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Merry Christmas from 2 Chicks!

24 Dec

Both Fondant and Frosting Chick would like to wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

We’ve both had some challenges this past year, as we’re sure you all have had.  Here’s hoping that everything in all of our lives get back on track, and we can get back to the business of posting stories and pictures of our cake creations.

For me, my challenges this year had to do with my health.  I once considered myself to the healthiest fat smoker I know.  That all came to a screeching halt in October when I had to have a heart stent put in and was diagnosed Type 2 diabetic.  I’m now a former smoker, 30 lbs lighter, and still have a way to go.  For any of our readers out there facing health issues, do everything you can to get healthy.  We all have someone who loves and needs us, and that is worth sticking around and getting healthy for.

Happy Holidays,

Frosting Chick

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When Gnomes War

16 Feb

Have you ever woken up, stumbled out of bed, looked outside, and wondered what on earth happened?

It seems my husband was a bit tardy in bringing the yard gnomes in for the winter, and gnomes being gnomes, they became angry about being left to wither in frozen tundra.  Unable to vent their anger upon the large, big booted human, they turned on each other. This, then, is what I saw that frosty morning:

Tiny weapons were strewn everywhere; left behind in their speedy retreat when the big booted human appeared to retrieve the morning paper.

The slow to fly south, quick to fly north birds tweeted for shelter, but none was to be found.

Even the grass cowered in fear.

The wildlife attempted to build a fort, but all was in vain.

The battle was fierce; many gnomes would leave never to return.

Eventually, the wildlife beat a hasty retreat…

… but not before one last, terrible encounter.

Quickly, lest they be caught, the remaining gnomes dragged their wounded to the wilderness in search of their mushroom houses where they would fortify themselves with tales of their heroism during that long, brutal winter when their owners forsook them.

Good grief! Is it spring yet?

 

Practice Makes Perfect or Perfect Practice Makes Perfect?

6 Apr

Spring has sprung (at least on some days). Feets and arms and knees and such are about to come out of hibernation.  Combined with changing fashions, I have to face the truth: pleated shirts cannot carry my stomach through another warm season. Getting my capris and shorts out of storage didn’t help, either. Dang it!

Something Must Be Done. Drastic Measures Must Be Taken.

But what?

I have to stop making so much cake and buttercream “just for practice.” Still, I do need the practice. My piping skills have gone from so-so, just need to perfect the rose and writing, to “are you sure you’ve done this before?”  I, my friends, have over-fondanted. I like fondant. It’s fun, it’s crisp, it doesn’t involve quite the amount of small motor skills as piping. Plus, I don’t eat much fondant as I practice. I wish I could say the same for buttercream. Fat and sugar, sugar and fat. Yum! I started playing with buttercream again to sharpen my skills. After all, some day fondant will be passé and clients will go searching for the caker who cakes “the old-fashioned way.” I must be prepared, right?

With my sugar addiction in full swing once more, and my summer clothes laughing when I tried to squeeze them beyond my Shar Pei thighs, I’m gradually changing things up in the kitchen. Mr. Handy is cool with salad for dinner once a week (after many eons of trying to slip it in) and leftovers are still breeding like rabbits since the kiddos decided to engage in some strange ritual called “college and job” so it’s easier for me to take those leftovers and make a meal for one that’s not packed full of the carb fest of rice and noodles that my Sugar Daddy, ooops! husband, adores. I’m drinking more (the non-alcoholic, non-calorie version of that word. No need to replace one addiction with another, I suppose). Still, that leaves the cake/buttercream issue. How can I practice without sugar laden goodies?  Everyone I know says they want free cakes, but no one is willing to come pick them up. That leaves a lot of cake in my kitchen.

