Bookworm

June?! Seriously? That was the last time I wrote in this? Ugh..see what had happened was…

Ok fine, I suck! But then again it’s not like anyone reads this. So it’s kind of like catching up with an old friend. Hi! How have you been? Anyways..lets get this post started!

So I titled this post bookworm. Haha! Guess what? I’m not one. You would think someone as introverted as myself would be, but I’m not. To tell you the truth I hate reading unless I have to. I’m actually embarrassed about this. I never picked up the love for reading as a child. Reading makes me sleepy. I find it boring and tedious. I had my eyes checked and the optometrist told me I have a slight lazy eye, and she bets reading makes me tired. Well she was right! Maybe that’s why I hate it. I’ve mentally associated reading with the body’s natural reaction to boredom. Never noticed my lazy eye? Good.

I am also embarrassed to mention that of the few books I’ve actually read for leisure, most were of ‘adult’ nature. I guess I’m some sort of closet perv. Who knew. I bet you’re curious what books I have under my belt. So here are the ones I can remember: My Horizontal Life; Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea; Chelsea Chelsea, Bang Bang; Confessions of a Video Vixen, Hot Gimmick (Manga counts!), the Fifty Shades of Grey series (all within a week!), and Wicked (yes, there are adult references in that one, too).

Wicked, took me FOREVER to finish. Probably because it dealt with politics. Oz politics, but still politics. Another issue I find boring. Geez, I don’t read or like politics. I feel like an idiot compared to the rest of society. Oh wait! I DID read a non-sexual book. The Perks of Being a Wallflower. My intentions were good. I thought it would be a non-sexual book I could put under my belt, but the ending came out of nowhere and ruined what I thought would be innocent.

It never crossed my mind to read any of the Harry Potter series, Twilight series, or Lord of the Rings series. Even AFTER liking all the movies.

I wanted to read Hunger Games after watching it, but I couldn’t do it. I ended up getting the audio version of the series (lame, I know).

ANYWAYS..I’ve started a new book! As far as I know, there shouldn’t be any ‘adult’ references. Here’s why: It’s a Young Readers book. Apparently, the only non-sexual books that piqué my interest aren’t on par with normal adult reading levels. So I’m either a perv or an idiot. Yikes.

Curious about my new book? It’s call The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani. It was the book cover that drew me to it (and yes, I do this to new people in my life…I’m a people watcher, get over it). Anyways, it’s similar to Gregory Maguire books that show a different view of an existing story (Like how Wicked is about the Wicked Witch and her life growing up in Oz). The School for Good and Evil references famous Fairy Tales and how to become Good or Evil so you can be famous. For instance, Snow White was once a student at the Good tower and took courses for speaking to animals, how to smile, etc. The witch that poisoned her was a student at the Evil tower who took courses in uglification.

I enjoy it.

I’m not very good at this

Geez it’s been a a minute since I wrote in this blog. As you can tell, I’m not a very good blogger. Anyways. I just need a place to jot down my current thoughts. So sit back as I ramble. Judge me, hate me, love me, adore me…whatevs…

So…we are SO close to being out of debt and my dreams are starting to get bigger and within reach. So as Mike’s separation from the military is within 5 years, if all the stars were aligned perfectly, and I was given a choice to do whatever I wanted and everyone was happy to oblige, this is what I would want.

1. Sell this tiny townhome and have Mike, Dax, Jr, and my Dad apply to Saudi Aramco where our families will all be accepted.
2. Live there for 2-3 years while each family racks up 6 figure salaries.
3. Return to the US, pool our money and custom build a duplex with my sister with guest houses for our parents, in-laws, and brother (triplex, if he wants to live with us!) (this du/tri-plex will have ONE gourmet kitchen in which I will be in total control)

Did I mention that we will buy our homes in cash? No financing here! And whatever jobs we decide to do when we return, will strictly be used for utilities and play money!

I love my family. And although many American families try and get away from their parents, I am the total opposite.

No, not Macaroons, MacarOns.

