Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Resturant Review: Teriyaki Madness

My husband and I haven't had very much luck eating out at non-chain restaurants. We always say lets try that new local place and then get scared and take a pass and end up somewhere we've eaten before. Teriyaki Madness is a chain of restaurants but new to me. I love teriyaki and I wanted to try a new restaurant and I was able to convince my husband that going out for dinner was a good idea despite the pouring rain and the fact that this place is miles away from our new place.  We had other errands in the area so it all worked out but I hate driving in the rain.  Thankfully the fearful in the dark rain driving was worth it.

Teriyaki Madness is located near the Loop but across John Young in a new shopping plaza that has gone up near BJs.  I guess it's the Loops competition because it also has an Outback Steakhouse, Cheddars, Hoppy Lobby, PetSmart and many other great shops. There is still construction going on and we noticed a couple other new eateries to be open soon and something called a Fresh Market to be open soon. Wish I lived closer!

Teriyaki Madness has a very simple menu. You pretty much pick a protein and a base of veggies, noodles or veggies (or a combo) and there are some appetizers and side items to choose from as well. I don't recall seeing any dessert items being available which was kind of sad since Menchii's is all the way over by the Loop.  Like I need the extra calories, lol!

The really neat thing about Teriyaki Madness is that it is a franchise run by the Brevard Achievement Center (BAC), a nonprofit agency with headquarters in Rockledge Colorado that offers programs and services to assist people with disabilities. According to the signage in store these restaurants are a revenue source (obviously) and can provide on-the-job training, not to mention employment, for people with disabilities. Pretty awesome, right?

It was pouring down rain so it wasn't very busy in the store. The few people we saw looked like employees from the surrounding stores. This location was also hard to see from the road and when we tried to get directions via our phone it insisted that this location did not exist. It's a small building really. I couldn't get a picture of the exterior due to rain but it's just grey with a large lit sign with the Teriyaki Madness in black in red. I love the color and the madness, lol! The store was clean and all teh tables came well stocked with teriyaki sauce, soy sauce and sriracha. They offer the typical fountain drinks and some bottled items as well.

I did feel like we waited quite a long time for our order but since everything was made fresh and the staff was uber friendly I didn't mind over much. I think their might have been some to-go orders holding up service as well.

I ordered the teriyaki chicken bowl with rice and stir-fried veggies. I also ordered an appetizer of crab rangoon. I received a ton of food. I honestly could not finish it all. I had so much rice leftover! The chicken was delicious and the crab rangoon? OMG! The best I have had in a long time. It came with some sort of dipping sauce that was just fantastic. I ordered 4 but next time I'll do the order of two. I couldn't eat everything and ended up taking 2 of mine home to eat later.

My husband ordered a bowl with katsu with yakisoba noodles and stir fried veggies (half of which I consumed because he doesn't like squash or broccoli). I tried some of the chicken and thought it was delicious. I wasn't a big fan of the noodles but they were okay.

I can't remember if my husband was able to finish the whole bowl. If he left anything it was veggies. He said he really liked his meal too.

Our final bill total was a bit pricey but I don't think much more than ordering Chinese take out and I really feel it was better tasting than any of the Chinese food we have ordered recently.I think the bowl I ordered was around $7.00 and includes the chicken, the rice and the veggie side. The crab rangoon only comes 4 to an around and was around $4.00.Next time me and the hubby will split an order. Hubby's bowl was a bit more because yakisoba noodles are $1.00 extra. The menu does have vegetarian items (like tofu)and also salads. You can also save carbs by ordring all veggies and no rice/noodles.

By the way, my husband's dish came with a sauce to pour on his chicken which I didn't much care for. It reminded me a bit of A-1 steak sauce with cinnamon added to it. It comes on the side so you can control how much to put on your food. My husband really liked it but guess what? He's a more adventurous eater than I am.

I will definetly be eating at Teriyaki Madness in the future. I'm not sure if I'll take my husband with me though. Unfortunately he could see that PetSmart from were he was seated and he decided it would be a brilliant idea to go look around at all the little critters. We ended up bring home one of those little critters:

Her name is Onyxia and she is currently a rambunctious brat. Well, she is a kitten still and I guess that is to be expected. She's a cute one and I couldn't say no to my husband's puppy dog eyes asking if we could take her home. So welcome home Onyxia.

