Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Pick of the Week III

This weeks pick of the week come to us from Four Non Blonds. So here it is ... "what's UP".

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Very Parker Christmas

Another Christmas has come and gone. Every year we have Christmas at my parents house. Christmas with the Parker's is a huge deal - complete with laughs and tears(always mine as I get overwhelmed at holidays and can't seem to help myself). On Christmas Eve we all go to church and then feast on Hoagies and Hot Wings ... An Amanda favorite! Then we all watch It's A Wonderful Life.. My ALL TIME FAVORITE MOVIE. I always cry at the end (i always cry all the time anyway..and im sorry for that) when George Baileys brother Harry arrives at the Bailey house and makes his toast.."to my big brother George, the richest man in town"...followed by an inscription in the Book Tom Sawyer from his guardian angel Clarence that reads... no man is a failure that has friends. (tear tear). I am a mess by the end of that movie.
So then we all go to bed and then Santa comes.
We awake to mounds of presents there is barely any room to walk or sit. Seriously we probably overdo it a bit but it is nice to see my little brother Brandon so excited with all the presents. So we begin to open presents. This year was particularly special because my nephew Beckham was able to partake in Christmas this year. Becks is starting to walk. He took about 8 steps in a row and it was the highlight of the weekend. After all the presents are opened we go to the living room for the stockings. I got a lot of lovely gifts this year, clothes, panties, lotion, address labels, stationary, scarf, gloves, picture frames, books, artwork for my bedroom, jewelery, a new wallet and many other things. We all lounge around til dinner time, my mom and dad made a lovely dinner. The menu was Prime Rib, Yorkshire Pudding, Caramelized onion mashed potatoes (i helped with these), Rolls, Grilled Asparagus, Mussels and Shrimp, Pumpkin Pie and Bread Pudding with Creme Anglaise.
Unfortunately my tastes are a little simpler but no one can deny that this meal was lovely. After dinner we passed around the peppermint pig and all hit it with the hammer telling about what we were thankful for in 2008. Then we all ate a piece of the pig as good fortune for the new year to come. Then I pack up my car and head home, sad to leave.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Pick of the Week II

So this weeks pick of the week is..(drum roll please).. Leaving Town by Dexter Freebish. I do realize that all my picks of the week are older songs ... thats how I do it.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Hanukkah!

So tonight me, Lauren and Chris went to Scalinis to celebrate Hanukkah! Yeah! We feasted on garlic rolls, salad, pasta and spumoni. After dinner we played dreidel. We did not have any gelt (chocolate coins) so we played with sugar packets. Hehe. Lauren won. She named the symbols on the side of the dreidel -cell phone, horse, tulip and 80s cell phone. It was quite funny. So to all my fellow Jewish friends wether you are 1/16th Jewish or 100% . Happy Hanukkah!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Working for the Man

December at the Villa is always very very busy which is great! So i thought I would run you through a typical day of my work.
Thursday: December 18, 2009

6:00 am - I clock in bring up the bread that has been in the cooler all night and transfer it to the proof box. I then go down to the freezer and bring up about 20 cakes and tarts from the freezer (we freeze all of our cakes so they slice nicer for buffets and parties...believe me you would never be able to tell). My assistant and I listen to music all morning while decorating the cakes. Then we baked off a lot of mini cookies. Everyone in the kitchen eats them so I always get stuck baking off extra for everyone. Today I gave two that stuck together to the girl who works the salad station.

8:00am - The Produce guy GENE comes, usually brings me a grapefuit. My assistant keeps decorating cakes while I make the Bread Pudding for the day. We then bake off all the breads for the day. As soon as one batch is done baking we usually split a loaf, I like to dip mine in Spinach and Artichoke dip.

9:00am - We start any plate-ups we may have for the day. A plate up is a banquet function where every guest receives the same dessert. Today we had a plate up for Tiramisu.

10:00am - Bread Pudding comes out of the oven and I put a shiny glaze on it. Then I proceed to making the mini pastries for a party. Usually this includes canollis, cream horns, mini key lime tartlettes, fruit tarts, chocolate mousse cups, Cream puffs, eclairs, chocolate strawberries, truffles and petit fours. We have dozens of other choices these are just the ones that are most popular.

11:00am - We take out the lunch items and deliver all the cakes to the right ballrooms and then roll the bread for the next day.

11:20am - Family Meal is ready. YAY! We all sit down and eat our lunch. Today it was Baked chicken and a pasta salad. I usually just eat the fruit Gene gave me.

11:30am - Lunch Begins and we all rush around until 2:00

2:00pm - I do all my ordering for the next day and then do some production. Today we made a batch of chocolate mousse cake, lemon shortbread cookies, cheesecake and a few other things.

