Monday, August 30, 2010

Baby Shower Baking

My friend Casey's sister (follow me?) had a baby shower last Saturday. About a month ago her mom asked me to make cupcakes for the shower. My gut response was "oh no, no, no." I mean, I like baking for fun; I can mess up and no one would care. But this would be like... real baking. I eventually warmed up to the request (I usually need to sleep on an idea. I think it's an introvert thing.) and started asking about themes and colors and what they wanted. I learned that the theme was "baby" and the color scheme was "pink." Apparently they weren't picky.


So I set out on Friday to make 24 cupcakes, which was all that was asked of me. I wanted to go with a pink and brown theme since I was told those were the colors of the nursery. I made chocolate cupcakes and homemade buttercream icing. There were 5 different cupcake decorations:

1. My favorite, pink icing with white pearl sprinkles
2. A simple frosted cupcake rolled in chocolate sprinkles
3. Pink frosting with chocolate chips - didn't turn out as cute as I imagined
4. White frosting with candy melt shavings
5. White frosting with a candy melt pacifier


I had never worked with candy melts before, but I've wanted to try something with them for a while. I bought the "baby" candy mold and made pink pacifiers one at a time. It was pretty simple to do, though the candies turned out to be rather thick. If I did it again I wouldn't fill the mold all the way.

Candy melts Cupcake

Then I was on a baking roll. While I was waiting for the cupcakes to bake I decided to whip up some cake balls. Cake balls are delicious and really easy to make. Just bake a cake, crumble it up, add a tub of frosting, roll them into balls, then dip them in melted chocolate. Viola, cake balls. I made the cake pink, but I don't think I made it pink enough. I wish they had been as pink as my "fourth of July" cake balls. Oh well. I don't think anyone cared.

Pink cake! Cake balls
Cake balls Cake balls

I also converted a box I had in my room into a cute, pink cake ball holder.

Baby shower box Baby shower box

Then I realized I had cookie dough left over from when I made my mom's birthday cake. I got that out and it made a surprisingly large number of onesies cookies. I decorated each one a little differently, and even made some baby stroller cookies with the baby-to-be's name.

Baby Shower Cookies
Baby Shower Cookies Baby Shower Cookies
Baby Shower Cookies

I started baking the cupcakes at about 8:00 PM Friday night. I finished baking at about 7:00 AM Saturday morning. I didn't plan to stay up all night, nor did I need to. I know they would have been perfectly happy with just cupcakes. But I kept making stuff and just never went to bed. I think all the sugar kept me up. (Taste testing is important!) By the time I delivered all the goodies (around 9:00 AM) I had the shakes. Casey's family probably thought I was crazy; coming in with too many sweets, all hyped up on sugar. It all turned out well in the end, Casey emailed me later and said that everyone loved everything.

Want to know the best part of all? I slept for 8 hours straight on Saturday, woke up and read for a few hours, then got to jump back in bed for another 8 hours. Sleep is wonderful; I think I'm going to go have some. Good night!

I baked this weekend. :)

p.s. I apologize for the quality of the pictures. I wasn't too happy with any of them. I had been up for more than 24 hours and I just didn't care.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Assignment: Books

Hi, how've you been? I'm been rreeaaally busy so I couldn't post.

Okay. I'm lying. I've really just been too lazy to post. Though, I did do some marathon baking Friday night that I will tell you all about when I get around to editing the pictures. I did edit one picture tonight, but it has nothing to do with baking.

I like to visit a website called Digital Photography School. I mostly go there to check out the weekly assignments. A theme is picked, and everyone has a week to take a picture that goes along with that theme. I've always wanted to join in, but I've always been too busy or too uninspired or too blow away by all of the great pictures already posted. So without thinking much I grabbed a book (which happens to be the assignment this week), my dog, and my camera. I wasn't out to make an amazing picture, I just wanted to have something enter.