I never wanted to do this. It seems like such a waste. Waste is bad. Save the earth, save the chocolate, save the buttercream! Alas, the return of my mother’s stomach in the mirror leaves me no choice. I must practice, gulp!, without cake. But, wait! you say; because you are smart like that. What about the buttercream? Does this mean that now I get to eat buttercream by the mixing spoonful since I cut out the cake calories? Alas, no, it does not. With the exception of the occasional, “what the crap is going on with the frosting? cake, my crumb and final coat are not a problem. I can smooth out nearly every crater you throw at me. Piping practice is what I need and that, my dear friends in cake, does not take much buttercream at all. In comparison, anyway. A quart sized baggie instead of the mondo gallon sized ones. Add in that you stick a tip in a bag, and not much buttercream flies anywhere anymore, much less near the pie hole. *Sigh* I’m in mourning. Is that natural? Don’t answer that. I don’t really want to know right now. Maybe later.

Lest you think this blog has become a confessional of purging caking demons, I do have a tutorial in mind. Waaaaiiit for it.

A couple of weeks ago, I was out of buttercream. My recipe takes 4 lbs. of powdered sugar so just imagine for a moment how much buttercream that makes. A Lot. A lot of buttercream, a lot of calories, a lot of inches on the waist. We all know that no matter what we say to ourselves before it happens, there will be buttercream calories on the scale the next day. I like to think it’s magic. Too bad that magic doesn’t transfer to my once cute as heck shorts, huh?

I was firm with myself for once and made an alternate choice.

No, not that kind.

 I’ve heard you can do this with toothpaste, but toothpaste is a lot more expensive than buttercream. I think. I haven’t actually run the numbers, but it seems to my sugar addicted mind that it is. So, no buttercream and no toothpaste. What’s left?

Chocolate

Stay with me here. I haven’t gone off the deep end yet. Probably not, anyway.

Yes, chocolate is still a lot of sugar. No denying my way around that. I also love the taste of chocolate. So much that I will eat sugar-free chocolate despite a case of the toots the rest of the day.  I had been piddling around with the idea of trying chocolate transfers again. You see, I fail at buttercream transfers. I’m missing the gene for it or something. But chocolate, maybe chocolate is the answer. Plus, the chocolate discs can be used in small amounts and are fast to melt and be ready for use when I have an hour to spare to play around. The other handy property of chocolate is: it’s hard to eat much when it’s flowing like Wllly Wonka’s river through the piping bag. You’re too busy trying to keep it corralled to eat much of it. It’s also messy as heck so you spend a fair amount of time with a washcloth in one hand and a piping bag in the other.

So, chocolate it is. Now, I’m not saying I’m a whizz here. No chocolate transfer miracles occurred. These things take time and practice. But one day, maybe; one day I might practice enough and the seas will part and the chocolate will stay put and not lump and I will create awesomeness. Just maybe not today.

It helped that I just read the Whimsical Bakehouse book.

Full of chocolate plaque visions, I tried a beaver first.

Heh. He’s a bit rabid, doncha think?

It’s tough to keep the chocolate at the right temperature: melted enough to flow smoothly but not so thin that it’s running like it’s had too much fiber, if you know what I mean (These kinds of thoughts keep me from considering consuming it in vast amounts while I’m practicing). I did a little better when I free handed a cloud looking object.

Okay, maybe I need more practice. Still, it looks better than my last wrestling match with buttercream transfer, so there’s hope in there somewhere.

What I really liked was writing with it. No messing about with the elusive perfect consistency ‘cause chocolate is what it is. I got brave enough at the end to even try a little freehand action.

Yup. Still can’t freehand. However, notice that there are no breaks in the chocolate. It’s actually even fairly straight. The bottom is even, but the top needs work. Also, spacing is still a problem. I think I need to figure out how to either get a template on the cake and pipe over it or figure out how to remove the chocolate from the wax paper without breaking it so I can place the words on the cake.

Yes, I know about using piping gel and rubbing it onto the cake, but these ol’ eyes aren’t getting any sharper so I have my doubts it would be obvious enough to be useful for me. Plus, I’m pretty good at smearing things when I shouldn’t.

