Archives For Hobbies

The Year of Pie

January 24, 2014 — Leave a comment

I absolutely love baking pies! And it goes without saying that I absolutely love eating pie!

Think about it…

Pie is just plain awesome! It brings a sense of comfort, and a comfy home feeling.

What is with all the cupcake love these days? Yes, I love a good red velvet cupcake, but it certainly doesn’t bring the nostalgia of a homemade pie! Am I right?

Look out world, I'm baking some pie!

Look out world, I’m baking some pie!

Ever since I can remember I was the kid that watched the cooking channels for all the baking shows. Besides making me crave what they were making, it would get my creative wheels turning. From then on I have had this insane desire to be an incredible baker.

I have tried my hand at baking the cool decorative cakes and cupcakes. While they turn out yummy (most of the time), they don’t always turn out pretty. Not to mention the immense frustration I get from my lack of skill with cake decorating. My kitchen ends up destroyed… flour everywhere, not a single pan clean in the kitchen and a lopsided cake that was definitely prettier in my head than on my plate.

But pie, ahhh that is another story. Last night I was creating a new recipe for my sister’s birthday and let me tell you I was loving every minute of it. Don’t get me wrong, I have had my failed attempts at recipes. But that is part of getting better, you learn from experience. I just feel like I am in my element when I work with pies. Oh, did I mention the pie that I made was a mix between an Oreo pie and a french silk? I’m thinking of calling it Oreo silk, or silky Oreo…

Get ready 2014, I’m baking lots of pies this year!

I really love to bake. When I was pregnant I stopped buying packaged cookies and other desserts because I had such a sweet tooth. Instead I supplied my cabinets with all things baking. When a craving would hit I had to weigh the desire of my sweet tooth to bake from scratch. Since then I have continued with this and have grown to love baking all the more, everything truly does taste better homemade!

Like I said, I really love to bake. But, I really really hate when I mess up a recipe!

You see I am a perfectionist. When it comes to baking I not only want it to taste amazing, I want it to look picturesque too.

Unfortunately there is a learning curve with everything, including baking. And that can be frustrating.

failed baking attemptI don’t really know what it is other than that silly perfectionism within me, but there is almost a sense of embarrassment or even a hint of failure when things end up a complete wash. If you are not a perfectionist then you wouldn’t understand. For some reason I feel the need to put these crazy expectations for myself. Yes, goals are a great and much-needed thing! But, there is such a thing as impractical goals. For example, after watching a marathon of Cake Boss I was going to be able to bake a gorgeous hand decorated cake all from scratch. I mean how hard could it be to use fondant? By the way I am not a fan of fondant, forget that stuff and bring on the buttercream! So I will proudly say that I failed at baking cakes, numerous times! The cake was dry, crumbly or just plain weird tasting. The icing was runny, over sugared, or I didn’t make enough. But you know what I learned through the process?

It’s OKAY to fail! WHAT? Did I really just say that?

Yes my friends, the world won’t end! With each failed attempt I got better, learned new tricks and became a little less concerned about the perfection and a lot more about making small improvements a long the way and having fun in the process.

Funny thing is what prompted this post is my second failed attempt at making a new dessert. Remember, I am not a fan of this! In case you were wondering it really is never good to try substituting condensed milk for evaporated milk or even basic milk. Nope, it’s a really bad idea actually! Instead of amazing, melt in your mouth key lime bars you end up with chunky key lime wannabes.

It’s okay to fail. Learn from this mistake if the recipe says condensed milk, it means condensed milk! 

The world seriously doesn’t care that I made an awful dessert tonight. I find it funny that something as simple as baking dessert can remind me that I’m not perfect. I wonder what my next dessert is going to tell me?


The Artist Within

March 21, 2013 — Leave a comment

An artist in all of us

I am not an artist. 

I hate when people say this!

Yes, I have said this statement many times.

Why do we feel like art is strictly sketching, painting and sculpting? If that is the case then yes, I am not an artist. My abilities are limited to bubble letters, flowers and hearts. In this scenario I have not one artistic bone in my body.

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” 

Pablo Picasso

Think about it. Every child gives the world’s largest grin as they proudly show off their scribbles. Isn’t this a masterpiece? Yes! I firmly believe that it is. I don’t believe that it’s the actual drawing that makes it “art” but simply the imagination that it took to create it. That my friends is what I believe is the root behind being an artist. You don’t have to draw amazing portraits or paint like a pro to have the imagination to create something spectacular! It merely needs to be thought up and put into being.

Think outside the box. Making a garden, baking, making up bedtime stories, picking out your clothes for the day, creating music, poetry, scrapbooks, decorating cakes, cutting hair and even blogging is coming from someone’s imagination. So is it art? Yes! It most definitely is! I am tired of using the phrase I am not an artist! I am going to raise my children to never believe in that statement. Children probably do not remain artist merely because of believing this terrible phrase so many of us have uttered, Building a castle from legos- art. Creating an intricate train track- art. Building a fort- art. Whatever you can think, you can create and that makes an artist! Let’s stop believing in the lie and start creating! I did, just now with this post!

“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination.” 

Albert Einstein


3810870705_46a5db9f4d_nNumber 26… perfect homemade Pad Thai. This is item number 26 on my 30 before 30 list. Chase and I love Thai food, in fact we went out to lunch today to our favorite Thai restaurant. When I initially set out to make my list I was having no problems coming up with items to put on the list, but at the same time I was also wanting to make it things that I could actually do during the next four years. For instance, I would love to travel to several countries on my “gotta visit someday” list, but at the same time it’s not necessarily practical that we would be able to take several big vacations before I turn 30, I mean we do have bills to pay and all, not to mention item number 10 which is to be debt free which would mean we need to stay on a budget. So with that said I came up with some things on my list like item “perfect homemade Pad Thai” because it is not an easy thing to mark off yet still completely possible.

We have attempted homemade Pad Thai once. All in all it was decent… not bad, not great just merely decent…edible, if you will. The biggest problem was on my purchasing the wrong kind of noodles, apparently that makes a world of difference in how the dish turns out. We even bought a cookbook that had a bunch of different types of Pad Thai recipes, but I guess if you don’t have the right noodles nothing will matter. Oh well, at least I like to cook and it’s always fun to try new recipes, which apparently is what I will have to do if I ever want to cross this item off my list!


Photo Credit: Ben Sutherland

Chapter One

August 6, 2012 — Leave a comment

I am truly proud to say that my dad has finished his very first novel! Now, this is no small task. If you are a writer then you know 7404623584_660a48e86c_n just how much time and effort is put into every word, punctuation and page to make it exactly how you envisioned it. His first book is The Light of Ordaya by Gary Swensen. This is a fiction fantasy novel and I love reading the words knowing that my dad created it all! To me I look at the finished work of books as art, every word delicately and creatively thought out.  As a writer myself I could not be more proud nor could I be more respectful of his art! If you have a list of books that you are working your way through you should definitely put my dad’s on there! Not only will you get to enjoy the great story but you will be supporting a local writer as well! Happy reading!