Saturday, September 5, 2015

Photo Essay 1 - GenCon 2015

[Warning: This post is long overdue, oh well. I wasn't really in the mood to organize tons of photos. <3 Better late than never.]

GenCon 2015 - July 30 - August 2, 2015

So, I'm not at all a big board game player or a big gamer at all. I play a ton of League of Legends and some small mobile games and that's about it. Oh I guess there is Hearthstone too. Yeah, I went to a table-top game convention with the intention of trying out a bunch of board games and spending time with my friends.
I packed so much! More than needed, but I totally needed that cute dress in here!
My travel plans, which went smoothly for once.
My GenCon 2015 badge!

I had no idea how big this convention was going to be. Sure, I saw statistics and heard comments about last year's. But I never actually been to the location. Oh yeah, first time being in Indianapolis much less Indiana. It was a huge occasion, but it had its dense and not so dense areas. There were a few conjunctions where it was hard to maneuver. It wasn't so bad though. ;) My friends were a bit annoyed at me for always taking the stairs instead of using the escalator.

All the different events of the convention were spread out between three different buildings - the Indianapolis Convention Center, JW Marriott, and the Westin Indianapolis Hotel. Originally, I had "tickets" to activities that took place in all three buildings, however, I ended up not going to all of my planned events. whoops. One can buy generic tickets or tickets that are for specific activities at certain times or such. Usually, you buy them ahead of time online and pick them up at will-call or buy them at the consite at will-call. The specific tickets had a higher priority versus generic tickets. For example, on the last day of the convention, we were trying to get into the game library(will go more in depth on it later.) We tried to use our generic tickets. However, since the line was so long, those who had specific tickets for the game library were able to go in first.

Photo Gallery of my GenCon 2015 journey <3 

"What do you mean that you're leaving me!? Who's gonna take photos of me?"

Hey, I'm in the right seat!

Lunch :3

Late-night dinner

Badge <3
Yummy burger with blue cheese, tomato jam, and bacon. Garlic fries!
@The Ram. So good!

Nerdy themed menu @ The Ram.

Saw the documentary, All Work All Play. <3

Death & Taxes module.
Had a lot of fun for my first roleplaying thing.

Game of Thrones themed menu at a food truck.

King Slayer. +.+

Splendor - Gem card game

Red Dragon Inn

League Of Legends play room. Played a 3v3 tournament and lost.

I won a game of Citadels!

A small kale caesar salad@ Yard House.
Good/Expensive. Fancy

Food trucks again! Crab cake sandwich with truffle fries.

Free food from Rio Grande Games room.
<3 They were so sweet.
I loved it. I had a great time with my friends. :) Didn't get much sleep, but oh well. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Recipe Review #1 - Biroche Dough from Bigger Bolder Baking

Hey guys!

Sorry I've been so MIA lately. I'm taking one small summer class and have been using all my lazy points during my free time. So hopefully, I'll be more productive in the future, right? I've been watching a lot of old shows like Inuyasha and Yu-Gi-Oh(don't judge me.) I've also been reading a lot of W.I.T.C.H. comics as of recently. Then, there is YouTube and League of Legends, which take up too much of my time. Don't worry, I swear I don't have a problem yet.

While I was on YouTube, I came across Gemma Stafford's channel - Bigger Bolder Baking. If you ever go on Youtube, Facebook, Pinterest, etc, you have probably seen her videos or things inspired by her videos. I discovered her about a year ago. I fell in love with her recipes and her videos. Her videos are spectacularly clean and crisp. It inspires me to make my own cooking YouTube channel, but then I'd get all frustrated about how my videos aren't clean. ;) But the only way to learn and improve skills such as video editing is by doing it.

A particular recipe caught my eye while I was binge watching her videos. It was a brioche dough recipe that was no-knead. No-knead to tell me a second time, I was gonna try it out next time I baked with yeast.

Gemma Stafford from Bigger Bolder Baking's Brioche Dough Recipe

It was a simple recipe. I followed the directions accordingly. Despite Stafford's warnings, I ended up putting the salt directly on top of the yeast in the flour mixture. I just quickly mixed up the dry ingredients, hoping for the best. I used 1 cup and 3/4 cup of all-purpose flour and a 1/4 cup of whole wheat flour. I kept it in the fridge for around 14 or 15 hours as I wasn't in too much of a rush to bake it. I let the dough come up to room temperature for an hour. Afterwards, I buttered up a loaf pan and just rolled out the dough, placing it in the loaf pan. I proofed it in an oven that was previously used. It proofed for 3 hours. Then, I baked it for about 28 or so minutes.

