Friday, September 28, 2012

Salted Caramel Macarons

As usual, I am very behind on blogging, although most of it was caused by school starting and all that jazz.  So, after realizing that my last post was titled 4th of July recap, which was 3 months ago, I decided I really needed to update this thing.  So. I know have posted about macarons before, but these have caramel inside.  No, its not caramel sauce, not caramel frosting but pure, salted caramel.
And of course, I don't have a nice camera yet (still stuck with an old i-phone) so my photo's are less than perfect. These Macarons are perfect for dessert tables, constant snacking, or a popcorn replacement. I used Martha Stewart's Parisian macaron recipe:
  • 1 1/4 cups plus 1 teaspoon confectioners sugar
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) finely ground sliced, blanched almonds
  • 6 tablespoons fresh egg whites (from about 3 extra-large eggs)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  1. To make the macarons: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together confectioners' sugar and ground almonds. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip egg whites with salt on medium speed until foamy. Increase speed to high and gradually add granulated sugar. Continue to whip until stiff glossy peaks form. With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the confectioners' sugar mixture until completely incorporated.
  2. Line baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Fit a pastry bag with a 3/8-inch #4 round tip, and fill with batter. Pipe 1-inch disks onto prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between cookies. The batter will spread a little. Let stand at room temperature until dry, and a soft skin forms on the tops of the macarons and the shiny surface turns dull, about 15 minutes.
  3. Bake, with the door of the oven slightly ajar, until the surface of the macarons is completely dry, about 15 minutes. Remove baking sheet to a wire rack and let the macarons cool completely on the baking sheet. Gently peel off the parchment. Their tops are easily crushed, so take care when removing the macarons from the parchment. Use immediately or store in an airtight container, refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month.
And the caramel recipe is from Gourmet Mom on the Go.  This is always my go-to recipe for caramel because it only takes 10 minutes and a microwave.  How easy is that(plus its super easy to memorize)!

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup Light Karo Syrup (not dark-doesn't set right)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 t. vanilla
Sea Salt (I used Hawaiian sea salt)

Melt butter in large microwave bowl. Stir in Karo syrup, both sugars and sweetened condensed milk. Mix until dissolved. Microwave on high 5 minutes, stirring in between.  You may need to play around with the cooking time.  I made mine too thin, but if yours is too thin, melt it again (if necessary) and stir in some milk or cream. . Stir in vanilla. Pour into buttered dish and refrigerate until set.  Shmear some on half of each macaron and enjoy!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Fourth of July Recap

I know, I am a very inconsistent blogger, but ya know... life is busy.  And I would have posted about all the yummy things I made to celebrate before the actual holiday,  but the chaos that happens right before you go on vacation happened (as always). And our computer was being "fixed".  So for a couple days, I basically didn't have a computer.  So I finally loaded my pictures to the computer, and almost as soon as I started looking at them I got the blue screen of death.  But we've been getting it daily now.
So, for the Forth of July we went camping with our friend's family.  And on our trip we hiked up to a mountain lake.  It was so gorgeous.

This is actually a different lake.  We went boating and swimming in this one.  All the kids helped build an awesome river/moat/dam system in the sand.  It was pretty cool.  The lake was cool in freezing cold.
Its July, and there's still snow.  In fact, on the way down, we were crossing a big downhill section covered in snow, so my feet decided to trip, and I slid on my but all the way down.  It was really wet snow too. Nice.

Someone decided to go for a swim.  Do you realize that there was a wall of snow cascading into the lake?  Very smart, especially when you wear shorts into the water, are on a hike, and don't have anything else to change into.
On this hike we all learned that crystal light is a great cleaner (we were joking of course).  We also saw this super gross caterpillar nest thing.  Eww!!!
 But camping is all about food, so I made Sugarbelle's Patriotic Candy Buttons

I also made watermelon suckers (I made cherry too, but those burned).  I didn't have any molds, so I went with free-form.
We ate tons of delicious food (polish sausages, dutch oven pizza's, dutch oven lasagna,  mountain man breakfasts, steak, burgers, dutch oven pineapple upside down cake...).  But my favorite was coconut macaron cake.  I don't have the recipe (someone else in our group made it) but you have to look it up.  Like, now.  Its a slice of super moist cake with coconut syrup and piled high with coconut (we like it with milk on top).  And it will rock your world (notice how I wrote will).
Happy (super late) 4th of July!

