Monday, November 17, 2008

fun weekend

This weekend I went to Ohio again to visit my boyfriend. We went shopping and made Christmas cookies and it got me really excited for Christmas and Thanksgiving, especially for the time off school. I was so happy that I got my program done before I even left so that I didn't have it looming over my head all weekend. This week is a pretty awesome week because a lot of my classes are cancelled and cross country is officially over, so I don't have practice for the next 2 weeks. Of course, after that track will start up, but it is really nice to have 2 weeks of relaxation. Also, I have my last week of field experience this week as well.Today when I was filling out the "Intent to return" survey, I was noting the format, and thinking to myself, "I could probably make something like this!" So, I saw a real-life application of the skills we are learning. Grrrrrrrrrreat!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Off to school we go

I need to post really quickly before I'm off to observe at Greenville High School. Programming this week was pretty laid back. It was really great to spend those two days reviewing and going over concepts we have already learned. We have sort of buzzed through the material so it was helpful to review it.
I cannot wait for Thanksgiving break. And I am already counting days of class till Christmas. Only 20!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Already November

The time is flying by. I can't believe that cross country season is practically over. I got to run in the last race yesterday, conference. I wasn't happy with my race, but I was happy that I was able to race. I am coming off a stress fracture in my tibia and this year's time of 27:59 was almost heart-breaking compared to last year when I came in at 24:48. But I am coming off an injury so I am grateful for the chance to get out there and run with my team.
My parents came into town for the meet on Saturday, and we had a great time. They stayed at the B&B and I was able to go over there for breakfast this morning, which was delicious. We then went to the Missouri Botannical Gardens. It was such a gorgeous day outside! 70* in November? Who woulda thunk? Then they dropped me off at the symphony that I had to attend for my fine arts class. It was a good experience, but made for a long day.
I have been working on the program tonight and I just keep getting more and more confused. My notes tend to confuse me as I know what I'm writing when I write it, but then I can't remember what goes where and all when it goes to actually writing the program. Honestly, I am ready for this class to be done with. It is a nice break from math, but I am ready to be back doing stuff I understand and makes sense to me and is applicable. Anyways, I will probably be in for help at some point tomorrow. Unless the program elves come write it for me tonight.
Speaking of elves, Christmas is coming!! Yay! I'm a Christmas fanatic!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A baking filled weekend and some calculating too.

Ergggh... I just lost my post. I have some great pictures from the bake sale but cannot find my camera cord. We had a bake sale to benefit the Simple Room this weekend at the Panther 5k and homecoming football game. I will put some pictures up next week.

As for programming, I'm working on my calculator and think I have a pretty good grasp on it, but I'm having trouble getting at retrieving the second number the user enters. I will most likely be in for office hours. Well, I'm off to go work on it some more before I go to bed.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Spooky spooky

I missed my last blog post! I didn't even realize it. I was in Ohio for the weekend and time slipped through my fingers. I am excited that we are moving a new direction in programming; the windows application seems a lot more interesting and fun to use. We will get to be a lot more creative with our programs.
Because Halloween is just around the corner, I decided to bake some spooky spider cupcakes. These cupcakes are from the book Cupcakes from the Cake Mix Doctor. They are a really dark cupcake with orange frosting, with a spider cookie on top.
To make the spider cookies, first melt down 2 1/2 cups of chocolate chips with 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup milk. (I used semi-sweet chocolate chunks, as they were on sale this week.) Once that gets all smooth, stir in a 1/2 cup cocoa pebbles cereal and 3/4 cup crushed chow mein noodles. Drop the mixture by spoonfuls onto a foil-lined or parchment-lined baking sheet. Then, stick 8 chow mein noodles into the sides of each little blob to make a spider. It should look like this.

Look at the little guy! He's so cute. Now just put them all in the fridge so they can firm up.

Next, prepare the cupcake batter. Into a large mixing bowl, put one chocolate cake mix, 3 eggs, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 1 1/3 cups buttermilk, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 2 tablespoons cocoa powder. Mix it all on low speed for 30 seconds, and then on medium speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the edges of the bowl with a spatula. It should look like this.

