Tag: chocolate cake

Favorite Things Week – VPK School Lunch #2

For tomorrow’s lunch, I had my big boy choose what he wanted, make it, and pack it himself.

wpid-wp-1432078515598.jpeg

For his second-to-last school lunch, he chose a ham, cheese, and mayo sandwich. I told him he could do it however he wanted. He wanted the top piece of bread to be upside down, and he wanted to cut it into thirds. He’s neat. He also packed pretzel sticks, red grapes, and a teeny piece of that outrageously yummy (and easy) chocolate cake with fun sprinkles, that I made earlier in the week.

Happy Wednesday!

Kristin

Favorite Things Week – VPK School Lunch (and Chocolate Cake!)

This is my big boy’s last week of VPK. Sniff. I don’t know where the time has gone. I literally only blinked, and his entirely VPK year has come and gone. To help him celebrate his last three days of school, I decided to pack some of his favorite things.

For tomorrow:

wpid-wp-1431989857236.jpeg

I packed a PB&J. This kid loves his PB&J’s. I also packed corn (his favorite vegetable), a yogurt squeeze (he always wants one), and a teeny slice of super sprinkled homemade chocolate cake for dessert.

Speaking of chocolate cake…

wpid-wp-1431996059395.jpeg

…oh, yes boy.

Today was my last Mommy church group meeting for this school year, and I made a one-bowl frosted chocolate cake to take with me. I made sure to save some for my boys. They always ask me to save them special treats when I make them for get-togethers.

wpid-wp-1431996063048.jpeg

I’ve used this recipe a dozen times before. It’s very quick to throw together. I almost always have the ingredients, as well.

wpid-wp-1431996065890.jpeg

Who could resist such an easy recipe?

wpid-wp-1431996068578.jpeg

It’s fudgy, not-too-rich, chocolatey, and super moist.

wpid-wp-1431996071463.jpeg

I covered it with a ton of fun sprinkles.

Do it.

One Bowl Chocolate Cake

recipe adapted from: Six Sister’s Stuff

2 C AP flour
2 C sugar
1/2 C baking cocoa (I used 1/4 C of dark chocolate cocoa, 1/4 C regular)
2 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 C vegetable or canola oil
1 C buttermilk (you can easily make your own with milk and vinegar)
2 eggs
1 C hot water

Frosting:

1/2 C butter, softened
1/4 C milk
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
3 T cocoa powder (I used a mix of dark and regular, again)
3 C powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13″ pan.

In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Mix in the oil, buttermilk, and eggs. Pour in the water and mix well. It will be runny and that is okay.

Pour batter into pan. Bake for 33-38 minutes or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean. Mine was done at 35 minutes.

Once completely cooled, frost.

To make frosting, mix all the ingredients together. Add more powdered sugar or milk, as needed.

I hope you enjoy it!

Kristin

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…cake!

wpid-20141209_134533-1-1_20141209220245378.jpg

So, I told you I made cake. Remember that? I’m sure you do. I mean, if you told me that you made a cake, I would not forget. Cake isn’t a flippant thought in my mind. Anywhoooo…

Isn’t this a sight to behold? A thing of beauty? A real looker? I used one of my two go-to chocolate cake recipes, this one being the one-bowl selection. To decorate, I chopped up those magical Ferrero Rocher candies (I used a pack of twelve, four each of three flavors, for this 9×13 sized cake). I distributed those around the edge of this beast and sprinkled some Christmas nonpareils on top.

wpid-20141209_134643.jpgSure, my butter wasn’t fully softened and left little chunks in the frosting. Can’t win them all. But hey, when were chunks of rich, creamy butter a bad thing, in a rich, creamy chocolate frosting? Maybe you CAN win them all.

wpid-20141209_134650.jpg

This cake is incredibly moist and the frosting equally smooth. It’s a winning combo, especially with the addition of Ferrero Rocher chocolates. I realize this sounds like a sponsored ad, but it isn’t. Although, Ferrero Rocher, if you’re listening, I’m up for sponsorship. #pleasesponsorme #anyone #anyone? My Bible study ladies seemed to really enjoy it. I know I did!

wpid-20141209_134622.jpg

I mean, lookee.

Here’s the original recipe:

http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/2013/06/one-bowl-chocolate-cake-made-from-scratch.html

And the frosting recipe:

http://myrecipemagic.com/recipe/recipedetail/moms-chocolate-frosting-the-best-frosting-recipe

I also made lunches for my boys (obvi).

