Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Birthday Cakes and Friends

Oh my goodness y'all, this weekend was full of lots and lots of baking and even some cooking.  I was super busy, but I enjoyed every ounce of it.  Baking is my happy place.  To be able to take separate meaningless items (I mean, who eats spoonfuls of baking soda) and put them together to make something completely yummy is awesome to me.  I remember several years ago, in college, telling my mother; who is one of the best bakers I know, that I just didn't have it in me. I just wasn't the "baking type."  "It'll come" she says.  "It just takes time, patience, and a few batches of what your making thrown in the trash."  As the years have gone by, I have definitely thrown my share of goodies away due to them being overdone, "user error, " and some recipes just not turning out even though everything was done correctly.  I don't know that I'll ever bake my way to "mom status" but I do have a few recipes up my sleeve that could compete with some of hers. =) 

So this weekend a friend of mine was going to a birthday party and asked me to bake the birthday cake. Sure, I could bake a cake. I even had an awesome recipe for carrot cake (the birthday girl's favorite) that was my grandmothers (who I never got to meet.)  So, I accepted the challenge. Aaannnd then, I realized I had to decorate this cake.  I have never been one for creatvitiy in the decorating part.  Sure, I can make something taste good, but pretty too? That was a bit much.  Aaannnd I realized that I had never iced a two layer cake before (much harder than it sounds.)  I didn't freak though, I put on my big girl panties and made that girl a birthday cake.  And I'm proud to say, I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.

Then I found out later that they actually presented it to her in front of everybody and took pictures.  I don't know why this surprised me. I guess, it was the birthday cake and you always "present" the cake while singing happy birthday right?  But anyway, I'm glad I didn't think about all of that while making it...PRESSURE  =)   
:shameless plug:
The birthday girl is none other than Whitney Layne, singer-songwriter of Nashville (www.whitneylayne.com)  She's an amazing talent that plays alongside Molly Stevens.  Both girls have unbelievable voices and when you pair them together, watch out!!  If your in Nashville this week, they are playing at 3rd and Lindsley Bar and Grill on Thursday, Jan 13th at 7pm. Be there! You won't be disappointed.

So, that was the big project for the weekend. I also made vanilla bean scones because, well, I've been wanting to try the recipe for weeks now.  It uses, surprise! real vanilla beans, hence the name.  They turned out really good. For sure  a recipe I will keep.  And then on Sunday, we had some friends, Jake and Diane, over for supper so you know I had to do something besides rice =)  I made stuffed chicken with feta cheese and spinach, bruschetta, and wild rice salad.  My friend Diane from work (not Jake & Diane, keep up here) is always telling me that I need to make more healthy things because I only bring my fattening baked goods to work (you really think I would leave them at the the house so I can pack on 20 pounds?)  This wild rice salad is awesome and, more importantly, it's healthy. It's a mixture of a recipe I found on the Internet with what I remember of one we made at a coffee shop I use to work at, with a few tweaks of my own. 

 Vanilla Bean Scones

Wild Rice Salad

I learned one lesson this weekend in all my baking adventures.  Do not, I repeat, do not leave plastic on your stovetop when your oven is on. 

Jesalyn loved playing with Jake and Diane's two boys, Javen and Liam.  She doesn't have a whole lot of interaction with other kids her age.  She cried when they left. Something tells me we are going to have to schedule more play dates.

1 comment:

Bonnie James said...

Have you seen the movie or read the book JULIE & JULIA? I loved the movie, couldn't get into the book. I know, that's wierd. Anyway, she was amazed and how you put random ingredients together to make delicious creations. Cooking was her happy place at the end of a hectic work day. She began to blog about it, and then got a book deal.