Monday, January 28, 2013

Fun and fondant free...well almost. :)

This passed weekend I had the chance to make another cake for the same family that requested the horse and skateboard cake! :)  There is a big sister who is turning 18 and is very involved in cheerleading.  Her grandmother requested a cheer type cake and sent me several pictures.  In the middle of our planning, though, we ran in to a bit of a catch.  One of the family members requested a cake that you can cut and "not have any fondant"...well...the trouble with that is all the decorative fun stuff comes from what I'm able to do with fondant - EEK!  But - it was still important for the big sister to have a fun cake -so - what to do?? make a super fun Ombre cake of course! :D  I wish I was able to cut the cake before delivering it so that I could show you the inside too - but...the best I can do is tell you taht the frosting colors on the outside match the cake color on the inside. :)  Once it was frosted, though, it still needed some sparkle and fun - so I dug out the wire swirls and shimmered some fondant and dolled it up just a hair. :)  In the end - I think it turned out pretty darn fun...and you can still cut it "and not have any fondant". :)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Progress is progress

I started an Afghan a while back and am really excited with how it's turning out. :)  I'll post more as I get more done. :)

Monday, January 21, 2013


OMG I found it!!!

A few years ago, I started making Borscht – a wonderful Ukrainian beet soup (which delighted the children by turning “everything” purple – hint hint.) About 4 or 5 years ago, though, I found the very best recipe EVER!! It was amazing and super yummy!! Went together great! And I’ve adored it ever since. Last year, though…I lost my recipe. :( I looked high and low with zero luck.  Through some miracle of miracles, I found it on an old USB stick that had been hiding in my desk at work!! YAY CLUTTER!!!  So – in order to avoid the same mishap – I’ll post my recipe here for anyone who would like to give it a whirl!!

I would also like to extend my most profound apologies to the web site that gave me this recipe…if I could find you – I’d totally give credit where it is due (and if I could find you…I never would have lost my favorite recipe.) If I ever do find you – I shall totally link you here (pinky swear!)

Borscht (Funky Beet Soup, and you can dance to it)

Two bunches of beets, about eight beets, 1.5 lbs or so

2 tablespoons butter

1 onion, finely chopped

1 large or 2 small table white potatoes (waxy), peeled and cut into small dice

1 large or 2 small carrots, peeled and cut into small dice

1 litre chicken stock (or you really want to stick to the meatless thing, vegetable stock)

14 oz can tomatoes, chopped, or just used a 14 oz can diced tomatoes

4 bay leaves

good pinch each of salt and fresh-cracked black pepper

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon white sugar

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, plus more to serve in each bowl

sour cream, a dollop for each bowl

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Cut the greens off the beet, leaving just a tiny stub of the greens, and cut off the pointy root end, near the bulb of each beet. Rinse them under cold water to wash off any dirt, dry them with paper towel, then place them on a large piece of aluminum foil. Fold over the foil and pinch and roll the edges all the way around to seal it well. Place on a baking sheet and in the oven and roast for one hour.

During this time, you can start the rest of the soup. Heat a soup pot over medium heat for a couple of minutes and add the butter. Add the onion and saute for two or three minutes to soften (keep and eye on them - you don't want them to take on too much colour. Reduce heat if that happens). Add the carrot and potato and then then chicken stock or vegetable stock, tomatoes, bay leaves, salt, pepper, red wine vinegar and sugar. Bring to a boil and let simmer.

Remove the beets from the oven and use a knife to open up the foil. Let them cool for 15 minutes or so, so you can handle them. Cut the rest of the greens and the root end off each beet. Use your fingers to squeeze off all of the skin from each beat. Slice the beets into small dice, about the same size you used for the carrots and potatoes, and add them to the pot. Continue to simmer the soup for at least another hour to tenderize everything and really blend the flavours (at this point, the soup can be cooled and stored if necessary). Add a tablespoon of fresh dill 15 minutes before serving. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Ladle hot soup into bowls, add a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of fresh dill.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

4 cakes done!!!

