We Gathered Together

Hello friends how was your week? Your Thanksgiving? Did you spend time with family and friends? We had only a small group at our house for Dinner on Thanksgiving Day, just five people. My MIL was able to leave the assisted living village and come and eat with us. Her Birthday is in a few days so we decided to go ahead and celebrate since we were all going to be together. We had a great time.

My husband loves candied sweet potatoes. I make them just like my mama always did. I just hate peeling them.
Cornbread made for the dressing.
And of course we had to have mashed potatoes too. They’re my favorite.
Making the dressing. We always call it dressing in the south unless you are actually stuffing it in the turkey
and then it is called stuffing. We had ham instead of turkey but Mark still likes the dressing with it.
Double layer Birthday cake which I then split into four layers. You get more yummy icing this way.
She loved the cake and her Birthday Girl Button.

It was a wonderful day. My sister in law and I took all the babies for a good walk after dinner. And by the time everything was cleaned up and the left overs put away I was pretty much exhausted. Mark drove his mom back to the assisted living village and then we settled in to watch Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and I couldn’t keep my eyes open. Unfortunately there was no Black Friday shopping for me and my sister because I had to work. But that is o.k. we already have a couple of shopping trips planned in the next week or two. Also Buster and Milo were scheduled on Friday for early morning vet appointments to get neutered. More on that in the next post. This silly kitty mama was a little emotional about taking the babies in for this procedure but they did just fine. My heart could barely stand it. Silly Kitty Mama.

I could barely keep my eyes open to watch Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. It is a tradition we watch it every year.

On Saturday I went downtown, Madisonville. The block around the courthouse was set up with vendors and food trucks for Christmas. It was a lot of fun. I bought a few things for Christmas presents and had lunch at one of the food trucks before heading to get groceries.

Rides were given around the square.
Yummy Kettle Corn. This booth smelled amazing!!!!
An event was planned for later Saturday night with some of our local churches’ choirs performing.
Isn’t our courthouse beautiful. It’s very old. There is a newer annex but I love this old one.
I didn’t get a hotdog at this booth but I thought the name was cute.
This is where I got the best cheeseburger of my life!!!!

I’m getting ready for a busy week, how about you?

Always remember

Love your day your way!!!!!

How To Make A Wedding Cake, The Easy Way

A few weeks back we celebrated my sister and her husbands’ fiftieth wedding anniversary. So that is a super big freaking deal. We had to celebrate big. I wanted to make a special cake. I decided to do a wedding cake.

I hadn’t made a wedding cake in many years. I didn’t even know if I could remember how to put everything together but strangely enough it all came back to me.

I ordered a cake topper from the glassblower at our attraction where I work. He does really amazing work. I ordered it weeks before the anniversary so I would have it in plenty of time. I told him what I wanted it to look like and he had it ready a few days before the celebration. I wanted 50 in gold with birds and bells. I think it turned out amazing.

My sister has always loved the basket weave design on cakes. Anytime that I make a cake for her I use this design. Although it is a little time consuming, especially for a three tier cake, it can actually hide a lot of flaws. HA!!

Several years ago I bought this floating cake stand. It is called that because you place each layer of a cake on a different level and because the stand is in the back it almost looks like it is floating. This way you don’t have to fool with the dowel rods and stacking the cake etc etc. Also this stand can be used for many different things. I have used it several times for desserts, cupcakes, finger foods. Lots of things.

I have had my stand for many many years. I can’t remember what I paid for it way back then but it wasn’t too bad. I just looked this one up on Amazon and it is $161.00. But as I said you can use it to serve so many other things.

I bought new Wilton pastry bags for the icing, mine were pretty much worn out. I already had several cake tips and I had the round pans. You do not have to use round pans you could use heart pans. Or even cupcakes.

So I made the cake a day before the Anniversary party. The first layer is quite large.

As you can see this is the largest pan that fits on the bottom of the stand. With all the cake batter it was so heavy.

I am going to give you a few tips about the cake. I use cake mix. It is the easiest thing in the world. For cakes like this I use the white cake mix, usually Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines. I am not ashamed of it because it makes the best cakes. I think I used about five or six boxes of cake mix for the three different sizes of cake pans. Never fill the pans more than half way full of batter. Another thing I do, when I take the cake out of the oven I put a paper towel over the top and use a small saucer or flat plate to press down the top of the cake. This makes it flat and smooth and easy to put the icing on.

