Unorthodoxplaid's Weblog

Does it ever make you wonder

I am funny. I swear. Philosophy 101


How has your life experience prepared you for examining the really big questions — for instance, questions about the meaning of your life and your inevitable death?

By watching both Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life and The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy I already know what the meanings of life are. The meaning of life is fish and the answer to the ultimate question is 42. [MWF1] In all seriousness though, I have never really thought about my death specifically. I am too focused on what I am doing now to be thinking about death. I am a twenty-two year old student who is getting this Business degree “just because”. I have no idea what to do with my life and that is the main question I have been asking myself. So perhaps I am wondering what the meaning of my life is? If I am wondering it then I believe that my experience so far has prepared me to ask it.


[MWF1]Love your sense of humor!

See? Someone thinks I am funny.

Though The Ultimate Question is unknown while the Ultimate answer to the Ultimate Question is 42. Hmmm…at least Google knows the Ultimate answer…

Daring Baker? Joconde Wrap Black Raspberry Mousse 2011

I am not a part of the Daring Bakers Team. I was reading through FoodGawker, because I love looking at food, and saw the new challenge everyone was posting. The Bisquit Joconde Imprime which would wrap around well whatever you wanted to put in the middle. AKA Entremet.

I usually do not attempt anything that The Daring Bakers put out but I loved the look and felt that it was extremely creative. I enjoy doing things that are creative so I just had to try.

 

 

 

Opps. As you can tell I overdid it with the time but I easily cut off the edges that were tough!

 

Here is the recipe I used for the Chocolate Design batter

2 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temp
¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
1 large egg white at room temp
¼ cup all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons cocoa powder

Beat  butter and sugar until fluffy. Add everything else and mix until smooth. Place parchment paper on a baking tray and pipe your design onto the parchment paper. Stick in the freezer while you make the Joconde Cake Batter.

Joconde Cake
3 eggs at room temperature
1¼ cups almond flour
3 tablespoons bread flour
½ cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 egg whites at room temperature

Beat the 2 eggs, flour, 1/2 cup sugar and salt. Add melted butter and beat for a few more minutes.

In a separate bowl whisk eggs until frothy then add sugar. Whisk until medium peaks are formed. Fold into previously made mixture.

Check on the pattern to see if it is stiff. If so then pour the Joconde batter over and spread evenly. Bake at 400 for 5 minutes or until edges are golden brown and it is springy to your touch. Sprinkle sugar on and turn over. You can wrap the Entremet once the wrap has cooled.

 

Black Raspberry Mousse

  • 1/2 cup Black Raspberry Jelly
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream (made with Heavy cream whipped🙂 )
  1. Add gelatin to water and let sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Whip the heavy cream until stiff then fold gelatin mix and jelly into whipped cream.
  3. Let sit then scoop into your Joconde Wrap!

 

Tada! This is my result! Tasty yes?

Homemade Hamburger Rolls/Buns 2011

I realize how horrible I am with updating! At least I remembered to update today!

Ever have a day where you get so caught up in things you are doing that you forget about dinner? Unfortunately that happened at our apartment yesterday. This got me thinking about what I would make today. For some reason cheeseburgers were calling. But not any ordinary cheeseburgers…ones with homemade buns! So tasty, so delicious, I now understand why people say “You will never buy hamburger buns again”. Why would you want to when you can have the deliciousness of these buns?

Here is my recipe for the buns adapted from One Lovely Life.

Ingredients:
1 cup warm milk
3 Tbsp warm water
2 Tsp Yeast
5 Tbsp melted butter
1 Tsp Salt
1.5 cups all purpose flour
1.5 Cup Bread Flour

Directions:
Combine warm milk and yeast in a bowl, mix and let sit for about 5 minutes. In a small cup combine the water and sugar and mix until the sugar is dissolved into the water then pour into the milk mixture. Allow to sit for another 5 or so minutes. (I feel that doing this protects the yeast being damaged from the sugar)

Add the 2 cups flour, butter and salt to the bowl and combine. I used a spoon and my hands because I do not have a stand mixer. Mix until everything is combined. If the dough is still extremely sticky add more flour as needed until it is no longer sticky. Be careful not to add too much.

