Taste Testing Lemon Crunch Cake by Martha

I know, I know. You thought my taste test recipes were a thing of the past. And they are, but I found this lost blog in my drafts and decided to jump on the opportunity to publish it and give myself a break this week.

Lemon flavor anything didn’t use to be a favorite of mine, but then I got hired into an office of lemon freaks and slowly became appreciative of what the lemon can offer.

An office birthday led me to stumbling on this Martha Stewart recipe and I have to say…it’s worth the work.

Continue reading “Taste Testing Lemon Crunch Cake by Martha”

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee Southern California Spots

Who loves the Netflix original Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee with Jerry Seinfeld? You can’t see me but both of my arms are in the air…I’m writing this sentence with my tongue.

There is also a small chance I want to visit all of the spots he goes to in the Southern California area since I live here…so I compiled a list (including the most recent season) of all the coffee spots the show has hit this far.

Here they are:

  1. JOHN O’GROATS, LOS ANGELES

  2. RAE’S DINER, SANTA MONICA

  3. JERRY’S DELI, STUDIO CITY, CA

  4. NORM’S DINER, LOS ANGELES

  5. MILLIE THE MALIBU KITCHEN, CALIFORNIA’S, LOS ANGELES

  6. FACTOR’S FAMOUS DELI, LOS ANGELES

  7. HANDSOME COFFEE ROASTERS, LOS ANGELES

  8. JONES COFFEE, PASADENA

  9. 212 PIER, SANTA MONICA

  10. ART’S DELI, STUDIO CITY

  11. NOVEL CAFE, SANTA MONICA

  12. CAFFE LUXXE, SANTA MONICA

  13. BRITE SPOT, LOS ANGELES

  14. KILLER CAFE, MARINA DEL REY

  15. MED CAFE, MARINA DEL REY

  16. INTELLIGENTSIA, VENICE

  17. DU-PAR’S RESTAURANT & BAKERY, STUDIO CITY

  18. ALFRED COFFEE & KITCHEN, LOS ANGELES

  19. 10 SPEED COFFEE, LOS ANGELES

  20. 101 COFFEE SHOP, LOS ANGELES

  21. THE HIGHLAND CAFE, LOS ANGELES

  22. HOUSE OF PIES, LOS ANGELES

  23. TRE LUNE, LOS ANGELES

  24. BEVERLY HILLS HOTEL, LOS ANGELES

  25. ESPRESSO PROFETA, LOS ANGELES

  26. GOOD STUFF, LOS ANGELES

  27. ROSE CAFE, LOS ANGELES

  28. CANTER’S DELI, LOS ANGELES

  29. LUNETTA, SANTA MONICA

  30. ROSCOS, LOS ANGELES

I’ve left iHop off the list…he went with the Inglorious Bastards star either in the first or second season. If I make it through the list then MAYBE I’ll visit it just to officially mark it as complete.

Do you have a similar situation? Which show and where is it do you want to go because of it? Tell me in the comments ❤

Everything you have ever wanted, is sitting on the other side of fear. (3).png

RamblinRandol is my journey back to loving myself (which happens to include this type of randomness). It’s an open letter on how I’m growing through what I’ve been through. And like Maya Angelou said, “the ache for home lives in all of us…” It’s time for me to feel at home in my own skin.

Click here to be my digital penpal and receive an email from mwah twice a month or hang out with me on Instagram @sjrandol.

 

(One Of) The Best Pieces Of Advice I’ve Received

(One of) the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received was actually scribbled on a stock image and re-shared on Facebook by an old high school friend (thanks, Kaylin!). The second my eyes finished reading the final word, an audible “oh” escaped my lips while a simultaneous explosion erupted in my head and heart.

Continue reading “(One Of) The Best Pieces Of Advice I’ve Received”

What Do The 5 Closest People In Your Life Say About You?

Who has read Melissa Ambrosini’s Mastering Your Mean Girl?

A chunk of her points can be found in other self growth books (which has to be an obvious clue these ladies are on to something), but I appreciated her focus on filtering life through a lens of love to achieve your highest potential.

She also asks the reader a lot of questions and gives space in the book to write your answer. Fun Fact: I LOVE questionnaires.

