For Your Perusement!

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year!

I haven't been super attentive to the blog for quite some time.  This has mainly been because I got a pretty nice job, took my very last course of grad school, AND spent some time with my thesis writing.  In addition to this, I spent most of my fall sick with one illness after another.  I think it was similar to a stay-at-home kid entering kindergarten for the first time... you know, so many people and germs and little immunity built up.  BUT, I'm pretty sure I'm adjusted- so yay!

Since it's a new year, I think this blog will morph a bit into something that follows me through this upcoming-super-awesome-crazy year.
  1. Lose Weight
  2. Get In Shape
  3. Get funding for my business plan-->  AND THEN, get the website built.
  4. Buy a car.
  5. Possibly sell the house (and get a new one).
I believe that's it.  We'll see if I have additions though!

It's been nice "chatting,"  hope you have a great new year too!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Jello's Kitchen: weekend recap = )

So- I have a friend, Diana, from WAAAY back in the day. She has a great blog where she gets fun and different people to sponsor her. She's looking for new sponsors and Jello volunteered. Jello is HYSTERICAL. Check her out. This is what she wrote this weekend!

Jello's Kitchen: weekend recap = ): "Hi ! ok so seriously what's up with this weather ? for the record i'm not complaining just wondering. for the past 3 weeks it's been ex t..."

It's That Time of Year

I live in Ames, Iowa.  It is a college town with 52,000 residents and approximately 30,000 are strictly Iowa State University related (more to come on that in The Situation tab).  One unique characteristic in Ames is that although it is possible to get a housing lease on a different schedule, it's difficult.  Nearly everyone rents on a 12 month schedule from August 1 to July 31.  This means that Ames is bracing for moving week.  Thank goodness I get to be a voyeur of this process this year as we won't be moving for at least another year.

This year is different for the hubs and me, though.  I suppose it's just that time of life where everything changes.  I moved down here after college and left my friends up in the Twin Cities.  The hubs moved down from his hometown, leaving his friends.  We developed friends with ISU students-- almost all of whom graduated and are moving on to start their lives now.  Although I will miss them, I am excited for them too.

Two of our friends moved out and stopped by to grill before they move.  I asked them what they wanted and they asked for an orzo salad and cheesecake.
Greek Orzo Salad
 My orzo salad (above) is Greek in nature with Kalamata and Green olives, pepperoccini, grilled squash (yellow and zucchini) and onions.  I added some fresh onions and green peppers, feta and orange vinaigrette to it as well.  It's delicious, but definitely needs to spend at least 1 day in the fridge to meld (Vulcan style and all).
Graham Cracker Crust 
To make the cheesecake I started with a basic graham cracker crust recipe (15 graham crackers and 2 tablespoons of melted butter) and I made it all my own.  I added some vanilla bean paste from All Spice, a tablespoon of instant espresso and a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder.  See my ingredients:

Then, I started making the cheesecake.  Because I do love this vanilla bean paste, I decided it'd be a vanilla bean new york style cheesecake.

Cream Cheese and White Sugar
I normally make nutella cheesecakes that require more nutella and less cream cheese, but heck-- how often does one get a cheesecake request from a friend that's leaving?!  So- I followed the recipe.  After mixing in the milk, eggs, and vanilla bean paste and baking for an hour and then letting the cake rest in the oven for 5 hours-- this is what it looked like:

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake
Although this cake would have been DELICIOUS on its own- I decided to make it decadent by adding a dark chocolate ganache as a topping. 

Dark Chocolate Ganache
It was a good choice.  I made the ganache with a little bit more vanilla bean paste (1/4 teaspoon), 1 cup of heavy cream, 9 oz of dark chocolate, and 1 tablespoon of crown royal reserve and espresso (each).  I let the cake cool on the counter for about 20 minutes and then put it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.  After cutting into it, it looked like this:

Cheesecake from a distance

Up-close, look how amazing it looks!
All in all it was a nice night filled with delicious food. :D

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The 2nd and LAST of our Farmer's Market-ing

I haven't written in a while because I was busy interviewing for "big-girl" jobs and had to make a quick trip up to see my grandma who fell, couldn't get up, and acquired pneumonia in the process.  She's doing okay in her nursing home and even asked how the "bobsey twins"  (the two old chit-chat ladies) were doing, one morning at breakfast.  Yes, some of my wit may have come from her.

