Snippet of photos

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Mariah & David tied the knot!

Sorry I’ve been holding out on all of you! It’s been a while, since my dearest college roommate tied the knot. I had the pleasure this summer of making them a little cake, and cupcakes for their gorgeous wedding! I was just sent these photos from Ashley Jorgensen (one amazing graphic designer and photographer) and the photos display my work nicely. Word to the wise, don’t just trust blogs. Test Test Test! Here are the images from the perfect day in San Diego. Also if you are traveling with cake, frostings and goodies use dry ice! It worked great!

Make sure to like Batter&Barley on FB to keep up with all the new happenings!

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Batter&Barley is BORN

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Batter&Barley had its first official event last weekend. Or was it two weeks ago? These last two weeks have been so chaotic; I’m not even sure what day it is. So much for my blogging every week plan…

I wanted to share some photos from Mike’s 65th Birthday Pairing that was the first ‘official’ event. And help you all understand a bit more on this idea of mine. Basically it’s pairing beers with hand made desserts, from scratch-no box cakes or bagged cookies- just good, rustic, simple, home-style desserts. And I’m expanding my recipes as gigs come up. (i.e. the wedding this weekend) So for this birthday, which was a successful surprise for the birthday boy! To start I talked with his wife to find out his favorite beers- Anchor Steam, Dogfish Head, IPAs and from that I just thought up recipes that would go with those same flavors in the beers. I mean I thought of ingredient ideas, and then searched the World Wide Web for actually recipes. The tequila peach galettes were not my own recipe, but were YUM. And it happened to work perfectly dividing the pie batter by 8 to make individual servings. However using a mini food processor to make the dough, not so much. Shout out to Not Without Salt, who wrote about the Tequila Peach Galette, which I transformed in, to individual servings. Next I created a Carmel Apple Crumble in the individual ramekins. Secret Home-Recipe…..or I just didn’t write any of my creation of it down. It was the biggest hit at the party and the only recipe I thought up, or didn’t use a recipe for. And lastly are the Blackberry Cabernet Cupcakes, which were featured on here not too long ago. We had four of his favorite beers, paired with dessert flavors that he might like as well. Batter&Barley’s ideal gig would be for someone open to new ideas, flavors, and desserts, as well as genuine love or intrigue in beer. This could be your next birthday party or seasonal celebration, great mixer for a party or even a rehearsal dinner. Just throwing out some food for thought!

So what’s your favorite beer? So I can start day dreaming about a new recipe….

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Blackberry Cabernet {mini} Cupcakes

The last time I posted on here seems like an eternity ago. I read blogs almost daily, and through revealing this fact lately to friends, I realize I might be more alone in this than I realized. Oops, I’m a little bit nerdy. Also while revealing secrets to the World Wide Web, I hoard recipes and design ideas. I am a hoarder. I said it; give me a sitcom and a shrink. It’s a win win for everyone. But back to the point, I realize I follow food blogs, life blogs and travel blogs yet haven’t posted on mine in way too long. Now is the time to get back on it. I plan on giving you all an update weekly. That means I have seven days to come up with something noteworthy, craft, tasty, or funny. Maybe even a withheld [repressed] Peace Corps adventure story if you’re lucky. I think I can do it. I tend to dream big so it won’t be a problem. Also want to keep this short. I substitute taught 1st grade this year, and by that ADD proportion of students, about 75% of my readers have it too. (Diagnosed with it? already offending people…)

So this weeks musing… Blackberry Cab {mini} Cupcakes

I found this recipe in perusing Bakers Royale, a great blog with some delicious looking recipes. This was the first one I’ve tried and was pretty dang impressed. I made some slight adaptations, but over all yummy recipe. [I can share the adaptations if you are truly interested, which you should be!] But the best thing is I had an excuse to be in the kitchen on this fine sunny Sunday…my priorities seemed skewed from my normal sun-loving self.

I warned some friends earlier this week that I would be testing out a new recipe for an upcoming event, and pretty much instantly after a FB photo post I had 2 texts in my inbox that the testers were ready! Never seen an adult lick frosting off a cupcake so fast….

Here are the photos from today’s baking endeavors. This is only a test run, so no pro-tricks coming out to play today. Oh… I’m starting a new business, ready for hire: Batter&Barley. Today I was working out some ideas for the new gig. Also I’m going to pastry school in the fall. Guess I’m trying to make the most memorable year yet?!
almost tie-dye! Just a little peek into what Batter&Barley is all about!

