Monday, February 25, 2008

Baby Shower

My sister-in-law Fawn is a master cake decorator. She actually sells the cakes that she makes and decorates. (Check out her new cake blog When we lived in the same ward, she taught a series of cake decorating classes as enrichment activities. We learned how to split and fill a layered cake, how to make royal icing flowers, and (my favorite) how to use fondant. I really caught the bug when I got to go over to her house to "help her" with a cake project. Mostly, I got to watch her work and learn from the master. (Thanks Fawn!) Let me just tell you that it is harder than it looks to make it look like the pictures in the books, but it is a lot of fun trying.

Last Saturday Monica, Maren and I combined forces and threw a baby shower for someone in the ward who is expecting her first baby (a girl) in April. We decided to make it a "Little Princess" party, and I got to work looking for the perfect cake for the occasion. I looked through my books, and searched the Internet and decided to make a tufted pillow cake with a princess tierra or crown on top of it.

There was a pattern for a crown in one of my books, but it looked way too complicated and intricate. Plus, they wanted me to make it out of royal icing, which I think, is hard to work with.

I went on line found a couple great tierras that I could use as patterns. Here is the one I chose.

I enlarged the picture, printed it out, traced it onto parchment paper, taped the parchment onto an upside down 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup, and piped over the pattern in melted white chocolate. I worried that it wouldn't be strong enough to hold, but once the chocolate dried, it was solid and strong. And as Henry put it when he saw it, "Wow, That's beautiful!"

I made the cake from a Cake Mix Doctor book. It was an almond, cream cheese pound cake and filled it with a strawberry cream. I made and colored the marshmallow fondant ahead of time, and Michal helped me make the butter cream icing. Maren came over and we worked together, rolling out the fondant, putting it on the cake, quilting, painting and tufting, buttoning... and admiring. Like I said, it is harder than it looks to make it look like the pictures in the books, but it is a lot of fun trying. Here are a few pictures of our finished product.

The cake was definitely impressive, but you should have tasted the food! I made a craisin/feta/candied almond green salad with Trader Joe's raspberry dressing. Monica out
did herself with chicken salad sandwiches on mini croissants, feta/pine nut/baby spinach/pesto bow tie salad, and cream cheese toffee and citrus marshmallow dip for the fruit platter.

Everyone went home with warm harts, full bellies,
and a gift from the crown jewels.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Greek Steak Pitas with Cucumber Dill Sauce

There is a seemingly never-ending supply of delicious recipes in a Cooking Light Annual Cookbook, and I have two of them. Why is it that I get stuck rotating the same 10-15 basic meals over and over again. This week I decided that it was time to get a little more variety in our diet. I pulled down the 2004 edition, and in no time, found more recipes that I wanted to try than I had nights in the week to cook. Here is one of the recipes that I tried out. It was absolutely fabulous. So flavorful, fresh and tasty!!! It was so good that I thought that I would share it with you too!

Steak Marinade

  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 lb. flank steak (or you can use the "carne asada" type thin sliced steak)
The lemon-juice marinade quickly penetrates the steak, so a 10-minute soak is enough to flavor the meat, but longer is OK too.


  • 1/2 cup plain fat-free yogurt
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh dill (dry dill is OK, just use less of it)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup diced cucumber

Remaining Ingredients:
  • pita
  • lettuce
  • tomato
  • cucumber (I found some cute/tasty little Mediterranean cucumbers at Traders Joe's)
  • crumbled feta cheese


No mater which kind of meat you decide to use, it will be delicious. Just be sure that you make plenty. I know I wished that I had had enough to go back for seconds!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Which Austen Heroine Are You?

Look what I found!

I guess I have more sense than sensibility,

or is it the other way around?

I am Elinor Dashwood!

