Thursday, March 28, 2013

Low Carb "Baked Potato"

To many low carbers out there...this is most likely old news to you...but just in case, I thought I would share anyway

In the very beginning of me adapting this lifestyle 3 things quickly became my staples:

Cream Cheese
& Cauliflower

As more time passes and I begin experimenting more other things are being added as staples but these 3 were my go tos in the very early days

Now, I already loved cauliflower anyway but once you begin eating LC you realize what an incredibe vegetable it is so versatile

Here is one of my favorite ways to eat a baked "fauxtatoe"

Here I am having it completely loaded ....bacon, green onion, sour cream,cheese, salt pepper.....all the goods

As you should know low carb means you can eat high fat, so you can have that sour cream, bacon, and that ribeye I have right there and not feeling like you're missing out at all

Just steam (or microwave) cauliflower florettes and eat it just as you would potato. I like to mash it up a little and leave some lumpy...I like the mix of textures

I started doing this alot because at my job we have baked potato bar as an entree every few weeks or so.   It became one of my favorite lunches.  The first time I finally made it at home The Boy gobbled it down and said  "Why have I never had this until now?   We need to do this more often"

I think that means he likes it?.....

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Camping Themed Gift Wrap

If you look under my "Creative Gift Wrapping" label (left side of screen) you'll probably notice that cool gift wrap is our thang

Whether The Boy is making  me a Dharma Drop, or we make a Perry the Platypus box we like to keep things in line with the theme....and of course super cool

Since Elsa was having a Camping themed party we thought a camper gift box would be the way to go

I wish I could take credit for this one....but this is all The Boys' hard work.  I was too busy working on the S'mores Cake , so while I baked and decorated, he sat at the kitchen table and whipped this snazzy thing up


Just a plain old box I brought home from work

Then after some white paper, hot glue, carboard wheels, and some marker action.......................

Notice the purposely uneven blinds? We thought it gave realistic effect

Cute little tow hitch

 Sleeping bags strapped to the top

Spare tire, an Oklahoma license plate (the state she was born in) and some creepy eyes looking out the window

The pressure was on as she picked our gift to open first

But I think we passed

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Giant S'mores Cake Tutorial

My favorite cakes to make.... well...I kind of hate making all cakes now. The fun got completely sucked out of it when it was a side business that completely took over my life and home and made me hate it....alot....but I digress.  

I should rephrase it to "The cakes that don't make me want to bash my head in nearly as soon into the process" are cakes that are more kitchy and fun like my Giant Hamburger Cake, or the time I made a hairy butt crack cake...or this cake that's a giant Smore.   These are the kind I enjoy more

The cakes that are 2 tiered with stripes, polka dots, little balls, or EXACT replicas of decorations drive me crazy

(Where is this cake anger coming from?  Whoa Nelly)

The second my sister told me Elsa was having a camping themed birthday the image of a giant smore would not leave my head

So I set to work. 

After a long day at work. 

All night. 

Covered in sugar.  

Till 2 AM.  

But it's all good

You will need (2) 3in square cakes and (1) 9 inch round 

If you want to fill your cakes then slice them across the middle and fill. I find that partially frozen cakes are much easier to slice.  Make sure that if you are filling it with something different then just the same frosting that you are covering it with then you will need to "dam" it to keep it from seeping out the sides.

On this layer I did chocolate frosting as my filling and marshmallow butter cream was going to cover the cake

Put the top on and then frosted it with the marshmallow butter cream.  Then I covered the entire thing in homemade marshmallow fondant dyed tan.  This will serve as the bottom graham cracker of our smore

Then next layer was our "chocolate bar"  Take one of your square cakes and trim the sides a little bit so it's a tiny bit smaller than the bottom cake and repeat the process, only this time I did the frostings reversed from the last time.  I cut and filled it with the marshmallow and then covered the entire cake with the chocolate buttercream and DIDN"T cover it with fondant because I wanted to keep that melty frosting look

Now me just being me....I would have stacked the layers perfectly, but The Boy convinced me to put it on a little twisted so it would look more you just threw this smore together.

Totally not what I would have done on my own but I think I like it 

See those things stuck into the cake?  Those are bubble tea straws....the big wide straws.  I used them as supports in my cake as opposed to just dowels.  They are easier to cut and are awesome at bearing the weight of cake tiers.  Just cut them all the same height right at the cake height

For the next layer it's the marshmallow of course!  Cut and fill your 9 inch round cake.  If you're wondering why I said 9 in when the squares are all 8 inch...let me explain.   

You now how when you make a smore for real once you put the toasted marshmallow on and you push down on it with the top graham cracker and it kind oozes over the side?  Well that's what I was going for.  I wanted it to be a smidge bigger so it would look like it got pressed down in the sandwich making process.  Does that make sense?  A smooshing effect?

