i am baker http://iambaker.net Confections & Creations Fri, 24 Oct 2014 11:53:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 the better homes and gardens experience (giveaway) http://iambaker.net/the-better-homes-and-gardens-experience/ http://iambaker.net/the-better-homes-and-gardens-experience/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 11:12:58 +0000 http://iambaker.net/?p=45643 Touring BHG
I am thankful to BHG for allowing me this opportunity and helping to sponsor this blog! Sometimes an opportunity comes along that is simply too amazing to pass up.  I had to move mountains to attend the 1st annual (I gave it that ‘annual’ label, but with the overwhelming success of the first event I... 

Read More »]]>
Touring BHG

I am thankful to BHG for allowing me this opportunity and helping to sponsor this blog!
Sometimes an opportunity comes along that is simply too amazing to pass up.  I had to move mountains to attend the 1st annual (I gave it that ‘annual’ label, but with the overwhelming success of the first event I can’t think of a single reason why it wouldn’t be happen every year!) Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Cookies Experience.

When you have five kids, a hard working hubby, and very limited family able to come and stay with said five kids, making time to attend lavish functions like this are just not part of my reality.

But it was Better Homes and Gardens.  I mean, da.

The experience started off on Friday evening.  Myself, a few other bloggers and just about 100 BHG fans were treated to an evening of decadent cocktails, perfectly paired appetizers, finger foods as well as adorable desserts.

The whole event was a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach!  The mingling was the stuff you read in the society section.  First I met an executive from the New York offices then a mother and daughter from LA who were fabulous then the Editor in Chief of Better Homes and Gardens, Gayle Butler.

I walked up to her and three other editors at the magazine and nervously said,

“Hi Nancy!  It’s so nice to meet you!”

Then glanced down and realized I had just called Gayle Butler the wrong name.  And I threw up in my mouth a little.  And almost pretended to have a heart attack just because that seemed like it would be less awkward.

But Gayle, perfectly living up to the charming and graceful reputation she has earned, didn’t bat and eye and we had a lovely chat.  She was kind.  She was interested.  She was interesting!

My right eye still twitches uncontrollably when I think about it.

After a very short presentation from all the editors, we mingled some more and headed back to the hotel.  The next day was starting early, and for a very good reason.  It was jam packed full of events and sessions!

This is what Saturday looked like:

7:30 am Holiday Pancake Breakfast 
8:30 am How to Throw the Perfect Open House 
10:00 am Hands-on Test Kitchen Sessions 
11:00 am Never-Fail Holiday Menu with Scott Peacock (includes lunch) 
1:30 pm Magically Delicious Desserts with Gesine Bullock-Prado
3:00 pm Hands-on Test Kitchen Sessions 

4:00 pm Holiday Slow Cookers Reimagined 
5:30 to 7 pm Holiday Happy Hour 
7:30 pm Tastes of the Season Dinner* 

Now, if you are like me you are thinking… that is A LOT going on in one day!

But I have to tell you, it was perfectly done.  The sessions were entertaining and delightful.  The staff at Better Homes and Gardens has a killer sense of humor… we were laughing most of the day!  Quirky and spunky and just plain delightful.  Such a great bunch!  And we were fed fantastic food all. day. long.

Sidenote:  They all have amazing fashion sense too.  No matter the theme, be it dressy or casual, everyone looked adorable and refined and stunning.

One of my favorite parts was when Jan Miller (the magazine’s Executive Food Editor) was up on stage.  Her personality is hilarious and contagious.  I could have watched her and her cohorts all day!

Nancy Hopkins (deputy Food Editor) was also a surprise to me.  Here are these brilliant, accomplished, well traveled and well-connected insightful women, and they were friendly.  Funny.  Personable.  After the weekend, I felt like I could call her my girlfriend!

They put all my preconceived notions about high-powered executive women to shame!

And then Jennifer Darling handed me a Crock Pop.  In true BHG style, it was the grandest of presentations and they came out saying, “YOU GET A CROCK POT AND YOU GET A CROCK POT AND YOU GET A CROCK POT!”  I died.  It was genius and such a treat!

