Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Final Wilton Cake...

Well, you would think by the time I got to cake 3 it would look the best but...I had to drive an hour home to bake my cake plus I was rushing because I had to drive BACK the same day. So I didn't do the best job (putting it nicely) putting on my top layer so it looks like someone punched it sideways :( I made a strawberry cake this time and, since I'm on my fast, just made it with animal products. It got so FLUFFY! lol I guess because of the eggs, I don't know. But it was so light, it was kind of a pain to work with. Not to mention frosting...for some reason fruit cakes are very crumby. We did the "famous Wilton roses" to top our cakes. Also a bit of a nightmare. My icing would not get to the right consistency. It was so thick that it hurt my hand and made me shake to try and pipe the roses. The petals wouldn't even stick to each other. Not a very fun class. I was ready to leave but I kept working at it and finally the last couple turned out alright.I know it's no where near my best cake so far but I learn from my mistakes and it's not like it's for a special occasion. (No idea why this picture won't rotate but at least you get a better view of the flowers). I have been asked to do two more cakes! My little twin cousins' birthday cake and another lady asked me to do her son's birthday cake as well. Plus I still have the wedding cake to do later on this fall. ^.^ I love that all these people come to me for their special occasions, I just hope I can meet their expectations. I would love to one day be as good as all these people on TV if not better. There's not many cake decorators in my area so I think I could make a killing. Especially since my only competition would be Wal*Mart... Not very intimidating lol

I am almost done with day 3 of my fast and am still going strong. Definitely feeling the hunger pains though, even when I have my tea and juice. I can't wait to try out some of the vegan recipes I have found. I've even managed to find some lower carb ones but most of what I find are casseroles, pastas, and pot pies. I even found some vegan cat treats but my baby is a boy and they are not suppose to eat much vegan kitty food. I want to make a personal vegan cook book of my favorite recipes so I will definitely be sharing some of those with everyone!

Monday, July 27, 2009

A couple of recipe ideas

I started my Fast today so I won't be cooking for a while sadly... I will be making my final Wilton Cake Wednesday so I will definitely post pictures of that. I am fasting to help detox my body and give it a chance to "clean house". It's really not that bad, just drinking real fruit juice (none of that high fructose corn syrup stuff) and teas.

I did make a couple of things a while ago that turned out really good so I thought I'd share. I made an awesome vegan potato salad. I am not a big bacon fan and so I didn't put any vegan bacon in it but I'm sure it would add a nice touch :) I just used Nayonaise, spicy mustard, celery, chopped onion, lemon juice, boiled red potatoes, and of course salt and pepper. I just kind of did it to taste. I tend not to measure when I'm cooking in my tiny dorm kitchen. I put it in a covered bowl and left it in the fridge over night. It turned out really yummy!
I also made an amazing salmon dish courtesy of Chef Gordan Ramsey (one of my favorite chefs!). I got it out of his Healthy Appetite recipe book. Wonderful Asian, honey marinade and it's really quick and delicious. Just pop in the oven and bake for 6 minutes then put on a bed of spinach and sliced radishes. Dribble a tahini dressing over it and voila! you are done. I know I'm not suppose to eat fish because I'm vegan but I only have it every now and then. Can't give up my sushi!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Second Wilton Cake

Here is my second Wilton cake. We did drop flowers and shell borders. I made a red velvet cake (my favorite). I wanted to use cream cheese frosting but we have to use the butter cream for practice. This cake is also vegan except for the flowers and border. I just have one more cake to bake for my last class. I was hoping we would be doing Fondant and Gum paste but it turns out there is a whole other class devoted to that. Maybe I'll take another class when I get up to Raleigh if my college cake classes aren't starting yet.

