Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Musical

Welcome to Friday!  I know I posted the big unveil yesterday, but I was having so much fun this morning with the radio (yes, my car is old, and I have to listen to the radio) that I wanted to share some musical inspirations for Friday.  This is proof the radio can still play decent music!  On occasion.  And no, we will not listen to or discuss a certain song which was terrible and about Friday.  No, no, no.

So, want to know what I cook too?  What I daydream and sing off key to while putting recipes together?  Why sometimes there's 58 grams of ginger but only 54 of almonds in a recipe?  Well, it depends on the inspiration.  I have a lot of inspiration in my life.  Some gets to constantly meander around my head as I struggle to pull coherent thought together and some just pop up and are a hit for a minute and then fade away.

So, today, I figured since I don't really have a recipe for you (because of yesterday - I really hope everyone can try that meringue cake soon!) then today I'll make sure you have some great tunes.  If they aren't that inspirational for you, we will roll some more!  I used to do the song of the day, maybe we'll add that to Fridays.
I wanted to add GGD Last Hot Night in America, really upbeat and fun, but it's not been recorded yet.  I have it recorded from a concert and the YouTube concert videos can be sketchy.  If I find a decent one, I'll post it (if I wasn't screaming my head off in my own videos, I'd post those....) Very fun song!

Get your kitchens warmed up and your music blasting!  Enjoy!

Maroon 5 - always good for an upbeat song.

Funny, with this Cranberries song, they played it on the radio this morning, and I heard it a few days ago in Publix (grocery store)... the top few comments people are saying they heard it in Publix!!! LOL  INSPIRATION!! I like this girl's lyric version because she gets them right!

Plain White T's - I just find it funny that the girl in the video is right there with today's current style and this was produced 7-9 years ago.   Fashion just isn't what it used to be, but this song, is very "in."

And who ISN'T a fan of FUN!?  Besides the cutie lead singer who looks like he walked right out of a dapper 1950's era, the redhead on the keyboard makes this video all win.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Big Unveil

Let me start with one thing:  I did make this cake as intended the first time and it turned out great.  When I made it the 2nd time with a shape and lemon filling... things got messy.  If you want to use lemon and not chocolate, I can help with that, but my one warning will be - GO EASY WITH THE FILLING!

This has got to be my  most epic failure EVER.  I don't usually mind what something looks like too much (yes, it should be appealing to the eyes as well as the tongue) but mostly I want good flavor.  I want to bite into something and the memory of it later causes my mouth to water.  This cake had my severe focus on how it looked, and in the end, the lemon took over.  I won't be posting the recipe for that, I'm simply going to redirect you to where you can make the cake and have it turn out awesome.

First, the reaction from the crowd was amazing.  Everyone thought it hit the nail on the head for the theme and the decorations were done right and well.  The one thing I regret here is not covering the whole cake in white fondant and hiding the filling 'overflow.'  I think, even or especially with wrinkled white fondant, it would have looked very "portalish."

That being said, here you go, judge for yourself.  The edges are messy but the design, amazing.

I WAS PRESSED FOR TIME!  So, I used Wilton fondant.  This is processed in a facility that could risk cross contamination.  I didn't really have a problem with it, that's not to say someone with extreme allergy or sensitivity would be ok.  I have a link HERE for those who would like gluten free fondant.

That being said, I had an artist on Etsy make the birds, because no way did I have time for that.  She was super professional, very awesome and was able to take on my short deadline.  The birds were colorful and bright (despite how my camera was acting last night - it would NOT get the color right and I was super upset the pictures didn't come out as clean and bright as they should have.)

If you'd like to stop over on her store, you can find her at YOUR FANTASY CAKES!  She makes all sorts of cute toppers and is great to work with.

The Cake!

The cake I used was ridiculously good, and the recipe can be found here:  Sweetapolita

The fondant was used for nothing more than the decoration and we peeled it off.  If you're going for looks and don't have a theme, forget the fondant.

The meringue cake CAN be made sugar free!  Use stevia instead of sugar... I did 20 drops liquid and about a teaspoon of NuNaturals powder.  It turned out great.  As for the filling... I'm working on that.  When I get a sugar free version worked out, I'll post it.

The Geek!

I cannot express in words how much the design rocked.  Now, in retrospect, it could have been done a little more cleanly, and, if my camera had been behaving, the light and brightness would not have become such an issue.  

However, Angry Birds Portals was a huge success here!  And, as expected.... the cake IS a lie!

Enjoy the pics!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Rebel Beat

No, I did not just mess up the title of an old Billy Idol song.  In fact, I'm neck deep in eggs and this project that I promised you was on it's way.  I really hope it won't disappoint, because I've been working nonstop on this and so far, the prototype looks phenomenal.