Pistachio and Nutella Macaron
Yes. Macaron with one ‘O’. Delicious. MacarOOns, not so much. Well, I’m not that big a fan of coconut, so I’m pretty sure, there are some people out there who might think otherwise. Moving on…if any of you have been reading my facebook status updates, you would have noticed that I have attempted macarons. I repeat: ATTEMPTED. Those sumsabizznatches are hard! Especially since i’m not a baker. Nope. Me and Mike aren’t fans of cakes and dessert type thingies, so I never really bothered with baking, unless it came from a box. Well, my introduction to Macarons came from Rhena. Her eyes nearly popped out of her head when I told her I never had a macaron. She gently placed a green looking pillowy cookie encased in a crispy shell into my hand and patiently waited for my response. My first thought before biting into it: Pistachio? Ew. But as I closed my eyes and bit into my first macaron, I was in heaven. It was uh-mazing. I was anxiously waiting to get home a google the recipe. After so much research, there were so many factors that I had to remember: aging the egg whites, making them room temperature, not over beating them, not under beating them, and finding the right almond meal. Well let me tell you, I’ve done 6 batches so far, and I am ALMOST there. The only problem I have is my effin cookie sheet. Its kinda warped because its cheap(I told you I wasn’t a baker). And my parchment paper. It says to buy the individual sheets, not the roll, or else they won’t lay flat, and it will start looking like amoebas. Unfortunately, I bought the roll before I read that part, and well yeah, I don’t want to waste it. So yeah..my macarons aren’t perfect, but they do have the ‘feet’ that every professional macaron baker strives to achieve! Don’t know what I’m talking about? Here’s a pic from Nooble Patissier.
Macaron Diagram

So yeah..my macarons taste great, they’re just not round, LOL. I’ve ordered a silicone mat especially made for macarons, so once that comes(and once I buy a better cookie sheet), It will be perfected. But since some of you are asking for the recipe..here it is. If this is your first time, I suggest starting with one egg, which yields about 10-12 macarons. Also, investing in a scale, small calculator, and a mixer will help tremendously. You don’t have to have the fancy schmancy Kitchenaid mixer, and hand mixer will do just fine. I’ve used both, and they produce the same results, and to be honest, the hand mixer is so much easier to clean. Anyways, here’s what I’ve been working with:

Ingredients for shell:
1 aged egg white (separate the yolk from the egg and let it sit on your counter covered for TWO days.
1.2 grams of almond meal/gram of egg white (this goes for about $8 at Whole Foods or $4 if you’re by a Trader Joe’s)
2 grams of powdered sugar/gram of egg white
.3 grams of granulated sugar/gram of egg white

Ingredients for filling for 10-12 macarons:
57 grams of powdered sugar
28 grams of almond meal
3 tbs of butter
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Before I go on to the HOW TO part, I just wanted to give you a little more info on the ingredients. How much almond meal and sugar you have is in relation to per gram of egg whites. One egg white yields about 30-40 grams. So lets say your egg white was 40g, then your almond meal would be 48g, powdered sugar would be 80g, and sugar would be 12g. Also, in order to get the desired ‘feet’, it is a MUST that you age your egg whites. Don’t try taking any shortcuts with this recipe, I’ve tried. And failed. With that being said, lets get started!

Shell:
1. Pour your almond meal and powdered sugar into a food processor and pulse for a few seconds. Make sure its very fine. Set aside.

2. Beat the eggs on low until it becomes foamy (like spit, LOL), then turn up speed to medium and add the granulated sugar slowly. Continue beating until your mass is glossy and forms stiff peaks. If you dip a spoon, the mass should NOT fall off. If it starts looking clumpy again, you over beat and should start all over. It is advised that you beat your eggs in a metal or glass mixing bowl, because plastic ones could interfere with your meringue. **If you want your shells to be colored you may add a few drops of food coloring at this time

3. Gently and gradually, fold in the almond meal/powdered sugar mixture in to the whipped egg whites. Once it is fully incorporated, put it into a piping bag

4. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper and pipe your macarons into 1 inch diameter circles. When done, tap the bottom of the cookie sheet to allow bubbles to rise. Pop these little bubbles with a toothpick and let them rest for 1 hour until they form a skin.

5. Preheat the oven to 320 degrees 20 minutes before the macaron’s resting time is up. Place the macarons on the middle shelf. If they are tinted, Put the macarons on the bottom third of the oven and place an empty cookie sheet on the top shelf to block the macarons from browning. Bake at 320 degrees for 10 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 280 degrees and bake for 5 more minutes.

6. Allow them to fully cool before gently peeling of the parchment paper!

Filling:
1. Beat the butter until it is creamed
2. Add remaining ingredients (you may add your favorite flavor here as well. I like to add 1/8tsp of flavored frosting powder)
3. Place mixture into a piping bag and pipe small circles on every other macaron shell and then sandwich them.
4. Enjoy!

If you do this recipe, please let me know how it turned out. I will definitely be updating this once I get it boutique worthy..LOL

Hats

Nico loves hats…but I think one of these are wrong…

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Ps…Vegas was fun! But that deserves its own post..just working on uploading and editing all the pics…

Vegas, Here I Come

Well..all my bags are packed. Yup. I got too excited and finished packing 4 days before my trip. That’s a new record for me, considering I usually pack the night before. LOL. Anywho…this weekend is a much needed vacay…Mostly because I’m so homesick and I get to see some familiar faces from home…oh yeah and the alcohol is a plus.

