Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Everyone loves candy-coated balls of cake.

I found this recipe/idea at C and C Dish, and immediately just knew I had to try it. Luckily, my Faith and Imagination class is doing light supper meetings, and I volunteered desserts! Yay!

1 Cake Mix (and everything that goes with them, like, an egg? Maybe oil?)
1 regular tub of cream cheese icing
Vanilla candy coating (I've always called it Almond Bark, but that's not the real name)

Make the cake and let it cool. Mush the cake up with the icing (I didn't use the whole tub, just enough to make it a kind of paste-y consistency). Make balls o' cake! Freeze (I did overnight). Follow candy coating directions (you should probably do this) and coat the frozen balls o' cake in candy coating and let them set up.

<--- Dipping. <--- Skewering.

So. The original was for carrot cake, which I thought was fabulous, but I'm currently obsessed with red velvet cake. I made two cakes! I only mushed half of each, though, since this gathering is relatively small. Now I have this sitting in my kitchen.

Oh, the humanity.

<--- Carrot Cake Balls

<--- Red Velvet Cake Balls

So, I had to stop coating after about half of the carrot cake. Where I was dipping, the cake was shedding (for lack of a better word) into the coating, and then it wouldn't melt right. So. Resting (and writing a paper), and later (once the Red Velvet Balls are a little firmer, since they only got refrigerated), I'm going to finish the rest. But - the ones that have been coated are firming up nicely.

And, uh, my kitchen just might be candy coated as well. :) Oops?
My camera died, so hopefully I'll have a finished product picture soon. As in, as soon as I find my charger. Which could be anywhere.

Friday, May 21, 2010

None of us like to talk about this. But we're going to.

Okay, let's face it. Many of us HATE to shop for bras. It's annoying, it takes forever, you're forced to be completely naked in a dressing room (okay, well, that might just be me that has a problem with that), and all the good ones are so expensive!
So, up until yesterday, I used to avoid it like the plague. I've only ever owned two bras at a time, and I just try to make it work. Additionally, I'm extremely lopsided (almost a cup size difference!). So, I hated it with a passion. I wear bras until they fall apart, and generally by that time, they look gross. This is one of my character traits that my mother refuses to deal with. So, for Valentine's Day, she got me a Victoria's Secret gift card and told me that I was only allowed to by bras with it (buying underwear, oddly enough, is not an issue with me, kind of like buying Vera). So finally, yesterday, I remembered to take my card with me when a friend and I went to JC to shop.
Turns out, I've been wearing the complete wrong size since things quit growing while I was in high school. Who would have thought? So, after being enlightened, I found THREE, count them, THREE bras that I liked and (since wonders were apparently never ceasing), they fit. And there is no fallingoutage (new word), and no annoyance at the fact that I have on a bra, and it really doesn't feel like I'm wearing one. The best part about them were the fact that I found all three of them in the sale bins, and my ending total (although a little high, but I had a gift card) was roughly half of what it would have been if the bras were full price.
In the end, while this post was a little out of my comfort zone, I really think that every woman should go have her assets measured at the VS. Even if you don't buy a bra there, get measured. It may surprise you!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Things I Love Today

One of the other blogs I follow did a post like this today, and I thought it was an excellent idea. Sooooo...
1) I got a new Vera today. I should probably stop buying them.
2) I didn't have to work at the Burger King today. (Annnd I might have a new job! Eeek! Details forthcoming.)
3) I'm going to finish The Man Who Was Thursday tonight. Very excited about that, and starting Orthodoxy.

Annnnnnnd, that's my list! The house (meaning myself) is in a frenzy of packing. I have to decide what's going to Grandmother's, if anything needs to go to Chattanooga, and what I need here until I move. My Civil Rights class is also overnighting in Atlanta this weekend, so there is that to prepare for, too. Whew! What a week.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Anarchy, Undercover Cops, and Deceit. Oh My!

Before I begin talking about the book I want the whole world to read, I need to notify the blogging universe that I just sneezed and scared the poo out of my dog. She ran out of the room. It was hilarious.

Remember the whole promise about blogging about the making and the reading? Well, I'm here to try and fulfill it!
For my Faith and Imagination summer course, we started our reading with G.K. Chesterton. I've used Chesterton's commentary in research papers and the like before, but I hadn't read any of his fiction until now. Our first book was/is The Man Who Was Thursday.
Like me, the title probably puzzles you a little bit, but within the first two chapters, that clears itself up just a little bit. The basics of the book are anarchy, undercover cops, and an ongoing discussion of the merits and downfalls of poetry and philosophy. There are also a lot of Biblical parallels. I don't want to give anything away, but the book is SO. FUNNY. Seriously. I have had so many "laughing out loud" moments (usually in awkward places). So, if you're looking for a quick read (maybe less than a week if you're disciplined), then this is definitely for you.
*Tip: I would recommend keeping a list of characters. Just a thought. :)
I have to finish this book within the next couple of days and start reading our next Chesterton, Orthodoxy. Annnnnd I have to write a paper about them. Before next Monday! Woohoo, summer classes!
Happy reading!

