Archive | June, 2012

Long Locks for Locks of Love

25 Jun

I was out-of-town this weekend and didn’t bake anything special so I thought I would diverge from my usual baking posts to talk about something that has been on my mind as lately.

I’ve been growing my hair out for about 3 years.  Back in the day, I used to have the infamous Victoria Beckham haircut and loved it (and the boyfriend loved it too) but it was getting really popular and, soon, everyone had it.  I would walk down the street, look around, and immediately feel like one of many.  I didn’t feel unique anymore, so I decided to grow my hair out (plus, one of my friends said that longer hair suits me better).

I have continued to grow out my hair because I want to donate it to either Locks of Love, which is “a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children…suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis,” or Pantene Beautiful Lengths, where donated hair goes to make free and beautiful real-hair wigs for women with cancer.  I feel that I have been blessed growing up with food in my belly, a roof over my head, and a loving family, that I should give back and do some good.  I mean, it’s so easy to grow out my hair, and knowing that I can do something as simple as that to help others, has kept me from cutting off my hair years ago.  I’m proud to say that my hair is now 10 inches long (from the nape of my neck to the ends), enough to be donated!

There is one thing I completely overlooked when thinking about donating my hair….  I found out that Pantene will not accept color treated hair.  Sooo, I can’t donate my hair to Pantene quite yet, because I used to use permanent dye for my hair but currently only have about 2-3 inches of donatable hair since I switched to semi-permanent last year.  The way I see it, I have two options: (1) grow out as much as possible and donate the colored portion to Locks of Love, then grow out some more and donate non-permanently dyed hair to Pantene; or (2) cut my hair short again (that’ll make my boyfriend happy) to get all of the dyed portions off then donate my hair to either Locks of Love or Pantene.  What do you think?  Option 1 or 2?  I’m kind of excited about cutting my hair short again!!!  I’ll take before & after pics when I cut it.

Anyways, I hope this post has got you thinking about little ways you can change someones elses life because “if we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him.”  I hope you all have a wonderful day, week, month, year, and remember to eat sweets!  They make you sweeter : )

Mama Likes Her Chocolate

21 Jun

My mom’s birthday was yesterday, happy birthday Mommy!  I always have a hard time getting a gift for her.  She’s pretty picky and already has everything she wants.  Oh, and she has expensive taste.  I wanted to get her something thoughtful and meaningful for her for her birthday since I wasn’t about to go out and spend hundreds of dollars that I don’t have to get her a silk Chanel scarf.  (yea ma, I know you’d like that too).

My mom really liked the salted caramel cookie cups that I posted last week, so I thought I would make her favorite food: chocolate! She absolutely loves chocolates.  When we were younger, she would tell my brother and I that chocolates were her medicine so we wouldn’t eat them.  I still had tons of caramel left from the salted caramel cookie cups and chocolate molds that I haven’t used in a while as well…it was the perfect fit and she loved them!  She said the chocolate was a bit too sweet, but the caramel was delicious!  She even said it was better than See’s candy (although I think she was just being nice).

This is how it was done….

You need….
1 bag of Wilton’s chocolate melts
Wilton’s Hearts cookie candy mold
soft caramel (recipe for caramel here)
 
What you gotta do…
Melt a whole bag of Wilton’s milk chocolate melts (it’s really called light cocoa but it’s pretty much milk chocolate) Note: there are instructions for melting the chocolates on the bag of the melts but be careful not to over-melt them or melt that at a high heat or else the chocolates will toughen up. 
Spoon some chocolate into the candy molds, just enough to cover the bottom of the mold and up the sides. 
Chill for about 15 minutes in the fridge so the chocolate would harden before you place the caramel in it.  
Pipe in some caramel and fill the rest of the mold with chocolate making sure you cover the caramel completely.  
Then I fridged it again until it was completely hard. 

This is how they came out…

Two Sides of the Same Coin

18 Jun

My friend’s birthday was last weekend and I asked her what she would like me to bake for her.  She requested peach cobbler!  I’ve never made cobbler before and was pretty nervous about it, so all week, I scoured the internet looking for a delicious but simple recipe.  I found tons of simple recipes but I was surprised that none of them called for spices.  Sure, I wanted simple, but I wanted it to be tasty as well.  I finally found  a simple recipe that included spices.  Behold the Southern Style Spiced Peach Cobbler!  I followed the recipe exactly with the exception of a few extra pinches of cinnamon and nutmeg.

The cobbler filling came out tasty, although I had trouble getting a smooth consistency with the cornstarch.  I mixed and mixed and mixed, but it just came out  a little globby.  I would say this recipe is a success except for one major thing: the batter.  It was thick and had the consistency of biscuits.  I was hoping for something more like pie crust or similar.  You know, crispy but moist and gooey where it meets the filling.  I was pretty disappointed in the cobbler because of this.  My friend said she really liked it, but I know she was being really nice.  Even I didn’t like it.  The biscuity batter ruined it.  She explained to me that her mom makes the  batter runny and pours it over the filing, then bakes it.  It’s supposed to fill any nooks and crannies between the peaches.  I decide I was going to make another cobbler attempt for Father’s Day.

I kept the same filling recipe and added more nutmeg and cinnamon again, but with a slight modification.  My father is a diabetic, so I substituted sugar in the original recipe with Splenda.  Below, you can see the original filling recipe in black and the mods and notes for the nearly-sugar-free filling in blue.

My friend found this recipe that had that runny batter she was talking about.  I used the batter from this recipe, and the filling from the previous recipe to make my father his sugar-free cobbler.  See below for my notes and mods for the sugar-free batter.

We went out to brunch and bowling for Father’s Day, which was uber fun and my dad had a blast!  We didn’t get to cut into the cobbler until 7 hours later so it didn’t have that just-out-of-the-oven-warm-goodness, but my dad still loved the cobbler.  He had 3 helpings!  I reheated it slightly in the microwave before serving it and topped it with whipped cream.

Still, the batter wasn’t quite like pie crust consistency, but it was fluffy and light, and went well with the filling!  I’m still on a hunt to make a good cobbler batter!  If you have any cobbler batter recipes send them my way!

Nearly-Sugar-Free Peach Cobbler Filling
1 large can (29 ounces) sliced peaches in light syrup
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar (use Splenda instead.  I used 1/4 cup but it came out pretty sweet.  I think half of that would be best.)
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (plus a few extra pinches)
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (plus a few extra pinches)
pinch salt
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons cornstarch
 
Nearly-Sugar-Free Cobbler Batter
¾ cup flour
¾ cup sugar (use Splenda instead)
¾ cup milk
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
NOTE: Don’t use self-rising flour, it’ll rise too much if mixed with baking powder.
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