Hoppy Easter everybunny!!!

9 Apr

DSC_3785 Big kisses for Easter!

Are you as glad to see the spring as I am. Three kids and lots of colds…stuck in the house for weeks on end. It seems every time we left the house, a few days later my little petrie dishes had incubated whatever little germies they picked up and spread it through the house. The nice weather has meant that we have been able to spend more time outside (sick or not) and that things have started to grow in our gardens. My husband has started prepping all the beds and we actually have some cold start items growing already (I am getting all twitchy waiting for the goodness that I anticipate from our gardens.

DSC_3789 We have no idea what these flowers are but they make me and the girls smile.DSC_3775

 

I am particularly excited about the strawberries growing under the little greenhouse that the hubby built, and the lettuce and spinach just in behind.

 

 

DSC_3763 We have been outside every chance that we get. We have been blowing (or wearing) bubbles, catching worms or playing in the dirt with my nephew (and then we send him home filthy for his mommy to deal with:-D).

 

 

Please note that this is my daughter who screams whenever a bug (of any sort) comes near her, but for some reason worms are fine…kids are weird!

 

I haven’t been able to bake anything really either over the last few weeks (and have owed my sister-in-law cake pops for a zillion years) and wasn’t sure what to make for Easter dinner at my mother’s house this year. Luckily a friend out for a drive came by with some cupcake calendars filled with pictures to inspire me. So I made these:DSC_3802

The calendar made them for February with Valentine inspired candy corn and when I happened upon Easter coloured candy corn I knew that it was meant to be. I made lemon cupcakes with strawberry buttercream and put the candy corn on top in a circle. I had originally planned on using a chocolate egg in the centre but they were too big so I pulled out the chocolate chips and used them instead. DSC_3795

Hope you had a fabulous East weekend filled with family and friends and chocolate for breakfast. We were missing a few this weekend and hopefully will get to see them soon…they are long overdue for hugs (and cake pops) from us!!!

Love = chocolate…and lots of it!!!

18 Feb

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So by now, many of you have seen my daughter’s birthday cake from last week, and are aware of how much time I spent on it because she deserved something special. Well this week (in fact four days after my daughter’s and two days after Valentine’s day) was my husband’s birthday…(It was also our anniversary this week, but that is not the point :-P)…

Usually by his birthday we are very caked out (or at least I am)…he hasn’t had his own cake made by me, I don’t think anyway, in a couple of years (I know what cake it was…the death by chocolate one from one of the Looney Spoons cookbooks…but I can’t remember when I made it…I think maybe before our first was born), so I thought that this year it was time…

He told me he wanted a rich chocolate cake, filled with chocolate bars (at which point he went off on a tangent about a restaurant dessert that has white chocolate cheesecake baked in…I am pretty sure his eyes glazed over and there was drool in the corner of his mouth), covered with more chocolate.

So a few days ago I went off to the store and bought chocolate bars…a ton of them…I am pretty sure that the store clerk as well as several of the customers in line checked to see if I had a stretchy waistband on my pants, due to the obscene amount of chocolate that was in my basket…I avoided eye contact as I paid, just to be safe…

For the record, there is about $1 worth of chocolate bar for every inch of diameter in his cake…

For the cake, I made my go to chocolate cake recipe, but since it is runny I let it bake for about 5 minutes before I put in my chopped up chocolate bars in it (I also coated them in cocoa) so they didn’t sink)…I filled it with chocolate fudge icing and more candy bars, then iced it with chocolate butter cream icing…on top of that I put a chocolate fudge glaze and more candy bars…

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Even the mini Reese Peanut Butter cups have extra chocolate…

I wasn’t sure how the cake would turn out but it looked and smelled yummy and at least I tried so I gave it to him…It was YUMMY!!!! SO good…I am going to dream about it…It was so rich that even he had to admit defeat before finishing the GIANT piece he cut!!! (This is big, because he eat chocolate like it is going out of style…or at least he would if I kept it in the house all the time).

