Sunday, December 27, 2015

December 2015 Daring Bakers' Challenge: Gateaux Pithiviers

This time of year, I go into high gear when it comes to baking. I have quite the to-do list because I really like making cookies for Christmas: sugar cookies, gingerbread men/women, pizzelles, krumkake, etc. Needless to say, this can make getting my December Daring Bakers' challenge a bit to get around to, no matter how excited I am to complete the challenge. This year was no exception! Here I am on the 27th and just now finished the monthly challenge.

This month's challenge definitely required some planning and some upper body strength! We had to make our own puff pastry, which is time consuming because it requires quite a bit of resting/cooling time, and rolling out cold dough gives my various arm/torso muscle groups a lovely workout. Can't complain when baking causes muscle soreness!!

The gateaux pithivier is basically a frangipane (sweet almond-based paste) sandwich that has puff pastry instead of bread. :)

Because my creation is currently cooling, I can't tell you how it tastes yet, but it sure is pretty!! I'm thrilled with how my puff pastry's layers turned out. Their lamination makes me quite happy, I must say!! I even made cinnamon sugar twists with the leftover puff pastry. Whee!!

Thanks to the Daring Bakers' community for another fun challenge that added a new recipe to my "been there, done that" baking checklist.

For the month of December, Kat challenged us to make Gateaux Pithiviers.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Annika's Road to Recovery

Yesterday was a greatly-anticipated day in our home... especially for Annika. This year, she didn't have a Christmas countdown calendar like most children; instead, she had a "cast off" countdown calendar. Each day, she marked off one more day as she anxiously waited to have her cast removed and yesterday was THE day.

All four of us piled into the car on a wet/blustery day and made our way to Children's Hospital for Annika's appointment. Yes, this appointment was momentous enough for ALL of us to be there.

Goodbye, cast!!

We started off with the tech removing the cast, which surprised me... I'd expected the x-rays to happen first. Shows ya what I know! Both kids got to wear the ear protection (Annika didn't want Conor to feel left out by not having something on his ears, too!)

Even though Annika had her first cast removed two weeks after her injury and knew what it felt like, she was still a bit nervous about having this cast removed. Once the saw started up and she felt the tickly sensation as it cut off her cast, she was nothing but giggles and laughter!

After the cast was off, it was time to pop across the hall for a quick set of x-rays and then back into the orthopedics cast room for a final exam. Cheryl, Annika's ortho specialist, was really happy with Annika's healing; that said, she pointed out that the bones weren't quite healed yet. She said that Annika didn't need another cast (whew!) but would need to wear a brace for the next 4 weeks. Even so, Annika was given the green light to return to a more active lifestyle, but not one with complete freedom. Cheryl made sure to point out that Annika still has to stay off of the playground equipment and can't do any contact sport (such as football, rugby, and lacrosse ... Umm... yeah, NOT a problem!). Annika can now jump rope, ride her bike, swim, participate in PE class, etc. So, great news in the big picture!!

To celebrate her big day, Annika got to pick where we went to lunch. She chose Panera because she's such a big fan of that restaurant's tomato soup. Going to the mall two days before Christmas wasn't exactly high on Eric's and my to-do list, so we opted to do take-out instead. Yum and easy!!

One of the biggest advantages of the brace over the cast is Annika can remove it for bedtime and bathing ... no more Hefty bags when she's in the bath or shower! In fact, it was recommended that she spend a bit of time soaking in the tub to help rehab her arm, which Annika gladly did as soon as she was home from the hospital. She's a bit achy (no surprise after not using her wrist for the past 7 weeks), but is handling it like a champ!

Modeling her new brace

A huge thank you to everyone at NW Hospital and Children's Hospital for all of the wonderful, compassionate care they provided during this journey. We are incredibly grateful for you taking care of our little girl!!