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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Feburary Food Challenge: Pink or Red

For Feburary, Jenna assigned us to make something pink or red and give it away. This was a lot harder then I thought. Finding something that's pink or red and in gift form as a food is difficult. I first tried Red Velvet Cupcakes, but they didn't come out they way I hoped.

So, I set off searching for something else and fell upon the idea of Cake Balls. The recipe I found called for box recipes and I had to make this from scratch. Here's what I did:

I found a White Cake recipe from allrecipes.com called Heavenly White Cake.
All my ingredients.

Mix dry ingredients.

In a different bowl beat egg whites and add 1/2 cup sugar gradually until meringue will hold up soft peaks.

Cream butter. Add the rest of the sugar and cream together. Then add dry ingredients alternately with milk.

Mix in meringue.

And flavorings. The almond is what makes it so good!

Then bake.

This cake was delicious. Ty's favorite sort of cake is white, so I think I'll make this one for his birthday.

(This is the part where I forgot to take pictures. :( )
Immediately after the cake is finished in the oven, put it in a bowl and crumble it.
I mixed it with a homemade Butter Frosting recipe with a little added red food coloring to make it PINK. Then, after making the balls from the cake and frosting mixture, I dipped them in chocolate.
Put in the fridge to cool.

The next day the are so delicious!

Heavenly White Cake Recipe

Ingredients:
2 3/4 cups sifted cake flour
4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
4 egg whites
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond

Directions:
1. Measure sifted flour (I didn't sift it), baking powder, and salt; sift together three times(I just mixed them well).

2. In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Add 1/2 cup sugar gradually, and continue beating only until meringue will hold up in soft peaks.

3. Cream butter or margarine. Gradually add remaining 1 cup sugar, and cream together until light and fluffy. Add sifted ingredients alternately with milk a small amount at a time, beating after each addition until smooth. Mix in flavorings. Add meringue, and beat thoroughly into batter. Spread batter in 15 x 10 x 1 inch pan which has been lined on the bottom with parchment paper (Waxed paper. I'd never done this before and don't recommend it unless you're doing the cake balls because it crumbles easier and it's easier to take out of the pan).

4. Bake at 350º F for 30 to 35 minutes. (This part is if you actually want to make the cake). Cool cake in pan 10 mintues, then remove from pan and transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. This cake may also be baked in two 9 inch round pans for 30 to 35 minutes or in three 8 inch round pans for 35 to 30 minutes.

Butter Frosting recipe

Ingredients:
6 Tbsp. Butter
1 lb. box powder sugar (add to your liking)
1/4 cup cream or milk (we use cream)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Directions:
Cream butter, gradually add 1/2 sugar, blending, add cream and vanilla, gradually add rest of sugar, add cream for consistancy.

(The chocolate was melted Hersheys bars mixed with cream, but I would recommend just getting the predone stuff from the store.)

It may look like it took a lot of work to make these and it sorta did, but it was mostly a lot of fun and I really enjoyed it. We gave them away to people we visit in church and other friends we know. They enjoyed them as well!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

January Chocolate Cake Challenge

My good friend Jenna assigned her readers a couple of different challenges that you can sign up for. The Food Challenge for January was Chocolate Cake. The main thing is that you were required to make it from scratch. I was really excited because not only do I love chocolate, but I also love cake! This was also the first time that I had ever made a cake from scratch. How appropriate that it would be chocolate.

First, combined dry ingredients.
Then, mix the wet ones and the most of the dry stuff.
Take a moment to notice how creamy it is and ponder how delicious it will be.
Then, add water and the rest of the dry powdery goodness.
Pour into the prepared pans and while you bake them,
dream of savoring each bite on your tongue.
Once they are done, cool in the pans for a bit,
then take them out and cool completely on the rack.
While the cakes are cooling, get your frosting ready.
Double boiler, must get a bigger double boiler!
Place first cake on the pretty tray.
Smother it with the frosting, then add the other cake and do the same.
Finish it off by making sure every inch is covered in the frosting sweetness.
Now, you're ready to present it to the world!!! Muahahahahahaha...oh.
Take it to a family function so that it can be devoured.
(Note: This was 10 minutes after I unleashed the power of the chocolate on my family.)

Here's the recipe:

Rich Chocolate Layer Cake

Ingredients:
1 1/2 Cups Whole Grain Pastry Flour (I used regular flour)
1Tbsp instant espresso powder (I omitted this)
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/2 cup hot tap water
1/4 cup water
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 tsp cream of tartar

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Coat two 8" round cake pans (I had 9" pans, which causes the cakes to not be as thick) with cooking spray. Mix flour, espresso powder, baking soda, and 1/2 cup of the cocoa in medium bow.

2. Place butter and 1 cup of the sugar in large bowl. Beat with electric mixer on low speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla extract and beat until creamy. Beat in buttermilk and one-third of the flour mixture. Beat in hot water and half the remaining flour mixture. Beat in remaining flour mixture. Pour into prepared pans.