But today’s blog is not a recap of the entire book, today I want to focus on just ONE of the chapters regarding divine relationships because recently I had to let a relationship in my life go, and it was painful (yet also therapeutic and freeing).

This section of the book was a friendly reminder I made the right choice, and I’m sharing just in case you need to read it, too.

Q: Who are the five most prominent people in your life? 

Have you named them yet? I’ll wait…

……….

…….

….

..

….

…….

……….

…….

….

..

Who else used to do that ^^^ in notes you passed to your friends in middle or high school? lol, it’s the little things you guys. 🙂

Alright, do you have your five? Great. These top five relationships are a direct reflection of you. Read that again. They are a direct reflection of you. 

Melissa writes, “you see, we are a product of the people we surround ourselves with, which means whoever you’re hanging out with the most says a lot about who you are and who you are becoming. With that in mind, when you look at your list, is your immediate reaction ‘oh, crap!’ or ‘Hell yea, that’s awesome–these people are amazing; I am so inspired by them and grateful to have them in my life.”

Some people are really good at sucking the life and/or energy out of ya, and sometimes there is no removing yourself from the situation (coworker, boss, family member) so then what?

“Ask yourself what changes do I need to make within or to that relationship to make it more inspiring or healthy for me?” says Melissa.

The entire chapter stresses the importance about surrounding yourself with good people because these relationships influence your life. So why waste any of your precious time, space or energy on people who don’t appreciate it?

“The purpose of relationship is not to have another who might complete you; but to have another with whom you might share your completeness. – Neale Donald Walsch

RamblinRandol is my journey back to loving myself (which happens to include baking). It’s an open letter on how I’m growing through what I’ve been through. And like Maya Angelou said, “the ache for home lives in all of us…” It’s time for me to feel at home in my own skin.

Click here to be my digital penpal and receive an email from mwah twice a month or hang out with me on Instagram @sjrandol.

 

 

3 Questions To Help Find Your Purpose

How the fuck do you find your purpose?

If this thought ran through your head too you’re not alone, boo.

I almost didn’t listen to the podcast episode that inspired this post because it had the word purpose in the title, for some reason the notion of finding my purpose feels frivolous and like a huge waste of time.

But lucky for me, the podcast title included the word myths and this intrigued the cynic in me. Yup, I basically listened with the expectation it would tell me what I wanted to hear: don’t waste your time on searching for a purpose; it’s a crock of shit.

Spoiler alert: I got an aha moment, instead, and a huge LOL at myself.

According to Jay Shetty (On Purpose host) when you pay attention to what makes you passionate, it then leads to you figuring out your purpose; passion leads to purpose.

My favorite part of the podcast was when he explains most people attempt to “chase down their passions” in hopes something will stick and make sense. This leads you to look outside of yourself (usually creating a lot of distractions) when really, you need to be turning inward and paying attention to what lights your own fire.

This bit led to a conversation with my Hubs about the ‘fun project’ called Stuff My Wife Makes on Instagram…while I love to cook new recipes, it was taking away from what I really enjoy doing…blogging about the stuff that matters to me and has helped me grow.

Turns out my Hubs didn’t want to do the mini-series anymore because he was never going to say anything terrible about something I made. Plus, most of the recipes I made were ones I knew he’d enjoy tasting. It was also starting to feel extremely tedious on my end which also sucked all the enjoyment I got out of cooking and baking.

There’s nothing wrong with saying goodbye to a project not meant to be. We tried something new, and it turned out to be a distraction. On to the next!

In order to figure out your purpose, Shetty asks listeners to consider these three questions:

Q1: Do you know yourself deeply, have you taken the time to date yourself and understand what makes you tick inside and out?

He continues the question by asking you to make a correlation between your favorite movies or books and yourself.

Q2: What do you love to learn? What do you love to teach?

And measure the answers to those questions by how it feels in your heart, not what it sounds like in your head. In your head, it’s easier to let what others might say influence your decision. So pay attention to your heart. ***OMG THIS. No wonder so many Disney movies tell you to pay attention to your heart!***

Q3: If Jay Shetty was going to pay for you to have 100 hours of personal development, how would you divide the hours up between the stuff you’re good at, the stuff you’re average at, and the stuff you’re bad at?

Would you put all of your focus into what you’re bad at and a little into what you’re average and good at? Would it be the other way around where you focus only on what you’re good at and then divide the rest between average and terrible?

