Monday, August 20, 2007

Last But Not Least....LDSBSA

The last show on my summer show schedule was the LDS Booksellers Association referred to those of us "in the know" as the LDSBSA.
I am always either in the spot next to or really close to the Sounds of Zion booth. I am always so inspired by the people in this booth. The owner of this company is Doyle Peck. He is one of the kindest people I have ever encountered. He treats his employees with such respect and you can see that they love working for him. They always take really good care of me and always invite me to the big Sounds of Zions VIP lunch.
I always see some really cool things and also some things that I think are a little bit over the line. This year was no exception.
Cool Things
I love these plates from Ring Masters. They have 4 or 5 plates in the line. They have designs for neighbor gifts, Halloween and a couple for Christmas. This one is designed for cookies for Santa.

I also thought this book "An LDS Girls guide to Real Beauty" was great. I talked to the author, Leslie Cheret, for a little while and she was very cool. She wrote this book for the Young Women in her ward. It is part self-confidence and part beauty book with tips on discovering your talents, healthy eating, makeup and exercise. I loved the fun big and bright illustrations.

I also thought the nativity dress up costumes were cute but the owner dressing up as an angel the first day and a cow the last day freaked me out a little bit.

Another really good thing is that the number of exhibitors showing Mormon genre movies has decreased significantly. That makes me so happy. I did, however, trade this movie for chocolate. I hope it was not a waste of a handful of truffles and a couple of candy bars.

Last but not least......the prophet Nephi as a stuffed, talking doll. You press his stomach and he "speaks from the heart". Over the line? tacky? I will let you decide for yourself.......

Ashley and my Sounds of Zion friend Cindy and of course the Prophet Nephi.

Outdoor Retailer Show

I returned from the San Francisco Gift Show to go right to the Salt Lake Gift Show. The Salt Lake Gift Show is usually the worst show I do and the most painful 3 days of my summer. I was so surprised by the way it turned out. I had such a great show. I wrote lots of orders and most of those were with new customers and the exhibitors near my booth were so much fun. So I was optimistic going into the Outdoor Retailer Show. I was so sure this was going to be a great, fun show........oh how wrong I was....

I spent four long days looking at this sign and I just kept hell is not the total absence of water it is being at the outdor retailer show for 4 long, long days.
We were totally out of place at this show and it was my fault. I thought the buyers would be more like Cabelas and Sportsmans Warehouse but no it was REI type of buyers. No, someone does not usually take a bag of cherry sours with them when they climb Mt. Everest. It was fun, however, to watch people walk around with their backpacks with built in hydration packs drinking water out of the attached plastic tube......dude your in downtown SLC and there is a water fountain at the end of the isle I don't think you need to bring all of the hiking, mountain climbing, kayaking, canoeing, and ice climbing equipment with you.

I did really like that most of the manufactures were so commit ed to making their industry more "green" They are making clothes out of all types of materials...bamboo, soy, coconut and recycled plastic bottles.
I really liked the stuff in the Keen booth. They have great shoes and cool recycled handbags.

There was a big pool where you could test out all of the items you would need to participate in the "paddling sports" ---New word I learned at the Outdoor Retailer Show. There was also a climbing wall.

I was also inspired to read the book Into The Wild. I loved it. Sean Penn is making it into a movie and I can't wait to see it.
Lesson learned at the Outdoor Retailer Show......Always walk a show before you sign up and I made a goal to spend more time in the outdoors......not doing anything that requires an ice pick but maybe going for walks and picnic more then maybe I can move into the paddling sports.

San Francisco Gift Show

I spent July 25th to the 30th in beautiful downtown San Francisco. I left the 100+ degrees in Utah for the cold, foggy 50 degree weather of the city by the bay. You would think it would be a welcome relief from the heat but it made me sick and so it was not my greatest visit to San Francisco.

The best part of my trip was my stay at the W San Francisco. The room numbers look like fortunes out of fortune cookies. I knew I was in the right room when I found the fortune that read.."anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination" I love that.

I love staying at W Hotels and these are the 10 reasons why I loved my stay at the W San Francisco-
1-You walk into the hotel and the smell from the W signature candles and the fresh flowers is amazing. Don't worry because you can buy these candles in their catalog.

2-The lobbies are beautiful. They call the lobby the Living Room and it always makes me want to wear a sleek black dress and drink a cocktail.
3-Everyone is always so nice and try so hard to make your stay amazing. The motto of the hotle is Whatever/Whenever. It is printed all over the hotel and they really make you feel like they mean it.
4-Dogs and cats are always welcome in W Hotels. They even have a doggie room service menu. Love it.
5-The beds are heavenly! The feather beds and down duvets make me want to stay in bed all day.

6-They always have funky cd's and cd players in the rooms.
7-Bliss Spa products in my room and the actual spa on the 3rd floor.

8-Chinese Checkers game on the window seat.

9-Purple Budha.

10-The amazing view out of my window.

Don't forget the beautiful door men...that whatever/whenever motto might come in handy during my next W stay....thats all I am saying.

