A Week Without Baking

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I’ve taken a week off from baking. After the initial let down of failing in my campaign endeavors I felt a little beside myself. Jumping straight into baking seemed difficult because there needs to be some time to regroup. It has been officially one entire week that I have not baked a single cooke/cake/cream puff/bread/brownie/etc. 

It’s been rough. I’ve had the urge to get in the kitchen and bust out a batch of cookies but I’ve held off a little. I will admit I have been a little down and hurt since accepting the fact that the original goal was not met. Plus, usually I bake while in happy or stressed moods, not so much when I’m down in the dumps. 

But, I’m over that now. I need to move on and keep pursuing alternatives to making this Beast Bakery take off. I still have some more planning and smoothing out details however I do feel a batch of chocolate chip cookies in my immediate future. 

Stay tuned kiddos, I’ve got some more big plans coming your way soon. Plus, there might be a chocolate chip cookie recipe/tutorial in it for you too!

Cheers, 
EA

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Mexico Cruisin’

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At the end of May, just a couple short weeks ago, Justine, myself and Justine’s cousin, Lisa, went on a cruise for the first time along with my family to Mexico.

 

We all needed to get away from it all. Lisa had just graduated from junior college and had work her tush off. Justine had been promoted at work and has been working day and night in this new high stress position. I had been working full time and part time on Mary Kay and I just felt burnt out. A good long vacation is just what the doctor ordered.

We began our vacation on Saturday May 26th by driving down to Southern California. When we got down to Anaheim, I let out a huge sigh of relief and was glad to get away from it all. We then spent the next day relaxing at the hotel, swimming in the pool and walking around Downtown Disney. After our relaxing day we headed to dinner at Bubba Gumps (one of my favorite restaurants).

That Monday we continued our journey to the port and embarked on our way to Catalina Island via the Carnival Inspiration. The first night on the ship was a little uneasy for me, even though I usually don’t get seasick I was kind of queazy and felt the unsteady motion of the ocean. After dinner Justine and I went back to our cabin and thought we would take a short nap and go party hardy with all the late night events that were scheduled. We laid down to nap at 8pm on Monday and woke up at 7am the following morning. It was an amazing and obviously much needed slumber.

The rest the trip was kind of a blur. We didn’t relax much as we were too busy taking in shows, embarking to the ports of Catalina Island and then Ensenada. Taking in all the sights at each port and then shopping and gambling on the ship. We spent our 9 year anniversary in Ensenada and had a very nice dinner. We did a lot of eating and the food was amazing. My favorite was the formal dinners in the Carnivale dining hall. I have never felt so classy.

When we got back home the following Saturday, Justine and I took advantage of our last two days of vacation and just lazed around the house and relaxed. I don’t know if I would take another cruise just because the day at sea the last day of the cruise was excruciatingly rocky and a lot of the passengers were getting sea sick. Also, I like to relax on vacations and I felt the pressure to be doing something at all times so it wasn’t as relaxing as I hoped it would be.

Overall the break from reality was phenomenal. Especially the time we spent, all be it short, in Anaheim was great. Enjoy the photos.

Cheers,
EA

 

Marvel Movie Marathon

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On Thursday I called out of work to embark on a 12+ hour journey through the land of super heroes and villians leading up to the best movie of the summer, The Avengers. In true nerd form I could barely sleep the night before simply due to excitement for the movies to come. I woke up at 6am Thursday morning and by 8:30am I was out the door and headed to the theater to get in line. I stopped at the grocery store down the street to stock up on candy and lunchables to sneak into the event, even though the theater was offering $2 hotdogs.

Days before I was debating on wearing some kind of elaborate costume but because I had waited too long I dediced to wear a Marvel shirt instead. That morning I thought I might just be a little crazy for leaving so early when the event actually started at noon, but I had called the day before and was informed that the marathon was indeed sold out. I took my chances and showed up three hours early and to my surprises there was already a line forming. Good thing I did get there at the time I had otherwise I would have for certain not been in the first 10 to enter the theater. 

