Monday, February 22, 2010

Reasons why I suck.

I'm meal planning.

Normally, something I enjoy.  I usually have a list of things I want to create, or old favorites waiting to be added into the rotation. 

Unfortunately, I've been so insanely busy, I've got nothing.  So far I have 8 meals for two weeks.  No matter what kind of math I use, that just doesn't work. 

I'm really struggling to find a happy balance in my life.  Trying to make sure everyone is happy, healthy and satisfied, meals are cooked, house is clean, but I'm also trying to find time for myself.  Tons of sewing projects that I never have time to complete.  A million books waiting on my nightstand to be read, but no time to do it.  Household projects [in the middle of redoing  a lot of things in the house: currently painting the main level in our house].  Trying to work in my daily workouts keeps me awake late into the night. 

I just can't seem to find a happy medium.  I find when I'm "on" with cooking all the time, ironing every Sunday night, chores are done, homework is done, kids working on "save the world projects" instead of playing the wii, everything is as it should be: nothing "me" ever gets done.  On the other hand, if I decide to pull out a project for myself: dinner ends up being pancakes and smoothies, the house is a wreck, and everythings is wrinkled. [Actually that is a lie.  I never skip Sunday night ironing.  I even iron t-shirts.  It's a sickness, really.]

Needless to say: I'm overwhelmed.

How in the world do I do it all?

To top it all off: I applied for 2 part-time jobs.  Clearly I just don't have enough to fill my time.  [Truthfully since my husband lost his 2nd job, things have been sketchy.  Time to try and change that.]

...and the real reason I posted this.  Wondering how much my husband will hate me for putting lentil tacos on the menu this week?  [A great vegetarian, insanely healthy and very cheap recipe.]

The answer:  Probably a lot.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Cheeeeeese Ball.

Totally forgot to take a real picture.
For my sons 5th birthday [sob], we threw a space themed bash.  Among the gnosh and snacks, I made a cheeseball [with a cute little sign in it that said "moon cheese"].  Yeah, I know.
I think I might be a cheeseball making addict now.  So many possiblities!  I can't wait to try more. 
I made a "ranch" cheeseball.  Why?  Going for something almost everyone would love, including the kids.  It ended up being a huge hit! 

Found this recipe online, and it's worth sharing!
Ranch Cheeseball

  • 2 pkgs. cream cheese, softened almost to room temp.

  • 1 1/2 c. shredded finely shredded cheese [I used cheddar]

  • 1/2 to 3/4 pkg.  1 oz. ranch dip [dry pack]

  • small bag slivered almonds

  1. Yeah...that's all you need! 

  2. In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese and ranch together---a fork works well for this.  You don't want the cream cheese too soft, but not too cold either. 

  3. Once incorporated, mix in the shredded cheese until all incorporated.

  4. Use your [clean] hands and roll it into a ball.  Pour the almonds [or pecans] onto a plate, and roll the cheeseball in the almonds. 

  5. Refrigerate overnight for best results.
So no brainer, really. 

This has so many possibilities.  I'm not a huge fan of "ranch" in a bag, but it worked well for this recipe.  Can't wait to try other combos.  Now I just need a reason to make cheeseballs.  Hmm.  Is Easter a big cheeseball holiday??

    Wednesday, February 17, 2010

    Marshmallow Fondant

    I really should leave this kind of stuff to Duff and Ace of Cakes.  I have no business in this arena, none at all.

    My little Cam-a-rama asked for a space party, so a space party he got.  I had grand visions of his crater cake in my head....and well, that grand vision will live and die in my head, because it clearly didn't ever see the light of day. 

    Regardless of my inability to decorate this cake, I was able to make a killer fondant.  I'm not a fan of fondant at all, I think it is gross and intimidating.  When making this cake I decided to make a homemade marshmallow fondant, to try and knock out both of those stereotypes.  In the end, it's still kind of gross [okay, maybe not gross, but tooth rotting sweet], but it was SO easy and not at all intimidating! 

    [This recipe can easily be cut in half!]

    Marshmallow Fondant

    • 2 c. mini marshmallows [cram them into the measuring cup, so that it at the right measurement when you have them squished down, when you let go, it will look like more than you need.]

    • 2 T. water

    • 2 1/2 c. [+/-] powdered sugar

    1. In a microwave safe bowl, add your marshmallows and water.  Microwave for about 25 seconds [maybe 30], until marshmallows look puffy and slightly wet.

    2. Coat a plastic mixing spoon with a bit of Pam or shortening, mix in powdered sugar.  It will look like it won't mix at first, but it will!!  Mix, mix, mix!  Mix until you have a "ball" formed. 

    3. Pour out onto a surface lightly dusted with powdered sugar [you can lay out some parchment or do it right on your table].  Spray your hands with Pam/shortening.

    4. Knead!  Knead until it comes together.  If it is sticky, knead a little more powdered sugar at a time until you have the right consistancy.  If it is a little dry add a little water and microwave it for 10 seconds, then knead somemore!
    That's it!  To color your fondant, add in a bit of color [I prefer these, a little goes a long way, and the color is amazing] using a toothpick, then knead the color in.  It will take a bit of work to get it evenly distributed, but it's worth it!  [I left the color in mine a little streaky, because I was making a crater---I wanted it to have dimension.  But what do I know, did you see my sorry cake?!]

    To roll out your fondant, roll it between 2 sheets of parchment lightly dusted with powdered sugar.  Don't roll to thin, or it will tear!

    **The stars and aliens on my cake were made with gumpaste, not fondant!  However, you could easily use fondant!  Just roll it out to desired thickness, cut with your desired shape, and leave them to dry for a few days. 

    ***I also gave my stars and aliens some shimmer with shimmer dust, which I did after they had dried. 

    Now, go forth and cover the world with marshmallow fondant. 

    Saturday, February 13, 2010

    Send Help!

    Send Help!

    I'm in fondant and gumpaste Hell.

    Why, oh why do I do this to myself?

    Oh, right, because my little stud muffin is turning 5 [FIVE!], and we're having his party today!! We're having a space themed party, complete with crater cake, aliens and firework stars. 

    It looks great in my head, I swear, but it isn't translating into fondant.  Oops. 

    Note to self: You are not a cake decorator.  I can make the inside, but not the outside.

    Where is Duff when you need him?!

    Tuesday, February 9, 2010

    Soon, I swear!

    Crazy busy this week.
    So much going on! I hope to update before the week is through.

    In other news. It is a sad, sad day.

    The peaches that I peeled, sliced and froze this summer are nearly gone.
    I have 1 lonely bag left.

    I don't think that will keep me until peaches are in season again.