Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Good Things for September (2010)

It's September!

School is just around the corner, the summer weather is going to start to cool down, and by the end of the month we'll likely be seeing the beautiful colours of autumn as the leaves start to turn shades of yellow, red, and orange.

I find September a hard month to pick seasonal 'Good Things' for because it's that month sandwiched perfectly between the end of summer and the start of autumn so while I try to stay away from warm weather items, I also don't want to only feature things like knit sweaters and autumn harvest vegetables (those'll be for next month).

So - here are some things I'm excited for this month

'Good Things' for September

1. Revlon Nail Polish in 'Make Mine Mango' (number 920)

My mom accidently bought two of these (she liked it THAT much!) so she kindly sent one my way. I quickly fell in love with this shade! It's not quite pink, not quite orange, but a wonderful combination of the two. I find it to be a bright, happy shade but it's also a flattering colour that I think most people will be able to wear.

2. Silk Light Vanilla Soy Milk

I bought this for the first time a few weeks ago and really like it. It's a bit thicker than regular milk and I like the light vanilla taste. Because it's made from soy, I assumed there would be more protein but surprisingly a cup of 1% milk has 3 g more protein than a cup of Silk does. Weird. Silk does have more iron though, if that counts for anything. It's lactose-free so it's good for those who are lactose intollerant. It's tasty and I like it.

3. Lattes
Who doesn't love a warm steaming cup of coffee especially on a chilly morning? And sometimes, but not too often, it's nice to treat yourself to a latte. My personal favourites (from Starbucks because I always seem to get gift cards to Starbucks and I like to use them to get myself fancier drinks) are the Skinny Vanilla Latte and, when I'm feeling a bit more liberal with my calorie spending, the Chai Tea Latte. The approach of Autumn also means the return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte!
If you want to make your own (less expensive) version, I found a recipe by a woman named Jeannie, which I've made a few of my own changes to
(recipe from http://www.recipecircus.com/recipes/Joy/BEVERAGES/Pumpkin_Pie_Latte_by_Jeannie.html):

1. In a small saucepan, stir 3 heaping tbsp pumpkin puree into 1 cup light vanilla soy milk. Add 2 tbsp maple syrup (*Jeannie recommends adding vanilla syrup but I think maple syrup compliments pumpkin pie flavour*) and 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice. Heat gently, continuing to stirring occasionally just until steaming and foam begins to appear.
2. Pour pumpkin flavored milk into a tall mug and pour 1-2 shots of espresso over. Top with whip cream and a dash of pumpkin pie spice.
Note: If you like it slightly sweeter add some vanilla flavored coffee cream.

4. Corn

Whether you're wrapping in bacon and throwing it on the BBQ, boiling it and rubbing it with a pat of butter, or cutting it off the cob to add to any number of dishes, corn is one of those vegetables that taste so much better in the summer sunshine.
Never tried wrapping your corn in bacon and BBQ-ing it?
Well friends, boil your corn for about 5 minutes of until you can fairly easily poke the kernels with a fork. Remove from the boiling water and wrap a slice or two of bacon around that corn-on-the-cob, securing the ends with a toothpick. Place on the BBQ for a few minutes until the bacon is cooked then serve and enjoy. Don't forget to remind your guests that there are toothpicks in their corn, unless you remove them yourself before serving.

5. The Alexa bag from Mulberry

The bag is called the 'Alexa' because it was inspired by the woman holding the bag in the picture above, Alexa Chung. She's a British model turned MTV VJ turned fashionista. I like her style.
And I love this bag.
There's no way in H-E-double hockey sticks I'll be able to afford this bag unless I win the lottery so I'll just have to keep my eye out for similar-looking satchels.
Side note: does everyone else automatically think of THIS when they hear the word satchel?

6. Denim Shirts

A la Ashley Olsen.
I realize I'm a little late on the denim-shirt trend but I feel like they make better fall shirts than summer. Especially considering we're not done with the 30+ temperatures just yet. And while I like to look nice and in fashion, there's no way I'm going to sweat it out in a denim shirt just to look stylish.
I'm going to look for sales at the Gap.

