice Krispies after you've soaked and dehydrated them.

Sweet and Spicey Cashews- I adapted this recipe from Ani's recipe and mine came out REALLY spicey. I practically cried when I took my first bite, but I got used to having no feeling on my tongue.

Dehydrated Kiwi!!! These taste like candy. They are soo damn sweet and squishy. I didn't dry them all the way because I like my fruits kind of gummy.

Cucumbers with Ketchup. Becca from "Vegan with a Reason" told me to try these and they weren't bad. I think I like cucumbers better cooked though... or on my eyelids haha

My shampoo less life has been really well, too. My hair feels fine now and I don't even notice anything weird about it. I've been leaving it curly most of the time instead of straightening it. That's when you can kind of tell that it's not washed; however, I noticed that my hairbrush had some interesting specimens on it- White fuzzy hair. I'm thinking that it might be build-up from my usage of shampoos for the past 19 years. Obviously, I don't have white hair... I think. haha Nobody has pointed it to me though, so I could be wrong. What do you guys think???

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I can't help myself!!!!!

Hi guys!!! I feel like I haven't posted in months, but that's an overstatement (I can't believe I just said that- is overstatement a word???). I have a feeling it's not, but whatever. Anyway, I've been really busy with watching movies lately. I could say that I've been busy with school, but that would be a lie haha I've just been going to movies, renting them, and buying them like crazy. I saw Twilight again on Thursday and it was better (and hotter) than I remember. Can someone please tell me that Edward Cullen is a story-book character and that he will never go out with me?? I can't seem to realize this yet, so I remain hopeful. Every night, I stay up til about 2 in the morning reading Twilight!! I told myself that I wouldn't turn into one of those "Twilight-obsessed dorks who have no life" but it's too late. I'm way past that already haha

In other news, I've decided to adapt a RAW lifestyle. My parents and sister are COMPLETELY against it and say I'm disgusting. I decided to quit using shampoo and my hair kind of looks crappy and gross. My mom says that I am giving off the impression that I don't care about my hygiene, but it's really that I care more about my hygiene. I've been putting chemicals in it my whole life, and I finally want to stop. I understand that the withdrawal symptoms from no-pooing will last about a week-2 months. That's fine with me though. I don't care what people say about my gross hair. I agree though- it does look pretty raggedy. I already dress like a homeless person to begin with, so the hair is just an added bonus.

I also got an award from my friend, Reeni over at Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice. She is one of my favorite people ever!! Reeni's always makin something delicious in the kitchen and her food always looks mouth-watering. She's just a really down-to-earth person and really good friend. If you like me, then you'll like her haha This award is called the Lemonade Award and I LOVE it!! This sounds so absurd, but I would always make poor man's lemonade when i would go to restaurants. I'd take 2 Splenda packets, 3 lemon halves, and water because I could get it for free!! I'm such a cheap bastard haha Anyway, thanks Reeni!!! You're a hoot!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Is that all you got?!?!

Hi, guys. How's your week so far??? Well, school went a lot better than I thought it would!! I wasn't shy at all and I met a few new people. It was fun. I mean, there's always those "oops" moments though. My car keys, coat, glasses, and books all got locked in the honors office so I had to get security to open it. The security guard is 95 yrs old, give-or-take. He had no clue what I was asking him and just stared at me for a while until i shouted- "Excuse me!! I need you to open the honors office, now!!"

Although my school day was fun and eventful, NOTHING beats last night. OMG wow. I decided to do a cycling class after months of not going. What was I thinking???!!! My friend, Ted, and I both signed up for bikes that were broken (we obviously didn't know this) so the instructor told us to take bikes 2 and 3. When we were all settled in, these two old hags walk in and completely bitch me and Ted out for stealing their bikes. First of all, they were late to class, and second of all, both of them will die lonely, old women! They forced us off the bikes and yanked them away. Don't get me wrong, though- I fought back. I don't care how old this lady is. You DON'T cross me and mess with my shit.

What ends up happening is the instructor gives me his bike and Ted steals somebody elses. haha oh Ted. I love that man. We always have push-up competitions and he usually kicks my ass. He's 70 yrs old and can do 55 push-ups!! I'd say that's pretty darn good. My average is usually 45-50 so I'm not too far behind.

But besides all my fights with the elderly, I've been going mad over Ani's Raw Food Kitchen. I LOVE this cookbook. It's amazing so you have to buy it. I made the vanilla mylk today and it was just cheerful. I was proud of myself for not eating all of the dates before making my milk. I only bought about 20 dates so I had enough left after devouring over half of them... THANK GOD. I had to use cashews instead of almonds because I was out of them, but I'm sure almonds would be dashing as well. Make sure you enlarge the picture so you can see the vanilla bean!!!! It makes me so happy!!

