Just a Girl Trying to Find Her Place in This World

Oh I'm just a girl on a mission…

Tag Archives: Friends

“Pour Some Sugar on [Your Painter’s Pallet]…”

So, as promised, let’s rewind about two weeks now…

Once upon a time, in a cozy little downtown Hamilton art gallery called “Sketch” (let’s laugh at the irony fellow Hamiltonians), a select few McMaster University 3rd and 4th year students presented the art show, “Asterix.” Now, I just happen to be a lucky enough person to have two friends in this particular art show, one of which is one of my best friends. (The same best friend who made me the beautiful Taylor Swift picture you can find here) Now, being the person that I am, who’s currently hooked on an extreme baking spree, I decided that my baking adventure for the week would be cookies for the art show. Now, I’m not a huge fan of making cookies, they seem like simple, time consuming work and  just aren’t as gratifying to me when they’re done as a good cupcake is.

But that’s just me.

So to make my cupcake adventure more appealing to myself, I decided I’m gonna try some grand design that will look pretty and make me feel better…

SPAINTERS PALLET COOKIES

Of course, I made this decision, NOT thinking that I’d then be taking said “masterpieces” to an art show, full of art students, who take art critique as a class…. That didn’t set in until AFTER I finished the cookies.

Now, the sugar cookie recipe itself is quite simple really;

1 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs (IF you want, you can seperate the eggs and save the egg whites for the icing, but you don’t have to)
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 350

2.  Combine butter, sugar, and vanilla in large bowl

3. Add eggs, one at a time, blending until smooth.

4. In a seperate bowl, combing flour and baking powder and blend together. Slowly add this mixture to the butter mixture, mixing well. Form dough into a ball and place in fridge to chill slightly.

5. Sprinkle your working surface with flour so the dough doesn’t stick, as well as the rolling pin. When dough has a slight chill to it, roll it out to about 1/8 inch. Use a circle cookie cutter (or just a glass) to cut circles out of dough.

6. Next, get two small circles (you could use a thimble, or a lid off a small container (I personally used the lid off the new bottle of nail polish remover I bought – after washing it thouroughly of course!) any small circle will work, I also used two at once as I found it easier, but that isn’t necessary) Use the thimble to cut out a 2/3 circle from the side of your cookie, DON’T life the thimble to remove the dough, drag it sideways, this helps shape the cookie.

7. Use the thimble again to cut out a circle beside the newly shaped indent.

8. Bake in oven (on a lined cookie sheet) for about 8-10 minutes. Watch them closely as sugar cookies burn easily. Remove from oven and allow them to cook completely.

Icing/Decorations:

2 eggs
2 cups of icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Food colouring of choice
Pretzel sticks

1. Seprate the egg whites from the yolk (you don’t need the yolk)

2. Mix in 1 cup of icing sugar per egg, if the icing is not at a consistency you want, feel free to add a bit more icing sugar to thicken it)

3. Bland the vanilla into the mixture.

4. With your white icing, cover each cookie (It will seem thin, don’t worry) WORK FAST before the icing starts to harden, and place a pretzel stick across the ‘finger hole’ of each cookie to represent the ‘paint brush’.

5. Divide your remaining icing (you made need to make a second batch depending on how many cookies you have) into 3-4 parts. Add food colouring to each part until you get the colour you want (in this case, dark colours work well)

6. Put your coloured icing into piping bags (or ziploc baggies – put about 3 or 4 layers of scotch tape on one corner and snip a small hole off the corner) and drop one drop of each colour on each of your cookies. Get creative, remember, it’s a painters palet, they don’t all look exactly the same, and painters aren’t too specific about where they put the paint.

I left the cookies out overnight (because I always bake at like 8 or 9 at night) on cookie trays and plates to make sure the icing hardened completely before stacking them. Then just store them in an airtight container until ready to use them.

