Category Archives: Baking

kelseydo Epic Birthday Weekend

I love my birthday. Yes: I love it because I get to party, open presents and eat cake. BUT Most of all I love it because my family and friends are amazing, and they always remind me of this fact when they knock my socks off by making my birthday special.

It was pretty amazing to celebrate my birthday in Kyoto, Japan this year. If you know me, you know how much I love to create maximum birthday time and this year I got to milk it for all it was worth because A) my birthday was on a weekend and B) I am torn between two time zones.

Needless to say I managed to celebrate for three days which is quite a feat! (Although if you attended my 19th birthday you know that three days is child’s play). My friends and family made it really special this year: THANK YOU SO MUCH TO EVERYBODY FOR BEING THE BEST PEOPLE IN THE NATION! I am so lucky to have you in my life.

Anyways, this whole post is about me and my birthday so if you need to go vomit from all the happiness please take a moment and relieve yourself!

A birthday card made by my friend Yoshino- each colored tab has a special message from my friends here in Kyoto!

My birthday is on 11/11 and so is International Pocky Day in Japan! Yoshino hooked me up with all the goods!

On Saturday night I met up with some friends after the Ritsumeikan school festival and we went to a famous ramen shop called Menbaka Ichidai (which I think literally means Ramen for Idiots…or something along those lines). This ramen shop had a particular type of ramen I was interested in, Negi Ramen…..which they set on FIRE! The host of the shop was super hilarious and the set up before the big show was a little intimidating. All of the surrounding counters, cash register and dishes are covered with wet cloths, and you are protected by a dry paper bib. I had pretty much decided it was worth it even if I did lose my eyebrows!

We all prepare to be eyebrow-less!

Amanda and I…fellow Canadians!

It was worth the wait!

Please watch this video of our FLAMING NEGI RAMEN! It’s amazing! It was hot on the other side of that counter let me tell you!

The host insisted we all take these ridiculous photos, which he takes of all his customers. I think he has found the perfect pose to make everyone look like an idiot! Genius!

Sangho

Gray

Amanda

Birthday Girl

Marcus

The ramen was DELICIOUS! We had an amazing dining experience and I will never stop laughing at these photos! Afterwards we biked to Kiyomizu-dera, a famous temple in Kyoto, to check out the first night of this Fall’s night illumination. It was gorgeous! The pictures don’t do it justice (I keep saying this in my posts and it’s true, you just have to come here and see it for yourself!).

The crew at Kiyomizu

Kiyomizu-dera

On the steps

Creepy forest

Kiyomizu-dera is the most beautiful temple I have ever been to. Kiyomizu means ‘clear waters’. The temple is built around a natural spring which is said to bring you longevity, good looks and wisdom, so naturally I drank from the clear spring waters with all of the other believers.

Afterwards we biked back to our dorm and shared some cheesecake that I made the night before! I also got into the Sake.

Sake

Kanpai!

Blueberry Cheesecake

Nick made me an incredible Birthday video with my friends and family in Canada. You can watch the video here. It is very special and heartwarming, I got all choked up! I couldn’t have asked for a better way to celebrate my 26th- Thank you to everyone for an amazing birthday!

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kelseydo cheesecake

Cheesecake is SO easy to make! We are talking run-of-the-mill New York Style Cheesecake. It is possibly my  favorite dessert.

Graham Cracker Goodness

Laying the Foundation

The crust is just Graham Cracker crumbs and butter. The Graham Cracker crumb box said 1 1/4 cups of crumbs to 1/4 cup of butter. I don’t know about y’all but Paula Deen says you can never use too much butter n’ oil, so I put in 1/2 cup. (Seriously though, a 1/4 cup is not enough.) Mix up the crumbs and butter and then press the mixture into the bottom of a greased  9″ spring form pan.

Cheese Sticks

Leaning Tower of Cheese

Looking at this pile of cheese in the bowl and then throwing a cup of sugar over it almost deterred me from eating cheesecake…NOT. I made the mistake of not properly creaming the cream cheese with the sugar so I had some cheesy chunks happening in the final product. Just put this bowl of cream cheese in the microwave for a couple minutes and then stir in the sugar to avoid chunky bits.

The Final Product

My very first cheesecake!

