Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Cruel Summer

Hey there. You thought I disappeared again didn’t you? Not quite. I haven’t been super busy but I’ve been keeping busy with a couple projects: both kitchen and non-kitchen related. My main project right now is painting my room. It used to be this yucky brown and hopefully, soon, it will be a nice bright green. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. My other project is keeping my daughter and I entertained while we’re on summer break. That’s probably the most daunting task.

Kitchen related! I made a cute Elmo cake for another of my mom’s co-workers. It came out so cute. I love doing those cakes. The lady I did loved the cake design but not so much the cake. She said it tasted “wheaty”. I am always willing to take criticism and I usually know what’s wrong before I get any criticism. I am my own worst critic after all. But I know you can’t please all the people all the time and I guess that’s what happened this time. If anyone has any ideas of why it would taste “wheaty” I would love to know. I tasted it myself and it tasted like cake, I didn’t think it tasted off in any way. But I will post a picture of it soon.

My daughter had an end of school pool party over at a friend’s house and I supplied the cupcakes. I made a banana cupcake with chocolate swiss meringue butter cream, a chocolate cupcake with a vanilla swiss meringue butter cream and a white cupcake with a cotton candy flavored swiss meringue butter cream. That cotton candy butter cream is my new all time favorite and I ended up eating the rest of it like it was ice cream. I want to make some right now just because! Anyways, all the cupcakes were a hit but they’re cupcakes and my audience was kids. So, I would have had to make really nasty cupcakes for them to not be a hit.

Also kitchen related and keeping-my-daughter-entertained related: we made a couple things out of some of her cookbooks. She has these three cookbooks all from the same publishing company: Pink Princess Cookbook, Fairies Cookbook and Mermaid Cookbook. They are all super cute and for the most part they have recipes that any little girl would love to dig into. But there are some recipes that I’m not sure what kid would like it. But most of them are little girl friendly and little girl approved.
The first one we tried was Rainbow Milks out of the Pink Princess Cookbook. This one didn’t turn out so great but it my fault. The recipe gives you the choice to use pretty much any fresh or frozen fruit. We chose blueberry. That wasn’t the mistake though. I made the big mistake of pouring the vanilla into the measuring spoon while it was over the bowl. And, well…… I ended up pouring too much in… Oops! It ended up tasting, well, yucky. My bad!

Another one we tried was the Bitsy Banana Bread Bites also out of the Pink Princess Cookbook. I love! love! love! banana bread. This one is very kid friendly. I basically just measured everything out for my daughter and she threw it all in the bowl and mixed it herself. We only changed one thing. I had some old bananas in the freezer and when they defrosted they produced that yummy liqueur and instead of using vanilla we used that. Let’s just say that I ate about half of the banana bread.

The last one we tried was the Fruit Salsa out of the Mermaid Cookbook. This was kinda kid friendly. While I was cutting up kiwis, apples and strawberries I had her measuring and dumping blueberries and raspberries. But her job didn’t take very long and she ended up standing there waiting on me to finish. The only thing I have to say about this is that the end product doesn’t quite look like the picture in the cookbook but I thought it was very good. My little girl only eats the strawberries and kiwis and I eat the rest so it’s a group effort but it gets high marks from us.

Bitsy Banana Bread Bites (makes 24 mini muffins)
word for word from the Pink Princess Cookbook (except for my changes, of course)
3 bananas
1 egg
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla (we used the liqueur from the frozen bananas)
1/2 cup pecans, mini chocolate chips, or dried cranberries (optional) (we used pecans)
powdered sugar for dustng (we didn't even bother with this)
small, fresh, edible flowers (optional) (again, we didn't bother with this)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees (I think we upped it to 350).

Mash bananas in a mixing bowl.

Add remaining ingredients (except optional ingredients), stirring until just blended. Fold in pecans, mini chocolate chips, or dried cranberries if using.

Line a mini muffin tin with 24 paper liners or spray with nonstick cooking spray. Divide batter evenly between mini muffin cups.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Dust with powdered sugar and garnish with a small, edible flower if desired.

It's a sure sign of summer if the chair gets up when you do.

Walter Winchell (1897 - 1972)

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