We have this thing at work where we have lunch together every Thursday, and we order in. Every week, it's someone else's turn to pick the restaurant we order from (we're only about 7 people so you don't have to wait FOREVER for your turn to come around again). When it's someone's birthday week, the person who had their birthday last is responsible for bringing cake for the person whose birthday we're celebrating.
So on Wednesday this week, I was looking at our big 3 month calendar where I include the staff's birthdates among other things, and was discussing with Nathan (my friend we like to prank
) that he'd have to bring in something for the next birthday celebrator on Thursday May 2nd. We realized then, that we'd hired a new employee in January and hadn't asked when his birthday was! So I sent the new employee a message asking him this information. He replies: April 18th, 1966, just before Star Trek aired). Then Nathan and I thought: Darn! We missed his birthday, we'll have to bring in double the cake on May 2nd and celebrate two birthdays together. It wasn't until 10 minutes before closing time, that April 18th was the next day! AND, that the next day happened to be a Thursday! I decided right away that I would make cupcakes to bring in. And for a fellow Star Trek lover, why not take this opportunity to pay homage? (This is the guy who signed my fake going away card with a picture of Spock, and commented on my near-Vulcan logic and efficiency
for my fake going away slide show, so he totally deserved these cupcakes.)
*The colours and symbols use here are for Star Trek The Original SeriesTo pull these off, you'll need the following:
Cupcakes (any kind)
Icing (buttercream or a thick enough kind to support the weight of the fondant disk)
in: Royal Blue, "No Taste" Red, Golden Yellow and Leaf Green
A black food colouring pen (I used the AmeriColor
ones, but Wilton
has some also)
A circular cookie cutter about the same size as the top of your cupcakes
A heart shaped cookie cutter about the same size in height as the circular one
A paring knifeDIRECTIONS:
1. Once your cupcakes are cooled, top with fair amount of icing, but don't pile it too high and try to leave the surface kind of flat (it will flatten out more once you add the fondant disk).
2. Colour a small amount of fondant red, the same amount of fondant royal blue, and then a third time about the same amount a bit of golden yellow and a tad
of leaf green. Work the fondant thoroughly untl the colour is well blended for each "batch". For the green/yellow batch, keep adding tiny amount of each colour until you've reached t desired greeny yellow that was popular in the 60s (if you're too young just think back to your grandma's house OR watch an episode of the show! :))
3. Roll out each of the red, blue and green/yellow fondant pieces to about ¼ inch thick. Use the circular cookie cutter to make circles from each colour. If you're making 12 cupcakes, do 4 of each colour. Set these fondant circles aside to allow them to firm up a bit.
4. Colour a fair amount of fondant golden yellow and knead it thoroughly until he colour is well incorporated. Then roll it out to about ¼ of an inch thick. Use the heart shaped cookie cutter to cut out as many shapes as you have cupcakes. (If you're making 12 cupcakes, cut out 12 hearts.)
5. Take the first heart aside, and cover the rest with plastic wrap on your counter so that they don't firm up too much before you get the chance to carve them. With the paring knife, trim the heart to form the shape of the Starfleet insignia. (With the point of the heart facing the top, trim a little off the right side flattening out that edge a bit, then do the same on the left, but make this side slightly curvier. Then carve a curve into the bottom to resemble the pictures in this post.) Put that shape aside, and move onto the next heart, leaving the rest under the plastic wrap until you get to them. **As you complete each shape, put it back under the plastic wrap with the remaining heart shapes.
6. Once you've done all the shapes, use the black food marker to draw the symbols on them. For the green/yellow circles (Command) you will draw the star shape on the yellow piece, for the blue circles (Science and Medical), you will draw the circle crossed by an oval and for the red circles (Engineering and Security/Operations), you will draw an angular spiral.
7. Stick each yellow insignia to its corresponding coloured circle, and then gently place a circle on top of each of the iced cupcakes. Press down slightly to even them out.
This is a very hearty cabbage soup with tons of...you guessed: cabbage! It makes a LOT so make sure you take out the big pot for this one.
