Thursday, August 28, 2014

Minneapolis wanderings

Hello, Hello farmer's market veggies! I love that my work is located near the Minneapolis Farmer's Market. Today I popped over there during lunch time to nab some tomatoes for my daughter. We both agree that tomatoes from the Farmer's Market taste like the earth (in a good way). The tomatoes at the grocery store do not have the same earthy goodness. Soon it will be fall and then winter (boo) when the sun sets at 4pm. Until then we will dash to the farmer's market while we can.

My youngest is a mega fan of the mini donuts you can find at the market on the weekend. He was convinced that the mini donuts were available everyday. "Mom, since the Farmer's Market is so close your work, you could get me hot mini-donuts everyday, RIGHT?" Insert big blinking brown eyes and a wiggly leg hug.

Back to today, my other downtown adventures to included popping tags at the Salvation Army downtown Minneapolis. They sell clothing and home goods by the pound upstairs. Downstairs you can find oodles of Target headquarter sample goodies. Today I found a Nate Berkus platter for only $4. I just saw this same platter at Target stores for $24.99! They frequently have Target dresses for only $4 too. Love it.

Show me, don't tell me


Let's travel back in a time to my college years. The time in my life when teachers chanted "show me, don't tell me". I have carried that theory throughout my design work. Good design hits you in the heart when you see it. There is no need to explain things, your soul already absorbed the goodness. Any additional explanation of the visual only enriches the goodness.

I have three kids that have reached the critical point in life where we are discussing that life is not always fair, that there is a need to be a kind friend and a quality human in this crazy world. I can discuss things at great length but I will often get the semi-blank stare, huff or sneaky eye roll. So I have decided to use my college-days design theory with them. Show me, don't tell me.

I am the keeper of most of my extended families photos, going back to the 1890s. I am going to use a combination of old photos, notes and textures mixed with my current kids art to make visual graphics that convey the advice I want them to hold tight to their souls. Who knows where this will go. I will take it day by day and see the goodness I can craft up.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Mint Dark Chocolate Cakepops

Order up! From time to time, I craft up custom cakepops for sweet treat friends and fans. This latest version is a dark chocolate mint version. 

I love a spicy chocolate so recently I experimented with a spicy concoction of chocolate, cayenne pepper and chili powder. I topped those spicy bad boys with sea salt. Almost hot enough, next time I am going to amp the heat up and add some bacon crumbles with the sea salt. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Summer time fun : cake pop stand

The other day, I was attempting to have a conversation with my husband. I said "profit" during our discussion. All the kids said "What's profit? What does that mean?" So this weekend, we ran a cake pop stand to discuss and learn matters such as cost, profit, supply, demand, salesmanship, teamwork and hard work.

Before the cake pop stand opened, a kind gentleman gave my son $2 for his efforts. We didn't have the cake pops out yet. So sweet, perfect little motivation to get the day going. I love that. Turns out our youngest is a fabulous "waver" but also a great inventor of excuses (reasons) why he needs yet another break. My oldest was a hard worker, keeping a constant look out for potential clients. "We are running a business. Pay attention. Wave!"

Our products were Vanilla and Chocolate cake pops! The chocolate turned out to be the street traffic favorite. We had lots of truckers today due to construction work down the street. The kids jumped when they pulled the big horns. Even after subtracting our costs we had a very profitable four-hour shift. They celebrated with a romp in the sprinklers.

Of course, all that time in the driveway lead to another chalk drawing. Luck would have it, friends stopped by for a quick photo shoot! Summer time fun. . . cake pops, profits, sprinklers and friends!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Summer Chalk Art

We have two giant buckets of chalk, this year we are going to burn through it. This weekend we crafted up two chalk scenes, beach bound and parachutes from the sky. A tall ladder is a must to make this photo happen. I was up at the top of the ladder in my usual attire, a dress (not too short). Soon after a car with teenagers shouting inappropriate remarks. Fortunately they stopped when they realized that my kids were laying on the driveway, hearing every word.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Naan with Cilantro and Garlic

My new favorite food blog is HalfBakedHarvest. Tieghan, posts a new recipe every day with beautiful photography. INSANE and awesome too. I recently made her recipe for Naan. It was perfect topped with garlic and fresh cilantro. I paired it with her Basil Red Curry dish. I went with the chickpeas instead of chicken.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Chai Latte Cakepops

Time for some Chai Latte Cakepops. The mix was from Target's Archer Farms Brand. While baking the cake made the house smell amazing. The mix comes with fancy spiced up frosting too. I only used half of the frosting to make the cakepops. Dipped the cakeballs in white melted chocolate and sprinkled with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.