3:00pm - I go and sit in a meeting to go over all the parties. I usually just doodle.

4:00pm - I make sure all the parties for the night are set up and my staff knows what to do. Then I get all my knifes together and LEAVE:)

5:00pm - Home

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A House is a House for me

Happy Home Anniversary to Me! Well friends, I have been at my new home now for one year and 6 days and I love it. I have made many new improvements to my condo. All the walls have been painted, new bathroom floors installed and artwork hung. This next year I hope to finish furnishing the 2nd bedroom. Living in Smyrna is great. There is a lot to do and some really cute restaurants. Most of all it's pretty close to all my friends and not too far from my family.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Straight No Chaser

Straight no Chaser is a men's a capella singing group from Indiana University. Here they are singing 12 days of Christmas with a twist. p.s. the 2nd guy on the right is pretty hot.

ps. the end of this song is great so make sure you watch it all the way through. They sing the 12th day to Out of Africa by Toto. Its GREAT!!

Joyeux Noel

"If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast. "
-Ernest Hemingway

As many of you all know I have a bit of a love affair with Paris. To go to Paris was the only thing on my "things to do list", and about two years ago I was blessed with an opportunity to see and work in Paris. It may seem like I talk about Paris a lot, but it is one of the only truly amazing things that has ever happened for me. I was sent by my GM to go and work at Laduree (seriously the best Patisserie in the WORLD). So I went and worked for almost 2 months. A very surreal, scary and amazing trip of a life time. Truth be told I missed America more than you'll ever know but now I look back at my time in "the city of lights" with only the happiest of memories (i seem to have forgotten all the bad ones). So with all that said and for those of you who read the books I recommend here is my latest suggestion. Immoveable Feast: A Paris Christmas by John Baxter is the story of John Baxter and tells of what happens when he falls in love with a French woman and moves to Paris to be with her. Baxter not speaking a lick of French and with no talent in the kitchen is asked by her Parisan family to cook a Christmas dinner for her quite large family in their ancestral home. So Baxter searches all of France to find the country's best recipes and ingredients. This book is a lovely, romantic and witty story of the spirit of Christmas with a Paris twist.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A long December

December is going by too fast this year, I have hardly had any time to enjoy it. I miss watching all the holiday movies on TV, I have not had much time to finish my christmas shopping and I haven't turned on my christmas lights since I haven't been at home long enough to see them. It's a bit of a bummer. Work at this time of the year is INSANE! We have been booked solid with holiday parties and weddings. This week I worked over 90 hours decorating 60 cakes and hundreds of petit fours daily. But I have a job so I really can't complain. One more week to go and it will start to slow back down again. So I will finally have a day off next weekend and I can't wait! I am going to clean, and turn on my christmas lights, see my family, and most of all sleep in. YAY!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Pick of the Week

This weeks song of the week is an old favorite of mine by a little band I personally LOVE ...QUEEN! So here is Freddie Mercury and the rest of Queen playing Somebody to Love.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Rockin' Robin

The day after Thanksgiving. Today I ventured out to Snellville to do a little Christmas shopping with mom. I got quite a bit done although I think my mom bought more for me on this trip than she was supposed to, not that I'm complaining. So after a morning of shopping we decided to get some lunch at Red Robin , a burger chain that sells gourmet burgers. I have never eaten at Red Robin but I will say that my experience there was a great one. We walked to the door and the host came out and quickly opened the door before we could get there. There was another young man inside waiting for us with two menus and took us to our table ... without waiting for anything. We were seated and our server (coincidentally named Amanda) got our drinks and was just very enthusiastic about our lunch selections. So we ate and enjoyed the BUZZ Word game on our coasters. Lunch was a little expensive. Twenty dollars is quite a bit for burgers but the service was FANTASTIC and they have endless steak fries! Who could ask for anything more. By the way Buzz Word is a fun game especially for "word nerds" like me. Buzzword is a party game that really keeps things hopping during the 45 seconds in which players must guess the answers to ten clues. On each team’s turn, a card is drawn that contains a “Buzzword” and ten clues. The answer to each clue must include the buzzword. For example, if the buzzword were “Apple”, the first clue might be “The object of my affection,” to which the answer would be “Apple of my eye.” A point is awarded for each correct answer, and any unanswered clues are given to the opposing team for a chance to steal a point. The first team to attain 50 points is crowned the winner. All in all a great game that I suggest you buy.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Seasons Greetings from the Crosbys...

Elf Yourself is back! If you are not familiar with this.. it is a website where one can upload photos of yourself and it will put your face on an elf body and make you dance! Its ridiculously fantastic and I seriously laughed for hours playing with my face, my friends faces and even a few celebs. So this is what I ended up with. In case you do not watch hockey this is me and Sidney Crosby ( Hockey player and sexiest man alive) doing the Charleston and wishing you Happy Holidays. I invite you all to visit. and create your own elfself, and please copy me on the email, I would love to see how your elf turned out.

