My Journey, Welcome!

Welcome to my blog! I am Mellie, and this is my journey. I am a recent, non-traditional, college/culinary student. I hope that you'll stick around for all that's to come. I hope to have tips and tricks, recipes, photo's, laughter, fears, tears, personal goal's and accomplishments and more! Please, follow me. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. I look forward to the future!


Thursday, February 26, 2015

My Dreams...

 It's no secret, for those who know me well, that I want to work for Disney World. I've been talking about it for a very long time, and I finally did something about it.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Long Time No Blog

It seem's like forever ago that I created this little food blog, and started culinary school. I have missed my little food blog, and have been thinking of it recently!
I haven't given up on culinary school, though! I'm still an active student.
I did have a few minor setback's, though. Earlier this year we lost my grandfather rather unexpectedly. I wasn't in such a good place when this happened and so I took a step or two back. I'm in a much better place emotionally now, and am back on track, ready to graduate in the Spring.
 Though he was 92, he had been in his right mind for most of those 92 years. Last September, when I saw him on my grandma's birthday, was the last time that I ever got to see him in his "normal" state. Seems he had dementia, or an onset of Alzheimer's disease, we're not clear. Whatever the case may be, he was still around with us, just in a very confused state. He was convinced that my grandma wasn't his real wife, that she was someone who was pretending to be his wife. After 60+ years of marriage, that was probably the most heartbreaking thing to have to witness. I can't fathom how difficult it must've been on my grandma.
My papa passed away on Feb. 19th, 2014 and we buried him on the 22nd. Just one week later, my older cousin got married and it was entirely bittersweet. Entirely.

 Also this year, my daughter announced that she was pregnant. I was deeply depressed and upset in the beginning, for she isn't married and is very young, only 21. In time I learned to accept it, and even became excited for the birth of my first grandchild. We now have Sebastian John in our lives, and I am one proud Grandma. Sebastian carries as his middle name the first name of my grandfather, and his son, who is also gone but not forgotten.

 This past Summer semester, I took off. I'm done with humanities and anything non-culinary (except business math which wasn't offered) and took that time to prepare for the baby's arrival. I painted all of the used furniture that we have acquired. Changing table, crib and whatnot. Deep into Summer my mom's baby sister, my Aunt Kathy and I took my grandma to South Carolina to visit with her family. She got to see her elderly uncle who was 97 or 98. He passed away a few short weeks after our visit. We even took a trip up into the North Carolina mountains. Everything seemed to be going in the right direction, just when I thought that thing's were looking up, on our trip I got a phone call that during a horrific storm 2 trees had fallen onto our double-wide home, and almost completely destroyed it. With a new baby on the way, coming very quickly, and a dog we set out looking for a place large enough to house all 4 of us + new baby, 1 dog and lot's of furnishings. It proved to be a very difficult task, and we stayed with my brother in law and sister in law for about 5 or 6 weeks until we finally settled on the rental we have now. It's not perfect, but it's home, for now.

 I am still planning on relocating to the Orlando area, when I graduate. My boyfriend and I, and our pup - Tucker. My kids aren't interested in going down there right now, so it looks like we'll be empty nesters for the first time in 15 years. I'm not really sure that I am ready for that chapter in my life, I'm having a hard time with accepting this.

 So, in a nutshell, I have had one very stressful and difficult year. One thing remains, I have my family, I have my loving boyfriend, my 2 children who are awesome and 1 gorgeous new grandson. Our love will never falter for each other.

 I am happy in school. I love being back in class. Garde Manger is my favorite class this semester. So far we have done canning, made sausage and discussed/tasted various cheeses. Chef will soon be teaching us ice carving, and we'll carve our own block of ice with a chainsaw! LOL! I don't know if I'm excited or scared about that :)

Hopefully I will be active in this blog once more, and not forget what it's all about.

I'm leaving you with a few food pictures that I have taken over the last several months.

Happy cooking!

Black bean, potato, spinach and chorizo hash. YUM!

Delicious deep fried apple fritters. On a whim one day my daughter and I decided to make these, after seeing a recipe posted on my Facebook wall!