If it doesn't make sense at all you can ignore me completely and use and 8 inch round

After I cut and filled it I covered it in plain white fondant  (for that smooth marshmallow look) and placed it on a piece of cardboard the exact same size as the cake . I made a small hole in the middle of the cardboard before hand

Then, I placed a dowel, (or in this case a skewer) in the middle of the bottom two layers of cake and gently lined up the hole in the cardboard with the skewer and pushed it down.  This way the cake "sits" on those straws I put in the cake and doesn't push down on the cake and smoosh it

If I were placing this layer on top of a fondant layered cake it would be no problem, but since this was going on top of a frosted cake I cut out a small circle of waxed paper that would keep the frosting going all over the top cake board

Then I made another graham cracker the same way I did the other one and stuck it on top of the marshmallow

I used some of my old cake decorating tool....the ones with the ball ends (I don't know the names of these things...obviously) to make the little dimples and the one that looks like a little spatula to make the perforated lines


With this design I planned that when it came to cake cutting time I would take off the top 2 layers and cut those two layers together as "slices"  then move onto the bottom two layers and slice those up.

It was delicious!  Graham cracker flavored cake, chocolate, and marshmallow.  

Here's the picture I posted on instagram that night of the finished cake along with my poor sugar coated kitchen

Cake messes are the worst because the sugar ends up EVERYWHERE.  And when it's 2am and you're tired and cranky the aftermath will literally make you want to cry....or maybe that's just me

The birthday girl loved it.  In the midst of the cake eating frenzy with her friends she even made a point to leave the table and ran over to me in the other room to give me a hug and say thank you.  I guess that makes the kitchen disaster a little worth it ;)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Camping Party Games & Activites

I think it's always best to start a kids party off with something that sort of a singular activity....that way they can work on it themselves and hang out instead of everyone sitting around waiting for that last kid to arrive so the games can start

That activity was to color drawstring bags with a camping scene

My sister bought these bags from Oriental Trading and a couple packs of fabric markers

And the backpacks served as their loot bag to take everything home

Next up we had a bug hunt.  We hid a bunch of fake bugs all around the backyard and gave each of them a mini tin can to collect as many as they could find

There were 2 "Super bugs" that we marked with red nail polish.  Who ever found those got a Snoopy camping coloring book as a prize

Next they played a modified version of cornhole (we only went up to 3) 

After they won they got to pick out 2 of these little camping duckies (also from oriental trading)

After cornhole they got to practice some archery

We made each kid a PVC bow that they could take home....(I promise I will post a tutorial on how we made them's much too long for this post)


These kids were really good...much better than I expected.  Seems kids these days have a natural ability for stuff like that....I one the other hand took many many tries before I shot one correctly haha

Followed by some pretend play in the campsite

Being a group of 8 year old girls this of course included a ton of screaming......good thing this wasn't a sleepover party......geesh!

Next up....weenie roast!

We wanted to capture the fun of a weenie roast but without the open flames because A.) It was 80 degrees that day and B.) Big open flames didn't seem like a good idea

So here is what I came up with

I found these votive candles for 50c each at Walmart  (It had a sticker I peeled off)

I measured around the holder and made a flame template that would fit nicely around

Then cut out the flames in both red and orange...along with 6 logs for each candle

I used Mod Podge to glue down the flames and logs

This way each kid got their own personal campfire to roast their weenies

We used Lil Smokies

It was alot of fun.  We cooked those right before lunch so they could eat them with their big hot dogs and mini burgers

And last but not least.....the trail mix bar!

This was the last activity before they went home

We had allllll sorts of goodies.  M&Ms, cheesy popcorn, peanuts, raisin, cinnamon teddy name it!

Oh and I certainly can't forget the pictures

This backdrop was from Oriental Trading and matched the tablecloths and decorations 

That about sums it up

It was more than enough activities to fill up the time but nothing felt too forced...all the kids seemed to have fun

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Camping Party Food

Luckily camping food tends to be pretty kid friendly

So we had Mac & cheese, beans, hot dogs

And little mini burgers

Of course chips was a must....what's a party without chips

These were cute in the dutch oven

Utensils were held in little tins and the napkins in a cast iron pan

We had a veggie tray and used christmas tree picks that were leftover along with fly picks I made....the same flies I made for the outhouse sign

Stuck them around in the buns too

It was good eats

Also....I wasn't sure what post topic to file this under....but since it is edible I guess I'm going with the food post

Since we were having smores flavored birthday cake (post to come) we didn't want to be overly redundant and have them make smores at the party 


That meant giving out smore making kits to take home and eat

I had these little brown boxes with the window leftover from the cupcake favors from my wedding.

I've had them in a big bag all assembled for over a year....but I just couldn't throw them away.  I'm so glad they got put to good use

Since the boxes were sort of large in comparison to the ingreidnts, we put a little paper shred in the bottom to bump it up a little bit

Then just put in enough ingredients for a few smores

We just put them in a basket by the door so we wouldn't forget to give them out and told them to make it in the microwave

This way even after the party was over they still got one "smore" camping experience.......see what I did there?   

I crack myself up