What was your answer?

Mine was to put most of the energy into what I’m terrible at and then divide the rest between good and average because If I’m already good with x,y, and z, then why wouldn’t I focus on what needs improving? Don’t successful people work on their weaknesses first?

Nope, apparently not! Those who are successful in their field focused a majority of their energy on their strengths…

[insert forehead slap]

Duh. This makes sense.

Don’t you just love realizing the obvious?

Why does everything sound so much clearer when you get outside of your own head? 😉

Here’s to minimizing the distractions and leaning into what fuels your heart.

If you want to check out the podcast episode for yourself, click here.

Did you have your own aha moment while reading? Please share with me in the comments.

Oprah quote about finding passion

RamblinRandol is my journey back to loving myself (which happens to include baking). It’s an open letter on how I’m growing through what I’ve been through. And like Maya Angelou said, “the ache for home lives in all of us…” It’s time for me to feel at home in my own skin.

Click here to be my digital penpal and receive an email from mwah twice a month or hang out with me on Instagram @sjrandol.

5 Ingredient Chocolate Chip Bread

There seems to be an endless supply of leftover ingredients after making or baking any recipe. You know, half bags of pecans or walnuts. That extra bag of brown sugar you bought because you couldn’t remember if you had it at home so you bought one for good measure. You know the song and dance.

So this past weekend I did an inventory check in my fridge and cabinets to see what I had and could use to make this week’s taste test recipe. Google is magical for these moments. After searching “less than five recipes” I found this one!

Anything with chocolate has to be good right? Scroll to find out.

Here is this week’s recipe:

THE RECIPE:

  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 3 cups self-rising flour
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Beat eggs, sugar, and sour cream until well blended. Gradually stir in flour. Fold in chocolate chips. Transfer to a greased 9×5-in. loaf pan.
  2. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, 65-75 minutes. Cool in pan 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool.

BAKING HACKS/MY FINDINGS:

  1. Full disclosure: I cut this recipe in half because I didn’t have two cups of sour cream on hand and I was NOT going to the g-store to get more! Mentioning because maybe(?) this had an effect on the rising and settling of the dough.
  2. When the bread came out of the oven it looked like the picture featured on Taste of Home, but after it cooled it sank and felt VERY dense. Now, I’m not sure if cutting the recipe in half messed with science or if this is what happens with this recipe after the bread cools.
  3. I did shake the chocolate chips in some flour so they wouldn’t all fall to the bottom, maybe that contributed, too?

WILL IT MAKE THE CUT:

 

Nah…banana bread will always be my number one. Sorry, not sorry!

ps: original recipe found here.

Everything you have ever wanted, is sitting on the other side of fear. (23)

 

RamblinRandol is my journey back to loving myself (which happens to include baking because it helps me in times of stress and anxiety to keep my hands busy). It’s an open letter on how I’m growing through what I’ve been through. And like Maya Angelou said, “the ache for home lives in all of us…” It’s time for me to feel at home in my own skin.

Click here to be my digital penpal and receive an email from mwah twice a month or hang out with me on Instagram @sjrandol.

WTF is a Sweet & Spicy Peanut Butter-Bacon Sandwich & Should You Make It?

Yes, you read that right. A sweet and spicy peanut butter-bacon sandwich IS today’s taste test recipe for the weekend and per usual, the Hubs will do his Stuff My Wife Makes review down below. Spoiler alert: his face when the heat hits his throat is hilarious…

fI you’re new here: I make or bake new recipes to build my own family favorites and he (the Hubs) finally puts his peanut gallery comments to good use and reviews the goods. Scroll for the recipe, my recommendations, and any baking hacks I learned along the way.

Here is this week’s recipe:

THE RECIPE:

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 4 slices cinnamon-raisin bread
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 crisp cooked bacon strips
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  1. Spread peanut butter on 2 bread slices; sprinkle with cayenne. Top with bacon and drizzle with honey. Top with remaining bread.

