Friday, January 30, 2009

Baking Adventure

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In an attempt to expand my baking horizons, I made Chocolate Raspberry Oatmeal Squares. The recipe came from my small-batch book. While the portion was great, the squares were just "good." I used too many chocolate chips for the inside layer and the topping. And, the chocolate chips were only melted--nothing added. There's a reason why chocolate chips aren't used straight for frosting--they get so hard it's difficult to bite. And, you can't see it in the pictures, but there's a pre-baked oatmeal crust (that's made from the same stuff as the topping), because it's pre-baked and then baked again with everything on top, I believe it became too crispy. But, the combination of oatmeal, raspberry, and chocolate was so good that I just may try these again and tweak the recipe.

You know the drill: scroll through these photos quickly and the oatmeal squares practically put themselves together!

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Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Week #04

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Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sundays I Write Letters

RE: WEEK #03
Dear KBezzie,
Go get yourself some Chapstick. I always buy the 3-pack because I don't want to run out. I keep a tube in half a dozen places so I never have to go far to moisturize my lips.

Oatmeal is delicious--whether it helps you lactate or not.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Mom,
Those aren't bugs. Those are boredom-born Sharpie circles.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Week #03

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Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sundays I Write Letters

RE: FULFILLED WISH
Dear KBezzie,
See, I'm damned if I do and I'm damned if I don't when it comes to wearing my id bracelet.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Aunt Susan,
Yes, you should get Uncle Joe a Road ID.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Mom,Yes, you do have a choice of color. Go treat yourself to a purple one.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



RE: WEEK #02
Dear KBezzie,
I do not appreciate your sense of humor concerning my cat.

That is all.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Mom,
I have to put mailing your football bank on hold for awhile. I need to find a suitable box. I want your prize to get to you safe and sound.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



RE: DINOSAUR MUFFINS
Dear Emily,
I'm glad that the dinosaur muffins amazed you.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Aunt Susan,
Yes, please send along any favorite cookie recipes.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Mom,
What is RM? I'm glad you like the Dinosaur Muffins.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear KBezzie,
I promise that I will say "ganache" next time I swirl chocolate chip glaze atop muffins.

And, I don't know when our dear youngest sister will be by to defend her honor.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik

Friday, January 16, 2009

Dinosaur Muffins

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How do you make banana-walnut-chocolate chip muffins you've made a million times a bajillion times more exciting? Add dinosaurs, of course.

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Last weekend I whipped these up for my good friend's birthday. I topped the muffins with a chocolate chip glaze which served as dinosaur glue. I've done the banana muffin-chocolate chip glaze trick before. But, in the past I wrote not-so-appropriate words on the muffins for my dear sister's birthday. (Then again, the words were appropriate. Muahaha!)

I've been in a baking rut for awhile now and it's my goal to expand my baking (especially cookie) horizons. Any suggestions are welcome.

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Week #02

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Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Monday, January 12, 2009

Fulfilled Wish

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Folks, it's been a long time: I've wanted this for a long time and it was a long time to get it all squared away.

My good friend gave me a Road ID for Christmas, but there was a bit of a problem with the wrist band. (I've got my Mom's wrists--tiny, tiny, tiny.) Finally, this weekend, the right size arrived. Today was my first day wearing it on my walk/jog. I'm proud to say that it was not used this evening.

This Road ID is the interactive kind. I can change my information on a whim. All that the person who finds my unconscious body needs to do is call the 800 number or go online to discover interesting factoids about me--blood type, organ donor status, allergies, emergency contacts, etc..

The only problem with it is that I can't find a reason to wear it all the time. And, trust me, I've spent many hours contemplating it, trying to find an excuse to wear it to work. (Unfortunately, my writing job doesn't really put me in danger.)

Check this one off the wish list, folks!

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday I Write Letters

RE: BOOK REVIEW
Dear Mom,
I do not know if the movie follows the book. And, yes, a lot of people read the book just because they saw the movie. I'm not sure if I'll watch the movie.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Dad,
I also read that the turkey slaughtered behind Sarah Palin's press conference sold on eBay for a pretty penny.

Read the book. It's good.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear KBezzie,
Yes, you are old. Oof, indeed.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



RE: WEEK #01
Dear KBezzie,
Yes, it's a good thing Finn is more important than a rabid raccoon.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Mom,
Yes, Happy Birthday, Finn, indeed.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Week #01

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Welcome 2009!

