Thursday, October 21, 2010

Not gonna lie....

I love the fall.  And I miss a few things about the Inland Northwest this time of year.  I know, I make it sound like I've been away forever, when it's really only been about five and a half months...but still, there are a few things I miss.  In no particular order, here they are:

-Greenbluff: The pumpkin patches and apple orchards, the smells of kettle corn and yes, even hot dogs on the grill...
-Leaves changing color:  Nothing is better than a cold, dry fall morning with crunchy, multi-colored leaves under foot.  Sigh.
-Cold mornings, with warm afternoons:  So I complained about it when I lived there, but I do miss having a cold, sunny morning only to have it warm up in the afternoon.

September and October were always my favorite part of the year in Spokane, because there truly are four seasons.  Plus, my dad's birthday was Monday and we weren't around to celebrate.  Last year, I was home over that weekend and had the opportunity to cook his birthday dinner for him!  This year, a Skype appointment had to suffice.  But...we're fortunate to be able to host Thanksgiving this year for my parents and brother/sister in law.  Not only that, but my dad will be a pro at baking pies after his birthday gift---a cookbook, pastry mat, rolling pin, and pie plate---so we can bake simultaneously and share the experience (or at least I hope!).

Things that are awesome:

-William lined the fence so Felix and Oscar can't run through and out to the sidewalk!
-Our intermediate training class for the boys is going well, and we can definitely tell a difference.
-Cheese is a great motivator to "control yourself" for the boys. :)
-Pretty much all Scandinavian thrillers.
-Pastry Queen cookbooks...that I've checked out, oh, about 15 times since we've moved here!
-The new kitchen sink faucet William installed last weekend.
-Pumpkin carving this weekend!  Pictures to follow...

And a few pictures...

 Finished product---Splenda Apple-Pear-Cherry Pie, made with no sugar and suitable for people with diabetes...or anyone watching sugar intake.  Baked with Granny Smith apples, and Bosc pears (probably would use D'Anjou next time, as Bosc are better for eating---very juicy, don't stay as firm when cooked).
What's up?

Later, friends and family!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Midterms! School! PIE!

It's official....I'm halfway through my first semester in culinary school.  Surprisingly, this is way tougher than I thought it would be.  In fact, my sanitation and safety class is MUCH more difficult than I thought it would be for a two credit course.  The instructor is the head of the culinary program, and I find myself working a lot harder in this class (especially on the assignments) to prove myself.  Is this surprising to any of y'all?  I didn't think so. :)

I was thinking to myself the other day, on my way to class, "How could I EVER have thought that being a full-time student wasn't the right path?!"  Rather than beat myself up about it, I'm going to fully embrace this opportunity and let myself enjoy (and dread) the process. 

Next semester, here are a few of the courses I'm hoping to take (Chef Hay opened spots for me, which is how you have to register in the CULA program)---

-Fundamentals of Baking (YESSSSSSS!)

-Basic Food Preparation

-Meat Identifying and Processing (where I will be CARVING MEAT!!!!)

-Dining Room Service

-Nutrition for the Food Service Professional

So clearly you can understand why I'm so excited?!  Once we get through the prerequisites, we get to take the fun classes with labs.

Tomorrow, William's sister and niece are coming over and I'm going to bake some cinnamon rolls for Marie's little boy's flag football game Saturday.  I'm also going to bake a pie for the group for tomorrow night, and some friends of ours, Kent and Sabrina, are also owed a pie for Sunday. :)

One of the things I'm so excited I have the time to do now is READ!  I just started Corduroy Mansions by Alexander McCall Smith.  If you're interested, here's a link to Amazon:

Aaaaaannnnnddd, one more cookbook I am currently coveting:

Obviously, I've loved baking since I was younger, but the movie Stranger Than Fiction, with Will Ferrell and Maggie Gyllenhaal, where she owns the bakery?  That was when I realized, "I want to do that."

Awesome ways to wake up---with your 18 lb dog curled up behind your knees. :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Not the greatest news I could've hoped for....

But I'll take a stress fracture over a break any day, I suppose.  William finally made an appointment (well...I say finally, but he made the appointment immediately after I told him I'd been having foot pain for about six weeks) and the verdict yesterday was a stress fracture in my fourth metatarsal on my left well as this fun little condition: running, lunges, squats, presses or plyometrics because with where the fracture is at, I can't be putting additional stress on the weakened bone...

Luckily, I have the ability to train the rest of my muscle groups, and can even train legs as long as I'm not training anything below my knee!  Extensions and curls are going to be plentiful, I'm sure, but I'm excited to try Spinning and swimming.  We have lots of friends at the gym who are triathletes, so I know I have many resources to turn to.  Plus, an added bonus---this means I'll be one step closer to a triathlon!

So...I'll admit, I'm a pessimist by nature.  It's not something I'm proud of, but it IS something I own up to.  I'm going into this with a positive attitude.  My training is going in a different direction, I'm loving my nutrition plan (more fresh veggies!!! less red meat!!!), and I'm going to add some much needed variety into my training regimen! 

Side note---I made up my mind on school versus work and am happy to say my heart is in the right place---Austin, full-time, with my husband, puppies, and as a full-time culinary arts student at ACC-Eastview.

To close, I found this quote this morning....I am tempted to print it out and put it on my mirror!
“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
--- Winston Churchill

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Where, o where....

So...I realize it's been a while since I last wrote.  A lot has been going on in my life, and I'm kind of at a crossroads right now. 

I started school in August, and loved it immediately.  I know that it's going to help me pursue my passion to become a pastry chef.  The week before I started classes, however, I received an email about a possible job opportunity in Texas, working for a supplement company.  Not believing that my background and skill set would match what they were looking for, I submitted my resume.  I didn't hear anything for several weeks, and then things started going full-speed ahead.  I had a phone interview on a Friday, flew to Chicago for a face to face the following Thursday, and received a job offer immediately after my interview.  I took the weekend to think about it and decided that it was an opportunity I couldn't pass up. 

From there, I flew to the Olympia the last Thursday in September...home on Saturday for Felix and Oscar's graduation from puppy kindergarten on Sunday, and back to Chicago Sunday night for training Monday and Tuesday (which meant I missed Intro to Foods and Sanitation and Safety).  Back Tuesday night, home until Sunday afternoon again, and then flew back to Chicago for another three days of training, which brings me here, to a lovely hotel about 15 minutes from the office.  The time alone has given me ample opportunity to think about what it is I want out of my life, and I'm beginning to realize that there's more to life than money and career advancement.

If anyone out there is reading this....what are your thoughts?  I often feel guilty because one of my biggest goals is to be an amazing wife and pastry chef...but that leaves my husband being the sole income in the home, and I feel terribly about not contributing financially.  This is a conversation we have had often, and I'm fortunate that he puts up with the constant worrying that keeps me up at night, and my tummy churning. 

This feels a little bit "Dear Diary" -ish, if I'm being completely honest.  Is it not lofty enough of a goal to want to go to school and eventually own a business where I supply local restaurants?  I mean, right now I'm not earning anything, but a lot of people I'm going to school with are in the same boat.  Why is it not good enough for me?!  Ugh.  Stomachache, go away.