Turns out, all my panic over the artists criticizing my work (because let’s face it, I know nothing about art) actually was just simple worry… people loved them! And I really did enjoy making them.

Just for any interested, here’s a few pictures from the art show as well:

Some of the best people you will ever meet...

Shona makes pretty art...

More pretty art, with Shona

Emily makes pretty art too...

Shona's art...

More art

 

“And We’re the (Four) Best Friends That Anyone Could Have…”

Woohoo what a day!

I got an awesome workout in with TurboJam this morning, got all  my laundry done, did some baking, and then enjoyed a fabulous dinner with my best friends in the world! The four of us have been friends now for almost 15 years… and they are literally like sisters to me. It’s been too long since we’ve all gotten together, what with life, school, and work getting in the way… but when we’re together it’s awesome. I love them all dearly and miss them already… especially since I know two of them leave this weekend for school and I won’t see them until the end of February. 😦 BUT we had a blast tonight, and we did our secret santa gift swap, shared some stories, gave advice, made resolutions (Actually my one friend made our resolutions for us… her word is law though. Always has been.), serenaded some waiters… Barrel of laughs like always.

My sisters and I this past summer

Anywho, along with that awesome day, I did a little bit of baking. I figured, tomorrow will be my first time hanging out with people at school… so why not get some baking in for them while I can. 🙂

Today I made left over chocolate tarts…. they taste a lot better than they sound. Truth is I don’t actually know the name, I saw the recipe at Halloween time on Rachel Ray – featuring Buddy the Cake Boss. It’s not so much a recipe as a way to rid the house of all the left over chocolate and candy.

Basically, whatever chocolate/candy you have left over, you put into a pie crust (obviously try a little bit to pay some attention to flavours) and then you bake it and serve it. I did a mini version…. Tart size.

First I baked my tart shells slightly, just enough to get them a real light golden colour… then I took them out and while they were still warm, I put a reese peanut butter cup in the bottom of each (the warmth started softening the chocolate right away so I could push it down a bit) after that I added a piece of a mini Aero bar into each tart…

Then I added a piece of Hershey Milk Chocolate with Almonds… and a piece of a crunch bar… and to top it off and add some colour, a sprinkle of reeses pieces candy. Then I stuck it back in the oven enough to melt the chocolate.

I cooked it for a little bit, maybe 10 minutes, honestly I just watched for the shells to darken more, I didn’t want to overcook it (though a few of the chocolate pieces that stuck up burnt a little bit… my bad)

I think they look good… unfortunately I’m watching what I eat (I researched all my options tonight for dinner before we went and I got a lovely 8oz steak (no sauce) and a side salad (dressing on the side) for only 400 calories… love it!) so I have yet to actually taste these… however, I will let you know tomorrow how the verdict turns out. 🙂

“If You’re Happy and You Know it Shout Hooray!”

Hooray!

Guess what!?

I said ‘no!’ to potato chips today! I get it’s not a huge deal, but to me it is. Potato Chips… Mrs. Vickies salt and vinegar mainly, are my downfall. I have major issues with chips. Buuuuut I. Said. No. 😀 Proud moment for me ok.

Instead today I made myself a lovely haddock fillet with brown rice for dinner. And an incredible strawberry smoothie for a late breakfast (since I overslept a bit more than I should have). It was a really good supper though, and like I said I’d do in my resolutions, I turned the tv off while I was eating my dinner, and focused only on it. Little by little I’m going to get myself back on track to a healthy eating habit. Baby steps.

I also didn’t buy any Tim Horton’s today… put $1.60 in my Jar instead and made a tea. 🙂

The highlight of my day however, TurboJam. Today was the first time I’ve gotten all of the moves completely right the first time, and didn’t have to slow down a lot because I was tired. Not saying I wasn’t tired or sweating like a pig, but I pushed myself through it and didn’t give up. I just hope I can keep it up. I know I can.

