Sunday, December 29, 2013

52 weeks of baking: 52 - double chocolate torte

Fifty-two. We made it! I did it! 52 weeks of baking. Done. PHEW!

For my last week of baking I baked something that I knew I'd love, because it's my year of baking and I'll do what I want! I needed something involving chocolate, and specifically chocolate mousse. I think my favorite food might be chocolate mousse. So I made a double chocolate torte, via Smitten Kitchen of course. It's basically a big ol' pile of chilled mousse with an almost flourless cake at the bottom. It's a pretty little thing and very yummy. Oh and it has a pound of chocolate in it.

No lie huh, it's pretty. It had to chill in the fridge overnight and it was torture. I wanted at that thing. And raspberries are the perfect companion to chocolate mousse. They are killer on this and I'm not even that nuts about raspberries.

This torte is easy to make, just very time consuming. Like hours and days unless you start it in the morning. There's a lot of chilling and a lot of whisking involved. And chopping a pound of chocolate. Worth it though. Chocolate mousse is always worth it. Unless J-E-L-L-O has anything to do with it.

So that's it, y'all. 52 weeks!!! Thanks for hanging out if you managed to stick through the year. It's been fun and yummy. There will be a follow up post for sure. Because, I mean, a year of baking deserves one.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

52 weeks of baking: 51 - gingerbread men

Isn't that just like the perfect shade of dog poo? Don't let that deter you, these cookies are delicious and spicy and festive as heck. Dough or batter of any sort containing molasses just always comes out poo colored. Amusing!

This week has been insanity. Not that that is anything new, that's the story of my dang life, y'all! But this week, I got sick! Figured it would happen soon, you can only go full throttle for so long before your body is like, NOPE. But luckily it kind of worked out, most of the feverish worst of it was on my two days off so I only spent one very long day at work feeling absolutely rotten. So baking was pushed to the end of the week. And it was a close call. I've just worked 24 of the last 48 hours, but I somehow managed to bust out these cookies last night and am throwing them onto the internet before I go to work today.

Also, there is something real funky going on with my camera. The top portion of all the photos is blurry as hell and everything sort of looks like a nineties glamour shot. It's been going on for a while and I have no idea whats up. But everything kind of looks like this:

Oh well, faces are overrated anyway.

For shapes we only did a handful of traditional gingerbread men, and the rest were stars, kitties, and ducks! Because why not?

My royal icing was waaaay watery, but I was too lazy to add more powdered sugar, so we rolled with it. Came out just fine.

Brendon's design's were my favorite. He made a cute dark wing duck with a mask!

Clearly my writing skills have some room to grow. But these cookies are GOOD! Like I said, spicy! There's a good amount of black pepper in them, and it's awesome. I think if I made them again I'd roll them out thicker. I like a softer cookie. They're a little ginger snappish when they're thin, which is yummy, but I'm into chewy cookies generally.

ONE MORE WEEK OF BAKING! Craziness. I probably won't bake or have anything interesting to report until after Christmas (I have three days off next week!!!!), so Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to the internet!

EDIT: I just realized I did NOT include the recipe I used. What the hell? It's a Smitten Kitchen recipe, I'M SORRY, I WAS RUSHED!

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Sound of Music dress

I call this the Sound of Music dress, because I love the Sound of Music. And it's made out of drapes. The bodice anyway. My sewing boss sent me home with some leftover drapery fabric one day and after letting it sit on my desk for a while, I decided to make a dress out of it. Because that's what Maria would do. And the stripes actually reminded me of a dress Maria wore! I found some soft woven cotton for the skirt on the cheap, so the whole thing cost me about $6. Seamstress on a budget, y'all.

I used Simplicity 1651, and I am in LOVE with the circle skirt. I guess it's a half circle really, but it's my first of any variety of circle skirt and I love love love it! So swingy! I changed the bodice quite a bit. Lowered the neckline because Simplicity patterns are ever SO modest, and added a couple darts to the neckline as well. The stripes were a lot of fun to work with, I love them! Also stripes make sewing in a straight line incredibly easy.

The only thing I'd change would be to fully line the bodice instead of using just facings. So over facings and the fact that they never stay put. But this is a fun dress! Makes me feel like I'm in Salzburg. Ha, I WISH. I definitely plan on making this dress again, circle skirt paaaarty!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Mathilde Blouse

I made this top about a month ago, but am just now getting to blog it because life you guys. Life. This is the Mathilde Blouse Pattern from the cutest little sewing blog Tilly and the Buttons. I don't often make tops, it's usually all dresses up in here, so it was fun to make something without a skirt attached and it's a welcomed addition to my wardrobe! I used a blue cotton sateen which is incredibly soft and just lovely to sew. I need more things made of this.

This blouse was truly a joy to sew. It came together beautifully and there are so many fun details! Pleating! Bell sleeves! And that row of buttons in the back? The best! The pattern comes with very simple instructions for the experienced sewer, and more detailed step by step illustrated instructions online on the blog. I used about half simple and half detailed. And I learned all about french seams! They are beautiful and easy and I am sad my sewing life has been void of them previously. Learning new techniques makes me happy.

