September 15, 2014

Weekly Wishes #6

It was a great week and it went by very quickly. I've been visiting family in Washington State for the past few weeks and I'm already heading home on Wednesday. It's been a great trip just relaxing with the family. Lets see what I can get done this week in two states!

Last Week's Wishes

  1. Spread the word about 'The Bloggin' Book Club' // It's been a pretty successful week for our (Blooming Air Force Bride) Bloggin' Book Club, everyone participating took a poll for which book we'll be reading for the month. Check out here, if you'd like to join in! I'll be adding a graphic to the sidebar, if anyone needs to refer to the original post about the book club.
  2. Make Macarons with my brothers // We made it happen, granted we made two batches, but it was a definite success the second time around. Read about it here!
  3. Schedule blog posts for the next two weeks. // Nope and nope ... And that's all I'll be saying about that.
  4. Read 6 books & write reviews. // I did it again, whoo-hoo! I am 42 books behind schedule, but I'm still determined to reach my goal of 200 books before the year is done.

This Week's Wishes

    1. Continue to read 6 books and write reviews immediately. It's a habit that I must get into for my book reviewing blog.
    2. Decide on what blog/daily planner to get. I have a few in mind and there will be a blog post about it, once I decide on which planner I'll be getting.
    3. Create holiday cards to send out to the family and friends. I am horrible at sending stuff out ... like our wedding thank you cards, I know ... shame on me! For the holidays, I'll be sending an update/thank you card, it doesn't quite make up for the year late 'thank yous'. But I hope it'll be okay, I feel horrible about it.
    4. Put up our book shelves. Before I flew out to Washington, I started a DIY bookshelf project, everything was stained and painted, but we didn't get around to hanging them up. The hubby got rid of our old bookshelf, which was super awesome of him to do while I was gone. Now our place will almost be back to normal, stay posted this week for details!
    5. Find inspiration for Fall decor around the house. So, we live in Hawai'i and it has been extremely hard for me to be in the mood to decorate for a season that doesn't exist. As you all know, Hawai'i only has one season and it's full of sunshine, which I'm not complaining about. But growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I sure do miss my seasons. I made it a goal this year to decorate for Fall, I just started a pinterest board to get things going. I'll definitely have to share with all of you about the DIY projects I'll take on for the Fall decor.
    What are you hoping to accomplish this week?

    September 11, 2014

    Simple Macarons Recipe

     

    For the longest time, I've been wanting to make macarons, but I guess you can say that I've been intimidated to even attempt it. Well one day, my brothers and I decided that we needed to just give it a try and off we went. After reading and saving numerous recipes, I realized that everything HAS to be exact or they won't come out the way they should.

    Our first batch was rather disappointing and it was a huge fail for us. I took them out of the oven way too early, so we were left with a sticky undercooked mess, but it did taste delicious! During our second batch, we changed our technique of folding in the ingredients together and baked them longer. We got a much better result, but the top part of the shell was hollow and it was overcooked, so they were very crunchy.

    My next goal is to perfect my skills towards making these delicious treats ... in the humidity of Hawai'i. It won't be easy, but I already have some theories to test out.

    My Tips

    • Have the necessary equipment:
      • piping bag
      • 1/2 inch round piping tip
      • baking mat/parchment paper (we used both)
    • Don't cut any corners; follow the recipe, exactly.
    • Watch videos beforehand. After our failed first batch, we went to youtube and watched how the mix should look each step of the way. I can't even begin to tell you, how much those videos helped us.
    • Buy a silicone baking mat, I purchased mine from World Market for 17.99, I think. I'm sure you could find one cheaper through Amazon. The mat I purchased has a macaron piping guide on it; pretty nifty!
    • The drying process is very important, that's how you get the shiny beautiful shell. On the recipe, it says to leave to dry for 20 minutes, but we did 30 minutes and saw better results.
    • Don't get frustrated or discouraged; it's expected to try this recipe more than once, unless you're one of those amazing-gifted bakers!
    Silicone Baking Mat by Good Cooks.

    Simple Macaron Recipe

    Makes 10-15

    Ingredients

    • 100g / 1 cup icing / powder sugar
    • 100g / 1 cup ground almonds
    • 2 medium, egg whites
    • Small pinch salt
    • 55g / ¼ cup caster / fine sugar
    • For the filling:
    • 150g / 1 ½ cups unsalted butter, softened
    • 75 g / 2/3 cup icing / powder sugar

    Directions

    Combine the sifted almond flour and powdered sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.

    Pour your egg whites, salt into a clean large bowl and beat until they form soft peaks. Then gradually add the granulated sugar while still beating. You are done when stiff peaks form, if you can flip the bowl upside down and the mixture doesn't fall out; success! If that makes you nervous, tilt it to the side.

    Fold the almond flour mixture into the egg whites in 2 additions. Don't over-mix.

    Prep 2 large pans with baking mat/parchment paper. Pour your batter into a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip. Pipe about 1-inch circles onto your pans, leaving about 2 inches of space between each macaron. Drop the pan a few inches above your counter to remove air bubbles. Do it more than once.

    Let your macarons sit at room temperature for 30-40 minutes. When you touch your finger to a macaron the batter should not stick to you.

    Place your rack in the middle of the oven and bake one pan at 300F for 7-8 minutes. Let cool completely.

    & good luck.

    We referred to the Pink Wings and British Foods recipe.

    September 9, 2014

    Man Crates Do or Die Challenge


    Last month I was contacted by Man Crates, which is a site that I wished I discovered sooner. Looking for a manly gift with "no bows, ribbons, or fluff", Man Crates just might fit your needs. I'm such a fan of their packaging and the themes they have for each. Such as carnivore, beer lover, gamer, and even an athlete. And they're huge supporters of the military, so if you're looking to send a care package to your loved overseas fighting for our country, they will proudly ship to APO & FPO addresses!


    They challenged me to share my "5 Do or Die Essentials". It's pretty hilarious that they reached out to me since we're currently stationed on Oahu. We're definitely not stranded, but we sure do miss some things from the mainland. For the mister and myself, we'd definitely make each others essentials, as well as our families and friends, so here's what we chose.

    Our Essentials

     
    For the hubby, he chose coffee, beer (his fave), books, video games, and work.  Pretty simple list ;)
     
     
    Skittles has been favorite candy since I was a kid and wild berry is my top choice. We have Spotify Premium and I love being able to listen to my music anytime, and everywhere. My Lumia 920, where my music and pictures are at, it's really what I use it for. Kindle Fire for all my reading needs and my body pillow from Costco.

    It was fun putting this list together, what are your essentials?