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Banh Mi

Ok. I'm an awful blogger.  I still haven't downloaded my 4th of July photos yet. I know, I know.  But anyway, I had to go ahead and post this anyway, because these are just that amazing. So, I'm calling it The Banh Mi because I don't know how Vietnamese plurals work (is it banh mis? Because that doesn't look right).  Anyway, a banh mi a (really good) Vietnamese sandwich on a French baguette.  We had these at my aunts baby shower and let me tell you, every single person at that party went back for thirds at least (or in my case, fifths). They. Are. So. Good. Trust me.

The polka dotted background reminds me of the the Madagascar 3 trailer... da da da-da-da- afro circus, circus afro, polka dot, polka dot, polka dot afro...(or something along those lines) which has been sung constantly by myself siblings and mom.  The rest of our time is spent singing Harry Potter Literal.  What is wrong with us?
Anyhoo, on to the sandwiches!  This recipe is from Viet World Kitchen.

1 baguette or homemade baguette or toasted sandwich rolls
 Mayonnaise, real (whole egg) or homemade mayonnaise
Maggi Seasoning sauce or soy sauce
Your choice of boldly-flavored meat or tofu, sliced (we used teriyaki chicken)
3 or 4 thin seeded cucumber strips, pickling or English variety preferred
2 or 3 cilantro sprigs, roughly chopped
3 or 4 thin jalapeño pepper strips or slices, depending on how spicy you like it (optional, but very delicious)
 Daikon and Carrot Pickle

1. Slit the bread lengthwise, and then use your fingers or a bread knife to hollow out the insides, making a trough in both halves. Discard the insides or save it for another use, such as breadcrumbs. If necessary, crisp up the bread in a toaster oven preheated to 325ºF, and then let it cool for a minute before proceeding.
2. Generously spreading the inside with mayonnaise. Drizzle in some Maggi Seasoning sauce or soy sauce. Start from the bottom portion of bread to layer in the remaining ingredients. Close the sandwich, cut it in half crosswise for easy eating, and enjoy.

To save time, we stuck our pickles in the food processor with one of the attachments.  Its not quite as pretty, but its much faster than hand cutting matchstick sized pieces.

However, on our sandwiches, we somehow skipped the soy sauce (or maggi sauce, whatever that is) and cilantro and did not hollow out our bread (accidentally) but they would probably make it a lot better.  Also, I found that I still liked the store bought ones better (and they are fairly cheap, yay!).  They come in a variety of flavors from meatball, to BBQ pork (which is my favorite...I think).

Monday, July 16, 2012

Minecraft Birthday Party

  Sorry the photo's are blurry.  I'm still stuck with my mom's I-phone camera right now.  And I still haven't gotten to my 4th of July yet, which is kinda lame, but I don't have my pictures downloaded yet.  If only I had my own camera... (I'm saving my pennies!!).  But, on to the good stuff... my brother really loves a game called Minecraft, so we decided to make that the main theme of his birthday party.  We printed out some Minecraft invites off of the internet.  Do you find it odd that it says why and how at the bottom?  It keeps nagging at me.
We then proceeded to create a minecraft dessert table based off of the minecraft grass block.  The whole game is all pixely and (ugly, annoying, lame, computer slowing, annoying, pointless, unintelligent) not very pretty.  Sorry. I don't like Minecraft.  I blame all of our computer problems on it.  My Question is, how is this (stupid) game popular???  After (or was it before?) we ate, we played minute-to-win-it games, which were lots of fun to watch and play.

For the pixel wall in the back, we used a rainbow cardstock pack.  We cut all the green and brownish colors into squares and taped them to the wall (after laying them out on the ground to check how they looked first).
Inside the goodie bags were packets of pop-rocks,  and cheap mini cans of silly string.  On the dessert table we had sprite mixed with limeade concentrate, gram crackers, Little Debbie Cakes (in chocolate and vanilla), extra giant marshmallows, paper wrapped chocolate bars, green gummy bears, cake (with a twix bar cheesecake filling!!!!!!!), and taffy.  On seeing the table, my dad said "there is no way they 12 kids can eat all that".  But he was very very wrong.  Have fun at your next party!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Red and Turquoise Baby Shower

Last Saturday my mom and I (and sister) got to plan my aunts baby shower (she's having a girl!).  So we plunged in Amy Atlas style, after reading her beautiful new book with a red and turquoise dessert table.  Our inspiration for the table was an adorable baby quilt that my mom made as a gift for my aunt.  Sadly, I didn't get pictures of it before we gave it to her.

