At the beginning of Summer I was very optimistic that I would be able to keep up with my Summer to-do list. At the beginning it was quite easy, I do online school so I got out 2 weeks earlier than my friends. I had tons of free time on my hands and I used it. However, when public school was let out, I found myself falling behind. I was gone for days at a time at my best friends house forgetting about the bulbs I planted in the backyard, and the recipes I wanted to try and the lord of the rings..the HUGE book I wanted to complete this Summer. When I finally remembered the promises I made to myself at the beginning of Summer I snapped out of just going with the flow and started fighting the current to get things completed. So far, I am 130 pages into the second book of The Lord of the Rings, I have about 230 pages left.. then the last book “The Return of the King” and then I am done! I feel very confident in saying this will happen! In the recipes department, I am doing just okay, I wanted to make a pie that seemed difficult to do, try two new cookie recipes that I thought up and make a cake that I saw on T.V., so far I have only made one of the cookies…I know..dissapointing BUT I have also created a new pasta dish which I posted just the other day and I have also baked two different kinds of bread. I will get the baking done. I will.
In the gardening department…some things are flourishing while others are browning and dying. Only two bulbs have made it. But im still pretty proud of myself, my first time with bulbs and I managed to keep two alive out of five….yes, if it was a test I would have failed but it’s not so I rocked it.
Last summer was a summer full of new adventures. I tried sushi for the first time, I learned how to dive (at the age of 16, its sad I know), I got over my fear of wearing sandals in public (another sad statement haha), I got over wearing cardigans and vests with every outfit and finally found a way to be comfortable enough with myself so that I would no longer have to cover up everyday.
I was hoping this Summer I would somehow continue to grow..and I did. I now go to the beach every Thursday with my family and have an amazing time, last year I wouldn’t have been caught dead at the beach. I recently got in to working out and this Summer I tried tennis, which was a lot of fun! I have become more open to ideas and more open to change. I have never liked Summer time, winter is my favorite time of year. But it seems that I grow the most in Summer, during Summer I have more time and more chances to be pushed to do new things, more time to really think about nothing important and realize that the things that I once thought were a huge deal are now nothing at all. If it weren’t for the last two Summers I would still be stuck as a shy, awkward, weird and unproud of it teenager. Today I am well aware of the fact that I am nothing like other teenagers and what is considered “normal” and I am so proud of that fact. I’m glad im weird and geeky and have weird friends because we’re awesome 🙂 .
Every year a group of Swallows returns to our home and creates nests under our roof. The only downside of this is the fact that their..how should I word this…their residue gets all over the mail box and sometimes falls on the chairs in the front yard. Other than that, the Swallows are a complete joy to have and they are the sign that Summer has once again started. Everyone gets excited at their return except for my cat Hunter, the swallows don’t like Hunter because he always torments them and is basically a little brat.
On warm summer evenings when the window is open to let in the breeze we can hear them in the front, talking to each other and feeding their little babies. It’s amazing to hear them “talk” and see them fly, their little forked tails. They are just the cutest birds and the most beautiful in Southern California. The babies are now grown and recently learned how to fly but a while back I took some pictures of them and that is the point of this post, I wanted to share them since the birds are such beautiful creatures. I had to take the pictures from inside because when I went outside the birds got a little scared to some of them are outside but most are from inside.
I hope you all enjoy the pictures! thank you for reading an have an awesome rest of your weekend!!! 🙂
Summer is officially here! I am three days in to my Summer break and am proud to say I have gotten a lot done! The first day I completely cleaned my room, dusted shelves, cleaned the floor, cleaned the fan, cleaned out the closet. The second day (yesterday) I gardened, found a new chair for the beach, changed sheets on the beds and vacuumed. Today is family beach day and before I leave I am baking my peanut butter cookies :).
Now to check in with my bulbs. I did sadly kill one BUT I still have four others which are growing quite happily! Here are some pictures of there progress.
At first I was watering way to much even though I thought I was watering to little…bulbs are tricky the first time! But now before I water them I check the soil to make sure and they seem to be doing very well.
I have a new recipe to post, brownies that taste like almond joys…they are quite delicious! To finish this post I have some pictures from last weeks beach day. These pictures were taken at Huntington Beach, CA and it was freezing that day! but it was also beautiful! 🙂 Thank you for reading my post and I hope you all have a wonderful summer and an amazing weekend!! 🙂
Well summer is finally arriving and this means its time to create my summer to-do list..a list I make every summer. Last year the goal was to read nine books that I had purchased but never read, this of course was not completed (I read one). This summer I have put together a list that will be completed, because its possible it’s not work its fun. Spending the summer reading is fun but trying to read 9 books in two and a half months is just stress.
