Sunday, January 31, 2010

cupcake toppers

I made these cupcake toppers for my friend's wedding last month. I hate not knowing the flavors of things... I mean, why choose the vanilla when you can have the crème brulée?

{photo by katelyn vonfeldt}

Friday, January 29, 2010

library kit

call me old fashioned, but I'm not up on giving kids giant plastic toys with batteries & scantily clad dolls as gifts. I feel like kids are growing up way too fast these days & it's so important to try to preserve their youth & innocence.

so instead of buying my seven-year-old niece a game for her ds or an app for her itouch, I bought her this adorable personal library kit. she opened it up on christmas morning & started adding sleeves to the books that I had bought her &  it made me really wish I had bought one for myself. such a fun gift for kids... & nerdy adults like myself.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

chocolate crinkle cookies

a few nights ago, robert made a delicious dinner, so I felt the need to keep up the quality with a homemade desert. I've had this recipe forever, but probably haven't made them since college: chocolate crinkle cookies. they're a little crispy around the edges and oh-so-soft in the center. I made a batch & froze the rest for a later occasion... like tonight.

chocolate crinkle cookies

  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together cocoa, white sugar and vegetable oil. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; stir into the cocoa mixture. Cover dough, and chill for at least 4 hours (or freezer for 1 hour if you're like me & can't wait that long!)
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll dough into one inch balls (using a spoon helps). Coat each ball in confectioners' sugar before placing onto prepared cookie sheets.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Let stand on the cookie sheet for a minute before transferring to wire racks to cool.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

the best birthday ever!

not to brag, but I have the best husband... ever. he made my birthday on thursday so very special.

it started out with homemade pancakes & raspberries for breakfast on the "today's my special day" plate (a long-standing tradition in my family. we kinda think birthday's are a big deal).

then I received beautiful yellow tulips at work.

he took me to a new restaurant called taverna for dinner which was absolutely delicious. there was cava waiting for us at the table (which we drank when we were in barcelona a few months back). we ordered some really good wine, a fabulous ricotta & fig compote appetizer and some pizzas. ah!

and if that wasn't enough, robert had my favorite cake from sheila's waiting for me at home for dessert. he calls me katie-bird as a nickname, so he had asked for the outline of a bird on the cake, which is pretty hilarious.

ok.. and here's the best part. robert made my gift. apparently for the past four months he had been collecting old wooden letters used for printing (some dating back as far as the 1800s!). he made this incredible collage with the letters, spelling out birthday (the "y" is on the way..), as well as my initials & a few other inside jokes. and even cooler- robert made the frame from salvaged cedar from the closet in our house that we tore out a few years ago!
it is absolutely beautiful & I cannot wait to hang it in our home.

and then we got to celebrate all over again the next night with my family. yea, I'm spoiled. this was one of the best birthday's I've ever had. I am so very blessed!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

surprise date night

look what I found waiting for me when I got home from dance last night... looking forward to birthday date night tomorrow with my sweet husband.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

movie series... alfred hitchcock

robert and I thought it would be fun to do "theme" movie nights & watch some films in a series. for instance, films by the same director, or with the same actor. so we decided to start with hitchcock, the "master of suspense". so far we've watched the following (posters below). some of these films I had seen before, but most of them are new to me. so far, I think north by northwest is favorite.
what is your favorite hitchcock film?

Friday, January 15, 2010

happy birthday, kristin!

happy birthday to my longtime friend, kristin!
(I made this simple card for her with a sheet of cardstock & this adorable garland from michaels/martha stewart).

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

goodbye christmas

as soon as christmas came...

it went.

our house looks so empty. I miss you, christmas.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

happy belated birthday, jesus

every year at christmas I bake a "happy birthday jesus" cake. I try to switch it up & make something different every year. in the past, I've done red velvet, coconut cake & a pie. but this year I decided to make a traditional birthday cake for little baby jesus ("dear little baby jesus, lying there in your little manger, lookin' at your baby einstein developmental videos, learnin' 'bout shapes and colors..." ~ talladega nights). It's not something I would make often... the cake is great, but the sourness of the frosting is definitely different. a nice change from chocolate buttercream.

