Hello, Blog.

It’s been awhile. I’m sorry I haven’t been in touch. I was challenged this week to visit you again. I’m not sure how to start, so I guess the best thing would be to tell you what I have been up to since our last chat.

When we last talked, I was a few months out of culinary school and baking cakes for family and friends. When culinary school ended, I didn’t take on an internship, attend career fairs, or even get my resume together and apply for jobs in the culinary field. Instead, I went back to my full-time job of being a stay at home mommy and I baked on the side for family and friends who asked me to, as a way to keep up my skill set. The reason for this was simple, my husband and I had another journey in mind: to grow our family.

When school ended, my daughter was 2 going on 3. My husband and I wanted our kids to be somewhat close in age, so after life got back to normal from the craziness of night school we decided to try to get pregnant. Perfect timing, right? Well, I started charting dates and symptoms, all the while hoping that soon our dream of a big family would come one step closer to becoming true. Months past and nothing happened.

In January of this year, my doctor referred me to the infertility department at Kaiser. In February, I had my first consult. In March, I started the first round of infertility meds. You know what happened next? They worked. April 21, 2013 we found out we were expecting. I don’t think I will ever forget the sheer joy I felt when we found out the news. Our family and close friends were thrilled and our daughter was very excited to be a big sister. We talked excitedly about our future as a family of four. All was well with the world as far as we were concerned. 

I soon saw my doctor. You see, I am a high risk case. I had an ectopic pregnancy in 2008 which required emergency surgery. Ectopic pregnancies are dangerous and potentially life threatening, so until one could be ruled out I saw my doctor every week. At first, things went well. My blood work looked great and we were extremely hopeful. We bought a stroller off Craigslist. We looked at names. We longed for December when the baby was due.

Then everything got turned upside down. On May 8, 2013 an ultrasound confirmed our fears. The pregnancy was ectopic. Again. It happened again. Plans were made to come back to the hospital the next day to have an injection that would target the pregnancy and make it go away, so surgery would not be required. At least we had caught it early, right? 

That night we dropped our daughter off at some friends house for a sleep over and my husband and I went out to a movie. I made it all the way through the movie, but when we left the theater I doubled over. Immediately we went to the hospital. The pregnancy ruptured. Once again, I faced emergency surgery. 

That was 4 weeks ago. Surgery went well and except for some minor complications, I have recovered physically. We can start trying to get pregnant again in a couple months. It will be more difficult this time around.  Still, we don’t want to give up on our dream of having another child.

Emotionally, there have been good days and bad days. A lot of good has happened since. I will visit again soon with more details. Just know for now that God is taking care of me through it all. 

Your friend,

Kel

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Cake, cake and more cake!

I have been doing quite a bit of baking recently. Birthday season has officially started around here. From June 29th to July 31st there are 6 birthdays in my family, 3 of which  belong to me, my husband and my daughter. Crazy! I think our next child needs to be born in a different season… Anyway, I have been busy baking birthday cake.

The first was a trail run for my daughter’s third birthday (at the end of this month). She has been asking for a Minnie Mouse birthday party for over a month now. I found inspiration on pinterest and decided to go to work. My sister came up to visit for a few days and helped me out. There is a lot that I learned from this trial run, which is great because now I will know how to make the cake better for M’s birthday party.

The cake is white with berry buttercream covered in fondant.

The trail run helped me practice my fondant work (which needed a little help anyway) as well as figure out better ways to execute my idea. For her real birthday cake I am going to cover the rice krispie treat ears with buttercream and then with fondant, so that the texture of the rice krispie treats is not seen, as well as make smaller bows for the minnie mouse heads on the bottom tier. I am very happy with the overall design and I am excited to see how it turns out.

The second cake I baked recently was for my husband’s birthday on the 29th. J turned the big 30! M insisted her daddy have a superhero birthday cake, so I worked with what I found (whatever left over fondant I had) and was able to do a Spiderman inspired cake.

The cake was chocolate with raspberry buttercream covered in fondant.

It was very yummy!

Last, but not least, was a birthday cake to celebrate my mom’s 50th birthday on Sunday. I decided to go super simple in my design and made a two tiered “birthday present” cake. Once again, I was able to use left over fondant colors. This time it was fondant left over from my wedding cake section in culinary school.

The cake was white with strawberry buttercream covered in fondant.

It was also very yummy! 🙂

A huge thank you to my husband’s co-workers who ate the Minnie Mouse trial run. I definitely didn’t need the sugar in the house!

Sweets By Kellie

Hi all! I wanted to let you know that I have started my own Facebook page called Sweets By Kellie! If you are on Facebook please like my page: Sweets By Kellie

I am now taking orders, so if you need anything sweet for an upcoming event, special occasion, or simply because you have a sweet tooth, let me know!

Thank you for your support!

It’s Time to Party!!

Monday, April 16, 2012, I graduated from the French Culinary Institute! Yay! All my hard work payed off. 🙂 I was happily surprised to find out I had made the Dean’s List for both the first half and second half of the course. (The Dean’s List requires a grade of at least 90%. I ended my schooling with an overall grade of 92%.) My husband, parents and sister came to watch my graduation ceremony. My grandparents were kind enough to watch my daughter. I wasn’t sure if she would last through the ceremony, but after going through it I think she probably would have.

The day before my graduation, my grandparents hosted a party for me with all of my family in attendance. I had so much fun! It was a great way to end the crazy 9 months of schooling. I am so incredibly grateful for all of their support. I wouldn’t have made it through without them! Now, I can look towards the future! I’m excited to see what’s in store!

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Me and one of my classmates, Elizabeth.

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Me and my chef instructor, Chef Jae Kim

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I did it!

