Tuesday, June 24, 2014

American Flag Cake

So my good friend Stephanie invited some friends over Sunday for the World Cup game, and so we could check out her basement, decorated by the folks at West End Salvage for their HGTV show!  The game was a heartbreaker and I don't really want to talk about it... But we are still in it with one win and a draw.  Now we just have to set our sights on beating Germany! 

Full disclosure, soccer isn't my favorite sport in the world, it ranks up there between badminton and squash (Fellow ISU Rec Service employees know what I'm talking about... the marks a squash ball leave on the walls are near impossible to get off, and setting up a badminton court on a Friday night when all the basketball courts are full is a battle you can't win).  But Soccer has always been just eh for me.  I don't really love to run, and there is a lot of running involved.  But the whole world is excited about the World Cup, and just like every 4 years when I get really excited about Olympic swimming, I'm 100% all in for America right now. 


And this party did not disappoint.  We chowed down on pulled pork and corndogs and drank red white and blue cocktails!  Seriously, Stephanie is the hostess with the mostess.  She trusted me and bought this patriotic cake from me without exactly knowing what she was getting herself into, and I think it turned out splendid.

I started with two red 9" circle cakes, two white 9" circle cakes and a blue 9" circle cake.  I will say, homemade is better in this case.  Boxed cake is so incredibly tender that it falls apart easily, making it very difficult to frost and even more difficult to cut in thin pieces.  

I cut the cakes in even slices, giving me two layers per cake. 


Make sure the layers are the same size using a cake cutter.  I used this one:


Then I alternated red, white, red, white with a thin layer of frosting in between each.  You want it to be very thin so it doesn't get in the way of your stripes.


I cut a hole in the middle of the blue cake, cutting carefully around a cup.


And layered that on top of my red and white layers.


I filled the hole in the middle with circles of red, white and red in the same shape of the hole. 


I pressed it down into the hole to make sure it was flush to the top of my cake.  You will have some leftover cake if you make these... I recommend Cake Balls


Then I gave it a thin coat of white buttercream.


I frosted it with some festive colors to hint at what you might find inside...


But no one was ready for the amazingness that is this cake. 


Dare I say, it turned out better than I even thought it would!  The colors were bold, the pattern was perfectly proportioned, and I nearly broke out into the national anthem when I cut it open.


It was definitely a GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!


I'll be putting it up on my website soon for purchase for the 4th of July.  $45 for a 9" round American Flag cake.  I can deliver in the Des Moines area the morning of the 4th or the evening of the 3rd, and I'll be in Ames for deliveries around noon.  Email me at butterybunbakery@gmail.com to order! Orders must be placed by July 1st.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Beast Mode Workout

I have to sneak (I just wrote snack... freudian slip) in and tell you guys about my workout today.

One word.

BRUTAL

So I workout at the Y and we have a group of us on an email chain that works out together.  Our Wednesday class (the only one I usually get to from the group) is a beast.  It's taught by two ladies that are serious athletes, running distances I get tired thinking about and tackling triathlons...  Beasts.

So today I walked down (only took 5 minutes... why have I been driving for a year and a half?) and we had our workout outside.

The workout was divided up into stations, and as soon as you were done with one station, you started the next.

Here are the stations:

1. Run around the downtown Y.
2. Sit ups
3. With a resistant band wrapped around a pole, pull your arms back like you're coming in for a hug.
4. Lunges with your back foot up on a bench
5. Laying down on one side with a weighted pole, place one end on the outside of your foot, the other end acts as a fulcrum (think teeter totter) as you lift the pole with your leg, up and down.
6. Bicep curls.

And then we did it again, a little bit different.

1. Run around the downtown Y.
2. Leg lifts
3. With a resistant band wrapped around a pole, bend your elbows this time while going in for the hug.
4. Lunges with your other back foot up on a bench
5. Teeter the other totter.  Aka do the other leg
6. Tricep lifts.  Lift the weight over your head, while keeping your elbows in by your ears, drop the weight down behind you and lift it back up.

