nav bar

Sunday, December 25, 2011

merry christmas

I hope you are all having the most amazing time with family and friends! Eat good food, drink good drinks, and be merry! :)

Love, Jess

Friday, December 23, 2011

little december update

Exciting things have been happening lately! Sadly, that means little to no internet presence but sometimes that's a good thing I think. Like I said before, I had my first subbing experience on Monday with third grade which was great even though I was completely terrified. That day I was asked to come back Tuesday for first grade which was.. ahem.. interesting. I've come to realize that first graders are really kindergartners that you are trying to put in a uniform and a desk and sometimes that doesn't go so well.. add to that the fact that it was two days before their Christmas break and you get a whole new world of bouncing off the walls. They were really generally well behaved for having a sub and it being the week before Christmas, but I will say that I had two boys in tears before recess. -_-

I also came in on Thursday (yesterday) and had 4th grade. They were great even though they were definitely hyped about it being the last day before break. Overall it's been a great experience for me personally, and also in the sense of putting it on my resume. It was also some good spending money for the holidays! And I finally got my practicum assignment today which is actually 1st grade. It'll be good to see them during the regular school year and see how an experienced teacher handles it.

I'm actually pretty excited about tonight too. Charlie and I have been keeping up with some traditions these past few years where we go to his parents' house on Christmas Eve and open gifts there. His family has been doing gifts on Christmas Eve probably since Charlie stopped believing in Mr. C. since he is the youngest. My family is still strictly Christmas morning gift-giving because, hello, Santa comes overnight. ;) So with his family on the 24th and mine the 25th, we decided to do our gifts to each other tonight so we can sort of be alone and start our own traditions. I can't wait!

We've also been seriously behind on cookie making this year. I was planning on baking all week but then I ended up subbing three days and was exhausted when I came home. So we've been slowly but surely getting them done. Last night I cut out sugar cookies and and my mom mixed chocolate chip cookie dough while we drank wine and listened to Christmas music. It was quite lovely actually. :) We got mani/pedis together after school yesterday which was wonderful after being on my feet all day. I wanted something crazy fun so I got Twinkle Lights by China Glaze. I couldn't be more excited by how festive they turned out! :)

Are you all ready for the holidays? What have you been doing to get it all together? :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

cranberry orange muffins

Today I had my first subbing gig. And I found out at 6:00 this morning that I would be doing it. Baptism by fire as the principal said. Totally busted up my dreamy plans of baking Christmas cookies all day, but hey, it's not like I can't use the money! Especially this time of year when everyone wants to do ALL the things! :)

So tomorrow I'm actually subbing 1st grade which should be interesting. I had to cancel a dentist appointment for that and the woman I spoke to was bitchy to say the least. Sorry that I got a sudden job opportunity toots but I'm going to take it! I may also be doing 4th grade on Thursday which is their Advent retreat so that would be a super easy day. Who knew so many teachers took off the week before Christmas?

I made these muffins on Sunday because I had the urge to bake but wasn't quite ready for cookie mass production yet so I took a peek in the fridge and saw a pretty little bag of cranberries! I searched for a recipe for my favorite muffins that I had recently bookmarked and got looking for the other ingredients.

Wouldn't you know we just happened to have exactly what I needed? We had just one orange which gave me the right amount of juice and zest, a stockpile of the dry ingredients for our upcoming cookie marathon, and a container of sour cream that was supposed to be for a dip last weekend but didn't end up getting used.

This recipe makes the most delicious batter that compliments tartness of the cranberries so well. This one is definitely a keeper. I'm so glad I found such an amazing recipe for my favorite muffins! :)

Are you doing any major Christmas baking this year? Any old standbys you'll be sure to make?

Recipe continued after the jump..

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

random tidbits

I saw this on Angie's blog and knew I needed to do it. I loved reading her answers and could imagine mine as I read along. It's especially good for a day like today when I didn't plan a post because I was supposed to be sending off my brother but he got delayed. Such is the navy apparently. So here's some fun, incredibly random facts about me for today and probably tomorrow since that's when he actually leaves. Let me know if you do it! I'd love to see your weird answers too!