It was an absolute honor to hear Scott Peacock talk about all things egg.  (and other fascinating information of course!) He is one of the most charming and witty people I have ever had the privilege of meeting.  When he gave his presentation I was on the edge of my seat.  I didn’t want it to end!  Thankfully he made an appearance at lunch (which was also his menu, distinctive and enjoyable!) and answered question after question and posed with adoring fan after adoring fan.  #itwasme #fangirl

Since I love desserts it was interesting to learn from the brilliant Gesine Bullock-Prado.  Her knowledge in all things pastry and sweet confections is second to none.  And honestly, she is just darn funny!

My face is all red and puffy because I couldn’t stop drinking wine. It was worth it. 

In the evening, we were treated to a four-course meal with wine pairings.  The food was exquisite.  Heavenly.  The company even better.

The editors and staff at Better Homes and Gardens did it right.  Every detail was perfectly executed and every provision thought out ahead of time.  We, as the attendees, were treated like royalty.  Like our opinions mattered and were appreciated.

Jocelyn of Grandbaby Cakes, Allie from Baking a Moment, Alice from Hip Foodie Mom and

Julianne from Beyond Frosting

While touring the facility we got to see the cover of the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book.  Today I am not only am I sharing a recipe with you, but I am GIVING AWAY one copy!!

But first, the recipe.

I had a hard time narrowing down what I was going to make, so I didn’t.  I made five recipes the first week I was home after the event!  But this one was so beautiful I had to share.

fettuccine alfredo

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces dried fettuccine
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Grated or finely shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)

Instructions

  1. Cook fettuccine according to package directions.
  2. In a large saucepan melt butter then add cream, salt and pepper.
  3. Bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat and boil gently for 3 to 5 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese.
  6. Drain pasta.
  7. Add pasta to hot sauce.
  8. Toss to combine.
  9. Transfer to warm serving dish. Serve immediately. If desired, sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese, Makes 4 servings.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin

Recipe shared from Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book with permission.

This beautiful recipe was so easy and so delicious, next time I may need to double it just to keep my family happy!

And now, for that giveaway!

Simply tell me, “What is your favorite thing about Better Homes and Gardens?”  Click on the box right below this to get entered.  (please be patient, it may take a moment to load)

OFFICIAL RULES HERE

This giveaway is open to residents of the United States and Canada.

Check out my friend Jocelyn’s perspective of the BHG event as well!

]]>
http://iambaker.net/the-better-homes-and-gardens-experience/feed/ 14
Puppy Chow surprise-inside cake http://iambaker.net/puppy-chow-surprise-inside-cake/ http://iambaker.net/puppy-chow-surprise-inside-cake/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 12:29:25 +0000 http://iambaker.net/?p=45630 Puppy Chow Surprise Inside Cake HOW TO
I love this cake. Every little thing about it.  From the amazing chocolate flavor to the chocolate sprinkles to the glorious surprise waiting inside. Delicious. Beautiful. (in my opinion!) and Easy. Let’s get to it! After assembling the layers of this cake I covered it in a thin coat of buttercream.  I used about 1... 

Read More »]]>
Puppy Chow Surprise Inside Cake HOW TO

I love this cake.

Every little thing about it.  From the amazing chocolate flavor to the chocolate sprinkles to the glorious surprise waiting inside.

Delicious. Beautiful. (in my opinion!) and Easy.

Let’s get to it!

After assembling the layers of this cake I covered it in a thin coat of buttercream.  I used about 1 cup of chocolate sprinkles and gently pressed them into the cake.

After the cake was covered I used a fondant smoother to press them in further and to get the clean, sharp lines you see here.  Although I lightened it a bit (we are already losing light so quickly here in Minnesota!) this picture is basically straight out of my camera.

But lets take a step back.  Just how did I assemble it?

I started with three 6-inch chocolate cakes.  After chilling them, I used a 3-inch round cookie cutter and cut out the center of one of the cakes.

I then placed a thin layer of chocolate buttercream around the edge of the cake with the center cut out.

Next, I placed the cake with the center cut out on top of one of the other layers, frosting side down.  We want the frosting to act as a glue.

I filled the cake with that fabulous Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow.

Added another thin layer of chocolate buttercream around the edge.

Finally placed the last layer on top.

I chilled my cake at this point, as I find it easier to cover in frosting when the cake is stable and firm.

Cover with thin layer of chocolate buttercream and then sprinkles. (as directed above)

And now we are back to here.

Ready to see the surprise?

So fun right?

