Tuesday, December 30, 2008

hello 2009!

2008 went by so fast.... all of a sudden, it's 2009!  2008 has definitely been a great and exciting year.  so many things have happened and it's been a blast. i feel so fortunate to have such a wonderful family and group of friends who are totally supportive of my passion.  they're the ones who pushed me up when i'm falling down.  you might not realized it, but the little things you said are the things that made me keep going. so ... THANK YOU ^_^.  

i didn't do any baking for new year's eve.  instead, i prepared dinner for my family... hee hee hee... while baking has become somewhat comfortable for me, cooking is.... well.. to say the least... quite challenging! hahahahaha 

since there's no picture of sweets to post... i asked my hubby to make a collage of all the custom cakes/cookies i've made in 2008.  it's kinda neat to see all my creations in one page ^_^. 

i'm really excited to start 2009.  i've got a new job that will start in the middle of january.  it's an office job, and i'm gonna have to go back to working m-f 8-5. it might reduce my baking activities a little.  but it wouldn't stop me ^_^.  

HAPPY NEW YEAR! 

Saturday, December 27, 2008

winter love


this cute little one was created for my aunt's wedding anniversary.

my aunt and uncle celebrated their 30th anniversary on christmas day, december 25th. that day happened to be my parents anniversary too. i always wish that i can be near my parents this time of year. holidays just aren't the same without our loved ones nearby...


this cake turned out to be very different than the original idea. i was going to use fondant bows instead of roses for the top, but my bows didn't dry in time. eh, isn't that how it always goes anyway? hahaha i'm kinda used to improvising at the last minute (or hours).

i like the end result. it's simple, pure, and elegant. kinda like love, don't you think? he he he

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

holidays cookies!


HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

i've been dying to blog for weeks, but i've been extremely occupied with holidays cookie-baking activities .... and it's been absolutely FUN! ^_^

instead of giving gifts this year, i decided to make cookie baskets/bags for my family and close friends.

in the effort of encouraging others to help create a sustainable environment, this year's theme is: REDUCE, REUSE, and RECYCLE.

hubby helped create the holiday tag, that says "reduce, reuse, recycle - change starts now". listed inside the tag are pointers on how one can change his/her behavior to help reduce their waste.

the packages themselves are quite earth-friendly. i use used boxes and reusable bags that people can use for groceries as the packaging. the containers are reusable and recyclable. i try to use as little plastic as possible, but it's a bit difficult since the cookies need to be wrapped with something... ^_^

i know it's not much, but every little bit counts right?

i made lots of different types of cookies & snacks... some i've made before: chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal raisins cookies, spritz cookies, banana bread, brownies. some are traditional indonesian snacks: nastar (pineapple tartlets) and putri salju (snow white). some i've never made before: peppermint cookies, decorated sugar cookies.

out of all of them, the most fun to make were the spritz cookies and the decorated sugar cookies. i've made spritz cookies once before when i was in the culinary school. this time, i tried using the cookie gun that i got for my bday. oh my! it was SO MUCH FUN! *hee hee hee* and they taste SO GOOD too!


i've never made sugar cookies before, but i got this book that triggered my curiosity. i used the basic sugar cookie recipe from this book. i gotta say that it's a pretty good recipe. the dough is easy to make and it bakes perfectly. it holds it shape and makes a beautiful canvas to ice and decorate.


check out my army of snowmen.... of course there's got to be one "different" ^_^ (i was just playing around... that's what happened when i had too much sugar!)


and here are some of the finished products:


i think i have the most fun this holidays season. i hope all the recipients enjoy eating these snacks as much as i enjoyed making 'em! ^__^

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

a few of my favorite things...

it's been quite chilly the past few days in the bay area. i've heard stories about people spotting snows at nearby places such as San Francisco or Berkeley. i'm never a big fan of the cold weather, but there's just something about the month of December that screams "holiday!". even though the weather outside is chilly, the holiday musics, decorations, and lights somehow just make my heart feels warm ^_^.

i've been keeping our place somewhat warm by my baking activities... unfortunately it only works when the oven is on ^_^.

we had a get-together with the gang at the Chiengs last saturday. originally we had planned to spend the day at downtown San Jose's Chrismas in the park. however, due to the cold weather/rain, we decided to stay in-door. it turned out to be really nice as it was warm and cozy at the Chiengs' house, and i got to play with cute-baby-Kyle.

