Bonjour, Mon Ami

Todays post will include some more pictures from our trip to Paris in March.  I know it is the middle of May, but the month of April was super busy and I’m still dealing with some new adventures that have and are occurring in the Cork household.  I did share pictures of Notre Dame after it caught fire   I want to note first off, that I was unable to go inside of the Louvre.  It is a source of contention for me and something that my husband has promised me that we will do the next time we go.  Don’t know when that will be, but I’m going to hold him to it.  I am not a professional photographer and my pictures are taken with my Olympus Pen E camera that was bought because it can fit in my carry-on bag and purse (in the camera case of course) easily and still give me great pictures.  I do not use my cell phone for too many of my major pictures, I’m a photo purest like that and I suppose I will get better with time; until then, I do my best.  Ok, now on to the photos.  I hope you enjoy.

The first place we chanced upon was the Arc de Triomphe.

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After leaving the Arc and having an awesome lunch – my initial encounter with the citron tart that had me looking for the same awesomeness similar to the high a drug addict says they are always trying to achieve – we began walking through the city.  I took pictures of everything that seemed to be historically beautiful.  I soon realized the city is historically beautiful and full of architecture that is everyday to them but something to behold for us.

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This was someone’s residence.  Look at the doors on that place.  I can just imagine what the inside looks like.

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A random statue in a round-about.

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We were walking through the city and looked over to this wonderful site.  So we headed that way.  It was great to just “chance” upon places we planned to visit anyway.

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More pictures to come.  Have a great weekend everyone.  It’s my Babydolls birthday weekend.  I can’t believe God blessed me with that human being 15 years ago.  She truly is a blessing and one of my favorite people.  

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Sweet Treats for Easter

I want to apologize for how late this post is coming out.  I had it written, but kept forgetting to get the pictures off the camera.  So this post is coming out a week later than I wanted; but I really wanted you guys to see it.  Enjoy

Hello Everyone,

I hope that you had a great week and restful weekend.  Last week was Easter and I had something awesome to share with you about sweets that I made for the holidays, but I decided to share my Notre Dame pictures instead.  So this week I will share the desserts I made for my family.  As you can guess, I hosted Easter dinner (with some help from my wonderful mother).  I was still on a Parisian dessert high, specifically the lemon tarts with meringue so I knew without a doubt that I was making those. I had also seen this really cool tie dye cake on The Kitchen one Saturday and I wanted to try that out as well.  I bought egg-shaped pans several years back that I  used for Easter, meaning whatever cake I make was going to be shaped and decorated to look like an Easter egg.

The most important  thing off all the desserts was making sure that the meringue was correct on the tart. I had always not been a fan of meringue because it always seem to put me in the mind of not done egg whites.  Meringue seemed to always be sliding all over the pie and seem to “wet” for my taste.  This caused me to not make any type of meringue pie.  I would get me some whipped cream or make my own whipped cream before I would eat meringue.  The turning point was of course when we were in Paris and I had my first lemon meringue tart.  I didn’t know what type of meringue was on that tart, but it was not “wet”, it did not taste like uncooked egg whites, it was not sliding anywhere; this was solid, it had the consistency of marshmallow, and it was AMAZING.  I got home and searched the internet for this mysterious meringue that I had been denied for 47 years.  Through research I deduced that what I needed to make was a Swiss Meringue – one that cooked the egg whites and sugar to 170 degrees then beat at high speed to make a shiny cloud of goodness that is not grainy, it’s sticky (ending the sliding problem).

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I’ve made several multi-colored cakes in my baking past.  I’ve done the layers of different colors, made zebra print cakes, swirls in all colors; but I had never tried tie dye.  The premise looked the similar to something I had made before, it was what you did once you had your colors in the pan that gave the tie dye effect. 

So, taking the request of Babydoll, I chose primary colors for my cake.  I used my basic yellow cake recipe that I got from Iambaker.net several years ago that is now my go to.   

