Tuesday, August 27, 2013

With Hope, The Odds Don't Matter

Heather Von St. James is a Mesothelioma survivor. Mesothelioma is a form of lung cancer and is most commonly caused by exposure to asbestos. If you do some research, you will learn that the survival rate is very low...as it is for most forms of cancer.

Heather is a survivor. She contacted me and shared her story, and in turn i'd like to share it with you. Heather was diagnosed with mesothelioma at age 36, when her daughter was 3&1/2 months old.  She is now a 7-year survivor and works toward building the awareness of mesothelioma, and most of all, inspiring people to fight and never give up hope. Here's a link to her full story.

Since Heather contacted a couple days ago, I have been thinking a lot about how grateful I am for my and my family's health. I could never imagine anything happening to my children or husband and feel extremely blessed to be living what is truly a charmed life. These feelings of gratitude make me more sensitive to those who do suffer from illness or disease of any kind.

I hope and pray that my family never experiences the kind of trial that Heather Von St. James and her family did. But if for some reason, its in God's plan for us...I hope even more that we grow closer together as a result. Whatever the outcome.

So for today, my thoughts and prayers are with those suffering the effects of Mesothelioma. Keep up your spirits, send up your prayers, and never give up hope.

Btw...the ribbon color for Mesothelioma is Pearl. My Charlotte and I decorated these cupcakes with that in mind.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Shabby Garden Cake

Just a quick blog about cake, and the amazing women in my church. There is a couple in our church who was engaged with not much in the way of money, family or friends. They wanted a reception, but were unsure how to do it. So one of the ladies in the church said "I will throw you a reception!" And that's what she did! She'd just inherited a bunch of wedding decor, and there are amazing caterers in our church. So with a lot of helping hands, everyone threw a quaint, personal, elegant and classy wedding reception. It was so fun!

I made this cake for them, and it was perfect for my first wedding cake because they wanted it small with simple decorations, but it tasted amazing! Lime whipped cream, lime filling with strawberries and a white cake. (well...green and yellow, white cake) A far cry from the usual chocolate with buttercream that i'm used to. It turned out a little flowery for me, but the bride loved it. And look at the inside! That's my favorite part.

And I need to say a quick word about the cupcakes.

Pretty much everything was donated by our church, so a couple ladies made the cupcakes at home, brought them to the building, and I threw some decorations on them. One flavor was Tres Leches....and HOLY COW! They were amazing! Afterwards, while cleaning up in the kitchen...I took 6 home. And I ate them all by myself. Here is the super simple recipe that was used:

Easy Tres Leches

-1 box white cake mix
-1 T. ground cinnamon
-4 eggs
-1/3 c. oil
-1&1/4 c. water
-foil liners

-Spray liners with Pam. Mix all other ingredients together and fill foil liners. Let cupcakes cool completely.

-1 c. whole milk
-1 c. evaporated milk
-1 c. sweetened condensed milk

-In a bowl, stir 3 milks together until well combined. Poke holes in your cupcakes with a toothpick and slightly pull liners away from cupcakes (this will help keep milk IN the cake, not pouring over the sides). Pour 1 spoonful of milk on each cupcake and then repeat 4-5 times.

Tip: To completely soak the cake, let them chill in fridge 1 hour - overnight.

Pipe whipped cream onto each cupcake and drizzle with caramel.

Good luck!

PS: I know people will be wondering what the Fox and the Hare are all about??? Well, the bride bought them as their cake toppers because she calls her hubby a fox, and he chased her down like a hare. Hence: Fox and the Hare. :)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Zoey's Zebra Cake!

So...my family is having babies. Lots and LOTS of babies. At least my in-law side of my family. My side of the family is old, so we're having a bit of a dry-spell. Good news is...i'm not one of the pregnant ones! So I celebrated by helping to throw one of my sisters-in-law a shower!

Here I have a cake:

My lovely sister and brother (Mariah and Taylor) decided to name their coming daughter Zoey, and theyre going with a zebra/jungle theme. You know...Zoey Zebra...so cute. So I thought I would finally get brave and try a real, fondant-covered cake. The last time I tried to cover a cake in fondant was about 3 years ago and it was a DISASTER! It ended in tears and a messy cake. I resorted to moulding fondant, and I got pretty good at it. But THIS turned into a work of art! Let me tell you, my hands were shaking, but I finally did it! The fondant boots and zebra took me hours of work, but I think the 2 minutes it took me to cover the cake was a million times worse! Until it turned out PERfect...then I cheered. Anyways, enough bragging and self-congratulating. Here are some cupcakes:

When I arrived with the cupcakes, my other sister-in-law had these adorable cupcake pokes leftover from a shower she had done the weekend before. They looked so cute! I have to put a quick plug in for Costco (because it's amazing). Pastry Pride Ready to Whip Cream. Its flavored...its fluffy...you can pipe it...it won't melt when it sits at room temp for a few hours...I love it! And I don't have to stress out about stabilizing my own whipped cream. That's what I used on the Heath cupcakes this time and it was stupendous. Anyways, you can find a pretty good tutorial on how to make the boots here. I added quite a few details to the design, but it's a good base to start with. My only complaint is that she doesn't provide a printout of the pattern, so you will have to play around with it for your sizing.