Saturday, October 30, 2010

Mel's Minestone Experiment

  • 3 cups dried romano beans (whatever you can find/like)
  • 1 cup bacon fat
  • 10 cups chicken or beef broth 
  • 3 onions, diced 
  • 6 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 2 potatoes, diced
  • 1/2 head savoy or curly cabbage, diced 
  • 2 zucchini, diced (optional) 
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh parsley, chopped (can add up to 1 cup, if you desire) 
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large cans Italian style peeled plum tomatoes
  • freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

  1. Soak beans overnight in cold water, covered. Drain beans, rinsing until water is clear. Place them in a stockpot.  Add 10 cups of broth. Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and cook at a gentle boil for 1 hour.
  2.  At the same time, heat oil in (separate) large stockpot.  Add onion, celery, carrots, garlic, and parsley.  Saute gently for 5 to 8 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Add remaining vegetables.
  3.  Using your hand, crush the tomatoes as you add them. Add remaining juices from the cans.
  4. Add 9 cups of broth. Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and cook at a gentle boil for 45 minutes.
  5. At the 1 hour mark for the beans, remove from heat. Drain off water.  Transfer half of the beans to a food processor or blender and blend into a paste. If you don't have a blender/food processor, mash half the beans in another pot.
  6. Add mashed beans, remaining whole beans, and bacon fat to the vegetables.  Continue to cook at a gentle boil for another hour, or until both the beans and cabbage are soft.

Makes: A shit ton of soup. (I can't remember how much, but it was a LOT)

  • As always broth numbers are approximate.   Always add enough that soup is very...soupy at the beginning. If you have too much liquid in your soup at the tend, you can either take the lid off and let it cook down, or drain out some of the liquid.
  • I know 1 cup of bacon fat sounds pretty gross, but trust me when I tell you this soup NEEDS some kind meaty/smokey of flavour.  You could also fry a package of bacon (diced), and add the bacon and fat together. 

Chris did not like this one, though I did.  It took him three days of having it for lunch for him to realise this though. lol. That's because Chris does not like any soups with tomato bases.  Nothing against the soup, he's just not a totmato-in-soup fan.

Mel's Veggie & Lentil Soup

  • 3 onions, diced
  • 4 medium carrots, diced
  • 6-8 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 2 potatoes, diced
  • 3-5 garlic cloves, minced (to taste)
  • 900g green lentils
  • 6+ cups chicken stalk (possibly more) 
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • ground pepper (to taste) 

  1. Put everything in a large pot. Cover with enough stock that it's easy to stir and fairly liquid-y. 
  2. Bring to a boil on high heat. Turn heat down, until boiling steady (will need 1/4 of max heat likely). 
  3. Cook until lentils are soft (very soft is good too) and delicious.

  • Again, stock powder or bullion cubes are a life-saver. 
  • Add whatever veggies you like/you have in your fridge you want to get rid of - the onions, carrots & celery are the base, add what you like after that. This is just what I usually have lots of.  
  • As far as herbs, add what you like really. I think thyme is nice and light and works really well with the veggies. Parsley or dill could totally work as well.
  • I don't add salt to any of my soups because stock/dry stock alternatives are super salty (unless you make your own stock). 

Lentil & Ham Hock Soup

  • 1 ham hock
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 4 medium carrots, diced
  • 6-8 celery stalks, diced
  • 3-5 garlic cloves, minced (to taste)
  • 900g green lentils
  • 6 cups chicken stalk  
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (optional)

  1.  Put everything in a large pot. Add enough water to cover ham hock. Stir well. Cover, and bring to a boil.
  2. Cook on low heat (just enough to keep it boiling) for approx. 2 hours, or until lentils are almost perfectly soft, and meat is falling off the bone.  You will need to add more water, lentils take in a lot of water when they expand.
  3. Remove ham hock, and allow to cool (20 minutes is usually enough).  Keep soup on low heat. Remove meat from bone.  Cut meat into bit-size pieces, discard the rest.
  4. Add meat back to soup. Heat through.
  5. Cook until lentils are soft. Remove Bay leaves as you find them (as eating or while potting).
Makes: over 20 cups of soup.

