Tuesday, April 20, 2010
My friend Kristine and I taught a handmade book class at the women's retreat we attended recently. We were invited to teach a craft and settled in on making small, handmade books we called "chap books," that could be used as a place to keep important quotes, fun pictures, memories, random thoughts, or interesting ephemera. Of course we had to wear old school aprons, both thrifted and full of someone's memories. The weekend was a wonderful way to relax, renew and remind ourselves why we do what we do and why it is so important to continue to seek ways to bring joy to ourselves and those around us. Don't their hands look beautiful and relaxed?
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Monday, April 12, 2010
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Saturday, April 3, 2010
I love to bake cakes. I look forward to family birthday parties so I can look up a new recipe and try my hand at creating something beautiful and tasty. For Carl's family birthday party last week, I found a fun recipe in the latest Bon Appetit magazine for a classic Chocolate Mayonaise Cake. Yes, mayo sounds a bit wierd, but I've learned throughout my marriage to Ron that mayo has its place in the kitchen besides in sandwich making. He has taught me that it is a killer secret ingredient, usually better left unmentioned. (He makes a mean pot of chili with mayo!) The mayo takes the place of butter or oil and brings a very nice moistness to a cake. There's no strange residual mayonaise flavor at all.
The cake was great, though I had to call in my baking-pro friend Janet for a little advice on the frosting. It called for bittersweet chocolate not exceeding 61 % cacao. I had unsweetened chocolate on hand. I couldn't figure out if they were interchangeable and didn't have the computer on to google it, so Janet was able to give me a few tips. In the end, I used mostly unsweetened chocolate but replaced 2 oz of it with semisweet chocolate chips. The frosting was really nice to work with and not too sweet.
For Carl's kid birthday party, a small affair during the day over spring break, he wanted to bring in the fun. He had seen a photo of a cake Ron made when he was single and a cat owner: a kitty-litter cake. You bake a spice cake and a white cake, tear them up into crumbs, mix them together with two small boxes of vanilla pudding colored with grey or black food coloring. Once they are mixed, you put them in a new kitty litter box and serve with tootsie rolls molded into you-know-whats using a new cat scoop. Ron was happy to be the one to make Carl's 7 year-old birthday wishes come true.