Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Camouflage Cupcakes

My friends son had a birthday on Saturday, and he is really into hunting, and the themes of his birthday parties as long as I can remember have been camouflage. So, for fun, I made camouflage cupcakes for him.

This is my basic white cake recipe.  You can see how the bowl has green in it already, I had to make a double batch, which I found out after I made the first batch, and put it in the cupcake tins.  So, my colors were different from the first dozen to the second dozen.

This was the first green.  I used green alone for this, since I wanted it to be a brighter, lighter green.

This is the second green.  By this time I was out of green food coloring, so I had to improvise.  The first batch I had plenty of green food coloring, so I didn't have to work as hard.  The first time I used green, a little bit of red, and a tablespoon of cocoa powder, to get a darker deeper green.  This batch was blue and red and yellow and cocoa powder.  It worked, but I like the first batch a little better.
The first time I made the brown in the kitchenaid.  I would suggest that for any other time this is made.  Mixing the cocoa powder in by hand isn't as easy as I would have thought.  So, brown was made by adding 4 tablespoons of cocoa powder to the white cake and a little bit of yellow, just to lighten it up.
I put a tablespoon of each color into the cupcake liners and then swirled them.  I used the sliver liners, which have a double liner, so no one could see that they were special, and I swear it made them tough.  I will never use these liners again.  I made a few bite sized ones with the leftover batter with no liner, and they weren't  tough.
You can see how I have two different looking cupcakes.  The first batch the chocolate layer was on top, the second batch the chocolate layer was on the bottom, simply because I had more chocolate the first time, and so I just filled the liners until I ran out.  I had enough chocolate from the first batch to fill all but 2 of the liners.
This is a cut open of the first batch.  You can see the dark green a little bit but not much.  They look kinda neat though.
You can see all three colors here, but they still aren't swirled like I would like.  I need to work on that bit if I do this again.
I made my fluffy cream cheese frosting for these, it's got whipping cream in it, so it is fluffier and lighter than a regular cream cheese frosting.  I colored it blue and yellow, as, like I mentioned earlier, I ran out of green.  It made it a nice color though.
So, that is my cupcakes.  They didn't go over as well as I would have hoped.  Once everyone at the party they went to got used to the strange way it looked inside, they thought they tasted great, but I forgot how visual the family I made them for were.  They liked the way they looked, they were neat, but not appetizing looking.  Oh well.  They were tasty, and I earned money for them, which was cool.

I also made a german chocolate cake for this same party, and that flew off of plates and they had pretty much none of that left, so that could also be a good reason why the cupcakes weren't received as well.  This family loves german chocolate cake.  What I loved was my friends grandma was there, and this is a woman in her 80's, who loved my german chocolate cake, and when you get a woman who makes everything from scratch and grew up doing it thinks your cake is awesome, that is one of the greatest compliments you can get, in my opinion.

So, anyhow, I had fun, and I plan on getting some more food colorings and making a double batch of my white cake mix and turning into rainbow layered cupcakes.  No swirls.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Person of Faith

I am a blogger, but not a blogger of faith.  I like my blog, I like talking about cooking, my family, my life.  I don't talk about politics if I can avoid it, I rarely talk religion, and well, I try to avoid anything controversial.  At least here.  On my private personal blog where I am able to be slightly anonymous, though not very well, as I've been out here a long time, and have been followed from blog to blog happily, I do sometimes say things that could be controversial.  And I have no problem doing it.  neither here nor there has enough readers anymore that I have to worry, and I haven't had a troll since I left the blog I created after Aiden was born.

Anyhow, after that strange little blurb, I do have to say that while I don't blog about my faith, I am not ashamed of it, I do not hide it, I am a very happy out of the broom closet witch.  If you know me, you know my beliefs.  I do not hide them.  I also do not throw them in anyone's face.  Faith is a discussion that only comes up if someone asks me about it, you will not find me bringing my own faith up unless something like what happened yesterday happens.

