17 January 2011

Inspiration: Don't Get Arrested

I'm not this crazy... thank goodness. But this is a good thing for ranch addicts like me to keep in mind:

09 January 2011

One Week In

Ok, 9 days in. (This is the first year since I learned how to read that I didn't get a calendar for xmas... looks like I need to drag my butt out and buy one.)

Anyway. 9 days in to the new year. Here is my obligatory resolution update:

1. I talked with a musician friend and now have an idea of where to start looking for a ukulele. Progress!

2. I've made lots of bad decisions, mostly regarding all of the gross (and delicious) food I've been eating. Like the buffalo wings I had today. And the buffalo wings I had yesterday. And the buffalo wings I had on Wednesday.... yeah. At what point do I admit that I have an addiction....? What is rock bottom when it comes to buffalo wings?

In other news. Well. I've been meaning to get new plants in my apartment. The one I had since 2003 (Herb) died last year so I'm trying to decide what I should get. Does anyone have any beloved houseplants they want to give me a cutting of? I'm not wild about buying them at Home Depot.

So... sorry I don't have much other news. Lots of changes happening at work. It's going to be tough but I'm looking forward do it. Because it might end up being awesome.

01 January 2011

You Guessed It! (Insert Obligatory New Years Resolution Post Here)

Well, you should have come to expect this from me by now. Every year I list the same resolutions with newfound resolve that I really will lose weight, and save money, and read for 2 hours a day, and save the world, and learn to fly, and on and on and... bleh. I actually decided a few weeks ago that I wasn't going to do that again this year. I was going to keep it simple. So here you go:

2011 Resolutions:
1. Obtain and learn to play a ukulele
2. Don't make bad decisions

Seems pretty easy, right? I thought so. The first one is pretty self-explanatory.

The second, however, has drawn some controversy from the few folks I have disclosed this to. They immediately struck back with the "rules" about making a goal measurable, and trying to define it, and bla bla bla.

Yes, I thought about that. And I thought that my resolution would be easier to apply. For example: instead of saying that I want to lose 10 lbs, and limit my ranch dressing consumption, and go to the gym 3 times a week, I will instead say that I'll try not to make bad decisions. I already have a pretty decent gym routine established; skipping would be a bad decision. I'm not dumb, I know what a healthy meal is; gorging myself on buffalo wings and ranch and tacos and whatever else I can find is a bad decision. So instead of always staring at the scale or the mile count or whatever measurement I can find and feeling lost and disheartened at my apparent lack of progress, I can instead manage this on a micro level, and (hopefully) gain some more confidence. And a side effect of this whole process would be losing 10 lbs or whatever the heck is the underlying thing I'm trying to get at.

And it can apply to other things too. But that's between me and a future blog post, and whomever I may or may not text message in the wee hours of the morning. wait. what?

At any rate, I wish myself luck. I appreciate any help/encouragement from friends (as well as being called out when I DO make bad decisions, because I already know a few of them are coming....). So. Here goes nothing!

Bacon Cake with Maple Bacon Buttercream Frosting

Yes, I know, you've been dying for me to turn this into a cooking blog. And what better recipe to start with than one that contains a pound of BACON?!?!?? You're excited, I can tell.

Anyway. Last night, for New Year's Eve, we planned a bacon-themed soiree before heading out to shows/bars/wherever we ended up. It was also a dear friend's birthday, and apparently I'm becoming known as a "bakestress" of sorts (I say that mostly in jest), so I was nominated to make a bacon-themed cake. So here's what I did.

First, I made the bacon. I bought 1 lb of Oscar Mayer Hickory smoked something or other deliciousness. I like to make my bacon in the oven - put a cooling rack in a jelly roll pan and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place strips of bacon on the cooling rack and bake for 30 mins, turning once after 15 mins. This makes the bacon chewy but also slightly crispy -
just how I like it! It also helps drain off a decent amount of fat.

Then, I used the google to find a white cake recipe: click
Though it doesn't say to, I would recommend using clear vanilla extract for a true white cake. I also added an extra 1/2 c. of flour because I anticipated the bacon grease messing with the consistency of the cake... not sure I'd do that again. Then I took 1/2 lb of bacon and cut it into pieces about 1/2" square and folded them into the batter before I put into the 2 pans. This makes a somewhat dense cake. I might try and find a new recipe for a fluffier cake in the future... or just use a box mix.

After the rounds cooled, I made this:

Maple Bacon Butterceam Frosting

5 T. butter, softened
3 - 3 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. maple syrup
1-2 T. milk
1/2 c. cooked bacon, cooled - chop into "bacon bits" size in food processor

Using electric mixer, cream butter. Alternate adding powdered sugar and maple syrup. Add milk to attain desired texture. Blend in about 1/3 c. bacon. Frost away!

I then sprinkled (most) of the remaining bacon bits on the top of the cake. (I ate the rest.)

Anyway, the result was a pretty savory cake. I personally would have liked it to be a little more maple-y, perhaps even with adding maple syrup to the cake mix. Definitely worth playing around with some more. Also, the frosting sort of looks like a bad case of acne. I seriously considered making another batch of plain buttercream frosting to go on top, but I thought that might be overkill. It looked better when I put the bacon bits on top.

Here are two beautiful models, and the cake is somewhere in the background. Thanks to Megs for the pic!