Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Nick and Shay's Wedding Cake

My friend Tammy's son is getting married today. I feel honored to have been asked to make the wedding cake. They didn't want anything large or with fondant. It's been so long since I've worked with butter cream I was a little nervous taking on the challenge. Luckily I hadn't forgotten how to use a piping bag. This is what we came up with.The groom is in the Navy so they added this sculpture on top of the cake. At first they wanted a nautical themed cake to go with the sculpture but in the end they decided on a more traditional cake. I really love how the cake turned out.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Beginnings of a Nursery

I haven't had much to blog about lately. It seems like all I do anymore is sleep, work, eat and puke. That doesn't leave much time for making cakes or socializing.

I am getting some ideas together for the nursery, though. I bought this rug last week and thought I would base the nursery around it. I'm planning on using mainly teals and reds.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I'm Pregnant!!!

Take a close look at my ultrasound and see if you notice anything a little different.

Yep there are two babies in there! I'm only about 8-9 weeks along right now. Originally I didn't want to tell people until I was passed my first trimester, but I couldn't resist. Their due date is June 4th.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Puss n' Sneaks

Whenever I take a cake on a plane, I usually get a lot of people interested in what I'm traveling with. Last month when I took my ugly ducking cake to Idaho, I came equipped with business cards. A flight attendant from Dave's airline called me shortly after to make this cake for her friend's birthday. Her friend is a marathon runner who has two orange cats. So I made her some running shoes with her feline friends playing with the shoelaces.

Friday, October 10, 2008

More Bouncy Balls

A woman in Dallas stumbled across my blog and saw the bouncy ball cake I made for my friend Melinda. She asked if I could make the cake and send it to Dallas. I wasn't sure how well that would work so we came up with a compromise. She had a Dallas bakery make the cake and I made all of the fondant bouncy balls. So here they are, ready to be packaged and delivered.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Ready for Ski Season???

Every fall Dave and I dry up Little or Big Cottonwood Canyon to see the changing leaves. Last night we went up to Alta. Up at the top of the canyon the leaves were starting to turn red, which is my favorite stage. We'll have to go again in a few weeks to see the whole canyon transformed.

I know it looks silly with me wearing my big puffy green coat when it really wasn't that cold outside. I was just so excited to wear it. I bought it last Spring at a snowboard shop and haven't had a chance to wear it yet. I fell in love with it because the fabric is Herringbone which I thought was an awesome choice for a ski jacket. Maybe if I have some cute snow gear I'd be more willing to give skiing another try. We'll see.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Rocking Swan

I was at D.I. last night looking for some furniture I could refinish. Instead I found this awesome wooden rocking swan. I thought that one day it would look darling in a little nursery. It's missing the velvety plush body. Hopefully I can find a replacement or figure out something similar I can make. I was excited to find that my $8 purchase sells new for $475. Not bad.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Yummy Chicken Noodle Soup

Now that's it's getting colder outside I'm going to start experimenting with soups. On Friday night I was craving chicken noodle soup. I found this recipe at foodnetwork.com and thought I'd give it a try.

This was the best chicken soup I've ever made. I used a rotisserie chicken and frozen egg noodles. That was pretty much the only alterations I made. The mushrooms sauteed in butter were the best part of the soup. And definitely don't skimp on the fresh lemon juice.

2 quarts canned low-salt chicken broth
1 (3 1/2-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 carrots, peeled, thinly sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1 cup mushrooms, quartered
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
8 ounces dried egg noodles
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

Combine chicken broth and chicken in heavy large pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover partially, and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Using tongs, transfer chicken to large bowl. Cool chicken and broth slightly. Discard skin and bones from chicken. Cut chicken meat into bite-size pieces and reserve. Spoon fat off top of chicken broth.
Return broth to simmer. Add onion, carrots and celery. Simmer until vegetables soften, about 8 minutes. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover chicken meat and broth separately and refrigerate. Bring broth to boil before continuing.)