And totally delicious.  Pumpkin. Chocolate.  More chocolate.  Crunchy Chex® cereal bits.  It’s stinkin awesome!!!

For a cake.  I mean, it’s not world peace or anything. #da

Here is the nitty gritty:

Prepare a batch of Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow. (Give yourself a few hours for it to cool and harden.)

Prepare a chocolate cake (you can use box mix or this wonderful Chocolate Cake recipe) in three 6-inch round cake pans.
Remove cakes from pans and chill until they are very firm.

Prepare chocolate buttercream.

Follow directions above for assembly.

Chill cake until ready to serve.

And there you have it!  How to prepare a Chocolate Buttercream Sprinkle Covered Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow Surprise-Inside Cake!

Say that three times fast.

If you like this cake be sure to check out my new book, Surprise-Inside Cakes!

]]>
http://iambaker.net/puppy-chow-surprise-inside-cake/feed/ 14
candy corn cupcakes http://iambaker.net/candy-corn-cupcakes/ http://iambaker.net/candy-corn-cupcakes/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 12:15:19 +0000 http://iambaker.net/?p=45601 Candy Corn Inspired Cupcakes with pure Candy Corn Glaze!
This post is sponsored by McCormicks. What’s for dessert?  Cupcakes.  Glorious dual-toned, frosting piled high, covered in an obscene sweet glaze decadent cupcakes. Imagine if you are in grade school, and have been sitting in class all morning.  The tick-tock of the clock is constant, and you are full of energy, waiting so impatiently for... 

Read More »]]>
Candy Corn Inspired Cupcakes with pure Candy Corn Glaze!

This post is sponsored by McCormicks.

What’s for dessert?  Cupcakes.  Glorious dual-toned, frosting piled high, covered in an obscene sweet glaze decadent cupcakes.

Imagine if you are in grade school, and have been sitting in class all morning.  The tick-tock of the clock is constant, and you are full of energy, waiting so impatiently for the lunch bell to ring.

Consonants and pronouns and quizzes and tests are just another thing keeping you from a cold milk, peanut butter & jelly and being able to talk with your friends about whatever you want.

Finally!  Lunch time.

Opening your lunch box yields the greatest surprise of all time… a CUPCAKE!  And not just any cupcake, a cupcake covered in more frosting than you have ever seen!  On top of that frosting is a sweet sticky orange glaze.  Without hesitation you stick your finger into it, as knowing what it tastes like suddenly becomes the most important thing in the world.

The first taste is utterly sweet… and confusing.  What is it?  Familiar, but hard to place.  You pull the entire cupcake out of your lunch box and see all the glorious color.  Candy Corn!  That glaze tastes just like candy corn!

Everyone is oohing and aahing.  They all want some, but it’s all yours.

You sit back, revel in being the coolest kid at the lunch table and think to yourself, “I am totally going to clean my room when I get home. My mom rocks.”

candy corn cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1 package (2-layer size) white cake mix
  • 2 teaspoons McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
  • Yellow & Red McCormick® Food Coloring
  • Candy Corn Glaze
  • 1 bag candy corn, 11 ounce size
  • 1/4 cup water

Instructions

  1. Prepare cake mix as directed on package, adding vanilla.
  2. Divide batter in half.
  3. Tint one batch yellow with 1/3 teaspoon yellow food color. Tint second batch orange with 1/4 teaspoon yellow food color and 1/8 teaspoon red food color.
  4. Fill each paper-lined muffin cup 1/3 full with orange batter. Gently add yellow batter on top of orange batter, filling each muffin cup 2/3 full. Bake as directed on package for cupcakes. Cool cupcakes on wire rack.
  5. Candy Corn Glaze
  6. Reserve 1/4 cup of candy corn then place the remainder of the 11-ounce bag in a medium saucepan. Pour in 1/4 cup water and heat on low for about 10-15 minutes. You will want to candy corn to be melted completely.
  7. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. You will want to cover cupcakes while glaze is still warm, but not hot.
  8. Using a spoon, drizzle glaze over frosting.
  9. Decorate tops of cupcake extra candy corn pieces. (not shown in picture)
  10. Can be done 1-2 days in advance.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin

Recipe shared with permission from McCormick.

