Other social media sucked me in!!

Um…Hi.  Yah…its been while.  In a nutshell I dried up.  Like a raisin.  But now, I’m like a grape.  I’ve plumped up a bit with more creative juice and I’m ready to blog again.  Isn’t it funny how time goes by?  I mean I totally didn’t think it would be over a year!  I experimented a bit with other social media during  that time…Youtube and Instagram…and it is exhausting! How do people keep up? How do they keep each media outlet fresh?  Questions, questions…while I try to figure out the answer please join me on my new blog: Cake, Carrots and Curls.   This blog space will showcase my love of baking and healthy living.  Yeah, this time around I’m keeping it a little more focused…a little less all over the place.  Will you join me?

And one more thing…thank you…just thank you.

XOXO,

Brandy

OH! And another one more thing, I’m keeping this blog…I’m not done with it.  It still has some growing to do…but in the meantime you know where to find me.

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Red Eye: Hot Cocoa Style

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Swiss Miss and Nestlé instant cocoa…be gone!! This here is a fast and simple homemade hot cocoa recipe (straight from the back of Hershey’s cocoa powder) with a few twist.  You’ve heard of a red eye?  It is a coffee drink with a shot of espresso.  Well this here is a red eye hot cocoa style (aka a mocha latte)! Oh yeah!  Let’s begin.

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Combine a heaping 1/4 cup of cocoa with slightly more than a 1/2 cup of sugar.

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Add some hot water enough to make it saucy…I don’t measure.

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Whisk over med heat and let boil for a few minutes. Do not stop whisking. Chocolate burns very easily.

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Whisk in 4 cups of milk (whole, skim..your choice) or half and half if you want a rich cocoa and heat until HOT…not boiling though.

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I like foam…it adds a creaminess as you sip your drink. I am using my AeroLatte (a christmas gift that I got a few years ago…it still works like a dream).

Ok. At this point brew yourself some espresso.  My absolute favorite brand is Illy, however, Café Bustelo is cheaper and not so bad (this was the brand that I used).

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Pour yourself some Hot Cocoa into your cup of choice.

Pour yourself some Hot Cocoa into your cup of choice.

Add your shot of espresso and make this baby a red eye!

Add your shot of espresso and make this baby a red eye!

Marshmellow it up, add whipped cream or drink it as is!

Marshmallow it up, add whipped cream or drink it as is!

See? Quick and easy!

To glaze or not to glaze?

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That is the question regarding fruit tarts. I, personally, do not like to glaze my fruit tarts. I prefer the natural sheen and juiciness of the fruit. I think the glaze make them look..I don’t know…slimy?   The tart on the right is without glaze and the one on the left has an apricot glaze.

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If you like fruit tarts, which would you prefer?

Tea Part Two

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I am the girl who went from drinking zero coffee beverages to drinking about 3-4 lattes a week (iced or hot, preferably caramel, with whip cream)!   My  problem is that this “habit ” has become expensive averaging around  $20 a week!  Add that to the fact that I am consuming excess sugar which is just  loving my waist line.  In an attempt to cut back on sugar (which at the moment is quite difficult considering that I make a living doing pastry) I have decided to go back to my first real love, again.  Tea. I am going to save money and calories.  I can do this!!

Adagio Teas

My brother put me on to the Adagio Teas website.  Within 20 minutes I placed an order  and  two days later I was sipping my tea. Two days!! Love. It.  The tea arrived in handy resealable pouches but you’ll see in a few minutes I found handier containers.  Adagio, te quiero. For reals.

Masala Chai

Add milk and/or cream and sweeten this chai with honey for a real treat!  The spices in this blend is just right.  I didn’t need to add anything to this.

Lapsang Souchong

Okay.  You might not like Lapsang.  It smells a bit like tar.  But don’t be alarmed!!  This is a smoky tea.  If you don’t like smoke infused drinks or food then this may not be your  deal.  I implore you to try it, though.  The Lapsang is another tea that doesn’t need a lot of sweetener plus it will make you feel bold.

Honeybush Hazelnut

A rooibos similar to the one I talked about in tea part one.  However, this one has the added benefit of natural hazelnut flavor and has a natural sweetness.

Golden Spring

Okay, here is the deal.  I haven’t tried this one yet.  However, according to Adagio Teas Golden Spring has “notes of currants and roasted apples” and  a “sweet jam and carob aroma”.  The description was enough to make me buy a sample.  I have a strong feeling this tea will be a winner.

Earl Grey Bravo

Isn’t this Earl Grey beautiful!?  Bravo!! (Yes, I’m corny).  I am not being partial because I love earl grey, either. This blend is one of the best Earls that I have had yet! The bergamot flavor is right on! Love it.

Tea in jars.

Mei Hua

Mei Hua was a free sample I received (you could choose what you wanted).  It is a basic but milder green tea.  I like it.

Lavender Green Tea (not from Adagio…a quick and fast blend I made using green tea and food grade lavender)

Now, for the real kicker..this selection of tea only cost around 30 bucks! And that includes shipping and handling!! And those cute little jars?  From the dollar store!!  Win win.

Now, don’t you want a nice hot cup of tea?

Baking and rushing don’t mix.

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I am far from perfect in the world of baking and pastry. I burn things.  Drop things. Screw stuff up, ya know?  Usually, these things occur because I am rushing…juggling too many things a one time. I just redo it and no one ever has to know…it remains my lil pastry secret. However, yesterday, I made a blackberry roulade.

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Upon closer inspection you will notice this:

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Flour lumps!! *gasp*

I tried a piece…no wierd taste…no strange flour explosion. So, I did what I had to do…I sent it out.  And guess what?  They ate it. End of story.

What’s Baking, Honey?

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A small birthday cake.

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More Whoopi Pies!! With milk chocolate buttercream.

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Mini cupcakes for a tea for 80+ people (red velvet with cream cheese frosting and buttermilk cupcakes with raspberry buttercream).

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A dessert bar for a small wedding..the bride was beautiful!!

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Another picture of the dessert bar.

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My first wedding cake tasting. My new obsession is gold dusted berries! (Ignore the finger).

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Carrot cake financier..the sprinkles look like they are magnetized! hee hee

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Another room service amenity birthday cake.

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Banana pudding tarts! Who stole the raspberry off of that tart..hee hee.

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Peanut Butter cupcakes with peanut butter mousse filling and chocolate ganache drizzle! These. were. yum. E!

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My associate made this ricotta tart. It was his least favorite but I loved it. The blueberries, the powdered sugar..it looks rustic and delish!

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Chocolate caramel tarts.