  1. Sprite with Frozen (red colored) fruit concentrate
  2. Hydrangeas in clear plastic food containers
  3. Paper Mache boxes from hobby lobby (in a set of 5) with ribbon and lemon cupcakes with vanilla  buttercream and flags
  4. Bahn Mi Sandwiches (more on these later)
  5. Cake stand full of peppermint and vanilla taffy
  6. Cake stand full of meringues
  7. Strawberries
  8. Chocolate dipped pretzel rods on a bed of swedish fish
  9. Half chocolate dipped rice crispy treats
  10. Chocolate Bars wrapped in scrapbook paper
  11. Water with lemon slices
  12. Watermelon Slices 
  13. Royal Icing chevron cookies
  14. Salad

 We used a long white tablecloth, and covered the top with blue wrapping paper (it actually hangs over the back of the table).  We originally bought a bunch of candy to serve as a bed for the treats, but it didn't look great, and it made the treats slide around a bunch.  The pretty serving trays are from cb2.  They have great prices on their trays, the medium ones were only 4 bucks and the small ones were only 2 (I highly recommend browsing their stuff).  If only they had cheap cake stands...

We made paper balls from the ceiling with a tutorial from Martha.
 I learned something important: use sun proof food when having a party in full sun.  Things got a little melty.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Visiting the Farm

We recently visited my grandpa's farm up in Idaho for a wedding.  I didn't even really know who the wedding was for.  I have soooooo many relatives.  So I went to the wedding of some cousin I've never met and ate food (because thats what weddings are for right?). But take a load of this:

The picture was kinda last minute, so its not great.  But my grandpa has this giant kettle (I think its originally for boiling laundry...maybe) that he built a three-headed blowtorch thingy underneath.  So he cooks up giant boxes (bags) of popcorn, huge servings of french fries, and lots of corn on the cob.  And each kind of popcorn he makes has a different flavor, be it kettle corn, cherry, strawberry, cinnamon, or regular.   

 (these photos were taken at night, outside, so that is why they are so dark)

We also drove four-wheelers.  Because its a guy thing.  And we were in four-wheeler country.  And there was a total of 6 guys. 2 or 3 of which are crazy drivers.  Like I'm-going-to-drive-up-that-steep-hill-really-fast-and-try-not-to-get-stuck-or-crash-and-die kind of crazy.  But it was fun (like a really bumpy roller coaster).  I rode one too (I'm not in this picture), by myself, and it was very scary business.
 We also got to name 8 or so little kitties!  This is Holly (Hollyhock).

We also saw this.  If you can't figure it out, that is a ride.  An actual fair type ride that looks like it was built 200 years ago and is about to fall apart.  People actually sit on that!
I love this sign. Its an antique sign with antique painted on it!  How much more antique can you get?
They also had some cool play equipment at the wedding.
 Next week I'll be back with a bunch of sweets!  

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Fudge Flop

I think fudge doesn't like me.  I made it once, heated it to fast, and it burned.  I made it again a couple days ago; same result.  I think it still tasted okay, cause I didn't burn it too bad, but my mom thought otherwise.  At least the photo's turned out cute.
Isn't that like the cutest photo ever? (I'm so proud of it)  It could be better, but its still pretty cute.  Anyway, I didn't have time to post last week because I went on our church's girls camp.  And afterwards my voice was super hoarse from screaming/yelling/singing-like-crazy/staying up until 3 am for 4 days.  But it was super fun! However...I have no pictures (yet). Now on to the fudge.  I used this recipe from
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Grease an 8x8 inch square baking pan. Set aside.
  2. Combine sugar, cocoa and milk in a medium saucepan. Stir to blend, then bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer. Do not stir again.
  3. Place candy thermometer in pan and cook until temperature reaches 238 degrees F(114 degrees C). If you are not using a thermometer, then cook until a drop of this mixture in a cup of cold water forms a soft ball. Feel the ball with your fingers to make sure it is the right consistency. It should flatten when pressed between your fingers.
  4. Remove from heat. Add butter or margarine and vanilla extract. Beat with a wooden spoon until the fudge loses its sheen. Do not under beat.
  5. Pour into prepared pan and let cool. Cut into about 60 squares. 
Go really slow, don't turn the heat up higher to get to the right temperature.  Please. Have patience. Because I'm not patient at all.  And it didn't work out so great.  I couldn't figure out how to cut the squares without my fudge cracking, so I ended up using this dough scraper.  It worked a lot better than a knife.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Easy $1 Bracelet