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and saute until they begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in lemon juice. Add mushrooms to broth; stir in noodles, parsley and reserved chicken. Simmer until noodles are tender, about 5 minutes. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Nice Croutons

The theme for this month's cooking group is salads. I decided to make a traditional green salad with ranch dressing. Well actually it's not that traditional since it's made out of cake. I had a lot of fun with this one. The little croutons are my favorite part. I was asleep before Dave got home last night. As I was getting ready for work, Dave woke up and said "have a nice day at work, and I love the croutons." Then he fell back asleep. I thought that was pretty cute.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Wrapping Station

I love ribbon. I like to buy presents just so I can wrap them. I've been wanting a way to organize my ribbon and paper but couldn't find exactly what I was looking for. Pottery Barn makes a wrapping station, but it isn't really in my price range and it wouldn't hold all of my paper. So I came up with this inexpensive way to store all of my supplies.

I bought two totes and drilled 1/2 inch holes into the sides. I put 3/8 inch dowels through the holes and strung on my spools of ribbon. Inside of the totes, I secured the dowels with little wooden balls with 3/8 holes in them.

So simple.

In the tote with the lid, I am able to store my scissors, tape and gift tags.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sneak peak at my new wood floors

Last week we had our hard wood floors refinished. Two bedrooms, the dining room and the family room were all moved out. Most of it's in my kitchen. I love love love my new floors but I am so ready to have my house back. We have to wait 5 days to move heavy furniture back in while the finish is curing. I'm going nuts. My piano is in front of my stove so cooking is out of the question. Luckily I pulled out the electric skillet before we barricaded the cupboards.

Tonight I'm going to paint the baseboards and Saturday we'll move all of the furniture back. Here is a sneak peek of the floors. This is the cowboy room. Above the stars there is a funny boarder with bucking broncos and cowboys with chaps. I've been using this room as a closet for the last three years since our 1950's home is lacking in closet space. I moved my closet downstairs and think I'll use this room as a craft room. Even though the cowboys inspire my artistic side, I think I might change it up this fall.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Spud Day

Every year my home town of Shelley has a celebration for the beloved potato. I haven't been for years and was excited to find out it happened to be the weekend that I was in Idaho anyway for my Grandma's funeral.

Between bursts of rain, we headed out to the city park for the festivities. I was looking forward to seeing the spud tug (tug of war over a pit of mashed potatoes) but it was delayed because of the rain. I did get a free loaded spud and a strawberry funnel cake which I have been craving all summer.

Friday, September 19, 2008


My grandma Jensen passed away on Sunday. The funeral was in Idaho on Wednesday. I took the rest of the week off work to hang out with the family. It was hard to say goodbye to my Grandma but it's been nice to get the whole family together.

On Thursday we all went to Craters of the Moon. It's a national park in Idaho that is covered in Lava rocks. Here I am sitting in a huge green rocking chair with my nieces and nephew at a cute little restaurant in Arco.

I absolutely love my parent's dog Boone. After lots of persuading I talked my Dad into letting me bring Boone on the trip. Here's Boone in the back of the Explorer trying to sneak out of his crate.

Boone and I had a great time hiking around looking at the craters.

I had never been to Craters before and I was really surprised that there were such cool caves to crawl around in.
Here's my dad taking a look around Scout Cave.

When I was taking pictures I wasn't really sure what I was capturing. It's crazy that I can see more of the cave in these pictures than I could see when when we were actually in there.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Lazy Sunday Morning

Dave and Katie basking in the sun after breakfast.

Friday, September 12, 2008

African Violet Cake #2

I have a church party tonight and I was asked to bring a centerpiece for one of the dinner tables. I wanted to make a cake that didn't necessarily look like a cake but something you would expect to see as a centerpiece. I decided to give the African Violet cake another try sans the lumpy pot.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Cooking Class

Last night I went to a cooking class taught by Kelsey Nixon from The Next Food Network Star and Nicole Hill (A Little Sussy). We watched a grilling demonstration on the back patio of a beautiful house in Orem. It was fun watching the girls cook and hearing the dirt from The Next Food Network Star. I was expecting the class to be a little more hands on or to have more challenging recipes though.