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Let’s recap…

49 days. My feet have tread American soil for 49 days, exactly 7 weeks. I have been meaning to capture the transition for some time now. I have been processing my thoughts, slowly. It has been hard to wrap my brain around this change. How do you leave a culture that rocked your world, only to enter another one you know so dearly? It’s not reverse culture shock, nor blind love of America and all the amenities. But wrapping my head around the idea that all the Cambodians I loved so dearly, are nearly impossible to contact. I live, we live, in a world, where communication isn’t a standard. For example in America, you can communicate instantly through internet, cell phones or even through this ancient technology of ‘land-lines’, and in every home you can receive mail. Snail mail. That box out front that collects super market coupons. This isn’t a standard in every country. For the boy I sponsor in Malawi, I can send a package to the organization and know that he will receive it, because I witnessed deliveries when I met him almost 3 years ago. But for my second family in Cambodia, I don’t have that same security. My heart melts thinking of my kids in Malawi. But for the kids that crept into my heart in Sdau and Prey Chor, they haunt my thoughts today because I have no means to send them letters or pictures. I can’t write “one dirt road past the market, fifth Chinese-style house on the right” and expect it to reach the baby girl, who sass still cracks me up thinking about it now. Nor can I write in their language or they speak mine. The Internet does amazing things to make it possible for me to call them, but how long until I forget their language? Is it just a ticking time bomb of love? I don’t want their memories, voices and stories to fad. So I’m left with heartache for the children, families and people that touched my life in Cambodia. I don’t regret my decision to change my path and return home, because let’s be honest, my life wasn’t peachy. And I’m not saying life will always be perfect, but when every day is worse than the last, something has to change. So this is what I have done in the past 7 weeks of living in America. I have been learning accounting [not for kicks, but money], watching my adorable nephew and creating my future in the kitchen.

Here comes the photos that document what I have been up to. I’ll be honest, somethings didn’t make it on the camera… like …Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cinnamon frosting for the Super Bowl (via “Baked; New Frontiers In the Kitchen”,such a good book!), Vanilla + Almond Cake with Salted Carmel Buttercream, my 22nd Birthday Cake (the recipe is here. and a new favorite of mine. Please make it, you wont regret it!) or the case of Blue Moon I’ve consumed.

let’s start with the cutie that i watch every working day

Valentine Sugar Cookies (recipe from Baked; New Frontiers in Baking. just buy it)

Visiting the SF Zoo and Grissly Bears with my nephew and the family.

Then I took a weekend to visit everyone in San Diego. All the people I love so dearly showed up for a night at the coolest bar/pizza spot in SD, Blind Lady Ale House

Here comes a string of baked items.
Cake cookies… that my mom “re-baked” when I was sleeping because “they were too soft, I didn’t think you wanted them like that” thus killing all cakey goodness

Failed attempt at making cinnamon roll pancakes… next time they will be amazing!

Carmel Delights, or Samoas. aka girl scout cookies. And as I was buying the ingredients I spotted my first girl scouts in Santa Rosa since I moved home…. that sounds quite creepy

Birthday Cake Pancakes. YUM. just add some vanilla or yellow cake mix to the just-add-water pancake mix and you will get Heaven.

Visited San Francisco, with a dear friend Karin. And loved the SFMOMA, as usual.

MONSTER Cookies. New Favorite. Also from Baked. One part PB cookie, One part Chocolate Chip, One part Oatmeal. 3 parts AMAZING

Vodka Infusion. This was something I saw when I was doing research. Research, now means, reading food blogs for hours to find recipes worth re-creating, changing and loving. So I spotted this. It was love at first sight. I don’t even like vodka. But the idea of making even better mixed drinks, took me to Costco, K-mart and the internet to find more recipes. I would like to thank Costco for selling large amonts of Vodka for cheap. I would like to thank Peru for making it possible to get mangoes in the middle of March. And Mason Jars for being hip. I decided on these flavors…..
this one was inspired by my dear friend Matty and a roof top bar in Cambodia
This was the first cocktail concocted. Bubba Hubba Vodka + Ginger Ale. A winning, sweet, cocktail.

And the last item was created for today: St. Patrick’s Day, where one Irishman can be found in every crowd
The cake is a chocolate stout, which I will not link. The idea was better than reality.
However the components almost make one inappropriately named delicious drink. The cupcakes were topped with Bailey’s buttercream using a 2-D tip. I just substituted the cream for the alcohol in the buttercream recipe. yummy.
and I did lick the beaters like a 7 year old….

My final thoughts…
I don’t know where my life will take me. No one does. But I’m forging a path that will lead to life changing experiences, heart breaking moments, heart warming instances, and finding a way to make tomorrow better than today. At the end of the day, I don’t want to say that was easy, but that was worth it. Now, I’m searching for a new path to find a new dream.

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Goodbye Cambodia

Hello new blog format…. and it’s a mystery on how that happened.

I’ll start by answering the question that I have gotten the most, and will most likely continue to hear. “Why did you join Peace Corps?” I joined Peace Corps because I didn’t want to waste my life. I wanted to find a way to use my passions and who I was created to be, in the best way possible. To not let my hands go idle and my mind go numb. To feel to the greatest capacity, to love those in my life the best way I could and constantly be looking for ways to change to make tomorrow better than today. After six months of trying to meet these goals, live the life I desire, I come to a point of exhaustion. Where the exact opposite of what I want for my life, I find myself doing. Now, I am retreating to the things that make my hands idle and my mind numb because the reality of my life is so far from what I want, distant from whom I am, and retreating to a place of deprivation. Through life struggles, perseverance is created which develops our faith in life, humanity, or God. Through all of this my belief that we are all created uniquely to offer different strengths has been heightened. I am not the right candidate for this position, but by no means does that mean this isn’t the right job for someone. I would have never learned that until I joined Peace Corps. This hasn’t been an easy process from the start, but has definitely been something that has shaped my life. The lessons I’ve learned through this process have continually pointed me to the fact that I cannot survive alone. I cannot go through life without a community that encourages me and holds my hand when the tears come. Nor has this experience come to a close because of my community at home, because they are the main reason I stayed so long.