There’s info everywhere about how to do this, so I’ll make this short. You need:

Waxed paper

Image/template

Chocolate discs

Disposable piping bag

Microwave

Tape

You can get the template by printing the picture of your choice from your computer. I suggest one without a lot of details to start. Also, look out for impossibly teeny spaces you won’t be able to get chocolate into.  Like girl child beaver wrists.

For the writing, I used Word and typed with different fonts, and then printed it.

Place your template on your workspace and tape it down to keep it from moving. Place the waxed paper over the template, and tape that down, too. Don’t use tons of tape or you won’t be able to remove the waxed paper easily.

Place a dozen or so chocolate discs in the piping bag and microwave the bag in 20 to 30 second increments. Take it out, smoosh it around to mix, repeat as needed. Stop nuking it when it’s almost completely melted. The remaining heat and smooshing will finish the job without burning the chocolate.

Snip a tiny hole in the end of the bag. You’ll have to experiment a little to figure out the right size. If that’s too frustrating, grab another disposable bag and rig it up with a coupler and a small round tip. Not to state the obvious, but don’t put your couplers or tips in the microwave. It will be pretty, but no good shall come of it. Once you have the second bag ready, snip off the end of the first bag (the one without the coupler and tip) and insert it inside the first bag.

Now, you’re ready to practice. If you messed around with royal icing and cookies, you know what to do. If not, here’s how:

For images: outline the image, including any parts you want separated from the rest like the arms. You are building the image from the front to the back. This means you create the facial features, let the chocolate set, and then fill in the other parts like the belly and feet. If you want toe/finger nails, pipe those and let it set before you make the actual foot/hand. I hope that makes sense. Look at your image for a couple of minutes and think about how you need to build it. You may even want to write it down for reference and to make sure you’re not overlooking something.

The important things to remember are:

Let each layer harden before adding the next

Chocolate spreads

For writing: just have at it. Remember to move your arm rather than your hand and to let the line fall into place rather than trying to etch it onto the surface like you do with a pencil.

What I don’t know yet: how to make the chocolate smooth.

I know I have to keep it melted, but the stuff is hardening in the bag and I’m trying to hurry before I run out of time and it’s a rock again so I just hope it all levels out.

It doesn’t.

It seems to me that it also needs to be cool enough that it doesn’t melt the features I’ve already added (like eyes) and it also can’t push down on those features to make them spread and thus make the image look messy/creepy. Eh, it’s a work in progress.

Leftovers: like dinner, I always have leftover chocolate and I believe, with all my heart, that every time you throw chocolate in the trash, a butterfly loses a wing (just kidding, kids. Calm down). Therefore, I put the leftover chocolate into a mold and, after it sets, bag it for use another day.

Now, put down that frosting and give me 2 miles on the treadmill! The dreaded bathing suit is just around the corner!

Aaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!

 

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch

22 Feb

Life can’t always be a piece of cake. You know this, I know this, and the fam definitely knows this. Without their nagging, I wouldn’t occasionally clean up the kitchen and make dinner. Most days, if I had the cash and the metabolism, dinner would be purchased in those convenient big boxes called restaurants.  Since I have neither, every day I have to stop doing other things and fill the screeching beaks that hang out here and call themselves my relations.

We all have the same conundrum. Feed ourselves and the hangers on, don’t spend more than we should/can, make it healthy, and make something with the least likelihood of complaints. You would think that now the kiddos are grownups (in the eyes of the law, anyway) this issue would be simpler for me. Not so. I still have to consider the dietary restrictions of the other half. No tomatoes, onions, peppers, or anything his royalness considers “weird.” That could mean anything from guacamole to peanut butter cookies to filet mignon or sushi. (Okay, I agree with the sushi thing. Org invented fire for a reason.)I live with a guy who, I swear, his restaurant related goal in life is to eat a hamburger and fries in every food establishment he enters. Did I mention he has a tiny cholesterol problem? Yeeaaah.

Over the years, like you, I have amassed a small collection of stand by recipes that go beyond: open the box, read the box, do what the box says. I have found I have the best luck by scanning a recipe for ingredients I know everyone likes, has none of the dislikes, or that looks like I could leave the offending ingredients out of the recipe. Yes, it’s taken awhile to get a good mix of standbys.