I do however always make my frosting myself. You will never catch me using canned frosting. With the cake mixes you can always add an extra egg or oil if you feel like the cake needs to be a little more moist. But with the frosting in a can you pretty much have to use it just like it is. I will share my frosting recipe for you below.

Remember when I told you the cake pan with the batter was really heavy? Well I am also upper body challenged when it comes to muscles. As I started to flip the cake over onto the pan, that part turned out great, and I was just starting to think I was danged near perfect at this, I dropped the cake pan on top of the warm fresh cake and it knocked a piece out of the side. After much cursing, ranting, and pacing several times across the kitchen, the voice of reason which belongs to my husband called out from the living room and said I am sure you can repair it with some icing. Well it was either that or make another layer. About another hour of baking would have to be done. I decided I could fix it and I did. Sort of like a jig-saw puzzle lol.

This is my frosting recipe it can be used for cakes with a stiff consistency or made softer by adding more milk.

1 teaspoon Wilton Clear Vanilla Extract (Be sure to use the clear so your icing will be perfectly white)
2 tablespoons milk or water (you will need to add more depending on the consistency, I also use Half & Half)
1 cup of solid vegetable shortening (yep the kind in the can)
1 tablespoon of Meringue Powder, (I have been known to skip this if I don’t have it)
2 pounds of sifted confectioners’ sugar
Butter extract, this is optional but it adds such wonderful flavor to the icing. Sold right next to the vanilla extract.

Sift confectioners’ sugar and the meringue powder into a large mixing bowl, set aside. Cream shortening, flavorings and mild or water, I never use water, or the Half & Half. Gradually add sifted dry ingredients and mix on medium speed until all ingredients have been thoroughly mixed together. This is where you want to decide how stiff or creamy you want the icing. A good consistency is when you stick a spoon in and it is soft but the spoon will not topple over. You can always add extra Half & Half or whatever you are using or extra powdered sugar to get it to just the right consistency.

I always start out with a thin coat of icing to help set the icing on the cake. Remember you are going to cover this up with the weave design so it doesn’t have to be too neat at this point.
This is where I had to do my repair work. I put the piece back in and used the icing like a glue and put that side to the back and I don’t think anyone even noticed.
I loaded my pastry bag with icing and used the basket weave tip #1D.
I know these lines look a little messy but that is o.k. because you will be going back over them doing the weave design. You just take the bag and go across the top of the lines using a staggering or ladder type of design. You are weaving one row over the next. Once you get the hang of it it is really quite fun. The icing should not be too stiff when you use this design because it will cause your hand to cramp from holding it in one position for too long.
You can see the detail on the top cake. I pulled off for a minute to work on the middle layer because my hand needed a break from the pastry bag.
The finished cake. I decided to use chocolate covered strawberries to dress the cake up a little but you could use flowers or just leave it plain.

So if you are in need of a wedding cake or anniversary cake and you want to impress your friends and family, you too can make a wedding cake. Let me know how it goes.

And always remember

Love your day your way!!!!

Making Madeleines

A Madeleine is a cookie or wait is it a little cake? No matter what they are, I have been wanting to make some of these forever. I bought a special Madelines pan. I think you could use a muffin pan but then they won’t have those adorable little ridges. So they won’t be the same. Sorry but they won’t. I actually bought the pan several months ago and just haven’t gotten around to making any until now. I searched the internet and put several recipes together and came up with one I thought looked really good. There are a lot of rules to making Madeleines so don’t get discouraged. I am sharing my experience with you as I go. I made these last Sunday.

These are some of my finished ones and I will tell you I was pretty proud of them.

This is a Madeleine pan don’t you love the little fan ridges?

Here is the recipe I used:

Pre heat oven to 375

Bake time about 10-12 minutes.
2 large eggs at room temperature ( Room temperature is very important)
1/2 cup of butter (I used salted but you can use unsalted)
2 Tbs. of melted butter for oiling the pan
1 cup of plain flour sifted
1/2 tsp. of baking powder
1/8 tsp. of salt
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
2 tsp. of lemon zest
Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Mix eggs and sugar together and mix them with an electric mixer for 8 minutes. This is a long time but it makes the eggs inflate and that is what makes the Madeleines so light and airy almost spongy. This will make the eggs and sugar frothy and pale.

