Archive for February, 2011

I woke up full of excitement and ready to go!  It took about 2 hours to make the almond flour. I will admit it was much easier with the blanched almonds. Everything in the recipe is supposed to be “light” and “fluffy” so there is a lot of sifting and whisking. All in all, I ended up sifting the mixture about 4 times. Phew! 

This recipe is somewhat high-maintenance (for lack of a better term). For example, you fold the mixture exactly 50 times (though someone found that 65 folds works better for her).  You whisk the mixture at medium speed for 3 minutes, low speed while adding sugar, then high speed for 8 minutes (but whatever you do, don’t stop whisking!).  I pretty much memorized the recipe in preparation! They try to describe the texture/sheen of the batter to help you determine when to stop.  At one point the recipe says it should be “magma-like.”  Oh, how I wish I knew how to make my shiny white batter look like magma.

After all of the sifting, mixing and folding, I put everything into my electric cookie press and fit it with a plain round tip.  I made some awkward looking circles on the cookie sheet, though I will say my circles looked better as I went along.

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It was around 5:30 when Anson called on his way home. The conversation went something like this:

A: Hey babe, I’m on my way home.

R: Great!  Look, I just want to prepare you for something.

A: Yeah? What?

R: When you get home, it’s going to seem like the house was on fire.  I mean, it’ll probably smell like the house was on fire. I assure you, there was no fire.

A: Ummm…okay.

R: Hey, I made <pause for counting> 8 cookies for Fiona!

A: That’s awesome hun! Good job!

 

And now the cookies sit in the freezer and are ready to be brought into work on Monday! Hopefully, they will taste good after they thaw.  I tried one (now Fiona only gets 7…sorry!).  They are crazy delicious. It’s a good thing they are a challenge to make or I would probably bake them all the time. 🙂

Here’s a fuzzy cell phone picture of the finished product:

Any new challenges? 🙂

I often offer to bake things whenever events come up.  I’m a terrible cook but a decent baker, so it’s fun to get to use those skills from time-to-time.  This past week,  Fiona asked if I knew how to make French Macarons.  Well, I had honestly never tried before, but was excited to find a recipe and give them a try.

Day 1 didn’t go so well.

All of the recipes I found required “almond flour.”  This is made by throwing almond slices into a food processor until they are nothing but dust. Then sifting them. Twice.

Well, first things first. My food processor hasn’t been working since November. Yes people—I have been hand slicing all of the apples for the pies.  However, I couldn’t think of a good way to “hand pulverize” a few cups of almonds.  So, I decided that step one of this whole process would be to fix the food processor.

I set it on the counter. Plugged it in.  Turned the dial. Nothing.  It was at this point I realized that I know absolutely nothing about how this particular piece of machinery works.  Any normal/rational person might go onto the internet and look up the make/model of the food processor, see if other people have had similar problems, etc.  This was not necessary for me. You see, at that moment I remembered something. It was actually a story Eric told me in high school.  If Eric is reading this, I apologize for any details I get wrong.  I really only remember certain parts with any degree of certainty.  It was about someone who had a broken computer/monitor. They called customer service and were told to hold the computer/monitor 2 inches above the floor and drop it.  That would fix it.  So, in my infinite wisdom, I thought that if it would work for a computer/monitor it could also work for my food processor. Honestly, I couldn’t remember if it worked for the person in the story. But, I figured that it would either a) work and all would be right with the world or b) continue not working (read: “break more”) and my situation would not have changed at all. 

I dropped it. It worked 🙂

So, in go the almonds.  I get them to a nice fine dust. I try to sift. I keep trying to sift. Sifting is not going so well. I go back to the recipe and there are no extra details on almond flour.  I search the internet a bit. Turns out, you need to use “blanched” almond slices.  After looking up what “blanched” means in this context (without skins), I look up a recipe for blanching almonds.  I try to blanch 3 batches of almonds. No luck.  Honestly, the person writing the recipe mentioned that she normally makes the almond flour one day and the cookies the next. Now I know why.

So, I now have a bag of pre-blanched sliced almonds and tomorrow is looking up!  I’ll post pictures if I ever successfully make a batch. I’m looking forward to the challenge  🙂

For years I have been wishing/dreaming/plotting for the return of the 1980s.  I was thoroughly excited to see the return of leg warmers over the holiday season.  I gave my niece Rainbow Brite for Christmas…yes, it has been slow but I am finally seeing progress!

There is a new movie coming out. I’m pretty sure it’s a new 80’s movie :-)  The preview looks like it is straight out of the 80s (including a true-blue 80’s movie plot).  I have made Anson watch the preview for it every single time it comes on.  I’m ridiculously excited!

