The Baking Bug

Leave me home alone long enough and I will just start baking anything and everything.

Ok, wait. That sounds bad. I’m not saying I start putting random things in the oven. I’m saying I start making an overabundance of random food.

This time, it even extended beyond baked goods to cold foods as I made way too much “salsa” (sans peppers which I didn’t know were already moldy).

All together I have made a loaf of banana bread (in July), two loaves of honey wheat bread, about a gallon of salsa (may be slightly exaggerated, but only slightly), and 48 zucchini muffins in the month of August. And there’s still a week to go.

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Pups Save A Cake, The Remix

Last year I made a Paw Patrol cake for a certain little nugget’s third birthday, using frozen buttercream transfers to make the pups. This year, we did it again, but I decided to do it a little differently.

This time I made royal icing transfers. I also added a non-ghosty Marshall (“I want the ghost, too!”) and Ryder. At first I tried to make letters, but i kept smashing them with my hand as I was writing so i gave up and decided just to write it on the cake the right way around.

We used this strawberry cake recipe. Since the birthday boy loves to bake, he got to help make it. And, since his school was out that week, he also got to help shop for the ingredients. Which wasn’t all that exciting except we went to the grocery store with a Starbucks inside and got our drinks first.

He was very happy with the final outcome, and so were his friends at his impromptu birthday at the park playdate they were having anyway. Then again, you can’t go wrong with sugar on a birthday.

You Can Do Anything With The Internet

Lately we have been watching a lot of YouTube videos involving surprise eggs, PlayDoh, and food. We inevitably ended up on videos of people making those Japanese candy kits, which prompted a, “I wanna try that!” from the little one. So yesterday I went to the mall in search of some.

I started at the Tokyo Lifestyle store, where I tried to find the kit that looked the easiest to do, considering I was making it with a three-year-old, and none of us can read Japanese. I decided on the pudding, and also the chocolate and Oreo Pocky (the bottom row). Then I decided to try the Lolli and Pops store downstairs, since they have a pretty good international selection. I was also on the lookout for some cinnamon jelly beans and potentially some surprise eggs. They didn’t have only the cinnamon jelly beans and only had the Kinder Joys, not the plain chocolate eggs. But they did have gummies, another different flavor of Pocky, and my Pandas (which were also at the other store, but I was trying to be good). And, of course, I got taken in by the caramels hanging near the register.

Anyway, enough about the way too much candy I ended up buying. On to our adventures trying to make this kit. As you can see, the whole box is written in Japanese. My first thought was to re-download the Google translate app and just take pictures of each step. That turned out to be less than helpful. It translated well, but as often happens with straight translation, it wasn’t very understandable. After looking all over for pre-translated instructions, I finally just found this video on YouTube.

It took a lot of pausing and rewinding, but we managed to pull it together. It didn’t look quite like the picture, but it tasted really good. And isn’t that what making candy is all about?

I Rainbowed Bread

Sunday I decided to make bread. I made this decision around 1pm, went to the store, then came home and laid down until around 6pm. Which left me finishing the bread about 10:30pm. Because I’m good at planning like that. Oh well.

Anyway, I used this white sandwich bread recipe from Julia Child which created two loaves of bread. I only rainbowed the one because getting this:

Rainbow-ing some bread. Fingers crossed. #latenightbaking

A post shared by Casey Kay B (@caseykayb) on

took about thirty minutes and was only one loaf. Next time I will split the whole thing into seven and dye it before splitting for the two loaves.

Another thing I learned doing this is that, while the glass storage container is roughly the same size as the bread tin and is oven safe, it doesn’t exactly let go of the bread very easily. Even with cooking spray. So I’ll probably be better off just getting a second bread tin like I contemplated at the grocery store.

Overall, the rainbowing process was really simple. After the first rise, I added food coloring to the dough by making a little dimple in the ball and dropping the food coloring in before kneading it with my fingers. It does get a little messy, so I would lay down a cutting board or maybe even parchment paper, and possibly consider gloves. The food coloring will wash off, but it will take a few washings. I’m just saying, if you make this bread in the middle of the day and are planning to go places afterward, probably best to protect your hands.

