so sorry i've been gone,

but here's some stuff I've done during my absence. Really don't have an excuse, it's not like I did much of anything exciting, or worthy of missing, what has it been? weeks? And everything that I did seems to result in lots of this:

That's right, the unglamourous reality of so much baking is dishes. Loads and loads of dishes piled up all sorts of places. Our dish-drainer is unable to contain them on many occasions.

Other than that there's just the stuff in between dishes, like quiche,

and an experimental blondie/brownie hybrid,

which I have taken to referring to as 'mad cows'

and some leftover fridge pizza, with all sorts of strange toppings, like broccoli.

There were of course lots of other things which came out of my kitchen in the last few weeks, like a new recipe for an oat cookie dipped in chocolate which are so tasty that I am having difficulty not consuming them all this afternoon.

They were originally created to go with the sorbet that I made (watermelon and leftover lemon from the monumental batch I made with the tons and tons of lemons we've had hanging around our house) but I really wanted to make some chocolate that I could dip them in and I just didn't think that went well with the fruit flavors. Perhaps I will make some sort of summer fruit drink with layered sorbet? And an umbrella I think. However it is difficult to motivate myself to do summery things, as it is more like February here, I am wearing socks and sweaters and have the oven on and seem to be craving soups and baked casseroles and warm and comforting foods, not fresh fruit and BBQ and sitting on the porch like I should be, considering what time of year it is. Oh deceptive weather how you mess with my summer plans, I want to wear shorts and lounge in the sun and go to the beach and no, plans foiled, I must wear a hat. So tragic.
Here also is a sneak peek of another project I have been spending an inordinate amount of time on, it takes copious hours to sew so many sequins, and now my floor is littered with them. Looks sort of festive really but I suppose I ought to clean it up.

And lastly, another random travel picture, look at that sunshine, that water, how I wish I could be there right now. Of course, in August it is actually snowing and bitter cold in the Southern Hemisphere, but this is imaginary travel, so in my daydream, the location of this photo would be drenched in sunshine right now OK. Don't rain on my parade. Though really it's chilly enough it may as well rain, while it's at it. And this concludes another episode of max-catches-up with some random pictures of whats come out of the oven recently, and vague allusions to what may be being created at my desk (or rather at the coffee table as I really need to clean my desk something fierce, it's quite the disarray, I just have too many piles shoved off to corners and it's time to thoroughly clean, and get some stuff done so that I don't feel like such a schmuck just lounging around all the time but I digress) and hopefully I will be able to maintain a more regular posting schedule, even once a week would be acceptable in comparison to the atrocity that is a multi-week hiatus, shame on me that, fingers crossed, I do not sink to that again.


lifes still giving me lemons

Not only is life giving me lemons, it is practically chucking them my head.

But really what is there to do when you're in this situation but make lemon sherbet. Sherbet is by the way, sugar water (or simple syrup) fruit or fruit juice and beaten egg whites. Yum. Also of course some little crunch lace oat cookies made with butter and brown sugar mixture. Yummy.

And as pulling the photos of sherbet I opened the wrong folder and stumbled upon all of my travel photos. Which are still on my camera. All many thousand of them. I've never truely counted. However I've never been able too take them off my camera, as there are just too many, and my computer is just too old. And even contemplating a few photos makes it stumble and sputter and protest. So until I upgrade the beast (ha!) on my camera they will stay. But to motivate myself to look at them, and maybe start doing something with them, I'm gonna start adding a random trip pic to each post. Plus there's lots of funny ones. Amid the many many cloud pictures. And without further ado, here is random trip picture number one (and bonus: it's ice cream themed!).


after the lemons given become shortbread cookies.....

....shortbread cookies which refuse to retain their shape and instead crumble when one looks at them, what can one do but make a crumbled cookie crust for nothing less than a cheesecake. And due to the berry selection at the market, it was impossible to keep it from being a cheesecake of the berry persuasion.

With five egg whites ( my arms are very glad I acquired a mini mixer, they can return to their laziness ) and tons and tons of crushed up berries which made the concoction assume such a delightful color. Raspberries mixed into the filling and thinly sliced strawberries lining the bottom of the crumb crust.

This shot of the finished product is oddly glow-y at the top and not too flattering (for the baked good or my photography skills) but it was taken at six am yesterday morning as the cake was a thank you to my father who helped me through an arduous journey and who I was going to be seeing later in the day and could therefore deliver it in person so the result of this very long sentence is please forgive the photograph. Shoddy work I know. But I made a gift cheesecake and that's pretty fantastic.

There was also so much filling I had to make a pan of cheesecake bars of sort. They are a pretty and slightly paler pink (didn't have to be cooked for as long as they were smaller) and very tasty. The creamy berry filling (with bits of larger berry pieces) and the crumbly tart lemon crust, was all very good together.

Oh and this face here, this was why I made a cheesecake gift. I bought a car (note the shocked look on my face) and it was a timely and crazy thing to go to full of choices and decisions. So congratulations to me, as I am now the proud owner of a whooping dose of adulthood (I still say that if I cannot correctly fold a fitted sheet by myself I am not REALLY grown up yet) but overall good stuff cause now I am not terrified to drive to work each day thinking some vital piece will fall off any moment and it is also very pretty. And has automatic windows! win. Plus if you inspire cheesecake to be made you must be pretty great.


when life gives you lemons...

...like these beauties here, what do you do but make lemon shortbread.

It was such a pretty batch of ingredients with that zing of yellow zest and lemon juice.