Keep kneading until smooth and place in a covered, oiled bowl for about 1 hour. I actually place mine in front of my space heater and it is amazing in helping the dough rise.

Punch down dough and let sit for about five minutes. Divide into balls to create the buns and place on a baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until it is doubled in size.

Bake at 425 for 8-12 minutes. Once they are golden brown remove from oven and cool.

Most people add an egg wash but I did not because I was lazy. I also added some spices into my dough which you can do as well!

Cake Balls 2010-2011

I did not really start my blogging adventure until January 2011 so I have to share with you what I made over the holidays.

Look at those babies. My second attempt at cake balls. I originally made the cake using this recipe but I do not have cake flour. Cake flour is way too expensive. Especially since I now have a huge COSTCO sized bag of flour! So here is the conversion: 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons of all purpose = 1 cup of cake flour!
So in order to actually make cake balls you need to make a cake first. Once the cake is cool you can crumble it apart *gasp* and combine it with a frosting mix of your choice. A lot of people use cream cheese frosting so I shall provide a recipe for you.
  • Butter
  • Confectionery Sugar
  • Cream Cheese
  • Vanilla
I did not give measurements because some people like it tangy and some people like it sweet. So make it according to your liking.
Melt the chocolate (or chocolate candy wafers) dip and drain. Decorate however you like and ta-da! You have just created your own cake balls!
In the ones pictured above I added oreo cookies to the mix. Tasty.

Valentine’s Day Prix-Fixe NYC 2011

NYC is big on a lot of holidays. It’s a way to get people to spend, spend, spend!

NYC restaurants are expensive but there are plenty of deals going on at almost every restaurant. The restaurants listed here will cost you under $100 (not including tip or whatever extras you personally add in)

  1. Agozar –Mexican Cuisine. Located at 324 Bowery Street 10012. This restaurant is offering a 3 course Prix-fixe Dinner for $45 per person. Unfortunately they do not list what is included but if you like Mexican perhaps this is worth checking out? Plus they have other offers like unlimited sangria from 12-4 on Saturdays and Sundays (brunch).
  2. Antibes Bistro – French/Mediterranean Cuisines. Located at 112 Suffolk Street 10002. They are offering a first seating (5:30pm) prix-fixe menu for $50 per person. Starter – Tuna Tartare. Appetizers include your choice of Foie Gras Torchon, Yucca Crusted Scallops, Fig & Date Stuffed Quail or Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella & Artichoke. Entrees include your choice of Veal chop, Maine Lobster Ravioli, Baked Skate or Ricotta Gnocchi. Dessert includes your choice of Banana Bread Pudding, Basil Panna Cotta or Chocolate Mousse. You can head to their website to see descriptions. Personally I would choose Fig & Date Quail, Baked Skate and Chocolate Mousse. Yum.
  3. Aspen Social Club – Located at 157 West 47th Street. Offering a five course Pre-fix menu for two for only $95! I would go to the website for this one but they are offering an entry of a 32 oz porterhouse for all you steak eaters out there! (It’s what I would get!)

Well sorry for such a short list. A lot of places are offering deals but do not list them so I decided to stop. I hope you find somewhere to do for your Valentine’s Day!

 

Valentine’s Day Dinner for the Budget Conscious 2011

Valentine’s Day can be expensive if you do not watch yourself. I live near New York City and it seems that every single restaurant if offering deals for Valentine’s Day. These “deals” do not really seem to be that budget friendly to me. Granted half of these places are extremely popular and high end.

For example, check out 21 club. Their Valentine’s Day deal is $125 per person. Ouch. You do get a three course meal, an amuse bouche and petit fours, Plus a glass of Veuve Clicquot Champagne (which is expensive champagne, not the most expensive but still)

Here is a solution to the expensive dinners.