This past weekend I also made birthday cupcakes for my friend. All he told me was he wanted chocolate. So I asked him if he wanted cookies, brownies, cupcakes, or a concoction of all three! Guess what he chose lol I know he probably thought I was kidding when I said I would do it. He was pleasantly surprised when I brought him a plate of brownie and white cake swirled cupcakes with "cookies and cream" icing and an Oreo cookie half on top. They did not last long. :)I recently ordered Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World! I'm so excited and can't wait to start playing in the kitchen some more. I'm trying to find some more easy and not very expensive vegan meals. It's hard making all these dishes that call for six different kinds of fresh vegetables or some ingredient that I would have to go to Whole Foods in Raleigh for. My fridge is tiny and likes to freeze things. When I move to Raleigh I will have a regular size fridge for the first time in two years and a HUGE kitchen! I cannot wait! I'm sure my room mate won't mind me cooking and baking. I'm also having a hard time finding meals that don't include a lot of carbs like pasta. But like I said, it'll be easier when I move and will be within 10 minutes of Trader Joe's, the Asian Market, and Whole Foods.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Food Inc.

Have you heard of the new movie Food Inc? It's suppose to be actually showing and talking about the food people pour into themselves everyday. When I first read about it I thought it was going to be some extremely disturbing movie with footage of slaughter houses but after watching the trailer I was reassured. I really want to go see this movie. I don't know if I can get many people to go with me but I'm going to try. I was shocked and disturbed when I read the slaughter house section of Skinny Bitch. I don't know how anyone can read that and still want to eat a cheese burger or even an omelet. I get kind of frustrated when I say I made a vegan dinner and people say "UGH! disgusting!" What do you people think vegan means? Grass and dirt? If you eat an organic fruit salad hey! you just ate something vegan. I am not a perfect vegan but I do my best. I support PETA and have told several people about Skinny Bitch. I read the ingredients before I buy things to make sure they are safe. I am vegan not only for the animals (and the environment's) sake, but for my health. Not only am I reducing the amount of chemicals and junk that goes into my body, being vegan has almost totally gotten rid of my Hiatal Hernia (hereditary stomach problem) symptoms! That's definitely worth never eating a chicken sandwich again!

What I really don't get is that a lot of people DO know something about what's happening to their food before they receive it and it doesn't seem to faze them!? Ok, lets say you're favorite burger is from McDonalds mmk? You have been eating there for years and LOVE the taste. Now what if you found out that your burger was actually not made of cow meat but dirty cow dicks? Would you eat that burger anymore? Of course not! (I would hope) Yet when you tell people that the burger they are eating has been (if nothing else) pumped full of steroids that cause cancer along with a HUGE list of other health problems, they say, "But it tastes good and I don't want to give it up". I just don't get it. I've asked a lot of people if they know what's in their food and many have heard about the terrible conditions in slaughter houses and don't care. It's cheaper and faster to go through the drive threw and get some artery clogging, rotting animal flesh than to actually have a healthy meal.

Sorry to rant but I had to get that out lol I hope lots of people go to see Food Inc. and it makes them sick and change their minds about the food they eat. So what if it tastes good? If it's going to kill you, wouldn't you rather give it up? There are so many delicious healthy foods out there that you won't even miss it. You'll feel so good after getting all of that junk out of your system you'll wonder why you didn't do it sooner. I have experienced this first hand. I felt great after getting all the animal products and non-organic foods out of my fridge. Have a wonderful, healthy day everyone!

Here is the trailer for Food Inc. if you have not watched it yet:

First Wilton Class Cake

Tuesday I baked a 3 layer yellow cake with a raspberry filling for my cake class on Wednesday. I made it vegan of course and I also made a delicious vegan butter cream to cover the cake with. We had to do a rainbow design with a star tip in class the next day. Mine was the prettiest and got compliments (which isn't saying much since there's only 3 of us in that class). But I felt like I did pretty good for my first time working with butter cream to that extent and using tips. The cake tasted amazing but was kind of rich. Everyone loved it even though they picked on me because it was vegan. *sigh* Oh well, I don't think JoCo people will ever be able to wrap their heads around the benefits of at least eating LESS meat and junk if not stopping all together. I'm definitely going to try to do better on my next cake and can't wait for the fondant class. Sorry for the short post, I have a lot to do today. Enjoy the pictures!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Bring on the cake!

