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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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
- 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.
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.
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?
And I mean trashy in the best way possible. As in a trash truck shaped cake for a trash truck obsessed two-year-old. Before we jump in, perhaps I shall explain what I mean by a semi-tutorial. Basically, it’s my way of telling the story of how I baked this cake in a way that maybe helps you avoid any mistakes I made along the way, or at least let’s you point and laugh at me. I used two easily available recipes for this project: Hershey’s Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake Recipe and Best White Icing Ever Recipe. I’ll make a note of any changes as I go along.
First, let’s bake the cake, as I did on Saturday afternoon.
You have to start by prepping the pan. Since I was making two sheet cakes and only had one 9×13 inch pan, I used parchment paper to make liners so i could just switch from one cake to the other without having to clean the pan in between. Plus, it helps the cake come out easier.
- Grab a pencil, your pan, some parchment paper, and a ruler if you want to be more precise. I had intended to actually measure things, and then just decided it was easier to trace the whole thing and shove the results in the pan.
- Tear off a piece of parchment paper large enough to cover your pan with at least two inches overlap on each side (considering the pan is usually 9x13x2 inches).
- Trace (or draw with your ruler) the bottom and sides of the pan as if you were peeling the pan apart at the edges.
- When you cut the paper out, don’t cut off the tabs created on the short ends. Instead, use them to wrap around so there won’t be any holes for cake batter to seep into the pan.
Once you have your pan ready, preheat the oven and grab your ingredients. This is the place where I differed from the cake recipe. Rather than peppermint, I just used dark chocolate chunks. But otherwise I kept all the ingredients the same.
Start by stirring your “wet” ingredients together: the butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. While that is stirring in the mixer, you can move on to the dry ingredients which I always like to put through the sifter.
You could also just stir them in a bowl with a whisk, but that is less fun. Now it’s time to add the dry ingredients into the mixing bowl that has now been running way longer than the three minutes or so the recipe suggested, alternating with the water. Don’t worry about my cloudy water in that picture. The measuring cup I was using did not have 1 1/3 marked so I filled it to 1 and added 1/3 using the same cup as I had used to measure the cocoa powder. We don’t have cloudy water coming out of the pipes.
Once you have that all stirred together and you stir in the chocolate chunks that have been forgotten in the window and are starting to get quite soft, it’s time to pour the batter into the pan, wash all the dishes, and start over again to make the batter for the next cake while it bakes. Then you can let both cakes cool on the counter, continually checking over you shoulder to make sure the dog doesn’t jump up and decide to eat them, all afternoon while you feed, clean, and play with the soon-to-be-birthday-boy who has no idea why he smells cake but doesn’t get to eat any.
Now that we have the cakes ready, we can decorate them. And by that I mean combine them into one and decorate it. But I will save that for tomorrow since this is getting incredibly long.
After watching this Nerdy Nummies episode, I have been determined to make Lego Piñata cookies.
Unfortunately, I’ve been having a ridiculous time trying to find rectangular shaped cookie cutters. They were completely sold out at Michael’s this morning, so I finally just let the baby decide what shape our cookies were going to be and what shape we should put on top. He picked circles for the main cookie and stars for the topper, so what popped into my mind was Tommy’s bouncy ball:
I still made all four colors of the cookies:
(See, I’m even watching the Nerdy Nummies playlist in the background.)
And I set the out in groups so I could alternate the colors.
Unlike the original ball, I tried not to repeat any colors in each cookie. Due to my inability to divide the dough correctly, I ended up with three cookies worth of blue and yellow, but only two cookies worth of red and green. So some colors got repeated.
The filling suggested in the video is mini M&Ms, but we found candy covered sunflower seeds to go in the centers of these instead. I just didn’t take any pictures of that part.
The two cookie cutters I used to make the center cookies were really close in size, so the center rings were a bit flimsy:
(Hey, is that the O from the Nickel-O-Zone? Anyone else even remember that? Just me? Yeah, pretty sure that’s just me.)
To fix them a bit, I put the cookie cutter onto the baking sheet and sort of pressed the O back into the right shape so it would fit well in the middle.
I don’t know that any of the kids I’m feeding these cookies to would get the reference if I explained it to them, but I’m sure there have to be at least a few people out there who still get it. 🙂