We didn't land on Plymouth Rock! Plymouth Rock landed on us!"

"May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!"

Happy Thanksgiving friends! Well it's that time...Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving has never been my favorite my opinion its right up there with Flag Day. If you ever watched FRIENDS think of the Thanksgiving episode where Chandler hates Thanksgiving ... I share Chandler Bings opinion on this beloved holiday. I don't like Turkey, Yams, Pumpkin or any other Thanksgiving foods. I would like to start my own holiday on November 27th .. called "amandagetting".. a holiday where the menu is Italian subs, Pizza and hot wings, and the day is celebrated by getting Amanda presents.
So heres how Thanksgiving goes for me. I start out with the usual tradition of working. Unfortunately I have to work on most holidays but I am thankful that I have a job so I tried not to be too bitter. I went to work at 6 am and made tons of cakes, petit fours and lots of bread pudding and now I am home. I did get to break a wishbone that I dug out of one of the nearby turkeys and I won so hopefully my wish will come true. In my opinion the only good thing about Thanksgiving is that it means Christmas is looming. While I am anti-Thanksgiving I am absolutely in love with Christmas...It is the "most wonderful time of the year". So I made my annual Christmas C.D. which I tried to play and work (it was quickly vetoed) and as you can see from my previous blog I already put up my Christmas tree so I am ready for this holiday season. I love Christmas!!! Tomorrow I'm off to Snellville to partake in Black Friday, wishing that I had finished my shopping last month when the stores weren't crowded with people. Wish me luck!

In other news did anyone catch Top Chef last night with the Foo Fighters. It was GREAT! I must say after watching the Foo Fighters on Top Chef I love them a little more. The challenge was to cook a Thanksgiving meal for the band. The contestants were divided into two teams. The girl who one the "Quickfire Challenge" got to pick her team..which was painful to watch as she clearly selected all the strong chefs to be on her team, leaving behind the runts to be on a team together. How awful would it be to be on that team? I truly felt bad for them. So two teams, Team Sexy Pants (the apparent winner) and Team Cougar (the losers), I would like to say that all three of my picks for "the finale" were on Team Sexy Pants = I am awesome! So my Italian Stallion Fabio and the rest of his team won the challenge which allowed him and his teammates to see the Foo Fighters concert as their prize leaving the losing team to clean up. The gay guy with the crush on Tom got booted off...which in my opinion was a mistake...I think that the blond good looking guy should have gone home for serving "Barf -fait" , seriously what was this guy thinking, Pumpkin mousse with Fresh Fruit? That doesn't even go together, and I can say that because I am a freaking Pastry Chef! Well I'm sure he knows that it is inevitable that he will be returning home shortly.

So I will leave you with my favorite Christmas tune, Josh Groban singing O Holy Night.

-wishing everyone a happy and safe thanksgiving! xoxo

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Too quick to judge

Last week was the start of a new season of Top Chef and I started out by selecting the chefs that I thought would make it to the finale. I would like to apologize to Fabio ... he is defiantly one of the strongest competitors and I failed to include him in my top picks. So I am rectifying that right now. "Fabio I am picking you to make it to the end!" , there I said it. If you do not know Fabio well ... Fabio is the guy who speaks in a fantastically thick Italian accent and in addition to his good looks and cooking talent he seems to be a team player. For those of you who do not watch top chef...well you should, and next week the chefs will be cooking for the Foo Fighters in a special Thanksgiving challenge.

Twilight & Christmas Trees

So this has been a great day for me. I have been in love with the Twilight series ever since I read the first book, and today I went to see the movie with my mom, Lauren and Brittany. We started out at lunch at Atkins Park and then went to a viewing of Twilight! I must say the book was much better than the movie but nevertheless the movie was great! I felt that they did they best they could to squeeze the key points into a 2 hour movie but I still would have loved a 5 hour movie to get it all in there. I must say that Edward Cullen is the hottest vampire ever!

(Lauren, Brittany, Mom and Me @ Atkins Park)

(My ode to Twilight)

So earlier that morning my mom brought over a Christmas tree that her and my Dad bought me for my first home! So Brittany came over to help me decorate it and I love the tree! It is decorated in gold and red tones and it sits in all its splendor in my sun room. Its a good tree!

(Trimming the Tree)

(Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Pop the Champagne!