At least, that is what I envision would happen.  More likely than not, the cupcake would get schmooshed on the way to school and frosting would be all over the lunchbox, the sandwich, the milk, the apple.  My precious little darling would have her lunchbox held up to her face unabashedly licking every last bit of frosting from every last surface.  She would then have frosting in her hair, on her eyelashes, all over her face and hands.

Maybe this is better suited as an after school snack!

A couple things:

The first time I made this glaze (candy corn schootcharoo bars) I played around with it quite a bit.  I think it works best at a lukewarm temperature for drizzling over cupcakes.  The cooler it gets the more firm it gets and therefor harder to drizzle.  Once you are done covering the cupcakes I would place an remaining glaze in an air tight storage container and clean out the pan.

I did my candy corn cupcakes in opposite color order.  This was entirely for vanity purposes!  I just liked how it looks with the orange on top and bottom and the yellow breaking it up a bit.  The recipe is written how I did it, but if you want a traditional candy corn cupcake, be sure to put the yellow batter on the bottom.

While this recipe is written to use a box mix, you can most certainly use your favorite white cake or yellow cake recipe.

I love this buttercream recipe for bright white frosting.

If you want to use a bit less frosting I think this style of cupcake decorating would be lovely and would allow the glaze to pool just beautifully on the cupcake. (and would be more lunch box friendly!)

These sweet little treats are definitely perfect for the occasional seasonal indulgence.  The bright colors and billowing frosting take ‘eating with your eyes’ to a whole new level!  And of course, are the ideal treat for anyone who loves candy corn!

]]>
http://iambaker.net/candy-corn-cupcakes/feed/ 30
criticism and community http://iambaker.net/criticism-and-community/ http://iambaker.net/criticism-and-community/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 12:19:49 +0000 http://iambaker.net/?p=45563 Grateful Joy
I was lolly gaging along on Pinterest and this popped up on my screen. see more from Ann Voskamp Talk about convicting. I am so guilty of jumping to criticism.  So guilty of letting a small hurt or an unintentional rejection lead me to a path of character destruction. And when I say lead me,... 

Read More »]]>
Grateful Joy

I was lolly gaging along on Pinterest and this popped up on my screen.

see more from Ann Voskamp

Talk about convicting.

I am so guilty of jumping to criticism.  So guilty of letting a small hurt or an unintentional rejection lead me to a path of character destruction.

And when I say lead me, I fully mean that I lead myself, allow myself, to go to a place of criticism of others just to pacify my hurt feelings.

Most recently the discomfort stemmed from social events that I was not included in.

I can’t help but think:

I thought we were friends?  Is it my hair?  The car I drive?  My inability to keep silent for longer than 7 seconds?  My faith?

Do you know what I am doing? Rationalizing my perceived ‘rejection’.

It has to be “something wrong with me”.

When people are getting together they are not ‘rejecting’ me, they are simply living their lives in the best way they know how.  Quite frankly, it just has nothing to do with me.  (And honestly, if my exclusion is intentional, then isn’t it for the best that I am not there?)

I am just not comfortable judging others motives right now.  It’s far too easy to look at someone and think they they have it all, that they have everything I want in my life, that the grass is greener where they are.

I am only seeing their highlight reel.

I think it’s safe to say that coffee dates and parties exist to strengthen the existing relationships these folks have, and if so, I am ALL about that!  We should be doing all we can to strengthen the bonds that already exist.

The idea of girlfriends (new and old) creating time to get together to discuss commonalities and support each other and to have fellowship is exactly the type of behavior we need more of.  That is what community is.

Here is where I have had enlightenment of late: While these things are the exact definition of exclusive, that is what they should be.

Where do I grow the most?  In a crowded room of 1000 acquaintances or in a small setting where individual voices are heard?  In the smaller group of course. (There is a time and place for large groups, it just depends on what you are seeking to learn.)

We all have friends and bonds that create a feel of exclusivity among others.  Just because a group of friends gets together does not mean it is at the expense of others, no matter how it feels.<— I need to remember that!

When I LOOK for ways to feel bad about others choices, I find them.

When I LOOK for ways to see contentment in others choices, well, I will find it.

When I am thankful and grateful for the life I am living (not stuck in a place of jealously and envy) that is when I find myself understanding why people do what they do. Accepting. Understanding. Feeling content.

Feeling true contentment in my life has awakened a new love in me.  I am finding it easier (every single day as I am always trying to grow!) to accept people for who they are right where they are.