All from the Gap, all potential candidates: 1. Boys Blue Chambray shirt (being able to still sometimes buy children's clothes is one of the perks of being on the smaller end of the size spectrum), 2. Womens chambray tunic top, 3. Single-pocket boyfriend shirt.
I think I like the first 2 the best though.

Well that's that!
If you have your own 'Good Things' you think should be included in September's list please feel free to add them in the comments section!

Easy Summer Dinner Idea: Turkey Burgers

As I mentioned yesterday, John handed in his Master's thesis and, being the kind girlfriend that I am, I made him a celebratory dinner.
Since summer is officially in it's late stage, I wanted to make the most of one of my favourite summer foods: hamburgers.
I put a healthier spin on things and opted for ground turkey instead of ground beef at the grocery store.
Someone had mentioned avocado to me in the last little while and it was stuck in my head. I figured avocado on a burger would also go better with turkey than with beef.
So it was settled.
I set up for dinner on the balcony.

The burgers turned out really tasty.
John opted for jalapeno havart on his instead of the slab of brie I added to mine.
I also made potato and sweet potato home fries to make it a burger and fries kind of meal.
To make the
Potato and Sweet Potato Home Fries:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Thinly slice 1 white potato and 1 sweet potato.
  • Place in a baking dish and toss with about 2 tbsp olive oil. Add salt and pepper.
  • Bake for about 45 minutes to an hour or until a fork easily pierces the potato wedges.
I also made a condiment-mixture to go with the fries. In a small bowl mix together 2 tbsp mayo, 2 tbsp BBQ sauce, and 1 tbsp guacamole (just blend together the leftover avocado with a few cherry tomatoes). Then dip away with those fries!

If you want to make the best turkey burger you'll ever have, here's what I did:

Jamie's Turkey Burger

1. In a bowl, mix 1 pkg ground turkey with 3 tbsp chopped chives, and 1 egg. Shape into patties, wrap in saran wrap and place back in the fridge.
2. In a pan over medium-low heat, fry 5 peices of bacon. When the bacon reaches your desired crispness, remove from it from the pan and blot with paper towel.
3. Using the fat rendered from the bacon, place the turkey patties in the pan and cook over medium heat until the turkey is cooked all the way through, about 5 minutes per side.
4. On one half of the hamburger buns spread 1 tbsp of grainy mustard and on the other half spread 1/2 tbsp of mayo. Place a slice of jalapeno havarti or brie on the mustard half. Layer 1-2 slices of bacon on top of the cheese. Layer thinly sliced avocado over the bacon. Place the turkey burger on top of the avocado and top with the mayo-ed bun. Press down gently to keep the burger together.
5. Serve and enjoy! If you transfer the turkey straight from the pan to the burger the cheese should start to melt just enough to make it perfectly soft.
I also mentioned that I bought a nice(r) bottle of wine yesterday.
Being someone who usually prefers white to red, I found I really liked this red:

Folie a Deux's Menage a Trois.

It's a clever name. This California red wine is a "delightful blend based on three varietals" of grapes: zinfandel, merlot, and cabernet sauvignon.
It has a bit of a sweeter taste than most of the reds I've had and I like sweeter wines.
And for around $17 it's not a bad price either.

I've been searching and narrowing down my selection for September's Good Things.
Can't believe how fast August has flown by....
Love this song (Summer's End) by the Foo Fighters and I always associate it with this time of year.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Let's go to the Ex: The Canadian National Exhibition

On Saturday I went to the Ex with some friends for the first time in probably 5 or 6 years.

The last time I can remember going was with my sister. It was fairly memorable because we went on the ride called The Zipper (warning: video contains a lot of screaming girls) and thought we were going to die.

Don't get me wrong, I love rides. And I'd been on the Zipper many a time before. On this particular occasion I think the maintenance guys (more polite than calling them carnies) had literally just walked away from our car with his oil can because our car did not stop flipping once. We flipped around and around and around and arround for the entire duration of our ride, picking up speed as we went.

