Monday, March 31, 2014

Gender Reveal Cake

I am so excited about this post! I had the amazing honor of baking a cake filled with the color corresponding to not one, but TWO babies in my friend's belly.  That's right, she is having TWINNERS!!!  I can hardly handle it because the one baby she already has is SO DANG CUTE.  He is incredibly smart, has big brown eyes and yesterday he snuggled me for at least 10 seconds. 

So when I showed up at her house to get the ultrasound and she said to me, "I get some sick pleasure out of this... but Josh says I should tell you..." I knew.  I just knew there were two! Two little pieces of paper, and two amazing miracles on the way in just a few short months.  Safe to say, I'm excited. 

Five of my college friends are pregnant right now,  I feel like that's a staggering amount.  I feel like my friends are all like, going to garage sales to pick out baby clothes, and deciding what to name their newborns, and I'm all like, going to garage sales to pick out sharp objects to decorate my apartment and deciding what to name my newest rum drink...  I'm not complaining.  I like babies, but I also like giving them back when they smell or start crying. 

Back to the cake...  It was a vanilla cake with yellow vanilla frosting... and either pink, blue, or pink and blue on the inside!  I'll let you guess. 

The icing technique I used was one I've used before.  It's a sideways teardrop layered look, and it takes a long time to do, but it's really easy! 

I start with four dots slightly smaller than a quarter, stacked.  I used alternating tints of yellow in a diagonal pattern. 

Then I flattened the right side of the dots out with a spoon, and stacked another round of dots to the right.

Continuing around the cake. 

It created a beautiful looking finished product! 

And the parents were pretty excited to cut in to reveal..... 


Congrats Elizabeth and Josh!  I can't wait to meet them.

**If you know Elizabeth and Josh and want to tell them congrats, make sure to do it through a private message, not on their facebook walls.  Or better yet, just send them a friendly text!**

If you want to order a custom cake or delicious dessert from me, check out my website!

Friday, March 28, 2014

I'm going NUTS

Life is getting a little nuts... (pun intended). We just got back from Puerto Rico, and I have a lot of work to do, I'm getting some big summer orders in for the Buttery Bun Bakery, and my mailbox is filled with wedding, shower, party invitations! I chipped a little hole in my igloo last month so people could send snacks through, and Summer is officially peaking through it. 

I've been storing nuts this winter like a little squirrel.  I got a big box of nuts from Fisher when I was a finalist in their Fresh Twist contest (Check out my recipe!). And for some reason I still pick up a bag of almonds or pistachios every time I'm at the store.  Anyway, I'm not complaining.  I love me some nuts, and they're so easy to add to salads or desserts...  This stash will be gone before the corn is knee high by the 4th of July! 

I pinned a few ideas, but here are just a few more that I'll be whipping up this month:

Wholesome Granola Bars
Granola bars always get me.  They are just the perfect snack to toss in my purse.
Rosemary and Sweet Potato Casserole
Rosemary... mmmmm, Sweet potatoes... mmmmm. 

 Spinach Walnut Pesto from Rachel Ray
 You usually think of a pesto made with pine nuts and basil... but if you know anything about me, you know that I'll try to make blueberry muffins without the blueberries.  I just make it work! I'm the Tim Gunn of cooking.  Well, I always have spinach and I always have walnuts, so this recipe works for me and my pantry! 

Fisher has a new product out that I need to get my hands on...  Fisher Nut Exactly.  I love a good cluster.  Anyone want to take me to Costco to get some?  mkaythanks.

All of this said, and I'm sitting here just chomping on a bag of plain almonds.  I'm a pretty simple girl... no, actually I'm not simple at all.  Give me those clusters!

*Note* Fisher reached out and asked if I had any fun ideas to share on social media about nuts, but all the opinions are 100% my own

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Trip to Old San Juan

Can I just live my life as a travel blogger?  How exactly do you get that job? Because, I'm totally in... 

We went this weekend to visit my parents in Old San Juan where they've decided to be "snow birds".  We had an absolute blast and I came back relaxed and rejuvenated and a little sunburnt...  Oops. 