I figured if your nest inhabitants are like mine, you might like to know some of the ways I get around all that. Plus, it’s February. Most of us have long broken the lose weight/get healthy resolution but would still like to keep it lest the guilt overwhelm us or swimsuit season arrives. With that in mind, I bring you:

Rosemary Ranch Chicken Kabobs

Original recipe here: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Rosemary-Ranch-Chicken-Kabobs/Detail.aspx

Visit the link for the official directions, as what follows is my own personal way to get it on the table.

Ingredients

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup ranch dressing

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon white vinegar

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste

1 tablespoon white sugar, or to taste (optional)

5 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into 1 inch cubes

I would add skewers and an indoor or outdoor grill to this list. They may not be ingredients, but you’re gonna need them. I like to know this kind of stuff ahead of time otherwise I get aggravated/lost/disappointed when I find out I can’t make what I planned for dinner. The others don’t like it either because that means leftovers for dinner. Also, note that the chicken should be cubed.

If you’ve never worked with skewers before, there are a couple of things you need to know. Nah, it’s easy stuff, just a couple of little specialty tidbits to know.

Wooden skewers burn and metal skewers get hella hot and will scratch non-stick grids if you’re not careful.

Yes, this is obvious. Will you remember it? Probably not the first few times, so it’s worth reminding ourselves. I use wooden skewers since they are cheap and I already have them around for cake work. I do remember that they burn, yet I don’t always remember it in time. That’s why I’m going to list the first step as:

Soak the wood skewers in water. 

Soaking them won’t prevent burning (no matter what “the experts” say), but it will slow it down enough to enable you to use them.

The other tidbit you’ll want to know is if you are going to use an outdoor grill, once you have the magic wooden sticks loaded with food, cover the ends of the skewers with foil to keep them from incinerating.

With that very long intro, let’s get dinner going before the masses arrive.

In a small bowl, combine:

Olive Oil

Ranch dressing

Worcestershire Sauce (Bonus Chef Points if you can pronounce this correctly without thinking about it.)

Rosemary, but wait! The peeps at this castle think rosemary is a very strong herb, so I generally use about half of the amount that any recipe calls for. Your call, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Salt

Lemon Juice

Vinegar and Pepper (No pic, but I’m sure you can imagine it at this point.)

 Sugar

(Whew! It’s a lot quicker to do it than to write it!)

Once all that’s in the bowl, whisk it together.

Toss in the chicken, and stir it around until the chicken is coated in the goop.

(I removed that chunk of fat later, lest it stick directly to myrump roast.)

This is supposed to marinate for 30 minutes. That’s the ideal way to do it. However, if you have just schlumped in the door after a long day in the mines, you may not have the time or energy for that. I have marinated it for about 10-15 minutes and it still tastes good. Thirty minutes is best, but if you can’t do that, don’t worry about it. Serve it with a dollop of ranch for dipping and tell the little hungry birdies it was meant to be served that way. If they know better, they should be taking turns in the kitchen, right?

While it’s marinating, you can empty and reload the dishwasher, fold that load of laundry, or round up the chickadees for homework time. You could also rip open that noodle box and crank open the veggie can and get that going if you’re making side dishes. If it’s just you and the man of your dreams, you can make a salad and turn this into a restaurant style chicken salad. Once the time is up, or you can’t wait any longer, come on back here and we’ll finish this almost lickety split.

Before we get messy, heat your grill of choice. Yes, I spray mine with non-stick spray even though the directions say you don’t have to. It’s my thing.

Okay, now let’s get sticky! Thread/skewer the chicken. I put 5-6 pieces of chicken on each skewer. If your pieces are thin, fold them in half to get them on the skewer.

They are top heavy and drippy at this point. Carefully lift and load onto the grill and char to your liking.

DINNNERRRR!!!!

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!

