Posted on 7/25/10
Transferred to WordPress on 3/31/14

OK, so I didn’t post anything about what I baked last Tuesday but there is a good reason why. A couple actually…

First off, the cupcakes I opted to make did not turn out so well 😦 I decided to use a basic cupcake recipe from the recipe book I referenced in my last post but wanted to make it my own. Since my mother’s 70th birthday was the next day, on the 14th, I thought I’d make a special cupcake for her. My thought: a ginger lime cupcake with orange zest cream cheese icing. It certainly sounded good. But did it taste good? Not so much. I have decided that I do not like at all, the recipe for the cupcakes in this book. They are too shortcake-ish instead of light and springy-soft and sweet. My flavors were a great idea for a good basic cupcake recipe, so I’ll most likely try them again. Long story short – they ended up in the trashcan. I stopped at Long John Silver’s to get Mom a slice of strawberry cheesecake, after work in place of her birthday cupcakes. And – just so you don’t think I’m a total lame ass of a daughter, I knew we had plans to celebrate her landmark birthday over the weekend, so the cheesecake was just an added bonus on her actual birthday! 🙂

The second reason I didn’t post anything at all last Tuesday is because, well… I was fried. This July has been a real ass kicker. We haven’t had a single weekend that wasn’t jam-packed with something social or project or travel related so far. I have just been pooped. I do it to myself, so I’m not complaining; just explaining. We’ve celebrated Independence Day at a Revolution game (complete with awesome fireworks!) then over to a friend’s house to celebrate his birthday with him and his family. We celebrated my nephew’s high school graduation, hosted one of my best friend’s Luau bridal shower, celebrated my mother’s 70th birthday, spent a day in Philadelphia with Nathan sightseeing (Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, etc) and saw Manchester United play Philadelphia’s new soccer team that same night (long and bloody hot day). Just yesterday we spent the afternoon at another one of my best friend’s houses at their Summer BBQ/House Warming party. Lots of fun but just an exhausting July so far. Next weekend we’ll spend the entire weekend at my mother-in-law’s house helping her haul boxes and manage a two-day garage sale. July can’t end soon enough, cuz August we can breathe!

Tonight though, I DO want to share a culinary experience with you. Tons of fun, this one. It all starts with a show called CHOPPED, that we like to watch. Today, Nathan, Kevin and I were watching a rerun of the show that we hadn’t seen originally. Similar to why I began baking and blogging (Cupcake Wars), I decided to give myself a CHOPPED-style challenge in my very own kitchen. If you don’t watch the show, here’s how it works: Four contenders (chefs) are given a basket of ingredients that they must use to first make an appetizer, then an entree, then finally a dessert. There is always a protein and a starch and usually a vegetable or fruit in some form. Usually there is a very unusual ingredient or two, to really spice up the contest. My husband is always joking around about their being a human baby in the basket at some point.

Each course is a competition and chefs get eliminated (“chopped”) based on whether or not they used the required elements, how good their creation tasted and their creativity. The winner gets $10K and the title of Chopped Champion. So, tonight I gave myself a basket of the following items randomly pulled from my pantry and freezer/fridge: Pork, Cheerios, Mandarin Oranges, Black Beans and Wonton Wrappers. At first I thought, Cheerios and pecan encrusted pork chops with a candied ginger and mandarin orange sauce and some sort of black bean filled wonton. However, I decided to get a little more creative than that and did a pork and black bean filled wonton and used the Cheerios and mandarin oranges in a custard for dessert. I’m not going to give everything away and tell you what I did and how I executed it but I will tell you that it rated a 7 out of 10 with Kevin and Nathan, which means it WILL be in the cookbook we are working on! Anything ABOVE a 5 goes in.

As for any other writing I promised to begin, I will say that I have a good grasp on things. I’ve got direction and about a chapter finished. My goal and challenge from here on out is to try to write for 2 hours 3 days a week. School starts for me the end of August, so it will definitely prove to be a real challenge with work, school, writing and of course the Fall soccer season for Nathan. I need all the support and encouragement I can get, so I’d LOVE to hear from you.  If I need to beg I will.  I’m shameless.

As always, thanks for reading. At least, I hope you are – whoever you are… 🙂

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