i provided some desserts for the gang. for this event, i decided to make a few of my favorite things...: fruit tartlets, cheesecake bites, and orange truffle cuts.


coincidentally, tuesday was my office retreat ... so i made enough desserts for both events. the highlight of the retreat for me personally was the fact that some people did not realize that i made the desserts ( i made most of the desserts. the actual caterer only brought some cookies & baklavas ^_^).

the director even came to me and said, "hey Hany, this must be your type of events, huh? with all these desserts and mini-tarts...". i paused for a few seconds, and then said, "um....you do know that i made these right?" hahahaha


it's a good sign when people can't tell the difference between my home made goodies versus professionally catered goodies ^_^. i love it!

Monday, December 8, 2008

a nice little surprise in the mail

i found a little package in my mailbox last friday. the return address showed that it was from PCI. it felt somewhat heavy for such a small package. what could it be? i went back to my apartment and opened it with much curiousity.

to my surprise, the little package contains a medal and a letter.


it turns out that i was the recipient of the Joseph Amendola Award for Outstanding Baking & Pastry Student. the award was given during the commencement ceremony that i did not attend :-p.

it's a pleasant surprise. i've received some awards back in high school for being the top student in my class, but this one means a lot more to me because this is something that i really love to do. and to be acknowledge by my instructors truly gives me a good feeling.

i felt somewhat sad a few minutes after i opened/read the letter. i guess i was feeling a bit disappointed with where i'm at in my life. working 8-5 in an office doing accounting/finance does not feel like the right thing for me to do. sometimes i wondered if things would've been different if i had realized my passion in baking a few years early. it might have been so much easier if i had started my career in the baking and pastry industry. switching career has not been an easy thing to do.

truth is, there are two sides of me... the "grown-up-hany" and the "baker-hany". the grown-up-hany always uses logical thinking. the grown-up-hany thinks about the grown up stuff i should be doing: buying a house, saving for future needs, and start thinking about a family (can't deny that baby fever has hit me several times :-p). the grown-up-hany constantly reminds me that i need money to buy the things i want, and i really can't live out of $8.50/hr paychecks. but the baker-hany longs to be in the kitchen, the baker-hany wants to be a pastry chef, the baker-hany wants to learn more. the grown-up-hany says "you're a good enuf cake decorator, just keep at it". but the baker-hany says "there's so many more things out there to learn about".

ah...dilemma, dilemma.... life is full of choices ^_^. and i can't turn back time and "realize my dream sooner". there's no way to change the course of life, and i am fortunate enough to have at least discovered the thing i love to do the most.

i haven't decided what i'm going to do next. i don't know where i'm going to lead my life. but i'm thankful for everything that i have (this starting to sound like a late thanksgiving post ;-p).

heck.... enuf thinking about stuff...

i'm just gonna live my life..... one.... step... at... a... time!!

^__^

happy birthday, colin! ka-chow!!

colin, who was turning two last weekend, loves cars. what could be more suitable for this boy's bday cake than a cars theme cake, complete with lightning mcqueen? ka-chow!! ^__^


it took hours to make this cake. it's my first time making sculpted cars. and it's not just any cars, it's lightning mcqueen! as always, i'm slow when i'm doing things for the first time! :-p


lightning mcqueen and guido are made of rice crispy treats, sculpted and shaped into form. i covered the whole thing with royal icing, then patched them with fondant to get the shape i want. i had so much fun making them! my icing gun came in handy to make the small parts on the decorations. i also discovered "fondant glue" made from cmc (Carboxy Methyl Cellulose) and water. it works like super glue for fondant... perfect for making characters ^_^


they really did take a long time to make though. took me about 20 hours to make these decorations. and overall, it took me about 40 hours to make the whole cake (from the beginning to the time i left the venue, after delivery).

i had to make some changes from the original drawing. "route 66" didn't make it to the final product, and originally i was going to make racer's checkerboard flags to decorate the bottom tiered. instead, i ended up with checkerboard border all around the cake, which turns out pretty nice.


i was really tired by the time i'm done with this cake. cold weather does not get along well with me. i feel like i was fighting off a cold right from the beginning of the week. i crashed and slept for hours as soon as i got back to my apartment.

later that day, i received the nicest e-mail from colin's mom, saying how much she loves the look and taste of the cake. that totally made my day ^_^. all sickness went straight away!