I have a few amazing picture to share with you all, but looking at photos is nothing like experiencing it. 

A few highlights... 

Went to Carli's and listened to the piano player for the Beach Boys play jazz.

Walked through el Castillo San Felipe del Morro, a 16th century fort that the Spaniards used to keep out those pesky Dutch and English troops.

Shopped. Duh.

Went on a sailing adventure into the Atlantic.

Got knocked over by the waves at the beach!

It was a great trip with some of my favorite people, and I'm currently planning my next adventure.  Travel blogging, here I come! 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Summer Bucket List

I'm sick and tired of this cold.  There, I said it.  I had been just putting up with it without a peep because I'm the one who moved back here from warm New Orleans... I'm the one who has put up with 20-some winters and never thought, gee... I should just move to California for good and have summer year-round.  Well, I'm sick of it.  Winter, BE GONE!

The first day of spring is Thursday, and I'm expecting a magical weather transformation... Anything less will be heartbreaking. But while I'm drudging through the next few days, I might as well think about all the adventures I want to go on this summer...

1. Go camping!  My BF hates the idea of camping (he has never been) so I might have to go stag.

2. 10K or Half Marathon.  I planned on doing the Dam to Dam race here in DSM, but it's the same day as my friend's wedding, and my asthma has been kicking my rear lately, so until it warms up, I'll be walking on a treadmill.
3. Mud Volleyball. It just sounds like a good idea right now.
4. Take another Wilton class.  Ahem Amber, Elizabeth...

This is my first Wilton Class cake!

5. Go to an outdoor concert. They just announced the lineup for Nitefall on the River and two bands I LOVE are on it! Fitz & the Tantrums and Blue October! 
6. Go fishing more than once.When I was little I wanted to be a professional fisherwoman! Did you know that?
7. Blog more consistently and figure out this Adsense thing.  Anyone have it figured out?  
8. 90 day health program at church! A friend at church told me about a grant we could get for participating in a 90 day health program, but someone has to create it... and that someone is going to be ME!
9. Clean out my closet and donate worn out and outdated clothes...  Now this is a closet I can handle!
10. Don't waste a single drop of my CSA. I love my farmer and I love his produce, but sometimes I get lazy or I don't quite know what to do with some of the veggies.  I pay for it, might as well eat it all!

What's on your summer bucket list? 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Two For One: Ginger Garlic Chicken with Roasted Veggies

I generally make enough food for an army... and then by the time I get done eating it I never want to see it again.  So a recipe that I can eat in a few different ways will go a long ways with my patience. 

This recipe was a simple concept kicked up with some flava flav. 

Ginger Garlic Chicken with Roasted Veggies
1 Chicken Breast
2 Cups Cooked Brown Rice
A big pan of roasted vegetables
-1 Sweet potatoes
-1 Onion
-1 Summer Squash
-3 Carrots
1 Tbsp Asian Sesame Salad Dressing
Grated Ginger
Minced Garlic

I marinated the Chicken Breast in Asian Sesame Dressing, about a teaspoon of grated ginger and one minced garlic clove and a drizzle of olive oil for 30 minutes while I prepped my veggies to roast.

The roasted veggies were topped with some more olive oil, grated ginger and minced garlic, salt and pepper and roasted in a 400 degree oven until they were soft in the middle and brown on the outside.  Half of the sweet potato ended up disappearing into my mouth.  IMO, roasted sweet potato is a gift from God. 

While the veggies cooked, I sauteed the chicken until it was cooked through and had a pretty brown crust on the outside.  (As a note, if I was having this for dinner, I would have cooked up two chicken breasts since it's being split in two, but the fact is, I only had one in the fridge, so that's what I used and I was happy eating a few more veggies to fill me up). 

The end result was a beautiful plate topped with a little fresh grated Parmesan cheese.

BUT WAIT! There's more! 

I knew I was going to have plenty of leftovers, so I added an egg and a tablespoon of soy sauce (a little goes a long way) and sauteed up some fried rice!  Topped with cilantro... yum.

Leftover fried rice is bananas... I took a bite of it just to make sure all the flavors were there, and I got really excited for dinner. 