So here's what I ended up with after about 10 minutes of effort and some doggy treats:


Maybe I'll be doing some more weekly assignments. It was pretty fun.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Puppies & Cheesecake (Life is Good)

I haven't posted in a while, sorry! I will make it up to you with puppies. Here ya go:

Puppy - 6 Weeks

My aunt Jane and my two cousins, Melissa and Shannon, came to visit this weekend. (They are some of my favorite people in the whole world.) Yesterday was spent running around looking at baby stuff for Melissa who is due in January. I'm really excited for a new baby cousin; Melissa is going to be such a good mom! We were all pretty tired by the end of the day, but we made sure to drive down to my uncle's house where those sweet, newborn puppies have turned into naughty, adorably cute 6-week old puppies. Everyone picked their favorite, then forgot which one they had picked (for they all look the same), and picked a new favorite.

Puppies - 6 Weeks Melissa & Puppy
Puppy vs. Shoe Laces Puppy - 6 Weeks

While we were there I served up my newest creation:

Cheesecake Mess

It is cheesecake with a Biscoff cookie crust and a layer of chocolate on top. I was too tired to take any good pictures of it, but it was delicious. I found the recipe at bakerella (where you will find deliciously good pictures of how it is supposed to turn out).

(Sorry for the disjointedness of this post; my blogging muscles are out of shape.)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today is my mom's birthday. I won't tell you how old she is. (Pretty old. :P) And being the kind (poor) and loving (crafty) daughter that I am, I made her a cake. It's chocolate fudge with buttercream frosting covered in fondant*. I hope she likes it! First I made the "Happy Birthday" cookies. I'm really enjoying my 100 cookie cutters!

Happy Birthday Cake

Then I made three 8"-round cakes and two 5"-round cakes. I stacked and iced them, then rolled out the fondant and threw it on. I glued on the cookie letters using some left over frosting.

Happy Birthday Cake Happy Birthday Cake Happy Birthday Cake Happy Birthday Cake

I dyed a piece of fondant red for the top because it was looking a little plain. Then I added some crazy candles and I was done! It only took 5 hours! I think I consumed about 1000 calories while making this, so I need to go workout now.

Happy Birthday Cake


*Store bought fondant. rrrr.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Melted. Marshmallows.

Yesterday the water was turned off in our whole neighborhood due to some construction down the road. We didn't have water for about 3 hours. They didn't notify us beforehand. This has happened before and I always wondered how crumby it would be if say, you were in the middle of doing your laundry. Or if you had to take a quick shower before going somewhere... or if you were actually in the shower with shampoo in your hair. I wasn't in the middle of doing any of those things yesterday when the water was turned off. Nope. I had just started making homemade fondant. Homemade fondant requires that you knead melted marshmallows with powdered sugar. Melted. Marshmallows.

I had been doing some baking, and as soon as a stuck my hands into the stickiest thing ever I glanced at the clock. D'oh! The cakes I had put in the oven needed to be taken out. I moved to turn the faucet on with my wrists to rinse my hands when I hear a *gurgle gurgle clunk* and no water came out. So there I am, hands covered in marshmallows and two cakes ready to be taken out of the oven. I was not a happy camper. What did I do? I called for my mom of course. She took the cakes out as I succumbed to trying to eat the fondant off of my hands. (I later found some baby wipes to finish the job.)

A Big Mess

I spent the rest of the day in front of the TV because some days you just don't belong in the kitchen.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

School is Out!

Whew! School is out. I don't have to go to class anymore... ever! The last week was tortuous with two 8-page homework assignments due back to back and a group project assigned last minute where we made a white board look like this:

But I survived. I went to happy hour with a few friends from school after the final, where we (i.e. they) drowned their school angst in alcohol. I was there for the sushi and fro yo. I had a lot of fun and it really hit me how much I'm going to miss some of these people! Maybe I'll bump into them again sometime in my biotech career. Or maybe we should just plan another happy hour!

Jillian, Heather & I outside Sushi Zushi

And yesterday my brother finally graduated from college. This meant I had to travel down I-35 for 35 miles in 5:00 traffic directly after work. I plopped into the seat next to my mom an hour and a half later as James Williams was walking the stage. Since our last name starts with a 'B' I knew I had completely missed seeing Steven. Literally 5 minutes later we were getting up to leave. I was able to snap a few pictures with Steven in his cap and gown. We went to Matt's El Rancho with his friend Nick (the only other person who could make it) after the ceremony. I had the chicken tacos. They were delicious.

Class of 2010.

Steven & Mom
Steven & Mom

And today I'm free to do whatever I want! Ah! What should I do??