Here's the recipe:

Vanilla Mylk
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup pitted medjool dates
1 vanilla bean
pinch of sea salt
5 cups of water

Directions: Throw all that in the blender and mix until smooth. Keeps in the fridge for 4 days.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Little School Girl, Joanna

Hello, guys!! Hope your weekend has been dashing and you've all been misbehavin (but that goes without saying). My first day of school is tomorrow, and I'm as nervous as a clam!!! I can't stop picking at my fingernails- uhhh that's my worst habit. I've always been kind of shy when I go into a room and don't know anyone, so I'm hoping to see a familiar face to take the edge off. I wish one of you (or all of you) went to my school. Can you imagine how much we'd get yelled at for being complete fools?? Oh well, at least we have our good looks...

To ease the nervousness of tomorrow, I watched Bret's Michael's show "Rock of Love Bus." Wow what a train-wreck or tranny-wreck (whichever you prefer). Watching this show always makes me happy... and thankful that I am going to college so I can get a real job. My mom loves this show, too. My sister, she, and I always watch it as a family. I guess you could say that we love trashy television. I'm pretty sure that it's polluting my mind, but when you come to think of it, at least it's keeping me off the streets... and off the show. haha I mean, can you picture me in this line up of ladies??? Okay, don't answer that.

Well, I think I'm gonna read a little Twilight and have some tea. Pray that I don't slip on ice tomorrow when I walk in the building!! I tend to do that. I'll be sure to wear my favorite church shoes ;)

Friday, January 9, 2009

I love prunes and bananas

Hello all you crazy bloggers. What's going on? Thursday was my first day of eating food and it was a wild one!! haha I started my day off with apple juice and then had 6 ounces of soaked prunes. Now, when you think of 6 ounces, it doesn't seem like a lot, but it's an entire bag of prunes that you buy at the grocery store. I was really excited to eat them though- I mean, it was real, living food- that's ALL that mattered haha My sister had a disgusted look on her face as I ate them in the living room. Halfway through eating them, I felt my stomach gurgling, but I finished them off anyways. What a bad idea!!!

A few hours went by, I went to the gym, came home, and read a little bit of Cosmo magazine. I also weighed myself and surprisingly, I lost 4 pounds. I was shocked and kind of mad because I really didn't need to lose weight. That wasn't the purpose of my juice fast. I'm assuming that it was toxic waste so I guess it's not a bad thing to lose, but oh well. Later, I had to go to work, of course, and this was just a nightmare. I got to work at 6 and was scheduled in the women's department which is very far away from the bathroom. I pleaded with the cashier in the kid's department to switch with me and by the grace of God, she did. And thank God she did. I went to the bathroom 8 times in 3 1/2 hours. The prunes went right through me and it felt so good. The people in the bathroom stalls around me probably wanted to faint from the smell. I used to never go poop in the bathroom because I didn't want people to hear, but over the past few years, I could give a CRAP about what anyone thinks.

Hopefully, Friday night won't be as bad as Thursday. I have a feeling that it will be though haha But nobody will work for me. Sears employees aren't THAT nice. I want to go bowling for some reason so that's where I'll be if I'm not at Sears.

I also wanted to show you guys this AMAZING banana shirt that my mom bought me. In case you didn't know this, I usually eat 3 bananas every day. I am obsessed with them, so this shirt is now one of my favorite shirts!! Isn't it sassy?? I wore it to the gym and got a few stares, but I don't care... it's HOT!!!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

My juicing days are almost over!!

Hello everyone!! Thanks for all of your support with my juicing fast!! It’s one of the hardest journeys I’ve ever embarked on. I sound like Christopher Columbus, but I just can’t help myself. I didn’t think it would be so difficult on me mentally, and it definitely is proving to be quite a challenge.

This cleanse has been really eye-opening for me. It has allowed me to get in touch with my body’s needs and really listen to what it’s telling me. I didn’t realize exactly how much waste was in my body, but I soon discovered it in the toilet haha I was really shocked, but relieved at the same time. I don’t weigh myself, but I honestly feel 10 pounds lighter and my belly doesn’t have a huge bloat in it anymore.

Wednesday is my last day of the fast, and it’s the 6th day. I wanted to do it until Friday but my body is done. I need food!!! My first meal on Thursday is going to be soaked prunes because I want to eat something that is a natural laxative. I’m just going to eat small meals for the next few days in order to see how my digestive system reacts.

