Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Hello Again and thanks for checking out what I am sharing. Although my goal is to post once a week, life seems to speed by and I find that too much time has passed. :)
Perhaps I should start an adventure on being organized, as that seems to be the biggest time eater in our house. :)
I wanted to share one of our favorite fun things and hope that it catches on and folks enjoy it at much as we do.
We are big readers in our family, I have to thank my parents for this gift. I remember my Mom reading to me constantly as a child, my father always had at least two books going at one time and stacks of magazines around the house on top of that.
Bruce's mother is a teacher so of course she too passed on the wonderful gift of loving books to him.
Reading to the children has always been a fun and special time, even now that they are older and read to themselves, we still have special times with comfy spots and fun books. Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss are always there. :)
So every year we honor Dr. Seuss' Birthday in our home. Come to think of it, we should start to recognize Sir Shel as well :)
The best thing we do on Dr. Seuss day is bake him a cake. :) Although this recipe that I am going to share is our own version of this fun cake, it was inspired by this post on one of my favorite craft sites Crafster. Or Crackster as my girl friend calls it, since I am on there pretty much every day. :)
This cake is so much fun to eat and to make. Children love it because first of all you can make a grand mess while making it, and then of course it looks really strange to eat. Imagine getting to eat that play dough creation you made as a child, only it actually taste wonderful. :)
Without further ado...Dr Seuss' Birthday Cake
We use blondies as the crust for the cake or cup cakes. Blondies are a southern version of a brownie. Wonderful in and of themselves but then you top it with cheese cake and WOW !! The inspiration for my blondie recipe was the recipe for Blondies in the Better Homes and Garden cook book. There are other versions of this cake that use cake as the crust and Brownies as well.
For the Blondies you will need...
2 cups packed brown sugar
2/3 cup unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
If you are making the cake spray the bottom of your spring form pan with a good baking spray. If you are making cup cakes just line your muffin tin with cup cake papers, preferably ubber fun colored ones.
Now for the cake you simply pour the batter in to the pan and bake until barely done. You want it to be still moist as you are going to bake it again.
For cup cakes place a little less than a tablespoon of batter in each up. It will spread out as you work and fill the bottom of the cup. Also, it will rise, so if it doesn't look like you have enough in the cup wait until you bake your first batch. I have made the mistake of putting too much of this batter in and then you end up with a blondie cupcake with cheese cake frosting.
Bake both versions at 350 until just barely firm and still moist.
Now for the fun part :)
Cheese cake batter
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
2 large eggs
1/4 cup sour cream
food coloring...lots and lots of food coloring
I double this if I am making cup cakes, especially if you have little ones helping. :)
With a mixer cream the cheese, sugar and extracts until smooth. Add in the eggs one at a time and mix well. Then add in the sour cream and mix well.
Now divide the batter into several bowls and start adding food coloring. I am usually a Wilton color girl but I have to say for this recipe the simple drop food coloring works the best and is the brightest. The neon colors really pop well if you can find them.
Once you have all of your colors mixed, take a large spoon for each color and start just plopping down splatters of color in each cup or all over the cake. Let your inner Jackson Pollack go wild. :)
Once you have or your little ones have "their creations" just how they want them, you just pop them into a 325 oven until the cakes are firm in the centers. Every oven is different so keep an eye on them. You do not want the cake or the cup cakes to brown.
That is it, :) You want to let them cool and then refrigerate, as with all cheese cakes these taste better cool.
I hope everyone enjoys these as much as we do. Please if you try it, write and let me know how you made it your own or what fun event you used it for.
Now on to the practical :) but still fun. As most of you know this blog started as a journal and sharing of sorts about our journey into homemaking, frugal living and going green. As with most things we jumped in with both feet.
Although we told ourselves that we were not going to go crazy with it, we starting getting silly and trying everything at once. When you discover something wonderful and tune your mind into a higher state of thinking it is hard to throttle back and keep yourself at a normal pace.
The only problem with that is it is easy to get carried away and then get burnt out.
As I have said before there are several factors that we are considering when choosing projects, products and changes.
How does it impact our health, our time, our money and our planet. All of these are important. The wonderful thing is a tiny difference can make a big impact on each of these factors so anything you do to improve any of these areas helps.
So over the last few weeks we have tried making our own
facial toner.....LOVE IT.. and will share in a latter post
facial soap.....Love it, use a castile based soap so I am not actually making it from scratch
dish soap...dismal failure, again a story for the next post
yogurt....a great hit, will share later....and on and on.
Now the one thing that happens when you start examining things closely is you will learn things that you didnt start out to learn. :)
So toothpaste. I found recipe that I wanted to try for making our own toothpaste. We used baking soda for awhile and really liked it but by itself or mixed with salt it taste terrible so we moved back to store bought after awhile.
Well of course once we made this declaration we decided to make our own again......as soon as we used up the last of our store bought. LOL
This picture is what we are STILL working on for toothpaste. A month ago, the tube looked like what we would call empty. Bruce and I stood at our sink and actually looked at the tube and said, it might be time to whip up some of that tooth paste...Then I remembered my Dad.
My father could get every single smear of toothpaste out of a tube. I mean it was like a challenge for him. I remember standing at the sink and watching him hold the bottom of the tube and use the edge of the counter to help him scrape the last of the paste up to the top of the tube just for that last little bit. LOL
We decided to try this as well. It has been a MONTH !! of both of us brushing our teeth two to three times a day each. There is still probably about six more dabs in this tube. It is a running joke in our home now.
I will make our own toothpaste when it finally gives us all it has. LOL However I now know I will not be making tooth paste every week like bread. :)
A lot of you might already know this, probably already learned this lesson. For us it was striking, that simply by paying attention to how much you use of something, can in and of its self lead to conservation.
Enjoy the little things in life, a funny poem and seeing how much you can squeeze out life and toothpaste.