  • I always use chicken stock powder, bouillon cubes are just as good. Adding less instead of more is the best approach with this soup - ham hocks are salty!
  • Times are totally approximate. I usually just cook the soup until the lentils are almost done and the meat is falling off the bone, so I don't pay attention to time
  • Soups don't have to be exact. Sometimes I add the whole head of celery, it goes to waste otherwise, and adjust the carrots.  Sometimes I add more lentils (be careful with this, they expand like crazy!), and end up having two pots of soup. ha. 

This is Chris' favourite soup.  I don't like soup much, to be honest, so I don't really get it, but he just loves it.  Maybe it's the warm lunch in a cool work place. Maybe it's just the promise of solid food...I dunno.  But this is the one he asks for most often.

Recipes Still to come

I'm doing a kind of soup recipe dump, and I realize that the soup I make most often doesn't even have a text file - that's how often I make it, I just wing it. heh.  Others only have paper versions.  So when I have more time, and it's not so dang late, I'll add:
  • Lentil & Ham Hock Soup
  • Mel's Veggie & Lentil Soup 
  • Mel's Minestrone Experiment
  • Mel's Chili (okay not soup, but I might as well share!)

There are also a few (really, not many, to be honest) recipes I've found on the internet that I really like, and don't actually change! Imagine, my not tweaking!
  • Simply Recipe's Black Bean Soup
  • Smitten Kitchen's Red Kidney Bean Curry.  I LOVE this with raita (basically good thick plain yogurt with finely diced cuccumber & green onion in it).  So SO good.

This is all I can think of for now. More later.  Well, at least the recipes I promised.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Mel's Decadent Cream of Broccoli Soup

  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 7 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 teaspoons chicken broth powder
  • 4 good sized potatoes, cubed
  • dash parsley
  • dash time
  • dash oregano
  • 1.5 heads of broccoli, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup sharp cheese

  1. Melt butter in pot on low heat. Add chopped onions and stir. Add a dash of olive oil to keep butter from burning, stir.
  2. Fry onions until golden and translucent. Meanwhile, cube potatoes. Add crushed garlic, stir.
  3. Add 4 cups of water and 4 tsp of chicken broth powder. Stir until fully combined.
  4. Add potatoes and herbs. Boil until potatoes are well done.
  5. Take soup off heat, allow to cool slightly. Mash potatoes in pot. Add flour, whisk until fully combined. Take the cup of cream out of the fridge and allow it to adjust to room temperature.
  6. Add chopped broccoli. Bring soup back to simmer, and simmer until broccoli are fully tender.
  7. Turn burner to low. Add cream and cheese, stir. Heat soup through, until cheese is fully melted and combined, stirring often. 
Makes: ~ 3 servings!

I really love this recipe.  I bought factory-made Knorr cream of broccoli, and although it was good, there was no actual discernible broccoli! It tasted a lot more like Potato and Leek soup, in fact.  So good, but not at all what I was craving.  I sort of jumbled many internet recipes together to get this, and I'm pretty dang happy with the result. :)

Melissa's Beef Barely Soup Experiment

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless lean beef, cubed
  • 1 beef soup bone (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 3 onions, diced
  • 8 stalks celery, chopped (one whole head)
  • 5 carrots, diced
  • 2 cup frozen green peas
  • 500g medium pearl barley
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce (& more to taste)

  1. Saute onions in soup pot with oil, until translucent. Add garlic, and beef. While beef is cooking add a dash of Worcestershire sauce. Cook until meat is nicely browned.
  2. Add remaining veggies, beef & chicken broths, barely, soup bone, herbs to the pot. Add a couple dashes of Worcestershire sauce. Sitr. Top up with water, if necessary.
  3. Bring to a boil, and cook on med-high heat for 1-2 hours, or until everything it tender, and soup is desired thickness. Add more water while cook, if soup gets dry (barely sucks up a lot of water).
Makes: ~20 cups

Tip: Instead of using actual broth, buy knorr broth powder or bouillon cubes, and add them plus water.

