Thursday, June 30, 2011

Summer Cake

I recently stumbled across a beautiful summer cake over at Hogwash. Having never been one to make such an elegant cake, I thought it would be time consuming and hard. Boy, was I wrong! This was easier than the normal Betty Crocker mix cake!

Summer Cake
Angel food cake
Frozen yogurt (I used Kroger vanilla)
Cool Whip
Fruit topping (optional; I used strawberries)

Cut the angel food cake into the layers. Spread frozen yogurt between each layer. Put in freezer for a few hours to firm. Next, ruffle ice the cake using Cool Whip. (Here is what looks tricky, but just watch this tutorial from My Sweet and Saucy and you will look like a Wilton expert!) Place frosted cake in covered container and freeze for at least 5 hours. Cut strawberries in half and add to cake right before serving.

For the banner, I used two chopsticks, yarn, tape, and scrapbook paper. Just cut out triangles from paper. Tape to yarn. Tie banner to chopsticks. Done.

If you are like me and do not have icing supplies at home, I used a 40% coupon from Jo-Ann's to score a petal tip and decorating bags for a combined total of $2.84. Score.

If only all things in life came out this well... ;)


For the past couple of years, I have been interested in learning how to can. Well, thanks to House Party and Ball Canning, I was able to try it out.

My partner in crime and all things domestic, Amy came over. We went through recipes and settled on something pretty basic, but oh-so-yummy for our first canning experience. Blueberry Syrup. We ran to the store to pick up the supplies. (Most of our supplies were sent by House Party, but we had to buy the blueberries and such.)

Blueberry Syrup
8 cups blueberries
4 cups water
1 T lemon zest
3 cups sugar
2 T lemon juice

Step 1. Wash and drain blueberries. (Wash and rinse jars and lids as well.)

Step 2. Crush blueberries. (Also, prepare jars and lids for canning.)

Step 3. Grate lemon zest.

Step 4. Boil blueberries and lemon zest for 5 minutes. (We got ahead of ourselves and added the lemon juice as well. Oops. We also decided that wearing white t-shirts probably wasn't the best of ideas so we put on aprons.)

Step 5. Drain blueberry juice. (Here was Oops #2. It asked for you to use a jelly bag or cheesecloth. We substituted with coffee filter. Amy thought she had read it had to drain for 2 hours, but looking at the book I read nothing about 2 hours. The coffee filter did not seem to drain so we just used a colander. While later flipping through a different booklet, I found the 2 hour description Amy had been talking about. We decided that as long as it did not have lumps it was going to be fine...)

Step 6. In a different saucepan, add 4 cups water and 3 cups sugar. (In the large stockpot, we are simmering jars in stockpot for 10 minutes before filling so they will not crack. Isn't this the greatest apron you have ever seen?!!? J's sister made it for me.)

Step 7. Bring sugar and water to a boil so it dissolves the sugar. (Lids must also simmer for 10 minutes in a separate pot.)

Step 8. Add blueberry juice to the syrup mixture and boil for 5 minutes. (This is also when you are really supposed to add the lemon juice.)

Step 9. Fill the jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. (Ball makes a great little stick for that!) Wipe rim. Add lid. Screw band until fingertip tight. (At this point, we look up what it fingertip tight. Just until you start to have to use force when screwing. Insert appropriate Office quote here.)

Step 10. Process jars for 10 minutes. (Cover pot with lid and bring to a rolling boil. Boil for 10 minutes.) When finished, take off of heat and remove lid. Let stand for 5 minutes. Remove jars and let cool for 12 to 24 hours. After cooling, check seal. If not sealed, process again. Thankfully, ours sealed.

Our finished product... 3 pints of blueberry syrup.

Other notes...
-We had a little more than 3 pints after filling jars. I put leftover syrup in fridge to serve soon. I am thinking it will be great over vanilla ice cream.
-Amy took home the squashed blueberry "remnants". She thought she could use them in blueberry muffins or bars.
-Canning is meant to be at least a 2 person job.
-We decided this process is only really worth it if you have your own garden with lots of produce. I am glad we tried it though.
-Could it we make during Little House on the Prairie days? Our patience says doubtful.
-What is next for this domestic duo? I am thinking ice cream making... ;)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Summer in Pictures

The summer so far...

- Trying out Jackelope Brewing
- Symphony at Bicentennial Park
- Beech Bend Park with J's family
- Amy's hip hop dance party
- Opening night at Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream
- Charlie, a stray we have taken in

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Splendid Evening at Jeni's

On Thursday, J and I (along with hundreds of others) went to try East Nashville's newest ice cream shop, Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams. From 7pm- 10pm, they were giving free ice cream away.

I am a true fan of homemade ice cream and ice cream artists. Since living in East Nashville, I have been a frequenter of the Pied Piper Creamery and have introduced many people to the place. I believe we showed our devotion to good ice creams on Thursday when we waited two hours to get some. Yes, t-w-o hours.

For two hours, J and I stood behind a sweet family from Clarksville. The little girl was quite entertaining. She loved flirting with J and beating up on her father while being stinkin' cute. (She was not even two.) We got a little lucky because they were related to one of the girls who run the shops. Jeni, the founder and owner, ended up chatting with all of us for some of the time we waited.

Jeni dropped out of art school to pursue ice cream making full time. They are based in Columbus, Ohio. She now has seven shops in Ohio and ours in Nashville. They opened a shop here because they have family close by. They believe so much in the art and purity of ice cream, they even have their own declaration. Before leaving, I asked Jeni to sign her cookbook for me.

For my first visit, I settled on a scoop of Cherry Lambic and a scoop of Rhubarb-Lime-Cardamom. So yummy. I can't wait to go back!

Two homemade ice cream shops... I believe that I live in the right neighborhood.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Catching Up

Well, another unintentional blogging hiatus.

The end of the school year was a beast. Simply put.

J's family came to visit during the CMA Fest. We went to Beech Bend park for a day. Apparently, old age has settled in because I can no longer enjoy spinning rides which I used to love. I had a semi-traumatic water slide ride. Let's just say my derriere came off the slide before my front and there involved lots of water up the nose.

My life has been full of wedding planning. Not my own. I am learning a lot about things brides should do and things you definitely should not. The "not" might outweigh the "should".

I have finished a number of books. Nothing particularly stand out. Kitty Kelley's biography on Oprah was interesting. An East Nashville hater apparently. Boo.

J has been working outside a lot. He surprised me with hanging baskets of purple flowers on a not-so-fun day. They make me smile every time I pull up. He also hung some white lights in the backyard. Super fun. I cannot wait to have a backyard party with friends!

Awesome Amy turned 28 yesterday. We had a ghetto dance party. Classy.

Today, we lunched with my family in honor of my daddy. I think he is a keeper. Happy Father's Day!

Pictures to come soon...