What happened yesterday?  A blogger got extremely upset that Circle of Mom's contest for the best 25 faith based blogs included pagan moms.  Here is the link.  Read it, and then come back.  That way I don't have to quote her here.  You back?  Was that as disturbing to you as it was to me?  I would think, as a mom of faith, any faith, you would be disturbed.  Isn't this kind of hate mongering supposed to be done and over with? 

Anyhow, this blogger went from being #2 on the list to being removed from the contest.  Some people say she removed herself because she didn't want to be part of a list that allowed such evil things, and some people say she was removed by Circle of Moms, because she violated the TOS with her hate filled post.  I don't really care, I'm just glad she's not on the list anymore.

What gets me now is that this incident, this hate filled post, this spewing of some of the nastiest prejudice against my faith I have seen in a long time has had the opposite effect than I think she was looking for.  If you look now at the list of moms, you notice that the pagan mom she attacked the most is now in the #1 spot.  With more than a 300 point lead.  What she did, with her hate, was get the pagan community to rally up and support their own.  It got those of us who usually don't involve ourselves in these contests, who don't make our faith a big part of our online persona, stand up and say, hey, I am a mom, I am a faith based mom, I am pagan, I am proud, and I am for sure NOT EVIL.  And then we vote for the pagans on the list, and if you are like me, vote for the muslim and jewish moms on the list as well, since the main point of this mom's post was that the Christian Faith was the only faith, the only right faith, and well, even though she only attacked pagan blogs, muslim and jewish moms aren't christian moms and are probably lumped in with her idea of those who don't deserve to be on the list.

I may be in a religion that is thought of as a minority, but we have proven ourselves to not be less, and to be more, than anyone expected.  And I am proud to stand up and be a mom of faith, a pagan mom of faith, and know that those in my faith are standing up and shouting WE ARE HERE and WE WILL BE HEARD but not in a nasty hate filled way, and my heart, it is full of happiness that one of ours is in the #1 space.

Anyhow, this got a bit out of control, but if you want to vote, for whomever floats your boat, here is the link to the contest.  One of the things I liked the most about this whole thing:  I found new blogs to read.  And one of them was even of the Christian variety.  She had some awesome looking recipes.  :)

Taco Rice

I don't have any pictures of this meal, but it was amazing, tasty, and cheap.  We are at the end of the month where we don't have any money and the food is starting to need to be creative.  So, I had some hamburger in the fridge that I defrosted, but I had no clue what I was going to do with it.  I took out enough to make meatloaf for tonight, and then for whatever I was going to do with the little package.

My first thought was I was going to make an easy bisquick taco pie with it.  You know, take some hamburger, fry it with taco seasoning, and then mix bisquick, eggs, and milk, pour it over the drained hamburger in a pie dish, sprinkle with cheese, bake, and presto, dinner.  But alas, we had no eggs.

So, I fried the hamburger up with taco seasoning, lots of it, double the normal amount.  Then once it was drained I added a can of tomato paste, just the small can, and a cup of water.  Then I added another half cup of water, and a half cup of sugar.  I like my tomato based things sweet, from my spaghetti sauce to this.  Leave out the sugar, cut it down if you like, it's ok.

So, while I was doing this with the hamburger, I was still thinking.  Ok, this needed a starch to make it work.  I put a big big sauce pan on to boil, you know, they type with two handles, the big ones, filled it with hot water and once it came to a boil I faced another dilemma.  I had no pasta I wanted to make with the sauce I had made.  None.  I had lots of pasta, but nothing that was working for me.  So, I took 2-3 cups of rice, I didn't measure, I just poured it in from my rice container, into the boiling liquid.  And I just let it boil away, full rolling boil, until the rice was cooked.  I loved the texture of this rice, the way it was when it was done.  I liked it better than when I made rice with the two to one ratio and cooked it on a very low simmer.  This rice, I didn't have to worry about it burning to the bottom of the pan, or being underdone, or any of the other things I worry about with rice.  I want a rice cooker, I love rice so much, and I will get one this summer, but for this recipe, this worked.  I drained it once it was done, like I would a pasta, and put it back int he pan.  Then I added the meat and sauce mixture, stirred it all together.  It looked yummy, smelled yummy, but was missing something.  I had a little over a half of a bag of cheese, the two pound bag variety, with 8 cups of cheese, so I put about 4 cups of cheese into this mixture.  This made it cheesy and wonderful, with strings of cheese coming up off of the fork as you made it to your mouth.  I did have to reheat it a bit because the cold cheese coled it down a little too much, but it was wonderful.