Other than that today wasn’t too interesting. I went back to classes today at McMaster. I only made 1 of 4 of them…. but it was the most important one. *blushes* In all honesty, my mom was sick most of the night and in the morning, and I can only get my grandma to stay with her for so long, so I chose my afternoon class instead of the morning, because I get participation marks for the afternoon class. It was fun going back though! I got to see some of my cool people, not everyone, and not for long, but I did get to see some cool people.

Also, here’s a treat for you, my friend just got this necklace for her birthday, I think it’s incredible. It’s not this exact necklace, but very similar. Enjoy. 

“Giddy On Up and Giddy On Out…”

So guess who gets to cross something off her bucket list!? This girl right here, that’s who!

I had an incredible time last night, and, I got to ride a mechanical bull! One of my best friends, Emily, took me out to a bar in town that has a mechanical bull, Dirty Dogs. It was a total blast! The stairs at work today, which happen to be quite steep already, were so painful to climb though! But other than that no harm done. It really was just a lot of awesomeness, and I can’t wait to go back. I need to out-do my personal record of… drum roll please…………12.7 seconds! Hahaha

Riding the Bull

Anywho, I had an awesome time, with great friends, and got home late and got up early for work and it was all just so great. McMaster University’s football team also won the Vanier Cup last night, and the Toronto Maple Leafs won the hockey game…. it was just an overall great night. In case you haven’t gotten that yet.

Today was less exciting (I honestly had butterflies in my stomach all day yesterday), but it will be a more exciting day then tomorrow, as all I have to work on tomorrow is homework, essays, and readings. One more week of school….one more week of school…. anywho, I’ll appreciate work today as I won’t like all the stuff I need to work on tomorrow. I should probably organize my room better too…

Anywho, I wanted to update you all on my bucket list accomplishment, and I honestly recommend you get out there and try a mechanical bull (just do a google search for mechanical bull bars in your city). It’s just the right amount of adrenaline rush you need to get those bucket list accomplishments started!

Do You Know the Muffin Man…?

Woo-hoo! Day two!

So today I’m dedicating my blog to two of my best friends, Gaggy, and Chelsea. Chelsea keeps telling me to start a baking blog whenever I bring in my experimental baking to school for everyone to try (since I’m too chicken to sample my own food apparently). Anywho, I don’t know why, but the past, let’s say three weeks, I’ve been in a real housewife/baking mood. I really don’t know why. I just sort of get bored of doing whatever it is I’m doing and decide, let’s bake something! Now, I’ve never been a baker. I left all that stuff to my mom and Baba. I mean sure, I’ve made the occasional batch of sugar cookies or peanut butter cookies… but I don’t consider those to be anything major. But then one day while stocking the shelves at work (I work at a grocery store for those who don’t know) I saw a recipe on the back of a bag of chocolate chips that were on sale, and thought ‘hey why not’. Usually my mom and I just buy those premade cookie dough’s that you literally just open and transfer from the package, to a cookie sheet, to the oven, but I’ve always wondered how hard it would actually be to make chocolate chip cookies from scratch. So, what better time to try than when they’re on sale. I bought the chocolate and then when my mom went to bed that night, whipped up a batch of cookies…. which I quickly got bored of waiting for since I only had one cookie sheet that held like, eight cookies at a time. So I started rummaging through the cupboard and found mini cupcake papers… and behold! The “mookie” (as my friends mom later termed it) was born! Mini Muffin Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Cookies and Mookies

Anywho, that was fun, so when I later found a recipe online by chance for rainbow brownies, well I just had to try it. But I’ll save that recipe for another day when I have nothing else to talk about. Last night I actually tried a recipe my mom saw on TV for Flourless Chocolate Torte, which I find is an extremely fun word to say. Torte. T-orte! Torte! Besides the joys of the word ‘Torte’, my friend Gaggy also found out recently that she’s allergic to white flour, and since I miss her terribly, the recipe made me think of her, and therefore I needed to try it. It went splendidly. The recipe was quite easy actually, a few more dishes to wash then I would have liked, since everything gets mixed separately, but still relatively simple.