Other fun things I did in San Francisco
1-Discovered Whole Foods. I ate lunch there almost everyday. I also discovered Emer'gen C packets. Someone mentioned that these would help with my cold and I think I am sold on them. I love the cranberry flavor the best.
2-Had dinner with my cousin Shelly. She took me to a great India restaurant downtown. She always knows the best places to eat.
3-Went to Kara Cupcakes. I was going to walk to the cupcake place I even planned out my route using Google Earth on the iphone but I ended up paying $30 for a cab then I spent $25 on the most amazing cupcakes..passion fruit was my favorite. Not bad $55 on cupcakes.

4-I bought this bracelet at Tiffany & Co. in Union Square. Love it.....

5-One night I got Avacado Egg Rolls from the Cheescake Factory, went back to my room and finished reading Harry Potter. I read the first book when I was at a Fancy Food Show in San Francisco so I thought it would be fitting to finish reading the last book in San Francisco.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Apricot Blackberry Galette

There is a wild apricot tree that grows on an irigation ditch on my dads property. The apricots were ripe so it was the perfect time to bake something with apricots. I decided I wanted to make the Apricot Blackberry Galette on page 226 in the MSBH. I made the crust the night before. It gave me the opportunity to use my brand new Kitchen Aid Food Processor. Having never used a food processor in my life it took a little while to figure it all out. It came with all sorts of blades and bowls. After getting all of the correct attachments in place I must say I loved it! I am so excited to start making pie and tart dough with it.

The dough is a Cornmeal Pate Brisee. The dough included cornmeal which I thought was strange but it seemed to make it really soft and easy to roll out. The recipe I used was enough for 2 large galettes or you could freeze half of the dough for up to three weeks.

The filling for the galette was so easy to make it was just sugar, lemons, huge fresh juicy blackberries from costco, apricots, and a little cornstarch and an egg wash. I used all of the dough making 1 large and 2 small galettes.

The finished product was a little bit messy but delicious. I really liked this because it was not too sweet and the crust had a really interesting flavor. It was so easy to make and the filling could easily be changed out depending on which type of fruit is available. This was one of my favorite recipes and I will make again!

This day was really apricot day......I made about 50 jars of apricot, strawberry and apricot blackberry jam.

See Martha Bake

So the original plan for this blog was to document Jake, Kaycie and I baking from the Martha Stewart Baking Handbook.

I thought I would do a scrapbook with photos and all but I think blog entries will be much cooler, cheaper and better for the environment...right?

In December of 2005 we got the Martha Stewart Baking Handbook in at Williams Sonoma. As I was looking through it one night I was so amazed with all of the beautiful photos and I started wishing I knew how to bake. I have always had issues with baking. I think my mind is so scattered sometimes that I forget to read and follow all of the directions and because baking is so exact I have always had disastrous results. So I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to learn to follow directions and pay attention to details.

I bought the book at the end of December with the intention of baking every recipe in the book in during the year 2006. I was going to bake every recipe in the book using the exact ingredients it called substitutions. I would use expensive liquors, exotic fresh fruits and the proper pans and equipment needed for each recipe. I would not care about the cost or how difficult the ingredient was to find or how much weight I gained. I was so excited to make 2006 the year I learned to bake.

At the begining of 2006 the three of us gathered at my parents home to begin our adventure in baking. I think we started with baking powder biscuits and cream cheese and chive biscuits. As the biscuits baked I starting looking through the book again and actually counted the recipes. When I got to 173 recipes I realized in order finish my goal in one year I would need to bake at least 3 things everyweek. This was not going to happen. I did not have the time or room for extra pounds for baking and eating that many baked goods each week. I also wanted to keep the baking fun and not make it rushed or stressful so I decided to adjust the goal and we would bake whenever we felt like it.
We have finished about 25 of the recipes. We have learned a lot so far. We have used vanilla beans, fresh grated ginger and many other fun ingredients. Jake and Kaycie always like to smell and sample the ingredients before we mix them in. They always have a comment about the ingredients. Jakes opinions are always very sophisticated he will say things like "this flavor is very complex it is slightly sweet with a peppery aftertaste". Kaycie is more straight forward she will either say "Yuck" or "Mumm MaMa Like"......humm. Most of our baking experiments have turned out great. I think we would all say our biggest success was baking the cake on the front cover of the book that we made for Marks birthday. Our biggest disaster was making chocolate cupcakes at the cabin. We stayed the weekend at the cabin and baked the cupcakes on Sunday and by that time I think Jake and Kaycie had enough "brother/sister" time and they were fighting the whole time we were baking. While trying to keep them from killing each other we forgot to add the water to the batter. Diaster.

I am not sure when we will finish I am hoping for sometime next year. We are having fun and learning a lot.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Fancy Food Show Finds

These are my favorite finds from the Fancy Food Show.

Yumm! I love these caramels! Bequet Carmels is based in Bozeman Montana. They make the most amazing chocolate caramels with salt.

Vosges Bacon Bar

The smoked crunchy bacon and sea salt in deep milk chocolate make this my new favorite Vosges bar. I love having something salty to take away from the sweetness of the chocolate.

Niman Ranch Farms

Let me just start out by saying I am not a huge fan of meat. But the meat I sampled from Niman Ranch were great. They sell beef, pork and lamb. All of their animals are raised without antibiotics or hormones. They are fed vegetarian feeds and grazed on pastures. My favorite part is that all of the animals are raised by 500 independent family ranchers. I love that they support small family farms and not large factory farms. You can really taste the difference.