Will Work For Food.

If only it worked like that… to work for food. It’s just not that simple.

I’m trying to juggle so many things as you all know. But I’m dying for a real job. I currently work on campus in an office that runs the CalWORKs program at school. We provide extra benefits like paying for school books and supplies to students that receive county cash-aid. I love my job, but it’s a student position and this program is definitely not a cash cow.¬†

So today a few coworkers and I decided to sign up for a state examination to be eligible to apply for a certain job. We’ll see what happens, though I probably couldn’t even apply because I’m trying to dedicate myself to Elsa and school and taking on a full-time job might distract me from getting my full education. However, I did see a student position open for the Fish and Wildlife department which pays a whole lot better than what they offer on campus. I’ve filled out the application and am mailing it in tomorrow. I need this for my sanity. Pray for me!

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It’s been a year…

My goodness, it’s been a year since my last post. Life has been so busy with school, being a mom, and maintaining a healthy relationship with my baby daddy that I forget about my little blog. I don’t even cook as often anymore! I’ve got to stop making excuses and take a little bit of time out of my days to sit down to write and post. So here’s to a new year, and more posts.

Love,
Vivian

Macarons Galore

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My blog is so awfully neglected, but I made it a goal today to make a come back and post another macaron recipe! I’m a lot better at posting my pics on Instagram. So if you miss me you can follow me there. ūüôā

If you love to bake, it’s best if you own a food scale. I own this one that was purchased at Target:

OXO Good Grips Food Scale

Ingredients:

  • 100 Grams Egg Whites (3 egg whites)
  • 50 Grams White Sugar (1/4 cup)
  • 200 Grams Confectioner’s Sugar (1 and 2/3 cups)
  • 110 Grams Ground Almond Flour (1 cup)

Directions

  • Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat.
  • Beat egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until whites are foamy; beat in white sugar and continue beating until egg whites are glossy, fluffy, and hold soft peaks. Sift confectioners’ sugar and ground almonds in a separate bowl and quickly fold the almond mixture into the egg whites, about 30 strokes.
  • Spoon a small amount of batter into a plastic bag with a small corner cut off and pipe a test disk of batter, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, onto prepared baking sheet. If the disk of batter holds a peak instead of flattening immediately, gently fold the batter a few more times and retest.
  • When batter is mixed enough to flatten immediately into an even disk, spoon into a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip. Pipe the batter onto the baking sheet in rounds, leaving space between the disks. Let the piped cookies stand out at room temperature until they form a hard skin on top, about 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 285 degrees F (140 degrees C).
  • Bake cookies until set but not browned, about 10 minutes; let cookies cool completely before filling.

My Notes:
It’s best if you can weigh out your ingredients for exact measurements every time. If you’re using a dark non-stick cookie sheet it takes 10 minutes. Also, reynolds non-stick wrap works really well, they pretty much slide off when they’re done. If you’re using a professional heavy duty baking sheet and silicone mat it takes 17 minutes to finish baking. I am also using a gas oven, depending on what kind of oven you’re baking in times may also vary.

Finals are over!

Ahhh… Relief! At least for the time being! It’s been over 2 months since I’ve made a single post. School was taking up so much time and any free time went to Elsa, my daughter. Christmas came and went so fast! I wish it could’ve lasted longer but the moment those presents are open, the joy of not knowing what’s in those boxes is over. I did get some pretty awesome gifts though! A Fuji x10 and an engagement ring were the most noteworthy! Elsa had a great first Christmas too, she got a whole lot of toys and clothes. Everything an 11 month old could ask for.

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I haven’t been cooking too much because of the crazy school schedule. I did however, make prime rib and pumpkin pie completely from scratch for Thanksgiving and pumpkin cream cheese cupcakes on Christmas with the left over pumpkin pur√©e I made on Thanksgiving. Recipes will be posted when I get to the laptop.

Simple and Moist Banana Bread

I know it’s been quite some time since my last post, but with school, baby Elsa, the hubby, work and trying to make time for my parents and in-laws, I barely have time to sleep!

Anyhow, enough of me feeling guilty! Let’s get to the good stuff, moist banana bread.

My mother-in-law has a habit of buying way too much produce and then tries to force everyone to eat it before it goes bad. Well you guessed it, this time she bought way too many bananas and we didn’t eat them fast enough so they got extremely ripe. The only thing I could think of using ripe bananas for was banana bread. I got this recipe from joyofbaking.com¬†and I ‘m so glad I did. If you ever get the banana bread from Starbucks… well let’s just say the Starbucks version is crap compared to this. ūüôā

Ingredients:

1 cup (115 grams) walnuts or pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped (optional)
1 3/4 cups (230 grams) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 ripe large bananas (approximately 1 pound or 454 grams), mashed well (about 1-1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place oven rack to middle position. Butter and flour (or spray with a non stick vegetable/flour spray) the bottom and sides of a 9 x 5 x 3 inch (23 x 13 x 8 cm) loaf pan. Set aside.

Place the nuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly toasted. Let cool and then chop coarsely.  

In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nuts. Set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl combine the mashed bananas, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla. With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, lightlyfoldthe wet ingredients (banana mixture) into the dry ingredients just until combined and the batter is thick and chunky. (The important thing is not to over mix the batter. You do not want it smooth. Over mixing the batter will yield tough, rubbery bread.) Scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake until bread is golden brown and a  toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 to60 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool and then remove the bread from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature. This bread can be frozen.

Macaron Failure


Macarons are the new craze. Forget about cupcakes and cake pops, I want a macaron!!! I lived in LA and that’s where I heard about them first. Paulette’s Macarons in Beverly Hills introduced these sweet Parisian treats to California. Last year when I was residing in San Francisco, I discovered Miette, which is the cutest little cake and macaron shop in Hayes Valley. Closest thing I could get to a ‘lette’s macaron. Here in Sacramento, there is only one place that I would consider getting this delicious cookie, Ginger Elizabeth in downtown. Ginger Elizabeth is a chocolatier that also happens to sell macarons and a delicious salted caramel macaron ice cream sandwich. Anyway, these tiny little cookie sandwiches are quite expensive. Average price for one: $1.75.

So you can see why I would want to make them myself. When I was still living in San Francisco I attempted to bake a batch. I tried blanching sliced almonds and grinding them myself. I had no idea how much you had to process them. I also did not beat the egg whites enough so the dough/batter (whatever you wanna call it) was extremely runny. I tried baking them anyway, no bueno.

After that massive failure, I googled, googled and googled. I then found a recipe with great directions. I tried last week. Although it’s not the prettiest attempt, they at least tasted good and had decent texture. I’m pretty sure I know how to fix what I did wrong.

I am going to attempt another batch today, wish me luck. I’ll be posting pics later tonight.