Saturday, January 22, 2011

Cakes CAKES cakes!

I've been told time and time again that one of my weaknesses is my lack of self-confidence. It's not that I don't believe in myself, nor do I think I have limited potential in the things that I pursue. It's just that sometimes I fear the unknown, the pitfalls, the what ifs. Simply put, I am downright terrified of letting others down and having them think poorly of me, my talents, or my intentions. Naturally, it's often a battle for me to charge head first into something even if in my heart everything fits so perfectly together.
My good friend since forever got married! Sarabeth is such a doll. I have always deeply admired her and have received an unmeasured amount of spiritual inspiration from her. If you knew Sarabeth, you would too. And she is gorgeous. Through and through. I really just love her. 
Her tight wedding budget had been dancing around my mind and I knew she was getting her cake from Costco. And this simply should never be the case. Even with no cake decorating classes behind me, I asked her if I could do her wedding cake for her luncheon reception. As mentioned previously, it doesn't come naturally to charge head first into something that I have little, if any, experience with. I believe it was her sheer excitement that gave me the confidence that whatever I did, she would love it.

Base tier: Italian cream cheese cake with a coconut-cream cheese filling
 Middle tier: Raspberry cake with a cream cheese filling
 Top tier: Pineapple cake with a pineapple-cream cheese filling
She chose neutral colors which left me wanting to do a simple, classy, and romantic style. 
I decided to make her the cake less than a week before her wedding. 
And somehow, it all came together. Beautifully, I must add. 
I am just so darn proud of myself and the incredible support that my sweet Aaron is to me. I also appreciated the sweet pep calls and texts that my mom and bff would send my way. 
My heart is very tender towards those who believe in me.
I also made a tooth cake for a surprise congratulations party for Aaron getting accepted to Baylor. 
I used the same recipe for this chocolate-peanut butter tooth cake that I did with my Chocolate Reese's Mousse Cake
One of his little cousins read a short story to Aaron of The Crocodile's Toothache
How creative and cute is that?!
Congrats future DDS!
I like to continually think it's the simple things in my life, or in anybody's life, that always create the happiest and most memorable of moments--the moments you cherish for as long as you live, and the moments you reflect back on when you're needing a little inspiration or a reason to feel thankful for the incredible things that have blessed your personal journey in life. 
Yours truly,  Me

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Cinnamon French Toast with our 'Better-than-Kneaders' Syrup

If you're familiar with the Kneaders bakery found in Utah then you must have had a heart to heart with their unlimited french toast and infamous, tasty, caramel-like syrup. Supposedly they used to make it with buttermilk. Now, they use evaporated milk with the number one ingredient being water.
Shame on them.
A few years ago, me and my handsome sou chef made our own version. We love it so much and haven't returned to Kneaders since! Okay, I lied. I totally have....To buy their extremely delicious Cinnamon Burst bread. Huge, soft, and oh so yummy. It's the best bread for this french toast. I did use french bread loaves this time because I haven't found a yummy replacement for the Cinnamon Burst bread since moving to Texas. This recipe gets whipped up a couple times each year, and every time without fail I've only been able to have 2 slices. It's rich. It's somewhat heavenly.
And it'll probably be in my oven this weekend.
Buttermilk French Toast
2 loaves Cinnamon Burst bread (2 French loaves work as a great substitute)
6 large eggs
1 1/2 c. buttermilk
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
1 t. salt
1/3 c. white sugar
1 T. vanilla
4 T butter & olive oil, for frying
Heat oven to 200 degrees. Combine eggs, buttermilk, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, sugar, and vanilla in mixing bowl. Whisk together until thoroughly combined.
Cut bread on an angle into 1" thick slices. Dip in egg mixture until soaked through. Once finished with soaking all slices, combine butter and oil and heat on griddle to medium or medium-high heat. Cook slices until golden brown on both sides. Keep warm in oven until ready to serve.
'Better-than-Kneaders' Syrup
1/2 c. butter
1 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 t. baking soda
1 t. vanilla
In a large saucepan, combine butter, buttermilk, and sugar. While stirring regularly, bring to a boil. Add baking soda and vanilla, it will foam up and bubble at this point. Let boil for 3 minutes, stirring continuously. Remove from heat and cover. It's ready to serve!
Carmelized Pecans
1/2 c. pecans
1 T. corn syrup
1 T. butter
2 T. brown sugar
1/8 t. cinnamon
In a saucepan, combine corn syrup, butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon on medium-high heat. Once it's bubbling, toss in pecans. Continue cooking the coated pecans for 5 minutes. Stir constantly. They will be golden brown and will smell sweet and toasted.
Whipped Cream
1 C. heavy whipping cream
1/2 C. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 t. almond extract
Before you're ready, place your mixing bowl (metal works best) in the freezer for 10 minutes. Then, add whipping cream and powdered sugar in bowl and being mixing. This part takes a little while. I always grab a male who looks all too eager to help to do this part. Once the cream begins to form peaks, mix in extracts. It's ready to serve. Of course, if you still have everything else.
Yours truly, Little Bakin' Blonde

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Tis' the Season...

To give.
To enjoy food a little more and to stop fighting the number on the scale. The number on the scale means nothing to me in comparison to how I feel after I go for a bike ride, notice pilates is getting a little bit easier, and slip into a pair of jeans and high-heels for a night out on the town with my favorite person. 
     (Recipe to come : )
To brighten other's days and spread more smiles.
To look like a doll. Okay, just kidding. But oh, my. Isn't my niece simply precious?
To give more of myself. I want to become more fearless. Being fearless feels so good. 
I'm learning how to do it.
To become even more happier within. I want to find myself feeling satisfied with every new thing I set my heart on.
 Learn more about all things delicious. I'm a huge fan of everything and anything whipped up in the kitchen. Thank you Sweetheart for upgrading my mixer. Who knew a motor could make my heart skip a beat?
 To beautify our loved ones with a dash of fabulousness ;-)
And not just for this season, but for the rest of my life. I want to put others around me first more often. I want to give more, spread more inspiration, put away my laptop earlier every night and sleep a little more. Ok, a lot more. I want to slip into my workout clothes more often. And actually like it. I want to learn how to use my camera on other settings than Auto. I want to love Aaron more deeply. Fall in love more than I already am. I want to strengthen my appreciation for my Savior. Give my heart to Him and leave it with Him more often than not. Happy 2011 blogettes! This girl is off to yoga
Yours truly, Me