  1. Make your own dinner – I guess this depends on how comfortable you are with cooking and having your Valentine over. I live with my boyfriend but he cooks most of the time so this could actually work for me. (Especially if I was sneaky enough) Find out food that they love and prepare accordingly. You can also go as far as making it a Valentines theme. Why not have all foods in heart shapes? Or only serve foods with Valentine’s Day colors?  Here is a website that lists ideas for your special dinner.
  2. Making the Meal Aphrodisiacal – There are certain foods that are considered to have an effect on sexual energy. Of course, I am assuming this varies from person to person but here is a basic list.
  • Chocolate –Hearts Desire - Chocolate Truffle Assortment - 4 Valentines Chocolates Especially pure chocolate. If you can get your hands on it before Valentine’s Day.
  • Strawberries – Fresh fruit and you can even feed it to your partner! How enticing. Also available with chocolate so why not get two for the price of one?
  • Vanilla – I hate vanilla but I also do not care for chocolate so ignore that and assume that your partner loves both. It is more the scent than the taste that increases sexual energy. Also “Old Totonac lore has it that Xanat, the young daughter of the Mexican fertility goddess, loved a Totonac youth. Unable to marry him due to her divine nature, she transformed herself into a plant that would provide pleasure and happiness”1
  • Wine – Wine helps relax senses. As does any alcohol. Just be careful to limit yourself otherwise it might not help.
  1. Set the mood – Clean up your place! Yes, I said clean. No one likes having a romantic dinner at a messy place. It ruins the mood instantly.  Find some music to put on, light some candles, and decorate with flowers.  Make your place look fantastic. Serve the food on special plates. Making sure that everything is going well. Have a glass of wine or champagne. I recommend this especially for dessert.

I am sure that you will do a great job with your dinner. Later this week I will have ideas for inexpensive valentine’s day crafts. Hope you enjoy.

1 “Other Vanilla Uses.” Vanilla Bazaar. Essence of Life LTD. Web. 30 Jan 2011. <http://www.vanillabazaar.com/index.php?c=alphro&gt;.

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas 2011

OH my. It is already January 25th. Where has time time gone? As you all know, or at least I hope you know, Valentine’s Day is in 19 days! Most things can be found easily the day before Valentine’s Day but why not plan ahead…Just in case…

1. Giftbaskets – These are great because you can personalize then to the person you are getting them for! You can make them yourself or head on over to DIY giftbaskets. You pick everything, and I mean EVERYTHING. The theme, the container (basket), what items go in the basket, etc. They even have options for valentines day!

Since I am poor I’ll stick to making my own. Especially since I can bake and make my own chocolates/candy. So just figure out what valentine loves and let the creativity flow. Now if you are my significant other I would love champagne, flowers, maybe a ring?! Haha right…speaking of champagne

2. Champagne – Since I love champagne, and somehow hate wine, I will include this. Though do not ask me how I came to love champagne and hate wine. I have no idea. Maybe it is the bubbles! To truly be classified as “champagne” it HAS TO come from France. Sorry I meant Champagne, France specifically. They have a unique soil that can not be reproduced anywhere else therefore anything else is Sparkling Wine. But for the purposes of my article sparkling wine is just as good. Plus I do not think everyone knows this fact so will not judge you.

Here is my absolute favorite champagne. So far. You can go here for more selections. Piper Heidsieck has been around since 1785.

3. Chocolate – Sure, cliche. Most people love chocolate. Me? No. But that will not stop me from including chocolate in my post. If you want to make it more personal you can go to Chocomize to create your own chocolate bar. They have add ins like candy, spices, fruits and nuts. 

So when I said I do not like chocolate I probably should have said I do not like most chocolate. I have had Michel Cluizel chocolates and I think they are amazing. Expensive but worth it.

4. Lingerie –  There is always cute Valentine themed Lingerie available, especially now with Valentines Day right around the corner. Either sex can buy it though if you are giving it as a gift don’t expect the person to always be thrilled. It can sometimes come off as “Well here’s a present for you but it is really for me” kind of thing. This also depends on the person you are getting it for. The picture I provided comes from 3 wishes. They have a Valentines day collection out. Be quick as shipping takes time!

I have not included everything I could think of but if I was to include everything this post would never end! So I hope your Valentines Day goes well.

Pros and Cons of Buying Textbooks Online

So I do have a topic in mind for today that may or may not be interesting.

