Get it poppin’

ColorTouch-1358777042665My daughter’s baptism was this weekend and I wanted to make some kind of dessert, but I didn’t feel like making a big ol’ cake or truthfully, having the temptation of leftovers of a big ol’ cake. 

I wanted something to give to my nieces and nephew, something fun for children. Enter cake pops!

I had made cake balls (essentially the same way) two or three years ago at Christmas time, but I hadn’t made them since and I have always wanted to try decorating them beyond the standard chocolate coating.

I purchased the sticks and chocolate wafers at a bulk food store. I already had a variety of sprinkles on hand. I went with a French Vanilla cake mix. If I could do it over, I would make sure the cake was cooked through properly (whoops) and I wouldn’t have chosen a whipped variety of frosting. I did manage to scoop away the uncooked centre of the cake (hangs head in shame) before crumbling the cooled cake and combining it with a third of a container of prepared frosting. I thought I was being modest by starting with a third of a container of frosting, but it still may have been too much. The mix felt like it had too much moisture. Hey, I won’t go as far as saying soggy balls (because it makes me uncomfortable), but even after freezing them for a couple of hours, they were still very pliable. More than I wanted.

I still consider it a victory though because the cake pops 1) stayed on the stick 2) the balls withstood the chocolate coating process and 3) they were delicious.

In the end, I wished I had thought of picking up some food colouring, like black, for painting on finer features such as pupils, eyebrows, whiskers, etc. or at minimum, some black sprinkles, but other than that, I was pleased with my first go at it.  

Cake pop – a kitty cat !

I made three cats for the girls and a horse for my nephew. Actually, I made four cats, but the first cake pop I decorated clearly looked like a cat, but a cat you’d walk away from if it crossed your path. It looked off, so I made it disappear. And in case it’s not clear, I have not included a picture of the bad kitty, so if you’re unimpressed by any of the cake pops I have pictured, you can imagine the gravity of cake pop no. 1.

The not-as-scary kitty cat and horse cake pop.

Korea-Canada Blog

 The twinkle lights around Ottawa are still emanating a soft glow even though most of us have started to hunker down for the harsher winter months that lie ahead.

In between Christmas and New Years, I started sketching out a list in my head of resolutions for 2013. I have always considered the beginning of a calendar year as a clean slate — it’s bright, it’s shiny, it’s dazzling. My resolution year-after-year focuses on living and leading my life by example. Be the light, see the light. And in my adulthood, I’ve seen the light, so to speak. 

To explain myself, in recent years, I’ve come to recognize the value of having Korean role models.   

There’s something quite special about being able to identify with your role model through, among other things, a shared ethnicity. As a Korean adoptee, it’s a concept that didn’t resonate with me until later in life when I had my own daughter.

So, who is my Korean role model? Most certainly, Senator Yonah Martin.

View original post 1,890 more words

Bag your own – bag not included

Over the course of my lunch hour today, I drove over to one of those “bag your own groceries” stores where their prices are generally lower as a result. In general, it’s not my preferred grocery store, but I’m realizing that they do sell a lot of the same things pantry items that I usually purchase at Loblaws or Metro and at a lower price. Can’t beat that, right? But I’m definitely not a fan of bag your own stores when purchasing more groceries that will fit in one bag. Beyond that and unloading the cart, bagging the groceries and paying by debit becomes an Olympic sport.

My strategy over lunch was to quickly grab the few vegetables I needed to complete the soup I had planned for dinner. But my trip ended on a sour note. I had a bit of an “issue” when I was checking out of the 1-8 express line. I try to be respectful to all folks working in customer service because I know it can be a thankless job, but I don’t take too well to being treated poorly. After I had paid, I asked the cashier for the grocery bag. I was told that I didn’t answer her when she asked me if I wanted a bag and in fact, all I said was “Uhhhhhhh” (imagine a patronizing cavewoman voice).

Whatever happened to, I apologize for the confusion, would you like to purchase a bag? I think the man in line behind me felt badly because he piped up, in a matter of fact kind of tone, that while I had said “Uhhhhh” I finished it with, “yes please” — makes me laugh (now). Customer mediation, not a laughing matter.  

Customer service

My experience wasn’t the worst, but it wasn’t the best either!

 

Edited to add:  Don’t you agree that cashiers should inform you of the total of your purchase before you start throwing down some bills. A wide-eyed look isn’t enough for me, you know, the look that says it all:  one, I’m not telling you how much you owe (look at the screen yourself, lazy bones); and two, please don’t expect me to ask your method of payment, I’m going to wait for you to tell me if it’s cash, debit or credit.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

whoopie

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

I made these whoopie pies for the first time about 1.5 years ago. It was my first time  making whoopie pies and I was so pleased with the results that I have to share.

I used the Brown Eyed Baker’s recipe for the actual cake, which is absolutely delicious, and for the filling, I chose to go with a vanilla bean buttercream frosting. I admit that the pies perhaps didn’t look as pretty as a more traditional creme filling, but I couldn’t help myself — I just love a buttery frosting that I can sink my teeth into.