Melt the butter and let it sit for about 8 minutes while you are beating the egg mixture. This way the butter won’t be hot.

Mix the flour, baking soda and salt into a bowl and set aside.

When you finish mixing the eggs and sugar, gently, and I do mean gently, fold the flour mixture into your bowl. The reason you want to do this gently is because your eggs are light and airy and you don’t want to deflate them. Next add the lemon zest and the vanilla flavoring. You don’t have to add lemon zest you can use orange zest or only vanilla flavoring. I loved the lemony flavor the lemon zest gave them.

The next step is letting the batter rest in the fridge for about 30-45 minutes.

After you have brushed your pan with butter put about a tablespoon into each little Madeline form and bake for about 10-12 minutes. You won’t believe how they just pop out of the pans. Brushing the pan with butter is best because it tends to make the ridges on the other side of the Madeleines browner and crispier.

They will slide right out of the pan when they are done.

I sprinkled half of mine with powdered sugar and left the rest of them plain. This recipe makes about 2 dozen. They dry out really quick so you might want to eat them really fast. I took mine to work and everyone made short work of them.

Don’t they look yummy!!!!

I hope you get a chance to make them. Let me know if you have any questions.

Always remember

Love your day your way!!!!

What Happened to the Weekend!!!???

Last Saturday morning I had to be at the Nissan dealership to get a few things done to my car. I had to get a software update, an oil change and my tires rotated. My car is still under warranty so I make the one hour drive to the dealership when I need it done. Plus I had the software update so I had to go to the dealership. The last time I was at the dealership they told me it would take about two hours for the update and oil change. So I had to schedule accordingly.

I am probably the only person who doesn’t mind sitting in a waiting room at the car dealership waiting for my car to be serviced. I take something to read, some knitting and coffee and I am in heaven.

When I arrived on Saturday at 8:00 AM the tech told me that it would be an hour and a half, two hours max. I said ” don’t you worry about me I am good” I settled into the waiting room with my coffee and knitting and ear buds for my phone. This is one of the few places where I have uninterrupted time to knit and read or whatever. I so enjoyed it!!! It only took about an hour and a half and they were finished.

I decided to make at least one stop while I was in Knoxville so I chose Target. It has been about six or seven months since I have been to Target. It was still pretty early only about 9:30 so there were not a lot of people there. I found some really neat things:

This is one of my favorite spots at Target. There are some super cute things here and really cheap. Just some little things that you wouldn’t find in a lot of places. I found these little cloth pumpkins here and they were only $1.00. I bought seven of them although I now wish I had bought more because I needed a few more to fill my bowl and I don’t know when I will be back. I didn’t have any luck finding them online.
Aren’t these adorable?
I love these colors and the way everything is put together but I found most of the items a little pricey for Target. Like this large wooden tray below. I love trays and I have a lot of them. I have to bring them out a few at a time and keep the others stored or I would have them all over my house. This was was about $40.00!! Ouch!!
I am sort of on the fence about these shirts with the really large puffy sleeves. I am a bit top heavy and I think these sleeves would make me look even more so. I wasn’t able to try it on because Target still has their dressing rooms closed. I will have to think about this one. I love the look on other people but not sure for me.
I absolutely loved this little purse but little was the key word. It just would not accommodate everything I carry day to day. I do love the color and design though.
I did grab this little brow pencil and brush by elf. Elf has gotten a bad rap on some of their products because they have been known to scrimp on some of their sizes and content. But people come on this was $2.00. I mainly bought it for the brush but after I got it home I noticed that the pencil has quite a lot in it as well. I love it!!!
And last but certainly not least I just had to stop by Starbucks and try this iced coffee I heard about. You may have tried this combination but if not you need to. This was a Venti iced white mocha with sweet cream cold foam and extra caramel drizzle. A splurge but definitely worth it.

The rest of the weekend went by pretty quick as weekends and days off normally do. I did some baking and some knitting and I made Madeleines. Have you ever made Madeleines ? I have been wanting to make some for quite a while. You have to have a special pan. I will have a full post on those in a couple of days. They dry out pretty quick so I took the entire batch to work and everyone loved them and ate them all up.

Madeleines, They are yummy!!!

Watch for the blog post about making Madelines you just have to try them.

Have a great rest of the week and always remember

Love your day your way!!!!