So, the other day I found out that they had a dollar beading section at Walmart, right under the rest of the beads. After browsing through a bunch of colorful chain, I found some yellow beads that, while being made of plastic, were actually pretty cute.  I  bought them thinking, they're cute, I like them, and I'll do something with them eventually. So I decided to make a bracelet.

-pliers (needle-nose)
-Walmart beads
-medium jump rings
-lobster clasp (or other clasp)

First open a jump ring and hook 2 beads together. Then close the ring.
Keep linking the beads together till it fits your wrist (I used all the beads except one) and attach the lobster clasp.
That's it!  Now I have a fun, little pop of color.  And now a little something to brighten your day:

Friday, May 25, 2012

Schools Out!

Finally Schools out, so I'm done with middle school. But its kinda sad, since I'm not going to the same high school as all my friends and I won't see a lot of my teachers again. And also Mr. Davis is retiring (you are the best band directer ever Mr. Davis! We miss you!!!!).  He was fantastic.  After every concert we would have a "test" (everyone brings a treat and we party) the next day at school.  And we would also have "pop" quizes, where if we played a certain piece well enough, we would get a soda.  And I'll never forget his stories about the little house at midnight, and his ex-sister-in-law. He made band the best experience ever. At the beginning of each year we elect a class president, secretary, sergeant or arms, and historian.  Me and my friend Kenzie (here is her new blog) and another friend of mine are historians, so photograph the class and scrapbook them.  It was so fun thanks to Mr. Davis.  I play flute (just so ya know).

Anyway, I'm totally obsessed with this British TV show called Sherlock (just plain Sherlock, Sherlock Holmes or anything). It is so good (my friends have heard nothing else out of me). Its the Best Show Ever made. And I was going crazy since the newest episode (The Reichenbach Fall) was almost the biggest cliffhanger ever, and we couldn't figure it out, so we watched the end around 8 times.  Then my mom saw this tiny tiny little clue (the writer of sherlock even said there was a clue that everyone was missing) and we figured it out!!!!!!!!!!  It was so satisfying! (it made me feel so smart)  And NOW I HAVE TO WAIT TILL STINKIN 2013 to find out if we were right. But I'm pretty sure we are.  Whoohoo for us.

PS: Watson and Sherlock are both in the movie the hobbit (Watson plays Bilbo!)
PPS: I can start blogging again!

Friday, April 27, 2012

I'm FREE!!!!!

I'm-free-at-last!  Finally the dreaded PACE Project is OVER!! Now I can pretty much have my life back.  PACE stands for Performance Assessment of Critical Elements.  Its a big huge scary science experiment + english report + speech + a bunch of other things that lead up to that.  And my (extremely stressful) PACE speech was today! Yeahhh! Thank goodness. We had to dress all professional and fancy and give a memorized 10 minute speech (at least it is in front of 2 random people you don't know).

Unfortunately, I most likely won't be posting until summer, because of school, and the fact that my life is busy. So I'm very sorry, but I haven't been able to post for months anyway (another reason I haven't been posting is because I like looking at all the other pretty blogs instead of working on my own).

To celebrate, I made PACE cookies...which I don't have (good) pictures of at the moment.  In fact, I don't (good) have pictures of anything really.  You see... a few months ago, my camera broke. And now I am forced to use my moms 3 generation I-phone which does NOT take good photos. So now I'm saving up for a $400 dollar one, which is a lot considering I don't have a job (but-good news! I've been hired to decorate cookies for my school librarian for $20)  You might think its strange, but me and my friends all spend break and lunch in the library everyday.  So we love our librarians.  Also, I just spent a lovely spring break visiting Disneyland, Universal Studios and Six Flags. But, as as side-note, have you seen the Hunger Games? Its so good (if you haven't seen the movie yet, read the book first!). Happy Hunger Games!