Monday, March 31, 2008

New Skier Gets Schooled by 5 Year Olds with Snowballs

I don't know what I expected when I decided to learn how to ski a month or so ago, but I guess I thought I'd pick it up faster. It's not that I can't ski. I can. I just happen to think about all of those terrible things that could happen to you when you're skiing like skiing into a tree, getting run over by another snowboarder or skier who's speeding through the slow zone, that you can't stop, or something else equally bad.

Ok, so like every other sport it's a mental game. Skiing gets really fun when I can convince myself that the slopes in front of me really aren't that steep and that I can just blast down them and turn a bit to slow down. It's just that sometimes that slope looks a bit to scary and the people are whizzing by just too fast.

Getting schooled by small children on the slopes is something that I've come to accept since I saw a bunch of 8-10 year olds bomb down the green that I was wishing I could inch down on my first try. But this ski trip had perhaps the funniest memory of how badly they can still school me. A ski school class of 4-6 year olds stopped in the same area that I was resting in and their ski instructor started to give them feedback, "you know, guys, you'd fall over a lot less if you would stop spending so much time trying to pick up snowballs to throw at each other while skiing." At that exact moment, about 5 of the 12 kids were bending down to grab more snow to throw at the rest of them that already had snow in their gloves.

All in all it was a great weekend, but perhaps next time I need to be more focused on throwing snowballs at people while skiing instead of the possibility of skiing into a tree.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Cherry Clafoutis

Yesterday was a long, tiring and stressful day so I was very glad that I selected a quick and easy dessert for the week - cherry clafoutis. For those of you, like me, who had never heard of a clafoutis, just think of a lighter custard with fruit in it. The recipe is super easy! Most of the work is done by a hand mixer and you're basically just combining stuff. I did add extra cherries to this mixture as I was lazy and didn't want to have to measure out half of a bag.

After about 15 mins in the oven, I emerged from the shower to the most delicious smell in my apartment ever...and there have been some pretty yummy smells!!! It's hard to describe because it was both light and flavorful at the same time and just seemed to waft into all corners of my apartment. I'd be happy to make it again just to enjoy the smell. Of course I didn't stop with just the smell, I did have a little taste before the rest of my guests attacked it with vigor. Definitely serve it warm as it's much more flavorful that way. It is a very light and not too sweet dessert that just seemed to hit the spot.

Here's a pic of my creation before it was devoured...

Also, in honor of the Ryans having their birthdays on Saturday, Tara brought a very yummy chocolate butter cream cake for them to enjoy as well.

Want to make this week's recipe? You can thank
William Sonoma again for this tasty treat.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

WANTED: Extremely professional high schooler

This realization has slowly come to me over the last week or so...but here it goes...

I was sitting at work on Friday afternoon at 5:30 waiting for the printer to spit out copies of a presentation that I didn't get to help write and definitely won't be giving, but needed to have stapled before 8am on Monday morning. Wow, what a waste of time! Not an uncommon realization for me at work recently, but the thought that came next was...

"I could pay a high schooler a nice wage of $15 an hour and sit at home and not have to work on the rest of what I'm paid."

That's just such a tempting thought. Granted it would never work, but wow. Still if you know of any very mature and professional high schoolers, send them my way!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Creme Brule Attempt

This blog post is adequately titled with the word attempt because I am going to have to try this again! But first, let me share what I've learned...

This recipe posed several challenges: 1. requires individual servings; 2. I've never attempted it before; 3. how to make it less fat since the recipe requires cream. I'll admit that the last one was self-imposed, but still. I managed to solve the first problem by deciding to use my small coffee mugs (luckily I have 12 of them) as the serving dish instead of ramekins. The second I wasn't too concerned about and I resolved the 3rd by using half and half instead of whole cream. All good I thought....

The cooking process went great. Yeah it's annoying to figure out how you're going to boil enough water in 2 pans not designed for that purpose and fit 12 coffee cups in glass pans filled half way with that boiling water. But, I managed to get through all of this and they smelled great when I pulled them out of the oven.

On the way to the fridge for chilling, I was a little concerned about the liquidy texture, but I figured that's what 12 or more hours in the fridge will fix. I was sadly mistaken. The next morning I found 12 still 80% liquidy creme brules in my fridge. Oops! As you might have guessed, the half and half changed the consistency of the creme brules so they didn't solidify the way that they were supposed to. After much online research while at work and a discussion with my mom, I decided that I'd add additional egg yolks to the liquidy brules to fix this.

Luckily, it worked! I rushed home from work and dumped all of the brules back into a bowl, added egg yolks, put the water and the brules back in the pans, and baked at 325 instead of 300 for 40 mins. Success! Much more solid when I pulled them out. Not as solid as they should have been, but still solid enough to serve to guests.

Tara helped out by bringing the brule torch which J and Candace had a great time using to evenly burn the sugar for the topping. In my tipsiness of the evening, I forgot to take action shots of the brule and couldn't hold off people from eating long enough to take a pic either. Nonetheless, I'll add a pic of a non-bruled brule and do better next time!

Here's a link to the recipe care of William Sonoma.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Throw It Back

Probably one of my favorite quotes is the following from Maya Angelou -

I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back."

This tends to be something that I forget as I am one of those people pleaser people. I spend my days making sure things get done for people at work on their schedule, taking care of friends who are in need and trying to help others get ahead. I'm not trying to pretend that I'm such a good person, but I will say that it does result in me often doing things for others when I really needed to spend an afternoon doing something for me. It is sometimes easier for me to take something and do it myself then it is to refuse, or throw it back. Yes, I know this isn't a healthy long term life strategy, but one that I'm wrestling with at the moment. Hence, the importance of this quote.

Throw it back. It's so rewarding to put yourself before the rest of the mess that is life because no one's looking out for you except you. There's such a sense of empowerment that comes from saying no to something. It's taking control of your life instead of just letting life happen to you. That's one of my goals for this year. I am going to make a conscious effort to get what I want in life and shape my own future.

With that, I'm off to shape my future with a productive day of GMAT studying and catching up on the things that I need to do for me in life.

Remember to throw it back occasionally and that a catcher only wears one mitt. You wouldn't want life to hit you in the balls, would you?

Friday, March 14, 2008

I'm Finally a Blogger!!!

Yay! I am finally a blogger. As I've read friend's blogs and such, I've often thought of things that I would like to say and memories that I would like to preserve online. But then the dreaded thought, what am I going to call this collection of thoughts, musings, rants, memories, and anecdotes? A friend suggested that I think of quotes that I like and maybe start with my tagline. Great suggestion, I thought! I love quotes. That love for quotes proceeded to make that way too challenging as I immediately thought of about 10 quotes that I absolutely love.

Well, I won't detail the rest of the long and laborious process that resulted in my blog being called Sunnyside Up!, but I will briefly explain it's meaning. Not only am I fifth generation Californian (thanks Mom for the clarification) which probably means that sunshine is somewhere in my DNA, but I am a perpetual optimist (one of those glass half full people which tends to get me into trouble as you'll see throughout this blog). I also plan to discuss all sorts of topics on this blog so needed a generic enough title to encapsulate all of that variety. So with all of those thoughts in mind, I came to think about the "sunny side of life." I can't take complete credit for the leap from the sunny side of life to Sunnyside Up, but once I heard it, it just fit.

Here's to living life Sunnyside Up!