FREE – Online Knife Skills Class

Okay, so there really isn’t much of a call for good knife skills in baking but when I came across this offer for a Free Knife Skills Class via Craftsy on My Baking Addiction it was too good not to share.

Photo via Craftsy

It requires you to create a Craftsy account, which is a breeze and then you’re in. The class is broken down into 5 Lessons and each one varies from 30 minutes to an hour. I wasn’t sure how I felt about talking and online class but they’re taught by Chef Brendan McDermott and he’s good, like really good. The lessons are interesting, easy to understand and he definitely knows his stuff.

Right off the bat I knew this was a good choice because my lack of knife prowess was embarrassing and I was doing everything wrong. I wasn’t holding the knife right, I wasn’t slicing but chopping and the whole “be careful or you’ll lose a finger thing,” yeah, I’ve come precariously close to that a few times. A few participants even commented that his lectures were better than the ones that they paid money for so that’s always a plus too.

If you’re game and want to brush up on your knife skills you can find the class HERE and I strongly suggest you do it.

Yours Truly,

Mel


High Tea Fall Fashion Show

The other day my Sister forwarded me some information on an Event called the High Tea- Fall Fashion Show at Santana Row and I was all over it. It’s $35/person (or $25/person if you use this Living Social Deal) on Saturday, September 6th from 3- 4:30PM and although I have no idea what it’s going to be like  I’m totally okay with that.

It’ll be a chance to spend a little more time with my youngest Sister before she heads off to College in Seattle, WA this Fall and I get to have high tea like I’ve never had it before. That to me is a win, win situation.

Of course I’ll be sure to post pictures after the fact.

Yours Truly,

Mel


Rocky Road Fudge

I’d never made fudge before but lately it’s been all I could talk about. I finally had some down time and when I mentioned that I wanted to make something but that I didn’t know what, The Husband offered up the suggestion of fudge. That sounded like a great suggestion and the perfect dessert for us to bring along to a party the next day.

With a great excuse in place I started off with THIS from Camille of Six Sisters’ Recipe. In her post she said that is was  simple enough (it doesn’t even need a stove) that she’s okay with her kids helping out. Which means if kids can do it, I can do it and sure enough she was right. I’m now hooked and the wheels are already turning in my head for a white chocolate version with cranberries and pistachios.

Oh, and did I mention that it’s only 4 ingredients? (Plus my mini chocolate chips because they look pretty.)

Mix together your chocolate chips and condensed milk and microwave on high for 60 seconds and then in 15 second intervals stirring in between each set until it’s all melted together.

Once it looks like this it’s time to add the tasty bits.

Chop up your nuts, then grab your mini marshmallows and toss them in and mix well.

I wanted a thicker fudge so I passed up on the 9 x 13 pan and went with a 9 x 9 pan; covered with aluminum foil and sprayed with PAM.

Into the fridge it went and an hour later it was ready for me and boy, was it tasty. Creamy and thick with a little bit of crunch from the walnuts.

Doesn’t that look scrumptious and I bet you’ve probably got all the ingredients and the 15 minutes it’s going to take to make it.

Yours Truly,

Mel


Disneyland Roadtrip

It’s always when you have a long weekend but when it’s Disneyland you need an equally long time to recover. I mean you’re on your feet all day, waiting in lines for your 30 seconds of awesome and I can’t be the only one that thinks its exhausting.

I’m a huge fitbit fanatic and according to my zip I was averaging over 25,000 steps which is roughly 11+ miles a day and that’s about as close to a half marathon as I’ll probably ever get.

The redeeming part of the trip was that I got to spend almost all of it was my Sibling and since its been over 5 years since we last all traveled together it was nice to do it again.

Here’s a few snapshots for a quick peek into our vacation.

Anyone else out there a fan of family/sibling trips?

Yours Truly,

Mel


DIY Mickey/Minnie Mouse Ears

If you’ve noticed my absence from the blog it’s because I’m still in recovery mode from our weekend trip to Disneyland; two weekends ago.

While I may not be a big fan of road trips I have to admit that it was a great excuse to get all my siblings together and visit my Brother and his Fiance in Irvine.

As a surprise/souvenir I decided to make everyone their own custom, one-of-a-kind mouse ears. At first one of my Sisters wasn’t really on-board with the idea but as soon as she saw mine she was all in and we rocked them all weekend!

I must say that I wasn’t sure if they were going to hold up through water, wind and roller coasters but I was pleasantly surprised to find that mine still look like they did pre-Disneyland.

If you want the tutorial I used a mish-mash of these DIY  projects (see below) with a few added items and I think each pair cost me no more than $3. Not too shabby when you consider that they go for $20+ at the park.

1. Mouse ears template (To view a similar one visit Jen of The Suburban Mom & her DIY post HERE)

2. Sewing Chalk – to trace the template onto the felt

3. Pipe cleaners – I used them to cover the sides of the ears so that you couldn’t see the foam between the felt

4. metal headbands – We left them plain and I found that the smaller headband was A) super comfortable and B) blended into your hair really well

5. Foam Sheets – Extra support & stability for the felt ears

6. Embellishments – You can leave the ears plain, decorate them with flowers/bows OR if you like variety you can just put a piece of pipe cleaner over the ear and use it to clip on different hairbows

7. Regular and glitter felt

8. Scissors

9. Sharpie – The silver was actually really easy for me to see when I used it to trace the template onto the foam sheets

10. Hot glue sticks

11. Puffy Paint – *optional: I used this to write names on the back of the ears but that’s not necissary

12. Hot Glue Gun

DIY Mickey/Minnie Mouse Ears via Summer of A Happy Mum

DIY Minnie Floral Ears – Disney Style Blog

As soon as I’m done editing my photos from the weekend I’ll be sure to post a few pictures.

