Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dulce de Leche is Spanish for Amazing

Dulce de leche is the Spanish phrase for AMAZING!

Ok, so not really, but it should be.

Today I made the most perfect chocolate cupcakes, filled them with dulce de leche caramel and topped them with chocolate fudge and sea salt.

The cupcakes were made using coffee instead of water, so they have a little caffeine kick to them. The dulce de leche caramel is sweetened milk that was slowly cooked down to a thick creamy caramel. Once the deliciously caffeinated  cupcakes were cooled I pumped them full of creamy caramel goodness. Last but not least I made a chocolate fudge to top them off and sprinkled just a pinch of sea salt on top.

Now, please excuse me while I slip into my sugar coma...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Our Journey of Love

Life is a journey.

No matter your age, or place in life there is always a journey.

Love is a journey. The journey doesn't just end when you fall in love. The journey continues everyday.

When I was 17 I started dating my best friend. We had been friends for years, but he finally got up the guts to ask me out. That was 7 years ago today.

At 17, I may have seemed like a confident, smart ass teenager on the inside, but really I was an insecure girl just trying to find her way. After dating for less than 6 months I knew that I was in love, but I was afraid to let myself be vulnerable. After all, he was leaving for Marine Corps boot camp. The night before he left (July 19) he professed his love to me. When he said those the little words, I actually just said "Thank You."

I was over the moon happy (and head of heels in love), but I was scared. What if I wasn't enough. What if when he came back, he would realize that there were so many girls out there who were skinnier than me, prettier than me and smarter than me. What if he realized he could do better?

That is one of the greatest lessons that love has taught me, that I am good enough. He loves me for all of things that make me the person I am. You have to love yourself before you can fully let someone in. I am who I am and I own it. If you change who you are for someone then they don't really love you, do they? That's why our love is great. He loves me for exactly who I am.

After boot camp my love went to training in Florida, then Fresno, CA and then finally he was stationed in San Diego, CA. We flew to see each other as often as possible during all of his training. We grew more and more in love every day, even though we didn't get to see each other all the time.

After many months of a long distance relationship I made a huge decision. I decided to pack my bags (3 to be exact) and hop on a plane and Move to San Diego, CA where the love of my life was stationed. So, 6 days after my high school graduation I did just that, and it was the best move I have ever made!

My journey to find love had taken me 2500 miles from home and it was the best thing I could have ever done!

A year after I moved to San Diego, I married the love of my life. Our life hasn't been a cake walk since then. We will have been married 5 years this June and of those 5 years we have only lived together for 3 of them. We have been through 3 deployments plus 6 different TDY (temporary duty) assignments.

Being apart hasn't always been easy, but I truly believe that we grew closer while we were geographically miles apart. There have been tears and heartache, lonely nights, empty days, yelling and making up. There have been days when I wasn't sure how much more time apart I could take, days where I was so angry with the Marine Corps for taking him away, days where I took that anger out on him. There have been missed holidays, birthdays, funerals graduations and anniversaries.

I have never been good at communicating, especially when it comes to feelings. In fact, I wasn't even sure what feelings were (kidding...kind of) until I fell in love with my husband. Since were apart so often communicating became very important and I had to learn to talk about my feelings. Being apart forces you to communicate in ways you may not be used to, but you have to communicate. Being able to talk to him doesn't replace his physical presence, but it helps and makes it easier for both of us to get through the bad (and the good) together.

Today, the Marine Corps has dropped us in a new city, with new people. My amazing friends are thousands of miles away, I can't find a decent job, and my husband works 13 hours a day, but he is home and we are together so I know that everything is going to be ok. This is just the current stop on our journey of life and love.

I am so glad that 7 years ago the amazing man I call my husband got up the courage to ask me to be his girlfriend in the basement of my parents house in the middle of the night. I love him with all my heart and I can't wait to spend another 7 (and many more) years with him and see where our journey takes us.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sugary Fun

About a year ago my mother-in-law sent me the book Confections of a Closet Master Baker by Gesine Bullock Prado. I read the book in one sitting and I fell in love! At the end of each chapter she included a recipe. I have always loved baking, but this book inspired me. I have baked everything in this book! This week she released her newest book, Sugarbaby.

Sugarbaby is all about working with sugar. There is a recipe for cotton candy, rocky candy, caramel, ect. I am so excited to have a purpose for being in the kitchen again! I haven't done a lot of sugar work, but I am so excited to start working my way through this book. I have a lot of free time on my hands these days, so I will be sure to share the outcome of the sweet treats that I create!!

Monday, March 7, 2011

What is a Casimir Pulaski?

When I set out to make paczkis this morning the plan was to have them for tomorrow, which is Fat Tuesday. Little did I know, today is Casimir Pulaski Day. My 9 year old cousin schooled me on this this morning is her "I'm smarter than you" sort of way. Our conversation went like this:

Me: I'm making Paczki for Fat Tuesday tomorrow.

9 year old: Today is Casimir Pulaski Day and you are supposed to eat those today!

Me: What is Casimir Pulaski Day, is that some kind of Polish sweater??

9 year old: No, stupid! Casimir Pulaski Day is a day to celebrate Casimir Pulaski because he was kind of a big deal in the Revolutionary War! Duh!

Me: Oh, that's cool I guess, I didn't know that was today.

9 year old: Don't you know anything? We even get the off from school! We had a party last night too!

We chatted briefly after that, but I honestly had no clue that Casimir Pulaski Day was today. Am I the only person who didn't know that? Where I grew up there was always a big celebration on October called Pulaksi Days, but I always thought it was just a Polish party. I feel really dumb now! 

Anyway...on to my Paczki, which are for Fat Tuesday!

For those who don't know what a paczki (pronounced punch-key) is...they are basically the Polish version of a jelly doughnut. I have a new found love for making yeast dough. I made 40 Paczki today and I filled them with Strawberry jam, lemon curd and custard, not all in one of course.  

 Yeast Dough

 Before they were fried

Frying the dough

 Finished Paczki 

I may not have know it was  Casimir Pulaski Day, but I DO know that tomorrow is Fat Tuesday and I am going to enjoy some fried deliciousness, also known as a Paczki.

Happy Casimir Pulaski Day and enjoy you Fat Tuesday/ Mardi Gras celebrations! :)