Tuesday, April 23, 2013

First Buttercream and non-mix Cake

I never realized that when people said, "oh it's just a cake mix, no biggie," that there was any other option other than a mix.

I love cake, but I'm ashamed to say it took me a quarter of a century to make a cake without using a mix.

With friends and family that seem to bake as if they were born with a whisk in their hand, I knew this would change but was scared to try anything.

I found the following recipe on Pinterest: Sweet Potato Layer Cake with Molasses Buttercream

This was so easy to follow. The instructions were clear and with my limited baking experience, I was still able to have success. I still need to work on my icing techniques but the taste is amazing.

As I've mentioned before, my husband's sweet tooth is not as intense as mine, but he fully enjoyed the molasses paired with the sweet potato cake. I personally had to stop eating the frosting plain, or with strawberries, and with the cake itself because I would have made myself sick it was so delicious!!!

Now with my confidence, and sugar high, fed a bit, I want to try more! Now I just need more occasions or people to bake for!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Spring has Almost Spring Wreath

Here in Minnesota we have been hit with a long winter that simply won't let go. Winter hasn't taken the hint that the snow has melted off the ground three times. The snow keeps coming and the temperature is barely above 40 at its best. 

I've decided I have to have a bit of spring or else I might just go crazy! I want flowers and green trees and flouncy skirts. 

Where am I going to put this bit of spring since the trees aren't budding, I kill indoor plants, and if I wear a flouncy skirt I might freeze? My front door. 

I decided to make a wreath since the ones I found in stores were overpriced and looked really fake. 

I gathered the following materials
-Grape vine wreath ($4)
-Bunch of yellow daisies ($3)
-Ribbon (had it lying around)
-Glue gun and sticks (again lying around)

I picked the blooms and some of the greenery off the bunch of daisies so I could scatter them over the wreath. 

Pairing some of the blossoms with the greenery, I started arranging them all over the wreath concentrating the bulk of them in the lower right corner. Hot glue the picks into the wreath to secure. I made sure to turn the wreath over and secure both the base of the flower to the front and the end of the pick to the back of the wreath.

One way I made sure to space the flowers correctly was that I laid the ribbon where I would tie it so that I left enough spacing at the top of the wreath.

Tying a bow with ribbon and hanging on my door was my final defiance to winter.

Bring on SPRING!!!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Mint Puppy Chow

Pregnancy cravings still being active (even though I'm considered full term) I had make puppy chow to satisfy my intense sweet tooth craving.

However, we didn't have chocolate chips or enough peanut butter to make a batch. How was I going to do this? Well, I had some sold dark chocolate left over from Easter and thought maybe it could be enough. I chopped it up and it was hardly enough. I started scrounging around the pantry and found a bag of ANDIES MINT CHIPS!!!!


So I decided to have an adventure... a MINT adventure, one of my favorites.

If you haven't ever made puppy chow, really you just melt some chocolate (1 cup), peanut butter (1/2 cup to a cup), butter (1/4 cup), and add a bit of vanilla (1 tsp); coat the cereal and then put it in a ziplock with powdered sugar and shake to cover all the pieces.

As previously stated, I didn't have the peanut butter so I just added more mint chips :)

This turned out great and I know it's not just my prego cravings because I've caught my husband sneaking a bowl or two and he doesn't really eat sweets.

This might turn into a thing... I could change the flavor to Nutella (thanks Jessie for the suggestion) or use different cereal.

I'll keep you posted if I get to experiment more.


Monday, April 8, 2013

More Meaningful Gifts

We are so blessed in our society to have so many occasions to show those we love the ways we love them through meaningful gifts.

Since my pregnancy is coming to a close, I will be able to celebrate Mother's Day this year! I've dropped hints to my husband that there's also this idea of a "push gift" where he can give me a gift in the hospital. I'm a hint dropper...to a fault. I've told him too that he can combine those two gifts and get me something REALLY nice.

As I was thinking of other hints to drop as to what I want, maybe a necklace, maybe some crafting items, I get a letter from Operation Mobilization promoting their Freedom Climb. "The Freedom Climb is an opportunity for women in all stages, ages, and places to stand up and be a voice for women and children around the world who are enslaved, oppressed, exploited and trafficked today"

The letter addressed the idea of honoring our mothers by helping those elsewhere who need it. The the letter grabbed my attention by offering a bracelet when you give $50 to support these girls (keeping two girls out of slavery). A lightbulb went off in my head and I handed the letter to my husband. This was my last hint to him: this would be great for Mother's day and the push gift.

I'm ashamed to say that it took this letter for me to remember those less fortunate. I hadn't even thought to look into this type of gift for marking this stage in my life. I am so blessed to not only to be having a child, but also to be where we are financially.

Imagine what we could do with our gifts by rather than going to the mall or the closest Target and grabbing just another item to wrap up! There are so many opportunities to support non-profits in this way.

I'm not saying that I will only ask for these types of gifts from now on. (Who would complain about getting a beautiful heartfelt gift of any kind?) But, why not make Mother's Day, Father's Day, Valentine's Day, Birthdays, or Christmas so much more valuable by allowing your gift give back to those who truly need?
Quote and picture from OM Website