When I first started thinking of how I wanted to spend my summer, I got a bit nervous. I had no goals, nothing that I had wanted to do during the school year but had no time…but then I looked around my room and saw a copy of “Lord of The Rings”..LOVE the movies but I have never read the books so my list was finally getting started with LOTR :). Then I was on a roll, I remembered that months before I learned of a new cake..a victorian sandwich cake mmm added to the list along with making a pie but im not sure what kind yet. I thought my list was completed but after a visit to my Grandma’s house I found something new to add…planting flower bulbs and recording their growth over summer (if I manage to keep them alive..fingers crossed).
I started my summer to-do list last friday in the backyard with the company of my dogs of course! My mom bought me new soil for the bulbs and got out pots for me to use..I then got to work. It was so much fun to plant the bulbs and cover them up with soil (I felt like I was in the movie “The Secret Garden”). Hopefully I don’t mess up on my first summer to-do. I’ll post pictures IF the bulbs start growing flowers but in the meantime here are some pictures of last friday.
I usually don’t like making cakes, I feel like making the batter doesn’t take enough time and it requires no skill. There is one cake I will never get sick of making though and that is this cake, Classic white, and that is because for this cake you don’t just mix everything together and add eggs..you also have to beat together egg whites “until stiff peaks form” and then carefully fold them in. This cake is beautiful and if you choose to add lemon flavoring..its perfect for spring! I got the recipe from my all american cookery book.
Very easy just start by creaming the sugar and butter which is just mixing the two.
Then combine the flour and baking powder, add to the butter and sugar mixture alternately with one cup of milk
..mix well after each addition. Add the salt and extracts, instead of lemon you could do almond, just vanilla, maple, coconut, or even walnut.
This is where it gets fun 🙂 beat the 6 egg whites until stiff peak forms (you can save the yolks and make a yellow cake! I’ll post the recipe for that cake next time) after gently folk in to the batter.
Divide the batter equally in to two cake pans that are buttered and floured (make sure you flour the pans, I didn’t think it necessary and a bit of the cake stuck to the bottom even though the pans were greased)
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes at 375, if the cake starts browning too quickly, cover the cakes with tin foil, then let them continue baking.
I finished the cake with lemon icing that was perfect with the cake..heres the recipe:
3 tablespoons butter
3 cups sifted powder sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
dash of salt
Just combined the ingredients in a bowl with a whisk till combined.
I also topped the cake with strawberries because my best friend said it would look good..and she was right..not only looked good but tasted amazing!!
Hope you all have an amazing weekend and an awesome Easter Sunday!
If you like cake or maybe coconut or cream cheese try this cake!!!! It was honestly amazing! I made this cake when my friend was over this past weekend and it was awesome! Now if you do make this cake make sure you serve it after it spends the night in the fridge, its amazing cold :). I found this recipe in Bon Appetit magazine, this cake is from a resteraunt called “Hominy Grill” and they call it “Classic coconut cake” but I thought coconut cream pie cake was a more appropriate name since it describes the cake perfectly. Now this is a dense dense cake, all you need is one slice..you do not go back for seconds with this one..the cake is like a meal! It took me a while to realize this cake was like coconut creme pie though..but if after reading this you try the recipe and finish the cake and let it cool over night…and then the next day you take a bit you’ll realize what i mean right away.
k so for this recipe you will need:
for the cake:
- nonstick vegetable spray
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup butter
- 5 egg yolks
- 4 eggs whites
for the frosting
- 31/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 8 ounce package of cream cheese
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- extra coconut to cover the beautiful cake
K, so to start preheat the oven to 350 and coat two 9 inch cake pans with nonstick spray..set aside. Mix the flour and coconut in a medium bowl set aside. Whisk buttermilk and baking soda in a small bowl(..k little insider help..don’t use a coffee cup or something that can barely hold a cup..the buttermilk mixture expands so use a big enough bowl so you don’t have to dirty up 3 dishes for this one step haha) set aside.
Beat sugar, and butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy…2 minutes..add the egg yolks and beat to blend. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk mixture in 2 additions..beating just to blend.
Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites and 1/4 teaspoon salt in another large bowl until peaks form. Add 1/3 of egg white mixture to batter and fold in just to blend. Fold in remaining egg white mixture in two additions.
Divide the batter between the two cake pans and bake the cakes for about 35 minutes. When the cakes are done remove them from the pans and let them cool on racks.
Use an electric mixer and beat sugar, cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a large bowl until blended. When the cake has cooled start frosting and when the cake is completely covered with this deliciousness start topping with more coconut…I sprinkled coconut all over, even on the sides and it came out perfect 🙂 .
I hope you decide to give this cake a try..its worth it.
Hope you all have an awesome Friday and amazing weekend!!! 🙂
Saturday was quite lovely, the sun was shining out and for the first time in quite a while, it was real California weather. I had no plans, and while thinking about what I was to spend my day doing I realized I hadn’t made bread in at least a month and a half…this was far too long for a baker! I got out the “American Cooking” cook book and decided to make French bread. French bread is so much fun to make, so simple! Six ingredients and that is it.
