Sunday, February 20, 2011

a cake with an alter ego

Becca, here.

This past weekend we celebrated our dearest friend, Meredith! Whenever birthday's arrive, it's really our favorite excuse to throw a party all for them.  The theme this time: Alter Ego.
Check out my pal, Meagan's blog for details other than food :)

For the birthday cake, I knew it had to be somethin' special. What's is a cake's alter ego? 
Found my answer at 'I am baker'Love her. She just doesn't know it. 
Seeing as this will probably be the one and only time I'll actually successfully make one of her astounding cakes...I decided it needed to be shared.  
Thanks 'I am baker' for your awesome inspiration!

Check out the link above for much better step-by-step directions, please.  I'm afraid all my patience is gone after making this cake, so I'll just chat about what I did...

It's already a 'Becca' cake if you have make it using Diet Sprite or Diet 7-Up. 
I can't remember the last time I made a cake with eggs or oil. 
It's a Weight Watchers recipe that really helps this dieting bride! 

I use: 1 box of cake mix for 1 1/4 cup (or 1 can) Fresca/Diet Sprite/Diet 7-UP

I should play around with the measurements more.  I don't think the fiance or roommates would mind ;)

Meredith's all-time-favorite cake combo is white with chocolate icing.  So I compromised my need for extreme flavors and made a funfetti cake + a white cake (dyed pale orange).  I wanted pink, but alas I only had about 4 drops of red dye left.  


The hard part for a dothingsasquicklyaspossible type of gal: freeze the cakes for 6 hours. 

Yep, make sure you have time for this.  
Go about your Satruday or Sunday (or day you decide to skip class)
Then return.

I made the cakes, then used our large coffee-canister to draw a circle on a piece of poster-board, then another circle in the middle using a coffee mug.  You'll have concentric circles that will look like a target when you're done carving the cake. 

it helps to have a real sharp knife!

Now, take your cake rings (carefully!) out and alternate their layers.  I did not make a simple syrup or anything to help the layers stick (and it would have been helpful).  But, I thought icing would do the trick.  

And if you know know I love icing.

I'm the "Can I have the corner piece?" girl.  

So, needless to say I slathered this thing in chocolate icing & it was onto the party!

Happy Birthday to my sweet friend, Mere!  

Thursday, February 17, 2011

hearts full of "sweet" stuff

Happy day after Valentine's Day!  
Hope you enjoyed some treats over the past day or week (sometimes Holiday's can be extended if need be)
So for a little Valentine's day fun Chad and I had a little picnic with some little extra pieces of fun.

Cake balls from the previously mentioned BrewHaHa Coffee. 
Major difference between Chad and I enjoy them?  
I savor every bite and he devours in one foul chomp.
Valentine's day flavors he choose: funfetti (personal favorite so far, still in the fridge!), double chocolate, strawberry, and cookies 'n cream.  

Chad loves cheese. More than cake.  After seeing some entertaining pictures of wedding cakes make of cheese, I decided it would be funny to make my own cheese art.
Purchased his favorite cheese (Jalapeno-Cayenne Cheddar) at Whole Foods and got to work. Easy to carve...because it's...cheese. And the wax that was originally around the half circle piece was simple to re-form.  Cut two strips out of the wax & microwaved it on 15 second incriments.  Re-formed around the heart!
So there you are. My 'Funny' Valentine.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Good Eaters are Good People to Have Around

Becca, here.

It's hard for me to define where 'home' is these days. Born in Baton Rouge, raised in Mechancisville, VA, and back to my roots now in Baton Rouge.  So with two states claiming memories of childhood and young adulthood, I say: Home Is Where Your Stomach Is.  (If I knew how to needlepoint that phrase I'd jump all over that craft project to hang at my new residence with Chad here in THREE MONTHS!!! yeah, I'm excited about becoming a wifey). 