And then we did it again... a little bit different.  

1. 5 hill sprints (I walked...)
2. Bicycles (lay down and ride your bike)  I also call this horizontal running... Pitch Perfect? no? just me? cool.
3. With a resistant band wrapped around a pole, pull your arms down, bring your bent elbows down by your sides.  A row motion.
4. Step up on the bench, and then step down... a few more times
5. Lift that teeter totter with the bottom leg.  And then switch to the other side for a bit.
6. Upright rows.  Bend over and row, row, row your boat.

And then they all did 10 burpees while I walked back to work.  Ain't nobody got time for that.  

Monday, May 19, 2014

Grilled Flatbread

I have been doing pretty well with my sugar/clean eating challenge.  I did slip up a little bit this weekend going to a Pampered Chef party and scarfing a slice of cake.  But in my defense, it was smores cake, with gooey chocolate and graham crackers and marshmallows...  Not just a slice of chocolate cake.  

And then today, I went to an event called chocolate connection... and I controlled myself pretty well, taking just a few small pieces of chocolate.  Until I won the door prize... a giant box of Chocolaterie Stam Chocolates.  Yeah... a whole... giant... box...

So I packed that up and put it in the back of my freezer in a big plastic bag.  It's there motivating me to make it through the 10 weeks and come out on the other side a little less obsessed.

Now, on to something a little less sweet.  Grilled flatbread!

I wanted to call this post "grilled pizza" but I didn't use any mozzarella on the top of it, so I couldn't, with a straight face, call this pizza.  It was, however, borderline better.  *Gasp*


When you're grilling a pizza, make sure to spray the side you're going to put down first, grill it for a bit, and then flip it and top the grilled side with sauce and goodies.  


I used a chunky sugar-free spaghetti sauce with tons of garlic and herbs and some chunks of artichokes.  And then I grilled some veggies and topped it all with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.  In all honesty, to make it a pizza, just put some mozzarella cheese on there and close the grill.  Mmmmm.


After a few bites, I added a shmear of hummus...  sheer bliss.  

And guess what? I have 1 1/2 pizzas left. MWA HAHAHAHA

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Flourless Chocolate Cake

I made a flourless cake for Easter, and I'm just getting around to posting it... 

I was a little nervous when I was making it, because it puffed up like a souffle, and it's a similar method to a souffle, but this one you don't have to worry about falling.  In fact, you WANT it to fall! You want it to fall down into a dense, delicious cake. 


Flourless Chocolate Cake
4 oz bittersweet chocolate
1 cup chocolate chips
2 sticks butter (1 cup)
6 eggs, separated
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Melt the butter and all of the chocolate in the microwave, stirring every 20 seconds until the chocolate is melted.

Whisk in the egg yolks, tempering them by putting a little of the chocolate mixture into the yolks and stirring to warm it up, and then transferring the whole mixture into the rest of the chocolate.  This keeps your eggs from scrambling from the warm chocolate.

Beat the egg whites, slowly adding the sugar until glossy peaks form.

Fold a scoop of the egg white mixture into the chocolate to fluff it up a little bit, and then add the rest of the eggs and fold until just combined.

Pour it into a well greased spring-form pan.  

Bake at 300 degrees for an hour to an hour and 15 minutes.  The top should be flaky and the inside should be cooked completely.

When you pull it out, the cake will fall into a dense chocolate dessert.  Let it cool for 10 minutes before removing the sides of the spring form pan.  Serve with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Operation Clean Pantry

I've never been the type to buy a bunch of canned goods and store them away for a rainy day.  When can drives come along, I have to make a special trip to the store because I don't have any chili beans or spaghetti-o's just sitting around in my pantry.  I usually make a grocery list based on what I'm going to make that week, and when the week is over, my pantry is bare. 

