New Oven, New Recipe!

For two years I’ve been limping along with an old, half broken double-stack oven.  A month ago my landlord finally relented and installed a brand new one!  Lucky me!  Or as he said, happier than a pig in shit. Not pretty, but accurate.



Macarons are currently on trend, the new cupcake some say and I’ve slowly grown to love them.  Like most things I realized that all are not created equal, I wanted to try making them myself.  They’re intimidating though!  Other bloggers have been pretty upfront that they rate high on the difficulty level so I knew to not even try until I had a properly working oven.  Egg whites are a tricky thing and an unstable over would have never worked.




Before I started I did some research, tried to get a feel for what has worked for those before me and what needed to be done differently.  One tip that I think definitely benefited me was after piping out my cookies I let them sit for 20 minutes before they went into the oven.  After that you can touch the tops lightly and they’ve slightly dried.  I’m told that’s what creates the smooth top and the crinkled footing of the cookie.  This blogger had a lot of helpful tips that I followed.  Check her out!

I think besides being just slightly overcooked my first attempt was rather successful!  Texture was a little off, but the flavor was on point. Most recipes I browsed suggested 15-18 minutes in the oven so I started on the lower end, but I probably could have pulled them out around the 13/14 minute mark.  If anyone has pointers I would LOVE to hear them!



Recipe via Love & Olive Oil

Ingredients:

For  Macarons:

  • 85 grams almond flour or finely ground almonds
  • 150 grams powdered sugar
  • 90 grams egg whites (from about 3 large eggs), room temperature
  • 55 grams superfine or granulated sugar

For Cookie Dough Filling:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 3/8 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoon heavy cream (or as needed)
  • 1.5 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely grated using a vegetable peeler (about 1/4 cup grated)

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, combine almond flour and powdered sugar; pulse for 20 to 30 seconds until evenly distributed. Sift at least once through a fine mesh sieve, discarding any larger particles.
  2. Place egg whites in a clean metal mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on medium speed until frothy, then slowly add superfine sugar, a little bit at a time with the mixer on medium speed, scraping down the side of the bowl periodically. When all the sugar has been added, increase speed to medium high and whip until meringue is firm and glossy and forms medium-stiff peaks.
  3. Pour half of the almond flour mixture into the meringue and stir, folding and scraping a few times until no dry flour remains. Add the remaining flour and mix, folding and spreading the batter against the sides of the bowl about 15 to 20 times or just until the meringue and flour are incorporated and the batter falls off the spatula in thick ribbons. Do not overmix.
  4. Transfer the batter to a large piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip, twisting the end of the bag to prevent the batter from leaking. Pipe small circles onto a parchment or silicone-mat-lined baking sheet, leaving about 1-inch of space between them.
  5. Rap the baking sheet firmly on the counter, then smack the bottom of the baking sheet multiple times with your hand to remove any remaining air bubbles. If any pointy ‘tips’ still remain, you can gently press them down with a lightly moistened fingertip. Sprinkle with cocoa nibs (if using), and set aside to dry.
  6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. When macarons are dry (you should be able to just barely touch the surface of the cookies with a dry finger without them sticking), stack the baking sheet on top of another empty baking sheet (this will help them bake more evenly). Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, keeping an eye on them to make sure they do not brown. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack, then gently remove from baking sheets.
  7. To prepare filling, beat butter, sugar, and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Mix in flour, salt, vanilla, and almond extract on low speed until incorporated. Add cream and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes, adding more cream if necessary to acheive desired consistency. Stir in grated chocolate. Transfer mixture to a piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip. Gently pipe about a teaspoon of filling onto underside of half of the cooled cookies, then top with remaining cookies.


This adventure in baking has given me a HUGE appreciation for those who bake and sell these daily.  It was a sh*t ton of work!  My entire sink was full and don’t even get me STARTED about the almond flour!  They’re definitely work $2 a piece for the labor alone, but totally WORTH it. :)

Toasting walnuts for some special chocolate chip cookies I’m bringing to work. In honor of tomorrow’s holiday!

