Monthly Archives: October 2012

Marshmallow Fondant

Ok guys. K is gonna do a dessert post. Those are usually M’s prerogative but she kind of bullied me into doing this one. Haha! Just kidding 🙂

I had never tried to make any kind of fondant before, but a friend gave me this recipe and it works SO WELL! If any of you have ever tasted fondant, you know that it’s more like pretty gift wrapping for a yummy cake rather than something delicious in itself. But this recipe totally changes that! Last year I made a birthday cake for a friend’s daughter’s 3rd birthday and used this recipe for the first time. I’m super bummed that I no longer have the picture due to computer crashes and getting a new phone, but you can see this year’s cake!

This particular birthday girl loves pink and Hello Kitty. So I used white cake (which is delicious!) and I used red food dye to make it pink. I don’t know why they call it red food dye, because I think you’d have to squeeze 12 of those tiny bottles of dye into something for it to actually come out red. They should just call it pink. But whatever. The cake was pink.

pink swirls!!

You can’t really tell til you cut it open. I promise, it’s pink. Hello Kitty pink.

Oh, I feel like I should warn you. This fondant making process is very messy. Fun, but messy.

It’s so soft! and really easy to work with!

kneads like bread!

See the counter? That’s powdered sugar and crisco. ALL. OVER. 🙂

After it’s kneaded, I rolled it out (using a rolling pin, not magic, M;) )to a half inch thick which is enough to cover a 9×13 cake that’s two layers thick.

Then, we move on to covering the cake with the fondant. Before you put the fondant on, you lightly ice the cake with whatever frosting you like. What’s wonderful about this part is that you can fix any not-so-pretty things that may have happened with the cake. For me, that would be one of the layers coming out of what I thought was a well-greased 9×13 pan in 5 pieces. The frosting now becomes the glue that holds everything together. And it turned out great. Not great enough to take close pictures of though, sorry. 😀 (I really just forgot again.)

See! you can’t even tell the bottom layer of cake was in 5 pieces 🙂

‘Scuse the huge mess back there.

Smooth everything out with the hands…..(after you wash the Crisco off)

Then use your pastry cutter/pizza slicer to cut the excess fondant…..

At this point, leave a little extra at the bottom just to be safe. When you’ve completely smoothed everything out to your satisfaction, cut that last little bit off.

Voila! Perfecto!

Now, M thinks there is some form of magic involved to getting the fondant to lay flat and look perfect. There’s not. I PROMISE YOU.

This is truly so easy, I don’t know what to tell you except try it yourself!

Here’s the final project!

The way I did the colored fondant was just by taking a small amount of the fondant, adding red (PINK) food coloring, and kneading it in my hands til the color was blended. Key point here. WEAR GLOVES. Food coloring + bare hands = stained hands that are very hard to get clean.

I just cut each piece out by hand and laid it on top! Then, to outline Miss Hello Kitty, I used the black spray icing that you can buy at any grocery store, and that comes with different tips.

This was such a fun dessert to make! Tasted delicious, looked cute, and was only at a level 4 difficulty on a scale of 1 to 10!

A few tips:

– the cake must be completely cooled. If possible, bake it the night before. Putting fondant on an even slightly warm cake is a bad idea.

– don’t try this for the first time on an actual cake for an event or person without doing a test trial first. It’s a good idea to make the fondant one time before you actually need it so if it gets messed up and you’ve promised someone a three tiered cake with fondant peacock feathers you don’t have a panic attack. Totally hypothetical.

– the recipe says to use Jet-Puff marshmallows (that name brand only). Listen! I tried a no name brand, and it was not nearly as pliable or smooth. Not worth the 50 cents you save.

– use a lot of Crisco!!

And have tons of fun 🙂

-K

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College Visit Recap

Remember my midnight post from last Saturday? About how excited I was to take baby sister on her first CA college visit?

TOTAL success. We had so much fun!! And, er, learned a lot. We totally did though.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We left pretty early in the morning and began our 3ish hour drive up north to Chico. It was just barely getting light when we left, and Linds and I both decided early mornings are totally beautiful and the absolute best part of the day. Of course… maybe sometimes we aren’t as quick to praise the idea of rising early… but on this day, we were lovin’ it.