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The one color that had me a little scared was the purple.  Once I added it to my cake batter, I was still concerned that it would be a form of dark blue and not the purple that I was wanting.  Never fear, the purple was apparent once the cakes were done.

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To get the tie dye effect, you have to drag a toothpick through the colors giving you this look.  I found the best way to do it was to bring the toothpick through one end and then back the other way.  It keeps the colors from getting mixed up because the last color that you ran through is the first color that you run through the next time.P4200210P4200211P4200214

We drew out the “egg decoration” design beforehand.  I have to say I’m not a huge fan of that yellow color and will probably never use it again when decorating my “egg”, but the icing was colored and at that point I couldn’t take it back without making something too garish.

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I apologize for the pictures, it’s Spring in the Midwest, which means many raining, gray days that are a killer to the ability to take pictures in good lighting.

I loved when the first slice of the cake was made.  I didn’t tell anyone what was inside, just that it was lemon flavored.  The reaction was impressive.

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All the desserts went fast, thankfully I put a few mini tarts aside for Babydoll and she cut folks off saving herself of cake to have for lunch during the week. 

How was your holiday?  Did you make something fabulous for your family or did you go out to dinner and have something fabulous that you want to make?

Have a great week,

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Notre Dame….without the destruction

With the recent destruction and devastation that occurred in Paris last week, I thought I would share my photos of our visit to Notre Dame Cathedral.  I had planned to share this photos anyway, but I had planned to post in the order of the things that we did each day.  Notre Dame was one of the last places that we went to during the trip.  But alas, I’m going to the pictures share sooner and I will show the others in future post.

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The outside of the cathedral was beautiful.  The detail even around the doors.  There are “faces” of all types of saints molded into the arcs.  It was so beautiful.

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There were several statues of different saints inside the cathedral; I decided to take pictures of two that I knew: Mother Teresa and Joan of Arc.

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There was this long display of all of the times that Jesus appeared doing His works.

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This is the cross that they were able to salvage from the fires.  I was sitting in the pews when I took that photo. 

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Other shots from the congregation area.

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The stained glass in this place was amazing.  I wish I had of taken more pictures. 

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There was an opportunity to go into a treasure room.  I don’t know if there are more than one of those rooms, but we were in this one.  There were so many treasures inside, and I attempted to read/interpret as much as I could; but I just took pictures of things that looked interesting.  I hope all of this survived the fire.

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This picture was really interesting.  I can’t remember exactly, but this was a statue made after a priest was persecuted and eventually killed because of his believes.  This is him holding his head symbolizing like him not being separated from the church.   There are other things on all sides at the top, but I can’t remember what they are and the glare is keeping me from seeing.  I apologize for that, but I do remember how “tripped out” I was upon reading the story.

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Of course there were tons of other statues, confessionals, and places where you could light a candle and pray for someone/something.

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Leaving the cathedral, we were amazed at how massive it looked even being close to a block away from the entrance.  There is also the spire that was seen collapsing on news reports.

20190326_14230620190326_142309 I have more photos, but I figured I needed to end this post at some point.  Babydoll and I were talking about it last week.  We said when they rebuild; we hope they are able to convey the history – with it being new, hopefully it won’t look new. 

Until next post, which will probably be about the desserts that I make for Easter dinner – I’m hosting dinner for my family.

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Bonjour, Mon Amie!

Yep, we did it, we went to Paris.  It was something that we had been wanting to do for awhile, and my husband found out that our city recently started having direct flights to Paris that aren’t terribly expensive.  So last year around Christmas he announced that we were going to Paris for Spring Break. 

I would like to point out that although our city now has direct flights to Paris, we did not get one of those direct flights.  This may have been because my husband has a habit of waiting until a couple of weeks before we are going to make a trip before he actually books the trip.  I cannot seem to get him to move any faster than that on vacation plans and after over 20 years together, I don’t trip on it anymore.  I just wait for the confirmation email so that I can know what date and time we are leaving.