I served it in bowls with a dollop of sour cream on the top and the kids and the husband and I all loved it.  My kids had seconds.  I took a bowl to my neighbors house, she ate it right up and her son asked if he could take a bowl to my house and fill it.  I let him.  We had nothing left by the time dinner was over.  I can't wait to make this again.

I think I would work with variations on this next time, if I had the right things in my pantry.  Like adding some beans, that would have done really good things to it, and I wanted to add corn, because I love corn in all things taco and chili like, but my kids don't, and I wanted them to eat it, but next time, I would make it, take out their portions, and then add corn, because it would be awesome.

So, that was a pantry meal I tossed together, and it worked and was awesome.  It was something I am now going to add to my recipes, and not leave it for the days when I can't find anything else to make.

Oh, and thought I complain about my pantry being bare, it's more that it's limited.  I have lots of stuff to make meals, I just don't have as many options as I do at the beginning of the  month.  The night before last we had a pork roast I put in the crock pot all day with a package of onion soup mix and some garlic paste and some water.  It was wonderful, juicy and full of flavor, and we served it with extra wide egg noodles simply boiled and tossed with butter salt and pepper.  Tonight is meatloaf.  I just hate when I have things like no chicken, or less varieties of pasta, no beans, etc.  Now to stop whining, lol.

So, taco rice.  Make it.  You will love it.  You will thank me for it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


SO, I find that i am not posting as much as I would like, trying to keep this to a food blog.  I'm thinking about a redesign to make it a life blog.  Especially with all that is going on, and will be going on.  I'm thinking that it will stay a positive blog, with anything that is really bad or negative or whatnot, it will go back to my other blog, my private one where I vent, and deal with the things that don't need to be here, which is my public face now.

So, I guess what I am trying to get to here is, is everyone ok with me changing this to a food/life/family blog?  Because I don't want to do a new one, I like this place, and I have so much I want to say.

Well, I don't get a lot of comments, but I know that people do read, so that's why I am putting this out there.  I will change it if I hear nothing, since that will be a big hint that no one really cares, haha.

Ok, so oft to do homework.  I hate the end of the term.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Tres Leches Cake, lot's of pictures.

So, I made the tres leches cake.  And I made it as a cake.  This is going to be a photo blog post.  Enjoy.

This is the recipe.  The part left out is the milk mixture.  When I show the picture of the milk mixture, I'll post those ingredients.  If you have any questions regarding the recipe, please ask.
Mr egg separator.  I love this this for separating my eggs.  Except for when the yolk slides through the holes and then I need a new cup and to start again.  Luckily I empty the cup each egg, so if I make a mistake, it's only one.

9 yolks, waiting to be whipped into shape.

9 whites in the bowl, ready to be whipped.
This is the stiff peaks stage, and the sugar has been added.  I love how glossy and white they were.
I love when egg yolks, by them self, get all thick and creamy and almost quadruple in size.
Putting both whipped eggs into a bowl, getting ready to bring them back together.
Here the eggs are back to being together.  I forgot the next picture step, but after this you put in the flour and gently fold it, making sure that you don't lose too much of the air you worked so hard to get into the eggs.
This is the finished batter, smoothed into a 13x9 cake pan.  I sprayed it with the flour spray for baking.  I love that stuff.
It comes out looking so nice, and at this point, a toothpick has come out clean.  I let it cool for about 20 minutes before I took it out of this pan and put it into another cake dish.  If you have a nice cake plate or something that it would fit on with room for the milk to leak around at first, use that.
Poke the cake with lots of holes to help with milk saturation.