7 Feb

You can’t control it so you may as well pretend you like it, right? I don’t know about your sidewalk, but mine has barely seen daylight for months. At least it seems like that. Shoot, last night we left the sink cabinet doors open to keep the pipes from freezing. As I sit typing this, a very un-tropical breeze from the window is wafting across the keyboard. Fantasizing about Caribbean islands is no longer enough to escape from the reality of the once fluffy, now crusty, sea of coldness across the land. Simple cabin fever would be a blessing at this point.

It’s hard to remember this:

(http://www.info-res.com/dovesnest/)

When your door looks like this:

I don’t think he’s too thrilled, either:

That’s a major highway behind that rear end. Somewhere.

Fourteen inches on the ground and up to eight more coming. Arghhh! I can’t think about it anymore! Let’s make a cake and pretend we’re still plum full of excitement over the first snow of the season.

I shamelessly borrowed this idea from

http://www.cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=1544211

Even the mixer is hiding in embarrassment at such shameless borrowing.

 Nah. This cake was for home and Lord knows the original is better than the copy. The mixer just wanted a moment alone to create this:

It’s my bad. I was making all sorts of noise doing this:

and practicing this:

Later on, it hid again while I made cacti looking these:

In its defense, it’s fairly new around here- meaning new in comparison to the rest of the house since we can’t seem to ever get rid of anything.

Do you foresee Spring cleaning in my future in that last sentence? Good. I’ll await your arrival March-ish.

Moving forward didn’t seem to help the cactus theme happening.

I fear my longing for warmer climes is seeping through.

Let’s see what happens when I try for a snowman to get back on cake track.

Maybe a second one will help?

Why stop to thin your icing when you can do this?:

That’s cornstarch on my finger, not icing. I was smart enough to do that (this time).

He looks rather formless. Time for eyes and clothes. I can’t have the neighbors knowing I secretly make naked snowmen.

Which made him so mad his eyes are literally shooting darts. *Sigh* Time to tap again. I wish my mamma had let me take lessons.

By the way, it really is easier to pipe small things with a small bag. It almost seems like a waste until you remember how much you hate cleaning bags.

He’s nosy like bad neighbors so I guess we better give him something to nose around with.

There ya’ go. Now he looks all Frosty-similar. It’s time for random snow-like objects.

Pointy snow and cacti? The child ain’t right. Time to fix that before mamma finds out what she has spawned.

Whew! That looks better. Ignore the slope; or at least be kind enough to pretend a ski slope gets put there later. Yeah, that’s it.

The bottom looks bare, and you know we can’t have bare bottoms around here either, so I added snowballs.

Which look amazingly like really low clouds in the picture.  It was better in person. I cannot tell a lie (today, anyway), it really did look better in person.

At this point, I got a phone call. I was trying to finish the cake so I could move on and make dinner before hubster got home and the phone rang. Soooo the lettering isn’t exactly centered. I would have fixed it, but it was just for the homies and they don’t care about such things. Don’t care/aren’t allowed to say anything or they won’t get to eat cake. Whatever.

 

Now, dear readers, the difference between someone who half knows how to take pictures and someone who is irritated by people who half know how to take pictures.

My best shot:

It’s got the fancy plain background like it’s supposed to and everythin’ so it has to be the best shot possible, right? Yeah, right.

The “other shot” as we call it around here.

No fancy background. On the messy counter. Looks like a magazine photo. Dang it.

I’d say I have to learn how to do that, but the truth is I’d rather make cake than learn f-stops. Besides, my mother and her soap do not tolerate f words very well. Don’t ask me how I know. Not even my shrink can handle that story.

Just kidding, mamma. Just kidding.

(In case you’re wondering, I used 3 tips for this cake: one star tip and two different sizes of round tips. Now that your curiousity is satisfied, grab a shovel and get your butt over here. )

 

Great Balls of Fire!

