Friday, September 30, 2011


I am so angry right now. I was on target to start juicing today, when all hell broke loose. I have been experiencing increasingly painful back issues, and Wednesday I came came to the end of my rope. I went to the doctor, had an MRI, and have a herniated disc and some degineration of the spine. It hurts like crazy and I have been put on lots of pills and mandatory bed rest. A nuero-surgeon is to be calling to set up a consultation. Sitting is painful beyond belief, and I have a cane to help me up and down. I am truly falling apart.

Jon has put all my wishes of juicing on hold for now. We both worry that the antioxidants in the juices and vegetables my flush out the pain killers and anti-inflammatory medication, thus inflaming my back even more. *sigh*

I have been laying flat 4-5 hours for 3 days now, moving to the couch in the afternoons in a semi-reclined position. Jon was kind enough to lend me his laptop, as I was strictly forbidden from sitting at a computer. I believe this is what got me in so much pain in the first place. I sit at a computer all day, every work day.

Today, Jon finally unpacked and set up the juicer. I feel the excitement of juicing coming back to me. We made a deal to try the machine out later this weekend. I may have to put the program on hold, but I thought I could at least handle a glass or two of juice over the weekend.

I have been reading over one of my juicing books and I am putting together a list of veg for Jon to purchase, since I cannot ride in a car or do the shopping myself. I hope to have my first juice tomorrow, I will make every attempt to log on and tell you about it. Until then, enjoy your weekend while I slip into a drug enduced haze.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The New Series & Other Things You Have Been Wondering About

Welcome back! It's an unusually tense Monday for me. Things at work have been very tense. Plus, the bakery has kind of had a busy month as well. This past weekend, I had two weddings and a funeral to attend plus the big order from the previous few posts to take to one of the weddings. All in all, I have been running non-stop since leaving for Italy. Of course, the blog is in a sad, sad state of affairs with puny excuses for posts. However, I am attempting to make good on that now with the new series I hinted at earlier last week.

Last month, I watched a documentary called, "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead". The film tells the story of an overweight man, Joe Cross, who travels across the country for 60 days while drinking only juice derived from freshly ground fruits and vegetables. He starts the trip at over 200 lbs, and requires something like 10 medications a day to manage his multiple health conditions. Over the trip, you see his weight melt off, and by the end, he is medication free. It was truly an amazing transformation.

Now before you think I got all caught up in the glamours of the show, I DID do some research on juicing. Many people have talked about how juicing has not only helped them lose weight, but has helped them with everything from rheumatoid arthritis, to skin conditions, to auto-immune diseases. This is very much in line with the documentary. So, there might be something to this.

After much debate, Jon and I decided to buy a juicer.

Which is now sitting ominously in my living room. 
Jon is very nervous about this endeavor, and now that the juicer has actually arrived, I am too. The expense of a high quality juicer is just (forgive me) Goddamn ridiculous. Part of me wants to send it back just so I can see that cash back in the bank. Him and I both worry that we won't catch the "juicing bug" and we will have a $200 paper weight taking up kitchen counter space. I am worrying about that even more now that the thing has actually arrived, where before I was absolutely without reservations.

So why did I do this...? Here are my reasons.

1.) I am fat. Not like cankle fat, but fat enough to be causing me problems. I am insulin resistant at this point, which means I'm just one or two jelly packed kolaches from Diabetes. Not a great thing to have when you bake cakes as a side job. I hope to lose at least 5-10 lbs.

I love everything about Wilford Brimley, except the diabeetus.
2.) In 2009, I had a knee surgery due increased arthritis pain in my knee. I had a complication that included a blood clot in the leg and 3 in the lungs. I had to relearn how to walk correctly and climb stairs at the age of 27. Since then, I have to be very mindful of my knees, and while my new job has helped me keep 10 lbs off because of all the walking I have to do to get from Point A to Point B, I'm still running heavy for my frame. Taking some weight off my knees would seriously help with this.