BAKING HACKS:

  1. Pretty self-explanatory (lol) BUT, I would like to remind you less is more when it comes to experimenting with heat. I like spice, but 1/8 tsp. was a little too much (even for four slices of cinnamon raisin bread) eve for me. Start with half of the 1/8 and work your way up.
  2. Omit the cayenne if you’re not a spicy kind of person.
  3. If you add banana some call it The Elvis Sandwich (going to try this next and probably LOVE it)

WILL IT MAKE THE CUT:

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He won’t even eat it without the cayenne now, LMAO. But trust me, it’s flipping delicious! I am adding it to my breakfast rotation. Who knew I would come to LOVE cinnamon raisin bread, especially the homemade kind from a few weeks ago…click here for that recipe.

ps: original recipe found on Taste of Home.

Everything you have ever wanted, is sitting on the other side of fear.-4

RamblinRandol is my journey back to loving myself (which happens to include baking). It’s an open letter on how I’m growing through what I’ve been through. And like Maya Angelou said, “the ache for home lives in all of us…” It’s time for me to feel at home in my own skin.

Click here to be my digital penpal and receive an email from mwah twice a month or hang out with me on Instagram @sjrandol.

Foul Proof Recipe For Your Next Gathering

Are you looking for a foul proof recipe for your next gathering that’ll be a flipping crowd pleaser? I don’t usually participate in skipping pages of a story to get to the good part but I can’t help it, today’s recipe IS your foul proof recipe for your next gathering.

A few weeks ago my MIL surprised me with a recipe book from Balboa Island’s art festival and it was filled with family recipes…so of course I flipped thorough it IMMEDIATELY. (I love recipe books, it’s my guilty pleasure, anyone else?)

This week’s recipe is called Grandmother Ruth’s Apple Goodie by Christy Hardison Ward, and it’s a good. Full disclosure: I’m not a huge warm apple fan. I don’t know why…I love hot apple cider. Anyways, my Hubs is happy to eat all of my warm apple recipes.

Scroll for the recipe, my baking hacks for this recipe, my Hubs’ review, and if this bake makes it into the I’ll make this more than once recipe book.

The Recipe:

Apple Filling 

  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1 T. flour
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 c. sliced apples

Topping

  • 1/2 c. oatmeal
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/8 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 c. butter, room temp.
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Sift flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon together. Combine apple slices and place in the bottom of greased casserole.
  3. Combine oatmeal, brown sugar, flour, baking soda and baking powder. Mix butter into coarse crumbs. Sprinkle crumbs over apples.
  4. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until apples are tender. Serve hot or cold.

Baking Hacks:

  1. I translated 2 cups of apples into 2 apples, not because I Googled it to double check but because I wasn’t going to go back out and get any more apples. LOL
  2. When recipes call for x to y minutes I always set it for whatever is the middle between x and y. For example, between 35 – 40 minutes translated to 37 minutes and ended up being the magic number.
  3. YOU CAN’T MESS THIS UP

Stuff My Wife Makes:

 

Ps: Hell to the yes I would make these again, it was quick and easy for the most part (if you have the Pampered Chef apple peeler, corer and slicer, I bet it would make it WAY more easy) and my Hubs loved it.

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The Brave & Brokenhearted Manifesto

Have you read Brene Brown’s Manifesto of the Brave and Brokenhearted? It’s a story I go back to each time I feel like dipping out when the going gets too tough.

Paragraphs three, four and five are my favorite to re-read over and over when I need the reminder.

And it goes like this:

There is no greater threat to the critic and cynics and fearmongers than those of us who are willing to fall because we have learned how to rise. 

With skinned knees and bruised hearts; we choose owning our stories of struggle, over hiding, over hustling, over pretending.

When we deny our stories, they define us. When we run from struggle, we are never free. So we turn toward truth and look it in the eye.

We will not be characters in our stories. Not villains, not victims, not even heroes. 

We are the authors of our lives. We write our own endings. 

We craft love from heartbreak, compassion from shame, grace from disappointment, courage from failure. 

Showing up is our power. Story is our way home. Truth is our song. We are the brave and brokenhearted. We are rising strong.

I won’t let my past dictate my future. I get to write my own ending. I’m not one to play the victim but I can work on not feeling like the villain.

Side rant: it drives me batty when people are hell-bent on playing the victim, turning every injustice into a personal attack on their own day.

Will you look in the mirror and ask yourself the hard questions? Will you look your truth in the eye and not run from it? What would happen if you stopped running and started to tackle it?

Hold yourself accountable. Save yourself. It’s only ever up to you to make a difference in your own world. Ask a question. Seek understanding before you judge.

