An update on life

As my last post mentioned it’s been busy the last couple of months. So, in an attempt to get back into writing here’s a quick update on what I’ve been up to recently and things that have happened.

I picked up a few odd jobs over the summer, one of which included working at the聽Printers Row Lit Fest in Chicago. The upside to working something like this? I got to meet Andrew Zimmern, who I found out actually teaches a聽course at one of the local culinary schools. (amazing)

Andrew Zimmern

I took a couple of out-of-state trips to the beach. Because sometimes you just need a change of scenery, and because sometimes you can’t actually get away from work long enough to GO on a real vacation. Indiana dunes, I heart you.

image

There was the 45th Annual Gay Pride Parade, to which I was able to drag a friend out of his home at an unreasonable time on a Sunday. He didn’t really seem to mind once we started drinking with breakfast though, so I think we’re ok! I’ve only missed, maybe, two parades since my first one in 2001. I cannot express how much it means to me to go and show my support. But again, who doesn’t mind drinking with breakfast? Afterwards we did some sunset swimming in my friends pool so that didn’t hurt either.

image

Oh, and I ran a 5k, well if we’re being honest I walked most of it, but there was some serious sprinting going on that night.

image

Because yes, it was at night… and we were covered in glow in the dark powder and glow sticks by the time we walked out of that place. It was a pretty awesome time and I will have to admit that 5ks aren’t so bad.

image

I did a lot of baking, both for fun and even for a little cash. I’m聽thinking about taking a course that Michael’s provides, it’s a 4 part course and I’ve never been able to catch them at the beginning. Until now, I was in there the other day and noticed a table display with the kits and booklets. Session 1 starts in October! Maybe I’ll finally learn how to make butter cream and decorate with something other than the rose tip. 馃槈

image

I’ve spent聽loads of time in the city! My closest friend lives in the heart of things so there’s a lot of downtown wandering going on. And some amazing people watching. I hope to be spending more time there in the next coming months as I’m preparing to move, somewhere.

image

Did I mention that I was selling some cupcakes? 馃檪

image

Other than that… I’ve been working. A Lot. I picked up a second job (part-time) as a hostess near work. I’ve also decided to start working towards my SFDC Admin Certification. Still single, and dateless as ever. HA! Still writing for Secret Lives of Chicago Singles, although we’re making a move and expanding a bit. So we’re going from SLCS to The Daily Urbanista! Super excited for that to get off the ground, maybe not so much聽getting it off of the ground though. We’ve actually built quite a bit considering we were all strangers to begin with, and we have quite a few guest contributors, including one that’s writing from Europe! In addition to that I’ve also decided to put together a podcast with someone, also revolving around relationships. Hopefully that will do just as well as SLCS.

And there you have it… That’s me in a nut shell. Still waiting to see what the Fall has in stored for me.

Miss Eloisa Signature

Advertisements

A Message From My Father

A lot can happen in a few months, things have been busy but that’s been a good thing. If I keep busy then I can’t dwell on the personal things. If I can’t dwell on the personal things then I’m not sitting in a dark hole. I don’t want to sit in that hole, ever. Who does though, right?
I received a message from my Father last week, it’s been sitting there unread. I’m still angry, I’m still hurt and I still don’t really know how else to feel. I’ve been avoiding the fact that he reached out to me by burying his message. For whatever reason though, I decided to read it, finally… and then I cried. Hard. I find his words hard to believe, considering, but he felt the need to share them. And so I, in turn, felt the need to share them.
You might think that I never love you, but you were the most important person since I saw you, I wrote this several years ago
聽隆As铆 es la vida
Tres motivos la vida le dio

tres luceros Dios le present贸;
el primero corriendo lleg贸
a caminar pap谩 le ense帽贸.

El mayor hombrecito sali贸
y a papi r谩pido siempre imit贸
con su carro de Batman corri贸
y un d铆a la escuela acab贸.

La siguiente鈥 muchachita llor贸
pues papi siempre la reprendi贸.
隆Papi, papi, mami no me dej贸!
Pero un d铆a el papi s贸lo qued贸.

El tercero como siempre comi贸
la comida 茅l nunca despreci贸.
Pero ahora la escuela conoci贸
Y a su papi tambi茅n 茅l dej贸.

