Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cooking/Baking Bucket List

I recently stumbled upon a new site called http://www.browneyedbaker.com/. On the site the blogger has a bucket list of sorts for all the recipes she wants to make. There is no time limit, just 100 items that she would like to make in her lifetime. I love this idea. I have made many fancy smancy desserts and savory dishes...but it doesn't have to be complicated. It is also a list of recipes that maybe you have tried but want to master them. I have many of those...so I came up with my own list. My list is only 50 long but I can add to it through out the years and hopefully can get through these recipes and come up with some that I can pass on to you and others. After watching Julie and Julia I thought immediately that I needed to do that. Go through a revered cookbook and spend some time blogging about it, just like Julie. I never could get inspired to choose one cookbook...so this idea is perfect. I can try recipes of well known chefs, home cooks and bloggers. Bon Appetit!

  • French Bread
  • Challah
  • Parker House Rolls
  • Pumpkin Bread
  • Red Velvet
  • Cheesecake
  • Vanilla Cake
  • Beignets
  • Baklava
  • Doughnuts
  • Danishes
  • Lemon Meringue
  • Blackberry
  • Banana Cream
  • Apple Hand Pies
Other Desserts:
  • Some dessert with Nutella
  • Stuffed French Toast
  • Buttercream Frosting
  • Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie
  • Bread Pudding
  • Souffle
  • Cinnamon Rolls
  • Broccoli Soup
  • Shrimp Bisque
  • Gumbo
  • Chili
  • Po Boy
  • Croque Monsieur
  • Lasagna
  • Polenta
  • Chilaquiles
  • Carnitas
  • BBQ
  • Bernaise
  • Gravy
  • Hollandaise
  • Poached Egg
  • Fritata
  • Fish Tacos
  • Fried Chicken
  • Coleslaw
  • Jambalaya
  • Halibut
  • Pizza
  • Lasagna
  • Quiche
  • Paella
  • Wontons
  • Rack of Lamb

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Business of Busyness

Yes, that's right I am in the business of busyness. What is this business of busyness you may ask??? Well, I am pretty sure you are in the same line of work. It isn't one of those fancy businesses..with jets and assistants. It isn't a multi-million a year business. However, this business of busyness consumes your precious time, you put in way over the 8 hour day...in fact you work over time everyday. Just when you think your ahead..BAM..your business of busyness takes a hit. There are the typical stacks of paper on your desk, "associates" pulling at you from every which way...financial woes and don't even think about taking a sick day in this business of busyness!!!
Sound appealing??? No??? Come on the benefits are great...or are they..come to think of it there are no benefits in this business of busyness.

Busyness-Sustaining much activity..such as a busy morning or busy street.
Busyness- Being in use.

All these definitions from freedictionary.com are pretty applicable to how I am feeling about the busyness that I call life. The second would be a busybody of sorts..which is being meddlesome..which is a good definition of how I feel about being busy...it causes tension and destruction. The third would refer to more of an object, but again still pertains to the act of being busy "being in use"...unavailable to your spouse, children and other loved ones.

I only have one child and he is not at the age where he needs to be driven to football practice and then boy scouts. So, why am I feeling this way. Why am I feeling as though I am too busy to play outside, to read a good book or to spend time serving God. My priorities are out of whack. I work full time and am also a full time mom. I work from home so there is no break. I am on 24/7. I am beginning to see the importance of a stay at home mom. I am frazzled. I have to admit though..I am new at this and just like a new job..you soon get the hang of it and things run smoother. Being busy these days just seems like the norm. I am not saying that you need to sit at home doing nothing. Taking your kids to their activities is great. Being involved at church is great. It is when the busyness takes you away from these things that we as parents should be doing is when this business of busyness needs to be closed down.

As a working mother I am blessed to be able to stay at home. But...something has to suffer. I can't give 100% to my son when I have to ignore his needs to get my 8-5 job done...or visa versa. I almost always choose my son over my work..but that is not fair to my job and it is not fair to my son that my time is divided. The Hubs and I talk all the time about the possibilities of me being able to stop working. You hear all the time about the Lord providing..I hate to say it but I am so afraid to take that risk. I have the best benefits..good pay and three weeks paid vacation! The Hubs works commission..enough said!

Just something I wrestle with. I get overwhelmed..and then I think about having another little one...I think my heart just stopped beating! God has been teaching me to really spend my time wisely. The busyness I talked about early, right now, is being on the computer for hours or watching TV. Not using the time I do have wisely. I consider it meaningless activity. Yes, watching TV and going on the computer are not bad activities..but when they are chosen over activities that are meaningful that are bad. Max Lucado put it best:

“Those who believe in God will be careful to use their lives for doing good.” Titus 3:8

"Being busy is not a sin. Jesus was busy. Paul was busy. Peter was busy. Nothing of significance is achieved without effort and hard work and weariness. That, in and of itself, is not a sin.
But being busy in an endless pursuit of things that leave us empty and hollow and broken inside—that cannot be pleasing to God."

