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Flower Cakes!

30 Jan

Wow!  Has it really been since November since I’ve last posted?  Obviously I missed all the “big” blogging topics- Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and my bday.  Arrrggg.

The last few months have been challenging technology wise.  My car decided to run into a pole covered in concrete… in a parking lot, while going five miles an hour.  Then, my phone decided to be naughty by not letting the other person hear my voice.  My MacBook thought having a fuzzy grey bar down the middle was a great design choice.  Notsomuch. 

Technology and I are building trust again, but I still have one eye open just in case.

Well, besides all these hiccups, I can say the last few months have been truly sublime.  I feel like such a happy girl that I often want to pinch myself!  More on that later, but for now here’s a bunch of photos of things I’ve made recently.

We had to make a two tiered wedding cake out of fondant and include any type of flowers.  The cake is enrobed in white fondant (for some reason it looks pink in some of the pictures) and has white and blush-pink flowers. There is also a silver chevron pattern on the bottom and tiny white, blush and silver balls around it.

I LOVED making flowers.

 I think mine turned out so beautiful and realistic.  It was very time consuming- I wanted them to look REAL and the only way to do that was to have super thin petals.

The flowers dry out over time, but the petals are flimsy and slightly sticky and ooohhhh so fragile when you’re working with them.

 I kinda feel like fondant and I are best friends.

Here are more fondant flowers, just a different technique.  Each person seriously made like 40 flowers by hand this day.  They kinda look like molds, or cutouts, but trust me, they are not.  I was inspired by this and this … both images I saw on Pinterest.

Okay, well I know these are only two things but I’ve got to run! I plan on getting everything up within the next week or so. 

See ya later alligators!

♥ Heather


Cake Class!

10 Nov

We’ve been making cakes in class this whole week.

It’s been SO FUN.

Monday we practiced making flowers.  My little bro is turning twelve this weekend, so I made this for him.  Looking back, it’s kiiiinda girly for my super muscly football player, but whatever.  He should be thankful.  Ehhh I miss him and want to give him kissessss!

On Tuesday we used our carrot cakes to practice covering a cake and making figurines with marzipan.  I’m not a huge fan of marzipan or fondant, but it does make pretty cakes.  And the carrot cake was soooooo delicious.  I had to throw out the scraps because I couldn’t stop eating it.  Absolutely no self control.  Ever.

Don’t look at those “r’s”.  The chocolate was seizing. Eh. Look at the cute bunny!

Yesterday we practiced flooding chocolate.  First, you pipe the black outline, then add the detail, then pipe the colored chocolate.

It was hard getting just the right color, but I was really happy with how it turned out!  Fairy Odd Parents is one of my favorite cartoons to watch with my little bro and sis.  I seriously wish I could sit on my couch and watch this with them when they come home from school.

Blah, I couldn’t get the glare out.  Acetate paper makes the chocolate so shiny… which is a great thing in person.

Today we did 2D cakes with fondant… getting ready for those 3D wedding cakes!  I’ve been kinda obsessed with making an Angry Birds anything since I realized it would have made the cutest sugar sculpture a couple of weeks ago.

The lettering isn’t perfect.  I wanted to just paint the borders, but someone convinced me airbrushing it would have been easier… which it was, but didn’t look the way I wanted it too.  BLAH.  I still think it’s cute and if we didn’t have a noon deadline I would have added a bad guy and it would have been PERFECT.

♥ Heather

Words of wisdom from Chef Musa Dagdeviren… Turkish badass.

8 Nov

Words of wisdom from Chef Musa, who was really the star of the conference (or at least the Eastern Mediterranean side).

Read what The New Yorker said about him HERE.

While I loved helping to create “modern” Turkish food, my stomach LOVED the traditional Turkish food being made beside me.  The flavors and textures were both unexpected and like nothing I had ever eaten before.

Gosh, I wish I knew what this was.  I had seconds and thirds.

So, I was excited when Chef Musa’s translator gave me a cup of this beautifulness… until she told me it was pickled veggies.

I’m not really into anything pickled.  But, of course I had to be polite and try it.

And thank goodness God I did.  America seriously needs to learn how to pickle like Musa.  It didn’t taste vinegary like most pickled things I’ve had, but incredibly well balanced.  I wish this recipe was in our master recipe document from the conference, but I can’t find it.  GRRRR.

One of my favorite parts of the conference was when Chef Musa, with his translator, took me aside and told us that it didn’t matter how famous you were or how many customers you have.  The most important thing is to be positive and have passion because your love and your emotion extends from your heart and mind through your hands and into your food.