For my Bigs:

wpid-photogrid_1418256364988.jpg

It’s a wreath-shaped PB&J and a teeny little gingerbread-shaped PB&J. I also packed colby jack cheese, a few pretzels, half a mandarin orange, a few apple slices, and some of that freaking good cake. I promised my Bigs that I’d try to save him a piece. He’ll be so happy to have it. I also sprinkled on a few red, green, and white chocolate covered sunflower seeds just because. Unfortunately, he got sick in the middle of the night, so he’ll be enjoying this from home today. (if you think of it, say a little prayer for his recovery? he’s got a Christmas performance at school tomorrow that I know he’d really be sad to miss being a part of – thank you!)

And for my Smalls:

wpid-photogrid_1418256519223.jpg

For him, I packed a PB&J in the shaped of a little tree and a little gingerbread boy (which I’ve ruined with a big ol’ face, but he won’t notice), colby jack cheese, apple slices, half a mandarin orange, honey-roasted peanuts, and a few of the chocolate covered sunflower seeds for his little dessert.

Many blessings to you!

Kristin

Cheerio! It’s time for tea!

I have two boys. I think most of you know that because I talk about them incessantly. If you’re near me and they aren’t, I’m showing you pictures of them on my phone (today’s response to wallet pictures). I always thought I’d have a girl or two, I never expected to have TWO boys. I think I’m still in shock. My oldest is four. I am not very good at “boy” stuff. I try, I do. I am really good at dressing in cutoff jean shorts (my daily uniform – I LOVE getting dressed up, but I live in my cutoffs, but I DO love matching my boys and then matching myself TO them.)  and shopping for boy clothes, but when it comes to boy things – I struggle. I just don’t have that gene. Try as I might! I is who I is…

But I’m grateful. They’ve shown me how cute bug catching can be (I don’t quite touch the bugs myself), to let go when they get a little dirty, to eat like cavemen with their hands (okay, so I’m big on table manners, so this particular attribute isn’t so cute), to play superheroes or dinosaurs. I can cut my Bigs’ hair like a salon would do. So I’ve adapted, I’ve learned, and I’ve always been so grateful for them.

But I’m still a girl (well, a WOMAN now, but you know, girl-Y). I do what I can with these boy themed lunches.

Except for today. Last night I made a lunch that is definitely more “girly” for today, but since I added a blue background and my boy is eating it, it’s boyish. Or we can call a spade a spade and just say it’s a girly lunch. Who cares. His favorite color is pink and his besties are all girls. He’s great at karate, running, and yardwork. He is who he is, and I love him.

wpid-photogrid_1411503418870.jpg

I spread strawberry cream cheese on melba toast, there are two little sandwiches of that. I had a conversation last week with my Mom over tea (more on that later) and I was inspired to get some melba toast (okay, impulse buy!). I packed seasoned corn (have to have a veggie!), oyster crackers, raisins, colby jack cheese, sliced plum, and a slice of chocolate cake (with star sprinkles). Looks like a kid’s “high tea” to me!

My inspiration behind this whole meal was the high tea I shared with my Mom last week. We used to do that a lot when I was little, and sporadically throughout our lives, together. We found a really cute place and it was the best tea we’d ever had, and we’ve enjoyed it in England! Making that kid lunch might be the closest thing to having tea with my kid since I do not have girls. Back to the REAL tea…

wpid-img_20140918_150835.jpg

We had the most delicious Peach Melba tea (hence the Melba talk – I had remembered that I had a Sunday school teacher named Melba and it always reminded me of melba toast and peach melba, even as a child). This was the best hot tea I’d ever had.

wpid-img_20140918_151038.jpg

The food spread was insanely beautiful – the bottom tier was tea sandwiches, the middle was British desserts, and the top was scones with jam and clotted cream.

wpid-img_20140918_151147.jpg

Turkey & Cranberry, Egg Salad, & Cucumber with Cream Cheese, all on British bread

wpid-img_20140918_151259.jpg

Berry Tart, Baby Cupcakes, Zucchini Walnut Bread, Bread Pud, & Jam Roly Poly

wpid-img_20140918_151349.jpg

The scones were perfect (as was everything). The Ex-Pat owner of the tea shop showed us the “real” way to eat them, to maximize jamming and clotted creaming.

wpid-img_20140918_151457.jpg

Heavenly

Anyone who has known me knows that I’ve been an Anglophile since before it was cool. I’m glad I found a way to sort of share that with my Bigs, in my own way.

