Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Picture a Day: Cereal

I am always searching for something to inspire me to blog more. I think I have found it. I am going to post a picture each day and write something about it. I won't pressure myself to write a lot. Some days it will just be the picture. However, I hope that this is the push I need to blog more. So here is today's picture.

Yes that's a box of cereal. A friend asked me to mail her cereal because she unable to find it in the country she is living in. Perhaps it's time to learn to make cereal? I wonder how hard it would be to make Honey Bunches of Oats? I would try to make Cheerios though.

What's your favourite cereal? If you were living in a country that didn't carry your favourite cereal? Would you have it mailed to you? Or would you just live without?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Simply the BEST Chocolate Cupcakes

We all love chocolate, right? After all, it is good for you. They have antioxidants and I am pretty sure there is at least one study that states that chocolate helps alleviate depression. We should eat chocolate daily. Now there are chocolate cupcakes and then there are these cupcakes. I honestly don’t think I have ever eaten a better cupcake. Usually when I try recipes, I try to think of things that I could do differently. What flavours could I add? What flavours could I remove? Is there a new technique that I could try? With these cupcakes from the Cupcake Project, there is nothing that I could do to improve them. Yes, they  are that good.
I actually made these for a friend and was very, very reluctant to share them. Luckily, I was able to snag a few for myself. They remind me of a brownie more than a cupcake – they’re almost fudgy because of the chocolate chips stirred in. Please try them today!

Does no always mean no?

Yesterday Z told me to about Deelishis (of Flavor of Love) describing being raped when she was 18. Short story:  He was 28. She went to visit him. She said she didn’t want intercourse. But she allowed oral sex. After oral sex, he insisted on intercourse and forced himself on her. Her husband said she led the man on. Z was shocked by the husband’s reaction. I wish I was.

 I heard so many similar sentiments over the years when I talk about rape in my classes.  Does no always mean no? Of course you would think that wouldn’t be up for debate but it always is. I remember a student asking, “Did she say no with bass in her voice or was it a weak no?” Yes, that was asked by an adult male. Other students have told me that if you don’t want sex, you should never put yourself in a situation where sex could happen.  

I just described Deelishis’ situation to a colleague and he also said that Deelishis was leading the man on. Legally, he says, she was raped but she can’t allow oral sex and not expect anything else.  He even said that men think about sex differently. Is it really a gender difference? Or is it that we are using that as an excuse?  If a man can easily hide behind the “It’s because I am a man” excuse, why would he need to act differently?

Friday, January 13, 2012

My Birthday Cake

I had gotten into the habit of baking dessert almost every week. With my birthday approaching, I wondered what would be the perfect cake. Chocolate? Carrot? Cheesecake? I couldn't decide so I asked Facebook. The first suggestion was a coconut cake. I thought of it but I wasn't completely wowed. I started browsing Smitten Kitchen's Celebration Cakes. At the same time that I was reading her Tiramisu Cake, my friend also suggested a Tiramisu Cake. It seemed like fate. I needed to make the tiramisu cake. It helped that making a traditional tiramisu has been on my to-do list for very long time. The decision had been made until another friend suggested a Black Forest cake. Meh. I am not usually moved by Black Forest. But then another friend said:
Even better, black forest cherry cheesecake. So you have cherry cheesecake at the bottom with black forest cake on top with thin later of chocolate frosting in the middle. it's covered with cream then Oreo crumbs. On top you have cherry filling with cherry flavoured cream for the rosettes
After I stopped drooling, I knew that I had found the one. This would be the birthday cake. I spent a few days thinking about it and then I made some last minute changes. I would do two layers of chocolate cake with a cheesecake in the middle. I then decided to do a strawberry filling and cheesecake instead of cherry. I am not sure how much I like cherries. And hey, it's my birthday. I wanted to love my cake. So here are the recipes that I used.
 My most favourite chocolate cake recipe - Hershey's Especially Dark Chocolate Cake
 2 cups sugar
 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
 2 eggs
 1 cup milk
 1/2 cup vegetable oil
 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
 1 cup boiling water

 1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round pans or one 13x9x2-inch baking pan.
 2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of electric mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
 3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes for round pans, 35 to 40 minutes for rectangular pan or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

                                                                    It cracked. Oops!
 Strawberry Cheesecake

 2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
 2/3 cup sugar
 1 tablespoons all-purpose flour
 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
 2 large eggs
1 tin strawberries (you could use frozen or fresh strawberries)
 1 tablespoon cornstarch (diluted with 2 tbsp water)

 1. In a blender combine strawberries, half of its syrup and constarch slurry.
 2. Pour into a saucepan and bring to a boil until it thickens a bit.
 3. Cool.
 4. Beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium-high speed until well blended.
 5. Beat in the flour. Add in the vanilla and beat until well incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
 6. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl between each addition.
 7. Pour into a greased springform pan. (use parchment paper!)
 8. Swirl in 2/3 of strawberry mixture.
 9. Bake in a waterbath for 45 minutes.
 10.Cool. Refrigerate for 3 hours.

 Cool Whip Frosting

 1/2 cup milk
 1 small package instant pudding mix, (I used vanilla, white chocolate would have also been a great choice for my cake)
 1/4 cup powdered sugar
 8 ounces Cool Whip


 1. Pour milk into bowl add pudding mix and sugar.
 2. Beat with wire whisk for 2 minutes. Make sure it's dissolved!
 3. Gently fold in whipped topping.
4. Refrigerate overnight (or for about 3 hours - it will be thicker.)

 One layer of chocolate cake.
 Spread with half of reserved strawberry mixture.
 Add cheesecake layer.
 Spread with half of reserved strawberry mixture.
 Top with second layer of chocolate cake.
 Frost and decorate as you please.

Friday, January 6, 2012



That's the only way to describe how I'm feeling right now. It would be cliché to say that I've never felt this way about anyone before. But that would be the truth. I think. Yes, I've been seriously infatuated. Yes, I've spent weeks in anguish over various men. But this is different.

This is raw physical attraction. Lust? Meh. Let's stop trying to define it so simply. It's the attraction that I've never felt for any of the others. It's what has always been missing. I've tried to manufacture it. I've faked it. But never truly succeeded.

With him, it's different. It was never a flicker - always raging. I've tried to control it. I have to. But a single text message can crumble my resolve. I likened myself to Pavlov's dog last night. I was lost in a novel when he sent the text but in an instant, there it was. The burning desire. The text wasn't even risqué. It was just a "What's up?" but I was immediately... ha. What's the best word or phrase to use here? I could use the one that was used to describe me today but I won't. It'd be apt though. Ha.

Wait. So what am I confused about? I know what I want. Where's the confusion?

Oh. Him. I wish I could remember his JS name. In fact, he was the reason I started writing Summer 2005. Nothing really changes that much, huh? I wish I knew what he wanted. I don't know if I can give it to him. I also don't think he trusts me to give it either. I cannot blame him. We've played this game for years. He is always the loser. No, I did lose once.

And I may be losing again.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Pumpkin Streusel Braid

So soon I was making a recipe from Willow Bird Baking each week. She posted her Pumpkin Pecan Streusel Braid and I was on it! I wasn't even sure if I liked pumpkin. I had only picked at pumpkin pie but I didn't care. I needed to make it. Yes, I was obsessed. What is your point? The dough is really easy so this is a really easy recipe to whip up for breakfast. I made this a few weeks ago and I think that I need to make it again a few days. I really enjoyed it. You can use whatever fillings you fancy. You can check out her other braid recipes.