I did it!!!  Don't ask me how, but I did...and here they are;

1st is the Plymouth voyager van cake.  I really wanted it to be more realistic than cartoonish - slope the nose right, I'd lose a TON of cake and trust me when I say that the cake that's inside this van is tooo freakin delicious to spare!! :)  It's a triple fudge chunk cake which is crazy moist and dense and delicious!!!  In addition, the frosting that's glueing the thing together is out of this world!!!  I feel guilty for not giving them a side order of insulin with it cuz it's soooooo rich it's crazy!  The frosting recipe goes like this...

combine 1 cup of whipping cream, 1 1/4 c granulated sugar and 1/2 cup of cocoa...whisk it together and bring it to a low gentle boil for 1 minute. Remove it from the heat and...this is where things get crazy - you add 6...I'm sorry - did you say 6??  yes - SIX chocolate baking squares!!!!!  Stir it to melt it all together ( it gets super thick and you'll wanna grab a spoon - and if you do, you're just like me!! :) also - stir in 1tsp of vanilla and let this deliciousness cool till it's room temp.

Nex - whip a package of cream cheese and a cup of butter together until they're...well...whipped! :)  Then add the delicious cooled mixture and mix util it's...well...whipped!! :)  That's it - you'll wanna eat it with a spoon!!  (I did - shhhh!) 

Not only was this one super delicious with diabetes inducing frosting...I snuck some fresh raspberries in between the layers. :)  Yah-hum!!!  So here she is...the story line behind this one is that the birthday boy had a 1995 voyager until recently and it was his baby...but it's gone - moved on to greener pastures! :)  Hence the wings, the halo and the green grass (for greener pastures) :) 

Next are the 3 cakes for youngest kiddo's friend Luca.  She's having her party today with 20 of her friends - eek!!  (imagine 20 ten year olds inside of 1 home!!)  But - she wanted a horse head cake so that's what she got! :)  Her Grammie sent me the link of what she wanted, which was a beautiful grey horse by Gina cakes.  I did my best to come close, but I always struggle with black.  For whatever reason, my black coloring did not want to make black frosting or black fondant today so I had to settle for grey.  I used cocoa to color the bridle though.  I didn't want it all near-black cuz I felt it would need some more color than that. 

The other 2 were for her birthday dinner with Family tomorrow.  Luca is a triplet and has 2 brothers who needed their own cake for their big day! :)  I'm super excited about the skateboard cake!! :)  I think it turned out pretty cool! :) 

Being a girl, Luca wanted her own cake for her family birthday dinner and sent me a pic of the cutest little white horse cake by Kylie Lambert from Le Cupcake.  I'm happy with how it turned out. :) 

Overall, I think they were all a success.  As with every other cake, I learned so much with these 4!  (which is one of the things I love the most about making cakes! :)  Lessons include:

  • Not all icing sugar is created equal.
  • Black is a very hard color to make in frosting and fondant.
  • I'm getting better at smooth frosting.
  • If you spray fondant with water, then sprinkle white sugar all over it - it will stick and look super sparkley pretty! :)

So that's it for this post - my next cake on the list is a Montreal Canadiens cake for a co-worker. :)  I'm really looking forward to it cuz it's chocolate too!! :)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

An exercise in planning (4 cakes in 1 week!)

Here we go again!!!

This week is sure to be a test of my abilities to plan things well. I have 4 cakes on the horizon. The first is a minivan cake for a co-worker. If all plans go as I hope – it will be a Burgundy 1995-ish Plymouth Voyager with a Superman logo on the hood, angel wings and a halo. :) It’s a smaller cake for 3 people only – BUT – it will be crazy super rich and chocolateeee!!! Plus – there will be lots of fun detail work to keep me plenty busy. Hubby is most excited about possible leftovers. (Can’t say I blame him)

The other three cakes are for a classmate of my youngest kiddo. Her party is on Saturday and she has requested a horse head cake for her party – but…she’s a triplet and has 2 brothers. They will also be having cake with family – so – they will also need a separate skateboard cake for the boys and a small horse cake for the birthday girl.

