Thursday, April 21, 2011

PBG Recipe: Cake Balls #fail

You've seen them.  Cute little balls of sugary goodness.  If you haven't seen them you may have been living under a rock but likely haven't gained 5lbs of sugar filled flab in your behind either.  But, this is the price one pays while searching for the next tasty treat.  These little devils were so cute I decided this was something I needed to try myself.  Cake Balls. 

Much to my chagrin, the reality was not nearly as brilliant as the fantasy.  To quote my brother, "Just call them Cake Flops and no one will expect them to look good."  Gee, thanks Stephen.  But, despite their grotesque appearance they actually tasted pretty good.  I will need to work on my technique but I will be trying these again. 

The recipe is super simple and I can not take credit.  Just search the Internet and you can find a recipe that works for you.  Here is the one I used.

1 box cake mix, any flavour (I rolled with chocolate of course)
1/2 tub frosting (chocolate again)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup peanut butter chips
3 cups coloured chocolate wafers (I used yellow and pink for Easter)
Candy sprinkles/confetti (optional)

  • Make cake according to directions on the box.  Set cake aside until cool enough to handle. 
  • Using your hands or a fork crumble the cake into a large bowl.
  • In stand up mixer combine the frosting and the peanut butter and beat with paddle attachment until well combined.
  • Add frosting mixture and peanut butter chips to cake mixture and mix until well combined.
  • Roll cake into one inch balls and place on a cookie sheet in the fridge for 30 minutes to harden.
  • Melt coloured chocolate wafers according to package directions.  I did mine in the microwave.
  • Dip hardened cake balls into melted chocolate.  Remove cake ball from chocolate and allow excess chocolate to drip off.
  • Place cake ball on parchment paper.
  • Sprinkle confetti on cake balls while chocolate is still soft to ensure they stick.
  • Place cake balls in the fridge until ready to server. 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

PBG Recpie: Springtime Sugar Cookies

I decided last night that I was going to bake some cookies today.  Cute little sugar cookies with fun decorative icing.  The thing is, I have never decorated a cookie in my life.  So, needless to say I turned to Martha Stewart for some springtime inspiration.  And, if anyone can offer some inspiration she can!  She has such creative (although sometimes labour intensive) ideas.  With inspiration tucked safely away I got started with the cookies. I just found a basic sugar cookie recipe - nothing fancy.  You can use whatever family recipe works best for you.  I think they turned out looking pretty cute and are totally yummy.  I will be giving these to friends and family over the Easter Holidays.  I hope they like them.

Ingredients - Sugar Cookies
4 cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.
  • Cream butter and sugar with a mixer until pale and fluffy.
  • Reduce speed to medium; add eggs and vanilla.
  • Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture gradually, beating until incorporated.
  • Shape dough into 2 disks. Wrap each in plastic and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds.
  • Let 1 disk of dough stand at room temperature until just soft enough to roll, about 10 minutes.
  • Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/4- to 1/2-inch thickness.
  • Cut out shapes using a cookie cutter.
  • Transfer to baking sheets. 
  • Freeze until cookies are firm, 15 minutes.
  • Bake 15 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.
Ingredients - Royal Icing

2 large (60 grams) egg whites
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3 cups (330 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the egg whites with the lemon juice until combined. Add the sifted powdered sugar and beat on low speed until combined and smooth.
  • Add food colouring to achieve desired colour. 
  • The icing needs to be used immediately or transferred to an airtight container as royal icing hardens when exposed to air.
  • Cover with plastic wrap when not in use.
  • Spoon royal icing into a pastry bag fitted with a small plain round tip, and decorate cookies. Let stand overnight or until icing dries completely