3.) Skin disease; another big reason I am interested in juicing. I have has horrible acne since I was born. There are baby pictures of we with zits. It is disgusting, painful, and disfiguring. I'm very self conscious about it, and always have been. When I first started the blog, I considered never showing my face on it at all. Of course that didn't work out. Now, I am hoping that the nutrients from the juicing will help reduce my breakouts and heal my skin. Acne medications are very bad for unborn babies. Which brings me to...

4.) We may be trying to get pregnant soon. I have Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome, which causes fertility problems and weight related problems. In addition to that, I have already been dubbed a high-risk pregnancy candidate because of my history of blood clots. This means that I already know I will be getting two shots of blood thinners to the stomach for 9 months to prevent a stroke from another clot. The thought of getting gestational diabetes on top of that (which requires insulin shots) is enough to make we not want to get pregnant at all. Jon has had to give me the blood thinner shots when we take long flights, and he will be the ones doing it while I'm pregnant. It breaks his heart seeing me all bruised up on the stomach and crying when I get them. The shots cause stress on us both. The less shots we have to do, the better.

So these are my reasons for going for this. I decided to do a 10 day juice fast starting (hopefully) this Friday night. ( I want to give my body and digestive system the weekend to get itself on track if you catch my drift). I am going to try to do a video diary of my experiences for you if I can figure out how to make it work on the blogger platform. I will try disclose as much as possible about the experience, and will field any questions that are posted in the comments. I will also try to give the recipes I am using and the a critique of the flavors of my juices.

If I am doing well at the end of the 10 days, I may try to extend it to 30 days. And yes, I know how crazy that sounds. However, many of the people that I read about, who started on 10 day fasts, felt so good at the end that they extended it to 30 or even 60 days. Wish me luck.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Precious Cargo & Other Things I'm Freaking Out About

Transport and presentation are the scariest part of any order.

Hypno-rosettes and Other Things Making Me Mad

Whoops, forgot to attach that last time!

Been slaving away all morning on these. I hope my bride likes them. I'm really nervous about how they look. What do you think?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Playing with Royal Icing.

Last weekend, I got my largest order to date. The order involves approximately 100 cake balls and 100 rosettes. After a rough start, we finally got the cake ball bases finished last night.

I had started to do this post last night, but my computer froze and I lost the whole thing! Ugh. So now, let me start over and do a quick blurb before I'm cake bound for the rest of the weekend. I have two weddings and a funeral to go to! Sigh.

So I am going to make 100 rosettes for the wedding reception on Saturday. Lots of times they are just dusted with powdered sugar. Other times, they are dipped in royal icing and look colorful and beautiful.

Royal icing is that hard, shining icing that you see on those over-priced boutique cookies. It's basically a simple mixture of egg whites, sugar, water and food coloring. I wanted to experiment making it before trying it on a customer's order, so I mixed up a batch of yellow last night and made some very ugly cookies, doused in the sugary stuff.

Welcome to Sugar Mountain, where is snows powdered sugar year round!

The icing actually turned out pretty well, and hardened up and turned shiny like a dream. The flavor of the stuff right out of the pot, in my opinion, is not too great. However, once paired with the plain sugar cookie, it really enhanced the flavor of the cookie itself.

Some very ugly cookies, some already eaten.
Anyway, I am about to start another series. I recently watched a documentary about nutrition and I am going to give some of the techniques they talked about in the show a whirl. More later, I have to start those 100 cake balls. Stay tuned!

Monday, September 19, 2011

This Weekend's Cakes

I got to try out a new cake idea this weekend and it went off swimmingly. Unfortunately, my photographer was out of town, so you are going to have to deal with my terrible shots.

The first was a birthday cake perfect for anyone that loves candy. The fellow that got this one was so excited, he wanted to eat all the M&M's off the top!

"For ME?!?!?!"

The other cake was for my mom. She loves icing, and Bavarian cream, so I made a rose cake for her. This time in pink. Her mouth fell open when she saw it. I could have cried it felt so nice. She ran and got the neighbor. LOL.