24 Jan

Oy Vey! I always thought it would be the mixer. My expensive, once in a lifetime, too good to be true, I’m not worthy, Kitchen Aid mixer. Especially since hubby bought it an attachment for Christmas and I’m weird enough to think that it doesn’t matter if it’s okay with the manufacturer, asking a mixer to do anything other than mix is asking for a meltdown. But it wasn’t. Sure, she gave off a bit of that lovely electrical burning smell earlier in the day for no good reason, but all I was asking her to do is to mix the same dang frosting recipe she’s been mixing for 6 months, so I blotted that smell out of my mind. Maybe the smell wasn’t the Kitchen Aid? Naw, doesn’t matter, moving on. I’ve got cakin’ to do!

Later that afternoon, there was a noise. Kind of a popping sound. I was in the dining room, tuna breath was in the kitchen. He looked alarmed and kind of twitched a bit. Huh, better check it out if tuna breath is skeered. It sounded like it came from the sitting room or beyond. I took a quick look, smelled something odd again, thought it smelled electrical in nature; but again, no evidence of anything awry so I dismissed it as, “Man, I really gotta get out of the house soon.” After all, the farthest I’d ventured beyond the walls of the casa aside from the one minute run ‘cause it’s cold foray to check the mailbox was Monday and today was Thursday. Definitely time to get back into real life and do some shopping or something. Yeah, I know. I still get snail mail. Not good stuff anymore, but nonetheless, I get snail mail. I need to get on better propaganda lists or something since I get nothing interesting in the mail, but I digress.

Electrical smell, popping noise, can’t find anything, may be losing my mind.  Just another day in the manse so back to caking I go.  Half an hour later, the oven timer gives that annoying beep. You know, the one that sounds like a major piece of equipment in the hospital is signaling someone is dying kind of sound. Time to check the cake. Nope, nowhere near done. It’s still all jiggly. Set the timer for another 20 minutes. Better, but the center still looks like my thighs when I run. Tuna breath has settled down (meaning he’s in my way) so all is well in my world. Or so I thought. The timer sounds once more, it’s still not quite done. I think, “This is taking a long time. I guess I should have used baking strips, a flower nail, or something in that bad boy” and go back to caking. Okay, caking and emailing the Frosting Chick. Someone has to keep her sane and let her know there’s still caking in the world while she’s stuck in the pod. I’m good like that. Nothing like a good day of torturing corporate flunkies with tales of cake and housework and annoying life mates. 

Ten minutes later and the cake smells like it’s burning. It must be done. After all, everyone’s chocolate cake smells like that when it’s done, right? No? It’s just me? *Sigh* I guess the “Perfect Chocolate Cake“ recipe search continues. Until then, let’s check the cake once more, k? Huh. What’s that sizzling sound? Suddenly the oven sounds like I’m makin’ bacon. Now either I really have lost my mind or something’s up. I’ve really isolated myself from the cruel world too long because now I’m associating a brief mention of how chocolate and bacon is the “in” thing from earlier in the week chat conversations with the cake in the oven or something is seriously awry. Yeah, it must be me going bonkers. Open the oven, crazy lady, and check the cake. I open the door aaannnnd there’s fire down below. Whaaat?

It wasn’t a big fire. No need to run for the extinguisher (yeah, right. Like I have one.) No need to dial 911 and get the beefy boys. No need to even call beefy boy’s woman and ask if she thinks I should have a meet up with them. It was actually fascinating. A small flame on the front left of the element. Sizzling away and throwing sparks like, like, well, like a sparkler. This is God getting me back for buying sparklers for the chicklet last July. Sure, she’s way old enough to handle them now and she did miss out on all that fun because I’m overprotective, so what’s the harm now? Evidently, I hadn’t built up enough karma or something because this is the harm. Fire in the oven and cake due. Holy schmoly. Look at her go. Oh, crap! I better get the cake out of there, huh? Yeah, I’m quick on the uptake. Shiny objects and all that.