Blessings!

Kristin

Happy 2nd Birthday, Smalls!

wpid-20140727_113408.jpg

Today is my Smalls’ 2nd birthday. He has brought me so much joy in his little life. I am crazy about him. This kid has spunk. He’s fearless about so many things, and I secretly love that about him. Even though it can be scary, as a parent, for my child to go into things without thinking, it’s neat to see the joy that fearlessness brings him. On the flip-side, he’s very complex – he gets overwhelmed very easily in certain situations. He gets upset at things that are too sensory-oriented (he’s got some proprioceptive things going on). But…I LOVE that we have this understanding, me and him. I know when he’s got his issues, and he comes to me to make them go away. He trusts my hugs to make him feel better. I love his silly, fun-loving sense of humor, the way he loves to make people laugh, but also gets shy when directly addressed by others. I love his wild antics, his mischievous smile, the naughty twinkle in his eye, partially hidden by his dark, long lashes. I love his teeny, little button nose. I love his lanky, long, skinny stick legs that envelope me in a hug, like a little koala bear. I love his hands, they are still like little baby hands. I love his bouncy, golden curls that frame his face, and flounce all over the place, especially because he’s almost always running and jumping, everywhere he goes. He’s simply the best. And I’m so blessed and eternally grateful to be his Mommy. What a gift from God.

We had a little party for him over the weekend with both sets of his Grandparents. I went with a beachy, tropical theme. It was a little tacky. I love tacky. And it was kind of a nod to his first birthday party, last year, where I did an under-the-sea theme.

I cooked and baked allllll day.

I made a Pineapple Cilantro Pulled Pork in the crock pot. It was an easy(ish) recipe because the crock pot did most of the work. I simply seasoned the pork butt and made a BBQ sauce.

wpid-20140727_170438.jpg

It was delicious and FULL of flavor.

http://www.fivehearthome.com/2014/07/14/slow-cooker-pineapple-pulled-pork-with-pineapple-barbecue-sauce/

I also made a Porky Pineapple Fried Rice.

wpid-20140727_170237.jpg

It was also very good.

http://damndelicious.net/2014/06/25/pineapple-fried-rice/

I made green beans, too! I boiled fresh green beans, put them in an ice bath, and then sauteed them with a little bit of olive oil and garlic. Delicious.

I also made crescent roll octopi. They more came out like jellyfish. I don’t know how on earth I was supposed to get EIGHT legs out of them. But they came out so cute. The boys kept asking for “legs”.

It wasn’t weird at all.

wpid-20140727_163958.jpg

They were a hit. Just cut 7 (or however many you can, then call them “jellyfish”) strips on the short side of the crescent and then roll the top down to form the head. Use (or not) black olives for the eyeballs.

wpid-20140727_171307.jpg

Dinner was delicious.

But dessert…oh boy, dessert was where it was at.

wpid-img_20140727_114644.jpg

I have to say, and not to pat myself on the back, but it was my best ever work. It was DIVINE.

wpid-20140727_113002.jpg

I used my favorite chocolate cake recipe, but I used Hershey’s dark cocoa in place of the regular cocoa (both turn out delicious). Because of that change, this cake was black and fudgey with a deep, complex cocoa flavor. It was insanely good.

https://www.hersheys.com/recipes/recipe-details.aspx?id=184&name=HERSHEY%27S-PERFECTLY-CHOCOLATE-Chocolate-Cake

I paired it with a white buttercream.

The buttercream was silky smooth. I just added blue coloring (Americolor Sky Blue). I used my offset spatula to make waves with the blue frosting.

http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/2013/06/double-chocolate-cupcakes-and-crispy-magic-frosting/

wpid-20140727_113002.jpg

I left some of the buttercream white and used that as the shore, and added graham cracker crumbs for sand.

wpid-20140727_112955.jpg

I decorated it with palm trees and a surfboard (all from Smalls’ first ever birthday cake last year), flamingos, fish and dolphin sprinkles, and gummy turtles (Smalls loves turtles).

It was so, so, so good.

wpid-img_20140728_162311.jpg

The combination was heavenly. And not because of what I did, but because of the recipes. So good. I can’t even stop thinking or talking about it. My mouth is watering for it now.

It was a great celebration. And today is family day – we will be showering Smalls with lots of love, fun times, and good food.

