Cake!

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Several months ago, a friend of mine announced she was getting married. Being the good friend that I am, I agreed to be her maid of honor and help in anyway I could. Little did I know that helping in anyway I could when involve baking and decorating her wedding cake!

I spent many weekends, late nights and just about every spare moment I had teaching myself to decorate cakes. OMG!! I had a ton of fun, learned a lot of do’s and dont’s and now think I will add cake decorating to my bucket list 🙂 I must say, although I thoroughly enjoyed the process, it was super stressful, took a ton of time, and didn’t turn out nearly as beautiful as the visions in my head.

The wedding took place a few weeks ago, everything turned out as well as expected…it was chaos but the bride was happy. The cake received tons of compliments, with several requests for the recipe and even a compliment or two on the decorating. When the guests learned that it was my first cake ever they were gracious and extremely kind with their compliments.

The Bride requested a red velvet cake. I ended up doing a layered cake with one layer being red velvet and another layer being a traditional white cake.

Red Velvet Cake has a special place in my heart. During my childhood, my mom usually made my dad a heart shaped red velvet cake each Valentine’s Day. I was honored to be able to make this same cake as a wedding cake for someone 🙂 Here’s the recipe that has been used in my family for as long as I can remember.

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Red Velvet Cake
Ingredients:
2 Cups Flour (I use cake flour)
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Cocoa
3/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
2 Eggs
2 oz. Red Food Coloring
1 Cup Buttermilk
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Vinegar
1 tsp. Vanilla
3/4 Cup Milk
1/2 Cup Sugar

Directions:
In medium bowl sift flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa.

In a separate bowl cream oil, 1 1/2 cups sugar, add eggs one at a time mixing well. Add food coloring, mix well.

In a third bowl combine buttermilk and baking soda. Add to oil and sugar mixture- mix well. Add to dry ingredients. Add vinegar and vanilla.

Bake for 25-30 minutes at 350*

Combine 3/4 cups milk and 1/2 cup sugar in saucepan. Bring to a boil, spoon over each layer before frosting.  I used a cream cheese frosting  which went very well with the White/Red Velvet Cake.

Change

Over the next few months everything in my family as we know it is going to change. I’m trying to embrace all of this and be mindful of how these changes are inevitable and that will simply be a new chapter in our lives. However…I spend many a night on the verge of tears wanting to hold onto this chapter, and especially my kids for dear life.

This May, Haydn will graduate from high school. I have to admit his completion of high school is bittersweet. High School hasn’t been the easiest journey with this particular child. He’s smart, a natural leader, an athlete, and an all around amazing person but didn’t necessarily embrace the high school experience. From the time Haydn could talk he has wanted a few things from life, he was going to be a United States Marine and he was going to the President of the United States.

This June, Haydn will leave home to fulfill his dream of becoming a United States Marine. I’m so proud of him! One of the hardest things I will have to do as a parent is say goodbye, let him go, and trust that I have provided him with the strength, courage, skills, and determination to make his dreams a reality.

Haydn is a fighter. He was born twelve weeks early, weighing 2.3 pounds and fighting for survival. Survival and perseverance are so much a part of him that I know we will be okay. Sure he will have challenges, but I’m confident in his ability and determination to overcome them with the strength which has been a part of him from the beginning.

The emotions that surround this upcoming change are often more than I can handle. While I will be standing taller with pride in the path my first born son has chosen, I will miss him terribly. I will miss our “old soul” conversations, his smile, hearing him play the guitar, laughing at his silly sometimes naive sense of humor, the list goes on and on. Sometimes I still see him as my little boy, mostly I see him as the young man I am proud to call my son. So, while I am sad to see him go and scared of the upcoming change, I am also excited and honored to watch him transform and embark on a new journey.

The Neglected Blog

Hi everyone! So I logged onto my blog tonight and much to my dismay I saw the facts not so carefully disguised in my stats. Apparently it’s been five months since I have posted. My last post….Grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwiches…if that isn’t telling I’m not sure what is.

I’ve been reflecting today, reflecting on why I started this blog in the first place, reflecting on why I haven’t committed to giving this blog more of my attention. I wish I had some elaborate, exciting excuse. Sure, I have made excuses. “My life is too busy”, “work has been too consuming”, “I don’t have anything to write about”, “I’m not that good at it” , “My life is boring and no one really cares” etc.,etc., etc.,

Here’s the truth. I love this blog. I have neglected this blog. I have been afraid of this blog. What if people don’t read it? What if people don’t like it? What if I really am so boring that no one cares? What if my family doesn’t want our lives out there? What if my family feels neglected when I devote time to blogging and not them? The list goes on and on.

Now here’s the real truth. My life is interesting, crazy, and even boring at times. I do have something special that is worth sharing. Not everyone will like this blog. Not everyone will hate this blog. I let me fear of rejection stop me from doing something that I really enjoy. What if something I write is so important, so powerful that it helps another person to change some aspect of their life? What if something I write makes someone smile for the first time on any given day? What if my crazy, boring life makes someone appreciate their not so crazy, boring life?

Here’s my commitment: I will make time to blog at least three times a week. I will give through this blog my experiences, tips, and a piece of me for others to receive if they choose.

Thanks to anyone out there who is still reading. I welcome you to share with me in my journey.