"Robin?" I asked, unsure of our fate. "I think our car has detached itself from the ride. I think we're hurtling through the ex grounds to our death."

This is the obvious logical conclusion when the green-then-blue-then-green-then-blue field of vision blurs to the point you can no longer distinguish when you're seeing ground or sky.

We held hands and prepared for the worst.

Thankfully the car eventually lost momentum and we stopped spinning. We were able to walk away with our lives but, unfortunately, not without two terribly upset stomachs.

We used up our leftover tickets to hobble through a fun house like two girls who had gotten into the liquor cabinet in a bad way the night before.

Then we sat in the shade and when that didn't work either, we made our way to the streetcar to sit with plastic bags on our laps, just in case, until we got home.

That was the last time I was there.

I will never go on the Zipper again.

I did go on a few good rides with my friend Marion this time around though. Her husband is petrified of heights so she was happy for the ride companion. We did the Fire Ball, an upside down one that I have forgotten the name of, and the Starship - you know, the one where centrifugal force pushes you against the wall so that you can climb up it and hang upside down (am I that smart that I can throw out terms like 'centrifugal force' like it's something I say all the time? No. Wikipedia is my saving grace. I did know the word centripetal force, though, and it's somewhat opposite to centrifugal force. Point for me!).

There was an exhibit of photos that had been taken from the very first years that the Ex was open. I couldn't help but take a few pictures of those pictures.

I love old photographs like these.
And those sailor bathing suits? Where do I get my own???

We enjoyed some fair food, like ribs, pizza-on-a-stick (true story) and caramel corn. I really wanted a corn dog but there were none to be found inside the food building and I was too hungry to wander back out into the sea of people to grab one from a vendor.
Next time.
My male friends experienced a similar culinary letdown:
the line-up for the much hyped 'Deep Fried Butter' was deemed too long to be worth the wait.
Why can't those obese Americans learn from our healthy Canadian eating habits?

After wisely passing up the option to sample fat-fried-fat, I dragged my friends to the Direct Energy building where Chef Michael Smith was visiting!

For those of you who do not invest as much time in The Food Network as I do, he is the host of Chef at Home and Chef at Large. He has also competed (unsuccessfully) in Kitchen Stadium and is the proud author of a cookbook that I bought for John when he graduated from U of T.

I would like to quickly send a thank-you shout out to Danielle Rose who understood my excitement at seeing Michael Smith and for making me feel less like a food network weirdo by asking if Gabe was with him when I sent her a photo.
You complete me.

But I digress...
Marion and I managed to talk the boys into joining us on the Ferris Wheel.

We waited until the sun had almost set before we hopped on so that we could make the most of the amazing lights of the midway an dof the city.

This year's Ex visit was wonderful.
Expensive, yes, but what a wonderful way to spend a beautiful day with good food, fun activities, and great friends.

P.S. John handed in his thesis today so he is officially done his Masters degree!
I'm making turkey burgers with brie, bacon, and avocado for dinner with potato and sweet potato wedges. I also picked up a nice bottle of wine (cost more than my usual $12-or-less bottles) and a cookies and cream cupcake from The Cupcake Shoppe. I even set the table on the balcony all nicey-nice so that we can celebrate properly!
Expect pictures tomorrow.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Parmesan & Rosemary Potato Ciabatta Bead

Let the year of the artisan bread begin!
Yesterday I added to my bread repetoire by baking two different loaves of ciabatta bread.
I was a little disappointed that my ciabatta didn't have the same quality of air bubbles that you see in the professionally baked loaves but all in all, the bread turned out very well.
The first loaf I left plain.

The second loaf I got a bit creative with.
Awhile back I bought a loaf of bread from Loblaws that had thin slices of potato laid across the top. It inspired me to try and make my own.
I placed thin slices of potato on the bread then sprinkled with a little rosemary and then with grated parmesan cheese.
Not only does it look good but it tastes good too.
The potato is an interesting addition, flavour-wise and texture-wise.
It's definitely worthy of becoming a regular recipe in my kitchen.