I actually had planned on grabbing something from Subway or some sushi to relax after work and watch the ISU game, but now, I'm just going to destroy these leftovers.  Go State! 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Easy Thai Chicken Salad

Dinner tonight was done in 10 minutes...

Do I have your attention?

I had been looking for a way to use a bag of coleslaw mix I bought the other day to top my fish tacos.  I feel like they should sell smaller bags of coleslaw mix, but I digress.  I found this recipe for a chopped Thai Chicken Salad and I couldn't resist makingt a few easy substitutions.  It ended up easier than I even thought it would be! 

Easy Thai Chicken Salad
1/2 bag coleslaw mix (just the chopped cabbage and carrots bag, pre mayo)
2 chicken breasts
2 green onions
1 snack-sized bag of peanuts (chopped)
Handfull of chopped cilantro
1 Cup Wonton Strips (I love these)
Asian Sesame Dressing to taste

I slapped the chicken on the Foreman Grill (it's getting so nice out, if I had a grill, I would have grilled them outside!) and set to mix up the other ingredients.

I threw everything in a bowl and mixed it all up.  Once the chicken was done, I let it cool off for a bit so it wouldn't wilt my slaw and chopped it up into the salad.

Voila! Dinner was that easy.  And I had plenty of leftovers for lunch tomorrow!  I will note, saving the wonton strips for right before you serve is generally a good idea.  They get a little soggy.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Movie Theater Cookies - Just in time for the Oscars!

So the Oscars are tonight, and I will be watching despite having seen exactly none of the movies nominated for just about anything.  I think the only movie I've seen in the last 6 months is the Hunger Games...  I guess we did go see the new Anchor Man, but I don't think that's nominated for anything except maybe a Razzie...

Nevertheless, I'll do anything for a good theme cookie, so after whipping up my BF's fav chocolate chip cookies, and then making a few with walnuts because that's how I like them, but I'm not sure if his roommates like walnuts, and I overthink my baking...  Ahem, anyways, I made some cookies with a little more glitz and glamor.  Something worthy of the red carpet! A movie night cookie with buttered popcorn and peanut M&Ms. 
Movie Theater Cookies

I'm not a huge movie person, but my BF is a movie fanatic, and I go with him if for nothing else than the buttery, salty popcorn.  He insists on salting it halfway through, but that's an argument for another day. 

Today I just air-popped some popcorn.  Did you know that you can put a few tablespoons of popcorn kernels in a paper lunch sack, roll over the end just enough to keep your popcorn inside, and pop it in the microwave?  No oil or butter needed... until it's done popping and you want to drench it.  Yum.  I make popcorn like that at least once a week.  I don't trust all that goop in microwave popcorn, and I'm cheap. 

Someday when I have some extra time, I'll swing by a theater and get a small popcorn and use that, because you just can't recreate movie theater popcorn at home. 

Movie Theater Cookies
1 C. Brown Sugar, packed
1/2 C. Sugar
1 C. Shortening*
2 Eggs room temp
1 t. Vanilla
2 1/2 C. Flour
1 t. Baking Soda
1 t. Salt
2 C. Movie Theater Popcorn
1 C. Peanut M&Ms

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 

Cream the brown sugar, sugar and shortening together in a mixing bowl.  Add the eggs, one at a time.  Add the vanilla and mix well. 
Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl.  Once combined, add to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.  Don't over-mix! 
Add the popcorn and M&Ms with a wooden spoon or a spatula so you don't crush the M&Ms.  
Form the cookies with your hands and place on a greased cookie sheet.  Press down slightly.
Bake at 375 for 7-10 minutes or until they just start to brown around the edges and on top.  Let the cookies cool on a baking rack before eating.  

*You can use 1/2 shortening and 1/2 butter for a flatter cookie... I just like a bulkier cookie to hold up the popcorn and M&Ms.  That way the peanut M&Ms don't look like tumors sticking out of the cookie.

Who are you pulling for tonight?  I really hope DiCaprio snags his Oscar tonight... He might be a long shot, but I feel like he needs the ring if he's ever going to be as good as Jordan. (That was a LeBron joke... Who have I become?)