My new grandson, Sebastian John. He was exactly 3 weeks old in this picture.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Taste of Italy

My name is Melissa, I am 44 years young and I'm currently enrolled as a Culinary Management student at the campus of Gulf Coast State College, in beautiful Panama City, Florida. I'm raising money to go on a culinary tour with my classmates and chef instructor, next Spring, to Italy! We will be traveling from Florida, to Milan, and all about Italy, learning all about the culinary world. I am super excited and I appreciate that this is the chance of a lifetime and I am working hard toward my goal. 
Thank you for your consideration!


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Another week...more bread!

Just a little update and more photo's from this week's 2 classes.
On Monday, we made more veal stock. It's a long story as to why we had to, but basically, we had to throw the first batch away because it sat out all night :(
We also made some poached chicken breasts, in white wine and chicken stock with dried thyme, tarragon and salt & white pepper. Then we made velouté and topped the chicken with it, and some fresh tarragon for garnish. Delicious!

This week, in baking class, we made soft, rich, brioche. And we also made baguettes! We have been practicing baguettes for a while now, and we will have a practical test on making them! :)
We also made some soft yeast rolls, they were so soft and yummy! Oh, and chef made for us some focaccia with fresh basil, tarragon, onions and Parmesan cheese. Delicious!
So, here's photo's of all of this week's bread makings....and then some!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Bread, Bread, Bread!

 I love bread, don't you? There is just something that is so magical about the fact that you can take 4 mere ingredient's and turn it into something as wonderful and substantial as bread. Bread has a long history, and I am learning all about it's origin's in my baking class. To say that I am enthralled is an understatement. I swear that I could sit and listen to my chef instructor talk all day long. His stories, whether related to cooking/baking, or talk of his personal life, are so interesting and sometimes funny! In the past couple of week's, we have learned how to make traditional French bread in the form of rolls and I am learning how to roll the, not yet perfect, well, roll. It's not as easy as one may think, there is an art to it, and I am determined to perfect this technique! I can hardly wait to move on to begin making baguettes! Today, we made soft yeast rolls. Oh. My. Lord. Soft, warm, ever so slightly yeasty, wonderful, rolls. Yes, yes, yes! I will turn those beauties into hamburger rolls for me, and my 2 guys for our dinner, tonight! I can hardly wait. Chef also spoke to us about taking a group trip, overseas. Talk of Europe made me extremely excited! I have never been anywhere other than Canada, so I'm definitely interested. Who know's where we'll end up going, if we get to go. We need a certain amount of people who are interested in order to reserve the trip. More to come...

 Here are the photo's I took in the last couple of classes. Several images of the traditional French bread rolls we made in class. Pretty neat, huh?


 Shelly and I made this pan of mac and cheese. We began by making an onion piquette and then made a roux, for our bechamel sauce, which we then turned into a cheese sauce for the mac and cheese. It was so yummy! I think we did a pretty good job :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Muffins, again.

     This Tuesday, in baking lab, we made some more muffins. The last time that we made them, we used buttermilk. We were the only group that got to use buttermilk, then. This week we all used buttermilk and instead of blueberries, this time we used dried cranberries in our group. The muffins turned out pretty well! We also used the creaming method, to make sour cream muffins, and chef coached us through the process, using the kitchen aid mixers. It's a lengthy process, and in the end, it is so worth it. What your result is, is a moist, and fluffy muffin that was almost to die for. I don't think anything can compare to the sour cream muffins and I am going to definitely be making some of these at home. Yum-Yum!

     Chef also made a fresh batch of streusel topping, using only sugar, flour and butter. It tasted similar to an unbaked sugar cookie dough.

     Thanks to another group, who did not measure properly, we got to see the results of that. What was left was a sunken/concave of a muffin. They browned up nicely, though they did not have a crown. Those would have been beautiful muffins had they risen properly!
It's definitely interesting to see what can happen, and what result's you achieve with various ingredients in place of. I'm loving it more and more.

Here's our pan of sour cream muffins with streusel topping.