Sunday, March 2, 2014

Seven! And a Lego-mini-figure

My little guy is somehow seven years old. For his birthday, he chose a quiet family party and a chocolate cake in the shape of a Lego mini-figure. I'll be honest - this week has been insane. Hubby and I were out of town until Monday night and we both had conferences until late Thursday night. I hadn't given the cake a second of thought until Friday after work. I looked online and found a Lego mini-figure cake pan...clearly I wadn't going to get one of those in time. So I asked to see one of his mini-figures, took a ruler, traced my 9x13 and my 8x8 cake pans onto a sheet of white paper, and began scaling to make a template. I was pretty proud of myself for how it came out! When he saw the template sitting on the counter, I got the hugest grin and biggest hug ever, with a sqealed, "Thanks, Mom!!! You're the best!!!"

I asked the birthday boy if he'd rather have his favorite marshmallow frosting, which is hard to frost with and wouldn't look as good, or a different frosting that would look better. He easily chose the marshmallow frosting, with support from his sister and dad. I told him he could choose three colors; he picked red, yellow, and gray (even though I said no one would want to eat gray frosting).

I over-baked the cake, I think, so it was dry and not all that great. But it looked pretty cool!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Jalepeno jelly

I've written before about how impossible it is to buy gifts for my stepmom; my dad is equally difficult. This year, he made a special request; although he doesn't like spicy foods, he apparently fell in love with jalepeno jelly at a party some years ago and he asked if I would try making some.

I immediately got to work. I didn't have any pectin, so I searched for recipes that didn't require it. I found this one from Simply Recipes. Unfortunately, I only had about a pound and a half of apples (and they weren't green), but I did have the optional cranberries; I hoped that they would compensate for the missing apples. I reduced the water by a cup (again because of the missing apples; I didn't want it to be watery). I used a red pepper (because it was all I had), but otherwise :) followed the recipe exactly.

I strained the mash through a fine mesh strainer and got exactly four cups of juice. Then I added the sugar and cooked it down. I didn't want to drag down all of my big canning gear, so I used a smallish saucepan to process the two short jars for my dad. The two taller jars were refrigerated and brought to hubby's and my work parties, along with crackers and cream cheese. I'm not into that sort of thing, but the jelly seemed to be a hit.

My dad sent me this picture on the day after Christmas, so apparently the present fit the bill:

In my search, I also found this recipe for hot pepper jelly; unlike my dad, hubby loves super hot, spicy foods, so I bookmarked it to try next time for him.

Saturday, January 4, 2014


I know it's a little late to be posting Christmas cookies, but I finally have time to write.....

I saw this post on Smitten Kitchen early in December for making pirouettes. We love the pirouettes that come in the brown and white cannister, with their light delicate cookies and yummy chocolate filling.

The little girl and I were looking for a cookie to bake a couple of days before Christmas, and I remembered the post. We quickly mixed together the batter (it doesn't take any time at all - just one bowl and a whisk) and then I got to the time-consuming process of baking the cookies three or four at a time.

I used a heaping teaspoon and spread the batter into circles.

They baked for about four minutes until slightly golden. I used a silicone knife to peel them off the pan and quickly rolled the cookies around a plastic cocktail stick.

Once cooled, I melted some chocolate and spread a variety of sprinkles on little plates. The little girl and I had fun dipping the ends of the cookies into chocolate and rolling them in sprinkles. We took them to our annual caroling party where they lasted all of 30 seconds. So yummy!

And what to make with the leftover egg whites? Why, the homemade eggnog that I've been eyeing for months, of course. Equally delicious and the half-batch did not last long around here. :)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Happy New Year!

pepperoni pizza monkey bread (KAF pizza dough) with pizza sauce, shrimp cocktail (ATK cocktail sauce), crockpot buffalo wings with ranch dressing, sparkling apple juice

chocolate fondue with marshmallows (KAF recipe), pirouettes (recipe from Smitten Kitchen), and fresh fruit

With wishes for a joyful, peaceful, delicious 2014!