When I am focusing on loving the life I have, THAT is when opportunities find a way of presenting themselves. The RIGHT opportunities.  Some of these social get togethers are not right for me right now. God knows exactly where I need to be and where my focus needs to be.  (On HIS will, not my own!)

I choose to feel grateful that I have a family that needs me and allows me to grow with love.

I choose to feel joy for others when they get to experience relationships in a new and more cherished way.

I choose to be kind to others not because I want something in return, but because that is what enriches my soul.

Next time a situation comes up that I start to feel that twinge of jealousy or resentment over what others are doing I hope I am still in a place of acceptance.

Next time I irrationally jump to critical conclusions about others choices I hope one of my friends smacks me upside the head and reminds me to take note of my blessings.

But just in case I fall prey to the gossip and criticism that so quickly invade my brain, here is a great list of things that happy people do.

Tribute to Stephen Covey

Because I believe that living a good life is a choice and not a reflection of our circumstances, I know that I need to be intentional with my thoughts and actions.  This is my daily prayer… for me and you!

Please let me know how I can more specifically be in prayer for you.

]]>
http://iambaker.net/criticism-and-community/feed/ 18
vanilla cinnamon chocolate ombre pancakes http://iambaker.net/vanilla-cinnamon-chocolate-ombre-pancakes/ http://iambaker.net/vanilla-cinnamon-chocolate-ombre-pancakes/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 12:07:02 +0000 http://iambaker.net/?p=45554 Vanilla Cinnamon Chocolate Ombre Pancakes
One of my favorite cakes in my book is the Ombre Cake.  The main reason I love it is because it screams masculine to me, and that is not always easy with a buttercream flower petal covered cake!  I happened to catch a quick glance at it the other day (it’s on my sidebar of... 

Read More »]]>
Vanilla Cinnamon Chocolate Ombre Pancakes

One of my favorite cakes in my book is the Ombre Cake.  The main reason I love it is because it screams masculine to me, and that is not always easy with a buttercream flower petal covered cake!  I happened to catch a quick glance at it the other day (it’s on my sidebar of the landing page of the blog) and decided… that needs to be pancakes.

The flavors are a bit different than my original ombre cake, and this is not covered in gobs of frosting, but in my defense it is for breakfast.  I hope you will let my inconsistencies fly!

This was a great opportunity to have my little kids (Audrey and Eddie) in the kitchen helping.  They did great and learned about the difference between cake batter and pancake batter.  Because apparently I make a lot of cakes and this is what they are usually helping with.

My husband and I decided that now is as good of time as any to really start our small kids on consistent chores and “life duties.”  It comes from Proverbs 22:6, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.“.  (NIV) If I want the kids to be knowledgeable and helpful in the kitchen, I really need to model those behaviors.  (Well, the helpful anyway.  I am still working on the ‘knowledgeable’ part!) So instead of my whizzing through meals just to get them done, I am going to slow down and include them in the process.  

 

Note: This is a large recipe and makes at least 36 good sized pancakes.

vanilla cinnamon chocolate ombre pancakes

Ingredients

    Base Batter
  • 6 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 3 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • Vanilla Pancakes
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Cinnamon Pancakes
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Chocolate Pancakes
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Prepare the 'base batter'.
  2. In a large bowl stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In another bowl use a fork to combine eggs, milk and oil.
  4. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir until just moistened.
  5. Separate mixture into three bowls.
  6. Vanilla Pancake
  7. Add in vanilla and stir until just combined.
  8. Cinnamon Pancakes
  9. Add cinnamon and vanilla to base batter and stir until just combined.
  10. Chocolate Pancakes
  11. Add cocoa, vanilla, 1 tbsp sugar and mini chocolate chips to base batter. Stir until just combined.
  12. Turn oven on to warm and line a cookie sheet with parchment to set completed pancakes on.
  13. Starting with the vanilla batter, prepare pancakes using about 1/4 cup of batter per pancake. You should place batter onto a hot (about 300-325 degree) griddle. (baking spray works well if you need to grease the griddle)
  14. When pancakes are done place them on parchment lined cookie sheet and into the oven to warm while completing other batters.
  15. To serve place chocolate chip pancake on plate, then cinnamon, then vanilla. Top with butter and maple syrup and enjoy!
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin

The kids were skeptical on eating these all together, but I insisted.  Turns out they loved it and demolished the entire recipe. My oldest, Colton, made a point of telling me that I needed to blog these and that I needed to tell everyone that he LOVED them.