I need a new camera. Geeze.
Lots of things developed this weekend as well. I have a huge order of cake ball/truffle things and Rosettes this week for a wedding reception. I also have a "cake in the waiting" for a bridal shower in October, no real details yet. I have a birthday cake to make for my father in law in 2 weeks. So much to do, so little time!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Thanks to My Readers for My 10,000th Page View

Back From Italy with Writer's Block

Okay, maybe not writer's block, but I have been staring at Cake Wrecks and other blogs I follow for about 30 minutes with my blank posting box, staring me in the face, over in the next tab.



Ahem, well...



Right. So Italy. Everyone wants to hear about it, so let's have a dialog. Or a monologue. Whatever. I am going to surprise quite a few people by saying that the food was pretty disappointing. I don't know if that is because of where we ate or what my expectations about what Italian food was, but I was still disappointed nonetheless.

Let's start with what my expectations were. In my mind, I was expecting dishes with rich, herby tomato sauces, akin to the kind that you imagine old ladies simmering for three days in a giant pot. Truth is, marinara-like sauces are used pretty sparingly. More like just enough to keep noodles from drying out in the cooking process. Most dishes were fairly simple and straight-forward. One dish we had was spaghetti limone. (Spaghetti with Lemon Sauce). Which was basically spaghetti noodles with lemon juice mixed together with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.


That is not a sauce. That's noodles tossed in lemon juice, and I got charged 6-7 euros for that. Let's call that about $9 American. Pity.

Most of the dishes were very heavy handed with olive oil and cheese. At times, Jon and I would put an extra, folded up napkin or slice of crusty bread under one side of our plates to help drain off some of oil. As far as the cheese goes, don't get me wrong. As you know, I love cheese. But even I got burned out on the amount of cheese, and that is saying a lot. I put on about 5-6 lbs on this trip, and I am blaming it all on cheese. We walked a good 5-10 miles every day, so that should tell you how many calories of cheese was consumed.

Now let's talk about some positive food experiences. I got to try a few new varieties of pasta that I have only seen on Iron Chef or not at all. The first was called gnocchi (pronounced "No-Key"), which is made from mashed potatoes, egg yolks, and flour. It is very dense and filling. It was the first pasta meal I ordered when I arrived, and it looks like this:

Gnocchi tossed in oil and Parmesan cheese. Not bad, will certainly make you feel stuffed.
The other type of pasta that I got to try was known as Strozzapreti, which is very frightfully translated as "priest choker" pasta.


I'm not making this up.

According to the all knowing Wikipedia, there are several legends about how this pasta got its name:

"One is that gluttonous priests were so enthralled by the savory pasta that they ate too quickly and choked themselves, sometimes to death. Another explanation involves the "azdora" ("housewife" in the Romagna's dialect), who "chokes" the dough strips to make the strozzapreti: "... in that particular moment you would presume that the azdora would express such a rage (perhaps triggered by the misery and difficulties of her life) to be able to strangle a priest!" Another legend goes that wives would customarily make the pasta for churchmen as partial payment for land rents (In Romagna, the Catholic Church had extensive land properties rented to farmers), and their husbands would be angered enough by the venal priests eating their wives' food to wish the priests would choke as they stuffed their mouth with it. The name surely reflects the diffuse anticlericalism of the people of Romagna and Tuscany."

Anyway, our priest choker pasta was made into a carbonara with small chunks of panchetta. If you have never had carbonara, it may seem like a sort of Alfredo sauce, but it actually made with cream and a ton of eggs. Panchetta is basically unsmoked bacon. It was very good and homemade. I needed a nap after eating it. I certainly hope food experts are still on the "eggs are good for you" swing, because I have seen this recipe with as many as 8 eggs in it.

Pasta with which one chokes priests.
Another thing that I learned it Italy is the true meaning of "al dente". I mean, I know it literally means "on the tooth", but what does THAT mean? I've been reading pasta boxes for years with directions to cook noodles "al dente", and I have come to the conclusion that some things you just can't understand until you have eaten them in their natural environment. If that makes any sense. Basically, what I have discovered is that I have been over-boiling my noodles until they are too soft. Noodles are not supposed to be crunchy, but they are supposed to be so soft the great-granny can gum them without her dentures in. They should have a little spring; a bit of chew to them.