This is still an experiment, but a pretty yummy one.  My first time making it I realised I totally needed more beef broth than I added.  All that barely really exploded!  And without the beef broth to add flavour it was kinda bland. I ended up stirring in beef broth powder into every bowl of it I ate. Made it oh so much more enjoyable.  Also, this could totally work with ground beef.

Split Pea & Ham Soup

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups split peas picked over and rinsed well
  • 1.5 lbs smoked ham hock 
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, cubed
  • 1 large baking potato cubed
  • 3 garlic clove pressed or minced
  • 6 cups chicken stock 
  • Enough water to fully cover ham hoc
  • 1-2 bay leaf
  • Dash of Thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Heat oil in a large pot, saute onion, celery, carrots and potato over medium-low heat for 7-10 minutes.
  2. Add peas and ham hock and cover with stock & water by a couple inches. 
  3. Bring to a simmer and cook about 1-1.5 hrs until soup is thick and peas have almost disintegrated but not quite. 
  4. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Remove ham hock and let cool. Pull meat from ham hock bone, shred and return to soup. Once meat is warm through, soup is ready to eat!
Makes: ~20 cups

Mom's Chicken Noodle Soup

  • 7-8 chicken thighs
  • 3-4 small-med carrots
  • 4 stocks celery (little better than equal parts with the carrots)
  • 1 med onion
  • 1 bag of extra broad egg noodles
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
  • Ground Savory
  • Salt 

  1. Boil 7-8 chicken thighs in just enough water to cover them, with salt and savory. (I add 1 tsp salt, and ~1 1/2 tsp Savory.)
  2. Cook until chicken is falling off the bone -- approx. 2.5 hours
  3. Take chicken out, let cool. Reserve broth.
  4. Cut up the carrots and celery (~ 1 cm thick thick). Dice the onion. Mince the Garlic.
  5. Boil vegetables & garlic, with more savory, in broth until carrots are almost cooked. ( I add ~ 1 tsp Savory)
  6. Meanwhile, remove skin & bones from chicken thigh meat. Break meat into pieces. Set meat aside.
  7. Add egg noodles, 1 tsp salt, and chicken pieces to soup. (You may need to add more water here, I always do. Add water until noodles are fully submerged)
  8. Cook until egg noodles are al dente. (read packaging, ~12 minutes, underdone is good as they will continue to cook in soup)

Makes: ~ 16 cups of soup

  • Careful on the carrots! They can make the soup too sweet. No more than 4 small/med carrots.
  • Use lots of savory and salt - "until it tastes right".
  • Noodles will keep cooking once they are off the heat, so don't overcook.

This soup is exactly what I crave when I get sick.  The warm chicken-y broth. All that good fat (they've done tests, it can help when you have a cold/flu!), it's just the right thing!  And it's easy to eat when your throat is killing you.  And once it's made it's easy peasy, no work food while you are sick.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

NaNo Time is almost here!

Once again NaNo is almost upon us, and it's caught me by surprise.  From the first time I heard about it, I've really wanted to do it, but... at the same time... I'm not prolific. I'm not really much of a writer to be honest.  But I wish I were. I'm more of a dreamer.  And man do I dream! I have some of the most fucked up dreams ever. Seriously.  Some of them are like movies. Heck, some of them would make pretty decent action movies! Most of them are just scenes, just bits and pieces. Not whole stories. I do not do whole stories so well.  I lack...... the ability to pull it all together... And yet..... it's really super tempting to try to write a novella length something!

I'm not sure what I'd write though. Everyone seems to have all their ducks in a row by now.  Me, I'm trying to think of something that would go on long enough.  There's the Alejandro story, or the disturbing one about an abusive possibly murderous mom....but I honestly don't know where that could even go.  *Sigh*  I just.. I don't know....

Well, I guess I have a week to think about it... Maybe I'll bug a friend who is doing this for the fifth year to see if I can bounce ideas off of her....

I almost want to start with an idea and keep writing and just see where it goes. Maybe it will go somewhere, maybe it won't..... But I just.....  I really want to try.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Frustrated with my Fibromyalgia

I'm so very frustrated.  So much so that I give myself a tension headache just thinking about it.