#1. What's a nickname only your family calls you?
Jessie. Only family calls me that and anyone else who does, only does it once. ;) There's also Cece. My brother used to call me that when he was little because he couldn't say "Jessie". Every now and then someone whips that one out just for fun. :)

#2. What's a weird habit of yours?
This is the first thing that came to mind.. I always give my towels a good shake before I use them after showering. This is because of an experience I had quite a few years back, where I grabbed a towel and held it out it front of me getting ready to wrap it around my head. I suddenly noticed a rather large spider repelling down the side of it. I have never been the same since. I actually noticed recently that it has become such a habit that I don't even think about why I'm doing it anymore, I just do it. Damn spiders.

#3. What's a song you secretly LOVE to blast & belt out when you're alone?
What don't I love to blast and belt out when I'm alone? I totally don't sing in front of people. I get great pleasure from belting out some Muse.. hittin those high notes.. oh yea. X) That's why I don't sing in front of people!

#4. What's one of your biggest pet peeves?
I have to pick just one? There's sooooo many!! How about.. people who don't use their turn signals.. when merging, when changing lanes, when turning, when pulling over.. even if you're in a *turn lane* I don't care!! I don't trust you! I've been cut off by enough people shooting out of lanes that they didn't realize were "turn only" that I assume if you don't have your turn signal on, you have no idea where you are and you are going to screw up. Use it!! It's not hard!! /rant

#5. What's one of your nervous habits?
Biting the inside of my mouth. Like the cheek area. When I'm extremely nervous, I'll do it until it bleeds without even realizing. And then I'm in a ton of pain for a few days. It's a great habit. :(

#6. What side of the bed do you sleep on?
Wall side if there is one. If not, then the side farthest from the door. Self preservation baby. Kidding. ;)

#7. What was your first stuffed animal & it's name?
Not sure what the actual *first* one was but the first and main one I had an attachment to was a Jammie Pie that I named Red Baby. Because he had a red hat. :) Not an animal, but it was stuffed. Sad story though - I lost it in my youth and now they sell on ebay for $200. Crazy right? I'd love to get it back but I don't know about that price. :S

#8. What's the drink you ALWAYS order at Starbucks?

Unless it's the holidays - ALWAYS an Iced Venti Vanilla Latte. Always.

#9. What's the beauty rule you preach.. but never ACTUALLY practice?
Probably to always wash your make-up off at night? I know it's terrible for your skin to leave your make-up on when you go to bed but sometimes I'm so tired I actually forget to wash it off. And when I do I'm usually reminded in morning by a cute little pimple.

#10. Which way do you face in the shower?

Away from the water. Unless I'm cold, then I find myself huddling under it, directly facing it like my life depends on it.

#11. Do you have any 'weird' body 'skills'?
Hmm, body skills.. not sure I even know what that means.. I can do that thing where you make a clover with your tongue.. and my thumbs are double jointed..

#12. What's your favorite 'comfort food'/food that's 'bad' but you love to eat it anyways?

Cheese fries. Such a guilty pleasure. And I indulge in them way too often.

#13. What's a phrase or exclamation you always say?
Bullocks! I've been watching too much Coupling. ;)

#14. Time to sleep- what are you ACTUALLY wearing?
Usually a cami or tank top and long pants or shorts. Even in the dead of winter I can't wear long sleeves to bed. It makes me too hot. I need to be able to poke an arm out of my mountain of blankets when I get too warm!

p.s. Have you seen my call for sponsors? Pssst.. it's free!

Monday, December 12, 2011

boston cream pie

Life has been all sorts of crazy lately. I've been finishing up my Christmas shopping, kicking some finals butt, and spending time with my brother before he leaves tomorrow. :( Yesterday we actually had a Christmas lunch with my mom's side of the family because my brother's leaving and some of my family is going to India for a wedding over Christmas. My cousins and I are all in the midst of finals so we couldn't even make it a dinner and stay late like usual. So it's been a little weird and early but hopefully with more traditions still to come, Christmas will feel semi normal this year.

I made this Boston Cream Pie last year for a Christmas gathering and it was a pretty big hit so I decided whip it up again for the lunch! Once again, it didn't disappoint.

This recipe has three parts so I started with the cake. Sift your dry ingredients into the bowl of a mixer. Make a well and pour the wet ingredients inside. Mix!

Pour the mixture into a separate bowl and set aside. Give the mixer bowl a little wash and dry. Put in your egg whites and cream of tartar and whip!