On Wednesday I was asked by Tom, the man behind the Main Street Cultural District (MSCD) Farmer's Market if I would be willing to work this Saturday.  He indicated that one vendor that WAS doing the market occasionally has just turned to full-time.  So this would inevitably be my last time.  I must say-- I am a little relieved.  You would think that spending the day baking for a farmer's market would be similar to Christmas cookie or Thanksgiving prep time.  It's not.  I'm not sure why-- because I DO LOVE Christmas cookie and Thanksgiving meal preparations.

Anyway- I have learned that if you're only making 1 item (cinnamon rolls), it's much easier.  And, thankfully, April (whose vendor insurance we're using) pitched in to make some WONDERFUL mini loaves of soda bread.

I made a total of 80 rolls with a 50/50 split between cinnamon rolls and pecan cinnamon rolls...these are how they came out:

Willy (below) was enjoying the shade- this is how our table turned out.  If we were going to be at the market a couple more times, I TOTALLY would have bought a vinyl sign to drape across our back. Instead, I just printed out another one of our logos on plain paper.  :D

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Main Street Cultural District Farmer's Market

This past weekend sure was a busy one! On Thursday I was approved to have a stall at the farmer's market to sell baked goods. On Friday, Willy (the hubs) and I went to Sam's Club to purchse baking supplies.  After paying the application & stall fees, I got to baking!  We had the farmer's market on Saturday and on Sunday we had a house full of people to celebrate the 4th of July.  All of it was fun, but I'm on here to share with you about our farmer's market experience!

"The Sweet Bean" is what we're calling our stand (see previous post) and will be selling a variety of baked goods- mostly sweet and a couple savory items will make an appearance over the next 14 weeks.  We will be at the farmer's market occasionally, so we won't be there the FULL 14 weeks.

For our first time out we sold vanilla bean iced cinnamon rolls, pecan cinnamon rolls with orange-vanilla bean icing, ginger pecan muffins, and rhubarb scones.

Look @ the rhubarb drop scones that were a HUGE hit (we sold over 40)!

                                                                 The dough:

The finished scones.

We also sold 40+ cinnamon rolls AND 40+ orange pecan cinnamon rolls! (we made only 45 or so of each)
These are the cinnamon pecan rolls with orange-vanilla bean frosting.

Lastly we sold out of all of the ginger pecan muffins.

Our tent looked like this:
This is from out front a bit (see the cool blue tent we found in the trash?!)

Closer up--> we ended up rearranging a bit, but this was at the VERY beginning of the market.

Next time we have a stall- our signs will be poster sized, but this is what our first signs looked like:
The bulletin board had our menu, our logo, and a little "thank you for visiting" section.

In addition to our products being A HUGE success, we made friends with Matt Goodman, whose stand was right next to ours. Some of you may know him as the guy who started the gyro stands in Ames (Post on Mr. Goodman coming later).  In fact, we are thinking of coming up with a joint product just for the market... bretzel rolls with spicy hummus and tzatziki anyone?  SQUEE!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

My Undiagnosed ADHD is Kicking in- Again!

I have a tendency to start "30 million" projects whenever I have another solid project going on.  Most people tend to clear out their schedules to focus on the task at hand.  Not me.  In fact- I'm EXACTLY the opposite and for the most part-- waaaay more productive when I'm working on "30 million" things at one time.

So- as you know, I'm working on my thesis.  I should be at school writing- 24/7.  But.  I'm not.  Although I have a business degree and am interested in public institutions-- I am a HIGHLY creative person and sitting behind a desk writing 24/7 drains all of that out of me.

To compensate for this, I have (obviously) started blogging.  I have also decided that I want to sell baked goods (muffins, scones, cinnamon rolls, bread...) at the new farmer's market in downtown Ames.  Why?  Let's just say- I need something to do on Saturday mornings, I LOVE to cook and miss the good ol' Girl Scouts craft and bake sales.

Being the business major that I am, I even designed a logo.  Nice?  Suggestions?  Please feel free to comment!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

My VERY first blog post--EVER!

When I conceived of this blog I thought I would tackle it with the primary purpose of exploring the cool businesses in my community.  As I have been focusing on writing my literature review for my thesis, I have drifted from the intensity I felt for this blog only a week ago. Don't worry-- it will return.

In the meantime: I am going to ward off any writers block by directing my "free-time" writing endeavors toward all my current passions.

First up:
I like my "Buffalo wings" most when they are on a bun!

Whole wheat bun, buffalo turkey, spinach, tomatoes & blue cheese.