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I am Ashamed

Something happened to me on Sunday and I have not been able to get it out of my mind.  It’s been haunting me for days so I decided that I would have to write about it.  I need to let you all know what happened and why I feel so terrible about it.  And I am hoping that getting it out there will help me to move past it and feel better. 
My predicament arose as I was on my way over to visit my friend Jason on Sunday evening.  It was a beautiful day – the nicest of the year so far and I decided to stop at Tim Horton’s on my way and pick him up a coffee.  Jason has a minor caffeine addiction and despite the fact that it was 7:30pm on a Sunday and the warmest day of the year so far I knew he would appreciate the gesture.  When I pulled into the Tim Horton’s I realized this location did not have a drive thru window so I would have to go in. 
When I came to the entrance I was a little irritated to see that there was a line up that went almost out the door.  I was going to be there for a few minutes.  As I was standing in line cursing the fact that this particular Timmies did not have a drive thru window when there was a disruption.  As two gentlemen walked past me to leave some middle aged women were walking in.  All of a sudden I hear one of the women yelling at the men who had just left.  No, this wasn’t just “Hey, watch where you are going?” kind of yelling.  This woman proceeded to yell racial slurs at these gentlemen (who appeared to be Indian) and say things that do not deserve repeating.  Then, was bragging to her friends about what she had just said. 
I could not believe it.  I was in shock.  How dare this woman think she has the right to yell these horrible things at these men, who, as far as I could tell, were perfectly polite and friendly on their way out.  Now, this is the point in the story where I feeling ashamed.  I stood there in line, seething with anger, glaring at this woman with all the anger and hatred I could muster.  I am certain that if I could have shot laser beams out of my eyes at that point I would have.  But, I just stood there and didn’t say a word.  The longer I stood there the angrier I got but I still didn’t say anything.  And, the truth is, I should have said something.  I should have stood up to that woman and told her that what she said was not appropriate and that she had no right to treat those men in that manner.  How dare she?!?  In her stained track pants and rotting teeth. With her trainer park mentality and her loser attitude she did not have the right to treat another human being that way. 
But, I just stood there.  Silent.  And I feel retched about it.  I was too worried about myself and what might happen that I didn’t stand up for these men that didn’t deserve to be treated in this way.  I can not stop thinking about this woman and her awful words.  It has literally kept me up the past few nights.  I want to apologize to those men who I will never see again.  I want them (and all of you) to know that I promise to never let this happen again.  In the future, I will not allow someone to be mistreated this way and not say something.  From this day forward, I will always say something.  I will always defend the oppressed.  I will not be scared to speak up.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Little Taste

Last weekend I attended a Wine Tasting Party/Birthday Celebration at Adam and Lulu's.  The Wine Tasting had been an idea suggested after our visit to the Wine and Food show back in January.  But, busy schedules and lives made the scheduling of a party date more than a little difficult.  But, finally, this weekend the stars aligned and everyone was able to make it. 

We sampled 9 different wines from France.  All red.  Some were good, some were not so good but it was fun to pretend like we knew what we were talking about.  Some of us, more than others, tried to use the "language" of wine. 

The rest of us used the cheat sheet or made up our own words.  We had lots of fun, drank line and spent most of the day on Sunday recovering from our fun. 

After the official tasting was complete we continued the night with laughter, games and snacks.  Lulu had seen my Peanut Butter and Chocolate Whoopie Pies on the blog and made a special request for Birthday Whoopies and I, of course, made sure she got what she wanted.  

Joel and Caroline

Jason and Me
Joel and Me


Lulu and Adam

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Love(s) of My Life

It was Family Friday at my Mom's house last night.  Everyone was invited over for the first bar-b-q of the season. My brother Stephen and his girls - Melanie and Maddie, my mom and step-dad and me, of course.  The pile of snow that had accumulated around my parents bar-b-q had finally melted and we couldn't wait to get our grill on. 

But, more important than the menu was the fact that we were all together for the first time in a while.  We always have such a good time together.  We goof off, argue, hug debate and usually eat. 

Stephen, Melanie & Madison

Mom, Stephen & Me

Me, Melanie & Mom
You are the true loves of my life.  You will always be there and you will never break my heart.  I love you all.