It’s hard to watch you dreams slip through your fingers. To watch something that you have wanted for so long turn out to be something so wrong for whom you are. Nothing about this choice was a waste. Not even wanting it for so long, because as most of you know, this dream is what got me honors in High School and a B.A. from UCSD. Nor can I say spending half a year on a 2-inch mat, peeing on my feet every day and watching cockroaches sputter across my floor was a waste. This experience has changed my life, my appreciation for humanity, and encouraged me to find something that I was created to do. Gandhi once said “our finger prints don’t fade from the lives we touch.” I don’t know if I touched any lives here through my work, or lack of real work here, but in the end we will never know who’s lives we really touch. But the important thing is trying to remember to be a person that you would want to shape your life. For me, in this experience, I’m not that person. I’m not a person who I would want to shape anyone’s life. So my decision to go back to California may not be the one you would make, but for me, living here, trying to always change and become a better citizen of this world, I know this is no longer where I should be. I can’t say that my choice to move home, is right either, but the peace I have now to move on to a new adventure, reassures me that this is the right decision.

So I end with this note with a quote, that I hope shapes your life as much mine:
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive; and go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” –John Eldridge

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13.12.10… could be cooler if it was 2011.

I guess it’s time I update this…. Mainly I remembered because I want to show off my new room. Maybe I like posting pictures more than actually writing stories. I just received some care packages from home that made this all possible. I really want to hang up all the Giants Championship paraphernalia I have received, however that might just make me more depressed by being reminded how I didn’t catch one play-off or World Series game.

Currently I have the most annoying bug bites, I just don’t understand how they always get your elbows. I have three mosquito bites on the same elbow. AHHH. Also I had to kill about a thousand ants just to sit down and write.

To work, currently work in the high school is slow and going. No big success to report as of yet. I can’t remember if I told you, readers, that one student gave me an ear of corn, uncooked and shucked. My host mom roasted it, then dropped it… so I will never know the quality of this gift. Also I just started teaching at World Vision in the afternoons. Last week was my first classes. I had 12 students ranging from unable to recite the ABC’s to college level knowledge. This is the same as my high school classrooms just a smaller scale. Yet, I am still completely dumbfounded on what to actually do as I stand in front of these kids.

Also to those of you who know I am an avid Community fan, I have been caught up thanks to the wonders of friends and technology. Also I have started watching Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Ugly Betty and Weeds. And have read 13 books to date, not as many as some volunteers, but I’m pretty sure more than I completed in 3 years of college. So to that I guess you realize I have a lot of free time. I mean a lot. After work today I took one nap, and can pretty much guarantee if the weather keeps getting hotter I will be taking another shower proceeded by napping. I am true surprised that I haven’t melted here, all my Christmas candy has though. I like in eternal August, however I am a little shocked at night I do want a sheet, I mean all I can handle at night is a thin single top sheet. And this is the cool season. I really can’t imagine the hot season. I doubt there will be any positive blogging during those months.

The pictures! I just moved to a new house that is a lot quieter and has two windows!
So mom sent me some close pins to hang up photos and it has made it a lot homier. I may have created a shrine to my nephew, Cannon. But I haven’t started offering incense or fruit, so I guess it isn’t technically a Cambodian shrine. I must say despite my best efforts it always seems a little cluttered, but that’s what happens when you only have one item to conceal possessions and it’s a military grade metal trunk.

[insert a messy room with a picture shrine to my adorable nephew, friends, Africa, family, and mail all hung on plastic string and mini clothes pins]

I can’t really tell you why I am posting blurry pictures, or why my camera can’t take a decent picture without a flash. But it will help you get the feel of things.

This is from my weekend in Phnom Penh where I tried to regain composure. But listening to Michael Buble and Taylor Swift play at a Coffee House in the capital just makes you miss home a bit more. Another cool thing that happened that weekend was my jeans ripped. Cambodia ages your clothes about 4,000 times faster than normal, so bringing 2-year-old jeans wasn’t my brightest plan. I’ll be going to the tailors again once I wash them.

[insert photo of an amazing pumpkin muffin, pretty vanilla latté and comfy chairs]

This was a find in Siem Reap a few weeks back. I guess Costco doesn’t know the only Cambodia grocery store chain carries its products for about 4 times the going rate.

[insert picture of cans of tuna from costco]

That’s the latest from this side of the globe. I wish I had more adventures, but I cant really think of much more to share with you. Hope you are all sleeping well under your comforters and flannel sheets.

Peace be the journey.

ps. I over-estimated my ability to be patient for photos to load. Sorry

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