I just went to my first Wilton cake decorating class yesterday morning. We (myself and 3 other women) didn't actually get to bake anything but I did learn some stuff I didn't know (just a little though). We learned about butter cream, all the different tools we will need for the class, and some techniques. The only decorating we did was piping a border around the bottom of the cake the instructor had used to show us hot to ice a cake. It was the first time I had piped a shell design (know that I actually knew how after looking in the book) and everyone kept complimenting me on it. Telling me I did it like a pro and how all the shells were the same size. It made me feel really good :)

Next Wednesday we have to bring in a cake, tools, butter cream icing, coloring, and a turn table. We actually get to play this time. I can't wait. We got to choose between a character cake or just a two layer cake. The two layer one's going to have a rainbow piped onto it (ok?) but she said it doesn't have to be the awful colors in the book (and there was much rejoicing!). I'm not sure what colors I'm going to do yet but it's definitely going to have some purple! My friend is letting me use her kitchen, since she actually has an oven. I can't wait to get started, going to have to start brain storming.

Besides the fact that I want to get some technique and knowledge under my belt before I go to baking and pastry school, my friend wants me to make his wedding cake (*gulp*). I was flattered that he would ask ME but I also have never made a wedding cake and have never even touched fondant in my culinary life. There's going to be a fondant and gum paste class at the end of the month in the Wilton series and my friend's wedding is not till October. So hopefully between now and then I'll have enough practice to make a cake for him. I am so excited about it but on the other hand, this is not a Birthday's a WEDDING cake! Wedding's are suppose to be the one day where every thing's perfect. I would not for the life of me want to ruin that for anyone by bringing a Wal*Mart looking cake. Everyone loved my chess cake but I would Never bring that quality of cake to a wedding. I am a perfectionist, so if I give it a stamp of approval, it's probably pretty good. It's hard for my work to please me.

Good news about that is the flowers he wants are one of the easiest (so I've been told) to make out of gum paste: Calla lily's. Also it's not going to be a 5 tier monster, just a small 3 layer fondant covered cake. I want to jump right in and start but I'll be patience and wait for the class. If anyone has any good advice, pictures, videos they want to send me please feel free!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Vegan weekend

I have decided not to post my tattoo because I think I want it to be my little "mascot" for my bakery. Don't want anyone to take it.
Hope everyone had a great 4th of July. I was in the kitchen the whole weekend. I have recently decided to go as vegan as I can afford. It's also very hard to find a lot of the vegan products that are suppose to be in your local whole foods store. Living in NC is hard if you don't like greasy, artery clogging foods. I was able to hit up Trader Joe's and a Whole Foods but still was unable to find a lot of stuff I see in many vegan or just cooking show recipes. But back to the holiday cooking.

I made a Grilled Tomato Bruchetta as a starter. Then I took yellow squash, zuchini, red onion, red pepper, snap peas, and yukon gold potatoes and made shishcabobs with a rosemary vinegarette. Very yummy. For the main course I made Portabella mushroom "sliders" with sauteed onions on top on whole grain rolls with sweet potato fries on the side. It was a lot of slicing and prep work but it all turned out wonderful. My mom and grandma loved everything. They didn't miss meat at all :) I didn't care for the sliders that much but I would definitly make everything else again. I got all of the recipes from this month's Vegetarian Times. I also got my dessert idea from the magazine but I switched it up a bit. The Summer Pudding recipe called for Angel food cake. Making this cake vegan would be a lot of trial and error due to the large amount of eggs used in a traditional angel food cake. So instead I made a pound cake. It stayed so nice and soft that I was able to mold the cake into the bowls and then fill it with the fruit syrup. One fed three people lol But it just depends on how big the cups you put them in are.
In addition to 4th of July grilling, I also made sushi this past weekend. I made one of my boyfriend and my favorites, Spicy Tuna Roll. Then I tried a couple new things: Phili Rolls and California Rolls. I was able to make my Phili rolls vegan with some Tofutti. My Cali rolls I filled with red snapper instead of crab and it was the first time I had ever made an inside out roll. I think I like making them and eating them better that way. They all turned out really well, especially the Philli rolls. Obviously everyone liked them since they were pretty much gone that day.
I am on the look out for easy, non-spicy vegan recipes if anyone has suggestions. I've been wanting to go vegan but, as a student, didn't know if I could afford the cost of the foods or the long drives I'd have to take to get them. After reading Skinny Bitch, I knew I couldn't eat meat anymore...If you've read it you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't, you should, it's a real eye opener. I still eat fish but I try to not eat any other animal products. I hope you enjoy the recipes I've posted!