That’s something I hope to remember wherever the future takes me.

Me, Belen (the translator/grad), Chef Musa, Molly, and his wife/photographer.

♥ Heather

Worlds of Flavor!

7 Nov

Last week school was shut down for the annual Worlds of Flavor conference.  You can learn more about that here.  Basically, every year our school invites 60 badass chefs from around the world to show off their skills to other leading chefs, foodservice industry pros, experts, writers and foodies.  Being around hundreds of the hospitality elite for a week is definitely one of the perks of going to such a great school. 🙂

So, this year’s theme was World Causal.  I was on team Mediterranean, working on the hot side for the popular London TV personality/cookbook author and exec chef of Quince restaurant in London, Chef Silvena Rowe.  I’m not going to lie, it was hard work.  There were many stressful moments (like, “holy ish what do anise flowers even look like” as I’m searching the schools garden… or realizing that I hadn’t eaten in 48 hours), but in the end it was one of the greatest experiences of my life.  I worked almost 60 hours in five days, drank way too much coffee, made beautiful and delish food on the hotside (who knew!), and learned important lessons from inspiring and well established chefs.  You know that song, “I am woman, hear me raaawwwrrr”? Well, I sang that to myself many, many times.

I didn’t get any pictures with the chef I was under or all the food we made, which makes me really sad.  Her recipes are amazing.  Straightforward, modern Turkish food for posh Londoners, she truly keeps the integrity of her ingredients.  Although I’ve seen TV chefs around campus, this was the first time I’ve actually worked under one.  Her passion was infectious.  I’ve always found it difficult to talk about my own food.  Mostly because I get nervous, or embarrassed and always have that worry that they’re not going to like my food as much as I may. But this woman, sheeessshhh.  She can sell it and talk to a crowd!   In her demos she would take a bite of food (that I made, btw 🙂 ) and say, “I really wish you could try this because my recipe makes the best lamb you will ever have”.  And it’s true, it was delish.

Oh yeah, I have an open invite to London when I graduate too.  Which is pretty awesome and made the whole experience 100 times more worth it.  Obviously.

Here’s some photos of the conference…

“Surf and Turf”, made for the first seminar, “…Flavors from Turkey and Greece to Lebanon and Syria”.

Chef had me go up on stage with her to plate/cook the dishes while she talked about them.  She only had 8 min, so I did most of the cooking/prep ahead of time.  There were over 100 people in the audience.  100 very, very important people.  Dear Jesus, my hand was shaking!

Minced veal, veal spare rib and king prawn kabobs (we didn’t skewer them), served with oregano za’atar and a fennel, pink radish, red onion, pomegranate and flower salad.

“Orange and Orange Blossom Baklava” served with Greek yogurt and passion fruit puree.

250 portions for  Friday’s lunch dessert.

Hands down the most amazing baklava I have ever tasted.  This was surreal.

“Ottoman Spice Lamb Cutlets with Grapefruit Za’atar and Tahini and Lemon Sauce”

Made for the Mediterranean Spice Seminar

I’ve prepared meat at home, but doing it professionally is a completely different thing.  My chef gave me a lot of freedom (all responsibility for the recipes) so I manned up and grilled/cooked every single dish!  It was quite empowering.

“Spiced Lamb Rillette with Courgettes and Chile Pesto”

Also for the Mediterranean Spice Seminar.

I marinated the lamb shanks in suzme (Greek yogurt), orange zest, cardamom, baharat and other spices, braised it for seven hours, shredded it, made a terrine and let it sit overnight.  We served it on toasted sourdough and a slightly spicy courgette and chile pest, topped with Chef’s grapefruit za’atar. Amazing.

I didn’t make these, but they were also for the Mediterranean Spice Seminar.

The left and middle are from Chef Ana Sortun, from Oleana.  The right is from Australian Lamb, who sponsored the seminar.

My amiga was on restauranteur/Iron Chef Jose Garces’ team.

They made a “Foie Torchon with a Tomato and Jalapeno Jam” for Saturday’s Marketplace.  The photo doesn’t do the orgasm in my mouth justice.

Oooh la la, my school got cultural… and scandalous!

My friend and I were walking around the Marketplace, tasting everything in sight, when we heard music and saw at least twenty male chefs in awe.

200 apples for apple tart tatin.  7am-1130pm day! AYE!

Anything for my favorite chef instructor!

An egg dish the TA’s made for breakfast on Saturday.  I was huuunnngrryyy and didn’t know when I would have time to eat, so after making a pancake and citrus butter sandwich (and scarfing it down in 3min) I stuffed one of these in my mouth. Sooo gooooood.