We had a wonderful drive up to Chico, and started out the morning with the President’s Welcome and some tours of the campus and housing. (I felt very responsible, making sure we got the important tours and not just spending the whole time in the downtown area- score big sister!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The campus was GORGEOUS! Trees everywhere… a river… little pathways to walk on… and huge! I went to Dordt College out in Iowa with my dear hub- and totally loved it! But it was definitely small compared to this place. It was so fun to watch my little sister take it all in- imagining that this time next year she could be living in this place! She was so shy at first, which was a shocker to me- Lindsey?! SHY!? But I can remember those days, sizing up the place I’d spend the next few years, and being slightly freaked out that I knew next to NO ONE there. It’s a little scary! Pretty soon we got to joking around and after a few laughs and awkward jokes, she was good to go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was so glad that after a little while, she opened up and started to ask her own questions and got back to her normal goofy self- I could definitely see her loving going to school at Chico. We also went on a tour that focused on the major she is considering- Journalism. If she wasn’t sure before coming here, she loved everything she heard about their Journalism and Public Relations programs. We had students taking us around the buildings and talking to us, which was really fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also, it was a total unexpected surprise to have a classmate of my sister’s up in Chico that weekend for one of her friends’ birthdays- Krista heard we were visiting Chico via facebook and offered to show us around the area if we wanted that day. Oh, we totally wanted! We got in touch with her after a few tours and we are SO glad we did- Krista and her husband were so sweet and fun!! They took their time and explained all the fun things to do in the area, as well as some great groups to get involved with on campus, and bible studies as well. They showed us some fun shops, and places where students go to hangout a lot… as well as a sweet lunch place where you can build your own salad! Sounds kinda typical when I describe it like that… but it was an awesome little joint. Totally wish they had one here- if you are ever in the area, it’s called ‘Pluto’s’!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After lunch, we parted ways for a while so Linds and I could go check out a few more things on campus. I was dying to see the famed Rec Center they boasted of- and dang, it was definitely worth the bragging. Heaven. Made my home gym kinda look gross. I tried to take more pictures, but got in trouble for taking pictures ( I guess it is weird to take pics of gyms while people are working out.. I totally sound like a creeper. Excuse me.) Anyways, it was AWESOME.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also REFUSED to leave the campus without taking pictures by certain signs we had seen on our various tours. Here is where we get way immature.

notice the ‘Flame of Knowledge’ just above her head… 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wanted to get Linds with the flame of knowledge over her head. Nailed it.

Let me explain– on our first tour, the guide told us that the school seal was… get ready for this… The Flame of Knowledge. Are you kidding?? I actually snorted.. thinking he was kidding. Then Linds elbowed me and I realized the guide was not, in fact, making an Indiana Jones-like joke. So we decided we HAD to get a picture with the sculpture of the  Flame of Knowledge. Kinda made us think of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Bible… ha!

Anyways, after we got our final glimpses of the campus and cashed in on some college apparel, we were ready to head out. Wearing TOMS was probably not the best choice of footwear for a day of so much walking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before we left though, we met up with Krista and Tyler and their friends one more time for a special treat- the Tea Bar! I had never even heard of something like that! It was SO awesome, we wished K could have been with us for that~ it was exactly her type of thing! You could get any type of tea, any way you wanted it- smoothie, sparkling, steamed, regular, whatever! Krista ordered hers with Tapioca pearls… and it sounded super interesting so I ordered mine with that too- they’re kind of gel-like little balls they add in. Unfortunately, I was not a big fan. It was like chewing on fish eyes. Other than that though, Linds and I LOVED our blackberry lemonade tea smoothies!

See the little goober balls on the bottom?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After an incredibly fun-filled day, and after getting to know the place that Linds could be going next year, we were so pooped and ready to go home.

We didn’t think we’d make it home without falling asleep… but Enrique Iglesias saved the day for us.

And that, my friends, was a successful day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was such a fun experience to take my little sister on a college visit- I know my mom (and K) were disappointed big-time that they couldn’t be there… and we really missed them. I know the biggest thing for us is to have Linds find a place that fits her and helps her grow into the woman that God created her to be! She has so many gifts, we can’t wait to see how she uses them. I have to admit- when Linds first told me she was considering Chico, my first thought was oh no… total party school. But after the visit, and talking with Krista, her hub, and friends, I could see that college is what YOU make it. Krista made some amazing Christian friends at Chico and met her husband at a Bible study! Opportunities to shine as a Christian abound anywhere you go, and I was so happy that Chico might be the place where Linds shines brightest.

~M

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Simplest Apple Tart

Ahh… Today is a BEAUTIFULLY gloomy day. It rained early this morning, and the sky is still gray and cloudy… and I’m nice and warm inside with my sweatshirt on and a hot cup of hot chocolate. Did I mention I love my Keurig? Namely because it doesn’t JUST brew coffee… I have apple cider K-cups, hot chocolate K-cups, tea… it just makes cold days absolutely wonderful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been looking forward to cold(er) weather since the beginning of summer. Believe me, that is usually not the case! I love my summers. Ever since we found out Baby VS was on the way, my body has been working double-time to create that little pumpkin! And that makes my internal temperature skyrocket. Feels like, anyway. So this weather… it’s like Christmas, ya’ll. Christmas.

