joyeux cuisine

a blog about good food, family, friends, and life.

an update. finally.

Okay everyone. I’m still here. It’s been quite a long time since I posted last, so I figured I would give you a little update about what’s been happening over the last couple months since obviously, I haven’t been keeping up well with this whole blogging thing.  My bad.

May was full of excitement about finally graduating and starting life in the real world. It was really exciting because I got an apartment with my friend and I’d been working on organizing and job hunting and everything like that. May very quickly turned into June which was no good because I still didn’t have a job at all and had no prospects. Of all the job applications I turned in, exactly none of them contacted me at all about interviews or anything. Very discouraging. I did get to spend a lot of weekends traveling to Michigan to see my boyfriend, which was awesome because long distance relationships suck.

In June I finally heard from one of the job applications I turned in and got an interview and subsequent job at a grocery store in town in the bake shop. Pretty exciting because I kinda like baking and all that stuff. So I started my new job about halfway through June and it’s been a really interesting experience. Everyone has been very encouraging and helpful but I always feel like I’m bothering everyone with all my questions about where things are and if we have specific things and all that stuff. I am very thankful for this job, even though it is very tiring sometimes. I do really like it.

June also very quickly turned into July and with that came rent payments and I finally broke down one day and realized that I couldn’t pay my rent. (Guys. Real life is fricken’ hard.) So I called my loving mother and told her that I needed help. She graciously lent me money so I could actually pay my rent and everything was okay again. I also haven’t had any money to buy ingredients to bake with and often just eat pasta or other boring things for meals and you don’t want to read a blog about that. Hence the no blogging thing. I now also have a second job with my alma mater working with the marching band, which is very exciting. I am really excited to still have that family of crazy marching band people around me. I’m doing purely administrative work and it will be very fun.

There have been many weeks where I feel like I’m failing adulthood and that I don’t have a purpose here and all those things. But as those around me say it’s a lot harder than it looks. Life doesn’t fall right into place like you want it to. You have to work at it and no, you cannot just sit in your room and watch Netflix all day. (Unless it’s your day off. Then I say go for it.) I’m still learning how this living thing actually works. Taking care of yourself is hard work, but I’m assuming it’s worth it in the end. I hope you stick with me to hear about all the adventures I’m having and about the new lessons life is teaching me. There will be cookies. And a pretty good soundtrack.

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now playing. (4)

For Mother’s Day (which is Sunday, just in case you forgot) I got my mom an awesome present. We’re going to see Celtic Thunder in Chicago in October. Let me give you some backstory about this. My mom and I love Celtic Thunder. I don’t know why, we aren’t even Irish at all. We just do. It all started about 4 years ago when they were on the PBS fund raiser thing and we decided to get the DVD. Ever since then we’ve gotten every DVD they put out. It’s a little ridiculous, but I’m really okay with it.

So to thank my mom for all the things she’s done for me over the last 22 years of my life I decided to surprise her with tickets. We’re pretty pumped.

All that to say; this week I’m sharing Celtic Thunder with you! The first song is called Belfast Polka and it’s by the Celtic Thunder Band. They’re a pretty talented group of musicians.

The second song is called A Place in the Choir and it’s pretty awesome. It features all the guys and they are all great. Keith, the blonde tenor, is my favorite. But they are all really talented, so it cuts the cheesyness factor down a little.

Happy listening!

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things I learned in college.

Well, friends. It’s the end. My college career is over. Saturday was graduation. It’s crazy. I think I’m still in shock.
(that was a lot of little sentences that could have been covered in one. sorry English majors.)

IMG_1079This is me with a couple of my dear friends. Josh, on the end, graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Music Performance and Composition. I graduated with a BA in Music. Katelyn graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work. And Stephanie graduated with a BA in Social Science.

IMG_1101This is my boyfriend (!!!!!) Zack and I. He graduated with a BA in Psychology and is going to medical school in the fall. (there’ll be more about him later.)