More Kitchen Experimentation

Last week I wrote about making a body butter lotion. I really like “sciencey” DIY projects like that. It’s always so cool to be able to make things like that myself. So when I came across a string of Lush substitute DIY posts on Pinterest, I knew I had to try them.

The first project I tried was the bath bomb recipe found here. Super simple, just four ingredients (I left out the colors). I don’t really get to take baths often, but I do like using those shower melt things to help with congestion. I tried one once that was just baking soda and peppermint oil, but it didn’t really have enough smell to it and washed away too quickly. But these new ones work great. Lasted a lot longer than the plain baking soda cake in the shower stream, too.

Another simple one I found was the sugar lip scrub. I didn’t bother pricing it out, but it uses so little of each of the ingredients there’s no way it’s not a better deal than the $10 it costs at Lush. Plus, it really is just things you probably have around the house. One tip for using that recipe, though: I had to add almost twice as much sugar to get the right consistency.

3/4 Finished

Three months left in 2015 (and only 86 days to Christmas. Not to induce panic in anyone who may be ill-prepared for the “making season”…I should start some things), so it’s a good time for me to start panicking taking stock of where I am sitting with my goals for the year.*

You can read all about the original list here, but I’m just going to jump into the ones I have actually done something about.

Videos

IN nine months I have filmed and uploaded a grand total of…one video. Not looking very good for hitting my goal of ten videos this year. The videos I am wanting to make are going to take time and thus keep getting pushed aside for my other projects that keep coming up and take priority.

Projects

I am doing much better on this goal because the quicker projects average out nicely with the longer ones. Official count is 51:

  • 10 Sewing repairs of clothes/toys
  • 8 Baked goods
  • 7 Knitting projects
  • 6 Newly sewn items
  • 5 Beading projects
  • 4 Cross-stitch pieces
  • 2 Rubberband loom guys
  • 2 Paper projects
  • 2 Crochet projects
  • 2 Painted shirts
  • 2 “Building” (as in furniture-putting-together) projects
  • and

  • 1 Set of Woven coasters

I think next year I will break that category into its sub-categories. It’s obviously a lot quicker to patch a shirt (most of the time) than it is to make a new one.

Posting

This is the easiest one to keep track of, especially with the handy new chart on the stats page:

I’ve done well for a couple months at a time, then basically not posted for a month at a time.

All this reflecting brings up the question: How do you stay motivated to try to finish a project as the deadline approaches? Specifically when you are pretty sure there is no way you will meet the deadline?

*In case you haven’t noticed, these posts are my way of putting something up when I can’t really be bothered to write something. Or when I don’t have pictures for what I wanted to write. Because they are stuck in the computer that is currently unplugged and my laptop doesn’t have the right program to use that library.

Pups Save A Cake

The little one has become obsessed with the show Paw Patrol over the summer. And with an end of summer birthday, that meant he knew just what he wanted for his birthday cake (instead of the “George and the man with the yellow hat” cake he had been asking for since his brother’s birthday): “Paw ‘trol wit Rubble sleeping on da grass and da Pup Pup Boogie Monster.”

I used the frozen buttercream transfer method to create the pieces. I found pictures from Google and put them together like that in Photoshop, created the “Happy Birthday” shield, then flipped it all so it would turn out the right side up.

I got a bit creative with mixing the colors so I only had to make one batch of icing for the decoration. I also baked a strawberry cake from this recipe, which is the only one I could find that didn’t use strawberry Jello. Then I had to make a second cake to turn it into a full cake because:

Once that was solved, and the cake was frosted, I pulled the tray from the freezer, flipped it over on top of the cake, and peeled off the parchment paper. All I had to do after that was add the smaller details and it was ready for the party.

Making the cake this way was super simple and created some really nice decorations. Way better than it would’ve turned out had I tried to draw them all on with icing.

Have you ever used icing transfers? Do you bake birthday cakes, or just order them from the store?