 

We’re trying to decide whether we should go see it at Gold Class Cinemas or if we should try to get a group of people to dress up in 80’s gear and go see it at the normal theatre.  The big question is, are any of our friends interested in seeing this movie? :-) 

And, as a bonus, the soundtrack for this movie is going to be AWESOME!  I have watched this music video several times. It has 39 references to 80’s movies. Can you find/name them all? 🙂

Generally speaking, Anson and I don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day. Neither of us get really excited about going out and making it a huge event.  That said, we will make each other cards, etc for fun (but really, who doesn’t like breaking out the construction paper and glue?) or watch a movie at home.  I guess we’re just a laid back couple.

Until this year.

It all started on Saturday.  Anson had been out and about and when he came home– <BAM!> beautiful pink rose.  I was surprised and all smiles. And yet, I knew the gauntlet had been thrown down.  I suddenly had the desire to be equally surprise-like with a gift.

So, while he was at work on Monday, I ran out and got some supplies to make t-shirts.  Mine had a giant sequin heart on it and read “You had me at Hello World” and his read “Your wish is my shift command.”  Clever? Maybe. Do people get the jokes? Maybe not. They were both stolen from tv/internet and I like them, so that’s that.  It’s the thought that counts! And it took me all afternoon to make them, so I was pretty proud of myself.  I put on my t-shirt and placed his in a box with a bow.  When he got home, he found his gift and then—<BAM!> beautiful garnet ring!

Needless to say, Anson won this Valentine’s Day 🙂

IMG_7901  IMG_7898

I now have my dad’s list of ‘80’s tunes. I’m thoroughly enjoying this! Mostly I just like hearing people get upset over someone being included (or not included) on a list.  Who knew people were so passionate about ‘80’s music? Thus far, no Madonna (surprising, right?). So, if anyone else wants to send me their list, I’m likely to post it 🙂

And now, I present my dad’s top 10 (unedited):

10. Billie Jean-Michael Jackson

Picked this over Thriller due to MJ’s performance to this song during Motown’s 50th anniversary show.  It was where the world was introduced to the "moonwalk".  MJ’s coming out party.

9.  Every Breath You Take-The Police

Like the tune and laugh each time it’s played at a wedding.  According to Sting "it’s a very creepy song about a stalker."

8.  I Want To Know What Love Is-Foreigner

I have a soft spot for big ballads.

7. Need You Tonight-INXS

The late, great Aussie, Michael Hutchins.  A big talent who left us way too soon.

6. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For-U2

Best song from the best album of the 80’s, "The Joshua Tree."

5. 1999-Prince

Prince’s career hits high gear with the best party/dance tune of the 80’s. He hit superstardom with 1984’s album/movie "Purple Rain," but I still like this song better.

4. Love Shack-B52’s

This one’s personal.  Back in my radio days, I helped break the B-52’s into national airplay with "Rock Lobster."  This song made them big time and they did it without selling out their quirkiness.  Another great dance record.

3. In Your Eyes-Peter Gabriel

This one has it all.  Great Artist.  Great Song.  Great Movie.  John Cusack as Lloyd Dobler with boombox held overhead.  A cinema image for the ages.

2. Tainted Love-Soft Cell

One of the classic songs of the "new wave" part of the 80’s.  Still can’t find my favorite version that includes a cover of the Supremes "Where Did Our Love Go?"  Plus, it was the inspiration for one of the great unseen TV ads for Levis jeans http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yBuzCVqOkY

1. You Shook Me All Night Long-AC/DC

Just made it into the decade (released in 1980).  AC/DC was left for dead after the death of lead singer Bon Scott.  They returned in 1980 with new vocalist Brian Johnson and the classic rock album "Back In Black."  This song is everything a rock single should be: inane, juvenile, and full of thinly veiled sexual references played with abandon. There is a reason these guys made $177 million for only 40 concert dates last year – even if they are a bunch of old farts by now. 

Today my dad challenged me to make a list of my top 10 favorite ‘80’s songs and post them.  To him I say: CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

I set a couple of guidelines for myself.  For example, I can only choose 1 song per artist/movie.  Otherwise, it might just read like a “Best of Bon Jovi” playlist :)  Also, I need to put up my “real” favorites, and not what I think might impress the musically-knowledgeable side of my family.  So, here goes:

10. Goodbye to You (Scandal)

9. When I See You Smile (Bad English)

8. I Saw Him Standing There (Tiffany)

7. You Can’t Hurry Love (Phil Collins)

6. You Give Love a Bad Name (Bon Jovi)

5. Thriller (Michael Jackson)

4. Don’t Stop Believing (Journey) 

3. Time After Time (Cyndi Lauper)

I debated between this song and “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” Honestly, both are classics. But, this one has stuck with me. And it’s my list. So there.

2. Take On Me (A-Ha)

1. Your Love (Outfield)

I can’t help it.  I listen to this song in the car, while cooking, while studying…it immediately makes me think of the ‘80’s.  I honestly didn’t think it would be #1  (and it might not be tomorrow), but I’ve been rockin’ to it while writing this post and just can’t help but give it the honor.

That loud <thump> you just heard was my dad’s head hitting the wall, wondering where he went wrong 🙂