With that in mind, I also believe it's the people you eat with that count where your home is.  Maybe it's  living in the South (not you VA- you, Louisiana!) or maybe God knew I needed people who loved cooking and food as much as I do, but there is never a shortage of good food when friends gather around.

Last weekend we threw a little surprise toga party for our favorite Greek food lover, Meg! She's always played around with a toga party, but seeing as this is our last college birthday for the gal (what will 'real world adult' parties be like?) we decided we needed to Make.This.Happen.

Here's the result!

You've got your Caesar salad, hummous, pesto-twists, and...King Cake?
Caesar was a king, right?
We won't mention the mishap of the supposed-to-be Chocolate Cake. Thank the Lord for grocery stores and the supply of King Cake throughout Carnival Season.

I made the Caesar Salad.  Obviously it's a no-brainer, but here's my twist:

Caesar 'would be oh so proud' Salad
1 head of lettuce -I used Whole Foods Romaine..but wait, this is Greek, not Rome! ha..ha...get it? :)
1 bottle of your favorite Caesar salad dressing
1 tomato (if you like!)
1 small loaf of rustic bread  for croutons(thanks again, Whole Foods! I have a complete stickered bread card!)
Plentiful handfuls of grated Parmesean-Asiago cheese blend
Plus, seasoning for croutons

Chop lettuce and mix in a bowl with tomato.  Set aside.
Roughly dice bread into bit size cubes.  Drizzle with some olive oil (as the Greeks would do, yes?), sprinkle with rosemary, thyme, and a little S&P. Bake in 425 oven for about 10 minutes, or until crispy. I think I might have broiled them for a little bit too just to crisp them a little more. 
Add your choice dressing, cheese, and mix!
Eat like a Greek would.

The pesto twists were pretty simple too.  Meg and Meredith have made them before. 

Pesto Twists
1 can of cresant rolls
1 jar of pesto

Lay out cresant rolls and slice into strips.  With a basting brush, slather with pesto. Twist the dough strips and bake as directed on container (350 for about 7 minutes).

So that was our Greek meal. 
Hooray for a friend, good food, and birthday's to celebrate!
To catch you up on other eatings that never got blogged, enjoy the photos taken from our Christmas party at our place back in December.  Maybe this is just a tease to blog later..

Natalie's spinach chicken roll-ups & Chad's twice baked potatoes 
Meredith's Spinach & Artichoke dip
My Pink Champagne Cupcakes (thanks Betty Crocker!)
See yall at the next party!

oats and cinnamon: a winning combination

Ally, here.

Our apologies, little blog. It's been awhile.

After our 12 days of cookies blogfest, I thought I would avoid cookies for a bit. But, of course, there were some cookies that I just couldn't get enough of. I've been making these chocolate cookies for every possible occasion since December. There's just something about cookies that is too wonderful. I could seriously eat them everyday. And lately, that's what I've been doing.

I recently organized all of my baking supplies and discovered a bag of cinnamon chips. I love cinnamon. And since I'm pretty sure it provides some mega health benefits, I don't feel bad about adding it to everything. Now, I'm sure that the cholesterol-lowering powers of cinnamon are greatly outweighed by the butter and sugar in these cookies, but just ignore that and believe that these cookies are good for you. They have oats in them, so they can also be consumed as a breakfast food, if you're feeling wild.

I based this recipe on another 12 days of cookies recipe for oatmeal cookies. This recipe has the best consistency of any oatmeal cookie I've tasted, and I've tasted a lot of oatmeal cookies. So try it out and let me know what you think!

Oatmeal Cinnamon Chip Cookies

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla (you could add more, if you please. I spilled some extra into mine...)
2 eggs
2 cups oats
cinnamon chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, soda, powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar with a mixer. Mix in honey and vanilla until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time. Mix in oats and cinnamon chips (in an amount of your liking).

Form into balls and place on baking sheets. Bake 13 to 15 minutes.

I recommend enjoying these with a steaming mug of hot chocolate, stirred with a cinnamon stick. You're going to love it!