Category: simply food

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Thank You Martha

As a junior in high school I became fascinated with cooking and baking. I had probably read all of my moms cookbooks five times over. Saturday mornings were spent on the couch watching Julia, Jacques, Yan, and the Two Fat Ladies. Every week day I would pop my VHS into the TV and set it to record from 10:00-11:00 a.m. so I could come home from school, pop my cardboard Totino’s pizza in the oven, and Martha Stewart. (By the way I totally love Totino’s I know they are not that great in taste or health but let’s be honest I at two this weekend.) And Martha is totally my idle.

That year for Christmas I was given a mixer, pans, baking sheets and a CD ROM of 1 Million Recipes! I was in heaven. At a youth activity for church we were having a baking contest, most kids brought mom’s best cookie recipe, or some variation of a box cake mix, I brought a two foot tall Croquembouche or cream puff tower.
Image Source: Wilton.com

So to say that I have mildly obsessed with cooking for a looong time, is pretty correct.

While in an ideal world recreation would to a huge part of my life, I have definitely been doing way more cooking the past four years than mountain climbing.

And I feel blessed that my cooking is now leading to something that helps me feel fulfilled and useful to our family.

A family friend trusted me with catering her wedding last Spring, and then another friend that Summer. And while I do enjoy cooking of all sorts, I really love to bake, and coming up this March another friend is trusting me with her wedding cake. Let’s all send our prayers heaven ward that it turns out ok.

So in preparation for this wedding I have been getting my feet wet in the fondant world.

When I mentioned last week that I have been busy I wasn’t lying, last week was one baby shower cake, one wedding open house for my brother-in-law, one bridal shower for my to-be sister-in-law, shopping for Kacen’s birthday, making Kacen’s birthday cake, and all the other day to day that is my life.
 
Today I will share with you the two baby shower cakes I have done in the past couple of months.

The first was back in December. My dear friend Christie and her husband Derek have received their handsome little guy through adoption. Christie and Derek love motocross and hope their little guy will love it too.

This was my first attempt at fondant. And I was pretty happy with the final result.


I used box cake mixes and tub frosting. Not that those are bad but, if I am going to be selling these things in the future the craft needs to step up a little bit.

As a baker and chef I care waaaaayyyy more about taste than looks, my personal style is rustic charm when it come to food. I don’t care if things look just so, as long as they taste AMAZING! So the pretty cutesy cakes kill me. I need the inside to be just as amazing as the outside. However with two kids running amuck all day it becomes a three day long process baking from-scratch cakes, making from-scratch frosting and fondant, dyeing, rolling, cutting, yada yada yada.

The second cake was for my friend Vai. She will be having her their child, a baby girl named Neilani. And if this third baby is anything like the other two she will be just too adorable to handle.

The top tier was this Pineapple-Coconut Cake the bottom tier was a yellow box cake mix, doctored up and dyed ombre, with this super yummy Fresh Strawberry Frosting. Both were crumb coated in my favorite Butter Cream, of course found on MarthaStewart.com. and covered with Marshmallow Fondant.

That was quite the process; two cake batters, three frostings, plus homemade fondant. I will definitely have to take a smarter approach next time. But it was super yummy. Yeah my hand writing needs a little practice, I will definitely work on that for the next one.

I have to take the same approach to baking and cooking as I would school. It takes a lot of time and money to get myself properly educated and equipped to do these things. It will take a lot of practical hands on experiences to become skilled at this craft.

Now, is this my ideal job? No. But I do feel useful doing it. I feel like I am learning and growing as I study out the best recipes and techniques.

Tomorrow I will show you the other Martha-esque things I was up to last week.

What We Eat

Sometimes I realize I am probably a little more granola, crunchy, woodsy, mountain woman, save the planet than I like to admit. Recently I had the thought that perhaps the reason why it seems that more people and especially children are suffering from early disease and allergies is because of what we eat, durrr ok that sounds stupid to have a realization. Of course, what we eat affects how well we are but I was seriously contemplating preservatives, steroids, pesticides and household chemicals and got to thinking that just maybe if I took those things out of my house I might be able to improve or sustain our family health and longevity, I am no fool and know it would impossible (if I want my kids to not hate me when I tell them they can’t eat Tommy’s birthday cake cuz it was box mix) to keep my children from any exposure to these things.

But man, have any of you ever contemplated what that might look like? I think my kitchen is pretty average American middle-class fare. We have boxed pastas, and mixes, store bought dressings and sauces, Costco non-organic meats, and just regular old veggies and fruits fresh, frozen and canned. If I were to pull off this feat it would mean that I made nearly everything from scratch (remember no preservatives), I would switch pretty much everything store bought to organic, would have to find a dealer for meats. Seriously these items would have to go or be changed:

Cereal
Milk
Meats
Eggs
Bread
Tortillas
Mayo
Salad Dressing
Pastas
Flour
Crackers

Ok I know it isn’t impossible, I know that some of you actually do¬† live your lives this way. It was just seeming a little overwhelming to me. But sometimes I get these ideas and I really do feel that it would be good, not only for me and my family, but for the world to buy these more whole items, but then I rationalize away these thoughts by over simplifying that it would be a burden on my time and money.

But I don’t know if that is actually true. Perhaps I would go to a more rustic and simplistic way of cooking and eating, which would fall in line with some wonderful simplifying principles that I will be sharing sometime. And if you don’t spend money on prepared foods you will just be allocating those funds to the slightly more expensive organic, hormone free, preservative free things.

So what are you thoughts on this great food debate?

PS today I ate, Kelloggs Protein cereal, milk, boiled egg, crackers and cheese, bread, frozen pizza, homemade soup, M&M’s, ice cream sundae with strawberries and homemade chocolate fudge (what your magic father-in-law fairies don’t just magically show up to make that for you :)? I know I’m lucky)

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A Simple Meal?

I have been trying to simplify my life, cutting out things that take too much time to make time for the really important things, for memories made, and time doing what really matters to me. Part of that simplification is making mostly quick meals, or low impact (on my time and dishes). Yesterday I decided to just pull out some fish (7 minute cook time), frozen edemame (4 minutes in microwave), bagged salad, and boxed pre-seasoned couscous (5 minutes). This was going to be a quick meal done in 10 minutes with only two pans! Well then we decided that the fish will be smelly so we should grill it. The grill was out of propane, so Ky ran to the hardware store to fill it up. They were closed. And the next thing I know I am standing outside forty minutes later stoking a fire to grill our fish.

So much for simple, but dang that fish was so good with a little smoke from fresh fir wood. Yeah Kace won’t touch fish with a ten-foot pole so he had hot dogs, plural.