I’m dumb enough to stand there and look at it burn for a couple more minutes while tuna breath has headed for the hills. I finally realized that perhaps it might stop burning if, I don’t know, I turned off the oven or something. You think? I considered getting the camera and taking blog pictures but quickly dismissed that thought as another reason I really need to get out of the house more often. I switch off the oven, pick up the phone, and call my Mr. Fix It at the office. Big fat help he was. He needs the model number. And that would be where? I dunno. Probably in the oven somewhere. Yeah, I’m not sticking my big head in there, the thing is still sizzling like I used to do on a Friday night at the skating rink. At least the fire is gone. The smoke aroma isn’t too bad, so I put the cake back in and hope for the best. *Shrug* At this point, if the residual heat in the oven doesn’t finish baking it I haven’t lost any more than if I left it on the counter.

Mamma needs two things at this point: a model number and the use of someone’s oven. I still have cupcake batter sitting on the counter and I dunno how long that stuff can sit before it’s no longer fit to use. First, the model number. Mr. Fix It will be home in a couple of hours, which means if I find that blessed number in the next hour maybe he’ll take pity on me and pick up an element on the way home.

You should know I’m an organized person, generally. I’m not real pack-ratty, but I do tend to keep stuff that might be useful. Like warranties and guarantees. I’m smart like that. Small problem. It’s not an area of the file cabinet I venture into very often. I long ago moved that kind of stuff to its own drawer in the cabinet. Every January I clean the files to prepare for the new year and the dreaded tax/FAFSA season. I’m so good that this yearly cleaning has already been done, just not the particular drawer I need. There is no kidding 6 file folders and a shoe box stuffed with stuff. It’s not pretty. Answering machines, curling irons, bikes from 10 years ago- it’s all in there. What are the odds the stove papers are lurking in a dark corner of that drawer? 20 minutes later, I know the odds are very low. Just when you think you save way the heck too much stuff, you realize you didn’t save the one thing you need right now.  No dice on the paperwork so no hope of getting it fixed tonight.

Being the techno-savvy cake making mamma that I am, I put out a call for help on Facebook. The place where I can ask a favor without having to actually talk to a human being. Problem though. The person for whom I am creating this week is also on Facebook. I can’t freak her out. Therefore, I change my status to, “Who’s home? I’ve got a problem and I need an easy favor.” After that, I decide to pretend I live in the ‘50’s and call a neighbor to see if a little borrowing of an appliance is possible. She’s not home, of course. No one is. Everyone is snug in their pods except for those who I swear spend 24/7 driving around so as to try to annihilate me or, failing that, aggravate the heck out of me by driving slowly/erratically/while on the phone in the front of me. Either way, no oven for me.  Buddy Boy Blast from the Past catches me on chat and asks if he can be of assistance. Could it be? A hero in a hero-less land? He’s one state over. He suggests I get out my Easy Bake Oven. Yeah, no.  Big help. I don’t know why we keep him around. Pity, I guess.

I brave the oven and look for the model number. On the oven door? On the front of the body when you open the oven door? Inside the drawer? On the instrument panel? On the one side I can see without moving the stove? In the oven? Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, and nope. Maybe Mr. Fix It is right and it’s on the back of the stove. I’m not moving that thing- there’s a cake in the kitchen and I’m still not sure it’s done! I don’t care if you can now bounce around like your favorite kitchen activity is trampoline sky diving, don’t be messing around in my kitchen with a cake in the house!

Finally, Corporate America disperses its human contents back into the world, and a free oven is found. Huzzah! Cupcakes are baked, cake is done, if all a little extra crusty from the drama, and life can continue. Mr. Fix It locates the model number. Heaven forbid, but should you ever need to know where the model number is located on a 20 some years old GE electric stove, try pulling out the drawer and looking on the body of the stove, on the right. Shut up. The important thing is that it was located.

Before:

 

Thankfully, I keep a clean oven or these pictures would not be possible, if you know what I mean.

Where the fire was located when I finally discovered the problem:

See the ashy looking stuff that wraps around the element? Sparkler juice.

That’s supposed to be all in one piece, y’all. He said I did a darned good job of breaking it. What can I say? It’s all or nothing here, baby!

Check out Woodstock in the background looking dismayed and amazed.

 Mr. Fix It to the delayed, but still much needed rescue:

No, they don’t just pull out and plug back in like burners. ‘Cause that would be too easy.

