Friday, December 26, 2008

Daring Bakers - December ~ French Yule Log

This month's challenge is brought to us by the adventurous Hilda from Saffron and Blueberry and Marion from Il en Faut Peu Pour Etre Heureux.
They have chosen a French Yule Log by Flore from Florilege Gourmand

This was such a fun challenge. I have to admit I almost didn't participate when I saw the 18 page recipe!! Holy cow! But once I sat down to read through it I knew I could make this delicious dessert.

Here are some of the instructions we Daring Bakers given:

So, to the business of our Yule log:
#1 DO NOT PANIC when you see that this document is 18 pages long. The actual recipe is not 12 pages long, it’s more on the order of 3-4 pages once you choose your flavors. Marion and I believe in Culinary Freedom and wanted to make this as fun and accessible as possible for everyone around the world.
#2 THE CHALLENGE RULE is that you MUST MAKE ALL 6 of these elements for the log:
1) Dacquoise Biscuit
2) Mousse
3) Ganache Insert
4) Praline (Crisp) Insert
5) Creme Brulee Insert
6) Icing
The assembly will essentially be a Dacquoise Biscuit at the bottom, and the inserts inter-layered with mousse, with an icing finish.

I broke the recipe down into three days. The first day I made the creme brulee, mousse, and praline crisp. The praline crisp is really, really good. It's like super fancy rice krispie treats.

Agnes ate almost all the leftovers!

On day two I made the dacquoise biscuit, ganache insert, and icing. Since I don't own a yule log mold I used a standard size loaf pan. It worked perfectly.

Here the whole thing is ready to go into the freezer for 24 hours. The bottom layer in the picture is the chocolate mousee right before I put the chocolate ganache insert and biscuit on.

The Log taken out of the mold. The yellow is the creme brulee. That was my favorite layer. YUM!!

This was taken right after I put the icing on. The icing is super easy to make but I should have made a double batch. It would have gone on smoother and more evenly.

After icing The Log I put it back into the freezer until we were ready to eat it.

And, finally THE LOG!

While it was a daunting recipe The Log will be made again. Done in steps it is a really easy dessert to make. The Log has become a new holiday tradition for my family. When the berries come in this year I will be making a new log. It would be delicious with a berry mousse, creme brulee (because you have to have this layer!!), and drizzled with white chocolate icing.

If anyone would like the recipe let me know and I will email it to you. It is too long to post here.

Please visit this month's hosts blogs.
Saffron and Blueberry
Il en Faut Peu Pour Etre Heureux

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Baby, it's cold outside!

I have never seen so many people freak out about snow. Portland is so completely different than Denver. This city has been pretty much shut down and in a panic since Sunday. Chains were required for driving in the city!! In all my years of living in Colorado I have never used chains. Not driving through the mountains and most definitely not in the city limits. It has been an amusing day of watching ARCTIC BLAST 2008 on my local news all day. It makes for some good tv viewing.

Now, I am not saying the roads haven't been bad but it is the complete panic that makes me giggle. Here is a video that will give you an idea of how bad some of the roads are. This was taken from a condo down on the waterfront about two blocks from my doctor's office. I was suppose to have an appt. yesterday but I cancelled. Thank goodness or I could have been one of these cars!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Avoid any diet that discourages the use of hot fudge. ~ Don Kardong

It has been awhile since I have chatted about my weight loss adventure. I was getting frustrated for while and decided not to worry about it so much. Then I discovered...This may actually BE my year to get skinny. I have lost a wee bit over 40 pounds the last few months!!

I haven't really been watching what I eat. I am a cook, a baker, and a mommy so personalized green salads aren't happening everyday. :) I still enjoy deliciously, bad for you food but one thing has changed. I have been swimming. I try to go 3-4 times a week for at least an hour. I found a great pool that isn't very crowded so I can do my chubby girl laps. Yeah, there won't be any gold medals for this mama anytime soon. Perhaps swimming is what my body needs right now.

It is weird losing weight. I haven't really been able to see it. When I look in the mirror I notice my face is a bit thinner but my body looks the same. But today at physical therapy while I was doing strength training I saw it. I actually stopped what I was doing to stare at my body. Wow. It was amazing. My legs look thinner, my hips look thinner I couldn't believe it. So, I turned to look at myself sideways. My stomach looks thinner!!! Now, I am still a chubby mama with a long way to go but this has given me some serious incentive.

Speaking of incentives, I have decided when I lose 10 more pounds I can buy some new pants. All of my pants can be slipped on and off without having to unbutton or unzip them. Including the pair I used to refer to as my "skinny jeans"!! Now, that is a good feeling!! I showed this trick to Sean and offered up his ski suspenders! :)

Just to give you an idea of how far I have come here are a few pictures from when I was my heaviest to now. Not too bad! I think I am doing a pretty good job!

This was taken in Tulum, Mexico 2006 - It is strange to think I had gotten so big. Sure, It hadn't even been a year since I had had Agnes but come on! Never again will this happen to me. It makes me sad.

These were taken at a tree farm down the road from our house.

I think I look like a completely different person. I look so much happier.

Well, that is my fat girl update. Pretty exciting wouldn't you say?!?!