Monday, December 31, 2007

My 2007

As 2007 comes to a close here is a list of my favorite and not so favorite things of 2007.

Books I Loved-
Suite Francesse, Eat, Pray, Love, Into the Wild

Books I Hated
Twilight....yes I do know I am the only person in the whole country who thought this book sucked......sorry. He is an 80 year old vampire in love with an 18 year old girl why is this disturbing only to me?

Movie I loved
My favorite movie was on PBS. I was so touched by The War. Ken Burns is amazing.

Movie I Hated
Across the Universe. (don't tell April I totally dragged her to this movie and then pretended to love it )

New Music I Love
I downloaded a couple of Earth, Wind and Fire songs. Who would have known.......

And of course I love this song......

Norah Jones American Anthem

Favorite Trip-
Napa Valley in the spring. Great little 2 day work trip. Drove to vineyards and the Sonoma Coast.

Worst Trip -
Trip to SLC for the Outdoor Retailer Show.....blah

Greatest Dissapointment
Not going on our China Trip

Greatest Joy
Seeing how much fun my parents had getting ready and going on their trip to New Zeland.

Best things I ate this year
Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms (the north shore in Boston)
Green Pea Salad Union Square Cafe in NYC
Kara's Passion Fruit Cupcake San Francisco
Salami Manchiago Sandwich Napa Valley
Chicken Colleta Cheesecake Factory in Chicago
Chicken Pot Pie John Harvards in Frammingham MA
Picking up Avacado Eggs Rolls to go and watching the movie The Queen in my Hotel in Dublin Ohio

Favorite Thing Jake, Kaycie and I baked this Year
I had so much fun making Scaletti with Jake and my Dad this year.
I also loved baking and getting ready for my cookie exchange with Kaycie.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Scalitti Sunday

When I was growing up a sure sign that Christmas was near was a plate filled with deep fried honey soaked cookies that my Grandma Bleggi made every year right before Christmas. I tried looking up the recipe on the internet and found that these cookies have many different names and shapes depending on which part of Italy they are from. They are known as Cenci alla Fioorentinat, Crostoli, Struffoli. I found a recipe in Italian that someone wrote for me during my time in Italy where they are called Chiacchiere and made with white wine. Aunt Glenda gave me an old cookbook that belonged to my Grandma with a recipe for Scallini that looked pretty close. We grew up calling them Scalitti. Jake and Riley came down to my parents to help me and Jake kept calling them Scaldinis and talking about frying up some Lamborghinis so I guess we now have even more names to choose from.

It should come as no surprise that there are as many recipes on the internet as there are names. I wanted to make them as close to my Grandma's as possible so I called my Aunt Pat and here is the recipe.

12 eggs
1 cube of butter
10 cups of flour (she remembers the recipe being altered from 1 cup for every egg to a little bit less)
1 teaspoon baking powder for every cup of flour
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt

Beat eggs until fluffy (with the water) add butter then the rest of the ingredients.

Lets just say I struggle with doughs. They never seem to come together the way they should. There is always so much flour left over. I made the dough at my house and wrapped it up and took it to my parents house for the messy stuff...deep frying and dipping in honey.

Jake rolled the out and braided the dough.

Then he helped my dad with the frying.

Then for the super messy fun part...............dipping in honey. I love making a mess.

Riley helped by rolling out the dough. He also just about cut off his tongue while eating flour off of a super sharp knife.

Mark and Angie came down and we finished dipping the cookies in the honey.
It was so messy and fun. I loved it. Jake made us laugh so much he is such a funny funny boy.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Lulu's Love Puppy has Arrived

French Bulldog Boyfriend for Lulu.......$1000
Artificial Insemination........$500
2 a.m trip to the Vet for delivery $700
The birth of one French Bulldog puppy................Priceless

Ha Ha
Can you even believe our luck? Lulu came from a litter of 9 and the boyfreind "always" has litters of at least nine. How can it be that we venture into this and have one, yes, one puppy. Jake and I had visions of go on a cruise with all of the cash we were going to make on this little project.....Ha.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Cookie Exchange 2007

One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is hosting a cookie exchange for some of my cousins. There were 20 people at this years cookie exchange. Each person brought 36 cookies for a total of at least 468 that's a lot of yummy cookies.