I've been bed-ridden all week. I went out Monday.  I got lots done.  Very early in the morning I met with my mother-in-law at St. Mike's after her MRI.  I kept her company, as she wasn't supposed to be alone for an hour afterwards. I guess they can do weird things to your head.  We had coffee and croissants. :)  She's fine btw, it was just a check-up.

I went home and changed (my pants died), then I walked to Young & Bloor. I bought myself a book along the way, and checked out Winners.  Some of the shoes in there! OMG!  My feet don't even bend that way. lol.  I went to shoppers, bought us toothbrushes (finally on sale!), and other toiletries.  I went to the Bay looking for some kind of purse/ bag, no luck sadly. I took the subway west to Dufferin Mall. I looked in all the stores I could think of for some kind of replacement messenger bag or backpack. I couldn't find anything I liked.  Saddening!  I did find something for my mom though.  I haven't been home, so I haven't given it to her. I can't wait! I really really hope she likes it! I also went shopping for me and actually found a pair of pants! With pockets!! And a zipper!  Proper jeans!! woohoo!

Then I came home and made ham hock and lentil soup.  It was the easiest soup I've ever made!  I LOVE my food processor!!

So, a very very very full day for me.  As a result the next day I felt like I'd been beat-up or run over my a Mack truck.  I spent the day in bed, sleeping for the most part.  I did manage to make muffins for Chris' work like he'd asked, but that's literally ALL I did.  I don't even think I managed showering. So sad.

Wednesday wasn't much better. I wasn't as sore, but I was still so weary.  And since I'd started reading an Anita Blake book, I was addicted, and spent the day reading.  I did manage to make a soup though. Roasted butternut squash, wedding pumpkin (as in left overs from the wedding gourds), and sweet potato, with caramelized onions.  I pureed the whole lot. Again, I just love my food processor!  Very delicious with crusty bread!  Me, I don't like it without...there just isn't enough chewing in that kind of soup. It's like my mouth/brain feels cheated somehow. I know, I know, I'm a weirdo.

Wednesday night Chris has a maintenance at work, which means he was working from 1am to 4am.  I stayed up, reading my book. Big Mistake. Huge.  But I just couldn't help myself.

So Thursday I again felt like I'd been run over. Only worse, because I was nauseous from sleep-deprivation.  I tried to sleep at much as I could, but my brain wasn't co-operating, and I spent the day in way too much pain for my body to even allow me to sleep for the most part.  My body is so angry at me I've had to take out my ear-rings!!!  I've not had to do that...since I stretched my lobes! o.0 I've also had to take my engagement ring off as the skin underneath it has also gone crazy... My face too. ugh. My body is just flaring and angry and sore.

It's really flipping frustrating! Damnit!

Today, Friday, I've done fuck all really.  I fed/made myself lunch, and showered. That's actually an accomplishment!  I didn't manage showering yesterday. I was too sore, weak and too shaky on my feet to chance it. How sad is that?!  Ugh.  I just really hate being so freaking helpless and useless.

I know I'm not useless all the time, but I've been bed-ridden all week!  Okay, four days, but it feels like a week, it's basically the whole work week!  I hate that I can't help Chris. I hate that I can't do dishes, or clean (at least the kitchen geez!), or get groceries, or make dinner.  I'm just a lump of pain.  Bah!  Bah, I say!

I know I can't change the fact that I have fibromyalgia.  I just didn't fucking rule my life like it does. Going from a useful active member, to a useless lump is damn frustrating I tell you!  I just want to not hurt so damn badly, and I don't know how to accomplish that. It's all so frustrating.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pumpkin Muffins!!

Okay, so, while preparing for my wedding, with all my spare time (HA!), I whipped up this pumpkin muffin recipe, and baked muffins for us to take to the hotel for snacks.  Clearly I'm a crafty over-achieving bride.  Geez.  It seemed logical at the time though, I swear!

Pumpkin Muffins

Anyway, I'm so in love with my muffin recipe I wanted to share it. It's just so perfect for this time of year.  Not just because of the pumpkin, but the spices warm it up, and feed the cold soul.  Anyway, here it is!