The cake contained (besides the cocoa and sugar in the cake itself): three small bags of mini Reese Peanut Butter cups, 2 bags of Aero bubbles, a Wunderbar, two Mars bars, and two Crunchie bars. It also had one container of ready made Fudge icing (you know the kind you eat guiltily with a spoon…at least this is what I do…only in the fridge to satisfy a chocolate craving, not to use on cakes) and a batch of my chocolate butter cream…then I made the chocolate topping that I use on Boston Cream pies…

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Now if the sugar coma I put him into for his birthday doesn’t spell out love I don’t know what does…

Halee’s cake…a preview

13 Feb

 

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Halee’s birthday cake, complete with page 1 of her drawn instructions (yup there was more than one page in a handy folded pamphlet)…Sorry about the colour and whatnot…more pics will come when I get a chance (I can’t believe I didn’t take one of the back of the tower where there was a second window).

“If you drop a teapot in the ocean…

31 Jan

it’ll sink and then the jelly fish and squids will take it and hug it…did you know that Mom?”

Words of wisdom from my almost five year old daughter that made me smile enough to wipe out the rest of my Monday (of course it would have been better if she hadn’t been pouring water out of the teapot onto her sister’s head, but her face just added to the amusement).

I was all set to write a post about how crappy the day had been.

But I am not going to after all. I am going to let go of the bad things that happened…all the stupid little annoyances that make Monday and I not friends. 

Because I know that in the grand scheme of things I have it pretty good right now, and the fact that my day started by trying to shove a crinoline lined skirt into snow pants, and was then followed by 3 more dress changes all by the same person, while the bus was a matter of minutes a way, doesn’t make it a horrible day, just a normal one when you have kids (especially one who has clothing texture issues apparently).

I have it pretty good, with three smart, clever, beautiful girls and yesterday I even got to spend much of the day with my littlest nephew (his normal babysitter got to have a well-deserved break). I have a house and a loving family. Friends that I know are there when I need them because you have been there when my family needed you. 

So take that Monday, you may have punched me in the face when you said hello in the morning, but guess what you are over now and done with and my life isn’t earth-shatteringly changed…

wait that isn’t true…it is…sort of…okay not really, but I do have a new tool in my arsenal against the world of my whiney children (and husband) when it comes to mealtimes.

A meal EVERYONE, all three girls, my husband, and myself, ate…and happily too…there was no whining. I no longer felt the need to have those earphones that constructions workers wear (though I would still like a pair for other days, and could mine in hot pink please).

I made MEATLOAF CUPCAKES!!!!

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Please disregard the crummy picture, they tasted better than they looked and next time will be way prettier.

I have never made meatloaf before so I searched a recipe and found this one:

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/easy-meatloaf/

Of course I was missing some ingredients, because that is the way life works on a Monday right, but that wasn’t going to stop me, so I improvised. I didn’t have onions but didn’t want to lose flavour. I was also out of breadcrumbs and was going to use plain crackers and it hit me…use that last bit of Veggie Thin crackers, some sour cream ‘n’ onion potato chips and some whole grain Ritz crackers…The rest of the recipe was the same, but instead of shaping it into a loaf I made it into individual muffin tin sized meatloaves.

To eat with them I made garlic mashed potatoes, with lots of butter and fresh garlic and cream (not low fat at all but terribly yummy). Just serving them on the side wasn’t good enough for me yesterday…this meatloaf needed to be dressed up for dinner, so I made them into “cupcakes.” I tried to squeeze the potatoes prettily on top but apparently i didn’t whip them enough and a potato chunk got stuck in my tip…whoops…I have learned from this and potatoes will henceforth be whipped into a frenzy….This time, I used an ice cream scoop instead… There you have it…an easy-peasy recipe that my entire family ate up…my husband ate four of them, and the girls all cleaned their plates…the little one in fact licked hers, thus leading to bath night, and the afore mentioned teapot pouring, but I digress…

“Maybe…when you are done with that…I can have some…hmmm!!!”

23 Jan

 

A quote from my 3 year old daughter.