MAKES: about 20 cups!!
TIME: 45 - 60 minutes
1 lrg onion, chopped (approx. 2 cups)
4 stalks of celery, chopped (approx. 1 cup)
2 carrots, peeled & chopped (approx. 1 cup)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, chopped
1/2 head of green cabbage, roughly chopped (about 2lbs)
1 lrg zucchini, washed and chopped (with skin on)
1 28oz can of diced tomatoes, NOT drained
1 19oz can of white kidney beans (cannellini beans), drained and rinsed
10 cups of vegetable broth
1 tbsp Bragg's liquid aminos (or low-sodium soy sauce)
2 tsps of apple cider vinegar
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried thyme
salt & pepper to taste
Optional: 1/8 - 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper
1. In a large pot, water sauté the onions, celery and carrots for a couple of minutes until they start to turn clear (add about 1/4 cup of water - instead of oil - in with the onions over medium heat).
2. Add in the garlic and ginger, stir and cook for a few minutes more (add a bit more water if needed) until the onions are clear, the carrots and celery are fork tender and the aromas of the garlic and ginger are filling you kitchen.
3. Add all remaining ingredients, stir and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
NOTE: I added 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper and it gave it quite the kick, so if you're not used to heat, I would suggest 1/8 of a tsp if you do choose to use it!
per 2 cup serving
Calories 131, Total Fat 0.2g, Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 811mg, Total Carbs 27.4g, Fiber 9.5g, Sugars 10.5g, Protein 6g, Vit A 68%, Vit C 66%, Calcium 14%, Iron 10%
Guess what? Winter is NOT over :( So how about another soup? As a leftover, this soup thickens quite a bit because of the rice. So if you REALLY don't like thick soups (which I love!) then put in a little less rice.
Winter is kind of, finally, sort of, winding down over here...maybe. We always seem to get a final attack from mother nature near the end of March...and sometimes in April. So how about one more soup to go with it?
In May of 2012 there was a huge batch of layoffs at my workplace. We have a union and a bumping system in place that allows for people with more seniority who are getting laid off, to bump into the position of a person with less seniority; making the person with less seniority the one who has to go. It's fair enough, I guess, but in May of 2012, I had only been working there for a year and a half so it wasn't very likely that i'd be keeping my job. I found out on June 12th last summer that my last day of work would be August 17th, 2012.
I got a call about a week before my layoff date to tell me that the person who was bumping me, had accepted a 6 month contract in another area of the company. This meant that my layoff date was extended to February 15th, 2013.
Then, on December 19th, 2012, the day before I left for a 2 week holiday, I got a call from Human Resources to tell me that the person who was bumping me, took another full-time contract within the company. This meant that my job was safe!! (For now, Ha!)
Being so close to x-mas, a lot of people were out of the office (the department I work in is quite small and isolated from the rest of the company, we're about ten people in all) so there were only 3 of us, including myself, at work that day. The other two working were my manager and Brandon, a friend of mine (the guy who got married in this post
Now, another one of our co-workers, Nathan, is a close friend of ours. We all have a tendency to poke fun at each other throughout the day. With this new knowledge of my not being laid-off, we decided it could be fun to keep it quiet and play a little prank on Nathan. Because we have another co-worker who just can't keep a secret, we decided it was best to not tell anyone
that my job was safe. So up until last Wednesday, ALL of my other co-workers thought I was leaving! (hehehe)
To pull off the prank, last Monday, Brandon broke the news to the staff that I would indeed be leaving via email, asking them to all send him a little blurb saying what they will miss most about me. He took all of the things that people sent him and made a Top Ten power point presentation that he would "surprise" me with at lunch on the Wednesday of that week. He also passed around a "going away" card that he printed off to have everyone sign (Nathan was actually pissed at Brandon at this point because he thought the card was too cheap!) My manager well, she just had to play along, and me? I acted pissed off (which isn't that hard when you work a desk job!).