So without further ado, the recipe:

Flourless Chocolate Torte (The Fancy Appearance)

10 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used ten baking squares of semi-sweet chocolate. I could not find ‘bittersweet’ chocolate anywhere – semi sweet seemed the closest bet,)
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 egg whites
5 egg yolks
2 Tbsp + 1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

1)  Preheat the oven to 300 °F.  Grease a 9-inch springform pan, line the bottom with parchment, then grease and dust the entire pan with sugar, tapping out any excess. (I didn’t have a springform pan – in fact being new to this whole baking thing, I don’t even know what a springform pan is – so I used a regular glass cake pan, it worked fine.)

2)  Melt the chocolate and butter in a metal or glass bowl placed over a pot of barely simmering water, stirring constantly.   Once melted, remove the bowl from the heat and let cool slightly. (Again, that seemed like more dishes than was necessary, so I put my chocolate and butter in a mixing bowl in the microwave for 40 seconds, stirred it, and then heated it in 20 second intervals, stirring in between, until it was melted)

3)  In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites with 2 Tbsp sugar until the whites hold a soft peak (when the whites curl when the beaters are lifted).  Set aside. (I attempted to do this with a whisk. It did not work. Use an electric mixer)

4)  In another bowl, whip the egg yolks with the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and the vanilla until doubled in volume, about 4 minutes.  (I used a whisk for this. It seemed to work. I may use an electric mixer next time however, just to see if it turns out differently)

5) Fold the melted chocolate mixture into the whipped yolks, and then fold the whites into the mixture in 2 additions.  Spread the batter into the prepared pan.

6)  Bake the torte for 35 minutes.(Or until you can stick a toothpick or knife into the center and have it come out clean. It will look a bit like brownies when it’s done)  As soon as you remove the cake from the oven it will begin to fall, but it is supposed to.  Cool the cake to room temperature then chill for at least 2 hours before slicing and serving. (I left mine in the fridge overnight)

My Flourless Chocolarte Torte

Today, I took the torte to school with me, as well as a container of raspberry pie filling, and let my friends dig in. They all said they liked it… It is very rich though just on it’s own, so I do recommend the raspberries to tone down the chocolate overload a bit (though I’m sure any other berry filling would work) Overall though, it turned out fantastic, now to decide what to make for everyone next week…. I’m starting to get a knack for this baking thing…

Welcome to the World (Of Blogging)

Alright, so since my first blog was an epic failure on my part, I decided to basically erase all my posts, and start fresh. I’ve also had a *cough*few people telling me I should really get a blog started (most of them didn’t know about the last blog, you know, since I pretty much failed on it)… so here it is, the new and improved, goal setting and following, blog.

So, since it’s the new first official blog, I’ll start with the typical ‘ten facts’:

1. I’m still not really sure what to include in a Blog: Bear with me – I’m still new at this, I’m going to try a few things – challenges, baking recipes, exercise tracker – and knowing me, I’ll probably try to do them all at once – so keep an eye on the blog, because it shall be ever changing. My main focus is going to be goals. Set a goal, follow through with it on the blog until I accomplish it. Keep an eye on my ‘Bucket List’ tab up at the top… Hopefully I’ll be crossing those of (and maybe adding new ones to the list) as my blogging days increase!

2. I’m a clutz: I’ve come to consider it a skill. It makes it easier to laugh it off. Some of my favourite moments include the multiple poles I continue to walk into at work; the door at my university that’s a ‘pull’ door, yet I continue to walk into it even after two and a half years; the blind man I almost walked into on my first day of university; the flying bird I tripped over one day while I was out for a run – yes you read that right, it was flying; and most recently the ‘no parking’ sign I walked into, right after slipping and wiping out on the grass while running to the bus.

