Tuesday, April 21, 2009

We've picked a place

So, after several months of searching, one trip to LA, and many swoonings later, we have finally decided on a place to live in Los Angeles. We have chosen the Artisan on Second, and I absolutely love it!

It's a spacious two bedroom apartment in downtown LA. It has granite countertops, a bonus room, washer and dryer included, a security system, and a doorbell! It's great. I can't wait to move in. And we get to pick two walls to be painted. I'm so looking forward to having some color on the walls.

So here's the layout of our apartment to be. Courtesy of www.artisanonsecond.com

The only tricky part will be figuring out how the living/dining room is going to work out. One thing is for sure: we are going to have to get some more furniture. Yay! Shopping! Jacob promised!

So here's my wishlist/needlist:
- Desk for bonus room
- Bookcases for bonus room (I want it to be a study/computer/reading room)
- Comfy rolling chair for bonus room
- Twin bed or Full sized bed for guest room
- Two arm chairs for the living room
- Two more dining room tables
- Two bedside tables for the master
- One bedside table for the guest room
- Table and chair set for patio
- Two bar height chairs for bar
- Curtains and curtain rods
- And probably much more...but that's all I can think of for now.

I think it will be a lot of fun, and I'm honestly looking forward to it.

Also, I got a bit of good news, or possibly good news. I've been putting out my resume to all different types of places ever since this move was deemed official, and I've a got a bite on one. I got an email asking for a phone interview, so I'm hoping that goes well. We'll see and pray.

So that's about it for now. I'll keep you posted. :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I baked something!

Ever since I started this blog, which really wasn't that long ago, I have wanted to bake something so that I can post it here. Well, now I have. I made some cupcakes.

These are All-Occasion Downy Yellow Butter Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream, taken from The Cake Bible.

I actually made the raspberry puree myself to go into the buttercream, which was a labor intensive process, but I think it looks great. You can even see the little flecks of the raspberry in the icing...proof that it was homemade! My only problems with the icing was that it was softer than I was expecting. It held it's shape okay, but it was just very soft and very buttery tasting. I'm not sure if this is the best recipe for buttercream, but it was the one in the book. So I tried it.

I had to strain, puree, and sieve 24 ounces of raspberry, which left me with this nice paste of raspberry seeds. The fruits of my labor. Actually, that was trash, but I was pretty proud of how little I had left over after my time smushing it.

But alas, I didn't have enough icing to frost the whole batch, which was really my fault because I made a half batch of the buttercream. I guess I should always err on the side of having too much. Silly me. I don't think I ever realized just how much icing goes into frosting cupcakes in order to make a decent topping for the cupcake. But you live and learn.

So if anyone is interested, here's the recipe.

All-Occasion Downy Yellow Butter Cake

6 large egg yolks

1 cup milk

2 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups cake flour

1 1/2 sugar

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

12 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare pans. (I was able to make 24 cupcakes out of this recipe; it's normally 2 9-in cakes.)

2. In a medium bowl, lightly combin the yolks, 1/4 cup milk, and vanilla.

3. In a larg mixing bowl combine the dry ingredients and mix on low speed for 30 seconds to blend. Add the butter and remaining 3/4 cup milk. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase to medium speed and beat for 1 1/2 minutes to aerate and develop the cake's structure. Scrape down the sides. Gradually add the egg mixture in 3 batches, beating for 20 seconds afer each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Scrape down the sides.

4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the surface with a spatula. The pans will be about 1/2 full. (I filled the cupcake liners 2/3 full.) Bake 25 to 35 minutes or until a tester inserted near the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center. (I baked the cupcakes for about 20 minutes.)

Raspberry Puree

2 12-oz bags frozen raspberries, no sugar added

2 teaspoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed

2/3 cup sugar

1. In a strainer suspended over a deep bowl, thaw the raspberries completely. This will take several hours. (To speed thawing, place in a oven with a pilot light.) Press the berries to force out all the juice. There should be 1 cup. (I only ended up with about 3/4 a cup.)

2. In a saucepan (or in a microwave on high power) boil the jice until reduced to 1/4 cup. Pour it into a lightly oiled heatproof cup. (I used the microwave option, since this was later stated to be the preferred way. However, even though I used a four cup measuring cup to boil it in, I still had it boil over, so be wary and prepared for that.)

3. Puree the raspberries and sieve them witha food mill fitted with the fine disc. Our use a fine strainer to remove all seeds. You should have 1 liquid cup puree. Stir in the raspberry syrup and lemon juice. Measure again. There should be 1 1/3 liquid cups. (I had about 3/4 cup.) If you have less, add less sugar. The correct amount of sugar is 1/2 the volume of the puree. Stir until the sugar dissolves.

I am not including the buttercream recipe because I simply was not pleased with it. I was really soft and too butter flavored. It felt a little like you were eating straight butter. But with the recipe, you are supposed to add 1/2 cup of the raspberry puree to the finished buttercream which is supposed to cover 2 9-in layers. You can use that as a guide if you want to try with your own recipe.

Well, that's about it. A long one, but one I think I can be proud of. :)

Friday, April 3, 2009

Blog: Take Two

I've finally decided to give the whole blog phenomenon another chance. I started a blog in college, and it just completely fell flat. I never updated it; I never did anything with it; really, I didn't give it the dog obedience school try. But now I am.

So let's get started.

My life just got a little crazier as of yet. My husband just got transferred from his job as an engineer in a small start-up company in Magnolia, TX to a international company where he will be working in Los Angeles. Los Angeles! I know! It's a big difference. We will be over there after I finish out my school year, in June.

There are a lot of things that are going to change, most importantly, where we are going to live. Jacob and I went out to LA over my spring break, and that was the first time I had ever been to California. However, I'm not sure I got to have to true experience of southern California because I was frantically visiting apartment after apartment after apartment. I visited (but not always went into) 30 different apartment/rental homes. It was quite an experience. And quite stressful. I would love to say in all of that we know where we are going to be, but, alas, no. We do have it narrowed down to 4 choices, though. We have to wait until we get closer to moving time to know for sure.

And to top that all off, Jacob just talked to some people today that might want him in Libya for a year or so. That would be a crazy move, but before you make a judgement, there actually are a lot of perks. We would both be employed by Jacob's company (so I wouldn't have to find a job); we would have housing paid for; we would get spending money in addition to our salary; our salaries wouldn't be taxed; and we would be blocks from the Mediterraean Sea! I would finally get to visit some of the places I've only dreamed of seeing. That would be amazing. But I would be completely separated from my family and friends. Maybe that's what really spurred the creation of this blog in the first place.

So as it stands, my life is all up in the air, and I'm just trying to to make it day by day. But I'll keep you posted when plans get a little more solidified.

Oh, and I guess I should bake something and post it since that was what I had orginally planned. Everyone loves a little eye candy when it's literally candy (or cake!).