Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Of all the baking I have done, I never have made or even used fondant. I have never taken any cake decorating classes, so, I really am a novice when it comes to cake decorating. Another reason I never cared to try to make my own or buy the premade fondant is because I think it tastes gross! I really love the way it looks and decided I at least need to cross it off my baking bucket list and make some.
To my surprise it was not that hard. Very sticky but actually really easy and fun to make. With my son's 2nd bday approaching I wanted to do a test run before and see if I could pull it off. I left most of the fondant white but made a yellow and green batch as well. I am going to let it rest over night and then hopefully make a cake tomorrow....fingers crossed...I will post pictures of it..unless it is horrible then most likely not:). Here is the original recipe I found...but tweaked it a bit using some ideas from other recipes. There are not too many pics because my hands were filled with Crisco for most of the process.

My fondant recipe
1 bag of mini marshmallows(10.5 oz)
3 TBS water
26 oz powdered sugar

In a greased microwave safe bowl add marshmallows and water. Microwave in 30 second intervals. I did 30 seconds, 30 seconds and then 20 seconds. Depending on your microwave my take more or less. Then top the marshmallow mixture with about 3/4 of the powdered sugar. Grease your work surface and then your hands generously. Now dump the mixture out on the work surface and begin kneading. Add the rest of the powdered sugar once the first amount is incorporated. Continue to grease your work surface and hands as needed. If at any point your fondant because dry and cracks you may need to add more water. I did not need to but I read that tip in case it does happen. I would knead for 5-10 minutes until you get a mixture that will stretch without tearing. (you should also not be able to see any bits of powdered sugar).

It is best to let it sit over night but you can let it sit for as little as 10 minutes and begin using. I covered my fondant in Crisco and then plastic wrap and then in a plastic baggie. One recipe said it will keep for months at room temperature and another said weeks in the I don't know which to follow...I am going to go ahead and put it in the fridge and see how that goes.

***I used liquid food coloring because that is all I had. I crossed my fingers and hoped it worked. I think it came out well and didn't effect the consistency at all. I believe you can use the gel food coloring as well.

***I began to use my KitchenAid stand mixer..but it got so thick I was afraid it was going to break my mixer and I would have cried for days! So I took it out and just hand kneaded it as another recipe had suggested..much better!

***As always..Mise en Place...have all your ingredients prepared and measured and ready to go before you begin..oh and make it once the kiddos are in bed...I accidentally added the wrong amount of powdered sugar because my kiddo came in and distracted me:). Hopefully it turns out...more to come tomorrow...hopefully!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Preschool...or No Preschool..that is the question???!!

"Knowing what to expect from a teacher is a really good thing, of course: It lets you get the right answers more quickly than you would otherwise. Indeed, these studies show that 4-year-olds understand how teaching works and can learn from teachers. But there is an intrinsic trade-off between that kind of learning and the more wide-ranging learning that is so natural for young children. Knowing this, it's more important than ever to give children's remarkable, spontaneous learning abilities free rein. That means a rich, stable, and safe world, with affectionate and supportive grown-ups, and lots of opportunities for exploration and play. Not school for babies."By Alison Gopnik