Sorry for the weird shadow. Then, scoop the cupcake batter into paper-lined muffin tins. I used regular-sized and mini-sized, but you can do whatever. Bake them a 350* for about 20 minutes, or until they spring back when lightly touched.
Now for the assembly. I just used store-bought frosting and dyed it orange. You can do whatever. First, you want to put a little bit of orange frosting into a ziploc bag and cut off the corner so you can give the little spiders eyes.

Then, you'll just want to frost the cupcake with the orange frosting and place the spider cookie on top! That simple. I frosted most of the little cupcakes with some leftover chocolate frosting and put candy corn on them. Mmmmm...

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Apple Days = Apple Pi

I mean apple pie... hehe...

In good ole Greenville today there was Apple Days! on the square. I was intrigued so I thought I would check it out. I walked through the whole shindig in about 10 minutes, finding a lot of fried food, a lot of kids, and a lot of garage sale stuff. However, I did buy a 5-lb. bag of apples at Wayne's Produce stand. So I thought... I must bake something with apples. I found a recipe for caramel apple pie that sounded good, so I spent my afternoon baking it.

Before I begin the process of the apple pie baking--a little about my programming. This week we studied and worked with interfaces. It seems pretty simple, and I was able to create my program pretty quickly, even without tutoring help. I'm glad that I'm feeling more comfortable with the material. Anyways, onto the pie.

First, I made a home-made pie crust. You could just buy a pre-made one at the store, but I'm cheap and I already had the ingredients to make one homemade. It doesn't take long, and it tastes wonderful.

For this crust, start with 1 1/4 cups flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add 1/3 cup shortening in little chunks. Then cut the shortening in with two knives, or a pastry cutter.
Next, add 4-5 tablespoons of cold water until the mixture starts to hold together. Then roll it all into a ball. Roll the ball into a big flat circle. Or, an amoeba-like blob, like mine. Whatever works.

Then, fold the circle into fourths and place in pie plate. Unfold in pie plate, and flute edges. I did this special scallop edge thing, but you can just fold it under if you want. Or, you can do like my mom does, and press the edges with a fork.

Now for the filling. First you must start with the apples.

I didn't use all these apples, I think I used 8. You need to turn the above apples into the below apples. You do this by peeling slicing. It takes a long time. To avoid boredom, I moved my peeling and slicing station into the living room so I could watch TV. This was probably not the most sanitary move, but it's not like our house is that sanitary anyways.

Next up, you need to chop pecans for the filling and the crumb topping. If you have a food processor, you could just throw the pecans in there and chop them up. However, I don't, so I just used a knife. I chopped up probably about a cup. You could also use walnuts, and that would probably taste great, too.

Save half of these chopped pecans for the crumb topping. Mix the other half with 1/3 cup brown sugar, 3 tablespoons white sugar, 4 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Then mix this with the apples. Resulting in this.

Next, comes the secret to the caramel apple pie. Spread about 1/4 cup of caramel ice cream topping in the bottom of the crust. Then, dump the whole apple mixture into the caramel-lined crust. Then, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and drizzle that over the apples. This is not a healthy pie, folks. Well, it's probably healthier than a caramel-lined chocolate pie. But that will be for a different day.

Somehow I did not get a picture of the apple-filled crust. Oh wells.

Now for the crumb topping.

Combine in a bowl the following: rest of the pecans from earlier, 3/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and 6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into chunks.

Do the same you did earlier for the crust, cut the butter into the dry ingredients. Then sprinkle the whole mixture over the apples in the pan. It should look like this.

Put this baby in a 350* oven for 55-60 minutes, or until it is golden brown and gets all juicy. Mmmmm....
I had a hard time getting the lighting right with these finished pictures. There was no natural light, as it was nighttime.

Some friends came over to watch the Cubs. What's more American than baseball and apple pie?



Thanks guys for taste-testing!

Happy baking everyone!