Mel's Pumpkin Muffins
Makes: 24+ cupcake-sized muffins, or 12 giant muffins & 2 cupcake-sized muffins

  •  2 ½ cups flour (cake or all-purpose - cake will make a softer muffin)
  • 1 cup instant oatmeal
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 ½ heaping tsp. ground cinnamon 
  • ½ tsp. ground cloves
  • ¾ tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup currents or raisins (plumped)
  •  4 eggs
  •  2 cups pure pumpkin puree
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ¾ cup oil

For the topping: 
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup instant oatmeal
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 heaping tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Line 24 cupcake-sized cups.
  2. Prepare topping by mixing the topping ingredients together, cutting or pinching the butter into the dry ingredients to make a crumble. Set topping aside.
  3. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk until well mixed. 
  4. In another medium-sized bowl, whisk together eggs, oil and milk. Add pumpkin, and whisk until fully combined. Stir in plumped currents.
  5. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.
  6. Fill cups almost completely full. Sprinkle topping evenly on all muffins. Bake in a pre-heated 375° oven for 25 minutes or until tested done with a toothpick inserted in the centre of the muffin. (my old crappy apartment oven takes 30 minutes)

Monday, October 11, 2010

We're Married!!!!

We're married!  We did it!  Yaaaaay!

I don't have any pictures to share because I was too busy getting married to take any! ;)

All my planning and preparations paid off.  Everything went so very smoothly!  Only two tiny things didn't go as planned:

(1) We didn't end up getting my laptop set up so Neda could skype in.  We just didn't have the time.  Though oddly enough we were running ahead of schedule all morning until about 9am.  But then, that's exactly why I have us extra time!  On the plus side Sabrina and Brian were able to record the ceremony with their fancy schamzy new camera, so Neda will get to see it!

(2) The boutoneires I made didn't sit quite right. They were too heavy, in part, and as my Pa pointed out (he is soooo smart!) I put the pins too low, it would have worked better with them higher.  How he knew that I don't know.  I've got such amazing parents, I do!

And that's it really. Everything else went according to plan, or at least worked out just fine, so yay!  And really, as far as what could go wrong, such minor things as did, really aren't a big deal at all. Honestly, I'm thrilled everything went so very smoothly!

The catering manager said this was the easiest wedding she'd done, and I was the nicest,  least bridezilla bride she's ever had to deal with!!  This makes me very happy indeed!  Chris joked about me being bridezilla, but honestly, not so much.  I was my bitchiest as I was waiting for Chris to do up my dress, and while he was doing it.  Mostly because I felt to dang helpless. Doing up my dress, since it's a corset back was something I could most definitely not do myself.  Giving up control bothered me, but mostly being so helpless frustrated me.  Having to stand around waiting for someone to dress me was the oddest feeling ever! So helpless, so indebted.  I like being able to do for myself damnit. lol.

Everyone loved my dress, was impressed with my flowers, even more so when they learned I did them myself! :D  Chris was my cheerleader and helper the whole day through.  People kept complimenting the wedding, and the things I made, and Chris would pipe up 'She made that too', and everyone would be even more amazed! Heh.  I honestly thought people realised I'd made all the things I did, but they always seemed surprised when Chris told them I did it, so yay!  Go me! The crafty bride!  Judy, our photographer told Chris that I was the craftiest bride she's ever done a wedding for!!  How awesome is that?!

One of my oldest friends, Will, who is the other half of Will and Angie (two of my oldest and dearest friends), who has always been kinda like our big brother, and often 'one of the girls', was just totally amazing for us on our wedding day.  He took care of the music, helped up coral people, drove us out to the picture location, stayed and waited to take us back to the hotel.  Got me food and water when we arrived back at the hotel - I was just so thirsty, and really sad we didn't get to even try our hors d'ourves. I totally didn't ask, he just came out with a little plate and a glass of water! My hero!  Chris said then, he really is like an older brother, and he is.  I wouldn't feel right without saying how wonderful he was, he really made things so much easier for us.  He totally stepped up, like he always does 'cause that's the kind of man he is, and I love him to bits for being such a wonderful man. :)

Now to the events in the order they occurred...