But I digress!  Everyone will see the project by Friday!  TODAY is something AMAZING!!!  A few days ago The Goo Goo Dolls announced their feature single to be released (right around the time of performing at the Inauguration!)  The new album, "Magnetic" is due out on May 7 and the single was released to radio a few days ago, but now they finally posted it on their site!  So, while I'm dealing with food and cake, I can listen to an upbeat tune.   I'm not such a fan of the 'boyband' sound they have but the message is good, it's rock positive and I'm sure it will grow on me (or get filed in the ranks of a certain "this is crazy" song... which shall NEVER be mentioned again.)


we keep headin in the same direction
you've become my own reflection
is that your soul that you're trying to protect
i always hope that we would intersect, ya
you need time to cope and time to heal
time to cry if it's what you feel
oh life can hurt when it gets too real
i can hold you up when it's hard to deal 
alive, alive, alive is all I wanna feel tonight, tonight

i need to be where you are x2

hey you look around can you hear that noise
it's a rebel sound
we got no where else to go
and when the sun goes down
and we fill the streets
you gonna dance till the morning to the rebel's beat
you can take everything from me cuz this is all I need

you know that life is like a ticking clock
nobody knows when it's gonna stop, ya
before I'm gone I need to touch someone
with a word with a kiss with a decent song ya
and it gets lonely when you live out loud
when the truth that you seek isn't in this crowd
you better find your voice better make it loud
we gotta burn that fire or we'll just burn out
alive, alive, alive is all I wanna feel
tonight, tonight

i need to be where you are x2

hey you, look around can you hear that noise
it’s a rebel sound
we got nowhere else to go
and when the sun goes down
and we fill the streets
you’re gonna dance till the morning to the rebel's beat
you can take everything from me, oh yeah
you can take everything from me
‘cause this is all I need

we are free tonight
and everything’s alright
put your arms around me
baby, show me how to move you
‘cause there’s no worries, there’s no cares
feel the sound that’s everywhere
take what’s ours for once and baby, run like hell!

hey you, look around
can you hear that noise, it’s a rebel sound
we got nowhere else to go
hey you, look around
can you hear that noise, it’s a rebel sound
we got nowhere else to go
and when the sun goes down
and we fill the streets
you’re gonna dance till the morning to the rebels beat
you can take everything from me, oh yeah
you can take everything from me
‘cause this is all I need
this is all I need

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Just Before the Drop....

I love The Montu at Busch Gardens.  They've never paid me to say that, in fact, I pay them so I can say that. I ride the Montu as many times as my kids and the line will allow.  I once met Vanilla Ice in line at the Montu and his lovely wife.  They were very awesome and put up with the crowd's torture of chanting "Ice, Ice, Baby" before boarding and wishing they had all had some kind of face transplants.   That being said, I've ridden it at dark, with the lights on, in the daytime, in the scorching heat and in the long lines of spring vacation.  That ride does not disappoint.   Everyone knows that moment as you come to the front of the line after waiting minutes, hours or days and weeks for a ride.  They open the gate.  You claim your seat with heart racing and excitement pulsing through your chest.  The bars click down.... the ride starts to roll.  Some rides are instantly fantastic.  Instant shoot-you-out-of-a-cannon rides, and drops and speed bursts.   Others, like the Montu, start a little slow.   You cruise out of the bay, around the corner, and start clicking to the top of the first drop.  You know that moment?  The moment when you can feel every click reverberate in your ears, and your heart starts jumping faster and you almost wish you could get out and push the darn thing to get it going?  Then, you get to the top.... and you can see the WHOOOOLE WORLD!  or... the whole park.   And next thing you know {  0   gravity  }  AAAAND YOU'RE FALLING!

Well, today I have some just before the drop excitement.  I'm taking on a pretty hefty project and no matter if it ends up worthy of a Pulitzer or sad mention on CakeWrecks, I'm going to do this.   My autistic son is having a birthday next week and I'm not a crafty mama.  I can't do theme parties.  I'm not one to get everyone together and play some awesome team laser tag game with matching cake and party gifts.  I like to put a store bought cake on the table (what a confession coming from a food blogger huh?) and set out the presents and take pictures and enjoy the moments.   "Wait, wait, wait... you BUY a cake?" you're thinking.  I know.  I know.  You see, my son is not allergic or sensitive to gluten.  In fact, removing it would be like starving him to death and I realize that is sometimes a symptom of gluten issues, the addiction.  However, I've found HUGE success with removing artificial colorings, flavorings and refined or processed sugars from his diet.  Removing high fructose corn syrup was the best thing I ever did for this family - food wise.   Birthdays give all that a bit of a boot though.  I'm not a food nazi with my kids because honestly, they are pretty good about humoring my gluten free sugar free diet the rest of the year.  I buy them organic cinnamon toast crunch (non GMO, unrefined cane juice sweetener, and no BHT - I can live with that, I'm not eating it) and they in turn taste my failure thumbprint cookies that looked like the jelly jar exploded all over my beautiful cookies.    So on their birthday, they get to choose their cake and meal for the day and everyone's happy.  The next day we go back to non chemical eating and everyone doesn't miss the day of what a friend of mine calls "chemical cakes"  (ie: store bought or boxed mixes.)   This year was about to be no different, until....