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I went on this adventure alone but only a few short hours later I had made friends with an awesome group of Chico State students that had driven almost two hours to take part in the Marvel Movie Marathon here in Sacramento. We entered the theater and as they checked tickets we were handed these awesome buttons (below) and a movie poster (above).

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The event included 5 previously shown Marvel movies: Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, & Captain America. All leading up to the main event, The Avengers. After every movie there was a 20-30 minute intermission where we could get up and stretch and refill our popcorn for $3 and our drinks for $1 a pop. I consumed so much sodium by the second Iron Man movie I was definitely feeling puffy and bloated. Also, by The Incredible Hulk showing some of the larger/heavier gentlemen in the audience were already starting to smell a little ripe, if you catch my drift. By the time Captain America showed the theater was in full comic book convention funk mode and heavy set men from near and far packed into the seats looking greasier than ever thanks to the $2 hotdogs and massive quantities of large butter covered popcorn barels strewn throughout the isles.

Mentally I was keeping a tally of the amount of women that attended the marathon and the maximum amount of women that attended was 30. In a theater that seated 120 a quarter of the viewers were female. I had a feeling that would be the case but hoped for the best and quite honestly it didn’t matter because the entire audience was amazing. During each movie we were all quiet and captivated. Cellphones only came out during intermissions, we all laughed and clapped in unison. It was a great experience to be a part of and by the end of the Avenger movie we all felt like one huge club.

Overall it was amazing and I would do it again in a heartbeat. I learned so much about the Marvel franchise and the comics in general. People taught me about the subtle hints and Easter eggs hidden in each film and credits. I went with hopes of seeing an amazing movie and walked out feeling like I was part of an elite group of people that would dedicate more than half a day to watching movies about comic books.
Now if only I could attend Comicon…

Cheers,
EA

Boom!

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Friday after work I took a detour on the way home and bought a new outfit and shoes from Ross. One of my favorite places to shop because they have tons of dresses that are big girl size and yet still stylish. I love Steve Madden shoes. My affection for these designer shoes started way back in high school and due to my lack of balance I have only had the nerve to buy Steven Madden flats.

Since I’ve been wearing heels more frequently now I felt like I would take a risk and step up my heel game (pun intended). The heels I bought at Ross were from Steve Madden’s – Madden Girl line. They were animal print (one of my favorites), didn’t include a buckle on the back strap and oh so high. We’re talking 4 1/2 inches high. I thought I was up to the challenge.

Justine and I went out to dinner Friday night and painstakingly wore them to the restaurant. I receive a compliment on how cute they were. I baby stepped my way to the car and massaged my poor feet home. The following day I was determined to break them in and decided I would wear them ALL day long. I wore them to a Mary Kay function and stood on them quite a bit. My feet were slowly getting used to being arched so high.

When Justine and I went to see a movie later that day my feet were a little tired and but walking wasn’t as difficult as the night before. When we got out of the movie theater and started walking back to the car we went over the yellow “safety” braille bumps at the end of a walk-way and all of a sudden I was falling. Being the big girl that I am, I fell hard. I was wearing a skirt and pantyhose and didn’t want my business out in the open so I tried to fall sideways.  I grabbed on to Justine and somehow I still landed on my face.

Once I was on the ground I sprung back up and limped to the car. I have to admit it was humorous because I am a big clutz and this is the first time I have fallen in a long time. I managed to scrape up my right knee pretty bad and my left calve received most of the damage due to road rash.

Maybe you can see the pinkish red area on my calve that is now scabbed over and still rather tender. I am mostly upset that my brand new shoes are complete garbage as I tore a strap and scuffed them up badly.

Oh well. Now I have an excuse to replace them, but this time around I think I’ll stick to 3 inch heels or flats.

Cheers,
EA

Still Here & a Brand New Year

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I’m still alive. It’s almost the end of my 23rd year. There are only 2 months left to be exact. It’s a brand new year and I’m feeling extremely optimistic about 2012.

2011 was fairly uneventful for the most part. Justine and I spent the first half settling into our new home and learning the joys and pains of being homeowners. Since we only live about 5 minutes away from work we worked, a lot. An average person works 42 hours a week. Between Justine and I we probably average 49-52 hours a week. We worked 6 days every week for several months and it took a real toll on us. On our home, our families, our friends, and our pups. I got to the point where I was just plain depressed and nasty to everyone. I hated my existence and loathed my job.

