Obligations of October

It’s October, what?!?…Wait, are you sure?!?…Where did this week go?…actually, where did this month go?!?

Last night I realized I was so far behind on my monthly goals.  I couldn’t believe it.<head shaking>  I’m usually a good planner with all my lists to check off and follow.  What could have possibly happened that I couldn’t check off a single item from my 40X40 list or the peripheral lists?

I pulled out my calendar and took a look to see what was dominating my time this month…oh gosh, I know what’s going on…I’ve been feeling like crap!  I had ovarian cysts and endometriosis removed in January of 2010.  Seems they got the wrong impression~they weren’t welcome to return.  Kicked out for life…but both are back and hanging in strong.  The last 3 weeks have been filled with 5 visits to Kaiser and an additional outside appointment for a 2nd opinion.  In between the visits have been at least a couple dozen emails and calls; for records, following up on tests, asking questions, and eventually scheduling another surgery. Phew!  Can we please be done now?!?

While I’ve been uncomfortable and physically exhausted, I’ve been trying to be mentally strong and push the body to keep healthy.  This month I have 10 indoor soccer games scheduled, which I’m making it to 8 ½ of the games.  I have three 5k races I’m registered for—one down and two to go.  I’m trying to make it to 5:30am bootcamp at least 3 mornings a week, but this is proving difficult because I’m the most uncomfortable late at night, thus causing me not to sleep good, so I’m exhausted in the morning.

Then there’s actual fun stuff happening this month…6 birthdays, my 11 year Anniversary, opening of duck hunting, a wrap up meeting, an orientation meeting, a fundraiser, a gold party, and a Willow House home party.  Oh, also a dentist appointment but that doesn’t fall under fun…in anyway!  It’s a busy month!

While I haven’t completed anything on my lists YET, I’ve been taking care of a lot of “other” stuff this month.  So that I don’t overwhelm myself, I decided to push off many of the items that I try to keep up with monthly~sorry recipes, parks, and books.  I’ll catch up during the next few months…that’s my plan.

After my long complicated excuse for my lack of progress…here is where I’m at on some of the 40X40 items.

Item #4  Do Warrior Dash~I’m registered and doing it on October 30th.

Ok~guess I’ll be able to check this one off this month, barely!

Item #7  Make every recipe in the Grand Central cookbook~I’ve got 2 recipes ready to be baked this evening…if I have enough time!

Item #9  Learn to fuse glass~bought a Living Social deal that expires in March, so this will happen soon.

Item #13  Go duck hunting once~Well, season opens this weekend so I’ll be checking this off in the next couple of months.  As soon as I buy that duck stamp…I better get on that!

Item #17  Do 8 classes of Hot Yoga~I bought a Groupon that expires in January…I’ll be starting this very soon!!

Item #19  Improve my 5k mile pace~I’m basing this on the NextGen Twilight run and the 2nd Annual is tomorrow (10/21/11).  Hoping I can improve from my time last year of 33:43!  OH…a second item to check off this month!!  Yeah!!

Item #25  Shop at local produce stand or Farmer’s market~I bought some beautiful fruit from Barb’s Fruit Stand while I was in Colusa last weekend.  Drove right by all the fruit trees and to the storage barn and picked out my fruit and was on my way.  CHECK!!

Item #28  Start a blog and maintain it weekly for 3 months~Ok, I’ve been doing this and this blog makes it for me this week…Phew!!  CHECK!!

Item #30  Take a 8 class session of dancing~Bought a groupon for this too!  Expires in March so this will be another item happening soon.

AND…that’s my progress for October.  Not what I’d like it to be, but progress is progress!!


Wish List Baking

While working on my 40×40 list Items #7 and #27, I became aware that I had a list (of course) of some basic items that I wanted to make again and master them.

I’ve made a variation of each of the items. Some with great success and some with mediocre results. I’m looking forward to mastering these fabulous items.

~Creme’ Anglaise



~Caramel Sauce

~Candied peel (orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit)

~Candied Nuts (any kind)

~Brown Butter

~Chocolate Bread Pudding

~Candied fruit (Cherries)

~Something with Mexican Chocolate

~Anything with Lavender in it! (I’ve done ice cream…maybe next is a cake or cupcakes)

~Black Forest Cupcakes

~Whoopie Pie

~Bavarian Cream

~Pain Perdu

~Creme Brulee’

~Parisian Macarons

~Tiramisu with all elements from scratch


~Croquembouche (ok, I haven’t made this one but I really want to)

And…anything coffee flavored! That’s it for now!

Desserts~the condensed version

Instead of doing individual posts on the desserts from the last couple of weeks, I’m condensing them all into one.

I’ve made seven desserts and the thought of doing seven posts was starting to be a little overwhelming so I’m doing the short version here.

I did my two recipes out the Grand Central cookbook and got rave reviews.

Raspberry Crumble Tart

This tart was a special request from my husband.  It was so delicious that he requested that I make it again for a BBQ we were attending.