Anyways, on to other things! The other day we had some friends over for dinner, and I had the day off so I was looking forward to preparing a nice meal for us all. The girls that came over had just finished running a half-marathon that past weekend, and totally rocked it! I was bummed to miss this race, but they have promised to help me get back into tip-top shape after baby is born- these girls are awesome motivators!! Anyways, after such a long race, they totally deserved a hearty meal. I decided to go with sausage & mushroom stuffed peppers, with crusty sourdough bread and spinach salad. And it was delish… but this isn’t the part I’m excited about!

Fast forward to: DESSERT.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apples +brown sugar + puff pastry = drool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh my heart. Ree Drummond, you are amazing. Thank you for making the kitchen such a fun place to be. AND thank you for providing the rest of us with a dessert that is SO easy and looks like it took hours to make. I was able to throw this together in less than 10 minutes while I was prepping all the ingredients for the stuffed peppers, which is a total plus in my book! Usually, I either focus on dinner OR dessert…. one is fancy/requires total focus, and the other is something thats simple and doesn’t require lots of concentration. But with this tart, you can totally act like you had it all together and are able to accomplish great feats of genius in the kitchen.

This tart had only 5 INGREDIENTS!!! And I’m willing to bet you’ve got em all. But maybe not. I don’t know. Lucky me, I did!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So after we stuffed ourselves and chatted the night away, we dove into this tart- and even Renae and Katie said, “Mon, this is totally blog-worthy.” Haha! Love it. Well, it has already been blogged about by the Pioneer Woman, but I am more than happy to sing her praises once again!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Head over to her website for the fabulous recipe (and many, many more!)

Enjoy!

~M

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Road Trip!

Guys, I’m way too excited to sleep. Tomorrow, I’m taking my baby sister (she’s a senior in high school) to a college visit at Chico State University!! I feel totally honored that she would be okay with her dorky pregnant sister walking around with her on a college campus. Ill try not to say too many embarrassing things for her sake. The only thing that would make this trip even better than it already is would be if K could come too! She had to work though, so this task of watching over our infant sister falls to me.

Being that I have to wake up in 5 hours to pick her up, I should prob be asleep by now. But counting sheep just isn’t doing the trick, so to make myself more tired, I just got up and put together some snackies for the road! Gotta have snacks on hand at all times, dude. It’s a must.

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Apple chips (only ingredient is apples!!) sour cream & onion smartpop, chocolate covered pretzels, dried mangoes, Dijon almonds, fruit and granola bars!!

I’m a nibbler on the road, so I come prepared.

Well I really need to focus on some shut-eye, so pray that the visit goes well tomorrow and that it helps Linds narrow down the choices for college! Also for safe driving. Lord knows I need that prayer, geez.

I’m pretty sure I’m putting more thought into where she’s going to college than where I did! I printed off like 30 pages of info on the school earlier today so I could sound smart to her on our drive there. Lets see if she falls for it.

Goodnight!!!

~M

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Books.

I don’t have a shoe fetish. My closet is quite small. I enjoy cooking, but I don’t venture into the unknown with expensive ingredients. But I have just come to terms with the fact that books are my guilty pleasure. It’s almost ridiculous, the amount of access I have to books in my house. Or let’s be honest now, on my phone, in my purse, car, or at work. I always have a book on my person in some way, shape or form. I. Love. Reading.

Our Grandpa used to record himself reading Hank the Cowdog  books (incidentally, I just discovered Hank the Cowdog has a WEBSITE?! Awesome.) when we were younger because we lived so far away. He’d send us stacks of tapes  and we’d fall asleep listening to them every single night. So that’s where my Audible account really comes into good use. Even now, I still fall asleep listening to books 🙂 So that’s the audio version of my book addiction.

M has been after me to get a Kindle, but until recently, I have stuck to my guns, maintaining that I love the feel of a real book in my hands. The smell (I’m weird, I know. Sorry.), the act of sitting in a comfy chair with a really good page turner (that I physically have to turn the pages of) just has that tingle running up my spine already. But I will concede now that there is something nice about having a compact way to carry a book around! I do not have a Kindle, but I recently joined the smartphone world and realized- there’s an app for that! 😉 So I caved. And it’s awesome. (Currently, I’m reading The Orchid House by Lucinda Riley. I’m loving it! Stand by for a review.) So that’s the virtual version of my book addiction.