Happiest Birthday, my sweet, spicy nugget. May you always feel as loved as you are. <3

Blessings to you all,

Kristin

Current Events

Oh, boy! Hello, there! I’ve missed you! It’s been crazy-town lately. I used to have time in the mornings to write before my boys were awake, but now with early swim lessons, things have been shifted…off my radar. So here I am now, catching up on two weeks worth of stuff, and trying to get ready for my Bigs’ 4th birthday this Friday!!! Where does the time go!

So let’s catch up, shall we?

wpid-20140418_163206.jpg
First Oreo dunk ever!

So for snack one day, I let my boys have Oreos. Probably lots of people have Oreos for snack. My boys have never had cookies as a snack. Despite how much I bake, I am very controlled with the amount of sugar I let my children have. I’d say they enjoyed it. Bigs was loved dipping the Oreo in milk. Are you a dipper? I am not. I do not care (too much) for wet food.

We’ve eaten lots of pancakes since I last wrote, too. Obvi.

wpid-20140419_074401.jpg

wpid-20140428_113618.jpg
GF DF Cinnamon pancakes with bananas

And I’ve actually made some good dinners!

wpid-20140424_173059.jpg

I made oven-fried chicken tenders (using corn flake crumbs), fresh corn on the cob and green beans. Yum-o!

And we even met some friends for dinner at this amazing taco restaurant that I’d never been to.

I got a watermelon adult drink. Anytime there is something with watermelon, I’m in!

wpid-img_20140429_075447.jpg

We ordered their famous guacamole, made table-side!

Best guac I've had!
Best guac I’ve had!

I ordered three small tacos – a mushroom one, a chorizo one, and a pork one. All three delicious!

wpid-img_20140429_075642.jpg

And for dessert, we all shared a piece of Mexican Chocolate Pie and Tres Leches Cake. The cake was topped with meringue. I’d never seen that before!

Mexican Chocolate Pie
Mexican Chocolate Pie
Tres Leches Cake
Tres Leches Cake

The Tres Leches Cake was served with strawberries and bananas. So fresh!

It was a night filled with laughter, great food, and great company.

Then we had Easter. How was your Easter? Ours was wonderful. We had a great church service and ate lots of yummy food afterwards.

wpid-20140420_111814.jpg

My Mom made homemade biscuits, ham, pickled everything (which I put all together), fresh green beans, mayo-less potato salad, deviled eggs, and fruit salad. Delish!

wpid-20140420_105301.jpg

And these beauties for dessert – chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream. Serious yumminess.

The Monday after Easter, the boys and I went on a field trip with Bigs’ school. We went to Publix for a tour. They We had a great time!

wpid-20140421_101444.jpg

They handed out nametags with our names on them and hairnets.

wpid-20140421_103439.jpg

Bigs would not take his off. It was so cute.

wpid-20140421_1046500.jpg

We saw a cake being decorated, we tasted popcorn chicken, we saw the produce coming in off the truck, we saw the seafood man put a lobster to sleep. It was fun!

wpid-20140421_110044.jpg

Bigs even got to ring some items up! He loved it! What a fun trip for the kids…and adults. 😀

The next day, we went to a birthday party at a park in the afternoon. It was so much fun to celebrate our little friend turning 2 and eat cake and run around!

wpid-20140422_161254.jpg

wpid-20140422_161655.jpg

Speaking of running around, I finally updated my Mom Workout Shoes. And I’ve been running even faster in my new ones. I think having “cooler” shoes helps your workout.

wpid-20140423_092918.jpg

Agree?

wpid-20140425_162342.jpg

Then on Friday, I made my flourless chocolate cake for a dinner with friends. It is easy to whip up and my husband can enjoy dessert too! I also make it dairy free.

http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/flourless-chocolate-cake-recipe

My Bigs had a karate belt ceremony on Saturday. He’s now an orange belt – go Bigs! We had a potluck at the academy. I had found this from Target earlier:

wpid-20140426_082356.jpg

I love watermelon anything. I almost always make desserts from scratch, but this appealed greatly to me and Bigs, while on a Target run.

wpid-20140426_094101.jpg

They came out great – very artificially watermelon flavored, like a jolly rancher. I think they went over well at karate.

We went from karate to another birthday party for another friend. This one was at a park too, which also had a splash pad. That was a lot of fun! Hello Summer weather!

wpid-20140426_145619.jpg

Bigs just loved it. Smalls wouldn’t get so close. He is so fearless with most things, but for some reason, had some major fears about the splash pad. He was like this last year too but by the end of the season, loved it. 🙂

After church on Sunday, I went to a baby shower of one of my dear friends. She is having a girl in July, the day before my Smalls’ birthday. I can’t wait to meet her!