Towards the end of the year things started looking up. I’ve had a few interviews for new jobs, learned to separate my work life from my home life and got my weekends off again (for the most part). In the last month of 2011 things started to get even better. Our financial situation has finally turned around and instead of being anxious about making payments I am now a little less preoccupied by our budget. We were able to buy our families nice, thoughtful and more expensive gifts than we have been able to afford in the past. Lastly, Justine proposed. More on that later.

When 2011 was over I felt relieved but also rejoiced in the fact that things are finally beginning to go my way. I know that 2012 will be full of memories that will last a lifetime but also full of new adventure and good times.

I can’t wait.

Cheers,

EA

Disney or Bust

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As most of you may already know I am a Disney-fanatic. I love everything Disneyland and Disney related. The very first time I went to Disneyland I was in the womb and I’ve been going every year since I was born. When I was little I made a comment to my family that one day I would move to Anaheim and work at Disneyland.

Ten years later I graduated high school and moved down to Fullerton, CA and went to CSU Fullerton. I lived a mere 8 miles away from the Disneyland Resort and ventured to the land on a regular bases. I was too afraid to work at the park because I didn’t want to ruin the magic for me or my family.

I moved back up to Northern California after only a year of living in So.Cal and never applied to work for Disney. Now that I’ve lived nearly 4 years back up North I miss being within earshot of the nightly fireworks. I am unhappy at my current job and have thought long and hard at what I want to do in life. Ultimately I feel that I belong in Southern California and most importantly I belong at Disney. I plan on working for Disney in some way within the next 5 years.

I would die if I could somehow work for Disney and be initiated into the amazing corporation. I plan on making my dream a reality and I can’t wait until Christmas Eve to be on our way to the land for a special holiday visit with my family.

Happy Holidays! Here’s to new beginnings and happy times!

Cheers, EA

Officially Fall- Pumpkin Bar Time!

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It is officially fall in our house now that I have made the first batch of pumpkin bars of the season. Even though fall supposedly starts at the end of September I cannot really get into the swing of the season until October 1st. Which means that I cannot buy and light pumpkin scented candles, use slippers in the house, or make the first batch of pumpkin bars until at least the first weekend of October.

I know it might seem a little weird, but have you noticed that the second August is over retail stores are putting up Halloween decorations and costumes only to take them all down by mid September and replace them with Christmas decorations?! I mean come on now people it just turned fall let’s stick it out a little bit and savor the season. Sheesh. As a result I hold out till the first of October to feel autumn take over my senses.

Luckily, my mom is the same way. She waits until mid-October early November to bake these deliciously soft and pumpkin-y goodies. I however, cannot wait that long. I mean come on, just look how good it looks.

The moment I smell the scent of pumpkin and cinnamon wafting through the brisk air of my kitchen and throughout the rest of the house, immediately things feel like fall. This week the weather will begin to cool down even more and the nights are already chilly. I cannot wait until late October when I can wear slippers and sweatshirts around the house and not start sweating moments after putting them on.

Anyways on to the good stuff. Here is the recipe I use for these little beauties, but I will mention that I add a few ingredients that add a little something-something and give it the umph it needs to feel more like autumn.

Ingredients

Bars:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 15-ounce can pumpkin
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 pinches of light brown sugar * (secret ingredient #1)
  • 1 cap full of vanilla extract* (secret ingredient #2)

Icing: Make it from scratch or be lazy & pick up a can from the the grocery store

  • 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Using an electric mixer at medium speed, combine the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy. Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth. Spread the batter into a greased 13 by 10-inch baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting. Cut into bars.

To make the icing: Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and mix at low speed until combined. Stir in the vanilla and mix again. Spread on cooled pumpkin bars.

This recipe comes courtesy of Ms. Paula Deen but I like the adapted version I use better because it has always came through for me. Just look how delicious they turned out…

Now for a close up.

Yum!

Cheers,

EA