Archive for October, 2009

Happy Birthday Lola!

Lola - 2 1/2 months old  

 

 

Lola - 2 1/2 months old

 

Our little puppy turned one today! Last December my boyfriend surprised me the weekend before Christmas with an adorable little Labradoodle puppy. She was so sweet! I can’t believe how fast time has gone by! She isn’t the same little puppy she was, she’s a big curly bundle of energy!

First trip to the groomers - 8 months

First trip to the groomers - 8 months

Being a baker, I just had to make my little girl a birthday cake! I try not to give her any table food, but I can’t say that everyone else that care for her feels the same way. But I felt that one this special occasion that a cupcake would be appropriate. It was white cake with a squirt of frosting topped with a treat! She saw me pull one of her treats out of the pantry and she immediately knew something was up. She followed me into the kitchen and watched me put the treat on top of her cupcake all the while whining and begging and going through her routine of tricks. Finally I made her wait long enough while I photographed her little cake. 

Birthday girl begging for her treat

Birthday girl begging for her treat

She immediately snatched the treat off of the top of the cupcake and ran! It took a moment for her to come back for the cupcake itself. She proceeded  with caution, knowing that it is something she normally isn’t supposed to have. She swipped the cupcake clean off of the plate and bolted afraid of getting caught! We found her curled up in the family room smacking on the frosting like a mouth full of peanutbutter!  

Lola's Birthday Cake- To be shared with her people friends!

Lola's Birthday Cake- To be shared with her people friends!

After dinner we cut into the little birthday cake I put together. It’s all white cake with and amaretto fluff buttercream icing and filling. Little Miss Lola continued to follow us around and beg for more cake (we’ve created a monster!). Of course we had cut her off, she needs to watch her girlish figure! But me, could care less for my girlish figure. More cake please!

Posted by on October 10th, 2009

CakeSpy!

Head over to the CakeSpy blog to see an online interview with yours truly! Lots of Q&A’s about how I got started decorating cakes, and what my favorite desserts are! She also wanted to know which is one of my cakes was my favorite to work on. Leave me a comment and let me know which are your favorite cakes! Click HERE to see the interview

www.cakespy.com

Visit www.cakespy.com!

Posted by on October 8th, 2009

The Red Herring

I went to one of my favorite places today, the Red Herring Restaurant and Coffeehouse. It is a little non-profit vegetarian restaurant on the University of Illinois campus in the basement of the Channing-Murray Foundation building. The coffeehouse portion was established in 1967, then in 1977 the vegetarian restaurant was added. Their menu changes daily and everything is grown local and made fresh to order. The Red Herring has a very fun and inviting atmosphere with painted walls and friendly service. The Channing-Murray Foundation wanted to create an environment that “welcomes everyone regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or religious background. We invite you to come and just be yourself and to participate in activities and events that appeal to you.” The Red Herring keeps the items on their menu affordable so that everyone can afford a healthy lifestyle. But if their menu is still more than you can afford, you can volunteer your time in exchange for free food. Now thats a good deal!

People dining in The Red Herring

People dining in The Red Herring

I haven’t had anything yet at The Red Herring yet that I haven’t loved. I’ll always remember the first time I went there I had the vegan taco pie with a slice of vegan blueberry mango pie for dessert. That piece of pie is still to this day one of the best pieces I’ve ever had. Unfortunately I haven’t seen it on the menu again since. I suppose the next time I go in I’ll have to ask for the recipe. 

Today I had my very first falafel sandwich! It’s something that I’ve been wanting to try for a long time but haven’t ever had the opportunity. It was falafel stuffed pita topped with lettuce and tomato. It came with the choice of a cilantro sour cream or a lemon tahini sauce. I chose the cilantro sour cream and my sandwich tasted amazing! It came with a side of delicious tabule. A huge falafel sandwich and tabule all for $6. Then for $1 I got a cup of organic chamomile tea. Their teas come loose, and you choose what kind you want and they fill the tea bags for you. So for $7 I had a very filling warm lunch to take the chill out of a cool autumn day.