And the leftover extra bits I can just use to make a crust for a cheesecake. You know, hypothetially. I don't plan these things out at all. I swear.

Moving on, I decided to make my minor hat collection (they say that any more than a few which is two or three, and it's a collection, and if that holds true I have an ALARMING number of collections) into art. Or some sort of wall decoration But is didn't want them to be unwearable, as I do wear them, of course, I mean that is what hats are for after all. So I decided to just hang them with clothespins I would somehow attach to the wall, that way they could be unclipped and thrown on my head as I am running out the door (and I always seem to be running out of doors, or even worse, on occasion, into them).

So I pulled out my little mini drill and put a small slanted hole in the back of my wooden clothespins, that would fit a small brad.

Then I nailed the clothespins in some semblance of a pattern, really more random than I would have liked, and clipped all the hats in their place.

And Voila! Now I can see all my hats and therefore wear them, plus they look cool so it's nice to see them all the time.


a cold summer day + my awesome flea market find

It has been unseasonably cool here in the east bay this July. Thank goodness for the short week cause the weather has had me feeling off-kilter. Thank goodness I was able to motivate myself to make some soup (potato leek-my Tuesday stop at the grocery for essentials turned into that game where I purchase every vegetable I can find!)and cheese biscuits to take the chill off. Soup in July seems odd, it could have been February for all it seemed, but the soup was good, as were the chocolate peanut butter cookies that followed (the oven was already on for the biscuits so.....)

We made a point of (finally) making it to the Alameda Flea Market last Sunday (roommate and I) after talking about it for ever, and always seeming to miss it by a day, and it was actually a very good weekend cause it was a little less crowded than i imagine it would have been if so many people had not been so occupied with holiday stuff. And it was massive and expansive and so well cultivated (and good food) and such fantastic stuff to root through, pile of junk and odd things and hidden treasure, like this tin cake carrying case my special-lady-friend spotted. With chickens. It has little clips that go over the lip of the plate so that it hold on, and you can carry it by the handle and transport your cake in style!!! Or any other baked goods. Cupcakes or cheesecake or what have you. But dude it has a handle! And every where we went after I scooped it up, it was commented on cause really how often do you see tin rooster-adorned tin cake transportation devices?! honestly, in this day and age not very often.


and a recipe?? what's this maddness???

Well sort of. That is some steep misrepresentation and I don't want to lure anyone down a path of lies and deceit. I am writing down what I do and creating recipes as it were, however I am still in the testing stage. Therefore they are not ready for sharing. Apologies.

I would however like to share these muffins, which are the result of my desperate need to use some veggies loitering around over-long in my fridge, specific culprits would be some carrots and zucchinis. What to do? Well if carrot cake and zucchini bread work, why not combine both into a muffin?

Hypothetically sounds a bit weird. Especially if one were to throw in some apple, some oats and coconut and yogurt. This is just getting downright strange.
[please note the use of a measuring cup......this is very exciting stuff]

But then I put the whole mess into muffin tins and into a warm oven and let me tell you it is unfortunate that there isn't some sort of scratch 'n sniff technology developed for the Internet yet cause my apartment smelled so good. I was nearly trying to eat the furniture. Luckily they came out of the oven and were perfectly fluffy and warm and I was very happy in the tummy and pleased that I had written down what I had done, so that I could replicate it at a later date. I'm working on a project which incorporates these recipes (also developing one for scones and another for cheesecake) so that will be around at some point. Fingers crossed. Nice this week is so short and is half over after only two days. Got lots of projects in the works for the weekend. And muffins to see me through the next few days!


some minor craftiness

It has been a busy crazy week work-wise and then what with there being an extra day of week-end, well that never seems to work out like one plans. Unless my plan had been to get a super artfully shaped sunburn and some very tired toes and see some back lit by colored lights trees as opposed to actual fireworks. Cause if that had been my plan it would have been working like gangbusters cause that's just how my weekend went down. Well that plus some Chinese food and bits of intermittent thrifting/fleamarketing and such. But the sunburn, well that is certainly not something I ever include in plans. Partially because I acquire them so rarely that I am able to forget how horrible they are in between each occurrence. I shall have to write myself a note.
Anyway I digress, rather majorly actually. I was going to talk about some crafting. As you can see, I am also feeling the need to take artful photos of said previously discussed crafting. Or rather, it's an iffy lighting situation in my apartment at 10:30 pm. But I sort of like the rosy look.

This is a tester for a further project, I will try to get a picture of the finished product on my roommates door (it's her birthday this week and I'm all for festivizing other peoples days-of-birth up the whazoo) but for now here is an in-process photo to give you a hint. A clue. An inkling of what may happen.

And I also made a new batch of cards. Using some strange vellum scored on my behalf from a salvation army in Santa Rosa, and some stamps both hand cut and borrowed from the roommate. I like tying them up in little packets. Very satisfying.

And as a teaser or preview or what-have-you, here is a clue as to what is coming next! This picture here is really just me self-indulgently trying to see how close I could get with my swiftly-decaying camera and stay in focus, but I am excited to announce, that there is a recipe coming with the photos and story. That's right, you heard correctly, I am, for the sake of a future project, actually recording what I do when I bake so that it could (hypothetically) be recreated by me or someone other than me at some later date at some undisclosed location. Whoops sorry, watched too many spy movies recently. Nope no briefcases full of non-sequential bills here, just me cleaning out the vegetable drawer in the fridge and making something magical. No joke.