Toasting walnuts for some special chocolate chip cookies I’m bringing to work. In honor of tomorrow’s holiday!

My Weekend According To My iPhone

I need a weekend to recover from my weekend.  We celebrated the Kentucky Derby and two special birthdays.  I baked four dozen cupcakes and I drank A LOT of champagne.  So not on the diet, but sometimes you’ve got to cheat a little… The weather this weekend was absolutely perfect for all these outdoor activities.  I wish California could stay warm, but breezy all year round.  

Today I’m back on the program and ready for a busy week.  Big transition coming in my office so I’ll be needing lots of sleep to stay on my toes.  Hope you all kick ass this week!

Freezer Paper Wedding Banner

This is not a craft meant for beginners and this is coming from a seasoned crafter!  I wouldn’t say that it was super difficult, but it was time consuming and tedious.  I had seen this adorable banner all over Pinterest from Martha Stewart and since we were also planning our own kind of courthouse nuptials I thought this would be perfect for our day! 



This was my first venture into freezer paper after seeing it pop up on a few blogs.  What’s funny is that I found it in the grocery store right next to the ziplock baggies and aluminum foil.  It actually says right on the front of box to use for arts and crafts.  How do people even discover this kind of thing in the first place?!



Items needed: acrylic paint, foam brush, heavy fabric (I used a canvas material), a dowel and of course freezer paper!



First off you have to figure out how you’re going to create the shape of your banner.  I don’t have a sewing machine so my original plan was to use stitch witchery.  Cut the shape and then fold over a seam.  I’m pretty sure getting my new MIL involved here was the best decision.

Once you’ve figured out how to make your banner (sorry I’m not too helpful) I created all my stencils in Illustrator, but if you have Microsoft Word then you’re good to go.  Cut your freezer paper into 8.5 x 11 sheets for your printer and print your text onto the flat/dull side.  The shiny side is what sticks to your fabric.  With an exacto knife you’ll cut your text out to make your stencils.



I checked around on a couple different blogs and I couldn’t get a clear idea on how hot the iron needed to be.  I put mine on the second hottest setting and turned the steam.  If I were to do this again I would buy fabric paint instead of an all-purpose paint.  It took about three coats of paint to get solid coverage.  

I couldn’t be happier with the results! It was a fun prop for our day.

GK + JG 4Ever

When it comes to proposals I really feel like men draw the short stick.  They’ve got weeks, months or even years to think about their proposal.  To marinate on the details, consult family and friends… All while you’re living your life blissfully unaware until it happens.  When it does you’re probably like most girls where you say, yay!  ring!  finally!  And then in that same breath you start planning the wedding.  Your poor guy had about 5 and a half seconds to shine, relish in the proposal, but your world around you is already trying to sweep you down the aisle.

I gave Mr. Goddard about 6 weeks, silently planning and plotting - trying to let him and this gorgeous ring shine.  Being one of the last of my friends to get married I smugly thought to myself that I would do things differently.  Yeah freaking right!  I knew I didn’t want a ceremony, why bother?  I just wanted to throw a big, celebratory party.  Who doesn’t love a party??  We would do things differently.

In January we started to make our plans for my awesome party.  We did a visit at my perfect venue, met with a fabulous photographer and perused Freeport’s cake page obsessively.  Every step of the way I could see the money that would be draining from our bank accounts by September. Money that could be going towards our dream of buying a home.  I started to become uneasy because I wanted to throw that party, but I didn’t want to cut corners and I really wanted us to buy a house.  Then the night before we were to put a deposit down on our venue Mr. Goddard and I had a very frank discussion that for 2014 it would be either wedding OR house.  Not both.

So last Friday, despite some obstacles we were married at the County Clerk’s Office in front of our families.  We celebrated on a smaller scale with a delicious, multiple-course lunch at the fanciest hotel in town.  Now we’re MARRIED and I couldn’t be happier with our decision to start squirreling away that wedding money for a home!  Plus, that gives me plenty of time to plan that housewarming party. ;)

Now the video above is suuuper long and I completely understand that wedding videos aren’t always the most exciting.  I made this for myself as a fun way to remember our day and to share with those who weren’t there.  Watch a little or watch it all!

