The Mallory Project

"Find something you're passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it." – Julia Child

Chocolate Cupcakes

Two of my coworkers are leaving today, so I made goodbye cupcakes. Regular chocolate with a chocolate frosting (almost a ganache, except I used milk instead of heavy cream.)

I also decorated them. The “regular” ones just had pearl sprinkles and gold edible spray paint (so cool!) My leaving coworkers got special decorations.

PPB (using initials to protect their privacy) loves Hawaiian food, especially spam musubi. Here’s his cupcake:

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AEL loves zombies. Here’s her cupcake:

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PPB said I was a “rad baker”. And another coworker asked why I don’t have my own bakery yet. 🙂

Here are the “regular” ones:

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Tropical Spongecake

I made this recipe twice, first as cupcakes, the second as a cake. While both tasty, I feel like the cupcakes were more successful.

I cooked half of them in a stoneware cupcake pan, and of those came out the best. The cake was light and springy. The cupcakes baked in a regular cupcake pan tasted just as good, but the cake was dense. Either way, my coworkers really liked them.

I tried a regular buttercream frosting, but I didn’t have any powdered sugar, so I had to make do. I put my Truvia-sugar mix in the blender with a little bit of corn starch. It got nicely powdered, but wasn’t quite the right constituency. So the frosting didn’t have the right constituency. I added in a little flour, a little cornstarch, a little more sugar. I’m not sure exactly what I put in, but it ended up tasting really good. I dyed it a light green to go with the tropical theme (which I’ll get to in a minute) and topped it with a strawberry heart. It was cute and tasty, and my boss described it as “really complex” (in a good way, of course.)
The tropical element was a mango-guava-kiwi-pineapple filling. I took all those fruits, threw them in the blender with agave nectar, and mixed ’em all up. Then I “cored” my cupcakes (really I just made a small hole in the center) and poured the fruit mixture in. It gave everything the right amount of tartness to balance the sweetness.

I made the same recipe for the cake, but it didn’t bake right. It tasted good, but, again, it was dense and it didn’t rise. I wanted to make a layer cake, but this one wasn’t tall enough to split, so I had to bake a second cake to go with it (I went with lemon, it tasted great.)

I used a whipped frosting, which tasted amazing, as well as some gum paste sea creatures painted with royal icing, and some piping gel to give the frosting a “watery” appearance.

In the center of the cake, I made a kiwi-mango mousse, with soft tofu instead of cream. It was SO good. All I did was whip up the tofu in the blender. Then I mixed together the fruit in a food processor, and then whipped the two together in the blender.

Oh, I also put a Skittle rainbow on the cake. Because it’s not a tropical vacation without a rainbow, right?

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The World’s End Review

This movie was an absolute blast. If you enjoyed Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, you’ll love this. (The three are considered a sort of trilogy.)
Simon Pegg plays Gary King, an alcoholic who desperately wants to relive “the best day of (his) life”; when he and 4 school friends attempted their hometown’s ultimate pub crawl, the Golden Mile (12 pubs in one night!)
Gary talks his old friends into joining him, including Andy (played by Nick Frost), who hasn’t spoken to Gary in a decade, in recreating the pub crawl.

The film explores the dangers of nostalgia, and of going back home with unrealistic expectations. And then it takes a turn into the sci fi genre, in a spectacular way. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, so I’m not gonna say more than that here.

But it is fantastic. So much fun, and wonderfully made. I suggest everyone go see it, at least three times.

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Kick Ass 2 Review (Short and Sweet version)

Fun and bloody.

And I wish I was either: Chloe Grace Moretz, or her older sister.

Also, I want to dress up as either Hit Girl or Night Bitch for Halloween.

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EMG

I saw a neurologist about six weeks ago, because my PCP (primary care physician) thinks the fibro may have been a misdiagnosis.

The neurologist agrees, and thinks that either I
a) don’t have fibromyalgia at all
or
b) I have fibro WITH another disorder.

So she ordered an EMG. If you’ve never had one of these before, I do not recommend it. If you don’t know what it is, EMG stands for electromyography, and it measures electrical impulses of the nerves and muscles. In order to do this, two tests are done. The first one isn’t so bad.
The doctor (usually a neurologist, at least mine was) places electrodes on various parts of your body. My right arm and left leg were tested, since those are where I get a lot of my symptoms. This part of the test feels like you’ve stuck your finger next to the socket and received a little shock. It didn’t hurt, but it was very uncomfortable. I mean, I was getting electrocuted repeatedly for the better part of 20 minutes.
This test didn’t show anything unusual, and it was negative for mysanthia gravis (so that’s one we can cross off the list!)

The second part of the test was the bad part.
For this one, the doctor stuck needles into my arm and leg so he could record my muscle response to stimuli.
Yes, he stuck needles into me. Down to my muscle.
Initially, it felt like getting my blood drawn. I got dizzy (like I always do when I’m poked with needles), but I was lying down, it wasn’t too bad. And the doctor let me listen to my iPod, and Lonely Island was pretty sufficient to help me tune out.
Until he got to my leg. The first one wasn’t too bad. The second one was awful, and the third one was torture. Even after he took out the needle, it still felt like it was in there, and on fire, too.
The doctor had wanted to test five locations on my leg. It hurt so much, he only did three.
In fact, that last test site still hurts almost two weeks later. I still have bruises from several of the needles.

And the worst part? The test showed nothing! I went through all that, and I still don’t know what’s wrong with me!!

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