We had so much fun celebrating the Mommy-to-be. We ate and ate.

wpid-20140427_131533.jpg

There was two kinds of chicken salad, fruit with marshmallow dip, antipasti for days, many different kinds of salads, and rice balls in red gravy. SO GOOD!

wpid-20140427_134250.jpg

For dessert, there were two kinds of cannolis (one chocolate covered), eclairs, and Napoleons…

wpid-20140427_153716.jpg

…and her beautiful, delicious, ruffled cake!

And then lastly, I made healthier brownies to take into Bigs’ class this past Tuesday to celebrate his upcoming Friday birthday.

wpid-20140429_122717.jpg

They were gluten-free black bean brownies. I used coconut oil in place of vegetable oil and that made them taste like coconut chocolate brownies, which apparently lots of kids don’t like! Oops, now I know! 🙂 Bigs loved them though. Here is the recipe:

http://www.mealmommy.com/Recipes/tabid/89/CategoryID/5/List/1/Level/a/ProductID/42/Default.aspx?SortField=ProductName%2cProductName

Alrighty, I am caught up on food, events, and general diary. Next up is fun birthday food and events for my Bigs! I can’t believe he’s turning 4!

Kristin

 

 

Egg-cellent!

This Easter week and a half have been so busy! I finally got around to starting a post. It’s been filled with lots of good food, lots of Easter eggs (some smashed…will get to that), and lots of fun.

About a week ago, I went to a new to me restaurant. It was one that specialized in rustic Italian food, but with a modern, farm-to-table-esque atmosphere. We sat almost in the kitchen.

wpid-img_20140417_081230.jpg

There was focaccia bread and olive oil.

wpid-img_20140417_081354.jpg

I ordered a side of polenta, which was creamy with mascarpone, mint, and hazelnuts, and chives. Serious comfort food.

wpid-img_20140418_084512.jpg

I almost licked the bowl. I’m serious. You can ask my friends. It was heavenly.

My friend and I shared the Diavolo Pizza (house pepperoni, Italian long peppers, oregano, and ricotta salata).

wpid-img_20140417_081544.jpg

Spicy and salty on an earthy crust.

The next day, we had another playdate. This one goes down in the record books. It was a public library showing of “Frozen”, which we had not seen yet. When we first got there, we played while we waited. There were two hamsters that they boys loved looking at, especially Bigs, since he’d learned about mice earlier in the week.

wpid-img_20140417_081746.jpg

Then a boatload of kids showed up. There were about 25 kids from various schools and playdates, in addition to our playdate. My boys were good (as long as I was feeding them) for about a half hour. Then things went downhill, as they say. Smalls came up to me and pointed to his bum bum, saying, “Wet!!”. I have no idea how that even happened. I still don’t know if it was pee. I didn’t have a change of shorts, so he rocked his mystery-liquid-soaked shorts. Then he fell off of an adult-sized chair and got a goose-egg on his forehead. And then things were just over. No more “Frozen”. No more library.

We left. Sometimes, you have to know when to fold. That was a folding moment.

We “Let it go”, as Elsa (?? or Anna??) sang.

We walked to a little cafe where we picked up lunch and smoothies. My friend and I shared this:

wpid-20140411_115109.jpg

The top left is a carrot chicken salad, which was delicious. I loved the addition of carrots. We also had hummus and cukes, falafel with a yogurt dipping sauce, and the most delicious tabbouleh I’d tasted, and some warm pita. That made wet pants and goose-eggs worth it.

The kids ended up having so much more fun at the park than at the movie.

wpid-20140411_122625.jpg

There is this great, big, old tree in this park that looks downright magical. The boys loved hanging on it and climbing it.

wpid-20140411_124006.jpg

There was also lots of mud. Mud which must have looked delicious to my Smalls. He can’t resist putting everything in his mouth. This kid.

wpid-20140411_122824.jpg

He actually ENJOYED his first mud pie! I asked him to stick his tongue out so I could see the extent of his dirtiness. It went way back into his throat. He’ll do it again for sure.

This park is also right by a train station (and the Farmer’s Market we go to).

wpid-20140411_123816.jpg

My boys LOVE a train. They watched as it pulled into the station, as people disembarked, embarked, and as it left the station, waving the whole time. Choo Choooooooo!