Bread making is a labour of love but if you're willing to put in the time you can follow the recipe I used here and make your own loaves.
I'm thinking the next one will either be a pumpkin seed adventure or a pumpernickel or rye attempt. OR an olive loaf!
So many options!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Pommes Jamie & Sauteed Garlic Broccoli Rabe

For my birthday I received Martha Stewart's Hors d'oeuvres Handbook.
I spent an evening with my bedside light on, scouring the photo pages, post-it tabs in hand.
I've tabbed quite a few pages and kind of want to do a Julie & Julia inspired cook-my-way-through-this-book challenge.
I came across one in particular that I was anxious to try: Pommes Annette.
The recipe calls for goat cheese to be layered between slices of potato, with thyme, black pepper and salt flavourings.
I had been kind of weirdly craving blue cheese so I decided to switch the goat cheese for blue cheese, and switch the thyme for rosemary because I truly think it is a natural partner for any and every potato dish.
So, may I present to you
Pommes Jamie

They look GOOD, right?
They are.
Here's how you can make your own Pommes Jamie or, if you're not a blue cheese fan, Pommes Annette with goat cheese.
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Thinly slice potatoes so that they will fit into muffin cups. Brush some melted butter on the bottom of each muffin cup and place a small bit of rosemary on top.
2. Place a slice of potato directly on top of the rosemary. Place a small bit of blue cheese on top of the first potato slice and then place another slice on top of the cheese, pressing down slightly. Make sure to use enough cheese so that the potato slices will stick together. If you want to make true Pommes Jamie, alternate with white and red potato slices.

3. Continue to layer until you reach the top of the muffin cup - about 4 slice sof potato. Brush the top slice with melted butter. Place another muffin baking pan on top of the one with the potatoes and press down. This will ensure that the potatoes compress while baking and it will make them hold together better. Bake for about 30 minutes and then remove the top muffin pan. Bake for another 10 minutes if necessary or until the potatoes start to turn a nice golden brown colour.

4. Carefully remove the potato stacks from the pans and then turn them so that the rosemary side is up. Then serve and bask in the glow of awe and respect from your guests :)

The two other vegetable side dishes I made last night were butter-roasted yellow and green zucchini, and sauteed broccoli rabe.

Sauteed Garlic Broccoli Rabe

This is beyond easy to make and it's tasty and good for you!
1. In a wok, heat 3-4 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat.
2. Thinly slice 3 cloves of garlic and add them to the oil.
3. Cut the stems off of the broccoli rabe and toss in the oil and garlic. Turn the heat down to medium-low or low (depending on how soon you want them to be done) and cover the wok with a lid. Allow broccoli to steam and become soft. Make sure to remove the lid and toss the greens every so often to prevent them from burning and sticking to the bottom of the wok.
4. Remove from heat, serve, and enjoy!

That's it!
I've finished mixing all of my ingredients for the ciabatta loaf and in another hour it will have finished rising and will be ready to go in the oven.
I'm going to do two seperate loaves, one just a straight up ciabatta, and the other with thinly sliced potatoes, parmesan cheese, and rosemary.

I'm on a potato-rosemary kick apparently.
This bread was what originally got me thinking about potatoes and rosemary so I think that's what inspired Pommes Jamie ;)

I'm also heading to the CNE at some point today - hopefully in a few hours so I can get this bread baking first!

A New Look for Martha-in-Training!