Ta-daa! As you can see, other than the chunky cheese bits it turned out perfectly. After creaming the sugar and cream cheese you just add one egg for each stick of cream cheese (4 in this case), a cup of sour cream, a teaspoon of vanilla and 1/4 cup of all purpose flour. Then you put that mixture on top of your graham cracker and throw it in the oven at 350. This is where the recipe I used got a little tricky. You cook the cheesecake for 1 hour, and then you turn off the oven, without opening it, and leave the cheesecake in there with the door closed for 5-6 hours to prevent cracking. After that you chill it in the refrigerator before eating it.

My cheesecake definitely cracked. But guess what? No one cares! It tasted delicious! I didn’t really follow the directions properly. First of all, after one hour I turned off the oven…but I had to open it to look at the cheesecake! It’s the very first cheesecake I’ve made, who knows what it could look like! At that point it was not cracked. It looked perfect. After that I was going to let it sit for 5-6 hours in the oven with the door closed but I ended up going to a party and forgot all about making a cheesecake. The next morning I woke abruptly and sat up in bed: cheesecake! I marched over to the oven and checked out the cheesecake. I was surprised it was still there. That cheesecake would have been the perfect post-drinking snack!

I made these little numbers below last week for a special dinner. The recipe is a little different but just as easy. Aren’t they swell?

NY Cheesecake Cupcake
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kelseydo chocolate chip cookies

If there’s one thing I can make, it’s chocolate chip cookies. This is no great feat considering they’re right next to scrambled eggs on the easy-to-make-scale.

I got a cookbook from my cousin when I was eight that was called ‘Kid’s Cooking’ which is still the best cookbook around (it teaches you how to make scrambled eggs). The only recipe I carried on making from that cookbook was the chocolate chip cookies. They were called ‘Darrell’s Forget-the-cookies-just-give-me-that-batter”. Darrell and I had a lot in common. The cookie dough went in the fridge for an hour before cooking, so I pocketed a spoon and would sneak into the fridge whenever Mom wasn’t looking to dig into a few spoonfuls of dough. This is after already licking the dough-laden stirring spoon.

My Mom bought this English Bay cookie dough once that goes in the freezer and I had never seen the stuff and assumed it was cookie dough ice cream. After eating a good half a tub, I got the worst cookie dough tummy ache of my life. It was worth it.

In high school I had a friend who would buy the Pilsbury cookie dough rolls and just squeeze the dough straight into her mouth. She was all business, all the time.

I think when I was a kid I had some kind of enzyme to breakdown cookie dough that has depleted as I’ve aged. I just made Darrell’s good ol’ cookies a few minutes ago, ate a pinch size amount of cookie dough and now I am on the floor, typing in agony.

Painfully easy chocolate chip cookies (chez Darrell):

1 cup melted butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

(mix this stuff in one bowl)

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

(mix this stuff in another bowl)

Mix the mixed wet ingredients into the mixed dry ingredients and add a bag of milk chocolate chips, stir it up and put it in the fridge for an hour.

(This is where you can start eating the dough. Be careful though- eating raw eggs is a controversial issue. Also: see above for tummy ache anecdote.)

Put balls of cookie dough on greased pan and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.

BAM! Amazing chocolate chip cookies. You could enter a chocolate chip cookie bake-off with this recipe and win. Guaranteed. TRIPLE GUARANTEE!

 

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kelseydo banana bread

I tell people I can’t cook but I can bake but the truth is I can’t do either very well. Without a recipe I am completely lost, and you have food poisoning.

This week I made banana bread.

Last week I made banana bread’s old, crusty, deformed uncle.

I just googled ‘banana bread’ like any other top of the line pastry chef would do, found the recipe, got out the ingredients, and went to town. I made it in the breadmaker last week because I thought the breadmaker was supposed to be a no-brainer. Put the ingredients in the basket, put the basket in the breadmaker and press a button, twinkle-twinkle -little-star plays (japanese breadmaker) then I’m off to the living room couch to watch some Boardwalk Empire.

Half an hour into the baking process I smelled the burning smell coming from the kitchen. Smoke was coming out of the breadmaker.

The little window on top of the breadmaker reveals that the ingredients have turned into some kind of banana lava that has escaped the basket, overflowing into the bottom of the machine where it is starting a small fire.

I lose it and scream for Nick to come help me. He comes to the rescue, but then can’t do anything because he is laughing too hard at my expense.

He waits until it’s finished “baking”, opens it up, reaches in and pulls out a small piece of bread from the basket that is unscathed. With smoke still rising from the bread maker behind him and a mouthful of the disaster he says “This is the best banana bread you have ever made”.

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