Half of a Falafel Sandwich and Tabule side. I couldn't help myself, I ate half of my sandwich before I took the picture!

Half of a Falafel Sandwich and Tabule side. I couldn't help myself, I ate half of my sandwich before I took the picture!

If you’ve never heard of falafel, they look a little bit like meatballs. They’re round balls made out of spiced chickpeas or fava beans. They have a bit of a crispy outside and a firm middle. Falafel is typically served in a pita or with a type of flatbread with a tahini sauce. They’re a popular type of fast food in the middle east served by street vendors. If you ever have the opportunity to try this, I highly recommend it!

Check out the Red Herring website to learn more about this unique restaurant!

http://www.theredherring.org/

Check out the Channing-Murray Foundation website to learn more!

http://www.channingmurray.org/

 

The Red Herring

Posted by on October 7th, 2009

Taking a break from cakes…

I’m currently taking a few days off from baking and taking a walk on the savory side. I’m visiting my boyfriend down at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. I’ve cooked dinner the past couple nights for him and his roommate and I must say, it’s quite nice not to be covered in powdered sugar!

Monday night I baked a three cheese garden pizza on a Pampered Chef stone. It was so delicious, loaded garlic, zucchini, tomato, and onion and then topped with cheddar, mozzarella, and parmesan cheeses. Then sprinkle on some Italian seasoning then bake for about 20 minutes… then feast!  Then for dessert I baked a gingerbread cake. So, I guess I haven’t really taken a break from cakes. It was a Krusteaz box mix that I found at the grocery store. It was incredibly delicious! I followed one of the package suggestion and melted some butter and brown sugar and mixed in some chopped nuts. Then once the cake is baked you pour this mixture over it and stick it back in the oven for 10 minutes. To make it even better, top it off with some vanilla ice cream! It was a small taste of the holidays to come!

Last night for dinner I made Penne Ala Vodka using a recipe I found online. After slaving away in the tiny, hot apartment kitchen I was horrified to discover that the recipe called for far too much vodka. It tasted terrible! Luckily I found a jar of marinara sauce in the cabinet. I mixed the sauces 50/50 and it came out perfect! Just in time to pair up with a cheap wine for dinner. 

Yesterday before dinner, I ventured out on a drive in the rain while my other half was sitting in class. I came across a bakery that he had told me about called The Cake Artist Studio. I stopped in to see if they had anything I could get for dessert. They had a beautiful arrangement of cupcakes and individual size cakes with a variety of fillings. They also had a selection of different cookies and brownies. Their gourmet cupcakes were reasonably priced compared to some of the bakeries back around home in the Chicago suburbs. These were $2.50 and they were generously topped with delicious frosting and toppings.

The Cake Artist's Studio

The Cake Artist's Studio

I picked out three different flavors for us to share after dinner. The first one I chose was the White Out cupcake. It was a delicious tender white cake topped with a smooth vanilla buttercream then topped with white chocolate chips and shavings. Of all of the cupcakes, I like this one’s frosting the best! The second cupcake I picked was the Black Out cupcake. It was a moist chocolate cake with fudge frosting and topped with chocolate chips and shavings. It was very decadent, and a little too rich for me. But it is the perfect match for any true chocolate fan. The third cupcake I picked out was a Banana cupcake with Browned Butter Icing. This cupcake had fresh bananas baked inside that tasted similar to a banana muffin but the light texture of white cake. The Browned Butter icing had a delicious flavor but the texture was a little gritty. Topping off the banana cupcake was a cute chocolate banana. All of the cupcakes in the bakery were topped off with an edible disco dust that made them look like desserts from a fairy tale. It was that little something extra that made them so special. We loved all of the cupcakes. but the one that scored the best overall with us was…. *drumroll*… the Banana with the Browned Butter Icing! 

Banana with Browned Butter Icing, White Out, Black Out

Banana with Browned Butter Icing, White Out, Black Out

Checkout The Cake Artist’s Studio online at www.thecakeartistsstudio.com where owner and Pastry Chef Ashlee Roderick has a gallery of some of her amazing cakes!

Posted by on October 7th, 2009