College Textbooks! Pros and cons of buying textbooks from sites like half, cheap textbooks, etc. I am only an upper junior in college, though I’ve been in college for almost five years due to changing majors; I have spent a decent amount on textbooks. I have only once bought from my college store. This is because it was my first semester at CUNY rather than at a community college and I did not want the wrong books. See, professors at community colleges are easier to get in contact with and ask about ordering different editions. In my experience, they did not mind if you wanted to save money by ordering an older edition. Transferring to CUNY, which is completely online, I have had trouble finding professor’s emails and was forced to buy the full priced books.

Now that I am in my second semester of CUNY I feel that I can go back to buying online and have created a chart based on my findings. And trust me; I search high and low for deals before buying!

Pros Cons
  • Cheaper!
  • More choices
  • International and US editions
  • Instructor’s edition (rare to find but sometimes…)
  • Buyback option

 

  • Condition
  • May or May not include…
  • Wrong edition
  • International Edition

So there is it. My chart! I should probably explain some things though,

  • Cheaper – College textbooks are outrageously overpriced. This semester I have a book that costs me $200 alone! This also happens to be for a class in which I am not confident I will pass. (Calculus for all those interested) So I have taken the liberty of searching online. I bought a book that would have cost me $125 through the CUNY bookstore but at Textbooksrus it was only $70! (For the instructor’s edition at that! Yes, yes. Don’t lecture…)
  • Instructor’s Edition – I got lucky in finding the cheapest price for my book was an instructor’s edition. They are hard to find but include additional notes for those who have trouble. I will use it to learn, not cheat, as some people might think/do. I promise!
  • Buyback option. Both buying online and in a bookstore have a buyback option. I found that selling books online gives you a far better price than in a college bookstore! Put them up at the right time, a month or so before college starts, and you could make almost as much as you bought it for!

Cons

  • Condition – The condition might not be what you’d like. People lie. What someone else thinks is perfect, you might not. So be wary.
  • May or may not include – This is HUGE. HUGE. Make sure you do not need anything but the book before you buy! Otherwise you could lose money. Some classes require access codes or infotrac. Access codes can be bought separately but infotrac is hard to find. So please be careful! Also, if you are a seller, specify what is/is not included! It will up your sales!
  • Wrong/International Edition – I grouped this together because I believe they are the same thing. I have read that the only thing different about international books is the cover and ISBN. I DO NOT trust this. They are defiantly cheaper, so if you want to risk it, go ahead. Not me.

Here are some things that you might want to check out.

Textbook Coupons

Compare Prices

Valentine’s Day Giveaway 2011 at Being Alison – Chocolate, Candy, Red Velvet Cake and more!

See what I mean? I can’t think of stuff that would be interesting for you to read so this blog is left unattended for a few days.

Lately though, I have been entering all sorts of blog giveaways to see if I could ever actually win anything! Plus Valentines Day is coming up and a lot of blogs are giving away Valentine related items. Below is just that type of example!

Come on? Look how cute these little guys are! Located at Swiss Colony if you would like to purchase but you could also go to Being Alison for a chance to win a Valentines product of your choice! She was also nice enough to choose us readers for a chance tow in! So head on over to Being Alison if you would like a chance for some yummy Valentines Day goodies!

DIY-Weddings

I can’t keep myself interested in writing. Or maybe it is more so that I am not interesting enough to write.  Either way, I’m here trying to keep you all entertained for a least a minute until you click the exit button.

Did you know the average cost for a wedding is between 15,000 and 25,000. And this is just the average! (without ring/honeymoon factored in) Many people do not realize that there are ways to save money. YES! Money saving tips!

For example, why not make some of the things yourself? I am in the process of designing wedding invitations, because I want to be able to make them for people not myself, and if you created your own invitations that could save you money right off the bat!

I went into Hallmark the other day for ideas and can you believe that their invitations are around $70 for only 25! So if you wanted to invite 100 people that would be $280 just for invitations! No thanks. I’ll make my own.

Here I will add a few websites that are amazing for finding ways to create things yourself for your dream wedding.

DIY Weddings has tutorials and templates you can use. The templates are easily printed out and can be redesigned to your liking if you know how to ; ) .

Style Me Pretty has tutorials that people have actually done and submitted. There are tutorials for wedding favors (another thing that can add up) decor, cakes, etc…

There are more but I will save them for later!

Also here are a few of the designs I have been working on (P.S we are NOT getting married…I just feel creepy using different names)