Before we left, there were all sorts of opinions shared about the city, the most prevalent ones were that the city is dirty, the people are rude, and there are pick-pockets everywhere so be on the look-out. I’d like to talk about them.

Lets address the first – the city is dirty.  The city was no more dirty than any other major city throughout the US.  It was not different than New York or Chicago, Los Angeles, or San Francisco. Unless you consider the beautiful old buildings and cobblestone streets that speak to the history of the country as dirty, then I’d say that is an inaccurate statement.

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The second thing that was said was that the people are rude. I speak a little bit of French, and understand a little bit more.  Babydoll is currently in her third year of French; and I had seven years of French, (but if you don’t use something you really do lose it) I can piece together what to say and what is being said; but we aren’t fluent by any means.  Having said that, we never encountered any rude Parisians.  Once they figured out that we were not fluent if they could speak English, they were all too happy to converse with us.  My husband insisted that we use Uber to get around if we couldn’t walk.  If our drivers did not know English it was usually a quite ride, but they were never rude.  We even had one driver use a Google app to allow us to converse with her and she with us.  Keep in mind it is a busy metropolitan city and it’s fast paced, not unlike New York or Chicago; so there was no stopping on the street for a friendly chat and they just walked past you to get to where they were going.  Although occasionally you would run across some elderly people strolling down the street having discussions and enjoying the day or walking their dog.

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Pickpockets…..we didn’t encounter them.  I can’t said that I could attribute that to use or the lack thereof; but we didn’t run into anyone shady.  My husband and I both grew up in the inner-city what we call “the hood”, and because of that we are very mindful and watchful of our surroundings all the time.  Between the two of us and what we have tried to instill in Babydoll, you gotta be really good to get one over on us.  It may happen one day, but as of my 46 years on this earth, it has not happened yet. 

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There were tons of street vendors around the Eiffel Tower, but even while we were in awe of the magnificence of the structure , we weren’t messed with.  They wanted you to buy, buy, buy as you were coming and leaving and that was about it. 

I loved the city and I wish I had of had more time there; and I’m totally looking forward to going back.  I can’t wait to share more pictures and stories in the upcoming weeks.  Until next week,

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Just a little caramel

This past Christmas and every Christmas, my parents hosted the family brunch – usually the Saturday before Christmas.  This allows their offspring and their offspring to be able to fulfill any in-law obligations without stress.  Between me and my siblings, our spouses and children and in some cases their children there are over 20 of us.  We have aunts and uncles and cousins that come as well.  It’s times like that when my parents 4000 sq. ft. house makes sense.  I’m straying off topic – and it’s early in the blog.  Ok…focus.  My parents had us over for brunch and one of the desserts that was made was a Caramel cake.  My mother had been asking me to make her a caramel cake for a while, but I just hadn’t gotten around to it and there have been so many request from her that come in, that I didn’t prioritize the caramel cake.  I guess she got tired of waiting on me, so they (my father made the cake and she made the caramel) made the cake.  My Babydoll loved the cake and has been on me for a minute to make her a cake.  Recently, I decided to make the cake, but with a twist – I was making cupcakes. 

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Cupcakes are so much easier to deal with and a lot easier to distribute.  The key with these cupcakes is finding a way to include the delicious caramel filling into a cupcake.  I decided to poke holes using a kebob skewer and allow the caramel to seep into the cupcakes that way. 

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I was thinking that I should leave the cupcakes un-iced and let the caramel goodness speak for itself, but esthetically they weren’t very pretty.  I had some caramel sauce left over,

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so I added about 1 cup of powdered sugar to it and whipped like my live depended on it, then quickly spread it on the cupcakes. 

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Why was I quickly spreading the icing on the cupcakes you ask?  Because if you have ever worked with a caramel icing, you know that it sets quickly. 

When it was all said and done, I had these amazingly delicious caramel cupcakes. 