I did gets some ideas for the next time I host a party. They made grilled pita with three different dipping sauces. The Pesto, White Bean Purée and Olive Tapenade was very tasty and looked so pretty. I'll definitely give that a try.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Kitty Cat Cake

If you were to ask me what cake I'd make for my own birthday, I would have to say this little cat on yarn cake. I saw this cake in one of my cake books and I've been dying to make it. My friend asked if I would make a cake for her cat lover grandma's birthday. I knew it was time to give it a try. Now that I've made it I guess I need to choose another favorite birthday cake.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Shower Invitation

I brushed up on my Flash skills this afternoon and made a shower invitation for my friend. Click here to see an interactive version. Be sure to mouse over the flowers.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

E.A.T. test

My cake made it to Idaho without any problems. TSA kept making comments about preforming an E.A.T. test on the cake to make sure it could pass through security. I told them, "Go ahead, it's made out of Styrofoam!"

Here it is buckled in the seat next to me.

We went straight from the airport to the Fair to drop of the cake. I was the first one there so I wasn't sure what to expect from the other designers.

Turns out my cake was just too little to compete. The winning cake was beautiful though. There were a lot more details than I put on my little cake. I really wasn't sure what to expect. Next competition I think I will be a lot more prepared and hopefully have more time to make my cake special and BIGGER.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Award Winning???

Here is the Little Duckling Cake I made for the cake competition this weekend. I wish I could have spent more time on it. It's been a busy two weeks. I'm not sure what I would have done differently but I don't feel like it has the "wow" factor.

I'm worried about taking it on the plane. Most of the cake was airbrushed so if anything breaks I won't be able to replace it and get the same color effect. Can you tell I'm a bit nervous? Man this post is a downer.

Wish me luck?

Thursday, August 28, 2008


I took a day off of work and hung out with my nephews. We took the quads out and let the kids loose. Here's Grandpa laying down the rules. Stuff like, "I know it feels really good to go fast, but keep it under 15mph" and "If I see you going over jumps too fast, I will come and haul your butt back to the truck."

This was my first time driving an ATV. I was a little nervous at first but got the hang of it before too long. I was out by myself and kept entertained by chasing the huge jack rabbits around the trails.

I always love it when Dave's brother Shayne and his family come to town.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Debbie's Wedding Cake

The wedding turned out beautifully Saturday night. Debbie looked gorgeous and the party was lively.

So here is the wedding cake. The bumble bees were added last minute. Debbie thought they would be cute. At first I wasn't so sure, but when the cake was put together I thought that it worked.

I wish I had a better picture of Debbie and Kylie cutting the cake. I snapped this one really fast beacuse I didn't want to get in the way.

Friday, August 22, 2008

I think we can make it through this

The wedding cake is done! Yeah! I'll post pictures of it after the wedding.

Surprisingly, besides the bird incident, I didn't have any problems putting the cake together. It only took me twelve hours from baking to adding the finishing touches. I'm sure twelve hours seems like a long time, but I was pretty happy that it didn't take longer.

Katie and I are on better terms. She spent the last two days in her impromptu hang out in the garage. Yesterday morning I went to check on her. She was laying on her little bed with the saddest look on her face. I went to pet her and she wouldn't even look up at me. I made myself a tuna fish sandwich for lunch just so I could give her the left over tuna juice (her favorite treat). After I finished the cake and put in a safe spot, Katie was aloud back in the house. It only took her a few minutes to warm up to me again. I've forgiven her for dropping a bird on my cake and apparently she has forgiven me for locking her out of the house for two days. I think we can make it through this.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Does anyone want Katie?

Does anyone want Katie? We’ve been on the outs for the last month and last night she crossed the line. For the last three years I’ve dealt with the nonstop meowing, excessive shedding and the occasion bird, mouse or snake at my doorstep. But last night takes the cake (in more ways than one.)

Dave’s sister is getting married on Saturday and I get to make her cake. This is my first attempt at a wedding cake and I have to admit I’m pretty nervous. Last night I was working on making hundreds of little sugar flowers. I decided to take a break and go get the mail. I left the front door open because I was just going to be a second. As soon as I got the mail I could see Katie on the doorstep with something in her mouth. This is a usual scene at my house. I couldn’t tell what it was but I yelled at her to drop it. Instead she decided to run into the house.

I ran after her and caught her in the kitchen. I realized the bird she was carrying was still very alive. When she saw me she let go of the bird. Unfortunately it was right on top of the flowers I so painstakingly made. The bird was flying around like crazy. I was screaming a trying to get Katie out of the kitchen. I’m sure it would have been a funny sight but I was too freaked out and devastated over the loss of my flowers.