 “Raw Beetroot with Goat Cheese, Orange Fillet, Garlic Chips, and Mustard Cress”.

From Chef Doxis Bekris.  My teammate was his assistant… everything he made was so beautiful, but this was the only thing I got a picture of.

Those are all my pictures from the conference! I’m so bummed I didn’t get the pictures of the other things I made. I also made “Rib eye teak with oregano za’atar salt”, 250 “jumbo prawns with Grapefruit and Aleppo chile vinaigrette and grapefruit za’atar”, 250 “roasted king prawns in pomegranate butter and anise flowers”, “watermelon and cherry tomato salad with feta, almond and za’atar crumble”, and “Shawarma Poussin”.  I’m sure you can get any of the recipes in one of her cookbooks.

Also, I’d be happy girl if I never, ever, EVER have to de-shell and de-veign another prawn again.  It wasn’t gross, just annoying.  I’d rather go home smelling like sweetness rather than fish and onions and garlic.  I don’t know how the hot side does it.

♥ Heather

Wine and Love

12 Oct

You know what makes me truly sublimely happy? Wine and love. You know what’s even better? Witnessing love in others. Now that’s deep. A few weeks ago my Brazilian friend’s boyfriend flew all the way from the mid-west to Napa Valley just to see her pretty face.

Let me give you a little back story. This is the most energetic, full of life, FUN, smart, silly, extremely girly girl you’ll ever meet. We both have this rule (a rule that will be carried out in the far, far future, obviously) that our future daughters (fuuuuturrrrre) will be able to wear pants or shorts when they are old enough to buy them for themselves. Until then, it’s super girly/frilly princess dresses, even if they are stained with mud or torn to pieces. My friend probably has a better chance of reinforcing this just because she LIVES this on an almost daily basis. When she’s not in her comfy clothes, you can see her effortlessly walking around in little dresses and high shoes. I don’t know how she does it… it’s probably her Brazilianess.

My friend fell in love with an all-American former Marine from a small town in Pennsylvania. This boy likes to shoot guns, hunt, fish, camp and hike.

She is Posh Spice. He is GI Joe.

He just stole her heart… She stole his… And it’s cuuuute.

Anyways, we went wine tasting at one of my favorite wineries.

There are so many wineries in the valley, but I always find myself here. The tasting room is just breathtaking on a beautiful day.

Oh, and I love the coasters with words of wisdom.

Love these peeps:)

♥ Heather

Fig and pear picking… slash breaking into the house.

22 Sep

Last weekend my roomie and I decided to throughly investigate our beautiful fruit trees. The homeowner takes very good care of her fruit and we didn’t want to let her down.

After picking bowls and bowls of pears (she picked the tall ones because I’m sorta short) we were poking around the figs, talking about how we couldn’t wait till they were ready when, ah! We found some yummy, squishy, ripe ones!

They were so perfectly sweet and delicious. We ate every single one, but definitely have plans for the rest! I am waiting very, very impatiently for the rest. 

Hurry please!

Oh yeah, somehow during the fig excitement we locked ourselves out of the house. We are the BEST burglars. 

♥ Heather

My last two weeks in a nutshell.

21 Sep

Well now, I feel like these last two weeks have been go go go!  I’m finally sitting down on my couch (in my absolutely adorable new house, btw… we’ll talk about that later) with no homework, studying, work, or appointments to worry about. Now that I can finally breathe, let’s do a little recap…

So, exactly two weeks ago I drove my car aaaaall the way from Orange County back to Napa for school. I left at midnight, which, looking back probably wasn’t the smartest choice I’ve made in my life. Not only was it super dark, but the roads had more trucks than I have ever seen.  Every time I sped past one I prayed it wouldn’t tip over on my little space rocket car! Also, my great gma made me drink two pots… yes, pots, of coffee before I went on the road. It kept me up for the 8 hour drive, but also made me have to stop in almost every gas station along the 5. Not so safe. Sorry mom.

Besides that, the drive was wonderful. I sang at the top of my lungs (it was dark so no one could judge) and had a lot of time to think about the past year and things I want for the next year. We’ll go into depth later.

I passed SF just as the sun was rising (amazing) then drove way too fast for the last hour stretch. Driving into my little town in Napa was such a relief. I was a bit unsure about how I would feel moving back for another year after living in the city for 5 months, but one look at the vineyards, the hot air balloons getting filled, and our single bar made me sooooo psyched for my last year at school!

