Saturday, December 31, 2005

Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook Conquest #2

I've decided that it will be one of my goals to make every single recipe in Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook. So along with the "Cakes for the Year" goal - I'll be posting everytime I make something from the cookbook. Maybe I should start a bake along blog... something to think about.

My first conquest was the Black and White Cookies. Today I made the French Almond Macaroons - it was actually my second attempt. The first time I made them, I burned them. I didn't read correctly - 300 degrees vs. my interpreted 350 degrees! THEN on top of that I ran out of time to make the Swiss Meringue Buttercream so I just washed it - but today I made a lemon variation of French Almond Macaroons and it was perfect because I made use of all the egg yolks using Alton Brown's Lemon Curd recipe which I added to the buttercream... no left over yolks or whites! The cookies even LOOK like the real macaroons I buy at the bakery.

I left my trusty D70 camera at a relative's house so I'll post pictures later!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

f$#@ing a$#@^$*!

New Year's Resolution #1:

Stop swearing. To help with this resolution, we are going to implement a swear jar. Each offense (word) will cost $1.

I swear like a sailor so I'm going to pick up a 2 gallon jar at the Container Store. And because my swearing affects the kids the most, they are going to benefit from it - every month they'll get to spend the swear jar proceeds however they want (assuming there are any funds in it.)

Monday, December 26, 2005


I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!

I have two new addictions: the
Daiy Jigsaw and Sudoku puzzles at Shockwave. My day doesn't feel complete unless I do both of them. I'm afraid of when I go back to work - I won't be able to do any work until I complete the two.

Speaking of addictions - my 3 month old son got a Baby Einstein DVD for Christmas. I don't know what it is about them but he was totally mesmerized by it. They don't make much sense to me - I suppose if I ever did drugs they would the type of thing you could trip off of while high.

Friday, December 23, 2005

memoirs of a girl's day out

I had a little girls day out yesterday - went to Bay Street, did a little shopping, watched Memoirs of a Geisha, and had lunch at PF Changs (love the spicy eggplant and ground chicken).

Memoirs was good - I think I would have enjoyed it more had I not read the book first. It's hard for me to enjoy a storyline when I already know what's going to happen, yet this happens to me a lot because I read a ton of books. I read an article about the brouhaha over casting Chinese actresses for the Japanese roles of geishas - but I was a bit thrown off with the movie being filmed in English. I don't mind subtitles - in fact I live by them - I watch EVERYTHING (except the news or talk shows) with captions or subtitles. My household is so noisy that captions allow me to read what I can't hear when the kids are screaming their heads off.

Anyway - the movie did keep with the book's storyline as much as it could. There's a lot of detail in the book that wasn't included in the movie - had they included all the details, it would've been a 4 hour movie. I think they did the best they could -
Ken Watanabe was a good choice as the Chairman, I liked him in The Last Samurai. Gong Li is beautiful, though not as hateful as I imagined Hatsumomo to be. Zhang Ziyi and Michelle Yeoh were both good in the movie as well - Michelle Yeoh was a good pick as the older "sister" Mameha.

I have a lot of movies that I want to see but I don't have the time. Plus with movies turning over to DVD so quickly - it's no biggie... Wedding Crashers comes out on DVD in a few weeks! My list of "want to see" movies:

  • Fun with Dick and Jane
  • The Family Stone
  • King Kong
  • Syriana
  • The Gay Cowboy Movie
  • Munich
  • Rumor Has It
  • Pride and Prejudice (I'll have to watch this on another girls day out or on DVD... ain't no way the hubby will sit and watch this.)

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

candy... good...

My kids' dentist office has the best magazines of any medical office I've ever been in... Food & Wine, Gourmet, Martha Stewart Living... not the usual 5 year old Good Housekeeping and Women's Day. I actually travel 30 miles out of my way to take my kids to this dentist, who happened to be my dentist when I was little.

The dental office gave me a handout on a study about xylitol and how mothers who chew gum sweetend with xylitol are less likely to transmit cavity-causing bacteria to their children (tested on pregnant women). They also gave me a sample of
SparX candy that has 100% pure xylitol. Apparently xylitol is good for you and reduces tooth decay... I love having a good reason to eat candy! You can find xylitol in some sugar free gum or candy such as SparX, Spry, Trident, and Carefree Koolerz gum.

Monday, December 19, 2005

make me beautiful

Normally I wouldn't be in such a rush to lose the pregnancy flab - it took 9 months to gain, so it can take 9 months to lose - but I'm in my sister's wedding in March (Hawaii!) so I have a bit of motivation. My choice of bridesmaid dress and my daughter's flower girl dress are pictured above. I'm already at my pre-pregnancy weight but definitely not at my pre-pregnancy body. Let's just say there's lots of loose fluff where the "baby house" used to be. I'd like to get back to my "pre-marriage" body... but I don't think I can get there without some Nip/Tuck action. (Speaking of which, the season finale is tomorrow! I'm so anxious to find out who the Carver is, and I'll be pissed if it's some lame storyline that doesn't make sense.)