I threw Katie outside and began to look for the bird. I slinked around the kitchen and timidly looked in every corner. No bird. I looked in the basement thinking maybe she flew down there. No bird. I grabbed a laundry basket to use a trap and continued my search throughout the house. Still no bird.

So I opened all of the doors and went outside and cried. I didn’t know what to do. Dave was on a trip, my kitchen was in shambles, and there was some wild bird waiting to attack me somewhere in my house.

As a kid I had a scary incident with a huge grasshopper. It was the most traumatic experience I can remember to date. Until recently every scary dream I had involved grasshoppers. It’s my biggest irrational fear. What bothers me so much about them is how unpredictable they are. You never know where they are going to hop next. Having this bird in my house not knowing where it was or where it will fly next took me right back to that day with the five inch grasshopper.

After spending a half an hour outside talking with my mom as she tried to calm me down I figured the bird had left or maybe it flew outside during the commotion when I wasn’t looking. I convinced myself I was safe. I grabbed the vacuum and started the daunting task of cleaning up all of the feathers. As the vacuum cleaner came close to the bay window in my kitchen the missing bird was not missing any more. It started fluttering and flying into things. Again I screamed and ran outside.

I eventually went next door and asked my neighbor to help me out. I’m sure they think I’m crazy. I was a complete basket case. Through the tears I managed to tell them my predicament. Stan easily grabbed the bird and released it outside. It didn’t seem to be too hurt since it flew away immediately.

I was really surprised by my reaction to this whole situation. I can usually keep it together and rarely cry in front of people. I’m not sure if the tears came from my fear of unpredictable birds, confusion with Katie, or having my cake destroyed.

I think the main reason is because I’m so paranoid about having my house sanitized before I cook for other people. I always kick Katie outside, put on a hair net and sterilize my kitchen before I start cooking anything that is for someone else. I would hate to have people not want to eat my food because they know I have a cat in the house.

Had I not been working on Debbie’s cake I probably wouldn’t have reacted so insanely about a bird in the house. Tonight I’ll resume the cake decorating, sans the risk of passing on the bird flu, and Katie will not be allowed in the house for the next few days. I’ll set up her bed in the garage with some extra treats. I’m sure she’ll be devastated, but I don’t have a choice.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Water Olympics

In honor of the Summer Games our ward had our own Olympic ceremonies. It turned out better than I could have expected. We started off with a dutch oven breakfast and then tried our hardest to get everyone soaking wet.

The games consisted of rely races
obstacle courses

and of course a medal ceremony.
I'm going on my third year in the activities committee. I'm a little burned out but I don't want to say anything for fear I might get an even more time consuming calling. Luckily my committee is much more excited and dedicated than me.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Ugly Cygnet

I received the requirements for the cake competition I will be competing in. Apparently there is a theme for the special occasion cakes. This year it is Fairy Tales. My ocean cake would probably work if I adapted it to "The Little Mermaid" but I think I want to do something completely different. I'm going to try the "Ugly Duckling." There is a lot I can do with this little cygnet. My mom told me what a baby swan was called. Here is my inspiration for the cake. I'll keep you posted as I make the different elements.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Almond Daisy Cake

I made this cake about 4 years ago, long before I experimented with fondant. The cake is covered in a glaze frosting. I goes on really smooth and has the appearance of fondant with out the work. The flowers are real (I don't think I'll ever be able to make sugar flowers look that realistic.) This is the only time I've put fresh flowers on a cake. I'm usually not a fan. It looks beautiful but I worry about the pollen getting in the edible part of the cake. Maybe next time I'd use edible flowers.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sugar Orchids

This weekend I attempted to make orchids out of sugar paste. I made enough petals for about six flowers but was only able to successfully make two orchids. But now I think I've got the technique down so next time it should go a lot smoother. They would look a lot more realistic had I spent the time to paint each petal instead of leaving them white.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Eastern Idaho State Fair

I was thinking about submitting a cake to the Sugar Arts Festival in Tulsa which is the largest cake competition in America. I went last year as an onlooker and was totally amazed. I think I need to ease into the competitive side of cake decorating though. I found out the Idaho is having their own Sugar Art Show at the Blackfoot fair this year. Perfect. I can easily get a cake to Idaho and I'll have supporters to go to the fair with me.