I think my favorite food experience, other than cheap wine (which was sadly, under consumed), was gelato.

He had a nut flavor and I had lemon.

Gelato is eaten almost daily as a late-afternoon snack. Italians don't really eat breakfast-only coffee and small yogurt, lunch is eaten between about 1 p.m. and 2 p.m., followed by coffee or gelato around 4 p.m., with dinner not starting into well after 8 p.m. I think the only way they can make it that late without eating is because the coffee is so strong that it suppresses the appetite until much later in the night. The coffee was so strong, I think I grew chest hair. Scotch seemed smoother by comparison. Consequently, I consumed a lot of gelato. Mostly lemon which was F-ing fantastic by the way. But also a creme and bitter cherry, mixed berry, chocolate, and an egg custard variety called zambioni. Jon was way more adventurous and had a different flavor everyday. Of course, he couldn't get away with not eating something Nutella, which he absolutely loves. Me not so much.

I'm just getting back on American time, and I promise I will try to post some more food pictures this weekend. Sorry to let you down in that respect. I have a cake to make tonight, so look for them a little later this weekend. Thanks a million, and also, hello to my two new followers. Ciao!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Forgein Food Fotos on Facebook

Klassic Kolache: Technique Tuesday

Klassic Kolache is a something I am doing to tide y'all over until I can post from Italy. These are some of my favorite and most popular posts. It's great for newer readers to learn more of my history and for old readers to take a stroll down memory lane. Enjoy.

Grinding your own spices saves you money and gives your dishes the freshest flavor. Here is a quick video teaching you how you, too, can grind your own spices at home. No fancy gadgets required!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Klassic Kolache: A Cake Wreck Celebration

Klassic Kolache is a something I am doing to tide y'all over until I can post from Italy. These are some of my favorite and most popular posts. It's great for newer readers to learn more of my history and for old readers to take a stroll down memory lane. Enjoy.

I made a cake to celebrate my 6000th page view. Now that I am racing towards my 10,000th page view, it seems fitting to remind everyone of my very humble beginnings. Thanks for your love and support.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Klassic Kolache: Krusty Awesome Artisan Bread

Klassic Kolache is a something I am doing to tide y'all over until I can post from Italy. These are some of my favorite and most popular posts. It's great for newer readers to learn more of my history and for old readers to take a stroll down memory lane. Enjoy.

I love artisan bread, and it is very difficult to find here in the US, unless you know a baker or want to spend $10 a loaf at a rich-people grocery store. However, I found a fairly straight-forward recipe that produces excellent results. This bread is great with stews and soups, you should try it this weekend.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Klassic Kolache: Wall Cake

Klassic Kolache is a something I am doing to tide y'all over until I can post from Italy. These are some of my favorite and most popular posts. It's great for newer readers to learn more of my history and for old readers to take a stroll down memory lane. Enjoy.

Turns out that making sure that your cake is level before stacking and icing it is a very crucial step. However, if worse comes to worst, you can still save your cake.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Klassic Kolache: Recipes Never Work Well Twice

Klassic Kolache is a something I am doing to tide y'all over until I can post from Italy. These are some of my favorite and most popular posts. It's great for newer readers to learn more of my history and for old readers to take a stroll down memory lane. Enjoy.

Don't get cocky once you feel like you have mastered a recipe because it will always come back to bite you! I got tricked into making a million candies for a party and because I was too proud, they didn't work out as smoothly as they had in the past. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Klassic Kolache: Jelly Roll Goes Flat

Klassic Kolache is a something I am doing to tide y'all over until I can post from Italy. These are some of my favorite and most popular posts. It's great for newer readers to learn more of my history and for old readers to take a stroll down memory lane. Enjoy.