3. Bake cakes 25 minutes, or until wooden pick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pans on rack 10 minutes. Remove to rack to cool completely.

4. Mix water, egg whites, cream of tartar, and remaining sugar in top of double boiler over simmering water. Beat with mixer on high speed 5 minutes, or until soft peaks form. Add remaining vanilla extract and beat 4 minutes, or until mixture is thick. Remove from heat. Sift remaining cocoa over frosting and gently fold in. Cool completely.

5. Place 1 cooled cake layer on serving plate. Spread frosting on top. Add other cake layer and spread frosting on top. Spread remaining frosting over sides.

I had a lot of fun doing this little project. I had even more fun seeing the reaction to my family's desire to go back for seconds and that there was hardly any left by the time we headed home. Yay for success!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I'm offically a grown up!

There are very few things I depended upon my parents for as far as money is concerned. I always wanted to be independent and prove that I could do things on my own. However, I won't lie to you and say it wasn't nice to have certain things taken care of.

When I turned 17, and after working for my dad's business and working to get good grades in school, I received my first (and only so far) car. A '98 Ford Escort SE in Red. Because I had worked hard to get good grades and was working for my dad's company for basically nothing, my parents took care of insurance, registration, and gas. I will always be grateful to them for that.

When I went moved out, my parents still took care of insurance and registration, but I took on the little bill of fuel. Baby steps. Once I got married, I took an even bigger plunge and took on the insurance. Now, the registration was supposed to still be good until this month. However, the stupid little '09 sticker fell off and I got pulled over a few times. They saw the registration was still good, but strongly advised me to get it renewed since it was coming up anyway. Well, it was decided that I would take the final step to being an actual grown up and take over all responsibility for the car. Yup! I DID IT!! My mommy and daddy don't pay for anything anymore.......my husband does now. Haha, just kidding. We both do. In any case, the Title is offically in my name.

I've had this baby for 7 YEARS!!! Can you believe that?! My sweet "Lady in Red".
My new License Plate. "YUM", seriously? Haha.

This is the very 1st dent my car ever saw. The very first day I got it (on my birthday), I drove my family to church and when we came out we saw this! Seriously?! Someone hit their door on my brand new car. Not very spiritual.


This is the 2nd dent. One day it was really windy and I had my car parked in its usual spot at the time, under the basketball hoop. The thing fell over on my car and left this. I didn't take a picture of it, but the black strip is actually pushed out further down.


This is from last year when the 87 year old man ran me off the road. Yeeeeah, that was fun. His wife didn't like me much when I would call trying to get it taken care of.

This one actually kind of annoys me. This happened in the Seminary building parking lot, after Institute. I'm still waiting for someone to fess up. (I know, I wait in vain.) You can see they dented the door too, so whenever I open that door it makes a nice sound. Have you notice that most of these dents happen in church or church-like locations? Hmmm. Somebody should be repenting.


This is the most recent. I noticed this when we got home from Germany. Not there previous to the trip and now this thing is there, proving that I'm some kind of cursed.

Now, I'm guessing that if you've gotten this far, you're asking yourselves, "Why don't you get these things fixed?". Well, money people. Especially, the big dent that got part of the door. I wasn't working at the time and didn't have any income to speak of. And at this point I've had so many problems with internal engine and such, that I'm just waiting to give it's last breath. Either that, or Ty get's his car paid off and we can buy another car and get rid of this one. Don't get me wrong. I love my 'lil Red, but it's become unreliable. I don't take it farther than Othello, and even that's stretching it. So, one day the Lady will give up the ghost and I'll get one of these:
Until then. It's just put-putting along with the Lady in Red.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Germany: The Marvelous thing called FOOD!

This is probably going to be my favorite post. Mostly because there's a good chance I'm going to be salivating the entire time I write this.

We ate out a good few times while on our trip. It was great to see how they do it differently with meals and such. There were some downsides. For instance (Jenna you'll remember this from Poland), they normally don't get a drink at dinner, unless you're eating out and they'll ask you. However, they don't start you out with water. And if you want water, make sure you asked for "Stille (schtill-a) Wasser (vasser)". Then, they'll bring out to you a nice glass bottle full of delicious UN-carbonated water. Oh, and you don't get refills. If you want another, you have to ask and you pay for it. I almost wanted to tell them, "Go to the cupboard, get a glass, go to the sink turn on the cold water, place the glass under the water until the glass is full and bring it back to me." The tap water was just fine, but for some reason these people have a fasination with carbonated water. Ewwww! My grandparents even have a device that puts the carbonation into their water.

Moving on, when you go out to eat there, their restaurants are called, "Rothaus". This particular one is in Triberg.

To start things off, I went with a Hot Chocolate, since we had just come in from walking around in the freeeeeeeeeezing cold. There used to be whipped cream on top, but I mixed it in because neither the Hot Chocolate or the cream were very good separately. However, you put them together and you come out with a nice combo.