But lately I've been throwing the weekly menus to the side and eating my fair share of Subway sandwiches instead of getting the kitchen and using my groceries.  So I find myself left with some frozen meat and random pastas and rices.  So instead of making a grocery list this week, I went in and organized the food I already have into meals for this week. 

Here's what I have:
Meat:
Pork chop
Salmon filet
2 servings of Shrimp
3 servings of Ground Turkey

In the fridge: 
8 eggs
Black beans
Lettuce
Spinach
Green Pepper
Salsa
Frozen vegetable medley
Cheese
Red Pasta Sauce

In my pantry:
3 sweet potatoes
1 onion
Orzo
Lentils
Brown Rice
Pasta
Canned tomatoes

Here are my meal plans:
Grilled Pork Chop with Sweet Potato Fries and Brown Rice
Grilled Salmon with Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Shrimp Skewers with Onions and Green Peppers and a side of Lentils
Shrimp Skewers with a side of brown rice
Southwest Scrambled Eggs (salsa/black beans/cheese) with Sweet Potato Hash (twice)
Pasta with Ground Turkey and Red Sauce (twice)
Vegetable Fried Rice (twice)
Taco Salad

That's 11 solid meals!  Getting me through Sunday night with one meal at a restaurant, and nothing really fancy!  These are meals we can all do, with apparently just what I have in my pantry!


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Feta and Olive Pinwheels

I love a good puff pastry dessert... so it stands to reason that I would love a good puff pastry app, and I DO!  This recipe comes from a cold pasta salad recipe my friend makes with feta, olives, spinach and some other goodies.  It's a winning combination, and so is this pinwheel!

Ingredients:
1/2 block of feta
2/3 cup whole Kalamata Olives
1 sheet puff pastry

I started by laying out the puff pastry flat.  And then I pulsed the feta and olives in a food processor to make smaller chunks, and spread it over the puff pastry.


Then I rolled up each side.  I also made one where I rolled it all the way from one side.  Both were delicious.


I used some unflavored dental floss to slice the roll cinnamon roll style in 1/4" thick slices.


Baked them for 15 minutes, until they were golden brown around the edges.  They were a big hit at the party!


Those layers are calling my name... I would eat nearly anything stuffed in a puff pastry...  Sundried tomatoes with mozz cheese, brown sugar and cinnamon... 


The possibilities are endless.  Just take something you like (spinach and artichokes?) And chop them up and roll 'em up in a pinwheel.  Easy and impressive app. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Spiced Nuts

For my Chloe + Isabel party last week, I made some spiced nuts, and let me tell you something...  I don't want to toot my own horn, but I get a lot of compliments on my recipes.  My cupcakes get oohs and ahhhs, my pies have been referred to as "the best pie I've ever had" and my cookies and brownies are pretty darn good.  

But no recipe has ever garnered this much "Can I get your recipe" as these nuts did.  And they couldn't have been easier!  I think in total they took me 30 minutes... and I made about 6 cups of nuts, people.  

3 cups of nuts (I used Fisher's pecans, walnuts and almonds)
1 Egg White
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Allspice
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne 

I started by toasting the nuts.  You can skip this step, but it gives it a crunchier nut, and I love the way toasting nuts smell.  To toast them, just put them on a cookie sheet and put them in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes.  Make sure to check them after 10 minutes, burnt nuts aren't any fun.  


Whip the egg white until it starts to foam and then add the sugar slowly.  Whip until stiff peaks form.

Fold in the cinnamon, allspice and cayenne, and then fold in the toasted nuts.


Lay the nuts back out on your GREASED cookie sheet, and bake for 5 minutes at 350.  Then, flip the nuts over and bake another 5 minutes.


Remove the nuts and put them on a rack to cool.  They will harden as they cool.


Put the nuts in a tupperware and shake, shake, shake!  Just enough to break the big clumps apart.  Serve, or store for a week in a cool, dry place.


Be careful, these are addicting!!

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