Pondering in front of the stove… Why does brown sugar taste SO much better than regular granulated sugar? #lifesbigquestion #bakerbitch #comingsoon #brownsugar #yummy

Pondering in front of the stove… Why does brown sugar taste SO much better than regular granulated sugar? #lifesbigquestion #bakerbitch #comingsoon #brownsugar #yummy

My Weekend According To My iPhone

Busy, busy, busy!  Drinks at Blackbird, brunch at Firestone, dinner at Miyagis, two dozen cupcakes and one special baby shower.  That’s my weekend in a nutshell.  It’s hard to believe I packed that all in just over 48 hours, but that’s how dedicated I am to my strict wine schedule.  At least one bottle a weekend!

My Weekend According To My iPhone

Basically these were the only two faces I saw this weekend.  I finally was able to meet little Miss Avery who just turned a month old and of course Mister Noni is in my face all day, everyday.  What else can you do when it’s sunny, but raining outside?  I guess that’s California for ya!

{Feel Good Friday} Hang Forever

Mr. Goddard’s Big Event is fast approaching and this year’s entertainment is totally smokin’.  Looks, vocals.. Ivy Levan is the total package!  Even Letterman thinks so - she performed with Sting a couple weeks ago on the late night show.  Her dress was absolutely stunning so I’m looking forward to seeing what she wears at the Crest in April.  Check out her YouTube page, download her music - Ivy is coming!

If I Wasn’t Busy Being Awesome

You know when celebrities get asked what they would be doing if they weren’t acting or being famous for their sex tapes?  They give cute answers like veterinarian or solving world hunger…  Today I decided that if someone were to ask me, if you weren’t the greatest admin assistant next to Donna Paulsen - what would you be doing?  My answer would be a hacker.

Just thought you should know, but for now I’m going to try and become as awesome as Donna.

My Weekend According To My iPhone

After taking things slow the last few weeks, I made up for time over the long weekend.  Mr. Goddard and I celebrated Valentine’s Day with a big group dinner at my parent’s house.  I ate my weight in Rice Krispies and drank lots of bubbly.  Three days off makes it harder to go back to work this morning, but thank goodness for a four day week right?  Enjoy your week - I hope it goes by in a flash!

Go Team. Win The Points.

If you’re one of those last minute people, which I sometimes am then this is the recipe for you. I’m sure you’re running to the store RIGHT NOW to grab some pre-made bean dip or something, but before you do finish reading this.  It’s sooo easy!  And I already had all the ingredients in my fridge!



Ingredients

{via Pizzazzerie}

  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce (more or less based on preference)
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced green onion

Directions

Mix!  You’re done!  Now you can run to the store, pick up your ingredients and feel great about bring something homemade.  Good job you!



Happy “Official” Anniversary to my handsome fiancé! #loverboy #engaged #goddardLane

Happy “Official” Anniversary to my handsome fiancé! #loverboy #engaged #goddardLane

My Weekend According To My iPhone

An extended happy hour with my favorite wine-o Kaila kicked off this weekend.  We drank our way through Hock Farm, Ella and Firestone.  I was feeling celebratory, but I can’t share why just yet…  Celebrate we did!  (Thanks for the ride Mr. Goddard)  Saturday was a day of recovery and pampering with Simone.  Two hours of gossip and catchup over pedicures and manicures.  After all that fun rested and recouped until Sunday evening.  Now it’s back to work for me - I’m not one of you lucky people whose off today and I’m wondering if the next two weeks can possibly top the last.

This is going to be your new FAVORITE recipe! Mexican style chili for your crock-pot. [Link in Profile] #slowcooker #recipe #semihomemade #nomnomnom

This is going to be your new FAVORITE recipe! Mexican style chili for your crock-pot. [Link in Profile] #slowcooker #recipe #semihomemade #nomnomnom

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