Well my friends the art is hung. History was made today! Eric came over and hung my artwork over my couch for me. My friends and I all toasted with some fine champagne to my artistic accomplishment. The living room is finally finished being decorated and now I move on to my guest bedroom which is in dire need of a little TLC. What will my next art project be?
(me and the art)

(Jeff, Eric and Me)

(Eric seeing how far the cork will flew an impressive 15 yards off the balcony)

Martinis & Imax ... make mine a double!

Fernbank Museum has this great thing they do called Martinis & Imax. For $15 dollars admission you can see an Imax film and sip martinis (the martinis at $8.00) on a Friday night. My friends and I decided to take our friend Brittany there for her 24th Birthday. So we all got dressed up and headed down Ponce. I rarely get dressed up so this was a little stressful for me but I put on my new hooker boots and went. Let me just say that Steve Madden (designer of said boots) evidently hates women. My feet are still sore a day later, but it was nice to be taller than 5ft 3'' for a few hours. We sipped on our sweet tea martinis and watched a film about Antarctica on the humongous screen and then headed back to Lauren and Jeff's for Birthday cake and presents. A fun way to spend a Friday night I must say. Happy Birthday Brittany!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Top Chef Wednesday!

"I'm not your bitch, Bitch!"
-Dave Martin (Top Chef Season 2)

Here it is folks, the long awaited 5th season premiere of TOP CHEF taking place in New York. So my favorite thing to do is to pick the person who I think will make it to the top chef finale and then pick out the people that will make a total asshat of themselves. Sad to say that girlie from Atlanta got kicked off in the quickfire challenge, not even making it to the elimination challenge. The characters on this show are insane. From Finland dude arguing what a vinaigrette is to Charla who is lets her "spirit guides" show her which ingredients to use and then the blond good looking guy (jeff) who announced that he carries a comb in his pocket and asks his busboys how he looks. So here we go .. Will Tom Colicchio get a culinary boner this season? Lets hope so.

So here are my picks for the finale.

HoseaStefan (also gets my vote for asshat)So we will see how this season unfolds. I must say it was nice to see Jean-George on the show as a judge (one of the best chefs in New York). But I will be more excited when Anthony Bourdain makes his appearance.

-Auf Wiedersehen

Monday, November 10, 2008

Forever in Blue Jeans

"My voice is unadorned. I don't try for perfection. I try to be honest and truthful and soulful with the voice I have. If I make mistakes in notes, or there are cracks in notes, I don't fix them. Thats the way it is."
-Neil Diamond

Today on my favorite oldies station 106.7 I heard a great story of an elementary school principal who plays Neil Diamond songs over the loud speaker for his students every Friday calling them NEIL DIAMOND FRIDAYS. He then proceeds to hand out a teddy bear coincidentally named Neil to the class that showed the best spirit that week. Is this Genius? ... I think so! Being the Neil Diamond enthusiast that I claim to be I am sad that I didn't think of this first, and more importantly why didn't I attend this elementary school in northern Iowa. In further Neil news the principal went on to say that since the start of Neil Diamond Fridays suspensions are at a record low.
As a child I used to play my mom's record Hot August favorite of all Neil Records and replay Cracklin' Rosie and Cherry Cherry over and over again. I really believe that this principal has the right idea, I know that I can't think of a better way to bring the masses together than through the music of Neil Diamond...known to many as the Diamond Cutter or the Jewish Elvis.
I encourage all my readers (all 2 of you) to think back to your favorite Neil memory or even your favorite Neil Song. The world would be a much happier place if we all succumbed to Neil Diamond Fridays. I leave you all with my favorite Neil song.

Cherry Cherry

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Oh Picasso where Art thou?

Tonight I glazed my very first professional painting. I say professional painting because I had the assistance of a professional artist. I have always loved art and my art career was a series of Bob Ross painting classes at a local Michael's craft store; I have since been learning from my friend Eric how to paint and I am so excited to finish my first work of art. I wish I could say that the painting I just finished was something I came up with but it is a replica of an Eric White original and its amazing. My condo was in desperate need of some artwork on the walls so I can not wait to hang this series of paintings above my couch. Hooray for art! Here is a preview to what will soon be hanging in my living room.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Something tells me i'm in to something good...

"And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt." ~Sylvia Plath

Hello Friends! Well I have decided to try blogging, I guess I have been somewhat inspired by all the blogs I have read so I thought..why not. So I guess I should start with where my life is at as of right now. I'll just run through the basics for you.

First of all I am 24 years young, living in Atlanta, Georgia in my very own condo. Life is great! I work as a pastry chef in a lovely restaurant in Dunwoody. It is such a joy to go to work everyday and make cakes, tarts, pastries, petit fours and cookies. But that is just my stay tuned in for more blogs to come. This is only the beginning.

( my condo in vinings)
(a few of my pastries)

And there is the first blog...more to come:)