Par for the course, my kids were not total fans but my co-workers were thrilled.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Summer Chalk Art

So my little guy wanted me to draw a rocket. It soon became a giant rocket with a flying astronaut and lots of stars. I had to pull out the ladder to take this shot. The people driving by surely thought I was a crazy mom. But remember, it's my "year of don't care".

Just get out there and do things.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Mothers day, everyday

I love a handmade card. My eldest crafted this one for Mothers Day. I'll take one day of adoration! Mom with a cherry on top, arty, caring, creative, sweet, trust worthy, smart, fun, unique, and a good listener. I also love to take naps, watch the news while being able to hear what they are saying and long car rides with no screaming offspring (there appears to be a theme here). 

That brings me to this book. This year I am seeking some sort of clarity, really any sort that makes sense and sticks to my soul. I only got to page 192 of this book before it was due back to the library (long waiting list of 119 other parents dying to read it). Basically, moms today work-work even more  than moms of the 1980s and do even more at home than our moms ever did. Burn that candle on both ends! Sure that will work great, no problem. We will just drink more coffee and then take a Simply Sleep pill to shut off our brains at night. Looks like I might just have to go buy the book.

Laugh it off, just keep moving. My kids are highly entertained by a local Minnesota billboard for Colon Cancer awareness. It's a total giggle fest every time we drive past. Sorry if that is your butt on the billboard, but (butt, ha) I can see the skin pores and butt texture. It is so not cool. I am not cool with it. A paper cut illustration would have been more elegant and I promise it could have been just as giggly. 

Speaking of cut paper, here is the best Mother's day flowers I have seen in a while. I apologize if you are a cooler Mom and already knew about these flowers. This is the first time in my 11 years that I have seen this sort of fanciness. Each flower is a handprint cut out, rolled and shaped into a flower. Add in a sparkly pipe cleaner, some paper leaves and a paper straw stem. CUTE!

My life is insane. A Mother in motion, stays in motion. It's moderately controlled chaos. Do your best each day. My motto "helpful or hurtful". When you know better, you do better.  Assume positive intent and be forever hopeful. Oh and it's okay to take a nap in your car during your work lunch break. (Serious, I really do that. If you see me, don't take a photo and post it to Instagram. That is not cool. Just like giant butt pores aren't cool.).

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Blueberry scones

My boys have been begging for scones. The little one wanted "chocolate chip" but none were to be found in the pantry. It seems that someone has been randomly snacking on them or enhancing their syrup drenched waffles. Agh.

So we went the blueberry route. My hands were stained like like Veruca Salt from Charlie and the Chocolate factory. Speaking of chocolate, these scones would be even more awesome with some white chocolate chunks. Next time!

Blueberry Scone Recipe
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 TBS sugar
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
5 TBS cold butter
1 egg
1/2 heavy whipping cream (or milk if you would rather)
2/3 cups frozen blueberries
2 TBS of heavy whipping cream to brush on the scones before baking
2 TBS of Turbinado sugar

Preheat oven to 375. Prep baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Then cut in butter till the mixture resembles crumbs. Whisk egg and milk together, add to the dry ingredients just until moistened. Turn out on lightly floured surface and gently knead in frozen blueberries.

Shape into a 8 inch circle. Place on baking sheet and cut into 8 wedges. Brush scones with heavy whipping cream (or milk if you are being blah) and sprinkle with Turbinado sugar.

Bake 15-20 minutes.

Eat while still warm with coffee. Yum

Sunday, May 4, 2014

turtle bread

My kids love their bake shop apps on their coveted devices but this morning we had a real bake shop in our house. The recipe is a sourdough bread but really any bread dough should work just fine. One big body shape, four little feet and a head. We cut raisins in half for the eyes. Then carve a little hole for the the raisins with a knife-push the raisins in the dough hole. Then cut the lines for the turtle shell.  Lightly oil a baking sheet and place the turtles to rise for a half hour under a light-weight towel.  Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes. Check around 15 minutes to see how everything is looking. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Combo Mambo

bite bite, sip sip. deep dish combo mambo!