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Very Wordy Wednesday

Sorry, I haven't updated in a while. I blame it on the fact that my life is rather boring lately.

I was going to post directly after my incident with the cockroach on my towel. See, we are waging war against the cockroaches who have taken residence in our house. We're fighting back in the form of those little cockroach houses. Apparently they contain poison that one bug eats and takes back to the nest where they regurgitate it for all of the other cockroaches to eat. (This, I'm sure, is completely incorrect but I can't be bothered with looking up the ways of cockroaches and their demise.) Anyway, the outcome has been a lot of drunken, dying cockroaches everywhere. First, there was this one in the kitchen that was just flipped over and twitching. Then I saw one in the bright bathroom just laying forlornly on the rug. Well last night I hung my bath towel over the shower curtain bar as I always do, and started to take a shower. As I was going to grab the end of my towel to wipe my eyes I notices to long antennae peeking out from the fold. It turns out there was this huge (like King of the Cockroaches cockroach) one on my towel. I spent the rest of my shower with water in my eyes, huddled as far away from the towel as possible. Sadly the King lost his life in an unfortunate drowning incident. We think it was an accident.

I was also going to post about how amazing summer is, and how sad I am that it is fading away. I sat out in our front yard (where the grass is as green as it can be) with the dogs and snapped some pictures. Toast absolutely would not look at the camera. jerk.

Tinker Toast

This weekend I also visited Sam's with my mom and we bought the dogs some chew sticks to try. It was hilarious watching the little dogs carry them around everywhere. Tinker got about half way through hers, Toast just sat on hers and growled at any dog that got near, and Teddy probably ended up eating his, Toast's, and the rest of Tinker's.


I also thought about signing on to complain about school. I have ONE day left! The final is tomorrow, and I haven't started studying. *eep* I was all gung ho about studying last week. I even made a post-it note with a list of all the book chapters I was going to read! I didn't even open my book this weekend. For some reason I've decided to leave everything until the last minute (i.e. study tomorrow morning before my 1:00 class). Ugh, I can't wait for this class to be over.

I was going to tell you about all that stuff, but I figured they weren't interesting enough to warrant a blog post. I figured no one would care.

oh well.

Friday, August 6, 2010

First Thursday & New Space

Why do I always decide to wash my sheets/pillow cases/comforter at 9:00 at night? Do I not realize that it takes 2 + hours for them to be washed and dried? Apparently not, because I'm horribly tired and my bed is in the drier.

Yesterday, my two BFFs and I went to First Thursday. There were a bunch of little vendors selling crafty things, a duet of clarinets playing on the street corner, a whole bunch of doggies to "aww" at, a really cool costume store, and live music. The live music was actually provided by Stephanie's boyfriend Trey, so we snacked at the Snack Bar and watched him play. The Snack Bar served water in really cool Erlenmeyer flasks (what's even cooler is I didn't have to look that name up), but apparently their chips taste like cereal. All in all it was good times, mainly because I have the best friends ever.

Stephanie Casey & Stephanie

Today was exciting because I got my very own desk/cubicle at work! I sit in the corner, which is totally the best spot because no one is passing you by all day and I only have one neighbor. It's kind of dark back there though. My hole:

(I made sure no one was around while I was taking this. That would have been weird, right?)

Just wanted to make a quick update. I will be a lot more interesting when school is out (she says). I have to go to school tomorrow morning to work on a group project. lllaaammee. Hope everyone has a good weekend!

p.s. I got a little link happy up there. I apologize.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


Ah! I finally finished reading my book, all 1439 pages of it. It was the best one of the series so far, and I'm itching to start the next one, though I'm thinking I should wait until school is out. I read about 300 pages this weekend alone, and now I'm very behind on finishing the mound of homework I have. Apparently the last two weeks of class is the best time to pile on all the work.

Here's the books I've read in 2010 so far:
1. The Other End of the Leash by Patricia McConnell, Ph.D.
2. Chimpanzee Politics by Frans de Waal
3. The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon
4. Food Rules by Michael Pollan
5. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
6. The Introvert Advantage by Marti Olsen Laney, Psy.D.
7. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan
8. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
9. A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon

mmm... books.