I need your help though. I'm not sure what to submit. Should I recreate a cake that I've already made or come up with a new idea altogether?

My Finding Nemo cake would be fun. I can spend more time on the sea life details.

I've always liked this popcorn cake. I'd definitely put more detail on the popcorn bucket.

The trout cake might appeal to the Idaho crowd.

I really want to make an original cake. Not out of a book. So the Dragon and Jungle cake are out.

Let me know what you think the judges and fair folk would be the most impressed with.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Pot of African Violets

A few posts ago I warned you that I would be posting pictures of my beginner cakes. This is my first attempt to make a cake look like something other than a cake. The terracotta pot is a little lumpy but it kind of works. It looks like a kid made it in art class.

This cake was for my mother-in-law's birthday a few years ago.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Grilling by the Pool - Meetup Group

Last night I went to the monthly meetup group party. I originally wanted to make grilled corn on the cob with lime butter, chili rub and queso fresco. I forgot to post my suggestion and someone else decided to bring the corn. Actually I think Rechelle's recipe was better than mine anyway.

I had a ton of queso fresco I needed to use. I decided to make my standard pasta salad replacing the Mozzarella with queso fresco. This salad is so simple. Yet the fresh herbs, especially the basil, add a nice touch to this traditional salad.

11 ounces small shell-shaped pasta
3 cloves garlic
18 ounces red cherry tomatoes
1 cucumber
1 handful black olives, pitted
Mozzarella cheese (I used queso fresco)
2 tablespoons fresh chives
1 handful fresh basil
7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, add the pasta and garlic, and simmer for about 5 minutes or until al dente, and drain.

Put the garlic to one side for the dressing. Put the pasta in a bowl.

Cut the tomatoes, cucumber, cheese, and black olives into small pieces, about half the size of the pasta, and place in the bowl. Roughly chop the herbs and place these in the bowl.

Using a fork mash the cooked garlic cloves on the board with a little salt, add to the salad.
Add the oil, vinegar, and seasoning.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Zucchini Muffins

I have so much zucchini from my garden and I can't keep up with eating it all. Last night I made these zucchini muffins to use a portion of the squash. I found the recipe on Foodnetwork.com and modified it just a bit.

When it comes to bread I love anything oaty, wheaty, or grainy. This recipe has oatmeal in it and I replaced the oil with applesauce. So overall I'd like to think these are a healthy little snack.

Zucchini Muffins

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
3 large eggs
3/4 cup applesauce
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini (about 2 medium zucchini)
Crushed Pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Stir the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a large mixing bowl. When combined, mix in the oats. Make a well in the center of the ingredients. Whisk the eggs, oil, and vanilla together in a small bowl and pour the mixture into the well. Combine lightly, then stir in the zucchini. Do not over mix.

Put the batter into lined muffin tins . Sprinkle with the crushed pecan if you wish. Bake for 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bead Fairy

Last night Dave's Cousin Liz, Aunt Sue and I took a trip to the Bead Fairy. I was thrilled when I found the section of natural stone beads. I always assumed the beads you found in a store like this would all be plastic or glass.

This is what I came up with. The green beads are jade and the coral beads are yep you guest it, coral.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Lightning McQueen

Dave's high school friend Amanda asked if I would make a cake for her son's 4th birthday. His party is Cars themed so we came up with this Lightning McQueen cake. This was my first attempt at making Lightning. I thought it turned out pretty good. I put in the basement to stay cool, so I thought.

Before I went to bed I decided to check on Lightning. It was so hot yesterday the bottom cake buckled. I'm sure I had enough supports in it but the heat was just too much I guess.

Luckily Wal-Mart carries fondant and is open late. Dave ran to the store while I disassembled the poor Lightning cake. I put a new layer of fondant on the bottom tier and repiped the message. Disaster averted!

I actually like the second cake better. The first time I put Lightning in the center of the cake and wrote Happy Birthday Eli on the side of the bottom tier. I wasn't thrilled with how it turned out. So the second attempt I made room to write the message on the top of the cake.

Cake decorated always has its surprises. When I was working on the cake in the morning I thought "this was too easy." I guess I was a little too confident and needed to be humbled. Well, fixing a cake in the middle of the night in my pajamas seemed to do the trick.