Monday, December 22, 2008

Maybe I should change my name to Betty Crocker

So I've done some more baking since I last updated...Big surprise? I think not (maybe you do, but I don't think it's a surprise). Wednesday, I made DELICIOUS chocolate chip cookies. I enjoyed them with a nice big mug of gourmet hot chocolate.
The biggest compliment was taking them to church on Sunday as the nursery snack. We ended up with more adults than children in there and the gallon zip lock bag of them was soon gone. Having something I make disappear quickly is the greatest compliment there is.
On Saturday I spent the day with Sister Anderson. Aside from painting the floor, I made two batches of love letters. A regular cookie recipe calls for 2 1/2 cups of flour, one, maybe two sticks of butter. For anyone who doesn't know, the love letter recipe calls for 4 sticks of butter and 6 1/2 cups of flour. Think of how much dough that makes, and I doubled that.
I turned out a few hundred cookies. It was AWESOME! I made angels, stars, Christmas trees and bells. They will be frosted by sister Anderson and handed out to those she loves. I'm a big fan of aiding the creation of holiday cheer.
Today, we made sugar cookies with the girlies (Carly Fay and Eve). It was just bag dough and store bought icing, but the happiness it spread was priceless. I wish I had recorded it because hearing Eve go on and on about her cookies was TOO CUTE! She's two and a half and everything she says is a crack up.There is the lovely pile of delicious cookies we made. I do think I'm going to need to take a baking break, however. I need to reserve my energy and desire for when Brit and Camille get home. There are pies to bake, and black and white cookies, and other YUMMY little treats to be passed out to friends and loved ones.
I do not have money to spend or a car to cruise around in, so this is what I do. I bake. It's a good life.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I'm EXPLODING with Christmas Spirit!

So, I totally got my bake on, and, let me tell you, it was AWESOME. However, let me first take a moment to mention the best Christmas gift ever: my new apron! Susan, my fabulous baby sister, sewed me an apron for Christmas. We exchanged gifts the night I got in because I bought her a camera and we knew we would each would be wanting to use our gifts while we were here. So every time I've baked I've worn the apron and I adore it.
My new apron and it's creator. Beautiful!

Now, I'm going to confess a deep, dark secret. I want to be a food blogger (on the side) when I grow up. I want to cook and bake and have my own little blog where I document the experience and share the recipes. You know, because home making and child rearing are just so easy that I'll have plenty of time to keep up a food blog (don't worry Christene, that was sarcasm). This is why I am so eager (and lamely excited) to chronicle my baking experience here.

I've baked two different cookie recipes so far. First I baked a chocolate cookie with a delicious peanut butter center. They were difficult to get the hang of, I had no idea how far the filling would go, or how potent it was. There were also temperamental with their baking time. The longer you baked them, the harder they got. I am happy to say that despite these factors, baking them was not a disaster. The first batch was a little low on peanut butter and had crispier edges, but luckily these cookies are perfect with milk and I had no problem "unloading" them. The next two sheets came out much better, softer and better balanced flavor wise, but even then I had peanut butter filling left over. These were very good cookies and I am excited to make them again now that I know how they work. Next time I make them they will be perfect.
The two doughs I had to work with.

I made each cookie by hand. The chocolate dough was like working with delicious play dough. Next time I think I'll roll the chocolate dough into a log and cut it. It will be a much quicker way to get the desired size and thickness.

YUM! 'Nough said.

For my second holiday treat, I baked sugar cookies. You might be wondering what I am going to do with so many cookies. Well, I'll tell you. Holli has visiting teaching to do and so we wrapped up a couple dozen in these adorable, little holiday boxes we found at Pier 1 Imports to be gifted when she goes out and about. Spreading the holiday cheer. You bet your sweet bippy!

They're even pretty without frosting.

But don't worry I did frost them. I made yummy butter frosting and split it in five parts to create various colors. I made blue, purple, and then red, green, and white (of course), and loaded them into Ziplock bags, cutting the corners to allow designs to be made.


The best part about this was that once everyone realized I'd been frosting for quite some time, they came over to see the finished product. Upon investigating my handiwork, they all saw how much fun I was having and just BEGGED to join in. Just kidding they were like "cool" and I was like "wanna try?" and they were all like "yeah totally, oh my gosh!" and I was like "for sure, like totally come get your frosting on!" Okay, you caught me, I'm kidding again. I simply asked if they'd like to frost one and they said yes and everyone really had fun frosting the rest of the cookies.
The Kodak moment...

When Holli saw everyone decorating the cookies she turned on Christmas music and the tree lights. That's when , you guess it, I teared up. Big surprise? No. It was just so sweet seeing everyone so jovial and having the holiday ambiance thing going on made it a perfect moment. I just felt so wonderful spreading Christmas cheer like that. Hip hip (hooray)!Fin.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Aw Yeah!

Isn't California beautiful? Let me answer that question for you. YES!

I must say, it is delightful to be back. After 8 hours of traveling I made it to the Golden state and boy was the lack of humidity a shock. I forgot what the crisp cold actually felt like. Though I have been freezing most of these first hours back, it has been a nice change. It truly feels like winter. It was so wonderful to come home from church, get changed into some sweats and slippers, and have a nice hot bowl of pea soup and grilled cheese. I LOVE the feeling of hot food traveling down into my belly, particularly when I'm a little on the chilly side. It's just really nice to be back.
The best part? Tomorrow I get my bake on. Tonight I made brownies out of a box as a little warm up, but tomorrow the I'm pulling out the big guns. I have two wonderful types of cookies planned. "And what is Jessica going to do with all of those cookies," you might ask. Well I'm gonna bake them for Holli's visiting teach-ees (KJ, if somehow you're reading this, I freakin' love you!). I'm very excited to begin tomorrow because Susan made me an Apron for Christmas. I cannot wait to put it on and bake away. She even made a matching hairband with the extra fabric. Awesome? I think so. I'm gonna be a smokin' hot cookie machine tomorrow!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

"Lake La'ie" or "When it rains, it pours"

The last two days have been VERY exciting. Well...exciting by La'ie standards.