I spent my first day of my week away from work and school by doing some house cleaning, both figuratively and literally. I literally cleaned up my place of residence by doing some (2 sinks full) dishes, putting away some clothes, and restocking and reorganizing my baking cupboard. I figuratively cleaned house by revamping the blog, as you can probably see.
New template (spent hours searching for a good one), added labels, followers and blogs I follow, and tidied up the labels I added to a bunch of blogs.
Trying to make it more user friendly little by little.
I also went out this morning and did a bigger than usual grocery shop. I got brown sugar and granulated sugar for my empty jars in the baking cupboard, bread flour for the ciabatta loaf I'm going to make tomorrow (once this time consuming sponge sits over night), and salami and some jalapeno havarti for a lunch sandwich:

Also with mayo, grainy mustard, lettuce, turkey breast, and a little ham.
I also picked up pork tenderloin to make some pulled pork one of these nights, and fontina cheese because it was priced well and I don't think I'd had it before until this afternoon. Verdict: it's good. And it has that red wax coating which sells me everytime.
I picked up some items for dinner including red and white potatoes, broccoli rabe aka rapini, yellow and green zucchini, lamb chops because they were on sale and I couldn't remember what they tasted like, couscous, and some mellow blue cheese.

It's been awhile since I've been home for dinner and have really put in time in the kitchen to cook up a delicious meal. I used everything pictured above to put together two crowded plates for myself and John.
I'll post the recipes tomorrow for the broccoli rabe (so easy and so good), and the most amazing side dish I've ever made in terms of taste and presentation: my spin on Martha's Pommes Annette.
I discovered I'm not crazy about lamb. I seared the chops in some olive oil with rosemary but there's just something about it that doesn't quite mesh with my tastebuds.
But I'm glad I got a little epicurious and bought them. At least I know now.
And that pork tenderloin is just sitting so patiently in the fridge....
I'm going to finish up and maybe upload the pctures from dinner.
John and I are heading out in a bit to go and see The Expendables and then tomorrow I'm off with my married friends to the Ex.

I don't know if anyone has given this as much thought as I have, but I'm curious as to what people's opinions are on this matter:
Of The Expendables, if they were all thrown into a cage match who would be the last man standing?
I personally think Bruce Willis would be first out (sorry Die Hard fans) and I know Ahhhnuld doesn't have the strength of his Mr. Universe days anymore... but I can't definitively say who would hang in the longest. Stallone? Jet Li because he's small and quick?
A question for the ages....
Let me know what you think!

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Today is the last day of work at my summer location!
I finished off the shark cupcakes, which I'm now choosing to call Shark-cakes, last night and have started assembling them.
I made two seperate batches of icing - one of Royal Icing (dries harder, so perfect for the fins) and one of 'fluffy boiled icing' as the people over at Wilton like to call it.
If you've ever made Martha's 7 minute frosting, it's very similar to that.
For both the fluffy icing and the royal icing I have to again give thanks to my Aunt Wendy for finding and purchasing meringue powder for me!
I used the fluffy icing with some blue food colouring to make the waves of the ocean.

To make this Fluffy Bioled Icing:
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix together 1 1/2 tbsp meringue powder and 1/4 cup cold water. Mix on high until stiff peaks form.
2. In a sauce pan, bring to a boil 1 cup sugar, 1/8 cup light corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water. Once it comes to a boil, turn off the heat and allow it to cool slightly for no more than 30 seconds. Pour it in a slow but steady stream into the meringue while the mixer is on low. Once you are finished pouring, turn the mixer back on high and mix for about 4 minutes, until there are once again stiff peaks. Then you're ready to use it!
I used Royal Icing to make the fins and used a combination of blue and red food colouring to get a darker shade so that it would stand out from the blue of the ocean.
Once the royal icing was made, I piped out the fin shapes onto a peice of parchment paper and allowed them to harden. I made two batches of them and kind of messed up the first as I didn't make the fins thick enough. As a result, they started to crumble when I tried to peel them off of the parchment. The second batch, however, held up so I went back over the first batch with another layer of royal icing. Hopefully they're sturdy enough now!