For the BBQ, I thought I’d try the recipe with Blackberries as well.

I also knew I should bring something chocolate.  I’m not a chocolate lover but I do appreciate the right blend of chocolate with coffee.  I made a Chocolate Flourless cake and a second cake with espresso mixed in.  The recipe for this cake came from my time spent at the Santa Rosa Junior College Baking/Pastry culinary program.

The other dessert I did out of the Grand Central cookbook was a Cherry Clafouti.

This simple recipe is super fast and I’ve made it various times with rave reviews.  This was my first time using cherries, but it stood up to the critics as well.

The batter for this recipe is done in the blender.  After soaking your fruit in brandy or your favorite spirit, dump the ingredients into the blender for a quick whirl and pour into a pie plate.  I then place the fruit into the batter and bake it.

I usually soak the fruit overnight but a couple hours works fine too.  Other times I have left out the alcohol all together.  It’s really your preference.

I’ve used blackberries, raspberries, and also mixture of berries in the past.  Even using frozen cherries, I loved the way this clafouti turned out.  I’d definitely make this version again.  Such a great recipe for the last minute dessert!

The last dessert was one of my favorites.  Berry Tart with Vanilla pastry cream with a Sablee’ crust painted with dark chocolate.  This was for my close friend’s birthday.

AND…I’m spent! ha ha! Oh, in case you were counting~I made the Raspberry Crumble Tart twice…that’d make seven!

Raspberry Crumble Tart

Cherry Clafouti

Raspberry Crumble Tart

Blackberry Crumble Tart

Chocolate Flourless Cake

Espresso Chocolate Flourless Cake

and the very special Berry Birthday Tart!

Sponsoring a Wild Child

This woman inspires me!…so I sponsored her!

After reading her 40 list and getting encouragement from her, here I am with my own 40×40 list AND I’m doing this blog.

Beki is working towards running her first Full Marathon in March.  Amazing!  AND she’s also training for Vineman 70.3 in July.  Even more amazing!

Beki’s blog, Wild Child Gone Good,  follows her training progress and she also shares about her life…the good and the bad.

I’m so proud to be the sponsor for the very 1st  mile of her 1st Full Marathon!  I want her to start out the 26.2 mile challenge knowing she’s got so much support.

“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”
-John Bingham


Beki & I ~ Relay 2010

Sneak Peak of what you have to look forward to….

OK…Last weekend was a fun and crazy time.  Many things are going on around here that all deserve the best of my baking abilities.

We had a fancy BBQ to attend~~My husband is cooking up a couple of legs of lamb, a 17 lb. Prime Rib, and Shrimp skewers.  He also enlisted me to make a few desserts.  I was so hesitant…ha ha, that I jumped up and grabbed my 5 favorite cookbooks for him to choose recipes from.  Is four desserts too many?!

We also had my Mother-in-law returning home from the hospital after having a serious surgery.  This, of course, deserved a special dessert for her.  The hardest part~~deciding which dessert deserves the honor!

Then there is the birthday of one of my closest friends.  I’ll call her…Dawn, for the purpose of this post.  Dawn is a fantastic baker and I felt the pressure to make the perfect dessert.

I’ve thankfully remembered to take pictures of everything, but here’s the list of baked goodness that I’ll be posting about through the next week:

40×40 List, Item #7

Cherry Clafouti from the Grand Central Baking

Raspberry Crumble Tart from the Grand Central Baking (ok~I made this twice in the last 2 weeks~it might be yummy)

Blackberry Crumble Tart~modified from the Raspberry above.

40×40 List, Item #27

I added my Culinary recipe binder from the Pastry Chef program at the Santa Rosa Junior College to my cookbook list…

Chocolate Flourless cake

Coffee & Chocolate Flourless cake

Mixed Berry Tart with Vanilla pastry cream, Sablee’ crust with a thin layer of dark chocolate painted on.


40×40 List, Item#2

The decision has been made and 2012 dates are tentatively picked out.  Yikes!  But I can’t quite share which Country yet…you’ll have to patiently await my post…ha ha.

As for the entire list…I’ll be planning out my month of October and I’ll post an update of the progress.

OH…and I also have something fantastic to share…I sponsored someone and I’ll be sharing those details soon too!!

Busy week…Remember to Breath…Inspire yourself!

A month later…but I tried it…and LOVED it!

I warned you back before my first (9/1/11) post…ha ha.  Ok Ok…it was a practice post back in August to try and figure out how this blog stuff works.

BUT…I followed through and love the Coffee-Mate Natural Bliss Caramel Flavor All Natural Creamer!

Just a suggestion…but you should try it!  I’d share…but I drank it all!  Sorry! It was a rough morning…ha ha.

And I love the website…you can get all the nutritional values on all 3 flavors and find out where to buy the stuff.

Try it…I dare you!

24-Hour Relay ~ It’s WAY better then you think…

official logo of the American Cancer Society R...

Image via Wikipedia

Where on the 40X40 list is this event?!…It’s not!