Dinner was ham! Always a good-eating night in our house.

wpid-20140411_173343.jpg

I glazed it with cherry preserves and served it with marshmallow-covered sweet potatoes and corn.

The next morning was a volunteer day at our church. We packed backpacks for girls who had just been rescued from the Human Trafficking Circuit. I love having my kids learn to serve others.

That night, we took them to the grand opening of a new gelati/ice cream shop that opened right by our house. We love this place and used to travel 25 minutes to get to it. Now it’s only five. Yippee!

wpid-20140412_182452.jpg

The boys shared a sugar free sour apple and tangerine mixed with vanilla soft serve, my husband got pina colada, and I got salted caramel and raspberry mixed with vanilla soft serve. Yum yum.

wpid-collage_20140417204015757.jpg

Then the boys played in the yard until bedtime. Smalls is really good at doing somersaults. Bigs is too now, but he wasn’t as much so when he was Small’s age. So Smalls does them everywhere – concrete, grass, whatever. That’s probably why he has a black eye right now, poor fella. I’d prefer him to do it on grass.

wpid-20140412_185730.jpg

Peekaboo!

On Sunday, after church, I made a one-bowl chocolate cake for my Mom group the next day. It was easy to put together and delicious! I’ve used this recipe before and it always comes together this easily.

wpid-20140413_133338.jpg

I had to add my trademark sprinkles, of course. 🙂

wpid-20140413_133347.jpg

Dat icing.

wpid-20140413_133355.jpg

Mmm yes.

wpid-20140414_080302.jpg

Fudgy, dense, moist chocolate cake with a rich, cocoa-y, fluffy, chocolate buttercream.

Here is the recipe:

http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/2013/06/one-bowl-chocolate-cake-made-from-scratch.html

It was a hit with my church group. I brought only two teeny pieces left. And it fed a lot – it was a 9×13 pan.

On Tuesday morning, my wonderful neighbor brought me some Jewish pastries from a local bakery.

wpid-20140416_091310.jpg

She got me three different kinds of hamentashen – raspberry, apricot, and prune. All three were delicious, but one flavor stood out to me. The raspberry was incredible! She also gave me a cream cheese roll and a nut bun. All delicious! Food gifts are the best!

That was a nice treat after taking my boys to their first swim lessons of the season (and Smalls first ever swim lesson). They are four times a week for about six weeks.

Tuesday night, my husband had a doctor’s appointment after work. It also happened to be Family Night at Chik-Fil-A…with goats. And bunnies. And ducks. And chickens and roosters, too. And an egg hunt! Yes please! Anything to get me from dinner time to bath time, when I’m by myself with the kids, I’ll do!

wpid-20140415_181437.jpg

This brings me to the Easter egg hunt. Smalls and Bigs were the only ones in the hunt area at that exact moment. Each kid was allowed to pick up 10 eggs. Well. Smalls stomped (with gusto) on about 14. Not a gentle tap of the shoe, but like a ground-shaking sort of stomp. The type that breaks eggs. :/ At least he wasn’t doing that to the animals. I should be thankful.

He continued the stomping habit when Bigs brought some hard boiled eggs he’d dyed at school. I had his little basket on the hood of my truck and the wind knocked it over and everything fell out and Smalls zeroed in on the eggs stomping them to their sad demise.

On Wednesday, we met one of my oldest friends at a “fancy” mall in between each of our houses. She also came bearing a food gift:

wpid-20140416_142632.jpg

Sesame balls (if you know me at all, you know my obsession!), shrimp chips, some rice candy, Pockey, and Hello Panda treats! All from my favorite Asian grocery!

Food gifts are the best! Did I already say that? 😉

For me, the best kind of Easter basket is the one filled with giant sesame balls.

wpid-20140417_070059.jpg

🙂

If you’ve not tried a sesame ball, I encourage…implore you to try one. And then let me know if you like them!

For lunch, I had a salad from a vegetarian Mediterranean place.

wpid-20140416_112920.jpg

Loads of veggies, lettuce, spinach, beets, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, cous cous, cabbage, garlic, and cilantro. My kind of salad!

Thursday, after swim lessons and dropping Bigs off at school, I made treats for his class. His wonderful teacher asked me to make something Easter-y. I love love being asked to make stuff!