While it does take a couple more minutes to prepare, it is definitely worth it!  The flavor combination is fabulous and tastes like a really decadent treat for breakfast!

]]>
http://iambaker.net/vanilla-cinnamon-chocolate-ombre-pancakes/feed/ 26
october things, and joy http://iambaker.net/october-things-and-joy/ http://iambaker.net/october-things-and-joy/#comments Sat, 18 Oct 2014 15:41:48 +0000 http://iambaker.net/?p=45534 October Fields
I have a thing for sunrises.  There is something entirely magical and majestic about a kaleidoscope sky growing in intensity and whose light is ablaze against the dark tree skyline. With the water being balmy compared to the air in these cooler fall days, there is an etherial fog that lingers until the sun starts warming.... 

Read More »]]>
October Fields

I have a thing for sunrises.  There is something entirely magical and majestic about a kaleidoscope sky growing in intensity and whose light is ablaze against the dark tree skyline.

With the water being balmy compared to the air in these cooler fall days, there is an etherial fog that lingers until the sun starts warming.

Sunrises.  Pink streaked skies. Enveloping morning mists.

There is something to be said about nature and my relationship to God.  It is humbling to see the stunning beauty that is (seemingly) effortlessly created day after day, all to the delight and enchantment of this grateful servant.

As the day progresses and the demand of little people and tasks forces my focus away from Him, I am so thankful for the reminders.

The afternoon sky glowing bright with cyan hues reflecting perfectly against the leafy pond.

Autumn.  One of the things that keeps my heart endeared here, in Minnesota.  I get lost in the colors, the Grand Design.

Indebted to a hard working husband and a generous Savior, I have never known peace and contentment like I do here, on our land and home.

So many things have changed for me in the last 30 days, and all of them being significant life changes.  Those changes that shift a perspective or a alter a view of the way I am.

I have never felt such joy and peace in growth. Life is beautiful, even if it isn’t.

Some of it comes from a desire to change, but most of it comes from a God eager to help me follow His will.

The little things, the small business that keeps a day flowing, they bring contentment.  My puppy Dodger (an actual puppy no more, but his small size allows the description to fly) enjoying the sun in the middle of a dying forest.  He feels it too, I know.  The joy.

With dinner done and kids starting their nighttime routine, the sun makes her way below the tree tops.

That last few minutes of her descent, where every last ray is reaching into the shadows, that is my favorite.

It’s a forgiveness for every falter.  It’s a reminder to seek her out in the morning.

I just have to say, thank you.  Thank you for new friends.  Thank you for one of the most beautiful autumn transitions I can remember in years.  Thank you for loving teachers and mailmen and pastors.  Thank you for family who didn’t choose me, but makes the best of it.  Thank you to my patient and accepting and exceptional  husband.

Thank you for the grace of a Heavenly Father.

Praying (it is my greatest wish) that you too feel the love and joy and peace that only He can give.

]]>
http://iambaker.net/october-things-and-joy/feed/ 16
how to organize baby clothes http://iambaker.net/how-to-organize-baby-clothes/ http://iambaker.net/how-to-organize-baby-clothes/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 00:56:32 +0000 http://iambaker.net/?p=45518 How to Organize Kids Clothes
If you are a regular reader of my blog you know that I am making some changes.  I am looking to improve the quality of life, to find and live joy, to make my home and my heart a place that people feel welcome. The steps are small, some might even say baby.  So I... 

Read More »]]>
How to Organize Kids Clothes

If you are a regular reader of my blog you know that I am making some changes.  I am looking to improve the quality of life, to find and live joy, to make my home and my heart a place that people feel welcome.

The steps are small, some might even say baby.  So I found this post to be appropriate as my first in how to be better organized.  Also, I am NOT naturally an organized person, so I needed the smallest steps possible to make the task do-able.

Baby clothes (or kids clothes in general) I can handle. So here is the low-down.  When I open my kids drawers I want to see this:

That is Olivia’s onesies.  I have folded them and placed them in the drawer so that the folded seam is facing down and the fabric that is facing up clearly identifies what the onesie is.