But will it heat up? You know, my cake karma has really taken a hit lately, so I wouldn’t be surprised…

Whoo hoo! We’ve achieved red hot! Is it too hot? Too cold? Uneven heat? Mr. Fix It says it’s just perfect, but I’m going to test it with an oven thermometer next week when Corporate America steals my buds once again. In other words, secretly. No need to hurt Mr. Fix It’s feelings. Gotta keep him happy ‘cause you never know what’s going to blow up next around here. He was even kind enough to make fish sticks and reheat pizza in the oven today to get rid of any “new electrical appliance part” smells that might be lurking in the oven. Now that’s love, ain’t it?

Yes, he does still have to do something for me for Valentine’s Day. I have to keep him on his toes, after all.

By the way: Frosting Chick asked me if I took pictures while it was aflame. Either we’re both crazy in this together, or that’s a normal reaction? I’m shooting for both crazy. It’s the only thing that makes sense right now.

I’m back in action, y’all! Yee haw!

P.S.- I told you I wouldn’t get a new stove out of this. You know who you are. 😉

We’re Baaack!

20 Jan

White Lie Cake

(from : http://office-humour.co.uk/tags/cake/11805/)

Have you ever told a white lie? You are going to love this, especially all of those who bake for church events. Alice Grayson was to bake a cake for the Baptist Church Ladies’ Group in Tuscaloosa , but forgot to do it until the last minute. She remembered the morning of the bake sale and after rummaging through cabinets, found an angel food cake mix & quickly made it while drying her hair, dressing, & helping her son pack for Scout camp.

When Alice took the cake from the oven, the center had dropped flat and the cake was horribly disfigured. She thought, ‘Oh dear, there is not time to bake another cake.’

This cake was important to Alice because she did so want to fit in at her new church and in her new community of friends. So, being inventive, she looked around the house for something to build up the center of the cake.

Alice found it in the bathroom – a roll of toilet paper. She plunked it in and covered it with icing. Not only did the finished product look beautiful, it looked perfect. Before she left the house to drop the cake by the church and head for work, Alice woke her daughter Amanda and gave her some money and specific instructions to be at the bake sale the moment it opened at 9:30 and to buy the cake and bring it home.

When Amanda arrived at the sale, she found the attractive, perfect cake had already been sold. She grabbed her cell phone and called her mom. Alice was horrified – she was beside herself. Everyone would know! What would they think? She would be ostracized, talked about, and ridiculed! All night, Alice lay awake in bed thinking about people pointing fingers at her and talking about her behind her back.

The next day, Alice promised herself she would try not to think about the cake and would attend the fancy luncheon/bridal shower at the home of a fellow church member and try to have a good time. Alice did not want to attend because the hostess was a snob who more than once had looked down her nose at Alice because she was a single parent and not from the founding families of Tuscaloosa but, having already RSVP’d, she couldn’t think of a believable excuse to stay home.

The meal was elegant, the company was definitely upper crust old South and, to Alice ‘s horror, the cake in question was presented for dessert! Alice felt the blood drain from her body when she saw the cake! She started out of her chair to tell the hostess all about it, but before she could get to her feet, the Mayor’s wife said, ‘What a beautiful cake!’

Alice still stunned, sat back in her chair when she heard the hostess (who was a prominent church member) say, ‘Thank you, I baked it myself.’

Alice smiled and thought to herself, ‘God is good.’

Not your kind of joke? Try this one on for size:

Glue?

How come when you mix water and flour together you get glue?

and then you add eggs and sugar…and you get cake?

Where did the glue go?

You know darn well where it went!

That’s what makes the cake…

Stick to your butt!

(from: http://office-humour.co.uk/tags/cake/12166/ but I edited it for the PG crowd.)

Like those piles of cookies you ate last month, 2Chicks is back for the new year. Bigger, badder, fatter, and with more frosting than ever! Also with more crumbs in the keyboard than ever. Geez, doesn’t anyone ever clean up the joint?

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