Okay, so my friend and I sorta rented a place we saw on the internet without ever actually seeing it. SCARY, right? Well, luck was definitely on our side because our house is like a gift from heaven! It’s small, but perfect for the two of us. Totally furnished in the cutest way possible aaaannd has fig, pear, lemon, walnut and plum trees, plus a little grape-vine. I’m going to post pics of my beautiful fruit later!

Let’s see… So, after the eight-hour drive I basically just fell asleep. I got up the next day, unpacked, polished my résumé, went on an interview, drove to SF for Beach Blanket Babylon (that’s a whooole different post), got OFFERED THE JOB!!!! and then went out with some friends as celebration. Theeeennn I got up the next morning, drove to the airport, unpacked my storage unit, drove BACK to Napa, unpacked the car again, took a 15 min nap, got dressed and drove aaaalll the way back to San Fran for a concert, met up with some friends I hadn’t seen in 5 months, went to sleep in the wee hours of the morning, got up just in time for the Giants game, saw them kick some major Dodger booty, drove my friend back to the airport, drove aaaalll the way back to Napa and then started school at 7am the next day. Everyday since that weekend my life has been school, work, sleep, repeat.

Ah! I’m exhausted! My body is finally getting used to the schedule (I had three weeks of pure vacation glory, so it took longer than usual) and I’m happy not only to be blogging, but also catching up on my favorite blogs. Plus, I’m stalking Pinterest again. Because that website is just too addicting and I haven’t posted to my boards in way too long.

Here’s a few pictures, but more are definitely on their way!

My friend and I went to the Giants game on 9/11.

Well, if this isn’t proof that I’m a curse to the Dodgers, I don’t know what is. I’ve never been prouder to be a little ball of bad luck:)

It was also the first time I’ve sat on the bay side. So fun!

Brand New concert in SF.

Have loved them for forever, but realized I’m no longer an emo kid at heart. I couldn’t wait to get out of there and dance and be merry! Plus, they played new songs I didn’t really know and not enough old ones. There was a random girl in front of us giving her BF a lap dance, which was hilariously not cute. I mean, Brand New isn’t really mood music, ya know?

(Oh, and I can’t really take Jesse Lacey seriously after he had that video chat sesh early this summer.)

Pears from our tree!

Okay! Going to get some much needed sleep. Goodnight!


Dates with the kiddos!

6 Sep

Last week I had a date with some of my old students! September is kind of a hard time for me. The holiday season and the end of the year are tied. I just miss them so, so much! If you didn’t know, I worked for the school district for five years, but was lucky enough to stay at one particular school for four of them. You can read more about that here.

I LOVE this kiddo. I remember pushing her on the swings when she was in kinder, listening to her read books far beyond her grade’s reading level in first grade, and seeing her blossom in second. It’s been a year since I’ve seen her, but it was so wonderful to catch up over one of my favs, frozen yogurt!

For the past three years I would also tutor two of the sweetest, kindest boys. We had so much fun going over the alphabet and working on long division! One of the greatest moments about working with kids is at the end of the day they don’t want to leave you. Just because they want to learn more. They look exactly the same, but soooo tall! I can truly say that I love this family. The momma is so positive and loving, just how I hope to be someday.

She invited me over to show her how to make a tres leches cake, Italian buttercream and chocolate frosting. It was fun fun fun doing this while sipping mimosas and chatting away! I was sipping, but somehow my mimosa always stayed full:)

Here’s a picture of them grubbing away…

Sometimes you forget how sitting and chatting with kids can completely light up your day. I miss having them in my daily life. I miss their stories, their excitement, and teaching them new things. Somehow I need to figure out how to merge my passion for baking and my love for these kids.

♥ Heather

Bruxies, Gyros and Loukoumades at the Orange Street Fair!

4 Sep

It’s Labor Day! And that means the Orange International Street Fair is here. It’s one of my favorite things to do in Orange County during the long weekend. If you’ve never been to the Orange Circle, imagine a plaza in the center, surrounded by antique shops, art galleries, restaurants, bars, old-fashioned homes and pretty gardens. Basically one of the cutest downtown “Main Streets”.

Well, every Labor Day weekend the circle gets transformed. The streets radiating out of the circle become filled with vendors and food from all over the world. The past few years I have stuck mostly to, ahem, trying all the different beer offered and dancing to Irish music. But, this year we decided to try the food too! 

First stop!

Irish sausages, teriyaki skewers, and gyros!

I’m not really a fried food kinda girl. It just doesn’t feel… clean? Tempura? No thanks. Fries? I’d rather have them baked. Chips? Donuts? Mmm I can do without. There’s just something about food cooked in hot oil that makes my stomach turn. Oh, and what it does to my energy and mood!