If any of you are interested in doing a juice fast and haven’t done one before, I made some amazing juices that you would just love. My favorite juice of all time is apple juice so I knew that I had to make my own. There’s NOTHING like homemade apple juice. The juice makes foam on the top and it’s just so darn sweet- I LOVE it. It kind of looks like beer (because you all know that my main intention was to clone beer in fruit juice form). I used a 3 pound bag of apples and got about 3 cups of juice. It takes a ton of fruits and veggies to actually make juice- I was shocked.

And of course, I had to work at Sears every day during the fast so that was just a dandy time. I warned everyone there that I was fasting and would be frequenting the bathroom. I wasn’t embarrassed because everyone has to poop haha some more than others… Obviously, being the slob that I am, I got some of my celery juice on my shirt which kind of looks like baby throw-up. Surprisingly, my customers didn’t comment on it, but I’m positive they thought I was producing green milk for my alien child.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Movies and Pancakes- A Dynamic Duo

Good day, my friends. How are you doing on this bright Sunday morning??? I'm somewhat of a 'hot mess' right now. I've been doing a juice fast since Friday and I'm breaking out like crazy on my arms and back. It's sickening!! I have a green-minty-smelling mask on myself right now to try and help it. I'm thinking that it might be my body's way of releasing some of the toxins out of my body. That's fine though. As long as my body is getting cleaned out. I just got discouraged by the Dr Natura Cleanse since I haven't noticed a difference. I'm still taking it, but I'm just doing it with the juice fast.

In other news, I'm gonna be your personal movie critic for today. I saw 'Valkyrie' on Thursday night and I was NOT a fan. It was boring, and Tom Cruise didn't have any underwear scenes. I feel like they should just be a standard in all of Tom's films. I mean, if you have a butt like that, why hide it??? After the disappointment with that movie, last night, I saw 'Marley and Me.' I read the book and of course, the book is better, but the movie still holds its own. I got a little teary-eyed in the end, so thankfully, I brought a wad of tissues.

As for food, I've been drinking a lot of juice... A LOT. But before the juice fast, I made up a recipe for pancakes in the dehydrator. It was pretty yummy. I ate them with Earth Balance and Pure Maple Syrup. I love PMS (that is too funny) because it smells amazing (again, that is just weird). Forget I mentioned pure maple syrup.

Here's the recipe:
Nutty Pancakes
1/2 cup raw walnuts
1/2 cup raw cashews
1 medium size carrot
3/4 cup fresh cranberries
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt

Directions: Throw everything in food processor and blend. Shape into balls and then flatten out and put on dehydrator sheet. I made 5 pancakes. Dehydrate for 2 and 1/2 hours on 105F. I wanted the pancakes to be soft and still have the texture of real ones, but you can dehydrate longer if you'd like.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Risky Cookies

Hey guys!!! I'm surprised you're up so early after all that partying you did last night. I figured I wouldn't see you until at least 2 hehe I went to bed around 1:30. My friend, Desiree, came over and we watched Risky Business. I was completely shocked by this movie- you guys didn't warn me!! It was all centered around sex and prostitution. I'm glad I saw it though. I feel like it's a trashy classic that everyone has to see. The lady at Family Video even told me "There's a really sexy train scene, so look out for that." Ummm, look out for that??? How could anyone with the sense of sight miss that???

Okay. I can already tell that this post is going the wrong way and my mom will read it and gasp.

So let's talk dehydrators. I don't have a fancy one, but it does the job. I got it from Bed, Bath, and Beyond and I am obsessed with it!!! I use it every day and it's been going strong. It has 5 trays, but you can also buy more if you need them. I would definitely recommend getting one if you like dried fruits or want to make more RAW foods. It's so much cheaper to make your own rather than buying a bag of dried mangoes for 5 bux.

To demonstrate all that this dehydrator can do, here's a cookie recipe that I made up a few nights ago. I loved these!! I ate them drizzled (drenched) in agave nectar for dessert. I also ate them plain when I went to the movies yesterday with my dad. We saw an Egyptian movie about mummies at the Carnegie Science Center. Who doesn't love watching the mummification process on big screen?? haha

I've never described a cookie as "smokey" but this one was. They also kept me full because they are filled with nuts. I might add a few dates next time to make them sweeter, but I didn't have any. So as of now, they aren't a sweet cookie- more like an energy cookie.

Egyptian Energy Cookies

1/2 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup raw shelled pistachios
1 Tbsp raw cacao powder
2 Tbsp coconut flour
1/2 medium-size banana
1/4 cup goji berries

Directions: Throw all of that in the food processor until it's well-blended. Shape into little balls, flatten them with your palm, and dehydrate for about 3 hours on 105F. These don't have any liquid, so they dehydrate pretty quickly. You can dehydrate for a few hours longer if you like your cookies crunchy. I prefer a soft cookie. They taste good fresh and warm straight from the dehydrator. I made 8 cookies.