Saturday, August 5

I'm learning to cook German style

I'm so excited! Remember, I had a plan where I would ask people to choose a region or country and from that I would draw one and cook and learn about that places cuisine. I had a few friends pick countries:
  • Gina chose Japan
  • Karrin chose Germany
  • Annie chose Morocco
  • CJ chose Africa

A few of them scared me, where would I find good authentic recipe's, what if they required exotic spices, what if they didn't have good desserts!!!

The country's cuisine I'll be exploring for August is; Germany! I must admit that I'm really happy that this is the first one. I have a bit of experience with German food, so some of the ingredients and cooking methods won't be too foreign. But it won't be that easy! You see I have one set German menu I've ever cooked.

My dad graduated from a high school in a German town in central Texas, New Braunfels. And they have really great cottage style German restaurants. My favorite there is Oma's Haus. When we have a special occasion, my dad's request is always for us to cook Rouladins, Sour Kraut, Spatzel and German Chocolate Cake! Other than that, I've cooked a braut or two, had some German lager and that's about it.

For the past week, I've been reading about the region and getting grounded in what makes up the culinary influences there. Geographically, Germany is surrounded by regions that have diverse traditions, histories and people. To the west and southwest you have France and Italy, to the east and southeast you have Austria, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland. To the north you have the North and Baltic seas.

Thursday, August 3

Laundry Bad; Cinnamon Cupcakes Good

Today's Thursday, do you know what that means? It means that my house is extra clean. That makes me really happy. I actually look forward to coming home, walking in the door and seeing that floor with a bit of a shine on it; I love that shine. But, it's a bit of an illusion. Because there's still some basic stuff that has to get done, like the laundry.

My laundry is especially tenacious. You see, each week I wash clothes and there seems to always be more waiting. I love my clothes. I even use fancy laundry detergent, add lavender water to steam them when they dry. I say nice things to my laundry and it just keeps piling on!

This evening is no different. There's a load in the dryer and enough in the hamper to make at least one more load (okay three more loads) and I'm hanging out in my kitchen reading my new Martha Stewart Baking Handbook.

Cupcakes look nicer than laundry. The more I make the less I have? They seem to disappear. My laundry never does that.

So, I'm going now, these wonderful smelling Cinnamon Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing are done. Now it's time to make them disappear!

Tuesday, August 1

A little chocolate pick me up

Have you ever had one of those days that wasn't bad, but it was dancing around the edges of being bad? I'm having one of those days. I walked in to find my work email box with over 50 unread messages (and I was caught up at 9:00 PM last night), I'm having an allergy fit that's making my eyes look like Mike Tyson had his way with me and I had to run to the DMV and the Social Security office.

Deep breath.

So, when I was at Wild Oats grabbing lunch, I saw these in the check out aisle, Tranquility Chocolates. Ahh, that's what I needed.

I love unique food combinations and these little guys really hit the spot. I can't wait to try the other favors. Check them out at

Sunday, July 30

I'm in love with a penguin

We've been working hard lately to re-work our training material at my company. It's a lot of technical stuff and the material can get a little dry. We're at the tail-end of the project, and a little treat came our way.

The creative team at my company came up with a mascot of sorts we're going to use to help guide the new hires through the book. This little guy was presented to us and I fell in love with the penguin. What do you think?

So you've guess it, I had to make a cupcake in tribute to my new friend. Along the way, I've learned some techniques and tips that proved to be very helpful. I got the recipies from a new cookbook called, Hey There, Cupcake by Clare Crespo.
I learned some new things with my new cookbook, like how to properly frost a cupcake. The trick is to have frosting all the way to the edges of the cupcake, no cake in sight. To do that you, put the frosting on with a pastry bag in a swirl pattern. You then take your knife and smooth out the frosting. With each cupcake, I got better and better:
But more on cupcake tips later, I have some new friends to show off. I'm not the most artistic and even Googled and Wiki'ed images of penguins to get the best image of one. Well, needless to say, this is my attempt:
~I'll post this pic when blogger isn't being picky~