Well, lo and behold, I was “blessed” with another snow day yesterday when the county miraculously decided to close schools yesterday, as my friend put it, “before 4:30 AM!”  :)  I tried not to push myself too hard.  After all, if I have to make up President’s Day (boooo), I might as well enjoy my time now, y’know?  Thank you all for your kind words and advice.  I’m still an inexperienced young’un, after all.  To give you some perspective, let’s just say that I can’t even drive yet (legally) in the U.S. of A, and that I get up at 5 AM each morning to ride a big yellow school bus for almost two hours to my school.  Oh, the joy of magnet schools.  It’s so much easier to sleep on a bus though, y’know?  Plus, everyone’s exhausted, so the entire bus is pretty much silent at least half of the ride.  I cuddle up by the window with my fluffy hood on, plugged into my iPod, wrapped in a fuzzy scarf, heater on full blast… you get the idea.  :]   

I haven’t been talking much about f-o-o-d lately.  I miss food.  It was my sister’s eighth birthday today (time flies!), and as homemade gifts, especially if they’re edible, are the sweetest, I baked up a batch of muffins for her.  :)  If Mother won’t let me see a movie with my friends (“Dear John,” though I heard it wasn’t that great anyway), then I’ll seize the day by baking!  Yes!  Snowy days = baking anyway, right?  ;) 

I was actually planning on making some tropical fudge things at first.  These babies were going to be a tropical explosion with pineapple, guava, dates, and the last of my butter-toffee almonds.  Whipping out the ingredients and my just-received blender…’

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Mmmm.  However, disaster struck as soon as the ingredients hit the blender.

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My blender started to burn hotter than the Caribbean sun.  It began exuding that awful burning plastic-stench and, sadly, I knew I had to turn it off.  Since dried pineapple made up the majority of the fruit, the mixture lacked the moisture needed to… well, not kill my blender.  But I knew I couldn’t stop there.  I knew I couldn’t waste the pictures I took of the ingredients together.  And plus, I didn’t have anything else to give to my sister.  So the adventure continued…

I gave my sis a choice between a cake or muffins, and she chose muffins.  Muffins it was.  Remembering my first cake, I decided to soak the remaining tropical-fail mixture in hot water to soften up for incorporation into muffin batter.  And as the fruit softened up, it came to me.

candice’s stream of consciousness:
softened fruit –> moisture –> blender won’t die –> let’s blend into mush! –> muffin surprise filling!

I didn’t take any pictures of the mushy tropical mixture, as it pretty much looked like barf, but that’s beside the point.  I’ll shut up and let the pictures do the talking.

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Put it in the oven…

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et voila!  Warm, toasty, the teensiest bit of “healthy”-tasting muffins with a top secret, sweet-sour filling.  ;)

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Because it is every eight-year-old’s dream to frost their own cupcakes, I figured that muffins were close enough to cupcakes, and that marshmallow creme was close enough to frosting.  I let my sister decorate her muffins with an eclectic mix of random foods that I use in yogurt or cereal, like pumpkin spice granola, grain-sweetened chocolate chips, and star anise wafers.

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Oh, and holiday sprinkles.

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So random, but so good!

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She loved ‘em.  :)

The recipe for these tropical cardamom muffins is here, if you’re interested.  I’ll probably do even MORE baking tomorrow for my friend’s birthday on the 9th.  And then more for my other friend’s birthday on the 16th.  And then more for mine not long after that… wow.  Hopefully, I’ll be lucky enough not to start with a failure next time.  I plan on baking cookies sometime, Sarah.  :D

After dinner in the dark (my sister’s idea… who knows what she’s thinking), there was german chocolate birthday cake.  My sister was originally supposed to have a party today, but it had to be postponed until next week since we were smacked down with a blizzard.  Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend next week, as on (most of) Friday and Saturday I’ll be in…

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK!

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:D 

Q1: Any culinary trash –> worthy of critics’ cash stories out there?  Yes, I made it rhyme on purpose.  ;)

Have a great evening, loves! 

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A desultory post awaits… sorry for the sporadic-ness :(

After all the wonderful things that happened over the winter holiday, I fell into an inevitable pothole. Figuratively, I mean!  You know how I was going ga-ga over my new blender in this post?  Well, it turns out that my blender broke. After one use, yes, the motor is broken. And the worst part?  I can’t exchange it! It was bought in Canada, and none of the stores in my area carry the model—only downgraded ones.  -_-  I’m going to shoot customer service an email today demanding they send me a new blender inquiring about whether I can mail it back and get another one or something.  >:(  It was eighty [Canadian] dollars!!!  I get warranty for that, right?!  Oh, I wanted to make so many things… like more nut butters and puffin pie crusts and babies…

Mehhh.

I didn’t even get to finish making my pumpkin seed butter.  :(  So now all I have left is a bunch of pumpkin seed dust chunks.

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… Hurray.

Oh, but I can’t forget about the wonderful jar of roasted pecan butter… great for dipping dried calimyrna figs in.  I snapped a pic this time :]  I also gave it its own recipe page here.