It’s part of my real life and it’s something I’ll do EVERY year…It’s not just something to check off for me.

Here we go~RELAY FOR LIFE 2011

According to my Google search a “Relay” is:

Noun:  A race between teams usually of sprinters or swimmers, each team member in turn covering part of the total distance!

There were many definitions but this one was exactly what I did for 24-hours.  There were teams of people with members taking turns…but the total distance of the race is different for each person…but we all took turns so that we could all make it through the 24-hours.  The race for my Dad had a distance of 54 years.  My Mom, luckily made it beyond the challenge of cancer 4 years ago and continues her race!  That’s why I  do this relay~ The Relay for Life!

This event is very emotional for everyone there and I’m not very good at openly showing my feelings.  Until this year, I hid behind a camera taking pictures, kept my sunglasses on, and successfully avoided the awkward cry face I get when I’m holding it all in.

With the great support of two of my friends, we did our Relay team (for the 3rd year in a row) in Honor of my Mom.

Now don’t get me wrong~there were far more supporters beyond my two friends…they just happened to be my Co-Captains and helped motivate our team and keep the magic going!  Thank you to EVERYONE who participated, donated, supported, encouraged, showed up, brought food/coffee…you are all appreciated beyond words!


Half of the Sassy Supporters

Leading the Opening Survivor Lap is the US Coast Guard

Doves in flight

Sassy Sally & her good friend Karen

Caretakers meeting up with Survivors

Me, My Mom, and my first babysitter (I wasn't even a year yet)

Fabulous Co-Captains selling raffle tickets

Thank you for all the generous contributions!!

Bread Pudding Muffins…it’s a delicate balance of demanding the supply!

Bread Pudding Muffins

OR cushions of yummy goodness…

Back by popular demand!

Progress: #6 of 112 recipes

I have made this recipe at least a dozen times…and I made it again, just to make it official for this goal. I knew the muffins wouldn’t go to waste. The problem is more along the lines of there not being enough. I made a triple batch…yes! Tripled it!

I had myself convinced that I didn’t like bread pudding…but I also think the name is quite silly. But I can’t really think of a better name…bread soaked in sugary milk and cream!? I just know that I love bread pudding now…and it’s because of this fabulous recipe.

These muffins have converted me and many others into enjoying bread pudding. Not slimmy or gooey but very moist and extremely delicious.

I brought these scrumptious treats to a 24-hour American Cancer Society fundraiser called The Relay for Life. Last year I sold the muffins, but this year we did a larger raffle instead of a bake sale so my team mates got to enjoy the muffins…just because they knew me. Oh yes…I pay my friends with these muffins. Ha Ha! They can be worth more then modern currency depending on which friend it is.

I brought home the 8 muffins that were left for my husband. I got the 5th degree when I got home from work the next day…where were the muffins?!? Why was I hiding them?!? Did I take them to work?!? Why would I do that?!?

Ends up my Mom had in fact taken the muffins to her work to share. She did bring back a couple for my hubby…and those disappeared before I turned around from starting up the BBQ for dinner.

I’m proud of my muffins…my bread pudding muffins! I get compliments and requests for them a lot. It really makes me smile that people enjoy them so much.

This triple batch was made possible by the generous bribe…Aha…I mean, donation of Clover Whole Milk and Clover Heavy Cream by a close friend. California Cows are awesome!! Get out there and buy LOCAL!!

The Grand Central Baking Book

Ragle Ranch Regional Park

Ragle Ranch Regional Park

Progress:  #4 of 40 Parks

Yup…10% done.  I’m an accounting geek so everything is some kind of number to me.

Parking fee is $5.00.  There was parking along the street outside the park for free; however, there are 6 soccer fields, multiple playgrounds, Tennis courts, and Ball fields.  The parents all seem to park along the street because of the fee to park.

This is a very awesome park.  I didn’t explore the group picnic areas or the playgrounds but they looked great from afar.  I went straight to the trail head to get my hike on.

I was accompanied by my friend and her two star soccer players.  They had just finished their soccer games so I met them there and we headed out on the Blackberry Trail.

The Blackberry Trail is a very accurate name for the trail.  At times we were surrounded by berry bushes.

Sometimes it was like a tunnel and then a few steps later, so open and light.  The entire time we could hear the sounds of nature; birds chirping, trickling water, or just our feet on the trail.

A couple of times we ran into other people on the trail and me…being how I am…had a map of the park and trails in my bag.  This was good news to a couple of ladies who couldn’t seem to find their way out.  I downloaded the map from the Sonoma County Regional Parks website.

We even came across a friendly caterpillar that was inching along the trail.  The kids got to pet the little fella before we kept tromping along.

Soon we turned off onto the Thistle Trail…also adequately named.

This trail was more open and eventually led us back to the Peace Garden.

The Peace Garden was a great place to end the hike.  It was such an interesting stop…with a water sculpture, different varieties of lavender bushes, and a hammered copper covered bench.  A great end to a great adventure!



Lemme know what ya’ll think!


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