Archive for the ‘weekend fun’ Category

Baked Alaska

When browsing through my Baking Illustrated cookbook, I found an article and recipe for Baked Alaska.  This was brand new to me, something I had never encountered.  It sounded SO different, I just had to try it.  Baked Alaska is an interesting and impressive dessert, and fun to eat – the combination of cold ice cream and warm meringue is unique and enjoyable.

According to Wikipedia:

Baked Alaska (also known as glace au four, omelette à la norvégienne, Norwegian omelette and omelette surprise) is a dessert made of ice cream placed in a pie dish lined with slices of sponge cake or Christmas Pudding and topped with meringue. The entire dessert is then placed in an extremely hot oven for just long enough to firm the meringue.The meringue is an effective insulator, and the short cooking time prevents the heat from getting through to the ice cream.

Beautiful Baked Alaska

 

Searching the web, I found several different recipes for Baked Alaska.  Some, like the one I used, involved a génoise cake, while others were simply made from a white cake mix.  Either way, the first step involves making the cake.  Regardless of the recipe you choose, you should bake the cake in a sheet pan for easier construction.  Select a large bowl to use as a mold and line it with plastic wrap.  Once the cake is cooled, cut it into long strips (1.5-2 inches wide) and use about 3/4 of the strips to line the bowl.

Cake strips lining the bowl

If you want, you can make a soaking syrup using the liquor of your choice, water, and sugar.  I used Kahlua.  Simply brush the syrup onto the cake.  Don’t forget to brush the syrup onto the cake strips that haven’t been added  yet.

Next, grab your ice cream.  You can choose any kind you like – I went with a combination of Chocolate Fudge Brownie and Cookie Dough.  Cut the carton from the ice cream and put it in a bowl.  Use a wooden spoon to break the ice cream into smaller chunks to allow it to soften evenly.  It is important to not let the ice cream melt – just soften it – otherwise the ice cream will have ice crystals in it once it refreezes.

Softening the Ice Cream

Add the ice cream to the cake (in the bowl), and smooth it evenly.  Top with the remaining cake strips and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Freeze for at least 2 hours (or up to a week!).

Finally, make a meringue – choose a recipe that isn’t too delicate.  The cookbook recommends an Italian meringue.  Once it is prepared, take the cake out of the freezer and invert it out of the bowl onto a pie plate.  Remove all plastic wrap and apply the meringue, making sure to add several peaks to the surface.

Ready to go in the oven!

Bake in a hot oven (425ºF) for 5-8 minutes, or until the meringue is golden brown.  Slice and serve immediately.  Enjoy!

Look at the layers!

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The Weekend FLEW by!

I kind of can’t believe it’s Monday again already! We had a great weekend – even though it was too short.  Jeb got good news at work on Thursday, and we planned to celebrate on Friday.  Unfortunately, I got out of work late, and we ended up grabbing a quick dinner at home and watching a movie (Harry Potter 6).  Wendy watched it with us.

 

Princess Wendy

So angelic – there’s even a little halo of light around her head!  Of course, Jeb and I both forgot that Harry Potter movies are very long, and stayed up much later than we anticipated.  Saturday morning, I was the Queen of Productivity – for about 1 hour (I made us an AWESOME breakfast!).  Then, I became sleepy and let Jeb convince me to snuggle up together while we planned the rest of our day.  Three hours later, we both had taken a power nap, and STILL hadn’t planned our day!  Whoops! (yes, I realize that a “Power Nap” by definition lasts 20 minutes or so – but I’m sticking with it!)

 

We ended up going to see Harry Potter 7, which was awesome!  We both felt like the movie left out some important details, but overall it was very well done.  We’re pretty excited to see the final movie, though I must admit that I will miss them!  This series is one of my favorites, but it’s hard to find the time to sit and watch the movies at home.  Am I alone in this?  I have such a hard time relaxing at home for long periods of time.  I always feel like I should be doing something. Maybe part of this is worry that I will become sedentary again and gain back all the weight.  We also grabbed a late dinner at the Met Burger Bar (I got the Paris Chicken burger), and headed home.  Everything seemed a bit wacky at the mall – maybe from the full moon?

 

Full Moon from the driveway

People think I’m crazy when I say this, but I firmly believe that the full moon affects people.  From years working in EMS and mental health, I barely even have to check the calendar to know that the full moon is coming.  Everyone gets a bit unsettled, and the craziest things seem to happen around the full moon.  Keep an eye on it – you’ll see the correlation!

On Sunday, Jeb and I went to the gym.  He did part of my workout with me (which was a BEAST), and then we went home to “get stuff done.”  We ran some errands and I made a yummy game-time dinner and Baked Alaska for dessert (more to come on that).  Jeb took a nap on the couch…I mean, watched the game. 🙂

All of a sudden, though, the weekend was over!  There were so many things I wanted to accomplish – especially with the holiday coming up!  Back to the grind today!

Weekend Update and Week 2 of Impact

We had a busy Halloween weekend!  We’ve been working on some remodeling of our house (after the Ice Storm of 2008 pretty much destroyed part of it), and we are FINALLY near the finish line!! 🙂  On Saturday, we did some painting and shopped for new floors.  We’re thinking of going with Laminate flooring for durability’s sake.  I think I would LOVE hardwood, but the hardwood in the rest of our house took some damage from the water, and the peace of mind knowing that it will last is very appealing right now.  As a result of all this extra work, I did not get in my workout on Saturday.  It was just as well, though, since I was still feeling pretty beat up from my other workouts last week.

 

On Sunday, we were both pretty tired.  We ran errands, did some work in the yard (raked and planted bulbs!!) and went over to my parents’ house for dinner and trick-or-treating with my niece.  This was a great option for us – for several reasons.  First, we got to walk around with Talia (the elephant!) for her first REAL Halloween (even though it’s her 2nd, I doubt she remembers much of the first one!).  Also, we avoided spending $50+ on Halloween candy, since our neighborhood is the kind that gets TONS of trick-or-treaters.  It was really nice (and conducive to my goals) to wake up on November 1st without any extra candy lying around the house.

Talia the Elephant!

Speaking of goals, Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups are NOT helping.  Seriously, these are what Reese’s will always aspire to be.  However, I WILL RESIST the dark chocolate, salty goodness for the rest of the year!  As a reward, I will buy myself a nice outfit to wear on New Year’s Eve – in what will undoubtedly be a better body sans PB cups.

Also, I’m working damn hard in the gym, and am starting to think that it would, in fact, be worth it to count calories just to get through the holidays.  Thoughts?

Workouts are going well now.  I’m getting used to the pace of the Impact workouts and have a bit more confidence when trying new exercises.  I’m stronger than I thought!  Hopefully, all this home remodeling won’t keep me from too many workouts.  I will be getting plenty of activity, so I’m trying not to stress too much – but I also want to stick with the program.  Tonight, we buy floors!

On a side note, don’t forget to vote!  It’s important!

A Nice Fall Weekend

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After a killer workout, Jeb and I walked the dogs at Dunn State Park and then went to my parents’ house to visit Talia and give her the Little Hero Bear we got her last weekend. She loved it! 

Today we’re meeting Jeb’s parents at the Acton Arboretum to walk dogs and have lunch.