I talked to A this morning after having a gloriously amazing inspiration last night (from him of course, but he may never really know it.)  I asked him if it would be ok if I made him a gluten free cake.  His face immediately fell.  Let's just say, that no matter how GREAT my white bean cake is, he is autistic.  His taste buds work like a blood hound's nose.  He does like the white bean cake.  But he misses a good old birthday cake, especially being that his diet and body do not require wheat free.  There is no difference for him.  Except missing his old flavors and textures.  So, I sweetened the deal.  I told him I'd feature his cake, NO MATTER HOW BADLY IT TURNS OUT, on my blog.  AND I would use real sugar (I'm using minimally processed, organic cane sugar, unbleached - however, the fondant is store bought, has a disclaimer that it could have possibly come in contact with wheat contaminants in the facility... I'm unable to change this at this time due to the cake's theme, however, I have some links if you want to see gluten free fondant.  It's fairly easy to make at home with marshmallow fondant, or there is a company that makes it.)  As for frosting, I have no idea yet.  I'm wishing someone will rain down organic frosting but so far, no luck.  I'll keep updating.

That's what's going to happen next week.  I'm spending this week, playing with fondant (ugh) and testing gluten free cake recipes made with starches (ugh) and then I'm going to use food coloring (ugh) and make a nice little design and prove that YES, really, you can make really great tasting food and still be gluten free (but not necessarily HEALTHY!)   Hahahaha!

This is a special I'm doing for my little boy and it's going to be a combination of gluten free and geekery at it's finest (no health guarantees.)  We love games around here and I cannot WAIT to show you what I have up my sleeve.

Besides my elbow.

Pictures this week are courtesy of Costa Rica.  Beautiful place, remember sunscreen even in the Cloud Forest if you have a complexion like mine (ie- ghost color.)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Bringing in 2013!

Welcome to 2013!   This year will be so much fun;  new recipes, interesting concerts and of course keeping it all healthy, added sugar and gluten free so you can enjoy your life as much as I do mine!   No worries, and no stress in the kitchen.  Lots of fun and much more to come!

Today's post is a LITTLE late!!  BUT! =D  I'm here! And I wanted to share this little indulgence with you.  Do you remember being a kid and mom cooking a nice warm gooey grilled cheese sandwich with crispy brown but soft inside toast?   Oh wow.  If that didn't get your mouth watering, nothing will!   She might have cut it in triangles so you could dip it in a piping hot and sweetly tangy tomato soup!  OH BOY!  That is some serious comfort food there!!

Well, it may not be grain free today, but if you're looking for a nice comfort food treat, today's recipe delivers.  Gooey, hot and crispy all at the same time, this grilled cheese sandwich is SUPER simple to make and lots of fun to eat!  Pair it with your favorite gluten free tomato soup and enjoy!   My disclaimer today is this:  you're going to take one look at this and think "quesadilla"... and  you'd be right.  Except... it really does work as a wonderful replacement for a grilled cheese sandwich.  There are plenty of breads out there that are GF and work just fine for grilled cheese, however, I find they are super filling and some are made with a long list of starches that I just can't justify eating in my diet.  The tortillas I buy are hand made, stone ground corn and water with lime.  That's it.  That IS the ingredient list.   The way they make it results in a soft and delicious finished sandwich, that melts in your mouth.  Feel free to pair it with the meat of your choice... steak, cold cuts, ham, or chicken for a meal.  I've added an "alternate" option if you're looking to serve this as a meal.

Grilled cheese sandwich-tortillas
(vegetarian friendly)
4-6 corn tortillas
block of sharp cheddar cheese sliced (about 4-5 slices per tortilla)
butter to grease pan or griddle

Heat griddle to 350f.  You can put the butter on the tortilla or on the pan, but be generous.  lightly brown one side until crispy, about 3 min.  Flip the tortilla, lay 4-5 slices of cheddar on the browned side and gently fold over in 1/2.   Brown each side about 2-3 min, and until cheese is gooey and melted.  Serve hot with your favorite tomato soup.

*Grilled Cheese Dinner
(alternate to plain grilled cheese, can be used as a meal - omit meat, or use tofurkey for a vegetarian friendly recipe)
4-6 corn tortillas
block of sharp cheddar cheese sliced (4-5 slices per tortilla)
2 cooked, shredded chicken breasts
8 oz of chopped broccoli florets (or you can grate the floret part and "sprinkle" it like cheese)

Place chicken and broccoli in a bowl and stir until well mixed.  Heat griddle to 350f.  Warm butter on griddle or butter a tortilla, and grill until light brown about 3 minutes.  Flip and add 4 slices of cheese, sprinkle the chicken and broccoli florets until cheese is covered.  Fold tortilla in 1/2 and brown each side about 3-4 minutes or until cheese is hot and melted.  Serve hot with salad and hot tomato soup.

I have some BEAUTIFUL pictures I'll be posting this weekend but until then, enjoy your comfort food!