Sunday, November 23, 2008

topsy turvy cake


this is another "tea and honey" production ^_^ hehehhe. i made it with my friend, tingting. i dunno why i like to call it "tea and honey" production. her name is tingting, and mine is hany, and i like honey tea... hahahha so there you go, "tea and honey"!


this is for a one-year old birthday party and is our first topsy turvy cake. it's very interesting and quite a challenge. i gotta say though, tingting did most of the hard work on this one (baking the cake, carving the cake, stacking the cake, etc.).

lunch time event is never my favorite as i am not a morning person, and apparently neither is tingting. we were both moving in slow motion at the beginning. it wasn't until the last few hours that we're really cranking up our speed.

we delivered the cake assembled. tingting's parents helped deliver the cake with their suv, that's why we're able to deliver it assembled. i piped the shell borders around the cake on the site. funny how i always dislike doing finishing touches on the site because i feel that i would be uncomfortable when people are watching me. but when i actually have to do it, i didn't even really pay attention to my surrounding anymore.


we're very pleased with the way it turned out. i will definitely make topsy turvy cakes again ^_^.

and guess what i found on my door step when i got home?

it's my diploma!! woohoo! ^_^


*original cake design is from the Pink Cake Box (design chosen by the mother of the bday boy)

Friday, November 21, 2008

road trip snacks


a few weeks ago, hubby and i joined our friends, the Chiengs & the Kyaws on a little weekend vacation to Disneyland. this has been a yearly tradition for the Chiengs, and we finally got the opportunity to join them this year.

i wanted to bring some snacks, and decided to try out some recipes that i've been wanting to make. i looked through my cook books and selected a couple recipes. one brownie and one cookie recipe. the results were so yummy and they received the approval from the test group (yup - gang, you know who you are, and i am referring to you!) ^_^. the trip was 4 days long. the snacks didn't make it to the last day.  and according to my taste test manual, that's a good thing.


these brownies are very thick and dense, just like a fudge! it uses bittersweet chocolate that helps in making it not so overwhelmingly sweet.

the chocolate chip cookies are nice and chewy, just the way i like 'em. i'm never so crazy about the crispy ones, but that's just my personal preference. this one stayed chewy even after they cool down. they key is to take it out from the oven whey they're still a tad underbake. they'll continue cooking as they cool slightly on the pan. if you let it stay in the oven until they are thoroughly cooked, then they will lose that chewiness. i mixed half the dough with milk chocolate chips and the other half bittersweet chocolate chips. i think i prefer the bittersweet ones. again, another personal preference ^_^.


if you want to try making them, you can find the recipes in the america's test kitchen's family baking cook book. or you can ask me and i'll e-mail 'em to you.

the trip was exhausting, but definitely FUN. i miss disneyland already!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

a taste of home

hello blogosphere! have you been wondering where i've been and what i've been up to?  i've been missing from the blog world for a while. not because i have not been baking.  but because i'm having difficulties with picnik.com :-(.  i use picnik to edit my pictures... adding watermark and all that.   the site now for some reason wouldn't load the app on my comp.  it's been like that for a while. :-( boo.....

anyway.... i have been baking ^_^.   it's weird how baking somehow has become a part of me now.  it used to only occurred when something special is happening, like birthdays or holidays.  but now, baking happens in my kitchen at least once a week (if not baking, then it's making some decoration for some cakes).  i think i actually bake more than i cook!  ^_^

this week, i decided to try something from my mom's recipes collection: pandan cake. this cake is one of my childhood favorites,  having the sweet scent of pandan around the apartment truly brings back so much memories.  


for those who are not familiar with pandan (or it's proper name "pandanus amaryllifolius"),  it's a type of very fragrancy leaves that is widely used in asian cooking.  it is used in many sweet and savory dishes.  it is often steeped in coconut milk, or added in the process of making coconut rice, to boost the fragrance of the finished product. my mom used to use the juice of fresh pandan on her pandan cakes.  i, unfortunately, was not able to find fresh pandan leaves around here, so had to settle with pandan paste.  

it took me two tries to finally achieve the cake that i recalled in my memory.  my first try was hilarious! i followed my mom's instruction exactly to the dots.  it calls for 2 tbsp of pandan juice.  so i put 2 tbsp of pandan paste thinking that paste and juice would be pretty much the same. right? wrong!  i ended up with a super-green-neon-like cake.  tasted good and looked perfect for st.patty's day.  or if you wanna scare somebody. i think it might glow in the dark too! 

i decided to try again today, and it was perfect.  just the way i remembered it.  light green, spongy cake, with a brown, crispy layer on the outside. yum!