By Wednesday, Nathan (and everybody else) was well aware that I was leaving and Nathan especially was really pissed off about it! That day, I took my time getting my stuff together before lunch and slowly headed over to the boardroom, where we have our weekly lunches. As I walked in, I saw this Top Ten presentation ready on the smartboard. As I passed it, I put a confused expression on my face and asked "what's that?" Brandon said "you'll see!", as everyone either made a little smirk or looked at my sympathetically.
As we were all finishing our lunches Brandon passed me the card he'd made and said that they had prepared something special for my departure. I played along and read what everyone wrote (it was actually quite touching). Here is my favourite message:
Then, Brandon went over to the smart board and began the power point presentation. The things people would miss about me included: "her unique sense of humour", "how she picks on Nathan", "how she buys too many bananas so she makes cupcakes out of them that her coworkers have to eat", "her Honey Boo Boo impressions", "her near-Vulcan logic and efficiency" and " her incessant need to compare her coworkers to different band members". (I have a co-worker who VERY closely resembles Liam from One Direction.)
Finally, as the last slide, with one click, the line: What is Krystel going to miss about us? With a second click came this picture of me pointing and laughing and the caption: Pranking Nathan!!!! (and as a result, everyone else!!!!!)
Faces = priceless. I wish I had it on camera, I really do. The whole thing just played out beautifully! So to make the "prankees" feel a little better about being duped, I brought, of course, cupcakes!!
To make these black forest cake inspired cupcakes, start off with a batch of chocolate cupcakes. Then carve a hole into the top-centre. I used one of those grapefruit spoons for this part and it worked wonderfully.
Fill each cupcake with some cherry pie filling, then pipe (or scoop) a good amount of coconut whipped cream
onto each one.
Top with sprinkles and serve to "prankees".
Nothing like adding a little humour to the workplace...and topping it with sprinkles. Oh and my fabulous "going away" card? It's hanging over my desk :)
The first time I tasted a leek, I was working at a produce market in high school. Between the bakery and deli, there was a table with two huge cauldrons on it. Every day there was hot soup and that is what I normally bought for my lunch break. My absolute favourite was the potato leek soup. I would often buy extra so that I could take some home. Here is my take on it:
MAKES: approx. 11 cups
TIME: 45 minutes
It's cold. It's cold outside, and it's cold in my office. What better way to warm up than with a warm bowl of delicious, spicy soup?
MAKES: 6 servings of just over 2 cups each (approx 13 cups)
TIME: 45 minutes
Okay, three cakes in a row!? You betcha! Last one, I swear! (for now) A friend of mine had a themed birthday party this past Friday to celebrate her "Great 28!" The theme was 90s. At first I was a little dumbfounded. Nothing in the 90s really stood out, did it? I think that was just my mommy brain being completely ridiculous. In the 90s I went from being 5yrs old to 15yrs old. Clearly, a million fads and styles came and went during that time. It just took a little Googling for me to remember what they were. Let me tell you, when I started realizing what they were, all the memories came flooding back.
A few weeks ago, we had a big meeting at work at which our department Director would be in attendance. Since she is retiring at the end of December, my manager asked me to bake a cake as a farewell to her. It was a cute little (maybe not so little!) cake that everyone just loved. Some of the people that were responsible for organizing the formal retirement party for our Director were also at that meeting, and approached me about making the cake for that day as well. Of course I agreed.
I had every intention of making a simple chocolate cake to feed anywhere from 40 - 80 people (since we had no idea how many people were to show up!), but then the wheels started turning and when I found out she was passionate about fishing and planned to spend a good amount of her retirement out on her dock, I just couldn't help myself...
Making your own hummus is really quite easy. All you need are the right ingredients and a food processor (or blender). Plus, when you make your own, you get to decide how thick or thin you want it. I like it thicker for dipping, but thinner for wraps. You can also add your own unique touch to it like I did here with the chipotle, which adds a nice spicy and smoky flavour.
MAKES: approx. 2 cups
TIMES: 15-20 minutes