When you stack clothes on top of each other in the traditional way, you can only see what is on top of the pile.  This will simply not due!  When you have a baby or small child, changing their clothes can be a many-times-throughout-the-day kinda of thing.  Knowing what you are grabbing with one fast glance is essential.

For Olivia’s drawer specifically I have shirts on the left, short sleeved onesies in the center, then long sleeved onesies on the right.  Sometimes I organize by color, most of the time not.  Truth is they are used so quickly there is not much point in taking the time to organize by color.  But!  I do like to keep the white onesies together as they can be used alone or under other outfits.

I will show you how I fold a long sleeve onesies but you can fold it in any way you are comfortable with, you just need to place it in the drawer in a way that shows the color/pattern.

Disclaimer: When I am folding I do it completely in the air and use my body to help with sleeves and such.  Just lay the onesie on your chest then fold the sleeves over, fold the bottom up and tuck in the drawer.  Maybe 10 seconds from beginning to end.

Step 1: Lay onesie flat on ground with the back of the garment facing up.

Step 2: Fold in the right edge about 1/2 inch, then fold the sleeve down over.

Step 3: Repeat with left side.

Step 4: Fold the bottom up then fold completely in half.

You should now have the perfectly folded onesie!  Make a stack of them then tuck it into the drawer.

I do the exact same process for pants and sweaters.

For matching outfits I will try to keep the shirt and pants together in the drawer.  I find that separating the shirts from the pants (for babies specifically) is quite a bit of added work when I am trying to get an outfit together.  Especially if baby is laying on the changing table at the time!

It’s all about efficiency!

The drawer right under the changing pad is wipes and creams, then socks, then bathing suits and diaper covers.

All of the remaining clothes fill in the rest of the drawers.

I have used this method since my first baby and it really works!

However, one thing I have learned over the years is that laundry is a really personal subject. People do things a certain way and tend to stick to those methods. (myself included) This just happens to be what works the best for me!

In case you may be wondering, I got this dresser at Goodwill for $5 and my husband spray painted it pink.

]]>
http://iambaker.net/how-to-organize-baby-clothes/feed/ 8
peanut butter chocolate chip coffee cake http://iambaker.net/peanut-butter-chocolate-chip-coffee-cake/ http://iambaker.net/peanut-butter-chocolate-chip-coffee-cake/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 08:00:27 +0000 http://iambaker.net/?p=45482 Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting!
This is one of those cakes that I inevitably end up having for breakfast but that should never be served for breakfast.  It is a full on honest-to-goodness cake with sugar and butter and decadent frosting. But it has coffee in it.  So I make it in the morning loving that I have a very... 

Read More »]]>
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting!

This is one of those cakes that I inevitably end up having for breakfast but that should never be served for breakfast.  It is a full on honest-to-goodness cake with sugar and butter and decadent frosting.

But it has coffee in it.  So I make it in the morning loving that I have a very good reason to brew myself another cup.

I am an adult and can totally do that ok?!  Just don’t tell my mom, she would kill me!

So why coffee in a peanut butter cake? Because instead of adding regular old chocolate chips, I prefer to use good quality chopped chocolate. (For this one I used Scharffen Berger 62% Semi-Sweet.)  And we all know that coffee amplifies the flavor of chocolate!

When you chop chocolate as poorly as I do with a huge Chefs Knife (a Chef I am not, I just like to use their cool stuff), there is inevitably a tablespoon or two of smaller, fine crumbles as well as chocolate dust.  I absolutely love that in this cake and love that every single bite is infused with the beautiful rich chocolate.

But then I kick it up a notch and add coffee.  Not just any coffee, but strong coffee.  And not with any ole machine, but with the brand new Keurig 2.0.

The Keurig’s are more like a computer now; highly intelligent and full of brilliant options I didn’t know I wanted but can now not possibly live without.

Like the STRONG button.  I use it every single time even when I am not technically supposed to.  Which I weird I even think that I am technically supposed to drink coffee a certain way and then go so far as to make myself feel guilty for not adhering the the imaginary guidelines I have set in place.

In summary (where is that cake recipe???), not only is Keurig my go-to coffee maker for amazing coffee, hot chocolate and a variety of other drinks, it is my go-to machine in Baking.  And if you like coffee and try this cake or my Perfect Chocolate Cake with the “strong” coffee, you will be as hooked as I am.

