Monday, September 22, 2014

Jackson's First Birthday

My baby turned one! I can hardly believe it. He is getting so big! Actually he's not that big according to the charts, but he sure is big to  me! Our wedding anniversary happens to be on the same day as our little guys birthday and for the second year in a row, we haven't done much to celebrate. But, we did have a big party for Jackson so I guess that's celebration enough. We had lots of friends come and support. It was perfect. Luckily the weather cooled off just in time because we had been having 97 degree days here with no air conditioning. Let me tell you, our apartment was hot! It ended up being a little bit overcast for the party so we were able to leave the back door open so that people could sit out on the deck.

 I made Jackson's "Birthday Suit" onesie. It was pretty simple. I ironed on the words "Birthday Suit." Then I sewed a little bow tie with Velcro on the back and stuck it on.

I have been wanting to make a tiered cake for a while. Mostly because I just wanted to see if I could do it. So, I decided Jackson's birthday would be the perfect time. My cake does look like a Charlie Brown cake. I am well aware of that. I am almost embarrassed to put up a picture of it, but we all have to start somewhere right? I did it, it may be leaning sideways, but I did it. The cake itself tasted yummy though so don't judge it by its looks.

 Here is Jackson's little smash cake. I put some white star sprinkles on it to give it a little decoration.

The smash cake part was so much fun, even though it was a pain to clean up. He somehow flung frosting all over the kitchen. But he sure did look cute!

Here is our family picture. Jackson was trying to touch me with his frosting fingers and he succeeded.
I had blue frosting all over the side of my shirt.

 Here is Jackson getting cleaned up by dad in the kitchen sink.
Yes, he's trying to grab my camera lens cap with his frosting fingers.

Jackson also officially started walking on his actual birthday. He is a rock star!

I used a recipe from Baking Vintage. I knew I wanted a white cake with cream cheese frosting and when I came across this buttermilk recipe, I thought I would try it. Don't let "folding in the egg whites" instruction scare you. It was really simple.

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
3 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 egg whites

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line two 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper, then grease with unsalted butter.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. In a medium bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking soda, salt and cream of tartar to remove any lumps. In a liquid measuring cup, combine buttermilk and vanilla. With the mixture on a low speed, alternate adding the flour mixture with the buttermilk. Beat the batter until smooth.

In a clean separate mixing bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Working swiftly, fold the stiff egg whites into the cake bake in three additions. Pour into the buttered cake pans.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans for one hour, remove from pan and allow to cool fully before frosting with the icing of your choice.

Makes 2 8-inch round cakes

With a double batch I made,

two-8inch cakes,
two 6-inch cakes and
two-4 inch cakes

One of the 6-inch cakes I didn't use and one of the 4-inch cakes I used to make Jackson's smash cake with.

I used a cream cheese frosting recipe from Dessert Now, Dinner Later

 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Place cream cheese in a mixing bowl, beat until smooth.
Gradually add the butter 2 tbsp at a time and continue beating until smooth and well blended
Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Using a hand mixer, mix until combined.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Scones with Buttermilk Syrup

I try to make every Friday night date night. Rarely do we actually go out on a date but I still try to find small ways to make it still feel like it's a date. Sometimes we walk to get ice cream before putting the baby to bed. Sometimes I'll pick up a Redbox to watch. And other times, Tyrone and I lay out pretty much all the blankets we have on the living room floor and we watch The Office all night. We call this concoction of piled blankets, Mega Bed. We are growing kind of fond of it. It's becoming the new weekend tradition.

Anyway, going out on an actual date on Friday night is hard because Tyrone is so exhausted from the week. He tries to stay up but he usually ends up crashing early. This past Friday I thought I would do something special for date night and make scones with homemade buttermilk syrup.

By the time the dough had risen Tyrone was dead asleep on the couch. I ate hot scones with buttermilk syrup all by myself and I had no shame eating seconds. 

I got the recipe for the scones from Make-it-do

1 cup warm water
1 cup warm milk
1 Tbsp. dry active yeast
3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1/4 cup melted butter, cooled
1 Tbsp. salt
5 – 6 cups bread flour
Vegetable oil for deep frying


Combine warm water and warm milk.  Stir in the sugar.  Add dry active yeast and stir lightly.  Allow yeast to activate, about 10 minutes.  In a stand mixer, fitted with a bread hook, add milk mixture and melted cooled butter.  Add the salt.  Start the mixer and add the flour one cup at a time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  Dough should be slightly sticky but workable.  Cover the dough in the bowl with a towel.  Set in a warm place and allow raise until double.
Pour your oil in a large pan (with sides deep enough to fully immerse the scones) or a deep fryer and heat slowly over medium to medium high heat.  While the oil is heating, roll the dough out onto the counter, without flour, into a large rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. I have tiled counter tops so I sprayed a large cutting board with Pam and rolled the dough out on there.  You may choose to butter the counter lightly.  Using a pizza cutter, cut into squares or triangles.
Heat oil to between 350 – 400 degrees and cook scones until golden brown. It is important that the oil is hot enough. The first couple I made the oil wasn't quite hot enough and it ends up taking longer to cook meanwhile soaking up the oil. They come out soggy. I tossed those ones out. Serve immediately. They taste the best when hot!

I put the scones on a paper towel to soak up a little bit of the oil before I ate them.
I got the buttermilk syrup recipe from Banner boutique

Buttermilk Syrup

1 cup sugar 
1stick butter 
1/2 cup buttermilk 
2 tbs light corn syrup

Bring these 4 ingredients to a slow boil for 4-5 minutes then take the pan off the heat and add in 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
I  made the syrup at the last minute because it is so easy and quick.

I don't think I've ever had homemade buttermilk syrup before and it is dang delicious!! 4 ingredients all mixed together will change your life. Anything you topped with syrup will forever be changed. Pancakes, waffles, French toast will now and forever be topped with this delicious buttermilk syrup. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

M&M Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies don't need much of a description. All you really need to know is that they are delicious. I've never made M&M cookies before and I used a recipe which called for vanilla pudding so I wasn't sure how they were going to turn out. But, they were amazing. I made them when my husband was out of town which was a bad idea. I ate way too many by myself and I had no one else in the house to blame it on. I did give some away which makes me feel a little better but I think I'm going to make these again soon. I got the recipe from Picky Palate.

  • 1 stick/1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips- I used regular
  • 1 or 1-1/2 cups mini M&M's

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl cream your butter and sugars until well combined. Add your egg and vanilla mixing to combine. Add your flour, pudding mix, baking soda and salt, stirring to combine. Add chips and M&M’s stirring to combine.

 3. With a medium cookie scoop, place dough 1 inch apart from each other. Bake for 10-12 minutes until cooked through. Let cool on cookie sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to cooling rack. Enjoy!
I ate one...

Makes 2 dozen cookies