Yup – that’s 4 cakes alright! Wish me luck!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Applebee's style ribs

As I get older, I'm becoming more and more aware that I show love through baking and cooking.  One of the most obvious examples of that, is ribs and wings.  I'm not a big fan, but hubby is, so I make them for him as often as I's a little twisted but it makes him so very happy - how could I not? lol  He claims that I make the best wings on the planet, so I figured I would branch out and give ribs a try. 

Yesterday, I grabbed a falt of ribs and did a search for a good ribs recipe.  I found (what appears to be) a great one over at for "Applebee's style ribs"  I sent the link to him and he replied with "I Love you" so I was confident that I had a winner. :)

So - the recipe says:

1.  Place ribs in a large pot and fill pot with enough water to cover ribs.
2.  Bring water to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour, or until ribs are fork tender.
I cut the ribs into smaller pieces and tossed them into the roaster covered in water. 

 I didn't notice till later in the recipe that I should toss in a cup of apple cider vinegar with the water if we wanted them "fall off the bone" tender...oops! I added this at the end so I hope it helped. In the middle of this process, I had to run in town so hubby stepped in to help. In total - I think they boiled for longer than an hour (closer to 2 in fact) so we'll see how it goes. 

I put the sauce together to boil. It said to boil/simmer till it thickened...but it was already pretty thick so I didn't really pay much attention to that part - I just boiled/simmered it till I was ready.
My kitchen assistant sat nearby, waiting hopefully... 
When they were done boiling - I pulled them out of the pot and layed them on a broiler pan - meat side down. (Like the recipe says)

I wasn't sure if I should put sauce only on 1 side...or both - so - I put it on both sides, but made sure they were back on the meaty side before putting them back in the oven.

 Then I slapped it all over the ribbs - flipped them and slathered with more sauce (cuz I made a double batch that's why) :) I like saucy things. :)  

The recipe also said to broil them 4" to 5" away from heat...I left them a little further down to be honest cuz I was worried about them burning/drying out. (I don't like burnt dried out things)...

I took them out of the oven - flipped them over and slapped on more sauce (I saved some, though, for hubby cuz he always wants extra). Because it was the meaty side cooking this time, though, I raised the rack so that they'll actuall be about 4" away from the heat source. crossing my fingers that it's not a mistake to do this (*insert pretty please dance here*)...

and now...they're flipped over and saucy - sitting pretty darn close to the broil element and I've got my fingers crossed (which makes typing a real pain to be honest). :)  

 *fast forward 30+ minutes*

The ribs turned out "great" according to hubby. :)  I thought they were yummy too.  I've never really had ribs before (cuz they're not my preference) but they were prerty good.  (But I don't have anything to compare it to.) 
Since we have all enjoyed the ribs (and my kitchen assistant has since realized she is not getting any) she has changed her position and giving quite a thoughtful look. :) As mentioned before - I'm no rib expert...but hubby (who is) gives this recipe a solid thumbs up, so it looks like I'll be making them more often. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Not on my list but...

It's not a secret that I fear boredom...and I'm pretty sure I have ADHD because I have the attention span of a squirrel!  Seriously!!  Most days I'm like - Mmmm I smell bacon!  Red punch buggy - no punch back!  What day is it?  I need coffee...Oh hey!  how long have you been here?  What's that??  lol  ok so where was I?? Oh right!  I fear boredom!  So...while looking for ideas for clothespin dolls I got totally distracted by string dolls (a.k.a. voo-doo dolls!)  there are days that I seriously could have used one of these bad boys and so...I payed $2. for string at Michaels ($2.23 to be exact...I had a coupon) and came home and made this little guy!  (Actually - I made 3...but still have enough string to make at least 2 more. :)  Isn't he cute??! :D

I smell bacon...gotta run! :)