I plan on making this pattern again, with multiple fabric action! Sleeves one color, bodice another? Yoke and arm bands in a contrasting color or fabric? Endless options, y'all. I think it might be cute with a little cap sleeve as well! Although I do dig those bell sleeves, a lot.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Holiday photos 2013

This year for our holiday photos, we went ALL OUT. For realsies. Did you know that my favorite Christmas movie is Elf? Well, if you didn't now you do. I LOVE that movie. I feel the same way about Christmas as Buddy, I'm all about it. So when brainstorming ideas for our Christmas card, Elf costumes happened. Not sure if it was Brendon's idea or mine, but they came out better than I could have imagined. They are so fun and I want to wear that Elf dress everyday. And of course, we had to document. All over Austin.

These costumes took forever to make, but mostly because I have been INSANELY busy. I used Simplicity 2542 for Brendon's jacket and our hats, New Look 6110 for his pants, and Simplicity 1913 for my dress. Brendon's jacket took the most work because the pattern was incredibly plain and unfitted and shaped incorrectly. It took a lot of work to make it Buddy the Elf's jacket, but I'm happy with it! My dress was super easy and only took minor altering. They're both made of cheapo felt, which was SO EASY to sew. You never have to finish your edges! And it makes a pretty warm get-up.

We definitely got plenty of looks and comments and people taking our photo, with and without asking. It was REALLY FUN! There's a preschool next to the Hey Cupcake and of course all the kids were outside when we stopped by. They were losing their cool and it was the cutest.

Aaaand we finally found the Austin postcard mural! We have been driving past it all the time and never knew. It was recently (as in less than a month ago) revamped, so it was super bright and pretty! And definitely on a relatively busy corner. I was so scared our tripod was going to get hit by a car.

And here's the Christmas card winner:

Probably looks familiar if you're on our extra exclusive Christmas card list. Kidding. Actually, I lost my Christmas card address list in the great computer crash fiasco, so we kind of had to start from scratch. So sorry if we missed you! Technology always gets the best of me.

I'm not sure how we'll top these pictures next year. This was so fun. SO FUN. And I'm so glad Brendon was more than game for sporting Elf costumes all around Austin and having ridiculous holiday fun in public with me. He's my favorite.

Holiday photos 2012 and 2011. We've come a long way.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

52 weeks of baking: 50 - chocolate lava cake

Alright people. This recipe. I don't know how I've survived without it. It's insanely easy and ridiculously delicious. It's molten chocolate lava cake. Like you get at restaurants. Except AT HOME and made fresh with quality ingredients, because who knows whats in that nonsense from Chili's and how long it's been around. Here's the recipe, and bookmark that sucker because it is a keeper. I found it months ago but somehow just got around to making it. SHAME.

Like I said, this recipe is EASY. It's a one bowl wonder and it's only downfall is that it makes four little cakes. And that's definitely not a bad thing. If you've got four folks around, perfect, but if you're me and Brendon that leaves you with two extra. And these babies are made to be eaten right out of the oven. Not sure how well they'll keep, but we'retrying it out. Even if they're not as melty and perfect as they were fresh, it's still chocolate cake. It will get eaten. I think next time, and there will be a next time, I'll try halving the recipe.

I mean, is that not heaven? I love cake batter far more than I should, so this little cake was my happy place. Oh, cake batter. I love you so. Don't kill me, raw eggs!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Wassailfest 2013

As seems to be tradition since we moved back down south, we went to Wassailfest down in New Braunfels! (Here's Wassailfest 2011 and 2012) This year my mom, her friend Ray, Brendon, and I were joined by my sister and step bro! The more the merrier! Also, this year it was incredibly cold. I think everyone in middle America is enjoying a rather crazy cold spell at the moment. It's been hanging in the thirties or below for the past few days, which is rather wild for Texas. So we went a Wassailing in the cold, and it was very cold, but not as bad as I thought it would be. The buildings provided shelter from the wind and the endless supply of wassail kept you warm!

We also stopped by this bar called Pour House where a couple of my sisters friends (my sister knows EVERYONE in New Braunfels, seriously) were playing music. They were great! And it was a cute little place and the bar has swings to sit swing on. Coolest idea ever. There were fire pits and heaters to keep you warm outside, it was actually really nice!

Of course, because that is my luck, my camera died part way through Wassailfest. This blurry shot is the only one we got of the two of us. No picture in front of the tree this year, but that's okay! We'll get one next year!

It was a really fun evening full of holiday cheer and good folks. Although life has been crazy lately I'm very glad we were able to squeeze this night in. Last year we did TONS of holiday stuff, and this year I feel like we're just frantically trying to get everything done day to day, much less anything extra. Brendon finishes school this next week and I am very excited about that. Hopefully that will help slow things down a bit. This is my favorite month of the year and it is FLYING by! Slow down December, I love you!