So for the past 3 years at the end of the school year I’ve written a Facebook note about things that I learned that year. It’s always been in list form and it usually includes serious things and funny things. And they all pertain to something that’s happened that year.
So I bring you:
Things I Learned In College (Year 4):
-Sometimes life just sucks
-Even when it’s hard you have to trust that it’ll get better
-IT GETS BETTER. IT GETS BETTER.
-Your core group of friends are the ones that will keep you sane and keep you accountable. Love them and appreciate them
-Always be open to new friendships
-Spontaneous trips to Chicago are some of the greatest
-Don’t let people get away from you if you don’t want them to
-Awkward things sometimes lead to great things
-There are some things you can’t control. Get over it
-Sometimes roommates turn out to be just the people you need in your life
-Jazz Theory isn’t as scary as it sounds
-It’s okay to be broken because everyone else is too
-Learning to trust God is a lifelong process
-Senior recitals aren’t so terrifying after all
-You still need to practice after your recital is over
-Sometimes plans change because of one thing in your life
-Listen to someone when they compliment you
-Real life might not be so scary
-It’s okay to ask for help
-Sometimes your professors give you the best opportunities
-Don’t put off homework (yes, I still need this reminder)
-The best relationships come out of nowhere and change your life for the better
-Sometimes you don’t get what you want, but you still need to try your best
-When you get disappointed, you can cry for awhile, but then you have to keep going
-You accumulate a lot of stuff. And you have to move it all. Keep that in mind

So that’s just a little bit of my senior year of college. I’m still working on getting all moved in to my new apartment, but I’m excited about what’s going to happen over the next year. Don’t worry, I’ll keep you all posted.

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still hanging on.

IMG_0838

I’m here! I promise I’m still alive! It’s been a crazy few months in my life recently and I haven’t found any time for recipe making or baking of anything. I’ll just catch you up on everything pretty quickly:

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First major thing of the semester was my senior recital. But before that I had to do a pre-recital hearing to make sure that I could actually do my recital. I was more terrified for that than anything else about my recital. And, in my opinion, it did not go well. Granted, I am my worst critic and I always make everything worse than it is, but it was not good. Thanks to a generous panel and a very encouraging accompanist I passed my hearing (PRAISE GOD) and went on to do my recital. My accompanist, Dr. Anderson, was the best. He’s one of our piano faculty and I did not deserve him. He played the Strauss better than I could have ever imagined, and he kept me sane through the whole thing.

734892_10151320352141839_2022480007_nMy dad’s parents came down from Michigan (aren’t they adorable?!),my mom’s parents came over with my parents, and a bunch of my aunts and uncles came so it was a big party. When I figure out how to edit things, I’ll post some audio and give you the opportunity to hear some of the more stellar parts of the recital. I’m so relieved it’s over and I had so much fun. I’m so blessed with great faculty that came and cheered and prayed for me. So blessed by them.

The other big thing that happened already this semester was a thing called Band Winter Showcase that the marching band puts on every year. My friend Zach and I were pretty much in charge of the whole thing, making sure people showed up, writing music (which Zach pretty much did by himself), organizing, getting everything ready, etc. But the show went spectacularly! It was a blast. Feel free to watch here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJYXeOUzwMo (Part 1)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pA_n8taLWk0 (Part 2)

793898_10151487727908561_1049568112_oThis picture is from the large group act affectionately called “The Dragon”. I got to conduct this piece and it was so much fun. I loved it. (Picture courtesy of my friend Cymone who is spectacular at art and stuff. Check out her fliker here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pretzelday/ )

So that’s pretty much what my life has been for the last couple months. One thing right after the other. Right now I’m in the process of getting back to normal and catching up on all the homework I didn’t do…you know. Just college.

I did make an apple crisp for the first time last weekend. It was surprisingly delicious. And it helped me think of an idea to bake this weekend. I may have been writing ingredient lists in my night class the other day. I feel no shame. Hopefully I can share my idea with you this weekend, but right now I gotta go work on Jazz Theory homework (did I tell you I got the highest grade in that class last semester!? I still don’t believe it…). Extended dominants, here I come!

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getting back in the kitchen.

Well, hey there everyone. I’ve been absent for a little while (and by little while I mean about 3 weeks…). Once we got back to school from Thanksgiving Break everything got super crazy. Every year we do a performance of Handel’s Messiah and rehearsals for that started right away. The next week we had rehearsals for our annual Sounds of the Season concert. And then the next week we had finals. So…there was no time for anything except studying and practicing and rehearsing. But that’s a normal week, so I guess there’s more reasons than that for not writing or baking in a while.

It’s so weird to think that I only have one semester of college left. Not only weird but terrifying. I don’t know how to be an adult or live in the ‘real world.’ I guess that’s kind of a learn-on-the-go type thing huh. That’s what cookies are for.