Grilled Sandwich Night

FullSizeRenderTuesday nights are usually filled with exhaustion after the weekend activities, getting through Monday which usually involves several extra-curricular activities for the kids and well…Monday. As you may recall I plan most of my meals in advance and do the majority of the prep work ahead of time to make weeknight dinners less of a chore and more fun for all. Tuesday night is usually our designated leftover night. In my house this translates into “I’m going to clean out the refrigerator tomorrow, if you want it eat it!” There is rarely enough of any particular meal for everyone to eat the same thing so everyone gets to pick what they want to eat and it’s there’s. Needless to say, Tuesday dinner is always interesting. With two teenagers and a six year old in the house the discussions over who is going to eat what are always interesting. It’s kind of amusing to watch your kids argue over leftovers!

Tonight much to my surprise…I had no leftovers. So I decided to keep with the tradition and let everyone pick what they wanted, only tonight they had a choice regarding what kind of grilled sandwich they wanted. The overwhelming top choice was grilled peanut butter and jelly. If you haven’t had the opportunity to taste this delicious take on a childhood staple I highly encourage you to try one soon. I won’t provide a recipe as I am sure you are all aware of how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  I will encourage you to use real butter, it is so much better than the fake stuff.

“I Wanted Costume Gloves”

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 So apparently my super power is not mind reading! Last night around 10:00pm my thirteen year old daughter sends a text…”can you grab me a red tutu and white gloves tomorrow?” Since Halloween is today, I really didn’t think this was such an odd request. I wasn’t thrilled that she waited until the last minute, but let’s be honest she is thirteen and most importantly she is her mother’s child! My poor mother had to scramble every year at the last minute because I never wanted to dress up until the big day and then couldn’t make a decision…must be why I was a gypsy every year which really translates into wearing her old clothes from the 70’s layered with jewelry and my curly hair in it’s natural state.

So after a T-ball game with the little guy this morning, we head out to collect the items Kenzie requested. No problem, right? Wrong! First of all, I don’t think they make tutu’s for teenagers, second of all it’s Halloween and there is nothing left! I call a friend who is much better at this holiday than I am, she says…”oh just grab some tulle and get out your sewing machine, it will take you 10 minutes” Ummm…I don’t have a sewing machine, and don’t even know how to sew on a button!

I move onto the gloves. I can handle gloves, right? I grab two pair of white gloves. I’m so proud of myself for this because they are actually white not off-white (I learned the hard way last year that there is a difference when I grabbed an off-white scarf). I deliver the gloves to Kenzie-she’s still at her training for her big bike race, send her a text letting her know I got the gloves but no luck on the tulle.

Several hours later I receive a text from my little princess (who apparently is dressing up at Minnie Mouse tonight). I’ll let you read the conversation between us, this is the story of my life!

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Thoughts From An Old Soul….

What ever happened to enjoying an activity, event, conversation, or meal and then having that enjoyment become a memory imbedded in your brain for as long as it was supposed to? Lately I have seen an epidemic (strong word, I know) of people of all ages forgetting to savor the moments of their life, because they are to concerned with taking a selfie, posting a pic to social media, capturing a video, etc. I find this kind of sad to be honest.
Tuesday night as I watched the World Series with my family, I noticed that most of the attendees were only viewing the game through the lens of their smart phone Think of all of the sights, smells, sounds, etc. that they are missing from a once in a lifetime experience! One of my fondest memories as an adult was when I had the rare opportunity to watch a game at Fenway. As a Boston Red Sox fan from Arizona, you can only imagine the excitement of that night. If I close my eyes I can remember that night with all of my senses. I can hear the sounds of the crowd, the sounds of the ball hitting the bat, the sounds of a player catching the ball, the players talking and laughing or yelling and fighting. I can smell beer, hot dogs, freshly cut grass, dirt, etc. I can visualize the crowd, the players, and the stadium. I can feel the old seats, the energy of the crowd, etc.  I digress.  My point is that although this took place well over 10 years ago and I didn’t have a camera with me, I was still able to embrace the experience and create a memory of a lifetime.

I’m not sure I have a real point here, sorry maybe just venting. But I am going to challenge the few readers I have to savor the moments in life, after all they are so much more than what is captured through the lens of a smartphone!

Please fee free to share with me a memory in your personal memory bank that was so profound, enjoyable, or just plain real that a picture or video wasn’t necessary to make it memorable.

A Pinch of Crazy!

I honestly try to handle everything life throws my way with more love than crazy, lately life is crazy! I have been working about 60 hours a week, traveling for work several times a month, trying to be the best parent I can be with school, extra curricular activities, two teenagers, a kindergartner, four dogs, a desert tortoise, and last but not least a great husband.

As we navigate through this journey we have created, I realize that no matter how crazy it seems, I am blessed to have so many amazing people and opportunities in my life. I’ve accepted that although I may not always have the time and/or energy to create elaborate home cooked meals, in the end we are a family and I’m proud that we do our best . I can only hope that when these young minds that call me “mom” are older and have families of their own, they can appreciate the value of eating together, sharing our crazy, and laughing at life.

In an effort to improve on family time and encourage everyone to take the time to breathe, relax, and enjoy our blessings; I have decided that we will make Sunday brunch a priority. I’m excited to share the recipes and stories of my family as this new tradition unfolds.

Thank you for remaining interested in my humble little blog, supportive of my adventures, and interested in my recipes. I look forward to sharing more with you! Please feel free to share your recipes with me as well, I’m always looking for something new to create in the kitchen 🙂