When it forms stiff peaks, grab the first mixture and pour it on top of the egg whites. Fold!

Pour the batter into a pie pan and bake. While that's going, make the pastry cream. Boil milk in saucepan and infuse with vanilla. Let that cool slightly and whip egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch together until smooth.

Temper the egg mixture with a 1/4 cup of the hot milk. Mix well and add the rest of the milk. Strain the whole thing back into the pot and heat until thick and bubbling.

Pour the pastry cream into a bowl and let it cool slightly. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic onto the cream to prevent a skin from forming. *bleh!* Pop it in the fridge for a least an hour.

When cake is cool, cut it in half. Layer the bottom half with the custard and top with the other half.

Make the ganache topping and pour over the cake.

Refrigerate until you're ready to serve!

What is your favorite holiday dessert? Will you be trying anything new this year? :)


Boston Cream Pie
recipe adapted slightly from Food Network

For the Cake
1 cup + 2 tbsp cake flour, sifted
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup cooking oil
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
2 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 350F. In a mixing bowl, combine first four dry ingredients. Make a well and add milk, oil, yolks, and vanilla. With a mixer, beat on low until well combined. Then beat on high for three minutes. Put mixture aside. In a mixing bowl, whip egg whites and cream of tartar until it forms stiff peaks. Pour egg yolk batter over egg whites and fold *carefully* until well combined. Pour batter into a greased 9 inch pie pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until top springs back. Invert pan on a wire rack and cool completely.

For the Pastry Cream
2 cups milk (whole, 2%, or 1%)
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out (or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
6 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tbsp unsalted butter

In a small saucepan, bring milk and vanilla bean seeds/extract to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Immediately remove from heat and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk sugar and egg yolks until fluffy. Add cornstarch and whisk until smooth. Slowly add 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture and stir. Mix in the rest of the hot milk and add back to the pot through a strainer. Heat on medium until mixture thickens and bubbles. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Put it in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it down on top of the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Pastry cream can be made up to 24 hours in advance.

For the Ganache
8 ounces semisweet chocolate
1/2-3/4 cup heavy cream

In a small saucepan, bring cream to a boil, stirring constantly. Pour hot cream over chocolate and stir until melted and smooth. Start by adding 1/2 cup and add more cream if you need to thin it out.

Cut the cooled cake in half, lengthwise. Put the bottom on a serving plate and spread the pastry cream on top. Put the other half of the cake on top. Pour ganache over the cake, letting it run over the sides. Store in the fridge until ready to serve!

Friday, December 9, 2011

new things for 2012

Hey there! Just taking a break from writing a paper for a final exam to pop in here an let you know about some things that will be coming soon from Tenpenny Splendid. :)

iPhone scenes from the past month..

My new blog design is just about finished. I just have a few minor touches to add and it will be ready to go! One of those touches is your ads! That's right, starting in January 2012, Tenpenny Splendid will be taking on sponsors. Since this is still a growing blog, I will be doing it on an exchange basis for now. I got this idea from some of my bloggy friends and I thought it'd be great to start doing on here!

{Edit: I changed the sizes so there are now three options.}
All you have to do is put up my ad on your blog and I'll put up an ad for your blog or shop over here! If you don't have a blog but still want to advertise, just email me and we'll work something out! I have three ad sizes.. 185x230 which is the featured spot. I'll have only one of those per month. The medium size is 185x160 and the small size is 185x80. If you are interested, please comment, tweet, or email me and we'll talk specifics! I can also make an ad for you for free if you don't already have one. I love the idea of supporting each others' creative endeavors and I think this is a great way to do it! :)

And a few more..

Another thing I'm working on is a "shop my closet" store. I've seen a lot of bloggers do this also and I think it's a great idea. It's a fun way to share clothes that may not be vintage or handmade so can't be put on Etsy, but are still fun and in great condition. I actually want to start off with some formal dresses I have. They're from different events, like weddings and dances, and were each worn only once. It'd be a shame for them to just go to waste so I'm going to sell them for about a third of the price that I bought them for.