Thankfully being at home and not having homework to worry about (just practicing for a recital coming up pretty quickly…) gives me more time to bake things. Also thankfully, my mom has a whole list of things to bake for cookie trays and family gatherings. Most of which are family recipes that have been around forever. We’ve already made a ton of pretzel chocolate treats, candied nuts, pecan tassies, and this morning I whipped up the dough for candy cane cookies. That, my friends, are a sacred recipe. And my favorite Christmas cookie. I am terrible at making them look like candy canes, but my mom is the master. I’m the master at eating them. Not even kidding.

So, the real reason for this post is to tell you that I’m baking soon. Promise. Until then; don’t forget to love the people around you. And play in the snow if you have some.

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happy halloween!

So today is Halloween. In my family that never really meant very much because we never went Trick-or-Treating or dressed up for anything cool. But that’s okay. My family is pretty conservative so Halloween was never ‘celebrated’. Oh well, I survived. Sure we went to church for the ‘Harvest Festival’ (honestly…I’m still not sure what that means), but it wasn’t the Halloween that everyone else knew.

Here’s the thing: I like Halloween. I mean, I hate scary horror movies and couldn’t even watch Psycho all the way through because it scared the crap outta me. But I think Halloween is fun. You can make it fun without doing weird crazy stuff like dressing super crazy or ‘evil’. I do hate the fact that girls think it’s an excuse to look scantily clad and be okay with it. That’s a little weird. And crazy. (Seriously: don’t do that.)

There are so many great things about fall. Halloween just comes with the territory. Fall is all about scarves, apple cider, candy corn, corn mazes, boots, mittens, baking, soup for dinner, and so many other things. Use this year to do something for other people. Bless them with your talents and gifts that you’ve been given. Make today a great day for someone else.

Speaking of fall; check out these sweet outfits.

Happy Halloween! :)

(P.S. I’m totally making Snickerdoodles tonight.)

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as I stand.

I’ve been absent for a little while. It’s been kind of a rough few weeks…scratch that. Rough semester. It’s my senior year and it seems like everything good that I expected to happen is going the exact opposite of how I planned and expected it to. A lot of these things I’ve come to deal with and move on from, but I had the final blow last week and it just left me feeling dejected and like I don’t really have a purpose anymore. It feels like all I do is homework and practice. I mean, that’s how it should be, but I feel like I’m not making progress. Like I’m just stuck.

This started before the school year even began. I figured I had a pretty good shot at making center podium drum major (we conduct the marching band and center is essentially the most important). The four of us auditioned for it with all the section leaders and they picked which one of us it would be. My friend Stephanie got it, which was really exciting for her. She hasn’t conducted before and to be honest I was surprised. After a short mourning period I decided that it would be okay for me to be on the side and help Stephanie out from where I was. All good. No hard feelings.

A few weeks after that we did ensemble auditions for our music department. Naturally I auditioned for orchestra and mostly expected things to be like they were last year; playing first part because the other oboe player mostly plays English Horn. However, this was not the case. And needless to say she and I aren’t the best of friends and this only made it worse because she kind of rubbed it in my face. It hurt. A lot. I challenged her and lost to her (which she also rubbed in my face a little) and that hurt even more. I lost a lot of desire for practicing after that. But after a few weeks I’ve decided the only thing I can do is kick butt at my recital and audition for the concerto competition and kick butt at that too.

All these things built up in me until last week when I totally stepped out of my comfort zone and got shot down. Not literally, but basically that’s what happened. I auditioned for our school’s show choir after two of my friends urged me to. Keep in mind, I don’t sing (in front of people) and I don’t dance. But I did it. And apparently it was pretty good. One of my friends, who was also the director, said it was pretty amazing. But when the email when out to those who made it, I was not one of them. It hurt. But really only because everything I’ve tried I’ve failed at. I lost it that day. I cried on my friend Zach for about 5 minutes. And then I cried on my roommate for about 20 minutes. Thank God for friends.

I trust that God is using these things for something. I can’t figure out what or why. I need prayer. And hugs. And ice cream. I’m trying to keep my head up. I keep thinking that this year can’t get any worse. Hopefully that’s true.

Sorry this is long. And ramble-y. Thank you for listening. Or reading? I’ll bake soon.

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