The food part of this blog has moved to I'll see all you foodies over there!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

French Yule Log / Entremets

This month's Daring Baker Challenge: a French Yule Log. It's kinda like a fancy layered creme dessert. This has to be, by far the most fanciest dessert I have ever made. So I had no idea how it would turn out. Nervousness and excitement both.
This dessert consisted of the following: Vanilla Mousse, Creme Brulee, Praline Feuillete, Dark Chocolate Ganache, Dacquoise Biscuit, all layered and then covered in Dark Chocolate Icing. Makes you think "WOW!" doesn't it?
I chose to go with the vanilla mousse instead of the chocolate since I didn't want it to be overly chocolately. Creme Brulee is one dessert I really enjoy but have been scared to attempt at home. I think it came out alright, not quite as creamy as I would of liked, but tasted like it. The praline crisp, I went with the rice crispies and since I didn't have any pralines, I subbed toffee chips. These came out really good, like they could be a treat all on its own. The dark chocolate ganache, oh, words can't explain this one. So creamy and rich, mmmmm. And they didn't get hard in the freezer. These could be used in some really good truffles. I wonder how soft they would get at room temperature. The biscuit had called for almond meal, but due to Emi's allergies, I subbed graham cracker crumbs. The last time a recipe called for almond meal and I subbed graham flour, I really didn't like the results, so I didn't have high hopes for this one. Kinda felt like it was the only substitution I had at the time and being a procrastinator, I couldn't run to the store for something else. But I was pleasantly surprised. They came out really good. Nice flavor and biscuit-y. They were good plain too.
I served them frozen, having read that the different elements thaw at a different rate. My kids loved it, except the mousse and creme brulee part. My nephew enjoyed his entire piece, and as per his request to include his quote, he says, "Bite by bite, layer by layer, a step into Heaven." Pretty good compliment, isn't it?
Too see some other neat creations, check out the rest of the bakers. Hopefully someone'll have the recipe posted for those who'd like to attempt this one.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Knott's Merry Farm

I surprised the kids with a trip to Knott's Berry Farm. We had gotten six free tickets, but they expired on the 24th. Although we were going to go on the 24th, the weather forecast said all day rain (which they were wrong) so we went a day early. The night before they were watching a movie and didn't get to bed until after 11pm. But I woke them up at 7am, get up, we're going somewhere! Dress warm but don't wear your snow stuff since we'll be outside and walking a lot. Sage says, I know where we're going, we're going hiking (with a look of disappointment. He HATES hiking.) Just get ready. As we headed out, driving towards LA, I tell them we're taking Sekai home since he's too loud ^_^. Sekai says, what about my stuff? We'll give that to you in SD (which we're going to tomorrow and Sekai's dad is meeting us there.) We get to Buena Park and drive by Knott's and Soak City. Emi says, hey there's Knott's Berry Farm. I play along, oh my gosh, wow, I didn't know it was here. I drive around the park several times looking for a parking lot. They were probably wondering, I wonder what's she's looking for? And then I tell them, and they were YEAY!!! THANK YOU MOMMY!!! They were thrilled!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Dark Chocolate Buttercrunch

Something about the holidays makes me crave candy and chocolate. So I made some Dark Chocolate Buttercrunch, courtesy of King Arthur Flour. Toffee is one of my favorites, along with dark chocolate covered caramels. They're so easy to make and oh soooooo good. These are different from my usual recipe in that chocolate and nuts are on top AND bottom. Sinfully delicious.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Winter Fun

My nephew Sekai is visiting us for 10 days. For those of you who are fans of the tv show "Heroes", he's the kid who plays Young Hiro. He's from Santa Monica so he usually doesn't get to see snow. So we took him sledding at this hill next to the local dump. It's one of those places I had never imagined would be a good place for sledding until one day I saw some people there. It's nice because you don't have to worry about bumping into trees, and it's such a nice, big open area.

On your mark, get set, go!

Oh no! Sekai fell off!

And then we went home to make some gingerbread houses. Well, technically, they're graham cracker houses, but who's checking?

Abby's 2nd grade class made these in class and I think they're a great x-mas project. They used empty lunch milkboxes as support, covered with frosting or meringe "snow" and candy for decoration.

