Monday, September 7, 2009

It has been a busy weekend...

I am at home in New York visiting my family for a few days. I came up earlier than expected because I needed to get some dental work done. Becaue of the unexpected early visit, my family has been gone for the weekend. They all left to go up to the cottage on Friday and won't get back until early this evening. At first I was pretty down about my dog and I having to be at my parents house all alone--especially seeing as half of the house is torn up due to some pretty major renovations.


Thankfully, my friend Jennifer was in town, and it gave us the chance to visit, shop, and stamp! We went to the fabric/craft store on Saturday, out to lunch, and then came home to my parents place to stamp. We both made a couple of cute cards Saturday afternoon, but Jennifer was kind enough to leave her supplies with me (as my mothers supply is inaccessible due to the renovations) so I could play in the rubber and paper and ink some more while I was home alone. I already posted the birthday card I made for my mom, but I also made some more cards, and thought I would post those pictures here.

Last evening some family friends (Jenn's parents) invited me over for dinner and games, so I offered to take dessert. I ended up making a dessert pizza. It was yummy!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Mom's Birthday Card

(front of card)

I used the Stampin' Up! stamp set "Doodle This" to make a birthday card for my mom. I used a Close to my Heart set for the verse. Paper and ink is all Stampin' Up!. My friend Jennifer came over and we stamped and played for a while. She made a cute card too. I hope my mom likes it!

(inside of card)
(back of card)

I am going to keep creating tonight and stamp some more cards. More pictures to come.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Cake Has Been Made...and devoured...

This took a whole lotta butta...about 4 lbs...


Cake making/decorating is not easy. While I had a good time, and learned quite a few things that would make it easier the next time I make a tiered/layered cake, it is a heck of a lot of work!

So...I used the buttercream frosting for the filling and used a different recipe (from Ina Garten) for the exterior frosting. I added butter-rum flavoring in place of half of the vanilla that is called for in the recipe, and chopped some candied pecans and mixed that all together to make the filling. I used food coloring to turn the frosting a pretty lilac color because purple is Kristin's favorite color. I piped the decoration in white and it turned out really well!

I had some frustrating moments. I think that a cake leveler is definitely worth the money. It is so difficult to get everything perfectly even. When you're just making a layered cake, with no tiers, it's not as big of a deal, however with a tiered cake, everything really needs to be level to prevent sloping and sliding.

I had a lot fun, and everyone loved the cake. They seemed impressed, as well as satisfied. The recipes were all great. THANK YOU FOOD NETWORK and Martha Stewart. :-)

Now I need to come up with another baking/cooking project. Any ideas?


Monday, August 31, 2009

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting recipe...

Vanilla Butterceam Frosting
(Makes about 4 ccups. More than enough to frost and decorate one nine inch layer cake.)

4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch salt
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, each stick cut into quarters

1. Combine eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt in bowl of standing mixer; place bowl over pan of simmering water. Whisking gently but contantly, heat mixture until it is thin and foamy and registers 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer.

2. Beat egg mixture on meduim-high speed with whisk attachment until light, airy, and cooled to room temperature, about five minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add butter, one piece at a time. (After adding half of the butter, buttercream may look curdled; it will smooth out with additional butter.) Once all butter is added, increase speed to high and beat 1 minute until light, fluffy, and thouroughly combined. (Can be refrigerated up to five days.)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The begining...

Okay. So. Now I have a blog. I'm not exactly sure what to say in a blog. I am doubting other people will read it, but even if this just serves as a journaling experience for me, I guess that is okay.

My two biggest loves, outside of family, friends,--and of course my puppy-dog, Molly--are cooking, and crafting. I'm addicted to cooking shows and scrapbooking, and rubberstamping, and Michael's and AC Moore...and every other craft/scrapbook store I can find, and...and...and...

My next big project is making a birthday cake for my friend Kristin. She turns 22 in a couple of days, and I've got a great recipe to make a tiered birthday cake for her. A few weeks ago Martha Stewart's square 10", 8", and 6" cake pan set was on the clearance shelf at Macy's. I couldn't resist. So, I've  been spending loads of time on looking at various cake recipes, and planning my method of attack. I had decided on a Barefoot Contessa recipe for a delicious chocolate cake and chocolate buttercream frosting only to learn that Kristin detests chocolate cake. I've found another recipe that I will be trying out tomorrow. It's a Martha Stewart recipe...standard yellow cake.

Last night I went to see "Julie and Julia" for the second time. I have to admit that the movie has been a large part of my motivation for finally starting a blog. Unfortunately I can't come up with some super creative goal to complete (in a year) involving either crafting or cooking, but I figure that starting a blog is an okay thing to do, even without boning a duck.

Recipes I'll be trying this week:

Martha Stewart’s Yellow Cake


Makes one 10-inch cake

· 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

· 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

· 1 tablespoon baking powder

· 1 teaspoon baking soda

· 1/2 teaspoon salt

· 2 cups sugar

· 4 large eggs

· 1 1/4 cups buttermilk

· 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter one 10-inch tube pan. Dust the bottom and sides of pan with flour, and tap out any excess. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually add sugar, and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until well incorporated, occasionally scraping down the sides of bowl.

3. Mix together buttermilk and vanilla. Slowly add the sifted flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk mixture in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Do not overbeat.

4. Pour batter into prepared tube pan, and until cake tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Remove cake from pan, and cool completely on wire rack. Cake can be stored in freezer, double wrapped with aluminum foil, for up to 1 month.

My favorite Buttercream Frosting recipe is amazing! I tried it for the first time in June with my six year-old nephew, Abe. He loved throwing in the pats of butter gradually and watching them being "beaten into submission" by the trusty Kitchen Aid. I got the recipe from "The Best Recipe". It is the cookbook published by the editors of America's Test Kitchen. I wonder if Chris Kimball has ever made it? Hmm... It's a fabulous cookbook...and if you've never checked it out, you definitely should. It is a little more accessible than "The Joy of Cooking" and covers the basics...and then some. PLUS...the "Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie" recipe is To. Die. For.

I digress.

At any rate...the frosting is a heavenly thing to eat. It piped well for decorating, and I'm glad to be using a recipe I'm familiar with.

I will take pictures and post them once it's made!


As far as this weeks crafts...

My mother turnd 62 yesterday (sorry for the disclosure, Mom...), and I have yet to make a birthday card for her. For some, this may seem abominable: I agree. It should have been there for her to open on her birthday. In my defense, however, Mom went up to their cottage in the Adirondacs for the week, and spent the day by herself (I don't think black bears count as legitimate company...) and couldn't get mail out in the middle of nowhere. I did call her on her birthday, but restrained myself from singing to her over the phone.   SO...I think I am going to use a new stamp set to make her birthday card this evening. That way I can mail it tomorrow.

I've also been asked to help plan some crafts for an enrichment activity for Christmas Crafts for the ladies at church. I've got them both planned, but need to make the hooked sheep ornaments so I can write out directions. I'll have to take pictures...


Okay. So. That was my first blog. Easy enough.

Stay tuned...