Saturday, May 17, 2014

Still cold, but the kitchen is warm

It's May 16, and it snowed in downtown Chicago today. I shivered in my home office all day. To keep warm, I thought about baking.

Mmmm. I love to bake. I love to create in sugar and pastry - it's my happy place. Maybe I'll share some of those creations with you over the next few weeks - kind of a cake-y nostalgia.

Sweet Goodbye Cake (2014)
This is an enormous cake -- a double layer half-sheet (12 x 18 inches) in a classic yellow vanilla cake. The cake is filled with strawberry buttercream -- Swiss meringue buttercream blended with strawberry jam, which turned out to be a big hit at the retirement party.

The frosting is a base layer of Swiss buttercream, with decorations in a classic American (read: Wilton) decorator's buttercream. I wanted a spring theme, so there are poseys with leaves, stems and accent dots, using blue, pink, violet, green and yellow. The poseys are made using drop flower tips.

The Sweet Goodbye cake was so heavy, we used a cart to move it into the building (because I know I would have dropped it!). It was well-received, which makes it all worthwhile.

Bonus - Cupcakes!
I always over-make my frosting, just to be safe. What do to do with it? We have a small refrigerator, so storing six colors of frosting for any length of time is out of the question. I know! Cupcakes!

I actually used a mix for the cupcakes in the interest of time. Note there are 23 cupcakes. My mother asked who the cupcake thief was, and I answered, "Betty Crocker." Previously, the box held 18 ounces of mix; now it holds 15, which makes fewer, smaller cupcakes.

Anyway, I was very popular at work the next day!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Yes. It's cold.

It's cold. It's February in Chicago, and it's cold.

Even my hot flashes are only lukewarm.

I can't keep up with filling the humidifier, the heater runs 'round the clock, and my skin is so dry it hurts.

It's cold, and it's been cold for what feels like a long time.

Okay. That's better. I'm over it. Thanks for letting me whine a bit.

Now then, what else is going on? I've been staying busy making pasta, reading, even watching the Olympics (a bit). Oooh, there's a good rant.

I'm patriotic - I love this country and cheer for our Olympians, but I feel cheated with the NBC coverage of these winter games from Sochi.

Prime time coverage seems to be limited to a few sports: hockey, snowboarding and skating. I'm also disappointed that NBC focuses almost exclusively on U.S. athletes. I was watching an event earlier this week, and as soon as it became clear that the U.S. athlete was not going to win, coverage ended and the network moved on. Wait! What about the winner? I'd like to see more!

What I don't need more of are interviews (as entertaining as Bob Costas is when he looks like he's been poked in both eyes with a sharp stick). Sports! Give me more sports - and all of it, not just what your girlfriend wants to see!

=pant= Sorry. I'm a bit out of breath with all this ranting. Boy - I wish I was in charge of Olympic programming at NBC. They must have hours of unused footage. It's a shame not to use it. I'm probably in the minority, though. Their demographic research probably shows that most people want to see highlights only, and that highlights means Team U.S.A, rivalries and big upsets.

I like an underdog and I like to know that other countries, even if they have only a few athletes present, get a chance at a few minutes of stardom too. 

That's all. But it's still cold.