Tres motivos la vida le dio,
tres peque帽os que ya 茅l ense帽贸.
Cada uno a su tiempo vol贸鈥
y s贸lo con sus recuerdos qued贸鈥

The last news that I have of my father is that he remarried and now has a daughter on the way. At 31 years old, I have a baby sister. A sister who I may never know.

Miss Eloisa Signature

He’s Out There Somewhere

My dad’s birthday is coming up, Wednesday actually… and I don’t remember the last time we spoke. In fact I still don’t know where he lives, his life is all a mystery to me now. I think of him from time to time, rarely though, but still. He’s my dad, ya know?

166374_1707012605995_3240285_nI’m somewhat envious of the fact that my brothers still have some sort of relationship with him, even if they’re in the dark almost as much as I am. There’s still a chance for them to build on that. It’ll be a while until I have that opportunity, or before I even decide that I聽want that opportunity. I don’t really know how everything spiraled the way that it did, although in retrospect it’s best for everything that things ended the way that they did.

There are still many pieces to pick up and wounds to mend, but I’m getting there.

It’s hard to think that I went from being a daddy’s girl to being daddy’s black sheep.

Happy Birthday Dad.

1101789461443802301013

Foodporn: I do it right

We had another birthday come up, well it actually happened in May – I’m behind on my posts.

I stopped by the Faux-Bf’s cubicle one day and we started talking about baking. He actually asked about my cheesecake recipe, which I willingly gave him. At least I gave him the basic idea, I don’t want him to actually know because then what excuse will I have to talk to him? He joked that I should bring cheesecake in every day, homeboy doesn’t even like cheese cake but he eats it up when I bring it. Anyway, we started talking about cookies and how I really don’t know how to make them, well I know how to make them, they just don’t really come out right. I started talking about this cheat recipe that a coworker of ours gave me for Christmas. This will probably be the only kind of cookie that I’ll ever make and the great thing about it is that it’s pretty versatile.cookies, cake batter, cake mix

So here goes;
1 box of cake mix
1 stick of butter (or 1/4 cup of vegetable oil)
2 eggs (or 1 banana = same thing)

I also added mini chocolate chips, white chocolate chunks and some cocoa powder in there. I wanted to make these vegan because the girl who originally gave me the recipe said she’d never actually tied them. I always feel bad when some of the ladies can’t eat what I bring in because it has animal products, so I’m trying to make more vegan things, and as a plus I found out that most cake mixes are actually vegan/vegetarian friendly. Actually a lot of icings are also vegan/veg friendly – fun fact of the day.

I ended up making 2 boxes of cookies which came out to almost 4 dozen cookies. Pretty much enough to feed the team, IT and some of finance (and then some). They came out really good, not as ‘cake’ like as the first time I made them but maybe that has to do with the alternate ingredients. I’ll have to try again using the eggs and butter.

Sadly though, faux-boyfriend didn’t get any, although he did stop by to chat and say he’d stop by later for actual cookies.

Along with the cookies there was a birthday celebration, I’ll usually ask the birthday person if there’s anything specific they want and this time it was strawberry cheesecake. So I did what I always do the day before; hit up the grocery store and pray to the baking Gods that my oven will work.

I bought 2 pints of strawberries; 1 for a topping and 1 for the preserves. Yes, I made preserves and they were fucking amazing – considering I didn’t use a recipe. I just cut up the strawberries and put them in a pan with a 3/4 cup of sugar, a bit of water and some corn starch. (I looked this up later and learned that there’s no need for the water, but whatever, it worked.) I let the preserves cool while I made the cheesecake. Once I was ready to bake it I poured half of the batter in the pan. Spooned in some preserves and then poured in the rest of the cheesecake batter. More preserves on top and then swirly swirl with a knife.

image

 

I let that cool overnight in the fridge. Cut up the remaining pint of strawberries and packed them away. The last time I did this the topping all fell apart on the way to work so I decided to just do that part at work right before we cut it up. 聽The only problem with this is that the strawberry聽slices were a little “limp” the next day. Not a huge issue but it looked better when they were freshly sliced. I brushed on some preserves on top and added three blueberries in the center to complete the flower. Ta-da!

image

All in all it came out pretty good, but I may be a bit biased about that… all I know is everyone loved it. (Not to mention this is when faux-bf confessed his serious like of my cheesecake – despite not normally being a fan of cheesecake).

Another win, if you ask me!

1101789461443802301013

Changes, Challenges and My Ability to Not Show Stress

Well then… 聽where do I start?