So it has been a busy weekend in my kitchen…

I had told my good friend ages ago that I would do a cake for a baby shower that she was hosting and when we chatted around Christmas time, she was thinking old toys, and settled on a “chatter phone” cake, so that was for Sunday. About two weeks or so ago I got an email from a woman, whose wedding cake I had made previously (its the Lily of the Valley cake in my albums), asking if I was still making cakes. I said I was and she promptly asked if I would do her baby shower cake, and I said of course. So her cake was for Saturday. Then about a week ago, my husband called from work asking what it would cost to do a Captain America shield for this weekend for a co-worker’s son. When I found out when it was for, I told him no way…then I made it for Friday.

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Captain America’s shield.

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I think I might finally be getting the hang of the “Mad Hatter style of cake.

DSC_3672Can you believe I only got a pic of the phone from the side…stupid battery

After not being sure how it would turn out and staring for a hour at different pictures of Chatter Phones’ (which as an FYI, start out pretty creepy…they all stare at you). I think it turned out not so bad…one of my favs actually. Hopefully I will have a frontal pic on my page soon thanks the the host of the baby shower.

So needless to say, my kiddos, who watched cake after cake be made and decorated, asking each time if it was for them, were disappointed that there were no treats. I have been trying to cut back on the sugar I have been eating and by extention theirs, so there have been no cookies or cupcakes baked for the family lately. They have been so good that it was time for a treat. Before I left for grocery shopping I asked what everyone would like for one…a hopeful voice, much to deep to be one of my daughters’ said “ice cream?!” (Apparently my husband needed a treat too).

So ice cream it was, but not to do anything by half measures I made cookie bowls for them too.

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This is the recipe that I used for the cookie:

http://www.wilton.com/recipe/Sugar-Cookie-Bowls

(It is so good I want to eat just the dough)

The site says you need to get an ice-cream bowl pan, but I am here to tell you that you do not 😀 Who has room for yet one more pan in their kitchen (well I am sure I could find room but I am not sure that my husband would like it).

I used the back on my muffin tin (cover it in shortening, and flour…I didn’t use flour this time, but I will try it next time for ease of release).

You are welcome!!!

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(Alright I will admit it, I can’t take credit for this idea…it was something I saw somewhere on the internet…one of those forwards that got sent to me that I skim through before I delete. I saw it and took note…Last week a friend re-suggested it to me too and actually sent me the recipe for these cookies too…again yum!)

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We are already planning all the other things we could do with these bowls, and all the flavour combinations…seriously we talked about it for about 20 minutes…

Winter warriors and Cinnamon Puffs

16 Jan

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Todays Muffin Tin Monday treat is for my husband…I am sure he would prefer chocolate peanut butter cupcakes or something like this, but it is only partly about him since I am of course in charge of the baking and I don’t want cupcakes.
Not when I make them all the time and my muffin tins can be used for so many other wonderful yummies.

Anyway…in case you didn’t know, or you are halfway around the world…winter has arrived, finally and with vengence…and winter here means cold…like -24 without the wind chill.
Of course living in Canada means winter sports. My husband was glad that we had little girls because in his mind that meant no hockey rinks at 5am with a cup of coffee in his hand, while shivering uncontrollably…he has like negative 50% body fat and therefore would shiver in a pool.
What he forgot to take into account was figure skating (alright I admit it they are only in learn to
skate but they look so cute in their little white skates that I can’t help but dream…of course if
they want to play hockey or ringette that would be fine with me. T is kind of a bruiser and when A finally gets on skates the world should watch out…football might actually be a better sport for her.)

Now everybody who knows my husband knows that he is a summer kind of guy, spending hours outside with the girls playing in the yard, or tending his garden (I have often said that in the summer we are better parents).DSC_3499
Anyway, needless to say, it isn’t my husband who schleps the kids to the rink every week (thank goodness it is only once a week right now…thank you to my own parents for their lack of social life when I was little), it is myself or my mother and sister, or my in-laws. He did, however, come to their ice show…he clapped and cheered and made our girls smiles extend from one ear to the other more brightly when they saw him in the stands (I am so glad he came because before the show there was a little boy who was saying that dads never come to these things, it is only moms…and I watched my little one become more crushed with every word).