Jana’s Bachelorette is going to be frickin awesome! Thanks to Bex and Morgan, we were able to make reservations at LAX…where Ice-T and Coco will be hosting a Players Ball Party, The Bank..where Lupe Fiasco will be spinning,and Haze..where Ludacris will be throwing a costume party..We also have a couple things on our to-do list like catching a Cirque Du Soleil show, shopping, eating like pigs, and taking discretionary pictures throughout the whole weekend!

Did I mention we got a 2 bedroom suite at PH with a full kitchen and dining table complete with washer and dryer?! WTF!? CRAY CRAY! Im packing little laundry detergent cubes bc the last time I was in Vegas a bottle broke in my luggage and I had to get all my sh!t drycleaned at the hotel…WAH! oh well…MEATBALL PROBLEMS!

I’m hoping to catch a drunken Snookie video Saturday night since she’s hosting a party at Pure…we’ll see!

Dinosaurs, Dragons, and Guns…

What’s with little boys and dinosaurs? I know I didn’t introduce them to Nico. He never showed much interest in toys when he was younger. In fact, he never had a favorite toy or security blanket. He just played with whatever was around and forget about them a few minutes later. The longest he’s ever stuck with a toy was about an hour…and that was a empty paper towel roll. He has, however, stuck with high tech gadgets. Back when I had an iPhone 4, I gave him my old iPhone 2G to play with, and he PWNED that thing. Spent hours playing educational apps. Then came my iPad2. He basically took ownership of it. Nico lets me “borrow” it. He calls the iPad “bubble” because of the bubble-popping app that he 1st played on it. Anyways…I think the iPad is the culprit for his dino addiction. He watches Netflix all the time, and he knows how to navigate through it like it’s no joke. At first, it was Barney, then Spongebob and Yo Gabba Gabba. On occasion he watches Wallace & Grommit. But recently, he’s been searching for anything with dinosaurs in it. Every time we’re out and about, he always growls, and Mike and I look around for a dinosaur that he may have spotted. Oh yeah, he also loves dragons. Ever since we saw that movie, How To Train a Dragon, it’s been on repeat non-stop. So yeah..dinosaurs and dragons. Not that there’s anything wrong with them, I just assumed kids liked them because their parents wanted them to like them. I didn’t know that boys were programmed to like them. It’s so typical, his toy box is full of guns, dragons, and dinosaurs. He rarely plays with his stuffed animals. When it’s time to leave the house, he grabs the first thing he can get his hands on; a half-eaten cookie, his juice, or a toy. Most of the time its a gun. I try to downsize because I hate carrying a bulky bag…but this kid has so much shizz! Anywho…i leave you with another pic of my beautiful boy and his awesome tail.

Nico and "my" ipad

Hot diggity dog!

So I’ve been craving hotdogs lately and recently I came across some creative ways to display cute Halloween themed food. (Google Crescent Mummy Dogs) Then I remembered the time our friends Rhena and Godo had a cookout, and the grilled hotdogs with bacon wrapped around it and OH EM GEE, it was the bomb! And then I remembered I had a can of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls that I got for free for buying a Foodlion brand of something. SCORE! Most of my greatest ideas come to me during my nights of insomnia. So one night, I googled a lot of different ways people did these crescent dogs and I put them all together: A cheese hotdog wrapped in bacon, wrapped in a crescent roll! Here’s how I did it.

Ingredients:

I can of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
8 hotdogs
8 slices of Pre-cooked Bacon
8 hotdog-sized strips of Colby Monterrey Jack

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1. Slice the hotdogs halfway and stuff the cheese

Colby Monterrey Jack

2. Wrap a slice of pre-cooked bacon around the dog. You can use 2 slices to fully cover it, but I had to calorie count for Mike

Fully Cooked Bacon

3.Roll one triangle into a long rope and wrap it around the bacon dog. I wrapped it the opposite way that I wrapped the bacon. You can also flatten the triangle to the size of the hotdog and roll it up. I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out so I only did one.

Rolled and Wrapped

4. Place all 8 dogs on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 until brown. Mine took 8-9 minutes.

Ready for the heat

Here’s what the finished product looked like. It was a little tricky to eat because the dough didn’t cover all the dog so it was a little, uh flacid. =T So maybe next time I would cut the hotdog in half and use one crescent roll for each half.

Ready to Eat?

So here’s the guinea pig. It was easier to eat, but as you can see the dog is peeking out. This one looks kind of x-rated to me

The Guinea Pig

but yeah..im definitely gonna try this again with a few more tweaks. I leave you with a picture of my handsome boy..

All done!

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