I am having the worst holiday season I can remember. Ever.
I don't want to say anymore right now, but if someone wants to say a prayer for me I would really appreciate it.
No matter what is happening right now ( or even more because of it) I decided to start a Panda project for the kids' room. I had the idea since long time ago, but never found the time to actually start it. So, now I've made 3 paintings for the last 2 days :-) I hope I can finish it of course.
The idea is to have one whole wall covered in panda paintings- different size, different style etc.
Here are the first 3 paintings:
- This one is 27"/19"
-This one is 15"/11"
- This one is again 27"/19"
If I have the time, I'll add some more, until then I'm tring to keep thinking positive and hoping for the best.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
I am having the worst holiday season I can remember. Ever.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
When I wrote about me wining the cake competition on Tuesday I was imagining this wonderful weekend, full of cinnamon smell, warm cookies, baked marshmallows, gift wrapping and stories by the fire.
Our week starting from Wednesday until today ( Monday) turned out quite different.
Tuesday the weather was bad, but this is usual here, so nobody paid attention, but when our power went out on Wednesday that was the beginning of the end of my "dreamy" weekend.
Such an ice storm wasn't seen around here in 20 something years!
Well, we got lucky!
And I mean, seriously! There were people injured from failing trees, cars broken, roofs pierced by collapsing trees, no heat, no warm water, flooding, closed roads...
Governor Patterson said we are in a state of disaster, not even emergency.
It was quite a trial, but again- WE GOT LUCKY!
We were 4 days with no electricity, this is our 6 day with no hot water, probably because of the flood our 2 year old water heater is not starting and the plumber was so busy he couldn't come earlier than tomorrow...
It's a mess, but still, we checked in a hotel with the dog ( I was so worried what we are going to do, but it turns out that there are hotels, and good ones, that take people with dogs).
The kids had a blast of course, they had the pool in the hotel :-) and the whole thing was "very exciting".
How easy is for something like this to shatter your perfect little world in seconds!
I didn't take that much pictures, because it was dangerous to stay outside, there were trees falling, even a branch fell next to me while I was shooting with the camera, so I got inside.
It was ( and still is) incredibly beautiful though!!! I can't believe something so scary can be so beautiful at the same time!
See for yourself here.
( Everything that you see on the pictures is ice, not snow!)
I just hope we are going to get lucky and get some hot water tomorrow!
Posted by Aneliya Kochneva at 10:11 PM
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Wow!Three posts for today, that's a new record :-)
I just couldn't miss the opportunity to tell you that I've just won the Grand prize on Creative-baby-shower-ideas.com!!!
I've totally forgot that I've signed up for it but they've contacted me yesterday to tell me I've won :-)
I can't begin to tell you how happy am I!!!
This is my first competition ever, the cake that I participated in with is my first fondant cake ever, and I won the Grand prize!
That is a cause for celebration!!! Have a cake on me! LoL
The cake that the one I've made for my friend Rose, you all remember probably the " Pox News" post, when it turned out my daughter had the chicken pox and I've made 2 cakes for 50 people each. Remember now? Well, I've cried the whole weekend, since we had to eat the 100 pieces ourselves, but if somebody have told me then I was going to win this competition, I wouldn't believe it!
Thank you Creative baby shower ideas!
Here is the cake, just to remind you:
The photo quality is not great, but this was Pre-Canon era. :-)
My very first fondant cake...Wow!
I still can't believe it...
The Good Ol' Days
This is a recipe my mom used to make when I was little and I've always new that whenever Christmas was near, my favorite cookies' smell would fill the air.
It was times, when there weren't that many cookies in the store, 2-3 kinds and people used to rely on their cooking skill and recipes to satisfy their sweet tooth. Recipes were furiously kept secret and cookies had more than deliciously tasteful value. They were like currency! People used them to "bribe" other people in doing them favors :-)
It was a customary to bring something sweet whenever you go to the doctors for example, and the better the cookies, the better care you get.
It was expensive and time consuming way of making things, but perhaps people appreciate them more.
I've never made the cookies myself before,but I wanted my kids to remember them as something their grandmother makes, something that is warming you up your soul as well as your mouth.
The joruney of a recipe's remaking
So I started.
Now, here is a time to mention that although my father has always been fit, he ate a lot! And I mean A LOT! So, I remember my mom telling me, she used to make cookies with 4 lbs of honey and I decided, since I am going to give away some for Christmas, to do the same- knead dough with 4 lbs honey.
Boy...was I in for a surprise.
My mom, as much as I love her, was never "the scientific " type of cook. For her flour was always" on demand" or " as much as the dough should be soft".
My whole being is rioting against this unfairness in her cooking notebook! So, every time I try a recipe she wrote down, I measure...and measure...then sift...then measure some more, then try...and try again and at some point I have the called amount and I write it down victoriously in her notebook :-).
Well, this recipe was indeed like the others- flour on demand. So, I started and finally I got the correct amount- 5 cups. But...what she missed to mention is that 4 times the original dose is like 8 lbs dough!
I started mixing and no surprise, I ended up with so much dough, I had to make couple of different kinds of cookies with it and I still have a quarter left in the freezer ( how the latter would turn out I'll let you know in a couple of weeks).
So, here is the recipe for one dose:
1 cup sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup honey( liquid texture, so warm it up a little bit)
2 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp ground cloves
1 tbsp ginger
1 tbsp nutmeg
2 tbsp cocoa
5 cups of flour ( have at least 1 more for the rolling out to sift on your working surface)
#If you are going to make the bear kind you are going to need a bag of M&M's.
# If you are going to make the chocolate hearts kind you are going to need a jar of strawberry jam and 2 cups of melted chocolate with 2 tbsp vegetable oil in it.
# If you are going to make the porcupines, you'll need 1/2 cup chocolate and some grated coconut.
# If you are going to make the icing type cookies, you'll need some colored sugar sprinkles and a bag of royal icing.
Preheat the oven at 350F.
Mix the sugar and eggs ( room temperature) until they are fluffy, then add the honey and vegetable oil. In a separate bowl sift together the flour ( except the one cup you've set aside for the rolling out), baking soda, cocoa and spices.
Combine both mixtures together and knead the dough until it is very soft but it doesn't stick to your hands. Have in mind that all these types of cookies are a little bit sticky anyway, so if you are able to roll out the dough with flour on the surface, then you definitely can start cutting them, you don't need more flour.
Cut the desired shape then place in a pan on a piece of parchment/baking paper. Have in mind that the cut shapes have to have at least an inch around them, because they rise while baking.
Bake on 350F until golden brown ( about 20 min). Take them out and let them rest for 2 min in the pan, then place them with a spatula on a baking rack to cool down. When completely cool you can decorate.
*Very important note*: Immediately after baking these cookies are soft, then they become very, very hard! You have to decorate them, place them in a box or just cover them with foil and let them rest for couple of days to become soft again! The longer you leave them to rest, the softer they become and the better the taste.
Did you ever have trouble figuring out what to do with the turkey leftovers after Thanksgiving? Well, this year we had lot left so I had to figure out what to do with it and then I remembered that I can make Gordon Ramsey's sticky lemon chicken that I've seen on Youtube, but with turkey :-)
You can see the video here.
What I did is, I've cut the turkey in small pieces, then followed Gordon's recipe and voila!
One more thing I did differently is that I used mint instead of thyme, both in chicken and mashed potatoes.
It was delicious!