With the start of the new year I started a new term at school: Baking and Pastry Techniques. As with my other classes this one has kept me very busy. The first week was pretty awful; our instructor couldn't seem to control the class and manage time effectively. My class is pretty close and we normally get along very well and help each other out, but by Friday we were losing control of tempers, snapping at each other and nobody wanted to be there. There were a lot of us that were really looking forward to baking, but we did not want to go back on Monday. Luckily things got a lot better. Our instructor set times and stuck to them. She listened to our input and as a class we came up with better ways to manage production.
This class is split into two three-week sections; the first half is baking and the second half is pastries. This last week we had our finals for baking and I did very well. Some of the things I've learned to bake over the last three weeks are french bread dough (and from this dough we made baguettes, kaiser rolls, batards, bowls, rolls and an epi loaf), brioche, applie pie, croissants, danishes, peanut butter cookies, quick breads, muffins, puff pastry, eclairs, cream puffs, profiteroles, key lime pie, biscuits, pastry cream, chantilly, fruit tarts, atetes, brownies, bagels, pretzels, pizza dough and just a few other things!
Speaking of starting the new year, I also started a new New Year's Resolution. Last year I gave up soda and am proud to say I made it the whole year! It was very tough at times, but I pulled through. On New Year's Eve I went downtown to a young single adult dance. A couple minutes before midnight we all rushed outside to watch the fireworks at the Space Needle. I've only ever watched them on TV, so it was fun to see them in person. When I finally made it back home around 1:00 in the morning, I grabbed my bottle of Diet Coke and broke my year-long avoidance. It tasted so much better than I remembered! Not being allowed to drink soda at all made me want it more at times, but now that it's allowed I find that I don't really crave it so much. So I plan to keep my soda intake very low, not that it was really a problem for me before last year. My new goals for this year...I am giving up chips and fast food. Although I didn't decide to do fast food until Jan. 4th right after eating at Jack in the Box, so that will have to go past New Year's Day of 2011. I think fast food was a really great choice here. Already I've noticed several times when I would have stopped to grab something at a drive-thru and it's definitely made me see how much I spend, even though it'll just be a dollar here, a couple dollars there, it adds up. Not to mention the health aspects. It's so easy to say that I'm too busy to eat when I'm supposed to and it's just more convenient to stop real quick at Taco Bell or wherever. But planning beforehand and bringing good snacks in my car and purse have helped with this, and so far I've been able to stick to both goals!
The most exciting news of this new year is my newest niece, Payton Ranae!!! She was born Saturday, January 16th at 8:08pm to my brother Jeff and his wife Lisa. Lisa had to have a C-Section because Payton was breach. But everything went very well and they went home on Monday. Unfortunately they live out in Iowa, so I don't have the opportunity to meet Payton until early this summer after I've finished school. But I can't wait! Welcome to the world Payton!!!
Aubrie is so excited to be a big sister! Her Aunt Andrea has a video of her before she got to meet Payton and hold her. She's standing on a chair outside the room Payton was in, looking in the window at her. And she can't stand still, she's so excited. And she's saying, "I'm a big sister! I'm a big sister!" So cute!
6 lbs, 14 oz, 21 inches long
See you soon little one!