Take the Quiz here!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Another Isaac Slideshow

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

This morning Flint had an early appointment. When he came home at 9:30 he announced that he was taking the day off. "No work today." he declared. "What do you want to do?" he asked me. I was excited at the prospect of my hard working (sometimes work-o-holic) husband taking the day off in the middle of the week and since it is Valentine's Day, I said, "Let's go to San Francisco!" I could tell be the look on his face that he had something else in mind. In fact, he had several other things in mind. I guess my idea of a "No work" day is a little different than his. These are the things that he had written down on his things to do wish list that I found on his desk:

  • Demo the concrete rock garden

(admittedly the ugliest thing about our house, but this involves renting a jack hammer, sledge hammer etc. to break up the concrete, borrowing a truck, hauling it all to a landfill, and then at least smoothing out the dirt and respreading woodchips.)
  • Plant seed and trim bushes (by the driveway and on the side of the house.)(not quite sure what he wants to plant)

  • Cut down trees (about 10-15 large volunteer trees along the fence in our backyard and along the neighbor's driveway in the back of the yard)

  • Build a mail box

  • Take down and replace light (big ugly light on the garage, over the driveway; the second ugliest thing about our house)

  • Get an impact wrench and do the breaks on the Saturn

  • Landfill (I assume this relates to the demo work and tree cutting.)

  • Go to Chipotle for lunch (This was not written on his list, but he told Isaac that it was.)

So I guess San Francisco is out? I decided that in order to show my love I would let him "not work" today. With two conditions, he not try to do all of the projects on his list today, and I get to choose the movie that we watch tonight. :)

Can I tell you that he is in heaven today?

He went to Harbor Freight and bought some "essential" tools. Then he borrowed a chain saw from the neighbor and started chopping (The trick is getting him to stop chopping!).

I went to Trader Joes and got the makings of a mouth-watering romantic Valentine's dinner and then swung by Chipotle to pick up lunch.

He just came in and excitedly announced that the other neighbor not only had a rope that he can borrow, but he has a "chipper" to grind up the clippings!

Simple pleasures. I love my sweet hard working husband. Isaac finally went down for a nap so I think I'll go out and help for a bit.

I'm sure we'll make it to San Francisco someday.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Happy Birthday Stu!

Since Stuart seems to have changed his phone number recently and I can't figure out how to get a hold of him to wish him Happy Birthday, I thought I would just write him a blog.

My little brother Stu seems to have a charmed life. ( He is living in Hawaii and he did serve his mission in exotic tropical places.) I know he must have his hard times, but he doesn't seem to complain (Not even when he had to learn three languages, had no electricity or running water, and got boils on our face in those exotic tropical places.) We all love Stu for his easy-going, positive, and charming personality. He has us all wrapped around his little finger. Who can say no to Stu? Not complete strangers, and definitely not his sister Alli.

I just want to wish him a happy 24th Birthday.

Here are some fond memories I have of Stu:

  • I was the one who could get him to sleep when Mom couldn't, by pacing back and forth in the dark living room and singing.
  • We loved listening to his gibberish baby talk and actually making sense of it. "Deiddle-do"
  • The time he convinced dad that he was old enough to go see Les Miserables by proving that even at 8, he knew the music and story better than him.
  • The summer that I got to share a room with him when I came home from college.
  • When we decorated the ceiling together with glow-in-the-dark stars and listened to "Night Swimming".
  • Jr. High bedtime stories of "Maniac Magee" and "Hatchet".
  • Dropping off a teary eyed Stu at school on my way to the airport to go to the MTC.
  • The time (after realizing that the waves were better than he expected) he asked a stranger on the beach if he could borrow his surf board for a bit.
  • Going to see the first performance of "Kiss Me Kate", and being so proud and blown away by how well he did, that I went back to the next three performances too.
  • Helping him with the research for his Senior Project.
  • Pumicing our feet together.
  • Taking the scenic rout through San Francisco from Bec's wedding in Oakland to her reception in San Jose.
  • Shining the flashlight while he crawled under the house to scoop up the dead and rotting opossum.
  • Sitting on the sidelines of water polo games with Kimball and Mom and cheering.
  • He, Evan and I hacking down (with a machete) and bundling the volunteer trees in the back yard.
(I guess the list could go on and on, but baby Isaac is crying and in need of some attention, so I have to cut it short.)

Thanks for being so great Stu. I love you and hope you have a great birthday.

(I can't wait to come and visit you in Hawaii next month.)