Yellow Layer Cake

Yield: Two 9-inch round, 2-inch tall cake layers, and, in theory, 22 to 24 cupcakes, two 8-inch squares or a 9×13 single-layer cake.

4 cups plus 2 tablespoons cake flour (not self-rising)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups buttermilk, well-shaken

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans and line with circles of parchment paper, then butter parchment.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. At low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined (mixture will look curdled). Add flour mixture in three batches, mixing until each addition is just incorporated.

Spread batter evenly in cake pan, then rap pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles. Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a knife around edge of pan. Invert onto rack and discard parchment, then cool completely, about 1 hour.

Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting
smitthen kitchen, adapted from
The Dessert Bible

Makes 5 cups of frosting, or enough to frost and fill a two layer 9-inch cake

15 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/4 teaspoons instant espresso (optional, but can be used to pick up the flavor of average chocolate)
2 1/4 cups sour cream, at room temperature
1/4 to 1/2 cup light corn syrup (I used a bit more)
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the chocolate and espresso powder, if using, in the top of a double-boiler or in a heatproof bowl over simmering water. Stir until the chocolate is melted. (Alternately, you can melt the chocolate in a microwave for 30 seconds, stirring well, and then heating in 15 second increments, stirring between each, until the chocolate is melted.) Remove from heat and let chocolate cool until tepid.

Whisk together the sour cream, 1/4 cup of the corn syrup and vanilla extract until combined. Add the tepid chocolate slowly and stir quickly until the mixture is uniform. Be sure to taste for sweetness, and if needed, add additional corn syrup in one tablespoon increments until desired level of sweetness is achieved.

Let cool in the refrigerator until the frosting is a spreadable consistency. This should not take more than 30 minutes. Should the frosting become too thick or stiff, just leave it out until it softens again.

wine tasting party

I don't know a whole lot about wine, except that I like to consume it. my husband has done a really good job of teaching me about the different types of grapes & regions & ways to ferment it, etc etc . but the thought of actually hosting a wine party (while robert was out of town for a week) is a little intimidating. but I did some research & decided to have six girls from work over for an italian wine night (I personally liked the idea of keeping it intimate). I wanted to keep it simple, so I decided to narrow it down to my favorite country, italy. I went to the wine store and picked out a few different types of wine from different regions, all under about $13. we had a great time sampling the wines, one by one, and trying to describe what we were tasting. after each wine, I would read the descriptions of what we were "supposed" to be tasting to see if we got it correct.

for the invitations, I bought different charms for each person & attached them to earrings (found in the beading/jewelry section at michaels) which served as wine charms for the glasses.

here are the 5 different wines that I served. 2 whites (la delizia from vento; fourplay no 1 blanco chianti from sicily), 2 reds (straccali chianti from tuscana; nero d'avola from sicily), and a prosecco (prosecco veneto). they were all delicious.

I kept the menu simple, serving food that didn't require utensils. bruschetta, cheese and crackers, pears, grapes, tortellini/olive/artichoke skewers, and salami. all of the food went really well with the wines. I gave each person a white wine glass & a red wine glass, as well as a dump bucket in the middle.

I printed out a sheet for each person to make notes on what they tasted and which wines they liked, in case they wanted to purchase them later.

I found this really cool regional map of italy on the internet & put it on mat board so we could see where all the wines were harvested.

salute! cin cin!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

I wish I had a river, I could skate away on

in the words of joni mitchell, we did just that. we went ice skating at the st. augustine's winter wonderland last weekend. it was robert's first time ice skating, and he did really well. eric has been an avid rollerblader for years, which I guess translates to the ice, because he was definitely showing off his moves. and it wasn't florida weather, either! 35 degrees... burr!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

tangerine time

luckily, we've had a few freezes before picking time, so the tangerines off our tree are sweet and delicious this year!


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