I guess I’ll start with work, we recently had our reviews (*woo), and during mine I was informed that I’m being promoted. woooo right? No, at least not yet. I’m the supervisor now, and there are 6 people on my team. MY Team. WTH am I going to do with 6 people? I’ve never had a job that required so much responsibility. I’m now in charge of things that I know nothing about. I actually had to pull the previous supervisor aside and said “We are sitting down soon so that you can tell me wtf I’m supposed to be doing”. On top of that, I’m helping the account team with a new client with the hopes that I’ll be promoted again and moved over to the account team. (hopefully) OH And two days after I’m promoted I find out that one of the girls I work with (in customer service) was let go. “Hey G congrats on your promotion, here is new one pile of CS responsibilities, a pile of Acct work and now a third pile to balance the loss of an employee. Awesome.

It also hit me that the next time someone is hired (or fired for that matter) I will be the one doing it. I guess this is what it feels like to be an adult, totally freaking out on the inside. It’s kind of funny, during my review the account director and my current supervisor said that I was awesome at taking things on and working hard that they didn’t know how I got it all done and not be stressed out. Believe me, I may not show that Im stressed out but I am… I’m constantly thinking that I’ve forgotten to do something and everything is time sensitive so that doesn’t help.

But this is a good challenge, and I really have no choice but to face it head on… it’s good experience. Plus, the salary increase doesn’t hurt… although I’m no longer eligible for OT. Goodbye OT, I will miss you dearly, you saved my ass on more than one occasion. Gone are the days where I could sit at my desk and breath. Maybe it’s because this is all new, I haven’t been able to sit at my desk for more than five minutes without having someone call me asking for help. People came to me for help before but not to the extent that they have been in the last few days. It’ll take some time to adjust, for sure, but I’m slowly coming to terms with all of this.

HA what is WRONG with me!? I was just promoted to a really good position and I’m almost bummed about it. LOL Such a weirdo.

Like I said though, it’s definitely a challenge for me. I just hope I don’t fail.

1101789461443802301013

The Vegan Challenge; Cake stories

wpid-20140401_194152.jpg

Last week was kind of busy. We had a birthday party and a baby shower type thing going on and I willingly volunteered to bring cake, or something. I decided to give myself a bit of a challenge and make a vegan cake. If all went well then I’d make TWO vegan cakes, but after searching the internet for a recipe that didn’t require me to soak, puree anything (or a trip to a fancy expensive all organic grass-fed shmancy place). It took a while, but聽I found one and actually it didn’t require me to spend any money because the recipe called for things I already had. (Score!).

So here you have it, a聽vegan recipe for chocolate cake;

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour **
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
1 cup water

**It turned out that I didn’t have all-purpose flour, so I substituted Cake Flour instead. I think this may have changed things a bit聽but I won’t really know until I try to make it again with regular flower. All in all though it wasn’t half bad, the only complaint I have with this recipe is that it really only makes enough batter for one 9″ round cake pan. I had originally planned to make a two layer cake and when all was said and done it turned out to be a small cake. Because of this I thought it’d be better to just make this for home – so I whipped together some chocolate ganache and covered that baby up!

imageSince I decided to keep this one for the house I had to make another one, only this time it wouldn’t be vegan because I used up all of my cake flour. Did you know that a lot of cake mixes are vegan? Neither did I, until I did some reading. I went into the pantry and found a box of chocolate cake mix, opted to substitute the eggs with a mixture of baking powder, vinegar and water. Everything seemed to be going according to plan, until I realized聽45 minutes in that the oven had turned off and was ice-cold. (Doh!) Needless to say I didn’t take a cake to work that next morning, much to the disappointment of my coworkers. So that meant聽someone had to go out and buy store-bought cupcakes. I realize now that I really do love homemade things over store-bought.

imageWhen I got home that evening I had to do it all over again, provided the oven decided to actually work. Thankfully it did. This time I decided to just make the whole thing from scratch (I ended up picking up more cake flour). Unfortunately this one was not (at all) Vegan. I was reminded how amazing this recipe聽is and that I should use it more often.