On my MSN homepage I found an article that stood out to me "Why preschool should not be school" . The Hubs and I just had this conversation with some friends about whether or not our kids would go to preschool. The Hubs was very adamant about our son going...while our friend did not think it was right to put children in "school" that early. He had more of the idea of let kids be kids...while The Hubs was on the side of preschool being a great tool for social skills. The Hubs is very social and loves people and our friend(who I always agree with) is not a social person.
I did not go to preschool and so this whole idea is new to me. I am so worried about making the wrong decision. The Hubs went to Kiddie College..spelled Kiddie Kollege or something clever like that I am sure(misspelling college though is not a very good idea for a school if you ask me..but I am just assuming that..forgive me Kiddie College if I am wrong).  Anyways...I found this article on to be so interesting. They write about a few learning experiments done on 4 year olds. One approach is the teaching method where the children imitated  exactly what the teacher showed them in a series of tests with a toy. The other approach, the adult acted clueless and tried to get the toy to work but left the kids to figure it out themselves. The point of this article was to show the two different learning styles of children and which produced a more positive or productive outcome. One reader suggested that maybe the teacher should act as if she did not know how to work the toy but then figure it out and walk through the steps with the children until they figure it out. That was my thoughts as well. Isn't that what a teacher is suppose to do? our children to come to the correct answer/outcome??? But also is this style of learning to be left until they are of age to truly be able to understand what the teacher is trying to accomplish.
The whole "your baby can read" infomercials are a crack up. I don't want my baby to read..I want to read to him. I want to teach him his ABC's and then once it is time for preschool or Kindergarten he can further hone his reading skills. I have friends who are like "my baby can read" or "my sister's baby can already read at 2 years old"... oh isn't that special:). Learning is a beautiful thing and if your child can read at an early age that is great and I am not opposed to that but when it is forced and you become a "proud parent"..the kind of parent that boasts of their child's achievements to need to ask yourself if it is for the good of your child's education or for your own self worth.
I have friends who their child has not said more than a few words..when my son is talking up a storm...but their child excelled in walking way before or other skills that my son took forever to pick up.
In conclusion I think that the pressure on kids is so amazing these days. American kids are already stressed out by the time they reach elementary school. I remember my sister taking all these AP classes in High School and even Junior High. She was doing homework at all hours of the night and then had to read during the summer. She never got a break. She loves on the other hand I passed all my classes..never put much effort into anything "extra". Would be darned if I had to do anything school related during the summer and tried to finish all my homework within an hour of getting home or in homeroom.I never understood why we had to spend hours at school and then another few hours on homework. Completely different learning styles. I have to say my sister is smarter than me but I have an amazing job. She is still experiencing the college life...I never did. I worked my way up and maybe she will not have to. Hey but I have no school loans!!! Actually she got most of her schooling paid for because she is a smart smart girl! Two different roads but would either of us change it NO. We learn differently but are happy with the results. I think that is the approach that we are going to have to take with our little one. We really need to be aware of how he learns and if preschool will be right for him. Here are my pros and cons and then I will stop...didn't realize I had so much to say on this topic!!!!

  1. Make new friends..a good social outlet
  2. Learn from someone else other than Mommy and Daddy
  3. Rest for Mama...hehehehe
  1. Force learning too young..not enough free time to explore
  2. The cost of preschool
  3. Learn bad habits

P.S. I looked up Kiddie Kollege online and it came up. One in the area The Hubs grew I will have to ask The M-I-L if that was the one:).

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tie Dyed Eggs...literally!


I saw these eggs on Our Best Bites and could not believe that you can dye and egg using a 100% silk scarf. The print on the tie will actually transfer onto the egg. Eggcellent! You have to check this out...I see a thirft store run in my future!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Spring has Sprung!

I know we still have another week...but I bought some daffodils and Robin's Egg Whoppers at the store yesterday. That is spring for me:). Outside of my office window I can see the beautiful peach blossoms and this blue and yellow bird that visits it everyday. My bestie had her baby on Saturday... new life is all around me:) Happy Spring!
Miss Sydney!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Fat Tuesday Gumbo

I was craving some Louisiana was happy that Mardi Gras was coming up and I decided to make some Gumbo. I love this recipe. I have made it a few times before. A spicy bowl of goodness!!!!

2 TBS Flour
2 TBS Butter
1 Onion, diced
1 Green Bellpepper, diced
1 TBS Garlic, minced
2 c. Smoked Sausage, sliced
4 c. Chicken Breast, cooked, diced
4 c. Chicken Broth
1 28oz. can Diced Tomatoes
1 tsp. Dried Thyme
2 Bay Leaves
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/2# Shrimp deveined and tails removed
1 tsp File
s/p TT

  1. In a large pot combine Flour and Butter to make a roux.
  2. Add Onion, Bellpepper and Garlic. Saute 5 minutes.
  3. Add Sausage, Chix, Chix Broth, Tomaotes, Thyme, Bay Leaves and Cayenne Pepper.
  4. Simmer 45 minutes
  5. Add Shrimp, File and Salt and Pepper.
  6. Serve with rice.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Can I get a do-over???