*couldn't resist from taking a bite while i took some pictures ;-p

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

equality of rights for all

i'm never into politics.  i'm not into history either.  i rarely feel strongly about anything or feel the need to express my opinions.  as long as your way doesn't hurt me or anybody, i won't try to change you.  but when it comes to taking away rights from people and discriminating others, i have to say something.
 
in this year's election, one of the most controversial issues is proposition 8, which states: 

ELIMINATES RIGHT OF SAME–SEX COUPLES TO MARRY. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.

  • Changes the California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry in California.
  • Provides that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.
the proposition passes.  

this is very upsetting to me.  one of the things i love about living in california is the cultural diversity.  people comes from different parts of the world to live in california.  there are different ethnicities; different believes; different cultural backgrounds.  yet we still live alongside each other peacefully. we embrace our differences and learn from one another.

proposition 8 is not meant to change the "traditional family" or "education" in california, but to "eliminates right of same sex couple to marry."  who are we, just mere humans, to have the power to "eliminates right" of others?  humans are born equal. none should have the ability to take away rights of others.  and what's wrong with teaching children about gay-marriage?  

i have friends who are same sex couple.  they are just the same as each and all of us.  they're kind hearted and hard working.  most importantly, they love each other the way my husband and i love each other.  so why do we have to treat them differently?  what are we so afraid of? i'd be devastated if i were told that i could not marry my husband.  can you imagine that?  what if somebody told you that you are free to love your spouse, free to get all the benefits married couples get, BUT cannot get marry? 

does it do anybody any harm to see two men hold hands or to see two women kiss? does it blind you? people are people no matter who they choose to love.  what if your son or daughter falls in love with the same sex person?  are you gonna ban his or her rights for being together? oh yeah... they can be together, they just can't get married...   

coming from a third world country,  it wasn't too long ago that i was being discriminated for being a minority and a female.  my parents brought me up to see that all humans are equal.  it saddens me that again i have to witness discrimination.  no matter what reasons you have for voting yes on prop 8, the bottom line is you have helped taken away the rights from same-sex couple to marry... 

hopefully someday people will be able to accept equality for all without any exceptions. equality comes from within.  if you want to be treated fairly and equally, you should do the same to others. if you don't want to be discriminated, then stop discriminating others. 

 be kind to others..... 

Friday, October 31, 2008

november rain

wow! it's amazing how time flies.  it's already november....  fall is finally here in the bay area. around the same time last year, i was still one of the newbies at PCI, trying to adjust my work/school schedule.  now... i'm done with that step and trying to figure out the next step to take.

i didn't make any treat nor did i dress up for halloween this year.  instead i made a wedding cake on thursday for my co-worker, Brad. the wedding was supposed to be a small civil union between him and his now-husband, Brett.  i figured that it was gonna be for about 20-30 guests. but then he corrected me and told me that it was gonna be for 60-100ppl! i guess people's perception of a small wedding can vary widely...hehehe

it was my first time delivering a wedding cake by myself.  i failed to realize until the very last minute that it was in the middle of a work-week, during the highest commute hours (reception starts at 7pm, and i had to take the most congested highway to get to the venue), and on the first day of rain.

i left my apartment early to make sure that i had enough time.... i put all the cakes in boxes secured with plastic bag and masking tape. i had to make 5 trips from my apartment to my car, carrying one box at a time (3 boxes of cakes and 2 tool boxes). it was actually kinda nice that it's raining, so the temperature in my car stayed cool without having to use AC. 

i got to the venue quite early. i started assembling... all went well.... UNTIL i had to put the two groom figurines. *sigh* i hate plastic figurines now.  **note to myself: no more plastic figurines in future cakes**

so the cake was assembled... nice and pretty:


then i put the two figurines in the icing...   they wouldn't stand straight!!! (the two grooms wouldn't stay straight, you get it?? :-p) OMG. i guess the surface of the cake was not level enough and the icing was too soft to give them support. they kept wobbling left and right and front and back. i had to take them off the cake, leaving imprints of two sets of feet on the very front of the cake *grrr*. good thing i brought some extra buttercream, just in case. i was so tempted to just leave the figurines off the cake. but then again, it was requested and purchased by the groom himself the day before the wedding. so i think it's only right that i put them on the cake. i ended up cutting a piece of cardboard that i used to carry the flowers, and used it as a platform for the figurines. i secured the figurines with some double-sided tape, pushed it into the cake, and voila!