3. I’m an English Major:  I like to use this as an excuse when I make stupid mistakes involving basic math or numbers (Like reading my schedule wrong at work) Also, feel free to point out any spelling and grammar mistakes. I encourage “…I thought you were an English major…” jokes.

4. I love music: My iPod can go from a  Saving Abel song, to a Taylor Swift song, to an Eminem song, to a Celine Dion song, to a Ke$ha song, to a Nickelback song. Legit. I love it all. My music preference for the day changes with my mood. In fact, maybe I’ll try and name each post after song lyrics… let’s see how long that lasts. Day One: Check!

5.  Taylor Swift is my Idol: For those of you who could not tell, yes, my blog name is based off of her song “Place in this World.” I love her. I can relate with almost every one of her songs, and her newest CD, “Speak Now,” literally came out at a time when I needed it, and all the messages in it, the most.

6. My friends and family mean the world to me: I take care of my mom. I’m an only child. My friends – and I mean my true blue, real, friends – are like siblings to me. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for them or my mom. Nothing.

7. I love reading: I really do. It’s getting harder to find time, but I love it. I’m a Harry Potter nerd. I admit it. The Outsider’s is also an all-time favourite. I’ll share a few more favourites in future blog posts.

8. I am addicted to Tim Horton’s Tea: Addicted. I have at least two a day, on days when I work (across the street from a Tim Horton’s) or I’m at school (with four Tim Horton’s (that I know of) on campus), I’ve reached up to six teas a day. Only Tim Horton’s though. I even buy the boxes of their teabags to take home. I don’t know why, it just tastes so much better than regular tea. Not that I refuse regular tea, I’ll drink it too… I just prefer good ol’ Tim’s.

9. I love Kickboxing: I did it for over a year, then the gym I was going to closed. Since then it’s been hard to find a good, affordable gym, especially when I have no time to look, and a bunch of other expenses that need to be dealt with first. Currently I’m on a ‘TurboJam’ kick though – Pun intended – It’s a video program from BeachBody (the company that makes P90X) that combines kickboxing and a bit (and I mean minimal) amount of dancing. It’s basically a kickboxing routine set to loud, quick paced music. It’s so addicting, and the food recommendations that come with it are so great too! My cousin’s fiancée recommended I try it, and I’ve been hooked ever since.

10. I was originally inspired to start a blog by watching The Rachael Ray Show: There was a girl on Rachael Ray who went on the Carb-Lover’s Diet. You can find her blog here. I was intrigued by her… for lack of a better word at the moment… bravery. She documented her weight loss on her blog, pictures and all. I haven’t had a chance to go back and read her whole blog, but I do plan on it. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not self-conscious of my body, I’m happy, I really am. But I also know I could be healthier. It’s not just about how I look, it’s how I feel, and I know from experience that I feel a lot better when I eat healthier. I’ve done it before, but like Jen I can’t seem to find that one plan that sticks, and if I have I haven’t found the ambition to stick to it I guess. Jen’s story really got me thinking though, anything really is possible if you want it bad enough and have the determination to start it. Maybe I just need more encouragement to really get focused on all of my goals. So what better way then to post all my challenges and worries on the internet for all to see. My mom always says I work best under pressure – so lay it on me!

So, after contemplating this for a while, I’ve decided to take a page out of Jen’s book and start my own blog. Now I don’t want to copy her, and I’m not going to make this a weight loss thing, it’s more of a setting goals and following them through type of blog. I feel that if I commit to something as simple as updating a blog once a day, I can force myself to commit to bigger goals that I’ve been putting off for so long. No more “this is silly” or “I’ll start tomorrow” or “I can’t start a new workout schedule on a Tuesday, that’ll look weird. I’ll start fresh on Saturday, *inhales bag of chips* …uh… Sunday.”

So here’s to new beginnings, new attitudes, new adventures, and new goals as I set out to find my place in this world.