Have you ever just wanted a do-over? A Mulligan? Or a complete renovation/makeover of your life? I have been at that point many times in my own life. I ask myself why did I not do this. Or why didn't I start something earlier in life? Why don't I have more self control...why didn't I share my true feelings...why didn't I get involved in the lives of others. I begin to examine my life and it is full of what ifs and why nots.
Being shy doesn't help these feelings of regret. I miss out on so many great events and relationships. The fear that runs my life is crippling at times. This is when I cry out to God and pray for a do-over. I tend to think I need to run away..start a new life...a life where no one knows that I am afraid...or knows of my short comings.I get an urge to transform my outer being about once a year. A makeover can make me feel like I am starting over...but we all know that it needs to be a makeover of the inside and not the outside. Praise God that each day is new. I don't need to start from the very beginning. God gives us a chance to start new each day..each moment. Can I get an "AMEN"?

"Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness
" Lamentations 3:21-23

The idea of this post came into my mind when I read this post. The blogger had picked up a book titled: Everything I Know I Learned from Home Improvement. One of the lines in the book that really made me think was from the chapter titled: Mistakes Create Possibilities. It states: "We all want a makeover because it feels like starting over. Yet we forget the real change requires planning and hard work". This is referring to a home makeover, but also is tying it into our own day to day lives. We think that if we do something so drastic that is will detract from the pain...fear...worry..or whatever is going on in our lives. By transforming the outside it will somehow make the inside change. But it couldn't be more opposite. We need to work hard and making the real change in our hearts and minds.

1 Samuel 16: 7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

I am thankful for the wonderful life I have. A loving husband...the cutest, smartest..most talented son:) and great friends and family. I am thankful that I don't need to start over...but if I did...I would hope I would come back as a Black read right....a Black Gospel Singer to be exact. And I would sing this song below all day to my Lord. Who knows maybe I do sound like a Gospel Singer to God...praying that at least when I get to heaven I can sing with some great power and soul!

Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
there is no shadow of turning with thee;
thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not;
as thou hast been thou forever will be.

Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
all I have needed thy hand hath provided;
great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
sun, moon and stars in their courses above
join with all nature in manifold witness
to thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Amy Sedaris' Vanilla Cupcakes

I needed a cupcake fix. I only had 2 sticks of butter so I had to make a small batch..but all I really needed was one cupcake...ok two. Amy Sedaris is a comedian/actress...I knew her name sounded familiar..recipe sounded I crossed my fingers and hoped this actress knew what she was doing...and she sure did. The cupcakes were moist and a perfect soft texture. I had to 1/2 the recipe...which always scares me..but they turned out great and I got a baker's dozen out of it. I also made a new recipe for the frosting. It was a mixture between a creamy buttercream and whipped frosting. I had to really make a small batch of this and it turned out really good. Here is the recipe for Amy Sedaris' Vanilla Cupcakes via Epicurious:

Amy Sedaris' Vanilla Cupcakes(Full recipe...I cut it in half)

October 2006
by Amy Sedaris

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 cups milk

Turn oven on to 375 degrees F.

Put butter in mixer and beat at medium speed until somewhat smooth. Pour in sugar and beat well. Add 2 eggs. I like to crack the eggs on the side of the bowl while it is moving, which can be really stupid. I like to take chances. Yes, I have had to throw away my batter because I lost eggshells in the mix. Yes, it was a waste of food and yes, I know how expensive butter is, but what can I say? I'm a daredevil. Mix well. Add: vanilla, baking powder, salt, flour, and milk. Beat until it looks like it is supposed to and pour into individual baking cups, until they are about 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Should produce 24 cupcakes; I get 18 because I'm doing something wrong, although my cupcakes were voted second best in the city by New York Magazine.
***Notes by Amy:) NY mag named them 2nd best and I can see why! She also has a buttercream recipe...but I had my heart set on trying a different one..I'll have to try it out and let you know what I think.

Oh and here is the Buttercrean Frosting recipe I used in case you are looking for something a little lighter(in texture not calories). Can't remember where I found it...some blog out in blogland.

Buttercream Frosting (Sorry no photo..having issues..I am not able to put more than one pic up...argghhh)

2 c. butter
4 c. powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt
1/4 c. milk or heavy cream ( I used milk..but want to try the heavy cream)

Beat butter and powdered sugar on low until creamed..then add remaining ingredients one at a time at medium speed for 3-4 minutes..until well combined and the desired consistency. Add more powdered sugar if it is too thin or less milk..whatever works for you.

Enjoy and happy baking!