That being said, we passed by this booth on Greek Street. After seeing the enormous line, we had to see what all the fuss was. I was kinda hesitant at first, but the crowd was enthusiastic. “These aren’t donuts! They’re bursts of delicious!” one man corrected me.

Well? Sweet Heaven, I love you. They’re basically a sweet fried dough that is rolled in honey and cinnamon, then dusted with powdered sugar. When you bite into one, it literally feels like honey is bursting in your mouth. Amazing. So amazing that my friend yelled, “Five second rule!” and stuffed one in his mouth after he had dropped it on the ground. THE GROUND. They are definitely on my to-do list!

On the way to the car, we stopped by Bruxie. It was my first time, but our friend is a veteran.

They make sweet and savory waffle sandwiches… perfect for the Chapman College students across the street, or an after hours snack. Everything from prosciutto and Gruyère, to bacon, egg and cheddar. They even serve vegetarian and gluten-free options. I had to eeny-meeny-miny-moe the S’more and Nutella and banana sandwiches!

I’m not a soda drinker. My mom told us it was poison and never bought it, so now it makes my tummy hurt. But, they make their own with cane sugar! The boys say it tastes great! P.S. look at the powdered sugar on my friend’s nose.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken & Waffle Bruxie. Served with chili honey and coleslaw

Belgium chocolate, graham cracker & toasted marshmallow

We left with very satisfied tummies!

♥ Heather

Tres Leches Cupcakes and fam time

31 Aug

Being home for longer than a weekend means spending time with some very, very important people.

I headed over to my aunt’s house to do some baking for them and my great grandma. These ladies are hilarious. My grandma is in her 90’s but still as sassy as ever. I left getting told that I’m going to be an old maid and that she was going to start talking about me as soon as I left. I love the honesty? I hope I’m just like that when I’m her age.

Oh, she also told me to she had an outfit my little sister would love. It’s a velvet top/pant set that didn’t fit her. And it’s black. Obviously my sis is going to jump at the chance to get her 23-year-old body in this hot number. I didn’t even know velvet was a legit fabric for clothes.

I finally got to see the new addition to the fam, Miss Lilly Grace. She’s the cutest, happiest baby I have ever seen. No tears, no fussing. Just lotsa smiles and giggling… just how a baby should be. I’m the oldest great-grandchild and she’s the youngest. 24 years of separation.

So, I’m finally posting pictures/recipes of things I’ve baked. Because, yeah. If you didn’t know, my blog is called YummySheBaked for a reason. And I can write about things other than boys and school and stuff.

Tres Leches Cupcake (via)

Moist and light, these cupcakes are always a winner. The actual cupcake is very simple to make, but it really takes patience to wait for them to absorb the liquid. I’ve made them dozens of times and seriously fight with the desire to pour the liquid over them. DON’T do it. Some of your cupcakes will be dry if you do. I also included my favorite whipped cream recipe. I like to dust freshly ground cinnamon over the top, but I’m sure store-bought ground cinnamon tastes great too.

Yields= 20 cupcakes

6ea  Large eggs, separated

1c  Sugar

1/4t  Baking Soda

1/4t  Salt

1/2c  Butter, melted

1c  All Purpose Flour, sifted

1can  Condensed Milk

1can  Evaporated Milk

3/4c  Heavy Cream

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare cupcake pans, two liners per cupcake.
  2. Combine egg yolks and sugar until completely combined.
  3. Whisk whites, baking soda, and salt until soft peaks (the peak should fall over slightly)
  4. Add a little bit of whipped whites to the yolk/sugar mixture.
  5. Fold in yolks to whites until you see only a few streaks. Try to not deflate the eggs.
  6. Fold in a little bit of eggs to melted butter, then fold in butter to egg mixture.
  7. Fold in sifted flour.
  8. Using a cookie scoop, fill liners 2/3 way full.
  9. Bake 20-25min.
  10. Whisk condensed milk, evaporated milk and heavy cream until combined.
  11. Poke wholes in hot cupcakes. Using a pastry brush, brush each cupcake with Tres Leches mixture one by one, going over each one until you use all the mixture.

Whipped Cream

2c  Heavy Cream

1/4c  Sugar

1/2t  Vanilla Extract

pinch  Salt

1. Whisk until medium peak.

I’ve been busy not being busy…

29 Aug

The last week at home has been super relaxing! What is it about home that makes you eat way too much and relax more than you should? You would think I would have gotten a post or two in, but yeaaah… doing nothing is harder than it sounds.

