Gourmet Makes Pop Tart Challenge Final Verdict

Last week my favorite YouTube series (Gourmet Makes) put out Claire Saffitz’s (show host/pastry chef) gourmet pop tart recipe and asked fans to give it a go, so I did because #quarantine.

It took me two days. I repeat, two freakin’ days. One day to prep the filling, pastry, and homemade sprinkles, and a whole day dedicated to assembly which took a little over 4 – hours from rolling out the dough to icing and sprinkling.

For some reason (ignorance is bliss, and I didn’t read the recipe in its entirety. Only read through each segment (pastry, filling, sprinkle) as needed) I thought making homemade sprinkles would be the worst bit.

I don’t have the greatest track record with patience and letting things dry. I’m thirty years old and still can’t manage to let my nails dry throughly before moving on to my next task. The day I don’t smudge one of my home manicures will be the day I finally figured out patience.

Luckily, I had enough wherewithal to think sprinkles were going to require the most time and should do them first. Unfortunately that brain power didn’t think it was necessary to double check my ingredients, and half way through Hubs had to run to the grocery store and pick up more powdered sugar and unsalted butter.

Biggest lesson I learned? Read the damn recipe. Read the damn recipe. Read the damn recipe. There is something to be said about the French saying, mise en place. Practice it while baking or cooking.

After piping out the sprinkles to dry, I moved on to the filling which is in my top three accomplishments of this entire recipe test. The strawberry jam tasted phenomenal!

The recipe calls for you to flavor to taste. I ended up using one whole juiced lemon and zest to balance out the vanilla extract and give my jammy filling the perfect about of lemony zest.

If you don’t enjoy a tart jam, don’t use the entire teaspoon of vanilla extract called for in the Bon Appetit recipe. The extract is strong and requires a whole lemon to balance out. If you want it less tart, cut the amount of extract in half if not by three quarters.

Biggest fack up? The pastry. No surprise there. When I cut into the finished product I noticed a thin line of uncooked dough…cue Claire’s sad music. Biggest bummer ever. Two days of work ended in mediocracy I could’ve prevented! Here’s what happened…

The recipe says to bake for 30 – 35 minutes; you’re looking for a golden bottom and pale top. When my first timer ( 30 minutes) went off I noted the semi-golden bottom and put them in for another 5 minutes.

When the second timer went off the bottoms had gotten more color but I had a weird feeling they could go for another five … but I worried I’d brown the tops and screw up its future toasting capabilities. So I went against my better judgment and pulled them out.

Did I mention I spent two flipping days on this gourmet project?! What a kick in the crotch I missed a home run by 3 – 5 minutes.

But did I mention the filling? SO GOOD.

You know what I’m second most proud about? How uniform and pretty my pop tarts ended up looking (which is not a skill I’m best known for) in the end. There really is a fine art to precision and uniformness. Shout out to all the pastry chefs out there who do this every day, you’re the real MVPs of the kitchen. For reals!

I’m happy to report my gourmet pop tarts held up nicely in the toaster (even though I forgot to add the vanilla and lemon juice to the icing…read the recipe, read the recipe, read the recipe)!

Would I make them again? 

LOL. How much longer are we going to be in quarantine? 😅

If I were going to make them again I’d buy the dough and sprinkles from the store. After having the homemade filling there’s no way I could settle for store bought jam. Plus it makes your house smell wonderful!

But honestly? Kelloggs does a damn fine job making pop tarts. The real question I have for you is … do you eat your pop tarts room temp or warm?

This is a question I struggle to answer because while nothing beats a warm pastry; I can never wait long enough for the filling to cool down. I always end up burning my tongue or the roof of my mouth with hot pastry jam. (Please see nail drying dilemma in the 4th paragraph)

Room temperature it is, don’t @ me. 😈

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ps: my third most proud accomplishment was completing this bake. It was one heck of a test! Especially my rolling skills!

The Ins and Outs of Empathy: Recapping Section Four Dare To Lead.

I have high respect for people who are great at empathy because it’s a rare skill set to find in others.

A lot of people will claim to be great at empathy because they’re sympathetic or give great advice. This isn’t empathy, for instance:

Continue reading The Ins and Outs of Empathy: Recapping Section Four Dare To Lead.

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.

Read morE

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.

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.

 

 

Are You Filling A Space You’re Not Meant To?

The most recent episode of Red Table Talk on Facebook Watch titled Healing Emotional Scars with Ciara is a good watch for anyone with a blended family, in a committed relationship, or is looking for inner personal growth…so, basically everyone?

Around the eleven minute mark, Jada and Ciara get into a discussion about navigating life with bonus children and parents.

“I have a bonus son from Will’s first marriage, who I adore, but in the beginning, it was challenging because Trey already had a mother, and I had to learn how to have that motherly compassion without trying to fill that space because it was already taken,” said Jada.

Filling spaces that are already taken, hot damn, let’s say it to ourselves again because I think this idea is universal!

This sparked two thoughts/questions:

  1. Where is the line between motherly compassion and overstepping boundaries?
  2. Where am I guilty of trying to fill a space that’s already taken?

Where is the line between motherly compassion and overstepping? Everyone’s line placement is subjective due to life experiences, but I do think it’s fair to say if someone has communicated where their line is and you keep pushing, that’s when it’s a problem.

The key is to have enough self-awareness to recognize when you’re feeling pushed and if/or when you’re doing the pushing (which ties into point two). People are telling you (verbally or with body language) how they want to be treated so if you choose to ignore by only doing what you want, that’s on you.

Where am I guilty of trying to fill spaces that aren’t meant to be filled by me? Oh, plenty, but I’ll only mention one, haha.

I struggle with feeling responsible for other people’s behaviors and/or actions when my worlds (friends, coworkers, family, etc.) collide.

It goes back to how I was raised and how the phrase ‘guilty by association’  was hammered into my head, that paired with emotionally immature parents who couldn’t control their moods was the perfect equation for me (the oldest) hoping if I could manage all the moods in the room a fight wouldn’t break out because when one did, it always ended up feeling like it was my fault.

So I tried to fill a space where I was in charge of everyone’s behaviors and actions to eliminate embarrassment on all sides, which made being in a room filled with people I knew impossible.

But FYI, people are responsible for their own actions, not you. Guilty by association is bullshit (I double checked with my therapist). This space is not mine to fill, and it’s one I’m happy to bow out of with my middle finger in the air, waving it goodbye.

Where are you trying to fill a space you’re not meant to fill?

Everything you have ever wanted, is sitting on the other side of fear. (19)

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