if you look really closely, you can see the icing in the front of the cake was not that smooth. but i'm just glad that i was able to put the figurines there ^_^.

here are a few details of the flowers (roses, carnations, and some spray flowers):


per the request of the groom, i used the american buttercream to ice this cake (consists of mostly butter, shortening, and powdered sugar). it is also sometimes called the crusting buttercream, because if you let it sits in room temperature for a while, it will create a crust in the surface. i'm never too crazy about using this type of buttercream because of the overwhelmingly sweet taste and the amount of shortening it usually uses.

i didn't realize that the cream can also be a good barrier for air.  the cake looks fine at the beginning of the night. i went to mingle with the other guests.  a few minutes later i went back to look at it and i noticed a bump on the top tier!!! i was like WTH!!?!?! i guess there must've been some air trapped inside the cake, and the weight of the flowers on the top just slowly pushed the air to find a weak spot in the icing. *sigh* it looks like a musquito bite that's about to explode!  i was contemplating for a few minutes on whether i should try to fix that or not... in the end i decided to just let it be.... i was done being the cake lady and just want to be a guest at that time ^_^.  

so the moral of this story is:
- NEVER EVER again use plastic figurines
- NEVER put topper without any support, no matter how light you think the topper is
- make sure there's no gap between the filling and the frosting
- make sure to cover yourself from the rain and not just the cake ^_^

it's raining outside now.  i'm never a big fan of fall/winter.  but i have to admit that it actually feels kinda nice right now.  the air feels clean and crisp, and the weather is not too cold either.  i'm gonna enjoy the rest of my weekend and just unwind.....  

Monday, October 20, 2008

celebrating 28 years of zung

what better time to splurge than on your birthdays (or your spouse's bday)? ^__^

we had an excellent dinner at kappo nami nami to celebrate zung's bday on friday. keisuke-san (the owner) used to be my boss back when i was working at hanamaru restaurant. the dishes we ordered were so delicious. i think it was well worth every pennies.


it's zung's first time there and i think he had a good time. he had the sampler sake... which he couldn't really tell the difference between one and another...hehehe.





at the end of our meal, keisuke-san gave us some free desserts. by the time we're done with dinner, we were so full we couldn't eat the cake i made for him. (see side story about the cake below)

the next day, we went for dimsum with our friends & family.


then... (i think this is zung's favorite part).... we went to the mall!! hahaha it's only zung's favorite part because we went to the apple store to get him a brand-spanking new iphone ^_^.

i know he's been wanting one for a while, so i decided to get him one for his bday present. he hasn't stopped playing with it ever since.

and guess what? i've got one for myself too!!! yay! i'm finally up-to-date with technology!


(cake story: i was originally planning to make a nice fancy cake for zung. being sick really threw things off!! i didn't make enuf cake to do a full-12'cake and didn't have time to bake more. i was quite upset. but then i came up with the idea of just making him a small cake. it's the thoughts that counts, right? i thought making a small cake would just take a few minutes. who knows that frosting a heart shape cake could be that difficult?? pfftt! anyway, it is the thoughts that matters. zung loves it. it tastes good! and i'm happy.)

the fight of the century...

... is between TRICERATOPS and THE DARK KNIGHT!

ehm... yeah...
this is a birthday cake i made for my cousin-in-law. he's celebrating his "big three-oh" with some softball game with his family & friends. the two teams competing are the triceratops and the dark knight. hence, the theme of the cake.

when i first got a message asking if i can make a "dinosaur playing baseball", i have to admit, i was quite intrigued. my brain started to create different imagery... would it be like yoshi from super mario? green and cute? or would it be realistic like? rough and scary looking? well... that was about two months ago. then i sorta forgot about it for a while....