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Eventually, I am going to get the hang of regular blogging, I promise.
I've decided that this is the summer of making for Miss Amanda. Making what, I have no idea. But I've gotten way into subscribing to blogs (instead of writing in mine) and I have tons of starting points. I'm also just going to read a lot. And (hopefully) blog about it. :) We'll see.
Last Saturday I was privileged to host a dinner party for a close friend of mine, and I was so excited to try out a couple of new recipes that I found here and there.

The (Original) Menu
Florentine Mac and Cheese with Chicken Sausage Meatballs
Fresh Zucchini and Squash Salad
Tossed Caesar Salad
Crusty Italian Bread
Lemon Bundt Cake with glaze

Oh, if only things were so easy!! So, after planning the menu, three trips to various grocery stores in three different days (because I kept forgetting stuff, etc.), and working 16 hours the day before and the day of the party, the menu turned out like this:

Florentine Penne
1lb. box of pasta (original calls for cavatappi corkscrew, and alas, I couldn't find it. Penne it is!)
2 boxes chopped frozen spinach (10oz each)
3 tbls butter
2 tbls all purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup milk (the original called for whole, I used 2%, and it was still yummy)
1 cup grated Parmesan
Salt & Pepper (to taste)
1/8 tsp nutmeg (eyeball it)
Boil a large pot of water. Cook pasta. Strain, and reserve one cup cooking liquid. Defrost spinach according to the package directions. Make sure your boxes are in a shallow bowl, there will be some run off. In a medium sauce pot over medium heat, melt butter, whisk in flour, cook 1 minute. Then, whisk in stock and milk, season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Let sauce thicken for 5-6 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, and reduce heat to the lowest setting. Wring spinach completely dry in a kitchen towel, and separate as you add to the sauce. Also add the 1 cup reserved pasta cooking liquid. When pasta is done, toss in the sauce, making sure things are evenly coated.

Yummy Italian Meatballs
1 1/2 lbs. ground chicken (which, they conveniently do not sell at Wal-Mart; I ended up with 1 lb. beef and 1lb. Italian seasoned ground turkey)
Salt & Pepper (to taste)
Palmful of rosemary (original calls for fresh sprigs; the dried worked very well)
Palmful powdered garlic (original calls for fresh cloves, which I didn't have time for; this improv still works just as good)
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan
1 egg
3/4 cup breadcrumbs (Sargento Italian style were fabulous)
*The original also calls for fennel seeds and crushed red pepper, but I'm not a fan of either. Just keep in mind that you can hike up the spice if your particular tastes call for it.
Preheat oven to 450.
In a large mixing bowl combine ground meat, salt, pepper, rosemary, garlic, ricotta cheese, and Parmesan cheese. Add the egg and breadcrumbs. (If it's too wet, add more breadcrumbs.) Form whichever size balls work for your particular meal (ours were 1 1/2 inches in diameter, but the original says 3-4). Drizzle meatballs with a couple of teaspoons of EVOO and roast 17-18 minutes until the juices run clear.
*This made 30 meatballs, plus about a half pound of mixed meat leftover that I put in the freezer. (Which I plan to make Italian burgers with. Yum!)

Zucchini and Squash Salad
1 zucchini, diced
1 yellow squash, diced
1 whole, ripe tomato, diced (original calls for red and yellow cherry tomatoes, which I don't like :/)
2 tbls Dijon mustard
3 tbls balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup EVOO
Salt & Pepper to taste
*this also calls for a red onion for the dressing, but alas! Allergies defy me. So no red onion.
In a medium bowl, toss together zucchini, squash, and tomatoes.
In a separate bowl, combine the Dijon and balsamic. Whisk in EVOO until the whole is completely combined. Salt and pepper to taste. Toss veggies in dressing!
*This was good, but not jaw dropping. And there was a lot left over. I'm going to oven roast the rest (since they have *ahem* marinated) and we'll see how that goes.)

Lemon Bundt Cake
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
5 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup milk
Cream butter and sugar together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the lemon juice until well-blended. Beat in eggs, one at a time. In another bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the first, a little at a time and alternate with milk. Pour batter into a greased bundt pan. Bake 50-60 minutes, or until cake springs back in the touch test. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan, and then flip onto rack to cool the rest of the way.
*** This did not go as planned!! First, I didn't have sugar. Argh. Then, I followed the directions completely, and when I "flipped", my cake ended up in about six different pieces. So, we had trifles with strawberries, blueberries, and whipped cream. Heh. They were very good, though. But, I can't vouch for the way the glaze tastes because I didn't make it ('cause of the breakage, you see). The cake wasn't very lemony, so I might up the juice next time.

So, for credit: The pasta, meatballs, and salad were Rachel Ray, but I feel like I altered them enough to take a little credit. The cake came from

All in all, the night was a success. :) The boys were awestruck with my skills, and that made me feel nice. The meal was colorful, too, so it felt healthy.

Now, back to the real world. I have successfully avoided my presentation for class for an hour to type this, and alas, I must make an A.