Jake came down to my house on Friday night to help me bake caramel chocolate bars then he traded places with Kaycie and she helped me finish up the last of the decorating and cookies exchange preparations. Kaycie worked so hard she was up until 2 am putting together the holiday village, making the favors (paperwhite bulbs in glasses from Ikea with red, white and green stones), making the ballots, putting together the prizes and creating her own guessing game. She finally went to bed and I made my second type of cookies, Cheesecake Thumbprints from the Martha Stewart Baking Handbook page 112. These cookies were easy, had only a few basic ingredients, and were very yummy (even though I only got to eat one I really liked them). I finally went to bed around 3 am.
We got up the next day and went to McDonalds for a very large Diet Coke (it was going to be a day for lots of caffeine) and breakfast. We came home and finished up all of the last little details.

Kaycie set up the cheese tray and I finished up the Hor d'overes. The cheese and Hors d'Oeuvres were both from Williams Sonoma. The cheese was good but I don't think it was as good as the cheese from last year that I got from Liberty Heights Fresh in SLC. The Hors D'Oeuvres were good I really loved the Truffled Mushroom Risotto Purses.....yumm.
The snow started falling as everyone arrived it was almost like we had planned for the snow to be falling outside while we were inside eating cookies. We spent some time visiting and snacking on the cheese and hors d'Oeuvres and Kaycie had everyone enter her ornament guessing contest.

Then we started sampling the cookies and creating trays and boxes that were taken into the wrapping table to be cellophaned and ribboned.

Then the voting began the results are-----
Kaycies Ornament Guessing Contest-Taylor Johnson guessed 56 and there were 64
Cutest Recipe Card--Tiffany Bringhurst Wow these were cute it must have taken hours to create these cards.
Most Creative Ingredient--Joy Bunker used candy cane on the top of rice crispy treats
Best Overall--Breanne Bringhurst made Hello Dollies. There were tons of fantastic yummy cookies.
Christy gave me this super cute framed snowman (which she made by the way) as a hostess gift.

Everyone gathered up their goodies and left and Kaycie and I passed out on the couch

......not for long though. Just before the cookie exchange Joy called and asked me if I wanted to go Jacob Bunkers holiday choir program. So kaycie and I drove to Spanish Fork and went to the program. It was fantastic. It was a dinner program and they had the tables set up in the center and they had four stages set up around the tables. It was great. Who would have known there were so many talented kids in Spanish Fork?


This is the sad sad state of my house in the middle of my crazy holiday decorating. I have issues.



Pie Baking 101

I baked my first pie EVER while I was dog sitting while my parents were in New Zealand. I guess the logical pie to bake would be apple based on the fact that my dad has about 9 apple trees.

So I pulled out the Martha Baking Book and found the Classic Apple Pie recipe on page 228. New equipment needed....pie plate, pie crust mix (yes I did cheat a little...babysteps right????) and evendough measures (these are rubber bands and they come in 4 sizes you put them on the end of the rolling pin to control the width of the crust as you roll it out).

My first step in baking this pie was to pull out my Grandma Sturman's rolling pin....I was sure that this alone would make my pie fantastic because she was such an amazing pie such luck. It was ok but not the greatest pie ever made. Jake came down the next day and had a slice of pie and said "it didn't taste like this when you made it yesterday did it? I bet it was much better yesterday. My dad makes such better pies than you" Oh well not to worry I have 10 more pies to make in the pie/tart section of the Martha Handbook I should have it figured out by then.....maybe.

Gingerbread House Extravaganza 2007

Kaycie and I Spent Saturday December 1st doing lots of fun holiday stuff together. The day started out early as we braved the snow filled streets and drove to Williams Sonoma for a Holiday Baking class once again taught by our friends Ali and DJ. Kaycie decorated a lovely little cake in the shape of a mini car.
After the class we went to the home of my friend Dannielle for Gingerbread House Extravaganza 2007. This is the second year I have gotten together my two friends Amy and Dannielle to make gingerbread houses. Dannielle bakes and assembles all of the houses before we get there (they always look so great...what a lot of work!) and Amy searches for and brings the most perfect gingerbread house decorating candy.

When we arrived at Dannielle's house we were greeted by two snowmen that Gannon and Sadie had built that morning. One was so tall, it might be the tallest snowman I have ever seen.

This year the gingerbread house builders included Kaycie (it was Jakes birthday party so he missed out), Gannon, Sadie, Maisey (joined in at the end), Dannille, Amy, Dajia, Traci and Tracies niece Anna.