It’s a game changer baby.

I decided to make a simple glaze to combat the rich chocolate flavor of the cake.  Well, it was supposed to be simple.  It was supposed to drizzle.  But I skimmed the recipe (bad baker!) and instead of 2/3 cup added 2-3 cups.

So thick and creamy ruled the day and not soft drizzles.  Just be sure if you make it you try the soft drizzles first ok?  The warm glaze seeps into every nook and cranny of the cake and adds the amazing moisture and flavor that makes me long to just eat it directly on my treadmill so I can do it without guilt.  Well, when the treadmill is on that is.  You know, being used for exercise purposes.  Like it is intended to be used.  #whatever

peanut butter chocolate chip coffee cake

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons coffee
  • 1/2 cup chopped semi-sweet chocolate

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, the baking powder, and a pinch of salt.
  2. In a separate bowl with a handheld mixer cream together the brown sugar, the peanut butter, and the butter.
  3. Beat in the egg, vanilla and the coffee.
  4. Add in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, beating well after each addition, and gently stir in 1/2 cup of the chopped chocolate.
  5. Pour batter into a prepared 8-inch round cake pan and bake at 350 degrees for 28-34 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.
  6. Allow to cool slightly then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. If you are adding peanut butter glaze, turn the cake out directly onto a cake stand and add glaze while cake is still slightly warm.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin

Adapted from Cooking Channel.  Click here for Peanut Butter Glaze recipe.

My favorite way to eat this cake is warm and for breakfast.  Do not be like me.  You make yours in the afternoon and enjoy it for dessert as it was meant to be.

If you do end up with any extra glaze, be sure to save it.  It goes great on everything!

]]>
http://iambaker.net/peanut-butter-chocolate-chip-coffee-cake/feed/ 43
frosting http://iambaker.net/frosting/ http://iambaker.net/frosting/#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2014 14:00:04 +0000 http://iambaker.net/?p=45473 Morning Frost
When your sweet bright eyed 5 year old girl wakes up early, looks up at you innocently, and asks, “Mommy?” “Is it frosting outside?” And all you can think is, I need to head to CVS. They have a great coupon on sugar right now.]]>
Morning Frost

When your sweet bright eyed 5 year old girl

wakes up early,

looks up at you innocently,

and asks,

“Mommy?”

“Is it frosting outside?”

And all you can think is,

I need to head to CVS.

They have a great coupon on sugar right now.

]]>
http://iambaker.net/frosting/feed/ 6
pumpkin spice puppy chow http://iambaker.net/pumpkin-spice-puppy-chow/ http://iambaker.net/pumpkin-spice-puppy-chow/#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2014 08:00:48 +0000 http://iambaker.net/?p=45465 Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow!
I love puppy chow.  Muddy buddy’s.  Chum.  Trash.  It has a different name for every area of the country it seems.  Here in Minnesota it is puppy chow.  And it is DElicious. And easy.  Four ingredients. Ten minutes. And you are in white chocolate covered Chex Mix® heaven. Print pumpkin spice puppy chow Ingredients1 box Cinnamon... 

Read More »]]>
Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow!

I love puppy chow.  Muddy buddy’s.  Chum.  Trash.  It has a different name for every area of the country it seems.  Here in Minnesota it is puppy chow.  And it is DElicious.

And easy.  Four ingredients.

Ten minutes.

And you are in white chocolate covered Chex Mix® heaven.

pumpkin spice puppy chow

Ingredients

  • 1 box Cinnamon Chex® cereal (13.5 ounce)
  • 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin spice
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar

Instructions

  1. Carefully melt white chocolate in microwave. I started at 1 minute, removed and stirred, then heated again in 10 second increments until completely melted.
  2. Add pumpkin spice to melted chocolate and stir well.
  3. Place cereal into bowl; pour white chocolate mixture over cereal. Stir until well coated.
  4. Transfer mixture to a large resealable plastic food bag and add powdered sugar. Seal bag tightly. Shake bag until powdered sugar evenly coats cereal.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin

We were all addicted to it of course, and could not stop eating it and it was all gone in a very very short period of time that I am not able to disclose mainly because its so embarrassing. #butworthit

Try it. You’ll like it. Promise.

]]>
http://iambaker.net/pumpkin-spice-puppy-chow/feed/ 15