Sunday, December 18, 2005

baby shopping

I couldn't resist buying these tee's over at Uncommonly Cute for my baby boy. I had to get him the "Player" t-shirt since he comes from a family lineage of gambling (Asian thing), the Elmo shirt and the "Swinger" shirt. So cute!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Nothing mixes better than vanilla and chocolate and yet somehow racial harmony eludes us...

I finally got around to making Martha Stewart's version of Black and White cookies. The cookies came out light and airy, a bit cake-like, and very very good with the frosting. The only complaint I have is that the recipe instructions were not specific enough when it came to shaping the cookies I'm a left brain person, everything is black and white (no pun intended) to me so I follow instructions concisely. The instructions were to "use a 1/4 cup measure to scoop dough 3 inches apart onto prepared sheets" WHICH I DID, but the cookies came out all misshapen. With the second tray I handrolled the cookies into balls so that they would have a perfect circle shape but they had too much of a dome. With the third tray I shaped them into balls then flattened them into disks (the third batch is pictured above). The icing was GOOD. I'm not a fan of royal icing because it's just sugar with no other texture to it - but Martha's icing is a mixture of heavy cream (probably why it's so good) and powdered sugar so there's a creaminess to it.

Next on my to do baking list: French Almond Macaroons (just for Joyce!)

Friday, December 16, 2005

cakes for the year

The January edition of Martha Stewart Living Magazine has a feature for "A Year of Cakes" - twelve cake recipes to make for each month of the year. My New Year's Resolution? I'm going to make all twelve of them! I'm going to follow each recipe exactly as written, including the little decorations I usually skip (i.e. candied lemon slices). January's cake is Martha's Meyer Lemon Anniversary cake - the magazine has a huge three tiered version of the cake, but I don't know if I'm brave enough to attempt that yet so I may just stick to the single cake. The rest of the year is as follows:

February - Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake
March - Cardamom Streusel Coffee Cake
April - Spring Show Almond Petit Fours (I'm looking forward to these)
May - Teatime Coconut Layer Cake
June - Cocoa Buttermilk Cake with Scrolled Tuiles
July - Berry Pound Cakes with Whipped Cream Ribbons
August - Peaches and Cream Ice Cream Cake
September - "Bake Sale Cookie" Cupcakes
October - Darkest Chocolate Crepe Cake
November - Apple Pie Cake and "Pumpkin Pie" Cheesecake
December - Snow-Capped Fruitcake (I hate fruitcake, but I'll make this nonetheless)

My family is going to be all caked out.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


This year me and the hubby decided to take each other to watch Cirque du Soleil's Corteo for Christmas instead of buying each other Christmas gifts. I was able to get 5th row tickets for next week and we're taking the kids too. It should be fun, the kids enjoyed the last Cirque show we took them to (Varekai). I still haven't seen the ultimate Cirque show - "O" but I'm feeling a Vegas trip this year so maybe I'll finally cross that off my list!

Monday, December 12, 2005


This is a $58 plate of food. I took my daughter to the Ritz Carlton's annual "Teddy Bear Tea" on Sunday. She ate two bites of the tuna sandwich roll then proceeded to eat the three pieces of gummy candy and the bowl of marshmallows served with her hot cocoa... and that's it. I should've eaten the rest of her food but it was a tea and I had to appear dainty. The entertainment provided by Binky the Elf was fun - he put on a "Christmas in Vegas" theme show and it kind of reminded me of Jack's show (Jack 2000) from Will and Grace.

Friday, December 09, 2005


My cousin turned me on to a "knitting/yarn" store in San Jose called Commuknity. They have TONS of the "good" yarn -- so much that I was overwhelmed and browsed for over an hour, looking at all the yarn and books. They even have a "Moms Club" every Wednesday - since I'm on my last month of leave, I might stop in once while I still have the chance. I'm attempting to have a homemade Christmas this year, so I'm crocheting hats and knitting scarves for my nieces and nephews... and I just realized that the colors of yarn I bought look like Spumoni.

Friday, December 02, 2005

the spoils of victory

This arrived today from JustJenn... my prize for winning the contest. Chocolate. Goooooood.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

your own mcmuffin

I saw this toaster in a magazine and thought it was pretty cool. The Back To Basics Egg & Muffin toaster can toast your bread, cook your eggs (poached or hard boiled) and warm up your pre-cooked meat (bacon, sausage) all at the same time. I'm tempted to get one, but I have the feeling that the novelty of it will wear off and we'll be stuck with another gadget in the garage.