I started off seeing the very end of my little bro’s football scrimmage. Ah, he’s so tall and strong now but I still want to grab his cheeks and kiss him! I’m crazy in love and just can’t help it.

The adorable cheerleaders made cake pops. They were only a dollar so we had to get them. 

After the game I had tacos. And then my momma bought ribs. I didn’t want to eat them but the meat was seriously falling off the bone. So super delish.

Tired little football player after a long game and too much food. I want to pinch him.

I saw this with my long time guy friend, who (crossing my fingers) is going to road trip with me back to Napa. It’s pretty cute… go see! 

I also drove for the first time in almost five months. Which should be scary if you know about my lack of driving skills, but I think it has really turned me into a more cautious driver. Maybe? Going over 60 makes me search for cops and I’ve finally started to slow down when I see a yellow light. But, yeaahh… California rolls and constant mirror checking (as in, checking myself in the mirror) have not/will not leave my system.   

Oh! I’ve also been cooking/baking a ton. Actual food post coming soon!

I’m home!

20 Aug

I’m home! The fam bought a new house a few months ago, so it doesn’t feel like “home” just yet. My momma refused to send me any pictures and the google (stalker) search didn’t really answer the important questions- how big is the kitchen and which rooms have the best lighting for my makeup? Also, is there a full length mirror? I’m still trying to figure out the light switches- there’s a ton and none of them seem to do what I want. Where are all the outlets? How about the silverware and cereal bowls? Google, you really need to step it up.

I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite parts of going home is the abundance of food. My refrigerator in San Francisco was… ummm… pathetic? Peanut butter, bread, honey, Nutella, apricot jam and eggs. Oh, and maybe a tomato or arugula on days I felt fancy. Dishes have never really been my thing, so sandwiches and eggs were pretty much my go to meal. I was pretty well fed at work. Why buy produce and protein when I can get misfired salmon/ahi/gnocchi at work?  Thank you restaurant biznass.

Anyways, I haven’t had cereal in like, 5 months. Or leftovers. Or a quesadilla. Easy things, but yeah, they don’t sell just one tortilla at the grocery store. My momma’s fridge and I have been best friends for today and today only. After a week off, I’m getting my behind back to the gym.

Oh, and I can’t wait to hang at the beach! And to see my little bro’s opening day for football!

Here’s his cuteness jumping off the waterfall at our family friend’s casa. I love this kid. He’s so cute and sweet and tall and strong! I’m sure you can tell through the blurriness.

Moving to escuela

15 Aug

This was written August 17, 2010… 5 days before I moved to Napa for the very first time. I found it in my drafts and couldn’t believe how much has changed in the past year. I’m pretty sure the reason I never posted it was because I sound like an emotional nutcase haha. I mean, up until this point I was writing about balls, sausage, my hair and how to get out of a ticket. And then things got reaaaaal. If you know me, it’ll be no surprise to hear of my magic skill of hiding out in my bat cave when things get real.

It’s very rare for me to truly share my feelings- both the good ones and the bad. So yeah, I read this and thought, whatevs… I’m so incredibly proud of the young woman I was then. I’m going to put it out there. I left it unedited and unfinished. It’s a first draft, so it may be a bit all over the place. But, it’s honest. 

How do you write a post about something you have been waiting for for so long? Is there a right way to do it? Is there a correct tone I should use? Should I get super personal? Funny? Really, my emotions feel like they are one a super roller coaster right now- not one of those you have probably ridden as a kid at an amusement park, but like the kind they will make in space someday. The kind that will dodge real astroids and blast through solar systems all while praying and hoping and wishing that you wont get eaten by  some giant alien starship or get lost in a black hole. WTF am I even talking about?

I cant decide if I am supremely excited to move just yet. I mean, of course I am, right? Who wouldn’t be? But, why am I also scared? Is it normal to want to cry every few hours and then to want to scream in excitement every hour in between? There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this is what I want to do- I don’t want to confuse you and make you think that I am second guessing myself or regretting my decision. I’ve just never done anything like this in my life. I was supposed to be a teacher, or something in education. I was supposed to go back to school and get my masters or work with the special ed. Not do something completely different from anything or anyone around me. It was like a completely 180 career move. Not safe. Not planned. Just on a whim. To please a desire. 

I’m scared to leave. Me. The girl who hates to express any type of weakness or let on that I actually have feelings. I’m being what I’ve sworn I will never allow myself to be- vulnerable. I’m scared to leave my family. I’m scared to come back and see how much I’ve missed since being gone. I’m scared to not be in my siblings life every single day. To not hear my brother’s voice change (haha), to not be there when my little sister has boy problems. To not be able to help them with school work, see their games, get mad at them for being too loud and obnoxious. I’m going to miss making fun of my momma with them. 