I'm going to put the money from those sales directly toward opening my Etsy shop, which has been on permanent vacation since it's existence. I keep making it a goal to open it each month in hopes that it will actually happen, but with the financial constraints of an unemployed student, it has been really hard to fabricate my ideas. I'm hoping this will take the financial burden off of me a little bit and be enough to get me jump-started. If they sell, that is. ;)

That's all I wanted to say for now! Let me know if you are interested in trading ads. I also may be seeking out some of you who already have this system. :)

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

deseeding pomegranates

Otherwise known as, why POM juice costs so much. Deseed a pomegranate and you'll suddenly understand.

I used to eat pomegranates the hard way.. basically just tearing into the skin at any random point and digging out the seeds as I went along. About this time last year I saw a *much* better way of going about it that involved extracting the seeds all at once so you can shove them into your face like handfuls of popcorn. Which is another issue itself. ;)

I've since perfected the art of seed extraction and decided to share it with you since it is indeed the season of pomegranates! Here's what you need.. a pom, a sharp knife, and a bowl of water.

Start by cutting the pom right through the top where that little nugget is. (1) Cut about 3/4 inch down. You'll be cutting through the white fleshy part instead of rupturing all the seeds. (2) Now grab it at the split and just tear it in half. View all the seeds you could have potentially massacred if you cut it all the way! (3) Make the same sort of cut in the top of each half and then tear those in half so you now have four pom chunks. (4) At this point you may have some loose seeds so just shake them into the bowl.

This part is hard to show with a camera in one hand, but now you just (1) take each piece and sort of rub the seeds. They'll start sprinkling out into the water. (2) Just bend it around and peel off the white skin to reveal more seeds and keep pushing them off into the water.

The idea here is that the seeds will sink in the water and all the white junk will float so you can scoop it out when you're done instead of picking it out from between the seeds later! It really helps if you have a crazy small sifter so you can skim it like a little pool. :)

When you've scooped out all the unwanted bits, carefully drain the water and move your seeds to a container for storing. I find that old wonton containers work especially well for this. ;) 

Now kick back and enjoy your loot! It is certainly a laborious process but well worth it. Pom seeds are delicious and super good for you too! And yes, it's safe to eat the whole seed. I've seen people eat them like sunflower seeds where they sort of suck out the juice and spit out the seedy part. Not necessary. And very messy. The whole thing is perfectly edible! 

Do you like pomegranates? Do you just eat them by the handful or mix them into things?

I usually eat them by themselves but I'm dying to make chocolate covered pom seeds this year. Yea.. that's a thing. Amazing right?

Have a great week!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

fall reading

Back in September I made a summer reading list post and I decided to keep it going. Each season I'll list the three books I read and give my two-cents on them. One of my 101 in 1001 goals is to read a book a month so this will help me keep track of that. I really need to update that list one day!

During the the fall, I only got to two books because of school reading (and there was plenty of that) so I think I'll take advantage of the upcoming wintery vacation to get an extra book in so I can keep up with my list! I mean, what's better than getting cozy with a blanket, a good book, some hot chocolate, and your guy while he plays video games when it's cold and snowy outside? I can't think of a better scenario. :)

Fall Reading List 2011

1. The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen
Loved this book. It's no wonder it's a New York Times bestseller. I found this book down the shore when Charlie and I dusted off the sand, got a little dressed up, and took a walk around Stone Harbor. I actually loved it during the day. I usually only go at night when it's packed with people, but during the day, the streets were empty. We found the cutest little coffee shop that had a hodge podge of old couches dating back to around the 20's. Definitely a place I will go back to. So we grabbed some iced coffee and headed to the Atlantic Book Store. Sadly, next time we go it won't be there anymore because that branch is shutting down. :(

Anyway, I was determined to find a new book since I had just finished my beach reading and this one caught my eye. The description was everything I look for in a book so I grabbed it. It's all about a girl discovering family secrets that she never could have imagined in a town where magical things seem to happen. And bonus? This book is themed around cake as a sort of magical force so there are three cake recipes in the back taken right from the story! And I intend to make every one. What I love about this book is that it has a little bit of a supernatural quality but in a very believable, not too out there way. Definitely recommend.

2. Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk
This was the second book I read by Palahniuk and it didn't disappoint. I know he has a cult following but if you haven't read his work or at least not this book, definitely pick it up. There weren't as many unexpected twists and turns like there were in Invisible Monsters, but it was still a gripping story. I'm not sure if all of his books are like this, but in the two I've read so far there is this sort repetitive quality that the narrating character has. Every now and then they repeat two lines that pertain to the whole story, changing them only slightly to be more relevant to the particular passage. Sorry if this is confusing but you know what I mean if you read these two books.. I just don't want to give too much away!