Yours Truly,

Mel



Santa Clara City-Wide Garage Sales (Aug. 9th)

Summer is starting to draw to a close and I was surprised that the city of Santa Clara waited this long to have their City-wide Garage Sale Day.On their website they say the event happens every August but I swear it was earlier than that a few years ago. Oh well, I must just be getting older.

If you’re like me and you’ve been eagerly awaiting this day then you’re in luck! The Garage sales are going to be held this upcoming weekend on Saturday, 8/9 and (un-officially on) Sunday, 8/10 and you can go HERE for a map so that you can pre-plan the best route and plan of attack.

As always, happy hunting!

Yours Truly,

Mel


Cherry Hand Pies

I realize I’ve been terribly remise in posting anything baking related and I feel really bad about that. Fox And A Parasol started as a way for me to share my love of baking and lately its just become so much more for me.

This year has been a crazy whirlwind and I’ve really focused on learning to go with the flow and doing whatever my heart desires; to an extent. In this case it really, really wanted some fresh cherry turnovers and one of my co-workers were kind enough to give me some fresh cherries to jump-start my craving.

I poked around for a suitable recipe and settled on THIS recipe for Cherry Hand Pies from Jamie of My Baking Addiction for two reasons. First, they looked Fantastic (with a capital F) and secondly because they made my mouth water. Sometimes it really is that simple.

Before I started baking I knew that making these pies was going to be a project and now that I’ve had them I can totally say that they were worth every minute. I still get compliments from people I gifted these with on how awesome they were and one person’s Husband even thought that they came from a bakery. High praise indeed.

All with all recipes line up your ingredients to make sure you don’t miss anything.

First we’re going to tackle the filling so mix up your cornstarch and water and then get pitting your cherries (since we didn’t have any dried cherries I just used 2 2/3 C. of fresh cherries).

Now that you’re cherries are good to go toss them along with the sugar, lemon juice, vanilla and salt into a saucepan and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. You’ll know when it’s time to add the cornstarch because your cherries will soften and you’ll see a lot of juice.

If you’re looking for a fantastic pie filling, or ice cream topping you can stop right here. This stuff is amazing and when I gave The Husband a little taste his eyes lit up; it’s really that good. If you want to keep going with the hand pies then it’s time to get started on the pastry part.

Roll out the puff pastry and cut it so that you end up with 8 rectangles that are roughly the same size.

Next we’ll add the filling and to seal it brush the edges with the egg wash.

Then fold it over and seal it with a fork.

Repeat the process until all your pastry is used up and you have 8 little triangles that look something like this.

Just before you pop them into the freezer brush each with the egg wash, sprinkle with some sugar and cut some slits on top so that the pies can vent.

Into the freezer they go for 30 minutes or so. Once they’re nice and cold transfer your tray into your preheated oven and bake then for 30 – 40 minutes. You’ll know they’re done with the filling started oozing and they’re a beautiful golden brown.

The recipes says that you’re suppose to transfer the pies to a tray to cool but let’s be honest. I waited until the pies were just cool enough to pick up and then I inhales it and The Husband did the same. In fact, so did everyone that I gave these to.

If that’s not a resounding compliment of the highest order I don’t know what is. So hop on over to the store and pick up some cherries and puff pastry and make some of your own. In fact, I think it might even still be cherry season. Just saying.

Yours Truly,

Mel


5 Ways to Pit Cherries Faster

You might want to consider one of these Five handy tips for Monday’s sweet, sweet cherry recipe; it’s a keeper.

Pitting cherries with parchment paper and a mallet via Amy at Sunset.

With a Pastry Tip from Fine Cooking.

With a drinking Straw via Maggie May Gifts.

With a drinking straw AND a bottle by Simply Foods.

With a Paperclip courtesy of Women’s Health

Yours Truly,

Mel


Ipsy – July Sunsational Sunkissed Glam Bags

A while ago (so long ago that I actually didn’t remember doing it), I signed up for Ipsy. It’s a once/month beauty product subscription that it sent to you through the mail so that you can try out new products. It’s pretty inexpensive at only $10/month and you get 5 products that are tailored to you but to receive them you need to be a subscriber.

It was quite the surprise to check my e-mail the other day and find one titled, “Order Confirmation: Monthly Glam Bag Subscription.” At first I was stumped and couldn’t remember what this was but apparently I signed up in February 2014 and they were just now able to add me. Before I even got the package I figured that I would cancel it after this month because really, I never wear any make-up but already I’m liking it.

In fact I’m actually wearing the Pixi Tinted Brilliant Balm ($14) they sent me right now in Pretty Pink.

If you’re curious about Ipsy, here’s what I got for July in their “Sunsationally Sunkissed” Bag.

1.) 5-in-1 BB Advanced Performance Cream Eyeshadow Broad Spectrum SPF 15 by bareMinerals ($18)

2.) Hang Ten Dark Tanning Oil SPF 08 ($11.99)

3.) Pixi Beauty Mini Tinted Brilliance Balm - Pretty Pink ($14)

4.) Pop Beauty Sunkissed Bronzer -Radiant Sand ($10)

5.) Soy Renewal Beach Spray Conditioning and Texturizing Spray ($19.95)

If you like what you see and A) like to get things in the mail and B) want to pamper yourself for only a Tenner + tax once a month check it out HERE.

Yours Truly,

Mel