This most recent story starts Wednesday. So I didn’t check my email before going to class. As a long-time college student, I should know better. However, I didn’t check it, so when I got to class….there was no class. And three hours to burn before my next class. A few friends have been telling me about this marvelous second hand bookstore, so I decided to give it a try. Here comes the physical book addiction part of my addiction. It is very nearly PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE for me to enter a bookstore and not purchase something. Especially if the store in question is very cheap, huge, and organized, and extraordinarily well-stocked with books that are in great condition. And accepts credit cards (which a lot of smaller second hand bookstores do not).

The Book Barn (Clovis, CA) (They also have a website)

Downstairs, looking up

Upstairs, looking down

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I texted this pic to M right away and her response was hilarious- ‘Are you in heaven?’ Haha…but seriously.

I ended up looking in the Children’s section (Auntie K mode kicking in) for books I loved when I was younger and I found so many! I had to hold back (I do have some restraint) but I got some of the best…..and some others that I haven’t read yet.

about $25 worth of books!

I have found a treasure chest in this store….$96.00 worth of books, and I paid $25.00. Makes it even better!

So. that is the story of my book addiction. I could have worse ones…..right? 🙂

-K

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“Anything Goes” Pasta

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The other day, I had the day off of work and it was glorious! I was scheduled to work, but we didn’t have a provider for the clinic, so we had to close. I feel almost guilty about being happy we had to close… but I’ll take it when I can! I was supposed to work 4 days in a row that week/weekend, and was somewhat dreading that because that’s just a lot of 10 hour shifts in a row. A lot.

Anyways, I celebrated the day by… staying home and catching up on numerous household projects. I know, you can’t believe how exciting my life is. One thing led to another, and it was dinnertime and somehow I had not the faintest idea what to make! So I raided the pantry… and was pleasantly surprised by the turnout!

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My new favorite thing to add to pasta dishes is diced green peppers- it makes a heavy dish taste much more fresh and not so… well, heavy. For this particular dish, I just chopped up an onion, a green pepper, some “Oktoberfest” edition Bratwursts (aka DELICIOUS edition) and salt&pepper. I added a jar of our favorite creamy pasta sauce- 4 Cheese Alfredo (Classico brand) and let all the flavors simmer together for about 10-15 minutes.

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I will admit, I’m a little bit of a brand snob only when it comes to certain grocery items. One of those items is pasta sauce… I stick to ‘Classico’ Brand because the ingredient list is so refreshingly made up of REAL food items! It’s not a bunch of chemicals to make it taste like real food. Also, sugar is typically in the first 3 ingredients of most pasta sauces, but in the Classico brand, it is one of the very last things! Perfect score in my book.

Anyways, mix the sauce with the prepared pasta, and you’ve got yourself a meal that took less than 20 minutes to prepare, and tastes fantastic. There’s really no strict recipe for this type of dish, because anything goes! I’ve used turkey kielbasa, chicken sausage, pancetta, sliced grilled chicken, or other things for the ‘meat’ portion, and a number of other veggies would taste great too! I’m partial to green pepper and onion because they are cheap and deliver the best taste without having to add tons of other spices.

This was so delicious. I have a hard time controlling myself when it comes to a good bowl of creamy pasta.

Enter= food coma.

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That’s all for now, guys. Note the stretchy pants- very useful for wonderfully indulgent nights like this!

~M

P.S. My little sister came over for dinner and brought us these!! We’re so spoiled. You can see I ate half of one poor cookie right away and saved the other half for after dinner 😉

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Excited Auntie K!!

I have been WAITING for that post!! 🙂 AAAHHHH I am beyond excited to be an auntie. Sorry for all the caps lock, guys. I can’t hold it in.

Clearly.

I’m just so excited!!

Excuse the flyaway hairs. It was early in the morning. Literally the face I had when I saw M FINALLY published her baby post.  🙂

I’ve already entered into ‘spoil-the-unborn-child-mode’, as is my duty. I find M’s patience in being surprised  extremely difficult to emulate- so I placate myself by taking pictures of everything tiny and cute and meandering the baby aisles of Target ooh-ing and aah-ing with Lindsey over every pink tutu and every miniature suit and bugging Mom for the name of every baby book we ever had.

I can’t wait to be an auntie. I know everyone is so excited to see what an amazing mom M is going to be. She already takes such wonderful care of herself and Joey and the tiny ‘flutterbudget’ in the oven 😉 and I know she is going to raise her children to love Jesus, read really good books,cook yummy food, use the talents they are blessed with,  and have as much fun as possible ❤

Did I mention I’m excited?

~Auntie K 😀

P.S.

This week, I think it’s a boy.

Aren’t tiny clothes so precious?! (from Jack & Jill)

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