The ceremony was an amazing blur for me.  I remember Carole our officiant reading the part about the teapot that I wrote, and smiling at me.  That was awesome.  She really seemed to get it, which thrilled me.

The pictures went off without a hitch, we got to use the most amazing backdrop of fall colours!  A pond, with changing trees behind, oh it was breathtaking!  The pictures of just us were fabulous. It felt like we got a lot done, and honestly, it really felt like we had three hours with Judy, not just the one and a bit we did have, so YAY.  I really can't wait to see the pictures!!

Dinner was lovely, just... lovely.  The tables looked amazing with all my ornamental gourds against the black table clothes.  Everyone seemed to like the hors d'ourves I picked!  Except for the spring rolls; they were not what I expected either, but that's okay, there was more than enough food!  Dinner itself was great.  The buffet worked out really well I think.  And the fact that we had extra space was awesome - the two and three year old had lots of room to play and run around.

Thanks to Sabrina, everyone signed my guest book.  I got smiles and laughs about my octopus comment (the sign I made said if they didn't sign the guest book, the guest book octopus would get them), and the actual knitted octopuses. The four kids, and their parents seemed very pleased that they each got to take one home! So yay!!  My cousin Malcolm, ever the sweetheart, asked me which one was my favourite, and that's the one he picked!

Everyone just loved the cake.  I received lots of compliments on how good it looked, how professional.  Then they ate it, and were blown away by my chocolate cake! YAY!  I cut the chocolate, bottom layer first, so a lot of people didn't get to try the coconut, but that's okay. Even Chris' shy cousin asked, in a kind of awed voice, if I'd made that chocolate cake, and if I made it often!  I said yes, it's my go-to chocolate cake.  He seemed really surprised and impressed! Woohooo!

The flying pigs, though some loved straight off, most didn't get until I explained - I always said I'd get married when pigs fly...  David and Alice have to be some of my most favourite people, they loved the piggies straight off, and didn't need an explanation to make them awesome. :D  David even mentioned that when I'd written on facebook that I was knitting octopuses for the wedding he'd thought 'this wedding is going to be awesome'!  It really well and truly makes me feel just amazing when people actually get my sense of humour and understand my... aesthetic.  So woohoo!

Everyone said there goodbyes after cake - it'd been a long day for everyone, I was totally okay with this timing!  And by 4:30 we were in a cab and on our way home.   We got to have a nice nap, then Chris made me dinner!  We had snuggles and TV in bed.  The perfect ending to our day - for us.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Five Days till the wedding... FIVE!!

Well, considering it's evening, it's more like 4.5, but still..... FIVE DAYS!!

So excited!  I can't wait to wear these:

Wedding Bands!

I think Chris' band is the coolest thing ever!  Mine is simple, but it's perfect for under my big honkin' engagement ring, and the colour is very very close to that of my pearl, so yay for matching! :D  And best of all, me and Chris' bands match!  That's so important to me, though I don't know why exactly. Something about equality....

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Engagement Pictures!

Since it's, you know, seven days before our wedding, I thought I'd finally share our engagement photos. Though, to be fair, we took them at the end of August and I didn't get them until the 22nd of September, so, you know, our timing is off in general here. ;)

We started out the session at Brookfield Place, because I just love love love the ceiling and atmosphere of the place.

Brookfield Place

Brookfield Place
I really like this one. Too bad the damn slip of my skirt is showing! :(  For some reason that happens in a lot of the photos of me in this skirt that day.  I wish someone had noticed! =/

Brookfield Place
I really love how my turtle stands out and I look booby! :D

My favourite picture of us
This one's my favourite of all the pictures of us ever taken. Seriously.  I just love it.  I want it on our wall in the living room, like on a canvas, 3' by 4' or something. :D

Next we sort of re-created our first date.  We went to the ROM where we had our first date...

Outside the ROM

 Laughing at the ROM

Then we went to the pub where we had lunch...

At the pub we went to on our first date
This is a very first date shot, but I like it cause it's sweet.

At the pub we went to on our first date
This is a very... stuff white people like shot... and... I like it.  I can't help myself! lol.

Holding Hands
This one just.. speaks to me...

