Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Preventative "Medicine"

This past year my children have been diagnosed with a ton of environmental allergies.  This is also the first year they will be attending school.  Therefore, I am trying everything possible to avoid sickness without all of the drugs and shots involved with the recommended treatments.  Although this isn't a health blog, I thought it would be fitting to share how I am using food to strengthen my children's immune systems.  I feel they haven't been put to the test since I've started this daily regiment, but we're praying that this will work!  I will say that this can get expensive, but with contributions from family and from shopping around, it isn't too bad.

For their environmental allergies, I have them take 1 tbsp. of raw, unfiltered honey with 5 crushed alfalfa tablets and 1/2 of an Immunity Formula I. (Both the Alfalfa and Immunity Formula I are from Shaklee.)   I also give them acidophilus chewable tablets, DHA chews (Acidophilus and DHA chews I found at Target) and 5 Chewable Vitamin C and 2 Incredivites multi-vitamins also from Shaklee.   Then I just read on a Pinterest post that drinking a glass of 100% grape juice on a daily basis will help to prevent getting the stomach bug.  Yes please - I'll avoid that at all costs!

I decided one day to put the alfalfa and Immunity Formual I in the honey because it was torture trying to get the girls to take these on their own and it destroyed applesauce and orange juice.  Besides, Mary Poppins always said, "Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down".  It's not "the most delightful way" but it's tolerable.   I have to admit, my girls are good sports in this whole ordeal.  They'd much rather eat this than have to go in for weekly allergy shots.

I crush the alfalfa tablets in a little pill crusher that my mom found for me.  It takes some muscle to do all 5 tablets at once.

I prick the Immunity Formula I capsule with a toothpick and squeeze half into each of the girls' honey mixture.

Then we stir it all up, and it looks like green sludge.  Yuck!  But the girls eat it like good little kids!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Strawberry Rhubarb Courting Cake

If you're looking for a wonderful dessert, look no further than this recipe from Bon Appetit: Strawberry Rhubarb Courting Cake.  I made this years ago as a teenager, with my cousin when I first started my quest as a gourmet foodie!  I found this recipe not too long ago and made it again.  It was just as good as I remembered.  Try it - you'll love it!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Cakes and Parties, Part 4 - Finale!

This is the finale to all of our celebrations.

Two weeks after the twins birthday came my Mom's birthday.  This did not require a big party, but it did require a delicious cake.  I decided to make a homemade ice cream cake and since her birthday is near Valentine's Day, I needed to make it in the shape of a heart.  Her favorite ice cream flavor is mint chocolate chip.
Therefore, I got a package of mint creme Oreos and pulsed them into crumbs in the food processor.  I added some melted butter to make them stick together and pressed them into the bottom of the heart shaped cake pan.  (The cake pan was lined with greased parchment to make removal easier.)  I then filled the cake pan with softened mint chocolate chip ice cream and put it in the freezer overnight to harden and set really well. 

The next day I inverted it onto a platter and arranged parchment pieces under the edges for the next steps and to keep the platter clean.  I bought a can of cool whip frosting and quickly frosted the entire cake and then put it back in the freezer to set - about an hour.  

During that hour, I made homemade ganache for the topping.  I poured the ganache (which is warm) over the entire cake and quickly put it back in the freezer to set.  After it was set, I used the remaining ganache to decorate and drizzle over the top.  

This cake was so good and although it took time to set, it really was pretty easy.  My mom has a picture of a slice of it, but I don't.  Maybe someday I'll get it to put up on here! 

Finally, my annual egg shaped Easter cake!  I always use Martha Stewart's Coconut Almond Cake Recipe.
This year I decided to try my hand at the trendy rosettes in aqua buttercream.  I personally think it turned out gorgeous!

And that, my friends, is the conclusion to my cakes and parties segment!  Enjoy!!!

Cakes and Parties, Part 3

I told you I had been busy!  This is why I've not posted in a while - I've been swamped with cooking!

Anyway, one month after all the Christmas festivities and birthday parties, my twins turned 6!  They really love the movie Gnomeo and Juliet, so they wanted a party themed after that movie.  Here was the result:

I found a picture of a similar cake online, and made it from box cake for the base, orange Sicilian cream layer cake for the top and then shaped it with Rice Krispie treats.  I "dirty iced" it with homemade buttercream and the fondant was the homemade marshmallow fondant.

This was the Orange Sicilian Cream Cake for the top.

My sister found this idea for the party, so I made "dirt cups" with chocolate pudding, crushed oreos for the topping, then garnished it with mint sprigs and gummy worms.

Then, I made veggie cups to add some nutrition to the mix!

My very good friend made these adorable meringue, chocolate mushrooms.  They were fantastic!  (I don't know if the link I put on was the recipe she used, but I'm sure they'll come out the same.)

The party set up...

I made the little blue and red jumpers for their gnome costumes.  Our friend, Annalesa of IndieAnna Photography, made these great, gnome party hats for them.  Check her out if you want custom party hats that are out of this world!

My 6 yr. old twinnies!

We showed Gnomeo and Juliet during the party - it was a good time.

Cakes and Parties, part 4 coming up!

Cakes and Parties, Part 2

Four days later, we celebrated my baby's first birthday!  I can't believe how time has flown.  She is so precious and a blessing to our entire family.  

My sister, Rebekah, took this picture of her!

I had found this cake on a blog that I follow and just had to make it for her first birthday.  It turned out great!

I was able to get a silicone large cupcake cake pan from The Christmas Shoppes for $4!  The blue melted chocolate was brushed into the base and I let it set several times and then unmolded it.  After the cakes were baked in the cake pan I then shaved off the base cake to fit into the chocolate shell.  I made 2 layer cakes for the base, stacked and layered them with homemade buttercream frosting, and covered them with homemade marshmallow fondant. The colors for the flowers and the bow were just made with food coloring added to the fondant.

I loved the idea of a haute chocolate bar, so I made chocolate pops to melt into steamed milk, homemade marshmallows and other mix ins (candy cane bits and white chocolate) for the hot chocolate.  
It was really good.

Cakes and Parties, Part 3 coming up!

Cakes and Parties, Part 1

 I have been cooking away, trying new recipes, snapping pictures, and someday soon I will post them.  Meanwhile, I'll give you some eye candy with all the cakes and parties that I've hosted since December.  It has been a really busy time as I had my twins' birthday party, my baby's first birthday, my brother-in-law's party, and Easter.  Anyway, I was able to make some pretty neat creations and I hope you enjoy them as much as I did in making them!

First, we'll start with Christmas.  I made this cake from a recipe that I found on Tablespoon: Eggnog Tres Leche Cake  It was a hit!

Next, we'll move on to my brother-in-law, James, birthday.  He is from Kansas and his favorite team, of course, is the Kansas City Chiefs.  My sister picked out this cake from a picture she found online, then asked me to make it for her.  I had my husband who is an amazing artist outline the logo for me and then I filled it in.  We took James to his favorite local restaurant for lunch and surprised him with a KC Chiefs birthday party!  It was really fun.

Cakes and Parties, part 2 coming up!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wonderful Website

I have been cooking up a storm and I promise to post more pictures and recipes soon.  However, in the meantime, you have to check out this site I just found and have been cooking from all week: http://www.skinnytaste.com/.  I love the fact that she already has the calories figured out and you can choose from the posts which meal you'd like.   The recipes are pretty easy and really good.  Enjoy - I have been!