Tackling my own demons has been my biggest struggle these past two years, and yet, the most rewarding.

Stay hungry for the growth my friends.

 

 

Lemon Berry Napoleon – Is It Good, Why Is It Called Napoleon?

Who here has tried to make three-tiered deserts, cakes included…it’s a little hairy at points, amiright? This week’s recipe by Home.Made.Interest was my first attempt at a three-tier dessert that WASN’T a cake…spoiler alert: I opted to make it two because #scarycustard.

This week’s recipe to try is a Lemon Berry Napoleon. Is it good and why is it called Napoleon? Keep scrolling for the recipe, some helpful first-time bake hacks, and if it makes the cut for recipes I make more than once. Oh, and what will the Hubs say? His review is down near the bottom, too!

The Recipe:

  • 2 sheets Puff Pastry
  • 2 1/4 tsp Powdered gelatin, , unflavored
  • ¼ c Warm water
  • 2 c Heavy Cream
  • 4 Tbsp Powdered sugar
  • 10 oz Lemon Curd
  • 1 c Strawberries
  • 1 c Blueberries
  • 1 c Blackberries
  • 1 c Raspberries
  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Lay thawed puff pastry sheet on a floured surface and roll it out into a 12x 12 inch square.
  3. Cut the square into three 12 inch x 4 inch strips and prick them all over with a fork.
  4. Place the puff pastry strips on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  5. Repeat for second puff pastry sheet.
  6. Cover dough with plastic wrap and place back in refrigerator to chill for at least 20 minutes.
  7. Once chilled remove baking sheets from refrigerator and place in over.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes until the dough begins to turn golden brown then place another baking sheet directly on top of the dough and continue baking for another 6-7 minutes.
  9. Remove the top baking sheet and finish baking for 6-7 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.
  10. Remove the puff pastry sheets from the oven and while they are still warm trim the edges of the puff pastry and cut the strips in half making each one 6 inches x 4 inches (approximately).
  11. Cool completely.

LEMON MOUSSE

  1. While the puff pastry cools make the lemon mousse.
  2. Fill a small bowl with the warm water and sprinkle the gelatin over it letting it dissolve.
  3. Whip the heavy cream until it forms soft peaks then add the powdered sugar and the gelatin.
  4. Continue to whip until it forms stiff peaks.
  5. Gently fold in the lemon curd mixing until it is fully incorporated.

ASSEMBLY

  1. You will use 3 puff pastry pieces for each Napoleon.
  2. Spread lemon mousse over the bottom piece making it about 1/2 inch thick. Top with the next piece and repeat.
  3. Top the third layer of puff pastry with lemon mousse and place on a baking sheet.
  4. Do this for all of the puff pastry and then place your 4 Napoleons in the refrigerator to firm up.
  5. Before serving top with fresh berries.
  6. Enjoy!

Baking Hacks:

  1. If your custard feels unreliable maybe knock down your layers to two instead of three, there’s no shame in modifying. Also, if you give zero shits about if it holds all three puff pastry layers then go for it! I had to bring this to a party and have it sit outside of the fridge for an hour or two so I was suspicious of the third layer.
  2. I cut the 6×4 inch puff pastry rectangles in half to make it a more manageable bite. The shape ended up being more square.
  3. Folding in the lemon curd knocked a bit of air out of the whipped cream, and I think it’s because the curd was stiff coming out of the jar. If I were to make it again I think I would scoop all of the curd out of the jar and into a separate bowl, stir the curd up so it gets fluffed (?) up and then fold into the whipping cream to keep it airy. If you try this idea, let me know if it makes a difference, I’m hopeful!
  4. If you’ve never decorated the tops of flimsy puff pastry layers with multiple pieces of fruit, give yourself grace. It’s not going to look IG cute your first go, and it’s okay 😉

Is It Good?

 

And would I make it again? Not unless it was requested. No offense to the puff pastry but it’s a damn mess and a pain in the ass to assemble, lol.

Wait, why is it called Napoleon?

Per usual it depends on who you ask, but according to most it has nothing to do with the French conquerer. Instead, “Napoleon translates into “thousand leaves” for its many flaky layers of pastry surrounding its custard cream,” and you can read more about it here if you’re curious.

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