Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Things That Make Me Happy!

Creating Cupcake Busts of the Birthday Girls!
Surprise Roses in the Mail.
Making Dinosaur Chocolates . . .To Go with Cupckake Thankyou Cards!Roommates Who Make Christmas Tree Cakes for October Birthdays.Homemade Marshmallows!Surprise Parties with Lots of Colour!
Giant Dinosaurs.My New Business Cards :D It's Official, Guys!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Ice Cream Cake :D

For my co-worker, Amanda's, birthday, I made my first attempt at an ice cream cake. It was actually quite a bit easier to make than I originally anticipated, although I realized after I had already put it together that my version doesn't actually have any CAKE in it.A lot of websites suggested using a spring-form pan. I haven't invested in one yet, but my sister suggested using layer cake pans lined with plastic wrap which worked quite well. I used low-carb ice cream since Amanda is on a low-carb diet for medical reasons, but obviously any flavor can be substituted.Unfortunately, I didn't get a very good picture of the layers, but this one gives the general idea. Between the ice cream layers are layers of diced strawberries (mixed with a bit of granulated Splenda) and crushed up chocolate animal crackers mixed with fudge ice cream topping (this was definitely the best layer in my opinion).I frosted the top with Cool Whip. Although I wasn't able to make it completely smooth, it worked decently. I looked online afterward and found a few variations on the whipped-topping-frosting that I might experiment with in the future. For decorating, I used dark chocolate melting wafers. I just put them in a ziplok and snipped the corner. I had to reheat them several times, and there are a few trouble spots on the cake, but overall I like how it came out. The swirls are coloured in with strawberry syrup (I used a paintbrush) and of course there is the strawberry fan.I was pleased with the results considering it was my first, and more importantly Amanda loved it!
p.s. here's a picture of the 4th of July cupcake flag I made. Directions are in "Hello, Cupcake"

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Happy Birthday Aubren!

June 18th just happened to be the 20th birthday of Aubren, one of my wonderful co-workers. Since this important day fell on one of the busiest days of our summer so far, I wanted to do something special to help make this birthday a memorable one. Along with the help of the rest of the Reardon Summer Staff, I put together a mini-surprise-party at morning staff meeting. Fish themed of course. Because, honestly, who doesn't like goldfish? I made goldfish bowl cupcakes from the wonderful cookbook "Hello, Cupcake!"-best thing ever! Check it out on Amazon. Since I had to make them in the Myers public kitchen while the Christ in Youth conference was going on, I feared for their safety, but fortunately they made it through alright. Everyone seemed to enjoy their cupcakes plus I think Aubren was surprised. In a happy way.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Everything but the Kitchen Sink . . .

This week 99 high school boys and their youth leaders stayed in Myers Hall for a big youth convention called Christ in Youth (CIY). Although there were several highlights to my week (including the self-esteem boosting boys in my dorm,) (the wonderfully inappropriately misspelled concessions sign,) (and George Romero's kitten,) I have to say that my favorite part may have been collecting the things that people left behind when I did room checks. I found a penny . . .Three pens . . .
A Towel . . .A yellow plastic raincoat! . . .
Shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. . .Another penny . . .
A green conference wristband . . .
The 3 of Diamonds . . .
Pretzels and Cookies (that I can actually eat!) . . .
Travel size toothpaste, and . . .
A pair of boxers! (Looks like I have some laundry to do! :D )
Looking forward to the next conference checkout! This job has great fringe benefits.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Project for Meadowbrooke!

For a leadership project in one of my classes, I decided to orchestrate an egg painting and delivery project for the residents of Meadowbrooke Rehabilitation Home, which is super close to campus here and is one of the ministry locations of Generation to Generation (it's a fantastic place-to check out more go to Sooo, I organized a giant egg painting day in Morrison hall. . .Made some lovely cards. . .and delivered them with my wonderful girls (and one wonderful boy!) I hope that all of you had a blessed Easter!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Chocolate Babka

Mysteriously, I was assailed with the desire to make special Christmas bread a full week and a half AFTER Christmas. I'd been eyeing this recipe for a while because it combines three of my favorite things: bread, cinnamon, and chocolate! Plus, it's pretty. The original recipe comes from the December 2009 issue of Cooking Light. Sooo, put some of that Christmas music back on and roll up your sleeves for a wonderful day in the kitchen!


1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)

3/4 cup warm milk (105F-110F)

6 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten

3 cups flour, divided

5 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces and softened

Cooking spray


1/2 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped


2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 tablespoon flour

1 teaspoon butter, softened

1. Dissolve 1 teaspoon granulated sugar and yeast in warm milk in the bowl of a stand mixer; let stand 5 minutes. Stir in 6 tablespoons granulated sugar, vanilla extract, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and egg yolk. Measure flour and level with a knife.

Add about 2 2/3 cups flour to milk mixture; beat with dough hook attachment at medium speed until well blended (about 2 minutes). (I absolutely love the kitchen-aide that my parents FINALLY invested in. The fact that it's pink? Even better!)

Add 5 tablespoons butter, beating until well blended. Scrape dough out onto a floured surface (dough will be very sticky). Knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes); add about 1/3 cup flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will be very soft). I actually ended up having to add even more flour than that to keep the dough from being ridiculously sticky. Of course, I was cooking in 90 degree weather with ridiculous humidity, so I'm not sure how much of a difference that made. . .

2. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spary, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise ina warm place, free from drafts, 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size. Make sure that you let it rise long enough. I cannot stress this enough. I don't think I let mine rise enough in any of the stages, which caused the bread's shape to be a little off. Punch dough down; cover and let dough rest 5 minutes.

3. Line the bottom of a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper; coat sides of pan with cooking spray.

4. To prepare filling, combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, salt, and chocolate in a medium bowl; set aside.

5. Place dough on a generously floured surface; roll dough out into a 16-inch square.

Sprinkle filling over dough, leaving a 1/4 inch border around edges.

Roll up dough tightly, jelly-roll fashion; pinch seam and ends to seal. Holding dough by ends, twist dough 4 times as if wringing out a towel. This will create a beautiful interior spiral once It's okay if some of the filling spills out during this phase.

Fit dough into prepared pan. It was a bit difficult to squeeze it all in, but the bumps create added interest while baking. Cover and let rise 45 minutes or until doubled in size. Again, make sure that it has actually doubled in size. You can see how much mine rose in the picture below, and I think I should have let it go for several minutes more until it filled out the pan more fully.

6. Preheat oven to 350F.

7. To prepare streusel, combine powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon flour, and 1 teaspoon softened butter, stirring with a fork until mixture is crumbly. The original recipe called for an entire tablespoon of butter, but when I tried that I ended up with a mixture that was very gooey and not at all crumbly. So if your mixture is a little dry, just add more butter. Then sprinkle the streusel evenly over dough.

Bake at 350F for 30 minutes until browned on top. Again, the recipe called for 40 minutes, but after about 35 my bread was overly browned on the top and the sides, so definitely check the oven after about half an hour.

Cool bread in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool bread completely on wire rack before slicing. Pull out the pretty Christmas china (even if it's the middle of January) and enjoy!