This book also has a sort of supernatural quality. I must be into that. ;) It is totally thought provoking, forcing you to imagine a world where sound is feared because one small utterance could cause you to drop dead where you stand. Amazing. Once again, I recommend this book completely. I will be seeking out more Palahniuk books too now that I've thoroughly enjoyed two of them. I have three authors on my radar now that I'm hoping will have multiple hits.

What are you reading lately? Any books on your list for hibernating season?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

sneaky peak

If you follow me on Twitter you may know that I've been hard at work on a major blog overhaul. I've been sharing some of my excitement over successful coding and having things work out right. If you've ever dealt with html or css you know how downright thrilling it is to have something work the way you wanted it to. With each reload I would hold my breath and then do a little happy clap whenever something moved into the position it was supposed to be in or did the appropriate thing on a hover, etc.

So here's a little sneaky peak of what I've been working on. No, I couldn't have made it any smaller. ;) I just don't want to give too much away before the big reveal.

I'm actually almost done, I just ran into a temporary setback this weekend. If you follow me on Twitter, you may also have seen this..

Has anyone ever seen this before? More importantly have you ever fixed it? It doesn't effect the layout of the blog whatsoever but it makes it damn near impossible to edit anything. I have a plan B if no one knows what to do with this but I wanted to see if there was a quick fix first.

The gadgets just got all jumbled and unmanageable in the page editor. :(

And just so you know what I already tried, I logged out of Blogger, cleared my cache, shut down firefox and reopened it, signed back in to Blogger, and it was still like this. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. If not, on to plan B!

Hope everyone's week is going well! I have two finals left and then I'm done school for the semester. :)

Friday, December 2, 2011

last december (2010)

{snapshots from last December's posts}

I've been noticing that a bunch of my posts from Christmas time last year have been getting a lot of hits lately since people are searching the webs for Christmas inspiration, so I thought I'd do what I did in November. I made another little snapshot of what I was doing this time last year. Maybe I'll keep this up. It's fun for me to look back and see what was going on in my life a year ago. :)

The main posts that have been getting hits are..

Christmas Villages

I shared my family's own Christmas village that my dad has been carefully curating throughout the years. I also linked to some other Christmas village inspiration where you can see some other cute villages and also some resources for starting your own.

Letterpress Cookies
Technically a November post but since it's cookie time, a lot of people have been looking for these super cute cookie cutters. Charlie's mom got them for me last year and I think they're kind of the coolest thing ever. I just gave a little overview of how they work but this year I'll actually show the cookies that come from them! (Don't know why I didn't last year!) :)

Christmas Packages
Just a little collection of Christmas wrap I put together based on the trends I was loving last year (and still love!).

Doe Eyed
This one is a little stamp I carved with a tute of how to create your own envelopes and use the stamp for a little seasonal embellishment. :)

What were you doing this time last year? Have things changed much? They certainly have for me!

Happy weekend! :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

handmade ornaments

In the crafty holiday post I mentioned some ornaments I made in my high school art class. I thought I 'd share them with you as one idea for how you can go about making your own decorative Christmas balls for your tree or to hang anywhere really. I may do a full-on tutorial later but I don't have the supplies at the moment. I'm also in the midst of finals so if I'm absent any the next few days, that's why. My last class is next week so I won't be silent for too long. :)

We took foam balls, covered them in bits of tissue paper with a glue wash, and painted images from Christmas cards onto them. They were displayed on our school's Christmas tree and then we took them home afterward.

We painted them with acrylic paints and used glitter and fabric remnants to decorate them. On the blue one, I used a paper doily as a stencil and painted metallic silver paint over it to give it a fun pattern.

On the red and gold one I wrapped a piece of lacy trim around it to separate the colors. I topped them both off with a big lacy bow and a hook for hanging!

Anyway, they're no masterpieces but I love unwrapping them every year when we decorate the tree because it reminds me of fun times. I really loved my art class in high school. It was stress free and fun. And then there's art school. Just kidding. ;)

Now I have to finish putting together my activity for class tonight. I have to do a 2nd grade math activity with my grad school class. I kind of love being an elementary ed major. :)

Hope your week is going well!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...