Teriyaki Madness
680 Centerview Blvd, 
Kissimmee, FL 34741
(407) 530-5800

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Alicorn Cake

I really love looking at cake decorating blogs and have really really gotten into baking and decorating. I'm just all around crafty! I recently moved into a house and now have a spacious kitchen and room to leave huge messes everywhere. So when I saw a neighbor requesting a baker for a birthday cake I pretty much yelled, "Pick me! Pick me!"

I was a bit scared when she told me what she wanted! She sent me this picture: 

Obviously what she got was a bit different but the color was definitely inspired by this cake! I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to get those huge wings and unicorn body to stay upright and stable. I have never sculpted anything this complicated before! But I digress. Can we talk about the color scheme some more?

I was quite worried I wouldn't be able to find the requested purple sprinkles and I was almost right! Going to the local craft stores and the neighborhood grocery markets were dead ends although I did find the pearl dragees and purple confetti shaped sprinkles I ultimately used to create what you see above.  I thought I would end up using just color mix sprinkles but then two days before the cake was due I stumbled upon a hidden gem just 5 minutes away from my job! A cake supply store! Yay!

I also bought these from the same supplier but I cold have bought them at Wal-Mart or Joanns. I sued these to cover up where the cake meets cake board. They are giant six-lets! So cute!

I just used a little buttercream to adhere them to the cake/cake board! I really wanted to make a fondant covered board but I ended up just using a cake board covered in tin foil. 

Covering an entire 8-in cake in sprinkles was a lot easier than I expected. And messy! I followed the tutorial from The Cake Blog: DIY : RAINBOW SPRINKLE CAKE

I was worried about covering my top tier in fondant but after watching several YouTube videos on the process I'm happy to report that I was able to make my own marshmallow fondant and apply the fondant with no mishaps!

Here are the completed tiers. I really hate that huge gap between the cakes. I don't think my tiers were quite level and I'm sure that the sprinkles did not help the situation!  I just smeared some of the butter cream icing that was colored to match the fondant in that crack and the space disappeared!

I used modeling chocolate to sculpt the alicorn. I think next time I'd use fondant mixed with some tylose powder because apparently my hands get really hot enough to melt the chocolate and make it greasy even wearing those little food handling gloves! This also took me several days to complete and the modeling chocolate got dry and brittle. 

The wings were a pain in the butt! I drew out a template and then cut out four of the wing shapes and sandwiched a skewer in between using sugar glue to hold it all together. 

I accidentally made two of the same direction wings. I was pretty ticked off at myself and thought I'd have to remake one of my wings but as you can see in the finished product it didn't mater and I think worked out better. From the back it doesn't look that pretty but it doesn't look horrible either.

My alicorn was almost too large for the 6-in top tier! I had drawn a circle using the cake pan and used that as a guide for length so I'm not sure how this thing got so large and out of hand! There was also a lot of gap between the base of the sculpture and the cake. Thank god I had a ton of butter cream icing left! I had planned on having it seated in a grassy meadow any ways so I used a lead tip and piped in some grass. 

So there you have it! My first fondant covered, sprinkle covered two tiered cake! It was a lot of work but also a lot of fun! I really hope I can make some more cakes like this in the future. My husband is begging me for a penguin cake so maybe that is what I'll work on next. I'd love to learn how to make sculpted cakes and a penguin might fit the bill!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

How to Make Halloween Skull Towers Part 2

Welcome to part 2 of my skull tower tutorial. This tutorial can stand alone but if you think I may have missed a step you may want to check out part 1 here. If you can't find your answer there of in this tutorial feel free to leave me a comment with your question and I'll try to answer your question as best I can!

The primary reason I broke up this tutorial into two parts for what amounts to essentially the same project is because that is how I roll.  There are some minor difference: larger items, how to attach the light sets and I use a can of foam spray. It honestly isn't much different then the small tower though!