We left the gingerbread house extravaganza and we went to see my friend Aven at her brand new health food store. Her store is so cool and she looks so happy in her cute store. We went to a late lunch with Aven then went to Coldstone for ice cream. Kaycie and I went back to my house, ate ice cream and watched Ugly Betty while watching it snow outside. Peaceful! We left my warm little house to drive April to SLC to pick up her car and then to the Festival of Trees to pick up the tree I bid on. The name of my tree is Candyland. It was made by 3 little girls. They used thousands of Starbust candy wrappers to make garland for the cute.

We got home late and we ate more ice cream and watched more Ugly Betty. It was a busy and fun Saturday.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Happy Birthday to One of My Favorite People In The World

Happy Birthday Heather!

Most of my favorite childhood memories include Heather and her two sisters Christy and Tiffany. Because we grew up on the same street, only two houses apart, we spent a lot of time together, having sleepovers, making up dance routines in the basement, having tomato fights in the fields around our houses, fingernail digging/scratching fights (I have two scars on my arms from her) and chasing Christy around the yard, pinning her on the ground and squirting mustard in her mouth....oh good old times.

As we have gotten older Heather and I have spent a lot of time traveling together. I have to say I love traveling with her and most of the qualities I most admire about Heather I have noticed and learned to apperciate while traveling with her.

Heather has an amazing passion for life. She is always up for any adventure and her enthusiasim is contagious. It does not matter whether I am calling her to go to a yoga class or a trip to China (New York, Europe, San Fancisco, Chiciago, or Disneyland). She loves to experience everything that each of these places has to offer. In order to do this she is meticulios (some might say a little nerotic) in planning her visit to a new city. You know you don't have to do any research when traveling with Heather because she will have done it all. She has a list of everything she wants to see, eat and buy in each city.

Before we left for Barcelona she called to and asked me if I knew that the largest park bench in the world was in Barcelona. I thought she was kidding but no......she was so excited and made all of us go to Park Guell to see the bench designed by Gaudi and it was one of the most amzing things I have ever seen.

How many stairs would you need to climb to get to the top of one of the spires at the Sagrada Familia church? Ask Heather she will know.

Heather has this same passion in raising her kids. She is always giving her kids the most amazing life experiences......taking them to Disneyland for Halloween, baking cookies with them and hosting amazing birthday parties. What great memorable experiences she is creating for them.

Heather is always so calm about everything and optimistic. I am a total worrier when I travel. I am sure everything is going to go wrong....miss the flight, lost hotel or cruise reservations and Heather could not be more opposite she is always sure everything is going to go just as planned.......and she is always right (with the exception of the train ride from the airport to our apartment in barcelona and the Portland Square Hotel in NYC) She tells me I am crazy when I want to get to the airport 4 hours early and to stop acting like a freak when I worry about other random things. For example when I thought we had lost dear Aunt Glenda in France I was so upset and nearly in tears but Heather was like oh well she will turn up ...and guess what she did. I have learned just to trust her good Karma and positive thinking attitude and relax. Sad to say I am still a mess whenever I travel without her.

Happy Birthday to Heather!

Monday, November 12, 2007

2 Little Angels Making Angel Food Cake

Sunday is a great day to work on my Marthas Stewart Baking Handbook goal. If I keep going at the rate I am going I should have the goal completed in 2012. Jake and Kaycie came down to my parents house and we decided to make the Angel Food Cake on page 178 of the book. Jake worked on seperating the egg whites and egg yokes. It was a challenge and we had to throw a couple of the eggs away. When we finally had 1 3/4 cups of egg whites we put them in the bowl of the Kitchen Aid mixer and using the whisk attachment we mixed and mixed and mixed the egg whites until they were fluffy and glossy.

We transfered the egg white mixture into a big bowl and gently folded in the flour.

We poured the batter into an angle food cake pan and baked it.

The cake baked for about 40 minutes. We let the cake cool for about an hour the pushed it out of the pan using the removable bottom on the pan.

We drizzled the plates with seedless raspberry syrup, then placed a slice of the cake and a whipped cream on the top.

It was so good. It was so much easier than I thought it would be. We had so much fun watching the egg whites turn fluffy. This is a recipe that we will make again. There are instructions on how to make a chocolate angel food cake by adding cocoa powder. Maybe we will try that one next.