Even though Jon's mother can't make one of these successfully and I have never even seen one before, she had full faith in my ability to pull this recipe off. Oh well, at least it got eaten in the end.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Klassic Kolache: Theft From Iron Chef Bobby Flay

Klassic Kolache is a something I am doing to tide y'all over until I can post from Italy. These are some of my favorite and most popular posts. It's great for newer readers to learn more of my history and for old readers to take a stroll down memory lane. Enjoy.

Bobby Flay is one of my all time favorite Iron Cheves Chefs. I was watching two to three Iron Chef battles a night not too long ago, and it started to go to my head. One day, I am determined to meet Bobby Flay! But until then, I must be satisfied with stealing from the man.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Klassic Kolache: How To Know if You Live in the Ghetto

Klassic Kolache is a something I am doing to tide y'all over until I get something posted from Italy. These are some of my favorite and most popular posts. It's great for newer readers to learn more of my history and for old readers to take a stroll down memory lane. Enjoy.

We are about to renew our lease on the Ghetto Hovel for another year. The yard is still dug up because the city is laying a new road. Single mom is still there, screaming at her toddler. We have a new guy that has taken over trashing the yard every day of the week with his fast food bags and beer bottles. Ahhh...if only baking paid more...

Monday, September 5, 2011

Happy Labor Day!

Here is an quick article about the history of labor day and food labeling in the USA. 
Have a Safe and Yummy Holiday.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Eat, Pray, Love...Well, Mostly Eat and Drink

Tomorrow Jon and I are off! We are going to Italy to hang out for 10 days in the countryside, getting drunk daily on copious amounts of cheap wine. Well, that's my plan anyway. I know in the states it's 5 o'clock happy hour, but for Italy, I'm not so sure.  Therefore, I have developed this agenda to keep our travels on track:

*Get on plane, throw cell phone in trash*

  • 7:30 a.m.: Wake up eat lots of bread. Go back to sleep.
  • 8:30 a.m.: Really wake up and have some espresso and biscotti.
  • 9:00 a.m.: Wine tasting tour.
  • 10:00 a.m: Purchase wine in wine tasting shop.
  • 10:30 a.m.: Mid morning snack of bread, cheese, and wine.
  • 11:00 a.m.: Stumble around Milan looking at awesome old stuff. Maybe buy some horribly overpriced garment. Milan is fashion capitol of Italy after all.
  • 12:00 p.m.: Time for some very carb loaded lunch and a bottle of wine. Better make that two bottles. Don't want to get dehydrated from all that walking around and sightseeing we are going to be doing.
  • 1:30 p.m.: Nap in the park under a shady tree.
  • 2:30 p.m.: Awaken and stumble around an art museum. Giggle inappropriately at nude sculptures.
  • 4:00 p.m.: Snack time. Purchase me some gelato and a glass of wine. Stroll about the streets admiring architecture. 
  • 6:00 p.m.: Dinner time. Four course pasta meal with wine courses to compliment? Sounds good to me! 
  • 9:00 p.m.: Stumble into a club and dance very, very badly to 90's techno.
  • 11:00 p.m.: Be carried home and pass out in bed.

I plan to repeat this pattern until all 10 days in Italy are used up and my blood is 95% Pinot Noir. I suppose a shower will be in order somewhere in there. Oh and we will be seeing Florence, Pisa, and Rome. So I imagine a car ride will be in order as well. Thankfully, I will not be the one driving. Good thing because there are so many local vineyards with their own blend of wine, it will be difficult for me to get to our destinations without pulling over to sample every single one.

Luckily, I married a guy who's family brought over exchange students. Luca has been a family friend ever since he came to the states as teen, and went to high school under the watchful eye of Jon's parents. Now that he is back in Italy, he insists we come to visit and I can't wait. Having a native show you the best places in Italy is like living there yourself. The best food, the neatest shops, and of course, the finest wines are waiting for us!

Me, Luca, and Jon goofing off at the wedding.

I will attempt to post some pictures of me drunk on wine food and street grocers once we arrive. Wish us happy and safe travels!

Ciao Baby!