So why, you ask, does he deserve a special treat and a special mention…I will tell you. My girls got an ice rink kit for Christmas…you know the kind with a sheet of plastic that you make in your yard outside. It was left of course up to my hubby to set it up for them. For a week it would melt and thaw and the wind would blow it and then the tap froze and he said "forget it, there is a rink up the street if they really want to skate."
Then we had DSC_3658a thaw that was to be followed by our first “winter storm” of the seaon, so while I took the girls to a party or somewhere else in Mom’s taxi, he fixed the rink. It wasn’t perfect but it was doable. The girls, who had checked outside everyday to see whether it was frozen, donned their skates and headed outside with Daddy. They stayed outside for well over an hour skating round and round, with little pink cheeks and sparkling eyes, on their own little rink made by daddy. Right there he seemed the work worth it.
This past Saturday, in -30 degree weather, he stayed outside all day (while the girls were at skating and a birthday party) and sprayed the rink…over and over until it was perfect. DSC_3664 He was out in the cold so long that his mittens grew icicles and stood up on their own (his beard was a sight to behold too)…then yesterday in weather that many wouldn’t venture out in, he told the girls to bundle up and took them out again…I still had to tie their skates and get them dressed, but he was the one that stood outside with them in the cold watching them skate round and round on the little rink that daddy made them.

So because he has become a winter warrior simply to make his girls happy I am devoting this weeks muffin tin treat to him…make them for any winter warrior in your world or to eat snuggled up inside…DSC_3667

Cinnamon Puffs (adapted from a survival guide my mom gave me when i went to university "Where’s Mom now that I need her").

1 pkg yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup milk, scalded and cooled
1/8 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup cooking oil
1 egg, beaten
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

Dissolve the yeast in warm water; set aside for ten minutes. Stir in milk, sugar, salt, oil,egg, and 1 cup of the flour; mix well. Beat in additional flour and vanilla until the dough is sticky. Spoon dough into greased muffin tins. Let raise until doubled, about 45 minutes. Bake at 375 for 15-18 minutes. Dip tops in melted butter and then cinnamon-sugar mixture. Let cool and enjoy.

These were deemed yummy by all but we are already thinking of ways to switch it up…maybe some lemon in the dough, and a drizzle of icing instead of the sugar…and BTW my hubby is already planning a bigger rink for next year…

Hello all…

11 Jan

Hi again world. Its been awhile hasn’t it. Did you miss me? Of course you did…and if you didn’t, I am going to pretend you did and carry on anyway. After all I am full of all sorts of wonderful insights, how could you not miss me…

So it is the new year and I have decided to try this again…lots of new ideas, goals, and projects to share…and get advice on.

For those of you that don’t know who I am, a quick intro: I am Kate. I am a SAHM of three smart, beautiful little girls, and I have a loving, if a little scruffy, husband who I have known now for…ummm…well more than half of my life. I am a tiara straightener, dress picker-upper, cook, housekeeper, nose wiper, bum changer, boo-boo kisser, monster chaser, hugger, and snuggler. Recently I added chauffeur as well (kids have a busy social life…makes mine look sad really). My current employment, if a little underpaid, is an all-consuming, amazing journey filled with much laughter, even when there shouldn’t be. I am so in love with my kids, and feel so blessed to have them (no matter what you read in future posts :-D).

Hmmm…lets see what else…obviously there must be more to me than my kids right?! Of course there is…I bake…I craft…I read anything I can get my hands on, even if it really isn’t worth reading. And I have a dream…not a world changing, earth shattering dream, but one that gives me something to work for anyway.
I want to open a bakery…or a little tea and cake shop….there I said it, it is out there for all the world to see 😀

Anyway, I will do my best to keep you up to date with the crazy antics of my drama queens, the trails and tribulations that go along with my baking, and the chaos that will come of this years resolution to take back the house from the clutter that has over taken it (more about that tomorrow). Night all…I look forward to chatting with you again

The Modern Mantua-Maker

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