So here you have it, the Swan’s Down 1-2-3-4 Cake;

3 cups Swans Down Cake Flour, sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

I kind of goofed on this and put the flour聽in with the eggs, prior to mixing in the eggs. The batter turned out to be a bit grainy since I mixed in the eggs at the wrong time, but from what I can聽tell it didn’t make聽that聽huge of a difference. I also omitted the Almond extract simply because I didn’t have any.

wpid-20140402_193442.jpgSince this was for a baby shower type event I decided to try to make a zebra cake (with blue batter instead of black). I don’t think I’ve ever used food coloring for a cake, so it was interesting. Unfortunately once it was cooked the blue looked more like green and the plain looked more yellow than white. Which聽makes me wonder wth people put in cake batter to make it so white. Maybe no egg yolks? Butter isn’t that bad, especially when whipped with sugar. I’ll have to look into that for future experiments.

Since I had the left over cake from the night before (which my amazing mother was able to cook while I was at work), I decided to turn that into cake balls. I’d never made those, more because I just didn’t want to and I thought it was harder than it actually is. It’s not hard, by the way, and I聽encourage people to try it. Luckily the cake I had was pretty moist so I didn’t聽have to add in a ton of icing,聽if anything I think I added about a tablespoon of icing. The other reason that I never made cake balls is because any time I’ve eaten them they’ve been entirely way too sweet. Apparently this is one of the mistakes that people make, adding too much icing. I did have to remind myself to tell people that聽the cake itself was vegan, there was a bit of cream in the ganache. No one seemed to mind that though so I guess it didn’t really matter.聽

wpid-20140402_211152.jpgI also tried to make vegan icing for the cake, I think I’ve come to terms with the fact that I can’t really make icing. And I’m OK with that… because this was a complete disaster;

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup margarine
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk

So you’re supposed to start out by creaming the margarine, that was all fine and dandy. Then I added in the sugar, margarine is pretty soft so I聽didn’t have an issue mixing in the sugar like I do with regular butter. When using regular butter I end up over working it and it looks a bit grainy, that wasn’t the case with the margarine. My problem was when I added in the coconut milk. I’m not sure if it was the particular coconut milk that I was using or just my inability to make simple things… but as I was mixing it started to get really grainy and oily. As I was waiting for the cake to bake I set this mess aside. When I came back to it later it looked absolutely awful. I gave up on that and went with some store-bought icing (again, did you know that most of these are vegan as well!?).

wpid-c360_2014-04-02-23-12-32-231.jpgA few hours later, I put this baby together! I swear I will decorate a cake with something other than the star tip, I just love the way the roses look. I clearly need some work on the whole decorating part, but I will admit that I am getting better at it.

Something more to add to the “gotta learn this shit” list.

1101789461443802301013

Door to Door Sales Woman?

image

The office had a big St. Patrick’s day pot luck, the week before one of the ladies that usually helps set these type of events came looking for me with a “delicious” recipe. I’ve built a bit of a reputation for myself in the office as being able to make really good cheesecakes, among a few other things, so she thought it’d be a good idea for me to bring something in. I was actually debating on whether or not I wanted to, but more if I would have the money and time to do it considering things aren’t all rosy on my end. She’s pretty persuasive, so I said I’d think about it.

I don’t mind baking for work, I actually like it but what I don’t like is being pressured into doing it. So Saturday afternoon I ended up at the grocery store picking up supplies for a new recipe (not the one she suggested though, because really it didn’t sound all that good to me! lol). Needless to say I didn’t end up taking any thing in on Monday morning because I had some technical difficulties. Instead, I brought it in on Wednesday, I altered the recipe a bit since St. Patrick’s day had passed. Originally it was supposed to be a green mint flavored cheesecake, I’m personally not a fan of mint flavors so I left that out. I did, however, have some Bailey’s coffee creamer left over from the Guinness cake I made earlier this month.

I’ve always gotten compliments on things that I’ve brought in and I’ve had several people suggest that I open my own business and after a few years I think I’m going to do it. There’s a lot to do still but I have always wanted to open my own business, I just thought it would be a catering business first. The BFF and I have been talking about this the last couple of days and I just need to make sure that I don’t let all of the official things hold me back. Which is very possible, lol one of my biggest fears is failure and I really am my own worst critic. I’ve mentioned that before somewhere in this blog, but hey check out the “food” category and take a look at what I’ve done before. (^_~)

My challenge right now is figuring out how to price this thing, I don’t want to under-estimate the costs but I also don’t want to ask for too much. I’m letting this be my big problem, I think if I start to think about everything else that I have to do I’ll freak myself out. We’ll see how this all turns out…

1101789461443802301013