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For graduation, my grandparents give a Thomas Kinkade painting as a gift to all the grandkids. This was the one they picked out for me. 🙂

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My little girl helping me open my gifts.

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Another picture of my cutie. She was so excited for the party.

The Final

My final exam was spread over the course of 5 days. I was required to make one dessert from each of the following categories: cakes/tarts, petit fours, bread, and chocolate as well as produce a functional showpiece made from either chocolate, sugar or pas tillage that had three levels to hold the desserts. I was assigned the sachertorte, nougat, chocolate croissant, and cherry cordial. I chose to make a chocolate showpiece to go along with the theme of chocolate that ran through my dessert selections. (Looking back, though, I would have probably preferred to pick sugar as my showpiece medium. Chocolate proved to be difficult in the time frame, as chocolate has the tendency to be temperamental.) The showpiece theme was: decades. I chose to go with a 1950’s diner theme.

Overall, I was very happy with how my desserts turned out. My showpiece was not one of my favorites, but I was given props for the checkerboard floor. There is a lot of things I would do differently with the showpiece and I learned a great deal. In that way, I was happy I took a leap and used chocolate. I was the only one in my class who didn’t make a showpiece from poured sugar or pas tillage.

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My 1950’s diner showpiece

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Set up in the judges room…

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Ready for judging. (Unfortunately, the top platform broke, but you live and you learn, right?)

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The judges plate.

Wedding Cakes

This section was probably the section I looked forward to the most, but it also ended up being the most stressful. I learned a great deal during the short week that was “wedding cake week” (3 days total). It was my first experience producing cake and buttercream in high volume. It was also my first experience assembling and covering a large cake. There is a lot I would do differently given the short time frame, but I am glad I went through what I did because I feel it prepared me for bigger projects that may come my way in the future.

For this assignment we were given a wedding cake theme by another pastry class. They were our “clients”. They made a very detailed book and powerpoint presentation for us to look at complete with the pretend couples back stories (where they grew up, how they met, how he proposed…etc.) The theme: steampunk masquerade; the colors: black, white, copper, and copper patina; the location: Bath, Maine; the jewelry: watches, rings and necklaces adorned with clock gears; the flowers: handmade felt, and baby’s breath.

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It was quite an undertaking to put all of the intricate details onto a wedding cake and I went through several drafts before I came to my completed design. (Even now though, I think I would have done some things differently.)
 
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My final product was not exactly as I pictured, due to the timing of it all, but it still followed my design so my Chef instructor was happy about that. It is not as clean as I wanted it to be and I had to use mainly fondant for decorations when I had hoped to use some gum paste as well. Overall though, I was happy. 
 
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above: my wedding cake
below: pictures of the wedding cakes done by my class
 
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Individual Desserts 3

Time to play catch-up! I’m sorry I have neglected this blog for so long, but that is going to change. April 16th, I graduated from the French Culinary Institute! Now, that life is starting to settle back into a routine, I should be able to keep up with this blog on a more frequent basis. For the next 3 posts, I will be picking up where I left off and sharing with you the remaining 3 sections of school: individual desserts 3, wedding cakes, and the final. 

In individual desserts 3 we not only learned how to prepare plated desserts, but we focused on creating and executing our own menu items. We were given the task to create our own restaurant or cafe and menu that included eight menu items. Our instructor then chose 2 of those items for us to prepare.

I enjoyed this assignment. I enjoyed the creative aspect of it and overall, I think it turned out well. The name of my establishment was Maddie Kate’s Dessert Cafe named after my daughter. It was located in Carmel, CA somewhere along Ocean Ave. It was a cozy and inviting family-friendly cafe. The menu items were as follows: strawberry soufflé w/grand mariner sabayon sauce, milk chocolate coffee semifreddo w/salted caramel sauce, fresh coconut tart w/lemon frozen yogurt, pear and almond tart w/vanilla bean ice cream, raspberry charlotte w/milk chocolate ice cream, banana beignets w/rum ice cream, carrot cake w/cinnamon ice cream, fruit and cheese plate, and a petit ice cream sundae for the kids. Chef chose the milk chocolate coffee semifreddo and the fresh coconut tart for my practical part of the assignment. 

Imageabove: Milk Chocolate Coffee Semifreddo plated to look like a frozen coffee drink, served with salted caramel sauce and shortbread cookies

below: everyone’s completed menu project desserts

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Sugar 2: Class Showpiece

At the end of sugar 2 we combined all of our new skills to create a class sugar showpiece. This was a complete group effort. We all had our hands in just about every aspect of this piece. I helped with poured sugar, pulled sugar, pressed sugar, bubble sugar, painting, airbrushing, and assembly. The theme for our showpiece was Cirque du Soleil.

Here are pics of how it turned out:

Starting to build…

Pressed sugar platforms.

Bubble sugar.

Pastillage

Finished!

Isn’t it beautiful?!? We were all very happy with how it turned out. 🙂

Sugar 2

Sugar 2 was definitely a new experience for me. We learned how to pour, pull and blow sugar to make really awesome works of art.

This section was painful. I burned myself and ended up with a nasty blister that has just now started to heal. I did notice my tolerance for hot things has gone up quite a bit. Sugar is hot. Hot sugar is dangerous, but it can also be fun. 🙂

First we learned the techniques of pouring and pulling sugar. We used these techniques to create a sugar owl.  I’m pretty happy with how mine turned out.

Poured sugar base, body, eyes, beak, wing, feet, and branch. Pulled sugar feathers and bow.

Next we learned how to pull ribbons and how to basket weave.

Ribbons

Bow

Basket

Finally, we learned how to blow sugar.

Blown Sugar Spheres

At the end of the unit we combined all of these techniques to create an awesome class showpiece. I will show that off in the next post. 🙂