To make Royal Icing (about 1 cup):
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix together 1 tbsp meringue powder, 1 1/3 cups of icing sugar, and 2 tbsp warm water.
*For harder-drying icing, omit the second tbsp of water, adding another 1/2 tbsp if necessary.
2. Mix on high until peaks form. Then you're ready to use the icing.
Here's the final product that my shark-o-philic staff better enjoy (if they know what's good for them):

I'm fairly pleased with myself.
Tomorrow I'm a free woman so I may do some crafts shopping. Very excited.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Busy Evening in the Kitchen

I was busy busy busy last night, slaving away in the kitchen to get the stuff made for the gift basket and for the staff.
I say slaving away but I'm actually more relaxed when I'm in the kitchen mixing up batters and rolling out puff pastry.
Poor John is absolutely exhausted these days. He gets up before the sun (and me) and leaves to be picked up for work anywhere between 6:30 and 7:00 am. When he kissed me goodbye at 6:30 this morning I thought, 'thank goodness I have another hour and 15 minutes before my alarm'. Then I rose, hit the treadmill and ran - are you ready for this? - 8.5 miles!
That's the furtherst I've ever run in one go.
That half marathon is only a month away so this progress makes me happy.
Anyway, while John was sailing away in a wooden shoe to fish for the herring fish with his nets of silver and gold last night on the couch, I was being the busy baker bee.
I rolled out half of the puff pastry for the straws.
Parmesan and Black Pepper Puff Pastry Straws
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle.
2. Brush the puff pastry with a lightly beaten egg. Sprinkle with black pepper and grated parmesan cheese.
3. Fold the puff pastry in half, sealing tightly. Roll out the puff pastry again, as close as possible to the same size rectangle as before. Cut vertically into thin strips then twist.
4. Place straws on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, pressing ends onto the parchment to prevent them from untwisting. Sprinkle the straws with more black pepper and parmesan. Bake for 12-14 minutes, making sure to rotate the pans halfway through.
The straws are so easy and they're really good.
Next up:
Triple Chocolate Espresso Bean Cookie Bars

For these I used Martha's basic recipe for her chocolate chip cookie bars but substituted white, dark, and milk chocolate coated espresso beans for the chocolate chips. I also didn't have brown sugar so I used granulated only.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a loaf pan (a cookie sheet isn't deep enough to give you that nice bar shape).
2. In a large bowl, cream 1 1/2 cups of butter, 1 cup granulated sugar, and 1 1/2 cups brown sugar. Beat in 2 eggs and 1 tbsp vanilla and mix until combined.
3. Mix in 4 cups flour, 2 tsp baking soda and a pinch of salt. Mix in chocolate chips (as much or as little as you want - I used half of what was called for in this recipe and I used about 1 cup of chocolate beans so you might want to aim for about 2 cups here),
4. Put dough into the loaf pan and press down to make sure it's packed in. Bake for 40-45 minutes until the top is golden brown. Let cool before removing from pan. Cut into bars and store in an airtight container or eat!

Lastly, I baked the cupcakes for the shark cupcakes I'm going to finish decorating tonight.
I couldn't find malted milk powder and since a 500 mL bag of milk powder was almost $9 I experimented with my own malted chocolate cupcake mix.
I used Martha's recipe for a basic chocolate cupcake and added 1 1/2 cups of crushed chocolate malt balls. To crush them I placed them in a ziplock bag, took them out on the balcony and took a hammer to them. It's really fun.
Especially if you can do it in your PJs, crouched on the ground, pounding those malt balls ever so quietly directly in front of the window into the bedroom where your boyfriend is fast asleep.
If you're going to add your own chocolate malt balls like I did, I'd recommend adding maybe a bit more oil than the recipe calls for. I think I dried it out a bit.
Malted Chocolate Cupcakes
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place muffin cups into muffin tins - you'll need about 18.
2. In a bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup cocoa powder, 1 1/2 cup sugar, 1 1/2 tsp baking soda, 3/4 tso baking powder, and 3/4 tsp salt.
3. Add in 2 large eggs, 3/4 cup warm water, 3/4 cup buttermilk, 3 tbsp vegetable oil (maybe use 5 tbsp), and 1 tbsp vanilla extract. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of crushed chocolate malt balls like whoppers or malteasers.
4. Pour the cupcake mixture into the muffin cups, filling to about 3/4 of the way up. Bake for 20 minutes and then let cool.

