Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My favorite season

Fall is my favorite season. I love the colors, the smell, the weather. Everything about it.

My mom also has to be the sweetest person alive. Knowing I loved fall, she put together an adorable box full of things to welcome my favorite time of the year.

The box included spiced cider packets, a bottle of Starbucks Caramel Sauce, a cute cup from Pier 1 with it's own spoon and a bunch of other cute goodies packed in to a recipe card box. It was fun to unpack today and enjoy my first caramel apple cider of the season.

Thanks Mom :) I love you!

I hope everyone is enjoying the start of the new season.

Monday, September 20, 2010

If this was mine, I'd never need to leave my bedroom. I'm afraid it's a touch to girly for the husband though. A girl can still drool though, right?

If you haven't checked out belle maison, you're truly missing out. By far my absolute favorite decor blog. Julie has a true talent here.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sweet Child

Dear Olivia,

You changed life dramatically for so many of us in this last year, and most importantly for your parents.

From the moment your mommy told me she was carrying you, she was glowing to know you were her baby. So many times throughout her pregnancy there were moments we were worried for her health. She did everything in her power to make sure you were healthy and well cared for.

To hold you the day you were born was such a magical moment. You were so tiny, your whole 4lbs 9oz. You were so warm in my arms and smelled like heaven. Sweet child, I enjoyed every moment I had to hold you and watch you live. You made your mommy and daddy so happy and I don't think they could have spared one more ounce of love for anyone but you.

Yesterday, I felt like my world had been turned upside down. To learn of your sudden passing at just 4 days shy of 4 months old, I hurt in a way I couldn't imagine. Your mother is such a dear and true friend to me, enough so she allowed me to be Auntie Cassie. Olivia, my first niece, I already miss your presence. To see your parents hurt the way they do is just heart breaking, so much I feel overwhelmed and completely helpless. It's not right to be with your parents at home, surrounded by so much belonging to you and not having you there. To hear your cooing and whimpers. To hear your giggles and see your smile.

I feel comforted to know you're with God now and knowing you served a very important purpose to so many of us here on earth in your short amount of time. I just hope we find the meaning sooner than later. Our hearts will ache for a long time and our lives have been changed forever.

I love you with all my heart,
Auntie Cassie


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

30. Fluffy Chocolate Frosting

Frosting for your cupcakes? Absolutely. Better make it LOTS of frosting.

This recipe is also an adaptation from my KitchenAid booklet. It's almost dairy free. I didn't have corn syrup so I used sweetened condensed milk in it's place.

I used 'I Can't Believe it's not Butter' sticks for my frosting. It's dairy free and I think tastes a lot better than margarine. Maybe it's the same thing and I'm dillusional. Could be.

Whip the butter and sweetened condensed milk together. Slowly add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time until completely combined.

Add 1/4 cup melted chocolate. Choose anything you like, I used semi-sweet chocolate chips. However, the sweeter you go the more rich your frosting will be. After the chocolate is combined, mix for about 1 minute then stop and scrape the bowl. Turn back on to a medium speed and give it a good spin for a couple of minutes. The fluffier the better!

Spread on with a knife, or however you please.

Beautiful! Enjoy!

Fluffy Chocolate Frosting
adapted from 'Instructions & Recipes for your KitchenAid Stand Mixer'

1 cup butter alternative, softened
2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup melted chocolate

Mix butter and sweetened condensed milk until creamy.

On the slowest speed add in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time until completely combined. Mix on a medium speed until fluffy.

Melt chocolate and add to the frosting. Stop and scrape the bowl. Turn back on to a medium speed and mix for a few minutes until well combined and fluffy.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

29. Quick Yellow Cake

I was going to make myself a blueberry peach pie and found husband had eaten all the peaches. Avoiding a trip to the store, I took a survey of what I had in my baking cupboard and got to work on cupcakes.

This recipe comes from 'Instructions & Recipes for your KitchenAid Stand Mixer'. I altered it, because I do that. This is dairy free! Just the way I need it.

For dairy free cake batter you'll need flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, shortening, almond milk*, vanilla and eggs.

*As a side note on the almond milk, you could also try soy or coconut if you wanted. I have found soy milk makes cakes a little more dense than I like, and I've yet to try coconut milk.

This is a fabulous one bowl recipe, so throw it all in and mix it up. I lined my muffin tin and plopped a good 1/3 cup of batter in to each. Makes for HUGE cupcakes. Yum.

Pop in to an oven preaheated to 350 degrees and pull out your new flowery oven mitts. Oh, that might just be me. Couldn't pass them up at Ross though. $4 for the pair!

20 minutes in the oven and they should be about done. Just test them with a tooth pick and make sure it come out clean.

Place on to a cooling rack and make sure they're completely cooled before frosting. The frosting will become warm, start separating and look like a disgusting mess.

Is frosting supposed to be the fun part? I found this rather annoying. Probably because my little sandwhich bag I was piping frosting through burst and made a bit of a mess. I smeared it on with a knife. guess it's time for a pastry bag.

And it's time to eat! I think they're beautiful. They are so light and fluffy, the frosting is rich and just chocolatey enough. Check back for the frosting recipe tomorrow!

Quick Yellow Cake
adapted from 'Instructions & Recipes for your KitchenAid Stand Mixer'

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners and set aside.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in your mixing bowl and give it a stir. Add shortening, almond milk and vanilla. Mix on low for about 1 minute, stop to scrape the bowl and add eggs. Mix on low for about 30 seconds to incorporate the eggs, stop to scrape the bowl then mix on a medium-high speed for about 1 minute.

Add 1/3 cup of batter to each cupcake paper and place in the oven for 20 minutes. Check with a toothpick to ensure they come out clean. Don't over bake or your cupcakes will be dry.

Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Fresh Face

I'm not an Avon girl and don't own anything from them, but I was really kind of impressed with an email I found in my junk mail box this morning.

(Why do I get emails from them, you ask? I don't know, and I can't make it stop no matter how many times I unsubscribe!)

It was actually an email from their mark. line. An old coworker of mine from a few years back began selling mark. products and she really liked them. Up until recently their face was Lauren Conrad. She's alright. I was never impressed with her makeup looks.

I have a reason to be impressed, people.

I may be slightly biased. I do happen to love Ashley Greene, and that's because I love Twilight. The books much more than the movies, boy they're almost awesomely bad. It doesn't keep me from watching them though.

I'm pale. Pale just like this. Can I look this amazing, please? I love the bold, yet simple look of her makeup. It's almost got me thinking I want to order everything on her face. I'm sure this is the point.

You can find it all here. Well done mark. - you win.