So, my prayer is that I choose to spend my time wisely..that I am busy with activities that are pleasing to God. Hopefully this new business venture pans out and I don't go back to my business of busyness.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mise en place

One of the most important phrases that I learned and actually remembered from Culinary School was the phrase "Mise en place" meaning "everything in its place". Having all your ingredients chopped, measured and ready to go is key to a successful dish. In many kitchens there is a prep cook or many prep cooks. They are low on the totem pole but really are so important to the success of the Head Chef and all the food that goes out of the kitchen.When a Chef is not prepared it definitely effects the flow for the day and the end product is not usually his or her best.
I use the term Mise en place in other areas of my life as well. When my life seems to not be in order, there is chaos. When I choose to sit on the internet instead of grocery shopping or keeping up with laundry..my household falls apart(FYI-my chores are all done..so I can continue to write):). I have to say I use to be so organized. I was an Event Planner for two years and that position really taught me that I needed to be prepared for what I knew was going to happen..that way when something happened that was not planned I had time to sort it all out. Many times we go about our lives as we have planned and that is usually when God likes to throw in a test or two. Now, sometimes I have to admit I am so not prepared and I just about lose it...most of the time I can identify the test and know something great will come out of it. God always has a great plan for us. You hear it all the time that God's timing is perfect. We have to remember that He is far greater than us. He works supernaturally and sometimes we can never imagine what great things God can do and has planned for us. Also, God is patient. Have you ever been in such a rush while cooking a meal that it ends up in the trash? Totally ruined...a mess. If you had everything in its place then it most likely would have a different outcome. If you had put a little love and time into it you could produce something worthy of Top Chef...ok maybe I am going too far. Seriously though when everything is going right in the kitchen and I am putting my heart into it The Hubs is always like "this is the best____ ever! It does the heart good. Wouldn't that be great if we did that in our personal lives with Christ? At the end of each day He could look at you and say this was the best day yet! Keep it coming! Instead of "pack your knives"(good thing God doesn't give up on us and wouldn't say that after one failure).

Daily preparation in the Word is key to a great relationship with God. When you are prepared you can face any obstacle that may come your way. For some reason I want to shout "If you can't stand the heat...stay out of the kitchen"!!! Ok, sorry enough with all the cooking metaphors and puns!!!

In Isaiah 40 God is comforting His people. I love how this chapter refers to the majesty and glory of our God. "In the desert prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken". Isa 40:3-5.  Wow...talk about some preparation..making mountains low and rough ground level! Later on in the chapter it talks about how God measures "the waters in the hollow of his hand" and also "held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales" (vs 12). This would definitely comfort me. The most I have ever weighed out on scales was a few ounces of flour!(although the scale in my bathroom holds almost the same amount as a small hill...oh geez). How soon we forget that when we are hit with something we are not prepared for that we needs to turn to God for help. We can't do it all on our own. We all have so much on our plates...step back and let God be the "Head Chef". It will turn out much better that way:).  Mise en place:)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Floating Holiday Project



Shane taking a pic of mommy's work too...and the laundry I should have been doing instead:).

Today I took my second Floating Holiday for theWinter. We usually get two that we can take any time between the first of January until the end of February. So..I had grand plans but then I saw my ugly... used to be coffee table..turned bench begging me for a redo. So I decided that I definitely wanted it to be white and then I was debating on doing stripes or a chevron pattern. I knew that my perfectionism would probably never be satisfied with the chevron pattern so I decided upon the stripes. I used left over paint from my hallway and trim. I started at the beginning of Shane's nap and finished by the end(luckily it was one of his two hour naps!). I am really happy with it. It looks really beachy. I wish I would have done 5 stripes instead of 4 but I think I will leave it. I may add some trim or paint out some other parts with the beige color..but for now it still looks really fresh. It originally began as a pine coffee table with doors and hinges. Then I wanted to get away from the country look and painted it a green to match my "Tropical" theme I had years ago and removed the doors. Next it was painted an ugly chocolate brown and it stayed that way until today. I was glad to do something different today and even more happy it could be done while the little guy slept!

There it is before...ugly brown...I know it is hard to see but Shane looks cute and there is that darn basket of laundry again!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Peanut...Peanut Butter..Cookies!

I was surfing the web for some new cupcake recipes and it made me really crave something sweet. I knew that I had a bunch of peanut butter so Peanut Butter Cookies it is. I whipped up a batch in no time and I used a random recipe from Cooks.com. I don't particularly like Cooks.com..just because their recipes are always missing steps or are really strange methods but the reviews were good so I gave it a try. I am so glad I did. They turned out chewy and delicious!


2 sticks butter, room temperature

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups peanut butter
2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

Mix butter, sugars and peanut butter together. Add eggs and vanilla. Then mix together flour and soda and add into mixture. Bake at 350°F for about 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.