OMG. I’m going to miss my mother. She’s crazy, but in the best possible way. Sometimes she forgets our names and then gets angry when we wont tell her. When she’s mad, she forgets English and will yell at us in Spanish. I’m going to miss smiling and asking for a hug while she’s yells at us in a foreign language. I’m going to miss watching Sex in the City, taking naps in her enormous, made for a queen bed, hearing her apologize for not having “voluminous” hair, and slapping her behind every single time she passes by me. Seriously, that things just screams slap me. 

I didn’t hang out with my family a lot these past few months. I thought it would make the move easier. As I sit here, in my boyfriend’s house, watching this beautiful boy about to take the dogs for a walk, I wonder… was it worth it? I’ve spent practically all my free time with him. This love of mine. We’ve been in and out of each other’s lives for years. This beautiful, sweet, strong boy who loves me with all his heart. He always has our best interest at heart. This boy who laughs at my blonde moments, loves that I am sporty challenged, doesn’t mind my innocence or naivety. This boy who actually looks at me, listens to me. I mean, if we could fall in love while having an eight month relationship STATES away, then we can last on opposite sides of the same state, right? 

Eh. I wish I was more scared about school. About the people I’ll meet, the classes, the chefs. But, I’m not. Im truly excited for those things. I cant wait for my future in Napa. I cant wait for new doors to open, to soak in everything around me. I’m just scared about what I am leaving behind. 

Bootlegger’s Brewery, Boat Races, Crawfish and Baseball!

11 Aug

You know those people who come back from awesome vacations and automatically update their Facebook status to something like, “I need a vacation from my vacation” or “Super fun vacation, but I’m exhausted!” And then you see the breathtaking pictures or videos of them lounging by the crystal clear water, sipping Tequila Sunrises and dancing with hot foreign guys? And you’re like, happy because they definitely deserved the break, but also (slightly) want to punch them in the arm (softly of course) because how could anyone come back from that awesomeness and then say anything even a little bit negative about their experience? I mean really, do they have to rub it in?

Umm yeah, well I hate to be that person, but my weekend was super fun. And it took me 24 hours to recover. It was just three days, but oh my gosh did it feel like a week! People say that time flies when you’re having fun and goes super slowly when you’re not. However, this is one of those cases when time seriously complied with my wishes and stood still when I wanted it to. There were times on Saturday when I thought to myself, “What day did I do this?” Only to realize that it was done less than ten hours before! Oh, and lucky for you my camera is no longer in the Geek Squad Emergency Room so I have original pictures! Pictures I took myself! Pictures I didn’t have to beg the Super Cute Boyfriend to take with his awesome Blackberry! You can punch me now.


Okay, so we went to one of the local micro breweries, Bootlegger’s Brewery in Fullerton. I first heard about this place about a year ago, after taking a Beer and Culture class in college (I needed some fun classes after all those clinical psych courses, ya know?). Anyways, I was super excited because although I don’t really consider myself a “beer girl”, I find that I’m often surprised by how complex and yummy beer can sometimes be! Of course, I had no idea what to order, so took the bartender’s (brewmaster’s? beer expert’s?) advice and ordered the flights. Best. Idea. Ever! My absolute fav was this:

We also had a beer that is 10.00% ABV, the Knuckle Sandwich. TEN PERCENT! AKA dangerous! Why and how do people drink this? It was good, but I’d seriously have to be cut off after one!

So after Bootlegger’s we had to race over to Roman Cucina for dinner with some very important people. They have a few locations throughout Orange County, but I always love/recommend the Fullerton one. Maybe because it was often my home on Mondays and Wednesdays? Maybe because they are like the Abercrombie and Fitch of the local restaurants? Honestly, this place ONLY hires really good looking male servers. Or maybe it’s just because I really, truly love their Eggplant Parmigiana. It’s the only thing I have ever, and probably will ever order. Delish! Love the ambiance and the service is always great! Go!


I really don’t know that much about boats. To me, an awesome boat is usually the prettiest, sparkliest and cleanest one I see. However, after going to the boat races in Long Beach, I can definitely say that along with wanting a pretty, sparkly and clean boat, I also want a super loud and fast boat. Ah, someday!

After the boat races we went to the Crawfish Festival at the Rainbow Lagoon in Long Beach.

Have you ever had crawfish??? Super Cute Boy and his friend, Justin, are like, obsessed with it! There were a bunch of vendors, but only one line for crawfish. Which is kinda genius of them because I seriously wanted to try every food we passed while in line.


