Category Archives: My Baking

QA Testing Cake of Deliciousness – frustration has never been this tasty!

So I’m still doing the three-month QA testing gig at work… and this time around it’s quite a bit more frustrating. Every time we let the IT group know about a new bug–they send back a message that they either:

– cannot reproduce the issue*,

– would like a movie of each and every step that led up to the issue**,

– and/or would like the login name and password we were using when it happened***.

In frustration, one of my co-workers drew a Venn diagram on the white board with the above three requests in each circle. A little while later, after being asked for another movie of something they couldn’t reproduce–but I couldn’t get to stop happening–I walked up and finished filling out the interlocked circles.

QA Testing Diagram

After a week or so of seeing this on the board every day, I decided that there was no reason why frustration couldn’t be turned into a tasty treat.

Thus the Venn diagram QA testing cake of deliciousness was created.

QA Testing Cake

It’s a homemade red velvet cake (created with white chocolate) and filled/covered with cream cheese frosting****. I brought it in the first Sunday we worked overtime trying to keep on schedule, and there wasn’t much left to take home afterwards.

No, we didn’t offer any to the IT group.
 
 
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* We think they attempt to reproduce the same bug by waving their hands in front of the monitors or doing some strange IT dance rather than actually following the detailed steps we provide because they can’t seem to reproduce anything we send them. OK, that was an exaggeration. I about fell over the two times they admitted they also saw the same issue the first time it was submitted to them.

** EVERY SINGLE TIME!  Sometimes even after we’ve already attached a movie and multiple screenshots.

*** We have limited ids to use for our testing, and before we learned our lesson, they’d log in while we were running our tests and screw up our data. This was finally defeated by re-running and filming any new bug while logged in using their own assigned IT user ids before sending them the information. It was a hysterically funny conversation the first time the head IT guy realized this.

****I’ll post the recipe as soon as I get it into the computer. Right now it’s still on a splotched and scribbled piece of notebook paper. I hated every red velvet recipe I tried and so it’s taken a year and multiple attempts to get it to the point where I’m actually willing to sell it.

It’s an Orgy of Baking

All the Sugar Cookies
(I can’t decide if ‘orgy’ is supposed to be capitalized or not. It looks kinda funny that way…maybe it’s just that I don’t use that word often enough.)

It’s that time of year again.

The table is cleared and the kitchen is clean.

Recipes are brought out, picked through, and a lucky few chosen.

Around $150 in baking supplies and gift containers are stacked up against a wall.

My updated Kitchen playlist is scaring the cats and probably also disturbing the neighbors.

And for once, I was actually able to schedule four days in a row off from work so I can do all my Christmas and holiday baking early this year. I’m so excited about this that I’m sitting at my cleared table, in my nice clean kitchen, writing all about it before the baking actually begins.

Normally, I’m baking on my weekends and after work, frantically picking through my list of cookies and candies to see which can be quickly doubled or completely dropped from the list because I’m already out of time. It’s always so stressful that I not only don’t get to enjoy the baking part–but I don’t have time to enjoy delivering the treats either. Steve may argue that the point of all this is to thank people and businesses, but to me it’s really all about feeding people and making them happy, even if it’s just a momentary happiness.

This year I plan on enjoying myself.

The tentative list for baking is:

  1. Dark Chocolate Covered Coconut Balls
  2. Divinity
  3. Sugar Cookies
  4. Gingerbread cookies
  5. Raspberry Almond Cookies
  6. Mango Chai Almond Bark
  7. Chocolate Spritz Cookies
  8. Cherry Pecan Cookies
  9. Sugar & Spice Coffee Slices
  10. Raspberry Fudge Brownies
  11. Citrus Glazed Lemon Spritz Cookies

It’s tentative because I padded it just enough that I can remove one or two items if things get behind, and they’re items that don’t require any special ingredients to purchase either.

The first two I make every year because it’s something my grandmother used to do at Christmas until I took over for her. I’ve modified the coconut ball recipe, but the divinity is exactly the same. One of my coworker’s calls it “Shiny Ferret Sugar Crack” because of how wired she gets when I bring divinity to work. The next three cookies are things that have become a holiday tradition for Steve and I (two of them are recipes from the resort where I did my externship). Hopefully the Mango Chai Bark will be an improvement over the nasty Apricot Chai Almond Bark from last year. It had a lot of potential, but crashed and burned once I added the apricots. Everything below that is new. We’ll see which ones are good enough to keep on the list for next year.

Now it’s time to stop writing and start baking.  Woo hoo!

And now for something clever, yet adorable

It’s a song.  About chocolate. And it’s stop motion animation using cookies, chocolate, cake sprinkles, and all other sorts of deliciousness (…I said CAKE SPRINKLES!).

Seriously cute.

Oh, and all the text below this is from Carlos… I can’t take any credit for it (he’s the director of the deliciousness).

Jesse & Joy- “Chocolate” from Carlos Lopez Estrada on Vimeo.

WARNER MUSIC 2010

WATCH THE BEHIND THE SCENES HERE: http://vimeo.com/9758804

During the first month of the year 2010, a group of 9 brave soldiers worked for 30 days straight, without seeing the light of day inside a secret dungeon located in Los Angeles, California. Their task was to gather 90 handmade cookies, sugar, milk, flour, chocolate, eggs and dough; and utilize them to create a 4 minute stop motion video for a foreign artist whose lyrics still remain unknown. They disappeared for 6 weeks and just recently emerged out of the darkness with a small floppy disk containing this:
The Official music video for Chocolate!!!

Please watch while enjoying a cold glass of fresh milk.

Recovery Mode

The pain from the incision is gone, but the original pain has stuck around some (although there were two pain-free days earlier this week).  I’m taking off for Vegas next month, so I’m hoping to start working out as soon as I get the all clear from my doctor on Monday.  We’ll see.

To keep myself from going nuts over the past week, I started a new project.  I’m reviewing cookbooks!  That mean I also get to test three recipes from the cookbook for each review.  The first one up is “The Cake Doctor Bakes Gluten-Free” by Anne Byrn (I picked it up when she was in town a few weeks ago for a book signing).  In this case, I ended up with so much cake and cookies in the house that I had to unload the rest of them on my coworkers.  They’re very happy about all this, by the way.  The cookies weren’t bad, the bundt cake has quite a bit of potential, and I have a four-layer coconut cake up next.

Of course the real test will be to see how many cookbooks I get through before finding something else that catches my attention.

Webcomics and baking

All New Issues:  Food, fashion accessories, AND science fiction. I want my own scarf now!

Sheldon: A step-by-step guide to walk you through the decision-making process of whether you should have a cookie. The artist also sells it as a print that I’m planning on ordering for my kitchen. (Bonus Sheldon comparing cherry tomatoes to the Three Stooges.)

Head Trip: An Inception cake

Two of my favorite strips from Questionable Content that are also rated G: Cookies and Pies (the artist sells a t-shirt with this quote on it – I ended up wearing it to the first day of the Austin cake show this year)

Odori Park: WHY WON’T YOU EAT MY LOVE?!