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100% heaven.  Happy tastebuds = happy girl.  Works the other way around too.  ;)

Alright, I know it’s pretty ridiculous to get worked up about a blender, and I admit that I’m exaggerating the severity of this for humor’s sake.  I was blessed far beyond my expectations over the holidays, with great company, food, gifts, and no stress, so I’m really not that upset about this.  But alas, being the cheapo and human being that I am, I want my aunt’s money’s worth in the form of a new blender.

Oh, and here’s another reason: I like food and eating and photographing and writing about it. Me want new kitchen appliance.  Now.

Amanda of seek generously awarded me again, this time with an only-for-the-blogger award.  ;)  I love these types of memes—they’re a counter to my intrinsically pessimistic outlook.  Even though my pessimism isn’t really the super “negative” kind, doing things like this is just happy food for the soul :)

happyaward

1.  Friends. On the weekdays, they’re basically the only people I talk to (besides teachers, which is unavoidable, haha).  I’m so exhausted when I come home from school that I just don’t have the energy to talk.  If I didn’t have friends, I would probably be as good as mute.  And I would probably collapse from the stress that gets let out when we complain together. :)

2.  Photography. Especially now that I have a cool camera, I’ve been taking photos like mad, of everything: nature, landscapes, people, food—if there were pretty architecture where I lived, I’d take photos of that, too.  ;)

3.  Music. A universal language.  There are few things more pleasurable than curling up under the covers with Bose headphones and an iPod, completely immersed in a different world.

4.  Blogging. Even though I’ve only been blogging for about two months, but it’s been making me happy so far!  Venting leaves a more relaxed –> happier individual.  :)

5.  Restaurants. Going out to eat used to make me a nervous wreck.  How many calories are in that?  Which one has the lowest amount of calories?  What if the website lied?  What if the chef added extra oil?! etc. etc.  Now, though, I’m able to appreciate restaurant food as a) tasty, b) an opportunity to try new foods, and c) a “challenge” in some ways.  ;)

6.  Homemade baked goods. If someone bakes me cookies on my birthday, I’m basically ecstatic.  Someone likes me enough to remember my birthday and takes the effort to bake something for me?  From scratch? *_*

7.  Grocery shopping. I also like accessory shopping, but definitely not as much as grocery shopping.  It used to be the other way around—I used to go to a Korean grocery store just for the little accessory shop inside!  Well.  This is a product of DE and reading food blogs, I guess?

8.  Nut butter. Maybe the only food that I super duper loved as a young kid, and still love now.  Mmmm… rich, creamy, nutty goodness, and so many different kinds, too!

9.  Dawn. I love the color of the sky at dawn.  It’s such a deep, beautiful blue color, almost like a darkened azure.  Streetlights are still on at dawn, but they take on a mystical glow.  In short, gorgeous.  :)

10.  Working efficiently. Hahaha, I had to put this!  :P  Working efficiently and being productive definitely makes me feel good.  Makes me feel… errr, not lazy and not useless.  Plus, the faster I get work done, the faster I can do what I want.

And ten bloggers that make me happy (in no particular order):
Amanda (seek)
Stef (More to Life than Lettuce)
Tatianna (Tatianna Lives)
Coco (Balance, Joy and Delicias!)
Allie (Live Laugh Eat)
Sophia (Burp and Slurp~)
Natalie (Counting Down to Life After ED!)
Shelley (Finding Happiness and Health)
Mitri (All in the Oats)
Eliza (nourishing mornings)

I tag thou, if thou hath not been tagged already.  Actually, this is just a general list, haha (sinced I tagged my tagger).  ;)

Ah… but that’s not all!  I have to make up for five days of missed posts, after all.  ;)  The real reason this post is titled “happy food for the soul” is…

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Pecan-date cake with cranberry goat cheese cream, the latter of which became practically invisible after its stint in the oven, but you can still taste it!  ;)  This was the first cake that I have ever baked from scratch!  Sure, I’ve made cupcakes from cake mix and (tough) muffins before, but this is the first time that it was 100% me.  Not saying that it was my recipe, of course—I’m not that good!  I adapted this recipe and threw in the cranberry goat cheese cream as a last minute, personal twist.  I had seen it used as filling in these muffins, so I thought, “I have a log of cheese just waiting to be used.  OH!  I KNOW!”  That’s how all great ideas are born, right?  :P  I actually refused to tell my family members the “secret filling” until after they ate it because I was afraid they would gag if they knew what it was.  Yeah, not a very open-minded foodie family I have.  My sister wouldn’t even eat it because she saw me blending the goat cheese… –_-

Oh, and for the flour, guess what I used?…

… If you guessed the pumpkin seed dust from my failed pumpkin seed butter experiment, WHOO HOO for you!  You are awarded a slice of cybercake.  ;)

I’ve put the full adapted recipe on this page if you’re interested.  :)

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Yum!  Err, we actually didn’t have any baking powder, so I left that out completely.  o_o  I think it might have been a little less fluffy due to that, but it was still pretty delicious!  Purrrfect with a dollop of whipped cream.  ;)

Okay, I’m off for now.  No restaurant tonight, surprisingly.  I guess it’s time to be productive and happy, so I should start working efficiently now… ;)  Have a wonderful evening, loves!

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