Here is the recipe I used :
The recipe is pretty simple, you start by dissolving the yeast in warm water (around 105-115) no warmer no cooler! You don’t want to kill the yeast but you need it to activate. Then you add the sugar and (I personally always wait to add the salt till I start adding the last of the flour) just because salt can kill yeast and I’m paranoid…I have found that with this recipe 4 cups of flour works much better than 4 1/2 cups. With this recipe you don’t knead the dough before letting it rise or put the dough in a clean greased bowl to rise, you leave the dough in the original bowl. Before I leave my dough to rise in the microwave (that’s just where I’ve always let mine rise) I always let the microwave run for two minutes and then put the dough in, this helps the dough rise faster and in most cases cuts the rising time in half!
After the dough has risen get a large cutting board or clean surface and lightly flour it, then cut the dough in half and take on half and start rolling it out to a rectangle at the shape of 10 inches by 14.
Then start rolling the dough from the broadest side and pinch the dough together, then start shaping the dough in to an 18 inch long loaf and place on a prepared pan that is greased and lightly covered with corn meal. Repeat with the next piece of dough. Take a knife and slash the bread four times.
Then cover the dough with a towel and let rise in a warm spot till doubled in size. After the dough has risen again and is finally ready to be baked pre heat the oven to 425 and lightly brush the loaves with ice water. When the oven is ready bake for 10 minutes. Lower the heat to 325, brush with ice water again and let finish baking for 40 minutes. When the bread is done it will be golden, and when tapped on the bottom it will sound hallow. Make sure that the bread is spread out far enough away from each other so that the heat can circulate other wise the bread will bake on top but not on the sides or very middle. When the bread is finished let cool for about 10 minutes and then dig in! This bread is awesome, I made three small loaves and gave two away to my neighbors.
I hope you all have an awesome Monday and amazing week!! 🙂
Yesterday I had the entire day free so I decided I would try making a new bread…simple enough right? noooo! Challah bread was a challenge! Not making the dough but braiding the dough. I have made pretzels a million times and bread with twisted tops but never something like this.
Now I’m pretty sure I didn’t get the braiding quite right but I’m okay with that, it was my first time and learning how to braid the bread was sorta frustrating (I had a little breakdown haha) so I’m just glad it came out looking that good. When the bread was finally done I grabbed a giant slice, this was the best bread I had ever made!! Everyone needs to make this bread at least once because it is gorgeous! So here is the recipe 🙂
I got the recipe from my Grandma’s cookbook “Essentials of Baking”
for this recipe you will need:
- 2 packages of active dry yeast (5 teaspoons)
- 1 cup warm water (around 110-115)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs and 1 for the glaze
- 5 cups of flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 cup butter
- poppy seeds if you want
Start by dissolving the yeast in warm water and let stand for about 5 minutes. Use a wooden spoon to stir in the sugar, 3 eggs, 4 1/2 cups of flour, salt, and the butter until the dough comes together. Turn the dough on to a lightly floured surface and knead, working in the remaining flour as necessary to keep the dough from being too sticky, until the dough is smooth and elastic (you can pull the dough without it breaking off and everything’s worked in) around 7 minutes. Do not add to much flour. The dough should stay soft and will become less sticky with kneading.
Form the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel and let the dough rise in a warm spot for 2 hours until its doubled in size (I always let my dough rise in the microwave).
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, punch down the dough and roll out on to a clean work surface (don’t flour the surface, you’ll want to but it’s not needed trust me 🙂 )
and using your palms start in the center and working outward, elongate 1 piece by rolling it gently against the work surface with even pressure until you have formed a rope as long as the prepared pan. Repeat with the remaining pieces. And this is where it gets difficult..
Line up the 4 strands in front of you horizontally, Cross the strand farthest from you across the other 3 strands so that it is now nearest you. Then cross the strand that is now next to it across the other 2 strands away from you. Position the outside strands so that they are away from the center ones and position the center 2 strands perfectly horizontal. Bring the strand nearest you down between the 2 horizontal strands. Bring the strand farthest from you up and across the opposite side. Again, bring the strand farthest from you down between the 2 straight strands. Bring the strand nearest you up and across to the opposite side. Starting from the strand nearest you, repeat the braiding until you reach the ends of the ropes. Pinch them together and at the bottom and tuck the strands under at the ends.
Preheat the oven to 350 and brush the bread with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the seeds,
bake the braid until it is nicely brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. After 30-35 minutes take out let cool on a wire rack..wait about 15 minutes before cutting in so your bread doesnt dry up.
If your bread does start to brown and get dark too early just cover it loosely with aluminum foil and continue baking…I had to do this with mine.
🙂 I hope you all continue to have an awesome week!!