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Monday, April 25, 2011

Chocolate class

In hopes of expanding my candy store listings, I signed up for a week long chocolate candy class at the local college. I was very excited for it. The head candy maker at a very popular and local chocolate company taught the class.

The first night, we learned about all the different chocolates. I was a little surprised to learn white chocolate isn't really chocolate, but mostly cocoa butter.

I also learned how to temper chocolate properly, something I was doing terribly wrong. That became more and more apparently as the class went on.

Monte taught us how to flavor chocolate to make counter truffles, which we did not try. We also used out tempered chocolate to make clusters.
The 2nd night we did ganaches. That was an eye opener as well. I had the general idea, but my execution was lacking when I had tried on my own. we also got to try our hands at dipping truffles a little bit. I was so happy that I took this class. I learned what my previous mistakes were and how to correct them. The last night we dipped truffles and worked on molding, something I have done previously. (Thank you groupon)

My first attempt at cake balls

So, I finished my chocolate class and was feeling pretty confident. I thought I would try my hand at making cake balls for Easter. My cousin brought some for my sons birthday and everyone loved them.

Unfortunately, the recipe I looked at left out on important step......FREEZE the balls. :) Needless to say my cake balls turned out to be cake blobs. :)

I will try again, now that I know what I missed. :)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

inspiration in odd places

My son will be 3 in a few days and we are having his party tomorrow. I am smoking some beef and pork for sandwiches for the party. I am excited to try the homemade smoker I have created. I love the Internet. :)

I browsed several recipes for the actual rub. I had a great time spinning my spice wheel and adding this and that to my own version of all the recipes I looked through.

While throwing this together, almost literally. :) (I get carried away now and then with spices.) I started thinking about how I could make savory caramels using the rub. Most of the rub recipes used sugar, so why not transfer the flavor into a caramel? I then started thinking about all the wonderful savory flavors on my spice wheel and lets just say, my wheels are turning.

Rain break! Woo Hoo

We finally got a 2 day break from the rain. Although, there was some snow and thunder and lightening thrown in there as well. April is turning into crazy weather month.

I was able to get out and do some yard work, thankfully. One of the very few benefits of being a out of work mom. My son and I were able to get the flower beds and garden cleaned up and ready to plant. We also did some work for my parents.

After all the weeding, moving dirt, spreading dirt, adding manure etc, we were ready for the plants and seeds. Eric was a great helper digging holes for our tomato's and peppers. I am determined these do well this year, as I want to use them in my candies and make salsa. I am so proud that he is interested in working in the garden and learning about growing our own food. Of course certain things don't make it too far, IE the raspberries.
We also planted a bunch of seeds. Watching the sprout and grow is so much fun for us.

Since our garden is so full, we moved our sunflower garden to a new spot this year. We took a overgrown and unkempt flower bed and fixed it all up.

We also planted a bunch of wild flowers to add color and variety. All we need now is for the rain to take a long enough break and some sun to get these bad boys growing!