SIDE NOTE: For those of you that don't know how to say it (I didn't until I came here) La'ie is pronounced "luh eeay." The "apostrophe" is not an apostrophe, but an 'Okina and acts as a glottal stop. It is considered by many Hawaiian language speakers to be the 8th consonant (Hawaiian Alphabet = a, e, i, o, u and h, k, l, m, n, p, w), but back to business.

Remember, Thursday, my beautiful beach day? If you don't you need to read the previous post and maybe go see a doctor. Anyway, so that night it began raining. This is common occurrence so I thought nothing of it but then it began to poor. It ended up pouring for a good 8 hours. We're talking Noah's ark rain with thunder and lightening and everything. It was so intense I was woken up periodically through the night. The next morning, at 8 am, I brave the still heavy rain to take a final and walk out of my door to find campus flooded. The general classroom building was sitting in a literal foot of water, the streets were like rivers and the hallways were flooded as well. I had to take my shoes off and pull up my sweatpants to make it through without getting soaked. The BYUH campus was lucky, compared to the rest of the town though.
Campus sits high than most of the town. It's up against the mountain and there aren't really any houses behind us. So as you leave campus you travel "downhill" and head toward the beach. This was TERRIBLE for all of the town's residents. Check it out.

A good number of houses are built up off the ground. Some are built on stilts or only have garages on the ground level, others are lifted maybe a foot off of the ground, but most are built normally and those home suffered.
Now, I did not take that picture. I had no desire to brave the floods. However, I did go out that afternoon to grab some shots. Most of the water had disipated by then, but there were still some heavily flooded areas, including the front field of the school.
That sign says "WARNING! KEEP OUT Run off water maybe polluted." Why? Because La'ie does not have a sophisticated sewer system. Did this stop idiots from playing in it? NO. They were playing flood football in their own sh...all we move on?

Our beautiful lake front Stake Center.Don't be fooled. That puddle is about 4 inches deep.

After traipsing around campus, I headed into town and got some great shots of damage there and people starting to clean up. I then headed to the beach where I had spent my Thursday. Needless to say, I did NOT find the shores so appealing. This is why (please ignore the LAME narration on this video as it was spur of the moment)

Post Storm from Jessia Davis on Vimeo.

Silly, I know, but nasty none the less.

So the moral of this post is it rained a lot. It rained a lot, and I'm glad I live on campus in an upstairs room. One last photo...

That's a centipede. We get those there. That one was dead and washed up on the shore; there would be no way in HADES you could bet me that close to one that was alive. I about peed my paints just finding it dead. Finding a dead one means there are more like it alive somewhere. SICK.
Hawaii is nuts!

Whoever can tell me which old school cartoon I've taken my title format from wins a prize. Post it as a comment. Sorry Susan, you can't play because I know you know.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

CAUTION! I'm going to brag about the weather.

Disclaimer: if you live in Utah, Idaho, Virginia, Vienna, or any other snowy landscape, proceed at your own risk. This post is about being outside and not being miserable.

Last week was brutal. I had a final project due pretty much every day except Wednesday. The final project I had due Monday ended up being 14 pages long. Anyway, today was a final free day so I decided it was time I went to the beach. Much to the dismay of those of you in colder climates, I have not been to attend the beach this semester. Other than the trip to Waimea and 2 snorkeling excursions, I haven't been at all this semester...pathetic, I know. So this morning (11am, I'm not that ambitious), I packed a little bag and peddled three minutes down to the sea shore (are you jealous yet?). This is what greeted me:

My Beach from Jessia Davis on Vimeo.

How blessed am I?! It was wonderful beach weather, a sunny 72 degrees with a gentle breeze blowing, and though most of the day has been slightly cloudy, I was blessed with clear skies. It was magnificent. I laid out and even went for a little dip. I was surprised by how warm the water was. I love going to school here. Yeah, this side of the island can get pretty trashy in places and the certain aspects of the school frustrate the sin out of me, but all of that disappears when my toes touch the sand. There are many reasons why I'm grateful to be here, and the beach is one of them (albeit a very dominant reason).
Oddly enough, despite my warm weather adventure today, I am looking forward to going home to chilly weather. It will be very nice to bundle up, drink hot chocolate and enjoy the crisp winter weather. There are tons of wonderful wintery things that don't have the same effect when it's always warm outside. It will be very nice to go home and experience a more traditional Christmas season.
However, I'm not there yet, so here's one more picture of my beautiful beach!
(And yes, the video and the photo were both taken today, which means I have my camera back!)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Don't you judge me.

It's the last week of classes and my days fly by me before I even notice their wings have begun beating. I so look forward to Friday when all of this is over and I can lay on the beach enveloped in sunlight. Constantly trudging under florescent bulbs has got me burnt out (pun fully intended).
Though, I must say, the short time I did spend reflecting on everyday, my eyes were most definitely opened to the nuances of daily life. It was a fun venture.
I do have quite a bit to be grateful for.