Most of us decided to go with the Schnitzel. Now, for those that don't know, there are a couple of options for schnitzel. The one you will see most often, commonly referred to as "Wienerschnitzel", is the Schweinschnitzel.
This was consumed by many of us, on several different occasions throughout the trip. Especially, the lit'l 'ins. (side note: The lemon is a MUST. It gives a great flavor.)
This is a different version of the schnitzel at another restaurant we went to. The main differences are it's not breaded, it has a cream sauce, and you don't get Pommes Fritz (French Fries).Instead you get egg noodles, called "Spatzle".
Momma went for the sausage and potato salad. By the way, German Potato Salad is awesome. I normally don't prefer it unless it's made this way.

(Sigh), desserts. (hmmmmmmmmmmm). This is my favorite. After the meals we decided it was mandatory to get desserts. I'm really glad we did because we found some really wonderful delights. My Mutti (mommy) indulged in an old favorite for her, the Dampfnudlen. Don't be fooled by its appearance, it's actually quite delicious.
My sister-in-law and I were taking an awful lot of comfort knowing that by the end we were going to be scarfing this into our digestive systems.....little did we know....
If you read and understand the menu for the Schwarzwaldbecher you'll know what we were in for. This delicious treat was delicious indeed, but also contained another ingredient to make you more "relaxed". Alright, now this is where travelers who want to avoid breaking the Word of Wisdom should be sure to be careful. This is Germany for crying out loud. They love their alcohol. Make sure you find out before you order if there is alcohol in the desserts especially.
We began and notice after a few bites that the cherries had an odd flavor to them. Wanna know what it was? Kirchwasser, more commonly known to those in the states as SCHNAPPS!!!! We henceforth discontinued the intake of the cherries. Haha, we felt good that night. Just kidding. ;)

The next time we went out to eat and order desserts, we made sure not to make the same mistake. This dish is simple vanilla ice cream, with whipped cream, a wafer and behind the ice cream lies the answer to all your problems. Hot fudge. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm. It even made the whipped cream taste good. Whipped cream is so incredibly bland because they don't add sugar to it. They certainly need an upgrade.

Unfortunately, I didn't get pictures of some of the very best food we had. If I had taken pictures of them you would have seen:
The Christmas feast my Opa prepared
The bakeries on every corner which contained:
Berliners
Delicious Cheese Rolls
Crossiants
A variety of other donoughts
and a new favorite Schocoladabanannen (two long cookies on top of each other and a banana on top of that, covered in silky smooth chocolate, yeah I'm a fan).

Instead I'll have to leave you with......















The ridiculous amount of chocolate we brought home with us. Yes, we had one suitcase specifically for chocolate alone. This picture really makes me happy. :)

So, now I'm done with my recap of Germany. I hope you all enjoyed.

What foreign places did you travel? What did you love most about them?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Germany: Architecture and such...

I don't know that this post will motivate any comments (especially since the last one only rendered one), but this was part of our trip, so I'm going to show you.

Europe definitely has a different way of doing things when it comes to building. Mostly, they build things to last for an expansive amount of time. If you go there, you'll see lots of buildings that have been there for centuries. However, it seemed like they weren't satisfied with what they already had. We constantly saw big cranes like this all over the place.



In Tuttlingen there is a huge company that makes medical supplies. Their building takes up about 2 or 3 blocks all to itself!In many of the towns we were in and passed by, we would see a lot of this...
Buildings, crammed together on a hill slope. I expect this is because the Germans love their countryside and so they fit as many homes as possible close together in one town. This way they can still look at the other hills around them. I don't envy their parking, or lack of backyards.

This still makes me laugh. A lot of the homes and buildings are very traditional German houses and then you see this..
I'm sorry, but a stainless steel staircase???? It was so incredibly out of place. Especially the color. However, more and more the younger generation is taking over what is accepted and cool. The modern look is breaking through the typical European genre of housing.

While in Triberg, we saw quite a few murals on the sides of buildings. This particular picture is of the Triberg Waterfall for which the town is so well known for.

This is in Switzerland, in a town called Stein am Rhein. Which translates (roughly) to mean Town by the Rhein (river). This particular area was kind of a maze. Don't you love the clock tower?

Some of the things we saw in the town.....
Okay, now this is just a weird German thing. They like to hang their Santas outside the windows and decorate them differently. Some were kind of morbid, as you can imagine. I love that this one has the American flags. Yay!
At one of the restaurants we ate at they had these little treasures on the wall and by the tables.
The castle Schloss Sigmaringen was amazing to look at. All the different and wonderful pieces.
This one just makes me laugh. I wonder if the royals would freak out if they saw this on their castle.Inside the church right next to the castle.
Okay, this doens't have anything to do with architecture or buildings, but it's just funny. This guy's job was apparently to keep the sidewalks clean.Yes. He is sweeping the sidewalk. And he's such a cute little man.
Alright, one last post of pictures and I can't wait for this one....
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