Here's the recipe:

Caramel Apple Pie

  • 7 cups sliced apples
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
  • 1 unbaked pie shell
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • CRUMB TOPPING, recipe follows

Combine apples with lemon juice and vanilla. Combine pecnas, brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, and cornstarch; add to apples. Spread caramel topping in bottom of unbaked pie shell. Pour apple mixture over caramel. Drizzle with melted butter. Top with CRUMB TOPPING. Bake at 350* for 55-60 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly.


  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons cold butter

Combine flour, pecans, and brown sugar. Cut in butter until crumbly.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Today is a grrrreat day!

You want to know why? I already have my program done! I went to tutoring last night in the library and Phu helped me out. It is so relieving to be done, and not have to worry about it all weekend!
So today is my friend Katie's birthday, and my friend Jamie also just had a baby girl, Hayden, yesterday morning at 7:18am. I decided to make cupcakes to give as a gift to each of them. More specifically, strawberry cupcakes with strawberry cream cheese frosting, from the Cupcakes from the Cake Doctor, by Anne Byrn. Also known as my favorite cookbook ever.
I took pictures all along the baking process, so I am going to blog the whole process. Let's begin!

Start off by chopping 1 1/2 cups of strawberries, really small. Yes, these strawberry cupcakes have bits of real strawberry in them!
Next, add the strawberries to a big mixing bowl with the rest of the cupcake batter ingredients: white cake mix, strawberry gelatin, 3/4 cup milk, 3/4 cup oil, and 4 eggs.

Then, beat the mixture together for 30 seconds on low, and 2 minutes on medium. See how it gets all thick and creamy? Mmmmm....
Next, put the batter into lined cupcake cups. Today I used dinosaur cupcake cups. Very appropriate for a young woman turning 21. Or a new baby.
Next, throw 'em into the oven for about 20 minutes at 350*F. Or until they spring back when you poke them. Don't really throw them though. That would be disastrous.
Now while those baby cakes are baking, you want to prepare the strawberry cream cheese frosting. Now I didn't really follow a recipe for this, but there is one in the book.
First, throw about a cup of chopped strawberries in a bowl. Now if you are really sophisticated, you can use a potato masher to mash up the strawberries. Now I'm just a college student, so I used a tall cup. Worked just as well. Also add one brick of softened cream cheese and some powdered sugar. Oh and a little vanilla. I was supposed to put in butter, but I didn't have any. I'd already been to IGA and the Dollar General; I wasn't going again.

Then get out your electric mixer and beat away. And add lots more powdered sugar until you get the thick consistency you want. I went through more than 2 lbs. That's a lot of sugar.

In an effort to find better lighting, I took this by our back door. No such luck.

Somehow in my picture-taking frenzy I forgot to take a picture of them fresh out of the oven. Oh wells, you can't have it all.

Next, take a big spoonful of frosting and plop onto a cupcake. Smooth it around and top with sprinkles. I wanted just pink-and-white sprinkles, but you gotta take what IGA will give you.

Isn't that gorgeous? Now if I could only sell them for $3 a pop on campus like I could in NYC.

I guess I'll just have to settle on giving them away.

Now since it is Katie's birthday, I whipped up some cute almond bark words to top her cupcakes.

And for Jamie and Hayden, just a simple BABY.

Here is the official recipe for those who are interested:

Strawberry Cupcakes

1 18.25-oz package white cake mix

1 3-oz. package strawberry gelatin

1 cup finely chopped strawberries with juice

3/4 cup milk

3/4 cup vegetable oil

4 eggs

Preheat oven to 350*F. Line 24 cupcake cups with paper liners.

Place cake mix, gelatin, strawberries and juice, milk, oil, and eggs in large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer for 30 seconds on low. Scrape down sides of bowl with spatula. Blend for 2 minutes on medium.

Spoon or scoop about 1/3 cup batter into each cupcake cup.

Bake in preheated oven about 20 minutes or until cupcakes spring back when lightly pressed with your finger. Let cool. Frost with strawberry cream cheese frosting.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8-oz. package cream cheese, softened

4 tablespoons butter, softened

3 to 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup mashed fresh strawberries

Beat butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer. Add strawberries and 3 cups of powdered sugar. Add more powdered sugar to reach desired consistency. Yum!