Day 3 of Orlando trip and updates

Sorry to not have posted in so long.  I never updated on the third and final day of my Orlando trip.  My brother and I went to the Orlando Museum of Art.  The main exhibit we saw was the ancient Aztec art.  I love how detailed it all was, especially the pottery vessels.  On the way to the exhibit, we passed by the African exhibit.  I loved the patterns on the beadwork and the clay pots.  We also saw the Baroque paintings.  Because my brother covers exhibits quicker than I do, we covered a lot more of the museum that I usually cover.  That night, we went to his ping-pong meetup group at the Central Florida Table Tennis Club.  I realized that I’m better at ping-pong than I thought I was.  For dinner, we went out to a place called Hawkers.  It is an Asian street food restaurant.

In other news, my life is really off balance.  I am really doing nothing much besides studying for my classes, preparing to retake the GRE, planning classes for the summer and fall, and preparing to apply to PA schools. Well, my mom and I went to the Richmond Ballet’s New Works festival in which choreographers who have never created works for the ballet do so for the first time. I really wish that it wasn’t like this, because I feel like I have a one-track mind.  It is also counter-productive when I have no substantial breaks to look forward to. 

Orlando trip day 2

Last night, I was so tired, I went straight to sleep. My brother and I went to Typhoon Lagoon today. It is a Disney water park. I had a lot of fun there. One of the best rides is called the Crush ‘n Gusher. It’s like a mini water slide roller coaster. For those who want more down time, there are several sandy areas with lounge chairs to relax. The only real kitschy part to it is the beachy music, which is probably true of many water parks.

Last night, I met four of my brother’s friends at Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Cafe. It is a German restaurant. I had been there before, but it was fun to see my brother’s friends try the food for the first time. Some extras we ordered were a cherry Schnapps that frankly tasted like cough syrup to me (the apple Schnapps is much better) and a piece of Black Forest cake that was heavenly. Unfortunately, the entertainment was not there tonight, and it is much better with the entertainment. For those who want to go there with entertainment, reservations must be made two months in advance.

Orlando trip day 1

Last night, I flew to Orlando. This morning, my brother had employment business to take care of. Then, we headed to Bok Tower Gardens, which were about 1.75 hours away from Altamonte Springs.

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This is the top of the singing tower. Carillon bell concerts are given every afternoon at 1 and 3. This particular concert was given by a guest artist, and you can pick up a program for the artists and compositions being played. There was a viewing area where you could see the artist playing the carillon in the tower. He would even bow at the end of the pieces.
Other highlights of the gardens included a window box to the ecosystem, an endangered species garden solely native to Florida, and the Pinewood estate.

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Fountain at Pinewood estate

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Viewing window

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Pinewood estate

For dinner, my brother and I met one of his friends at a restaurant called Hash House a Go Go. The portions there are huge! For the sake of variety, though, all three of us each ordered a dish. My brother’s friend ordered a fried green tomato stack, my brother ordered a stuffed burger, and I ordered penne with fried chicken. To top it off, they start you off with gigantic biscuits.

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Tomorrow is Typhoon Lagoon!

Hantaschen resolved

As promised, I am updating you on the hamantaschen. Yesterday, my parents, boyfriend, and I assembled and baked the hamantaschen. The steps were as follows:
1. Roll out the dough.
2. Cut out circles.

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3. Put in filling.

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4. Pinch into triangles.
5. Put on cookie sheet and bake.

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At least the trial colored dough didn’t turn out two badly. They’re delicious!

Hamentaschen Baking Issues

Next weekend is the holiday of Purim.  It is a Jewish holiday where we celebrate the bravery of Queen Esther of Persia, who saved us from the evil Haman.  In celebration, we eat triangle-shaped cookies called hamantaschen.  I didn’t want to do the completely traditional version with fruit fillings; I wanted a little twist.  Unfortunately, I think I reached a little too big.  I wanted to not only change the filling but change the exterior as well.  To change the exterior, I got a link that my aunt shared on Facebook:

http://kitchen-tested.com/2014/02/20/rainbow-hamantaschen/

The directions seemed easy enough at first.  However, there were some problems.  First, I read that the poster used a stand mixer to mix the dough.  We only have a hand mixer.  Before I realized it, I had put the frozen sticks of butter into the sugar and could therefore not soften them in the microwave.  That was a tedious process. During the process of dyeing the dough, I found that the food coloring was unable to diffuse properly into the dough.

Fortunately, the filling turned out well.  Tomorrow, my parents, boyfriend, and I will assemble and bake the hamantaschen.  I will share some photos from the adventure.  Additionally, I’m leaving to visit my brother tomorrow night and will try to post updates during the trip.  If you would like, you can share some stories about recipe problems and substitutions in the comments.