I decided to go with gluten-free rice krispie treats, shaped to look like little Easter baskets.

wpid-20140417_100452.jpg

Bigs has a friend in his class who is gluten free so I work closely with her Mom to make sure all the ingredients are free of anything that could cause a reaction. It’s so fun to have a challenge! And a plus is that my husband can eat and leftover treats I make (when also made dairy free).

I made GF rice krispie treats and formed them into cupcake wrappers (Peeps!!) in a cupcake tin. I made a little dip in the center to hold little treats. While those were setting up, I dyed some shredded coconut green to act as the grass.

wpid-20140417_100459.jpg

I added the “grass” and then some GF jelly beans. They came out so cute! But I knew what would make them even better….

wpid-20140417_104652.jpg

Don’t Peeps always make stuff better? I’ve found that most people have very strong feelings about Peeps. They either cannot stand them or they are obsessed. I’m obviously in the obsessed camp.

wpid-20140417_124357.jpg

They were a hit. Mostly. I’d say with confidence that most of the kids thought the coconut was not a good addition to the dessert, as a whole. Sometimes I get too fancy for kids. 🙂 It was a lot of fun making them though!!

For dinner on Thursday, I made steak and homemade macaroni and cheese (husband got brown rice). The macaroni sauce (a basic roux sauce with cheddar added) was extra creamy.

wpid-20140417_172236.jpg

I served fresh watermelon and pineapple with it. Smalls ate none of it, Bigs ate all of it. It’s always a toss up! I thought it was good.

The boys played in the yard until bedtime again.

wpid-20140417_190301.jpg

Loving on the neighbor’s dogs

Whew. We are all caught up. I hope you all are having a blessed Holy Friday. Bigs and I have been discussing Jesus and his painful death a lot. He knows that Jesus went through all of that to save us and to give us eternal hope. I hope you know that too.

Be blessed,

Kristin

Seriously, just let them eat cake. Or peanuts.

What’s the big deal? “Let them eat cake!!” All she wanted was for those people to be able to eat cake! I meannnnnn, it’s not that hard of a concept. Have you seen the movie, Marie Antoinette? I only watched it because I like cake and shoes. Isn’t this scene below so beautiful? I have to be perfectly frank though (Can I just be Garth?!), I’d rather eat cake than get a pedi.

MarieAntoinetteCake

I also like Marie (we’re on a first name basis) because we share the same concerns (if I were in her shoes, get it?? Shoes!).

“But how will I eat cake if my head is over there, and my hands are over here?”
-Marie Antoinette
My kind of gal.
At the end of the day, all she wanted was to share cake. Or at least eat hers and let them eat theirs. Whatevs.
Let them eat cake
At the end of my day, all I want to do is share cake, too. Yesterday, I did that. I made birthday cupcakes for a friend and also shared some of the same recipe with my Mommy group at church. I think [I hope!] it was a hit. I’ve shared this recipe on this blog before.
20131110_160941
http://www.traceysculinaryadventures.com/2013/04/cookie-dough-stuffed-dark-chocolate.html#.UmRTarPMISk
Happiness is Cupcakes
While I was there, I had many friends tell me that they’ve been reading this blog and that they’ve been enjoying it! THANK YOU. That encouragement means a great deal to me. It makes me feel so good to know that not only am I having a creative catharsis, but that some people, other than me, actually get enjoyment out of it!
20131110_161401
It’s nice to show who I am…I am so grateful to have this blog to help piece me together…and so many wonderful friends to encourage that and foster my oddball sense of individuality.
Required Cake
Can I get a “Heck yes!”?!
And since we are on the topic of cake, which I so often am…let’s take a peek at this cake I made a while back. I made it for Husband’s birthday. It was easy and everything on it was homemade (also easy!). It’s a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, with mini chocolate chip cookies and homemade Sno-Caps on them. My husband doesn’t quite have the sweet tooth I have, but he LOVES chocolate chip cookies and ALWAYS gets Sno-Caps at the movies. And I believe cake is a must on a birthday. So I combined them all…because I do what I want (lol). That hasn’t gotten old for me yet!
Cake
https://www.hersheys.com/recipes/recipe-details.aspx?id=184&name=HERSHEY%27S-PERFECTLY-CHOCOLATE-Chocolate-Cake
The Faux-Caps were easy. I put chocolate chips on a piece of tin foil and placed them in my toaster oven. Once they were a teensy bit melty, but still maintaining their shape, I pulled them out and covered them in colored nonpareils and put them in the fridge. I think they came out cute. It was enjoyed.
Cake is Life
I couldn’t have said it more beautifully.
I hope you have the opportunity to make (more importantly, to EAT) cake soon. I feel it’s important to always have a cake on the horizon.
Julia Cake
Yes, Mrs. Child, YES.
Eat Cake for Breakfast
I need this bag in my life.
Also, I made Bigs an elephant themed lunch. It’s Pilgrim Day at school, but I just can’t seem to rally this morning. What’s adorable about elephants to us is the way Bigs says the word. He can say the word very well (he’s well-spoken), but he still uses the word he made up for them when he couldn’t say “elephant”. He calls them “Brrr-eat-peanuts”. Isn’t that adorable? It’s also BRILLIANT, if I can say so on his behalf. Elephants say, “Brrrr!” and they eat peanuts. He’s a genius. <3 I just hope that Smalls picks up the same word from Bigs so we can enjoy it for a while longer.
BrrrEatPeanuts
He has an elephant shaped crunchy (since Brrr-eat-peanuts EATS peanuts) PB&J and I used my Food Writers for the eye, crusts for the elephant to stand on, pretzels, an almond Hershey’s Kiss and a mix of mandarin oranges (washed of their syrup) and grapes.
Life is short. Eat the cake. And call elephants “Brrr-eat-peanuts” forever. Have a blessed day,
Kristin

