Hello Again!

Hi folks! Boy, how I’ve missed you. It’s not totally my fault, though! Let me explain what happened.

I’m a horrible klutz.

I’d like to elaborate, but suffice it to say coffee and computers don’t mix and now you can call me “Cautious Karen”. Sigh.

Once I got my computer back, it was November and time for National Novel Writing Month. To be fair, I didn’t really even write much then. I had to write 36,000 words over the six days of Thanksgiving Break. I did it, but apparently I haven’t been feeling much like writing.

It’s been an interesting fall, to say the least. I’ve been busy, no doubt about it! Apparently starting from most recently, I have:

Made two pies for Thanksgiving: pecan and cranberry with pecan crumble topping. As you can see, the cranberry already got busted into when this picture was taken! These are both from Smitten Kitchen and I highly suggest you look these recipes up.


Recently at work, we’ve discovered we all love the Great British Bake Off, so we’re having the Great BASIS Bake Off. Four weeks of cookie competition madness. This was my first batch, for the frosted, shaped sugar cookies. I sadly got the lowest amount of points, but to be fair, mine were very lemony and not very sugary. The winners of the presentation, as well, made some of the most incredibly decorated cookies I’ve ever seen, so they definitely deserved to win. I won presentation for the second round, chocolate cookies where I did a chocolate sandwich cookie with flavored ganache (Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies and Chocolate Sandwich Cookies with Flavored Ganache), but the grand irony there is I didn’t take a picture. Ah well. Here are these blue beauties even if they didn’t win any prizes.


Another thing I spent a bunch of baking time on was my annual apple project. Every year, my parents rent this adorable little cabin in Sedona, and on the property are several apple trees. The owners are so nice, and they always let me pick a big bag full to take home. This year was no exception. Here is one of the local apples, sadly out of focus. Sigh. But taking pictures on a real camera turns out to be too time intensive for me, normally.


We also had a sugar cookie decorating party BEFORE the cookie competition got started. Check out the skull ones! They were made by my friend Tori for Dia de Los Muertos, a local Mexican holiday, and originally shared with her Spanish classes. Did I hang out around her 7th grade Spanish class one day shamelessly until I got invited in for cookies and coloring? Yes, yes I did. Did I then also shamelessly hang my coloring page in my own classroom? Yes, yes I did. These cookies were deeeeeelish, though. Best of all, the kids had a great learning experience. With frosting.


Yikes. All the apple projects. From far back to front, vegan cookies (disgusting but the vegan kids liked them, so yay?), apple hand pies, apple buckle, and apple crisp. They were all good, but the handpies were so flaky you could hear them snap, and the crisp was outstanding. Hand pie recipe by Smitten Kitchen and the crisp was from the King Arthur’s Baking Companion. What a book. Recipes here: Bushels of Apple Fun


Up close of the hand pies. I sent two coworkers home with two apiece, one for them and one for their husbands. No husbands were fed that day. No regrets were had by my coworkers.


I also made gingerbread cookies for my drama students for being AMAZING when we went on a THREE DAY TRIP to UTAH. ANOTHER STATE. And they bought swords and daggers at the prop sale and no one died or was grievously injured. Yes, the living room in the house we rented that belonged to the 7th grade boys was pretty ripe by the end, but on the whole it was smooth sailing. These kids were kind, professional, and well-behaved, and I would travel with them to the ends of the world and back. As it is, I can’t wait to go to Utah again next year!


I also got a chance to hike Humphrey’s again! In the snow! It was quite cold. I don’t think I’d recommend that… But it was great fun anyhow.


And because I love them sooooooo much, here’s a picture of us all in Utah at the Southern Utah University Shakespeare Competition, where we may not have taken home any trophies but we still kicked major butt! I am on the far right and my amazing coworker, who organized the whole thing and led us to victory, is on the far right in the flower print shirt. Please ignore the daggers.


Be careful not to let your bread proof too much. Oops.


I also bought some doughnut pans and got in a craze! A literal craze, because I made 76 doughnuts in a single day. I made four flavors: vanilla, lemon lavender, chai latte, and chocolate. Seen below are the lemon lavender (yellow icing) and the chai latte (purple icing). Recipe here: Delicious Oven-Baked Doughnuts


I am a little out of cake baking mode since the beginning of the fall, but here at least is the birthday cake I made for my wonderful friend Erin on 30th birthday. It was a triple-layer chai cake with a honey ginger frosting.


Another triple-layer-er, this time a going-away triple-layer carrot cake for the fantastic music teacher we had at our school for three years. She and her husband moved to Oregon with their little son and are doing wonderfully well, but it doesn’t really fill the hole in our hearts. Neither did the cake, but it was still tasty.


Last but not least, towards the beginning of the school year I made fruit tarts. Let me just say that mixing lemon curd is  MUST, as is making actual tart shells, which are more like a cookie and less like a pie crust. The pie crust ones were just fine, but the tart shells ones…ooh la la!


Mercifully left out were the mangled macarons I didn’t even bother to sandwich together.


Macarons are dumb.

Of course, very last (because most special!), just today I made a homemade funfetti cake for my husband for his birthday. His actual birthday was a little distracted and busy and we didn’t get a chance to celebrate properly, so here we are tonight, watching a silly movie and eating funfetti cake. Hooray!


I swear there won’t be so much time in between posts next time — happy baking!


3 thoughts on “Hello Again!

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