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I gave two to my parents to compare with the awesome cake they had made for Christmas.  My mother told me that she ate hers and was giving my father 24 hours to eat his, or she was going to assume he didn’t want it and she was going to eat it.  Smile  My Babydoll was very happy with the outcome, although she was very hesitant at first.  

The recipe for the cake is a basic yellow cake recipe that I use for most yellow cakes that I got from blog I used to frequent regularly, but haven’t had a chance to look at recently – iambaker.com.  The caramel recipe is one that I use with an Apple Caramel cake that I usually bake in the fall.  The caramel portion of the recipe is so easy  and good that I use it whenever I need caramel.  I prefer it to cooking sugar, then adding cream or standing over a pot until the caramel comes to the perfect temperature using a candy thermometer.   I hope you guys enjoy it.  If you have an easy caramel recipe, please share it; I’m always up for trying something new and my family and friends will thank you for it. 

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Planner Spread for Week of 4/1/2019

Hey guys,

So sorry to have been MIA for the last few weeks, there has been a lot going on and I will be telling about it soon.  Today, I’m going to show my planner spread for this week.  Now, I had said before that I was going to show my planner spread each week, but had not been doing so mostly because getting the picture before I start writing in it has been something that I have forgotten to do.   So without further ado here is the spread.  It’s April so I wanted to flower it up (even if we had snow on Saturday after having sun and 60 degrees on Friday).

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I’ll hope to have something more later this week.  Until then, have a great week.

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New Clothes For Me?

Recently in my weight-loss journey I have come to the point where my clothes are starting to be a bit too baggy. The majority of my dress slacks are pretty expensive because of my long legs (I’m not super tall – only 5’10.5” – but I have long legs – 36” inseam). For my good slacks I’ve spent ~$100 per pair, therefore, I’m not throwing these out. I will have them altered when the time is right. But when is the right time? That’s the dilemma that I am currently dealing with. I still need to keep my dress standards the same while at work, I like to look good even when I’m working in the lab. I looked at myself in the mirror while in the restroom at work and thought, “Girl, you look frumpy. Those clothes are too big.” I have worn this outfit before, but not since my weight loss has begun to show.

Some people would say, that now I should begin purchasing new clothes. The thing is, I still have at least another 20lbs to lose before I get to my real goal weight. Because of this, I don’t think buying new clothes is something I should be doing, at least not a significant amount of money on new. So, what do I do?

I went to my mother for advice, because she has recently lost a ton of weight. It was due primarily to a horrible reaction to the prescribed medicine that she had after her first knee replacement and her inability to eat anything for 2-3 weeks. She told me of her clothing transition due to weight loss. Her first suggestion is to get rid of the items that are too big, unless I plan to go back to that size. Hello, I have spent $100 on 1 pair of pants. I only take them to be dry cleaned and are meticulously taken care of….I’m not giving them away. I’ll have them altered, but not give them away.

The second thing she recommended, was to wear clothes that are supposed to be looser or straight. Things that have stretching possibilities. She said that I should purchase things that are not too pricey – things on the clearance or sale rack. I’ve thought about this a lot, looked in my closet to see what is in there that fits that description, and I think this is the route that I’m going to take. I’m going to wear more tunic dresses,

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the maxi and midi dresses that I own, leggings (if I can find shirts and more kimonos that appropriately cover my hips),

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skirts,

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and pants that have elastic waistbands.  I’m thinking I’ll look for the inexpensive items at Marshall’s, TJMaxx, Amazon, and even Meijer (don’t sleep on Meijer y’all, I’ve found some really cute skirts, maxi dresses, and shirts there).  I also have to keep in mind that I don’t want to get too many things, because I’m transitioning and may end up getting smaller than my current size (hopefully).

Wish me luck guys in my search.  My goal is to continue to keep myself classically trending while I slim down.  I welcome any advice you may have and I welcome all stories of someone else’s weight loss journey.  Until next time.

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