They were everything I feel a whoopie pie should be — moist and perfectly spiced.  And with a bit of experimenting, I found that piping the cake batter resulted in a smoother pie and they were more uniform in size.

I really need to try a Christmas themed whoopie pie this year. I know that chocolate and mint is a popular combination during the holidays and definitely a favourite of mine, although I do love me some sugar cookie. Speaking of sugar cookies, I just thought of those big soft cakey sugar cookies that come in the plastic throw away container, all neatly lined up in two rows. The cookies are unusually large, come frosted and decorated with colourful sprinkles. I would imagine these are comparable nutrition-wise to Little Debbie snack cakes, so not for the health-conscious or at least not on the regular.

I bought a box once (as most of these types of stories so innocently begin) and since that time, I’ve repeatedly told myself that I cannot be trusted to be alone with them and to never make eye contact. So, I admire from a distance…I nod politely in its general direction and move on.

Going back to the whoopie pies, it’s a full on love affair. I’d tuck one in each pocket if that was possible or practical. Please make these now and you might be asking yourself, But isn’t pumpkin so last fall? I’ll answer that for you — it’s good any time of year. Trust me.

Year of Korea in Canada

Alex's camera 119

I recently took this photo at the official launch of the Year of Korea, a year-long celebration to mark 50 years of diplomatic relations between Canada and Korea. I really wish the quality was better, although I’m happy to share the photo just the same.

I’m going to be writing a post at www.korcan50years.com about Yonah Martin. I’m so excited and pleased to have the opportunity to interview such an accomplished Korean Canadian woman.

Do you have role models who share the same ethnic background as you? If not, would you like to or does that matter to you?

Holiday Shopping – Tips

Have you finished your holiday shopping yet ?

shopping

Not me. I purchased some stocking stuffers a few weeks ago in November and it gave me such a sense of accomplishment. I can do this, I told myself. A cinch. 

I worry though — a couple of years ago when I went shopping, I really fell into the spirit of giving. You know, the one for her, one for me, one for him, one for me principle.

I could go out on a limb and blame the fact that I’m the primary shopper of my family. I take care of the grocery shopping, the clothes shopping, I do the majority of the Christmas shopping and birthday shopping. Makes me wonder — it’s not me, my family is enabling me (?) Continue reading

Inspiration

My child

My child

Who inspires you to make the world a better place?

My child serves as a great inspiration in my life. She makes me want to live a better life and give her a better world in which to grow. I often ask myself, what will the world be like when she’s grown and I’m gone. And then I become teary eyed. I know children grow up to become responsible adults who are more than capable of caring for themselves, but at this age, it’s difficult to picture it. I mean, the same child who I’ll catch doing Gangnam wrists to no music or who takes steps like a winged fairy like it was second nature.

The rolls rice of wraps

It's fresh, it's delicious, it's good for you.

Fresh and delicious 

No matter which way you look at it, these things are delicious and surprisingly easy to throw together.  When my friend introduced me to the rice wrappers some 10 years ago, the process of putting these together proved to be a little more complicated than we expected. We began by immersing the dried rice paper in a shallow dish of water and the results were less than pleasing. The papers became impossible to work with, too saturated with water, tore easily, stuck to itself, etc. I have since learned the trick is to dab the dry paper with a cloth dampened with water, which I thought would not be enough water, but the once hard paper became malleable and was a breeze to work with after a few practice runs. Once I had the technique down, I told myself there was no stopping myself, I had the world at the finger tips and I was on a roll. I did stop though, eventually, because I had to eat them. By the end, like I often do, I had dipped one too many rice rolls in peanut sauce and I had reached my limit. Fortunately for me, my limit is quite high (and fortunately for me, pants are commonly made with spandex).

It’s baaa-ck

316713_10150357264646002_587671001_10194419_2935817_n

Raise your pole if you’re as happy as us that ski season is back !

I admit this photo was taken two summers ago when we first bought this polka dot ski set. Winter was but a distant thought. Missy will be starting her sixth ski season this month and as a 7 year-old, that’s no small feat. I secretly hope she goes pro one day, Olympics, that kind of thing. I won’t put pressure on her though because that’d be wrong – she should pursue her own dreams. Speaking of dreams, when we watched the Olympic sports coverage of the games in England last summer, we each declared our Olympic sport. Missy proudly declared her Olympic sport would be gymnastics and considering she hasn’t taken gymnastics in three years, this kid has a lot of catching up to do. I won’t underestimate her determination though because she’s bursting with the stuff.

Going back to out of season sports equipment, I was reminded of the husband’s purchase last winter. Continue reading

Happiness derived from baking

I love baked goods.  A baked good never hurt anyone, if anything, baked goods have brought families closer together, they’ve bonded co-workers in the office kitchen, assisted in fundraising, adorned the tables of countless special occasions.  Damnit, if they were so bad, they wouldn’t be called good.

Doughnut with sprinkles

Homemade pumpkin spice baked doughnut with vanilla icing and sprinkles