Bon Appétit!

Julia

My passion for food runs deep. I don’t just love to eat, but I love to cook (still doesn’t mean I’m good at it) and bake and enjoy every experience that food offers. I love the rich, crunchy sound of onions being chopped, the soft sound of sugar and flour falling into my mixing bowl, like a gentle first snowfall. I love the way a yeasted dough will rise after being left alone in the dark corner of my kitchen counter top. I love the feeling I get when a recipe turns out as it should. I love tasting the dish I’m making, in every step of the recipe. Everything about food, I love. For me, it’s tied to my heartstrings, my emotions.

“Ponder well on this point: the pleasant hours of our life are all connected by a more or less tangible link, with some memory of the table.”

-Charles Pierre Monselet

Have YOU found this to be true, as I have? As long as I can remember, most of my happiest memories can be associated with food. Not in the sense that we were obsessed with it, just that a good meal was always around as we went about our family business. I remember spending time with my Mom in the kitchen, licking the wooden spoon that she used to stir together her Strawberry Pie filling, still hot from the stove top. It would burn my tongue, but I wouldn’t care – it was so good – shiny and red. I remember the sugary date balls she would (and still occasionally makes) make every year at Christmas. I remember the savory smells and popping sounds of the cube steaks frying, and later, how tasty they were on my plate, paired with mashed potatoes, gravy, and peas. They always went together. If I make this dish, I always make it the same way my Mom did, because of how it makes me feel to have the same exact meal. I remember the pot roasts, laden with potatoes, carrots and onions, simmering in the crock pot that would greet me with waves of delicious smells when I would walk in the house after school.  It was agony to wait until dinner time, and inevitably, I’d lift off that crock pot lid and pinch a bite here and there. If my Mom ever knew! And don’t even get me started on the holidays! The sounds and smells of the hoe cakes crackling in the cast iron pan, the din of extended family gathering together, relaxing on that old creaky front porch swing, waving at every passerby, just biding our time until we could say our thanks and eat our meal, so lovingly put together by each family member. Ahh, yes, food has a very special place in my heart.

“I am not a glutton – I am an explorer of food.”

-Erma Bombeck

In some situations, food is the ONLY collective connection we have. Perhaps not the type of food we enjoy that we have in common, but the physiological need for it,  the unique culinary traditions we each have and our own personal memories tied to them.

What are some of your food-rich memories?

Oh yes, and how could I forget?!  I made cake. A sweet, little birthday cake!

cakeinfridge

Easy, but wonderfully delicious.  I used the Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake recipe (sans the frosting, recipe in link below) and used a Betty Crocker recipe for the frosting, except I used chunky peanut butter (recipe in link below). YUM. To me, it tasted like (I have to taste my product before giving it away!!) the kind of cake that you’d get at a greasy diner (all diners should be greasy), as a thick slab on a white china plate.

https://www.hersheys.com/recipes/recipe-details.aspx?id=184&name=HERSHEY%27S-PERFECTLY-CHOCOLATE-Chocolate-Cake

http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/easy-peanut-butter-frosting/3b3b77bb-939a-4607-bd0f-428f1876903f

cake

Have a chunky peanut buttery sort of day (that’s the best kind!),

Kristin