My oldest, hit rewind to watch this commercial and grab her brother to see it. "It's' the commercial we hear on the radio!" Then they began their own version of mambo dancing around the kitchen.

Monday, April 21, 2014

coconut nest cupcakes

I had intended to post this before Easter, but that did not happen. I am behind on most everything in my personal life. I have decided that this is going to be the year of "don't care". I will still give my best effort, but if something goes off course... "don't care". After the year wraps up, I will assess if this was a better method or if I should go back to my usual ways.

Tonight, my new "don't care" method worked like a gem when two different insane drivers were freaking out on me. I swear there is something going down with this blood moon business. The crazy driver tonight looked like he was having a stroke while providing me the one finger salute. The weather is warmer, so all his windows were open for full effect. Thankfully my two boys were fighting with each other in the backseat and had no clue what was going down to the right of our vehicle. I just waved at him in a friendly manner... don't care.

My favorite coworker is moving to Florida next month. I am in total denial that this is happening. She loves coconut, as do I. So I will bake coconut things to make our final days sweeter and keep myself in a sugar coma. No worries, I am still attempting to train for a 5K (way behind schedule).

I stumbled upon this recipe on pinterest from Browneyedbaker (adapted from Martha Stewart). You can visit that site or read the recipe below. The recipe seems like a lot of steps, but it is pretty easy. Heavenly coconut cupcakes. This would be cute for a baby shower too. If I made these again, I would double the recipe.

Coconut Cupcakes with Toasted Coconut Frosting (yields 12 cupcakes)

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temp)
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg (room temp)
1 egg white (room temp)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk (well-stirred)

Coconut Frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter (room temp)
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract

1 cup toasted coconut
Assorted chocolate eggs or whopper eggs (I used Cadbury Mini eggs)

Preheat oven to 350. 12 paper liners of your choice.

I chopped up the coconut on the cutting board. But if you are fancy and have a food processor, toss it in there (much faster). You want finely ground coconut.

Whisk together, flour, coconut, baking powder and salt.

In my Grandma's Kitchen Aid Mixer, I tossed the butter and sugar till well creamed. Add the eggs and vanilla. Drop the speed to low then alternate the flour mixture and the coconut milk until well combined.

Divide the batter between the 12 cupcake liners. Bake 18-20 minutes (I was more on the 20 minute range). Remove and let cool in muffin tin for 10 minutes. Place on wire rack to cool completely.

Time to make the frosting! Whisk attachment on the Mixer. Whip the butter for 5 minutes, drop speed to low and slowly add powdered sugar. Once everything is well combined add the 2 tsp of vanilla and 1 tsp of coconut extract (I found mine at SuperTarget).

Time to toast the coconut topping. I just tossed one cup of sweetened coconut in a small frying pan and toasted it about 5-7 minutes on medium, stirring constantly. It smells so good, like heaven. While the freshly toasted coconut is cooling in a shallow plate, frost the 12 cupcakes. You want to create a "well" on the inside of the frosting, so build the frosting walls high. Frost all the cupcakes, make sure they are equal. Then roll the sides of the frosting in the toasted coconut. Toss in some eggs/jelly beans/whoppers and you are done.

Stores well in an airtight container for a few days (if you can wait that long to eat them all)!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Bunny Pancake

Hip Hop, check out this coconut fluffy banana slice tail with chocolate tip toes. No worries, this does not have to be perfect. My kids loved drenching the bunny in strawberry syrup to re-enact a death-like moment. Of course, they added many more chocolate chips to the sticky massacre.

Saturday, April 19, 2014


Another year older. A conversation with my youngest child goes something like this:

"How old are you?"
"I am going to draw a cake with all the candles on it. One, Two, Three, Four, Five..."
"Can you count in your head, please?"

When my Dad turned 36, I thought he was so old. I wonder what my kids think of me? My parents were avid watchers of "Thirty Something". I didn't hang out and watch the show with them, but I did cruise through and catch bits. I remember thinking, the thirties must suck. Getting old sucks, let's go place Zelda on the Ninetendo before the parents shut it down.

Now I am 37. I think I would rather play Zelda. Anyone have a functioning vintage Nintendo?