Abby's looks fancy since she just added to the one she had already made in class.
They'll get to eat it on x-mas for a nice sugar fix. ^_^

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Snow, Snow, and More Snow

I believe today was the first time since we've lived here that school was cancelled due to snow (but then, I do have very bad memory.) And this is our fifth winter. I was watching the news last night and it said 1-2' of snow. So even if we didn't get the call from school, I was kinda planning on staying home. It ended up snowing ALL DAY, with periods of blackout. The snowplow finally showed up around 6:30pm to clear our street only to leave mounds of burm I'll be digging out tomorrow. But we've gotten the heads up that school will be cancelled again tomorrow, so at least I can sleep in! Here's our street around 1pm today:
Looking at our house. My car looks like a big marshmallow!

Emi & Abby in our backyard.

Sage throwing a snowball at me. He didn't get me too often, but when he did, he was so happy!

Although snow causes some inconveniences, it sure is pretty and very peaceful.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Another Day

Yesterday was Emi's last AYSO soccer game. She did real well this season, being her first time on a competitive team (last time was in 2nd grade where she played "just for fun") and her team improved a lot from the beginning. She really had a lot of fun playing soccer which is a big change from the past where she never wanted to play soccer because it's "tiring" (can you believe a kid would say such a thing?) I'm glad it is finally over, running down to Hemet every week for games for 3 months was starting to take its toll. She is now playing on the middle school's basketball team where the school will provide the transportation. Sage is also playing basketball, but for a townhall league. Games will be about twice a week at night, but at least it's local.
After her game, we went and saw Santa. I could not believe there was no line! Maybe the key is to go at night. Emi and Sage didn't care to see him this year, but Abby wanted to so they got dragged into it. If I'm paying for a picture, all three of them better be in it! ^_^ Abby asked for a Webkinz, while the other two said they didn't want anything. Can you imagine a kid, aged 9 and 11 saying they don't want anything from Santa for x-mas?! Have I trained them well, or not? Ha ha. But seriously, I was surprised. I was telling Emi to say to Santa, the thing I want is for you to lose weight. Being overweight is not healthy, you need to start exercising. So I want you to get yourself a treadmill! Of course, she's too polite to say such a thing. But wouldn't of that been funny? But I did get her to ask how old he was. Santa says, I can't tell you because that would give away Mrs. Claus' age and she does not want anyone to know her age. Pretty good answer, I thought.

On the way home, we stopped by Hungry Heart where Wesley's shirts are being sold. Yeay, my shirts are in a store! Neat-o!

The next morning, we woke up to some snow on the ground. Not a whole lot, but the first real snow of the season. And it was cold too, 23*F around 8am. Brrrrr. And maybe there's more to come?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Riley's Farm

Tagged along with Sage's field trip to Riley's Farm in Oak Glen, about an hour away. Field trips at our school are so limited due to the location of where we are, but luckily Sage's new teacher likes field trips and got us this one. I had never been to Riley's Farm before although we've driven by to go apple picking so when asked if I wanted to volunteer to help, it was a definite yes! Riley's Farm is a working apple orchard and living history farm that features living history education, dinner theater, and historically-themed overnight stays. The 4th grade curriculum involves California history and the gold rush so the program dealt with that time period.
We saw a mine and learned about the conditions and how they worked.

They got to search for "gold" in some freezing cold water.

Saw some really cute livestock.

Saw what kind of chores they had, like washing clothes with a wash board, and then the kids participated in various chores.

More gold panning, this time they got to use pans.

Eureka! Gold!

Also learned how they made candles by melting some sort of berry, and got to try making part of one. It was pretty neat.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Made by the Family

Made some shirts for my mom and her co-workers. She works at a Japanese eatery inside the Mitsuwa marketplace, called Kayaba. My brother designed the front, the word Kayaba in hiragana Japanese writing.
And my dad designed the back, Kayaba in a funky kanji writing. And I printed them! Kinda neat how we each had a part in the creation of this shirt.

Apple Crisp

Toaster oven baking again. I had a bunch of apples that needed to be eaten so I made some apple crisp. It wasn't as crunchy as I would of liked, but it was still very good and the kids loved it.

Short Summit Hike

There are so many trails in our area, even though I've lived here for over four years, I've just scratched the surface. I guess I get comfortable with my usual trails, usually the ones on the map and tend to stick to those. But yesterday I tried a new trail. I had 45 minutes to kill, after dropping off my kids and returning back for Sage's award ceremony (for doing well in math). I didn't know how long this was so I decided to just go for 20 minutes and then head back. I started near the back side of the County Park. A little bit in, I see this sign so I decide to follow it.
The trail was pretty steep, but had nice views along the way.

20 minutes later, I'm at the summit. A nice, short hike.