For a large skull tower you will need:

  • 4-5 large Styrofoam skulls* (you can use plastic but you'll need a drill to make holes in them). I also say 4-5 because you'll have to decide how tall you want your tower or maybe your skulls are larger or smaller than mine!
  • a large plastic black cauldron or a flowerpot 
  • floral foam
  • spray foam
  • a long dowel rod (a larger diameter than you used for the small tower) (not pictured)
  • ribbon and/or tulle
  • Spanish moss
  • assorted fake flowers/foliage and creepy crawlers
  • paving stone or rock or some other medium to give your pot some weight
  • glue gun (not pictured)
*You'll notice in my pictures I also have used a Styrofoam pumpkin. One of my glitter skulls ran away and when I went to the store all the other skulls had run away as well. I hear they went to Cancun for vacation. The pumpkin kindly volunteered to take the AWOL skull's place and doesn't she look great?!

I bought most of my supplies at my local dollar store.  I did have to go to my local hardware store for the dowel rod,spray foam, brick paver and the craft store for the floral foam but look around your dollar store because sometimes they do carry these items! 

The flower pot I found at Big Lots. I was looking for an extra large cauldron but the flowerpot is made of plastic and looks fantastic.  The final product makes me wish I could have found more glitter skulls to make another one. These would look so great as matching pairs by the entrance of the house!

In your cauldron (or pot) place any material that your using to weigh down the tower. You'll need to do this or it'll just tip over on you. Styrofoam and ribbon are very light. This doesn't have to weigh a ton but since mine were going to be outside exposed to the occasionally gusty wind I erred on the heavy side! Better too heavy than not heavy enough because once you have it assembled you cannot add more weight INSIDE of the bucket.

Since the flower pot I bought was so large I needed to add some filler before adding my floral foam. After placing my paving stone in the bottom of the pot (pic 1), I crumpled up some plastic shopping bags and placed them around the stoner and on top of the stone (pic 2). I then used the spray foam to cover the paving stone and the shopping bags (pic 3). 

Please be very careful using spray foam. Use in a well ventilated area (like outside!) and be careful none of it gets on you, your clothes, or your expensive camera (obviously I'm speaking from experience here!). 

After letting the spray harden over a couple hours I then added my floral foam (pic 4) I cut it to fit and used the scraps to kid of wedge everything solid. You could also use hot glue or try to get the floral foam into the foam before it is too set.

After measuring how high my skull tower would be completely assembled, I cut my dowel rod. You want the rod to fit onto your top skull with out poking out of the skull completely!

Before gluing the dowel rod into my floral foam I used it to poke my holes into my skulls. Mine look a bit messy due to the glitter coating chipping off.  These mess ups are hidden when completely assembled. If you make a boo-boo that isn't cover once the skulls are stack, get creative!  Use a flower or ribbon or something to cover it up. If it's just a small chip you could even use a little paint to repair. Just be careful and not completely destroy your skull.. It is Styrofoam after all. If you are the Incredible Hulk you may want to have some one more delicate do this step for you. 

Before adding the skulls (or at least before adding them permanently, use some Spanish moss to cover up that ugly floral foam!

Once you have your skulls stacked the way you want them, use a little hot glue to make sure they are not lose on that dowel rod. Unless spinning skulls are your thing? You could also use some tulle or ribbon in between each skull before permanently gluing everything done. Just remember once it is glued it's not moving!

To attach a strand of lights I used some floral wire that I stole off one my fake flowers (from the trimmed stems). I folded the wire into a u-shape to make a fastener and then used it to tack the light strand in place. I wasn't sure if just hot glue alone would do the job but I did add a dollop of the hot glue after I pushed the fastener into the skull.

Prior to attaching the lights I used some purple tulle in between the skulls. I added the lights and then added some ribbon butterflies and a super cute feathered owl to my skull stack. This is the really fun part!  Decorate however you like. I think a huge wired ribbon bow could be cute in front of the flower pot urn!

Don't forget to add some creepy eyeball roses or other fake foliage in the bottom to cover up that ugly floral foam too.

So there you have it!  A super adorably creepy skull tower!  This project is relatively cheap too!  Lots of the decorative items came from the dollar store and were used for multiple projects. The urn was the most expensive item bought for this project but it was just too perfect to pass up! I only spent $20 on it at Big Lots. I'm sure you could find one for less if you live up north and catch a summer clearance sale. I live in central Florida so gardening a year round thing so it's hard to find flower pots on sale at times.

Happy Halloween!