until three weeks ago when hubby received an evite to this party! that's when i found out that the other team would be the dark knight. with hubby feeding me with all his game/comic expertise, we came up with some weird, crazy ideas..... a gotham-like-building, with batman throwing multiple baseballs at the triceratops, while the triceratops is blowing fire out of its mouth...... or triceratops doing a massive attack godzilla-like to a building with batman standing atop of the building....yeah... crazy ideas.

one week before the bday and i still got no concrete ideas. no drawing. no sketch. i started freakin out. i still don't know how to use my airbrush yet! how am i going to make a building? and i didn't even know what triceratops look like!

good thing Delaney (wife of the bday boy) is a super cool woman. she gave me complete freedom to do whatever i want with the cake. with only one week left, and not being 100% healthy, i decided to do what i know i can accomplish. a nice friendly game between batman and triceratops on a baseball field....

not too shabby eh?


i like the way the triceratops turned out. he's a cutey ^_^.


batman on the other hand, looks a bit fat. but eh, who cares, it's my version of batman... and that's why he's playing softball, he's trying to lose some weight! he he he


someday, i will make a big fancy cake with tall buildings and flying superheroes.
someday, i will figure out how to use my freakin' airbrush.

someday ... he he he

meanwhile, i'll be eating yummy jam that Delaney gave me! yay!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

meeting chef ewald notter

i met Chef Ewald Notter!! ^___^


i was very fortunate to get a chance to see him in a chocolate presentation that was hosted by Albert Uster Imports. Chef Ewald is the founder and owner of the Notter School of Pastry Arts and Chocolate Studio in Florida. this demo is supposed to be for "professionals" in the industry, but my teacher (thanks Chef Doug!) hooked me and Tingting up to see this demo. it's amazing to see somebody who's as accomplished as Ewald Notter in person. his work is very meticulous and clean. he did a chocolate showpiece and demo-ed some techniques in making truffles. working with all those chocolates, yet not a spot of on his jacket. he's a world champion after all! (if it were me.... i'm sure it would've been a DISASTER! i'd be covered in chocolate - yum! hahaha)



i'm always so amaze whenever i see talented chefs and cake decorators. they always have this glow in their eyes when they talk about their profession. and however successful they are, they always appear so humble. these are the people i want to be around with. the people who has the ability to inspire others. who love to teach and share their knowledge with other.

when they do the things they do, it looks like they are playing. they know that things might not go perfectly. they know that sometimes they don't get it right the first try. yet they keep at it, and the result of their work... spectacular! that is something that i need to learn myself. i need to learn to be patient, to accept that nothing has to be perfect, and to stop pulling a "Ted" (overthinking stuff - from HIMYM season 1. just finished watching it over the weekend ^_^).

on the baking side of my life, i have been quite unproductive. as a matter a fact, i haven't been baking AT ALL! i did help my teacher last week making a wedding cake for one of her students. and honesty, i did not help that much! he he he the cake is an autumn theme cake, with autumn leaves as the decorations. i helped with making gumpaste leaves for the decoration. it's really fun to do, but i'm not 100% satisfied with my gumpaste leaves. i wished i knew how to use the airbrush i purchased about 4 months ago! the leaves would've looked so much nicer if i had airbrushed them.. hahah oh well. still, the cake turned out great!


what else.... i spent most of my time at work, spending time with family & friends, and of course, catching up with my tv shows!! hahahaha

oh, did i mentioned that the chocolate demo was at the ritz carlton in half moon bay? omg! the view! the hotel! the beach! it's like a mini vacation, just an hour away from home ^_^

Thursday, October 2, 2008

lost

it was just last sunday that i bid farewell to my crazy work hours. according to my "plan" (or the gibberish thoughts inside my head), i should be enjoying myself; not doing too much of anything... just be lazy and relaxed. but to my surprise, instead of feeling relax, i am starting to feel so bored! i guess i've been so used to being so busy all the time, not having enough time to rest, and being in overdrive mode. now that i have all this free time, i really don't know what to do with myself. i've lost the ability to do nothing!

the first few days were bliss. i was loving the fact that i didn't have to work on the weekend anymore. but then as time went on, i began to remember just how much i hate being "stuck" in an office. it's like a de javu (rewind back to the time when i just finished culinary school).

i started to miss the rush of the kitchen (not Satura Cakes' kitchen in particular, just any kitchen). i miss the lovely scent of freshly baked cakes. i miss my spatulas, the big mixer... heck.... i even miss my step-stool.

i shouldn't be contained in an office; sitting on a chair in front of a computer for 8 hours/day. i should be on my feet, making croissant dough or folding meringue into cake batter or assembling a cake. i need to be making finger-licking-yummy-sweets..... and invoices don't taste that sweet.

i feel lost. i need structure. i need a plan.

i wish life has a guide book. one that tells you what to do and where you'd end up if you take one road or the other. you know, like one of those old fairy tales books that makes you choose which page to go and gives you the moral of the story at the end.

so many things to do. so many options. dunno where to start.