Here is the milk portion that makes it a tres leches cake.  One can of sweetened condensed milk, one can of evaporated milk and one cup of whole milk.  I used the average sized cans you get normally at the store, and my total amount of liquid was 4 cups.  The recipe calls for vanilla at this stage, I don't have any vanilla (I used vanilla sugar in the egg whites to replace the vanilla that should have gone in the yolks.) so I used almond extract.  Which worked, really well.
This cake is very saturated.  You can see a little moisture around it, that actually gets soaked in to the cake as it sits.  At this point I stuck the cake into the freezer, because I didn't have the patience to wait for it to cool, because I wanted to try it, I wanted Bart to try it, and I got started late.
Here is the whipped cream.  I used 2 cups of heavy whipping cream and 1/4 cup of powdered sugar.  You can make it sweeter if you like, I liked it to not be too sweet.  This recipe seems like it would be sweet, but it's not, and a too sweet whipped cream would overpower the loveliness of the flavors.
Yes, I whip creamed the entire thing.  Yes, there are areas that are just whipped cream.  I am the only one who knows this, so I get all the whipped cream I want.
After cutting into it, you can see just a hint of moisture at the bottom of the pan.  This cake really did hold onto the milks.
You really can see how well this cake stood up to being saturated with the milk.  I think this cake is perfect for this kind of use.  I wouldn't use it for anything else.  It's dry and kind of bland, to be honest.  The milk transforms it into something else entirely.
So, I made it.  I'm not sure what I think.  It's not something I would find myself having to make all the time.  It was good, and I will eat this one, but unless someone asks for it specifically, I don't think I will make it again.  However, I heard from Bart, who has had it before, that this is a very very good replication.

Playing with cupcakes

I have never eaten a tres leches cake.  I have always wanted to.  So, what do I figure I am going to do?  I'm going to try to make tres leches cupcakes.  I bought foil liners so that the milks won't make the wrapper soggy.  I found a recipe that seems easy and awesome and uses eggs, sugar, flour and vanilla.  That's it.  And then the milks.  And one of the cool things about this recipe is that you make whipped egg whites with the white and the sugar, then you make the yolks into that creamy yellow airy wonderfulness that you get when you beat them for a long time, you mix the eggs together with the flour and vanilla goes in there somewhere, and boom, you have cake.  I want to make it just for the simpleness of the cake.  Then, while it's still warm, you poke holes in it and pour in a combination of sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and whole milk.  I wanted to try this with coconut milk, but the stores here, they are out.  Some problem with the distributor.  So, no coconut milk for me.

So, when I make this, I will post results, pictures, etc.

I am also making a cake for my son for his birthday.  I was just thinking about it, and wondering if I should do a cupcake for it instead of a cake, I think I'll ask him.  I asked him what he wanted and he told me chocolate.  Ok, chocolate is easy.  Then he told me he wanted chocolate dirt.  I love the fact that he is old enough that he knows I can do amazing things with food, so I told him ok, we'll make a chocolate dirt cake, with worms coming out of it.  At this, he looked at me strangely.  I told him gummy worms.  Not real ones.  So, I will take pictures and share that when I make it.

As I am doing his birthday tomorrow, I will be making my wonderful awesome bacon potato salad.  And my grandfathers pasta salad.  I don't even remember what my grandfathers potato salad tasted like, I remember it was awesome, it had a mayo/mustard base.  Mine has no mustard, and has bacon.  His had pickles. The pasta salad is his though.  This one I remember.  I will be writing about those too.  We are also having hot dogs and hamburgers.

Then, it's cupcakes for our trip, yum, because we leave for Disneyland next Thursday.  Very excited. 

So, that's where I am now.