It was/is divine. The bread was a bit dense, but so soft and crumbly. It was almost like a cornbread crumbly. Kind of cake like. I really enjoyed it. I told myself that I made it for nutella sandwiches for school, but uh it is almost gone already. To be fair, I shared it with others. I love it with nutella and just by itself. I tried it toasted with nutella, so good!

Here's a little treat for coming by and all. Little Meli! 

<3 Until next time.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Las Vegas - Butterscotch Cinnamon Scones

Hi everyone!

I went to Las Vegas from last last Monday night through Wednesday night. Not being of drinking age and not interested in random partying, I just hung out with my sister, eating and walking our way around. Before my trip, I went shopping. Maybe for a cute blouse or swimsuit.
I got this blouse. :3

We stayed at the hotel, Paris Las Vegas. It was very nice. I really enjoyed seeing what I should've learned after taking French for three years in high school. Whoops.  I saw many different French pastries and goods at the cafes just in the hotel's area. I did like some of the different desserts that I tried. However, my favorite was this orange colored macaron with a chocolate filling. On a lollipop stick. I thought it was cute, but not the best way to serve a macaron at a buffet. The buffet was the Le Village Buffet.

When we got home, I was craving to experiment in the kitchen. I don't know, I really like trying to replicate something or just make some thing tasty. Before I went to Las Vegas, my mom came home with a box full of sweets from Panera Bread, which is a fast food bakery-cafe like place? I found out that the box contained only one kind of pastries, cinnamon crunch scones. 
Photo from Panera Bread's Website
My mom and sister adored these scones. Wanting to change it up a bit, I looked into recipes that were similar online. I found this recipe for Cinnamon Chip Scones from Sally's Baking Addiction. Her recipe is very detailed and just amazing. Aha I was in awe when I read the recipe. I really like the crumbly scones with the glaze. However, I couldn't find cinnamon chips at my local Walmart or Trader Joe's. I didn't try Lucky's. I'll look next time though. I used butterscotch chips instead, which turned out amazing. 

Butterscotch Cinnamon Scones

From Cinnamon Chip Scones from Sally's Baking Addiction with modifications shown below.

Ingredients :3

Ingredients [Meli: I made sure all of my ingredients were room temperature except for the butter.]

  • Scones
    • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
    • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1 and 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 8 Tablespoons (115g) unsalted butter, frozen [I put the butter in the freezer for about an hour or so.]
    • 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream (plus a little extra for brushing)
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 and 1/4 cups cinnamon butterscotch chips
    • coarse sugar for sprinkling on top before baking (optional)
  • Glaze
    • 1 cup (120g) confectioners' sugar
    • 3 Tablespoons (45ml) black coffee (or milk/half-and-half/cream for a plain vanilla glaze) [Meli: I used heavy cream leftover from the scone ingredients.]
    • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Steps [Meli: I have included the original steps with any adaptations I did or etc in brackets. Please check out Sally's instructions as they are really detailed and well-written.]

  1. Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Adjust baking rack to the middle-low position. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside. [I used parchment paper and waited to decided on which baking sheet to use.]
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

    Grate the frozen butter (I used a box grater....). Toss the grated butter into the flour mixture and combine it with a pastry cutter, your fingers, or two knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Set aside. [I weighed and measured all of the ingredients out before I did anything else. I am a bit eccentric about measuring. I did try grating with a box grater, using a food processor, and just cutting it up with a knife. I found that while a grater is good, it works better when the butter is thoroughly frozen. I ended up grating then cutting up with a cold knife. Then, used my fingers to combine the butter and flour mixture.]
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the cream, egg, and vanilla together. Drizzle it over the flour mixture and then toss the mixture together with a rubber spatula until everything appears moistened. Slowly and gently fold in the cinnamon chips. Try your best to not overwork the dough at any point. Dough will be a little wet. Work the dough into a ball with floured hands as best you can and transfer to the prepared baking pan. Press into a neat 8″ disc and cut into equal wedges with a very sharp knife. Using a pastry brush (or your fingers!) brush lightly with a little bit of cream and then sprinkle with coarse sugar. Separate the scones and line them on the baking sheet with a little space between each one. [I used a metal pastry scraper knife to cut out the scones, brushing them with a bit of heavy cream. I didn't sprinkle them with coarse sugar.]

  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden and cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. During this time, make the glaze by whisking all of the glaze ingredients together until completely smooth. Drizzle over scones right before serving.

:3 Until next time!