Monday, September 29, 2008

sayonara

yesterday was my last day at satura cakes. it's a bitter-sweet goodbye. i will surely miss all the wonderful people i worked with there. but i gotta say that i'm not gonna miss the job so much ^_^.

i had the best sleep last night. did some chores as usual. then i did the first thing on my to do list: get a hair cut ^_^.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

looking forward to the future

i visited my school on monday.  it was so nice to see my two favorite teachers again.  

i think i am very lucky to have two very inspiring teachers.  i've gone through many educational stages, and did not meet any teachers who trigger my curiosity to learn and feed me with so much knowledge/information like these two.  even after the program is done, i can still see these two as my mentors.  i'll be their student for life!!! HAHAHA

this week is going to be my last week at the bakery.  i gotta say, i'm actually excited about this.  i think the possibilities are endless.  i'm planning on spending a few weeks/months to do recipe testing.  i have lots of recipes that i've been wanting to try, but didn't have the time to do so.  and as my teacher said, "recipes only worth pennies".  they're just a pile of junk if you don't use 'em.  

not quite sure what to do after that... (i have plans, but not very concrete. mostly just random thoughts and ideas).  hopefully opportunity will knock on my door again. or maybe it's already there, and i just don't see it yet.  but whatever it is, i'm looking forward to the future ^_^.

Friday, September 19, 2008

i did it!

sometimes things don't go exactly as planned.  
sometimes you need to pause and think things through.

i've been pausing and thinking for a while.
i can't make up my mind.  

but then a lightbulb appeared ^_^.  this time it was thanks to my dad and his many wise words. 
 
i finally able to make a decision.  as much as i like working with my co-workers at the bakery, i simply did not fall in love with the job as i thought i would.  and because of that, that job remains a job.  i decide to go into this industry because i want a job that i enjoy doing so much, that it doesn't feel like a job (just like what Confusius said, "Find a job that you enjoy, and never work a day in your life").  i finally gathered all my courage today and gave my resignation/two-week notice.  

for a second after i gave it to the Chef, i started to wonder "did i just do something wrong? am i making the biggest mistake in my life leaving all these wonderful people?"

but later on, i realized that i have made the right decision.  i can't stay there for friendship.  but i can take the friendship with me ^_^.

i did it.  i made a decision.  and it feels great!

two weeks and i'll be off to another adventure.  i don't know what it's going to be yet, but i'm sure it's gonna be exciting ^_^

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

my new toys! ^_^

i just got some neat new toys this past week *giggle*. some are gifts from others; most are just from myself! hehehe

i just can't believe my luck. i went to costco the other day, and decided to stroll along the books section. i don't usually do that cuz i never found anything good. but this time, guess what i found! the America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book!!


brand spanking new, just got published in september 08! i felt like i just hit a jackpot or something! i have always wondered if the America's Test Kitchen has a baking book. i've only seen the "family cook book" or "the best of..." wherever i go. altho they all have a section for baking, most of the content is about the savory stuff. and you know that i don't really care for all those savory stuff... hehehehe :-p.

i can't wait to try some of the recipes there. i really like the book, as it contains lots of useful information. like, who knows that adding some cornstarch to whipped cream can help stabilize it?? and who knows that you can revive brown sugar that has hardened by putting it in a ziploc bag with a slice of bread and leave it overnight??

i also got the latest edition of Modern Wedding Cakes and Chocolate Magazine from Australia. isn't that cake in the front cover perrttyyy??


next is a sugarcraft gun (thanks hubby!!). i can't wait to try this one. heard lots of great review from many sugar decorators out there. last but not least, a cookie press/decorating kit (thanks Milly!!).

i got all these stuff just in time for the holiday season! can't wait to try the recipes. can't wait to bake holiday cookies. can't wait to use the sugar gun to decorate more cakes!!!

^_____^