Then we walked back to the apartment, and stopped in the little park around the corner.

Kissing in the park
I really really love the trees and light in the back ground here.

There are more, but these were my favourites.  I liked the one on the subway platform, but again, stupid skirt slip showing. :(  And I'm so not skilled enough to photoshop that out!  Oh well, there are lots of other nice ones!

Soon I'll have wedding photos to show you all!  Seven more day!!  Gah!!!! Yay!!  Gah!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Blood, Sweat, and Tears...

So yesterday I tried baking the chocolate cakes again. The first time I got the batter perfect, but my oven was very not level so my cakes came out having risen very unevenly.  Like, insane uneven - one side was half as tall as the other! o.0  So those cakes were cut down, and frosted with a test ganache, and went to work with Chris.  His coworkers seemed to enjoy the cake.  One said he could only have once piece because it was so rich.  Which makes me think he wanted a second but his sweet tooth protested. lol.  I'll take that as a compliment!

Anyway, attempt two saw me rushing slightly, and screwing up the amounts of baking powder to baking soda. Opps.  I tried to fix it, but I don't think that worked perfectly.  Add to that that, for once, I followed the recipe and baked the cakes at 300˚F, which left them dented in the centre!!  Like, the sides of the cake where higher than the middle!! That's never happened to me before!  Totally not hot enough in my oven, obviously!  Cause they didn't fall, they never rose!  When I tried to take one of the cakes out of the pan it broke in half!  That's when I got a good look at the centre and realised it wasn't baked fully or properly.  So in the garbage they went!

I was out of sugar, low on milk, low on flour, so I made a run to the local Metro, and then tried again.  I was setting everything up when Chris came home.  I had the coffee steeping,  the flour/dry ingredients mixed and waiting, and was chopping the chocolate.

I swear to all the gods I love, that I am always very, very careful when chopping chocolate!  I've chopped more pounds than I can count, and I know just how easy it is for the knife to slip.  Only... I was upset, tired, and just plain feeling low.  I guess I wasn't paying close enough attention because I sliced through the tip of my thumb but good. *Sigh*

Bandaged thumb
Here's the bandaged thumb, I'll save you all the gory detalis!

It hurt, I won't kid you.  But the heartbreaking part was that I'd fucked up yet again.  I felt like I couldn't do anything right.  I'd messed up the cakes twice now - cakes that I've baked perfectly many times before! It was frustrating, and depressing that when it counted I couldn't manage to get it right. And now I was adding my blood, and tears along with my sweat to the cakes. o.0  NOT  literally, they were just spilled in the making!  Just in case any of my guests find this. lol. I want to be very clear, the knife was washed before being used again and I didn't get any blood on any of the food.  For a clutz I have fast responses, and put pressure on it before it even managed to bleed.  I also wore a latex glove over my bandaged hand to make sure there was no way anything would transfer.

I'm really, really, really glad Chris was home.  When he realised my yelp meant I'd actually hurt myself - usually my yelp can mean anything from I've dropped a spoon, to I've burnt myself - he came over and hugged me while I cried and hyperventilated.  He was patient, and kind, and just let me cry.  He didn't pressure me, but let me work through it myself before I spoke again.  Then, like the trooper he is, he washed the knife, and finished chopping the chocolate for me, and helped me finish making the cakes.  This is made even all the more impressive by the fact that he'd just come off of a hellish week of being on call, where he was literally on calls almost the entire week; the man did not sleep!

So yeah... Third time's a charm!  The chocolate cakes came out perfectly this time! And I'm going to modify the recipe so it says 350˚F is what works in my oven!!  I also managed to get the coconut cakes done too.  They came out just amazing.  Yay.  So cakes are baked and frozen.  Next week I'll need to ice them, and find a way to keep them in the freezer... right now it's quite full (time to eat what's in there!)  Chris is going to have to help me with the chopping again, because, honestly, I'm not sure I'm ever going to chop chocolate again.

Wedding cakes in freezer
Cakes all wrapped up and in the freezer! Yay!

Time for a food processor!!!!!!!  If anyone has any recommendations for or against any brands/models I'd love to read them!