Friday, August 31, 2012

Summer 2012 Bucket List

Thank you Pinterest for another fantastic family tradition! The "Summer Bucket List"! At the beginning of the summer I filled this bucket with activities/crafts and summer recipes. Then, the girls drew out of the bucket to find out what we'd be doing that week! They loved it! I loved it!

Our Summer 2012 Bucket List
Play hopscotch
Play Frisbee
Play in Sprinkler
Build with Marshmallows
Make a pillow/blanket/anything goes fort
Splat painting
Paint pet rocks
Make a fairy garden
Water balloon fight!
Make volcanoes
Plaster Magnets
Freezer pop painting
Make playdoh
Sharpie tie dye shirts
Sunscreen experiment
Water color over crayon art
Berry picking
Saturday Market
Family Bike Ride
Hike to a waterfall

Homemade ice cream
Homemade frozen yogurt
Homemade sorbet
Lemonade from scratch
Cake balls
Homemade popcorn
Rootbeer floats
Princess Punch
Cupcake Cones
Peep S'mores
Trail mix bars
Lemonade popsicles
Watermelon popsicles
Peach popsicles
Pink mojito popsicles (non-alcohol)
Summer Morning (melon) popsicles
Neapolitan popsicles

New Park Monday: This wasn't in the bucket, but it went along with it. Each week we picked a new park and let our friends know where to meet us on Monday if they wanted to play. The original intention had been to go to new parks we'd never been to all summer, but that proved overly complicated as most of those parks are all quite far from our house since we've been to all the nearby ones. Instead we did a combo of new-to-us and old favorites. It was great fun with great friends!!!

As for me, I learned how to can (strawberry, raspberry, and blackberry jam), make skirts for the girls, and, for the most part, learned what was a flower vs. weed in my yard. A big thanks to my stepmom and bro-in-law for coaching me there! Can't wait to get their garden advice come next spring!

It's almost fall! That means it's time to swing into holiday and birthday planning mode!

Until next summer!!!!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Modern Baker: Rum-Scented Marble Cake

The Modern Bakers are baking cakes and this one is a winner!

My second perfect unmolding!
I was smart this time and calculated the ounces of rum needed before going to the liquor store. I had to buy a big bottle to get the amount needed so perhaps some rum balls are in order!

I liked the combination of chocolate and yellow cake. The flavors came together well. The rum really was just a hint and not overwhelming.

The cake process what pretty easy. I made a large batch of the yellow cake part and then folded about two cups of that batter into the chocolate to create the chocolate layer. I stacked the batter into the pan using half of the yellow batter, the the chocolate batter, followed by the rest of the yellow batter.

The cake baked nicely and was gobbled up quickly.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Modern Baker: Incredibly Moist Chocolate Cupcakes

It's another Modern Baker recipe. We're baking in the cakes section and I'm making more cupcakes. These incredibly moist chocolate cupcakes absolutely live up to their name. The chocolate cake melts in your mouth. I'm finding I really enjoy cake recipes that include sour cream as this one does.

The cupcakes were a hit. The icing is a chocolate fudge icing and was a little finicky. I actually made it twice. The first time after I made it I looked down and found I'd made soup. Since I was frosting for an event that morning I quickly went to work on a second batch. I was careful to cool the chocolate and cream mixture more completely before combining and I also reduced the cream liquid into the chocolate. This batch came out much better but still a bit runny. As I finished up I found my first batch had thickened to an almost useable point. I think a note on the icing to remember that it needs to be *completely* cooled before determining consistency is important.

The fudge icing was good, although I personally would prefer the confectioners' sugar icing from the golden cupcakes on these cupcakes in the future.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Cupcake Cones for the Olympics

The celebrate the beginning of the Summer Olympics we baked cupcake cones with red, white, and blue sprinkles! I followed Martha Stewart's recipe. The cupcakes were delicious and the process was beyond EASY. I had no idea cupcake cones were so easy and fun!
Here's Penelope eyeing the filled cones before they go into the oven. I know your question- Don't the  cones burn in the oven. Well, no, they don't. I don't know why, but they just don't.
We enjoyed our cupcake cones after dinner while we waited for the opening ceremonies to begin. I wish I could say that my kids were captivated by the Olympics. They weren't. They watched a little and asked some questions but just were not into as much as I expected. Oh well. In 2 years we have another shot with the Winter Olympics.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Summer Food Fun

 Here are some of my recent food funning!


Fishy Lunch

Wrapped puzzle and smiley face

Loving Summer! Heart mini omelet on rice cake, heart apples and heart watermelon with a bit of honeydew melon.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

6-Layer Rich Chocolate Malted & Toasted Marshmallow Cake

I spotted this cake on Pinterest MONTHS ago. Sweetapolita has a fabulous recipe for it. The minute I saw it, I knew this was my birthday cake! I must be a bit odd because I love to make myself a birthday cake. I love to bake and when my birthday comes around I always have the desire to make something super fun. I WANT to be in the kitchen making it.

But, everyone gives you crap for making your own cake!!! They say, "Oh, let me make you something" or they tell me to just order something from the fancy bakery in town. At work and at my birthday dinner no one was into me baking and bringing my own cake. Well, fine! We invited friends over for dinner and I surprised them with a super decadent dessert a few days before my birthday.
I forgot to take a picture after cutting into it, but you can see the layers here. The cake was delicious! One of the main liquids for the cake batter is coffee. I wasn't too sure about this as I don't like coffee, but boy does it work in chocolate cake! The malted chocolate frosting was good, but the toasted marshmallow frosting stole the show!! I would sneak by the cake after it was cut and with a fork scoop out parts of the marshmallow frosting for a little taste.

Are you a a cake or frosting person? I've discovered I'm a cake person. I loved this cake but it had me cut three 8'' cakes in half to get the 6 layers. Once all layers were frosted and assembled there as just too much frosting for me! Next time I'll just do the three layers with the toasted marshmallow frosting and then frost the outside in the malted chocolate frosting. Yes, there will be a next time!

Only 11 more months to find next year's birthday cake! Better get myself back to Pinterest!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Modern Baker: Whipped Cream Layer Cake

Get ready to pack on the calories!! This cake from the Modern Baker cookbook will leave your head spinning with all the whipped cream in it. Be prepared Modern Bakers to eat salad for the day in order to enjoy a piece and let me warn you- one won't be enough.

Let's start with the cake which uses a good amount of whipping cream in it. In fact, besides vanilla and eggs, whipping cream is the only liquid in the batter. The cake is fluffy and tastes homemade (meaning extra yummy!).

N.M. says this kind of cake can be covered with sweetened whipped cream but he prefers the caramel whipped cream. In my opinion, the caramel whipped cream makes this cake. It is the highlight. In fact I'd call this recipe: Caramel Whipped Cream and Cake. Like I said, the cake is good, but when paired with the caramel whipped cream it's dangerously delicious.

Oh goodness does caramel whipped cream have so many possibilities!

On a side note, please remind me to never ever allow my husband to borrow our nice camera for an extended period of time again. These poor photos just don't do this cake justice! Poor guy won't be getting a piece of cake, that's for sure. Oh wait. He doesn't like whipped cream anyway. Odd. I know.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Half-Birthdays Celebrated Here!

My daughter's 1/2 Birthday cake!

Yes, we celebrate 1/2 birthdays in our home!

Yes, you might think us crazy for doing so, but really I know that you're just jealous no one celebrated yours. Any excuse for cake!
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