Can you believe that this is the third year I'm scanning my planner? Well, I'll say "documenting" it. My scanner decided to divorce my computer, so I had to take a picture. I just don't feel like messing with the beast that is my scanning device right now.

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Monday, January 05, 2009

Book Review: Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

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This was the last book I finished in 2008. With all the crazy holidays, I'm just now getting around to letting you know what I think of it.

I have to admit that I avoided this book although it was highly recommended by a few people whose taste in books I trust. Why did I avoid it? Because the dude in it dies in Alaska--my homestate. Like many Alaskans, my opinion of the dude is that he was an idiot. And, after finishing the book, I still think he was an idiot.

But, the book isn't exclusively about Chris McCandless. Krakauer briefly explores the stories of other adventurers and even his own. The book isn't so much about Chris McCandless but, as the title states, going out into the wild--adventuring.

While Krakauer brings up that the urge to explore and throw caution to the wind is seemingly a pattern amongst young men who have troubled relationships with their fathers, I felt there was a whole lot in the stories that I could relate to. There's something very exhilarating about heading out without a concrete plan and learning how to make it on your own. Although I kept in close contact with my parents and played by the rules of society, I felt like my traveling from Atlanta to Portland to Cincinnati was another version of the "into the wild" stories.

So, if you've been hesitant about this book, go ahead and pick it up. It's worth it because the focus isn't 100% on the idiot who died in Alaska.

My favorite quote:

I was suprised, as always, by how easy the act of leaving was, how good it felt. The world was suddenly rich with possibility.

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Sundays I Write Letters

RE: START THE NEW YEAR RIGHT
Dear KBezzie,
I haven't ever been to Colorado. You should have known.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Mom,
Aren't you lucky?

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



RE: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
Dear KBezzie,
Hmmm...I wonder why you like December boys...

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Mom,
Yes, Happy Birthday to Paul and, yes, I'm glad chicks don't dress like that.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



RE: WEEK #52
Dear Mom,
I believe your questions were addressed in a telephone conversation earlier this week. Please reference the transcript.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



RE: FAREWELL 2008!
Dear Mom,
Yes. 2008 was great. And, 2009 will be fine.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Daddy,
Yes, 2008 was a rich year--literally and metaphorically. I, too, look forward to what I am calling my "Journey to the Homeland."

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear KBezzie,
Geez, you just gave birth to your own snugglebug and here you can't wait to get your hands on my Corey the Cat! to snuggle with him. Cool your jets, please.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Aunt Susan,
Yes, I did meet almost the rest of my extended family (on Mom's side). And how much fun it was! Here's hoping I can make it again this year!

Sincerely,
T. Budnik

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Farewell, 2008! And Happy New Year!
Because 2008 was great, I feel the need to bid a formal farewell by listing the things that happened.

1. I absolutely started 2008 on the road. December 31, 2007 was my last day working part-time, temporary employment in Portland, Oregon and I thought it would be most fitting if I started the new year out on the road. And that's what I did.

2. So, for the majority of the year, I have lived in Cincinnati. So far so good. I can't complain.

3. The reason why I moved to Cincinnati was for a full-time job with full-time pay and adult-like benefits. How sweet is that?

4. I adopted a pet--Corey the Cat! He still won't let me pet him, but I think 2009 is going to be the year of big happenings.

5. Although I did most of my traveling at the very beginning of the year, I did make some short trips to both Marblehead, Ohio and most recently to my Grandma's.

6. Both of those trips were carried out on Adventure Fridays.

7. My oldest brother and his super-cool family stopped in town on their way west. As always, it was great seeing them.

8. Have I mentioned yet that December brought a new nephew? (2009 promises at least one more.)

9. I took a kayaking class and have gone out on a couple of outings. How outdoorsy am I?

10. I saw Ricky Raccoon move in. And saw him get evicted.

11. Cincinnati reintroduced me to snow and the icy cold.

12. I've started jogging (but I still don't jog 30 minutes straight--that's my goal).

13. For the entire year I've gone without owning both a television and a microwave. This isn't to say that I haven't watched television nor used a microwave. I have. I just don't own the items.

14. I hiked to keep sane.

15. While the first couple months of 2008 in Cincinnati did cause me some funky feelings and it took awhile to get used to, I ended the year and started the new one feeling good.

16. And, of course, I met a wonderful gentleman.

Here's to 2009 bein' fine!

Enjoy!
T. Budnik