Cajun Fries




Aaaaaand, last but not least… GATOR!



Cute Boy and Justin!

This was my very first time eating gator. It was kinda chewy, but tasted and looked like popcorn chicken. I think I’d definitely try it again!

Finally, the crawfish were ready…

Cooking. Sad.

Corn, potatoes and crawfish!

Yum yum yum!

Look at this face... Cute Boy!

Digging in!

That night we got cute and went to Main Street in Huntington Beach. The US Open of Surfing was going on that weekend. I don’t really feel like posting any pictures of it, but it was fuuuun! We met people from all over the world!


Very first baseball game this summer! I’m not sure if I’ve told you, but every single time I go to an L.A. sports event, the team ends up losing. There were a few minutes when I thought the curse was coming back, but in the end the Dodgers won!!!! Yay! The curse is gone! Knock on wood.

First, we went to Philippe’s, the place where French Dipped Sandwiches were born. Justin took this picture of the crowd. You need to message me for details about him because he’s seriously an awesome photographer and needs to go to photography school NOW! Here’s a link to some of his skills on Facebook… Don’t creep though because that would be totally weird.


In line with all the other Dodger fans

Pickles, Coleslaw and Potato Salad

Pickled Eggs! I was too scared to try...

The food is ready!

Don't be deceived... This mustard is sinus clearing!

Look at my shirt! Isn’t it so cute? Victoria’s Secret is awesome! That is, until you get harassed by some crazy LA Dodger fan while on the way to the ladies room. Ewww. Gross.

Hope you all had a great weekend!

♥ Heather

P.S. Justin is single and new to southern California. Message me for details!

I love ya baby but all I can think about is kielbasa sausage…

16 Jul

First of all, head on over to the girls at Burned. They are broke, single, and like to cook. Plus they also like to talk about boys and drinking which makes me want to fly on over to Iowa and be their best friends. Why? Because I am also broke, like to cook, talk about boys and drink! I’m not single, but trust me, I have plenty of stories!

Anyways, today I want to talk about sausage. Growing up, sausage always disgusted me. The color, the squishiness, the awful snap sound it makes when you bite into it. I never understood how people could look at this big piece of meat and think “Oh yeah, this looks exactly like something I want to stuff in my mouth”. What are they thinking? It’s not even pretty! Ewww.

But, as with all food phobias, I grew out of it with age. From Polish, to spicy Italian and smoky chorizo, I’ve sampled any and all throughout the years. And now, I kind of love it. In fact, I’ve been having a lot of it lately. Ooh la la! Especially after seeing the Cute Boy. I mean, I always knew the normal things you can do with it. But after two nights ago, I will never ever look at sausage the same. Promise. Really, who knew you could put it in so many things?

So, two nights ago I had this:

Umm, take your mouth off the floor, wipe the drool and let’s say it together… “yummm”. You’re probably thinking, what does this delicious hamburger have to do with sausage? First things first. This is not a hamburger. This, my friends, is a SuperBurger. A SuperBurger made by the Cutest Boy and bestest chef. His secret? A mix of hamburger meat and yes, spicy Italian sausage. You have no idea how absolutely wonderful it is to bite into a hamburger and get delish pieces of sausage. Oh, double yummm.

He was in charge of the meat and bbq, like all those of the male variety should be. Although I did flip it once. Yikes! I was in charge of the toppings- grilled red onion and peppers, tomatoes, arugula, mushrooms, and herbed goat cheese. I sorta forgot the buns, so we ate it protein style. Healthy (right?).

So yeah, that wasn’t my only first! I also went to a driving range for the first time ever!

We have yet to discuss my athletic abilities. Basically, I have zilch. I ran cross country and track in high school, but really, no one would call that running. It was more like, “my mom’s making me do a sport so colleges will think I was involved. Eeeww I’m getting all sweaty. Oh wow, those flowers look really pretty!”

The two sports I do excel at, however, are bowling and miniature golf. And by excel I mean there is a 50/50 shot of me showing up as Pro Heather. Which are pretty good odds, right? Basically, I just get really, really, reaaaally lucky half the time. Well, the pro side of me failed to show up last night. I wasn’t as good as I imagined I would be.  My miniature golf skills somehow gave me an inflated sense of my abilities. Weird. I somehow managed to NOT hit the ball more than a few times (wow, embarrassing), and only got it to the basket thingy like, twice. However, I got better toward the end! The sky was so pretty and golf was truly super relaxing!

Hope you all have an wonderful weekend! Eat sausage. Lots of it.