Just an update before I get ready for work -
Algonquin trip has been set!
The weekend of September 17-19 I'll be heading out in a canoe with a paddle, a tent, some warm clothes, and a bag of wine to enjoy the beauty of nature.

...and hopefully to see a moose.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Malted Chocolate Shark Cupcakes

As my summer job wraps up at the end of this week, I want to do something nice for my staff.
Sure they've bugged me at various times and for various reasons over the course of the summer but all in all they've been pretty good. I haven't had to deal with any real problems so for making my life easier I want to do a little something for them.
I mean, the staff are getting a gift basket, right?
Which reminds me, I'll be making the puff pastry straws tonight (already grated the parmesan) and getting on the cookie bars.
My fellow staff consist of 4 boys.
And as of late (immediately following shark week), these boys have really gotten into sharks.
So much so that two of them regularly practice their breaching during their breaks. And the other two have gotten in on the breaching fun.
Did I mention they've evern perfected a synchronized breach?
Anyway, I thought it would be appropriate and well received to bring in shark cupcakes.
I google searched some presentation ideas and have two to work with:

The first one will probably be the one I go with, unless I feel adventurous.
I love malted chocolate (Whoppers and Malteasers) so I want to do a malted chocolate cupcake.
I found a recipe here , which may be a site I frequent more regularly.
Malted Chocolate Cupcakes
1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ cup malted milk powder
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ½ cups sugar
2 eggs
1 ½ cups whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 325F
2.Mix flour, baking powder, salt, malt powder, and cocoa together and set aside.
3. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Alternately add flour mixture and milk. Add vanilla a beat well.
4. Spoon batter into cupcake papers, filling cups about 2/3 full.
5. Bake for 25(15 minutes for mini) minutes or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool.
Malted Chocolate Whipped Cream Icing

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup powdered sugar
4 TBSP malted milk powder
2 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
1. In a large bowl, whip the cream until it forms soft peaks. Add sugar, malt powder, and cocoa powder. Beat until stiff.

I just need to find malted milk powder!
Here's hoping that Metro has it!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Oui, Je Parle Francais

One year ago today I began this blog.
Crazy to think it's been an entire year!
Thanks for sticking with me through my rambling :)

Today I registered for my fall school courses.
As it worked out, one of the classes I chose is an online course so, having only one class left to enrol in, my schedule showed Mondays completely free.
Obviously this heavily influenced my decision as to what final course I would take.
Vast majority fell on Mondays.
But I found one that didn't! And it turns out it's a course I was actually considering taking.
It's french!
I'm always complaining that I wish I knew a second language and I did pretty well in french in high school so I hope this course is beneficial and fun.
I have a feeling I'll be wanting to switch out of the second half of it once the Christmas holidays roll around......but until then I'm going to be brushing up on my conjugating of the 'er', 're', and 'ir' verbs.
Since I'll be perfecting my french this upcoming year, I thought it would be fitting to present to you my favourite French things for today's post.
French 'Good Things'

Pain au chocolate
If you don't agree with this then go have a baguette and leave me to devour every last bite of this chocolate-filled brioche peice of heaven.

La Tour Eiffel
Because (a) the first time I saw it I forgot to breath, realizing that I was really in Paris, and (b) because in the park underneath it was where I met up with the love of my life after being apart for almost 3 months. Cheeeeeeesy but possibly the most romantic moment of my life.

Marion Cotillard
She's talented, she seems as sweet as pie, and she's beautiful.

Wine and Cheese
No further explanation necessary.

Works by Edgar Degas and Henri Toulouse Lautrec
I have a print of this Degas painting (love all of his Ballerina stuff) that I bought in Paris at Musee DdOrsay. I love Toulouse-Lautrec's paintings and I stumbled across this one, titled 'In Bed Kiss'. I want it.
So that's that.
Happy one year anniversary to Martha-In-Training!
Hope you'll stick around for at least another year.
I promise lots more recipes, lots more crafts, and the return of Christmas Wednesdays!